Ellis Tuesday | Glasgow Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
Ellis Tuesday is a beauty, fashion & lifestyle blog brought to you by Ellis, a self confessed shopaholic from Scotland with an overwhelming stash of beauty products and a love for all things leopard print.
Just in case it had slipped your mind or you've still got your shopping to do, it's officially two weeks today until Mother's Day here in the UK and I've got you covered when it comes to gift ideas!
Whether your Mum is into all things beauty, a fragrance fan, a keen traveller or a home body, there should be something to suit every kind of Mum in today's gift guide.
So here are some of my top Mother's Day gift ideas this year;
Mother's Day, much like Christmas, is always a fantastic time to pick up some great value beauty sets and limited edition items. It's also a great time to replenish your Mum's skincare stash or to treat her to a new perfume.
Packed full of seven FULL SIZE products worth over £180, all in a beautiful mauve makeup/wash bag for just £60, this is such a great deal! It includes an incredible array of products from the likes of Elemis, Antipodes, PRAI and bareMinerals and I know that so many different Mums will absolutely love what they find in this great gift set.
Free next day delivery is also available with this set meaning that you'll definitely be able to order it in time for Mother's Day morning, even if you do leave it that bit later. And to be totally honest, who's got the time or energy to spend the day dipping in and out of shops on the High Street when there are sets like this online that can't be beat in terms of value for money and product selection.
If you've read my previous Mother's Day gift guides (from 2018 and 2016), which are worth giving a read if you're looking for more ideas, you might remember me mentioning the incredible value of an Elizabeth Arden set from World Duty Free and they have yet another this time around. The Elizabeth Arden Love Your Look Set* is a travel exclusive and includes three gorgeous lip products and a beautiful eye shadow quad. It also comes housed in an adorable little I Love NY bag.
Me and my Mum have actually booked a little girls trip to NYC and Miami, so this couldn't have been more perfect for us. I've also got another travel related gift idea a bit further down if your Mum loves to travel or has any special trips planned this year.
If your Mum has a beautiful dressing table but lacks a storage system or if she's looking for somewhere special to store some of her favourite beauty bits, what do you think of this One Year Roses Makeup Box* from Prezzybox?!
You can pick from red, pink or champagne roses and these are flowers that will last much longer than Mother's Day weekend, so much so that they estimate a whole year, if you look after them properly. The makeup box is also available in two larger sizes if your Mum has quite the makeup or beauty collection.
Perfume is another fail safe Mother's Day gift idea, especially if you know what she normally wears or the kinds of scent combinations that she likes. My Mum loves the classic Mon Guerlain scent (review here) so she will no doubt love its latest incarnation; Mon Guerlain Bloom Of Rose. This gift set really would make for the perfect gift this Mother's Day!
As I mentioned earlier, me and my Mum have a little trip away planned this year and if your Mum has some travel planned this year, this passport cover and luggage tag from Yes Studio would be such a great pick, especially if like me, you used to ask her 'are we there yet?' every single time you went on any family holiday however big or small.
It might sound obvious but if there's something that your Mum has been asking for or keeps saying that she'll need to get, this is a very good starting point for you to start from when you go shopping. My Mum has been looking for a new pair of Spring-appropriate shoes and when I found these pretty pastel slip on mules* from Land's End I knew that she would absolutely love the colour. Hopefully the weather will improve slightly soon so that she can start getting her wear out of them.
She's also been looking to get a thermal travel mug to take with her to work, which is why this ban.do I Am Very Busy stainless steel thermal travel mug* will be right up her street! If your Mum is a big tea or coffee drinker and/or trying to save some money/the environment by not paying her local coffee shop a visit everyday, this is a great gift idea and it's just such a nice design too.
If you have absolutely no idea what to get your Mum, you can't go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a great DVD.
This year I used FlorismartUK, the UK's first online market place for local florists. This means that it brings up the florists closest to you and some of their most popular bouquets, all on one page, making the whole process of ordering flowers so much easier, especially if you're not sure where close to you does great arrangements. They sent me the Blush bouquet* from Urban Blooms, a florist close to me and isn't it beautiful?!
Another great option is a hat box style arrangement, like the one from Haute Florist that I used as a bed for my perfume picks just above. It makes for such a unique take on the traditional bouquet and would no doubt make many a Mum happy on Mothering Sunday. One year I will 100% have to get my Mum this hat box from them! I mean, who wouldn't want a bouquet enrobed in Lindt Lindor chocolates?!
