Koja Beauty: Current Favourites

Thursday, August 30, 2018
I was very kindly sent an amazing box of goodies from Koja Beauty back in June and I'm only just getting round to reviewing them (sorry!). However, even though I haven't been talking about these products on my blog, I have been using them constantly and absolutely loving them! Three of the four of these products have become some of my ultimate favourites from the past two months.

*Dear Klairs Mochi BB Cushion (£23.20) 
Let's start with the cutest makeup item I have in my collection, this adorable BB cream from Klairs. The BB cream has a cute little bear face on the front as well as more cuteness inside! Korean and Japanese beauty packaging is so much better than western packaging. The BB cream itself is fantastic as it is lightweight and dewy but it isn't heavy or greasy feeling as I find some BB cream can be.

The BB cream seems to only come in one shade but thankfully it matched my very pale skin really well, which I wasn't expecting from the shade in the packaging. It has light coverage which is great for the summer, it doesn't emphasise dryness and it lasts well when set with a translucent powder. Western BB creams cannot compare at all to the originals!
*Dear Klairs Illuminating Supple BB Cream (£17.50 - SALE)
Next up, my favourite item from all of the goodies I was sent! While I love the cute bear BB cream, this one has more coverage and it just makes my skin look amazing while letting it breathe, giving it some glow and adding a little moisture. I also love the packaging as it's very travel friendly and as you're reading this, it will be in my suitcase. I'm not taking a foundation on holiday this year, I'm taking this BB cream and a sample of one from Skin 79 (which is also amazing). If you're looking for a fantastic everyday BB cream then look no further than the Dear Klairs Illuminating Supple BB Cream.

*Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (£20)
Now onto the skincare and the first is my least used but I'm still loving it, it's a concentrated vitamin C serum - we all know that I love a good serum! I have dry and sensitive skin so I was a little cautious about this product but it doesn't irritate my skin at all. I don't really see any brightening or transformative effects from this serum but maybe I'm not using it frequently enough. I'm giving away a new bottle of this serum and two of their sheets masks on my birthday giveaway - check out the post to enter.
*Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner (£17.99)
One skincare item that I never seem to use is toner but I have actually been loving this one over the past two months. It is a non-drying toner so it doesn't feel like it's stripping or drying out my skin and it doesn't irritate my skin either! If you are looking for a basic, no fuss toner then look no further.

*Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum (£21)
One of my favourite skincare items from the range I was sent has to be the lightweight but very hydrating soothing serum from Dear Klairs which I've been using along with the last product and they have been very effective. The serum doesn't irritate my skin, it absorbs quickly and it is the perfect base for under makeup.

*Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream (£22.30)
Last but not least is my favourite item of skincare from Dear Klairs and another item that I'm taking on holiday. Moisturisers are my most used skincare item and I always love trying something new but I have to proceed with caution because of my sensitive, eczema prone skin; however none of these products have caused any irritation - definitely check out this brand if you're looking for gentle but effective skincare. Additionally, it's cruelty free and vegan!

Have you tried any of these products? Will you be checking out Koja Beauty?

DegustaBox: August 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018
I'm lucky enough to receive a few subscription boxes to review, one of which is DegustaBox, and I'm so grateful! All of the boxes I've received have been fantastic and I'm always excited to see what I've received - I love the mystery of subscription boxes. As I'm lucky enough to be a DegustaBox ambassador, I receive items (one or two) from the alcohol box and others that you won't receive in yours.

*DegustaBox - August 2018 (use the code KVAA2 to get your box for £7.99)
I like the themed boxes but this one doesn't really have a theme apart from a variety of useful items and snacks as well as breakfast goodies. I hope they make a fully halloween themed box! There are twelve items in the box which are all full sized and range from noodles and snacks to drinks, cereal and sweets. I always love the variety of these boxes, especially as a vegetarian and I know that they'll be numerous items from me in each box.

*Dorset Cereals Spectacular Grains (£3.49)
Let's start with my favourite item in terms of packaging and the product itself and one of the breakfast items. There are three flavours available but I received the raspberries and apple with toasted spelt and popped buckwheat. I am SO glad that I received this flavour option as I adore raspberries, apples and the popped buckwheat tastes like popcorn, yes! This is by far one of my absolute favourite items from this box and from the past couple of boxes.
*Liobites Smoothie Bites (£1.99 each)
Now onto my second favourite items from the box! I've tried these in a previous box and loved them so I glad to have more flavours. They are natural fruit crisps, they're 100% natural and high in nutrients - they are vegan too. Additionally, each packet is one of your five a day, talk about healthy snacking. I received both flavours but the mango, banana and passionfruit bites are my favourite.

*Rowntree's Randoms 30% Less Sugar Pouch (£1.29)
I think I received something very similar in last months box and sadly again as I'm a vegetarian I can't eat these as they contain gelatine but I will definitely pass these onto a friend as I know they'll love them. If they made a vegetarian version of these, I'd be so happy!
*Boka Bar (75p each)
Switching back to the healthy snacks are these two Boka Bars which are low fat, low sugar and low salt cereal bars - they are also under 100 calories. I am going on holiday today as you are reading this and I'm taking these bars along with the drinks with me for the long train journey as they'll be perfect. I think I'm going to love both but especially the apple and cinnamon flavoured bar, particularly with autumn just around the corner.

