Monday, 30 June 2014

Dew Silver Necklace from House of Fraser

I'd never really considered going into House of Fraser for jewellery until I was asked if I would like to review a piece from their vast collection. After browsing the site I was surprised at the amount of different types of jewellery they had on offer. They have huge statement pieces, dainty silver necklaces, pretty bangles adorned with pendants and much more. It is worth a look to see if anything is to your taste, as with their selection there is sure to be.

It was hard for me to decide between a large statement piece or something silver that I could wear all the time. In the end I fell in love with this delicate Dew Mini Silver and Stone Heart necklace*. I thought it would be quite big but when it arrived it was so cute and small I instantly adored it!

Dew Mini Silver and Stone Heart Necklace - House of Fraser

Dew Mini Silver and Stone Heart Necklace - House of Fraser

Dew Mini Silver and Stone Heart Necklace - House of Fraser

When I've got this necklace on I almost don't realise I do it is so light and comfortable to wear. The chain has small little links and it is just the right size as it sits perfectly, not too high and not too low. The pendant of this necklace is fixed to the chain with a slight upward curve and allows no movement around the necklace. I've never had a necklace like this that doesn't have a free pendant which makes this a great addition to my jewellery box.

I love necklaces like this with a little sparkle that can be worn throughout the day and into the night. It works so well dressed down or dressed up that I can safety say I will be wearing this quite a bit... I've got it on right now!

House of Fraser sell a selection of Dew jewellery which includes necklaces, earrings and bracelets that are all extremely elegant. I'd definitely make sure if you are looking for a new piece of jewellery that you have a browse on House of Fraser to see if anything catches your eye.

*Product given for review - all opinions are honest
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Friday, 27 June 2014

Plewsy Studio Open Day

Following my review of Plewsy greetings cards a few weeks ago, I was invited to an open day that Fiona held to launch her new collection of products. This was held at her gorgeous house in Northallerton proving to be quite the drive through the countryside. I picked up Louise and off we went to see her new designs.

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

Plewsy Studio - Fiona Plews - Handmade Ilustrations Cards Prints

I absolutely love Fiona's designs, she is amazing at using inks to produce the cutest of characters. She had a wall full of different cards she had designed for occasions such as Christmas, the birth of a new baby and birthdays. I wanted to pick them all but settled for the two in the above picture - the fox saying "let's party!" and the print "in a while crocodile". Me and my boyfriend are planning to have a photo wall going up the stairs in our house and I thought these two would look perfect framed!

Fiona also has a line of bespoke wedding stationary that involves loosely illustrating portraits of the bride and groom to invite people to their special day. It all looks absolutely adorable and I'd love this if I was getting married!

There are also some enlarged prints on sale of some of the smaller illustrations as well as something unique created for the Tour de France.

If you are in need of a card that is a little bit unique I'd definitely recommend Plewsy. She is so passionate about what she does and everything she produces is of such high quality. Visit her Etsy page to purchase her cards and prints.
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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Picture Polish - Aurora Swatches and Review

In my most recent Rainbow Connection order I decided it was finally time that I owned a Picture Polish nail polish. Everyone raves about Aurora so I popped this in my basket to see what all the fuss was about. If you haven't heard of Picture Polish, they are an Australian boutique nail polish brand who often do collaboration with bloggers. They have a selection of colours and types of nail polish including this gorgeous shimmering polish.

Picture Polish - Aurora Swatches and Review

Picture Polish - Aurora Swatches and Review

Picture Polish - Aurora Swatches and Review

Picture Polish - Aurora Swatches and Review

Well Aurora certainly lived up to its hype! Two coats over OPI's Lady in Black produced the most gorgeous nail polish colour. As you move your hands through different light the colour of this polish switches from an emerald green to a gorgeous shimmery purple. It is almost like the colours you'd find in a pool of petrol or oil changing as you look at it from different angles.

I'm so impressed with how the polish goes on with just the right consistency and with Seche Vite it stayed on for almost a full week with no chipping. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone thinking of picking up a Picture Polish.
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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Spread the word - Blackfish and The Cove

Let me start this post by saying this isn't my usual happy go lucky kind of post, its quite a bit deeper than that. I wouldn't usually write about something like this but I feel like people need to be aware of what is going on in the world so that they can be educated in their future decisions.

