Sunday, 27 September 2015

Belle of the Ball - OOTN

The company that I work for helped to co-found a charity that helps young people in the area improve learning and employment opportunities as well as raising aspirations. We do a lot of work for the charity and when the idea of a fundraising ball came about it was myself and other colleagues responsibility to make this a reality. We've been working for months to set up the Ball and finally last Friday it happened.

I should mention this was a black tie event, so I had to get myself a special dress and Matt had to glam up in a tuxedo. I thought it would be good to do a little run down of my outfit for the evening.

Black Tie/ Evening Gown Outfit of the Night

Black Tie/ Evening Gown Outfit of the Night - Primark Monsoon

Black Tie/ Evening Gown Outfit of the Night - Little Mistress

Black Tie/ Evening Gown Outfit of the Night - Little Mistress

Black Tie/ Evening Gown Outfit of the Night - Geleration & Hair Style

The item I picked up first was my dress. This is from a brand called Little Mistress which is sold in House of Fraser. At £70 I thought this was a reasonable cost for a good quality floor length gown. It was pulled in around the bust and waist with beautiful beading across the collarbone. The bottom was loose and flowy touching the floor. It fitted great and was a dream to wear.

To accompany this I found these heels in Primark for only £14.00 which were the perfect height and the colour matched really well. Then I went over to Monsoon and picked this glittery bag up for £15.00. Its a great size, has a magnetic clasp and comes with a strap.

To accompany the look I decided to get gel nails done with the Jessica GELeration colour, it's taboo, which is a dark red with little glints of glitter. I did my hair myself and I basically just twisted bits of hair, folding under the end piece and gripping down. Then to finish I covered the twists which a piece of hair from each side. I took the picture above when I came in so that's why there are a few fly aways!

What do you think of the look?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Autumn Time Candles

Autumn Time Candles - Yankee Candle, Air Wick, Shearer Candles

When Autumn comes around it's time to change up the candles and bring in some cosy warming scents. I must admit I have a cupboard that is full of different candles, some new and some part used that I just switch up when I feel like it. I love buying candles. It's a little obsession. So as the temperatures have changed I decided it was time to invest in some new candles.

Autumn Time Candles - Yankee Candle, Air Wick, Shearer Candles

Yankee Candles is one of my favourite candle brands as they do lots of different scents and they are super strong. I love that they continue to bring out new scents as well as keeping the old faves.

I purchased Pain Au Raisin and Gingerbread Maple after watching Zoella's Autumn candle haul because I felt like I needed some new Autumn ones. They are both very sweet smelling but they aren't very sickly which is good. Gingerbread Maple smells of baking and very sweet syrup but isn't too overwhelming with the gingerbread. With Pain Au Raisin you can definitely smell a hint of raisin but its nice as its subtly fruity. They both have a little bit of spice which makes them feel cosy and warming.

I've had this Christmas Eve candle since last year as I must have bought a few because it's one of my favourites.  Although not technically Autumn I think as it gets colder all Autumn/Winter candles go! This one is a hard one to describe but its very different to the other two. It's fresh and a bit more perfumy. I think you should smell this one yourself to see what you think!

Autumn Time Candles - Yankee Candle, Air Wick, Shearer Candles

This little one I picked up from Aldi in the Special Buys as it smelt SO GOOD. I walked past and could smell it so I couldn't leave without it. I'm pretty sure I've seen these candles in other supermarkets so I suggest you search out this one. It is the White Vanilla Bean scent which smells lovely and sweet but homely. As it's a Air Wick candle its very potent which is brilliant!

Autumn Time Candles - Yankee Candle, Air Wick, Shearer Candles

The last one is a candle I picked up from Tesco Extra whilst on a little shopping spree. You know when you go to Tesco and you want to buy something but don't know what, then you come out with a book, a candle and all sorts of other things. Yeah this was bought on one of those times.

When I picked up this candle it immediately made me think that it smelt of something but I didn't know what. Again this is nothing like any of the candles already listed, it's very perfumey. Its a different scent for me and something I wouldn't normally pick but as it reminded me of something and it was black wax, I decided to pick it up. It is in the scent Amber Noir and I'm pretty sure it smells like one of Mum's hair products but in a nice way! One of those that you want on your hair so you can smell your hair all day. Again maybe this is one you have to smell in person!

