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When I came to write this post I suddenly realised there has been a lot of coffee and cake involved over the last month. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll probably know a lot of what I’ve been up to but I thought it would be nice to have it all in one place. I’ve been exceptionally busy getting out and about, plus we’ve had a lot of repairs and maintenance done to the house, which has meant it’s felt like I’ve been living in a building site. We’ve had new windows fitted and a new downstairs toilet put in as the old one was practically hanging off the wall.

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I finally decided to take out a Blogosphere magazine subscription. For over a year now I’ve been going into my local WH Smith’s store whenever I saw a new issue was out and they never had it in stock, it would be at least 8 weeks after the release date before it was on the shelves, by which time the new edition would soon be on sale. Yes I could have gone to another store but I literally live a 10 minute walk from the WH Smith’s in Hitchin. At least now it will be delivered straight to my door.

Chatty Post

Chatty Post

Chatty Post

Chatty Post

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit the Swiss cottage gardens at Shuttleworth it’s still my favourite place to escape from everyday life. Whatever time of year you go the gardens always look different with beautiful displays of flowers and shrubs. It’s also extremely peaceful, with only the sound of the wild life and the odd vintage aeroplane flying over, I can spend hours there and totally get lost in my own thoughts.

We’ve been a few times this month for what was initially a place to take photos for an outfit post, but ended up taking a picnic and having a walk round the beautiful gardens. Naturally, we finished up in the cafe at the end of the day and enjoyed the most delicious piece of Victoria Sponge and a large mug of coffee.

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Chatty Post

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At the beginning of the month we went to Biggleswade Retail Park where there are a lot of large high street stores like H&M and River Island. One of my favourite places to shop for a bargain is TK Maxx and I managed to pick up quite a few items on this trip. I couldn’t resist this gorgeous velvet quilted cross body bag by Marc B, it was reduced from £45 down to £20, considering it’s size it actually fits so much in and it goes with a lot of my outfits. I also came home with a pair of peachy pink wide leg trousers which had been reduced down to £10, I don’t normally wear trousers but these will look cute with so many of my lace summer tops and a pair of strappy heels. If you’re anything like me then you’ll not be able to go in TK Maxx without checking out the  beauty section. I was like a child in a sweet shop, especially when I saw this Too Faced lip gloss for £3 and Stilla Lip and cheek palette for £4, luckily they hadn’t been opened to use as testers. Next I popped into Matalan to check out their nightwear section as I was in need of some new summer pyjamas. I found this cute set with a tassled edge and flammingo print on the shorts for £10. I like to size up with my nightwear as I hate being restricted when I’m in bed. No surprise that we had to stop in at Costa for a caffeine fix, shopping is a physical workout, you know.

Another place I love to escape to is  Jordan’s Mill, again there are beautiful gardens and a woodland area which is so peaceful, we don’t even get a mobile signal meaning I can totally switch off. Adrian and I take the long walk all the way past the river and farmer’s fields. It’s extremely over grown but great fun trying to duck under the over hanging branches and work our way through the long grass.  And yes,we did stop in at the riverside cafe for coffee and cake.

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I couldn’t resist showing you these beauties which I won as part of a beauty competition which was run by Tessa Holly over on Instagram. The Princess Powders Eyeshadow palette from Technic has 4 gorgeous, sparkly highlighting colours, perfect for a glowy summer day or evening look. I wore the shade Cosmic Cotton Candy in my recent makeup post and it looked absolutely stunning. I wasn’t sure whether to eat or use the Miss Patisserie Vanilla Bath Melt as it smells absolutely divine. It looks so realistic I want to keep it forever.

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There have been two recent weddings, one I actually went to and the other I blooming well wish I had. My friend Emily got married and talk about fairy tale princess, she looked absolutely beautiful. The service was so lovely and yes I cried when she said her vows. I shared my outfit and a few snipets on my Instagram stories, so hopefully you will have seen them. I felt well and truly honoured to have been invited to share in their special day.

And how could I forget to mention the Royal Wedding and yes I am not ashamed to say I am slightly obsessed with Megan Markle, or The Duchess of Sussex as she is officially titled as now. On the day we had our own mini Royal wedding Party with cakes and nibbles. A few close friends came round to join in the fun so of course I had to dress for the occasion and wear my crown. I’d even painted my nails in the shade Party At The Palace* by Leighton Denny, which is a gorgeous sparkly purple shade and very regal indeed.

