Sunday, 31 May 2020

Five Independent Foodie Businesses to Support Right Now



When its come to making sure our cupboards are stocked with essentials as well as a few treats here and there, I've been turning to independent businesses around the UK. So many have had no choice but to adapt or stop trading during the pandemic so rather than put our money into the big names we wanted to find highly recommended independents that we could support instead. 

This post is rather treat heavy so it's absolutely perfect for birthdays, anniversaries or any celebrations you've had to miss. It features five independent businesses we've bought from over the last few months, four that ship across the UK and one that's local to Southampton and surrounding areas.

I'd love to know if you've already tried one of them and what you thought but for the moment, here's a rundown of our top five - it's totally worth it!
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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Bake at Home with Popsi's


(Features press sample - see disclaimer)

I've spoken before about how so many businesses have adapted in brilliant ways during the pandemic, one of which is Popsi's - a pizzeria in Southampton. They say they're the number one pizza place in Southampton and I've got to give it to them, their pizza is pretty darn good! 

The secret is their homemade traditional matured dough containing no additives, chemicals or preservatives plus Popsi's import the very best from Italy, their sweet Italian tomatoes come from Rega and the Fior De Latte Creamy Mozzarella from Naples. 

They bring the Italian art of pizza making as honest great food to be shared with family and friends - they even have the best range of meat, veggie and vegan pizzas in town and now they've created Bake at Home Pizza Kits
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Sunday, 24 May 2020

Introducing Typology Skincare as it finally hits the UK

Features press samples - see disclaimer

I haven't been overly excited about a new skincare launch for a while but then Typology came along and blew everything out of the water. I've had eight weeks to fully get to grips with the brand before they officially launched in the UK at the beginning of May and boy are they one to have on your radar! 

Created by Ning Li, the founder of MADE.com, Typology is completely clean, genderless and 100% digital. The Paris-based skincare brand was founded with a mission to promote critical thinking in the personal care arena, intending to break the rules and demystify the complex industry. It's completely stripped back to basics in terms of ingredients and packaging allowing them to design and produce concentrated, natural products that are active, effective and sustainable without a bit of faff in sight. 

It's completely refreshing and I've been completely blown away. 

Typology.com is really about the integrity of the ingredients. The entire cosmetics industry today is founded on some sort of promises — anti-ageing cream being the obvious example. No-one really believes in anti-ageing cream, but somehow it’s a marketing code that’s been used for many years and keeps working. But we believe that young customers are so much more informed than the previous generation. If a brand wants to talk to them, it has to talk about something that really works, rather than sharing bullshit marketing messages. So in our case, we try to use the best natural and organic ingredients, use recycled and recyclable packaging, and describe our products in a much more functional language, with no incredible promises.
Typology Founder Ning Li



When I was first contacted by Typology, the first thing that drew me in was the packaging. Sure, I enjoy gorgeous packaging and beautiful bottles sometimes but really my love lies in simplistic, clean packaging and for me, Typology completely nails it. 

The brand favours recyclable materials and has opted for the most environmentally friendly transport solutions, ensuring the most sustainable approach is always used. The packaging is key for them and all products have been thoughtfully designed to fit in boxes that can be posted through the customer's letterboxes to create a smaller carbon footprint.

When it comes to the products, the smaller bottles are made of glass and the larger of recyclable plastic - to reduce transport weight. Aluminium is used for all tubes as it's the only material that can be continuously recycled without degrading itself or the product. As a brand, Typology is also looking at new ways to eliminate the use of plastic. Encouraging customers to reuse the product's packaging, the brand is working to put a process in place that will aim to recover all packaging to be disinfected, re-filled and reused too.



Typology is vegan, cruelty-free and formulated without ingredients such as sulfates, silicones and parabens. They also have a list of fifteen ingredients on their Ingredient Blacklist that you'll never find in any of their products - making it the easiest way to avoid certain ingredients. 

They've partnered with some of the best experts and laboratories in France to study what makes skincare really effective, taking out what you don't need to leave space for the stuff that really works. Some of the best skin care on the market originates from the home of French pharmacies so I feel as though I can put a lot of trust within Typology. 

Their philosophy is nature first, clinical when needed and clean as a given which I love and when there is a natural alternative to a synthetic solution, they'll use it making all of Typology's products a minimum 80% natural origin. 

It seems as though Typology really have thought of everything. 



