Thursday, 23 July 2015

Jamie's Italian Cheltenham: Review


A wonderful evening out at Jamie's Italian Cheltenham*

Last week, Josh and I were invited to visit Jamie's Italian restaurant, in the heart of Cheltenham, to test the menu. Housed in the town's former court rooms, the building is beautifully old, grand and spacious with some of the original features, such as the judge's table and jury box, still remaining. Perhaps not a normal point to bring up in a restaurant review, but the bathrooms are amazing in this venue. They're deep in the dungeon-like cellar, through winding brick tunnels lined with barred cells. It really does make you feel like you've been transported back to the days when the building was still a working criminal court.

I'm sure you're here to read all about the mouthwatering dishes in the photos above, rather than the toilets, so I will move swiftly on. After choosing our own table and being seated by the very attentive waiting team, we browsed the drinks menu. Josh opted for a glass of merlot, whereas I went for a non-alcoholic Ginger and Mango Mojito. It tasted every bit as good as it looked - fruity, fresh, minty and topped off with a slight spicy kick from the ginger beer.

To start, we ordered the Artisan Breads and the World's Best Olives on Ice - with a name like that, we had to give them a try! The artisan bread board consisted of a selection of crisp crackerbread, soft foccaccia, herbed ciabatta and more. Along with the bread came olive oil, balsamic vinegar and an olive tapenade - delicious! The olives on ice were equally as tasty, being chilled makes them extra fresh.

Following our starters, I chose Turkey Milanese for mains - a flattened turkey breast stuffed with proscuitto, cheese and topped with a fried egg and shavings of summer truffle. A super rich and indulgent dish, with plenty of flavour and texture. We had a portion of Funky Chips, coated with garlic and herbs, which were perfect to dip in the runny egg. Josh chose one of the specials for the day, a vegetarian pasta dish with loads of fresh, seasonal vegetables in a light sauce. Being completely honest, we thought the dish was a little expensive at around £14 despite being tasty. Apart from a couple of pastas and salads, there aren't that many veggie dishes on the menu so make sure you check the specials board too, for more options.

Finally, we indulged in pudding - my favourite part of the meal! Josh went for the Epic Brownie - a warm, gooey, chocolatey brownie topped with ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce and popcorn. I made him share a little spoonful with me because it looked so incredible and I'm glad I did! I chose a slightly lighter pudding, the Raspberry and Honeycomb Pavlova. It was delicious, with fresh mint complimenting the raspberry perfectly and the honeycomb adding crunch to the soft cream and gooey marshmallow centre of the meringue. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Jamie's Italian - the food and drinks were delicious, especially the puddings. All the staff in the Cheltenham restaurant were wonderfully attentive and knowledgeable too, they made sure everything was spot on throughout our meal. I'd recommend making a trip to the Cheltenham restaurant, try the olives to start, pavlova to finish... oh, and make sure you visit the toilets too! 

*Jamie's Italian kindly invited us for a complimentary meal in order to accurately write this review

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Nailbox Review: a nail product subscription

nailbox blogger review june
nailbox subscription june review blog
nailbox june review

The postie bought a very exciting parcel to my door last week - a brand new subscription box. It's not like the others - there are no tiny perfume samples, another face mask, or hair oils - but instead, a selection of full size nail products. And we all know, there's always room for that extra polish that's just a fraction of a shade different to the one you already have, but still... essential

Each month the box will contain 3 or 4 polishes, plus 1 or 2 nail accessories and will cost you £15. June's box contains (from left to right) Tanya Burr 'Mischief Managed', Nails Inc 'Colville Mews', Essie 'Roarrrange', Seche Vite Topcoat and Elegant Touch cuticle clippers. I was seriously impressed with the contents of the box for the price, it's amazingly good value. £15 would usually only get you a couple of great polishes, not four!

