Sunday, 29 June 2014

Going Lighter for Summer.

After a few weeks of being lighter, I think it's time we address my hair here on my blog. I've been thinking about ditching the ombre for sometime I just wanted something a little lighter and I felt my hair just needed a refresh. A few weeks back I got my sister to transform my hair and make my locks lighter for summer. I adore the ends of my hair, they are the perfect colour for me, but obviously as my hair was darker up top it will take a few rounds of highlights to get it the same shade. However, I am so happy with the results from just one full head of highlights. The colour lifted so much more than I thought it would and there is just the tiniest patch that's still a little darker than I would like. 

To keep my hair is good condition after being lightened, I've been using the BLONDEME* range from Schwarzkopf. I've been washing my hair with the Colour Enhancing Blonde Shampoo, which is a really thick purple shampoo to give you that fab anti-yellow effect. I've been leaving this on a few minutes in the shower then washing it out to leave me with toned and ashy highlights. After towel-drying my hair I've been applying the Colour Correction Spray Conditioner, which is again a purple-toned product that leaves my hair super soft and easy to manage.

Once a week I've been applying the Keratin Restore Blonde Mask to my hair before washing it. I love hair masks and this one is no exception. It is super thick and luxurious and leaves my hair feeling amazing. I tend to leave this on a little longer than the 10 minutes recommended as I really like to make sure it works super hard on my dry hair.

I'm really impressed with the BLONDEME range, but the thing I love the most is the smell of the products. As these products are part of the professional range they smell incredible and leave me with that salon-feeling every time I wash my hair.

Katie xx 


Friday, 27 June 2014

Bathroom Inspiration.

Untitled #68

I'm officially on the final moving house countdown. This time next week, we will have our very own keys to our very own home. When I haven't been bogged down with uni work, I've been trying to think of ideas for decorating our house. The bedroom is pretty much complete, but my dressing room and the bathroom certainly need a lick of paint. 

We were both convinced we wanted really light, pastel colours throughout the house, however we watched a house programme recently and completely changed our minds. I'm now obsessing over darker colours and really light accessories. I've always wanted crisp, white towels but they have just never gone with our bathroom decor, so I think now is a good opportunity to incorporate them. 

Our bathroom is by no means small, but it's not huge either so storage ideas are always a plus. I love the quirky shelving and basket storage ideas in some of these images. I really love the random pops of colour on the grey walls too, the yellow certainly makes the bathroom cool and unique. It's just so hard to decide what we want, but hopefully paint shopping next week with resolve our problems.

Seven days to go!

Katie xx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sometimes it's okay not to be okay.

Image from here

Like many other people I've spent the majority of my life comparing myself to others. In fact this has probably got worse over the last few years and I'm constantly worrying about whether I'm good enough or wishing I could change parts of my appearance or wanting to be that bit more confident. I wanted to write this post, not cos I want attention or people to feel sorry for me, but to let other people know they are not alone. I'm sure there are thousands of people out there that get down in the dumps like I do, but sometimes it can feel like you are the only person in the world that feels that way. 

Sometimes life gets too much. I've had a lot of pressures from uni recently, and although my life is 1000 times better than some people's, it can sometimes be so overwhelming and exhausting that I can feel like giving up. I know, like some, some days it's hard to put a smile on my face and promise the world that 'I'm okay' but as well as the hard days, there are some good. The last few weeks I've been seeing the positive side to things a little more and spent a little more with a genuine smile on my face. Hopefully over time this will get to be more on a daily basis. My biggest challenge is to overcome my anxiety's and stop playing things over and over in my head. It sounds like an easy enough thing to do, but to me it's a huge mountain that I need to climb.

This blog has always been a place for me to express myself. Over the past few years I've written very little personal posts and now I feel a little more confident speaking out. I don't want this post to be a negative thing, but I just want to express that life can get crazy sometimes and it's difficult not to get wrapped up in it. It's hard to remember you are not alone but I promise you are not. And most importantly sometimes it's okay not to be okay.

Katie xx

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Book Worm.

My aim for this year was to read 6 books. This wasn't going well, up until the last few weeks when I fell back in love with reading. I actually read both of these books within two weeks, which for me is unheard of. They were both page turners and really hard to put down so I thought I would share some of my latest book finds.

Thirteen Weddings - Paige Toon

I am a huge fan of Paige Toon. Ever since I discovered her books a good few years ago, I've read every one cover to cover in record time. This one was no exception. Thirteen Weddings follows Bronte and her life working for a magazine in London and playing assistant wedding photographer on the side. Girl meets boy and things kind of go from there, but this isn't your typical romantic novel and as the title suggests Bronte's thirteenth wedding is the hardest one yet.

