*Summer Picnic Essentials

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Image from Dark Blue Stripes via Pinterest
It's picnic season in the UK, especially with the lovely heatwave we've been having recently! Today's post is all about the essentials you will need for a perfect and green picnic. There are a few heatwave essentials you'll need such as SPF, water and maybe a fan or ice packs (for cooling down and for food safety) but here are a few more suggestions!

Snacks
The most important part of picnics are the snacks! If I'm going on a picnic with people who are making the food then I will bring my own as I'm a vegetarian/vegan so I'll bring snacks such as fruit, sandwiches and snack bars (I love the Nakd bars). Additionally, snacks such as pre-made savoury bites, pastries, cake, cupcakes, wraps and maybe even mac 'n' cheese pasta salad (drools) would be amazing too!

Cocktails 
Next up is more of a grown up picnic option, cocktails. I don't drink very often but I do love a sweet cocktail from time to time although you could also make mocktails for everyone. However, large bottles of wine (or champagne, if you're feeling fancy) are not very practical for a picnic but mini bottles of wine, champagne or gin would be ideal. Just Miniatures have a great range of mini bottles of gin to choose from including Gordons dry gin, Bombay Sapphire and more so I'm sure you'll find something for your summer picnic with friends or family.

Soft Blankets 
Another important aspect of a cosy and comfortable summer picnic is a soft blanket or picnic mat along with cushions. The plaid or tartan picnic mats that were a staple of picnics growing up are a little dated now so I'd definitely want something a little different. Cushions would also be a perfect addition!

Recyclable or reusable tableware 
Lastly, ditch the plastic and opt for paper straws, paper plates or re-useable tableware and cutlery for a green and environmentally friendly picnic. Plastic re-useable plates or paper plates might not be the nicest to use but reducing our impact on the environment is extremely important and we should all be doing our bit to help. Also re-useable tableware and paper based options will be great for a summer camping adventure too.

What are your summer picnic essentials? 

*Image from Pinterest
*This is a collaborative post

Summer Camping ft. Blacks Online #2

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Last week I published my first post with Blacks as I reviewed their fantastic Eurohike tent which I loved and today's post is the second and final post featuring Blacks. They stock a huge range of camping equipment, tents and more so you will find everything you need for a summer camping adventure! Don't forget to check out my first camping post!

*Eurohike Flocked Double Airbed (£9)
Today's post is all about camping equipment you'll need including the essentials, airbeds. As I mentioned in my previous camping post, I used to go camping with my family and friends constantly as I was growing up and one of the most frustrating and boring aspects of camping was setting up everything and putting everything back in the car as well as setting up the awful and uncomfortable flat camping beds. Thankfully there are far more comfortable options on Blacks Online.
I was very kindly sent two of the Eurohike Double Flock Airbeds from Blacks which are non-slip, durable, phthalate free and two together is the perfect size (with a little extra room) for the five person tent I reviewed previously. The flocked surface means that it is very soft and your sleeping bag won't slide off.

I used to have flat pack style camping beds which were awful to set up but setting up this airbed was so much quicker, easier and far less painful! I used a electric pump we already had and my car to inflate the airbeds. I would say that it only took about five minutes per airbed to inflate them fully which is very quick!
The airbeds fit perfect within the tent, they match the tent which is always nice and they are very comfortable - I wish I had one of these while camping growing up as those flat pack beds were not comfortable at all. They seems very sturdy, they aren't too heavy when inflated or deflated so they would be easy to move around and they deflate quickly so they can be packed away.

I would definitely recommend these airbeds, especially as they are currently on sale from £30 each to only £9 which is an amazing deal on Blacks. The tent I was kindly sent was also on sale from £170 to £80 and again, I cannot recommend it enough. If you're looking for camping equipment or tents this summer then look no further than Blacks.

Have you been camping before? Will you be checking out Blacks

*Summer Homeware Wish List ft. Direct Blinds

Monday, July 30, 2018
Some of my favourite posts to write are wish list posts as they're much cheaper than actually buying all of the items on my wish lists which are ever growing! My birthday is coming up soon so I have even more wish lists on the go and some of them feature adorable summer homeware items which is what today's post is all about! While autumn is definitely my favourite season, I adore fresh, light and unique summer homeware.

Kate Spade Glasses Tray  -  Cute Candle  -  Dinosaur Planter  -  Cushion  -  Genesis White Roller Blind from Direct Blinds  -  Ikea Tray Table

Fresh flowers, candles and pastel homeware are perfect for adding summer shades and items into your home very easily and this adorable dinosaur planter, Sydney city scape cushion and bright candle are all ideal for that! Another very unique homeware item that I'm loving is this Kate Spade tray from Amara.

As well as homeware, there's one item that can make such a difference to the brightness of your home and how much light there is - blinds. I am not a fan of darker or blackout blinds but I do love white, cream and lighter shades as I have in my bedroom and home office because they add so much light to any room which I love during the spring and summer months. I love the look of the Genesis White Roller Blind from Direct Blinds as it looks modern, fresh and perfect for any room!

Are any of these items on your summer homeware wish list? Where do you like to buy homeware? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Images from the respective sites

*Are You Planning an Overseas Wedding?

Monday, July 30, 2018
Image from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings via Pinterest
Going overseas to hold your wedding is a very popular option for couples-to-be. There is something romantic about having a beach wedding where the weather can be guaranteed, and many couples like the idea of combining both their wedding ceremony and their honeymoon all in one tidy package.

Having your overseas wedding professionally filmed by an experienced wedding videographer will also help you to record your special day and capture the true feelings and emotions of the day in glorious colour and high quality sound. It is the perfect way to capture all the sights and sounds of your big day so you can relive every moment over again for years to come.

Professional wedding videographers are quite used to shooting wedding abroad, so will be happy to accommodate your needs. They will need to fly out in advance of your wedding to check out your wedding venue, so you can expect to have extra charges added on top of their regular prices to cover their flights and accommodation.

Tips For Booking Your Overseas Wedding 
Usually, a wedding videographer will only need to stay over for one or two nights at most and will travel back home after they have finished filming your wedding. However, you can help them out by doing some research of your own about the area you will be filming in, unless you have been there before and are pretty knowledgeable about the area.

Booking your flights early can also save you some money in the long run. Flight prices to tend to increase, so booking them as early as possible could work out cheaper, plus you will be able to factor in these costs into your budget as you will know exactly how much you have paid.

Check your baggage allowance – most airlines have a limit about how much baggage you can take with you and also what you are allowed to carry. Also, make sure that any precious or fragile items you will need to take out with you is securely packed in your hand luggage. The way that most hold luggage is handled and thrown about is quite eye-opening. The last thing you want is to discover on arrival that delicate items have been broken or smashed, such as the bridesmaids tiaras for example.

