Tuesday, 31 December 2013

I wonder what 2014 will bring?

I'm not a big one for resolutions to be honest, I don't need a new year to start doing something new (I join Slimming World in September, for example) but there are things that I would like to happen in 2014, some of which are out of my control, others I am very much in control of. Some of the things are a given, obviously I wish that myself and those closest to me have a happy and healthy year... and I would really really like to win the lottery at some point (... maybe I'm dreaming a bit with the second one!)

2014 is going to be an exciting year for me, I know this already because we've booked to go to Florida in May, I've always wanted to visit Florida for as long as I can remember and I vow that if I can afford to, my children will go when they're young enough to find everything twice as magical and amazing at Disney. Words can't express how stupidly excited I am about this trip, I'll try not to bore you with tweets and blog posts about it but I can't guarantee anything! 

I would love to lose more weight, I'm currently at 2 stone and 3lb and I would ideally like to be at around 3.5 to 4 stone lighter by the time I go on holiday in May. Being slimmer means that everything is so much more enjoyable for me, shopping, walking, having pictures taken, wearing summer clothes... if you've ever been overweight you'll know how it really can limit your life. To anyone who has spent their entire life not battling with their weight, this will sound a bit dramatic but it really does affect your self esteem which then affects your friendships and overall happiness. I've only dropped one dress size so far and already I'm feeling the benefits in so many ways. As the saying goes, nothing tastes as good as being slim feels. 

I really want to get my personal licence to sell alcohol, it seems like the next logical step for me because I spend so much time in the pub. To those who don't know, a personal licence means that I can legally supervise the sale of alcohol on the premises (because the pub obviously already has a premises licence). At the moment it's Jason and his Dad who both hold licences but his dad is getting older now and less able to work behind a bar so I need to step up to the bar! (pardon the pun).

I would like to learn how to use my new camera properly, as most of you will know I bought a Nikon D3100 and it's a little more complicated than a basic point and shoot camera. I'm already getting the hang of it to an extent but I really want to use it to its full potential. A dummies guide may be required.

Finally, I would like to make sure that I continue to blog. I'll have been blogging 3 years in June which is pretty good going I think, and although I might be 'small fry' in comparison to others I still absolutely love it (if I didn't, I wouldn't be doing it!) and I'm hoping my new camera steps things up a gear!

I hope you all have a very happy and healthy 2014, for some of you 2013 won't have been pleasant and I sincerely hope that you go in 2014 feeling as optimistic as you possibly can. 


(gratuitous cheesy slap head photo, you're welcome) 


Lifestyle | Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

My husband has to be the most difficult person to buy for at Christmas... ever! Unless you buy him socks he's really difficult to please because he buys most of the stuff he wants during the year, but this year he had his eye on one of these Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speakers.

We've had iPod docks in the past and I had actually planned to buy him a dock for Christmas but then realised that we'd be upgrading our iPhones in the New Year and chances are he will go for the iPhone 5, which is a different connect to the iPhone 4S, so I was worried that it'd just get left on the shelf if it didn't have an adapter. That's where the Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker comes in, because as the title suggests, you connect via bluetooth rather than having to dock it. 

I looked all over the place for one of these, but they were proving a very popular Christmas present because they were out of stock everywhere I went. I looked at other bluetooth speakers but they sounded a bit tinny and not anywhere as good quality as the Bose. 

The speaker itself is stylish and compact with the controls on the top and a charging dock which comes with it. Of course, once it's charged you can play it anywhere but I wouldn't say that it's something you'd want to carry in your bag all the time because it is heavy, but the weight is definitely justified when you hear the sound quality to come from such a little device. This Bose speaker is a bit of a pocket rocket as far as volume is concerned... I was amazed at how loud it was. Think of hi-fi kind of loudness to the point where at it's loudest you struggle to hear someone talk in the same room. It has to be heard to be fully appreciated so if you're ever near a Bose store, go and have a listen.

I think the girl did good this year with his presents, normally they're not very exciting but it's safe to say Jason absolutely loves this. I'd like to thank Halifax who gave me an Amazon voucher to go towards buying something for someone special this Christmas as part of their 'Giving Extra' to someone special campaign. 

What's your favourite gadget?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

What I got for Christmas 2013 | The Perfume Edition

Perfume seems to be a bit of a traditional gift for lots of women at Christmas time, I generally get at least one bottle every year and I can pretty much guarantee that I'll buy a bottle for at least one person. The 3 bottles I received this year were all new to me, I've never had them before which is a nice change because I usually get an old favourite. 

