Budget Date Ideas

Thursday, 21 September 2017

As much as Johnny and I enjoy going out for nice meals together and heading out to the cinema, that can sometimes get a little pricy and if you're like us and you're on a budget too, you also probably feel that. We've gotten very good at finding things to do that are really purse-friendly literally making both of us 'cheap dates'. 

Go For A Walk

Yeah, I know. This sounds pretty lame. But on a crisp, autumn Sunday morning, it can be lovely to go for a stroll together. It's a great way to catch up with one another, take in some fresh air and enjoy each other's company. Johnny and I are very lucky to live so close to the Thames Path (we have an access point to it through the carpark of our building!) so we can very easily just go for a walk up there all the way up to the Thames Barrier. We also live very close to a park, which is also perfect for walks. We're hoping to get a furry edition to our little family next month so we will have no excuse but to go for lots of walking dates!

Watch A Film Together

Put your phones to one side, pick a movie, get the popcorn and a blanket and spend the afternoon watching a film. We just recently added the movies onto our NowTV package so this is something Johnny and I have been doing quite recently. We watched 'Meet The Parents' the other night and we had some Krispy Kreme doughnuts and it was so nice -  although trying to ignore our phones for two hours did prove pretty difficult. The snacks definitely help though! And, if you're feeling like throwing a little bit of cash around then order a Dominos - or any other takeaway of your choice.

Have a Mario Kart Tournament

Johnny and I recently invested in a Nintendo Switch and we love to race each other on Mario Kart. Pick a video game of your choice and get competitive - but not too competitive, don't be throwing controllers at the TV screen and stuff like that! Whether it's Mario Kart, Just Dance, Call of Duty or The Sims that gets you excited, play with your S.O and just have a good ol' time! Get some boozy beverages and then, if you're anything like me, your swearing when you fall off of Rainbow Road will get very, very creative. I have been known to call Johnny a 'f*cktrumpet' before! 

Dates don't have to be fancy dinners, fine wine and expensive outings! As long as you're having a great time with the person, cost shouldn't matter. Johnny and I love doing these things together, so I hope I've given you some inspiration for future dates with your S.O!

And, if you don't have an SO, then you could always try online dating! Finding people in your area can be difficult, so try out some area specific dating sites like; this Kent dating site, this Norfolk dating site, this Hampshire dating site and this Oxford Dating site. Using these sites is a surefire way to make sure that special someone isn't miles away! 

*This post was kindly sponsored by the aforementioned dating sites!*

Autumnal Nude MAC Lipstick Picks

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

MAC Lipsticks

I have been wanting to do a post about my MAC Lipsticks for ages, but I couldn't decide which ones to feature - I have so many that I certainly couldn't feature them all! However, I decided as Autumn approached, I would do two MAC Lipstick posts: one with Autumn Nude lipstick picks and one with bolder lipstick picks! So, without further ado, here is a low-down on my favourite Autumn picks!


Syrup was the second ever MAC Lipstick I bought. I purchased it in the MAC shop in Covent Garden during a school trip and I was never actually charged for it as for some reason, the money never went out of my bank account, so I always like to call this my first freebie. It's a lustre finish and it's the most gorgeous mauve pink. It's one of those lipsticks that you can just swipe on without even having to use a mirror and it ties together any look. I always reach for this, whatever season it is, but I particularly love it during the autumn because of it's purple undertones - it almost acts as a berry shade without being too in your face and that really appeals to me as someone who doesn't really like to wear the brightest of shades all the time. Syrup is creamy, sheer but buildable and perfect for this time of year.

Velvet Teddy

Everyone and their dog has this lipstick, or at least has heard of this lipstick. I unashamedly bought this just after Kylie Jenner announced that it was one of her favourites, sceptical of whether or not it would suit me. However, I think Velvet Teddy would honestly suit anyone. It's a perfect brown-orange nude that gives you that desired 90s glamour. The formula is matte but it's a really creamy matte that's exceptionally opaque and one swipe does enough to get you a really solid colour. It's really easy to wear and you obviously can - and should - wear this all year round but weirdly, this lipstick matches a scarf I have so perfectly, and that's why I see this as more of an Autumnal shade. 

Fleur De Force

I love this shade. Seriously. It's in my top 5 MAC Lipsticks of all time. When Fleur announced that she was creating her own MAC shade, I knew I'd love it as I buy so many lip colours based on her recommendations and I was not disappointed with this one. It's the most beautiful browny-pink nude and while it was released in Spring of this year, I knew I'd get the most wear out of it from September onwards and I was right. I've been wearing this nearly everyday since the weather started to get a little colder. It is quite similar to Velvet Teddy in colour, but it's slightly lighter and pinker and is a cremesheen finish, rather than a matte. I did a whole post on this lipstick when it first came out in April, which you can find here.

From L-R: Plumful, Fleur De Force, Syrup, Velvet Teddy

I bought this lipstick after I heard Estee Lalonde talk about it constantly and honestly, it's the most perfect Autumn shade. It is called 'Plumful' but I would call it more of a raspberry shade. It's quite sheer upon first application which is why I added it into the 'Nude' Edit, rather than the brights one. However, as you can see from the swatch, it's very buildable if you want to go for a more intense look. I prefer this colour in it's balmy state; it adds a lovely pop of colour to a look without being too intense. I want to thank Estee for recommending this shade as I've used up one tube of it already and am now halfway through a second; I love it for this time of year.

There we have it. My autumnal nude lipstick picks. Stay tuned on my blog for more autumn lipstick picks, and maybe a eyeshadow one if you're lucky. What are some of your favourite autumn lipstick shades?