As with any beauty subscription box, you're not quite sure what you're going to get before it arrives (unless you're sneaky and look at those speedy blog reviews). So there might be the odd shade that wouldn't normally be your first choice. I, for example, don't wear red nail varnish so the Tanya Burr shade won't become one of my regular choices, however, it's a great shade to add to my collection for  occasional nail art designs. I'm really pleased to have received an Essie, Nails Inc and Seche Vite polish all in one box - two brands I already love in brand new shades to me and one I've wanted to try for ages. I may have squeaked a little when I saw the Seche Vite bottle!

I'm really impressed with the quality and value included in the Nailbox - if you're a nail polish hoarder like me, this is a great way to get your fix each month and broaden the range of polishes and products you have in your collection.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Outfit: Quintessentially British

UK-lifestyle-blogger

I haven't posted an outfit in a while so, when we were in the beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water last weekend, I thought I'd take some snaps of my summery tourist outfit. However, not everything went to plan, when I realised that the memory card wasn't in my camera! Ultimate blogger nightmare. Hence the low quality phone snaps - even iPhone 6 quality isn't quite good enough for a respectable blog post, it seems.

Josh and I had a rare free weekend so we decided to explore the idyllic Cotswold village right on our doorstep. Despite having lived in Cheltenham for the last 6 years, I haven't ventured very far into the surrounding countryside. Bourton-on-the-Water is a lovely village, stretched along a river running parallel to the high street, which is dotted with quaint gift shops and tea rooms. We happily wandered along in the sunshine, stopping in a pub garden for lunch, followed by more meandering in and out of gift shops. The skies suddenly opened as we left one shop, making us dive for the nearest tea room and stop for a quick pot of tea while we waited for the rain to pass. Luckily it did and the sun promptly returned - good old British weather!

I wore one of my favourite floaty sundresses, which I picked up in H&M a good few years ago now, with my grey hat from New Look. Wearing this hat makes me feel very ladylike, perfect for spending the day in a quintessentially British village. We need to make the most of our lovely local sights, so I have a feeling that Josh and I may be visiting more of The Cotswolds very soon.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Keeping on trend: glasses

lifestyle blogger UK
UK lifestyle blog

I've had to wear glasses or contact lenses constantly for almost 10 years now, but in more recent years, I've been wearing contacts almost all day every day... until earlier this year. I started my new job and suddenly couldn't wear my contacts when looking at a computer screen without getting horrendous migraines, despite doing this previously! Numerous trips to the opticians didn't get to the bottom of the issue, so I had to start wearing my glasses to work.

I've always just had the one pair of glasses, as I only ever used them on rare occasions - usually when I first get up in the morning, rather than blindly stumbling towards the shower. Relying on my glasses every day made me realise how much I needed multiple pairs - worrying that my one pair would break, or I'd lose them, and I'd be stuck not being able to see! I also wasn't sure what I was going to do when it came to summer - wearing contacts with sunglasses is easy... but it's not so easy when you're relying on glasses all the time. So GlassesShop* came to the rescue, with their range of super cheap glasses and prescription sunglasses.

I chose the frames I liked, input my prescription details on the website and before I knew it my new glasses and sunglasses had dropped through my letterbox, safely protected and ready to wear. I chose the Heloise Wayfarer sunglasses* and the Weymouth Cat Eye glasses*. The process was simple and delivery was quick - having never bought glasses online before, I'll definitely be doing it again. It makes it so easy to refresh your style - glasses are such a big part of your look when you wear them all the time, why shouldn't we mix it up every-so-often and splash out on some new frames? I'm definitely going to be!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Surprises from Australia...


I went on holiday to America earlier this month (read more about that later), returning home to a very exciting parcel waiting for me, sent all the way from Australia. Seeing the Australian postmark, I knew who it was from, despite never meeting them and not knowing what it contained. Mysterious hey? Well, I'd been contacted to see whether I'd like to take part in a blogger swap with an Australian blogger. Of course, I jumped at the chance to receive a surprise parcel filled with Australian goodies - it was down to my partner whether those were things that represented Australia, or whether they were items that you purely can't get in the UK. 