*Crooked Beverage Co Alcoholic Soda (£2 each)
The product of the month for August is a beautifully designed and packaged alcoholic soda from Crooked Beverage Co. There are three flavours you could receive but I received the raspberry lime flavour - I love anything raspberry flavoured. I have tried a little of this and loved it - I definitely prefer non-artificial flavoured drinks and this ticks that box. It's only 46 calories and is made with natural ingredients rather than heavy syrup and synthetic flavours.
*Gunna Craft Soft Drinks (£1.09 each)
If you opted for the alcohol box then you'll have received the soda I previously mentioned but there are soft drinks for the non-alcohol box. You receive two flavour out of a range of four and I received the natural ginger and aromatic flavour as well as the natural lemon and mint, the latter was my favourite as I'm not a fan of ginger as a flavour - unless it is in gingerbread! They contain less sugar that other soft drinks and they contain 100% natural flavours.

*Maggi Noodles (£1.39)
One of my favourite foods to eat are noodles, I absolutely adore noodles although these didn't state that they were suitable for vegetarians so I wasn't sure. I've googled it a little and I'm still not sure, there seems to be some ambiguity as to whether Maggi noodles are suitable for vegetarians or not.
*Good Hemp Unsweetened Dairy Free Drink (£1.60)
Next up is a product I almost bought myself a month or so ago, hemp milk. I have been drinking and using oat milk for years and now I've switched over to almond milk. I have wanted try other dairy free milk options for a while so I'm glad there's one in this months box. It's gluten, lactose and dairy free and it is free from nuts, soya and genetically modified ingredients. It definitely has more of a taste to it compared to the oat milk and almond milk I've tried - I need to try it out a little more.

*Illy Instant Smooth Taste Coffee (£5.85)
The most expensive item in the box is this coffee that I'm yet to try. It's a brand I've seen everywhere and the decscription on the DegustaBox leaflet sounds delicious - "well balanced, velvety coffee characterised by sweet, floral and fruity notes - naturally fragrant with aromas of almond and honey". I adore coffee, I drink it every day so I cannot wait to try this.
*John West Infusions Salad Tuna Fillets (£2.29)
I'm sure that this is another brand we have received in a previous box, although it was a while ago. I'm a vegetarian so this isn't for me at all but my dad loves tinned fish (it smells disgusting to me though) and he really liked it!

Overall, this was a fantastic box and one that the timing of was perfect as I was going to buy trains snacks the day it arrived but I don't need to now thanks to the Liobites smoothie bites and the Boka Bars as well as the drinks. My favourite items in the box have to include the delicious cereal, the smoothies bites and the soft drinks.

Use the code KVAA2 to get your box for only £7.99 which is amazing value for money!

Have you tried any of these products? Are you subscribed to DegustaBox

GlossyBox - Pride Edition

Saturday, August 25, 2018
I always love receiving subscription boxes to review but one of my all time favourites, that I was subscribed to years ago, is GlossyBox as they always have decent sized or full sized items rather than sachet samples. I also love how well put together their boxes are and the themes are always interesting - this months theme is pride!

*GlossyBox August - Pride 
The pride box is so beautifully and simply designed, I love it! Within this month box there are six full sized items which is amazing as the total comes to £58 so you are getting a lot for your money this month. There are five full sized makeup items in the box too which is great as makeup and lifestyle items are some of my favourites to receive in subscription boxes.
*Trifle Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Jam (£17.50)
Let's start with the product that has the cutest packaging, closing followed by the Victoria Secret Pink mask. I have tried a palette from this brand in a previous box and really liked it so I'm glad that there's another item from Trifle Cosmetics (did this brand used to be called Jelly Pong Pong?). I love lip and cheek tints but you always have to be quite precise and quick with the application for a neat result. I like this one as a lip colour and it's 99% natural which is fantastic!

*Rimmel London Ink Me Heart Stamp (£4.99)
There are two Rimmel products in the box and Rimmel is such a nostalgic brand for me as it was the first makeup brand I ever tried! These two Rimmel products do remind me of the 90's and early 00's, they would have been in every teen magazine. This cute stamp is in the shape of a heart so it adds a little eyeliner style stamp to the skin which would be perfect for festivals or pride (Manchester pride is taking place this weekend and sadly I'm away but I would have loved to go this year!).
*Victoria Secret Pink Let's Pre-Glam Perfecting Sheet Mask (£5)
There are a couple of products from this box that I haven't got round to trying yet and this is one of them but it sounds fantastic. It contains one of my favourite skincare ingredients, hyaluronic acid which is ideal for my dry skin. I adore the packaging of this mask but sadly I'm not a huge fan of sheet masks, mainly because they never seem to fit very well!

*Rimmel London Sticker Tattoos (£4.99)
The second product I haven't had the time to try are these cute golden temporary tattoos and body sticks from Rimmel. I used to love temporary tattoos, body glitters and body gems back in the 90's but I don't really think they are for me now. However, these golden designs are so pretty and they'd be perfect for a festival or pride.
*3INA Shadow Paint in 703 (£8.95)
I have seen this brand on Urban Outfitters and Asos for years but I haven't tried anything - it's always intrigued me through as the packaging is very unique and almost utilitarian. This product is a highly pigmented, creamy eyeshadow which is cruelty free (yay!) and waterproof. Everyone receives the same shade which is 703, a very deep navy blue that would be ideal for the upcoming autumnal weather and trends. Colour blocking eyeshadow was seen at Peter Pilotto and pastel blues shades at Boss Woman. I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of cream eyeshadows and this one is no different as it's quite messy, the dark shades leaves no room for untidy edges and on my deeper set eyes, it does tend to crease.
*Kaledido Cosmetics Astrolight Highlighter (£13)
The final item from the very colourful August pride box was a very pretty highlighter from a brand I haven't heard of before - one of the best things about beauty subscription boxes for me is discovering new brands and products, as well as getting to play with new makeup and skincare. The highlighter is 100% cruelty free which is always great to hear!

