Tuesday, 26 January 2021

My Etsy candle favourites 2021

I am LOVING writing homeware content, and I'm just obsessed with scouring Etsy for inspiration. Today's post is a round up of my favourite candles from independent small businesses over there - all of these are so cute and would just look adorable in my future home. 

First up is this birthday cake scented candle COMPLETE WITH SPRINKLES! I love the bright colours and the quirkiness of it - imagining this in the kitchen because baking scents are perfect for kitchens, right? I love the simplicity of the packaging, too! Unfortunately this is from the US so with postage it costs around £30 but I'll be on the hunt for something similar in the UK.

Next are these David sculpture candles. I love history, and this is based on the statue of David by Michelangelo. It comes in different (neutral) colours and you can get it scented or unscented depending on your vibe. Thinking this would be a cool office candle, no? It comes all the way from Ukraine but even with postage will only set you back around £15.

Speaking of sculptures, these nude body form candles are all the rage lately aren't they? This one has gold flecks in which I love and I think it would look stunning in a bathroom! You can choose sooooo many scents (including Alien and Snow Fairy!) and frankly I'm just obsessed. £10.70 with postage, too, which is decent in my eyes!

I love these simple shell-shaped pastel candles, again perfect for a bathroom. They're £6 each and come in pink, white or blue - I just think they'd make such a cute addition to a windowsill or shelf. The shop does a variety of other shapes, too.

Next is this twisted bright pink candle - not sure you'd ever burn it, because it's so funky, but again I'm feeling this in the kitchen for some reason? They do it in yellow, white and green, too. I just think this is such a unique shape for a candle and it looks so cool. They're £28.95 each including delivery which is pretty expensive, but they're cool nonetheless. 

Obsessed with this tiny cloud candle that has a bit of glitter in it too. So cute! They're a tenner with postage so again not the most affordable, but so lovely. Little bedroom candle, I reckon. Adorable.

I adore Le Bon Candles, a brand I found on Instagram - their Etsy store is full of gorgeous, interesting candles including these wavy candles. They do a lilac wavy one and you can choose from a few different scents, too. Just an all round lovely small candle business that I would highly recommend! These wavy ones are £11.50 each plus postage and in my eyes, worth every penny.

Last but not least is another jar candle - this is a crystal candle with actual gems in it. I LOVE the look of these and just think this would look so nice in a living room or maybe the hallway. These are so visually interesting and I've seen a few businesses offer similar candles - big thumbs up from me. Again this is from the US so postage doubles the cost of the candle but there are definitely UK sellers offering similar!

If you know of any small businesses on Etsy or otherwise offering unique and funky candles please let me know - I'm making a list...

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Beauty empties: Jan 2021

Some of my favourite posts to write are beauty empty posts - a round up of beauty products I've used until they're completely empty, alongside quickfire reviews. Would I repurchase this lot? Read on to find out...

Products with a * denote PR samples.

Skin Therapy Epsom Salts

I bloody love epsom salts in a bath - I'm not entirely convinced they really *do* much, but it feels luxurious, right? These are Wilkos own brand and I'm pretty sure it cost me less than two quid for a  kilogram of the stuff. I'd definitely repurchase them if I was in there!

PS... H2OHH! Micellar Wipes

I know, I know, face wipes. But we're in a pandemic and sometimes I just can't be bothered going downstairs to the bathroom just to take off my mascara and brows before I do my toner, moisturiser etc. I really should but sometimes I just don't want to. These are okay - I prefer the other Primark wipes in the white and green pack (the PS... Naturals wipes) but these are my second choice and I do repurchase them if the others are out of stock. They're biodegradable, too.

Schwarzkopf Beology Deep Sea Extract Smoothing bi-serum

I bought this in Poland or Latvia a few years ago and it's taken me that long to get through it - I don't even know if you can buy it any more, at least in England, but I wouldn't bother as it's just a bit 'meh'. Smells nice but I didn't see much noticeable difference with my hair! More info here.

John Frieda Frizz Ease*

The original and the best, right? I've already repurchased this as I really did see a difference in the amount of frizz when I was using this. Plus it smells lovely and you can pick it up in the supermarket on offer a lot of the time! Whack it into soaking wet hair and it really does the trick. Love it. Buy it here.

