31 December 2011

Things That Make You Go Oooooo (December 2011)

by Beth Retro
Wow a new year is upon us already! This has been another great year for me, it's had its ups and its downs but all in all a year full of new discoveries, dreams fulfilled and amazing new friends made. I'm so grateful to live the life I have although it may not be perfect but it's those imperfections which really make me appreciate just how lucky I am, I just hope 2012 will be just as great a year for me as 2011 was...

On Happiness - This is such a great list and something I can definitely relate to, use these tips and make 2012 YOUR year!

5 Rules for a Creative Culture

How to Live a Beautiful Life - "A beautiful life requires work & effort!" and ain't that the truth!

by Looooo
55 Gentle Ways to Take Care of Yourself When You're Busy, Busy, Busy - Some wonderful easy tip which everyone can do to make their day a little brighter!

A *Fresh* Technique for Working Out Your Life Values

Life Only Sucks if You Do - "We have two choices: the pain of staying the same, or the pain of growth." sounds a simple choice doesn't it?

by Rebecca Naen
Staying Green and Healthy When Time Is Running Short - We all want to eat more healthy but sometimes it's hard to find the time these are some great tips of how to keep healthy during those busy times.

The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck

5 Workout Mistakes To Avoid For Better Results - Definitely something I need to take note of as I'm terrible when it comes to exercise.

by Carrie
How To Feel Fabulous When It's Frigid Outside: My List Of Winter Essentials! - Seriously who said winter was the worst season when there's so many fun things to do?

4 Ways To Curl Your Hair Without a Curler

Winter Pick Me Ups! - Winter is fast becoming one of my favourite seasons there are so many little things you can enjoy when it's cold outside.

by AndrejA
5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Don Draper - If there's one thing Don Draper knows it's how to sell!

Tips For Newbie Bloggers

Blogger Beautiful? An Examination Of What It Means To Be Beautiful & Valuable In Fashion Blogging - Amazing read, great for anyone wanting to turn their blog into their business.

by queenanka
Alan Rickman Reading, And Other Velvet-Voiced Celebrity Narrators - I love a good narrator and Alan Rickman has such a soothing voice I also love Morgan Freeman's voice and for my fellow Game of Thrones fans you should check out Roy Dotrice reading the series he really brings those characters to life!

How to Create a Regular Creative or Spiritual Practice

11 Books That Changed My Life - If you're looking for some alternate interesting reads for 2012 then check out some of these.

D.I.Y. Glitter Star Crown - This is adorably festive and although Christmas has passed there's always an excuse for a little bit of extra sparkle in your life!

Holiday Hair

Kaelah's Cocktail Hour: Bartender Knows Best - It is NYE today so it's a great excuse to raid the booze cupboard and create some delicious new cocktails!

Love & Sparkly Hugs

26 December 2011

Post Christmas Sale Time!!

Christmas day is over for yet another year but don't let that get you down because it's the start of the EPIC sale season and to spend all those pennies your distantly related aunts and uncles gave you for Christmas. So to get in the mood and hopefully clear some space for new and awesome designs in the coming new years I'm offering all you guys a massive 25% off all purchases in my Etsy shop from now until January 1st!

To get your exclusive 25% off any purchase (and yes that also includes sale items!) all you have to do is enter the code  25DAYS  at checkout and your discount will be automatically applied, so go on treat yourself a special one of a kind item completely handmade by yours truly I promise you won't regret it!

Love & Cuddles

25 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

Just stopping by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with gift giving, delicious food and excellent company.

Love & Snowflakes 

21 December 2011

The Perfect Cup of Tea

As a little pre-Christmas treat I decided to order myself a bunch of new teas to try from Teapigs. This was my first order from Teapigs although I've heard really good things about them and with flavours like popcorn and crème caramel it was hard to resist.

There was a slight hiccup in my order which meant it wasn't shipped when it was supposed to be but after a quick email to the company they resolved the problem, promptly sent my parcel out to me and even included a few extra samples for me to try to apologise for the wait.