My Favourite Podcasts: Part II

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A few months ago, I did a post detailing my favourite podcasts and since then, I've listened to a hell of a lot more and while the ones I previously mentioned are still firm favourites, I felt like a little updating was required. 

All of August and now into September, I have been obsessed with Gilmore Guys. Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Gilmore Girls and it is one of my all-tine favourite TV shows and so why I hadn't listened to Gilmore Guys sooner, I don't know. I listened to these on the bus to work everyday and now I listen to them on the commute to uni. They're exceptionally long - each episode averages around 1 and a half hours - which means one lasts me a whole three trips to uni and back. The hosts, Kevin and Demi, are so funny and they have a wonderful selection of guests, including Scott Patterson (who plays Luke Danes!), Liza Weil (who plays Paris Geller!) and even Lauren Graham (who, of course, plays Lorelai Gilmore!). Now when I watch Gilmore Girls, I can't help but add in the "choo choo!" in the theme song, and sing "la la, la la, special guest" when that jingle plays on the show.  If you love Gilmore Girls like I do, then you will just love Gilmore Guys. 

Episode to start with: Episode 1, Season 1 

I've been really into true crime podcasts this month and Black Hands: A Family Mass Murder shot up the iTunes charts last month so I just had to try it. It's a very interesting New Zealand-based podcast following the 1994 murder of five members of the same family. In this podcast, Martin van Beyen rifles through the evidence to essentially come to the conclusion of whodunnit. It's a well put together podcast, with 911 calls, courtroom clips and much more. The episodes aren't too long and I love to listen to them while I'm cooking dinner or popping out to the shops or something. If you love podcasts like Serial, then you will be hooked on Black Hands.

Episode to start with: Episode 1, House of Horrors

I'm a huge fan of Estee Lalonde and always have been ever since I started watching beauty YouTube in 2012 - and I've even met her. When I found out she was making a podcast, The Heart Of It, I was elated. So far, only one episode has come out but I am already obsessed with it. I love how Estee has been tackling the big issues and not shying away from them like some people with her platform would do. In the pilot, she openly talks about protest and the woman's march, as well as interviewing the 19-year-old American girl who wrote the poem 'Nasty Woman' in light of Donald Trump's insults to Hillary Clinton. I can't wait to see where Estee takes this podcast next; it's a good amount of fact and opinion. 

Episode to start with: Episode 1, Protest

Everyone and their dog has listened to Serial, so it really needs no introduction. Serial investiagates the closed case of the murder of Hae Lin Mee in 1999 Baltimore, which her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted for. Sarah Koenig sorts through all the evidence, talks to Adnan about the case extensively and tracks down new evidence via interviews with Adnan's and Hae's friends at the time and explores the theories surrounding the case that Adnan is innocent. Serial season one was incredible; I was totally hooked and wanted to find out so much more about Adnan's case and was extremely excited to click the next episode. However, I tried to get into Season 2 but couldn't. It just wasn't for me and I think that's a shared opinion across the internet (as far as I can see!). If you like True Crime, you will love Serial!

Episode to start with: S01 Episode 01 - The Alibi 

I'm always looking for podcast recommendations so leave yours in the comments below. What podcasts have you been loving recently? 

Bianco43 Greenwich Restaurant Review (Date Night)

Thursday, 14 September 2017

It was Johnny's 20th birthday a few weeks ago and so we decided to go out for a really nice meal/date. We chose Bianco43 which is an Italian restaurant chain that I believe is exclusive to London. While the food was incredible, some of our experience was a little lacking...

Firstly, let's start with the wine. I never used to be a snob about wine (as a student, you kinda can't be!) but now I know what I like, and unfortunately what I like is a really nice, dry Sauvignon Blanc and at quite a lot of Italian restaurants, they don't really offer that. Honestly, the wine we went for was complete piss. We both went for a carafe which is 500ml and I think mine was £12 and Johnny's was £15 and quite honestly, it was utter piss. It was far, far to sweet for me but also it kind of burned the back of my throat like vodka which decent wine isn't supposed to do. I think I've been spoiled by bottles of wine that are £20 on Ocado, but my point still stands: don't order the cheap wine from here!

The menu was really nicely done on this newspaper style and very varied with lots of choice. They claim to be the best pizzeria in London but Johnny and I went for risotto as it is really a firm favourite of ours and Johnny makes a mean one, so we are always interested to see what others are like in comparison. We didn't get a long time to ponder the menu, however. The waitress was very, very pushy, coming back to the table every 2 minutes even though we said that we weren't ready yet and hadn't decided. I think they were really pushing for a high turnover and wanted to get people in and out as fast as possible but on a special meal out like this one, it was kind of bad that we felt rushed and pressured. 

The food however was delicious. We both went for a rosemary and pancetta risotto which honestly had the best texture and consistency with the crisp and salty pancetta, the buttery and rich rice and the floral taste of the rosemary. We both polished the meal off extremely quickly due to how completely delicious it was. My mouth is watering just looking back at that photo and while it might look like nothing special and just a packet of Uncle Ben's, it was truly mouthwatering and one of the best risottos I've had to date - apart from Johnny's of course!

When it came to the bill, it was a lot more than I expected it to be and that was due to a 12.5% service charge. I really didn't want to pay due to how pushy our waitress was, and how she essentially pushed our table into the rear wall just to make room for another one, while we were sat on it and enjoying our food! However, I'm too nice of a human to ever refuse a service charge and unwillingly handed over my debit card to the waitress who'd slammed my chair into a back wall. I really despise service charges as someone who always leaves a tip. They're super Americanised and really unnecessary, and this is coming from someone who used to work in a restaurant.

