Spring Garden Decor + Ideas

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Image from Fishpools
I have always said that autumn is my favourite season and up until last week, it was...then spring happened. After the gloriousness of autumn and the dull drudgery of winter, it's easy to forget how incredibly lovely, uplifting and content spring is. The lighter evenings mean I'm not rushing for light while taking photos, I love all of the birds singing and I've been spending a little more time outside, only a little as it is still chilly in Manchester - blue skies and sunshine don't mean warm weather, not in Manchester. 

One of the main things about spring that I adore are all of the flowers in bloom in the garden, on the streets and on instagram (wisteria envy is a thing right now). I do love spending time in the garden, I love watching the progress of flowers and plants grow and as we have a section of woods behind our house, there are always birds singing and the squirrels running around. 

However, as I quickly discovered as a child, sitting on the grass or garden furniture means that you will encounter so many bugs, including spiders which then result in me running away and vowing never to sit down outside ever again. Although I do love spending time in the garden, especially since the mint green summer house was built last year and it's got me looking at garden furniture and spring decor. 

Fishpools garden furniture is gorgeous, especially this Trinidad Hanging Chair which I could definitely see myself sitting in while reading; there are so many furniture options, including some luxe dining sets, although to be honest they wouldn't be used as much in Manchester because we very rarely see the sun! I'm also thinking about garden lights, there are so many options for garden lights but as I'm a blogger, it's all about the fairylights so I think a string or two of fairylights around the summer house (which you see from time to time on my Instagram) would look so nice in the spring evenings. 
Image from Julia Palosini
As well as the gorgeous hanging chair from Fishpools, I'd love to add some wall planters filled with succulents! I love succulents, I have three in a planter in my office but that's definitely not enough (there's no such thing as too many succulents). Succulents are so incredibly easy to look after even for someone like me who has a tendency to kill plants and I think they would look amazing in a planter - maybe a mint green wooden planter to match the summer house!

What do you think of the Fishpools garden furniture? Do you have any plant/gardening plans this spring? Are you a succulent/cacti fan? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Images from Fishpools and Pinterest 

The Perfect Spring Candle

Saturday, April 22, 2017
I adore candles, they are some of the products that I will buy all year round and they make any room feel so much more homely, inviting and cosy however when the warmer months come around, I tend to look for fresher scents and this one is perfection! I was very kindly sent it by the lovely people at All Home Everything.

*ROAM by 42 Pressed Chicago Candle (£25, 7oz - approx. 45 hr burn time)

Let's take a moment of appreciation for the packaging of this candle because it is the prettiest and most photogenic candle ever! I adore the textured cream and blush pink paper, the rose gold text and the large jar container - it's perfect! I also adore the notes of:
Cucumber
Basil
Moss
Wet Stone
The scent is described as:

"Take a deep breath of this diverse skyline and put your foot to the pavement. Crisp watery notes of stone and cucumber in harmony with the subtle aromas of moss and basil. Feel the gust of freshness right off the lake"

It's oh so perfect for spring and the april showers we have had recently, well all of the time, in Manchester! The scent is incredibly beautiful, fresh, calming and unlike all of the other candles I have in my collection, although it does smell a little similar to one from L'Occitane I had years ago and a more recent addition from The Nomad Society x Osmology but I find this one to be much stronger and cleaner.
I have been keeping the candle between my arms as I type so I can smell it constantly, it's that gorgeous and relaxing which is what I need as I'm typing this because the builders in our kitchen are making so much noise and it's stressing me out!

The candle is so beautiful both in terms of the packaging and the scent; also it is hand poured in Charleston, South Carolina which makes it seem special to me for some reason. I've been burning it sparingly since I received it as I don't want to use it up too quickly! The candle takes about 20 minutes for it to me detected in the room but when it does, it's so gorgeous, uplifting and refreshing! I mainly burn this candle in the office so I can smell it during the day, when it's lit and when it isn't lit; it definitely helps with my productive moments *cough hours cough* as it makes me feel (as corny as this sounds) but energised, refreshed and calm. Unlike some candles I've tried recently, the scent throw and strength is fantastic - it makes the top floor of the house smell like a rainy spring day.
The candle also came with some stunning mini postcard prints of the city of New York and London which is such a nice addition, they also have large full size print that can be purchased from their website too! All of the city prints are so beautiful and I think, along with the candles, they would make such a lovely and unique gift.

Overall, I'm so impressed with the candle, not just because the scent is so gloriously perfect but also because the packaging is the most stunning I've ever seen on a candle. I also love the prints! I cannot recommend this brand enough and I definitely need to purchase another one of these 'Chicago' candles when this one has run out. Check out their social media - twitter - instagram. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of this candle? 

Space Saving Book Storage + Book Haul

Friday, April 21, 2017
I have been an on/off reader all of my life but since last year I have been reading more than I ever have and I'm loving it; however, it does cause a problem not just for my bank balance, TBR pile and the amount of unread books I have but it also means that I never have enough space on my two book shelves for all of my books even when I clear out my books regularly...

Additionally, I don't have a lot of space to keep putting up Ikea bookcases so in comes RedCandy to the rescue *cue all of the superhero music*. I was able to choose an item from their website and obviously I chose something book related; I picked the *Umbra Conceal Bookshelf - Set of 3 (£29). I have wanted invisible/concealed bookshelves since last year as I've been running out of space for a while and these shelves seemed like a easy, beautiful and space saving storage option for my excess books.

I have the set of three but you can get them individually and I couldn't be happier with them! They come with the parts you need to put them up, unless you have weird walls as I do. Even so the shelves were so quick to put up, they feel sturdy on the wall and even though there is a weight limit to the shelves, I can still pile on the books and they're fine.