I actually got Paco Rabanne Black XS (£27.50) for my birthday but seeing as there's only 5 days difference I thought I'd include it in this because I didn't do a 'Birthday Haul' post. Launched in 2007 (a lot earlier than I thought!) Black XS is a soft floral kind of scent, with base notes of vanilla and patchouli, this is a great perfume for both day and night. My mother-in-law bought me this after I said I loved the sample I got in the Boots Beauty Advent Calendar.

After Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter mentioned this in her perfume collection some time ago, I've wanted to try Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy (£34.50), to be totally honest the bottle isn't something that attracted me, I think it looks quite cheap and tacky (but then, I guess that's Juicy Couture all over!). For me, it's a typical girly scent, fruity, floral and flirty... it smells exactly as you would imagine it to and I can't believe that I actually love it!

The final bottle I received this Christmas was Armani Code (£41.50), first of all I can't believe how expensive it is, I didn't expect it to be over £40 for the smallest bottle, I thought it would be around £30! I've always totally bypassed this as one to try, but it's actually so me!! It's quite an oriental kind of fragrance, sophisticated is one word to describe it I suppose. The bottle is also beautifully designed, definitely one for the dressing table!

I'm so pleased with the perfume I got this year, I also can't wait to hit the sales to see if I can get any bargain gift sets!

Did you get any perfume?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bath and Body | Treacle Moon Christmas Bath Treats

I've posted about Treacle Moon products quite a few times now, I think they're amazing value for money and they smell gorgeous. So when my friend bought me some of their bath/shower gel I couldn't wait to have some festive baths.

I know cinnamon can be something you either love or you hate, I personally love the smell; it reminds me of Christmas and really helps me relax and feel cosy when I'm in a bath. Warm Cinnamon Nights is more of a sweet sort of smell, the cinnamon isn't overpowering it actually smells a little bit like sweet shop sweets. That Vanilla Moment is a really beautiful creamy ice cream kind of smell, more of a younger persons kind of vanilla rather than more mature; quite different to the vanilla you find in The Body Shop.

I could literally fill my bathroom with Treacle Moon products and I'm dying to try their candy jar limited edition products. Tesco often have some offers on like 2 for £5 but even at £2.99 each I think they're a bargain because they last for ages!

What are your favourite Christmas Bath products?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Lifestyle | Life Lately

I can't believe how quick December has passed me by, it's only 3 sleeps until Christmas and I've felt like I've really neglected my blog! I haven't updated you on my personal life for quite a while now so I thought it's time I did! I feel like I've been rushing around here, there and everywhere like a woman possessed just lately; I had every intention of getting organised early for Christmas but as usual that didn't happen and I've still got a few last minute presents to get!

- I was a bit slack on the Christmas decorations front this year, I really didn't want to get into the festive spirit (bah-humbug and all that...) but I eventually got my tree up during the first week of December, I like simplicity when it comes to decorations and I think my tree is quite tasteful.

- We got some Christmas stock in at the pub at the beginning of the month, we got loads of different flavours of Sambuca; banana, raspberry, cherry, black and ordinary. We also got some Fireball which is a really strong tasting cinnamon whiskey.

- Jason bought me some Jocelin UGG boots for my Birthday, I know UGGs aren't to everyones taste but I really like the ones I've got because they aren't like traditional UGGs.

- Obviously 1st of December marks the beginning of advent which meant I could start opening the doors on my Boots Beauty Advent Calendar

- I bought some Muppets lounge pants from Asda, they're amazing.

- In case you didn't hear me banging on about it, I went to Warner Bros Studios to see where they filmed Harry Potter, there's me standing outside number 4 Privet Drive. It was an amazing experience and I'd recommend it to anyone who's a HP fan. I was going to do a post about it but don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't already been. 

- I had some lovely birthday cuddles with my niece Sofia, she's officially the most beautiful little baby girl ever! 

- I took part in a secret santa swap and this was the present I gave to my secret santa, I bought her some OPI polishes, a Nails Inc. set and an eyeliner, she seemed to really like it!

- Birthday rose wine

- Travelcard for going into London, Jason surprised me a little bit by taking me into London for a bit of shopping in Selfridges (this is a massive thing for him - he hates shopping with a passion!)

Have you been busy this December?