I was paired up with the lovely Renée, a blogger who lives just outside Melbourne. We were matched up because we're both lifestyle bloggers posting a little bitta everything, plus we both love to travel. I was really pleased to have Renée as my partner and couldn't wait to see the gifts she'd choose for me. Opening the jiffy bag, I saw a ribbon wrapped bundle and a letter written on beautiful Kikki K stationery. I've seen Australian brand Kikki K's stationery online before and wish they were sold in the UK, such lovely paper sets and planners!

Renée had sent me the most wonderful letter - almost two full pages of beautiful purple handwriting - explaining her choice of gifts. I was overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and time that had gone into her selection. She explained about her knowledge of the UK and our temperamental weather, so included a super soft wooly scarf which will be perfect for when our short summer disappears and the chill returns. I feel like Renée may have noticed the lack of colour in my previous outfit posts, combined with the general colour theme of my blog and chose the perfect colour scarf for me - black! It's so soft and amazing quality, I can't wait to put it to good use in the colder months. Accompanying the scarf was, another item in the perfect colour palette, a Melbourne purse. Renée's letter told how she bought this purse in Melbourne's Laneways - a bustling maze of shops and cafes housed in little alleyways filled with street art. Josh and I visited Australia on our travels last year, so Renée's tales of shopping for my gifts bought back some lovely memories. The purse really is going to take me straight back to the crazy, cool city that is Melbourne every time I use it.

Renée and I were paired up for the campaign by Austravel, who have created an interactive map showing the similarities and differences between UK and Aus destinations sharing the same names - it even shows the street views of the two places. My little town of Cheltenham is featured on there! I was very pleased to see that Cheltenham, UK was almost 15°C hotter than Cheltenham, Aus... but then it was 5am and winter in Australia, so I'll let them off.

Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts, Renée! I can't wait to see what you thought of my parcel for you x

Monday, 15 June 2015

Getting ready for a summer wedding


Summer is here already and I can't believe how fast the past year has gone. In August last year I was bridesmaid to Josh's sister, Sarah. When Mira Showers* asked me how I'd get ready for a special occasion, whether that's a summer wedding, day at the races or even just a BBQ with friends, I knew exactly which event I was going to write about.

We started the day with a light breakfast of fresh fruit, warm pastries and, of course, an obligatory glass (or two) of prosecco. After jumping in the shower, using a body scrub to reinvigorate and washing my hair, I used a frizz resistant serum to ensure it stayed silky smooth and styled all day. I chose to style my hair with loose waves, to match the boho festival theme of the wedding. It was the perfect theme for Sarah and her husband, Max, both seriously laid back music and festival lovers. For me, leaving plenty of time to get ready is key for a special occasion - it means you're not stressed and rushing around at the last minute, which is never a good start! I like to shower, then relax for a while in my dressing gown with a cuppa, before getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup. Mira have an amazing selection of showers and shower heads to make getting ready easy and leave you feeling calm yet invigorated. My favourite is the 360 shower head, with four different functions to choose from. Rain, burst, cloud and storm - you're bound to find your perfect shower with that selection!

Once we were ready, it was time to get dressed. The bridesmaids dresses were by Little Mistress and I had mine altered by Sarah's aunty. I had to have four inches shopped off the bottom, plus an inch or two taken off the straps too, but that meant it fitted me perfectly, despite losing a little of the pattern from the bottom. They were the perfect dresses for the wedding theme, matching the bright colours and flowers scattered throughout the church and reception venue.

It was so much fun getting ready and helping Sarah get ready too, before sending her off to the church in the VW camper van. I really feel like the girly getting ready part before a wedding is a huge part of the day, especially when you're a bridesmaid! It was a lovely ceremony at the church, followed by an awesome afternoon and evening at the reception. There were two amazing bands, fun summer fete style games, delicious food, lots of gin and so much dancing. I can't believe they've almost been married for a year, it really has flown by!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

'Gine the aubergine: crochet pattern

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aubergine eggplant crochet pattern
my first try at crochet amigurumi blog

'Gine is my first ever attempt at crochet. So what did I decide to make for my first project? An aubergine... oh yeah I did.

