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!