Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The Best Cottage Core Homeware Finds

Cottage Core Homeware Finds

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

Cottage core is one of my favourite Summer aesthetics and I find homeware with this theme super cute and comforting. I know it can be difficult to know exactly where to look to find the perfect pieces, but I have just the blog post for you. 

I'm quite fussy when it comes to bedding, but as soon as I saw this Marks and Spencer Strawberry Set, I knew it had to go straight onto my wishlist. It's a great spin on the classic crisp white sheets and adds a little colour to your bedroom area. I'm also quite tempted by this H&M Wildflower Duvet Set as well because the tie ribbon details on the pillow cases are just so dreamy! 

Nothing says cottage core more than a teapot and teacup set. I've been after a teapot for a little while and I prefer ones with a novelty spin over the plain ones. This Honeycomb Bee Teapot is absolutely beautiful, but I also like the look of this Tea For One Pink option as well. 

Although not quite as dainty, I've picked up two of these Vintage Ceramic Soup Mugs recently in charity shop, but I found them online for you to see too. I absolutely love them hanging up in my kitchen and I think they work in that corner really well. Of course I don't need anymore mugs, but that doesn't stop me from looking and this Ceramic Daisy Mug is definitely making me think I need one more - just look at it! 

Keeping with the kitchenware theme, I have also spotted these Joules Bee Glass Tumblers which I think are so adorable, plus despite having bees embossed in them, these glasses look quite understated and perfect for Summer BBQ's.

We've not quite sorted out the garden yet, but I've still been looking at a couple of things that I think would look cute in a cottage garden. This Decorative Beehive is so pretty and it comes in an array of pastel colours, so you can get one that will work best with the flowers in your garden. I've got my eye on a rattan bench set and I think this Les Fruits Outdoor Cushion would add a lovely boost of colour to my garden too. 

Below I have put together some of my other favourite top picks: 

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Friday, 16 July 2021

An Instagrammable Guide To UK Flower Fields

Best Instagram UK Flower Fields

If you're based in the UK, you'll already know the feeling of scrolling through your Instagram explore page, looking at all of the dreamy fields of flowers, clicking the geotag only to find out that they're all the way across the ocean. To help you out this Spring and Summer, I have curated some of the beautiful places I have found to visit all across the UK. Settle in and grab a notepad because you're going to have serious wanderlust after this! 

Lavender Fields

When Summer rolls around, heading to a lavender field is always high up on my agenda. I would spend every afternoon in the fields if I could, surrounded by the sleepy scent and hum of the bees. Unfortunately that's not quite the achievable dream, but I do make it my mission to visit lavender fields several times a year. I would recommend picking the lavender if the field you choose to visit allows you too as you can bake or make something with the lavender afterwards. Also, don't forget to bring a picnic because it's a lovely way to spend a day out with the whole family! 

Lavender usually comes out in July and August, the earlier you go the less flowers there will be, but the less crowds, so that's something to keep in mind.

Hitchin Lavender, Hertfordshire

Yorkshire Lavender, York

Somerset Lavender, Bath

Suffolk Lavender Field, Ipswich 

Cotswolds Lavender, Cotwolds

Best Instagram UK Tulip Norfolk Flower Fields
Tulip Norfolk UK Flower Fields

Tulip Fields

This year I went to Kings Lynn, Norfolk to visit their tulip fields and I couldn't believe that there was somewhere this beautiful in the UK. It looked like a field straight from Holland with rows and rows of varying colours of tulips to walk through. 

As you can imagine I took many snaps and although the fields are now closed, I will definitely be planning to return next year! I went in late April, so it's the perfect way to welcome Spring in. I do believe that they are the only tulip fields in the UK, so I imagine that tickets will be hot commodity next year - so definitely one to bookmark. 

Kings Linn, Norfolk

Real Petal Confetti Company UK Flower Field

Real Petal Confetti Company UK Flower Field

Confetti Fields 

When I first set eyes on The Real Flower Petal Confetti Company, I thought that there was no way it could be UK based, but to my delight it was and I immediately booked a visit. Although not open for very long each year, it's definitely one to put in the diary if you're looking for somewhere to take pretty snaps. 

