Monday, 30 March 2015

7 Things to Prepare for a Big House Move.

Most of you know I'm not originally from the North West and in fact have only lived this side of the country for almost 4 years. I was born and grew up in Middlesbrough, which is around 45 minutes from Newcastle. In July 2011, we got married in the North East and headed for our new life in the North West in September. It's fair to say these were a whirlwind few months and it took us a good few months to get used to our new life. Now we've been hear a few years, I think I'm in a good place to discuss some of the things to expect when moving away from home. Whether that is to university or simply moving to a new city, it can be really scary but is super exciting at the same time. So here are a few tips an expectations for those considering a big move.

1. There will be days you think you've made a huge mistake - Yep, unfortunately everything doesn't always go as swimmingly as you'd like. When we first moved we had major issues with our flat, it hadn't been damp-proofed correctly a damp house and asthma does not mix. Not only this, but our toilet broke, we had to go to our nearest Tesco to use the loo. These days I think we both thought once or twice, that we could easily pack up and move back. Thankfully, we got sorted and settled into a new flat and things really turned around. The trick is to persevere, give yourself time to adjust and know your family is just a phone call away. 

2. Every weekend can be filled with something new and exciting - Moving somewhere new opens so many doors. For the first few months we were finding our feet and exploring our new home. Even now we still find things we've not discovered before and we are slowly eating our way around Manchester. Being in the North West means we are super close to Wales too, somewhere we didn't see much of in the NE.

3. It's okay to feel homesick - I get terribly homesick and have done for as long as I can remember. And I don't mean the kind where you get over it, I mean the kind where you feel sick, cry, loose your appetite, etc. Even in hotels I feel home sick, I know weird. The biggest thing I missed when we first moved, was not knowing the area. I couldn't just pop to the local shop cos I wasn't sure if I'd get lost. But now this is my home, I get homesick heading back to Middlesbrough and long to see the 'Welcome to Lancashire' sign on the way home.

4. You will meet lots of new people - (And you don't have to worry about bumping into people you don't want to see)..I luckily got a transfer to work originally and landed working with some of the loveliest people I've ever met. I then moved onto uni and met some truly inspirational people and the best thing was no one knew each other, we were all in the same boat.

5. Blogs are your best friend - I actually started my blog because I had a lot of spare time on my hands when we first moved. Delving into the blogging world, meant I wasn't alone and chatting to people via Twitter really kept my spirits up. Without my blog and other bloggers, I don't think the transition would have been anywhere near as easy.

6. You will appreciate time spent with family/friends more - Obviously, I see my friends and family less than I did before, but that makes me appreciate the time I do spend with them so much more. With technology I keep pretty much up to date with the goings on in the NE, but when I do get to see them it's so much more exciting.

7. If it's right, it will be the best decision you will ever make 

Are you heading to uni this year or planning a big move?

Katie xx


Friday, 27 March 2015

The Lightweight Base.

Before Make up
After make up
I am a huge fan of a light coverage base, so when I heard about ESPA's new Tinted Moisturiser* I was pretty sure I would love it. In the past I've had issues with BB creams and tinted moisturisers because I am so pale. I've been trying out the lightest shade in the range which is Nude and I have to say I am so impressed.

The moisturiser is super lightweight which is perfect for me, and feels as though I have no base on at all. I've been massaging this is with my fingers to begin with and buffing out with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I don't wear powder to lock in my base, so I just carry on with my make up routine after applying the moisturiser. This leaves me with an amazing glowing base and natural finish. I've been obsessed with using this since it arrived and it's currently taken the place of my trusty L'Oreal True Match.

This is the perfect base if you're looking for something really moisturising with a hint of colour, I'd really recommend trying this. It will certainly be my skin base for the coming warmer months.

Katie xx 


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Cooking with Olive It!

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to The Cheshire Cookery School for a cooking class with renowned Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy. The night was run by Olive It! which is an EU campaign to try and get us Brits to eat more olives in replacement of our rather unhealthy snacks.Olives have huge health benefits and are packed full of vitamins, anti-oxidants and iron, as well having much less calories than handfuls of crisps of peanuts.

Olives are used commonly in Spain so Omar shared a few recipes with olives, to help us see the versatility the fruit. We incorporated the black and green olives into meatballs, tomato sauce, tapenade and even desert. I leant so much about cooking an how easy it is just to add in a few extra ingredients. I'm the world's worst cook, so I was so pleased with my final dishes.

After we'd cooked up our meals, we all sat down and ate together. The meatballs and sauce were incredible, they were so yummy and the olives just added to the flavour. I saved a few for my hubby, who enjoyed them the following day for his lunch. He also couldn't get enough of my custardy desert.