I have been keeping my TBR and my most recently purchased books on my new and gorgeous floating bookshelves...yes, there are quite a lot, I have a problem. I love how they look on my wall in my office, it looks so unique and unusual; also it means that I have a space to put all of my vases, lights and candles (unlit, obviously).
I could be happier with my bookshelves and I will be recommending them to everyone - I think they are fantastic for the price and I definitely want some more, maybe to put in my bedroom. That's one thing I love about these, how versatile they are as they can be put up almost everywhere even on the tiniest wall space.

Now onto my mini book haul which consists of books that I have been picking up over the past two to three months from Amazon, The World of Books and Book Depository. Let's start with Amazon, I bought Slade House by David Mitchell, We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson and The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson all of which were part of the trap that is the Amazon 3 for £10 paperbacks offer *damn you Amazon*.

I bought an old copy of Shadow Show which is a collection of stories by so many authors in memory of Ray Bradbury from World of Books; sticking with the Ray Bradbury theme, I bought The October Country from him as since I read The Halloween Tree, I now want to read everything from Ray Bradbury. From Book Depository I picked up Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls which is a stunning book.
Lastly, for my book haul, I bought a few non-fiction books from The Works; I am always looking on their website as they have so many incredibly cheap books and along with Amazon, it's one of my weaknesses. As well as reading 80 books this year, I'm also trying to read more non-fiction which is a bit of a struggle as I'd much rather just watch a documentary than read a non-fiction book but I'm trying!

Overall, I cannot recommend these gorgeous floating bookshelves enough, they look great on the wall, they're so easy to put up and they are perfect if you don't have enough space for a full bookcase. There are other size/configurations of these shelves on the RedCandy website as well as so many gorgeous and unique homeware items. Here's my mini RedCandy wish list:
What do you think of these gorgeous floating bookshelves? Have you bought anything from RedCandy? 

Sleep Helpers: Essential Oils

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Image from the Oak Furniture Land blog via Pinterest 
I have always had problems trying to get to sleep, even as a baby and it's just contained into adulthood *yay*. Thankfully I have found numerous apps, techniques and products to help me get to sleep such as breathing meditation apps, yoga or stretches before bed and having a lush bath to unwind all help. Speaking of Lush, they use essential oils so much in their products and you'll know if you've used any Lush product, that they are so heavenly scented and are perfect for pampering and relaxing.

As well as using products that contain essential oils, they can be used on their own in various forms and techniques to help with numerous issues including restless sleep and being unable to unwind/destress. If you want to find out more about essential oils in general and how they can be added to products to make your own beauty products then check out my previous essential oils post.

They are so many essential oils out there that can be used for anything from relieving joint pain, to help with skin conditions, that can be used to make DIY beauty products or to help with sinus problems and congestion but this post is going to focus on using essential oils as sleep aids as that is the main way I use them on a weekly basis.

Lavender Oil & How I Use It
Whenever I write about candles, relaxation or pampering of any sort, I always mention lavender as it is the main scent that instantly relaxes and calms me. I've always loved lavender and lavender essential oils are perfect for helping me get to sleep. The way I use this oil is to dispense up to ten drops (or more if I want it to be very strong) onto a cotton pad which I place on my bedside table so I can smell it throughout the night. Every time I do this, I always have a better nights sleep and who wouldn't smelling lavender for hours! Alternatively you could apply a few drops to a tissue under your pillow or a very small amount behind you ears, temples or neck - you can also do this with peppermint oil if you have a cold!

I also use lavender essential oils in my bath, along with whatever bath bomb, bubble bar or bath oil I'm using to add to the product and make the whole bathroom smell of lavender for hours which is a always a good thing! I add a few drops to my bath and it helps so much or if you don't have this oil, you could use the Lush Twilight Bath Bomb which is lavender and malt heavy so it's amazing to use before bed.

Do you use essential oils? Do you have any sleep aid products or techniques?

*This is a sponsored post 
*Image from Pinterest

Spring OOTD ft. Johnny Loves Rosie

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Spring OOTD ft. Johnny Loves Rosie
I used to think that autumn was my favourite season but while taking these spring OOTD photos and cooking on a petrol stove outside with the sun shining and blue skies in the evening, I think I'm going to change my mind and say that spring is my favourite season! The lighter evenings, tress in bloom, birds singing and *slightly* warmer weather is making me feel really content!

The super lovely people at Johnny Loves Rosie must be loving the spring vibes too as they sent me a gorgeous *Johnny Loves Rosie Occassion Rose Gold Belt (£18) in the size Medium which is suitable for 30 inch waists but the chain allows it to be adjustable by up to 10 inches so I had it on the tightest length otherwise it looked a little odd being loose but it also means that you don't have to be very accurate with which size you choose.
Spring OOTD ft. Johnny Loves Rosie
Jacket: Newlook
Dress: H&M
Belt: Johnny Loves Rosie
The rose gold shade is gorgeous and it's perfect for spring (although it looks more gold in these photos but it's a metallic rose gold shade). I love the rose gold, grey and black combination and to be honest it's as colourful as my choices get! I don't have a metal belt like this, it's surprisingly comfortable and lightweight. I thought it might feel quite restrictive but it isn't and you can adjust the size very easily! I have quite a jew jumper dresses and loose fitting dresses so a belt like this is perfect to add some definition and shape to a shapeless dress.

What do you think of my spring OOTD? Have you bought anything from Johnny Loves Rosie? 

Crazy Color Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
I have wanted to dye my hair pink for months so I thought I'd take the safer option of just bleaching and dip dying the ends of my hair rather than ruining all of my hair at once! I've already tried the new Loreal Colorista Semi-Permanent Dye and I loved it but I have heard great things about Crazy Color so I was very excited when a couple of pretty pink shades arrived in the post to test out!

