Saturday, 31 August 2013

Shoe Showcase #3 - Totes Princess

Sorry I've been a bit lapse on the old blogging front recently - being poorly and then having my birthday and a few days together with the Mr before we are both back to work on Monday (first official day in my new job) meant that blogging had been put on the back burner. 

I've been dying to get this post up since I received these shoes, especially after I posted a sneaky pic on instagram and seen how much many of you loved them! This post however, is sooo worth the wait, just look at these beauties my Mum got me for my birthday...

How amazing! I seriously am in love! The amount of work that has gone into these is unbelievable, as is the attention to detail...

How pretty and girly are they; lots of glitter and diamantes - I especially love the diamantes as I feel they look like little bubbles under the sea.

Now I've plagued you all with pictures I'm sure your dying to know how to get your hands on a pair...

the best part is, they are made specifically to order! Totes Princess is a small business run by a lovely lady via Facebook. She offers bespoke hi-top shoes and tote-bags. You can see many of her previously commissioned styles (including my gorgeous pair) on her facebook page here, or if you send a message you can discuss a style of your choosing.
As if that wasn't good enough, wait until you hear the price!!! A pair of shoes like mine will set you back £30 (including postage)! Now, for me that is a complete and utter bargain, nowhere on the high street can you find a pair of trainers or shoes, with such detail for such a low price tag, and when you think of the time and effort that goes into painting these shoes, you really are getting a bargain!

Another thing that I would like to point out is that these pictures were taken after a day of wearing and driving in them, and as you can see the design is still perfect and there is no cracking to the paint.

I seriously cannot praise these shoes enough. There is not a single bad word I have to say, so much so, that I have already put in a second order for a blue pair with The Lion King painted excited!!

Will you be making an order from Totes Princess?
They'd make a perfect present for Christmas, but be quick as the books are filling up fast!


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Neal's Yard Remedies Manchester Blog Event

A few weeks ago I met with Steph, Pippa and Jennifer for a yummy lunch at Wagamamas, and then the 4 of us headed to the Neal's Yard Remedies Manchester store on John Dalton Street.

A few of us had tried the brand before, however some of us were complete newbies; myself included, therefore I had no idea of what to expect but boy I wasn't disappointed!

We were greeted by the lovely staff, offered a drink of champagne/juice/herbal tea and then asked which of the available therapies on offer we would like to be treated to...this was a surprise for me as I didn't realise that NYR offered treatments such as massages instore. I opted for a neck and back massage which was so relaxing, I especially loved the little karate chopping motion - perfect for getting all those knots out of your back.

Throughout the night there were lots of yummy nibbles on offer and we got to browse the whole store, and sample all the lovely testers...

The amazing wall of loose herbs behind the till
I was simply amazed by the vast range of the store; NYR offer much more than face and body products, providing a range of herbal supplements and teas as they believe beauty should also come from within.
All NYR products are natural and organic with no sign of any mineral oils, silicones, or sythetic fragrances. This means that their products also smell unbelievably amazing as does the shop itself. I was eyeing up the essential oils which can be burnt to give a lovely scent to your room.

The Bee Lovely range was one that I fell incredibly in love with; mostly due to its gorgeous honey and orange scent...think I may have to go back for the hand cream.

I didn't however come home empty handed as I was kindly gifted an amazing goodie bag upon my exit containing...

yes...they even offer make-up including eyeshadows, blushers, foundations, lipgloss and lipstick! On the evening there was a lovely make-up artist offering makeovers, I myself didn't opt for one but everyone who did receive one looked lovely.

All in all it was a lovely evening, and now I've discovered my love for the brand I think I will be heading back instore to see what else takes my fancy.
If you would to see reviews of any of the products I received in my goody bag please do let me know. Sadly though I can't feature a post on the facial mist as I took it on a weekend away however it leaked all over my bag as the top had come loose :( however, up until then I was loving it - such a refreshing scent and a spritz on the face was lovely during the warm weather - it can be used over make up as a pick me up throughout the day.

Thanks again to NYR for inviting me along!

Have you tried NYR before? Have you ever been in your local NYR store?


Saturday, 10 August 2013

John Lewis BBQ Challenge - Chicken, Chorizo & Halloumi Skewers

I was recently contacted by John Lewis asking if I would like to take part in their John Lewis BBQ challenge.
The challenge I was set, was to create a typically British BBQ whilst this recipe isn't British in origination I feel it definitely emulates the British attitude towards a BBQ.
BBQ's for many Brits are a time to relax and celebrate with family and friends. Which is why for me I feel all the cooking should be minimal fuss with minimal preparation. Therefore this recipe is exactly that!

I love chicken, I love chorizo, and I love halloumi; I decided the best way to incorporate all 3 would be by creating a kebab skewer...a BBQ is all about getting stuck in with your hands, who needs a knife and fork!

What you need...