Over the past few months or so I've been putting a whole lot of skincare to the test, to varying degrees of success. For reference, my skin is pretty dehydrated all over and this can lead to an oily T-Zone and dry patches. My skin can also get rather sensitive and up until now, I haven't found an eye cream that hasn't made my eyes water. So I was on the lookout for a few new products to add to my current routine and more than happy to test out some lovely skincare bits that I had been sent. As always, you can find my full disclaimer here but basically an * beside something indicates that it was either gifted to me or paid for with a gift card.
Compared to makeup, it's sometimes pretty difficult to find recent recommendations when it comes to skincare, ones that you could easily slot into your current skincare routine or hopefully even inspire you to take skincare more seriously. So hopefully that is what this blog post will do, particularly during the cold weather.
So here are my top 10 cold weather appropriate skincare products to try now;
At the end of last year, I became a Dermalogica #Skinfluencer, which essentially means that occasionally I will be gifted some of Dermalogica's latest and bestselling products to try out, that I am under no obligation to feature or review.
I had never heard of Precleanse before but it is such a genius product. It's an oil without leaving the skin feeling greasy or oily afterwards and turns into a milky substance once combined with water. This really does remove absolutely everything from your face. I'm talking stubborn waterproof makeup and really colourful or glittery pigments. Basically, if you've been struggling to get all your makeup off or you just feel like your skin isn't completely clean after cleansing, try this out! You won't regret it.
I'd seen mgc derma appear a few times on social media and happily took advantage of a 50% sale, which is still on, at Harvey Nichols to grab this bottle. I've been using this cleansing milk as a second cleanse on the days when I've been wearing a lot of makeup or as my main cleanse on days when I'm not wearing anything at all and I'm such a fan!
It feels so lovely and hydrating on the skin and doesn't leave my skin feeling taut or too tight after doing so either. It also includes the 'it' ingredient of the moment; CBD, which is supposed to make your skin look and feel firmer and revived. Definitely one to check out, particularly when it's half price at the moment.
Right before Christmas a very exciting parcel arrived at my door; my very own bumper sized and personalised bottle of Pixi's Glow Tonic. It's one of the products that has made the biggest differences to my skin in recent years. And as someone who can often be rather lazy, I normally reach for my pre-soaked Glow Tonic To-Go, that I've featured in a previous travel beauty feature before but I'm so happy to have a bottle of this stuff.
It has improved any breakout areas and made a serious impact on improving my bizarre skin texture. If you've been unsure about adding acids to your skincare routine, I would 100% start with this one. When people say this is game changing, I have to agree. Whether you're older or have acne scarring or sensitive skin, this pretty much works on all and is a great price too.
I've tried a good number of gel based moisturisers and even though they normally absorb quite quickly, they either leave the skin with a greasy film on top or your skin feels parched about an hour later. This is honestly the best gel based product that I've tried! I'd describe it as something between a serum and a moisturiser as your skin feels so refreshed and hydrated after using it. It's also got rid of some little dry patches that nothing else helped with. I've found that French Pharmacy skincare is some of the best priced and performing on the market and so easy to add to your basket at the likes of Boots now.
When I heard that Nuxe were releasing a skincare range designed specifically for millenials, I was really intrigued. I feel like we've all probably seen those images on social media where there's a picture of a Dear Diary (remember those?!) or Jonathan Taylor Thomas with a 90's curtain hairstyle and a caption saying something along the lines of 'if you remember this it's time for an eye cream', etc.
But I've struggled to find one that isn't super intense, especially as I'm only starting to notice fine and smile lines. This cream doesn't leave my eyes looking red or watery and helps with any puffiness in the mornings as well. I've also seen a change in how dark my dark circles look and notice a difference when I forget to apply this in the morning. If you've not already heard of this new range from Nuxe, I would certainly check it out at your local beauty counter if you're in the millenial age range.
I was invited along to the relaunch of Givenchy's counter at Debenhams in St. Enoch last year and one product impressed me that much that I had to return to finally invest in a serum. The lovely makeup artist who did my makeover that day commented on the odd flaky skin texture that I have on my forehead and cheeks and said that if exfoliating wasn't keeping on top of this, a serum would and this was the one that she recommended. It may be pricey but boy is it good!
If you have dull skin, this is the product for you! My skin feels so hydrated and much brighter after using this. The rosy pink micro beads lift the look of the skin and make me feel so confident to go out completely makeup free after using this. I also feel like a proper adult when using this.
The next few products are ideal for those of us with dry or dehydrated skin or skin that can be problematic in the Winter months;
For years now I've wanted to try Omorovicza's Queen Of Hungary Mist but after hearing mixed reviews, I've yet to give it a go. I was, however, sent this Magic Moisture Mist from the brand. If you're feeling extra bougie, give this a go. It doesn't replace a traditional moisturiser and is quite a big bottle to take with you for touch ups throughout the day but it has piqued my interest though and I've already got my eye on a little travel size of the Queen Of Hungary Mist to possibly take with me on my next trip abroad.