Just a quick note, I did bleach the ends of my hair, to find out more about that process of bleaching then check out my previous hair dye post. I think the lighter your hair, the better the colour will show up so for the lighter shades, I'm not the best candidate but here are my thoughts and the results I experienced - the first photo above is my hair without any semi-permanent.
I was kindly sent the 'Pinkissimo' and the new 'Peachy Coral' shades from Crazy Color by Renbow. They both come in cute pink bottles, you get 100ml in each and I tend to use half a bottle for the ends of my hair so if you were using it all over then you'd need quite a few bottles! You don't need to mix this dye with peroxide but I have seen people use conditioner with so many semi-permanent dyes to make then lighter/pastel.

*Crazy Color Pinkissimo Semi-Permanent Hair Dye (£4)
The first dye I wanted to try out was the Pinkissimo shade as I'm loving having pink ends to my hair. The colour in the bottle is a very bright, almost metallic bubblegum pink shade! I applied it to damp hair which was easy, it isn't very runny so there isn't that much mess but it will stain clothing. I added about half a bottle to my hair and massaged it into my hair really well to make sure it was covered as much as possible although obviously when you rinse it out, there are always strands that aren't dyed.

I left the dye on the ends in tin foil *so attractive* for about 30 minutes As you can see from the photo below, the Pinkissimo dye gave my hair such a lovely warm pink hue which is different the colour in the bottle but it's still pretty. I think if my hair was lighter it would be brighter and more true to the dye colour but I didn't want to bleach my ends a third time (although I probably will at some point). I did go over it on dry hair to make the colour more intense and it worked really well! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
The dye lasted on the ends of my hair for about three to four washes so it's great if you are like me and you want to change up your hair colour often and it didn't leave a stain in my hair which is something I was concerned about but it fully washed out.

*Crazy Color 'Peachy Coral' Semi-Permanent Hair Dye (£4)
This is one of their newer shades! I knew when I received it that it probably wouldn't show up in my hair as well as the dark Pinkissimo shade as my hair isn't platinum blonde at the ends but hopefully you can see from the photo below that it did add a slightly peachy hint to my hair although my camera is washing it out a bit.
The peachy shade was almost completely washed out in one wash as there was only a small amount of colour in my hair. I think the Peachy Coral shade would be better for those with hair that is much lighter than mine as it would definitely show up better. Although it was just as easy to use and rinse out as the Pinkissimo shade. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

Overall, I love how incredibly quick and easy these semi-permanent dyes are to apply, develop and rinse out - it's very fuss free to switch up your colour! The Pinkissimo is my favourite of the two as the pigmentation was better on my hair but they both apply very easily and with minimal mess. They are one of the cheapest semi-permanent dyes out there and I think they're well worth a go. They make so many shades and I now have my eye on the graphite and lavender shades!

What do you think of these shades? Have you tried Crazy Color or any other semi-permanent dye? 

Redecorating: Inspired Wallpaper

Sunday, April 16, 2017
I have been wanting to post about home, interior and redecorating for a while on my blog and as we are having the kitchen completely redesigned (as I'm typing this, the builders are here drilling and a wall has already been knocked down) I thought it would be a great time to redecorate the living room's feature wall and I will be sharing photos of the kitchen when it's done later this month as we're using this gorgeous wallpaper again in there too.

*Crown Luxe Florence Bracken Wallpaper by Inspired Wallpaper (£19.99 per roll - Grey/Pearl)

When it comes to home decor and interior design, I am definitely a fan of natural tones mixed with metallics, metal and natural textures as well as minimalist design/styles so this wallpaper is perfect. I used the handy calculator on the Inspired Wallpaper website to calculate how many rolls would be needed for this small feature wall as well as the feature wall in the kitchen and it came out as five rolls - it's such a useful tool as I wouldn't have known how many rolls to ask for otherwise.
This 'Florence Bracken' design comes in a couple of colour combinations including 'natural/white' and the 'grey/pearl' which is the one we chose. I don't think it's showing up as well as it looks in real life but the lighter background colour of the wallpaper, the 'pearl' shade is just gorgeous; it looks almost like mother of pearl as it's so metallic and iridescent in a way. I love the combination of the grey floral design and shiny, almost metallic looking lighter background shade.

We also painted the walls to match the paper, we used 'goose down' from Dulux which is a light/medium matte grey shade that looks so nice and clean looking next to the paper. I adore grey and natural tones! I love how the living room looks now especially as we have a lot of solid oak side tables and the warm toned oak and cool grey paper/walls looks so timeless and clean together, in my opinion anyway!
The wall paper was so easy and quick to put up and usually with patterned paper, it can be difficult to match up the design but this was very simple. I would say that in total, it took an hour or so to paste, cut and put up the wallpaper and I couldn't be happier with the end result, particularly when the beautiful spring sunshine hits the paper and the pearly background shines in response.

What do you think of the wallpaper? Have you visited the Inspired Wallpaper website? 

Pairfum Innocent Vanilla Diffuser

Friday, April 14, 2017
Pairfum Innocent Vanilla Diffuser
I love candles, they make any room cosy, homely and subtly scented but when the warmer months come around, I don't tend to use them as much and that's where diffusers come in. Most diffusers are really disappointing, either they look cheap, they are so subtly scented that they don't give off any scent or they only last for a couple of weeks.

I was very kindly sent the *Pairfum Large Reed Diffuser (£37.50) in the 'Innocent Vanilla' scent. The diffuser contains a whopping 250ml of fragrance which is composed of natural and organic essential oils that are non-toxic, non-flammable and non-carcinogenic - I didn't know that fragrances in diffusers could be considered as carcinogens. The perfume oil in the diffuser is non-VOC which is safer to use and VOC oils are not healthy for the lungs and they deplete the ozone layer so this one is much safer to use and better for the environment as it is contains a non-VOC fragrance oil.
Pairfum Innocent Vanilla Diffuser
I love the bell shape bottle and the simple design of the diffuser generally, especially the black reeds! The box is also gorgeous, it looks like a fancy french champagne bottle box so it would make a fantastic and luxe gift for anyone. Both the box and the diffuser look so chic, simple and elegant and it would look great with any decor.