Skewers (wooden or metal)
Chicken breast
Halloumi cheese
Chorizo ring (cooked)

The first thing you need to do is slice the chorizo (be sure to remove the casing) into 1cm thick slices. You can then use this as a guide for how big to slice your halloumi cheese. 
I was lazy and bought chicken that was already diced (mainly because it was cheaper), however if you are using chicken breasts you would again, chop your chicken into a similar size to the cheese and chorizo. 
(*top tip* - for extra flavour, drizzle a little garlic infused oil over the diced chicken). 

Once all your ingredient have been chopped and sliced you can get to work on assembling your skewers. I went for a chicken-chorizo-halloumi alternation. Take care to not stab your fingers when threading onto the skewer and load as much or as little as you prefer onto the skewers. 
 (*top tip* - to prevent wooden skewers from burning/scorching, soak in a bowl of water overnight before assembling your kebabs)

Once assembled, it's simply a case of popping your skewers onto a BBQ (they also taste equally as amazing if cooked on a griddle pan - no extra oil is needed if you've marinated your chicken in garlic oil as this and the oils released from the chorizo prevent sticking). 
Be sure to frequently turn your skewers throughout cooking to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. 

Once cooked serve as you wish. I opted for a yummy side salad with a range of dips. 

If you want to incorporate some of your 5 a day you can choose to add onions or peppers...the kebabs would be equally as tasty with or without. 

We enjoyed lots of other yummy food but the skewers were the biggest hit! 
We opted to go for a blue and green theme with our picnic-ware, the majority of which we purchased from John Lewis (the butterflies were from elsewhere sadly).

And also, like any other fashion loving blogger, a BBQ is always the perfect opportunity to wear a pretty dress and some heels! Personally I think floaty maxi's are perfect for a BBQ, pretty whilst being functional (at hiding those food babies). This high-low maxi style dress has to be my favourite dress for a sunny day, especially due to the pretty butterfly print. I opted to wear it with my bargain £25 (!) KG shoes. I managed to snag them before they went out of stock and thought they were the perfect tribute to my kitty who recently got knocked down as they too like her are called Bella.

What is your favourite meal to cook on the BBQ?
Would these kebabs be something you'd like to try?


Disclaimer - John Lewis provided gift vouchers and contributed to the cost of ingredients.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Shoe Showcase #2 - Iron Fist Part One

Well, here I am, with another instalment of Shoe Showcase; a little later than I would have liked as I am aiming to try and post this feature once a week.
Anyway, as the title suggests today is an Iron Fist special - part one of several to come. I know they say you should leave the best until last but Iron Fist are my all time favourite shoe brand and so I couldn't resist!

Iron Fist Creepy Rose
I posted a picture of these in my recent shopping post. I love the little skull detailing overlaying the girly floral print. I think the in-shoe detailing is amazing too, I would love if this design were made into a shoe in the A/W collection!
As with many Iron Fist shoes, there is also a design printed on the sole of the shoe; in this case a skull within a rose.

Iron Fist Scarie Prarie Yellow

These pictures don't quite show how amazing the yellow of these shoes really is! Again I love how they look like a pair of cute and girly shoes until you look up close and see little skulls hidden within the roses. I've already worn these shoes so the soles have a little wear but again they have a design; in this case the same skull within a rose as is printed on the shoe. I'm also loving the in-shoe heart design.

Iron Fist Scarie Prairie Turquoise
These are the exact same shoe as the yellow ones above only turquoise (the colour is most like the bottom middle picture). I do think that the polka dots are more prominent than on the yellow, however I am simply in love with the bright yellow colour.

These shoes are really comfortable; they are of a reasonable height for day-to-day wear too! The one downside I have found to these shoes however, is that they are of a cotton-like material rather than patent, so you have to be wary of the weather (if like me your paranoid about ruining them).
I was caught in a ridiculously heavy rain shower when wearing the yellow ones but thankfully no permanent damage was made!

One point I would make about Iron Fist shoes is SIZING - I would recommend sizing up; I'm usually a size 6 in all shoes, however all of these are a 7 and fit perfectly.

These shoes are from the most recent Iron Fist Season so come in this cool box - reminds me of fruit salad penny sweets, anyone else agree? The shoes come wrapped in Iron Fist tissue paper, and as with all other IF shoe boxes, there is a carry handle. Every pair of shoes also comes with a replacement set of heels too!

Are you a fan of Iron Fist?


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Avon Apricot and Shea Spritz

Hello lovelies, 
hope your all well! 
Today's post is a product that I discovered a few weeks ago and just had to share. It's amazing how you can fall in love with the simplest of products. I love this so much that I repurchased before my first bottle has run out as I can't bear to be without it!

I'm a big fan of Avon and have always loved their room and linen sprays, however they have recently rebranded them as "fragrance spritz" which can be used on the body. This rebrand saw the introduction of a new scent apricot and shea. 

