Monday, 30 November 2015

Fashion // Jewellery by Love Layyanah

I have some really cute jewellery to share with you today! Love Layyanah is a brand new jewellery website which features a range of utterly adorable and super affordable pieces which would make the perfect gifts for your friends, family (and yourself) this Christmas! Love Layyanah sells all types of jewellery in gold, silver and rose gold finishes, as well as a selection of other accessories, like cute bejwelled wooly hats! Yep - you need to check out those out asap! It's all great value too, with all jewellery under £10. Who says Secret Santa presents can't be stylish?

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I was kindly sent the gorgeous gold plated Arrow Bracelet* (£6), 18kt gold plated Antler Necklace* (£8.10) and 18kt gold plated Origami Plane Necklace* (£9). How cute are they?! I usually choose silver jewellery but thought gold would be a nice change, and is really nice to wear at Christmas time. My jewellery arrived in the cutest packaging - brown paper packages tied up with black ribbon, complete with teeny tiny gift tags - gorgeous!


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The 18kt gold plated Arrow Bracelet is so simple and so pretty. It fits my wrist perfectly - large enough so I don't scrape my skin on the arrow points, but small enough that it sits nicely and doesn't hula hoop around my arm! It looks really delicate and far more expensive than it's £6 price tag. I think I need it in silver too!

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The 18kt gold plated Antler Necklace is my absolute favourite! I've been wearing it non-stop since it arrived and I have had so many compliments! I love going for a winter walk to Richmond Park and Knole Park to see the deer each Christmas, so I love that I can carry a memory of this with me all year round. It's the perfect necklace to wear to get into the Christmas mood without being too festive. I love the detail of this necklace - the grooves add visual interest, make it look more realistic, and again suggests it is much more expensive than it is. There is also a matching ring for just £4.90!

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The 18kt gold plated Origami Plane Necklace is so cool and would give any outfit a quirky little touch. I think it's a really universal design and would be perfect for any One Direction fans - hey, if it's good enough for Harry Styles!

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I'm so pleased with my Love Layyanah pieces. They're great value, so pretty and would make perfect gifts for friends and family this Christmas. 


Will you be giving anyone jewellery this Christmas?



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*Thanks so much to Love Layyanah for inviting me to try out these gorgeous pieces. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Lifestyle // Personalised Photo Square from Cheerz

Most of us bloggers are big fans of photography and I for one really enjoy taking pictures and practising my shots and editing skills. Instagram is my favourite social media platform and I love sharing my iPhone or Olympus PEN photos there, but I sometimes feel nostalgic for the good old days taking a roll of film down to Jessops to be developed, or spending my Saturday afternoons in the photo booth in Miss Selfridge with my friends (you did that too, right!?) I actually have hardly any photos around my home now as I'm just never sure of how the best way to print them out from my online libraries. Thankfully Cheerz* got in touch to tell me about their photo printing service which allows you to upload pics directly from Instagram or your computer and be printed in a variety of different formats. They invited me to create my own Little Square picture collage and I absolutely ADORE IT!

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The Cheerz website is super easy to use - you just choose what product you want to order and then either log in to your Instagram account or upload the pictures you want to use from your computer. The hardest part is deciding what pictures to include! The Little Square allows you to have one large photo or four smaller squares, which is what I decided on. Simply pick the photos you want to use and you can then play around with the order which they appear in the grid, click save and you're done! The only thing I did find annoying was you can't zoom in to see how the pictures actually look. Sometimes with editing, pictures can become a little grainy or distorted, and I was a little nervous this would show on the printed images. It didn't though and they looked absolutely perfect!

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I chose four of my favourite recent photos - two of Tony and I together and two pretty scenic shots. The top left is us celebrating his 30th birthday in Cambridge, top right is a beautiful view of the Turkish sea from our holiday in October, bottom left is a photo from a day out in Brighton in the summer and bottom right is Tony and I at our friends wedding last year. I thought the blue / green colours in each picture complimented each other well and stood out really nicely against the white frame (you can also pick a brown or red frame too if that's more your style). 

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My parcel arrived really quickly and was delivered by courier so you could track its progress and rearrange the time slot if needed. It was packaged really well and also included a cute Christmas card from the Cheerz team, and some gift labels should you be giving the frame to a friend, which I thought were really nice touches.