Before the event, I was dead against olives and really didn't like them. I have to say I am becoming a convert, but much prefer the black to green olives. I will certainly be adding them to future meals  from the Olive it! recipe book to reap the health benefits.

Katie xx 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sleeping Beauty.

I have a pretty busy lifestyle, I work, go to uni and I'm on placement half of the year. It can be pretty intense at times and very very exhausting. That's why when I have a few days off I like to chill and having a good night's sleep is an absolute must for me. I've never been much of a night owl and I generally don't go to bed much later than 10pm to make sure I get a decent amount of sleep before the day ahead. 

I've mentioned my sleep routine whilst doing night shifts here, but I thought I'd focus more on what my routine is before bed on a normal day.

I am a huge fan of baths and I probably have a bath 3 or 4 times a week (I do shower every morning too!) before I head off to bed. They totally chill me out and relax me especially if I have a few sneaky Lush bath bombs to add in. I adore floral and lavendery scents, which really help me to get into the right frame of mind before bed. I weirdly enjoy taking my make up off before bed and if i can be bothered I will always apply a face mask to add to my relaxation routine.

My skin has changed so much over the years and now is really dry in areas. It's a big deal for me to apply creams and moisturisers before bed to ensure I wake up with plump skin. I always pop on a lip balm before bed too, to make sure my lips don't get too dry overnight.

I've tried many pillow sprays but I have to say thiswoks deep sleep pillow spray* is the ultimate. The scent is heavenly, especially if you're not a huge fan of lavender, most others I've tried can be overpowering but this is so subtle and gorgeous. It's a really fine mist too, so my pillow isn't soaked before I settle down. I've been using the roller ball* from the same range too, which I pop on my pulse points just before bed to help to calm and prepare for a good night's sleep. If you're looking for a lightly cheaper option The Body Shop's pillow spray is pretty lovely too.

I try and get at least 8 hours sleep a night and I will push for a little more if possible. I am really grumpy if I'm tired and get really drowsy throughout the day. More often than not, I sleep really well. I tend to sleep all the way through an get up around 7-7:30 on my days off. If I'm not at home and don't sleep well, my skin will never thank me for it. Rubbish sleep leaves me with redness, huge circles and requires much more concealer than usual.

I've always been fascinated about dreams, so if I can remember mine and can't relate it to anything from the previous day I like to look it up. The Dream Dictionary* is the perfect place to read about the meaning of dreams, which is pretty interesting. The mind works in mysterious ways!

What's your sleep routine like?

Katie xx

*In assosiation with Time4Sleep

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Going back to the Dark Side.

Okay, lets address the elephant in the room...I've gone back to the dark side. It was time for hair change and it's fair to say I don't like to do things by half, so I went a dramatic reddy brown colour. I know this is not going to be much less maintenance than my previous blonde but my hair looks so much shinier and fresh. 

With my hair being so light underneath, it has washed out quite a bit and I've just had to re-do it in the space of a week. I'm hoping this time the colour will take a little bit better and the vibrancy will last a bit longer before it needs a boost again.

Overall, I'm super happy with the colour and can't wait to play around with different make-up that I couldn't get away with before I went darker. Oh and if anyone has any recommendations for keeping red hair red, please let me know - I need to invest in some new hair care products.

In case you are wondering this is the colour I used on my hair, hope you like it.

Katie xx

Friday, 20 March 2015

Bloggers Books; Hey Natalie Jean.

I've been reading Natalie's blog since I first started getting involved in the blogging world. I've read pretty much every post this lady has to offer and I could sit for hours and hours laughing and crying at her beautiful writing. When I first found out she was bringing out a book, I was ecstatic. I knew if any blogger brought a book out that I HAD to get my hands on, it would be one by this lady. So I pre-ordered it a few weeks back and haven't put it down since.

The book translates perfectly from Natalie's blog, which was just what I expected. The photography is so real and perfect that it just makes me want to pick it up over and over again. I've fallen in love with Natalie's little family over the years and Huck her son is the cutest little boy, with the coolest dress sense. 

The reason I love the book and the blog so so much, is because I can totally relate to Natalie. Yes she lives hundreds of miles away in the USA and yes I will never have that cool and quirky NYC apartment, but this lady is so honest, I know we would get on. The book discusses REAL LIFE which is something that people tend to avoid, but lets be honest, not everything can be lipsticks and blush. This is what makes this such an inspirational read and it will have you completely addicted to Hey Natalie Jean's blog too.

If you're going to by one blogger/vlogger book, buy this one. Trust me, Natalie will win you over in the first few words.

Katie xx

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The At Home Facial.