Geek Girl Picture Perfect - Holly Smale*

I believe this is part of the Geek Girl series, which I've heard such great things about. I had never read any of the other books in the series, so I was a little concerned I wouldn't understand what was happening. However this book is so well written that it doesn't matter that I'd not read the previous books and I soon learnt to know and love Harriet. This follows Harriet as she leaves school and moves to New York with her parents. Harriet explores NYC and learns a lot about growing up and herself throughout the book. The thing I love most about this book is that I could completely relate to Harriet from my teenage years. This is such a wonderful read, I enjoyed it so much I'd finished it in two days!

What books do you recommend?

Katie xx


Monday, 23 June 2014

Essence UK Launch Manchester.

Yesterday I was super lucky to be invited to the Essence UK launch in Manchester. Essence is a brand I was aware of but couldn't quite decide why, it turns out they are the leading make-up brand in Europe so I will have no doubt seen the brand when I've been shopping abroad. Finally Essence has made it's way to the UK and I am so excited. Over 200 Wilko stores are stocking the Essence make up and if you're really lucky to live near Manchester or London, you'll be able to access free-standing Essence stands in the Arndale Centre and Westfield. 

So what did we get up to? We were greeted by the lovely Essence team and Heidi from Flipside PR and shown around the venue. We were all given really cool name badges and felt super professional for a few hours. The venue was laid out with cosmetic stations, one for eyes, lips etc. where we could try the Essence products to our hearts content. There was also nail and make up artists on hand to match our foundation and make our hands really pretty using the Essence products. I had my nails painted and was overly impressed with the colour pay off and finish which rivaled some of the high end brand. At £1.59 a nail polish, you absolutely need them all in your life.

We were given a brief talk from the Essence team from Germany and told a little about the brand and their ideas behind it. Essence is all about fun without the huge price tag. They are also a cruelty free brand, which is always a plus in my eyes. We discovered all the products range from 99p up to £4.99, which is an amazing price point for those looking for some budget beauty products.

The venue also held two stands of Essence products, everything from nail varnish to blusher and foundations, as well as everything in between. We were amazed when the Essence team said we could fill our goody bags with any products that we wanted to try, which was unbelievably kind as they were already filled with Essence products. We were all like kinds in a candy shop! Needless to say I've been having a play around with my goodies this morning and I'm already in love with the nail varnish and eye shadows.

After spending times chatting to other bloggers and the Essence team, we were walked over to the Arndale Centre to see the Essence stand in action. If you live close to Manc you need to pop down, the stand is filled with amazing products and I feel so lucky to have these right on my doorstep.

I am without a doubt, an Essence convert. I adore the products, the quality is so high you would never guess these are drug store prices. Move over MUA there's another budget brand about and in my opinion it tops the lot.

Katie xx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

OOTD: Casual Kimono.

Kimono - LilyLulu*
Top - Topshop
Jeans - Primark
Belt - house of Fraser
Sandals - Topshop via Next2Nowt

I'm completely obsessed with kimonos this summer. I love how you can transform a casual outfit into something a little more dressy, without over heating in the sunshine. This kimono from LilyLulu is just perfect for throwing on over a vest for a summer evening. The material is really light and floaty which makes it the perfect addition to any outfit. I love the tassel detailing too, it did feel a little strange at first but as I've got used to it I really like the added interest to this piece. 

I teamed the kimono with a casual outfit and my new sandals from Next2Nowt. I've raved about the website before and I spotted these a few weeks ago and knew I had to have them. I've been on the hunt for some white sandals for the summer and these are exactly what I'd been looking for. Despite coming from Next2Nowt they are in perfect condition and fit my feet like a glove. Plus they cost me £7, which is a pretty amazing bargain.

Katie xx


Friday, 20 June 2014

Full-filling Goals.

This might seem like a really strange post to write, but way back in January I made a few goals for the coming year, one of which was to drink more. This time last year I could go an entire day without drinking and only have half a glass of juice with my tea. I knew it wasn't a good way to look after myself, so I made one of my resolutions to drink more. I have to say, this is the first year I've ever actually stuck to a resolution out. It may only be 6 months into 2014 but I can see I'm not going back on this one anytime soon.

With all this in mind I wanted to make sure I was drinking enough on the go, so I went on the hunt for a water (or in my case sugar-free cordial) bottle. In the last 6 months I've made it through a good few bottles, mainly super cheap ones from Primark or just recycling a good old Evian, but I really wanted something more long term. After hunting in many TKMaxx, I stumbled across this Aladdin bottle and I've never looked back.

Aladdin was a company I'd vaguely heard about in the past so I was pretty happy with my choice. The bottle is really strong plastic, which happens to be BPA free, which means it doesn't leak any nasty chemicals into your drink that some other plastics do. This has a super wide top, so would be perfect to pop a few ice cubes in, then a screw on drinking spout and separate lid. Something I was forever worrying about with other bottles was them spilling in my bag. This lovely thing has a no spill lid and I'm happy to say my iPhone and camera are kept very safe and dry even when they are housed next to my drink in my bag. It also has a cute little handle which would be great to take running or to the gym.