So what are your favourite Autumn candles? Any recommendations for me?


Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Olde Young Tea House

The Olde Young Tea House is somewhere I know I can rely on for a good cup of tea and a delicious piece of cake. One Friday lunchtime I decided it was time to once again venture across town to visit this quaint little tea shop for some grub. Although I speak about the tea shop quite a bit on Gingerbread Smiles I've never actually posted about it so when I was there I thought I'd take some snaps.

When we arrived there were a few tables free for us to take our pick and the lovely tea lady let us know which weren't reserved. We looked over the menu and decided on sandwiches and cake with a mug of tea. We both picked the mozzarella and pesto sandwich then I had a piece of chocolate cookie cake and Mum had a snickers cupcake. To accompany my food I chose a cup of Malibu Dream tea and mum had a pot of normal tea.

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

The Olde Young Tea House, Middlesbrough - Teesside Review

I love the interior of the tea house, its full of wood, very vintage looking with beautiful patterned wall paper and quirky accessories. The atmosphere is very friendly with people meeting here to see their friends and family for a catch up.

Our lunch was nice although I wish I'd picked a different sandwich as it wasn't my favourite. The cake however was amazing, as per usual. It is always deliciously moist with lots of chocolate icing. I was really glad that I decided to pick a different tea as it was so tasty. I'd definitely recommend it to other people!

Have you been to the Olde Young Tea House before?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Degustabox August Review!

I've been receiving Degustaboxes for a few months now and I've been terrible at getting reviews up but this month's box is so good a review must be written! Here's the low down on August's Degustabox and the must have items to pick up in your food shopping. I've rated them out of 5 stars!

Dr Oetker Mug Cakes: Chocolate, Lemon and Chocolate Chip ****
These are so cool! I always fancy making mug cakes but there are too many ingredients and I don't want to make a mess. These are perfect. All you do is pour in a mug, add milk and then put in the microwave. I've tried the chocolate one, as I'm a chocolate fiend and it's amazing. It didn't cook quite enough with the time allocated on the package but I put it in for a little longer. It did get a little dry but I just added some nutella to sort that out!

Life Tonics Hydration Plus - Elderberry & Juniper - 0
This drink is made with coconut water which I am really not a fan of. I couldn't drink due to the taste but I'm sure people who like coconut water will like this, but for someone who can't stand it, it's really not the drink for me!

Williamson Tea Ginger Grove - N/A
I'm not really a ginger tea drinker so I gave this to my co-workers. The consensus was that it was lovely! So smiles all round.

Bahlsen PICK UP! Dark Chocolate & Choco Leibniz White ****
My favourite parts of this month's Degustabox! I loved the PICK UP! bars especially with a cup of tea. Not overly keen on the Choco Leibniz White as I'm much more of a milk/dark chocolate girl but they were nice.

Walkers Biscuits - ***
I love Walkers biscuits. I usually have these at conferences I attend with work and they are super yummy. I especially like the chocolate chip shortbread biscuits, so rich and buttery.

Barilla Penne Rigate & Arrabbiata - *
We tried these two together to get the full effect and I added beef mince to the sauce. I always use brown pasta now so to go back to white felt a bit stodgy. The sauce was tasty but it wasn't my favourite.

Little Miracles *****
I love Little Miracles fruit tea drinks. Although they are pretty much full of sugar they are so tasty and different from other drinks on the market. I don't like to have fizzy drinks when I'm out and about so they little guys are perfect. Each flavour is really nice even though it contains green tea.

I am still yet to try these... Delicious Alchemy Oaty Cookie Mix, Ryvita Crispbread: Cracked Black Pepper & Sesame & Scheckter's Organic Energy... but will update when I do!

Have you had a Degustabox recently? Fancy trying one?

Degustabox are offering readers £3.00 off their first box. Just use the code H6NZ2 when registering to redeem this discount!

*Degustabox send me a box for review but opinions are honest and all my own.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Youtubers and Vloggers - Why do we watch?

I was never always obsessed with watching youtube. I only began watching towards the end of last year starting with the main two - Zoella and Sprinkle of Glitter. Since then I've grown more and more addicted, adding a couple more youtubers to my subscriptions. These days I watch Youtube everyday, checking for new videos when I get home.