It does have a scent to it which I'm not a massive fan of due to my sensitive skin but the highlighter itself is very pretty on the skin. I use a very tiny amount and blend well as the shade isn't quite right for my ghostly pale skin but it does give a pretty glow.

Overall, while there were a couple of disappointing products in this months box, for me personally, it is still a wonderful selection of products that I haven't tried before. I love the highlighter and the lip tint along with the adorable Rimmel heart stamp. I'd rate this months box: ★★★★, 4/5.

Did you received the August Pride box from GlossyBox? Have you tried any of these products? 

*Work + Home Office Essentials

Friday, August 24, 2018
Image from A Beautiful Mess via Pinterest
I've been working from a home office since my time in university and since then it has changed considerably from a dull, utilitarian space to a more clean, fresh and comfortable room which is much more conducive to work, for me at least. There are a few work and home office essentials I've discovered, from the very basics to others that are a little more obvious yet important and understated. 

Desk 
One of the most important aspects of any office, whether at home or at work, is a desk. Mine is from Ikea, it's white, clean and is the perfect size for the room and for what I need. I love desks with added storage or something a little more unique about them such as glass topped desks (which I love and will probably buy next) to more modern, modular office furniture - the latter is perfect for a work place as it's sleek, professional and easy to switch up, move around and change. Additionally, a tidy space means a tidy mind which is something I always stick by as if my desk is cluttered then I tend not to be as productive. 

Office Chairs
Next up, a comfy ergonomic chair is another must for a work or home office. I think the most common are mesh office chairs which I do like the look of but for my home office I definitely prefer something a little more homely and larger. I tend to spend most of the day in my home office so it needs to be comfortable but again, as with my desk, I think I do need an upgrade soon and I might opt for a cosy, homely chair instead. 
Image from Calibre Furniture 
Stationery
Stationery is something I can't get enough of, I'm constantly buying more but I do use it everyday for to-do list, notes and ideas. I always have a fulled stocked stationery drawer in my desk that is filled with notebooks, sticky notes, pens, page makers and my bookmarks so it's all together. I adore Kikki K stationery as well as notebooks from Old English Co and my personalised Ryman notebook

Light
Last but not least is light! I have my desk right next to a window so I can get as much light as possible as there's nothing more productivity draining than a dull, dim and dingy office with little light. I also have a gorgeous and unique light from Filampthropy which I adore and it looks perfect in my office at add a little colour and light into the small space. Daylight bulbs would also be fantastic for work or home office lights to get rid of that headache inducing florescent office lighting. 

What are your work or home office essentials? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest

*Favourite Instagram Accounts

Thursday, August 23, 2018
I think as with most bloggers, there's a love/hate relationship with Instagram now due to the fluctuating follower count, engagement or lack of and the algorithm but it's still very much a part of blogging and social media in general. I definitely find it disheartening when a photo of mine that I love doesn't receive many likes but I still enjoy sharing photos, watching stories and scrolling through my feed so here are some of my favourite accounts - there are so many more, especially for bloggers but I didn't want this post to be too long!

Vegan 
Since slowly transitioning to a more vegan diet rather than vegetarian, I think that Instagram has a lot of fantastic accounts for not only vegan, plant based lifestyle and health facts but also food inspiration and recipes. One of my favourite accounts for inspiration is @TheBlackPearlb which isn't a vegan specific account but Sandra creates some amazing vegan meals that I always want to recreate! For vegan news check out @PlantBasedNews and @TheVeganSupermarket but one of my favourite vegan accounts is @AccidentallyVeganUK which highlights new products on the shelves that are 'accidentally vegan'.

@PlantBasedNews
@TheBlackPearlb
@TheVeganKindSupermarket
@AccidentallyVeganUK
@WallflowerAimee

Bloggers
There are so many bloggers that I follow on Instagram and pretty much all of them have amazing accounts but I've just picked a few of my all time favourites for today's post including lovely @Pinnchie and @OnMyWay_ByMarie and two bloggers with dreamy photos: @Kate.LaVie and of course, @WishWishWish.

@Pinnchie
@Kate.LaVie
@OnMyWay_ByMarie
@LeanneWoodfull
@WishWishWish

Puppies!
There's always time in the day to watch puppy videos, especially if you're having a bad day and the best place to watch them is Instagram. One of the most heartbreaking but ultimately wonderful accounts has to be @TheDodo (get tissues ready). For so much cuteness check out the others I've listed below and definitely follow @LionWhispererSA as those videos and photos are just incredible!

@TheDodo
@BobTheFluffyCorgi
@AussiesDoingThings
@LionWhispererSA
@MilpertHusky

Brands 
I follow quite a few brands on Instagram, because obviously I need more enabling to spend money...One of my favourites for adorable clothing is definitely @JoanieClothing and I always keep updated with new Primark stock on Instagram. For unusual gift ideas follow @DustandThings, beautiful books on @Wordery and for cosy snaps follow @WhittardUK (you might spot one of my photos on their feed too).

@JoanieClothing
@WhittardUK
@WorderyBooks
@DustandThings
@Primark

Travel, Fashion & Beauty 
Last but not least is a range of some of my favourite accounts ever! If you don't follow @ModelRecommends then what are you doing on Instagram, for stunningly beautiful travel photos check out @CharlotteLittleWolf and @pullya and for the most dreamy outfits look no further than @JuliaHengel. Finally, if you like adorable bath bombs and cute gift ideas then @BombCosmetics_Official is an account for you!

@BombCosmetics_Official
@CharlotteLittleWolf
@JuliaHengel
@Vonshef_UK
@Pullya
@ModelRecommends

Those are just a few accounts that I love but naturally there are so many others including any puppy or wildlife account, VIP vaping tricks which look insane (just check out the #VapingTricks hashtag) and those quirky life hack videos! Also there are so many other bloggers I'd love to mention so check out my Instagram (@ofbeautyand) every Friday for mentions!