Me and my boyfriend enjoy a good documentary. We've seen ones about people having second lives online, the development of indie video games and people posing as missing children. Most recently we sat down to watch Blackfish. This film delves into the world of Orca whales that are held in captivity, most commonly referred to as killer whales. Throughout the documentary there are interviews with many former whale trainers talking about how keeping these mammals captive and expecting them to perform tricks is unnatural and unethical.

Blackfish Documentary - Awareness for Whales in captivity

Blackfish focuses on one the most famous Orca whales, Tilikum - who is currently still performing at Seaworld, California in the Shamu shows. Tragically it highlights the lives of trainers that Tilikum has taken whilst being in captivity but it also shows how such a gentle creature in the wild could take such a drastic turn and take human lives. The industry that currently own these whales and profit from their captivity are shown to be careless towards the whales and also the trainers who put their lives on the line to help them. Previous incidents with whales are either hidden or spun to blame trainer error rather than taking the whale out of shows to prevent further damage. It is an extremely eye opening documentary which will make you question ever wanting to see these creatures in an environment such as Seaworld. To see what you can do to take part visit the official film website.

The second documentary that we watched was called The Cove. This focuses on dolphin catching and killing in Taiji, Japan. This is a very hard watch as it shows the capture of dolphins for sale and the brutal killing of hundreds of dolphins to be sold on as meat to the Japanese public. The whole operation is such a guarded secret in Japan that the team who filmed this documentary had to plant secret cameras in the dead of night to capture the horrible happenings in Taiji.

The Cove documentary - Awareness for killings in Taiji, Japan

Watching this documentary makes me feel sick and extremely angry that the Japanese government can say this is okay to do. Apart from the fact that I think it is morally wrong to kill such intelligent creatures, their meat contains off the scale amounts of mercury that can lead to mercury poisoning which can effect the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. It is extremely harmful and shouldn't be eaten. From what I've read some are very quick to compare Japan's slaughter of dolphins with the Westerners killing of cows. Some of  the Japanese that were filmed for this documentary  are trying to retract what they have said in this, possibly due to government pressures.

Someone very passionate about this being stopped is Ric O'Barry. Responsible for training dolphins for the TV show Flipper, Ric now sees the hurt caused by the industry he helped create and now he is trying to knock it down. If you think you can stomach it I would recommend watching this so that you can see first hand what happens in Taiji which may lead to you trying to help. If you'd like to see what you can do, visit the Take Part website and read about the petitions.

I would hope that you've took the time to read this and are considering taking a look at either documentary, if not I hope that at least it has opened your eyes to these situations. I am not saying I am going to go out and become an activist for whales and dolphins but I will certainly look into the little things I can do that will make a difference. One thing is for sure, if I want to see these animals in the future it will be in the wild.
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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Healthy Breakfast Idea - Overnight Oats with Strawberry and Mango

Breakfast for me is usually a bowl of chocolate squares or coco pops when I get to work. Not exactly the most healthy of starts to the day! Researching clean/healthy eating led me to overnight oats. At first I thought they seemed very hard to make and that I wouldn't have all the ingredients, but how wrong I was. This is one of the easiest breakfasts that is very filling and can be changed to suit anyone's tastes.

Overnight Oats Strawberry and Mango - Clean Eating Breakfast

Overnight Oats Strawberry and Mango - Clean Eating Breakfast

Overnight Oats Strawberry and Mango - Clean Eating Breakfast

Overnight Oats Strawberry and Mango - Clean Eating Breakfast

Now please don't be afraid by the look of this (I added a bit too much milk to mine - we all get it wrong sometimes!) it does taste really nice!

Strawberry and Mango Overnight Oats
1/3 cup of oats
1/2 cup of almond milk (can be any milk you fancy)
A squirt of agave nectar (for sweetness - is optional)
1/2 tbsp chia seeds (again optional but good for you!)
2 handfuls of different fruit
These are rough measurements and if you like your oats more milky add more milk. This recipe will develop as you try it!