Revolution Conceal & Hydrate Foundation

I love this foundation - it's less than a tenner, has great coverage, comes in loads of shades and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. You do need a bit of powder with it, but overall it's just a cracking product. I'll definitely pick it up again when I'm in need of a new foundation! Buy it here.

Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum*

You'll probably have seen a lot of Tropic products on my blog, and this serum is brilliant. It does a great job at reducing redness and taking the anger out of spots/blemishes - plus it smells nice, isn't drying and just feels lovely on the skin. Pricey, but worth it I reckon. I already have a back up of this, too. Buy it here.

Vichy Normaderm 24h Hydration*

This is a great moisturiser, especially if you've got blemish-prone skin. It smells amazing and doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy whatsoever; it sinks in fast, reduces redness and makes for a great base for make-up. This is the second time I've had this and I genuinely think it's a fantastic daily moisturiser! Buy it here.

Bath & Body Works I'm Really a Mermaid cleansing hand gel

Obviously we're all still going through a lot of hand sanitiser, and I love the Bath & Body Works' ones for a great scent. This one smells fresh and lovely, a bit like aftershave, and has just been a really handy (get it?) product to have around during the pandemic.

So there's 8 products I've used up recently and what I thought of them - mostly great, to be fair! Let me know your current favourite beauty bits in the comments below...

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Why I'm postponing my 2021 cruise

You might have seen that just as the pandemic kicked off, I booked a cruise for September 2021. Well, I'm postponing it - and as this blog is somewhere that I chat about travel a lot, I thought it made sense to talk about it here.

Booking my cruise

I booked my trip through Cruise.co.uk who are a cruise-specific travel agency and were so easy to book with. They found the cruise I wanted cheaper than I'd found it myself, and were so helpful every step of the way. They have also been really helpful when it came to wanting to postpone my cruise - which frankly has made the whole situation a lot easier to deal with.

You can find out about my original cruise booking experience and plans HERE!

Why I'm postponing my 2021 cruise

Well, the obvious answer is Covid. I don't think anyone expected we would still be facing such uncertainty almost a year later, but here we are. When I originally booked, I thought 18 months was far away enough that it would all be done and dusted... how naive I was!

So as it stands, my cruise is going ahead. Norwegian Cruise Line are set to resume sailing in April 2021, 5 months before my cruise is due to take place. And I want nothing more than to be on that ship this coming September but there are various reasons why I have decided it would be more sensible to postpone it until September 2022. Here they are:

Covid testing before & after

I completely agree with and commend the decision to require a negative Covid test for travel - it is absolutely key to preventing the spread of the virus. However, it is an added cost and inconvenience when it comes to jetting off. This will likely still be in place come September 2022, but hopefully it will be more accessible.

No buffet, no party

This is, I'm sure you'll agree, an excellent life motto. I love a buffet and there are rumours that cruise ships will be (temporarily or permanently, who knows) doing away with buffets. Obviously I can completely understand this safety measure, but sadly a late night buffet is one of my favourite things about cruising.

No DIY excursions 

Another thing I have seen suggested is that passengers won't be able to leave the ship of their own accord at the ports; you'll only be able to go on official excursions, booked through the cruise line. I don't know if this is confirmed but it has been heavily speculated, and frankly I just don't want to pay so much extra to do specific excursions when I had planned on doing most of it off my own back. It would end up doubling the cost of my cruise and it's so frustrating.

I want to buy a house

Lockdown has really made me want to move out - no offence to my mum and dad who are amazing, but I just really need my own space. I have the cost of my cruise (as originally budgeted) set aside in a separate bank account, but with the added need for a Covid test as well as the cost of excursions, I would need to save more money that would be better off in a house deposit.

How I'm feeling about postponing my 2021 cruise

Honestly, I don't mind. A big part of booking this cruise was that I wanted to prove to myself that I could set a savings target for a specific *thing* and hit it - which I did, even during a pandemic where I lost half of my income. I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to do that, and while I'm sad that 2021 might not be the year that I get back on a cruise ship, it's not forever. By pushing it back to 2022 it means my balance won't be due for an extra year - more time to save, more time to look at how cruising has changed, more time to decide whether or not I should actually go. 