A few weeks back I head for a facial and spa day (post here). The products used for my facial were all from the Espa range and my skin just couldn't get enough of them. Over the last few weeks I've been trying out some of the new range from Espa* and my skin adores the stuff.

I have the Espa Procleanser which is a gorgeous cleanser/exfoliator/mask. I've been using this as a mask mainly as it leaves my skin feeling incredible. I leave this on for around 15-20 minutes then flannel off. It leaves my skin amazingly soft and refreshed, an removes all my dead skin cells whilst it's at it. This is the ultimate multi-tasking cleanser, but it feels a little posh for me to use twice a day. It's my 'special occasion' cleanser.

From the same range, I've been trying the Proserum, which is a gorgeously light facial oil. Again, i am completely head over heels for this stuff and it just makes my skin feels so bright and ready for the day ahead. I've been using the tiniest bit of this serum before bed (one drop for my face) and my dry skin has been lapping it up. This also smells incredible and massaging it into my face takes me back to having my facial. 

The Espa products are so well-made and professional, it is really like having your own spa at home. I just wish I'd not waited so long to try them!

Katie xx

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ed's Easy Diner Gluten Free Menu.

It's seems like more and more restaurants are getting on the whole gluten free bandwagon, which is great news for me. To my surprised Ed's Easy Diner have jumped on board and brought out a new GF menu which is probably one of the most extensive I've seen. The week before last I won a Twitter giveaway for £25 to spend at Ed's, so when I saw them tweet about their new GF menu I was straight there.

In the past Ed's has always just been a place for me to get an amazing Peanut Butter milkshake. In fact, I've only ever eaten in once before and that was just for some amazing cheesy fries, so I was pretty excited to try out some of the dishes. So the GF menu is pretty much packed with all of the normal menu, but switched to GF buns. They even offer a GF breakfast which is pretty tough to get hold of when you're out and about. There is so much to choose from, I was a little overwhelmed with the options but settled for a bacon and cheeseburger and normal fries.  

I think this trip was a total 'eyes are too big for my belly' situation and I was defeated by the portion. But I enjoyed every mouthful. I would totally recommend Ed's if you're GF or not, the options are pretty varied, especially if you're wanting a little bit more up-market fast food. It's certainly somewhere I will be popping again the future and stopping for a little more than just a milkshake.

Katie xx

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Blogger's Favourites that Live up to the Hype.

I think it's fair to say most bloggers are guilty of giving into the hype when products are raved about in the blogesphere. I am certainly one of those that like to try out things that get great reviews, purely so I can give my own opinion. More often than not I'm disappointed and wish I hadn't bothered, but there are a few blogger-hyped products that completely live up to the rave reviews. Here's so of my favourites.

Co Lab Dry Shampoo - I didn't have high hopes for this purely because I'm obsessed with the Lush dry shampoo, but I thought I'd give it a go whilst it was on offer. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed. Not only does this smell incredible but it's also such a fine mist that it leaves no colour in the hair at all. Say goodbye to those annoying white roots and hello to squeaky clean hair with that worn-in look.

Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm - I never thought I'd spend close to £10 on a lip balm, but when Escentual had 25% off I took the plunge. As I've mentioned before I suffer with perioral dermatitis around my mouth, which means I have constant dry lips. This stuff is like a miracle and completely soothes and protects them. I can see this will be a life long friend.

MAC Patisserie Lipstick - My all time favourite lippy. This is without a doubt the perfect 'your lips but better' shade and I think any skin tone could get away with it. I've gone on and on about this in the past so I won't bore you. But if you're looking for a perfect nude, this is it.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush - I picked up the core collection a while back and this brush is the only one that really stood out to me. Previously I'd been using the expert face brush which is great but a little to compact for my liking. The buffing brush has a bit more movement on the skin and really does give that airbrushed look. The only annoying thing is I don't think it's available on it's own. 

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk - This is amazing. There is no other way to describe it. I am completely and utterly obsessed with this lip pencil. It glides on the lips and stays put. This not only looks great under a nude lippy but also looks fab all over the lips to give a gorgeous matte finish. You seriously need this in your life.

What products have bloggers influenced you to buy?

Katie xx

P.S. Don't forget my book giveaway here

Friday, 13 March 2015

Geek Girl Giveaway.

The Geek Girl series are one of my favourites for an easy read and a throwback to my teens. Holly Smale has just brought out a new addition to the collection and I have a copy to giveaway! Of course I have a copy to read myself, but I've been provided with another for my lovely readers. The best part about the Geek Girl series is you can dip in and out and still pick up the story. 

First prize in the giveaway is a hard back copy of the newest book in the Geek Girl series, along with some cheeky Geek Girl glasses. The second prize is a paper back copy of the original book from the series, so you can start right from the beginning. 