I'm so impressed with my Cheerz Little Square photo frame and will definitely be ordering a couple more - they're such a great, no hassle way of displaying your photos in a really nice way, and at only £19.95 are really good value too. If you want to add more photos, you can also create a Large Square picture frame collage and even a Poster sized one, as well as being able to print your photos to magnets, picture strips and coasters. 

They'd make brilliant Christmas presents which can then be enjoyed all year round :D


You can also get £4 off your first order over £8 using the code EMM7ZA 


How do you usually display your photos?



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*Thanks so much to Cheerz for inviting me to try out their lovely Little Square photo frame. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Lifestyle // How to try an Olympus PEN E-PL7 for FREE & Get A £50 Discount Voucher

If you read my September Favourites post last month you'll know that I recently treated myself to a new camera - the Olympus PEN E-PL7. Despite it being the blogger camera of the moment, I was very keen to do my homework and not just jump on the bandwagon without thoroughly doing my research first. I always see people tweeting their deliberations over whether to buy an Olympus PEN or not and, whenever I've got mine out at an event, I've had heaps of questions about it. The one thing I always say is - you know there's a scheme where you can try before you buy right? And that they give you a £50 discount should you decide to buy one? You didn't? Well keep on reading!

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Unless you've got mega bucks to burn, buying a new camera is probably quite a big deal to most. It certainly was to me - I'm not in the habit of blowing £400 on a single purchase, so I wanted to think very carefully about which camera I bought and whether it would be money well spent. I had bought a camera a couple of years ago but I barely used it as, although it sounded great on paper, it didn't actually serve my needs and was too big and bulky to be carried around anywhere. Unfortunately of course I didn't figure this out until I'd opened up the box, given it a go and then it was too late to return it. Determined that my next camera would be one I would actually want to use and not end up being a huge waste of my hard earned cash, I read endless reviews and watched countless YouTube videos of people talking about and demonstrating their new cameras. It gave me a good idea and a couple of cameras clearly stood out to me as strong contenders, one of which was the Olympus PEN E-PL7.

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Here are some of the photos I took during my weekend borrowing the Olympus PEN E-PL7
Now I'm sure everyone and their aunt's gerbil have heard about the PEN - it seems to be the camera of the moment, especially in the blogging world, due to its oh so instagrammable white and cream body, retro good looks, and the fact it has a flip screen which allows you to take the perfect selfie. Certainly all the big professional bloggers and YouTubers are singing the praises of the PEN. But, ever the sceptic, many of these are working with Olympus. Whilst I'm sure they wouldn't endorse a product they didn't truly believe in, I wanted to seek some totally unbiased opinions too and make my own mind up.  After tweeting such a quandary, Olympus tweeted me back to let me know about their Test and Wow Scheme. What wizardry is this I thought?! And why does no one else seem to know about it?!

(and FYI - I guess here's a good time to point out I'm not being sponsored to write this post either - I was just super thrilled with the service and my new camera, and think EVERYBODY should give it a go!)

Basically Test and Wow is a scheme officially run by Olympus which allows you to try out a selection of their cameras and lenses FOR FREE! The idea being that you'll test it out and - wow! - you'll be swayed to make the purchase by having experienced the greatness of the camera first hand. But there is no obligation to buy, so no pressure if it doesn't live up to your expectations or you simply want to buy it another time or at another place. However if you do take part in the Test and Wow scheme you are given a £50 cash back voucher off the price of your Olympus purchase. Good eh?!

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There is a slight catch in that the Olympus PEN is only available for collection at Park Cameras in London, so if you're not based in the capital (oh how Hunger Games!) it might not be too convenient for you. But you do get to have three days with your borrowed kit - the day you pick it up, the next full 24 hours and the day you drop it off. So if you are down in London, even for a night, it could be worth signing up to give it a go. After all, it's free!

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It's super simple to sign up to the scheme - just go online to the Test and Wow website, enter your details and book your time slot. My tip would be to pick it up on a Friday as it should technically be taken back on Sunday (you get one full day between your pick up and drop off days) but the scheme doesn't count Sundays so you don't have to take it back until Monday, giving you more time to play and explore. The same goes for bank holidays too, so you get even more time to play! You hand over photocopies of your ID and proof of address, and sign up with your credit / debit card details (to prevent you from running off with the camera - don't worry though, nothing gets charged as long as it comes back on time and all in one piece!) In return I received a full starter kit of everything I'd get had I just bought the camera myself, as well as a carry case to keep it all together in. Make sure you take your own memory card as you don't get to borrow one of these and the camera won't take any pics without an SD card. 