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Last but not least, I live in the beautiful little market town, Hitchin, and my friend Izzy had come to stay with her parents for a few days. It was a great chance for us to meet up for lunch and have a good catch up. She works in London so we don’t often get to see other but she had some very exciting news to tell me. She’s expecting her second baby in December and I couldn’t be more happy for her. After lunch we took a walk by the  river and treated ourselves to some flowers, roses and peonies are my favourites (in case my husband ever reads this!)

Hope you enjoyed seeing the highlights from this last month. I can’t wait until my holiday to Norfolk, I’ve already started packing. What have you been up to recently?

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lip kit

Have you ever looked at all the amazing Beauty Trends on Instagram , from a cut crease to metallic lips, and failed terribly when you’ve had a try yourself. Yes, me too. Doesn’t matter how many tutorials I watch, it’s just never going to happen.

Well now you don’t have to as HAX have introduced a range of easy to use makeup kits to help you out. They’ve recently launched their products on ASOS and prices vary between £14.99 to £19.99, which is not bad considering each kit contains everything you need to recreate the look. There are 5 Instagram worthy looks to choose from: Cut Crease, Glitter Cut Crease, Rose Gold Lip Kit, Holographic Lip Kit and a Glitter Lip Kit. HAX really have got you covered.

When I was asked if I’d like to try one out and let you know all about them I jumped at the chance and it would come as no surprise that I went for the Rose Gold Glitter Lip Kit*. This would be perfect for an evening out or the festival season.

lip kit

The Rose Gold Glitter Lip Kit contains a lip liner, liquid lipstick, pot of glitter and an application brush. Not only does the lip kit include all the tools you need for an Instagram worthy pout but there’s also a handy step by step guide and everything comes neatly wrapped in a cute little black box.

I was due to meet up with some friends that evening and saw it as the perfect opportunity to try the out the look. I usually test products at home first, but hey if this went well I wasn’t going to waste a single drop.

The first step was to apply the lip liner, so I couldn’t really go wrong there. It’s a beautiful nude shade that will go with lip products I already own. The soft, creamy pencil doesn’t drag the delicate skin, yet still creates a perfect line around the shape of the mouth.

lip kit

Next up, it’s the liquid lipstick which is the most gorgeous rosy pink shade, not too matte, not too shiny. I’d quite happily wear this colour on it’s own during the day. I love the neat little sponge applicator which made it easy to apply the colour, some wands I’ve used are so long they bend all over the place. The liquid lipstick sat comfortably on my lips, not in least bit drying. I absolutely love the colour and it made the perfect shade for the overall look.

Then while the lip colour is still wet you dip the blending brush into the pot of glitter and gently apply a thin layer to the inside of the lips. There’s no need to worry about having enough time to get the glitter on before the lip paint dried, I was trying to make notes and take photos in between, yet the lip colour was still wet enough. The glitter was a gorgeous gold shade and looked amazing over the top of the rosy pink liquid lipstick, creating a beautiful shimmery effect.

lip kit

Overall, I love the HAX Rose Gold Glitter Lip Kit and it’s definitely a look I’d wear again. It was the perfect shade for my hair and skin tone. The shimmery effect made a wonderful change to my usual look, but wasn’t so different that I felt uncomfortable while wearing it. The creamy consistency felt lovely on my lips and it lasted through a few glasses of wine, a coffee and an evening meal. This kit costs £14.99, which is a great price considering you’d pay that for some lip liners alone.

lip kit

rose gold lip kit

If rose gold isn’t your thing, then why not check out the other HAX Makeup Kits on ASOS. I really love the look of the Holographic Lip Kit but don’t think I’ve got the confidence to wear it.

If you’ve tried an Instagram makeup trend let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to see a photo of a look you’ve created.

lip kit

*This product was snet for the purpose of a review, all photos and opinions are my own.

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You know that feeling of excitement when one of your favourite brands introduces a new product, well that’s how I felt when I heard Kathleen were launching a body care range.

There are 3 different aromatherapy  body oils and bath oils in the collection: Citrus Cheer, Tranquil Fields and Sensual Rose, so there’s one to cover every mood and promises to enhance your bath or shower routine with a little luxury. Each product is packed with natural ingredients and delicately scented with essential oils that gives even a 5 minute morning shower the feeling of a full on pamper session.