Nails | Ted Baker Beauty 'Golden Girl' Christmas Nails

I've seen all sorts of fancy Christmas nail designs just recently, and although they look amazing I know not everyone can afford to have that done, and to be totally honest I prefer a simple nail look. I don't have long talons I have average length nails so doing intricate designs can prove a little bit difficult!

This nail duo by Ted Baker provides the perfect nail look for the festive season, you could use the high shimmer Golden Girl on every nail or you could use Totally Twinky for the accent nail like I did.

Both polishes are so easy to apply, if you're not the neatest at nail painting then not to worry because it wipes away easy and doesn't stain your fingers. I found that both polishes needed at least 3 coats for an opaque look but if you just wanted a bit of glitter on top of a normal nail polish then one coat of Totally Twinky would provide sufficient sparkle. £8.50 for 2 polishes is great value in my opinion, the attractive packaging would also make the set a great little gift.

Are you sorted for sparkly nails this Christmas?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Jewellery | Happy Birthday to me - Tiffany & Co Necklace

If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter you will know that I got back from London today after a night away with my husband, the trip was mainly to visit Warner Bros Studios where Harry Potter was filmed but on Monday night we took a train into central London and went to Selfridges. He'd actually given me some money for our anniversary back in October and I knew what I wanted to buy with it, I was just waiting for the opportune moment...

I'm not a big jewellery wearer on a day to day basis, I generally just wear my wedding and engagement ring and that's it but this will take pride of place around my neck. I've always wanted a necklace with the Tiffany writing on and I've finally got one. They're not cheap but I think they're a timeless piece of jewellery, Tiffany is a bit of an iconic brand I think and I feel so lucky to own a piece of jewellery by them.Obviously purchases like this aren't a regular occurrence for me, but it is my birthday on Friday and like I say it's partly an Anniversary present from Jason.

Do you own anything by Tiffany?


Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas 2013 | The Christmas Tag

I don't usually do tags but I realised that Beauty Butterfly is looking less than Christmassy at the moment so the 'Christmas Tag' would be something to make things a bit more festive around here!

What are you usually up to on Christmas Eve?
If you don't know already, my husband owns a pub so I spend most of my night in there on Christmas Eve because it's busy and the atmosphere is quite nice, then at 11.30pm I usually head to midnight mass at the church around the corner for a few carols.

Who do you spend your Christmas day's with?
My Christmas day is usually quite hectic, this year we'll be getting up at about 9am, going to Jason's auntie's house to drop off presents, then onto his sisters to spend a bit of time with our nephews and then at 12pm we open the pub for 3 hours. After we've closed the pub we'll be going to my mums which is a 20 minute drive away, we'll be having dinner there and then heading home for an early night. We never get an early night so being able to go to bed at 10.30pm is a real treat for us!

Do you enjoy giving or receiving gifts?
Both but I sometimes get a bit nervous giving gifts because I wonder whether the recipient will like it or not!!

What does your outfit consist of on Christmas Day?
I usually try and go for something practical but a bit sparkly, working behind a bar with anything restricting on is very unpleasant so I have to dress for work as well as for play! This year I'm torn between a skirt and a top or some jeans and a jumper.

Do you enjoy shopping for your loved one's gifts?
This year I've hated it, like really hated it. I've felt so disorganised and I haven't had the faintest idea what to get people; I had all intentions of getting everything sorted by the end of November but time has just run away with me! I'm hoping to finally get finished on Wednesday with a final trip to Meadowhall.
Have you ever received a gift that you disliked and pretended you liked it?
Nothing that really sticks in my head but I remember when my mum bought me a thing to go on the back of your car seats as like an organiser thing, when my car only had 2 seats so it was useless!

What would your ideal Christmas be?
A relaxed one where I didn't have to work and rush around and people came to me!!

Jasper feeling festive (and hungry) with his Pedigree advent calendar

What is your least favourite thing about Christmas?
I won't lie - the expense!

What is the best gift you have ever received?
Hmmm this is really difficult, something that really sticks in my head is when a few years ago all I asked for was a DVD player and I'd opened all my presents and I hadn't got one. I was really disappointed but tried not to show it, then my dad walked in with a massive box and said we forgot about this - I opened it and it was a TV/DVD combi :)

If you could choose one person to spend Christmas with who would it be and why? 
This question was supposed to be someone other than family but I honestly wouldn't want to spend it with anyone other than family. The festive period is for friends and Christmas day is for family I think! The one person I'd love to spend Christmas with is my Auntie, but that's never going to happen unfortunately!
Let me know in the comments if you decide to do this tag :)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Beauty | So far in the Boots Beauty Advent Calendar

So it's 15th December and I'm over half way through the Boots beauty advent calendar, I thought I'd show you what I got in 2 separate posts rather than doing it all in one because it could end up being one big post with 24 windows to open!

