Wednesday, 1 March 2017


So as you're probably aware, lent begins today. It's a day when lots of people will be giving up something they enjoy which is usually food or drink based for 40 days. I'll not go into the ins and outs of where lent came from but lots of people do it for spiritual discipline and others do it for the personal challenge. I've never personally managed to give up anything for lent but recently I saw a really great idea where you donate a bag of things for every day of lent. I personally can't afford to get rid of a bag of stuff every single day so I'm going to focus on 1 or 2 things per day but if you want to get involved obviously you do whatever you feel you can. 

In effect you're doing a 40 day declutter and also helping those in need, no matter how small your donations.

I'm a self-confessed hoarder and I will literally hold on to anything I can 'just in case' it comes in handy so I'm setting myself this challenge to choose 1 thing to get rid of to a charity every single day for the next 40 days whether that's clothing, household items, books, DVDs... whatever! 

There are some things in your house that you may not be able to donate to high street charity shops so here are some places you can send things like used bras, unused makeup/beauty products & socks...

Donating Bras

Smalls for all (new or lightly used) - These are sent to people in developing countries like Africa so they can make small living from selling bras

Donating Socks (general rule of thumb... don't give any socks that you wouldn't give to your best friend)

Your local homeless organisation - our local charity who help the homeless and in need are actually crying out for socks because people assume nobody wants them. 

Socks and Chocs - a national homeless charity who have drop off points around the country

Donating Makeup (same rule of thumb applies and no used lip glosses/mascaras)

Give & Makeup - Set up by Caroline Hirons in 2010, Give and Makeup will pass your donations onto Refuge and Women's aid in the London Areas. I would absolutely love it if there was something like this up north but there's not at the moment but I'm more than happy to support the work of this fab non-profit initiative.

Donating old towels/linen

Your local dog shelter/animal sanctuary - lots of places would be so grateful for the extra resources which can be used for bedding and/or keeping animals clean. Even if they're a bit tatty they might be able to put them to use!

I can't wait to get cracking with decluttering, I'm going to track my progress via Twitter so if you want to get involved too then use the hashtag #40daydeclutter 

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Monday, 27 February 2017


In an age where everything is digital I think everyone is guilty of not bothering to print out photos but to me printed photos are the best ways to document memories. As much as I love my phone and my Macbook, I still love to have a photo in my hand to either put in an album or stick on a wall so when Cheerz got in touch to ask if I wanted to get some photos printed I quickly picked some of my favourite Instagram snaps to display on my office wall at work. You can get a range of different print formats but I went for a selection of 3 different types; square, retro polaroid and strips (not pictured):

I teamed them with an inspirational quote print which came with a Yoohoo monthly stationery box. I've had lots of people comment on my little piece of wall and I'm really pleased that I found such a novel way of printing out photos!

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Square prints £0.35 each
Retro prints £0.35 each

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Sunday, 26 February 2017


I like to think that I've become well travelled enough now to know what constitutes and good and bad flight, especially when it comes to long haul travel. Let's face it, nobody wants to sit on a plane for over 6 hours but if you're wanting to visit further afield then it's a necessary evil.

Having been lucky enough to visit America a few times over the past few years I've also experienced a fair few of the main long haul airlines that fly in and out of Manchester airport. One airline which has particularly impressed me when it comes to long haul travel is Thomas Cook. They're considered to be edging towards the 'budget' and 'no frills' market of air travel and we've had some really good deals with them (£750 each for week in Orlando in the school holidays which included a luxury villa and return flights and £500 each for direct flights to Los Angeles in school holidays... I had to mention that both were in school holidays because we all know how most holiday companies like to hike the prices!).

In terms of long haul travel they fly to more places than you might think from Manchester; I've personally flown to Orlando and Los Angeles with them but they also fly to the following places in the US:

Las Vegas
New York
San Francisco
Santa Clara

Our 9 hour journey to Orlando was on an Airbus A330-200 which I have to say is one of the best types of plane I've ever been on due to the seat config and the fact that the toilets are situated downstairs which for me is good because there's no funny smells in the cabin and you get a bit of a longer walk when you need to pay a visit. The seat configuration is 2-4-2 meaning that there are 4 seats in the middle with 2 either side, we always like to choose our seat especially on planes like this so that we can first of all secure a seat together and also because we want one of the 2 seats at either side of the plane near the windows. You do have to pay a little extra with Thomas Cook in economy to reserve your seat (usually around £20 each way) but it's totally worth it for us just so we can guarantee our own little bit of space where we don't have to disturb anyone to get out use the toilet.