When it came to finding the right products for my own skin, I was given a prescription card which included my skin characteristics, my diagnosis and a routine for AM/PM. I was matched with seven products including the 9-Ingredient Lip Balm (£9.80) which has been my go-to daily for the last eight weeks. 

The lip balm contains Shea Butter which offers anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties, Sunflower Seed Oil which protects against free radicals, Vitamin E an anti-oxidant which prevents the combination going rancid and Lemon Extract to offer a cooling, refreshing effect upon application. I really do love the way this makes my lips feel but the only downside is that you need to work the tube a little before application as the balm tends to separate and release a clear liquid before the product - a bit like if you don't shake a ketchup bottle enough before using but don't let that put you off, it's a fab little product. 

The Solid Soothing Cleansing Bar (£11.80) is another firm favourite although I desperately need a soap dish as I fear this is gonna be ruined by just leaving on the side - eek! I use a lot of naked products so this has slotted in rather well. It contains Coconut, Olive and Sunflower Botanical Oils and Shea Butter so it's a bloody lovely treat for the skin and it makes my skin feel so clean and refreshed. 

It would make a great starter product for you to try.



From cleansing bars and cleansing oils to toners. botanical oils and more - there is quite the selection. The Niacinamide 7% Soothing Toner (£17.80) has been quite the game changer for me. It's concentrated in active ingredients to soothe redness and inflammation, reduce imperfections and balance the complexion. Our skin is naturally acidic and everyday life and other products we use can disturb our pH balance so something like this helps to rebalance that. 

The three key active ingredients are Niacinamide, Centofilia Rose Hydrolate and Probiotic. There are two forms of Vitamin B3, Niacin and Niacinamide which is the form found within this toner. Niacinamide improves the skin barrier as well as accelerating the skin's healing process. Thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory effects, Niacinamide is an ideal treatment to improve the overall complexion of sensitive skin types and it has worked a charm on my old scarring. 

Centifolia Rose Hydrolate, known as the rose with a hundred leaves, is an incredibly soothing addition to the toner. Hydrolates are often referred to as floral water and are known as a more delicate essential oil but don't let that fool you, they're just as effective. Hydrolates are seen as waste material and is formed during the process of making essential oils so to see Typology use them how they should be used just reaffirms their stance on natural products and minimal waste for me. 

Lastly is Probiotic (Lactococcus Ferment Lysate) which is obtained by biotechnology from a potent strain of lactic acid bacteria called Lactococcus Lactis, this probiotic ingredient helps maintain a healthy skin flora and protect the skin. It also promotes skin renewal for a restored, youthful complexion.

Quite a toner eh?



A highlight from Typology for me has to be their serums - I love serums, I'm a sucker for targeted skincare and the LAB serums by Typology are highly-concentrated in active ingredients that enable you to treat your skin concerns effectively. With a deeply-penetrating texture, your serum of choice can be applied before your moisturiser onto clean skin.

The Squalane Serum (£11.80) is a dream for dry skin, something I've only suffered with since having my son. It's 100% naturally derived and concentrated in potent active ingredients that nourish dry skin and reduces tightness as well as fine lines due to dehydration. 

Derived from olives, squalane has a structure that's very similar to the skin which helps it deeply penetrate the skin and offer nourishing benefits. Non-greasy, each application softens the skin, fights skin dryness, and helps repair the skin's protective hydrolipidic film barrier. Squalane can also retain hydration and reduce the feeling of tightness that's typically caused by dry skin. My only gripe is the packaging, I adore the clean, sleek bottles but the size also means the pipette is tiny so you don't get enough product (3-4 drops) for a full application on the first go. 

The Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£11.80) is a brilliant serum and one I've used a lot over the years. Derived from fermented wheat, this molecule is known for its highly hydrating properties. It can retain up to a thousand times its weight in water, making it an ideal skincare ingredient for instant hydration. As we age, our bodies produce significantly less hyaluronic acid, causing dryness that leads to the appearance of the fine lines on the skin's surface. The daily use of deeply-hydrating hyaluronic acid restores moisture to the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and creates a complexion that’s noticeably more supple, plump, and toned.

You can shop the serums by skincare complaint and I already have my sights set on the Radiance Serum.



If you hadn't guessed already, I've fallen a little in love with Typology - from the products and ingredients to the sleek, clean-cut packaging and the focus on sustainability, it's everything I like to look for in a brand and to be honest, our love affair has only just started. 