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I made a list of things I knew I wanted from my new camera and made sure to check that the PEN was up to all these jobs whilst I borrowed it. I also made sure I took a variety of photo types with it - product photos, out and about pictures and of course some selfies - everything I as a blogger cover. I also made sure to go for a long walk and wore the camera round my neck and in my handbag to check it wasn't too big and heavy for me. I've put a selection of the photos I took over the weekend here. It gave me a fantastic idea of what I could achieve with the camera and gave me the opportunity to have a go without realising too late it may not be what I was after. I was so impressed with its capabilities and found it really easy to use and navigate. Many reviews I'd read claimed the menus were hard to get used to but I picked the navigation up pretty quickly, which was fab as I could cross this firmly off my potential "cons" list.

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After borrowing the camera I was absolutely convinced that the PEN was the camera for me. Whilst on paper the Sony Alpha a5100 seems fairly similar and is quite a lot cheaper, it was a wonderful comfort and reassurance to me having actually had the opportunity to try before I buy, that the PEN was a good purchase. I could have gone for the Sony and found it not as good as the Olympus. Of course I could have found it better, but without a similar scheme available for the Sony I felt  confident in purchasing the Olympus. Seriously, all manufacturers need to operate a Test and Wow Scheme! 

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A few weeks later after payday I went back to Park Cameras and bought my own Olympus PEN. The camera was on sale for £409 for the basic kit with pancake lens (which is what I'd trialled and knew I wanted for its smaller size than the other kit lens option). Again the staff were super friendly and helpful and showed me how to go online and claim my £50 cash back using the voucher which they gave me because I'd taken part in the Test and Wow scheme a few weeks before. With the £50 cash back voucher it came to £359 which is the best deal I've seen around, even better than the 25% discount offer some professional bloggers were offering through their affiliation with Olympus



I've been absolutely thrilled with my PEN and am so glad I bought it. I really recommend giving the scheme a go if you can - it's such a great way of making sure you're as informed as you can be before buying a new camera and it definitely gives Olympus the edge by giving customers that freedom and piece of mind. I'll definitely be using it again to try out new lenses before I extend my photography kit. 


Did you know about the Test and Wow Scheme? 

Will you be giving it a go?


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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Lifestyle // Christmas Blogging Events - The Perfume Shop, BareMinerals, Kaleidoscope, Boohoo, Greggs & AO.com

Christmas is well and truly on its way! I've been very festive the last couple of weeks after being invited to some lovely events with brands to check out some of their festive treats. I thought I'd share with you some of the fun from the evenings I've recently spent looking at beauty bits with The Perfume Shop and Bare Minerals; festive fashion with Kaleidoscope, an amazing Christmas party with Boohoo, a visit from Greggs and their #PastySanta and a Christmas dinner party with AO.com and GBBO's Flora, which ended up in flames!

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The Perfume Shop #WhereWillItTakeYou


I love perfume and think it makes the perfect present (for yourself or someone else!) It's decadent, personal and glamorous. The Perfume Shop always does the best gift sets and there were plenty on display on the evening. The star of the show had to be the new Marc Jacobs fragrance Decadence, which comes in the most amazing bottle EVER which is modelled on one of Marc's handbags! The perfume itself is also really opulent and sophisticated, with notes of Italian Plum, Bulgarian Rose and Liquid Amber, it's perfect for the Christmas party season. 

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BareMinerals #BareStory


You can't beat a beauty gift set! BareMinerals had so many stunning varieties on display I felt like I was at Wimbledon my head was turning from side to side so quickly looking at it all! Some of my favourites were a lip gloss that goes on clear and changes colour to suit your lips - it was so cool to see how the same product looked so different on everyone! Their lipsticks were also beautiful - the packaging, the colours - they all looked so decadent and so perfect for Christmas!

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Kaleidoscope #PartyWithKaleidoscope


I'd not heard of Kaleidoscope until very recently when I joined a Twitter chat with one of their stylists. Last week I headed down to Jennings in Mayfair to check out their gorgeous Christmas party range and fell in love! They sell an amazing range of brands of clothes, shoes and accessories and everything was of such high quality (and high sequin level - perfect for Christmas!) It was a really lovely evening and it was lovely to meet some of the team from Kaleidoscope, as well as catching up with Katie (Kalanchoe), Georgie (Away With The Fairies) and Jess (Look What I Got)

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Boohoo Christmas Party #WeAreFamily