I don't spend a lot of my time watching youtube videos though, they are usually on in the background keeping me company as I cook dinner. At the moment I'm completely obsessed with the SacconeJolys. When I get home after work I check the clock to see if it's time to put their new video on. I then start the tea with the sound of Jonathan twittering on in the background. I'm not too sure why I feel the need to catch up on their life every day. It's a weird phenomenal that's come about since daily vlogging started. I've been thinking about why we are so into youtubers and their daily vlogs!

We are nosy parkers! I think we are all pretty nosy at heart and love to see what others are doing on a daily basis. Yes vlogs are edited but still we are getting more of an insight into their lives then we ever would have had before. We are let into the world of someone else to follow them on their journeys. Whether it's a day out in London, a trip to the supermarket or a holiday abroad, we love to see what people are up to!

Feeling like the Youtuber is talking to YOU! Another reason I think we all love a good vlog is because you believe the Youtuber is talking specifically to you. Well you know they are not REALLY, but it kinda feels like they are. Although you aren't speaking back (well you might be but they can't hear...) it feels like you are building a rapport, finding out more about these people who you eventually start to think of as you kind-of-internet friends. The internet is a weird place kids but it makes us all happy. Seeing Louise out shopping with Darcy or Zoe walking Nala in the park is something that is totally mundane but we crave it. 

They are friendly celebrities. When Youtubers don't post, the internet seems a bit empty and we wonder what they are up to. Are they vlogging? Will there be something up soon? The Youtubers we watch have turned into internet celebrities but the way in which they make their money is so real and personal it feels different to liking a singer or an actor. It feels like you are much closer to them, like you could actually know them. It's a strange relationship you feel you share as the youtuber has no idea you exist. Still we enjoy it and it makes our little lives a little brighter.

What do you think about why we watch vlogs/youtube?

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Hallway highlights

Today I thought I'd bring you a little inspiration for decorating your hallway by showing you some key pieces in mine! I know hallways aren't the most exciting places to decorate but we have a few cute bits in ours!

First is our arch 'window' mirror! This is from Barker and Stonehouse. I really wanted it when we first saw it so we decided to get it not knowing where exactly in the house it would go. After being in the house a good few months we got the hallway painted and had new flooring laid then finally found the best spot to put it. Matt's Dad and Uncle kindly put this up for us as we'd have no clue how! It's such a heavy mirror! This does really work where we've positioned it as it bounces the light from the front door window brilliantly making the hall much brighter. Also, most importantly, we can check our appearance on the way out of the house!

Barker and Stonehouse Arch Mirror - Home Interior Design

Barker and Stonehouse Arch Mirror - Home Interior Design

Next to the mirror we have a little table with a phone and lamp sitting on top. Initially I bought a really cheap phone from ASDA when we first moved in as I thought, who really uses their home phone? After a while of being in the house we found the other phone to be really flimsy and not easy to use so we splurged on a new one. This blue retro phone was from John Lewis and I think it was the style that both of us were looking for. The little table was from a store called At Home which is local to us in Stockton. It was the last one which was lucky for us and I just think it's cute and very functional!

John Lewis Wild & Wolf 1960's Corded Telephone, French Blue - Home Interior Design

John Lewis Wild & Wolf 1960's Corded Telephone, French Blue - Home Interior Design

When we moved in there was a huge fuse box sat behind the front door. Very unattractive. Matt was keen to cover this in some way so we got a joiner in who made us this little cute wooden slide box. Of course we had to 'decorate' this and add a few bits to it. We picked up these little fake plants and glass stopper bottle from John Lewis and they went perfectly. However the bottle was empty, so Matt took some of my dried black beans out of the cupboard and decided to fill it. Although I was down on black beans, I do think this looks really effective.

Lastly is the light fitting that we chose for our hall. It's very basic but it's exactly the style that myself and Matt like, very industrial. This was from the Portrack Lighting Centre in Stockton and it came in silver or gold but for our hallway we thought this colour went much better. We also bought a special bulb for this in which you can see the filament when the light is on. A little like old fashioned light bulbs.

