Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Life | A Letter To 2014

So where do I begin? 2014 has been a bit of a crazy year for me, I entered my final year of uni and therefore had to start thinking about my future a bit more, I went on my first holiday without my parents, and many other things, some of which I've shared with you. It's been a year full of ups and downs, but I honestly wouldn't change anything.

I've also managed to keep this blog going for an entire year, and I'm proud of that! I started this blog for myself as a place where I could just run away with my thoughts and escape, it started off as something small. This blog is still a place for me to run away with my thoughts, that will never change. But what has changed is how many people this blog reaches, I started off with a few people reading my blog posts and that has grown, and I hope will continue to grow.

I've had people I know tell me that they love my blog, they love my writing and I've even had people tell me that they've bought products after reading my reviews! The fact that people trust my opinions and reviews so much just baffles me.

I cannot wait for what this next year will bring, I already have blog posts lined up for things coming up and this excites me. If it wasn't for you all enjoying my blog as much as you all do I don't know if I'd have kept it up for this long, and that means so much!

I can't wait to see what 2015 brings, and let's enjoy it all together.

So basically this is a thank you.. A thank you to 2014 and everything it bought, but a thank you to you all.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Life | What I Got For Christmas 2014

So I have been debating a lot whether to actually write this blog post, let alone even post it, but then I thought "well, these are some of my favourite blog posts and videos to watch so why not?" and the last thing I want to seem is like I'm bragging. So here you go, feel free to have a nose through what I got for Christmas.

There are some presents that won't be included, purely because I still have some people to see and exchange presents with.. But I'm sure if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you'll find out what they are at a later date, so here you go.

Let's start with the food. What would Christmas be if we didn't receive a hell of a lot of chocolates and sweets? It doesn't look like I received a lot, but it sure does feel like it, but I'm sure I'll slowly make my way through it all. For those of you who are eagle eyed enough to spot it I did get a gingerbread house for Christmas, now I know most people will be thinking that you're meant to do these before Christmas, but I've never done one in my life and I got one, so I'll be doing it after and I'm actually quite excited!

I also got a lot of products, some of which are old favourites and some which I actually can't wait to try. Watch this space for a lot of reviews coming from this pile!

I name this my 'other' present pile because they don't really fit anywhere else, here I got some really fun stuff like some cute owl bookends that I need to find a home, some gorgeous jewellry, clothes, bags, the cutest little Minnie and Mickey Mouse teddies, and a lot more. Again for those who are able to spot it, or if you follow me you'll already know, but I was lucky enough to be bought tickets for a Harry Potter London walk tour which I absolutely cannot wait for!

So that was quick whistle stop tour of everything I got for Christmas, I don't want it to seem like I'm bragging in this blog post because that isn't my intention. I love seeing what everyone else got, so I thought I'd join in the fun and share.

Normal blog posts will return next week.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, got some amazing things, are enjoying some lazy time and that you all have a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Life | The Christmas Tag

So this is my last blog post before Christmas this year so I thought what better blog post to do than the Christmas tag? So enjoy my Christmassy ramblings and I hope everybody has a wonderful Christmas whatever you're doing!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?
At this time of year I love watching Elf, Home Alone, The Grinch, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I don't watch typical Christmas films, at this time of year as a family we just watch a whole load of films.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Ever since I was a little girl we've always opened our presents Christmas morning, I was always jealous of my friends who got to open one present on Christmas eve, but as I got older I realised that waiting just added to my excitement.. Let's be honest at 21, it still adds to the excitement!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I can't say I have one specific Christmas memory, I have quiet a few Christmas memories from so many years. All make me laugh till my sides hurt and I'm almost crying, all make me warm and all remind me of great times with my family.

4. Favourite festive food?
Well obviously my Christmas dinner! In our house Christmas is the time of year where we do a huge food shop and we have food that we don't have all the time, like we'll buy loads of cheese, we always buy nibbles like Twiglets, and oh god the turkey sandwiches the following days.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
That I've ever received? I don't know if I just pick one, I remember the year I got my new laptop I was over the moon but then I equally love all the small gifts that people get me, I always find that the small stocking fillers are where the thought goes.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Apart from my Christmas dinner cooking it's between peppermint, cinnamon or the pine scent cause it reminds me of Christmas trees.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
We don't really no, we just chill out and enjoy whatever's on TV.