I always have this bottle filled up, even at home. I know that it holds 600mls so two full bottles a day, is far, far more than I was drinking previously. I love my bottle, the ease of filling it up and cleaning just encourages me to drink more and I'm not afraid to say I'm proud of not giving up on this goal.

Katie xx

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sandal-ready feet.

If you're anything like me your feet will get neglected for at least 6 months of the year. If I know my toes are going to be out of sight, I let my nail polish chip and don't bother re-painting. So this time of year they obviously need a little pampering before I feel confident enough to slip on some sandals.

I always shape my toe nails with nail scissors. I find it much easier than filing, plus the feeling of a nail file really goes through me. I have very ticklish feet and can't stand anyone near them, I even struggle to touch them myself sometimes, so going for a pedicure is very much out of the question.

I should take my care of my feet, after all they do all the hard work when I'm out and about. Recently I've been trying out The Buddah Beauty Company's Sole Soother* which is an organic peppermint foot cream. It's really thick and moisturising and turns into this gorgeous oil-like texture on your skin and sort of melts into my dry patches. I always find this great after a really long, warm day on my feet, this just cools and sooths perfectly.

Lastly, I finish of my feet with a pretty polish. I'm currently obsessed with the Rimmel 60 seconds nail polishes, they are just such great quality for the price and I've found I can get a good 4/5 days chip free even without a top coat. Plus I'm super impatient and always smudge my toe nail varnish on my clothes or the carpet, so a quick drying time is always a winner.

Hopefully my feet will be ready to wear my pretty new sandals for Barcelona in a few weeks. I'm actually really looking forward to pampering my toes a little and giving them the care they deserve.

Katie xx

Monday, 16 June 2014

Natural Beauty Picks from Holland & Barrett.

I recently wrote a post about Holland & Barrett's Big Beauty Swap (post here). After writing that post it really got me thinking about the products I use and what the ingredients could mean for my body. After flicking through H&B's website for a while, I chose some products that I'd like to try. So here are my picks from Holland & Barrett's Big Beauty Swap.
Burt's Bees has always been a favourite of mine. I've been obsessed with their lip products since I was in school, but I've never tried the lip tinted balms before. This one is a lovely pinky-peach colour and is perfect for wearing on no make-up days. I've always used the tester of the hand cream from Burt's Bees when I've been passing in Boots. So I took this opportunity to pick up the Almond & Milk hand cream - if you're a fan of marzipan like me, you will LOVE this stuff.
I then chose a few things that looked interesting. I've always been fascinated by these natural deodorants so I really wanted to try the Salt of the Earth deo stick. I also grabbed some more bath salts, which are my ultimate relaxing bath-time treat. I love adding salts to any bubble bath to help relax me just that little bit more. My other random pick was a facial moisturiser from a brand called Sukin. I'd never heard of them before, but I read the reviews of this moisturiser and decided I needed to try it. I'm happy to say so far, so good - expect a full review soon.
Finally I picked up so of the Dr Organic range. I've tried a few things from this range in the past so I knew what to expect, but I couldn't wait to try some different products. I chose the Virgin Coconut Oil Moisture Melt Body Oil, which is solid coconut oil that you heat up and moisturise with. I love cooking with coconut oil and this smells incredible, I can't wait to try it out on my skin. I also picked up two products from the Rose Otto range. I got the Bath Oil and Skin Toner, both of which smell amazing. I've been using the toner daily and I love the scent and the cooling sensation it gives. I'm saving the bath oil for my house move, I think it will de-stress me when unpacking is driving me mad. Lastly, I went with the Virgin Olive Oil Body Scrub, I love scrubs and I love olive scented products - what's not to love?
Katie xx
*The products are PR samples, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

OOTD: Keeping Cool.

Cardigan - Primark
Top - Topshop
Trousers - Great Plains*
Shoes - Topshop via Next2Nowt

The weather has been lovely again the past few days. I really like it when it's quite humid but still a little cloudy, it makes sitting outside bearable without the risk of being frazzled to a crisp by the sun. I even been enjoying the rain on an evening, that just cools everything down ready for another lovely day

This outfit is definitely one of my faves at the moment. I think it's perfect for this weather we are having. I've teamed a lovely floaty vest top from Toppers with some gorgeous light trousers from Great Plains. I absolutely adore these trousers, they're the perfect material for summer evenings and look amazing dressed up or down. 

I finished it off with a pair of my new shoes from Next2Nowt. I'm always having a nosey on their website and I've bought a few things from there before, so when I spotted the Martie shoes for £10, I needed to grab a bargain. I love that you can look at the soles of the shoes on N2N and determine how worn they are. These look practically brand new and for a fraction of the price they were sold for in Topshop.

