Makeup and notebook with a quote

Very often it’s the simplest of things in life that make me happy. Those little things that I can sometimes take for granted.
I’ve always loved writing and have kept a diary for years where I’ve written down what’s made me happy on that particular day, as well as what’s made me really angry or upset. I’ve recently been reading through some old teenage diaries and that gave me the inspiration for this post, so I thought it would be quite nice to share what things make me happy throughout the year.

So here goes:

  • Watching a beautiful sunset
  • The feel of freshly washed hair
  • Fresh, clean sheets on the bed
  • A tidy desk
  • Listening to the sound of rain against the window
  • Cuddles with my cat, Pepper, and listening to her purring
  • The sound of the sea washing over pebbles
  • Collecting sea shells on the beach
  • Dipping my toes in the sea
  • Snuggled under a warm throw
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Baking a cake
  • New pyjamas
  • Reading a good book before I go to bed
  • A hot mug of tea with jam on toast
  • A soft, warm towel after a bath
  • An early morning walk when it’s foggy
  • Disney movies

A mug of warm tea near a pile of fluffy cushions

  • A hot chocolate or bowl of hot soup on a cold day
  • A hug from someone special
  • Doodling in a notebook and colouring books
  • An unsuspected phone call from a friend
  • Receiving a handwritten letter
  • Having fresh flowers in the house
  • Sitting in the garden on a warm summer’s evening
  • Lighting a candle in my room
  • Spending time with my friends and family
  • Someone leaving a lovely comment on my blog or my social media

There are so many more things I could add to this list but I’d be here all day! Above all else, the one person who makes me happy no matter what is my hubby, Adrian.

What simple things make you happy?

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A mug of warm tea near a pile of fluffy cushions

I’ve lost count how many night’s I’ve spent tossing and turning because I’ve not been able to get to sleep and this was putting added strain on my health. I’d finally had enough when it started to affect my relationships and stopped me doing activities I enjoyed doing during the day. I would be at the point of exhaustion where I’d almost fall apart at any stressful situation and don’t even get me started on the dark circles and heavy bags under my eyes, there’s only so much a concealer can do! Obviously going to bed earlier would be a good start and I decided to make a few changes to make sure I got a better night’s sleep.

Bedroom

Changing my bedroom into a place where I’d want to spend time relaxing before finally going to sleep was one of the best things I ever did. At one point It was so cluttered it made me feel super stressy and this was having a huge impact on my sleep pattern. So after having a massive clear out and a few tins of paint later, I started adding those extra touches to my bedroom that would make it a really cosy environment. Most sleep experts would advise a colour scheme of blue or green as they are calming colours but I chose lilac, pink and cream. I added a few scented candles to give a relaxing fragrance to my bedroom and bought some pretty, squidgy cushions for extra cosiness, most of mine are from Home Bargains or B & M and I absolutely adore the ‘Cloud Nine’ cushion with soft pom poms on from Zoella Lifestyle. The most recent addition to my cushion collection is a this gorgeous rose printed cushion from The Yorkshire Linen Company*. I’ve always loved having fairy lights in my room, even before I was blogging, so I bought some new pink rose shaped ones to hang above my bed which give off a warm glow and perfect for getting me in the mood for sleep. I also make sure my bedroom is kept at a temperature that’s comfortable for me, if I get too hot or too cold then that’s bound to have an effect on my night’s sleep.

Curtains

Choosing the right curtains for your bedroom is also important for a good nights sleep. Hang a pair of blackout curtains to keep early morning light out or stop a brightly lit street lamp shining right through your bedroom window. Again this all depends on your colour scheme but I love these ones from The Yorkshire Linen Company*, they come in pink, beige or black and a variety of different sizes. The Yorkshire Linen Company have a wide range of ready made curtains to choose from, so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

Bedding

There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable bed on nights when you’re having trouble sleeping. So to help improve the quality of my sleep I invested in some soft cotton sheets and a medium weight duvet, B & M and Home Bargains are great stores for finding bedding that is affordable but still really good quality. It’s all down to personal choice and there are plenty of bed specialists around who will be able to give you advice if you’re looking for a specific type of mattress to help to get a better night’s sleep. I also keep a selection of cosy throws near my bed in case I do get too cold and need to chuck something over the duvet for added warmth.

