Saturday, 30 January 2016

Cath Kidston January 2016 Sale Haul

Due to my love of everything cute, I often find myself stood in the Manchester Cath Kidston store with arm-fulls of lovely items and a guilty face (my boyfriend usually has to carry the overspill which I cannot physically hold..)

I have made a couple of online orders during the January sale this year - but I popped in store in Manchester today and picked up a few bits.

Throughout this post, I'm going to insert a few photos of the items I bought from the Cath Kidston website alongside my own photographs for comparison purposes.

I mainly bought fashion and homeware stuff, not much in the way of accessories this time - although I had already bought a bag in the online sale so it wasn't looking for another one - there was lots of lovely ones though. I was really tempted by one in the Oxford Rose pattern.

Starting off with the most boring bits first, I bought two packs of paper napkins for decoupage. One is in the Woodland Rose pattern and the other is in the Cranham Rose pattern. They were £2 each down from £3.50 - which I think is a steal as napkins always come in use when crafting. I have a sneaky project in mind that I plan to use the Cranham Rose ones for already!

I also picked up a Park Rose Carrier Bag Store which was only £5 (originally £10). It's a pretty boring item too but it's functional and will brighten up my kitchen. I love how vibrant this print is - it really caught my eye. There was a laundry hamper in this same print which I was close to buying but I exercised a bit of self-control.

I ended up buying this cute Woodland Rose Tray which will come into good use. This is cute and has such a vintage feel to it. This was £8 reduced from £20. There's just something about this that I loooove.

The final homeware item that I purchased is a roll of Rainbow Rose Chalk Wallpaper which was £15 reduced from £25. I'm thinking of using this on a small feature wall in the house. I hate the phrase feature wall for some reason but y'all will know what I'm referring to when I say that. But yes, it's absolutely beautiful but they only had one roll left so I couldn't go the whole hog and completely do a room with it. It's lovely though.

My original plans for this trip were to just buy homeware stuff as I don't really need any clothes but.. this didn't happen. Some items that I've had my eye on for absolutely ages were on sale at crazy markdowns so I just couldn't resist.

So firstly, I picked up the Faux Fur Collar in purple. I've wanted this for a while since I saw my boyfriend's mum wearing it and it looked gorgeous. It's really luscious, fluffy and soft and the floral lining underneath is just precious. I'm in love with this. A fur collar is a fab alternative to a scarf and as it's always freezing up north, I need one or the other! I debated for ages on whether to buy the navy coloured one or this one but I always go for navy so I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little. It was £17.50 reduced from £35. I'm not sure if I'd pay the £35 for it as I think that's perhaps a little pricey but it really is lovely. 

I then decided 'screw it' - I'll just get what I want. So I tried on 4 items of clothing and liked them all. Two of them were the same cardigan in two different colours though and as I decided that it would be naughty to buy both - I chose the colour which I always choose. I really wanted to try the plum coloured one so I could phase the colour into my wardrobe but I was afraid that I wouldn't wear it so I picked the grey alternative. It's so unbelievably soft and cosy - I love it. The holey pattern doesnt actually show up much when on but it's gorgeous all the same. This was £25 reduced from £55.

I made a second knitwear purchase which is this lovely Intarsia Swan Jumper. I've had my eye on this for yonks but £75 was just too much for me to shell out on a jumper for myself. However, I picked this up for only £29 which I really cannot grumble at. The quality is exceptional - I'm so pleased with it.

My final and most favourite purchase is this Hampstead Rose Midi Skirt. It's absolutely beautiful and the fabric feels amazing. I've been wanting this for so long but have been reluctant to buy it at £60 but £25 is more than reasonable. Just from looking at this skirt, you can tell that it's worth way more.

I wanted to buy way more clothes and think that I showed a fair bit of restraint really as everything in Cath Kidston really is lovely. I am pleased with all the goodies that I picked up though and just to repeat FYI - this was all purchased from the Manchester Cath Kidston store. The staff in there are very helpful, it's my fave store.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Review: Creative Chickpea @ Etsy

Felt flowers are undeniably cute which is what drew me to Creative Chickpea on Etsy. There's a wide selection of gorgeous felt flower creations on there - it's definitely worth a look!
Here is my felt flower brooch! It's made from three different flowers with some leaves behind. I love the colours - it's perfect for autumn. I plan on pinning it to a rust coloured coat that I have - and I think that it'll look beautiful.