On Bonfire night I went along to the Boohoo Christmas Party and had one of the best nights I've had in ages! It was held at the Sky Bar, Millbank Tower so we had an amazing view over London and it was so cool to see the fireworks going off around the city. There were so many amazing bloggers there and it was great to catch up with Katie (Kalanchoe), Ben (21st Century Gent), Erica (Being Erica), Katy (Little Miss Katy), Hollie (Pretty Big Butterflies), Paige (Paige Joanna), Monica (Moth Loves) and April (Hello April). I also got to finally meet Faith (With Love From Opal) and Katie (Scarphelia) in person, as well as meet some new friends Jess (Jess In Your Ear), Milly (Mini Adventures) and Lyzi (Being Little). Good times! We had so much fun, dancing to the live karaoke band, drinking mulled wine out of baubles (literally the only way I ever want to have my drinks served for the remainder of the festive period - so cool!) and having our illustrations done by the amazingly talented (and super lovely) Ella Masters. There was also an Elegant Touch station where you could get your nails done, a Christmas Jumper making station, photo booth and a selection of Boohoo's swoon worthy Christmas collection on display. The Boohoo babes really know how to throw a party! It was such a fun night and got me so ready for Christmas! Thanks for having me guys!

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Greggs #PastySanta 


I got a real treat last week when the gang from Greggs and #PastySanta himself hand delivered a box of their delicious festive range to my office! Not many people at my work know I blog so were a bit bemused to find me hugging Santa in the reception area! My team and I really enjoyed our tasty treats - the classic Christmas Lunch Sandwich and Festive Flatbread (which is a really delicious lighter way to enjoy a Christmas sandwich), the mince pies and the Christmas muffin, which was my personal favourite and is laced with light Christmas spices and filled with a delicious custard - YUM! Greggs festive range is in stores now and also includes Christmas cupcakes, biscuits and a special sausage roll, so go grab some for yourself! If you upload a selfie (elfie?!) with your #PastySanta bag you can also win prizes. #PastySanta also really kindly bought me a voucher for Cowshed so I am going to treat myself to a massage over Christmas. Thanks #PastySanta!  

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Christmas Dinner Party with AO.com & #GBBO's Flora Shedden


We all know I love food and the Great British Bake Off, so I was beyond excited when the lovely lot at AO.com invited me to a Christmas Dinner Party with GBBO star Flora Shedden. I had such a great night and again got to see lots of familiar faces as well as make some new friends. We started with a glass of mulled wine and some amazing canapés which had been made using some of AO.com's kitchen gadgets - freshly made waffle with a chocolate and chilli dip anyone?! We then headed down to a beautifully laid Christmas dinner table. The food was really tasty - Chorizo and Prawn Wet Rice with Aioli to start and Confit Duck Leg, Pickled Carrots, Spring Onions, Mint and Sesame Dressing for main course - and it was great to have a good chat over a few glasses of prosecco. Just as dessert was served however - Merigue, Pomegranate, Caramelised White Chocolate and Cardomom - the curtain right behind where Flora was sitting caught fire! Apparently it was started by a rogue tea light and we couldn't believe how quickly the fabric went up in flames! Thankfully fire extinguishers were on hand but we had to abandon our smoke filled dining room and untouched puds! Despite this hasty end to the evening I had such a good night - flaming good you might say ho ho ho!

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Have you started to get ready for Christmas yet?


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Friday, 13 November 2015

Favourites // October 2015

So October has been and gone, in a whirl of holidays, Halloween and "how the hell is it nearly Christmas"s! As you can probably tell from my lack of posts (seriously I haven't even had time to paint my nails, let alone blog about it - miss you Midweek Manicure!), I had another busy month, but I'm really hoping everything will quieten down soon so I can get back to giving my little corner of the Internet the loving it deserves! Until then, here's a peek at my October faves.

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Holiday to Akyaka, Turkey

One of the major reasons I've been absent this month is - I WENT ON HOLIDAY! Finally! I tell ya, that week off was a long time coming! Tony and I went to a little town called Akyaka on the south coast of Turkey and had such a lovely time - very relaxed and quiet but a good recharge of our batteries. You can read more about the week and ogle some of the beautiful scenery we were spoilt with here. We collect magnets to remind us of every place we visit together which is what you can see in the picture above! 

