Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Travel Bucket List.

Back in January, I thought I'd be clever and book a week off work in July. 'It'll be so good to have a week off in the sun with Andy, having barbeques and days out at the beach' - oh how I was so naive! Fast forward 7 months and here we are, on our week off, looking out at the torrential rain out the window and wondering where we went wrong. The fact of the matter is, if you live in the UK, the weather is always a gamble and it turns out we lost on this one. So what do you do when you don't have any plans? You start making some. 

I've put together my travel bucket list - there's been so many times when I've said 'oh yeah,  we should go there', but then I forget about it or forget what it was that made me want to go. Today, I've organised my thoughts and plans into one blog post. I've said 'bucket list', but this is really just my plan for the next 2/3 years. 

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New York City 

This has been on my list since I was a little girl and saw it on Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone 2. Obviously, this means that when I go, it needs to be at Christmas time. I need to see that huge Christmas tree and do all of the shopping. I'd love to have a full week there to fit in all the sight seeing, shopping, eating without having to rush any of it. This is on my list for next year! 

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I've always tried to follow the sun when I book a holiday and I suppose that's why I've always missed Iceland as an idea. The pictures of the the volcanic pools look like a total dream and unlike anywhere else I've ever been. I think it was this post on The Little Magpie (one of my favourite blogs) that made me desperate to go - I'd love to visit somewhere completely different for a long weekend and it looks like there's so much to do. 

Travel Bucket List

This is one of those places that I think everyone needs to visit at least once and from friends who have, I've heard there's something there for everyone. I doubt I'd be eating questionable brownies or roaming *that* side of the city, but I'd love to do all the sight seeing, cycling around lanes and basically, work my way through this list of things to do in amsterdam. Oh and not forgetting the most important thing, to do all of the shopping.


What places are on your travel bucket list? Have you been to any of the places above? 


Monday, 27 July 2015

HAUL | Matalan Holiday Shop

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I've been flying the Matalan flag for a while on this blog - from their amazing homeware to the super affordable clothes (remember this gorgeous jumpsuit?), I always find something that I love in there. So I was pretty excited to get asked to collaborate with them for this post, to show you some of what they have in the Matalan Holiday Shop. I had £50 to play with and I can't believe how many things I managed to get for that amount. 

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Ripped Denim Shorts - If you don't want your bum cheeks on show, shopping for denim shorts can be a hard task these days. I already have a pair of acid wash shorts  from Matalan so I knew I was going to like this light denim ripped pair too. They're the perfect cut - just the right amount of high waisted-ness(?) and zero chance of bum flashing. Something that I love about Matalan, is that the sizing is consistent. If you know you're a size 8 in their shorts, you can buy a size 8 in all the shorts and they'll all fit the same. This makes a huge difference when shopping on line, and I just wish that more places were the same!

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Woven Printed Shorts - These shorts are exactly the sort of thing I like to wear on holiday. Super comfortable, loose-fitting and with a really nice print that means I can just throw on a plain cami or cropped top and be on my way. I love the print on these and guess what, they're only £8. How amazing is that?

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Strapless Playsuit - I always take a couple of play suits like these on holiday with me, so I've got something to throw on when I'm on my way back from the beach or the pool. I love the print on this and it's a really nice, light cotton material with a bit that ties in around the waist to give it some shape.

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White Denim Shorts - I've always loved the look of white skinny jeans or white shorts - even if you're wearing them with a plain t-shirt, they always make it look like you've made that little bit of an extra effort. This pair are, again, the perfect fit and most importantly, they're not in the slightest bit see through.    

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Suede Fringe Sandals - Suede and fringing is everywhere this summer and these sandals caught my eye straight away. These are perfect for holiday but they'd also look really good with a pair of black or white skinny jeans too. I picked the black pair, but these also come in a tan shade (here) which are gorgeous too.


 I'm so happy with everything that I've chosen - it's not often that I can buy this many things, like all of it and it all fits perfectly! I'd definitely recommend checking out the Matalan Holiday Shop to see what you can find! 

Which item did you like the most? Do you ever shop in Matalan? 