As you can see, the brooch looks lovely. It's just so elegant and pretty - I'm in love! If you can't see anything that's your style on there then go ahead and pop a message through on Etsy - custom requests are welcomed. Give Creative Chickpea some love on Instagram by clicking here.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Etsy Shop Feature: Myrtle Made It

Greetings everyone! Today I have a really cute Etsy shop to share with you guys, called Myrtle Made It. It's UK based, as is the case with the majority of the shops that I feature.

Myrtle Made It is a relatively new Etsy shop, only having been open for a couple of weeks. It specialises in felt flowers and indoor wreaths which incorporate felt flowers.

As Valentines Day is coming up, there are some lovely red felt roses available and I've been lucky enough to get my hands on some.

Inside the box was a lovely bouquet wrapped in orange tissue paper. The bouquet itself is also wrapped in patterned paper and some hessian which is secured with a wooden heart. One of the reasons that I like to choose Etsy sellers over shopping on the high street is that the attention to detail with packaging is always spot on. It's so lovely to open a package where everything has been thought out and presented beautifully.

The roses themselves look just like the photos. They really are gorgeous and I'd love to receive these as a gift for Valentines Day - they're just as pretty as real roses and they will never die which is a definite bonus. All the pieces of the flowers are secured in place well and there's plenty of wire for the stem so they can be cut down to your desired length or kept long if you want them to be taller.

I'm so pleased with my little package from Myrtle Made It - the roses are beautiful and my order was definitely packaged with love.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: Cute Cute Crochet @ Etsy

Cute Cute Crochet is an Etsy shop full of the most gorgeous crocheted goodies. If you're into kawaii-themed items then you'll absolutely love this shop.

Look at that face! How can anyone resist? So as you can see, I have a cute little crocheted pumpkin. He's a lot bigger than I thought he would be - around two and half inches tall and two inches wide. I love pumpkins and this little guy is just adorable.

I also have this awesome crocheted Pokeball. This is pretty big as well, and so cool. They both came in little plastic boxes which is a really nice touch.

Definitely check out Cute Cute Crochet. They have an amazing selection of cute crocheted creatures and patterns too so if you're a dab hand at crochet then you can make your very own!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Etsy Shop Review: Tickled Pink Sheep

Tickled Pink Sheep is just the sweetest Etsy shop! It's full of hand knitted vintage-style scarves, hand-warmers with cute designs and lovely infinity scarves.

I'm a sucker for soft, cozy clothes and accessories and the weather at the moment is certainly pretty turbulent so I was much in need of some warm gloves. 

Tickled Pink Sheep sell a few different designs of these hand warmers such as ones with little bows on there or tiny little hearts. Mine are navy with a light blue heart on there. I love them! They're done really neatly and feel really secure and warm on my hands. The sizing is also quite small so they fit my hands snugly which is what I am wanting. 

I like the fact that they're fingerless so I can access my phone and not have to remove the gloves. I know this might seem like a minor thing but it's so nice being able to change my music that's playing without having to get my hands all cold. 

And the packaging... don't even get me started! They were packaged in the cutest little pink chinese-takeaway style box with twine wrapped around. I've never had anything packaged in this way and it was lovely.

Definitely pay a visit to Tickled Pink Sheep and say hello on Facebook and Twitter too. My gloves are amazing quality - I'm so pleased with them. I want one of their vintage-style scarves next.. (they offer £5 discount for repeat customers which is awesome)

Etsy Shop Review: Eclecticult

Eclecticult is full of eclectic, kitsch, vintage and just generally lovely jewellery. Everything is hand made in Sheffield which isn't too far afield from me.

Here is what I picked out from the store. I adore sea shells and anything to do with sealife so this gold spun sea shell necklace really appealed to me. I don't actually own anything like it so it's totally unique in my collection. Her geode necklaces also stood out to me but I do have a Rose Quartz necklace and I wanted something totally different! 

I adore my lovely seashell necklace, the gold detailing on there completely elevates it to a new level of pretty. I find that it looks cute with quite plain outfits as it creates a focal point - I've worn it out casually with a black vest top and jeans and it looked gorgeous and I received lots of compliments.