Do you follow any of these accounts? 

*This is a collaborative post

Get Autumn Ready with Simply Hike

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Last summer I visited Norway and I absolutely fell in love with the stunningly beautiful woodland, mountains, rivers and fjords and it also left a lasting impression on me to spend much more time within nature than I did before. Thankfully I have managed to this year as I've visited lovely country houses and their parkland and I've visited the Lake District. I do have some 'outdoor' clothing but nothing new or high quality so in comes Simply Hike to the rescue!

*The North Face Womens Mezzaluna Full Zip Hoodie in Urban Navy Stripe (£49 - SALE)

I have a slight obsession with coats and jackets, despite having a wardrobe full of them, I always seem to need more and more but I don't have any cosy but lightweight outdoor and exercise jackets or hoodies so I had to choose this incredibly cosy hoodie from The North Face. Simply Hike stocks a wide range of fantastic and very high quality brands including The North Face which all of the items in today's post are from.

All of the clothing items in this post are in The North Face size 'small' which fits absolutely perfectly for me and I'm a UK 8 so if you are a similar size to me then a small would be ideal. The hoodie is in the 'urban navy stripe' shade which I love as it's a little more unique but it can still pair easily with anything black, grey or navy. I love this hoodie and I cannot recommend it enough especially as the weather is turning a little more autumnal, which I'm extremely excited for, as it's warm, soft and cosy but it is still light weight.
*The North Face Womens Reaxion Amp Crew T-Shirt in Dark Heath Grey (£17.50 - SALE)

Next up is another item that can easily pair with so many pieces is this very simple dark grey t-shirt from The North Face. Most exercise or outdoor specific t-shirts are composed of very stretchy, legging-like materials but thankfully this one isn't. It is stretchy, smooth and soft, it fits perfectly and it is great when paired with any leggings!

*The North Face Womens Pulse Crop Tight in Black Botanical (£31.50 - SALE)
The final clothing item in today's post is one that I'm very torn on as on the one hand I adore the print, they fit so well, they are comfortable and best of all, they aren't see-through or thin. The leggings are fully opaque and feel very durable, unlike all of my other leggings. The only negative I have (and this is totally on me), is the print makes my thighs look so fat! I have lost two stone in weight and I'm not fat (anymore) so I'm not sure about these and I think I'll stick to plain black leggings - I still love the print though.
*The North Face Jester Rucksack 26 (£45.50 - SALE)
Last but not least and for this item, I roped my dad into modelling for my blog (he's very happy with the rucksack!). This rucksack from The North Face and Simply Hike is definitely an upgrade from my plain backpack from Primark and it has so many little features. It has a floating padded laptop sleeve, internal zipped compartments, pen holders, compression moulded shoulder straps, an air-mesh back panel and external storage.

I love this rucksack, it's everything you'd ever want in a rucksack as it is very spacious (more so than you would think, especially with the external and internal pockets) and I like the simply, fuss free design. It feels extremely durable and sturdy so it would be ideal for camping trips, day trips, hiking or as a school backpack due to the laptop sleeve.
Overall, I've never tried anything from The North Face or Simply Hike but I cannot recommend bought enough! The quality of the products is amazing and I know that I'm going to get so much use out of all of them. Simply Hike has an amazing range of outdoor and camping related products for men, women and children so you'll be sure to find everything you need in one place including ski gear. Everything I was very kindly sent was on sale and it currently still is as I'm writing this so go, go, go! Here's my current mini wish list:

Have you tried anything from The North Face? Will you be checking out Simply Hike

#MyInteriorStyling

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Image from Julian Charles 
Autumn starts next month and I couldn't be happier as it's my favourite season! I love everything about autumn from the weather, fashion, trends and cosiness. Out of all the seasons, autumnal and winter homeware is my favourite as it's just so hygge. Today's post is all about my favourite autumn homeware trends ft. Julian Charles.

Minimalism
One of my favourite trends in terms of clothing, accessories and homeware is minimalism. I have always loved decluttering, organising and donating items whether it was products, makeup or clothing and I'm not very sentimental so the minimalism lifestyle and trends suit me! I love minimal decor, neutral colour schemes and simple clean lines.

Product Recommendation: Julian Charles Belle Stone Floral Duvet Set

Scandinavian 
Another trend I'll always love is cosy, minimal Scandinavian style with all the hygge I can fit in. To me, Scandinavian homeware is very clean, simplistic, elegant and functional. Although I don't think any Scandinavian home is complete without a few cosy essentials such as candles, throws and blankets.

Product Recommendation: White Tea Candle on Julian Charles

Mixed Textures & Modern Neutrals 
Last but not least is a homeware and decor style that I stumbled across, mixing textures and modern neutrals. It fits so perfectly with my style as while I do adore minimalism and neutral shades, I want there to be some unique interest as well - this is easily achieved by adding in interesting textures such as wooden, hammered metal and natural textures into your decor.

Product Recommendation: Casey Natural Pure Cotton Knitted Throw on Julian Charles

Do you like any of these trends? What are your favourite trends for AW18? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Julian Charles

#MySocialSpirit

Monday, August 20, 2018
Image from A Lady In London
Today's post is a little different but it's something we all need to consider, social responsibility. Social responsibility means that an organisation, business or individual has the responsibility to act for the benefit of social on the whole; for example as an individual it is important to be aware of and reduce your impact on the environment.