*all items provided by Matalan, and as always, all opinions are my own.


Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Easy Outfit.

Happy Sunday everyone! Today I wanted to show you what I think is my best summer sales purchase to date. I found this MOTO denim smock dress in the sale a couple of weeks ago, and when I saw it was reduced from £45 to £15, I assumed they'd be sold out in my size - I mean, that's usually how it goes isn't it? But as it turned out, there was one left in my size, it fitted perfectly and I've pretty much lived in this dress ever since. 


Perfect for those days when you can't be bothered putting any thought into an outfit - this dress goes with trainers, sandals, boots and it's super comfortable too. Here I'm wearing it with my favourite Black Arizona Birkenstocks (another item that I always reach for) and my grey bag which I also found in the Topshop sale

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Normally, I don't go for smock dresses as they don't really suit my height and shape, but there's something about the way this one is cut that I actually really like. The fine embroidery is such a nice touch and I love how it's placed to add a bit of shape to the neckline. Do you know what? I just love everything about this dress.

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Denim Dress OOTD

It's sold out online, unsurprisingly, but there's still some available in the shops if you want to have a look. You can check if it's in stock at your local store on line here . Oh, and there's a bonus, it's down to £10.00 now too!

What do you think of this dress? What's been your best sales purchase? 


Friday, 24 July 2015

WISHLIST | Shopping Wisely.

Over the last few months we've been putting everything into the new house and because of that, my shopping addiction has had to take a bit of a back seat. Well, clothes-wise anyway - I'm constantly buying home things! Don't get me wrong, I still do a bit of clothes shopping every month but nowhere near as much as I used to. For that reason, I've started thinking differently about the way I spend my money. 

I'm much less likely to spend £50 in Primark now and instead, I'll spend that money on something that's a bit better quality and will last. I realise that sounds really old, or maybe 'wise' is a better word..? Yeah, let's go with 'wise'. It's probably got a lot to do with my change in style too - I wear a lot of neutrals these days and I suppose I know now that if I spend a bit more on something, it'll still be wearable and fit my wardrobe next year too. The saying goes 'if you buy cheap, you buy twice' and I think that's so, so true. 

So here's some of the sandals I've got my eye on at the moment. The good thing is, they're all well-made, good quality and a lot of them are on sale too so you get the best of both worlds! 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

These white and tan flat sandals (4) from Shoetique are the perfect neutral sandals that would match everything in my wardrobe, from dresses to jeans. These are real leather so they'll be super comfortable too. Another website for good quality shoes is Jones the Bootmaker - I love these Birkenstock style sandals (1) - they're reduced from £60 to £17 which is amazing for real leather sandals. I think grey is one of the easiest neutrals to wear and when it's grey suede like the ones above (6,7) how could you not just fall in love?

What do you guys think - do you think if you buy cheap, you buy twice?


*this post contains sponsored links

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

PINSPIRATION: Garden Party Ideas

So it might be the coldest, wettest summer that I can remember but that doesn't stop me making plans for that one sunny day that may, or may not, happen in the near future. This is the first time in 5 years that we've had our own garden, so we really want to make the most of it and have lots of barbeques and days outside with our friends. If you've read my blog for a while, you'll probably know that I'm a total Pinterest addict and the garden pics on there have me totally hooked. Here's some of my favourite garden party and decoration ideas ... 

1. Bunting - Who doesn't love a bit of bunting for decoration? It's a cheap and cheerful way to add some extra colour to your garden, especially if you don't have much space. You can put it on your fence, around your decking, or along the top of your shed or garage. I love the pretty pastel printed bunting here or this bright coloured bunting. I love the idea of sticking to a particular theme like pastels, prints or bright colours. 