A new and improved take on one of Dermalogica's highest rated products, the Intensive Moisture Balance is a cold weather essential! If you're someone who really struggles with dry, dehydrated or increasingly sensitive skin in the Winter, this is a must buy! You only need a tiny amount, which is in stark difference to every other moisturiser that I've used for my dry skin. I normally have to slather moisturisers on to even get the slightest bit of actual hydration. This, on the other hand, actually feels like it's really penetrating the skin and is easily the best moisturiser that I've tried in the colder months.
If you have similar skin to me, seriously check this out!
Last but not least, we have two mud based face masks;
Now you might think that this product is a bit of a gimmick (it changes colour after being applied and is really rather cool to watch) but it's a clay mask unlike any other that I've tried. It doesn't leave my skin feeling itchy or dry, like other clay masks often do and it also feels like a mousse instead of a thick gloopy consistency and for that reason, it makes me want to reach for it over and over again. Something to certainly check out.
I'd heard a lot of hype surrounding this product so was really intrigued to see how it would perform on my skin. I put this to the test right before Christmas, when it was starting to get really cold and I now get why I've seen so many positive reviews of it. First of all, the smell of this is so dreamy and makes me think of Summer holidays but what impressed me the most was how immediate the results were with this. My skin felt brand new after having this on the first time and it worked wonders on my really dry and dehydrated skin.
So those are my top 10 picks for cold weather appropriate skincare products.
Have you tried any of the brands or exact products in today's blog post? If so, what were your thoughts on them? Are there any skincare brands that you are completely loyal to or ones that have caught your eye recently?
February is always one of my favourite months, mainly because it's my birthday month and as a result, I normally get a few new DVDs or take a trip to the movies to see something and that's exactly what happened this year. That and the fact that it was really too cold to do anything outside which ultimately led to some guilt free Netflix sessions.
So here's what I watched in February;
After a frankly bizarre and overwhelmingly disappointing second season, even with the likes of Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell starring in it, True Detective is truly back to it's original glory with the third season. It's got the same gritty and realistic feel to it that the first season had and again focuses on a partnership between two detectives who don't exactly view the world in the same way. The case is also one that draws you in and it's not as simple as you might think when you first hear that two children have gone missing.
Mahershala Ali takes the lead role and like everything that I've seen him in so far, completely owns every scene. Stephen Dorff, who actually popped into my head when a Britney Spears Top 20 was playing on one of the music channels whilst I was working one day (do you remember him playing her boyfriend in the 'Everytime' vid?) It was me googling what he was up to now that lead me to discover that he was in fact in the latest season of True Detective and that it was starting the following week. Going between three different time periods, of which the current day sees both detectives at around 70 years old, adds to the story and investigation in ways that it just couldn't if it was only set in one. If you liked the first season or simply like good TV, you simply have to check this season out!
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
As much as I love watching true crime documentaries, particularly on Netflix, I try not to seek out cases on my own so that when they are inevitably made into a documentary or TV series, I'm experiencing and finding everything out for the first time. Ted Bundy was one of those cases. And even though I knew that he was one of the most prolific serial killers in history, I didn't know exactly how everything went down. Now to say that I was shocked, would be a massive understatement. I wasn't only shocked by how cunning and opportunistic he was but the ways in which the case was dealt with back in those days and *spoiler alert* his TWO escapes was absolutely unbelievable!
I had heard that Zac Efron would be playing Ted in an upcoming movie and as I was writing this blog post, it was confirmed that Netflix had bought the rights to Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile for $9 million dollars. To those who have been complaining that they shouldn't be glamourising what Ted Bundy did by casting someone like Zac Efron, the whole point was that Bundy was able to do what he did because he didn't look like what you would envisage a monster or serial killer to look like. He preyed on young women in places where he didn't stand out as someone sinister. If you've been meaning to check this series out, definitely do it!
A Star Is Born
I've had A Star Is Born on my to-watch list ever since it was first released but sadly missed it when it was in cinemas. I knew that I'd have to get it on DVD as soon as it came out and it felt like fate when I saw that it was out on the very same day as my birthday.