8. What tops your tree?
We have an angel on the top of our tree, it used to be a Santa when I was little.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I honestly don't know, I can't really remember asking for anything extravagant.. I'll ask my parents!

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Just being with my family, we're all close anyway but Christmas day is always a different kind of day. Seeing all the joy that we get from receiving those silly presents and just eating too much.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Friday First | Maybelline Baby Lips Soothing Cherry

So this is going to be my last Friday First of 2014! This week I'm talking about the Maybelline Baby Lips in Soothing Cherry.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to actually get through one lip product this year as I'm forever picking up new tins of Vaseline before finishing another, however I went shopping and forgot my Vaseline so I needed something quickly. I've almost finished my Vaseline too, so this isn't cheating I promise!

Firstly, I'm going to start of by pointing out that I don't think this one of the Baby Lips that is normally available in the UK, it's completely different packaging as it's a lot smaller and thinner and the lid is completely different to the Baby Lips that you normally pick up in the UK.. however I grabbed it from my local Pound Shop, don't judge me!

I shouldn't have picked this product up, I've tried Baby Lips before, I originally tried the 'Hydrate' one, and I hated them the first time, I'm not quite sure why I thought this one would be any different.

I find that Baby Lips leave a strange taste in my mouth, and I'm not one who is constantly licking my lips after I put on my lip balm, Soothing Cherry is a nice flavour when it initially goes on but it soon turns into that horrible aftertaste.

This product chaps my lips like there is no tomorrow! I know people say that lip balms have an ingredient in them which are designed to chap your lips so you have to use them more but Baby Lips really chaps my lips. Before using this my lips were quiet smooth, after I use this a whole layer of skin will come off the top of my lip that wasn't there before.. Ew I know! The first Baby Lips I tried did this too. I'm not a person who's lips crack and bleed, but this product dried my lips out so much that they did.

Will I continue to use Baby Lips? Definitely not, this product is heading straight to the bin.
Would I repurchase Baby Lips? I won't. It only cost me £1 so I can't be too annoyed, but even so I feel cheated, I can't imagine paying £2.99 for this product.
Would I recommend Baby Lips? Not at all. I know so many people who use lip products, I'd just recommend Vaseline or Blistex.
Overall score out of 5? I'll give this product a 1, and that is purely because I like the colours on the packaging and the soothing cherry flavour is nice when you first put it on.

Have you ever used Maybelline Baby Lips? What did you think to the product? Let me know below.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Shopping | Online Treasures

Is it fair to write about shops that you're in love with but haven't had a chance to buy anything from yet? Because that's what I'm about to do below!