Bedtime routine

I had to be extremely tough on myself to get into a proper bedtime routine but it paid off in the end after I started going to bed at the same time every evening. I came off social media about an hour before and guess how difficult it was not to have a last minute check on my notifications! The only way I stopped myself from doing this was to leave my tablet and mobile in another room (or at least turned off completely) so there were no distractions. After a bath and doing my skincare I’ll read for a while before I go to sleep, I keep whatever book I’m reading on my bedside cabinet, along with a notebook so I can jot down anything that’s rattling around in my mind that could possibly keep me awake. I also keep a relaxing Sleep spray next to my bed so I can squirt a small amount onto my pillow just before I go to sleep.

All these changes have ensured I get a good night’s sleep, yes there are still night’s when no matter what I do it’s just not going to happened, but at least I want to spend time relaxing in my bedroom and actually get into bed, rather than seeing it as a chore.

Do you have any tips for getting a good night’s  sleep?

*This post contains PR products or has been sponsored/in collaberation
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A bottle of gin with a glass of gin and tonic

It’s no secret that I like an alcoholic drink once in a while, either on a night out with the girls or to wind down after a stressful day. Imagine sitting in the garden on a warm Summer’s evening enjoying a refreshing gin and tonic, now that sound’s perfect to me.

I was lucky enough to be sent a parcel from Hayman’s Original Gin* to try out a few cocktails, so you can guess how excited I was!

A bottle of gin next to a glass of gin and tonic

Gin is usually mixed with ice and topped off with tonic, how much is really down to each person’s taste. Never having tried Gin before I had to play around until I found the mix that I liked, obviously this was a very difficult task!

Cocktails have become really popular lately and there are loads of different recipes out there using gin, so I’d been looking forward to experimenting with a couple of different ones. I had some friends round on Saturday evening, which was the perfect opportunity for me to try out some cocktails using Haymen’s Gin. To be honest, I had expected gin to taste too bitter for me but to my surprise I really enjoyed it, and it tasted even more delicious when I mixed it with a few extras.

Hayman’s date back over 150 years and still make their gin in the traditional way, by hand, using family recipes from the 19th century. There have been five generations of the Hayman’s family who have acted as custodians of the English Gin style. Ten botanicals have been beautifully blended to create a distinctive, classic finish, which truely sets it apart from others. Hayman’s uses a unique two day distillation process taking place in a traditional copper pot, which is still called ‘Marjorie’, this allows the botanicals to work and capture the lively citrus flavours.

A bottle of gin

Hayman’s London Dry Gin has subtle hints of juniper, coriander, lemon and orange peel, along with cinnamon and other spices for a delicious combination of flavours.

If you like the idea of spicing things up a bit and making your gin and tonic into a delicious cocktail, here are a couple of recopies that I enjoyed.

Cocktail recipes

Victorian Mojito

Ingredients

50mls Hayman’s London Dry Gin

25ml Lime Juice

20ml Sugar Syrup

6 – 10 Mint Leaves

Top with a dash of soad or tonic

Floradora

Ingredients

50ml Hayman’s London Dry Gin

20ml Lime Juice

10ml Sugar Syrup or Grenadine

4 – 8 Fresh Rasspberries

Top with Ginger Ale

I absolutely loved the taste of Haymen’s Gin and experimenting with a cocktail or two. A hot Summer’s day is the perfect occasion to try out different styles but I’d enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic any time of the year. A 70cl bottle costs around £25, which is a very reasonable price and I’ll definitely be stocking up on some more to keep in my drinks cupboard.

You can find more about Hayman’s Original Gin on their website or their Twitter and Instagram pages.

Do you like Gin and Tonic? What cocktails have you tried?

*Products in this post have been sent for review. All opinions and photos are my own

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A handful of conkers over autumn leaves

If someone were to ask me what my favourite season is I’d find it difficult to answer. I love the Summer months, especially the sunshine, light evenings and my summer wardrobe, however, every year I get a little extra excited about Autumn. As soon as we get to the middle of August I start looking forward to the months ahead and all the cosiness that goes with it. Let’s face it, I don’t need any excuse to wrap under a soft blanket and bring out the fairy lights!