Over the last eight weeks, I've loved using each of the products, the cleansing bar, serums and lip balm especially but one thing that really requires a special mention are the Eaux de Parfums. The fragrances are beautifully captivating, can be layered with others and features a collection of scents like nothing I've come across before. The bottles are gorgeously sleek, the fragrances are naturally derived and vegan and the prices really reasonable. I have Jasmin & Neroli in my basket as we speak with Pamplemousse Petitgrain closely following it - I haven't used anything but these two for weeks. 

Typology have well and truly stamped their mark on me, I think it will for you too. It's the ideal starting point for anyone that wants a more effective and targeted skincare routine while still being exceptionally conscious to the world around you. 

It's going to be big and I'm excited for the ride - but most importantly, what do you think?


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Friday, 22 May 2020

I changed all my haircare to Philip Kingsley for four weeks - Here's what I thought


Features press samples - see disclaimer.

I'm a haircare floozy - there I said it. 

Over the years I haven't been overly dependent on one brand, I use a lot from Kerastase but I also switch and swap my hair products regularly so you'll always find a ridiculously large selection in our bathroom. After being introduced to a full haircare set up by Philip Kingsley, it seemed only fair to give it my full attention and see what I thought and you know what? Not bad! 

The team at Philip Kingsley set me up with five products, one of which is an old fave of mine, Elasticizer so with promises of fabulous hair, hydrated locks and the best smelling mane around, I got to work and these are the results after four weeks.
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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

30 Thoughts I've had During Lockdown



I don't know about you but between not going out in weeks apart from shopping for essentials and avoiding everyone around us, lockdown has been interesting and I've had a lot of thoughts about it. It's been a weird ol' time really - we've gone from going to work, going shopping and going to bars when we want to working from home mostly, having to stay at home and not see our families. 

We're now coming towards the end of May, things still aren't looking that great in the UK and the country is a laughing stock to the rest of the world - it's been one hell of a ride so in light of this I've jotted down some thoughts, some funny, some serious but most of all just a little light hearted as we go through something quite awful.


  1. If I never hear the word unprecedented again it will be too soon. 
  2. The British really are the most selfish nation, aren't they?!
  3. HOW hard is it for people to understand the term stay at home
  4. Christ, people really do hate the self-employed, they know we pay tax too right?
  5. "I'm gonna make sourdough!" FUCK - it takes how long?!
  6. Is everyone on my Twitter on Only Fans now?
  7. Is Only Fans worth it?
  8. I've seen my Amazon driver more than my parents this year, I'll have to invite him to Christmas
  9. *peers out the window* Well they sure as fuck aren't from the same household! 
  10. I really should've cleaned my makeup brushes by now 
  11. Is Rishi Sunak sexy or have I been inside too long? 
  12. Definitely been inside too long.
  13. He looks a bit like Prince Charles, doesn't he?
  14. Are Cadbury's Giant Buttons an essential item?
  15. Am I wasting police time if I log an online form about my neighbour's BBQ?
  16. Looks like number 20 aren't clapping for the NHS any more. 
  17. Is a nice dress and red lipstick too much for the food shop?
  18. WHY is my food shop now double the cost it used to be *weeps*
  19. If our relationship survives lockdown, we'll survive anything
  20. Why are garden centres open?! Are you purposely trying to kill off everyone over 70?
  21. I really, really dislike Boris Johnson
  22. I'm genuinely embarrassed to be British right now 
  23. How much baking is too much baking? 
  24. Am I the only person that hasn't baked banana bread yet? 
  25. Still think we should've gone into full lockdown, this is never going to end 
  26. *unfollows everyone that praises how fast (LOL) Boris acted*
  27. I miss wasting money on shit, expensive takeaway coffee
  28. Can I eat cake for breakfast?
  29. I really miss my parents
  30. I'm so glad I have Arran and Joshua



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Monday, 18 May 2020

Doughnut Time Home Kits - Are They Worth It?



Doughnut Time - known as the biggest, brightest and boldest doughnuts in town, they're a sight to behold and we're big fans. The unique, hand-crafted doughnuts are made daily in small batches before being decorated by their dedicated doughnut designers who work around the clock to ensure the dreamiest, freshest doughnuts are in store, seven days a week. 

Being in Southampton means previously, Doughnut Time has been a treat to bring home when one of us has been in London but with the country in lockdown and businesses quickly having to change how they do things - DIY Doughnut Home Kits were created. 