Tea is pretty much my drink of choice especially in the colder months there's nothing quite like a nice hot cup of tea to warm your insides and your fingers up and this tea was particular delicious. Out of all the samples I've tried what is most noticeable is the freshness it has, not only is it warming but it really quenches your thirst and you can really taste those different flavours, the crème caramel was creamy, the super fruit super fruity, the chai suitably spicy, the winter tea like a cup of Christmas all very delicious and very flavourful!

I'm a Teapigs convert, this is really good tea and I love the little serving suggestions it has for each of the brews I've tried all the them in multiple ways alone or with milk or a dollop of honey or splash of brandy each has it's own unique way to be served. I totally recommend them to all my fellow tea drinkers as there is something for everyone and they're a real treat to, the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold winter's day!

Love & Tea

18 December 2011

The Frequent Flyer: Aurora Hunting

Our main reason for our mini Iceland getaway was to seek out the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, after  checking the weather forecast religiously the week before we were due to leave and seeing nothing but rain and snow I wasn't expecting to see them at all but after just a few hours in Iceland and a short bus ride out of the city we got lucky and experienced one of the most amazing displays on record!

At first it can be difficult to see the Aurora, with the naked eye we could make out a more defnined band of white in the sky and slowly a greenish mist, however after taking a long exposure photo we could see that there were colours in the sky, as we were only using a point-and-click we only saw the basics but other people with better quality cameras were getting all kinds of brighter different shades of red, pink,and green.

After standing outside (in sub zero temperatures) staring at the greenish mist in the sky which was beginning to fade we made our way back to the bus a little disappointed that that was all we managed to see but then as we were driving back to Reykjavik the sky seemed to explode and well defined colourful streak appeared all over the sky moving and dancing just like you see in the movies!

There are no words for me to express just how amazing it was seeing them in real life, the sky just seemed to explode and light up with colour and it was so beautiful I even shed a tear. A lot of people go to Iceland with the intention of seeing the Northern Lights and don't see them at all but we saw them three nights in a row although the first night was definitely the brightest and most spectacular.

I feel exceptionally lucky to have had the experiences that I had in Iceland they are definitely something I will never forget and I'll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. Iceland is such a beautiful and wondrous island that I think everyone should visit at least once in their lives, I've only been back a couple weeks but I miss it so much and would love so much to visit there again.

Stars & Snowflakes

Here are a couple of my favourite videos of the Aurora Borealis just to give you an idea of what we saw

Aurora Borealis in Finnish Lapland 2011 from Flatlight Films on Vimeo.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

Related Links

16 December 2011

Inspirational Quotes #21

I am attracted to people who make this effort in knowing what suits them - they are individual and stylish. - Vivienne Westwood

11 December 2011

The Frequent Flyer: Horse Riding Through Narnia

Some of you who follow me on Twitter may know that I took a short but magical break to the Land of Ice and Fire AKA Iceland and whilst there I fulfilled one of my childhood fantasies of horse riding in the snow although I never actually planned for it to snow lucky for me the snow started falling on the morning we had planned our ride and completely transformed the amazingly beautiful scenery into something vast, white and mysterious.

This was my first time horse riding, it's one of those things that's been on my to-do list for the longest time so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, if it would be difficult to do or if it would be painful but thankfully the staff were wonderful with us giving us simple instructions on how the handle the horses, mount and dismount, and my horse Struoka was lovely, calm and very patient with me.

Icelandic horses are smaller than your average horse but just as sturdy and they love the cold weather, so being out in the snow that morning was a great treat for them and us, we were only out riding for a couple hours but they had to have been some of the best hours of my life!

It was such a great experience riding through the falling snow in such a magical setting I almost felt like I was in a fairytale place and I'd somehow fallen through my closet and landed in the mystical land of Narnia. My horse was so lovely and friendly with me even when she went a little too fast and nearly overtook the instructors she slowed down when I told her to and didn't throw me off which is always a good sign!