Here are all the wonderful reason’s why I love Autumn more than any other season.

Hot Chocolate

Well lets face it, a hot chocolate is delicious anytime of the year but there’s something warm and comforting about having one in Autumn, topped off with loads of whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and marshmallows.

Autumn Walks

Going for a walk on an Autumnal day is better than any other time of year, everything becomes so colourful. I love watching the leaves  change to a bright orange and having piles to kick about, pretending I’m five years old again. I love the sound of the crunchy leaves on the ground and seeing bright red berries everywhere.  I’ll take my camera along as every thing looks so picturesque. Autumn smells different too, there’s more of a crisp, earthy smell or as I used to say when I was younger “It smells like potatoes!”

walking amongst Autumn leaves

The Weather

I don’t mean when it’s tipping it down with rain and I end up at my destination looking like a drowned rat. I mean those crisp, cold sunny days where you can wrap up in the thickest coat, stick on a pair of boots and have fun swooshing through the leaves on the ground. If it has been raining, I’ll always having fun splashing through the puddles! There’s also something magical about going out early on a foggy morning with only the wild life for company.

red Autumn berries

The Makeup

I live for Berry, Plum and Burgundy, you name it, I’ll be wearing it. I think I’m just about done with the pinks and peaches of Summer and I’m ready to wear a bold plum lipstick, a smokey eye look or a beautiful burgundy nail polish. I get so excited when brands release their Autumn makeup collections and just want to buy it all at once.

Candles

I have candles burning in my home all year round but there’s something extra special about lighting a pumpkin spice or ginger bread candle on a cosy autumn evening. Autumn candles not only smell divine, they create a certain ambience in the room I’m in and generally put me in a happy mood.

A lit candle surrounded by autumn leaves

Cosy nights in

With the evenings getting darker earlier, there’s nothing more comforting than coming home and snuggling up in a pair of soft pjs and a some fluffy socks, all wrapped up under a cosy throw whilst watching a film. You can guarantee I’ll have switched on every single set of fairy lights I own and be sipping that hot chocolate I mentioned earlier!

Autumn Clothes

I wear hats all year round but I love wrapping up in a knitted hat and chunky scarf to keep warm in Autumn. I have quite a collection of hats but my absolute favourite hat for Autumn is a floppy burgundy one. I’ll be wearing boots and 100 denier tights with almost everything, I probably have more pairs of thick tights in my wardrobe than anything else! Let’s not forget the chunky knit, right now I’ll be pulling every one I own out of storage and eyeing up a few new ones. Wrapping up in a thick cosy jumper along with a hat and scarf on a cold autumnal day is a wonderful feeling. I just love the colours of Autumn fashion, I can’t get enough of berry, burgundy, plum or teal and being able to layer up the best part.

Candle next to pumpkin cupcakes

Food and Drink

I’ll admit I’ve become a lover of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, one hint of Costa’s new Autumn drinks menu and I’ll be running straight to my nearest store. For breakfast I swap granola for a bowl of hot porridge made with almond milk, berries and bananas. I can’t wait to tuck into a hearty home cooked vegetable casserole with a chunky slice of bread, plus I suddenly get a craving for mashed potatoes with everything. It wouldn’t be Autumn without having made enough cinnamon muffins to feed an army. Oh this is making my mouth water!

Bonfire Night

I just love the excitement of Bonfire Night and I’m lucky enough to live near a few large displays that are on around the 5th November.. I’m wrapped up in my thick, cosy Parker (well it’s more like a duvet!), eating a jacket potato crisped off on the bonfire and drinking hot tomato and red pepper soup from a flask. I just love the smells on Bonfire night. It maybe freezing cold but that’s half the fun, being all huddled up around the bonfire trying to keep warm and having a good laugh while watching the pretty colours erupt in the sky.

Pumpkin Lantern

Halloween

This is a tricky one considering I don’t like masks or scary movies! Luckily my friends are the same, so we all get dressed up in non scary costumes for our Halloween party. I usually wear a witches outfit and putting on a black wig for the occasion, this year I may try something different. I also love making the pumpkin lantern and putting it in the window, the best bit is getting all messy while I’m scooping out the inside. I’m a big wus when it comes to scary movies, so I’m looking forward to watching something light hearted like Hocus Pocus.

