*Autumn Hair Care Routine

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Image from Pinterest 
While autumn is by far my favourite season, it does have one downfall, the toll it takes on my skin and hair due to the wind, cold and as I'm in Manchester, rain. I always switch up my skincare at this time of the year to thicker, richer and more nourishing products such as oils and cleansing balms so why am I not doing this with my haircare routine?

Hair Masks + Oils
One product that I tend to use more during the colder months is definitely oils and hair masks. When it comes to hair masks, I never find that using it in the shower really benefits my hair so I always apply it all over my hair and scalp while it's dry then wash it out after an hour or so. I do the same with hair oils and it always leaves my hair incredibly soft, smooth and manageable - especially when my hair was very long and unruly!

Minimal Heat
During high school I used heat on my hair every single day and I'm throughly surprised that I still have any hair left as heat is one of the most damaging factors you can inflict upon your hair. To minimise the heat I use on my hair I use a heat protector (when I remember...) and I never blow dry my hair as I wash it in the evening so it can dry overnight. While the overnight hair dying method isn't the best for frizz, it does help to reduce damage and the heat used on my hair. To help my hair dry quicker in the evening so it isn't soaking wet overnight, I use the incredible Aquis Hair Towel which I've been using for two years and I LOVE it.

Leaving It Down
Since I was a teenager, my hair has always fallen out at a fairly alarming rate due to stress but now it's such much better thanks to the Regrowz treatment and I also think it's because of I don't tie my hair up as much. When I need my hair out of my face I typically use a giant clip from Primark. Tying my hair up definitely tends to make my hair fall out a little more and it gives me a headache so leaving it down is the way to go. If you're unsure of what hairstyle to opt for this autumn, check out my Autumn 2018 Hair Trends post.

Clip In Hair Extensions
Going back to the minimal heat point, an idea to get around using too much heat on your hair is to style extensions and minimally style your own hair to blend in. Clip Hair have a wide range of easy to clip in hair extensions to choose from that are composed of 100% human hair so it will style as normal and there are lots of shades so you'll find some to match. Additionally the extensions can add thickness to your hair if it's a little thin as mine was when I'd lost quite a bit. You can also switch up your style with ombre extensions and clip in highlights for the new season! Don't worry about matching your colour as they have a free colour matching service and they offer free delivery.

Do you have any autumnal haircare tips or styling ideas? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

Autumn 2018 Hair Trends ft. Jeunesse Global

Monday, September 24, 2018
Image from Elle via Pinterest
It's now autumn! I am so happy that autumn is finally here because it's the best season and this summer has felt as though it went on forever especially with the heatwave we had across Europe! Autumn clothing, makeup and hair trends tend to be some of my favourites of the year and the AW18 hair trends are definitely ones I can get behind.

Messy Buns + Top Knots
The first trend is all about messy buns and top knots as seen on the runway at Chanel (where buns were piled high and messy but still chic), twisted and pulled through at Sportmax or nostalgically accessorised at Prabel Gurung. I'm personally a huge fan of cute little buns at the base of the neck, I think it looks quite chic but minimal and I also love the messy, almost undone and dishevelled buns as seen on the AW18 Chanel models - I wish I had some gorgeous Chanel hair accessories too!

Buns and top knots are some of the quickest, easiest and most effortless styles for autumn as it keeps your hair out of your face but I find that buns don't give me a headache nearly as much as other styles do. However, if buns and top knots aren't your thing then sleek and soft ponytails as seen at Valentino or slicked back braids a la Alexander McQueen, Jil Sander and more might be your autumnal go to hair styling options instead.

I think we all come across those trends that look amazing on the runway and on six foot tall models but in reality, it isn't right for us. For me, that's hair accessories! Whether it's bejewelled clips as seen adorning the models at Chanel, Max Mara or Zadig & Voltaire, I know it won't be for me personally but I do love this trend. I think the glittery, sparkly and glitzy hair accessories are perfect paired with a casual and cosy outfit for the autumn and winter season, the latter especially with festive parities and new year (yes, I did mention Christmas and new year, it's basically here already).