Videographer considerations
Remember that your wedding videographer will be carrying some very fragile and expensive equipment with them. Consider this when budgeting for flights that restrict carry-on baggage. Most videographers will carry such tools as a tripod, slider and glide cam. An experienced videographer will know how to carefully pack their equipment because some of it will need to go into the oversized baggage, but their camera and sound equipment is precious, so they will want to include them in their hand-luggage allowance.

Car Hire For Your Videographer
Unless you are planning to get married on an all-inclusive resort where your accommodation is very close to where your wedding ceremony will take place, your wedding videographer will need to have some sort of transport to carry their camera equipment around, which can be very heavy and bulky. Consider factoring in extra expenses such as a hire car that will allow your videographer to carry their equipment to and from your wedding venue.

This is also an important consideration should you plan to have the bride and groom preparation held in separate places. Travelling between two different venues to capture footage of your wedding preparations as well as travelling to your ceremony venue can take some planning and equipment coordination. A hire car may seem like an inconvenient added expense, but it may well work out much cheaper than relying on a taxi service that could end up costing a lot more than the price of a hire car.

Would you choose an overseas wedding? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

July Reading Wrap-up 2018

Sunday, July 29, 2018
July was a month in which I was unusually busy with birthdays, planning holidays, my dads retirement, a wedding rehearsal and bridesmaid duties as well as trying to not melt in the heatwave we had at the end of June and beginning of July (I managed to burn my arms and shoulder awfully so that was fun). Due to all of that and because of a couple of books I'll talk about in this post, it has been a very slow and disappointing reading month for me. It hasn't all been awful though as I loved being a bridesmaid, planning holidays is always exciting, I passed my photography course and July was my highest paid blogging month ever!

I managed to read nine books in July which doesn't sound too bad but most of the books were quite average for me and a couple of anticipated books actually put me into a reading slump which I haven't experienced for quite a while - I'd forgot how awful reading slumps can make your feel, especially as I had so many books on my TBR from publishers that I needed to get to but couldn't. I also listened to four audiobooks this month on BookBeat, three of which I loved!

*The Angel's Mark by S.W Perry (352 pages) ★★★
As we all know, I love historical fiction and if there's a historical fiction read that has medical elements then I'll want to read it and that's the case with The Angel's Mark. I was very kindly sent an arc from the publisher, thank you! Within the book we follow Nicholas Shelby (that name just makes me think of Peaky Blinders) as he experiences a tragedy that causes him to spiral into drunkenness and degradation which is a vast change from the bright, young physician he was.

Thankfully, he's saved from his degraded state by Bianca, an Italian tavern mistress and together they investigate the mystery of the bodies that have washed up from the Thames, all of which have a mysterious mark on them. What follows is an exploration of potential suspects and a race to find the killer among the espionage, superstition and heretical fervor of the time.

I absolutely adored the setting, the darker themes and the time in which the novel was set. I liked the writing style and the mystery kept me reading but I found it a little too slow paced which really didn't help my reading slump and the ending, in my opinion, was a little anticlimactic - I think the identity of the killer was revealed a little too soon and it didn't seem too shocking. However, despite the slow pace, it was interesting and I wanted to find out what was going to happen so if you like darker historical fiction then check out The Angel's Mark.
*An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (304 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
One of my goals for the year was to read longer books, over 500 pages, which I've completed each month but I do love books that you can consume within one day and the latest Shari Lapena read fit the bill perfectly! We follow a group of strangers as they all travel to a remote hotel during snow storm, the following events are very reminiscent of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Fun fact: my great, great, great step uncle (something like that) James Watts was married to Agatha Christie's sister, a very tenuous connection I know but it's interesting to me!

This is my first experience of Shari Lapena's writing and I loved the quick, easy but tension filled style. I adored the classic murder mystery feel in a modern New York setting with a host of unreliable, secretive characters. I finished this book in one day as I couldn't put it down, I wanted to find out how it would end and it was a genuinely entertaining, tension filled and compelling. However while reading I couldn't stop thinking about how similar it was to And Then There Were None in terms of some of the events, eerie tone and feel of the book so for me it lost some of it's uniqueness and shock. Despite the similarities, I thoroughly enjoyed this read - it's the perfect summer murder mystery read for fans of Agatha christie!

*From The Earth To The Shadows by Amanda Hocking (533 pages) ★★★
I read the first book in the series, Between The Blade And The Heart, earlier this year and liked it so I was excited when the second book arrived! As it's the second book in a series I can't say too much because I don't want to spoilt the first book for anyone but we follow on from the events of the first book. Both books are heavily inspired by norse mythology which I loved and even though there are a plethora of characters and creatures, it isn't too much overall. I liked the very quick and easy style, the super short chapters and the strange creatures, immortals and more magical, mystical elements. I rated the first book three stars and this second book received exactly the same rating, it did have a couple of negatives and the first was how cheesy it was at times, the romance didn't feel very genuine to me and it was a little too long on the whole. If you like YA fantasy and books inspired by norse mythology or mythology in general then definitely pick up these books. The arc edition I have is over 500 pages so it counts as my 'longer' book of the month.
*Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (480 pages) ★★★
Last year I read and loved Uprooted by Naomi Novak so I was incredibly excited when a copy of her latest book arrived as I couldn't wait to read it and it's so gorgeous designed, thanks Pan Macmillan! The edition of Uprooted that I have has a similar cover style so I'm glad they match as they're so gorgeous.

The story is inspired by Rumpelstiltskin and as with Uprooted it has such a magical, atmospheric tone. We follow Miryem who faces a life of poverty until she takes over her father's job as a moneylender resulting in rumours that she can turn silver into gold which naturally draws the attentions of the fairy king of winter, the Staryk king. Faries are notorious tricksters and he challenges Miryem to an impossible task but succeeding could lead to an even worse fate.

The writing style has the same tone and atmosphere as Uprooted which I liked but I did find it a so much slower to get into and it's definitely longer than Uprooted. I really struggled to get into this book, I don't know why (maybe because it's very slow paced). Also another negative is the first part of the book in particular is just so bleak and depressing, it was constant! It was just bleak scenes, beatings, domestic violence and poverty over and over again which doesn't make for enjoyable reading, especially as I felt like we were being hit over the head with it by the author.

Thankfully, it did get so much better by the 30% mark and I started to really enjoy it! I loved latter 70% of the book as it was filled with magic, mystery and a demon. I liked the main characters, the wintery kingdom setting and the action scenes towards the end of the book. I'll be honest and say that this book, in my opinion, is just too slow, too long and there were quite a few character perspectives in this book so I think it would have been useful to have one character perceptive per chapter with the characters name next to the chapter number to make it a little clearer.

