Lifestyle: Feeling 22

Definitely feel like this is going to be on repeat in my head all day!

 photo 2015-11-29 18.57.47_zpsdkqm9ka2.jpgIt really doesn’t feel like it has been a year since I turned 21, spending the day curling on ice with my family and friends. But it has, I’m now the grand old age of 22!

Today’s post is just a quick one to say thank you to all the lovely people who have wished me happy birthday. Thank you to my boyfriend for arranging some kind of surprise weekend treat in a few weeks. Thank you to my housemates who have kindly buggered off out of the house so I could have phone interviews. Thank you to those who have tweeted encouragement when I’ve been down.

 photo 2015-11-29 16.55.59_zpsdf3ohv7t.jpg photo 2015-11-29 16.54.57_zpso6z9imhr.jpg photo 2015-11-29 16.55.42_zpscpe54f1l.jpgThank you to Blossoming Gifts for sending me such a beautiful bouquet of flowers, which I’ve since gifted to my mum. They’ve got a beautiful range of autumn bouquets – and using code BGIFTS33 you can treat yourself with 33% off. It definitely made my birthday weekend a little more special receiving some fresh flowers! These were a particularly stunning batch, they arrived packaged extremely well (albeit a day later than requested), and every flower was fresh and unblemished. I’d chosen the Fall bouquet and it was pretty much exactly as described. Definitely inspirational for a future Autumn day I’m planning in my head too…! I just wish I’d be able to see the bouquet at it’s best, as its clear its going to open up a little – and I’ve left it for my mum to enjoy back at home. No rest for the wicked, these next three weeks of university are going to be intense.

 photo 2015-11-29 18.57.40_zpsmwdcad3c.jpg photo 2015-11-29 18.57.59_zpsejmyex2p.jpgThanks to my dad for making THE most awesome cake. I thought last year’s was pretty awesome, but brownie layers sandwiches with vanilla cream surrounded by meringue?! So, so good – I’m surprised I wasn’t lying on the floor after a massive roast beef dinner and a rather large slice…

 photo 2015-11-29 16.54.29_zpsprv6a4fx.jpgThank you to both my mum and W’s mum, who between them have managed to surprise me with some of the most thoughtful and lovely gifts. I’m a lucky, lucky girl! Oh, and thanks to my (camera shy) dog for putting up with more than a few cuddles over the last weekend. I definitely miss “puppy” snuggles when I’m away at university, though I’m not sure this guy quite appreciated being carried around… photo 2015-11-29 20.11.07_zpsxpubna6b.jpg

Have a lovely day!

Lifestyle: 21st Celebrations and Surprises

Many of you know I turned 21 last week, and I was majorly excited about it. I don’t tend to get that excited for birthdays, but I had lots of surprises planned for me, some days of work, and you’re only 21 once! A lot of you were keen to hear about my surprises, so here’s a pretty photo heavy post for you all!

 photo 2014-12-02222614_zps1fe6e22c.jpg photo 2014-12-03191851_zps71218afb.jpgA lovely family friend made me this beautiful bunting. It’s so utterly me, and will go perfectly in my room this year. I love it, and it’s a great permanent reminder of the weekend!

 photo 2014-11-29195916_zps94ec3809.jpgThe weekend pretty much kicked off with a romantic meal, all cooked by my boyfriend. He served up Cheese Souffles (which I love), Steak, Homemade Chips, and his special Whisky Peppercorn Sauce (we ate the leftovers by the spoonful – slightly more classy than last time when we drank from the jug!). And Chocolate Peanut Fondants for afters – just divine! Washed down with a nice bottle of red too, it was a perfect evening!

The Monday consisted of visiting grandparents and desperately shopping for a birthday dress – more on that saga to come! This was a bittersweet day for me. I was a Granddad’s girl through and through, I adored my maternal Grandad. Sadly he was diagnosed with a very fast progressing Alzheimer’s five years ago, and four years ago was admitted to emergency care after a major downturn. He hasn’t recognised me or anyone else since, yet it still felt right to go and share some of my birthday celebrations with him. Alzheimer’s is an absolute bitch of a disease, and one that doesn’t get nearly enough support or recognition.

 photo 2014-12-02202157_zpsa5b3368c.jpg photo 2014-12-02090249_zps512168d0.jpgMy actual day started with (of course!) presents! My darling dog took it upon himself to help unwrap them, and succeeded in glueing his jaws together. I was super-proud as the ‘play dead’ trick I taught him meant he kept still enough for me to pick chewed up sellotape from his teeth. Fun job for the birthday girl! I was then treated to the best brunch of a dippy egg with toast soldiers, before nipping out to get my nails done.

 photo 2014-12-02222124_zps3043e72e.jpgBalloons and more presents later, it was time to head out for a family meal. My gifts were so thoughtful – my boyfriend got me an engraved locket which is adorable, my parents bought my camera in the year but very generously got me the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, a teapot and some other goodies. My sister spent her first wage packet on an umbrella, which I’m so very thankful for. And typically it’s not rained here since! My friends know me so well, and got me some lovely personalised gifts, Reese’s peanut bells, nail polishes, and Aldi dark chocolate amongst other things. And W’s parents were far too generous, and I have the Enrapture Hot Rollers to play with soon (I couldn’t fit them in my case, so excited to have a go!).