We've had two of the DIY Doughnut Home Kits so far and have enjoyed them so much so I thought I'd give you the lowdown on what's included and if they're worth it as it's one of the main questions I've had on Instagram.
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Sunday, 17 May 2020

Five Must-Read Thrillers

Includes a paid partnership - see disclaimer

As genres go, thrillers are a relatively new love of mine. I'm a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat so anything that causes my imagination to run too wild and make something go bump in the night was something I'd actively avoided but when I started sharing more about what I was reading I wanted to push myself to read a variety of different genres and it turns out I'm a big fan of thrillers.
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Friday, 15 May 2020

The NEW Bubble Bars now available at Lush Cosmetics


Features press samples - see disclaimer.

I don't know about you but when I need a pick me up, I turn to Lush Cosmetics - there's just something about a fancy bath product to put you in a better mood and give you an excuse for a long soak in the tub. I've been a firm fan of bubble bars from the beginning and have countless reviews on my blog so my ears certainly pricked up when I discovered there were several new ones being released. 

Product Inventor and Co-founder Helen Ambrosen explains: "Creating solid bubble bars turned into an art form. You could make all sorts of shapes, all sorts of sizes, but also you didn’t need a synthetic preservative."
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Monday, 11 May 2020

Tropic Skincare's ALL NEW Sun Protection Range


Features press samples - see disclaimer.

Tropic Skincare has released an all-new, game-changing suncare collection just in time for summer. I've used a number of their products over the last few years and as an avid suncare fan, I've been super intrigued by the launch. 

Tropic's new reef-safe sun protection range offers defence against UVA and UVB rays in silky, hydrating formulas that protect against daily pollution and blue light damage. The range perfectly embodies Tropic's purpose to create a healthier, greener and more empowered world and with cutting edge ingredients for optimum skin health, they are the first products in Europe to wear the Protect Land + Sea seal of approval. Proceeds from each purchase will also go towards funding education with Tropic's charity partnership with United World Schools. 

How amazing is that? 
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Friday, 8 May 2020

Bacaro - Home to the BEST roast dinner in Southampton



When it comes to enjoying a roast dinner, I'm usually a home bird - there's nothing I love more than being at my parents with family on a Sunday afternoon but after hearing on the Southampton grapevine that Bacaro in Ocean Village was serving up the best roast dinners in the city, I had to try it for myself. 

The girls and I put a date in the diary and headed down early March to try it for ourselves and we weren't disappointed. I cannot wait to head back with Arran and Joshua later in the year. I'm sharing this at this time as I'm hoping you add Bacaro to your 'to try list' once normal life resumes, supporting small businesses is so incredibly important right now. 

Warning: you're going to be very hungry by the end of this post.
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Monday, 4 May 2020

The Pixi Beauty Hydrating Milky Collection



Pixi really knows how to make a stir when it comes to new skincare releases and the Hydrating Milky Collection is no different. This is my dream skincare collection and when it landed in my skincare loving hands in February I promptly got to work trying it out. 

In the words of Pixi, hydrated skin is happy skin and I have to agree - my skin looks completely different when it's happy and hydrated. The rich, moisturising products like those found in Pixi Beauty's Hydrating Milky Collection is ideal for anyone who wants firm, healthy and youthful skin.
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Sunday, 3 May 2020

10 Things I've Missed During Lockdown



Being in lockdown has given me more time than I thought possible, weirdly at a time I needed it most. The beginning of the year was super busy with events, work and general life - being able to press pause and not worry I was letting anyone down by saying no because we were all in the same boat was such a relief.

It's kinda given me the push to say no to more in future, I just wish right now was under different circumstances.

I miss normal life and my family. I miss seeing my friends, it breaks my heart that I have to tell Joshua he can't see his. I've found word dumping into blog posts or notes the best way to cope over the last few weeks - it's out of my head which leaves room for other things to worry about I suppose. I kinda wanted this post as a memory, a memory to what I valued as important when I couldn't do anything else, something to remind me when I'm feeling out of my depth.

I just hope I can do all of these things very soon.
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Friday, 1 May 2020

What I've Been Reading Through April


Where did April go?! The month absolutely flew by and I can't believe we're in May already. 

April was a literary mix for me, I drifted from genre to genre, and it's been fab. I'm a romantic comedy fan through and through but I've loved exploring so many more genres over the months and I have the ideal collection to share from April.