Josh and I decided not to get each other birthday presents this year, because we had only just returned from travelling on my birthday and we were a little short of both money and time. To make it fair, we said we'd do the same for Josh's birthday this year too. As happy as we both were with cards, friends, family and fun evenings - I still wanted to give something to Josh on his birthday. Instead of buying a present, I decided to make him something. So the obvious choice was his favourite vegetable (and emoji) - the aubergine!

I've wanted to learn how to crochet for ages, so this was the perfect starter project. I found the free aubergine crochet pattern here (via the wonderful platform that is Pinterest). I really enjoyed learning something new and creating this little cutie, so I've already started working on a few more crochet projects. The pattern was easy to follow and quick to create - it's so cool to see something developing right before your eyes.

Have you ever tried crochet? What was your first project? I'd love to find any amazing crochet/craft blogs or patterns, so please leave me your favourites in the comments!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Barry M - Daylight Curing Nail Paints

Barry M Sunset Daylight Curing Nail Varnish review
Barry M Sunset Daylight curing nail polish swatches

I recently won these Barry M Sunset Nail Paints in a competition on Twitter, it was such a lovely surprise to hear I'd won in the middle of a normal working day. I've had Shellac manicures before, so hearing that these polishes should look and last the same as salon polishes cured with a UV light intrigued me. Seeing as I'd been lucky enough to receive the full set, I thought I'd put them to the test and see if they're any replacement for expensive gel manicures.

Barry M recommend applying two thin layers of colour followed by a layer of the daylight curing topcoat. I followed instructions, but found that the two thin layers did not leave my nails as opaque as I would like, so added a third layer to create a more solid shade. I found that the layers dried really quickly, which is great for me, as I'm pretty impatient when painting my nails.

I love the vibrant colours in the range. For my first mani I chose Peach for the Stars, the bright coral pink shade, second from left in the top photo. It's a beautiful shade and leaves a really high shine, much like a Gelish or Shellac salon manicure, as well as a super smooth finish.

I've heard a couple of comments about chipping with these polishes. I found that they lasted well for a couple of days - even doing the washing up - but then started to chip around the edges following that. So they're not quite as long lasting as they may claim, or as long as a salon manicure, but for a five pound polish - they're not too bad. I love the super smooth, shiny finish they give - and if that chips after a couple of days, then that's okay with me. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Brush off April showers: top tips for frizz free hair

How to keep hair frizz free
All products: Just My Look*

We're halfway through April and, so far, we've remained relatively unscathed when it comes to April showers. Apologies, if I have now jinxed the nice weather and we're cursed with thunderstorms for the rest of the month... umm, oops. I'm not taking any chances, so I've prepared myself with armfuls of products to keep hair frizz free during the supposed rainy season.

The super-duo that is the Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal and Honey shampoo and conditioner is first on my list of key products. This huge double pack is great value for a start, not only that but it smells amazing too. I may have almost licked the shampoo in the shower, but managed to resist. Just. It's a seriously moisturising set, making even my super heat damaged hair silky smooth to the touch. Beginning with these products is a great starting point to beating the frizz.

In my opinion, a hugely important step in minimising fly away hair is reducing damage and preventing split ends. I've used Tangle Teezer brushes for a few years now and I really do think they're a brilliant product. Running one of these through your hair after a shower is, not only, pain free but reduces breakage too. 

Once the knots are smoothed out, I run a dollop of Tigi's Bed Head Control Freak Serum through the mid-lengths and ends. You can't really see from my photo, but the serum itself is a shimmery green product... I love it. But don't worry, you're not left with a headful of glitter, it's very subtle in the bottle and doesn't transfer to hair at all. Applying this before blowdrying and styling my hair has been a lifesaver recently. It ensures that my naturally curly hair stays straight all day, even if it comes into contact with damp weather.