Seeing Iceland on horseback was such an amazingly beautiful thing to do, even though I was quite cold and wet (but luckily not sore!) towards the end of it, it was one of the best things I've ever experienced and if given the chance I would do it again in a heartbeat, so who knows maybe I might take some horse riding lessons in the new year...

Snowflakes & Sugarcubes

Related Links

08 December 2011

The Warriors of Westeros

As 2011 is nearly over we decided to drive down to Birmingham to attend the last big comic con of the year Memorabilia and much to my delight some of the cast of Game of Thrones were in attendance. As you guys probably know from my various posts I'm just a little bit obsessed with Game of Thrones.

I bought an awesome map of Westeros (courtesy of eBay) especially for the cast to sign, which they all seemed to like, there isn't currently a lot of Game of Thrones merchandise available so when I stumbled across this map I thought it would be the perfect start to my Game of Thrones collection.

Miltos Yerolemou plays one of my favourite characters in the series Syrio Forel had the honour of being the first to sign my poster, I almost wish I had a sword with me so I could as him to teach me some cool moves, he was absolutely lovely and charming and seems to have a great love of the show and did a wonderful job of bringing the character to life even though Syrio is short lived (or is he?) he still has a strong presence in the story through Arya so definitely will not be forgotten.

James Cosmo was next and he plays Lord Mormont Commander of the Night's Watch which is one of my absolute favourite aspects of the whole series of A Song of Ice and Fire if you couldn't already tell from my outfit and my constant gushing about it. He was also very friendly and just as strong and fatherly as I expected him to be, I pretty much felt like a hobbit in heels next to him because he seemed to tower over me!

Finn Jones plays Ser Loras Tyrell or The Knight of the Flowers and is just as charming and dashingly handsome as he appears to be (and yes that's his real hair!) luckily he has read the books so we could talk about that and what can be expected from season 2 which he had already finished filming when we spoke (sorry no spoilers guys!). He seems to be as much of a fan of the show as I am which is awesome because it only makes me more excited for what's to come.

You can tell from speaking to everyone involved that there is a real love and dedication to the show and it really is something special, so much care and effort has been made in to bringing this enriching world to life and presenting these complex and amazing characters, they all should be very proud of what they've created. Anywho that's enough of my fangirling if you haven't a clue what I've been talking about for this whole post then you need to go watch Game of Thrones and/or go check out the books but be warned they're very addictive!

Fire & Blood

04 December 2011

A Very Merry Holiday Wishlist

December is here and the holiday celebrations have already started, in the words of Perry Como "It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas". It's the season of giving and I've already sent a few gifts out to friends and family across the pond and I've got lots more gift bags ready to give out to those more local in a couple weeks time. I've been that busy gift shopping that I haven't even thought about what to gift myself this year so here are a few things I'll be dreaming about this Christmas.

 Alexander McQueen Hand Embroidered Silk Chiffon Dress
Definitely THE dress of my dreams it looks like it has come straight out of a winter wonderland, I just love all the attention to detail this dress had and the sense of winter regalia it gives, priced at over £16,000 this is one dress that's likely to remain in my dreams but wow is it a beautiful creation to dream about.

Christmas Lush Stuff
I know, I know I'm currently on a beauty ban but the Lush Christmas stuff is just so irresistible, I love all the sparkly bath bombs they have and the warm yummy holiday scented soaps and gels, they make a nice hot bath on a winter's day feel even better!

Longclaw, Jon Snow's Sword from A Song of Ice and Fire
Winter is Coming and I can't think of a better nerdy gift for myself, I'm well an truly obsessed with Game of Thrones and the Song of Ice and Fire series (more to come on this obsession soon!) and the Night's Watch is one of my favourite aspects of the book, but anyway enough of my geekiness just look that this magnificent weapon how freakin' bad ass would this look in the Batcave‽

Handmade Floral Crown
I've been meaning to craft myself one of these for the longest time but can never find the time (or the flowers) so this might be one of those occasions when I'm better off just buying one. I love floral crowns and although they tend to be thought as more of a summer accessory I think they can look pretty festive to.