If you're heading off on a date and want a reasonably priced Italian with delicious food then I suggest Bianco43 for sure. And, if you're looking to wine (well, maybe not here...) and dine someone but can't find anyone in your area, you can always check out these area specific dating sites; there is a Northampton dating site, a Bristol dating site, a Kent dating site, an Aberdeen dating site and even an over 50s dating site for all you golden oldies!

Overall, I really enjoyed our meal out at Bianco43 in Greenwich. However, the service was pretty poor and the wine was really bad (but that's probably just my snobbery) but I'd love to go to another branch of it, order a pizza and maybe stay off the vino! 

*This post was kindly sponsored by the aforementioned dating sites!*

My Haircare Essentials

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

I really don't do a lot with my hair. I'm completely crap at any kind of styling, hate washing it with a passion due to the fact it's so thick and nearly always have it tied up in a messy ponytail or bun out of the way. However, my hair is still really healthy and I do look after it. Here are the things that my weave could not live without.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo & Conditioner with Coconut Milk

I freaking love this Garnier combo! I picked it up on a whim because it was on offer in Boots and I'm so glad that I did. I've always been an Aussie Miracle Moist girl for as long as I can remember - but this Garnier Ultimate Blends with Coconut Milk makes my hair feel so soft, so shiny and takes about three days before it feels really greasy, which is a nice change. It's official name is the "wholesome nourisher" which is exactly what this does to your hair; it makes it feel pampered and nourished and leaves it feeling so clean. Both the shampoo and conditioner work really well together although I will say this - the conditioner is exceptionally heavy so a little definitely goes a long way! This stuff also smells amazing due to the coconut milk. I really recommend this to anyone with hair like mine.

Coconut Oil*

My hair gets super greasy really quickly so when someone suggested using coconut oil in my hair, I was really sceptical. However, I recently got send some from Chemist.co.uk and I was really pleased with how it made my hair feel. I just warmed it up in my hands and ran it through the ends of my hair while it was wet and let it dry naturally and the effect was insane. I've never felt my hair feel better. Coconut oil not only makes your hair feel nice, but it's also really good at keeping your hair healthy. Since I use heat on my hair quite a lot, keeping it healthy is really important to me as I don't want it all falling out - I have no idea how much a hair transplant costs but I have a feeling that it's not cheap! But something that is cheap is coconut oil, so there really aren't any negatives of using it. 

Argan Oil*

Chemist.co.uk also gifted me some Argan Oil, which was extremely generous of them. I'd never used this on my hair either due to the whole oil thing but again, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this out for the first time. It keeps my hair so soft and healthy, and I use it in the same way that I use the coconut oil. I usually alternate between the two when I wash my hair as I don't want my hair getting used to one oil and then not benefitting from it. I really love using oils in my hair now and I'm so glad that Chemist.co.uk sent me these goodies to try as I never would have bought them myself!

BabyLiss Ceramic Pro 230 Straighteners 

Johnny bought me these straighteners for my birthday and I really can't fault them. My hair is naturally very wavy and thick but I prefer the look of it when it's straight, so when I have the time, I always straighten my hair in the mornings. These straighteners do the job really well as well as being really aesthetically pleasing for someone who adores the combo of blush pink and black like me! These straighteners have heat settings up to 240 degrees, heat up really quickly and also cool down really quickly. I use them mostly to straighten my hair but sometimes, if I'm off somewhere really special I'll curl it using these - and the appropriate heat protectant on my hair as well which is very important. If you're looking for some basic but really effective straighteners that won't break the bank, I really recommend these! 

As I said, I'm no expert in haircare but these are just the things I use to keep my hair super healthy and happy. Honourable mentions also go out to my TangleTeezer and my hairdryer, those things are also a complete godsend! 

*This post was very kindly sponsored by The Harley Street Hair Clinic!*
*This post also contains products gifted to me.*

Approaching Brands As A Smaller Blogger

Thursday, 7 September 2017

If you're 'small' in the blogging community, like I am, it sometimes can be really daunting to approach brands for fear of being ignored, sounding unprofessional or just not knowing what to say at all. I found approaching brands really scary at first but now I've gotten the hang of what to say, I've started to bag myself a few sponsored posts and a lot of samples. Today I will be sharing with you my top-tips on approaching brands as a smaller blogger.

Get Yourself a Media Kit

As soon as I got myself a professional looking media kit, I felt like brands took a lot more notice of me. It clearly lays out all of my information and stats, as well as highlighting other brands I've worked with and what my blog is all about. My media kit is a graphic which was made by the wonderful Emma Drury and I really recommend her services - she's very reasonably priced and her graphic design skills are mad. I really think a media kit is important in making you look professional and also it means you don't have to re-type your stats every time you're writing out an email. I'm not going to post my media kit but if you want to see it, you can always drop me a DM on Twitter and I'll happily show you what it's like!

Follow A Decent Email Structure

Whenever I email brands, I follow the same usual structure. I start by introducing myself and linking my blog - that's really important, don't forget that! I then talk about how much I like the brand but I usually don't lay it on too thick - I just mention maybe a few products that I like from them or explain why I like the service they provide. I then go on to explain what ideas I have for a collaboration - this could be post ideas or specific products I'd like to review for them. I give a brief over-view of my stats but indicate my attached media kit has a more comprehensive breakdown of my platforms and then finish the email with something suggestive - no, not like that! That's not how I get collabs, people! - like 'I look forward to hearing from you soon' and sign my name, with my social channels linked underneath it. I find this to be a good structure to use as it shows interest in the brand without kissing ass and is nice and concise. Remember, PRs get a shit-tonne of these emails so you don't want to ramble!