Lastly, my favourite trend which I've seen slight different variations of on the AW18 runway is of undone hair. From wind blown, natural texture at Coach, a loose natural style at Lanvin and messy curls at Paco Rabanne to 'watch me walk away' hair at Isabel Marant, smooth waves at Balmain or natural textured hair at Versace, I love it all.

My hair is naturally frizzy, unruly and thick so it needs all of the help it can get and one of my go to looks recently has been loose, disorganised GHD curls as it takes almost no time at all, it looks pretty sleek and put together but in a more natural, 'I spent two minutes on my hair' look - best of all, it tames the halo of frizz I have! I'm all behind the undone, loose waves and natural textured looks this season...and for all of the other seasons.

Whatever style you opt for this season, it's important to look after your hair, especially during the colder months (as with your skin too!). I always treat my hair to nourishing oils during the day to tame frizz and thick hair masks that coat my hair in the evening to give my hair as much moisture and TLC as it can handle, particularly because I've been using more much heat on it than I usually do.

Jeunesse Global are releasing a new haircare range that's going to be released this month that would be perfect to add to your autumn haircare routine, especially the miracle restoring treatment! The range is designed to enrich the hair, fortify against environmental damage and hydrate so it sounds ideal for the upcoming colder months!

What do you think of these autumn hair trends? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

Gift Idea: Prestige Christmas Hamper

Sunday, September 23, 2018
Today is the autumn equinox, the first day of autumn for the northern hemisphere, so that means that it's acceptable to post ALL THE CHRISTMAS posts now, right? I've already published my first christmas gift guide of the year which features a range of quirky gifts from Cool Stuff but today's is all about an amazing food hamper from the very lovely people over at Prestige Hampers.

*Prestige Food Hamper 
The hamper in todays post is one of their larger food hampers which doesn't seem to be on the website yet but I'll include a price and link as soon as I can! The hamper was delivered quickly and was well packaged; it's definitely a treat to open and discover all of the wonderful goodies within! The box I have contains so many fantastic food items from snacks, chocolates, biscuits and tea to preserves, wine and savoury snacks.
Savoury Snacks & Preserves 
I do have a sweet tooth but only very occasionally, I definitely prefer savoury and or salty snacks and there are a few within the hamper. My favourite snack from the hamper is the Yorkshire Popcorn and I received the sweet and salty flavour which is best popcorn flavour! The other savoury snacks in the hamper include a very nicely designed packet of garlic stuffed olives (sadly I'm not a fan of olives), gouda cheese biscuits (gouda isn't suitable for vegetarians as far as I know) and a couple of preserves, including a sun-dried tomato and balsamic chutney. Lastly for the savoury snacks, there's a tub of cured ham and pickle crisps from the same Yorkshire brand as the popcorn in the box which as a vegetarian, I'm not interested in at all but I know a lot of my family would love them.
Chocolates & Wine
There are a couple of bottles of wine within the hamper, one pinot grigio and one merlot, both from the brand Luccello which I haven't heard of before. I don't drink very often at all but I think one of the best things about this hamper in particular is that it caters for a lot of different tastes and preferences as there are a range of savoury options, sweet offerings, alcohol and biscuits to choose from - I think it would make a fantastic family hamper as there's something for everyone to enjoy.

There are a couple of sets of chocolates, the first is from a brand I've already tried and loved, Monty Bojangles and it's their yummy truffles. The second is a set of assorted Belgian chocolates - all of which look amazing! The hamper would be equally as good to split up and share between family members or friends as a group sharing gift.
Biscuits, Fudge & Tea
The final category of items are all of the sweets things and tea! The contents of this hamper would be great to make an afternoon tea with as there are lots of biscuits to share, strawberry jam to add to scones and wine for an adult afternoon tea! The biscuits I'm most excited about within the hamper are the original Scottish shortbread as not only does the packaging look amazing but they taste amazing as well - great for dunking in tea, hot chocolate or coffee.