I hope you enjoyed my Autumn post, well I certainly feel all warm and cosy now so I’m off to make a hot chocolate, snuggle up under a blanket and watch something on Netflix.

What’s your favourite time of year?

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flowers, makeup and makeup brush

Being on social media is a huge part of writing a blog, I didn’t realise quite how much when I first started just over a year and a half ago. As well as it being a great opportunity to promote my blogs posts, I absolutely love chatting to other people and finding amazing bloggers to follow.

Blogging was never meant to be full time, only a hobby. I love being on social media, but at one point I felt the need to be online every minute, of every single day. I felt so overwhelmed with trying to keep up that I almost stopped blogging altogether. I’d forgotten how to be me and stopped spending time on other hobbies I enjoy, so I learnt to balance my time better and now keep a list in my diary in case things get too much and I need reminding to step away from technology for a while.

I thought I’d share some of my non-blogging hobbies with you.

Makeup and Makeup Brushes

  1. Pamper evening – who doesn’t love a few hours of pure indulgence? Playing with makeup or painting my nails or a face mask, anything that’s a hour or two by myself.
  2. Reading – I love crime, romance, history, fantasy, or comedy books, I also enjoy reading a good biography.
  3. Scrapbooking – I keep everything from postcards to cinema tickets and photos to event invites. It’s the perfect way to look back on all those happy memories.
  4. Art Journal/Diary – I’m not great at drawing, I love to doodle, cut photos or words out of magazines to make collages and generally get creative. I write down how I’m feeling, good or bad, and what’s been happening in my life.
  5. Baking – I’m rubbish at cooking a meal from scratch but I’m pretty good at baking muffins, cookies or a sponge cake.
  6. Exploring – new places or old, I love to get outdoors, a walk in the woods, country gardens, a day by the sea or a historical town with amazing architecture.
  7. Visiting museums – the two I absolutely love are Victoria and Albert Museum and The Natural History Museum, there are some great smaller museums in my local area. Not sure if this counts but I’d love to visit Harry Potter World, maybe one day!
  8. Tarrot cards/Rune Stones – I am definitely not an expert, I have a couple of sets at home and my friends love doing them with me just for fun.
  9. Visiting Art galleries – there are some wonderful pieces of art around, I also love learning about the artist who painted each piece of work.
  10. Watching Films – either at home for a movie night or an evening out at the cinema, preferably with popcorn and a takeaway.
  11. Spending time with friends and family – coffee dates, afternoon tea, meals out, a day trip somewhere exciting, a games night or simply just chilling at each others houses.
  12. Netflix – I’ve discovered some great TV series since having Netflix, I enjoy dramas, crime shows, comedy dramas, documentaries and psychological dramas, if I love something that much I’ll watch it more than once.
  13. Photography – I love taking photos for my blog or Instagram, usually beauty products or something pretty around my home. I enjoy taking photos to go in my scrapbook, people, places I’ve visited, something special I’ve created or a funny moment captured in time.
  14. Vintage fashion – I’m fascinated by clothes ranging from the 1920s upto the 1970s. I often visit museums and make a beeline for the costume section, I enjoy shopping in vintage shops and flicking through books I have with beautiful photos of outfits people wore in decades gone by. My fashion icons are Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe. I’d love to create my own fashion brand but I can’t see that ever happening.
  15. Writing to penpals – I’ve made new penpals on line but I also love writing letters to friends or family who live far away. A girl can never have to much stationery, right?
  16. Collecting things – anything Disney or unicorn related, cute or commemorative mugs and thimbles from places I’ve visited.
  17. Going to the theatre – Before I started suffering from seizures I’d love to see my favourite band or artist at a music concert, but too many flashing lights have made it almost impossible now. Instead I’ll stick to seeing a show or ballet, something I’ve done ever since my Grandmother first took me when I was very little.

I’m not quite sure what this vast selection of hobbies says about me but that’s everything I love doing when I when I’m not on the internet.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time and away from the internet?

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