This recipe is extremely simple as you add all the ingredients together in a bowl or cup like mine (has to have a  lid) then shake it up and leave in the fridge overnight. In the time it spends in the fridge the oats and the chia seeds will soap up the milk and juices from the fruit to produce something like porridge in the morning. The difference is it is cold and full of fruit - very tasty!

I think the cold porridge takes a little getting used to but once you really get into overnight oats you can start making any creations you fancy! I've had strawberry and blueberry, but you could do apple and cinnamon or banana and almond butter - the possibilities are endless! Just to note I used frozen mango in mine, so you don't just need fresh fruit making this recipe even easier! What more do you need ey!

Love to know if you have a go - and if you like it!
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Friday, 20 June 2014

Dance Legend Colour Changing Thermal Nail Polish - Thermo no. 175

The majority of the time, when I buy indie nail polishes it is to find something that is not currently on the market with drug store brands. I crave something different and more exciting. This could be crazy glitter combinations, holos, exclusive collections or thermal. If you aren't into the indie nail polish scene you may not have seen one of these polishes so be prepared to be wowed!

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

Dance Legend Thermal Polish - Thermo no. 175 swatch

When warm the colour is as the top photos, a bright pink! Then when your fingers are cold the polish goes an amazing purple colour (which is my fave). In the middle two pictures you can see the transition when I've been running my hands under the cold tap.

When I wear this polish I am pretty annoying. I keep asking my boyfriend or mum if I am hot or cold, cause I am weird like that. This specific polish is by Dance Legend, a Russian nail polish company that started in 2000, and the colour is Thermo no. 175. There selection of nail polish is amazing with so many different types including thermal, thermal trio (three colour thermal!), glitter, holo and sun shine (changes colour in the sun!).

Using Seche Vite with this polish I got around a week of wear from it with minimal chipping. The thermal effect doesn't wear off whilst you wearing it so you can run your hands under the tap to change the colour as many times as you like. I am completely fascinated by Dance Legend's polishes now and I need to get more in my life. Roll on next pay day!

Would you wear a thermal nail polish?
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Folly Boutique Rental Review

I have become a little bit obsessed with statement necklaces. I've bought a couple recently and love to wear them to glam up my everyday outfits, even wearing them to work. When The Folly Boutique got in touch and told me about their rental service* I was excited to try it out. I had a look on the website and they have so many gorgeous high end necklaces to buy or rent. I fell in love with this St. Erasmus White Teardrop Crystal Necklace when I saw it on the site and I knew that I needed this in my life even if it would only be for a few days. With a price tag of £240.00 it was not something I could readily afford but at £30 to rent for three days, this certainly seemed reasonable.

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

The Folly Boutique Jewellery Rental

Yellow coat - Topshop  |  Vest top - Forever 21  |  Jeans - River Island  |  Navy Maxi Dress - Warehouse

The packages come by Royal Mail signed for, so make sure you are in to receive it, I wasn't and had to go to my local depot to pick it up! It is packaged very well and so beautifully as you can see in the top two pictures, the ribbon is definitely a lovely touch! When I finally got into the necklace I was stunned, it was more gorgeous in person than it had been on the site.

Now this is a rental piece so it is not mega shiny new as it has been worn before, but this hadn't dampen how great it looks. I tried this piece with some casual everyday clothes and then again with a floor length maxi to go to out. It works with both and is the perfect length, not too short as to be a choker and not to long as to fall down my top. I would have received this on Thursday (had I been in) and then returned it Monday at my local post office with a prepaid envelope that is included with the necklace.

The service is amazing from The Folly Boutique and the idea is genius, it is already done with designer clothes and bags, so why not jewellery? If I had a big event to go to I would definitely think about The Folly Boutique for a piece of statement jewellery as they also do bracelets, earrings, rings, ear cuffs and mens items.

What do you think of this idea? Would you get anything from The Folly Boutique and do you like the necklace I picked?

