Design + Development by Powered by Blogger.

Three Ways to Have Fun This Weekend

After a week of hard work and routine, the weekend is all we get to relax and enjoy. If a busy week is followed by a rather boring weekend, you may end up feeling burned out, and that’s a feeling nobody likes. Here are some ways to unwind and let your weekend bring fun and rejuvenation in your life:
1. Meet up with your family and friendsMaybe you stay with your immediate family, but it’s always a nice idea to meet up with your favourite relatives and friends to catch up. Plan an outing with your loved ones or invite them to your house. A great idea is to play bingo with everyone to bring the feeling of togetherness and warmth. BingoMagix is one of the best bingo sites with slots, check it out to find some great games to play.
2. Take a spa breakWhat is a better way to relax than to go to a spa where professionals will do it for you? Book an appointment and get yourself a massage, facial and other beauty treatments to look and feel young and fresh. If you are going to the spa with your friends, go out for a cocktail afterward to have a great unwinding drink.
3. Hang out with the hubbySpend some quality time with your husband or take a weekend off and travel somewhere with him. Travelling and spending time together as a couple will strengthen your relationship and you will have fun at the same time. What about Edinburgh or maybe Belfast?

Try out these ideas when you are in a fix and wondering what to do with your weekend and you will definitely not regret it. This weekend is all about number 3 and next I'll be making plans for number 1.

Primark Wishlist

It's been a while since I've gone for a splurge in Primark, so much so I've still got a gift card from my birthday in November. I went into Primark in Belfast and left without a single thing. I'm hoping that's not the case this time, especially if I can find some of these treasures. 

Black ripped Jeans
I wear black jeans almost everyday, they're a complete staple in my wardrobe whether it's the weekend of a work day. I want something a little more casual for the weekend so some ripped jeans would be great. Primark does good short jeans too which are good for my little leggies.

Gold Basket
Primark has some good homeware and I'd quite like a basket for products in my bathroom or dressing room. It's a bit Pinterest/Tumblr and I'm sure this would feature in some blog photo backgrounds if I can find one.

Tinkerbell Satin Pyjamas
How classy do these pyjamas look... until you spot the Tinkerbell print. A little bit of fun and luxury all rolled into one. I can't resist a bit of Disney.

Marble Pencil Case
You would think a teacher would have plenty of pencil cases. However at Christmas when I got a new set of colouring pens for my New York colouring book I started looking for somewhere to store them and had no success. They're in a Kit Kat tin just now but I really need to get rid of it to stop me day dreaming about Kit Kat Chunkies.

Pink trainers
 These trainers have been all over Youtube, Instagram and blogs and no wonder, they're beaut! Ideally I'd like a blush pink pair of Adidas Gazelles but that's not likely when I've got wedding stuff to be saving for.

2 in 1 workout top
Primark always impress me with their workout range and I'm hoping to get a top like this that's practical and a bit of a time-saver. Black suits me to a T. I workout from home so don't need anything too fancy.

Time to Change the Wedding Traditions?

I love weddings just as much as the next girl but I do think it’s time that we ridded ourselves of some of the oldest ceremonial traditions. Some may say they are annoying, old fashioned, sexist or really just quite insulting.
Permission For Your Daughter's Hand?
I’m sure there are plenty of girls who will be at least the second person to know they are going to get a proposal this year. That’s because there are still lots of men and women who believe that a guy should ask the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. While this might sound quite sweet it’s difficult to ignore the origins of this idea. It’s a keepsake from a time when women were seen as the property of their father until they were handed off to their husband or even sold, like a slave. Wonderful, right? So, why has this tradition lasted for so long? Well, most people see it as having a different meaning now. Basically, when you’re young your father protects you. Once you get married this honour passes to the husband. But that still leaves the idea that women can’t look after themselves completely intact. I don't see it this way and I thought it was one of the sweetest things when I found out my fiance had asked my parents for their approval.