Overall, I was initially very disappointed by this read as the first 30% or so was very slow, tedious and repetitive in my opinion but thankfully it did pick up and started to become mysterious, magical and entertaining. I can't help but compare Uprooted with Spinning Silver and while they both had a wonderful, magical and fairytale tone, I massively preferred Uprooted which I cannot recommend enough. I think I'm in the minority of readers who rated this a little average as most people seem to absolutely adore Spinning Silver but sadly I'm not one of them which I feel awful about especially as I was very kindly sent this stunningly designed book from the publisher. Don't get me wrong, most of my ratings are three stars (for me that's a very good and enjoyable book) but Spinning Silver just didn't live up to the massive hype for me.
*The King's Exile by Andrew Swanston (480 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
I read the first book, The King's Spy, in June so I had to read the rest of the trilogy straight away as I like the first! I can't say too much about this read as I don't want to spoil the first book for anyone but I will say that if you love historical fiction books then you'll love this series.

We carry on from the events of the first book but this second book contains a dramatic change of scenery, peril and a stifling atmosphere. I loved the setting of the first book and this one made a nice change. I really like Thomas Hill as a character, he feels quite genuine and vivid to me and I love the quick, easy writing style of these books. The second book received a slightly higher rating for me compared to the first but I loved both and I'd definitely recommend them!

*The King's Return by Andrew Swanston (448 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
After enjoying the second book, I moved onto the third and final book immediately which follows on from the rather dramatic events of the second book, The King's Exile. Our beloved main character, Thomas Hill, is now a little older and is enjoying a quiet life until a threat to the country, murder and a charming woman brings him back to the dangerous, grimy city of London.

All three books within this trilogy have a good pace, I never felt bored or that the pace was too slow and especially with the second and third books, there are lots of mysteries and action scenes to keep you turning the page of this interesting, easy and quick historical fiction series. I loved the character of Thomas Hill as well as Mary and Charles, I wanted to find out how the trilogy would conclude and I wasn't let down in the slightest. I never write about the books I've read in chronological order but this book was my final book of the month and it was my 100th book of the year!

*The Con Artist: A Novel by Fred Van Lente (288 pages) ★★★
I'm always very happy to receive unsolicited books from wonderful publishers so I was excited when this book arrived at the beginning of July as not only does it sound very unique but the cover is also so cute! The book follows a cartoonist/comic book artist as he is travelling from convention to convention which is how he makes a living after the breakdown of his marriage. When he arrives at San Diago Comic-Con he finds out that one of his friends, who he was there to present an award to, has died. What follows is a exploration into the freelance/creative lifestyle, the main characters relationships and a murder mystery...it's unlike anything else I've read.

Firstly, some of the comic-con, fandom and comic book references went straight over my head but apart from that it was definitely a quick, easy, fun and entertaining read. I liked the quick writing style, the murder mystery and some of the mentions to how difficult a freelance/creative lifestyle can be at the beginning of the book (eg: "jealousy is the creative professional's constant companion" and "social media provides a steady stream of nourishment to the envy demon" which I can relate to).

It is interspersed with pages of illustrations which I really liked; I also liked the dry, dark humour of the main character and it was quick and entertaining but as I'm not a huge fan of comic books and that genre, some of the references and topics within the book didn't fully interested me and went over my head. However if you are a comic book fan then definitely check out this book!
*The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (416 pages) ★★★
Next up is a chilling crime thriller from a huge figure in the nordic noir genre! Some of my favourite genres include mystery, crime and thrillers and this one has all three while being set in the eeriely beautiful country of Iceland. It's the second book in the series but as with most crime series, you don't necessarily have to read the first book to continue.

In The Reckoning we follow a criminal investigation with detective Huldar and psychologist Freyja as numerous crimes and mysteries come together from the past 20 or so years within Iceland involving a child rapist/murderer, his victims, the fall out for the families involved and the secrets, hidden records and damaging psychological effects on the way.

I have read a couple of books from this author previously and sadly I think this one is my least favourite but don't get me wrong I still found it interesting and I wanted to find out how the mysteries would tie up; however I found it such a slow read so much so that it almost put me into a slump. It was definitely an interesting series of mysteries, I liked the writing style and characters, it was a dark read and I think so many people would find it compelling but it wasn't fully for me. It wasn't the dark themes (it does get very dark, especially towards the end of the book and it has so many triggering topics such as rape, murder, abuse, grief, loss and more), it was just the pace of the book and it made a relatively straight forward mystery/connections seem more convoluted than they were which left me feeling frustrated and very 'meh' about this read sadly. However, if it sounds like something you'd want to read, or if you liked the first book, then definitely check it out.

*Wrecker by Noel O'Reilly (384 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
I received this book from the wonderful people at HQ at Harper Collins and it has to be one of the most beautiful books I own as not only it is gorgeously designed but it's a naked hardback! I absolutely adore the cover, it's stunning! Set in the wonderful, atmospheric and beautiful setting of Cornwall we follow Mary Blight who rescues a man from a shipwreck after a storm. Shipwrecks are a very common occurrence as is the practice of looting the washed up cargo and personal affects of the dead.

The story unfolds as the identity of the rescued man is unveiled as a minister and what follows is a look into the impoverished lives of the community, how religion plays a part in their lives and the intertwining lives of Mary and the rescued minister, Gideon, as they struggle with their feelings for each other, the judgement of the community and religious beliefs.

I loved the writing style which was quick and easy but had an eerie and darkly descriptive tone. It was a very quick read, I wanted to find out what would happen and I think the ending was as hopeful as it could have been given the events! I found Mary annoying at times but I also liked how she subverted the typical expectations and actions of women. There are some scenes of domestic violence in this book which made for slightly uncomfortable reading but thankfully it is viewed as negative in the book rather than normal part of life, however I think it could have been dealt with even better. I found some of the characters and their views frustrating at times and I'm not religious at all so some sections of the book were a little tedious but overall I really loved this novel! I'd definitely recommend it for fans of dark, bleak historical fiction.
*Awakened by James Murray via BookBeat ★★★ (3.5)
I was very kindly sent a physical copy of this book from the amazing people over at Harper Collins and I did read it a little but I listened to most of it as an audiobook. It's categorised as sci-fi, action and horror and I'd definitely agree!

The book opened with the unveiling and first journey on New York's new state of the art subway line which has been highly anticipated by New Yorkers, the mayor and the president, all of which are there for the maiden voyage. However when the train pulls into the station, something is wrong, the once bustling train is now empty and drenched in blood...

This audiobook reminded me so much of the first couple of episodes of The Strain TV show, adapted from a book of the same name from Guillermo del Torro which I loved. It has the same eerie feeling, a similar mystery and strange creatures so I think if you liked The Strain (the book, audiobook or TV show) then you'll love this book too. The audiobook narrator, the author James Murray was pretty good, although he's unable to speak in a French accent.

I definitely enjoyed this audiobook, it was easy to follow along to while cooking and take blog photos, it was fast paced and mysterious. It was a quick, easy audiobook and I'd definitely recommend it as a fast, eerie summer read with thriller, sci-fi and somewhat horror elements. My only negative was that it's nothing new, it reminded me so much of The Strain and for me, it didn't bring anything new to the table.