I read twelve books in total so I've picked out six to share in this post so it's not too long but if you're looking for more recommendations head to my Instagram (alicespake) where everything else is added to my book highlights. 
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Monday, 27 April 2020

The After Lockdown Bucket List



I never thought I'd be writing one of these, I had Spring and Summer bucket lists planned but with everything up in the air and us all staying home they've firmly been put on the backburner so a little twist on the original will do. To be honest, this is now the one I'm most excited about because it's full of all the special things I can't wait to do once this strange period of time is over. 

It's full of family, friends and new adventures - the start of 2020 may be a washout but there's still time to turn it around or at least I hope there is as long as we all stay home and comply with social distancing.

Although at this rate we might be going from Christmas, New Year, Lockdown and back to Christmas!
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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Lighthouse Clothing - The Ideal Jackets come Rain or Shine


This is a paid partnership with Lighthouse Clothing - see disclaimer.

When it comes to getting out and about with kids, having the right clothing is more important than ever. My days of running out in heeled boots and an umbrella are long behind me when I have to battle the elements with a pushchair that needs two hands or walking with a little toddler hand in mine. The heeled boots have been replaced with practical converse, I now own sturdy wellies and of course, the much-needed raincoat. 

Lighthouse Clothing is somewhere we've purchased clothes from when Joshua was just a year old, we wanted a practical raincoat for him and we loved the styles that Lighthouse Clothing had so we've just naturally gone back to them as Joshua has grown. 

It also meant they were my go-to for my own practical raincoat too.
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Friday, 24 April 2020

Latest in Beauty Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards Box


Features press samples - see disclaimer

It's that time of year again! Latest in Beauty along with The Sunday Times have created a beauty box that has had everyone scrambling to get their hands on one. The Style Beauty Awards Box launched this month over two different edits featuring some of the BEST beauty products to grace the beauty pages of the top title. 

The mega lineup of award-worthy brands is still available to purchase now and the best bit? They've had a price drop so you can get your hands on the box featuring six of your chosen products for just £20.00! The box is only available until the 4th May and with names such as James Reed, Giorgio Armani and Espa still available, there's never been a better time to treat yourself.
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Friday, 17 April 2020

My All Time Favourites from Glossier



I took my place on the Glossier train rather late, there was so much buzz and excitement that I wanted to hang back and see how the reviews held up six months or so after the initial UK release date and then decide if there was anything I wanted to try. 

Turns out that buzz just kept going so I finally placed my first order and haven't looked back. I'm now firmly in the Glossier fan club and have repurchased a couple of products since my first order so it's finally time to share my thoughts after all these months.
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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Five Fab Books by Paige Toon



If there is one author I recommend time and time again it's Paige Toon. She's a best selling author having sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide and has written fourteen women's fiction novels, a three-part spin-off series and a collection of short stories. 

I can't remember how I discovered Paige Toon or the name of the first title I read but since then I think I've almost managed to get through every last one of her releases - I just enjoy them so much. Excitedly, May sees the release of her latest title so, with that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my favourite titles with you. 

If you enjoy smart romantic fiction then you'll absolutely adore Paige Toon!
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Monday, 13 April 2020

Ten Uses for Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream



Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream has been in my beauty drawers for longer than I can remember, actually that's a lie - I've been using it since my teens so a good 18 years. I used to save up pocket money and anything I had from my Saturday jobs so I was never without a tube. Fast forward all these years later and it's still one of my cult products and worth every penny of the £28.00 price tag. 

Its scent is unmistakeable - loved and hated by many in equal doses (I'm in the love camp) the cream works like nothing I've ever used before and does everything it says on the box which is a rarity. The Eight Hour Cream doesn't just moisturise elbows, lips and dry patches - it also helps keep brows in place, fix split ends and stop glitter from going everywhere.

It's the one-stop beauty product that everyone needs in their kit.

So here are ten uses for Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream (£28.00)...
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Sunday, 12 April 2020

Reasons I'm Grateful for Right Now



In the midst of uncertain times and the ever-present urgency to stay at home, life has an unexpected way of enabling you to really appreciate the smaller things in life and be grateful for what we do have. 

I'm quite lucky I suppose, I have a loving partner, a wonderful son, amazing family and friends and a job that enables me to work anywhere all while being the primary carer. Sure, a little more money might help or a holiday home in a far-flung hot country but overall I love the life I've built with Arran and the ease of our day to day lives but there's nothing quite like isolation to really make you take stock of what you have. 