The scent is equally as gorgeous, it isn't an overly sweet, overpowering or an old fashioned vanilla scent or artificial. The scent to me is very natural, creamy and sweet, it's the perfect vanilla scent. You can change the intensity of the scent depending on how many reeds you use, it comes with ten and I am using five. The more reeds you use and how often you turn them, the stronger the fragrance will be.
Pairfum Innocent Vanilla Diffuser
I've been using the lovely diffuser in the living room as we are currently going through a complete kitchen redesign so there is concrete, plaster and sawdust everywhere which smells so stale, musky and not very pleasant but this diffuser is definitely helping to make the living room and kitchen more pleasant!

It's claimed that the diffuser will last between 6 to 9 months which sounds fantastic; I haven't used it that long yet but so far it's working really effectively and smells heavenly as well as looking very chic especially compared to the cheap diffusers I'm used to.

Overall, this eco-friendly and safe diffuser is not only chic and elegant in design but it smells divine too and it would make a wonderful gift for anyone as it is looks so expensive and luxurious. The scent is perfect, the scent throw is impressive and even though it's a little pricy, I think it is definitely worth it even just because it is far safer to use compared to cheap diffusers but it has the benefit of being one of the best diffusers I've used! Also the box comes with a little detachable metal pin on it too. As always, if you want to see sneak peaks of my blogger mail or products in use then make sure you follow me on Instagram. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of this diffuser? Have you ever thought about the safety, health implications or environmental effect of the diffusers you use? 

Spring Sunglasses

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Spring Sunglasses ft. SmartBuyGlasses
I started learning to drive in May last year and since then I have worn sunglasses more than I have for the rest of my life! I wear my contact lenses and sunglasses pretty much every time I drive so a good, durable pair that are very comfortable is so important in terms of driving safely and comfortably.

I have one pair of designer sunglasses, my Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses and a pair from Polaroid, both of which I love but these new ones from SmartBuyGlasses are perfect! They are an established online sunglasses, glasses and contact lens retailer for the past ten years featuring designer sunglasses with brands such as Rayban, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Prada and many more.
Spring Sunglasses ft. SmartBuyGlasses
I was kindly sent my choice of these *Prada Sunglasses (sadly they aren't available anymore online) and they arrived really quickly! I chose the Prada option as I loved the shape of them, the shape is similar to others I have and I know it will suit me. I also love the 'havana' frame colour which to me is a subtle tortoise shell design; the lens is grey. This style is from 2015 which is why they were cheaper than the RRP.

The sunglasses come with a Prada box, cloth, manufacturers information booklet and glasses case. I know what you're thinking...how do you know that they are genuine? On the website they state that authenticity is guaranteed and I have been online reading so many articles about how to check if your Prada sunglasses are genuine and I have checked the style, serial numbers and other points they say to look out for on mine and my sunglasses are definitely genuine.
Spring Sunglasses ft. SmartBuyGlasses
I have been wearing these sunglasses instead of my others when I drive and they are fantastic! I love the fit (mine are a 53 size, whatever that means) and they are perfect as well as being so so comfortable. I have been wearing glasses since I was about 15 and I always tend to get a headache with them but these don't really give me a headache or any discomfort.

Also the sunglasses feel really durable and well made so I think they are going to last for a while which is great as I do tend to drop my sunglasses all of the time...oops. Considering I wasn't able to try them on before hand, I'm so happy with the style, design and the fit which seems to be made to measure for me!
Spring Sunglasses ft. SmartBuyGlasses
I would definitely recommend these sunglasses, especially if you are like me and you wear them very often as I do, as they are so comfortable. I'm also really happy with the cute box they came in and the case too which I'll be keeping in the car to protect my sunglasses.

There are so many designer sunglasses to choose from on the SmartBuyGlasses website; there are quite a few pairs that are on my wish list including the gorgeous Rayban Erika sunglasses which I have wanted for so long! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of these sunglasses? Have you bought any Prada or designer sunglasses? 

Dr Botanicals Superfood Facial Oil

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Dr Botanicals Superfood Facial Oil
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time then you will know how obsessed with skincare I am, not just because I have sensitive and dry skin so I'm always looking for new products and products that don't irritate my skin but also just because I love skincare in general. I always tend to lean towards more natural skincare from brands such as Lush and Antipodes as well as Dr Botanicals.

I'm a brand ambassador for Dr Botanicals which is perfect as I love their natural skincare and that means that I can not only provide consistent product reviews for you but I also have a discount code to get a huge percentage off the product of the month. The code is: OFBEAUTYBLOG. The product of the month for April is the lovely *Dr Botanicals Advanced Anti-Oxidant Superfood Facial Oil (£19.99 with the code, £67.50 full price).
Dr Botanicals Superfood Facial Oil
As I said, I have dry and sensitive skin all year round, although now that my eczema has cleared up almost completely it isn't as dry or sensitive but I do rely on rich products for most of the year and oils are lifesavers. I've tried so many facial oils, mainly from higher end brands and I have loved all of them and this one is no exception.