On the days that I'm not up to my neck in uni work, I'm usually just relaxing and floating around on the internet looking at all sorts of things, and they usually end up on my Pinterest. Here are some of the shops that I've stumbled across lately that I just absolutely love everything from.
There is only a small selection of items on their Etsy page which have the cutest designs, however a quick google revealed that they have their own website where you can buy so much more from. Give me half the chance and I'll probably end up pinning every item possible from their website.
Okay so this is a little bit of a cheat as Dolly Bow Bow isn't a shop I've only just recently stumbled across, I've known of it and loved it since I started watching Kate on YouTube. I've never been a massive fan of statement jewellery, but I love Kate's designs, I really love the delicate pieces of jewellery that are offered too.
Elite Paperie
Quite simply the paper gift tags and decorations that this shops creates are absolutely beautiful and so simple at the same time.
This is a shop that sell a range of items for you to decorate you Macs, iPhones or iPads with, like stickers for the back of your Macs and cases. I'm not keen on all the designs, but there are some that I absolutely adore. The only problem with this store is that the products are only for Apple products, so you wouldn't be able to buy a gift for someone without one of these.
I was introduced to this website via Louise. I am one of those people who love anything and everything stationary wise, especially when it's something with a cute design! I could actually buy everything on this website.
The simplistic designs on everything is something that I absolutely love with the little pops of colours. I want everything; the cards, journals and gift tags! They also have their own website.
There are some really nice looking gift wrapping ideas that I feel would add a really personal touch to any gift, any time of the year.
Another shop selling journals and cards. The simplistic designs and range of colours really grabbed me with this shop.
I'm not sure how I stumbled across this online store, but I do know that I love the range of clothes, shoes and jewellery, in fact a lot was pinned from this website.
For anyone who loves typography art this is the store for you, there is such a wide range of styles that I'm struggling to decide which one I want the most. You can also find their own website here.
Again another store for the typography lover and there again is a design for everyone. Personally, I'm absolutely loving the Harry Potter collections.
Another online store that I was introduced to by Louise. Again, I'm not a huge fan of statement or 'costume' jewellery, but again there are loads of delicate pieces that I absolutely adore. I also think the fact that so many pieces can actually be customised is a perfect touch meaning that it would make the perfect gift for so many people again.
Again I'm a sucker for anything with a pretty, delicate, girly looking pattern. I'd just love to own one of the journals from this store, I'm even loving the patterns of the gift tags & wraps!
Again, Louise lead me here. I love the idea of customised jewellery, I think it would make such a special gift where a lot of love and thought has gone into it. I love every piece of jewellery on this site, and again I'd love to own a piece, or even buy someone a piece.

I hope that you love these stores as much as I do. If you know of any similar stores that you think I'd love, let me know!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Friday First | Christmas with Billy and Me

So a little bit of a different Friday First this week, I guess it would be fair to say it's more of a book review.

I finally got round to buying and reading Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher, it's a novella so it's short and sweet and only took me a bath to read. I instantly fell back in love with Sophie, Billy and everyone else and I felt so happy to be back in Rosefont Hill. I don't want to ruin the plot for anyone who hasn't had a chance to read it yet, but the little twist was exciting and incredibly heart warming. Also, it really got me into the Christmas mood!

I loved both Billy and Me, and You're the One That I Want so I was so excited when Giovanna annouced that she was writing another book and she did not let me down. With Giovannas writing style you so easily fall in love and connect with the characters and I really hope that there will be many more books to comes.

With this being more of a book review the normal Friday First questions will be slightly different..

Would I recommend Christmas with Billy and Me? Yes, I recommend Giovanna's books to everyone who asks for something new to read, so I will definitely be recommending this.
Would I re-read Christmas with Billy and Me? I think it's going to become a book that I'll be reading every year around Christmas to get me into the Christmas spirirt, I've re-read Billy and Me so many times.
Overall score out of 5? A high 4, I just wish it had been a longer book. I was craving, and I still am craving, more from Sophie and Billy.

Have you read Christmas with Billy and Me, or have you read anything by Giovanna Fletcher? What is your favourite Christmas book? Let me know below.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Life | The Ultimate Relaxation Time

I like to try and make sure that I take some time for myself and truly relax at least once a week, and I usually do this by having a nice candlelit bath where I can relax with a good book, and enjoy a good cup of tea.

I usually use a mix of the Skin So Soft Bath Oil, infused with jojoba oil and the Warm Vanilla & Fig Bubble Bath when I'm in the bath. This mix gives me a luxurious feeling bath with bubbles, and who doesn't love bubbles in the bath? The bath oil leaves my skin feeling silky smooth for days afterwards, and the longer I soak in the bath the more I can feel the oils soaking into my skin.

Whilst I'm soaking in the bath I like to relax reading my kindle whilst using a hair mask and wearing a face mask. As you can see I was reading Christmas with Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher to get me in the Christmassy mood, which I'll review soon and I'm currently using a Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask which leaves me hair feeling silky smooth and nourished and I'm using up my Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask before I buy another one, which leaves my skin feeling a lot softer and helps to calm my skin.

After I've relaxed reading my kindle I then have a deep exfoliation using my trusty Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub which leaves me feeling fresh and ready for the week ahead, followed by The Righteous Butter Body Butter to deeply nourish my skin after exfoliating.