Finally, I seal everything in with a spray of Tigi's Spoil Me Defrizzer which, pretty much, does what it says on the tin... quite literally. By the time this goes on to my hair, it's already dry, styled and straight... I just want to make sure it stays that way. This product prevents static while conditioning the ends of the hair to ensure that any damaged, split ends stay slightly weighed down and don't become flyaway. It's a versatile product, that could also be used on curly hair to define waves and reduce frizz. 

A combination of these wonder-products has resulted in my hair remaining super soft and smooth all day long, even if I do get caught in the occasional drizzle. What are your top tips for silky smooth hair?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ultra Brow - the ultimate eyebrow palette by Makeup Revolution

Ultra Brow Makeup Revolution review
Makeup revolution ultra brow kit swatches
makeup revolution fair eyebrow palette swatches review
Ultra Brow - Makeup Revolution (Fair-Medium)*
Swatches as product appears in palette

I don't fill my eyebrows in - but purely because I hadn't yet found a product that doesn't look unnatural on my fair eyebrows. Despite my hair being a mid-auburn/brown, my eyebrows are light and more suited to someone with much fairer hair. Most people manage to do it perfectly, despite having lighter eyebrows, but for some reason I always turn out looking like a pantomime Dame. Even Benefit's fairest Browzings kit hasn't worked out for me and, usually, Benefit can do no wrong in my books.

Makeup Revolution have bought out another amazing product, possibly solving my eyebrow issues! Ultra Brow contains one fair eyebrow pencil, four powders in varying shades, two tinted waxes, an arch enhancing cream, highlighter, tweezers and brush applicators. They've pretty much covered all bases with this nifty little kit. 

I'm so impressed with the powder shades which, as you can see from my freckled arm, range from a lightest of light, barely there blond shade to a light-mid brown - perfect for any lighter complexions and hair colours. The brown wax is a little darker and I'll be using this sparingly, but the lighter wax could easily be applied over the top of a powder to set the product. The arch enhancing cream (long, thin product in top right of palette) is genius, neatening up your arch after you've finished splashing coloured powder over your brows - it's the perfect end to your eyebrow routine. 

Yet again, I'm really impressed with Makeup Revolution's newest release. I'd definitely recommend checking it out if, like me, you've so far struggled to find your perfect brow shade - look no more! Based on the range of colours in the fair-medium palette, I'm sure that the medium-dark and dark-black palettes are just as impressive.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Lifestyle: a new job


I'm always curious about people's real lives, outside of blogging, so I thought I'd write a little update on my new job role... 

As you may well know, I returned from travelling in December 2014 and Josh and I moved back to Cheltenham after Christmas. Josh picked up with his work as an event logistics manager straight away and I promptly started looking for a new marketing job. I was incredibly lucky, as after only 2 weeks of searching, I spotted, applied for and was offered my ideal job!

For the last couple of months, I've been settling into my new role as Social Media and Marketing Executive at Whittard of Chelsea - specialists in loose tea, coffee and luxurious hot chocolate. I'm really enjoying working with the team at Head Office. It's different, in some ways, from my fashion PR and marketing background but it's a great brand to work for, with amazing products and there are some very exciting plans in the pipeline!

If you love excellent tea, coffee or hot chocolate as much as me, then you can find Whittard of Chelsea's social media accounts here: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

Working with the products every day, means that I've developed a wish list as long as my arm! I've collated a few of my favourite products below, including the lovely White Rabbit mug that I have my morning tea in, plus a couple of my favourite drinks and other tableware...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Black and Grey with Michael Kors


Lately, I've been opting for simple outfits like this printed jersey top and classic black skinny jeans [both H&M]. Not the most adventurous of style, but I'm enjoying monotone basics paired with a structured handbag, classy purse and a pair of heeled ankle boots. 

This Michael Kors purse has made it really easy to achieve that classic look with textured black leather and gold hardware. It's a really well made product and will definitely remain a classic for a long time. At the moment, I'm more drawn to buying slightly more expensive, but better quality products, that will last the test of time and continue to be stylish. Inside the purse are a couple of card slots, a section for notes, a zipped coin compartment and a space to hold a smart phone meaning that this purse can double-up as a small clutch for a night out. The wrist strap makes it slightly harder to leave it lying around in bars [as I am prone to], if you do choose to use it for this purpose! 

