Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Birchbox Holiday Shop

The Birchbox Holiday shop is officially open so that can only mean one thing, summer is here! Whether you follow the meteorological or astronomical calendar; we’ve been in the mist of hot and humid temperatures for a few weeks now so with many of us with a summer getaway on the horizon, shopping for all our beauty minis have never been easier. The shop is full of treat size travel faves, heat proof makeup and the perfect products to get that summer glow as well as making sure your faves will fit in your restricted carry on with 100ml or less. 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Room2 & Southampton Hospital Charity

The thought of spending time in accident and emergency with my son terrifies me, being away from home and sitting on cold plastic chairs in an anxiety filled environment is one of my worst nightmares. Pair that with the increasing levels of drink, drug and mental health cases in accident and emergency, it can be a very stressful and scary time. The Southampton Hospital Charity are currently raising £2 million to transform the children's emergency and trauma department alongside The Murray Parish Trust at Southampton General hospital and as it's something that is close to my heart, I couldn't not get involved and help raise awareness. You never know when you may need it.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Baby Spake is Eight Months Old

Baby Spake is eight months old! Can you believe it? We can't but it's been the most wonderful month watching Joshua change. I think the last four weeks have been my favourite, we've settled into a nice routine, he's become my shopping and coffee buddy, his laugh is infectious and we've finally been given a little break with his teeth although we think they're about to start up again.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Finger Licking Pizza at The Stable

I'm having a bit of a love in with pizza at the moment, I've always been a fan but I just can't get enough at the moment so for our anniversary date night location we ended up at The Stable in Southampton to try out their new menu and fill up on cider. The perfect pairing if you ask me. 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

My top tips for festivals abroad

*This is a sponsored post* 

Destination festivals are a lot of fun, I've been to a few festivals abroad and had a totally different experience than to those at home. A field in Essex isn't quite the same as a beach in Spain especially when you can dip your toes in the Mediterranean Sea to cool down after a hard day and night of dancing. With flights being cheap as chips, a festival abroad has never been more of an option than it is nowadays. Benicassim is on the Costa del Azahar in Spain between Valencia and Barcelona and flights through Holiday Gems to Valencia are from as little as £100 per person. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Room2 A Home away from Home

Hotel life. Sometimes it's a bit rubbish isn't it? Hard beds, rubbish WiFi you have to pay for and terrible food that you can only eat in the restaurant because you have zero amenities in your room; But what if I told you that something new and exciting has arrived? Something that will change the way you spend time away from home which gives you the freedom of an Airbnb plus the security and service of a hotel? 

Monday, 11 June 2018

Three reasons to go natural with your haircare

*This is a sponsored post* 

When it comes to looking after my hair, I haven't always treated it with the most care. From box dye jobs to bleached highlights, my hair has gone through quite a bit over the years. Most recently I've been suffering with post partum hair loss so I've really had to pay attention to what I'm using and take much better care of my locks. I started looking into more natural products to use within my routine last year and I've been slowly switching them over which is where Natural World come in.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Mulberry Bush Nurseries Southampton

*This is a sponsored post* 

Childcare brings up so many questions, sometimes before you've even had a child. I remember during my pregnancy we were asked numerous times what we would be doing once our little bundle had arrived and my maternity finished and it wasn't something we gave much thought to. We always said we wanted Joshua to have quite an interactive upbringing, we wanted him around as many people as possible and nursery would always be an option for us once he turned one but as I work from home, he would ultimately be home with me. I suppose we were always quite relaxed with our choices and still are.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Discovering Lush Cosmetics Skincare

I hold my hands up and admit that I never fussed too much with skincare in my teens, I'd slap some moisturiser on every now and then but it wasn't until I hit my twenties that I really paid attention to what I was doing with my skin. Thankfully my skin is in pretty good condition and what I've been doing over the last eight or so years has helped immensely. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

May 2018 in Instagram

It seems 2018 is whizzing by because I'm already on my fiveInstagram round up of the year! As I've said before my Instagram round ups are my least popular posts and they don't get many views at all but I love them and having a record of what I shared each month. So with that in mind, I'm going to continue sharing them, mostly for me. If you ever want to have a nose at some more then I've added an Instagram Round Up tab to the categories above. Now for May 2018...