The photo isn't in any kind of order I've just arranged them randomly.

Mavala nail polish in shade 53 London RRP £4.30
Seventeen Supreme Shine nail polish RRP £3.99
Orly Bonder Base Coat RRP £5.00
Ghost Fragrance Sample
Paco Robanne BLack XS Fragrance Sample
Juicy Couture LaLa Fragrance Sample
Nina Ricci L'eau Fragrance Sample
Vichy Liftactiv Serum 
Vichy Idealia Life Serum

Boots Nail Shine Solution RRP £4.20
Soap & Glory Clean, Girls body wash RRP £2.50
Rimmel Stay Matte foundation
Balmi Coconut Lip Balm £2.99
Umberto Giannini Hair Tie

So far I'm quite impressed with most of the products I've got but the biggest problem I have with it is that the most things are very difficult to get out of the actual packaging; I've ended up having to use something to flick the things out! So far the products are worth in excess of £22 if bought separately, of course some are small sample sizes but I haven't actually minded the perfume samples because I've found one I really like out of them, Paco Robanne Black XS which I have asked for for Christmas!

In my opinion, the best product so far is the Mavala nail polish, it's a gorgeous red shade which I've worn already and had complements about. The hair tie has to be the worst thing, I'll never wear it and I just think it's ugly!!

The temptation to open them all now is unreal but I'm determined that I'll keep opening them day by day to keep with the festive spirit!

Do you have a beauty advent calendar?


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Accessories | Wrappz Personalised Phone Case - Get your free skin!

I don't know about anyone else but I'm really struggling with Christmas present ideas this year, I am so behind with buying gifts for people. I don't like giving gifts that people can't use or that don't have any meaning, so when I was given the chance to review a personalised phone case from Wrappz.com I was so pleased because I think they're a great idea for anyone who has everything! 

The process of personalising the phone case is so easy, you can either use their designs with some text or you can upload a photo from your computer and use that. I chose a photo of my dog because obviously he's cute and who doesn't want a cute dog on their phone case, but you could add someones name or anything you want really... after all it is a personalised phone case!

Personalised iPhone 4 case £18.97 Wrappz.com

Wrappz also do personalised cases for other devices such as iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry and many more! The cases themselves are really good quality, they're sturdy and so they offer protection for the back and sides of your phone whilst looking pretty!

The guys at Wrappz have very kindly given me a code for the readers of Beauty Butterfly which will give you a free personalised skin for your phone (or as a gift for someone else!), you just need to pay the postage. To claim your free skin just enter the code freeskin at checkout.

What do you think to personalised phone cases and skins?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

All Used up #6

Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Duo £36 - I never did a full review on this because although I like it I still don't know if it's worth the price tag; parts of me say yes, others no. It's basically two products in one, a concealer and foundation so you are getting two things for the price of one, so if you look at it that way it is quite good value but I found that I had lots of concealer left compared to the foundation. I have gone through 2 bottles of this and I still have a full untouched concealer left. The coverage is medium to full, obviously better with the concealer but I decided to try another foundation product after I finished this one.

Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque £42.75 - I have done a full review of this some time ago, back in May and my opinion hasn't changed. It's a great product, albeit expensive. If you're willing to invest in your skin and you feel you have problem skin which may benefit from this I would put it on a wish list. However, if you don't have that kind of disposable income, Boots do a great clay mask which is much more affordable and still very good I also did a full review of Mudd clay mask.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid £21.50 - This is the high end foundation that I could buy without even blinking because I know I could go back to it if something wasn't working for me. I especially like using this on holiday because NW18 works really well for me when I have a little more colour in my face.

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb £49 - I was so reluctant to use my last squirt of this because I absolutely love it but it's so expensive and I doubt very much whether I'll get this for Christmas (unless I ask Jason very nicely....). It's a strong fragrance but so addictive, I know the name suggests it's overly floral but it's got such a beautiful twist to traditional floral perfumes (which usually I would avoid) I can't get enough of it!
© Girl Up North. All rights reserved.