There's rows upon rows of different shades of Delphinium flowers in full bloom for you to enjoy and I'll be making my way back there next year too. I hope to see these types of fields popping up throughout the country over the next few years as they're proving quite popular, but currently I believe that the Worcestershire are the only ones in the UK. 

My top tip would be the bring a spare pair of shoes just in case the fields are muddy and make sure your camera is fully charged because you'll be taking all the photos! 

The Real Flower Petal Confetti Company, Worcestershire 

Best Instagram UK Flower Fields

Bluebells Woods

There's something about bluebells that make me feel like I'm a fairy frolicking in the woods. They usually start appearing in April and throughout May making them a perfect flower for the start of Spring. 

It goes without saying that it's important to keep the paths and never crush or pick any bluebells because we want to keep them protected for others to enjoy. Although there are many places to experience these blossoming blue flowers, I have put together a list of my favourite finds in the UK that are truly extraordinary. 

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Hole Park Garden, Kent 

Kinclaven Woods, Perth

West Woods, Wiltshire

Portglenone Forest, Country Antrim 

Wildflowers

If I'm honest, a few years ago I probably wouldn't have looked twice at a wildflower meadow, but now I actively hunt them out. They're often filled with an array of different flowers meaning each field is unique to the place and I just find that they're the perfect place to spend a Summer's afternoon. I'm finding that most places that have lavender or sunflowers fields, also have started to grow wildflowers too. They're a great way to encourage bees to pollinate, so it's important not to trample on them as well. 

Wildflowers are often best when stumbled upon, but whilst the likes of cows parsley and poppies usually spring up wherever they please, I still put together a list of places that often have great wildflowers throughout the UK. 

New Grove Meadows, Gwent

Muker Meadows, Yorkshire

Merry's Meadow, Rutland 

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Thursday, 15 July 2021

Shadow and Bone Trilogy Review

Shadow and Bone Trilogy Review

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

My to-read pile is overflowing with books that I've promised to read for well over a year, but after watching the first season of Shadow and Bone on Netflix, the trilogy that the show was based on, made its way to the top of my list. 

I've got to be honest I've been recommended Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo more times than I can count, but it's often followed up with "and you'll love Six of Crows even more" which strangely put me off starting. That being said, after watching the Netflix show, I got super invested in the storyline, so I picked up the books and got reading with great ambition... and expectations. 

Shadow and Bone

Whilst others can easily finish a 400 page book in an afternoon, I'm not the fastest reader. I tend to be a page flicker, checking the map at the front and skimming back through past pages to remember people's names. Despite all of this, I made my way through the first Shadow and Bone book super quickly, before I knew it I was half way through and then I was done. Leigh Bardugo's way of writing is fast paced, engaging and easy to read which meant that no chapter felt like a drag. 

The book is written from the first person account of Alina Starkov, who not only has to venture across the dreaded Shadow Fold, an area of land covered in darkness and swarming with winged monsters, but she also discovers that she has a magical power.

I would say that Shadow and Bone lacked a little when it came to visual descriptions, but thanks to the Netflix series, I felt like I could imagine everything that I needed to. Talking of the adaptation, they've included characters from the Six of Crows duology which are a duo of books that come in at a later date, so that's something to note if you're reading the book after watching as you'll see there's a few names missing. 

4/5

Siege and Storm 

I was initially pleased when I found that Siege and Storm was just as easy to get through than the previous book, however despite the book starting off great, progressing the storyline for the first few chapters or so, it then dipped in the middle and felt like it was repeating itself quite a bit. The last fifty pages saved Siege and Storm from getting a low review because it ended up picking up pace again and made me feel excited to continue on my trilogy journey. 

It's important to note that due to the middle of the book dragging a little in places, I felt apprehensive that I was having to remind all the small and finite details for later. The whole book felt like it was to expand the Grisha universe further and teach you new lingo, which was great addition as I felt like the previous book didn't quite get down to the little details enough. 