Get Over The Fear

Always remember that the worst a brand can do is say no. More often than not, I get a very polite 'sorry but we are not looking to collaborate with anyone at the moment' email, which is a little disheartening but fine. It's better to email them though as brands are going to say yes to you - and remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take (did I really say that? Bleugh!). Don't let the word 'no' scare you! Think of it as applying for a job: you wouldn't not apply for your dream job on the off-chance you wouldn't get it, would you? So don't worry, breathe in and out and press that send button! I've only ever had one PR being downright rude to me before, and they're not a common breed!

Stop Thinking You're Not Good Enough

Brands and PRs look at your content, not just your numbers. Even if you are small, that doesn't mean they're not going to want you. More than ever now, brands are looking at things like engagement, quality of content, photography etc. I was terrified to reach out to brands for a long time because I was so caught up comparing myself to huge bloggers in the industry that I completely lost all confidence in myself and forgot all my strengths. Don't fall into this funk; your blog is a representation of your personality so it's individual to you. Trying to be like or comparing yourself to others will only dishearten you, or turn you into something you're not. Brands love individuality and if you get that across, you're almost guaranteed a response.

It may seem super daunting to approach brands, but just remember that you are unique, awesome and by far good enough. Take the shot; drop them an email and see how it goes! You may be pleasantly surprised! 

Achieving Clearer Skin with T-Zone

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

I had been eyeing up the T-Zone Charcoal & Bamboo Range for a very long time so you can imagine my delight when T-Zone offered to send me across the entire range for me to review. If you know me, then you know that I'm a budget skincare fiend and develop a slight eye twitch if I have to fork out a lot of money on skincare, so the fact that nothing in this range is priced above £5.99 really made my bargain-hunter heart sing. Not only are they reasonably priced, but also really good quality products that work - well, for my skin anyway. 

I suffer terribly with blackheads; as soon as I get rid of them, more appear. I'm not 100% sure what I am doing wrong, but these products have really helped to keep those pesky blackheads under control, and they've also helped with my blemishes. It's incredible to me how many gems you can buy in Superdrug or Boots for a fraction of the price of something you'd pick up at the Liz Earle counter, and often they work in the same way or even better. 

Black Peel Off Mask || £4.99

I won't lie to you, I was absolutely terrified to use this mask. I've seen all the videos of people peeling off these types of masks and crying because it hurt so much. However, I had always wanted to use one because I wanted to see if it actually worked and pulled all of the gross dirt and impurities out of my skin so this was the first thing I tried from T-Zone. I rubbed a thin layer of this mask across my whole face and waited, nervous that in just 10 minutes I'd be in a world of pain. When it started to peel a little, I began to take it off my face and it wasn't nearly as painful as I'd thought it would be. The only place where it tugged a little was under my eyes, so I think next time I do the mask I will avoid that area completely. However, it cleared my skin right up, pulling out all of the disgusting black and white heads that normal masks just can't get to. I was really impressed by this mask and how soft it made my skin feel; I'd definitely recommend it. 

Ultra Purifying Face Wash || £3.25

I have been using this face wash every. single. day since I received these in the post, morning and night. It smells so clean and fresh, and it makes my face feel so clean. I take off all my make-up with a Micellar water first and then lather this up and rub it into my face in circular motions. I've never had a face wash like this, which makes my face feel so clean and fresh and matte straight after use. It's the perfect thing to use for a double cleanse because it's so quick to use and it also makes the perfect in-shower morning cleanse. I've even got Johnny to try this out and he really likes it too; I'm slowly encouraging him to have a decent skincare regime and I think that he likes that this face wash is black - maybe it feels a bit more meta for him. 

Self Heating Mask || £4.99

This is 100% the standout product from the range for me. This mask is insane and I am so sad that you only get four sachets in a box because I want to smear this stuff on my face every single day. I've never tried anything self-heating before but I'm definitely going to delve into this side of beauty now; it's the strangest but most wonderful sensation. You wet your face and then rub this magical, grey liquid into your face and immediately it starts to heat up. It's not at all uncomfortable; it's incredibly relaxing and refreshing. It's also a really easy solution to masking. You only have to leave it on for 1 minute, meaning your face feels like it's had all the benefits of a face mask but without the 20 minutes of standing around trying not to touch things with your face. I have used all of these now but I am definitely going to be purchasing some more. 

Deep Cleansing Face Scrub || £2.99

This scrub is really nice and feels really deeply cleansing. I leave this one in the shower and use it 3 mornings a week and it's really kept my blackheads down. The scrub is not too harsh either - some drugstore scrubs really strip the oils out of your face and can make your skin even worse but this one is really gentle and makes your skin feeling so refreshed. Again, this is another one that Johnny has adopted into his skin-care regime. I think it's probably just because I left it in the shower and it's convenient for him to use but he's given it very positive reviews too so you've got four thumbs up from the Rennard-Wells household, T-Zone!

Black Cleansing Wipes || £2.99

Honestly, the Black Cleansing Wipes were probably my least favourite part of the range but I'm not really a wipe kind of person so that's no surprise. They're really cool looking (they're black, I mean c'mon!) but I really just don't use wipes on my face. I did try these out regardless and they did feel nicer than some other wipes (they didn't burn my eyes or anything like that, like some wipes I have tried in the past in the same price range) but I think I'll be saving these for taking swatches off the back of my hand and popping in my handbag just in case. 