The facial oil is infused with vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals, cherry kernel oil, blackcurrant seed oil and other fantastic and natural ingredients. It comes with a dropper dispenser which is perfect for controlling the amount of oil that is dispensed - you only need a tiny amount! I love the packaging of Dr Botanicals products as they are minimal and the brown glass bottles make me think of old apothecary bottles. Not only is it full of natural ingredients but it's suitable for vegans and it is cruelty free.
Dr Botanicals Superfood Facial Oil
The oil is divine! It leaves my dry, sensitive and sometimes tight skin very smooth, nourished and moisturised, so much so that I can only really use it as part of my evening skincare routine in the spring but when autumn and winter rolls around again then I know I will be using it constantly all over my face as often as I can!

Overall, this oil is a very welcome addition to my skincare routine and collection as it not only has wonderful ingredients, gorgeous packaging and a lovely texture but it leaves my skin very smooth, soft and moisturised that works well as part of my evening skincare routine or when my skin is extra dry. I cannot recommend it enough and with the huge discount it is so inexpensive and well worth trying out. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5!

Have you tried anything from Dr Botanicals? Will you be taking advantage of the amazing discount code? 

New In: Lisa Blur Cosmetics

Monday, April 10, 2017
New In: Lisa Blur Cosmetics - www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
I have wanted to try some new makeup for a while but I haven't been interested enough however when this package from Lisa Blur arrived, I was super excited! I have tried a new makeup brand for what seems like ages so I starting using the products as soon as they were delivered.

Lisa Blur cosmetics are so simply packaged in plain black and white boxes an the product packaging is the same but I love it! The products are designed to be longwearing, comfortable and easy to apply as well as being hypoallergenic.

*Lisa Blur Hi Def Foundation (£25, 20ml - C2 Warm Yellow)
I chose what appeared to be one of the lightest shades on the website and it is an amazing match for my skin. The yellow undertones are fantastic for counteracting the redness in my skin caused by eczema. I have used it with a foundation buffing brush and a sponge, I prefer using a sponge as I do have dry skin. The foundation has light to medium coverage, depending on your application method and how much you use - it covers most of the redness, pores, dark circles and minor blemishes that I need covering.

The foundation applies beautifully with a damp sponge, it leaves my skin looking natural, it's not very noticeable on the skin even with powder. It doesn't highlight dryness or fine line which is fantastic and it wear well throughout the day. I'd definitely recommend this foundation if you have dry to normal skin or even slightly oily as long as you set it. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
New In: Lisa Blur Cosmetics - www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
*Lisa Blur Dual Powder (£17.50, C2 Warm Yellow)
I've recently finished yet another Essence Fixing powder so I wanted to give a new powder a go; this powder can used as a setting powder or as a powder foundation. I use it to set my t-zone which need setting and a very small amount over the rest of my face. The powder claims medium to full coverage silky smooth application, soft finish and a formula that won't settle into fine lines.

The powder comes in what feels like a really sturdy compact which is great as I tend to drop mine and end up shattering the powder or breaking the lid. It also comes with a sponge but I've been using a fluffy brush. I find that the powder can highlight dryness sometimes but when used lightly it is great for setting my makeup and prolonging the freshness of my makeup. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
New In: Lisa Blur Cosmetics - www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
*Lisa Blur Ultra Satin Lipstick (£11 - Right On)
I have so many lipsticks that are such similar shades that any non-beauty blogger or beauty lover would think was excessive so I chose a shade that I would usually go for - a glittery deep purple! The shade can be used lightly as an almost shimmery purple stain or it can be built up for a deep, rich purple with a visible pink shimmer and shine. I think such a vibrant, colourful shade is perfect for spring especially when used lightly - it seems to make my complexion brighter!

Despite the glitter in the lipstick, it's still relatively smooth and creamy on the lips, the pigmentation is great, application is very quick and easy and it feels fairly lightweight on the lips too. The longevity isn't amazing as it transfers easily but it's pretty while it lasts! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Have you tried any makeup from Lisa Blur? What do you think of these products? Purple lips for spring - yes or no? 

My Blogging Essentials ft. Askborg

Saturday, April 08, 2017
I have been blogging for almost five years, my little blog is five May and yes, there will be a big blog birthday giveaway to celebrate! Over that time, I have learnt so much not just about blogging and writing but photography, SEO, networking and emailing with PRs and having to know new terms (keywords, domain authority, page authority and the guidelines associated with blogging were all new to me) as well as trying out so many products that I might not have if I didn't have a blog.

I've come to the conclusion that there are some blogging essentials that I need on a daily basis as well as items that make blogging that bit easier (as it definitely isn't!). I think the items I've mentioned will be a perfect starter kit (remember those old days of Youtube when makeup starter kit videos were a thing?) for new bloggers.

Charging Cable 
Ok, this first one is pretty basic and it is an item that everyone with an iPhone or iPad needs - a good and reliable charging cable. I have gone through so many official apple and...*cough* not so official 'apple' charging cables and every single one breaks on me within a few months but this one feels so durable. Mine always break at the ends because of the wire twisting but this *Askborg ChargeTube with Lightening Connector (£9.99) is made of braided nylon and the ends feel really stiff so they won't twist and break. I've been using this charging cable for the past couple of weeks and it's perfect; it's one of those basic items that you just need and it works so well.

iMac/iPhone
Another pretty basic item but both are so essential for me, my iMac which I blog and edit photos on and my iPhone where all of the social media promoting, editing and scrolling happens, far too much scrolling. My iMac is just perfect for blogging because of the massive screen, easy to use apps and it's super reliable as we've had this one for about eight or nine years.

Back in the old days of the Nokia 3510 and the wonder that is Snake, I never really used my phone and I'm known by my friends and family for never answering or having my phone on me but all of that changed when I received my iPhone 5C as a present a couple of years ago and now I can't be without it. I use the various photo editing and social media apps on my iPhone and I use it to take part in the #lbloggers (7pm on Wed/Sun), #bbloggers (8pm on Wed/Sun) and #TheGirlGang (6pm on Mon) chats on Twitter.