In terms of my opinion of Mal, I never fully connected with him as a character, but the introductory of Nikolai was very welcomed. Without spoiling the plot too much, I felt like I liked him more in a couple of chapters than I did for Mal throughout the whole first and second book. In fact, that's what I would say about all this series as a whole, I enjoy the side characters far more than the the main ones, which probably adds to the difficulty at times to get through the plot. 

3/5

Ruin and Rising 

The final instalment of the trilogy was one that I went into with great optimism as I thought the second book had set this one up to have a book full of action. Whilst, I didn't completely feel let down by the book, I didn't quite get into it as much as I did the previous two as I felt like it dragged a little in sections. That being said, towards the last third of the book, the twists and turns had me hooked especially with certain characters, so I continued on the see the ending. 

Although this may be controversial to say, but as a book reader, I'm not often left disappointed with an ending, yes it can be frustrating when characters don't end up how you feel they should, but usually I can justify that it fits with the books overall feel. However, with Ruin and Rising's ending, I felt like it didn't embody what I the title promised. I felt like once the good twists in the story were revealed, the ending felt rather predictable. The build up of the books felt like it was going to have a more explosive ending, but unfortunately it fell flat and ultimately I felt like the books could have been split into two instead of three.

2.5/5

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Five Essie Summer Picks

Essie Summer Nail Favourites

Essie Summer Nail Favourites

- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but sent under no obligation to review. All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

If there's one brand that I remain most loyal to when it comes to nail vanish shades, it's probably Essie. My collection has grown quite considerably over the years, but when Summer rolls around, I like to bring my favourites to the front in order to get the most wear out of them over the warmer months. Here are five of my current top picks: 

Pastels for Summer is hardly groundbreaking and although they can be an acquired taste, I think Essie's Go Ginza* works great with a tan on both your fingers and toes. It's purple undertones make this pale shade a little different to anything I have in my collection and I think it works well with a white mini dress on a hot Summers day. 

If you cast your mind back, you'll probably remember when Essie's Fiji was all the rage and although that pale pink hue has dwindled in popularity, Essie's Romper Room* may entice to revive the love. I personally could get away with wearing Romper Room with only one layer as it gives a subtle colour to the nails, but after two layers, the pink hue is super pretty. 

Essie's Sway in Crochet* is another one that may not be for everybody, but this blue shade goes opaque after just one application and I think it's a perfect pick for Summer. I feel like blue nails get a bad rep, but if you're hesitant to give them a try, I would recommend trying out pastel rainbow nails first of all. 

If there's one Essie nail polish that I think everyone should at least try, it would be Lady Like*. I feel like I've gone on about it for years now, but this muted mauve shade is great all year around. I personally like wearing it in the Summer as it goes with everything I wear. 

Last up, we have Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her*, the newest shade in my collection. It's one that I wish I had bought before because it's honestly the perfect everyday hue that isn't a nude. It's a sage shade that despite being an opaque colour looks understated and neutral on the nails. 

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Summer Cottage Core Picks Under £100

Summer Cottage Core Picks Under £100

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

Summer finally feels like it has arrived and I have been wearing lots of floaty dresses and straw hats to mark the occasion. Whether you're going to have a picnic, go fruit picking or just hanging out with friends this Summer, I've got just the right thing for you as I'm sharing my current new season inspiration. 

Cottagecore is definitely a theme throughout my wardrobe in the Summer, dresses in this style is my favourite as the soft colours and delicate details always make me feel special. This Monki Noelle Midi Dress is high up on my wishlist at the moment as I find blue super wearable throughout Summer and it looks comfortable too. Another dress that I've been considering is this ASOS Tea Dress which I think is a great pick if you want the cottage core look, but you're more into mini dresses. 

Although I already own the Mushroom Basket Bag I thought I'd give it another mention anyway as I think it's one of my favourite purchases ever. I personally use it as a picnic basket or for storage around my house, but I love how cute it is! 