First of all, I hadn't seen any of the previous iterations or incarnations of A Star Is Born so I didn't really have anything to compare it to and I'm so glad that I hadn't. I had expected it to be good so had my fingers crossed that it wouldn't disappoint. I had a feeling that as I already loved many of the songs from the soundtrack, without actually knowing how they related to the movie, that I would enjoy it and I'm happy to say that I did. At over two hours long I had worried that it would drag on a bit or feel like a two hour movie but bizarrely it flew by and the final act even felt a bit rushed to me. I loved how much time went in to showing how the two of them came together in the beginning but in comparison, the bad times (the fights, the impact that the night of the Grammys had had on Ally's career and how she was ultimately attempting to recover from it) weren't really shown at all. That would be my only criticism of the movie. I completely agree that Lady Gaga was meant to play Ally and who knew Bradley Cooper could sing/direct?! It was also great to see the likes of Shangela (one of my favourite queens - wasn't she robbed in All Stars 3?!) and Willam on the big screen.
Another movie that I received for my birthday, The Nun was an unexpected gift but one that I was very happy to receive. As big fans of The Conjuring series of movies, me and my Mum were always going to get around to watching The Nun at some point so now was as good a time as any. I'd heard mixed reviews but was intrigued to see where they would take the origin story and how it would tie in with the rest of the series.
It's definitely not the worst horror movie that I've ever seen but it didn't quite live up to some of the other horror movies that I've seen in recent years, particularly The Conjuring series itself. There were some interesting and stylish scenes but they were pretty much sandwiched in between jump scare after jump scare, ones that even a horror movie novice could have predicted. It's one of those movies that I enjoyed watching but it just wasn't that memorable. However, the way in which the ending of The Nun led into the other movies in The Conjuring universe was a nice touch and had me itching to start the series from the very beginning once again.
Abducted In Plain Sight
Just when I thought that I couldn't be shocked any more by a Netflix doc, along came Abducted In Plain Sight. This is honestly the craziest true crime story that I have ever heard of (even crazier than the pizza bomber plot in Evil Genius)! Do yourself a favour and have a look at the #AbductedInPlainSight hashtag on Twitter, even if you previously had no intention to watch this. Some of the GIFs sum up the viewing experience so well it's just too good to resist scrolling through them all.
You know the saying stranger than fiction, well that's exactly what this entire true life story is from start to finish. It is, however, a documentary about child abuse, which is at times told in explicit detail, so it's worth bearing that in mind if it could be a trigger to you or someone you're watching it with. It also delves into the topics of brainwashing and blackmail. I've never watched anything where, literally every five minutes, I was completely stunned and shocked! Nor had I shouted 'WHAT THE FUCK?!' so many times in a row. I won't spoil it, as I think you have to go into it without knowing too much about it but if you're looking for something that will literally blow your mind, give Abducted In Plain Sight a watch.
What have you been watching this month? Have you seen any of the movies or TV shows that I've featured in today's blog post? If so, what did you think of them? And have you been binge watching anything recently?
This month I've put together my take on an 'all about the eyes'-style Sephora Favorites set with a mixture of drugstore and high end items. It still completely baffles me that no UK beauty retailer such as Boots, Superdrug or the likes of Feel Unique or Cult Beauty, has come up with their own take on a Favorites or as we would call it over here, Favourites, set. I always find so many gems in them and it's a great way to try out different brands and products without forking out too much.
So here's what's up for grabs this month. One lucky winner will win the following:
They say that you’ll never work a day in your life so long as you do something that you love. So what if you turned your favorite side hobby into a side hustle? While it takes a lot of effort to build and sustain a business, you could at the very least use your hobby to make a little extra pocket cash. It’s not as hard as you think—even for the most peculiar hobbies. Here’s how you can make money doing what you love.
Make an Etsy Account
If your hobby involves making handcrafted jewelry, arts, and other items, you could sell your creations on Etsy.com. Etsy is a website where the makers of handcrafted goods can sell their creations and make money. Think of it like Amazon.com, except all the products are handmade by artisans just like yourself. If your creations become popular, you might be able to make enough money to craft them full-time. That’s the dream, right? But you don’t have to sell items on Etsy only. There are lots of other places online where you can sell your handmade crafts and share your artistry with the world.
Write About It
If you love doing something, you should write about it. That’s what I’ve done! The Internet is one of the best places to write about your hobby. Start a blog online and cultivate an audience of followers who have the same interest.
You could create a blog on a website like Wix, or you could create a whole website for yourself through WordPress or similar sites. Blog and website-creation platforms have user-friendly interfaces and make it easy for you to customize the look, feel, and organization of your blog. If you have lots of web traffic on your blog, you might be able to make money by selling ad space.
You can also make money by freelancing. There are probably lots of existing websites and magazines that publish articles about your favorite hobby. If you’re a skilled writer, you can write articles about any subject pertaining to your hobby and submit them to any of these outlets. A few of them might pay you for the article!