John Lewis Fake Plants and Glass Bottle with Stopper - Home Interior Design

Metal Industrial Light Fitting with Filament Bulb

So what do you think of our little hallway? We personally love it. It's a nice space to welcome people to our home.

Have you got any home post? Link below!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Why I can't wait for Autumn

This year Autumn can't come quick enough. There is something about this Summer that has not been appealing to us Brits at all! I think we didn't really get a Summer, so its about time we just got right into Autumn, okay Mother Nature? Bring it.

I hope that you are excited for Autumn too. I've started a pinterest board filled with beautiful autumn images, cosy interiors and cute craft projects. Although we are only just into September and the leaves have not even started to fall from the trees, I can't wait to wrap up and welcome in Autumn. Here's why...

1. The colours. Autumn brings some amazing colours that I'm in love with including burnt oranges, deep maroon reds and dirty mustard yellows. From the fallen leaves to the clothes in high street shops, the beautiful Autumn colours are everywhere. This year I want to invest in some pieces in these colours and
maybe a staple pair of brown boots!

2. Cosy nights in. No more will we think about going out on a night, the place to be will be in the comfort of our own homes. Investing in blankets, candles and good movies will be essential as we start to snuggle up on the sofa rather than braving the cold. I'll definitely have to go shopping for some real Autumn scented candles. I'm thinking cinnamon, woody hints and smokey scents.

3. New flavours. Bring back the hot chocolate, cinnamon, gingerbread and of course, pumpkin. Okay so these aren't new flavours but they get a bit forgotten during Spring/Summer. Now we can indulge in barista hot chocolate, oh and a little bit of salted caramel syrup? As well as this Autumn brings a lot of orange; bigging up pumpkins, butternut squash and sweet potatoes at every meal!

4. Halloween. I love Halloween. It's time to be a big kid, decorate the house and dress up. I'm hoping to do something this year but even if I don't and I'm just handing out sweets I'm going to go big with my decorations. Matt doesn't know yet but there could be a skeleton or two hanging outside the house on the big night.

5. Comfort food. When the weather gets cold all anyone wants to do is eat all the carbs. It's understandable, we are starting to stock up for Winter. I'll be looking to beef casseroles, warming broths, soups and roast dinners. Of course I'll still try and keep it healthy but I think diets change by the season and I'll definitely be adapting mine to Autumn.

So what's your favourite parts of Autumn? Are you excited?

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Book update.

Recently I've been getting back into books. I absolutely love buying books but don't usually make the time to read them. Over the past few months I've been reading the above three books; Paper Towns by John Green, Dream A Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher and Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler.

I just wanted to give you a little review of each book. I love reading other people's recommendations on their blog so hopefully this helps you pick a couple of new books!

Paper Towns - John Green
After reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I decided to try out a few of his other books. I scoured his collection and chose this (and Abundance of Katherines which I am yet to read). Paper Towns was a really exciting and fun book to read. The adventures that Quentin goes on with Margo and his friends are great to follow and the mystery surrounding Margo is very gripping. Although I do recommend giving this a read I would suggest not holding out any great hope for a brilliant ending.

Dream A Little Dream - Giovanna Fletcher
As you may know I'm a little obsessed with the Fletchers and have already read Giovanna's other novels, so when this came out I had to get it. I read this on holiday and it was a perfect read for sitting in the Sun. If you are into girly chick flicks then this is for you. Giovanna has really excelled herself this time with a brilliant story and well thought out characters. When the book ended I wanted to carry on reading and know what else happens after the story ends. Thankfully Giovanna is writing a small novella to follow on from this, I can't wait until it's out in October!

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love - Sarah Butler
I picked this up in a charity shop for 50p (got to love charity shops!) after scouring the shelves for some more books to add to my collection. The book is told from two people's perspective, changing each chapter from Alice, whose Dad has just passed away, to Daniel, a homeless man searching for his daughter. At first I didn't really get into this book but continued reading to see if it got any better. I can say it did, but as I got closer to the end of the book I got frustrated with the characters. The story almost got a bit far-fetched and I was a little disappointed that there wasn't really a solid ending. For a book I picked up for 50p, it was an okay read.

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

P.S any book recommendations, or blog posts featuring book reviews?

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