*Witchsign by Den Patrick via BookBeat ★★★★
Fantasy is one of my favourite genres so I'm always happy to check out a new fantasy series especially when it contains dragons, magic, secrets and mysteries along the way so I had to check out the audiobook on BookBeat of Witchsign. In Witchsign we are thrown into a world where magic and the rule of dragons has been extinguished but children are sometimes still born with marks of magic called witchsign. Children who are born with the witchsign are taken to taken away to an unknown place and that's where one of the main characters, Steiner, finds himself. What follows is an exploration of the old magic, dragons, magical abilities and rebellion.

I really liked this audiobook, the narrator was great and I adored the magic and dragons included in the book. I also loved the main characters, the world felt very vivid and I cared about the fate of the main characters which is something I haven't felt about an audiobook for a while so I'd definitely recommend it! I definitely want to carry on with the series and it's one of the highest rated audiobooks I've listened to for a long time.

*The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor via BookBeat ★★★ 
I listened to the first book in this series, The Ashes of London, in June and loved it so I had to move onto the second book. We follow on from the events of the first book with some of the same characters including the vivid James Marwood and the ever so slightly annoying Cat Lovett as well as some new and reprehensible characters. As with any second or third book, I can't say too much about this one as I don't want to spoil the first for anyone so I'll say that it has a similar tone to the first, I liked the narrator and the main characters. The story was a little forgettable in parts compared to the first but I still enjoyed it so I'd definitely recommend both.

*The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel via BookBeat ★★★
Hilary Mantel is an author that I've wanted to read/listen to for a while so when I saw this short audiobook on BookBeat, I had to give it a go, especially as it sounded so unusual. I really like the narrator, it was a very quick audiobook and I loved the first and last stories, especially the last which is The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher but to be honest, I think the rest just went over my head. I found the ten or so short stories to be interesting and explored the darker side of human nature which I enjoyed to a degree; however I just didn't seem to get on with them, if that makes sense.

Have you read or listen to any of these books? What are you currently reading? 

Summer Camping ft. Blacks Online #1

Saturday, July 28, 2018
I haven't really mentioned this on my blog but growing up, from the ages of around 7 to 13 or so, I went camping every summer with my parents, sister and friends to various places around the UK including Dorset, Llandudno and Oban. I absolutely loved camping, it was a great holiday and it meant that I grew up loving nature, horses and exploring - nothing has changed. I haven't been camping since I was around 15 years old which is ten years ago so a summer camping trip is definitely over due!

*Eurohike Cairns 5 Person Deluxe Tent (£80 - sale)
I was very kindly sent a few camping products from the very generous people over at Blacks Online. They stock a huge range of camping equipment, tents, footwear, accessories, essentials and clothing so you can pick up everything you need for your camping adventure! I was kindly sent the Eurohike Cairns 5 Person Deluxe Tent from Blacks as well as a couple of airbeds which I'll review in a separate post.
I have so many amazing memories of camping with friends and family such as paddling in the waters at the base of Ben Nevis, exploring the Great Orme (it's a Bronze Age copper mine), splashing around in the lido on the Llandudno promenade and almost being swept away by the wind at Fort William but it's not all happy memories as the tent set up and taking it down was extremely boring and sometimes painful experience - trapped fingers, caught skin and the horrendous feeling of boredom as a child/teen.

I didn't do much of the tent set up, the dads did that but it was still very tedious and boring so I wasn't looking forward to setting up this tent but thankfully it was a breeze! The tent we used when I was growing up was definitely bigger than this one and it had a plethora of poles, pegs and guide ropes, the latter was very easy to trip over! Our previous tent seemed to take an age to put up and to pack away; however the Eurohike tent took no longer than 20 minutes to put up and even less time to take down!
Unlike our previous behemoth of a tent, this one is still very spacious but it only has three poles that are needed to set it up which compared to the countless ones for the old tent is fantastic and it means that the set up is much quicker, easier and far less complicated. It really didn't take long to lay down the sheet, thread the poles through the slots of the tent and to hammer down the pegs so the tent is secure. In total it did only take around 20 to 25 minutes to set it up even in this heatwave - I think it was about 27 degrees on the day we put up the tent. You will have seen some of the set up on my instagram stories (@ofbeautyand).

The tent can fit five people which didn't seem possible considering that the tent came in such a relatively small, compact bag but it's like the tardis, it's bigger on the inside. It can easily fit two double airbeds in it (or five sleeping bags) with a little room to spare. There is a lot of space, it's taller and much bigger than I thought it would be. It also has a porch area which would be great to store muddy shoes and coats or chairs.
The tent was so easy to set up and it was very quick and easy to take down as well, thankfully as I was melting in the heat (naturally I was wearing black jeans too, not my best summer outfit choice). The poles fold down and both the tent and sheet are easily to roll up to fit back inside the small holdall style bag that it can be stored and transported in.

Overall, I'm so impressed with the Eurohike tent, the quality is fantastic, it's a great size (our previous tent was massive and very cumbersome) and it's very easy to transport. The set up process is what impressed me the most as it was incredibly quick and fuss free. I cannot recommend this tent enough and you can see some of the set up and inside of the tent in the short video below. Check out Blacks for camping equipment, tents and more!

Have you been camping? Will you be checking out Blacks? 

Cosy Candle July 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018
If you've followed my blog for the past few years then you'll know that I love subscription boxes and the more unique the better! Cosy Candles is a UK based soy wax melt subscription box service which  sounds amazing as I love candles and wax melts. I have a subscription box section on my blog if you want to read any more of my subscription box reviews from DegustaBox to Glossybox.

*Cosy Candle July 2018 (£14.99 - free delivery)
Each month there's a different scent theme but you will receive six large soy wax melts each month - the wax melts are approx. 80g each which is much larger than regular wax melts. There is approximately 480 hours of fragrance per box! The theme for the month of July is inspired by the Caribbean and tropical scents which is perfect for the current heatwave we've been having in the UK as it's now 30 degrees in Manchester (I'm melting, get it).

The scents within the July 2018 box are as follows: coconut lime, salted grapefruit, lilac, fresh cut grass, mango & passionfruit and lastly, wild mint. The melts are all very colourful which matches the theme perfectly and they are all SO unique, particually the heavenly salted grapefruit and wild mint fragrances. My favourite scents from the box have to include the mango & passionfruit, salted grapefruit and fresh cut grass.
Mango & Passionfruit smells incredibly sweet, fruity and topical - I LOVE it! I think it's my favourite scent of the six from the July box.
Salted Grapefruit is a scent that's really nostalgic to me but I can't put my finger on why; it's a lovely sweet, fresh, citrusy and almost creamy scent.
Fresh Cut Grass is one of my favourite scents ever so to have it in wax melt form is amazing! It's very fresh and nostalgic (again) as it reminds me of running around the field in primary school.
Lilac is the only floral scent in the box and it's perfectly sweet, floral, fresh and feminine which I love as it's a great everyday clean scent.
Wild Mint is another fantastic scent for hot, sticky heatwave days as it's so fresh, cooling and not overly minty.
Coconut Lime is sadly my least favourite of the six as it's the most artificially scented but it is very summery, creamy and coconutty!
The wax melts come well packaged and presented - if you follow me on Instagram then you'll have seen my unboxing of the July Cosy Candles box (@ofbeautyand). The wax melts are easy to cut up to fit within my small wax melt burner, the scents are so unique and they last for a while. The scent dispersion is pretty good and so far I'd definitely recommend them.