 photo 2014-12-02212409_zpsa16796cb.jpg photo 2014-12-02212439_zpseeb28119.jpgFood is a major part of my birthdays, and I’d really struggled with where to go. It’s difficult with my tomato allergy, my sister’s severe citrus allergy, and my mum’s aversion to cheese. In the end I went for the Red Lion again, and wasn’t disappointed. Excellent allergy service, and wonderful food. Even if W’s pate did look suspicious! My pulled pork fritter was definitely all that I had imagined and more…

 photo 2014-12-02222432_zpsc625ffc2.jpg photo 2014-12-02222543_zps88be2c50.jpg photo 2014-12-02223233_zps6431ac47.jpgThe stunning cake was made by my dad, and consisted of vanilla, caramel, caramel-chocolate and chocolate layers, sandwiches with caramel, topped with chocolate and sprayed with edible shimmer. It was absolutely immense in both size and taste – thanks dad!

And now for my birthday surprise…that wasn’t a surprise as my nan managed to blurt it out the night before. Well done to everyone else for keeping it secret though – even the lady in the local bank knew what it was and not to say!

 photo 2014-12-03141306_zpsaa851c71.jpg photo 2014-12-03141317_zps5c9b3637.jpg photo 2014-12-03141242_zpsd16c28c4.jpg photo 2014-12-03125300_zps01f0e7bf.jpgWe went curling! Beckworth Emporium introduced curling slots to their Christmas ice rink, and my mum booked one up months ago. Something I’ve always wanted to do, it was so much fun. The group of us definitely got better as time went on, I fell the most (and slid on my bottom trying to get up as everyone was laughing too much to help), and my sister turned out to be the best. If ever you have the chance to go curling (which is difficult, as there’s generally only one place in the country!) I highly recommend it. My muscles didn’t agree for the first few days, but now I’m desperate to go back. It’s bought the ice bug on too; me and W are trying out ice skating just before Christmas to try and get into the festive mood!

I had such an amazing birthday – so many people put in their time and effort, and I’m just hugely grateful. It wasn’t extravagant, it wasn’t a huge party, but it was totally me, and I loved every minute. Thank you everyone!

Do you like surprises? Ever been curling?

Beauty: The Perfect Winter Blush

This was my first ever MAC purchase. I fell in love at the tender age of 13, when me and a friend stumbled into Brighton’s MAC store. It was literally love at first swatch, but I never purchase. I lusted after it, swatched every time I went in store, and it finally earned a place high on my 20th birthday list.

 photo 0ef08e6c-eceb-4f21-9638-16f7d7b62b96_zpsb3d17e49.jpgExactly a year on, I’ve barely made a dent. That’s not to say I don’t use it! Most winter days see Love Thing flushed across my cheeks, blended well to give the rosiest of glows. You need the lightest of hands with this one, it’s so scarily pigmented a swipe will leave you looking clown like. And this blush sticks around too. It’s definitely still there when I go and take it off in the evening!

 photo 30c9e08b-1b0c-4964-9833-8389e6967896_zps8335203f.jpgI’m slowly becoming more confident with this. Last winter saw it being used to give the slightest hint of colour. This year I’m rocking the berry tones even more, and this blush goes perfectly alongside MAC Craving. Yup, it opened up a MAC addition I didn’t know I had.I can’t say any other of the blusher colours particular call out to me, but the formula seems like it’s pretty fail safe. A slightly dewy finish, a solidly baked powder that has survived multiple falls to the floor? It’s a winner in my book.

 photo 1cf8daa7-597a-44d9-af7b-305d8e6913cc_zps8e6f42f0.jpgNow, did anyone get my subtle hint above?! In case you haven’t noticed from posts becoming more excitable, and not-too-subtle twitterings, it’s my twenty-first birthday today! I’ve been utterly excited for weeks, with a whole three days booked off work for lie-ins and celebrations. My plans so far (I’m writing this in advance to make the most of my time off!) involve a pampering sessions with my lovely mum, my dad baking me multiple cakes, a romantic meal with my man, and then a family meal tonight. I’m hoping to squeeze in a brisk walk in the cold with my dog too, so I’m hoping for good weather! I also am being whisked away for a surprise tomorrow…

What’s your favourite blusher? Do you love berry tones in the cooler weather?