*I was provided with the necklace for a few days to review with no charge.
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Monday, 16 June 2014

Cocktail Masterclass @ BBC Good Food Show

Cocktails are a real hit with us bloggers. We attempt to try every cocktail under the sun and get extremely excited when we see a new one on the menu. How many of us have tried to make cocktails at home and actually succeeded in creating something delicious? I can't say I have. My abilities stretch to Archers and lemonade, not really a cocktail.

Whilst at the BBC Good Food Show on Friday we discovered they were running cocktails at home masterclasses every hour so we booked ourselves on to the last one of the day.

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

BBC Good Food Show Cocktails at Home Masterclass

During the 40 minute masterclass we learnt how to make the basics of a cocktail - 2 parts spirit, 1 part sweet and 1 part sour. For my first drink I chose gin, camomile tea sugar syrup and fresh lemon juice. Boy was it strong but super tasty! We got to drink our first cocktail as we delved deeper into the basics of mixology producing another drink adding juices and then the basis for a unique sangria in which we needed to add soda water at home.

Overall the session was fun and informative with the two presenters constantly making us giggle. The set up was fab with everyone having enough room to make amazing cocktails whilst having surplus ingredients readily available on the tables. The presenters talked you through what you had to do as well as having a TV showing what they were doing up on stage. I'd say I learnt a lot in this masterclass and can't wait to try some of what I was taught at home. They provided us with a little set of cards to take away which detailed what we'd learnt. On this was a link to thebar.com which shows you hundreds of cocktail combinations to try at home! I even came away with a professional mixing set (i.e the metal cup and clear glass that you shake it up in, the strainer and the spoon) and a bottle of Captain Morgan's spiced rum for £31.50.

The lemons, alcohol and juices are in so I'm off to make cocktails!
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Sunday, 15 June 2014

BBC Good Food Show (Summer) - NEC, Birmingham

I love to cook, I rarely bake (because I am no good at it), but I do cook and I think I do it pretty well. I like to try new recipes and since being in the house have not tried the same one twice! Cooking is something I really enjoy and I like learning different techniques and taking on board knowledge from others. Last year myself and mum attended the BBC Good Food Show and really enjoyed ourselves bringing back tonnes of food and goodies. This year we weren't too bothered about going but then Mum won tickets on Facebook from Sponge. So we decided to take Friday off to drive down to Birmingham.

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Paul Hollywood

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - John Whaite

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - John Whaite

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - The Brownie Bar

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Bluebird Tea Co.

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Paul Hollywood

At the Good Food Show there is so much to do. They have many different 'stages' with chefs doing live demonstrations and interacting with the audience. Many celebrity chefs are present at the event with the likes of Mary Berry, Brian Turner, Paul Hollywood, Frances Quinn, Sabrina Ghaynor and John Whaite to name but a few!

We saw Paul Hollywood at the Supertheatre (in which you need tickets for) and John Whaite on the Lakeland Summer Kitchen stage which was open to everyone. Both did a live cookery demonstration, Paul making a stilton and walnut bread, and John producing a beetroot cake. It was great to see them live rather than through a TV screen as it was more real to life rather than edited like on the TV programmes.

At the show there is an opportunity to meet your favourite chefs and get them to sign their book for you. We took this up and got Paul Hollywood to sign a book for mum and John Whaite to sign a book for me! Both signings were pretty quiet so we didn't have to queue long before we got to meet them.

We then spent a lot of time perusing the stalls to see what was on offer. There were many of the same stalls as last year with the additional of a whole host of others. We picked up a few things such as Toffoc vodka, Brownie Bar brownies, Bluebird Tea Co strawberry lemonade tea and Mrs Crimbles baked treats.

We even had chance to pop along and see some of the gorgeous flowers over at the BBC Gardeners World which is joined to the Good Food Show.

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Gardeners World

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Gardeners World

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Gardeners World

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Gardeners World

BBC Good Food Show Summer - NEC Birmingham - Gardeners World

I'd definitely recommend the Good Food Show to anyone who loves a good day out.There are many of these events dotted throughout the year in various locations, check the website to see if they are near you soon! Even if you are not super in to your cooking it is nice to go along, wander round, sample new foods and see what is out there.
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© gingerbread smiles.

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