You can still buy the July box as if you subscribe in July then you'll receive the July box so unlike other subscription boxes, it's very easy to know what box you will receive. You can also buy the July box as a one off box or you can make your own!

To get your first box for only £3.99 (minimum three month Cosy Candle subscription), use the code: HEATHERCOSY.

What do you think of the Cosy Candle July 2018 box?

*Birthday Wish List ft. ONecklace

Thursday, July 26, 2018
I'm definitely a little early with this considering that my birthday is 19 days away but I always love writing wish list posts...they're much cheaper than actually buying everything I want! Today's post is my birthday wish list which naturally contains SO many books, Lush products and stripes, among others. I'm at that age when I'm dreading my birthday and becoming a year older but I do love presents!

Sudio Headphones  -  Lush Foundation  -  ONecklace Pink Ribbon Bracelet  -  Marc Jacobs  -  Joanie Clothing Top  -  Accessorize Bag

Lush recently came out with a new foundation and while it looks fairly impractical (How do you store that? How do you clean it?), it looks interesting! I definitely want to give the foundation a go, if I can ever match my skin tone as there are so many to choose from which is great, unless you are ghostly pale and have no idea which one to choose. Also one of my favourite bath bombs from Lush, Twilight, has been made into a body spray which I'd love.

Marc Jacobs fragrances (especially the heavenly daisy fragrances) and striped tops are two of my favourite things money can buy so they're naturally on my wish list along with yet another bag and a pair of Sudio Sweden headphones. We all know how much I adore the Sudio Sweden wireless earphones and I cannot recommend them enough but I'd love their white Regent headphones.

The rose gold bracelet from ONecklace looks so pretty, I love the simple Pink Ribbon design and rose gold jewellery is just gorgeous. It's rose gold plated and it is available in a range of size options to choose from. Additionally, with any purchase from their pink ribbon breast cancer awareness range, including this cute bracelet, they donate 15% of the profits to breastcancer.org which is fantastic! ONecklace has been featured in British Vogue as well as TV shows including Pretty Little Liars.
Now onto the books and this collage looks like quite a lot of books but it's only part of my current book wish list and saved items list on Amazon...there are so many amazing books currently out and an even longer list of books that I'm so excited for which are being released over the next few months!

All of these books are on my wish list but Medieval Bodies, Melmoth, Vicious, Circe and Smoke In The Sun are are the very top of my list along with a few that aren't in this post such as: A Gathering Of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, The Tower Of Living And Dying by Anna Smith Spark, The Priory Of The Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and The Binding by Bridget Collins.

Do you have any of the items on my wish list? What items or books are on your wish list? Are we friends on GoodReads?

*This is a sponsored post

*Dream Wish List

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Image from Pinterest
We all wonder at some point what we would do with a large amount of money, whether it's a lottery win, inheritance or your retirement/pension, for more information and ideas on the latter click here for Sunlife dream shopping basket tool. There are so many things I'd do with large sum of money, depending on the amount, here are just a few:

Visit Japan
One of the first things I'd do is book a range of holidays or cruises as memories are so much more important than physical items! I have a ridiculously long list of places I'd love to visit including Iceland, Greenland, America (New York, California, Alaska), Canada, Germany (I'm visiting Hamburg next month, so exciting) and Japan. Japan is such an incredibly beautiful country but even more so during the cherry blossom season!

Pay Off Student Loan 
A boring option is to pay off my rather large student loan from my time at university which is something I'm always worried about so it would be such a relief to have it fully paid off! While I absolutely loved my time at university (apart from the dreaded group presentations), it's such a huge investment.

Puppies!
I have wanted a puppy for as long as I can remember and while they aren't very expensive themselves, the other things that go into looking after a puppy can be such as insurance, changing the house alarm to be suitable for a puppy, food and vet bills. I would be so incredibly happy with a golden retriever, chow chow or samoyed puppy...puppies!

Move Out
Last but not least would be first on my list, if I did actually obtain or win a large sum of money. I still live with my parents which is something that I constantly feel awful about but it isn't something I can change yet. I'd love to move out, particularly to an area which is close to a national park or nature reserve.

If you obtained or won a large amount of money what would you spend it on? 

*Image from Pinterest
*This is a sponsored post

Summer Tea ft. Whittard Of Chelsea

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
July has been a very busy month in terms of events, being a bridesmaid, birthdays and holiday planning as well as the busiest blogging month ever so I'm a little behind with reviews, sorry! Today's post is all about three wonderfully refreshing summer teas from the very lovely people over at Whittard of Chelsea who I'm lucky enough to be working with on this post. If you follow me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand), then you'll have seen my unboxing of these pretty summer teas already.

*Whittard Cherry Blossom Mini Caddy (£7, 30g)
The new summer tea range is all about ditching plastic teabags and using a more environmentally friendly loose leaf tea which comes in these utterly gorgeous and very summery caddy containers. There are three to choose from or if you can't decide then you should purchase all three as they are currently on offer (3 for 2) in the Whittards summer sale so go, go, go.

My favourite caddy design of the three has to be the pretty in pink cherry blossom option which features some of my favourite flowers, cherry blossoms. I think the illustrations on the caddy packaging are so pretty, they look very vibrant in the kitchen and they'd make a lovely gift. One thing I love about the packaging is the cute second lid, which to me, it makes it look more expensive than it is. The cherry blossom flavour is a green tea with flavourings, peony flowers and rose petals so it looks very pretty when it brewing. I adore the scent of this tea, it's very cherry, floral and sweet smelling and when brewed it remains floral and summery.
*Whittard Passionfruit and Mango Tea (£7, 30g)
The cherry blossom tea reminds me of spring because the huge cherry tree in our garden is always in full bloom during the spring but this next tea definitely reminds me of summer, sunshine and holidays. The packaging design again is so pretty, jungle inspired and looks great with the other designs. It is a green tea with flavourings as well as mango pieces, pineapple pieces, orange petals and rose petals so naturally it smells like summer in loose leaf tea form!