There's another pack of shortbread but these are made in Cornwall's oldest bakery which makes them a little special. Chocolate Turkish delight and salted caramel fudge are also included and sound so delicious and perfect for Christmas Day snacking as we all do that over the christmas period. I personally don't like many traditional Christmas snacks or food so this hamper is perfect for me.
Overall, I think the wicker hamper box itself looks amazing, really well made and great for re-using after you've ate all of the wonderful goodies within. I think I'm going to re-use mine as bath bomb storage. The hamper, rather than a box, makes the gift as whole look so much more expensive, luxe and special, in my opinion.

I love so many of the snacks included, especially the popcorn, fudge, shortbread biscuits and the chocolates. There's a great range of items so your gift recipient(s) will definitely find a variety of items that they'll love and can indulge in over the festive season because christmas is a time for giving, eating and snaking! Check out my video below for a look at the hamper in detail and all of the wonderful products within.

What do you think of this hamper? Would you like to give and or receive one for christmas? 

First Christmas Gift Guide of 2018 ft. Cool Stuff

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Today's post is my first Christmas gift guide of the year so far (yes, I am very organised this year!) and it's featuring a perfect gift website, Cool Stuff. Cool Stuff stocks a huge range of gifts from quirky gifts, stocking fillers, gifts for him/her and gadgets. I was very kindly sent a few of their gift ideas and I love all of them! Cool Stuff offers very quick delivery and it's free on orders over £29.95.

*Prepara Herb Savor (£19.99)
The first gift is something I've wanted for ages and that's a fresh herb saver. I have been cooking for myself since I was about twelve so I'm always excited by cooking or kitchen gadgets. I use fresh and dried herbs in almost everything I make but fresh herbs don't tend to last very long so I thought this would be the perfect solution and so far so good. The herbs saver is very quick and easy to put together, it looks fairly sleek in the fridge and it has quite a large storage capacity. However, it is a little tall so I've had to rearrange the fridge. I think it would make a great practical cooking gift for any foodies in your life; also it would be ideal as part of a christmas cooking or food gift hamper.
*Pop-A-Cob Gourmet Popcorn (£5.99)
Next up is tied with the Papa Bear Screwdriver as my favourite gift in today's gift guide! You might not know this about me but one of my favourite snacks is popcorn, I can't get enough so I had to try this very unique looking popcorn. I haven't ever come across popcorn that pops straight off the cob before!

There are four varieties to choose from and I opted for the 'ruby red' corn which looks so unusual. You put the whole cob in the microwave, in it's bag, and it does what it says on the box - it pops right off the cob for crunchy popcorn. I think it would make such an amazing and very unique stocking filler, I cannot recommend it enough.
*Utenu Window Bird Feeder (£5.99)
Along with the popcorn, another unique and inexpensive gift, is this cute window bird feeder which is composed of clear plastic so you can attach it to your window and watch the birds as they visit the feeder - love this idea! Since we had an extension on the kitchen and split it into a utility as well, it's meant that we haven't been able to see the birds and squirrels that frequent our garden as much so I hope this will solve that!

It comes with suction cups so it's easy to attached to the window and the clear plastic means that it isn't an eye sore or a window obstruction. The feeder is a very inexpensive stocking filler or gift and I would be ideal for families or nature lovers, especially if your gift recipient doesn't have a garden.

*Papa Bear Screwdriver 
Last but not least is one of the cutest tools I've ever seen but sadly it doesn't seem to be on the website anymore. The bear comes in a range of colours but I chose the grey shade and I cannot get over how adorable it is! The bear conceals the screwdriver handle and a set of six screwdriver heads in the base. It's adorably presented and designed and would make the cutest practical stocking filler ever! You can see all of the products in action in the video below, apart from the bird feeder as it's been constantly raining in Manchester recently, as always.

What do you think of these gift ideas? Are you prepping for Christmas? Will you be checking out Cool Stuff?