Now, what on Earth would you write about? Well that’s the fun part! You can write about anything that pertains to your hobby. If you’re fascinated by fashion, you could write something like, “How To Dress for Every Season.” If you’re a carpenter or craftsperson, you could write “How to Find Craft Supplies Online” These kinds of articles are popular and they’re the kind of content that will draw the interest of like-minded readers.
If you have a passion about something, it’s likely others do too. Due to this shared interest, there’s bound to be some kind of local, regional, national, or even global competition where you can display your skills. Even blogging has a number of these, so there’s no excuse not to take part in one! You can take a competition as seriously or as lightly as you wish. Either way, they’re a fun way to showcase your skills and your interests. If the competition is at a venue, you’ll meet others who share your passion and get the chance to make friends and even build a network.
Many of these competitions offer prize money to the winner, and sometimes even to the runner-ups. If you win a competition, you’ll also increase your exposure to the professional world and you could be rewarded with job opportunities, sponsorships, or invitations to more prestigious competitions. For anyone that’s been procrastinating about getting work done, a little friendly competition can spark your creative fire.
However, it’s important not to lose yourself in the competitive fire. Passion projects are meant to be worked on because you love it, not necessarily because you’re trying to win prizes. Get out there and compete for that money, but don’t get so competitive that you’ll feel sour if you lose.
A great way to make money off of doing what you love is to teach others how to do it. You can hold your own “How to” events anywhere in your city or online, and charge a small fee for participants to come and learn skills from you. This is also a great way to network and possibly make new friends.
Teaching is definitely a difficult skill. Remember that many of your participants will be inexperienced, so have patience and don’t expect them to get the hang of it right away. You want to make people feel good about learning your hobby—you don’t want to dissuade them from ever doing it again. So be kind! Out of all the money-making methods we listed, this is one of the most useful because you’re truly giving back to the community by enriching the skillset of others.
Now you’re ready to put your hobby in the limelight and cash in your pocket. Make some money off your hobby by selling your handcrafted items, by writing about your hobby, by entering competitions, and by teaching your skills to others. Now your favorite hobby will be even more fulfilling!
One of my goals for 2019 was to start printing out photos, particularly those from my travels. I mean, when you think about it, when was the last time that you actually printed out physical photos?
I have literally thousands of photos scattered across a few different external hard drives and multiple folders on my laptop and unless I decide to take some time to sit and actually look through them, they go practically unnoticed. I've got snaps from my solo trip to NYC, years upon years of Florida photos and everyday moments that were captured without much thought or forward planning. We also have some great family shots sitting in digital folders whilst our home doesn't have a single one displayed. So whilst my goal is to print out my photos and ultimately keep them in a photo album of some sorts (more on that in a minute), my Mum's goal is to put some of our family photos on display.
The last time we had any photos of us up on the walls, it was photos of me and my brother which were taken when I was about six or seven years old and he was about two or three. So quite some time ago now, considering the fact that we're now both in our twenties. I don't really share family photos online so they quite literally go unloved and unappreciated in files and folders dotted all over the place.
And with quite a few trips planned for 2019 and beyond, I want to leave space in my photo album for all the photos from these trips. It looks like I might be going back to New Yorkthis year and me and my Mum are planning our first ever trip to London to celebrate her birthday later in the year along with an overnight stay in Edinburgh during the Summer. We're even thinking about planning a family trip to Disneyland Paris solely to see our faves; The Aristocats. Honestly, why don't Marie, Berliosz and Toulouse make the trip across the Atlantic so that we could see them more regularly at Walt Disney World?!
And since I've been going through my digital folders looking for photos to print out (I'm thinking of making a trip along to Boots or Asda to do so - let me know if you've printed photos recently and where you would recommend), I thought that I would share some of my favourite shots, ones that haven't appeared on the blog or my social media yet, with you. There are also links to blog posts that coincide with the photos just in case you're planning a trip to New York or Orlando or counting down the days until Summer, etc.
Going through my travel photos in particular has also made me realise that maybe it's time to retire my two different but very similar palm print jumpsuits! I mean, how many pictures can you count them in? Let me know in the comments below.
So here are some of my favourite photos that I just recently unearthed again;
So there are some of my favourite photos from my online photos.
Are you like me and have hundreds or thousands of photos stored in digital folders or on your phone? Do you have any trips or holidays planned for the next few years? And when was the last time that you actually had photos developed/printed?
Despite having more eyshadow palettes than any one person could ever possibly use, when it comes to my day to day makeup and even more dressier looks, more often than not, I instantly reach for liquid eyeshadows. And not just any liquid eyeshadows. I'm talking about my very favourite on the market right now; the Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights.