I love that you can see the little mango and pineapple pieces and the petals within the tea - it just smells so delicious, refreshing and Whittards describes it perfectly as "exotic confetti". Unlike some loose leaf tea I've tried which are very subtly flavoured and fairly weak, these loose leaf teas are very flavourful so a little goes a long way! I like all three favour options but I think that this one is my favourite!
*Whittard English Fruits Mini Caddy (£7, 30g)
Last but not least is the tea with the most vibrant, colourful caddy and it's the English fruits option. I love the design for this caddy, it's so colourful and abstract. It's a black tea with flavourings and raspberries, apple and cranberry. As with the other two summer tea options, it's fresh and it is also fruity and berry flavoured without being overly sweet. Sadly out of the three options, it's my least favourite but I did still like it; however I think the passionfruit and mango tea is the overall winner for me!

*Pao Mug (£18, clear)
I have definitely been put off from buying loose leaf tea because I think it's going to be messy, inconvenient and to be honest, with some infusers in the past it has been! However, Whittards have the answer to clear, fuss free loose leaf tea brewing with their Pao mug which comes in a variety of colours but I had to choose the more unusual clear glass option.
The Pao mug isn't just a mug, it comes with an infuser! The glass mug is the perfect size, it looks so unique (I also love the glass tea cup I have) and it is ideal for iced tea. The stainless steel infuser is so easy to use, very quick to clean and the mug comes with a little tray to place the used infuser on when it has done it's job - the tray can also be used as a lid for your Pao mug. Don't worry about the glass mug as it's composed of borosilicate glass which is heat resistant and very durable.

I'm loving the summer teas from Whittards especially the passionfruit and mango tea and the Pao mug is a must too, it makes brewing loose leaf tea so quick, easy and mess free - it's also plastic free which is definitely a plus. Check out their current summer sale which features all three of the teas I've reviewed in today's post!

Will you be checking out the Whittards summer tea range or their summer sale? Do you like loose leaf tea?

*How To Choose The Right Wedding Ring

Monday, July 23, 2018
Image from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings via Pinterest
A wedding ring is one of the most symbolic and sentimental pieces of jewellery you are likely to ever own. This is a piece of jewellery you are going to potentially wear every day, so it needs to be something that you won’t get tired of looking at and suits your style.

Visiting a jeweller, such as Peter Jackson can help to steer you in the right direction, but with so many options and combinations available how do you start narrowing down your choice?

Material
You can start refining your search for the perfect ring in a number of ways. One way to really focus your search is to decide on a material. Traditionally this can be a gold, white gold or silver band. However, in recent years other metals such as platinum, cobalt and tungsten have become more popular.

Each material has its own quirks and requirements for keeping the ring looking its best, however your initial choice is going to probably come down more to colour. For example, do you want something bright like a gold or silver ring? Or would you rather have something more understated like a brushed metal or darker tungsten band? Keep in mind that both rings don’t need to match, this means there’s a lot more opportunity to have something that is still symbolic of you being part of a union but still fits with your personality and style.

Shape
Wedding rings are often viewed as a straightforward piece of jewellery, and most wedding rings are intentionally simple looking. However, there’s a lot of variance in the shape a wedding ring can take. From the width and thickness of the band to whether or not there are raised elements and engravings which can change how a ring feels when you wear it.

You might have an idea of the sort of style you want but until you go and try rings on you might not realise that it doesn’t necessarily look or feel right and that you might be better suited to something else. This can help you to refine your options even further, or help introduce you to a potential style of ring you’d never thought of.

The Fit
You need to make sure a ring is comfortable as well as looking good. You should make sure your rings fit properly, and that the shape and style you think you’d like are comfortable to wear. Some metals, such as cobalt or tungsten can’t be resized, meaning if you can’t get one in your size and it has to be custom made it could put that ring out of your budget. This might unfortunately cut off some options, however many jewellers will be able to suggest alternatives which you might have overlooked.

A ring shouldn’t be overly tight and should sit comfortably on your finger. When you’re going to start shopping for wedding rings you need to go and get measured. This way you know whether your size is readily carried in store or needs to be ordered in. This should also give you an indication of how long it will take for your ring to be ready so it’s worth not leaving the ring shopping to the last minute.

Budget 
The final way to narrow your choice of ring down is cost. Weddings can be incredibly expensive, with many couples creating detailed budgets to help curb their spending. Deciding on a budget for your wedding rings can help you narrow your search down. However, keep your overall budget in mind.

Perhaps you saved more on a photographer or venue than you expected, giving you some extra cash within your budget, this could give you some wiggle room within your budget to accommodate a ring slightly out of your initial price range.

Finding your perfect wedding rings can be a lot of fun, and is one of the more enjoyable parts of wedding planning. Thinking about what you want, and finding a ring that marries up to your personal style, can help make an already special piece of jewellery feel even more important and special.

How did you choose your wedding ring? What would your dream ring look like? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

Summer Beauty Favourites 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018
Today's post is long over due! I have so many products that I've been loving recently but I haven't had the time to rave about them until now. All of these wonderful beauty, skincare and pampering products have been favourites for up to the past couple of months and I cannot recommend them enough!

July has been a pretty busy month with my friends wedding, bridesmaid duties, birthdays, holiday planning and more. July wasn't a great reading month or a good skincare month but on a positive note, July was my highest paid blogging month in my five years of blogging which I'm so happy with.

The brands in todays post are as follows: Absolute Aromas, Rio Rosa Mosqueta, Vitage Skincare, PMD Skincare, Kathleen UK and Lee Stafford. I cannot recommend these products enough especially for the summer season and the heatwave we've been having for what seems like years at this point in the UK.
*Vitage Skincare Age Defence Firming Eye Serum (£36, 15ml) 
When it comes to unnecessary skincare I used to think that eye creams belonged in that category, until I tried this eye serum! I was very lucky to receive an amazing surprise blogger mail package of festival beauty goodies from the lovely people over the Vitage Skincare and I'm so grateful as I genuinely love every single product. The firming eye serum peptides, botanicals and antioxidants to moisturise, smooth and firm the under eye area.

I love the packaging for all of the Vitage Skincare products and this one is no different. The eye serum has a slight cooling effect, it absorbs fairly quickly and it immediately smoothes and hydrates the skin so that my concealer and foundation look amazing - which is impressive considering how very dry my skin is. I cannot recommend this eye serum enough!

*Vitage Skin Defence SPF 30 (£26, 100ml)
There are three particular Vitage products I've been using constantly including the eye serum, skin calming aloe gel and this SPF cream. As I've mentioned, we have been having a rather ridiculous heatwave in the UK recently so SPF has been very necessary and this one is great; the cream absorbs quickly, it doesn't irritate my skin or leave a greasy feeling on the skin.
*Vitage Skincare Skin Calming Aloe Gel (£14, 100ml)
Before I received the surprise parcel from Vitage Skincare, I went to Heaton Park for a few hours and I managed to burn my arms and neck awfully! I haven't had any sun burn for years and I didn't really have any products to help my skin heal so the parcel arrived very timely so thankfully I could use the aloe gel to calm my painful sun burn. Aloe gel is a natural anti-inflamatory so it's perfect for sun burn!