I sometimes forget just how important it is to relax and take time out, I also forget sometimes that I'm allowed to take time out for myself. But I've recently fallen back in love with taking a bath, after all jumping in a shower quickly isn't always all that, and I now try and make time each week for a relaxing bath.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Friday First | Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter

It's time for another Soap & Glory 'Sopaer Heroes' review and today we're focusing on The Righteous Butter.

'The Righteous Butter' is a body butter that contains shea butter and aloe vera and is scented with that famous Soap & Glory 'original pink fragrance', which is the scent that I absolutely adore (I could probably stand and smell anything scented like that all day!)
The first time using this product, even on my first arm, I knew I was going to love it. I love everything about it, the smell, the feel, just everything. This product literally melts onto your skin and it doesn't have to be worked in, by that I mean you don't have to really rub it into your skin, just a gentle rub to help it sink into the skin evenly. A little goes a long way too, the amount on my hand in the above picture would have easily done one arm.

Another thing I just want to shout about from the rooftops about this body butter is that because it sinks into your skin so quickly it's not greasy, you could literally get dressed and go! You have no idea how much of a god send this is, no more jumping around my room trying to get my legs to dry before I pull on my jeans.

I'm currently using a cocoa butter body lotion from Avon that I really do like and I have a few bottles left to work my way through, but I I might be purchasing a tub of this body butter, maybe for those days where I've exfoliated and need a really deep moisturise.

Will I continue to use The Righteous Butter? Definitely, as you can see I barely made a dent in the tiny travel size tub so I have a lot left to play with.
Would I repurchase The Righteous Butter? I think that I will, for how little product I had to use I can definitely justify the price tag for the bigger tub.
Would I recommend The Righteous Butter? Highly. I know a lot of people who would love this product; some who have really dry skin and are looking for something, some who just love indulging and treating themselves to great skin products.
Overall score out of 5? A strong 4, I love everything about this product. If it somehow manages to replace my cocoa butter on a daily basis it would probably become a 5.

Have you used The Righteous Butter before, what did you think? Would you ever consider using The Righteous Butter?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Life | Dear December

Dear December,

That picture seems quite appropriate right now, it is freezing outside and I'm just waiting for the snow to arrive!

This is the month of quality family time, I cannot wait. I also get to spend some quality time with some really good friends who I haven't been able to see as much as I'd like.

You're obviously the month of Christmas and I cannot wait, the decorations, the food, the atmosphere, just everything about it. I cannot wait to get my Christmas shopping done just so I can wrap all the presents up knowing they'll be bringing joy to people. I think secretly the fairy lights are my favourite part of the Christmas vibe though..

I also start my first day of my first placement of my final year today and I'm slightly terrified, not of my placement but more of what this year is going to bring, and then I also remember that this time next year I'm going to be a qualified nurse.. It still doesn't feel real.

It's a short letter this month, I'm sorry but I think you'll speak for yourself December with everything that you bring.

I hope you're fill with love and joy December, let's see the year out in style.

Beka. xo

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Life | Happy Christmas Birmingham

Yes I said it, the 'C' word!

Once again me and Ryan spent a weekend in Birmingham, mainly because we had two gigs that we were going to, but it just so happened that the German Christmas Market was also on.
It's November and it is freezing, I was also trying to pack light, so I went for comfort when dressing for the gigs! Saturday night to Mallory Knox, I just wore my jeans, with a black vest top and a stripped netted jumper, with my beaten up old converse. I really did go for comfort, we knew we were standing at the back so I knew I'd be safe in my jeans.

Sunday night for The Gaslight anthem I recycled my jeans and wore my Mickey Mouse jumper for warmth, I wasn't meant to be wearing this but we'd been out all day before we went and I was too cold to even attempt to change.

Both gigs were incredible, Mallory Knox and The Gaslight Anthem are both bands that I love seeing live because they both put everything they have into a show. My legs hurt, I sung my heart out and it was just one of the best weekends ever.
So Sunday was the day we explored the German Christmas Market that is on in Birmingham. It was an incredible day, a day that saw us walk too much, eat far too much food and also have one too many Baileys Hot Chocolates.. If you get the chance to go, I'd definitely recommend it, it really does get you into the spirit of everything and the atmosphere is just something else!
A very tired me on Monday morning was craving hot chocolate, so we hunted down a Caffe Nero, however being in Birmingham only means one thing.. We got a Five Guys! If you haven't been then I highly suggest that you find one and pay them a visit, best. food. ever.