No-Shine Papers || £2.99

During the summer, I always have blotting paper in my handbag just in case my nose gets a little shiny and I need to do some make-up salvaging. When I saw that this range had some blotting papers in it, I was really pleased. They're always really useful to have lying around. I really like these blotting papers; not only are they black, but they are really good at absorbing any excess oil when you get a little bit shiny and don't make your make up look cakey at all. They're also in such a handy little pouch which keeps them dirt free and makes them so easy just to slide into your bag on days when it's a little warm. I've found these to be so useful when out and about!

Nose Pore Strips || £3.99

The only strips like this I'd tried before were the Biore ones and I was really impressed by those; there's something extremely satisfying about pulling them off and seeing all the dirt that they've pulled out of your face. When I saw these in my little goody box from T-Zone, I did a little happy dance. Again, this is another product that I convinced Johnny to use and he loves them too. You just moisten your nose, stick one of these on and wait 10-15 minutes for the magic to happen. These, I feel, are stickier than the Biore ones. You need a lot of water to make them stick but for these, they stick really easily. The stickiness is also useful because it helps pull more dirt and impurities out of your face. My nose has never felt so clear after using these; they're quick, easy and for the most part painless. I will definitely continue to use these, and Johnny will too! 

I completely fell in love with this affordable skin care range from Superdrug, and I can't wait to continue using it and watch my skin completely clear up. Nothing in this range is above £5.99 which means it's perfect if you're on a budget. I highly recommend T-Zone products - if you're in the market for new skin care, you should definitely try this.

*This post was kindly sponsored by T-Zone, however all thoughts and opinions are my own!*

Things I'm Looking Forward To In September

Sunday, 3 September 2017

It is officially my favourite month of the year - and not just because I am a narcissist who takes pleasure in all the attention a birthday brings. I love September because I love Autumn and, despite August's dodgy weather, in my eyes September = the start of Autumn. So, what am I looking forward to this month?

My friends move back to London!

The only problem with living in your uni city all year around is that your friends all move back home in May - and while the majority of them came to visit during the summer, I miss them when they're gone. But now it's September which means they all have to come back to London, and thus they have to come back to me. It will be so nice to see them more often again. 

Uni starts again!

This time last year I was sick to my stomach with nerves about starting uni but this year I'm extremely excited to get back to it. I'm especially excited as now I'm in second year and I got to pick 3/4 of my modules, which means I will mostly only be learning about things that really interest me. As weird as it sounds, I've missed going to lectures and the feeling of overwhelming guilt that I should be doing work while I'm relaxing. Like last year, I plan to keep on top of all my assignments and try even harder to get firsts, as I really want to finish this year with one! 

Two words: Student Loan!

I get my maintenance loan, which means I can stop working full-time! On the 18th of this month, that money will drop into my account and this year I vow to budget it better, as I really want to try and keep out of my overdraft as much as I possibly can. I'm planning to use some of the money to get some amazing stationary to inspire me to work hard at uni this year so expect a haul soon. Paperchase and HomeSense - watch out!

Spending my birthday at DisneyLand Paris!

I mentioned this in my 'Things I'm looking forward to in August' post but this month, Johnny and I are off to Paris so that I can spend my 20th birthday in DisneyLand - which is somewhere I've wanted to revisit for as long as I can remember, especially with Johnny! We leave bright and early on Friday the 29th so we can spend the 30th (AKA, my birthday!) in Disney (AKA, the happiest place on earth!). The best part is that we managed to do it on a real budget while still staying in a really nice hotel. I'm really excited - can you tell?

These are the things that I'm looking forward to this month. What are you looking forward to this month?

Brand New Jelly Masks From Lush

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Jelly Masks Lush

Now that we don't have a bath, Lush launches are never as interesting to me as they once were. However, as someone who loves slathering her face with scented muck, leaving it for 10 minutes and then washing it off again, these Jelly Masks really appealed to me and so I'm going to share my thoughts on them!

I really hate talking to the salespeople in Lush because they always try to upsell me to get more than I actually need (obviously, that is there job) and that's how I ended up getting two of these masks, when one was all I was really after. The masks I picked up were 'FOMO' and 'The Birth of Venus', both the salesman assured me are good for people with dry skin, which is what I am currently suffering quite badly with. The guy in Lush tried them both out on my hands and my hands felt so amazing afterwards that I just had to pick up both of these beauties.

The Birth of Venus is a very soothing and calming mask, which is perfect just before bed to help you wind down. What really sold me on this was not it's mild lavender scent but that it contained sea water from Poole which is in Dorset and of course when anyone mentions anything to do with Dorset, then I just have to buy it (it's my home county, in case anyone was wondering! I promise I'm not just weirdly obsessed with the Jurassic Coast!). Despite the kinda dumb reason why I bought this, this mask is really lovely. It leaves your skin feeling so smooth and really helps relax you due to the not overpowering lavender scent and the calming chamomile. After using just twice, my skin has felt softer and far more balanced.

FOMO was sold to me on the basis that it was just like Rosy Cheeks (my favourite Lush mask ever) but less mattifying, so it will be even better for dry skin. And, the sales guy was right. It smells just like Rosy Cheeks but because of the jelly texture, it feels much more hydrating. Again, this mask has chamomile in it, which I've come to realise is a favourite ingredient of Lush face masks. FOMO is a very pale pink due to the added rose, which provides brightening properties. I haven't noticed my skin glowing like I'm in my first trimester but I don't think any face mask could be that good!