Find Eclecticult on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

January Etsy Wishlist

I am always looking on Etsy for cute goodies and there's a few items that have caught my eye in particular. Here's my wishlist for January 2016!
1. Floral Peter Pan Collar - Wonderland Boutique (£10.00)
2. Ceramic Deer Necklace - Aubergine Fox (£19.00)
3. Avocatdo Pin - PonyPonyPeoplePeople (£7.72)
4. Fox Paperclip - Embellaments (£3.69)
5. Crochet Daisy Garland - Isobelle's Pantry (£10.00)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

New Year Update

I have just gotten back from visiting my other half's family over the festive break and I go back to work tomorrow for a new year! We should finally be moving into our new house this month so it's likely to be a busy one, but I'm so excited... I cannot wait!

We've bought a Nutribullet today for our new kitchen as we love smoothies in the morning but also love guacamole, salsa etc so expect some recipes for yummy things! I love the January sales, we got so much money off it and it's also pink so I couldn't resist.

So, you can expect some home related posts as well as my usual mix of reviews, recipes and general rambling. 

I hope that everyone had a lovely time over the holidays and is ready for the new year.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Tips and Tricks: Acrylic Nails

Happy New Year everyone! I come to you with some wise words in my first post of 2016 which should hopefully help some of you guys out. I pretty much always have a set of acrylic nails so I thought I'd provide a few tips on acrylics such as how to make your manicure stay perfect for longer.

My staple acrylic nails!
Tips for acrylic newbies
Firstly, it is imperative that you get your nails done at a reputable salon. I hate to stereotype but the cheap Asian salons are 100% a no go. They usually use plastic tips rather than sculpted acrylic and it's just awful. My friend went to a cheap Asian place and her nails were super sore after, uneven and were basically tips badly secured on to the nail with acrylic. It's just not worth the risk of doing irreparable damage to your nails.

I get mine done at a salon which cuts hair, massages and does all the regular beauty salon and spa treatments and I think that this is the hallmark of a decent salon. I am definitely willing to pay within £30-45 price range for a full set and £20 for infills for a quality manicure. My nails are always done by sculpting acrylic into the shape and length that I'd like. This is much better than using tips.. have a research online about the difference as I don't want to fully explain as this post would be very long. But just trust me.. sculpted acrylic is the way to go!

When you're new to acrylics, don't go the whole hog and get really long ones as you are likely to catch them and tear them. Accidents are likely when you're new to long nails and it can turn nasty.. trust me! I've fallen up the stairs and fully ripped one of my nails off before now and it was absolutely awful. Ask for them as short as possible and explain that you're new to acrylics and would like to get used to them. This is another reason why it's important to go to an English speaking salon as it avoids any mishaps that could get lost in translation. 

So to conclude this section: visit a reputable salon and get sensible nails when you're starting out.

How to make your acrylic nails last longer
Most important tip regarding the longevity of your acrylics: Get regular infills! If you get infills then your manicure will last indefinitely until you decide not to get infills on your acrylics anymore. Infills cost much less than getting a new set and it's quicker too so I definitely recommend getting infills when your acrylics grow out. It's also healthier for your nails to get infills rather then removing/growing out your existing acrylics and then getting a whole new set applied.

If you don't want to get infills then file your acrylics down regularly and paint your growing  nail (at the nail bed) the same colour as your acrylics. This method only works for like a week tops as it can begin to look silly if like half your nail has grown out but it can definitely work if you want to stave off infills or just grow out your acrylics. I tend to wear black, grey or red stiletto nails exclusively so it's easy for me to do this. However, if your nails are patterned or painted in an unusual colour then you will have trouble with this method.

You can also use a file to reshape the acrylics when they're growing out. If I want a break from acrylics so I'm not getting infills, I file my sharp stiletto nails down flat once they're grown out and this makes the process much easier and they look a lot less silly.

How to mitigate nail damage
Like I said, I always have a set of acrylics. I take around a week-long break during the year which would consist of an odd day here and there due to changing over the colour or style of my acrylics.

I am under no illusion that this severely weakens and damages my nails. In terms of attempting to mitigate damage, getting infills rather than full sets definitely makes a difference like I said. It's also important to regularly massage Bio Oil/Vitamin E Oil/Jojoba Oil/Cocoa Butter into your nails, cuticles and surrounding skin. This helps to regenerate, nourish and moisturise the tissue. In between manicures, use a product such as OPI Nail Envy as it's wonderful for strengthening the nails. 

Finally, visit a professional, reputable salon like I said! It really is so important in terms of preventing any long-lasting damage.

I hope that you guys enjoyed this post.. have fun with your flawless, long-lasting, chip-free nails!