You can keep up to date with all Geek Girl goings on here, as well as picking up the others books in the series here.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below, this is a UK only giveaway, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Katie xx

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Last Month on Instagram.

Hello Spring//Roses for Valentines//Salted Caramel Meringue
//American Candy//Baby Cacti//Rabbit Washi Tape//
Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake//Mermaid Phonecase//Manchester

Follow me here

Katie xx

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Pretty Primark Jewellery.

Right now Primark jewellery is ON point. Over the years I've sort of avoided the Primark jewellery section of crazy, huge necklaces and super big bangles. However, they seem to have done a U-turn and gone all for the delicate jewellery pieces that are completely up my street. 

I've been on the hunt for a big ring and this silver and nude ring is absolutely perfect. I love the style and chunkyness, however it is delicate at the same time. I can't wait to pair this with some other rings to give me some sassy hands.

I picked up some really cute staking rings too, which happen to be my starsign. They're really cute and I adore the little Gemini sign on the triangle ring. I need to re-pick these up in a smaller size though, they're a little big in a medium.

Finally I grabbed this gorgeously, delicate triangle necklace. I am COMPLETELY in love with this and I'm totally going to be wearing it non-stop. I can't get over how pretty it is, and it's so like all of the pretty bits I've seen in Topshop recently.

And the best part of all this jewellery? came to a whopping £4.

Katie xx

Sunday, 8 March 2015

What to Watch on Netflix..

My name is Katie and I am obsessed with Netflix. It is a complete addiction. And now I can stream Netflix through my TV it's practically all I watch. So I thought I'd do a little round up of all my favourite shows.

Unbreakable is the newest show on Netflix and I'm currently on episode 13. It is hilarious. It's so easy to watch and Kimmy is just adorable. This is certainly worth a watch if you're looking for something light-hearted and funny that doesn't take too much concentration. This is the perfect Sunday morning easy to watch show.

The Good Wife is up there with my all time favourite shows. It's completely gripping from series one and has a new story every episode as well as the main story running through. This is packed full of amazing actors and is full of twists and turns. And if you're missing Mr Big form SATC you can find him right here.

American Horror Story is a crazy show. It's weirdly moreish and totally random. It's pretty jumpy at times but it also makes you want to keep watching. I love the fact that each series is a new story so it doesn't get dull. Yes, it can be a little far-fetched but it's pretty good fun at the same time.

Pretty Little Liars is a fave in the blogging world. If you don't know what the show is about, it follows four girls as they try to find out who killed their friend..whilst being blackmailed but 'A'. The first series wasn't my favourite but if you power through it gets good. I'm pretty obsessed with these ladies.

Orange is the New Black is an amazing show. It's funny, weird, serious and entertaining all rolled into one. The show follows the stories of each inmate and how they ended up in prison. The only downside is that you have to wait ages for a new series. 

Nurse Jackie follows an A&E nurse addicted to pain killers. Jackie is pretty intense but the majority of the time she does the best for her patients. Nurse J certainty needs to manage her work/life balance though as things can turn messy if you never go home.

RuPaul's Drag Race is my guilty pleasure. Think America's Next Top Model for drag queens. It's bitchy, funny and intense but totally worth a watch if you're looking for a new reality show. Plus I'd do anything to be able to apply make up like those ladies.

What do you watch on Netflix?

Katie xx

Friday, 6 March 2015

I've Been Reading...

Before I Go To Sleep 

This was one of those super hyped up books, especially in the blogging world. I'm really into mystery novels at the moment and this fit well into that genre. I liked the book, but I just didn't feel that connection with the main character Christine. I wasn't invested in her as a person so when the twists and turns occurred I didn't have that emotional reaction I'd hoped for. 

This was an easy read and wasn't a chore, but at the same time it didn't live up to the hype for me. I found myself picking it up purely to say I'd read and finished it. If you've read this and know the story, you'll know the book is purposely repetitive but I was willing for something a little more exciting to happen. What I'm saying is, I'd have been happy for it to be 100 pages shorter and get straight to the dramatic ending.

Rating 3/5

We Were Liars

Another recommendation in the form of another twisted tale. This on the other hand left an impact. I was left confused and couldn't decide if I'd loved it or hated it. I think I loved it. 

I adored the writing style and the quick, snappiness of this book. It was confusing to start with, to keep up with all the characters but as the book continues everyone seems to fall in place. I believed every word that was written and could imagine myself on this beautiful island, which was the setting for the majority of the book. It's ultimately a book about family and love and that no matter what your family will protect you even when they should hate you. It's also a story to remind you that everyone is human, no matter their background, race, religion, gender, that everyone deserves to be treat as an equal.

Rating 4.5/5

Katie xx
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