Here's why I can't get enough of them, plus the two brand new shades that have just been added to the range;
(From left to right: Crystalline - SunRay - BareBrilliance - RoseGold - PassionLight - PixiGreen* - Lagoon*)
If you're looking for a liquid eyeshadow that really packs a punch, look no further than Pixi's Liquid Fairy Lights. They're insanely pigmented, sparkle like no other and are so easy to work with. Don't just take my word for it, here they are swatched.
You can either use them as a top coat on top of some of your favourite base colour shades or you can wear them completely on their own. I personally do a sheer coat if I'm not going too crazy with my day to day makeup or pack on the pigment if I'm going somewhere special.
Crystalline and SunRay have more of a clear base to them than the other shades and for that reason they are much sheerer and require several coats to build up the same levels of pigmentation and intensity as the other shades. For that reason, these are the two that I most often use as topper shades rather than just on their own.
Up until very recently there were five stunning shades but Pixi have just recently added two brand new colours; a gorgeous green called PixiGreen and a brilliant blue called Lagoon. The one that I wear the most, however, has got to be PassionLight. It's the perfect coppery colour but so much more than your typical glittery or sparkly shade.
Before trying these or similar glitter packed liquid eyeshadows, I was a little bit worried about there being a lot of fallout dropping down onto my cheeks and under eye area but thankfully, I haven't experienced much if any when using these so far.
Are you a fan of wearing liquid or glittery eyeshadows? If so, what are the best ones that you've tried so far? What do you think of the look of the Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights? And how beautiful are the two new shades that they've added to the range?
This year my aim is to make my blog a bit more like it was when I originally started it but hopefully with slightly better photographs (my 2015 photos, in particular, were not the greatest). So I decided to share what I got for my birthday this year. The lighting was terrible at the end of December/start of January, which is why I didn't share what I got for Christmas.
To be totally honest, it's always nice to look back at these kinds of blog posts to be instantly transported back in time and to remember what was going on at that point in my life. I have 'What I Got For My Birthday' blog posts going back to 2014 (I mean, look at that lighting - eek!), with another one going live in 2015 and the one that I posted last year in 2018. I'm not sure what happened in 2016 and 2017 but as I didn't document it, I really have no idea what I received or even what was going on in my life at that point. Case in point for documenting this years.
If you're not a fan of these types of blog post, please feel free to read another post of mine. But if you are a little bit (or a lot) nosy like I am, I hope you enjoy my 2019 take on this rather OG blog post.
So here's what I got for my 27th birthday;
To be completely honest, I never know what to ask for for my birthday, especially with it being so close to Christmas. The only thing that I did ask for this year was a copy of A Star Is Bornon DVD. It actually came out on the exact same day as my birthday, so we picked it up after my birthday lunch at Chaakoo. If you didn't already see a small snippet of what we had for my birthday lunch, be sure to check out this exact Instagram post. It was incredible, as always.
I also received another DVD; The Nun. Me and my Mum are big horror movie fans and had initially planned on seeing the fifth installment in The Conjuring series at the cinema but it had come out when we were on holiday last year so we ended up missing it. I've heard mixed reviews but we're both really looking forward to watching it this weekend. Expect to see both movies appear in this month's What I've Been Watching blog post.
Now that I've fallen back in love with reading again, I got a selection of books from my Goodreads bookshelf. If you haven't already read my 2019 Reading Challenge blog post, be sure to give that a read, especially if you're taking on one yourself. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them all and as I mentioned in that very blog post, giving my phone and laptop more of a break in 2019.
I received a really special piece of Kate Spade New York jewellery this year after my Mum managed to snag it in the sale at the end of last year. Pretzels are one of my favourite junk foods and instantly make me think of holidays to the US, namely New York. It couldn't be a better size and I love how dainty it looks on. They previously released a whole pretzel collection a good number of years back and I always regretted not getting anything, particularly as I would have been in my teens and spending all my money in Forever 21 instead.
My Mum also treated me to a few things on a shopping trip earlier in the month and that's where we saw this brilliant snake print backpack. I'm more than a little bit obsessed with all things animal print at the moment and had actually had my eye on this snake print backpack from Accessorize. At £32 I had intended on asking for it for my birthday until we stumbled across an almost identical bag in Primark for just £8! I can't wait to tote this about with me and give my little Kate Spade backpack that I got for my birthday last year, a bit of a break.