Blog Props
There's one aspect of blogging that I'm always trying to improve and that is my photography. I am never 100% happy with my photos, don't get me wrong some are gorgeous (if I do say so myself) but I always want to make them look better. One thing I never used in the first couple of years of blogging were props but now I always use them. My favourite blog photo props including: books, blankets, towels/fluffy jumpers, candles, fairylights and of course flowers. I like props that looks right with the products, I've seen some photos with props that look odd with the product but I think you can never go wrong with fluffy blankets, candles , fairylights or flowers.

Canon 750D
Cameras for blogging have been the topic of numerous blogger debates and chats and here's my view of it: you need a descent camera to get the best photos you can and also to progress, develop and work with brands, in my opinion. I can't imagine using my iPhone for my blog photos! I bought my Canon 750D last year with money I'd earned just from blogging which was a fantastic milestone for me and I now couldn't live without - it's by far the best camera I've ever used. Before I had the Sony DSc H200, the Nikon L110  and the Nikon L120, which are pretty good and I'd recommend them all but I adore my Canon 750D! Just look at my photos now compared to two years or even three years ago to see the massive difference in quality, sharpness and clarity.

Notebooks
Another basic, inexpensive and definitely essential item, notebooks and stationery! I have far too many notebooks but I do use them constantly along with memo pads and to do lists that I use to keep track of items I'm expecting in the post, tasks that I have to do and notes, blog ideas or recipes. I always have at least two notebooks/pads on the go!

Storage
The penultimate essential is one that isn't really discussed or thought of but it's so important! I use various storage boxes, drawers and crates to store blogging items - I have drawers next to my desk for general office/iMac items, stationery, blog prizes (yes, I do have a blog prize drawer) and for items that I need to post about in the next week. I also have a box filled with items I need to photograph which helps me to stay organised, especially around christmas when I'm lucky enough to receive small mountains of products and gifts. Additionally I have a canvas bag that I use for cardboard and paper recycling which is one of the many unglamorous aspects of blogging. SO. MUCH. RECYCLING.

Numbers/Excel 
Last but not least, another organising tool that has been helping me organise my blogging schedule - Numbers which is the Apple/iMac version of Excel. Spreadsheets are so useful to plan out and organise blog posts; I usually plan a month or so ahead and it lets me see if I have space to post about new products or if my schedule is too full.

What are your blogging essentials? Do you use any of the products that I do? 

Swimwear Spring Summer Trends

Friday, April 07, 2017
Swimwear Spring Summer Trends
Images from ukswimwear
Finding the perfect fit, choosing a pattern or look that is flattering for your figure, and of course keeping on trend with any clothing or accessories can be difficult but especially when it comes to swimwear. But for 2017, we think this job has gotten a little easier, and it’s all thanks to the designers themselves. Luxury swimwear in 2017 is some of the most varied and interesting in the medium’s history and the world class designers like Gottex and Roidal are all contributing to this wonderful tapestry of creativity. So let’s take a look at some of the most interesting new trends of the swimwear world, from our favourite luxury designers.

 Geometrics 
A big theme is geometric and artificial patterns this year. Gottex’s new collection, for example, contains a geometric element in about half of their swimsuits and bikinis. This can be a set of stripes or spots, or something man made like a mosaic pattern. But for many designers working in 2017, it is all about creating something stunning, creative and original. That is why Gottex’s new range is an amazing line up for this trend. Erratic lines, explosive motifs and a can of cyberpunk aesthetic that takes your outfits to the next level.

Painted Natural World 
We estimate that the natural world has never been absent from a swimwear collection. This means it is a perennial favourite, but it is also about time for a new and refreshing makeover. This makeover has taken the form of painting and an imitation of various schools of art. Mostly water colours, oil paintings or interior decor are the inspiration of this change, making florals look like a tapestry or a mural. It’s one of the most exciting new trends in the world of swimwear fashion. Check out the Roidal Flor Romantica for a great example of this.

 Hybrid Designs 
This is easily the biggest new trend in fashion, whether it is swimwear or otherwise. Designs that have been created from a mixture of two or sometimes three different schools of design are some of the most interesting new numbers you can get your hands on. For example, imagine a design that contains an oriental ceramics pattern on the bottom, an arabesque tile arrangement like the interior of a Moroccan palace, and a big floral centre piece all together. Sounds hectic and impossible? Not so! It exists already. It is hard to blend these different lineages of design together, but if you have a master designer at work, the results can be fascinating. To see the collection we mentioned above, take a look at the Gottex Le Jardin range

For all the latest fashions and styles in the swimwear world, check out www.ukswimwear.com. A whole website filled with the latest swimsuits from fashion houses across the globe!

*This is a collaborative and sponsored post with ukswimwear

What do you think of these styles? Will you checking out ukswimwear? 

An Introduction To Audiobooks

Thursday, April 06, 2017
Last year I set myself the goal of reading 30 books, before then I only read maybe five or so each year but I exceeded my reading goal massively by reading 79 books last year. However, while it can be great to read a physical book or an e-book, I have wondered about audiobooks for years! For some reason I felt as though audiobooks were a reading cheat or that I wouldn't be able to concentrate as much compared to reading a book.

BookBeat
When the opportunity came up to work with BookBeat, an audiobook subscription service created in Sweden in 2015, I had to apply. BookBeat offers subscribers thousands of audiobooks to choose from which vary from all kinds of fiction to non-fiction as well as classics and newer releases. As of last month they have expanded their market to the UK and I have been lucky enough to receive a free subscription. If you wanted to subscribe then it's £14.90 per month and there isn't a limited on how many audiobooks you can listen to but you can get a ONE MONTH free trial using this link (it's not an affiliate link) rather than the normal two week free trial.
Signing up to BookBeat is so easy, the website and app are so easy to navigate and it's easy to find books you want to read. On the app there a great feature where you can save certain audiobooks to a list, I do this with the audiobooks I want to read and you can also download the audiobooks too so you can listen to them when you don't have access to wifi which is amazing and perfect for travelling.