Monday, 4 June 2018

Live Boldly with Revlon

Bright, bold lip shades are my jam. You'll often see me in an orange red lip so the recent Revlon, Live Boldly campaign is pretty perfect for me. The Revlon Live Boldly campaign sees four new global ambassadors join the Revlon family in the shape of Ashley Graham, Adwoa Aboah, Imaan Hammam and Raquel Zimmermann. Live Boldly embodies women everywhere, women of all races, shapes and ages. Women we can all relate to. In the words of Adwoa Aboah, "Living Boldly means being unapologetic, knowing no boundaries, being vulnerable, strong, authentic and yourself. It's something I, myself can relate to and support. 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

The Five Minute Mum Face

Being a mum makes life a little time poor so I've had to find a way to get things done and quickly. I've always loved makeup, I will always have my hair and makeup done before I step out the house, baby or no baby. I just needed to find some fail safe products to help me get the perfect five minute mum look and I can confirm, seven months later; I have found my perfect group of products to take me from 2am night feed to go getting mum of one.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Palm Leaves & Warm Breeze May Birchbox

May seems to be the start of all things summer and the May Birchbox is no different. Palm Leaves & Warm Breeze has me wishing I was sat beside a pool and the contents of this months Birchbox would make that very easy. This month, Birchbox have teamed up with Elizabeth Scarlett, luxury homeware specialist and palm tree lover. The box is adorned in a beautiful palm print and I also had a gorgeous sleep mask sent through to use too which is perfect for those twenty minute cat naps while bubba sleeps. You can purchase the Jungle Leaf mask on the Elizabeth Scarlett website where you can also choose from four different designs. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Baby Spake is Seven Months Old

I won't start with the usual, where has the time gone but do know that I'm sat hyperventilating because omg Joshua is seven months old. It's been a funny old month, a lot has happened, a lot has changed and my maternity has finished which is crazy. I took maternity very early because I hated where I worked and like a stroke of luck I was made redundant four weeks before it was meant to start so I just handed my notice in and left once my maternity pay was set and authorised. I've had the full 39 weeks paid maternity and now I'm out in the big wide world. It's all very daunting. Anyway, I'm not here to talk about me, I'm updating you guys on Baby Spake.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

War Horse at Mayflower Theatre

Theatre is quickly becoming one of my favourite hobbies and I'm really enjoying stepping out of my comfort zone and seeing something completely different. War Horse is one of those shows and from 16th May - 9th June, it is showing at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. I headed to the theatre a couple of days ago to see the production of War Horse and was completely blown away.

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, the powerful and moving drama has been adapted for the stage, filled with incredible music and song. The main show is of course the life size horses by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company who bring to life the breathing, galloping majestic animals to life. They're unbelievable and need to be seen to really appreciate the art, I would love a closer look.

Friday, 18 May 2018

The products helping my post partum hair loss

As Joshua turned five months old so my post partum hair loss started to show. My hair is very thick so when all those extra locks came in while I was pregnant, I wasn't too thrilled so I've been waiting for the hair loss. I collected a few products while I was pregnant to use once the time came and they've been exactly what I needed. I've found that people talk about post partum hair loss in a jokey manner but no one shares what products they're using or if they're helping so I've done just that. I've been relying on four products to keep my hair in tip top condition while it's falling out and clogging my plughole. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

To Have & To Hold with Birchbox

Grab your hats ladies because wedding season is upon us and as we have a certain Royal Wedding taking place this weekend, it seems the perfect time to celebrate. In true Birchbox style, they have released a limited edition box available to purchase from today. The specially curated wedding box, To Have & To Hold Birchbox will retail at £32.00 and features some much loved brands such as Paul & Joe, Sarah Chapman and Origins so whether you are the bride, the bridesmaid or guest, it is the perfect way to get wedding ready. 

Monday, 14 May 2018

Pixi MatteLustre Lipsticks

Matte lipstick and I go together like camembert and crusty bread or pepperoni and pizza so it was inevitable that the Pixi Mattelustre lipsticks found their way into my beauty stash. The lipsticks come in eleven shades and feature a gorgeous orange red and a hot, hot pink that I need to get my hands on. I have three of the shades, one of which has become a firm favourite so I thought I'd show you what you should be buying next. 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sail Away on Ventura with P&O Cruises

Living in Southampton, you see cruise ships almost daily. They're a big part of life in Southampton and something I find fascinating, I've always been a cruise ship nerd. My family have sailed on various ships over the years and some of my earliest memories are from playing in the children's soft play on ships while family are docked in the city so spending the day on-board Ventura with P&O Cruises was my idea of fun. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Festival Eye Looks for less

Festival season is right around the corner and with that, so are the hottest makeup trends of the year. Festival makeup is my favourite, it's glitter, it's over the top colours and it's things that you can't always get away with day to day. One product that I think is going to be big this festival season is from Lottie London and it costs just £5.50, introducing the Stamp Liners.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

