Viking Arty Party with Viking Direct

A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to the Viking Arty Party which was an early Christmas shindig organised by the lovely people at Viking Direct so I thought I'd take the opportunity to show a few snaps of what we got up to and also share my top picks from their website.

The event was held in Leeds which had us northern bloggers doing a little happy dance because even now, events held up north still aren't common. We all met up in the upstairs room at Lambert's Yard for mulled wine and a little natter before the festivities got underway. I was firstly absolutely made up because I finally got to meet Kellie (Big Fashionista), who I have 'known' in a virtual sense since I first started blogging in 2011 and I was equally as thrilled to learn that we'd be doing some calligraphy lessons! My creative skills aren't exactly my strong point so I was a little nervous that I was going to make an absolute hash of the workshops but I was surprised how easy things were once the instructions were kindly broken down for those non-crafty folk out there like me! I managed to make some mini Christmas crackers with some help from Tea & Crafting and I got some really handy calligraphy tips from Joyce from Artsy Nibs. It was a really lovely afternoon also complete with some amazing turkey and stuffing sandwiches (obvious essential for any Christmas party!)






Essential Daily Products

Daily essentials can sometimes be a bit overlooked when it comes to sharing the things you love and use regularly, mainly because that can of deodorant or whatever just isn't quite as pretty as the latest Naked eyeshadow palette is it? But ultimately, the basic stuff you use every day needs to be stuff that you actually like and stuff that works for you so although I don't have a huge daily routine of products, this is mainly what I use every single day...

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion £10.00 (The Body Shop)
Lancome Hydra Zen Moisturiser £41.00 (Feel Unique)

Admittedly, the Tea Tree lotion has come out in force again just recently because my skin has decided to have a bit of a tantrum and numerous spots have decided to appear on my chin. Tea Tree oil can be good for targeting particular spots to help clear them up but this gel-like lotion provides light hydration while calming your skin so you don't get the dryness that sometimes come with clearing spots up. 

The Hydra Zen is what I use in a morning before applying makeup, it provides just the right amount of moisturising without making my face look oily. It also helps to reduce any redness and soothes sensitive skin. I really struggled to find a moisturiser that was suited to my face and I discovered this through a little mini I got in a Christmas set so although this is quite pricey it's worth it for me because it works. 

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Caudalie Vine Body Butter £21.00 Feel Unique

Although I do use the Caudalie Body Butter on a daily basis I'm now using it rather sparingly because I'm almost out of it and I really do like how this smells. It's really thick and creamy and is perfect for putting on after a shower because it absorbs really quickly but still makes your skin feel nicely moisturised. There's no stickiness which can sometimes come with using a butter and the scent is quite light but really distinctive. 

One of the newest fragrances from Dove is Pear and Aloe Vera, I wouldn't have normally gone for a fruity kind of scent but this really surprised me with how nice it smells and it does a good job of keeping you fresh throughout the day!

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Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes £2.00 Boots

A very, very old favourite. I rarely ever stray from Simple face wipes simply because I know they suit my skin and they are moist enough to be really refreshing when you just need something to wake you up in a morning. I know removing makeup with face wipes is supposed to be a cardinal sin but sometimes a full on cleansing routine day and night... ain't nobody got time for that. 

Why You Should Visit New York at Christmas

It's September, X Factor is starting soon and shops are starting to change their displays... so surely I can mention the C word without being shouted at?

Anyway, technically if you were going to take my advice you'd need at least a few months notice before you could do it so here goes...

This time last year I booked a trip to New York with my best friend, Kayley. On a bit of a whim really, we both decided we wanted to go somewhere and found a fairly good deal for 3 nights between Christmas and New Year. To be fair, NYC is amazing at any time of year but the bright lights, big city thing gets ramped up around the festive period (from mid-October onwards, really). Even if you've been to New York before, the Christmas season is truly a sight to behold and you can have so many amazing experiences and see so much more than you can at any other time of year.

Shops and window displays

Christmas shopping in New York, can it really get any better? All the decorations and Christmas ranges seem on another level to what we have in the UK so even if you were just window shopping and only buying a few bits it's amazing just to be there. It does get VERY busy, especially on the streets but for me that just added to the atmosphere.

The displays in Macy's windows are a sight to be behold and the sheer scale of some of these stores has to be seen to be believed! America really does go all out for Christmas and NYC is no exception.

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Huge Christmas trees and light shows

Probably the most well known Christmas tree is the one outside the Rockefeller centre near the ice rink, now I wouldn't necessarily recommend that particular place for ice skating because it gets really stupidly busy but you absolutely must see the tree lit up and all the decorations that are around it, you can get some amazing photos. There's also a free light show on the front of the SAKS store (you can see this and the Rockefeller tree at the same time, bonus!) which happens every 10 minutes between the hours of 5-11pm so there's plenty of opportunity to catch it.

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Ice skating in Central Park

I'm just going to put this out there, I am an absolutely shocking skater, I can't do it to save my life. I did it purely for the Snapchats and Instagrams! I'm so pleased I did it though just to say I had aswell, it isn't free but it's not ridiculously priced; during the week including skate hire it's around $25 but at weekends and actual 'holiday' dates it is a little more expensive. Wollman Rink in central park is much, much bigger than the one at Rockefeller and therefore far less crowded which I much preferred.

Wollman-Rink

How to Save Money When You Shop Online

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Nowadays, everyone is turning to the internet in a bid to buy items of all types. Internet shopping has a myriad of advantages. For example, you don't need to travel to the store, and the products are delivered right to your doorstep. Not only that, you have a wide range of products to choose from and multiple merchants whose products you can sample. Then there's always the issue of costs. The debate of century is whether internet shopping has significant cost advantages over shopping in bricks and mortar stores.

Turns out it does

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The vast majority of products you can buy in a real word store are cheaper over the internet. This covers all products, from medication to furniture and lingerie as well as electronics. The reason online stores can do this is that they benefit from not having to pay for costs such as rent and
electricity. In addition to that, online stores use automated systems for the purposes of shopping and therefore do not need to hire a big team to run things from the background. Most online stores in the UK try as hard as they can to keep operational costs down, and those advantages trickle down to the consumer.

Online stores generally lower the cost of items in several ways, the most popular is the use
of discounts on specific products; they knock off a small amount of money from the
marked price. Discounts can be as little as 3% and as large as 30%. These shops also provide
vouchers and coupon codes and obviously these can be used to lower the overall cost of your 'basket' whilst making you think you've got a really good deal because you had a special 'code' (I know that generally works for me when deciding whether I really need to buy something!). Flash sales are also popular way for online stores to lure you in; they'll lower prices significantly for short bursts of time to try and get you purchasing because you worry that the price won't be that low for very long.

Looking past all these sales and discount codes, another thing you should do before taking the plunge and just purchasing the product I'd recommend shopping around to make sure that you find the best deal; the fastest way of doing this is to use a catalogue comparison site.