I love using oils, whether it’s for the face, hair or body, they are part of my weekly beauty routine. When it comes to body care, I love to use oils that will soothe and calm my mood as well as give my skin a healthy, radiant look. So I chose Kathleen UK Tranquil Fields Body Care Duo, which main ingredients are Lavender, Frankincense and Vanilla and are known to aid relaxation. I couldn’t wait to start using these to unwind after a stressful day.

Kathleen Body Care

Who knew that a few simple drops could take away all the stresses that had built up during the day. Kathleen Tranquil Fields Bath and Shower Gel* smelt absolutely divine and transformed my bath routine into one of the most calming and relaxing I’ve ever had. I literally lay there and didn’t want to get out. My skin not only felt cleansed but soft and hydrated thanks to the gel’s wonderful mix of essential oils. My body was completely relaxed, ready for a good night’s sleep.

If you’re short on time, the good news is that the gel can also be used in the shower and your body and mind will still benefit from all those wonderful ingredients. Aloe Vera leaves your skin feeling clean and soft, while the fragrance of Vanilla and Lavender will reduce any feelings of anxiety or stress and leaving your bathroom smelling absolutely amazing.

Kathleen Body Care

I’ve only had a few massages in a professional salon, so I love it when I find a product that brings that whole experience into the privacy of my own bedroom. Kathleen Tranquil Fields Massage Oil* contains the same essential oils as the shower gel, giving you a sense of well being.

This gel is designed to be used on wet skin, straight after a bath or shower. I love that moment when I add a few drops onto the palms of my hand and simply inhale the relaxing scents and I immediately feel a million times calmer. It contains Almond Oil, Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E which help to nourish the skin and keep it feeling silky smooth, even those stubborn areas like knees, elbows and ankles.

I’ve been using it in the evening after my bath, but it’s just as wonderful to use after a morning shower as my skin wasn’t left feeling greasy like some oils. It’s great for prepping the skin in-between fake tans, giving you a more even colour. Any residue left on my hands I’ll give those a quick massage too, concentrating on my cuticles to kelp keep those in tip top condition.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful body care range. We all need a little bit of luxury in our beauty routine and these come with the added benefits of calming, de-stressing and relaxing your body and mind. They both help to nourish and hydrate the skin, filling your bathroom with the most amazing fragrance. These body care duos would also make a wonderful gift for any females in your life. I personally love using both products from the Tranquil Fields range so much that I look forward to my evening bath even more than I did before.

The essential oils used in this range:

Lavender

Helps to calm, reduce anxiety and emotional stress, improves sleep and relieves pain.

Frankincense

Promotes relaxation, reduces pain and inflammation, relieves chronic stress and anxiety.

Vanilla

One of the most relaxing essential oils, Vanilla can be used as a sedative, antioxidant and antidepressant.

The Kathleen Body Care range will be available from their website and through effortlessskin.com. Keep an eye out on the Kathleen Twitter feed for any exciting new products and special offers which you won’t want to miss.

You may also be interested in my review of Kathleen Amazing White Illuminating Serum which is a firm favourite of mine, I’m on my second bottle now.

*Products in this post have kindly been sent for the purpose of a review, all photos and opinions are my own.

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Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

If there’s one wardrobe staple during the summer months it has to be the simple maxi dress. It’s my go to outfit and so easy to style for day or night, the item I’ll reach for if I have a last minute coffee date or meal out in the evening. The maxi dress can look casual if I’m going out for the day or paired with a pair of heels and a clutch if I’m meeting friends for a few drinks in the evening. The maxi dress can look feminine yet feel really comfortable to wear and so many have found their way into my wardrobe. You can guarantee if I had a last minute invite with only an hour to get ready, I’d be wearing a plain coloured maxi dress, delicate gold jewellery, a clutch and pair of strappy heels and feel like a million dollars. It’s the style of dress that’s been around for years and never goes out of fashion. My very first maxi dress was a short sleeved version in blue with a tiny white floral print and I wore it so much until it literally fell apart.