I miss travel SO much, but I don't want to end up paying more money for an experience that isn't the one I originally wanted. Postponing it now gives me a buffer to work out the best course of action, and I think it's the most sensible decision for me personally

If you have a cruise or any other type of trip booked for later this year, PLEASE let me know what your plans are in terms of cancelling it, risking it etc. No judgement here!

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

The Silk House by Kayte Nunn

I'm trying to expand my reading tastes in 2021, so when I got invited onto the blog tour for The Silk House by Kayte Nunn I was keen to accept. It comes out two days from now, on Jan 21st, and if you're interested in picking it up then here's my thoughts...

The Silk House by Kayte Nunn is a split-timeline book, told from the perspectives of three women. In the modern day, history teacher Thea is in charge of the first ever intake of girls at a 150 year-old British boarding school which previously only accepted male students; she is staying at the Silk House, which has an interesting history. This timeline is contrasted with the 1700s, and the family who ran the silk merchant business here at the time - this is told from the perspective of Rowan, who works here. We also hear from Mary-Louise, desperate to become a silk designer in London. This was a man's job, it seems.

With two timelines and three strong protagonists, you might expect the storyline to get confusing. But Nunn has done an amazing job with The Silk House - past and present blend seamlessly, with everything falling into place beautifully. The research that has gone into the silk industry, witchcraft and more is incredible, making for an effortless read that will truly pique your interest.

As Thea spends more time at the school and the Silk House, she begins to wonder if something might be wrong - strange things happen, and the plot unravels why through its focus on Rowan, Mary-Louise and their lives, witchcraft, work and more. Thea's love of history allows her to delve into the tragedies that happened at the Silk House, and how they are still echoing through time to have an impact in the modern day.

This gothic novel is perfect for dark winter nights curled up on the sofa while the rain hammers on the windows: feminist themes, strong characters, mystery and history make for the perfect concoction. Beautifully written and leaving you wanting more until the very end, I would definitely recommend The Silk House by Kayte Nunn.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

AD | my dream first home

This post is a paid advertisement.

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I'm looking to buy my first home in 2021. Today I'm working with Three Counties to talk about what I'm hoping my perfect house will have - a girl can dream, right? Obviously my house might have none of these things, as a self-employed first time buyer in the middle of a global pandemic/recession, but these are the absolute ideals for my perfect future home.

A balcony

I would love love LOVE a house with a balcony. These are few and far between, at least in the area I'm looking at, but I just can't think of anything more lovely than sitting on a balcony eating breakfast and reading a book. What a wonderful treat that would be. Fairy lights and colourful flowers and scatter cushions galore!

A bath

One thing my new house MUST have is a bath, or at least enough room to install one. I'm lazy and much prefer a bath to a shower - plus I have an extortionate supply of bath bombs that I absolutely need to work through. Can't chuck one of those in the shower, can you?! I just absolutely love a nice hot bath after a long day, so my dream house definitely needs a lovely big bath tub.

Big windows

I want somewhere that lets plenty of light in, so a house with nice big windows is ideal. Three Counties currently have various window special offers available; they can replace your existing windows with double glazing, which is a winner when you live somewhere as cold as England, and this helps to reduce your heating bills. It is also more eco-friendly to have double glazing in your home! Three Counties also install doors, conservatories and roofline products ensuring that your house looks good while keeping you warm and safe. They are transparent with pricing and have great reviews across Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. If you’ve got gorgeous views from your house, it makes sense to have lovely windows you can see it from no matter what room you’re in.

A decent garden

My dream house has a garden big enough to keep a pet goat. If you know me, you’ll know I love goats - and a pet goat really would be a bucket list item ticked off. They’re just so cute. A big garden would mean plenty of space for hosting BBQs and parties, and maybe room for a hot tub… Again, I can dream, right? I’m thinking cute wooden garden furniture, bunting, a little vegetable patch. Ooooh.

So there’s 4 things on my dream house wishlist. Again, these things are not all going to be attainable for me when buying my very first house given the current state of the country, but they are things that I will always continue to strive towards in my future plans. What’s on your dream house wishlist? Also, let me know what you’d name a pet goat if you had one - I’m very interested to know…