Over the last week, the stresses of the world have taken their toll - I've cried, shouted and curled into a ball but I've also laughed and smiled a lot, I feel like I've gone through every emotion over the last week as the reality of what is happening hits closer but it's also shown me what I'm grateful for and so in the spirit of positivity I wanted to share five reasons why I'm grateful for this strange time we've all been thrust into and remind you that it's not forever, it's just for now. 


Kindness
I couldn't start this post without a very special nod to the wonderful small businesses that have helped my sister and I collect a huge amount of sanitary wear donations for our local hospital. Emily came to me one day about the struggles herself and her colleagues were facing when trying to buy sanitary wear in the first initial rush of panic buying in the UK. I decided to share a tweet and see if anyone could help and we were met with an incredible response - eight small businesses and one charity came forward to help in our time of need and the sheer amount of donations was overwhelming, we were so grateful. On the day eight huge boxes arrived from Bloody Good - I sat in a pile of tampons, liners and sanitary towels and cried happy tears. Our mountain of donations have now made it to two of the main hospitals in Southampton and our excess has been donated to The Homeless Period Southampton. Kindness really does prevail in times of need. 

Love
Love is a funny ol' thing, isn't it? Love doesn't just mean your partner, it can mean so much more to so many. I'm grateful for being home with Arran and Joshua - I'm so glad I have them with me as we go through this but I would give anything to be with my parents, sister and grandmother too. I would love to be able to give my friends a reassuring hug and a pep talk or just *try* and snuggle my parent's cat (he hates me). Arran and I have a relatively easy relationship, we've always been employed throughout our time together so have had separate work lives, we have our own friends and hobbies that we do apart so our own time has always been quite valuable to us, even as we became parents. 

Being thrust together 24/7 at first was an adjustment, it seems silly doesn't it? We've been together eight years and love each other dearly but, and I'm sure there are many couples similar to us, we do a fair bit separately too. All of a sudden we couldn't tell each other about our days or something silly I saw while in the city, we've had to juggle us both working from home around Joshua and Arran's experienced more of what life is like for me Monday to Friday with a toddler, housework and everything in between and it's been eye-opening. I think if anything we've begun to appreciate each other even more and potentially even love each other more than we already do. 

I didn't realise isolation would show more hidden qualities to our love and relationship but it has. 


Time 
The one thing we're definitely not short on at the moment is time right?! I've really enjoyed being able to do all the little jobs I've not had the time for or were putting off because it would be difficult with Joshua around. I've started on a huge spring clean, deep cleaning each room one by one, I've been able to make a dent in my reading pile which is totally out of hand, I've baked with Joshua, eaten cake for breakfast, cooked long-leisurely dinners, started a new skincare routine, found a love of home workouts again - it's just been bloody lovely to be able to everything I've not been able to because I'm always drowning in other things because I've had to take a backseat and stay home. 

I want to make this time so much about my family and doing things we love. I've found there to be an immense pressure the last few weeks about needing to achieve something during this time but to be honest, I don't want to. If I get to read, bake with Joshua, relax with Arran and just enjoy being at home then for me, I've achieved enough. I'm the worst for always having to be busy or not knowing when to stop. I feel guilty if I'm not always working since I'm now doing a job I can't leave at the front door and being self-employed with a lot of work that's been cancelled has been the hard wake up call I needed to just sit back and chill out. Okay - it's not ideal but I'm home, happy and safe.

It has also highlighted to me just how quickly time passes us by, we're already approaching the halfway point of April which is mildly terrifying and I think we still have a long way to go but our time at home is being spent in the best possible way and for that I'm grateful. 


Southampton 
May seem a little odd to include my home but it's only in recent years I've really become to appreciate the wonderful city we live in. Being on lockdown has obviously hindered a lot of our day to day lives but I'm grateful that Southampton is so incredibly green with beautiful parks and right on the water. Before things became more intense with staying at home and only popping out for essentials I was still able to take Joshua ten minutes down the road and be on the shoreline or a twenty-minute walk over a bridge and be able to boat spot in the marina and I cannot wait to do those things again. I want to breathe in the sea air, run away from seagulls trying to nab our chips and roll around in cut grass. I'm so glad the sun has made an appearance over the last week because being able to get outside has made such a difference to all of us. 

I hope you're all staying home and that you're safe - my inbox is always open.