Recycling & Reusing 
One of the easiest things you can do to at home and on a day to day basis, along with the latter point, is recycling. I am lucky enough to receive blogger mail from publishers and PRs so I always have paper and cardboard recycling. We have paper recycling bins in my area so it is very easy for us to recycle paper, metal and cardboard as well as green waste for composting. If you don't have recycling bins or you need more then you might be able to ring your local council to enquire. Litter and recycling bins around your area or at work will make this easier too - visit uk.glasdon.com/litter-bins for more information. Reusing items is also a great way to help and rescue the amount of landfill. Check out the Glasdon e-book for more ideas!

Reducing or Stopping Meat Consumption
I have been a vegetarian since I was eleven years old and I've been on/off vegan for around four years now and initially both changes were made by myself due to ethical reasons and health reasons but more and more I've been astonished by the negative impact animal agriculture has on our environment. An article concerning 'meat consumption, health and the environment' on the cancer epidemiology unit as part of Nuffield department of population health at the University of Oxford looks at a study and states that:

'Increased meat consumption has major negative consequences for land and water use and environmental change. The most important greenhouse gases caused by humans are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Meat production results in the emissions of all three and is the single most prominent source of methane.'

The effect on the environment due to world meat consumption and animal agriculture is devastating and according to Professor Tim Kay, " What’s happening is a big concern and if meat consumption goes up further it’s going to be massively more so. On a broad level you can say that eating substantial amounts of meat is bad for the environment.” Whether you agree with eating meat or not, it is having an impact on our environment and I think we all need to look at what we are consuming and make some environmentally friendly choices for the future because while what you do is your choice, it also affects others and the environment.

Do you think you need to be more environmentally friendly? What do you think about social responsibility - do you think we have a responsibility as individual to our society and environment? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest

#ExploringCheshire

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Image from Pepper Pot Studios
I love visiting cities and sights around my region! On my birthday earlier this week, we visited Chatsworth which is an incredibly impressive and beautiful English country home with gorgeous gardens to explore. There are so many wonderful cities around the UK that you should visit such as York, London and Chester. The latter is what I'll be writing about today as it's not only a car journey away from me but there are so many sights to visit in and around Chester. This post is inspired by the #ExploringCheshire campaign from https://www.laurushomes.co.uk.

Chester Cathedral
I've visited Chester Cathedral at least three times now and it is just as impressive each time! I'm not religious at all but I do love visiting churches as to me they are so peaceful as well as amazing feats of architecture and engineering. Chester Cathedral is so beautiful and I'd definitely recommend visiting.

Chester Zoo + Cheshire Oaks
During primary school one of the places we used to visit on school trips was Chester Zoo and I absolutely loved it! There's so much to see and do at Chester Zoo, especially for children. If you want something for children and adults then you could visit Cheshire Oaks after your trip to the zoo as it's only a 15 minute drive from Chester Zoo!

Lyme Park
I love visiting country houses and Lyme Park is one of my favourites, along with Dunham Massey and Chatsworth. Lyme Park is similar to Dunham Massey in that there's a country home, parklands and deer, however the deer at Lyme Park are fairly elusive and the deer park is off limits to visitors. The house is still very impressive, there is a lot of woodland and parkland to explore and as with Dunham Massey, if you're a National Trust member (as I am) then you get in for free.

Dunham Massey
One of my all time favourite places to visit within Cheshire has to be Dunham Massey which is a stunning Georgian House that you can explore as well as a deer park. The deer park is in the grounds so you don't have to walk very far at all to see the wild deer that roam the grounds. You can get very, very close to the deer and there are no barriers at all. I wouldn't recommend taking your dogs to Dunham Massey as they can scare the deer (a few very irresponsible people had their dogs at the park) but there is so much to see at Dunham Massey for all the family.

Those are just a few of my favourite places within Cheshire to visit but I'd also like to visit Tatton Park and Little Moreton Hall, both are owned by the National Trust. Cheshire is such a beautiful region to live in and visit, there are so many attractions for everyone and thankfully for me, it isn't very far from Manchester!

Have you visited any of these places? Have you visited Cheshire? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest 

Grisport Hiking Boots

Friday, August 17, 2018
One of my yearly goals for last year and continuing to this year was to be more active and thankfully it's something I've stuck to on the whole. The easiest ways for me to be active include getting on my crosstrainer and to go walking around my region, the latter is one of my favourite things to do. I wish I lived closer to a national park because I would be walking/hiking almost every single day rather than a couple of times per month.

*Grisport Youth Alpine Hiking Boots (£30)
I recently went to the Lake District with a couple of my best friends which offered the perfect excuse to walk around such a lovely region. Sadly, I completely forgot to take my new Grisport hiking boots that I was very kindly sent but they would have been absolutely perfect for hiking around the Lake District (and to be honest I would have fit in more with everyone else's attire too). You will have seen my Lake District adventures on my Instagram (@ofbeautyand) and twitter (@ofbeautyand).
I have the youth boots as I have teeny tiny feet but the have a very wide range of sizes to choose from for women, men and children. The children's sizes usually go up to a UK 5 in a range of stores so always check the childrens section for cheaper shoes! Mine are the 'alpine' boots which are perfect! I love the black, grey and districted brown shades, the style is exactly what I wanted and they're a little lighter than I thought they'd be - hiking boots can be very heavy!

They fit perfectly, they are surprisingly comfortable and they look great with my skinny black jeans (they're from Asos and they are amazing). I wish I'd remembered them for my trip to the Lake District as we walked around Ullswater and up to the Aira Force waterfall so they would have been much more suitable than my converse! If you're looking for hiking boots for summer camping trips or days out exploring the beautiful countryside then check out Gripsport.

Do you have a pair of hiking boots? Do you like hiking? 