What have you been wearing to keep cool?

Katie xx 


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Pizza Express at Piccadilly Gardens.

Pizza Express has always been up there with my favourite restaurants. Mainly because it's one of those lovely restaurants that has jumped on the gluten-free band wagon and I actually have choice of a decent sized menu. Last week me and the hubby headed over to Pizza Express at Piccadilly Gardens for a yummy three-course meal. Not only is the restaurant in the perfect setting, right in the centre of my favourite city, it was also a really lovely day so we chilled out on the grass before our meal time. 

I actually tried a few 'new' things on the menu which was exciting to have something different. I branched out from my usual Margarita and had some more daring food. We actually took a break from the 'no sugar' diet for the meal, so I was very excited to have a little sweetness.
Starter: Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

This was a gorgeous fresh salad and perfect for the summer weather. I adore tomatoes and cheese, so this salad couldn't have been any more perfect for me. The pesto was to die for and went perfectly with this yummy salad. I would without a doubt, choose this again as a super light starter.

 Main: Gluten Free Emilia Pizza (New)

This sounded so delicious on the menu, the pizza is described as mushrooms, goat's cheese, garlic oil and mozzarella, finished off with rocket. This was a strange 'pizza' for me as there was no tomato sauce base, so to me it was more of a garlic bread. I loved the cheeses and garlic flavour, but there was just a bit too much rocket for my liking. I actually had to put quite a lot to the side to get to the pizza underneath, which was really yummy.  

Dessert: Leggera Lemon Curd Sorbet (New)

This was amazing. I so, so enjoyed this dessert. The sorbet was light and tangy and went perfectly with the dark chocolate. This is the ultimate summer dessert and totally cleanses the palette after a meal. I was worried I wouldn't be able to manage dessert, but this went down like a dream.

Jonathan's meal review:

I am not quite as big a fan of Pizza Express as Mrs A. I have always found that the quality doesn't math up to the price point - there are so many good Pizzerias around Manchester and Pizza Express has never quite measured up.

Starter: Original Bruschetta 

You can't really go wrong with bruschetta, so this one didn't really disappoint, it did exactly what it said on the tine. The food was presented well, tasted fresh and (most importantly) there was a good portion.

Main: Calabrese Pizza 

Spicy pizza's are my absolute favourite, so I couldn't miss the opportunity to try the new 'hot' offering at Pizza Express. However, this pizza was a slight disappointment - it costs upward of £12 and the big wigs at Pizza Express seem to think piling it high with rocket is a way to justify the price. For me, this was a missed opportunity and the smoke and mirrors attempt trick us in to believing this was much more than an 'American Hot' failed on every level.

Dessert: Chocolate Fudge Cake

It was chocolate fudge cake. How could this fail? But I am not sure a mint leaf being stuck on the side of the plate make this worth +£5 - after all we are in a chain restaurant.

Overall, the food did not live up to expectations but who cares? I got to spend the evening with my gorgeous wife.

Katie & Jonathan xx

*We kindly received this complimentary meal from Pizza Express, all opinions are honest


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Home Ware Wishlist.

Untitled #67

With three weeks until the big house move, I'm getting super excited about decorating. Even though I know we need big things, like a dining table, I still cant resist looking at home-ware when I'm out and about. This will be our first home that we actually own so we both can't wait to put our own stamp on it.

I really love the vintage-looking shabby chic kind of ornaments. Our house is super old and still had a brick fire and beams in the living room, which will be really cosy in the winter. I'm desperate to make the house into that cottage style and really make it out haven.

I'm also lucky enough to have a dressing room, so I've been picking out pieces to put my own personal touch to the room. I've spotted a few things in Zara Home and Asda's home decor has really impressed me lately too. I'm dying to get this Chanel print in my dressing room, I just think it would be the perfect piece for my room dedicated to make up and clothes.

I'm really excited and on the countdown. I do need to restrain myself a little as we have quite a few boxes packed already. But once we are in I can shop till I drop.

Katie xx

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

OOTD: Pastel Converse.

Top - Primark
Jeans - Primark
Converse - Cloggs*
Bag - Ted Baker

Day to day I love being really comfy and casual. Jeans and leggings are always my go-to choice of clothing, I just love the way anything goes with them. On Sunday I paired my favourite jeans with a cute floral, floaty top from Primark for the ultimate comfy outfit. I currently own three pairs of Converse and these Lavender Glow Converse* are the latest to be added to my collection. I knew the pastel lilac colour would look amazing and perfect for the summer. Lastly, I teamed my outfit with one of my gorgeous Ted Baker bags, which I got for my birthday.

You can find the pastel coloured Converse from Cloggs here.

Katie xx
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