I find that of the fiction and non-fiction audiobooks I've listened to so far, I can concentrate as much as I can when reading a book but it also means that the time I spend baking, cooking, tidying up taking and editing photos can be used to listen to an audiobook around the house on my iPhone - audiobooks count towards my reading goal on GoodReads too which is great as I'm a little behind on my reading goal of 80 books this year.

Audiobooks I've Listened To So Far
So far I am on my fourth audiobook, I have finished two fiction audiobooks, one non-fiction and I'm currently listening to Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes which is a non-fiction audiobook (and I'm loving it). I would have finished more but we've been busy redecorating recently and getting ready for a new kitchen which should be started today. You can rate audiobooks on the app too and I've given the three I've finished all four stars out of five.

I find that so far I am liking non-fiction audiobooks more than fiction but I have just started so that might change. One series that I definitely want to read more from is the History In An Hour by Harper Collins which focuses on one historical figures or events - I've listen to the one on Stalin and I have a few more saved in my list to listen to including one about Mussolini, Charles Dickens, JFK and about the Russian Revolution.

Overall
I am loving audiobooks on BookBeat so far, especially the non-fiction I've listened to. I love how the app is laid out, it's easy to find what I want and discover audiobooks I didn't know existed and I love that I can listen to an audiobook while doing other things and it still counts towards my GoodReads reading goal! My only criticism so far is that Stephen Fry can't narrate every single audiobook...

Do you listen to audiobooks? Have you tried BookBeat? Will you be using the one month free trial? 

Skin Yoga Skincare

Wednesday, April 05, 2017
I am a big fan of natural skincare and bodycare, I am always more drawn to natural products! I have so many brands and product favourites that are more natural such as Antipodes, Dr Botanicals, Lush and Tisserand so when I get the opportunity to try more natural products, I am excited!

Skin Yoga is a 100% natural skincare brand that is fragrance, preservative and paraben free as well as cruelty free and vegan friendly. It is founded by three sisters and all of the products are made in India using natural ingredients.

I received a couple of minis sizes to try out and they came beautifully packaged as they both came in little wooden boxes! How adorable is the packaging and I know I am going to re-use the boxes again - I'm going to try and plant a succulent in each one!
*Skin Yoga Almond Orange Face Scrub (£15.92, full size) 
The bottles for each product are adorable too as they are little glass bottles with a cork stopper! The ingredients for this face scrub include: almond meal, dried orange peel, chickpea flour and organic turmeric, that's it! It is a grainy scrub that is a little messy but it does work well as a gentle exfoliator on my t-zone which is where I need the most help in terms of exfoliating.

It is a really lovely face scrub, it has a pleasant subtle scent and it doesn't irritate my skin at all. I have used it a couple of times now as I only use face scrubs once a week and I really like it although I'm not wowed by it and as it's a sample size, I can only get three uses out of it. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

*Skin Yoga Sandalwood Saffron Face Mask (£21.96, full size) 
As with the previous product, this one is 100% natural and it has a grainy texture - due to the dry, grainy nature of the product, I didn't really know how it would work as a mask but when combined with a small amount of water, it adheres well and it means that a little goes a long way; even so I can only get two uses out of it.

I just used it on my t-zone as it's the area of my skin that needs the most exfoliating and deep cleansing as it's always congested *gross, sorry*. The mask smells nice, it is gentle and doesn't irritate my skin but I find it doesn't do much else. Sure, my skin is smoother using the scrub and mask but it's not massively impressing me and the price is a little high in my opinion; however I do still like both products and the packaging is gorgeous. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

What are your favourite natural skincare products or brands? Have you tried anything from Skin Yoga? 

Vegan Carrot Cake Waffles

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Today is International Carrot Day...yes, it is a thing! It gives me an excuse to try out a recipe I've wanted to try for a while, vegan carrot cake waffles. I love carrot cake and I also love Belgian waffles so this recipe is perfect for me and I've topped then with a couple of my favourites including maple syrup, strawberries and vegan salted caramel ice cream!

I've wanted a waffle maker for years so when the lovely people at Jocca got in touch, I had to choose their adorable mint green waffle maker. Jocca is a homeware and small appliance store based in Spain but they ship worldwide - they offer free UK shipping on orders over £40. Also if you sign up to their newsletter you can get £10 off your first order! Check out their twitter for offers!
I have the *Jocca Turquoise Waffle Maker (£17) which comes with a UK plug and it is suitable for UK/European voltages. It's one of the cheapest waffle makers I've seen and I adore the mint green colour as well as how simple it is to use. If you follow me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand) then you will get sneak peeks of my blogger mail, upcoming posts and recipes as I make them.
This recipe is suitable for vegans and if you use gluten free flour then it will be gluten free too. The recipe makes three waffles but you could double it to make more. I adapted a recipe from The Crunchy Chronicles so you could use their original recipe.

Ingredients:

- 1/2 and 1/4 cup of plain white flour
- 2 - 4 tablespoons of cinnamon (you could also add ground ginger too)
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 cup of oat milk (you could use cashew or almond milk instead)
- 4 - 6 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 pinch of table salt
- 1/2 cup of grated carrot (approx. half of a medium sized carrot)

- Vegan Ice cream (optional)
- Fruit, nuts, vegan chocolate toppings (optional)
The recipe for me and this amazing and super easy to use Jocca waffle maker are fantastic. They only take about ten to fifteen minutes to make which is great and perfect for a quick dessert or a indulgently sugary and sweet American style breakfast. Here are the steps to make these gorgeous carrot cake waffles:

Step One

In a large bowl measure out and combine the dry ingredients - the white flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt then mix.

