Thursday, 29 December 2016

What I Got For Christmas 2016

what I got for christmas 2016
what I got for christmas 2016
what I got for christmas 2016

Judging by this rather large haul, I was very much on the Nice list. I'm always amazed by my friends and family's generosity, but this year even more so. The thought and effort that went into these gifts was amazing so I'd like to say one last huge thank you! Skip past this bit if you just want to get to the deets, but I also want to put the usual cliched disclaimer in that I am in no way bragging about gifts. This is a hugely popular post, and I personally love reading them, so if this isn't your thing feel free to click on something else. 

Now onto the presents and as you can see I was rather spoilt. My stocking was absolutely bursting, filled with a knitted Mermaid Tail blanket, a Zoella Diffuser and the Zoella storage pots. I can't decide whether to put some succulents in them or give my make-up brushes a new home though. What do you guys think? My family were super thoughtful with presents this year, making them that little bit more special. I'd started to learn to crochet earlier this year and receiving this adorable Crochet Kit from my cousins was lovely. My Dad was also sneakily asking me about Virtual Reality a couple of weeks ago, and cheekily snapped up this headset for my iPhone which has been a huge hit with everyone. Make-up wise, I was treated to a couple of Laura Mercier goodies. I've been lusting after the Caviar Sticks Gift Set for years now and the Going Glam Palette will be so handy for this years travels. The girls clearly know me well too, with them all chipping in to gift me the Nars Sarah Moon Mind Game Lipgloss Set. It's absolutely perfect and all the shades are very 'me'. Thanks guys! Of course I wouldn't be Christmas without a book or two. The Coveteur is the perfect coffee book table, filled with celebrity wardrobes, whilst Happy Closet is hopefully going to help me declutter my own. I can't wait to get stuck into Inside Vogue; what a dream to be editor! 

And now, I've left the most special gift for last. I'm finally spending some time in New York in April, somewhere I've wanted to go forever but just never had a chance. I've been looking at things to do and been going on about seeing a Broadway show but umming and ahhing over the cost. Well, wrapped in a little box was a DVD of Anastasia. Now, I absolutely adored this film. I can clearly remember going to see it way back in 1997 at the cinema and I even had a stuffed toy of the little white bat, Bartok.  Moving back to now, my parents had put a little note on top explaining that the DVD was only part of the gift, and that the real show stopper was a ticket to see the preview(!!) of the Broadway musical version in one the best seats in the house. It's a good job I didn't have eye makeup on, because I was in tears. April can't come soon enough. 

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas. Let me know what you got! 
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

5 Things to Do Between Now and New Year's

new years christmas festive period


So the presents have been unwrapped, you find yourself unconsciously clicking through page after page of sales, and your body is slowly starting to reject turkey? Yep it's the most confusing time of the year; that odd little week between Christmas Day and NYE. The blackhole of the festive period, you will most likely have no idea what day it is, can only tell the time by what's on the telly, and your only purpose is to consumer ALL the chocolate before that gym membership kicks in. Do you go back to your normal for  a couple of days or make merry and keep the party going for another week? Whatever you decide to do, there's 5 things that you should try and make time 

  1. Physically write your New Year's Resolutions down. Whether you publicly admit it or not, you're likely to want to achieve something next year. Most people make resolutions and, to be honest, I have about 10 of them all set up for next year. I read somewhere that you're much more likely to act on a resolution if you write it down. I suppose it's down to making it more real than just some random thought. Whether you make a quick list at the back of your shiny new diary or tweet it for all of the world to see, spend 5 minutes and think about what you want to achieve next year. 
  2. Plan for the future. After all the sparkle of Christmas, January can be a bit of a downer. Once January gets underway everyone seems to become super busy again, dealing with everyday drama. Take time out now to set a date for a night in with friends or a trip somewhere to give you something to look forward to once everything goes back to normal. 
  3. Declutter your life. Clear out your closet. Clear your workspace. Clear your inboxes of read/junk e-mails. Clear your memory cards of unwanted photos. Just get rid. I'm a firm believer in the whole clear space clear mind philosophy so what better way to start a new year than having everything organised just how you want it. You'll be too busy with life come January, so why not make time now to start the new year fresh.
  4. Relax & Reflect. Take a day off. I mean, completely off, with no pressure, no stress, just a 100% selfish day focusing on what you want to do. Reflect on 2016, and start 2017 with the best mindset possible. 
  5. Celebrate. Whether it be a continuation of Christmas festivities or an inward smile for something you achieved this year, celebrate. Don't let any success go unrecognised, even if that success is just making it through a family Christmas. Be kind to yourself and have a happy new year. 
How are you sending this week?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Night on the Polar Express

East Lancashire Railway
East Lancashire Railway
East Lancashire Railway
Everyone has there Christmas traditions, whether you realise it or not. Some people like to decorate a Christmas tree a certain way, some open one present on Christmas Eve and some watch the same film year after year. Each Christmas my family visits the East Lancashire Railway. I've blogged about the Afternoon Tea experience before, but the real magic happens at Christmas. 