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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

7 Fabulous Products from Lush perfect for Inducing Sleep


Features press samples - see disclaimer

I don't know about you but I'm finding sleep rather difficult at the moment, there's a lot going on in the world and it's meant my nights haven't been as restful as they once were so I've been making some changes with the help of some very useful products from Lush Cosmetics

I'm sure we all heard the buzz around their cult product, Sleepy a few years ago and they've expanded on this by introducing even more products that aim to aid you in the fight for a restful nights sleep. I've rounded them up in this handy post so you know exactly what's available - it includes some legendary products as well as some new ones that have quickly found their way on to my love list. 

Strap in and prepare to catch some zzz...
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Sunday, 5 April 2020

What I've been Reading Through March



I feel as though everyone is reaching for a book at the moment, we have a lot more spare time than usual so it's the perfect time to do just that. I've been cracking on with my reading challenge for 2020 and throughout March I've read some really incredible books - ones that have made me laugh and cry. I've really enjoyed everything I've reached for and spending more time at home has really given me the motivation to get through my huge pile waiting to be read. 

If you need even more recommendations then be sure to check out my Books tab above. 
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Friday, 3 April 2020

The Urban Decay Naked Honey Palette



If there's one brand I always look out for when it comes to new beauty releases, it's Urban Decay. The Urban Decay Naked Honey palette was released in 2019 but after putting a self-imposed beauty spending ban on myself, I held off purchasing the gold encased palette of dreams. Fast forward to Christmas morning and I opened up my very own from my sister and I couldn't wait to try it out. 

The Naked collection by Urban Decay is the most well-loved collection of makeup palettes available with the first three in the collection gaining cult classic status. Naked 3 is still one of my all-time favourite palettes but with the release of Honey, it's hot on its tail of taking the hot spot for me. 
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Monday, 30 March 2020

The Latest in Beauty X Balance Box


Features press samples - see disclaimer

Latest in Beauty has quickly become the place to highlight brands that are doing it right and the Balance collection box is the perfect example. Championing the brands that are making a positive impact - Balance puts the spotlight on the industry's top brands that are making a statement, whether it's down to formulation, innovation, sustainability or packaging. 

The box features sixteen fabulous brands and their hero products each with their own unique selling point. In the words of the Balance editor Sophie, they all have one thing in common: a drive to show that progress is possible. 
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Friday, 27 March 2020

The Kérastase Genesis Hair Collection



When it comes to hair, I take as much care as possible. Gone are the days of picking up whatever was on offer, I prefer to invest a little more in what I use and Kérastase is a brand I've used for quite a number of years. The Aura Botanica collection is one of my favourites but with hair fallout still a concern of mine since having a child, the Genesis collection couldn't be more perfect for me. Genesis is the dual anti-fall action haircare I've been waiting for, it aims to reduce hair fall out due to breakage, create more fibre strength and resilience while nourishing from root to tip.

There are six products within the range, four of which I have been using since January so it seems high time I give you my thoughts. 
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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

NEW IN // My Beauty Shelf


Features press samples - see disclaimer

As the world falls into further despair I've been finding solace in my beauty room and with a handful of new products to test and play with, there's never been a better time for lockdown. It's given me the chance to really go through what I'm using on my skin, swap out some products for some new releases and of course give everything in this post a test run before I can give you the lowdown. 

I have skincare, haircare and some makeup pieces to show you all of which are available to order online now. Shopping in your pyjamas has never been so on-trend!
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Monday, 23 March 2020

5 Bikini Styles that'll give you a confident flare this Summer


This is a paid partnership with Protest - see disclaimer

With Spring fast approaching and the promise of warmer weather, deciding what to wear when you hit the beach can sometimes strike fear in the hearts of many, myself including. Since having a child - my shape has changed so what suits me and makes me feel most comfortable has also changed.

Protest has recently launched their Spring/Summer range for 2020 so I wanted to share five bikini styles for every shape as well as showing you some of my favourite pieces.
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Sunday, 15 March 2020

Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea at HarBar on 6th


Complimentary experience for the purpose of review - see disclaimer

I love afternoon tea, it's the perfect excuse to get your favourite people together and just celebrate one another over delicious savoury bites and delectable desserts and HarBar on 6th have just the thing for you. 

Launching last week, HarBar on 6th has been transformed into a pink blossom wonderland to celebrate the season of Sakura in Japan. Sakura is the Japanese term for ornamental cherry blossom trees and their blossoms. The significance of the tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years and represents the fragility and the beauty of life, it's a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful. During the pop-up at Southampton Harbour Hotel, you'll be able to enjoy specially curated cocktails from the Blossom Cocktail list as well as the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea until May 6th. 