An Old Favourite with a fresh twist

I'm a short boat trip away from the Isle of Wight, home of Liz Earle so the British brand has always been on my radar and in my bathroom. I succumbed to the charms of Cleanse & Polish almost five years ago now and it hasn't left my beauty stash since. I do use other cleansers and love trying out new releases but there is always a bottle of ol' faithful hiding somewhere. Cleanse & Polish has won countless awards, is loved by many and is a fab all rounder. There's not many I've met who have tried it and not fallen in love. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

Facial Oils to add to your Beauty Routine

As someone who always suffered with oily skin, you'd probably be surprised to learn that oils are something I've used in my skincare routine for quite a number of years. I use them on my lips, my hair, my body and most importantly, my face. I find facial oils help counteract my oily skin keeping the shine at bay and leaving my skin looking the best it has looked in years.

Facial oils are something I spent a lot of time dipping in and out of, I've used a fair few over the years and have discovered some real favourites. Stepping into facial oils for the first time can be quite overwhelming, there are so many available so I've whittled down three of my favourites, a cult classic, a serious moisture boost and the suits all one.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Touch of Angel Fruity Fair

A new season brings plenty of new spring fragrance and Mugler have created a new take on their iconic fragrance, Angel. Angel Fruity Fair (£48.00) was released in April and symbolises the beginning of a new and colourful chapter in the Angel fairy tale. It couldn't have been released at a more perfect time for me as I've not long finished Angel Eau Sucrée and this is a perfectly, sweet replacement. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Pretty Pastel Nails by Morgan Taylor

I've always loved painting my nails, I went through a phase of having acrylics during my late teens but I didn't like the wait to change the colour again so I stopped getting my nails done. Probably a good thing because they wrecked my nails. I now do all my nail care myself so I have quite the nail polish collection. I recently shared my love of CND Vinylux Nail Polish and mentioned in that post that the only other polishes I use are by Morgan Taylor so here are five pretty as a peach shades to rock this spring. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

April 2018 in Instagram

It seems 2018 is whizzing by because I'm already on my fourth Instagram round up of the year! As I've said before my Instagram round ups are my least popular posts and they don't get many views at all but I love them and having a record of what I shared each month. So with that in mind, I'm going to continue sharing them, mostly for me. If you ever want to have a nose at some more then I've added an Instagram Round Up tab to the categories above. Now for April 2018...

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

West Quay presents The Art of Style Roadshow

*This is a sponsored post*

The bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and West Quay, the south's premier shopping centre has a whole host of fun activities taking place across the weekend. In the last year, West Quay have welcomed so many new shops and brands to the centre from Joules to Hugo Boss, Russell & Bromley to Lush and so what better way to discover something new than with a brand, spanking new fashion and beauty roadshow. 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Fall in love with Disney Baby

Disney is the magic that holds most childhoods together so it was inevitable that Disney would some how find its way into Joshua's life too. My sister had already started to buy some plush for his toy collection with Pua and Meeko being welcomed into our home so when Disney got in touch and wanted to send some of their Disney Baby collection to Joshua, we of course said yes. Before we knew it, a big box arrived and as I opened the box, we did a collective awww.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Baby Spake is Six Months Old

Every month when I sit down and write this post, I can't believe that we're another month down. Joshua is now six months old, half a year and I can hardly believe it. I remember talking about when he'd be six months while I was pregnant and it seemed like we had so much time but we're here already. He has changed so much that I'm fascinated by every new thing he learns but a little sad that we're getting further and further away from the newborn days. But here we are six months, and boy have they been an incredible six months.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Our Five Sleeping Essentials

Sleep. Everyone wants to know how you and your baby are sleeping. From co-sleeping to a cot, to up all night to sleeping through. I can't even begin to tell you how many cashiers have asked me how Joshua is sleeping and when I reply, "really well actually" it's as if that wasn't the answer they were looking for. Weird. The sleep talk when it comes to babies also ignites some form of jealously between parents but we're not here to talk about that, we're here to talk about what baby items have worked for us when it comes to sleep.

We're not a co sleeping family, Joshua has always slept in his own space even if it has taken hours to keep him there but we have been relatively lucky in the sleep department and have always had just the one milk wake up even in the newborn days. I spoke about our routine in my Soothed, Settled and Skin happy for sleep post if you wanted to have a read but here are five things that are our sleeping essentials. 