Don’t Worry Your Parents Will Pay
Another old idea from a weird and worst time that seems to have endured through the ages is that the parents of the bride pay for the wedding. Why did this happen? Getting your daughters married off was the aim of the game back in the victorian times so fathers would pay for the ceremony as an act of gratitude. You’d be surprised how often this tradition is still followed in the build up to a wedding. But, you might want to be careful before you bring up the idea with your soon to be in laws. Try it and there might not be a wedding to celebrate. Thankfully for us we've broached this subject and agreed that it's not for my parents to pay in full!

Guys Choose The Engagement Ring
It’s always very romantic when a guy gets the proposal right and chooses the perfect ring. But what about when they get it wrong. Then the bride to be ends up with a lumpy mess on her finger that barely glistens for the rest of her life. Perhaps it’s time that like the wedding rings, the engagement ring is chosen together. Then you’ll be able to choose your own from a stunning selection such as Verragio rings. That way you can get exactly what you want. This is what we did while in New York. We ended up loving the same one which was perfect.

Must Cost A Fortune
This is one of the rare occasions when we can actually learn from the past. Many years ago the wedding wasn’t seen as the massive event that it is today. Instead, attention was on the cost of setting up a home and more importantly the honeymoon. There must be at least a few people who would like this type of thinking to return. After all, when you think about it a wedding is now just a massive party that could put you in debt for the first few years of marriage. Particularly, if you’re trying to buy a home together at the same time.

Do you agree it’s time to say goodbye to these weird wedding traditions? Or do you still hold a fondness for some of them?

Belfast City Break - Visit, Eat & Drink

We kicked started our year off with a visit to Belfast in Northern Ireland. A city and country we've never been to we thought we'd spend a few days exploring before getting back to work after the festivities. We flew with Easyjet from Edinburgh to Belfast International the flight took 30 minutes - it's mad! We got the bus into the city and quickly felt at home. We stayed in a Premier Inn and had a city break costing £150 each for flights and hotel. Well worth looking into. We visited so many tourist attractions, didn't eat a single bad meal in our 4 days and drank quite a variety of drinks in a variety of places. Here's my run down of what to visit, where to eat and drink.

Titanic Museum
Number 3 on the list of things to do on Trip Advisor, the Titanic Museum is a popular attraction for the family. Thought a little pricey at £17.50 per adult it's a fantastic attraction with over 9 galleries packed full of pictures, facts, artefacts, reconstructions, special effects, videos and even a ride. I've taught the Titanic as a topic at school but this visit taught me so much more. With details from the ship building process right through to the launch, maiden voyage and the famous catastrophe. You can even explore the shipwreck. Although there's a lot to look at and it can easily fill 2-3 hours, there's a lot to read. It became a bit difficult to read everything so there's a few bits I skimmed past, especially as my feet begun to hurt.  

Black Cab Tour
Like most cities Belfast has the typical hop on hop off bus tours which are great for learning about the area but everyone we spoke to recommended something a little different for Belfast. A Black Cab Tour is much more personal and better value for money. Depending on what you want to find out you can choose your tour to suit or leave it up to the driver. We booked with Paddy Campbell's and were picked up from our hotel at 10am. Our driver/tour guide was so chatty and friendly. Right from the minute we met him it felt like we'd known him years. He had so much knowledge of the area, as a born and bred local, and had a story to match everything. There was plenty of space for the 4 of us in the cab and paid £10 each for the 2 hours - outstanding value for money. We visited the Political Murals and Peaceline learning all about The Troubles of the 60s/70s. We stopped at a few places for Tom to give us more information and got out of the cab at a few points to look a bit closer. We stopped to sign the peace wall too. Like everyone I've spoken to I'd highly recommend a Black Cab tour if you're in the city.
Belfast City Hall
The City Hall is a beautiful building at the heart of the city. When we visited it was lit up with it's Christmas lights and it was truly stunning. The hall offers free public tours throughout the year and last for about an hour. The tours are informative, with friendly staff who are more than happy to answer questions. A good chance to learn a bit about the city and admire the architecture. 
Crumlin Road Gaol
Number 1 of 129 things to do in Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol is another attraction, building and tour that I would highly recommend. A chance to get inside the prison building and learn about over 100 years of history. The prison dates back to 1845 and closed it's doors in 1996. You visit everything from the Governor's Office and court connecting tunnel to Holding Cells and Hanging Cells. The tours last just over an hour and cost less than £10, making it a good value attraction. Our tour guide was very knowledgable, answered all of our questions and gave us lots of opportunity to take photos. Wrap up warm though, a Victorian prison like this is very chilly!