We visited a few days ago to try the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea and it did not disappoint. I've enjoyed afternoon tea at HarBar on 6th a few times in the past and it's always been exceptional but this was another level. 



Available to pre-book now, the cherry blossom inspired afternoon tea features a Japanese inspired twist on savoury bites plus the most delicious selection of pretty pink cakes and desserts. They've also teamed up with Roku Gin, Toki Whisky and Haku Vodka to create blossom inspired cocktails such as Red Roy, Above the Clouds and Basil Blast. 

We scored quite lucky with the weather and had blue skies and clear views out over the water which made a welcome change after all the storms we've been having. HarBar on 6th really is the perfect place for one of a kind views over Southampton and with the roof terrace, it's definitely somewhere to think about visiting for chilled cocktails under the evening's setting sun. 



Price list
Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea £25 per person. 
Champagne Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea £34 per person
Tipsy tea (includes 3 mini Roku gin cocktails) £35 per person

We enjoyed the Tipsy Tea which includes a blossom inspired cocktail as well as three mini Roku gin cocktails. We chose our cocktails from the blossom drinks list which is available for the duration of the pop-up whether you're booked for the afternoon tea or not. Above the Clouds (£8.50) served with Haku Vodka, Ginger Syrup, Lime and Bitter Lemon Tonic is what I chose while Emily ordered Pleasant Thyme (£9.00) served with Haku Vodka, Thyme Syrup, Grapefruit, Lemon and Light Tonic. 

Both were beautifully refreshing with an interesting but delicious mix of flavours. 

The service from start to finish was exceptional and the great thing was that whoever we spoke to was so enthused about the menu and the cherry blossom pop-up that it instantly rubbed off so we really couldn't wait to experience it for ourselves. 



Savoury 
Wasabi Egg Mayo Finger Sandwich
Miso Pulled Pork Green Bun
Cucumber & Cream Cheese Finger Sandwich
Smoked Salmon Mousse Seaweed Cone 
Cheese & Tomato Chutney Finger Sandwich

Scones
Plain & Fruit Scones with Clotted Cream & Cherry Jam

Sweet
Eton Mess Strawberry Ice Cream Cone
Pink Chocolate Sphere with Raspberry, Lemon Balm & Pink Pearls
Red Velvet Plant Pot 
Raspberry Opera Cake
Pink Lemon Meringue Pie

Tea
Sencha, Matcha, Earl Grey, English Breakfast

Infusions
Sour Cherry
Fresh Mint 
Lemon & Ginger 
Chamomile





There was an awe-inducing gasp as our afternoon tea was brought to the table. Set upon two tiers, the bottom for our yummy savoury bites and the top adorned with the most exquisite sweet treats. Warm scones, clotted cream and jam was placed on a separate plate to the side. 

It was almost too pretty to eat! 

We started with the savoury pieces - the smoked salmon mousse seaweed cone was my favourite, I'm a big fan of any fish dishes. The mousse was whipped to perfection and the seaweed cone added a satisfying crunch. The finger sandwiches were a welcome addition, you really can't go wrong with sandwiches for afternoon tea but the miso pulled pork green bun stole the show. The super-soft green bun and tangy miso was the perfect companion to the pulled pork. 

It was a really well thought out plate. 

The scones were some of the best I've eaten in a long time - warm, soft and absolutely delicious. The cherry jam added an ideal amount of sweetness to the clotted cream. 

I might even have to pick up a jar to have at home. 



The top tier with the most beautiful array of sweet treats is what we were most excited about - featuring perfectly placed red velvet plant pots, pink lemon meringues and chocolate butterflies, it was a sweet lovers dream in an awash of varying pinks and reds. 

We decided to try the same dessert at the same time, it almost became a fun game of appreciative facial expressions and us both nodding our heads at what we'd tried. The Eton Mess Strawberry Ice Cream and Pink Lemon Meringue Pie were my top two but each of the desserts were exceptional. 

I adored the red velvet flower pot as it was just so imaginative and made the experience quite immersive, it was such a welcome foodie experience that we going to visit again with family before the pop-up disappears. 


We really did have such an enjoyable afternoon, I didn't want to it to end but I can't wait to go back again. It's becoming one of my favourite places to visit at the moment.

The Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea is available to book online or by calling 0238 110 3888. 

Available Monday to Saturday from 3pm-5pm & Sundays 4pm-6pm, from 11th March until 6th May. 

Be quick, it's going to be very popular! 

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