When I saw a Build A Bear box sitting on the floor surrounded by my presents on the morning of my birthday, I knew exactly what was in it. Just before Christmas Build A Bear released a Hello Kitty collaboration and I went on and on about it to my Mum, despite the fact that I was 26 years old (now 27) and not 6. She said I didn't really need another stuffed toy, even though it was of my main gal Hello Kitty and I had pretty much agreed. So I couldn't take the smile off my face when I saw this sitting there for me. I am definitely easily pleased.
So there's what I got for my birthday this year.
Would you like to see more OG circa 2014-style blog posts? Have you read or seen any of the bits that I got for my birthday? If so, what did you think of them? And surely I'm not the only one who would still happily receive a stuffed toy at their age?
Another year means another 12 months of birthday parties and perfectly planned presents. Winter birthdays may be the chilliest, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be cool. Though having fun in the sun may not be possible unless a destination party is in the works, wintertime activities call for plenty of layering and accessorizing that can make gift-giving a total breeze. There will be no shortage of ideas with this helpful list of perfect winter birthday gifts.
For her: Packing cubes If she’s constantly in the air, off to the next destination, and posting Instagram stories every hour of her foreign festivities, she probably has a fair share of luggage that she depends on during her travels. Whether she’s more of a weekender bag kind of gal or a giant suitcase high-roller, packing cubes could be the game changer she needs to step her travel wardrobe on point. In the spirit of space-saving efficiency, get her to tune into Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up while she’s at it!
For him: Holiday celebration gear The year is chock-full of holidays worth celebrating. From Valentine’s Day to New Years and everything in between, proper celebration requires proper holiday attire. A Christmas sweater or St. Patrick’s day shirt make for funny (and useful) gifts he’ll appreciate during the winter.
For her: A mini backpack Mini backpacks have become all the rage, and it’s really no wonder why. Not only are these adorable accessories easily totable, but they are made by all of your favorite designers—both low- and high-end! Having all that space provides a world of difference if she’s more accustomed to the size of a tiny crossbody. She can keep all of her makeup essentials, wallet necessities, and much more inside a spacious mini backpack.
For her: Cloud lamp You’ve probably never thought about gifting a friend or family member a lamp but this tiny cloud lamp will change your mind. The Smart Cloud comes in many astounding forms, but the tiny one is the gorgeous, minimalist floating lamp that looks quaint just about wherever you put it. It also features an integrated Bluetooth speaker—all that’s missing are rain sounds for a full stormy effect.
For him: Subscription box Shopping for guys has never been easy, and even if you know the guy on your list well, you’re still stumped every time his birthday rolls around. Instead of stressing the little things, get him a monthly box full of little things that he’ll look forward to every passing month. Subscription boxes tailored toward his interests are the perfect solution for an unpredictable man.
For him: Cornhole set Even though the weather outside isn’t quite yet beautiful enough to enjoy a day out, he’ll be itching to break out the Cornhole board you got him for his birthday as soon as spring rears its head. Complete with just two boards and a set of bean bags, this simple game is fun for everyone and even more entertaining with a few beers!
For her: Highlighter & bronzer The lack of sunshine has gotten her down and she’s missing that summer glow more than ever. Since she can’t produce it naturally (unless you get her a one-way ticket to the Caribbean), stock her up with her favorite highlighters and bronzers to restore that sunkissed glow. If you’re feeling extra generous, set her up with a set of Morphe brushes.
For him: Hot sauce set He’ll be able to forget that it’s freezing outside when his mouth is scorching with the power of a million Scoville units. Give him a reason to make his own version of YouTube’s Hot Ones series with a Fuego Box gift set. He’ll love testing the waters and challenging his limits with the many burning hot sauces Fuego Box offers.
For her: Jumbo wine glass You’ve seen her at her best, and you’ve seen her on wine night. In fact, the two occasions may be the exact same! Give her the gift of a guilt-free second glass of wine by upping the dosage with a jumbo glass of wine. This bad boy can hold an entire 25oz bottle of wine, which will make refilling and sharing a thing of the past!
These genius ideas should make your shopping process far easier and guarantee smiles and laughs for every birthday coming up!
Studying English at University and having to read 3-5 books a week, some of which were big hefty books of 1000 pages or more, totally sucked all the enjoyment out of reading for me and it's taken many years for me to eventually feel the urge to read again.
Over the Christmas period, I made a point of completely detaching myself from social media and my laptop to pick up one of the many books that have been gathering dust on my bookshelf for years now. And I have to say, I didn't miss picking up my phone or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram one bit.
At the end of 2018, I saw so many people sharing how they got on with their 2018 Reading Challenges and it really inspired me to finally get back to reading on the regular. And within minutes I had signed up for a Goodreads account and pledged to read 12 books in 2019. If you saw my 30 before 30 blog post a few years ago, one of my goals was to read at least one book a month or twelve over the course of a year and 2019 is going to be the year that I do that.