However, these masks have a weird texture. I guess I should've realised that as they are called 'jelly' masks, but they are very strange. I said to my friends that it felt like I was rubbing panna cotta on my face, which is exactly what it's like. You have to wet the mixture and rub it between your hands until it forms a paste, and then apply it to your face. It takes a while to apply as it can be pretty patchy at first, but once it's on, it does feel completely lovely on the skin.

Have you guys tried any of the new Lush jelly range? What are your favourites? Did these masks feel like panna cotta to you?  

The World of Adult Dating

Monday, 28 August 2017

I have, luckily, never been a casual dater. Shortly after I turned eighteen, I found Johnny and we have been together for nearly two years now, which hasn't really given me the time for adult dating. However, I have had some experience with dating sites before during my late teens; mainly, Tinder. Today, I am going to share with you some of the funniest experiences I've had on Tinder.

When we were around the age of seventeen, my friends at the time and I really enjoyed downloading Tinder and essentially 'trolling' young lads and each other. For example, I remember we would give out each other's numbers when a boy asked for ours, meaning that the others would get inundated with messages that had a lot of winky faces and aubergine emojis. One of the funniest instances that I remember was once I'd taken a friend's phone and sent a message to a boy on Tinder saying "I really fancy a quicky behind the chippy - are you in the mood for a battered sausage? ;)". While this seem pretty immature now, at the time we thought it was hilarious. And yes, this is how I spent my free periods during sixth form and I still passed my A-Levels (woot-woot!). 

Another adult dating anecdote I remember was when one of my friends decided to 'catfish' her friend's ex-boyfriend on Tinder. We'd found him on there one day as we were swiping and so decided to get some petty revenge with how she'd been treated by toying with his emotions on Tinder. We made a fake Facebook account with a model's picture (it was an obvious Catfish, we didn't want to be too mean) and named her Charlotte, signed up for Tinder and matched with the ex-boyfriend. We messaged him a few times but then he started asking about meeting up and we chickened out and deleted the account - but it was fun while it lasted, I guess! Obviously, this is not me condoning Catfising! 

All jokes aside, I feel incredibly lucky that I haven't had to experience too much of the adult dating world - and while Johnny and I dated a bit before we officially became a couple, it was nowhere near on the scale of casual dating. People say I'd feel like I was missing out by settling down so soon, but I really don't feel like that at all! 

*This post has been kindly sponsored*

The Best Of The Drugstore

Sunday, 27 August 2017

I have a lot of make up. I'm not going to deny this. Most of my make up is not from the drugstore: I gained a snobbery around two years ago that wouldn't allow me to spend anything less than £15 on one item of make-up. However, 2017 Chloe realises that snobbery is completely ridiculous, and some products from the drugstore are not only far more affordable than some higher-end items, but some are far, far better. Over the past few months, I have revisited some old favourites from the drugstore and gained some new ones - and I want to tell you about them.

This is the NYX Liquid Suede Lipstick in the shade Soft Spoken. This isn't my only Suede lip, but it is by far my favourite. It's a very, very brown red, with terracotta undertones which is a beautiful colour, but the formula is what really sold me to these lipsticks. It's soft and creamy - totally not drying at all - and extremely long-wearing. I can't count the amount of dinners I've worn this to, and night outs I've had this lipstick on. It stayed put through all of them. It applies smoothly, not sinking into gross lip cracks, and the doe-foot applicator makes it extremely easy to apply.

Most importantly, these lipsticks are affordable and I like them better than some of my most expensive liquid lipsticks, like the Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits for example, which I find to be too drying, too flaky and extremely painful for not only my lips, but also my bank account. I seriously am obsessed with these Suede lipsticks by NYX, and you can pick them up in Boots, or online on NYX's shop! 

I hadn't tried this mascara but I saw everyone on social media and in the blogging world banging on about how amazing the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara was, and when my Better Than Sex ran out, I decided to go out and try it. From first application, I was in love. I really like mascaras with plastic applicators and this one has one, just like Benefit's Roller Lash (which is my absolute favourite mascara of all-time) and the lift and volume that it gives my lashes is truly impressive. I have very small eye lashes so need all the help that I can get, and the Lash Sensational is really like a push up bra for your eyes. 

The formula is fast-drying and layers extremely well, meaning ultimate length and volume can be achieved. The design of the wand means that each lash is coated and accounted for, meaning my eyes look even. The size of the applicator makes stabbing yourself in the eye far more difficult - although not impossible, as I have found. Also, the packaging for this mascara is beautiful. I love the the colour. It looks amazing in blog photos so you get lots of points for that one, Maybelline!

Zoella kicked off the trend of obsessing over the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer and this is still one of the most talked about concealers in the blogging world. I'd just finished up a tube of Nars Radiant Creamy and saw this in Boots and decided it was the perfect time to re-try it after two years, worried I had been spoiled by high end concealers and would now for some reason hate it. However, I did not - this concealer is amazing. 

The coverage is absolutely amazing - covering every blemish, dark circle and pigmentation that you don't want to be seen. It's a satin finish, meaning I need a little powder to set it, but I would set any concealer anyway so this is no issue. The only downside to this concealer is the shade range. There are only four shades (or four that I could find in Boots) so if you have deeper skin, I don't think this concealer would be the one for you. However, if your skin tone is 'basic and white' like mine, you'll find a shade out of the four which suits you perfectly! 

I was obsessed with the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot translucent powder when I first heard Estee Lalonde talking about it in a video and swearing that this was the best powder she had ever tried. I went out and bought it and fell in love and I have been using it ever since. I can't count how many of these I've had, but I just hit pan on my current one so know it's not going to be long before I have to get another. This powder keeps my make-up in place all day, mopping up any rogue oil and keeping my shiny nose at bay. It's a very fine powder, meaning it doesn't make your make-up look cakey at all. Perfection!