*Vitage Skincare Advanced Moisture Boost (£39, 50ml)
Last but not least is a fantastic, effective and fuss free moisturiser which has been perfect for my sensitive and dry skin. The moisturiser contains nourishing oils, green tea extract, calendula oil and more so it is deeply hydrating and smoothing. I know the price is a little steep but I can't recommend Vitage Skincare products enough because they've worked so well for my temperamental skin.
*Absolute Aromas Relaxation Epsom Salts (£4.50, 300g)
Baths aren't usually something I love during the summer months but cooler baths with muscle relaxing and unwinding epsom salts are amazing especially on pamper days. Absolute Aromas epsom salts are composed of magnesium sulphate which is well known for their abilities to relax and restore muscles, soothe the skin and ease back pain and aches. The relaxation salts contain lavender oil, clove bud oil, chamomile flower oil and more lovely natural ingredients. The bath salts smell incredible, it's such a relaxing and calming scent that I've been loving. If you are in need of a solution to aching muscles then check out these surprisingly effective bath salts.
*Kathleen UK Tranquil Fields Body and Massage Oil (£34, 100ml)
If you've been following my blog for a while then you'll know how much I adore anything that is lavender scented so this product is perfect! I also love pampering evenings so it's a double win with this heavenly scented body and massage oil. The oil has such a gorgeous, relaxing and calming scent that instantly makes me feel much more relaxed. I've been using a very small amount as a body oil on the drier areas of the skin and it leaves my skin so smooth, moisturised and nourished.

*Kathleen Tranquil Fields Bubble Bath and Shower Gel (£18, 150ml)
The second and final product from the lovely UK based brand, Kathleen, is their bubble bath and shower gel in the matching Tranquil Fields scent. The shower gel smells just as lovely and relaxing as the body and massage oil; it isn't a basic lavender scent as it's creamy which makes it much more unique. The shower gel lathers so well, a little goes a long way and it doesn't irritate my skin at all! This is my first experience using Kathleen products and I can't recommend them enough as lovely pampering products.
*PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device (£89)
In the early days of blogging, the thing to have was the much coveted and expensive Clarisonic (I did buy one in the end, bloggers are such enablers). I sadly haven't used mine for a while but I've found something missing from my skincare routine recently, thankfully the PMD Clean has fit the bill wonderfully.

PMD is a brand I've been lucky enough to work with previously and I find their products to be very effective and this cleansing device is no different. The device vibrates over 7,000 per minute to deeply cleanse the skin as well as firming, lifting and toning the skin as well. Unlike the Clarisonic it is composed of ultra-hygienic silicone which is waterproof and hypoallergenic.
I've been using the device for around two weeks so far which isn't very long but my initial impressions are very good and so far I'm loving it. My skin has been looking very dull and quite congested over the spring and summer months and this deeply cleansing device has definitely been making a massive difference to the clarity and smoothness of my skin since using it with my range of cleansers.

It works well with so many creamy, gel or foam cleansers cleansers as it helps the cleanser lather and deeply massage the skin to cleanse well. It gently massages the skin but it doesn't irritate my skin which is something I have to consider as my skin is annoyingly dry and eczema prone. It's wireless, easy to use and very quick to throughly cleanse my skin so for me, it's an essential skincare product for summer.
*Lee Stafford Cactus Crush Shampoo (£7.99, 250ml)
Now onto my favourite haircare products for quite a while, the new 'cactus crush' range from Lee Stafford. Lee Stafford is such a nostalgic brand to me as I used it almost constantly for years as a teenager, especially their poker straight range! I'm so happy to try their new products because they not only look so cute and summery but they smell nice and they're wonderful for my very dry and super long hair. It lathers really well, it's very mosiurisng and smoothing so I cannot recommend it enough as even during the summer months my hair is very dry and slightly...wild.

*Lee Stafford Cactus Crush Conditioner (£7.99, 250ml)
As with the shampoo, I'm loving the conditioner from the range as it's so moisturising and detangling - my hair is hip length now and it can resemble a birds nest most of the time (I cannot wait to get it cut next month, 10 inches off!) so it needs all of the help it can get. The conditioner massively helps to detangle and tame my hair which is so impressive; if your hair is similar to mine then you'll adore this range.
*Lee Stafford Cactus Crush Mucho Moisture Mask (£8.99, 200ml)
Another lovely product from their new range is the hair mask which I've used a couple of times and I'm loving it. I rarely use hair masks on wet hair, I find that it doesn't really work well for my hair, so I apply a hair mask all over my scalp and hair while it's dry the I'll wash it out after an hour or so. The mask leaves my hair so smooth, moisturised and silky!

*Lee Stafford Cactus Crush Dazzle Drop (£8.49, 50ml)
Usually I'm never really interested in any kind of shine spray or shine drops as I always think that they'll leave my hair greasy or oily but as with the Vitage Eye Serum, I've been proven wrong! The dazzle drops are ideal for me to smooth any the plethora of frizz and flyways while adding a little healthy shine to my hair. Boots currently have a 3 for £15 offer on this new range so I'd recommend you take advantage of the offer as I'm so happy with this new range from Lee Stafford.
*Rio Rosa Mosqueta Rosehip Discovery (£12.95)
Next month I'm lucky enough to go on a weekend away in the Lake District with friends and I'm going on a European cruise at the end of August; I'm so excited for both and I need all of the travel minis! In comes Rio Rosa to the rescue with their new discovery set which is perfect for trailing their products for the first time or for taking with you on holiday or a weekend away.

The kit contains the cream cleanser (20ml), anti-ageing day and night cream (20ml) and the pure chilean rosehip seed oil (5ml), the latter comes with a pipette which is so handy. I love the packaging, all of the products are vegan and they are very gentle but effective so they tick all of the boxes! Some of the lovely natural ingredients included are as follows: macadamia seed oil, avocado oil, aloe vera leaf juice, shea butter and rosa mosqueta oil among others.
I've been using the products recently and I'm loving them! I've worked with Rio Rosa previously and I loved their body butter but this is my first time using their skincare and I'm impressed. I have dry, eczema prone and temperamental skin which can transform from normal skin to sensitive, flaky and very comfortable skin within a day so I need to use nourishing, gentle and natural products that are effective and these are all amazing for my skin.

So far the lovely anti-ageing day and night cream is my favourite product of the three as it's very soothing, moisturising and nourishing! I think the facial oil will be perfect when the autumnal months come around which if I'm honest, I cannot wait for as it's the best season (don't argue with me on this). If you're looking for a lovely natural skincare brand then look no further than Rio Rosa Mosqueta.

Have you tried any of these products or brands? Which products would you recommend for the summer months? 