I'm going to keep you updated with what I've been reading throughout the year, in blog posts similar to this one but until then, here's how I'm getting on with my 2019 Reading Challenge so far;
In preparation for my trip to Orlando at the end of last year, I picked up the third in The Devil Wears Prada series of books and even toted it along with me across the Atlantic only for it to go unread. So it was the first book that I grabbed from my shelf at Christmas and I'm so glad that I did as it definitely inspired me to keep reading and to give my phone and laptop a much needed break.
The Wives follows Emily (who you'll remember from her time at Runway with Miranda Priestly), one of her oldest friends Miriam and ex-model and Senator's wife Karolina. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each of the three women, something that definitely added to the story and how it progressed overall. To give you a brief synopsis, when Karolina is set up and publicly dumped by her Senator husband, Miriam and Emily band together to help her get her son and her own back, whilst dealing with their own issues. Each woman is so different that every chapter brings something new to the story and I was really glad that I chose this to be my first book of 2019.
All I can say is, I absolutely loved this book! Mindy is one of my favourite people (The Mindy Project is and always will be one of my very favourite TV shows) and her unmistakable tone of voice immediately comes through from the very first sentence of Why Not Me? It deals with her life after she entered the entertainment industry and a little bit beforehand, along with topics such as friendship, dating, body image, sex scenes and sorority life. I laughed out loud so many times whilst reading this and fell even more in love with Mindy than I thought was possible. I also felt a lot better about myself and how I still don't quite have my shit together. I've got my fingers crossed that she'll come out with a third book at some point, especially now that she is a parent.
After hearing basically everyone rave about this book last year and as I haven't seen the movie of the same name yet, I picked up a copy of Crazy Rich Asians at the start of January. It was actually in the 2 for £5 deal in Fopp, which is such an unreal deal to definitely take advantage of if you have a store near you. The story really does sound right up my street. However, the only thing that has put me off completely devouring this book is the fact that the text is teeny tiny and my right eye has been playing up recently (I'm now on eye drops and even had to wear a patch for a few days!)
Hopefully I'll be able to get back into this soon. Have you read it?
Anna Kendrick is one of those celebrities, along with the likes of Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, that I actively keep up with. I'm a big fan of her movies and always make sure to pick up any magazines that have interviews with her in it as I really like the witty and punchy way that she puts together sentences and tweets.
I was expecting to be completely captivated by this book but after reading Mindy's, I just didn't feel the same level of excitement or urge to pick up the book to see what she had written next. It starts with her life as a child and a child actor, which can often be my least favourite part of celebrity memoirs. So I'm hoping to get back into it this weekend and hopefully make it to the sections titled Leaving The Nest, Boys and Hollywood.
After reading and really enjoying The Wives, I was on the lookout for my next piece of chick-lit when I stumbled across Something Blue. I was a big fan of the movie adaptation of Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed and Something Blue follows on directly from that book. Darcy, played by Kate Hudson in the movie, is pregnant, alone and recovering from what took place in Something Borrowed.
It just arrived, after a trip from the US (I managed to get it on Wordery) and I can't wait to get reading. There are so many 4 star and 5 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for this book, something that can't be said for all 'chick-lit' books, so I'm really excited to get stuck into it.
You might remember me writing about the Golden State Killer in my August What I've Been Watching blog post so when I saw this book, again in Fopp for the unbelievable price of £2.50 in the 2 for £5 deal, I just had to get it.
Over the past few years I've become a little bit obsessed with watching true crime documentaries and delving into the cases myself. The Golden State Killer is one of the most notorious of these criminals and operated in several different states with two other known names, those being the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. His attacks are some of the creepiest and most disturbing that I've ever heard about. And the author, Michelle McNamara, was the one who originally came up with the Golden State Killer moniker. Sadly Michelle never managed to finish the book before passing away so, much like with the Unmasking A Killer documentary, the ending is left open, as the case was at the time but in the years since her passing, someone has been caught and charged with the crimes. This might not be the best book to read right before bed or when I'm in on my own but I'm looking forward to finding out more about the case and the investigations.
So there's how I've been getting on so far.
Do you have any books that you'd recommend me checking out?
To see my full bookshelf on Goodreads, click here or click through below to see what else I'll be hoping to pick up and read this year;
Have you read any of the books that I've mentioned in today's blog post? If so, what were your thoughts on them? Are there any that you wish you hadn't read? And are you taking part in a reading challenge this year, either on Goodreads or on your own?