This is the first string in my Michael Kors bow, but I'm sure there'll be more added in future. I've had my eye on a couple of handbags for a long time and might well take the plunge. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

New home, new homeware: Flamingo Gifts

Flamingo Gifts: Unique Gift Ideas*

After returning from travelling, Josh and I have settled back down into a new home, new job (for me) and resumed our usual UK lifestyle. For me [and probably for most of you too], a new home means lots of beautiful new homewares to make it feel mine. Cue Flamingo Gifts, a website jam packed full of cute bits and bobs to add a quirky touch to your home.

You may or may not know, but I have a slight soft spot for birds - had you noticed from the pieces in this post?! I even have a watercolour bird illustration tattooed on my back... so I really couldn't resist the lovely birdy gifts on the website. The Qualy Sparrow Serving Spoon Set is adorable - why not make boring kitchen equipment into something cute and quirky?! This is going to proudly live on my kitchen worktop, making me smile with every use. Following on with the bird theme, are the Qualy Duo Sparrow Keyrings. The little bird house can be mounted on the wall, giving you a his-and-hers key holder with the birds easily slotting in and out of the house whenever you need to use your keys. The sparrow keyrings also double up as whistles, because y'know, you never know when you might need a whistle! This would make a cute engagement present for a couple, ever-so-slightly verging on cheesy, but I love it!

The final additions to our new home are the beautiful, bright, geometric designs of the Abode Espresso Set. The cute animal designs against the white backgrounds can be mixed and matched, or paired up in their respective colours. Another great quality set that would make a wonderful gift, plus I love how they look reflected in my super shiny dining table.

Homeware has become the type of shopping I enjoy the most at the moment, there's so much good stuff out there! Are you like me and a sucker for cute, quirky but easy pieces to brighten up your home?

Monday, 16 February 2015

PoutyLipzz - the lip plumping gloss

PoutyLippz plumping lip gloss review
PoutyLipzz plumping lip gloss

With the Kylie Jenner lip trend in full swing, a large number of people are looking for an easy solution to fuller, contoured lips. I'm not normally one for lipgloss, at all. I hate the stickiness, the hair stuck to mouth situations and I've never really been a fan of overly glossy lips.

You may wonder why on earth I'm talking about this product then, but it's not really your regular gloss. I was initially drawn in by the promise of fuller lips, willing to put up with stickiness and a glossy look, however this just isn't a problem with this product. On application, you instantly feel a fresh and minty feeling from the gloss, followed by a very slight tingle. I do believe that the gloss makes the lips appear fuller, I don't know whether this is just an effect created by the shine or whether the tingle does plump the lips, either way I like the result. I've always thought that lip glosses can be slightly drying and cling to any dry patches of my lips, I was pleasantly surprised by PoutyLipzz because this certainly isn't the case. It's really moisturising and great to wear over the top of a nude lipstick, definitely my lip combo of choice at the moment! Also, miraculously, it's not overly sticky for a glossy product. The only thing I'm not keen on, about this product, is the name! Other than that, I'd really recommend this if you're looking for a plumping lipgloss that gives the lips a slight shine.

I've recently found my perfect Kylie Jenner lip colour, which I'll soon be sharing here too! It's taken a long time to get it right, but I've finally found my perfect nude.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Job Interview: What To Wear


After returning from travelling, I started looking for a job. I was offered a couple of interviews and the instant worry of 'what to wear?!' popped into my head. It's always a tricky one, you want to look smart and professional, but sometimes it's beneficial to look relatively on trend too. Especially if you're ever going for a job at a creative company, your outfit can say a lot about your personality and creative flare. 

This dress from George at Asda is the ultimate multi-tasking dress. It's a very flattering, flared shape with a cute button hole at the back. On it's own, it's a simple black dress that could be dressed down for everyday, or it could be smartened up with a blazer and heels making it suitable for job interviews. 