It's my Birthday: Birthday Giveaway

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! I'm the grand old age of 26 which is ridiculous to me as I still feel as though I'm about 19 and in university...it doesn't help that every single person I meet still thinks I'm in school but not, I graduated university over five years ago. I was dreading my birthday in terms of getting another year older but I'm very happy about visiting Chatsworth with my family today and eating all of the fatty, carb heavy foods (drooling over MacDonalds and Pizza Hut right now).

Every year for my blog's birthday and for mine, I have hosted a giveaway and this year is no different but my giveaway this year is very mixed - there is a very wide range of products with my prize bundle. There's everything from skincare, masks, stationery, stickers, adorable socks and samples to a clutch bag, Pop! Funko and more. I have listed the items below but there will be a few added extras that I haven't listed.
For my birthday prize bundle I wanted to include a range of items or brands that I love so that's why I've included a Lara Croft/Tomb Raider Funko Pop! (I love those PC games growing up), naturally I adore Harry Potter so I had to include these adorable Honeydukes socks) and you know that I'm all about skincare so I've included a few products I was kindly sent to giveaway by Koja (I'll have a review of their products next week). Additionally, I use and love the Real Techniques brushes so I've included one of their cute sets in the bundle. I also wanted to include a wide range of items because not everyone likes the same products and I wanted to make sure that everyone could enter.
I wish I could send this large bundle of prizes worldwide but I can't so sadly this giveaway is UK only (sorry!). I bought two of the same pink lip brush sets from Real Techniques so I will host an international giveaway on Twitter in September. Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter form below and share this post!

- Real Techniques Lip Brush Set
- Pop! Funko Lara Croft 333
- Urban Outfitters Clutch
- Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drops (35ml)
- Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Sheet Mask
- Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Tencel Sheet Mask
- Elegant Touch Fantasy Mermaid Magic Nails
- Harry Potter Honeydukes Ladies Cosy Socks
- Extras: stickers, pencils, samples + temporary tattoos

To enter all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below, the more entries you fill in, the more chances you have of winning! The giveaway is live until the 3rd September and the winner will be announced on the 4th August on twitter and via email.


What could I do to improve my website? Is there anything you want to see more or less of? 



*Summer Road Trip Guide To Tyres

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Image from Ohh Couture via Pinterest
Over the past couple of months my life has been very car focused because we recently sold our car and replaced it with a new Vauxhaul Astra which is so much better but I definitely miss our old car (does anyone else form an attachment to your car or is that just me being weird?). I have looked at so many cars over the past couple of months which has been very frustrating but I've learnt so much about cars too, from the impact of milage on the price, how condescending car salesmen can be and how expensive cars are!

The past couple of months has also taught me how delicate cars can be and how many aspects you need to look at in terms of buying a new car and looking after your own car. There are basic things I know about looking after my car such as checking the oil and water etc but that's pretty much where it ends (thankfully my dad is very knowledgable when it comes to cars and engines).

Tyres 
One aspect of a car that I've never really thought of (apart from when I scrape them on the curb) are tyres. Tyres are important to consider when looking for a new car or for looking after your car because they need to have a minimum tread depth by law - it can fail an MOT test if if it less than the minimum depth.

There are so many points that need to be considered when maintaining your car, especially when you start a road trip such as testing your brakes, topping up the oil and topping up for screen wash but tyres are also important. Poor tyres can affect the health of your car as unsafe or illegal tyres can affect handling, safety and fuel economy so don't overlook them.

One aspect of the 'show me tell me' section of the practical driving test in the UK has a few questions about practical and safety aspects of the car including knowing the correct tyre pressure of your car. Thankfully that was the question I was asked and the answer I was very confident of and it's also something that can affect your car in terms of safety of the tyres if they are overly inflated and it can affect fuel economy if they are under inflated.

Your local centre can easily change, replace and assess the quality and safety of your tyres and if you are unsure if they are in need of replacing then you should take your car to be checked. Let's say you are in Stirling and searching for tyres, you can buy car tyres of your choice here at Point S; their method is easy and it could also save you time and money in the long run by avoiding problems before they become a bigger issue!

Can you drive? If you can, do you know about the safety aspects and checks you need to do in order to have a safe car? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest 

July + August Favourites 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018
When I first started blogging, I used to write monthly favourites posts but over the past couple of years, I have stopped writing them as frequently however I personally love to write and read them so I'm making a conscious effort to write more about the products, items and experiences I'm loving! Today's post is mostly beauty and skincare items with a couple of lifestyle items.

*Hempz Ultra Moisturising Lip Balm
Let's start with my favourite lip balm of the moment and it's the Hempz Ultra Moisturising Lip Balm which contains natural hemp seed oil to condition the lips, hydrate and nourish. I love that it's in a squeezy tube as it means that I can take it on the go and I don't have to use my fingers to apply it. It's a very moisturising lip balm even for my occasionally extremely dry lips and it doesn't irritate either, as some lip balms can with me.
*Hempz Sensitive Skin Calming Herbal Body Wash
Until I received these two items to review, I hadn't tried anything from Hempz but I'm so impressed with not only the products themselves but the ingredients. This product is my favourite of the two as it's a lovely body wash that is effective, natural and great for my sensitive skin but it also smells so heavenly. The scent reminds me of something, maybe another product I used years ago, but I can't put my finger on it. If you're looking for an effective but gentle body wash then look no further.
*DHC Face Wash Powder (£10.50)
I have tried a couple of products and gift sets from the lovely people at DHC previously so I was interested to try out these two products. DHC skincare is always raved out so I knew that I'd like this face wash powder. It's something I haven't ever tried as it's a face wash in powder form which you then mix with water to form a creamy, foamy face wash. It would be absolutely perfect for travelling or camping as it's a powder rather than a gel or cream that can leak in your suitcase or bag. A little goes a very long way and the first time I used it, I used enough for about six people! I would definitely recommend this gentle but effective and super travel friendly face wash!