See some of my other top picks below: 

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Monday, 12 July 2021

Lavender Shortbread Biscuit Recipe

Lavender Shortbread Biscuit Recipe
- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

Visiting the local lavender fields is one of my favourite things to do in the Summer. The dreamy scent and the hum of the bees never fails to make me feel sleepy. Despite going to pick lavender for many years now, I've never actually baked with it, so I thought now would be the perfect time to experiment. 

I chose to make shortbread as the buttery texture works well with the delicate floral taste and I also felt like my shortbread recipe one of the most reliable so it could be easily adapted to adding in lavender.

I feel like these biscuits would be great served with a chamomile tea or taken on a picnic to enjoy with friends. If you want to adapt this recipe further, I would recommend adding in lemon zest for an extra citrus punch! 

Ingredients 

120g Butter
55g Caster Sugar
180g Flour + more for dusting
2tsp Lavender

Method (Makes 8 biscuits) 

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. 

Add in half of the flour and fold into the mixture. 

Then add in the lavender and mix. 

Tip the rest of the flour and mould the dough into a ball with your hands. 

Once the mixture has formed a dough, roll it out onto a floured surface. 

Using whatever cookie cutter you want (I used this flower cookie cutter) cut out your biscuits and place them gently on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Put your biscuits in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 180c. 

Bake your biscuits for 15 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove from oven and allow cool on a cooling rack. 

Enjoy! 
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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Summer Beauty Favourites

Summer Beauty Favourites

- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but was sent under no obligation to review. All links in this blog post are affiliate links. -

When it comes to Summer beauty, I tend to choose functional, trustworthy  products to get the job done and there's a certain routine I stick to when I want to prep my body for the warmer weather. Here are the current products I have been loving this Summer. 

I randomly picked out the Garnier Intensive 7 days Body Lotion* from my beauty cupboard when I was in dire need of a moisturiser that can be slathered all over and be left to sink in. For under £5, I wasn't expecting too much, but I was pleasantly surprised with how soft and smooth it made my skin feel. I personally love using this just before going out as it absorbs into the skin quickly so I can put on clothes almost straight away and it adds a healthy glow to my body without any artificial shimmer. 

Although I'm currently using that all over, the Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum Cream* is still my go-to when I want some extra TLC. I personally concentrate this mostly on my legs, arms and stomach area, but it can be used all over if you want. It's a little thicker than the Garnier offering, but it still is fast absorbing and nourishing. The scent has to be noted as it's absolutely divine and truly makes me feel like it's officially Summer whenever I apply it - there's certainly a reason I'm on my third tub! 

If I've spent a little bit too much time in the sun, I always opt for the Nuxe Refreshing After-Sun Lotion* as I feel like it has a soothing effect on my skin as well as making my tan a little more even (I don't know how it does it!). 

Summer Beauty Favourites

When it comes to body scrub, although I have dabbled in chemical exfoliators, I prefer when I can physically feel them working. I'm not that fussed as long as it does the job and doesn't feel too greasy. The Original Frank Coffee Scrub* is one that I've been using in the shower as it makes my skin feel smooth and soft, but the coffee granules that it leaves in the shower is definitely something that won't be for everyone.

For my hair, I have been using the Neal's Yard Argan Oil* regularly to help tame frizz and add shine. I recently tried it as a hair mask, working the oil from the roots to the ends of my locks, leaving it for 30 minutes and then washing it out. It helped to make my hair look healthier and appear less lacklustre, whilst not leaving it feeling too oily or greasy. 

I have been spritzing the Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Crush Mist* all over my body, but it can also be used in your hair for a long lasting fragrance. Sol De Janeiro products in general never fail to remind me of Summer with a sweet and delicious scent and this is the no exception. 

I've been treating my toes this season to a fresh pedicure with all the works. Throughout the colder months, my feet have been cooped up in boots with thick socks, so it's nice to be able to get them out and wear sandals. Essie nail vanishes are always my go-to and I love using the Soap and Glory Heel Genius* for getting my feet back in tip top condition. 

What are your favourite Summer beauty products? 
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