Now I'm comfortably in a job again, this blazer is my go-to smart item. It's great to pop on over the top of a more casual dress, turning my normal office day-dresses into smarter outfits. Perfect for London meetings which involve a bit of travel either side.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

First attempt at nail stamping

Josh's parents bought me a fantastic nail stamping kit for my birthday, earlier this month. Here's how I got on with my first attempt!

how-to-nail-stamping
nail-stamping-kits-easy
nail-stamping-kit-designs-review

I started off with a couple of layers of my favourite nude polish - Revlon's Grey Suede. Once the base was completely dry, I started with the fun bit - the stamping!

Now, if you're not familiar with nail stamping, you've got loads of designs imprinted into metal plates. You apply polish directly to the metal plate, scrape off the excess with the scraper [or you could use the side of an old loyalty/credit card] so that the nail polish is only left in the imprint of the design. You then use the rubber stamping pad to pick up the design, by rolling the pad over the imprint from one side to the other. You then apply the same rolling technique to your nail, aligning the design with the direction of the nail, then slowly rolling the design onto the nail starting from one side to the other. So, that's the theory behind it and here's how I got on...

I chose the gradient dotted design, thinking that something a little more simple might be best for my first attempt! There are some amazing designs in the set, some really intricate ones that I might be trying when my skills are more refined. The Sparituals nail polish I used was great, it didn't dry too quickly or slowly for the stamping to work. The hardest part I found was rolling the design onto my nail straight. It's surprisingly hard to get dots onto your nail in a straight line, but I soon got the hang of it and got a bit of a technique going. It's also good to note that you can scrape the stamp off your nail, with another nail, if you're quick enough before it dries! 

Whilst this attempt isn't perfect, I love the effect of nail stamps. They make your nails look like they've been professionally painted, especially with some of the more elaborate designs. When really, you haven't spent that long doing your nails at all! This was definitely an awesome present and I can't wait to try out some more designs!

Have you tried nail stamping before? Have you got any top tips for making them look amazing?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Photo Diary: Australia's Great Ocean Road

While we were in Australia, just before Christmas, we took a couple of days out of our stay in Melbourne to travel the Great Ocean Road. Here's a few photos of the beautiful scenery, wildlife and sights we saw along the way. I would definitely recommend this as a must-see if you're ever in South-East Australia!

Great Ocean Road Trip
Great Ocean Road Tour
12-Apostles
The scenery along the way was incredible, we drove past and stopped off at so many tiny beaches and beautiful rock formations. The majority of the cliffs and outcrops of rock in the area are limestone, so very easily sculpted by the sea and wind - creating these beautiful, statuesque-like formations. We took a helicopter over the most famous of these formations - The 12 Apostles. Yes that's right, I got in a helicopter! I've always had a huge fear of flying, so even my mom didn't believe me when I told her. I'm so glad I did though, it was incredible!

As well as stunning coastlines along the Great Ocean Road, there are also loads of national parks and jungle-like forests where we saw plenty of wildlife. I was most excited to see this beautiful koala perched up in a tree above my head, completely wild! They are so cute and I stood there talking to him for way longer than was deemed normal... oops. We also saw kangaroos and wallabies! I would've been disappointed if I'd gone all the way to Australia and not seen a kangaroo. We also picked up some bird feed to give to these brightly coloured guys - they're called king parrots. They were so tame from being fed so many times, they'd just sit on your arm, shoulder, head, anywhere to get some food! 


 Another highlight for the UK 90s kids on the trip [which consisted of Josh, one other girl and I], was the Round the Twist Lighthouse! This is the very same lighthouse featured in Round the Twist, the kid's TV programme from the 90s, where the family lived! If you're not sure what I'm on about, but you were watching TV around that time then this might bring back some memories... Have you ever, ever felt like this? Do strange things happen? Are you going round the twist?

It was a great couple of days with the lovely Jude from Ride Tours, we saw so much in just a short time! Which trip or tour would you recommend, anywhere around the world?