Disney Couture Minnie Mawi Necklace
Disney Couture have made yet another necklace which I've fallen in love with and I honestly can't think of a necklace more perfect for me, the colour combination of pink and black is my absolute favourite and I just love how chic and stylish it looks, Minnie would be proud!

Hello Kitty Fuji Instax
This is another camera which reigns high on my wishlist (second only to the Diana Mini) I've always wanted an instant camera as have a soft spot for analogue. The Fuji Instax comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes but of course it's the Hello Kitty one which has caught my eye and you can even buy special Hello Kitty and Disney film to go with it, how cute is that?

Teatime Treats
I'm the type of person who likes a biscuit with my afternoon tea which I suppose makes me very stereotypically British in a way but I always try to make time for an afternoon cuppa and at Christmas time I always make it a bit more special and break out the festive china, holiday brew and biscuits, however, I broke my festive teapot and cup earlier this year (after 5 long years of service) so this beautiful set from my favourite tea company Whittard's would make the perfect festive treat.

What have you guys got on your Christmas lists for Santa this year?
Love & Snowflakes

30 November 2011

Things that make you go Oooooo (November 2011)

by hakanphotography
I can't believe that another year is almost over, I feel like I've done so much this year yet so little and I still haven't made any solid goals for 2012 despite it edging ever closer. Winter is here, I can't wait for the snow to arrive and I'm feeling rather festive which is probably the effect of my Starbucks eggnog latte addiction, so grab yourself a hot drink and enjoy this months Things that make you go Oooooo...

Vintage Egg Tutorial - Aren't these the cutest? The perfect way to decorate your Christmas tree.

21 Small Habits That Will Help You to Live a Simpler Live

5 Tips for Better Self Portraits - I've been think of maybe taking up the 365 challenge next year so these simple but great tips will come in useful.

by Moonywolf
How To Get Calm in a World Full of Crazy - I don't know if it's the effect of the Christmas season but I'm finding myself getting extra stressy so here are some great tips from Gala for finding your calm.

My Childhood Icon: Sailor Moon

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips - A few of you have asked me about blogging tips recently so here are some great tips from Joy which I 100% follow and agree with!

by sssseahorse
Let's Make & Receive Surprise Balls - These are such a great idea, especially for Christmas it be great to make a few to hang on your Christmas tree so not only is it an adorable decoration but a fun gift to.

Hair How-To

D.I.Y. Faux Fur Stole - The perfect winter accessory and definitely on my winter crafting list, they would also make a great gift for Christmas!

by Jyoujo
Tokyo Rising - This is a great mini series about Tokyo's youth and creative culture, so inspirational!

Save That Money

Mila Kunis - Great interview, not only is she absolutely gorgeous but a very inspirational and intelligent role model.

by Misses Magoo

Young Me Now - Recreating your childhood photos is such a great idea I'm so inspired to join in on this project.

All "Restriction" is Not Created Equal

The Muppets in Fairytales - I love the Muppets and I'm so happy there's a new movie coming out soon also here's some more Muppet love for my fellow Game of Thrones fans

by Candace Lesage Austen
What Carrie Bradshaw Can Teach You About Blogging - I always kinda think of Carrie as the original blogger even though technically she wasn't but we can still learn some great lessons from her to help our own blogs.

"We are all bad feminists, really"

5 Feminist Conversations I'm Over - THIS so much, such a funny but great read!

by marymarycherry
The Thing About Posing - My gorgeous friend YumeNinja shares some of her great tips on posing and looking your best in photos, definitely something I'm taking notes on!

Wanna Be My Friend?

Good People - This is such a heart warming read from Gala and definitely something I can relate to.

Love & Sparkly Hugs

28 November 2011

Beauty Blitz: The Shopping BAN!