City Murals
Belfast has such an intense political history and these symbolic murals of Northern Ireland tell quite a story. There are murals all over the city depicting different stories and sides. There are Republican, Unionist and completely unrelated works of art on buildings that really are breathtaking. You can do a variety of mural tours (and see quite a few on a Black Cab Tour) or you can see what you come across while exploring the city.

Ulster Museum
Another free attraction with lots to look at and read, the Ulster Museum is a humongous building with great exhibits to suit children and adults. A bit of a maze to get around, the 4 of us ended up splitting up and looking at everything at our own leisure. I particularly enjoyed looking at the paintings, reading about The Troubles, coming face to face with a dinosaur and stuffed bar as well as admiring some diamonds. Next to the Botanical Gardens it can make for an excellent, free day out.

Victoria Square
Had enough culture and looking for something else to do? Victoria Square is a fantastic shopping centre with over 70 stores, a cinema, restaurants and a panoramic viewing dome. Being able to head to the top of a shopping centre and see the whole city was great - an absolute must. The selection of shops were great for both me and Mark and we didn't have to walk far out of the centre to reach more of our favourites. A must for a shopaholic.

Avoca is a beautiful little gift shop and home to Arthur Street Cafe. We visited around lunch time and couldn't believe the selection of cakes, let alone the sandwiches, quiches, cooked meals and salads. I couldn't resist trying out their Double Chocolate Cheesecake. It was delicious and filled me up all afternoon - even with 10,000 steps of shopping.

We visited Fratelli, a rustic Italian restaurant, on our first night in the city. Close to the train and bus station, and near to the theatre it's a fantastic location for some great food. The four of us all had something completely different and all of us finished the evening with empty plates. The staff were friendly, there was a good atmosphere in the restaurant, the cocktails were tasty and the food was fairly priced. 

Acton and Sons
Acton and Sons was my favourite place to eat during our whole trip. We looked at so many restaurants and menus but I picked out Acton and Sons as it looked the most comfortable and inviting from the outside. I ended up having a 3 course meal and loving every mouthful. There was a lovely ambiance in the restaurant, the staff was really friendly and the service was brilliant. The chocolate fondue was delicious, so much so I devoured it without snapping a picture!
The Perch
The Perch Rooftop Bar was a stunning bar with a real quirky theme. Though it's not got an amazing view like some of the other rooftop bars we've visited (namely the New York ones) it had such a nice atmosphere and beautiful decor. We sat outside, though there is some indoor seats, under a heater and enjoyed a cocktail from their chic cocktail selection. Yes, a little expensive but so worth it.
The Crown
From bird themed to Olde Worlde, The Crown Liquor Saloon is an authentic, unique pub with character coming out of it's ears (or doors). It's a very distinctive building with little snugs/carriages/confessional booths to sit in and enjoy a drink. Worth a visit.

Duke of York
My favourite pub in Belfast with pub merchandise and memorabilia covering every little inch of the walls (and ceiling). There's lots of places to sit and take it all in. There was live music at night when we visited and it was just the right volume to enjoy, but continue getting the craic. The only photo I managed to get was of the stairs leading to the toilets but I feel like they show the character of the place quite well. 

The Dirty Onion
If you've ever been to Three Sisters in Edinburgh that's exactly what The Dirty Onion reminded me of. Loads of seats and space outside and quite a dark long pub on the inside. With live music playing every night this was a busy pub but the speakers above each table spoilt it for me as it was just too loud.

Valentine's Day Your Way

Valentine's Day is coming up next month, and many couples are already planning what to do. There are some things you need to sort out far in advance if you want to make sure it's arranged. However, not every couple is a huge fan of the romantic day. You might think it's a bit schmaltzy, prefer to show your love more spontaneously, or just find it boring. Still, you might want to do something on the day, just because you can. You might like the idea of the day but find the typical activities don't really suit you as a couple. How about trying one of these activities instead?