We have an Eve mattress ourselves so there was no question about what we would be buying for Joshua when the time came to move him into a cot. We chose the Sundvik cot from Ikea and then ordered the Eve mattress directly from them. The mattress kept coming up in every best mattress list I looked at so I knew we'd made the right decision. They're handcrafted in the UK and are designed for comfort, durability and support during those early years. Also, 15% all profits on the baby mattresses are donated to The Lullaby Trust for safer sleeping babies. I love that he has his own baby eve. 

We've used sleeping bags for Joshua since he was a month old and our trusty Snuz pouch saw us through the winter. We recently upgraded to the 1.0 tog in 6-18months for summer for Joshua in the Blue Geo Breeze print. These pouches are our favourite because they have a handy zip meaning if we need to change his nappy at night (we really try not to because it wakes him up more) then it takes no time at all. There are a range of togs and designs to choose from and I already have my next design decided on for this winter. 

After our faithful Zoe the Penguin stopped working (but was quickly replaced) I needed some white noise and quickly, and the guys at Whisbear came to the rescue and sent us Whisbear. The award winning bear was created by two mothers who knew the importance of having a sleep aid such as this. Whisbear is the first sleep aid to feature a cry sensor which automatically activates when bubba cries or becomes restless which is such a god send for sleepy parents that have just found themselves super cosy. Arran is still a little skeptical on the powers and prefers Ollie the Owl but I'm a big Whisbear fan. It's like a battle of the white noise bears in our house. Whisbear is pricey but it's battery operated (although a chargeable usb would be v handy) so it'll last the test of time. Plus it's pretty cute, don't you think? I love the sensory arms too which is great for Joshua's motor skills.

I mentioned above how our faithful penguin stopped working but we're now on number two and still obsessed with our beloved penguin. Zoe also plays white noise, something I love for when we're out as it's more portable but that's not all she does. The music box is a jack of all trades, it's a night light, music box and wireless speaker as you can connect your phone to run Spotify from it. It is hands down, one of our best baby items and I would never be without it. Plus, you can't beat a penguin right?

I couldn't write a post on sleep essentials and not include the love of Joshua's life. Bert the Sloth used to belong to his Auntie Emmy but after Joshua discovered it and became very attached, very quickly his auntie gave him up and let her baby nephew take him for himself. He has slept and played with it every day since so it has fast become an important part of his and our lives because god forbid we put him to sleep without it. I've linked the same sloth above in case you want one of your very own too. 

Features press samples - see disclaimer.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Petit Pai Skincare for Babies

I'm really careful with what I use on Joshua's skin as both Arran and I had really sensitive skin as babies and I don't want to risk an irritation. The Petit Pai range is developed with the purest ingredients so using it keeps my mind at rest. They stock a mother and baby range, suitable for use from bump to darling bundle meaning happy skin from the very beginning. 

All the products are free from petrochemicals, free from artificial fragrance and free from drying agents. They're just really love products to use to keep babies skin soft and subtle. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Our Five Weaning Essentials

Weaning is a hot topic for parents and it seems everyone is interested in how and when you're going to be doing it. We made the decision on how we were going to be weaning while I was pregnant and stuck to it when the time came. We started weaning at four and a half months due to his milk allergy and him trying to nab food off our own plates. It was the right time for all of us, he seemed ready and he took to it really well. It is recommended to start weaning from six months but you know your own baby, just do as much research as you can to make the best informed decision for you as a family. 

We've kept to traditional weaning as it works for us, our lifestyle and Joshua. Baby led weaning didn't appeal at all, although Joshua does have the odd finger food that's as far as we go. I think the most important thing is that it works for each individual family. It can be a bit of a minefield so I thought I'd share five things that have been absolute essentials for us on our new journey. 

We love Cosatto and the Easi Peasi changing table was one of our favourite big baby items so we looked straight to them when it came to highchairs. We chose the Superfoods Noodle Supa highchair for Joshua because it was adjustable, easy to clean and compact which was important for us as we're short on space. The highchair has six heights which saves my back, a three point seat recline so Joshua can look positively chill after eating as well as calf support which also adjusts. The two part tray makes dinner time a breeze and it hooks on the back of the highchair for easy storage and comes a part for even easier cleaning just like the cover which comes straight off. I also love the five point harness so that he can't slip down or escape. It's a really great product and one we'll being using for quite some time. 

Bibs a bib right? Well that's what I thought but this is hands down the best bib ever and worth every penny. We obviously have the penguin one but they come in sixteen different designs. They're made from food grade silicone, are dishwasher safe, fold right up for easy storage and have an adjustable strap plus a crumb catcher. They're just really bloody fab. 