Whilst doing my monthly purge of items I don't wear or never use I noticed that I have an excess of beauty products. Over the past few years I've been more conscious of my spending and trying only to spend money on items that I will use, beauty products coming under that category, however it would seem that even when it comes to those items I am still consuming too much. The final straw came when my the drawer I keep all these products in broke and well you know you have too many lotions and potions when your drawers collapse under the sheer weight of them!
I will openly admit I don't have the best skin, I suffer from eczema, I break out, I have blackheads and yes I do use a bit of photoshop to cover up certain blemishes so I'm constantly on the look out for products that will soothe and better my skin (espcially during winter!) but my problem is is that I tend to hoard products, I'll save them for certain occasions which never seem to come instead of just using them and making the most of them before their shelf life expires.

Maybe you guys have heard of the 10 pan challenge but basically it's where you put yourself on a shopping ban for beauty products and make-up until you've used 10 items up, this video explains the basics of it...

I think this is something I definitely have to do if not for myself but for the sake of my poor drawers who can no longer handle the sheer weight of my addiction!

Christmas is around the corner and I am expecting a few beauty related gifts (don't worry gifts are allowed!) so I feel this is the perfect time for me to clear out my drawers, use up some forgotten items and see what products work best for me.

This is my pile of beauty products that I want to use up which is admittedly A LOT more than 10 but as a lot have already been used or are sample sized I figure it wouldn't be much of a challenge. I won't go through each individual product but if I find a good one I'll be sure to share, in fact most of what I want to use up is lipgloss which considering how dry my lips get in the winter shouldn't be too much of a problem.

After all these are used up I think I'm going to take a lot more time and consideration into which products I'm going to buy, maybe spending that little bit extra on them if they do a good job of making my skin look good and maybe booking myself an appointment with a dermatologist to see what treatments they can recommend for me.

With that in mind do any of you have any must have products that you just couldn't live without or are you like me a hoarder of beauty products and in dire need of a purge?

Love & Sparkly Hugs

26 November 2011

Recipes For a Cold Winter's Day

The holidays are on their way and with it a plethora of delicious food, I'm a firm believer that anyone can cook and even if your meals don't turn out as pretty as they do in the recipes there's no better gift than a home cooked meal and that to me is what the holidays are all about so I thought I would share a few of my favourite winter recipes from fellow bloggers for you guys to try out.

Quinoa Stuffed Squash - The perfect seasonal recipe, healthy, delicious and really easy to make.

Curried Vegetable Stew with Pearl Barley & Almonds -Stew is the best cure for a cold winters day and I love this different take on a traditional recipe.

Beef Stew - A simple but delicious recipe sure to warm your belly!

Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup -  One of the best soups I've tasted and makes great use of those seasonal vegetables.

Butternut Squash Soup - I love the use of pears and cheese in this, it gives the soup a great depth of flavour
Super Moist Pumpkin Bread - Although the recipe says bread there's none of that kneading and rising involved (thankfully!) this tastes great with a hearty warm soup.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies - So light and delicious perfect with a mug of hot chocolate.

Old Fashioned Donuts with Chocolate Glaze - Hot fresh donuts are the yummiest thing ever, the perfect comfort food!

Blueberry Peach Pie - I love me some pie and blueberry and peach work so deliciously together.

Fifteens - These are such an easy and great treat to make whatever your kitchen skills, try them  and you'll be hooked!

Indulge & Enjoy!

20 November 2011

Set Your Music On Fire

by ice-cold photography
Metaphorical or not we all need a bit of heat and fire in our lives whether it be to keep us warm or to give us courage. Music is a wonderful motivator and something I've been relying on a lot recently to perk me up so here are a few of my favourite fiery tunes sure to inspire and keep the fire going through these long cold winter months.

Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
Fire of Unknown Origin - Blue Oyster Cult
There is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
Sparks - Coldplay
Volcano - Damien Rice
Golden - Late Night Alumni
Crash and Burn Girl - Robyn
Canned Heat - Jamiroquai
Fever - Lady Gaga
This Fire - Franz Ferdinand

Love & Flames