*4 DIY Recipes Using Essential Oils

Friday, July 20, 2018
Image from A Pair and A Spare via Pinterest
Essential Oils are all around us; in the lotions we use, in perfumes, in bath bombs, etc. But do you know what else is in those items? A long list of ingredients many cannot even pronounce. By using essential oil for yourself, you can add a sense of relaxation and nature to your life.

Increase Energy
If you're struggling against the afternoon slump like many of us, you could use different oils to help increase productivity and energy. Citrus and Herbal Oils can help perk you up and give you the boost you need to get through the day! Many turn to strong scents such as orange essential oil for energy but earthy scents such as rosemary and cinnamon are proven to increase alertness. And of course, adding lavender to your pillow will drift you off to a good night's rest. By being well rested, you can kick that slump goodbye!

Fix Common Skin Problems
Tea Tree Oil is known for its antibacterial properties but did you know that it can cure acne, cold sores, and even your dry scalp? By adding it to a carrier oil such as coconut oil, you can treat problem areas efficiently. Just remember that tea tree oil cannot be ingested. Since too much tea tree oil can actually dry your skin, you will want to start with a small amount and listen to your body.

Stomach Pain and Nausea
Everyone suffers from nausea and stomach cramps from time to time. Instead of reaching for a bottle of medicine, try reaching for some peppermint oil! By applying a few drops to your stomach - potentially mixed with coconut oil or water if your skin is sensitive - you can help alleviate symptoms. Peppermint Tea is a know digestion and nausea aid, but many don't drink tea or could grow impatient waiting for tea to brew. By adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water, you can quickly treat nausea in a natural way. For some, nausea and headaches team up to try to ruin your day, but by putting peppermint oil on your temples, you can wish this pain away.

Clean and Refresh
Your Home You can easily create an all-purpose cleaner by adding lemon essential oil to a mix of water, vinegar, and soap. This will not only efficiently clean your home but will also add a nice scent. By adding black pepper essential oil, you can even fight against bacteria like salmonella and e. coli. If you'd like to add a sense of relaxation to your home, you can add lavender and chamomile essential oil to water to create an easy room freshening spray.

Though you could simply buy an oil diffuser and breathe in scents of your choice, essential oil can do so much more than that. Why not harness the full capability of essential oils by creating your own health and beauty DIYs with them?

About The Author: Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, attorney, interior decorator, strategic leader and owner of Pure Path Essential Oils. She has an eye for business, innovation and perfection - and a desire to help her family, her friends and herself live a healthy and happy life.

Do you use essential oils? If you do, what do you use them for? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

*Tips To Earn Extra Money

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Image from Stephaniester Jovski via Pinterest
Before I started my blog I used to write product reviews online for amazon vouchers, it was the starting point and from that experience I created my blog. I don't think I would have started my blog if it wasn't for the experience of write reviews online and it was a great way for me to earn a little money or voucher while in college. Today's post is all about ideas to earn a little extra money which I thought would tie in nicely with a question I've been asked recently and that's how to earn money from your blog - July has been my highest paid blogging month ever which I'm incredibly thankful for!

Surveys & Cashback When Shopping
Let's start with what I've already mentioned and that's online surveys and reviews. I used to write on DooYoo and Ciao UK, both of which I'd highly recommend! I used both sites for a couple of years and it was a very easy way to earn money and Amazon vouchers, although it isn't a very quick process. I'm not sure if it has changed since I used it but you don't get products to review, you just review items you already own so why not use a cash back site and get a little money back from your purchases.

Car Boot Sale 
Since just before spring time, I decided to have a massive clear out of all my beauty products, craft supplies, accessories and clothes to sell at a car boot sale. I had to get rid of almost half of my wardrobe because of my weight loss and thankfully we were able to get around £400 for three car boot sales this spring/summer!

Earn Money From Your Blog 
Now onto the final point and the one that I think most people would be interested in, earning money from blogging. I started my blog in 2012 while at uni and it wasn't until at least two years later that I was able to earn anything from my blog - it takes a lot of patience, hard work, time and passion to even think about earning from your blog. In my opinion, you can't start a blog with the sole purpose of earning money (especially not quickly) it doesn't work like that and you need to write about something you're passion about or interested in otherwise, who will want to read your posts.

The main source of income from my blog is through sponsored posts, such as this one. I've been asked a few times on social media how I come across these opportunities and it's mainly through looking on #bloggerswanted etc hashtags on twitter, on blogger facebook groups and through existing PR contacts for my years of blogging. Additionally, offering advertising package, banner ad placement and sponsored social media posts are other options.

Sadly, sometimes there are unexpected expenses that a little extra money from smaller sources such as the ones I've mentioned aren't enough. Another alternative is a short term loan so why not check out CashLadys city credit index which shows data concerning average loan request, monthly income and top employers for various cities across the UK such as Manchester, Edinburgh and London, among others.

Do you have any tips to earn extra money? Would you opt for a short term loan? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

Bubblegum Balloons

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Today's post is a little different but also appropriate for something coming up next month...my birthday! My 26th birthday is on the 15th August and while I am dreading my birthday, I do love presents and the excuse to eat whatever I want! Books are at the top of my birthday wish list but balloons are also cute (and very instagramable) gifts!

*Bubblegum Balloons - One Dozen Rose Gold Heart Balloons (£45)
I was very kindly sent one dozen beautiful rose gold heart shaped balloons from the lovely people at Bubblegum Balloons a while ago (sorry it's taken me so long to publish the post!). If you follow me on Instagram (ofbeautyand) then you will have seen the balloons already on my feed and stories. Naturally I had to choose the rose gold coloured balloons, the blogging community would probably disown me if I didn't!
The balloons are tied and weighted as well as pre-filled so they are all ready to be gifted to your lucky recipient! They come in a very large cardboard box so they are protected, the delivery time was quick and they all arrived full. The rose gold shade is just gorgeous, it's so metallic and looks very pretty - it's also quite unique!

I have the rose gold heart shaped balloons but they come in other shapes such as stars, crescent moons, diamond, cubes, numbers and letter as well as words so there is every style you could want. In addition to the rose gold shade, gold and silver balloons are available too but obviously the rose gold balloons are my favourites.
You know that saying of never work with babies or animals, I'd also like to add balloons to that as they did take a while to shoot (thanks to the wind) but they do look so gorgeous and the photos don't do them justice! The dozen balloons makes for a large, unique gift and it looks very substantial; as well as a gift it would also make a great decoration for a party, baby shower or anniversary.

I had mine since the 26th June and they were still pretty much fully inflated on the 16th July, if a little worse for wear for being buffeted around by the wind. I shared some of mine out to my friends toddlers to enjoy so they would make a great decorations come party favours. I'm so surprised by the longevity of the balloons, I don't think I've had helium filled balloons last this long before! I cannot recommend Bubblegum Balloons enough!

What do you think of these balloons? Will you be checking out Bubblegum Balloons?