It was the Bank Holiday Weekend and a few friends had asked me along for a late afternoon picnic at The Swiss Cottage in Bedfordshire. There was no last minute “I have nothing to wear” panic as I had the perfect dress for the occasion.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

This navy blue wrap dress is such a simple design, the shape is incredibly flattering and the tie waist accentuates a wonderful feminine silhouette. The material is soft and flowy which hangs beautifully, I love the pretty cap sleeves and the deep neckline even though I did have to wear a modesty vest as I’m not one for showing too much cleavage. I’d been on the hunt for a wrap maxi dress for quite a while, although navy isn’t a colour I’d normally have chosen, I can see I’ll be getting a lot of wear from it over the coming months. It’s one of those dresses you can just throw on with minimal effort.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

The straw bag screams out Summer and I’ve collected quite a few over the years. I fell in love with this cross body style as soon as it came into my possession. It’s a gorgeous camel colour and looks amazing with a lot of my summer outfits, especially next to the navy dress and paired with some strappy high heeled sandals. The strap sits comfortably worn on the shoulder or across the body and has a clasp that pops shut securely, so no danger of all your contents falling out. Inside it’s fully lined and is large enough for your mobile, keys and card holder, as well as a lipstick and compact for any touch ups throughout the day. This is a firm favourite already.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

I kept it simple with the rest of my accessories and completed the look with a few of my favourite items of gold jewellery. I bought them last year, yet they seem to go with so many things. They totally transform a plain white t-shirt and jeans by just slipping on a blazer and pair of heels for an evening look.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

When the temperature started to drop I wore my trusty denim jacket which gave the maxi dress a more casual look, even though I was wearing heels. One accessory I do not own is a pair of casual pumps or a pair of trainers, but I’m sure they’d look equally fab with this dress too.

Let’s face it, this dress has everything I need for any occasion, it’s comfortable for travelling in, looks great for a day out with friends, it’s smart enough for a garden party and still looks classy for an evening out.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Dress: Tobi

Straw Bag: Tobi

Denim Jacket (Old): Gap (Similar)

Necklace and Earrings: JewelleryBox

Bracelet (Old): Lylia Rose

You may also be interested in How To Style An Off The Shoulder Dress

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

*these items have kindly been sent by the PR team at Tobi, all photos and opinions are my own.

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Samsung mobile phone case

I don’t know about you, but I get as excited about a new case for my mobile as I do when I buy a new pair of shoes. The annoying thing is, I’ll see a case with a pretty design, only to find out that a particular brand stocks every pattern you can think of for the iPhone, yet nothing for my beloved Samsung. I want to invest my money in a good quality case that will protect my phone as well as look nice, I’d get bored with a standard black or brown one.

Not only do I want to get my money’s worth but I want to be able to choose from a range of pretty deigns, or even design my own. Well that’s exactly what you’re able to do with CaseApp.

Samsung mobile phone case

I was contacted by the lovely people at CaseApp and asked if I’d like to review one of their phone cases. I was literally amazed by the vast choice of pre-made designs they had, and if you wanted to, you could choose your own design or photo, with the option of adding text or quotes to personalise it even more. That way you’re  unlikely to see someone with the same phone case as you.

Expecting to see an iphone as the only option, I was over the moon to see that my Samsung S8 Plus was listed. It took me absolutely ages to decide whether to have a custom mobile case or pre-designed one, I was spoilt for choice. It was good to find a company that produces cases for more than just one brand of phone.

samsung mobile phone case

I finally settled on this pink, marble and rose gold design* which looks so pretty. Yes, I know it’s very predictable for me but I  was naturally drawn to it and couldn’t resist it. The case arrived a few days later and popped easily onto my phone. My mobile not only looks beautiful and matches most of my stationery, but it’s also protected against knocks and scratches.

samsung mobile phone case

The phone case is made of a tough, lightweight plastic that fits snugly around the phone, covering the top and each corner, saving any damage if the phone is dropped. The bottom edge  of the case is open, so the charger and head phone sockets are easily accessible. There’s also a cut away section on both sides so the power and volume buttons aren’t completely covered. The phone case itself comes in both a matte or glossy finish, it isn’t too bulky and feels comfortable to hold.

If you fancy brightening up your plain looking laptop , you can also design your own custom skin to match your mobile case. The laptop skin is basically a huge sticker which you carefully stick to your laptop. CaseApp have got different size laptop skins as well as tablets, so you’re bound to find one to fit your device in there as well.

samsung mobile phone case

The phone case prices start at £19 and laptop skins are £22. You can use the SHARONREID20 which will get you 20% off your total order. Just head over to their website to have a look at all the wonderful designs. It’s definitely worth spending a little bit more to make sure your mobile is fully protected, and looking pretty cute too.

*This post has been in collaboration with CaseApp and the mobile case was very kindly sent to me in return for a review. All opinions and photos are my own.

 

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