We have a collection of different shaped spoons to feed Joshua with but the ones I like the most are the white hot safety ones which I picked up in the Asda baby event. The spoon tip turns white when baby's food is too hot which I find really helpful for purees, I still double check everything myself just in case but I do think these are a handy tool to have too. 

We love the pouches you can buy from Ella's Kitchen and they've become a big staple in our cupboards for feeding time. I do make up my own purees for Joshua but we do also love the ease of the pouches for at home or when we're out plus they're always on offer in supermarkets. I find there's a lot of judgement if you don't make absolutely everything for your baby but as long as you check all the ingredients and know what is in them, what's the harm? Sweet potato is a big hit in our house!

I mentioned above that I do make some of my own purees and I use the Flavour Led Weaning book by Zainab Jagot Ahmed. We started Joshua on vegetables but as we also wanted to start introducing how we like to eat, this was a great place to start. The book offers 100s of different recipes that are created by using baby friendly herbs and spices. The book talks through testing for allergies as well as having a handy chart to show you what herbs and spice are okay from what age. 

We're currently using stage two in the book which is mixed ingredient purees as we've not long moved on from just single ingredient purees. Favourites so far include sweet potato, carrot and parsnip but peas were a big no no from Joshua. There are also meal plans included in the book which are really helpful. The book goes from four months right through to having grown up meals and it has quickly become my weaning bible. It's colourful, easy to follow and not at all patronising or forceful in what to do, it's just a really fab book. I'm so glad I finally found one that works for us. 

Our weaning essentials have made our lives so much easier as well as making weaning fun. Everyone is different so what has worked for us may not work for you but I hope you've found something helpful in this post. 

Features press samples - see disclaimer.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Deliciously Vegan at The Real Greek

Arran and I aren't vegan but we do try and eat as carefully and as respectfully as we can so we were both really looking forward to trying the new vegan menu at The Real Greek. We're huge fans of the Greek restaurant, especially since it opened in Southampton so nabbing a date night away from bubba and trying some very delicious food was something we weren't about to turn down. The Greek vegan tradition is centuries old and the new menu brings a mix of traditional and more modern dishes into the spotlight. 

Friday, 20 April 2018

Discovering Trilogy Skincare

My skin changed a lot while I was pregnant. I experienced skin complaints I've never had to deal with before and I've been trying to really look after my skin ever since. A product that was recommended to me again and again was Trilogy's Rosehip Oil so that was swiftly added to my skincare routine along with three of their other products. Trilogy was created by two sisters in 2002 after they discovered the benefits of rosehip oil for skin, the brand is now loved by many and sold in over 20 countries and I can totally see why.

The original product line consisted of just five rosehip products, fast forward to now and the line has well and truly expanded to over forty products. Creating a brand that was passionate about sourcing the purest organic ingredients was important to both sisters as was doing it in an ethical and sustainable way. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Titanic the Musical Mayflower Theatre

Titanic the Musical graces the stage at The Mayflower this April and it couldn't be more fitting. This April, it is 106 years since the Titanic set sail from Southampton on that fateful maiden voyage. The RMS Titanic sank in the final hour of 14th April 1912 with 1517 men, women and children losing their lives in the tragic disaster. Across Southampton there are memorials commemorating  the lives lost so it couldn't be more fitting that Titanic the Musical launches the very first UK tour from Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. I went along with Southampton Bloggers to see the musical in all its glory and was completely blown away. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Lord & Berry Prodigious Mascara

There aren't many mascaras that make it on to my blog, you only have to search mascara to see I've only done five full reviews on mascara. I like what I know and there's not many that would steer me away from my faves but every now and then something comes along and I'm like hold up... this is actually pretty good. Enter Prodigious from Lord & Berry

Monday, 16 April 2018

Light The Way Aveda x WaterAid

This April, it's the 48th anniversary of earth month and Aveda's 20th year of earth month celebrations. During April, the entire Aveda network comes to together to support fundraising efforts for the Global Greengrants Fund through the sale the of the Light The Way Candle as well as helping raise money for WaterAid through various fundraising efforts.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

NARSissist Lip Pencil Trio Exclusive to World Duty Free

If there is one thing I'm a sucker for, it's a matte lip and Nars Cosmetics are up there with the best of them. I recently had the Narsissist Lip Pencil Trio fall into my hands thanks to the babes at World Duty Free and my inner matte lover did a little squeal because L O O K  A T  I T! 

You're gonna want to treat ya self to this if you see it at duty free. 
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