This is honestly the most beautiful smelling spray I have smelt in my life! I'm seriously in love with it, so much so that I have often found myself skipping the perfume and relying merely on the whiff of this! It smells divine, almost good enough to eat. A few spritzes is enough to scent the whole body and leaves a yummy apricot/peachy scent, with regards to the Shea butter my nose can't pick much of that coming through. 

The good thing with this spray too is that it's small enough to pop in your bag for a pick me up during the day. A quick spray is also refreshing during the warmer weather we've been having recently. I've also not experienced any leaking whilst spraying or storing in my bag and the cap is nice and secure with a good 'click' so it doesn't keep popping off in your bag. 

The second bonus is that if you like to "layer" your fragrance there is a shower gel available in the same scent which smells equally amazing! 

The major bonus is its super cheap! It's currently included in a 4 for £5 offer available online or from your local rep. 

Have you tried any of the fragrance spritz? Do you have an "Avon lady"? What are your top recommendations from Avon?


Monday, 5 August 2013

Recent Purchases

Hey guys,
I thought I'd show you a few of my recent purchases from the last week or so. I've been really holding back on the purse strings recently as I've been living off my savings whilst hunting for a job. However after hearing the good news on Monday that I'd been offered a science technician position that I'd interviewed for earlier that day, I decided I could allow myself to be a little more relaxed with my spending. 

I didn't go mad and bought mainly things that I needed. 

If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen that I mentioned about the fab offer internacionale have on their boots at the moment - selling them off for a mere £4! I've been on the hunt for a pair of black ankle boots so I snapped the first  pair up from the Wigan branch and the second pair from my local store in Salford. 

I'm not really one for plain shoes to be honest, however a pair of flat smart black shoes is something everyone needs right? The pair I had had taken a complete bashing in the rain and had developed a crack in the sole so we had to part ways. I picked up this pair for £6 down from £12 in Primark. They are wide fit with a slightly padded insole which means they should be a little kinder to my feet which are constantly cut up by flats - give me a pair of heels any day! However I felt that these were much needed for my new job as it is in a school so I'll have to dress a little smarter I'm guessing. 

Another thing I decided I needed to buy for my new job was a watch. Now I already have a few watches however I don't want to wear something like my Gold DKNY watch to work only for it to get ruined in the lab. This was perfect as the face wasn't too big and it was cute too! I also received 10% student discount (valid till Oct so I'm making the most of it!) making it a bargain £8.99.

I love me a pair of patterned tights, the first pair were in the sale so I couldn't not have them right? I already have the heart pair however I snagged them a little the first time I wore them so decided to get a back up pair. 

I was initially attracted to the print of this USB, when I saw the price I was even more attracted! I seem to have misplaced my spongebob USB I used throughout uni so I figured for £2.41 this was a good investment as you never know when you may need a USB. 
Whilst in Primark I also couldn't resist treating myself to some new pjs, many of mine are too big. I was instantly attracted to these elmo bottoms; they're cuffed at the ankles too which I also like. I did want to get the matching top however the 6-8 was too big for my liking so I opted for a plain white fitted tee from the basic dept (£3). The second pair of bottoms were in the sale for £3; I loved the quirky cat and rabbit print. There was a whole range of bottoms on sale for £3 but I limited myself. I didn't spot if there were any matching tops or not but I decided to pick up another basic tee in red to wear with these bottoms. 

These books were bought from the Oxfam charity shop in Wigan. My mum and I love a ride to Wigan to have a hunt round the 8 charity shops sprinkled round the city centre. We've found many a bargain there, however on this occasion I only came back with 2 books. 
I've seen many books from the shopaholic series in charity shops so I've decided I'm going to pick them up as and when I see them until I have the full collection; typically since I decided this barely anywhere has had them, d'oh! 
Whilst looking at the "K" section I also spotted The Ice Cream Girls; since watching the tv adaptation I have been dying to read the book; I always find the books to be 10x better than screen productions, anyone else agree? I was shocked to have found the book as I was planning on hunting it down in my library. I thought £1.49 was a little more expensive than I would usually pay in charity shop for a book (normally £1 or less) however I couldn't pass it by! 

Finally my actual "celebratory purchase" for my new job were these creepy rose Iron Fist, purchased with the contents of my "shoe fund" (yes I do indeed have a money box dedicated to buying shoes; namely Iron Fist). I recently bought (with the amazon vouchers I was awarded with at uni) the same style of shoe in both colour ways of the Scarie Prarie design (look out for them in a shoe showcase post soon) 

So there we have it, my recent purchases. Have you bought anything exciting recently? Do you enjoy this kind of blog post? Would you like me to feature my buys on the blog more often, whether it be high street/charity shops/car boot?
I have to admit the majority of my new wardrobe additions have been of charity shop origins as of late. 

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