Each economy seat has seat back entertainment with a small selection of films and TV programmes but you can pay £4 to upgrade which we paid for because although we did take an iPad I do like a nice choice of seat back entertainment. If you pay for premium economy seats you get premium entertainment included. The seat back screens are some of the newest I've seen and are very touch sensitive which means that you shouldn't have anyone behind you tapping the heck out of your seat!

Included in the price of the flight is a meal and a snack on every flight. On outbound flights to the US you get a meal designed by James Martin which are absolutely spot on. Plane food on the whole can be very hit and miss but to be fair the facilities are a little bit restricted at 36,000 feet. The outbound meals I've had on Thomas Cook have all been lovely; on this particular flight it was sausage and mash with a mousse pudding and cheese and biscuits:

Around 2 hours before landing you also get an afternoon tea package which is really lovely; 2 sandwiches and a scone with clotted cream and jam... amazing!

Admittedly, the return flight food offering isn't as good as due to US regulations they can't offer James Martin meals but it's find and edible. To be honest on a return flight all I'm interested in is trying to sleep which brings me on to the space in the seats:

In economy you get a seat pitch of 31" (the space between a point on your seat and the exact same point on the next seat), the seat width is 18.2" (the bit where your bum actually sits, don't forget you can raise the arm rest in the middle for a little more room) and the seat recline is 4.4". The seats don't look plush, they are very basic but believe me they are comfortable. They are much more comfortable than the awfully small seats I sat on when I was on a BA flight from New York!

The overall service on the flights has always been very good and although you don't get free drinks in economy you can purchase soft drinks and alcohol which is priced as it normally is on a flight (ie. expensive) so what we usually do is buy a big bottle of water at the airport and take that with us to stay hydrated throughout the flight.

Overall I can't rave about Thomas Cook flights enough, they're an excellent option if Manchester is your airport of choice as they have a great range of destinations. Any questions please tweet me or email me!

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Saturday, 25 February 2017


I love being able to buy luxe beauty products as and when funds allow (granted this isn't too often!) and I'd wanted to try some Charlotte Tilbury from day dot when she launched her beauty brand. I'd visited counters a few times but struggled to decide what to try as a starting point; everything looks so pretty with lots of rose gold which makes up her distinct packaging style. Charlotte Tilbury carries everything from makeup and tools to skincare and perfume but I knew I was going to focus on the makeup because I'd heard such good things. I eventually started my collection with a lipstick and the iconic Filmstar Bronze & Glow contour palette:

As you can see the packaging is absolutely superb, it really is a cut above from other brands I've tried - even high end! Everything is really solid and well made and the colours make it different to anything I've ever seen; nothing about it is flimsy and you can tell the moment that you pick it up that it's all really well made. It just screams quality. 

The main reason why I chose the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette is because I'd heard it was really good for pale skin (to honest if CT can't get it right for pale skin who can, right?). As you can clearly see from the swatches, my skin is fair so I before I bought this palette I'd really struggled with contour because I couldn't find anything that was a match for my skin without being too orange or too brown. 

The light-medium Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette is perfect for my skin and it's a palette that will take you from day to night. I literally use this every single day and it's very buildable for a night time look without being cakey or orange. It's pricey at £49.00 but I would repurchase this in a heart beat and despite using this every single day it doesn't look I've made much of a dent in the pans at all. I would 100% recommend this for anyone with paler skin who wants to dip their toe into contouring.

A lipstick was actually the first thing I bought from the Charlotte Tilbury range and it may be surprising but I didn't go for Pillow Talk which seems to be the most talked about shade. I actually bought this particular shade from a counter and asked the assistant for a darkish nude that could be used for day and night. He recommended Very Victoria.

Very Victoria is a shade from the Matte Revolution collection of lipsticks and it really is a beautiful dark pink/nude shade. The formula is pretty revolutionary for a matte lipstick I think because it's surprisingly hydrating and doesn't feel dry even when you've worn it for a while yet it looks perfectly matte on the lips. It's stunningly easy to apply which is quite unusual for matte formulas and can easily be reapplied without a mirror - winner! The price tag is a heavy one at £24.00 but I would definitely recommend that you try Charlotte Tilbury if you're looking to treat yourself to a high end lipstick. 

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