I've basically grown up on these visits. When I was little we used to go on the Santa Express, a ride on an old steam train where Santa hands each child an age-specific present, carol singers accompanied by a brass band, and a festive snack for good measure. These visits were probably some of my happiest childhood memories full stop. And what's amazing is that they are still going, and still get sold out. Fast forward to 2017 and we are still visiting the Railway at Christmas, but instead of the Santa Express, we opt for the more grown-up version of Christmas Dinner instead. 

Arriving to a traditional train station, decked out in fairy lights, it was something straight out of an old black and white Murder Mystery film. Actually, people do dress up in vintage outfits and get pretty involved with it too. When we went their was a couple in 1940's outfits, complete with stockings with black seams and an old smoking pipe! Walking up the red carpet and boarding the train, we were ushered to our table, all delicately set out with Prosecco and the first of 4 courses.  We were greeted by the familiar staff who remembered my family from years of attendance and it was like seeing distant family again. Once everyone was boarded the train pulled away and drove into the Lancashire countryside, stopped at stations to let people stretch their legs and give the caterers a chance to catch up. I'm not sure how they manage to seamless serve so many people in such a restricted environment so efficiently but they did, and they made it look easy. Taking part in a little Christmas Quiz, looking at all the cottages lit by fairy lights and tucking into our Christmas dinner and Christmas Pudding, it was everything Christmas should be. By the time coffee and mince pies came round I was quite ready to settle down and watch the Queen's speech, before remembering that Christmas was actually a week away. After 2 and half hours merriment of we arrived back at the station and ready to enter back into the real world, albeit a little bit more festive than before.

What are your festive traditions?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Winter Update || My degree, events & being happier

winter update


What a difference 3 months can make?! In my last update I explained that I had come to the realisation that if I wasn't happy with my life, I was the only one in a position to change it. So I made an action plan and I've made a start. Am I happy yet? Whilst I'd say my life is a 'work-in-progress' of what I want it to be, I'm definitely a lot happier. 

So why am I happy? Well I attended two fabulous blogger events and got to mingle with some lovely bloggers and brands. University wise, I've had a really good start on my Postgraduate degree, was elected Student Representative at the Student Union my everyone on my course and even have an opportunity of work lined up. Although I've been a little poorly, plans for next year are slowly rolling in and oh my, it does look like an exciting year! 

4 things I'm looking forward to this season:
  • Upping my blogger game. I'm back to blogging now and I'm getting into my swing but I can't help thinking I'm not reaching my full potential. I know every blogger goes through those kind of moments, but in my case there are things I could do to make everything a lot better. Now that the nights are dark and cold, I have the perfect excuse the sit at my desk and create my dream blog. 
  • Meeting more lovely bloggers. I met so many amazing bloggers at the #BloggerHalloweenParty and Blogosphere Christmas Market, so I'm already excited for the Blogosphere Magazine Tea Party in February. Hopefully I'll see you there!
  • Taking the first steps in a new career. I'm super lucky to have landed an opportunity working for a new social media platform where I can really get some experience in my new career direction. All through January I'll be working away so fingers crossed it goes well!
  • Battling fitness Suffering from the after effects from the virus I picked up in the States, I seem to have caught every single little bug going. Of course this means I've not been doing much exercise or fitness. Now I'm on the mend this is going to be one of my main priorities. Prepare for moaning tweets. 
Is there anything you've been looking forward to between now and March? 
xoxo
J
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Deckin' The Halls with Debenhams

Debenhams Gold Crown Bauble
Debenhams Gold Glass Star Fairy Lights
Debenhams silver crown tree topper
Debenhams silver crown tree topper

One thing I'm definitely appreciating more as I've got older is interiors, and add twinkling lights and festive cheer into the mix and I just can't get enough! Decorating the house always gets me into the holiday spirit so when I was offered some Christmas decorations from Debenhams to, erm, deck my hall (sorry but it had to be done), I couldn't say no.

Saying I was stuck for choice was a bit of an understatement. With new products constantly becoming available, narrowing down my favourites took a while. So what bits did I pick up? Well of course I had to grab some crowns because blog promotion and all. The silver Heaven Sends crown tree topper(*) is sitting regally at the top of the tree, but it could quite easily be perched on a branch or on a shelf off the tree. Paired with the glittering Festive gold crown baubles(*) the tree definitely has a royal theme this year. Lighting up the tree are these beautiful Heaven Sends Gold glass star string lights(*). Sprayed with gold to give a shabby chic touch, these lights look amazing on or off the tree. Placed in a glass vase as a table centre, or wrapped round a curtain rails, they give a stylish wintery touch to any home. Lastly I picked up this perfect green felt robin indoor wreath. I honestly can't get over how cute this is! It's already been a huge hit with everyone, and I can see this being a feature year after year. 