Get Active
If you're an active couple, why not do something fun together on or around Valentine's Day. Doing something you love together is always an excellent way to celebrate and reinforce your love for each other. Perhaps sometimes you go to the gym together or go out for a couple's jog. But since it's a special occasion, you could try something different. Maybe you can find somewhere to go white water rafting or bungee jumping. Or you could do something a bit whacky like zorbing. For something more sedate, you could just go on a hike or a bike ride together.

Spend Valentine's Day with Other People
Who says Valentine's Day has to be for just the two of you? You could get together with some other couples or even some of your single friends. In fact, if you have friends who are feeling down about being alone on the big day, you can ensure they're not sitting at home with a tub of ice-cream. Maybe there could even be some match-making involved. Go out to dinner together, see a movie at the cinema or perhaps just invite everyone to your house to hang out.

Do Something Fitting of the Real St Valentine
How much do you know about Saint Valentine? He might represent love now, but little is known about the real man. One thing that is fairly certain is that he was arrested and executed, supposedly for marrying Christian couples. He suffered a particularly gruesome death, beaten with clubs and stones, before being beheaded. If you're more interested in grisly history than chocolates and flowers, you could incorporate it into your Valentine's Day. Take a trip to London and go on the Jack the Ripper Tour or visit the Tower of London.

Stay In
Plenty of couples are sure to stay in on Valentine's Day. However, while some have candlelit dinners and nights full of passion, maybe you just can't be bothered. If you would rather not have to make any effort on Valentine's Day, there's nothing wrong with a takeaway and a bottle of wine. Valentine's Day is a school night, after all. Put a film on or get ready to marathon some TV instead. You don't have to do anything spectacular to enjoy each other's company.

If you're not the kind of lovey-dovey couple to do Valentine's Day the traditional way, just find your own way of doing things.

Sale Haul - Boots, Debenhams, Hollister & Boux Avenue

It's been sale season for a long time now considering most shops kick started their discounts and offers back in November with Black Friday. I've made quite a few purchases and saved loads of money but I can't share it all on my blog. Three quarters of my Boots and Debenhams orders were gifts. That's Mother's Day and 3 of my friend's birthday presents all sorted - how grown up! The rest of my sale shopping was done in Belfast while we were on a city break after New Years. Boy are those shops good!

£29 and £34.66 down from £52
So my new Smashbox foundation wasn't strictly in the sale but I did use my Boots points and manage to get it for free, how amazing is that! I did, however, buy the Alien perfume gift set in the Christmas sale and was quite happy with the discount I got. I love this perfume and it's never cheap. This has a refillable bottle which means next time I'll not have to pay quite so much, as well as a body lotion and shower get.

£4 down from £8 and £5 down from £10
I bought lots of gifts from Debenhams but couldn't resist these two 'gifts' for myself. The Little Miss Sunshine lunchbox is a really good size and a nice way to refresh my motivation for healthy lunches. The string lights were a complete impulse but add a bit of sparkle to my living room after everything disappeared in the Christmas clear up.

£15 down from £25
I love Articulate at Christmas time, it always gets so competitive. We've played the classic one so many times I thought it was time for a new one, especially in the sale. We played it when we were having a girls night in last weekend and it was great fun.

£21 down from £35
I'm not normally fussed by Hollister but I was really impressed by the Belfast store. This jumper sums up my style at the moment and it's quite versatile for smart or casual. A much more wearable purchase than a typical Hollister hoody.

Boux Avenue
£9.60 and £8 down from £34 each 
I was going to order from the Boux Avenue sale online but I didn't want to pay postage and wasn't going to spend £40 so I was a bit disappointed to have to leave my basket unbought. When I found the exact PJs in a Bag in Belfast with an extra 20% I couldn't believe my luck. That's me ready for next Christmas now. The pink, checked ones are in action already.

What was your favourite bargain in the sales?