So I didn't manage to get any decent pictures from either gig,probably because I was so far back and I'm so tiny.. But the lights look pretty in the pictures that I did manage to take.

Have you been to the German Christmas Market? Do you plan on going to anything like it? Do you have any gigs lined up? Let me know below!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday First | Village Candle Warm Apple Pie

This week's Friday First is another product that I was given for my birthday, and this week I have a candle.

Lately I'm really enjoying candles to help me relax, whether it be when I'm in the bath or whether I have one on my desk whilst I'm doing uni work.

As you can see above the candle I'm reviewing is the scent Warm Apple Pie, I honestly had no idea what to expect from this candle. According to the website the scent is 'sweet and tart apples, and baked vanilla with notes of cinnamon and cloves', the scent of cinnamon really does come through with this candle which I absolutely love.

I was initially worried that this candle would only be one wick, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was two wicked so my candle will burn cleanly and evenly.

When the candle is burning I couldn't really smell the scent and I was a little bit heartbroken as I had such high hopes for this candle, and when I burn my Banana Bread candle the scent really fills and room and really hangs around for days, but when I left the room for a moment and then walked back in I was greeted with the scent, so even though the scent isn't the strongest, it still does fill a room.

Will I continue to use the Warm Apple Pie Village Candle? Definitely, it feels more like a Christmas scent and I think it will replace my Banana Bread candle for this time of year.
Would I repurchase Warm Apple Pie Village Candle? I think I will, I'm going to be interested in discovering what other scents they do.
Would I recommend Warm Apple Pie Village Candle? I would, I was pleasantly surprised by how full this candle was.
Overall score out of 5? I'd give this candle a 3, the scent isn't very powerful in the sense that when I'm sat next to the candle burning I can't smell it, but when you walk into a room where one is burning, the scent really does come through.

Have you ever had a Village Candle before, let me know what you think? What do you think about candles? Do you have a favourite candle?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Friday First | Soap & Glory Flake Away

So I'm back with another product from the Soap & Glory gift set 'Soaper Heoes' this week it's Flake Away.

I'm starting to run low on my Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub, so I thought I'd give Flake Away a try. Flake Away is another exfoliator from Soap & Glory which contains shea butter, sweet almond oil, peach seed powder, sea salt and sugar.

I'll be honest, Flake Away isn't a product I'd smelt before so I was shocked when I first smelt this product. The peach scent really does come through and I found it to be a little bit too overwhelming. On the days I use my exfoliator I don't use my shower gel afterwards because I like the scent that is left behind, honestly I'm not overly happy with the scent that has been left behind. Although, I also feel like I'm the only person in the world who also doesn't like the scent of Sugar Crush, I find it too sweet and overwhelming.

I'm not sure if it's this product in general, or if it is because it's a travel size, but I found Flake Away to be very 'gloopy' compared to my Smoothie Star, it also didn't feel as rough as my Smoothie Star in the sense that I didn't feel that it was very exfoliating. However, my skin does feel soft after I used it.

Will I continue to use Flake Away? As you can see from the picture above, after only one use I've already used about half of the tub. Maybe when I run out of Smoothie Star, I'll use the rest of the product.
Would I repurchase Flake Away? I highly doubt it, I find the scent a little too sweet and overwhelming personally.
Would I recommend Flake Away? I'd still recommend Flake Away to people who I know would like the scent as it is still a good product.
Overall score out of 5? I'd give Flake Away a 3. Personally I really didn't like the scent, and I don't feel that it was as exfoliating as other Soap & Glory products, however my skin did feel softer after use.

Have you used Flake Away before, let me know what you think? Would you consider using Flake Away?

There is no blogpost up this Sunday as I'm away in Birmingham, but posts will return as normal next week!