*Car Buying: New vs Used

*Car Buying: New vs Used

Friday, September 21, 2018
Image from Cool Chic Style Fashion via Pinterest
If you’ve been following my blog or social media then you’ll have seen that we’ve been in the process of looking at new and used cars to buy which will be replacing my beloved Renault Clio (the car I first learned to drive in so I feel like it might be more normal to be sad to see it go). The whole process of choosing not just what make or model to opt for but also whether to choose a brand new car or a used car has been very stressful!

There are so many points to consider when you’re looking for a car, whether it is new, used or a classic. There are positives and negatives for both a new and used car and one main negative that we were thinking about is the depreciation when it comes to a new car. New cars lose their value very quickly which for some might be a deal breaker and it was for us too. Compared to used and typically cheaper cars, newer options are a big investment!

Initial Cost 
Along with the condition of the car, one of the first things to consider is the initial cost of the car which naturally with a new car will be higher compared to a used car, depending on the model. Going back to depreciation, the initial outlay of the car is very high with a newer car and then it loses it’s value and to be honest, this was the main reason we chose a two year old car rather than a brand new model.

Driving History & Milage 
Another point to think about is the driving history! With a new car, you’ll only have the delivery milage and no driving history but a used car, depending on the age and condition, can have a whole array of hidden problems and a checkered history. The age and milage are easy points to check but the way a used car was driven is another matter.

It can be very exciting buying a new car (although I came to hate most of the car salesmen we encountered by the end of it) and there are numerous benefits such as a full warranty which is usually three years. Typically a used car will have a warranty but it will be more along the lines of 12 months after than three years. The used car we bought last month came with a 12 month warranty from Vauxhaul which is beneficial but a newer car does have a better deal in terms of the warranty.

As well as the initial cost of the car, there’s also the MPG, insurance and road tax to consider, all of which will differ depending on the make, model, specifications and age of the car. With some newer cars, there’s a set rate of tax but with used or older cars, it might be cheaper; however it may not be the case with all. For example, our fourteen year old Clio had a road tax of £140 and our two year old Astra is only £20.

The final point to consider is insurance and whether you opt for a brand new car straight out of the show room or a used car, Aviva car insurance is a great option to consider. Aviva car insurance covers damage to your brand new vehicle and roadside repairs for your older used car. In the end, it’s up to you and your budget as to whether you want to buy new or used but make sure you look around for the best deal on your car and insurance.

Do you drive? What are your thoughts on new vs used cars?

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

Blog Tour: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

Thursday, September 20, 2018
I was very kindly sent a gorgeous hardback copy of this book, thanks Penguin! The cover is just stunning! However as I was travelling so much in August I read most of this book as an e-book on my iPad while on holiday but I finished half of the book within the month of September.
*The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale (480 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
In The Toymakers we follow Cathy, a runaway who has applied to work at the wonderful Papa Jack's Emporium in London. However all is not what it seems in the Emporium or for Cathy as she has her own not so little secret. What follows is an incredibly magical, endearing and christmas themed read that is tinged with sadness, loss and the devastating unseen affects of war.

I utterly adored the descriptions of the Emporium as well as the wonderful toys held within. It would be a perfect read for christmas time as it had quite a few moments of childhood wonderment you feel during that time of the year. Christmas feels like it is just around the corner (even though it is a few months away) and the descriptions of toys, childhood excitement for presents, whimsical decorations, the magic of Christmas and the thrill of playing with new toys during the Christmas period were rich and constant throughout this book which made it a very heartwarming, nostalgic and cosy read at times.

However, it is simultaneously a very heart warming, magical read as well as a very wistful and heartbreaking book with moments of sadness and melancholy. I never read emotional books and this one did get to me at times, especially after the half way mark of the book. I definitely prefer the more light hearted, magical elements of the book rather than the heartbreaking realities of life, uncomfortable emotions of jealousy, guilt and self doubt as well as the mental health aspects of the book but they are very important to read about and for the story. I'd definitely recommend it for it's utterly magical, Christmas themed setting and wonderful writing so if that sounds like something you'd enjoy then check out this read!

Will you be picking up this christmassy read? What are you currently reading?