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2. Cocktails on Tap - This is probably the thing I'm most looking forward to - lots of fun cocktails that look pretty and taste even better. My favourite drink just now is Malibu and Ginger Ale (best combination ever, by the way), and it would be perfect with frozen lime pieces to keep it cold outside. There's so many recipes on Pinterest for summer cocktails and you can pick up these glass or plastic drinks dispensers quite cheaply - the best I've found is this one from Matalan at just £10.00. If you want to go full on Pinterest style (and why wouldn't you..?) - you could also serve them in cute little mason jars like these ones

Summer Cocktail Ideas

3. Candles, everywhere - One of my favourite set-ups ever is when you're sitting in the garden in the summer with your friends, the sun has almost set and it's starting to get a little bit cooler so you put on a big jumper or put a blanket over your legs, then you light some candles to keep the table bright. There's something about that time of night and that atmosphere that I absolutely love (and totally miss this year!). 

I love these ideas below on how to use candles in your garden. The one on the left is so simple but looks so pretty - and, as a bonus, there's no chance of your decking going up in flames if someone knocks it over! Another similar idea, that I actually saw in Ikea, was to half fill the jar with crushed glass and place a wide candle on top. It's perfect for placing around the garden or using as a centre piece if you're sitting outside at night time. 

UK Lifestyle Blog
image (1: 2): pinterest

You can find all these ideas and more on my Pinterest board 'In The Garden'

What do you think of these ideas? What's your favourite way to decorate the garden?


Monday, 20 July 2015

Easy Overnight Oats.

Happy new week everyone! Hope you've all had a lovely weekend and have some nice plans for the week ahead. For me, this week is all about kick starting my new diet. I've not been feeling myself for a while and I know it's all down to how I've been eating recently. When I don't take the time to plan my meals in advance, I end up snacking on unhealthy food that leaves me feeling tired, bloated and well, just horrible. Diet has a huge effect on my mood, energy levels and my life overall so I know I need to give it the time it deserves.

A big part of the change is reducing my carb intake. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going anywhere near Atkins, but when I actually look at my diet right now, it's ridiculously high in carbs and ridiculously low in fruit, vegetables, protein and all the healthy things I should be having. I'll still have my fair share of carbs, but I'll have them at the right time and with the right balance of other foods. No crazy fad diets here.

As part of my healthy meal preparations, I've been enjoying overnight oats for breakfast. If you don't know what that is, it's basically porridge with a fun topping in a cute little jar. Even better, it's super healthy and nutritious and since it's made in advance, you can even catch an extra ten minutes in bed in the morning!

healthy breakfast ideas

Today I thought I'd share the easiest way to make overnight oats and let you know my favourite combos that I've been trying out this week. Here's how to make your own.

1. First you'll need some adorable little glass jars - I actually picked these up in Poundland (for a pound, obviously) which I thought was so good. You can also find loads of glass jars with lids on Amazon.

2. Decide what liquid you want to make your porridge - The oats are mixed with either yoghurt or milk/almond milk, and left to absorb overnight. You can change the liquid you use to add more flavour or change the thickness of the mixture, depending on your preference. I use a sachet of porridge (36g) and mix it with Rachel's Low Fat Vanilla Yoghurt or  Rachel's Greek Style with Honey. All you need to do, is mix enough yoghurt/milk to create a normal porridge consistency then pop it in in the fridge. At this point, I like to add some frozen summer berries on top. When they defrost in the freezer overnight, there's a lovely soft berry mixture on top of the porridge which adds so much flavour. Having frozen berries in the freezer also means you don't need to worry about having fresh fruit in the fridge every day - which is always the struggle mid-week!

healthy breakfast ideas
Recipe shown above: vanilla yoghurt, oats, frozen berries, muesli, crushed meringue.

3. Sleep. Wake Up. And add a topper - This is the fun part because there's so many different combinations you can try. I've been taking my oats out of the fridge in the morning and throwing some fresh strawberries, blueberries and muesli on top. I'm also going through a meringue obsession at the moment and, although it sounds crazy, some crushed meringue on top is super tasty! I break up one meringue (50 calories) in a bag, and can use this over 5/6 mornings worth - so despite it sounding super indulgent, it's not bad at all. 

healthy breakfast ideas
Recipe shown above: Greek Yoghurt with Honey, Blueberries, Strawberries, Muesli
healthy breakfast ideas

Have any of you've ever tried making overnight oats and if you have, what's your favourite combos? 


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