The packaging is also adorable. I love the Benefit-esqe packaging that Soap & Glory have, and the very punny names that they also give their products. There was a time where I was completely obsessed with all things Soap & Glory but I've kind of moved on from that phase in my life - but I still really enjoy using this powder and think I will continue to use it for a very long time. 

The Sleek Eyeshadow Palettes are truly one of the gems of the drugstore. When people ask me for tips on 'starting using eyeshadows', I always direct them to the Sleek counter. Not only are they affordable but I think their shadows surpass many high end shadows on quality and pigmentation. This palette is the Storm palette and is probably the most famous of the Sleek palettes. It's full of the most amazing shimmers, and one of my all-time favourite matte brown shades (as you can tell, because I've hit pan on it!). 

The shimmers are amazing wet, and I love the two pink and purple ones a lot. They make a gorgeous going out look. The palette is extremely diverse, however I do wish there were more matte shades in it. It is hard to do an entire look with the shade selection in this palette, but there is a stunning inner corner highlight in there, as well as a very matte, dark black which I love to use to set black liquid eyeliner if I know I'm going to have to wear it for a long time. These palettes are loved by beginners and seasoned make-up wearers alike, including myself. 

I've come to see that the drugstore has some absolutely amazing products and if you don't have any of these, I sincerely suggest that you pick these up next time you're in Boots. You won't regret it. 

WTF is DA? | A Guide to Domain Authority

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Recently, I shared on Twitter that my DA score had improved and because of this tweet, I received a lot of DMs from newer bloggers panicked and worried about WTF this 'DA' was! Until recently, I had no f*cking clue what DA was either - so here's an easy to follow guide of the bare bones of DA for those confused. 

What does DA stand for?

Despite what you might think, DA stands for a lot more than Dumbledore's Army! In terms of the blogging world, DA stands for Domain Authority, and it's one of the terms used under the umbrella of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization - basically, how well your site shows up in Google.

What does Domain Authority mean?

Domain Authority is basically a score out of 100 to show how powerful your website is, and how likely it is to rank higher in Google Searches. Many things affect DA - how long your site has been around, how much traffic your site gets and how big your site is. Most bloggers have a DA between 1 - 40, and most brands see anything above 20 as a really respectable score. However, that does not mean your website is bad if your DA is low. It might just be too new, or a little small!

You only need to worry about your DA if you own your own domain - meaning that if you have .blogspot or .wordpress in your URL, you don't have to bother about learning what DA means quite yet! Because Blogger or Wordpress (or whichever host you use) own that domain, you'll see their DA score when you use sites like Moz to check it, and therefore will have a DA of 80+!

Why should I care about Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is an indication about how powerful and potentially influential your site can be, and sometimes brands ask for your DA score to indicate how your articles and posts might rank on search engines. More than ever now, brands are asking me what my DA is when looking to collaborate with me.

However, it's nothing you should lose sleep over. While brands and PRs are asking for it, it doesn't seem to be effecting collaborations for me. Recently, a blogger reached out to me via e-mail to tell me that I shouldn't be expecting paid collaborations with brands because my DA is below 23. In my opinion, that is a load of rubbish. I was getting brand collaborations when my DA was 1, and some people with DA's of 30+ don't get any. In fact, when talking to some of my more successful blogging friends who blog as a full or part-time job, they didn't even know what their DA was!

I care about my DA because I like to have goals to work towards and getting to a DA score of 30 is one of my goals right now. SEO and all that stuff really interests me and potentially one day, I'd like to be running my blog like a business. So, getting a head start now with improving my DA and SEO is something I want to do.

How can I improve my Domain Authority?

Improving your DA score is actually really easy. Since first learning about it a few months ago, I've gone from 5 to 16. Here are some easy things you can do to improve your DA.

- Alt-Tag all your photos with key words. Eg. if your post title is 'REVIEW OF TOO FACED SWEET PEACH PALETTE' then Alt-Tag your photo with 'Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette'. This will help your photo show up in Google, and drive more traffic to your blog.
- Back-link on most of your posts where relevant. Eg. if you're posting a 'HOMEWARE HAUL PART 2', make sure to link to Part 1 on your post.
- Link to other respectable sites, for example if you bought a product from Amazon, then link the Amazon page where you bought it from!
- Have your blog linked on other respectable sites.

I'm by no means an expert in SEO or Domain Authority but these kind of tips posts really helped me out but some of them were so complex, so I just wanted to make a really simple one to help out those who, like me, are easily confused. 

If you want to check your DA because you're now extremely curious, you can use the Moz Domain Authority Checker!

Healthy Snacking with Light Bites

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

I am a snacker and it is my greatest downfall. Whenever I'm hungry, you'll always find me reaching for a bag of crisps or the packet of Jaffa Cakes. So, when the people over at Light Bites got in touch and asked me to sample their range of snacks that you can buy exclusively in Superdrug (and now on 3 for 2!), I was extremely excited.

Light Bites have a range of different snacks including superfood bars, popped chips and, my personal favourite, the freeze dried fruit and yoghurt. All of the snacks are incredibly filling and also incredibly low calorie - there isn't one item in the range that's over 100 calories. I never thought I'd enjoy eating something with quinoa and chia seeds in it but the bars are insanely delicious. I'm not especially on a diet but I do try to eat right and not eat too much processed food as it makes me so bloated, but these bars would be perfect for you if you are dieting. In fact, they're included in the Lighter Life Fast 5:2 diet which is also available from Superdrug. On this diet, you can nibble on two Light Bites snacks on your fast day, as well as the four Lighter Life  fast products.