Affordable Wedding Accessories with AliExpress

So 2016 was the year we got engaged and set our date. We're not getting married until 2018 but already we've made some of the big choices and booked some of the essentials that book up quickly. You might think 2 years is plenty of time but there's been a few things we've wanted that have already been booked up - everything happens for a reason! While there's not too much more we can do at the moment I have been getting inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram. I've also been checking out AliExpress for some affordable DIY purchases.

These labels would be great attached to favours, as part of place settings or involved in table settings. Working out at 3p a label and with so many options these are a fantastic added extra.

We're definitely doing our own invites. I love all things craft anyway so it would be mad for me to pay someone else to create something so personal. One thing I'm worried about is printing onto thick card. I feel like this would solve all of my problems.

Another item linked to favours but this time some boxes that fold together. These would be good if we were to do fudge or chocolates as a favour.  At the moment we haven't quite decided but these look good.

Gone are the days of plain guest books. These drop frames are so popular and make a brilliant decoration in your house afterwards. This is such an affordable option and comes personalised and with the drop hearts too.

Little added extras soon add up. Something like this would be lovely decorating a marquee or hall or as a prop in a photo. Why spend a fortune when it can be less than a coffee at Starbucks?

I love the idea of a personalised cake topper. Our idea for a cake isn't going to be fancy or overly decorated so a topper that fits in with our colour theme would be amazing.

These are more tags which can be used on favours or attached to gifts for bridesmaids, best men and those that work so hard to make your day special. The possibilities are endless.

I'm so ready to get my DIY on! Is there any other websites I must check out?

Remington Keratin Radiance Curling Tong Review

Have you ever seen a prettier looking curling tong? The Remington Keratin Radiance Curling tong is a beautiful lilac purple, with a chunky 38mm tong, a digital temperature display with 5 settings and a quilted heat resistant storage pouch. With temperatures from 120 degrees up to 210 degrees and a ceramic tong coated in keratin and macadamia it sounds and looks like the perfect hair tool for big, Victoria's Secret model style curls whatever the thickness of your hair.

I've tried a few different hair wands and I've got a lot of curled styles covered but I was struggling to make really voluminous curls. Remington has a good name in the hair styling world and when I spotted this in the sale before Christmas I snapped it up. I was hoping to be rocking Victoria's Secret hair throughout the festive period - think flowing locks with volume at the roots. I tried it out as soon as it arrived and instantly loved how it looked.
It's meant to heat up in 30 seconds but I found mine took a bit longer, maybe because I prefer to use the top temperatures on my thick, long hair. Having used a wand without a clamp for so long it took a while to get used to but it's good for people who are a little clumsy and might burn their fingers trying to hold their hair in place. The cable is a good length for easy styling whether you prefer the upside down hold or when you're tackling the back of your head. The heat resistant pouch is good for storing it on or in, especially when travelling.

Unfortunately I'm not in love with the results. The big bouncy curls that I achieve seem to quickly fall out into big, voluminous waves. With time even these waves and shape disappear leaving me with hair that looks either badly straightened or poorly curled. I've tried loads of hairspray, no hairspray and just a little spritz but nothing seems to work. I've tried curling my hair in 3 separate sections or all in one layer. No matter how much time or how little effort I put in I'm always left looking a bit bedraggled and not so model worthy hair.

Has anyone tried this curling tong and had more success than me? I'd love to have some words of advice or wisdom, I really want this to work for my hair.

New Years Nails

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic New Years, however you celebrated it. Now the festivities are over I'm getting myself ready for a little city break in Belfast, making full use of my holidays from work. I'm not back until the 9th of January so we're taking some time to see a place neither of us have been. 
Before I go I thought I'd share a couple of photos of my absolutely amazing New Years (and Christmas) nails. Taking inspiration from Pinterest I chose a very glitzy combination of silver glitters and a grey base. After a few of my nails broke in December I got tips on and while I'm not at work I definitely went for some long claws. Because these are acrylics they normally last for about a month! The glitters are actually from Nails Inc and are added on top of my gel colour. It's such a good way of having glam nails without them being too thick.

How did you bring in the New Year?
What nail trends are you loving right now?