Mile High by Rebecca Chance

Whilst on holiday I finally had time to get stuck into a good paperback book. Rebecca Chance is one of my favourite authors and I'd been saving Mile High to read on my hols - it was definitely worth the wait! I've blogged about Rebecca's awesome books before, but they really are the perfect escapist beach read. Oozing with glamour and a good sex scene or two, Rebecca's books also always involve some kind of murder or crime mystery which I love. Mile High focuses on pop sensation Catalina who is about to embark on the first flight of the luxury Pure Air airliner, but unfortunately finds her anonymous stalker onboard with her. You're kept guessing right to the end which of her fellow passengers it could be! Rebecca is also always hilarious and I often find myself laughing out loud whilst reading her books. It was amazing in Mile High to have two of the funniest characters "The Terrible Twins" named after fabulous book bloggers Emma Louise and Kevin, who I'd bonded with previously on Twitter after sharing our love for Rebecca's book Killer Queens (again, def recommend!) I finished Mile High on my flight home and the air steward was delighted to see the book on my seat table and winked at me as he went past saying "No Mile High Club on my flight love" which gave me a good giggle too!

Are You The One?

As I'm on random lifestyle favourites, I might as well continue (beauty bits coming up next!) My TV treat this month has to be Are You The One?- please tell me you watch it!!!! I randomly stumbled across it during a late night channel hopping session and have become OBSESSED ever since! Basically a dating game show, there are 10 women and 10 men put up in a luxury villa in Hawaii and - having undergone a series of psychological etc exams - they have been paired up by experts and have to find their Perfect Match in the house. If all 10 couples work out who they are meant to be with in the house, they all find "true love" and win one million dollars. More often than not they fall in lust with someone who isn't their perfect match, which causes all sorts of drama and heartbreak and they run the risk of losing $25,000 if they all pick their wrong mate at the weekly "Match Up Ceremonies". Sounds crap I know, but it's the best crap I've seen in ages and I LOVE IT! The last series is on MTV Catch Up too (and possibly 5OD) so get involved! 

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OGX Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner

It's very rare that I will use a shampoo or conditioner that doesn't promise to give me beautiful volumised hair (curse you flat fine follicles!) I received the OGX Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner however at the amazing Bloggers Festival Scarlett London put on in September, and thought it would be a good hydrating set to use on Sundays, when I wouldn't be doing much and wouldn't need fabulous hair. I've been using it every day in October and love it! It is super hydrating as it promises, which has been fab for my hair now that the cold weather has set in and I'm back using a hairdryer to dry my hair, and overall just makes it look and feel so healthy.  It's a lot shinier and feels fuller, so despite not being purposefully volumising it's definitely given my hair a boost. It also smells amazingly of coconut yum! I will definitely be rebuying these once they run out.

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Make Up Revolution The One Lipstick

I haven't worn much make up this October, mostly as I was away on holiday and tend to go barefaced and relaxed (read: CBA!) One lipstick I have been loving though is The One by Make Up Revolution. It's a beautiful creamy nude and sits so comfortably on my lips. It goes with everything and lasts for ages too and is only £1! Gotta love Make Up Revolution

october-favourites-rebecca-chance-mile-high-are-you-the-one-ogx-coconut-water-shampoo-conditioner-make-up-revolution-the-one-lipsticks-b-eyeshadow-palette-smokey-grey-glisten-akyaka-turkey-holiday

B. Eye Shadow Palettes - 132 Glisten & 200 Smokey Grey

This is a big one for me - an eye shadow I'm not allergic to! Wowza who knew such a thing existed?! I have very sensitive eczema prone skin, particularly around my eyes, so had pretty much given up on even bothering to find eye make up to wear other than mascara. However, my friends held a zombie themed Halloween party and I was determined that this year I wouldn't be the one unable to join in the fun as my silly sensitive skin wouldn't allow it. I decided to be brave and bought myself two B. eye shadow quads in 132 Glisten and 200 Smokey Grey from Superdrug and slowly but surely got braver and braver trying it on my eyes. Come Halloween I was able to really experiment and play with my make up to give myself a full on zombie make over hurrah! (You can see a photo of Tony and as dressed as zombie Alison DiLaurentis and A from Pretty Little Liars here!) The eye shadows are gorgeous shades and perfect for doing a smoky eye, as well being really pigmented and long lasting. I can't wait to try more of their range now! I'm thinking of doing a blog post about what I do use to look after my sensitive skin, so let me know if that's something you'd like to see.


That's it for my October faves - not too much new this month - music wise I'm still obsessed with Pia Mia and fashion wise am wearing my Disney trainers at every opportunity (much to the dismay of my boss and boyfriend!) 


What were you loving last month?


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