Step Two

Measure the wet ingredients - the maple syrup, olive oil, oat milk and grated carrot then add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Step Three

Plug in and spray olive oil onto the plates of your waffle maker. My Jocca waffle maker heats up really quickly, the waffles don't stick at all and it cooks them quickly and evenly.

Step Four

When the waffle maker is heated up, add in half a large ladle full of batter into each side of the waffle maker and leave for about five minutes or until it's cooked, slightly crisp on the outside and until it easily comes away from the plates.

That's it! All you have to do is stack then on your plate, add you fruit, maple syrup, ice cream, chocolate or other topping of your choice and enjoy. They are definitely best eaten hot so only add the ice cream at the very last minute.
I love the sweet carrot cake waffles as they not only taste amazing but they are 100% vegan, they're so quick to make and the waffle maker is just perfect. For me the waffles are also really filling and not too unhealthy either. This is the first waffle maker I've tried and I couldn't be happier with it as it looks so cute, it is very easy to use and the waffles don't get stuck to the plates - it does take a couple of practice waffles to get the hang of how much batter to use and how long to cook them for; I always need to leave them in for longer. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of these waffles? Have you heard of or bought from Jocca? 

Latest In Beauty Box March 2017

Sunday, April 02, 2017
Lastest In Beauty Box March 2017
Today's post is all about a very exciting beauty subscription box although it is a little late so I don't know if you can purchase this box anymore, if you can't, sorry! If you are involved with the blogging or beauty world at all then you will have seen everyone going crazy over the new *Latest In Beauty Beauty & The Beast Box (£20 - it looks like it's still available).

The box is based around the new Beauty & The Beast film, which I haven't watched yet and I'm wary to as I adore the original as I'm a 90's Disney child so I'm not sure I'll like a non-animated version. Anyway, there are two boxes available, one for women and one for men which is a great idea.

First up, I just wanted to say how incredibly beautifully designed the box is! It looks like a giant Beauty & The Beast book but instead of pages inside, there are seven beauty items in the box; four of which are full size and the others are deluxe sizes. Unlike some beauty boxes, I know all of the brands and I have wanted to try some of these brands for a while, especially Oribe.
Lastest In Beauty Box March 2017
The box contains two skincare items, one haircare item, one nail polish, one makeup product, one body item and a beauty tool. The items came beautifully presented in the box with navy tissue paper and fake red rose petals which is such a lovely touch - I think it would be an amazing gift, especially for those who love books, disney fairytales and makeup. The contents of the box totals a whopping £80 so you are getting so much for your money!

Burts Bees Lipstick in 501 Blush Basin
Let's start with the makeup item as makeup is my favourite category of items to receive in subscription boxes. I actually have this lipstick in this shade already as I was very kindly sent it to review and you can check out my full review of Blush Basin and swatches on my blog. I'll just say that both Blush Basin and Suede Splash are fantastic everyday shades that are smoothing, moisturising and very comfortable to wear, I'd definitely recommend!

Soigne Botanique Nail Polish in Betteraves Rouges 
Back in my college and university days, I wore red nail polish constantly, it was my thing along with skinny jeans, frizzy hair, liner and hoodies....yes, I regret most of my past outfit and beauty choices. Although red polish has continued to be something that I love and wear but I don't as much as I used to. This polish is just perfect as it applies perfectly in pretty much one coat, it's super pigmented and even in one swipe. Without a base coat or top coat it does just last for a day without chipping or wearing away but with a top coat it is fantastic and I see more red polish in my future. If you follow me on instagram you will have seen previews of this post as well as a swatch of this nail polish - I'm @ofbeautyand on instagram.

L'Occitane Roses et Reines Hand Cream
Sticking with the red theme, the next item is a gorgeous hand and nail cream from L'Occitane. My aunties have loved L'occitane products for as long as I can remember so from my teens I have been gifted L'Occitane products including their hand creams which I now not only love and use so much but oddly they are a little nostalgic for me too. This size is perfect for travelling and I will be taking it so York later this month.
Lastest In Beauty Box March 2017
Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage 
Now, when it comes to skincare I do have to be careful as I have sensitive skin although thankfully now my eczema seems to have cleared up almost completely but when I see exfoliating type products, I always get a little nervous. This is a 'ground breaking enzymatic' and vitamin C enriched exfoliator. It's a peach gel that when massaged into the skin, it turns into a luxe feeling oil and even though I have only used it once, it did leave my skin very smooth and brighter but I did experience a tiny amount of irritation; however I will continue to use it.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet 
I have tried a couple of serums from Caudalie and loved them so I have no problems with this moisturiser (and I love the pink packaging). It's a lovely light but moisturising and smoothing cream that would be perfect for spring; also it smells like cucumber!

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo
The penultimate item is the one I was most excited about when I opened the box as it's not only a dry shampoo, which I have come to love over the past year but it's from Oribe which is a high end brand I have heard nothing but amazing things about from beauty youtubers and other bloggers. I adore the packaging and even though I've only used it once, it has definitely impressed me! It doesn't seem to leave a white or grey residue in my hair, it leaves my hair feeling fresher, lighter and much more presentable but I haven't tried it on the horror that is my three or even four day hair yet.

Lastest In Beauty Compact Mirror
The final item is one of the prettiest in the box! It is a gorgeous limited edition gold compact mirror with a white rose illustration on the front; I have actually been meaning to pick up a small compact mirror for my bag for ages but I never get round to it as let's be honest, there are far more exciting things to buy! I love this one, especially as it's magnified on one side so I can see my pores in all their gross detail!

What do you think of the Beauty & The Beast themed box? Have you tried any of these products?