What’s Occurring Wednesday: Birthday Outfit Woes

You might have gathered from rants on Twitter over the last few weeks that I’m struggling to find an outfit for my birthday. I turn 21 in less than three weeks (eek!) and am going out for a nice meal with family and boyfriend. Whilst it’s nothing posh (we’re off to the Red Lion), I obviously want to look nice. I thought I’d found the perfect dress in Next, turns out the size I want is out of stock. I’m currently around £200 awaiting refunds, and still without a dress. I’ve had orders go missing, wrong sizes turn up, damaged items. You name it, what could go wrong has done. I only need the hairdresser to slip with the scissors on the day and I’m all set…

Birthday Wishlist

Back to the dress…I want something different, yet classy. On trend, but wearable again. And something that fits. A lot of dresses this season seem to be far too long on me, but petite lengths are always oddly-fitting. Sigh. I was asked by Avenue 32 to create a wishlist based on their website; I took this as the perfect opportunity to get browsing, gather ideas, and maybeee come up with my perfect birthday outfit.

Birthday Dresses

 

Black is a classic colour, but these dresses are both a little different. The grey lace overlay on this dress is stunning, and takes the harshness away from the black. And I’ve never seen anything like this dress! I love it, though I’m not sure I’d dare to wear that plunge neckline to dinner with my Nan!
Birthday Accessories

I’m sure most of your have guessed that I love berry and burgundy colours – and I feel they really suit me too. They are the perfect accessorising colour for a black or grey dress, so I’d definitely go with these. The bag looks the perfect size for a night out (I really need a teeny satchel!), and the shoes are just gorgeous. I’m becoming more and more of a shoe girl by the week, no longer content with slobbing round the office in flats, I’m now tottering in patent heels. I feel so much more grown up!

Coats

Of course, I’d need a new coat to stay warm in the December air. I get a new coat virtually every birthday/Christmas (joint present!) from my Nan, it’s something of a tradition. I’m feeling a grey coat this winter, mainly due to their beauties. I’m especially in love with this classic one, although this almost blazer style one looks deliciously different to the norm. That said, the shape of these would never suit my rather curvy figure…

I loved browsing the Avenue 32 site, they have some pieces which are completely and utterly my style. Their lingerie offering is pretty lovely too – it’s quite rare that I say that as I’m very fussy. Unfortunately the prices put off the student in me, but I am hoping from a little surprise on my birthday! Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, although all opinions are my own.

Do you like having a new outfit for a birthday? Any recommendations of places to look whilst searching for a dress?!

Birthday Thanks

It was my birthday a few quite a few days ago, and I’ve been meaning to do this post since to show you all what fabulous friends I have. Now, I now we are all in the same boat, all on a very tight budget, and so I really don’t expect gifts at all, let alone some of the wonderful things I received. Everything I was given was just totally ‘me’ and I love it all – it shows what great friends you have when everything they buy you is perfect!

2013-12-05 10.27.41Here’s just a selection of what I got!

  • First up is the canvas at the back. Amazing, my housemate actually painted that herself. When I realised she hadn’t bought it, I feel in love with it that little bit more. It’s absolutely stunning, and will look good in both my student room, and my dream-bedroom I’m planning for when I finally have my own house.
  • Then there’s the apron in the corner, which another housemate asked her mum to make for me (seriously wish I had a mum that could sew, let alone wishing that I could sew something like this!). Between this and another friend gifting me a recipe binder, you’d think they were hinting at me doing some baking! But honestly, I love both of the gifts, and they will be so, so  useful. Not to mention that a floral apron was actually on my Christmas list!
  • Lots of chocolate, which is helping me get through a period of stressful assessments and placement applications (I so wish there were more actuarial industrial placements available!). Plenty of fluffy socks, which are vital as we have a cold kitchen floor. Plus I love fluffy socks, and wear them pretty much constantly. I have been known (accidently of course) to shower in them…
  • A 2014 calendar, which will go perfectly in my room. And it’swipe clean, so great for tracking assessments and important to-do’s. Looking forward to using this!
  • A new Cath Kidston mug. I love my Cath Kidston mugs, they’re a perfect size for hot chocolates, so I love that I now have two at university!
  • Libby was shocked to hear this year that despite wearing dresses/skirts with tights a lot, I’ve never tried Primark’s super-cosy tights, so she treated me to a pair. Once this horrible wind dies down, and I’m not in danger of flashing anything, I’ll be trying these. Is is weird to be so excited about a pair of tights?
  • I was also treated to some new make-up, and related bits-and-pieces, including a MAC blusher I’ve wanted for five long years. It’s been worth the wait!

But what was my best present? Well, we all went out for a meal for my birthday, and it turns out that everyone had been secretly talking behind my back. It turns out that one of the people I had invited had deliberately agreed, despite knowing she wasn’t coming. Because my wonderful friends had arranged to get my boyfriend down to my university town and surprise me. They’d been planning for WEEKS, everyone knew (including my mother, who nearly let it slip a few hours beforehand!) and they managed to keep it a total surprise, although I did start getting a little suspicious at various points. To everyone who was in on this and made this happen – thank you so much, you will never know how grateful I was to spend my birthday, and an extra few days, with my boyfriend. Those in long-distance relationships will understand!

So that’s it, a quick round-up of my wonderful presents, and my even-more wonderful friends. Thank you guys – I love you all!