*DHC Dry Skin Cream
The final product from DHC smells even nicer than the Hempz body wash, it's a lovely body moisturiser that has the most wonderful scent. To me, the scent is sweet, floral and earthy but it is very subtle so if you don't like heavily scented products then you'll probably be fine with this. It is very rich and hydrating so I think it would be ideal for the upcoming cooler months.
*Elegant Touch Nails 
Earlier in this year I was kindly sent a range of gorgeous, colourful and unique false nails from Elegant Touch. Recently I was sent a few more (surprise blogger mail is one of my favourite things to receive) and I'm loving them. I love the fantasy mermaid magic nails and some of their more 'normal' designs. My nails seem to be quite unusual shapes so I do have to spend quite a while finding the right sizes, shaping them and discarding most of the largest sizes as they just don't fit my teeny tiny nails.
*Burts Bees Tinted Lip Oil in Whispering Orchid 613 (£9.99)
The only makeup item on my list is a gorgeous and very luxe feeling tinted lip oil from Burts Bees. Burts Bees has been one of my favourite brands for a number of years and I always love trying out their products whether it's makeup, skincare, bodycare or their gorgeous gifts. The lip oil I have is in the shade Whispering Orchid (613) which is a bright pink in the tube but on the lips it is very subtle and offers minimal colour. I like the subtle shade, the very nourishing feeling and the moisturising effect which my lips always seem to need.
*Burts Bees Moisturising Lip Mask (£4.99)
I love using hair and face masks but one type of mask then I haven't used, until now, is a lip mask. Burts Bees recently came out with a one use lip mask which contains meadowfoam seed and almond oils, it's 100% natural and cruelty free. The lip mask comes very cutely packaged, it smells so lovely (it's very sweet and honey-like) and it is very quick to use.

The lip mask is a thin sheet, similar to a very small sheet mask and it is covered in moisturising and nourishing oils so it does feel a little odd on the lips but it isn't irritating, it stays on the skin very easily and once removed and rinsed, my lips and skin feels so nourished, moisturised and deeply hydrating so much so that my dry lips feel very soft and smooth. I'd definitely recommend this lip mask as a lovely pampering treat.
*Cotton Bag Co - Selfie Bag (£9.99) 
The final item in todays favourites post is a unique selfie bag which is basically a cute large tote bag that features pockets for your phone and selfie stick. Additionally, it contains a fold out reflector sheet that is great for selfie and photo taking. The bag is huge so it would be great for a range of items and it's very durable. My favourite thing about the tote bag is the size and the design as mine is black with copper/rose gold detailing including stars (one of my favourite designs), hearts and more. I love how practical and multi-use it is and the quality is fantastic - some tote bags are very flimsy but this one isn't at all.

Have you tried any of these products? What products have you loved recently? 

Cancer Care Deluxe Parcel

Sunday, August 12, 2018
Last year I was lucky enough to receive and review one of the very thoughtful Cancer Care Parcel boxes and I'm lucky to receive another. Cancer Care Parcel was set up by Dr Shara Cohen to bring calm into the lives of those suffering with cancer. In 2017 they won the Live Better With spotlight award for the best mind and brain product which is fantastic!

*Cancer Care Parcel - Luxurious Women's Cancer Gift (£149.99)
The cancer care gift set that I received was the luxurious gift set which is the most expensive set on their site but it is packed full of items from beauty products, stationery, toiletries and more practical lifestyle items including a cool food bag, light, throw, earphones and more. There are so many boxes to choose from, all of which are great value for money considering the quality and number of items in the boxes.
Beauty
Let's start with the beauty products included in the box! There are various products including a Body Shop hand cream, Body Shop vitamin E facial cream, Brazilian mud clay mask, Vaseline lip therapy and a gel eye mask. There are a great range of everyday and pamper products in the box and I am very happy with all of them, especially the lovely Body Shop hand and nail cream.

I think all of the beauty items would be fantastic for anyone who has to have a longer stay in hospital as they're great sizes, good brands and I think using beauty products, for me at least, give a sense of normality to the day. Treatments could also potentially dry out your skin so keeping it moisturised is ideal and Body Shop products are fantastic. All of the products in the boxes have been chosen to be suitable for any treatment.
Home & Lifestyle 
There are also a few lifestyle and home items including an adorable battery operated bedside light in the shape of a bottle. When I opened it, I didn't know it would look so pretty when it's lit up! It is battery powdered and the batteries are supplied so it would make a lovely little light for any bedside. There is another small USB powdered light within the box too.

A few useful item is a super soft neck cushion with would be perfect for a hospital stay or travelling as it is very soft, comfy and provides a lot of support. Along with the water bottle, both would be the ideal travelling duo. Earphones are always useful and would be perfect if you have a longer wait in hospital or long journey.
Health
There are a few health related items including E45 cream which is something I've used previously for eczema as well as a digital thermometer, tissues, hand sanitiser (perfect for hospital visits, although some have hand sanitiser dispensers in corridors) and the Sea-Band anti-nausea wrist band. The latter would be ideal for those suffering with certain illness or cancer as some treatments can cause nausea - it may also be useful for car/sea sickness.
Food, Tea & Extras
Next up are a few food and drink items as well as a few extras! I love herbal tea and thankfully there are a couple of packets of tea within the box including my favourite of the two, peppermint herbal tea and the second is a large tin of chocolate and ginger tea which is a Great Taste Award winner (2016). The chocolate and ginger tea doesn't sound like something I'd love but I know it would be a hit with so many others.