The range currently has 4 different superfood bars, 4 different gluten-free popped chips and 4 different types of freeze dried fruit. I have sampled most of the range and have to say, I really enjoyed trying them. I was sceptical at the start, especially of the Chocolate, Caramel and Cookie bar. I thought it would taste of fake chocolate, like quite a lot of these healthy 'chocolate' bars do. However, the chocolate was smooth, creamy and actually tasted of chocolate which I thought was a miracle. However, the bar that really stole the show for me was the Goji Berry, Quinoa and Chia Seed. I will for sure be buying a ton more of these. I'd never tried goji berries before but now I know I love them; they are ridiculously tasty. 

As for the popped chips, my favourite was 100% the Sweet & Smoky Chipotle.  I love BBQ things as it is, but these chips have just the right amount of smokiness and sweetness which make them completely delicious. Another firm favourite of mine was the Cheddar Cheese and Chutney which really just satisfies my constant cravings for cheese & onion crisps. The one flavour of these crisps I wasn't so keen on was the Roasted Shallot and Cider Vinegar. To me, they just weren't really my thing. I'm not a huge fan of vinegar and while I'm a firm believer that shallots are one of the greatest things to bless this earth, the taste of vinegar was a bit too much in these for me, and therefore I wasn't too much of a fan.  If you want to try out some of these popped chips then they're going to be 50% off at Superdrug starting tomorrow until the 19th of September!

For me, the stand out of the entire range is the freeze dried fruit. It melts in your mouth when you eat it and turns into a delicious mush in your mouth. My absolute favourite was the Mango and Vanilla Yoghurt one, which I was gutted I wasn't sent in my sample box, as it had been a stand-out to me! However, the Apple with Strawberry Yoghurt does rival it - the fruit flavours aren't fake tasting at all, they're natural and delicious and I've definitely found a new favourite snack in these. I like the ones that have yoghurt in them just because the creaminess really works well with the fruit flavours and creates not only a delicious texture, but also a fantastic flavour combination. I highly recommend trying these.

I love these low-calorie, reasonably priced snacks by Light Bites next time you're in Superdrug, you should definitely pick some of these up. They're really delicious and if you're dieting - or even if you're not - you will really enjoy these snacks. They're perfect for snacking on during the work day, having in your handbag incase you get snacky during a shopping trip or just having in the house to reach for instead of a HobNob. 

 *This post was kindly sponsored by Light Bites, however all thoughts and opinions on the products are my own.*

My Affordable Homeware Favourites: Part II

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Last month I did a post outlining some of my homeware favourites in our new flat. It was really popular and I have far more favourites to talk about so I thought I'd just get right into it and share with you my affordable homeware favourites part two!

I love these coasters from Amazon, because not only are they completely gorgeous but they were also super affordable. They were £10.22 for a set of 4, which also includes a yellow coaster and a blue one. They're really heavy and feel like really good quality and I just love the pop of colour they give to a room, as well as the practicality. I love coasters because I hate getting rings on tables and windowsills from drinks and having these around minimise that completely. These are so Bohemian and beautiful; I'm so glad I picked them up!

I feel like everyone has one of these and I see why. This lantern is from IKEA was £2.45 and it looks so gorgeous with a tealight inside as glowing stars appear on the wall. I only ever really light this when we have guests over and I want to make a nice impression because it makes a room look so warm and inviting and also, it's dirt cheap. This lives on our dining table and is just a lovely decorative piece that cause men to roll their eyes and deem 'unnecessary'. However, I think it's lovely and I really like it. 

I have a post on Chloe Alice Lily specifically about Yankee Candles already, but I felt like this needed to be mentioned in my homeware favourites as well. The Fluffy Towels candle from Yankee is quite affordable for a candle of it's size - especially now as it's on sale on Amazon for £13.99! and it's just the most delicious, clean scent which we have in our living room. It's my all-time favourite Yankee fragrance and I don't think there will ever be a time where this candle isn't burning somewhere in a house that I live in. If you want a more detailed description of the scent, then my summer candles post is right up your street!

This is an adorable little heart from Primark, which hangs on our bedroom door. I wish I could say that it represents our love or something like that, but really I just like it because it's a pastel shade of blue and it's also floral. It's made of metal which makes it quite sturdy but you can tell from the photo that it has been a little bent on one side, due to it being shut in the door... it was Johnny, I swear! I love little touches like this. It's sometimes hard to make a rented place feel like yours, but beautiful little pieces like this really make the place feel like home.

Some of you with a keen eye might recognise this vintage poster from Amazon as the poster that hangs behind Monica's TV in Friends. I never would have picked this as artwork for my wall in my house, but my dad got this for me last Christmas and I really like the way that it looks. It allows me to show off my geekiness about Friends without being obvious. We have it hanging up in our bedroom and I really like the way it fills a wall, as well as adding some lovely colours to the room. And also, it's extremely cheap!

Finally, this is a pinboard from Next which isn't available anymore, but you can find very similar ones on Amazon. My mum gave this to me as a gift when I went to uni and I had it on my door to pin up reminders and takeaway menus. Now, we use it as a place to leave messages to each other, as well as somewhere to pin up vouchers, menus or receipts that we need to keep. We hang it in the hallway above our cabinet and not only is it cute, but also extremely functional. 

So, there we go - my homeware favourites part two! If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out the first one and leave a comment letting me know your favourite homeware bits!

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