Thanks to Debenhams I've been able to give the house a festive touch and now I can't wait to enjoy my favourite holiday! What are your favourite ways to decorate the house?

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Walking in Memphis




After visiting Graceland and checking into the EconoLodge Downtown Hotel, we headed down to Beale Street. Tea that night was in a small blues bar called the Blues City Cafe and was a bit of a surprise. I lose my appetite when it's hot and humid so decided to opt for an appetiser of chilli cheese fries. The plate that came was bigger than my head. I was defeated and left feeling very sleepy. Luckily the band showed up, just in time to wake me up. Just like in Nashville, the Brad Birkedahl Band was amazing and gave us a taste of Rock 'n' Roll and Blues. 

After Dinner we moved onto Beale Street, where hundreds of bikers had lined the street for Bike night. With LED light trims, or crazy sound systems coming out of the seat, we walked down the street staring. By the time we got to the end of Beale, I thought an early night was needed to sleep away the cheese fries and the virus that I was still suffering from, so said bye to the bikers. 






The next morning we all met up to go on a tour of Sun Studio. Everyone from Elvis and Johnny Cash to Maroon 5 and U2 have recorded in the studio, so being able to stand in the same studio was something special. We first had a tour of the memorabilia upstairs, with Elvis' high school diploma being one of the highlights. After listening to the history of the label, it was time to move into the actual studio. Just like Graceland, everything is left as it was. Unlike most tours, nothing is behind glass so you really  get an authentic experience. One of the biggest treats was actually being able to hold one of the original microphones used by Elvis and the other singers at the Studio. I'm not sure how many places would trust the public to touch something like that, but it really finished off a musical two days. 




After our tour of Sun Studios, Beth, Tara & I headed to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is at the sight of the Lorraine Motel, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. was shot, and to say it was moving was an understatement. I didn't think I would be moved by the museum. I thought it would be interesting, but I didn't expect to be as affected as I was. Starting with slavery, the museum takes you through the Civil Rights movement one step at a time. I think what hit me the most was seeing the Rosa Parks bus, and all the items I'd previously seen in textbooks in school in person. Seeing things in person is definitely more effective than just a photograph. The most emotional part was walking through Dr. King's motel room. You would have been able to hear a pin drop as we walked through the area, and you could clearly see it had left a mark on every visitor. 



Before leaving Memphis, I had one last thing I'd been told to see. As featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Sesame Street, the Peabody Hotel is home to the famous Peabody Ducks. At 5pm, we all walked round the corner of our hotel and managed to get a great spot of the fountain where the ducks swim. The Duck Master (yep, that's his job title), then introduces the ducks to the audience before music is played and they walk down the red carpet and into the lift to the hotel's rooftop. The ducks actually have a little Palace on the rooftop made of marble and glass, featuring their own bronze duck fountain. It even has a replica of the hotel where the ducks can nest. It's not surprising then that Duck isn't served anywhere in the hotel.

Make sure you follow me on bloglovin' so you keep up to date with Trek Tuesday posts!

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Amazing Budget Oval Brushes from Makeup Revolution

makeup revloution oval brushes


makeup revloution oval brushes

makeup revloution oval brushes

makeup revloution oval brushes
Ever since I got my head around this new brush design, I new I wanted some. Let's face it, makeup brushes have had the same standard 'paint brush' design since, well forever, and it was about time something new came on the market. Makeup sponges of all shapes and colours have done the rounds but brushes still have my heart. I do love a luxury beauty splurge, but spending just under £50 for a single brush when I'm not 100% sure on the concept is too much of a risk for me. So when I saw Makeup Revolution had brought out a similar range, well I just had to test them out.

For half the price of a single Artis brush, I snapped up the Round Blending Eye Brush, the Flat Eye Brush and the Large Oval Face Brush.  With a rose gold finish and the softest bristles I have ever used, these brushes are amazing. Best used with powder products, I use the face brush to apply my powder,  helping to set my makeup and give my base an airbrushed look in record time. At just £5 each, the eye brushes are a complete steal! Now, I must admit I'm not great at precise eye looks, but, thanks to the angle of the handle, these brushes make it super easy and completely effortless. Perfect for powder and cream products, I've already put an order in for the eyeliner brush so I can finally get  the winged eye liner from my dreams. What I was most surprised about was how quickly I got used to this new style of brush. As soon as I picked it up, it felt completely natural and wasn't awkward at all. Oh and cleaning? The come up just a soft with a tiny drop of baby shampoo. Complete dream brushes.

Have you tried oval brushes? 
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