There's also a very cute woven cool food bag which would make the perfect lunch bag or for medicines - either on the go or for a hospital stay. I love the design of this lunch bag! Lastly for the food and drink related items is a plastic, eco friendly BPA free water bottle. This year I've switched from using disposable plastic bottles to re-useable bottles which is much better for the environment.
Tech & Activities 
I imagine waiting in hospital can be very stressful so they've included a colouring book and pencils within the box which are apparently very good stress relievers but I personally don't have the patience for them. It would be great to use with the super soft throw, neck cushion and peppermint tea!

A battery operated beside light is included as well as a UBS light (I think maybe a clip on, battery operated book light might have been a good idea instead) and a Powerseed portable power bank. I never used power banks but they are so handy to have, so long as you remember to charge them.
Overall, I absolutely loved the parcel, I think there's such a great range of items from soothing herbal tea, calming activities and essentials such as skincare to more health related items, homeware items and products to help you feel comfortable either at home, while travelling or during a hospital stay.

The idea was created by Dr Shana Cohen as she was diagnosed with breast cancer so she knows the products that would be best for someone with cancer and having to deal with hospital stays, treatments and more. I think the idea is wonderful and there's something for everyone with a wide range of products. It's such a thoughtful gift to give and I cannot recommend it enough.
I have had numerous people within my family as well as family friends who have had to deal with cancer treatments, appointments and who have sadly passed away as a result of cancer, such as my dads parents. As a child I did experience, minimally, my grandads struggles with prostate cancer, among other things, which was difficult to deal with but I think if I'd have been the age I am now, I would have bought a parcel like this for him as it shows that you care but it's more practical and useful than flowers, chocolates or cards.

What do you think of the Cancer Care Parcels? 

*Budget Holidays with Holiday Gems

Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Image from Pinterest
August is a very busy month for me with a weekend away with my friends to the Lake District, my birthday, day trips and a cruise, the latter is amazing but very pricey. However, more budget options are available from Holiday Gems including various holiday locations that are closer to home which definitely reduces the price!

Spain
I've been lucky enough to visit Barcelona a couple of times and I've visited Cadiz and Vigo, all of which I loved especially the latter as I managed to find a Sephora store which I was ridiculously excited about! There are many other locations throughout Spain that I'd love to visit, although Benidorm isn't one of them. Holiday Gems has a great range of options from Calpe, Mijas, Nerja, Santa Susanna and many more. Spain is a very popular holiday destination for many UK tourists as the weather is gorgeous (although maybe a little too hot recently), gorgeous beaches and the flight isn't too long from the UK.

France 
Another short flight from the UK is the gorgeous country of France and again I'm lucky enough to have visited a few cities along the south coast of France including Toulon which I'd definitely recommend. However, one city I haven't visited is Paris and Holiday Gems offer a range of Paris city breaks all of which sound fantastic and visit so many sights such as Disneyland Paris.

UK
If you're looking a short break then why not have a staycation (or a staycation and short holiday)? I'm heading off to the Lake District as you're reading this post and I cannot recommend a visit to the lakes enough. Llandudno, Oban, Dorset and Cornwall are all fantastic staycation recommendations as well as London, naturally. Check out my London posts for recommendations of where to visit!

Have you visited Spain or France? Are you going to check out Holiday Gems? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest 

Review: Seggiano - The Taste of Italy

Monday, August 06, 2018
I have been obsessed with Italy and Italian food for as long as I can remember! Pasta has been my favourite food since I was a toddler and that hasn't changed in 25 years. I've been lucky enough to visit various cities around Italy and it has just reinforced my love for all things Italian, especially pasta and pesto so I was very excited when a lovely package from Seggiano arrived!

*Seggiano Raw Basil Pesto (£6.40)
I discovered my love for pesto while on holiday in Rome with my parents and younger sister, possibly on my 18th birthday and I've been in love ever since. I have migrated from using store bought, which is usually quite flavourless, to making my own spinach pesto which is much healthier but there are some days when I really don't feel like cooking or washing up my Nutribullet so this pre-made pesto is perfect.

The pesto is made from fresh Ligurian basil, olive oil, cashew nuts, sea salt and pine nuts so it is completely vegan! It is also gluten free, GMO free and wheat free so it can be enjoyed by so many. I love the packaging, I love the minimal ingredients and while it is fairly high in calories due to the nuts and olive oil, it is very delicious! A little goes a long way and for one portion with the pasta, I only used a tablespoon or two and it's very flavourful! It's the best pre-made pesto I've tried!
*Seggiano Organic Gluten Free Rice & Teff Tagliolini (£4.90)
Now, I have tried gluten free pasta, I was gluten free for about a month as I was trying to find out whether it affected my eczema (it didn't) and I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the gluten free pastas I've tried as they tend to have a strange texture compared to normal wheat pasta. I was interested to try this one though as it's a 'gourmet gluten free pasta', it is made using a traditional process which involves slow drying the pasta. It's vegan, organic and GMO free.

I was throughly surprised by this pasta as firstly I love the size, it's like mini tagliatelle and I actually like the texture - it isn't chewy which I find some gluten free pasta to be. With the pesto it has such a nice flavour and I wouldn't have immediately thought that it was gluten free, which is very impressive!
Overall, this is my first time trying any products from Seggiano and I'm definitely impressed. The raw vegan basil pesto is just delicious, it's very moreish and great for days when you don't want to cook. The gluten free pasta is the biggest surprise as it's actually so good, unlike all of the other gluten free pasta I've tried. The pesto and pasta together is the perfect combination and I cannot recommend them enough!

Have you tried anything from this brand? Do you like pesto?