A Good Summer Read.

With summer now just weeks away I thought it might be time to start planning some Summer reads. I always read the most over the summer and love getting lost in a good book during down time while holidaying or travelling.

I’m looking for some recommendations of what to read while road tripping around France this summer or maybe what would be good to listen to on Audible while Maxie chauffeurs me from city to city. 💁🏻

In exchange here’s my list of must-reads and must haves for your bookshelves!

Us-David Nichols.

I read this on holiday in Sorrento in 2015. It was in the first few weeks of texting Max and I remember spending most of the week lying on a sunbed going from being engrossed in this story to being engrossed in mine and Maxie’s whatsapp conversations. It’s one of the stories that will stay with me forever, its beautifully written and had me crying, laughing and wanting to hug Doug. It’s a story about love but not a love story, more like just a story about life, it’s so relatable and true to life and relationships we’ve all witnessed before. It really is just beautiful. One day by David Nicholls is also one of my favourite stories and I’m currently reading Starter for Ten, but for me Us trumps them all.

The Versions of Us- Laura Barnett.

I picked up this book in a hostel book swap when I was in Perth in 2016 and read it while travelling. Just like Us it’s so relatable and the characters are so absorbing and real I felt like they were my friends. It’s split into three stories, all about the same couple but different versions of where their lives could have taken them if they’d made different choices. All the versions have happy parts and sad times and times you feel like shouting at the book because they’re making the wrong choices. It definitely appeals to my philosophical romantic side of always wondering ‘what if?’. I just absolutely loved this and it’s the perfect holiday read. Such a beautiful and effective way of story telling it kind of had me mad I didn’t have the idea first.

Room- Emma Donoghue.

This is not really light hearted and summery but definitely one of the books everybody needs to read before they die. It’ll have you thinking about it all the time and feeling quite emotional but wow its worth it. I just couldn’t put it down. Must be one of the best books ever written? I won’t say any more. Just read it. Don’t cheat and watch the film, it’s good but not as good. It’s best to watch the film after.

Funny Girl- Nick Hornsby.

I love Nick Hornsby, High Fidelity is another one of my favourites but as a summer read I loved Funny Girl more. It’s set in the 60’s which is perfect, I love anything retro. It’s all about Barbara, a beauty queen who’s dream is to make it in the world of comedy. It’s funny and real and easy to read. A perfect beach read.

Elizabeth is Missing- Emma Healey.

Another book I read while travelling in Oz. I bought this to read on the plane after reading a lot of hype around it. I don’t think it was what I expected but I did love it. It’s very clever and gripping but at the same time not too intense and deep, it’s very cleverly written. If you want a light summer read that’s not a chick-lit, give this one a go!

Paper Towns- John Green.

I think John Green books are meant to teenagers but that doesn’t stop me from loving them a lot. I’ve read them all but think this one grabs the top spot. I read this while living in Italy as a nanny and remember being so hooked I had it in my handbag all the time and was permanently hoping for a free 5 minutes to read a few pages. I think the fact it’s set in Orlando, where I used to live helps a lot, I could picture it all really clearly which made it seem more real and absorbing. The story line is so clever with so many twists and the characters literally have you feeling like they’re your best friends. It’s the right balance of light and funny but also gets you thinking. Definitely worth delving into the teen section of Waterstones to purchase and give a go. Other John Green books I would really recommend are An Abundance of Katherines,Will Grayson, Will Grayson and of course, if you’ve just woken up from a 10 year coma and haven’t read it yet, The Fault in our Stars (maybe not on the beach though, unless you’re open to sobbing like a toddler in public).

Billy and Me- Giovanna Fletcher.

Because I follow her on every media platform, like sooo many people, I feel like Gi is one of my best friends, so when she started releasing books I was straight in there. They really are light-hearted chick-lits at their very best and Billy and Me is my favourite. The easiest books in the world to read, so relatable and perfect for reading on a sun lounger with a cocktail.

Other Books to have on your shelf:

Love Letters of Great Men.

In 2008 I feel very deep into the Sex and the City rabbit hole. I went to see the movie and then spent the rest of the summer watching all the seasons, reading the books, listening to the movie soundtrack and buying all the merch. I was just obsessed and kind of still am. The Love Letters of Great Men book that Carrie borrows from the library in the movie didn’t actually exist until a few months after the film was released. But as soon as it was out, I had it, and read it front to back and back again. Those were the days when I was 16 and full of hope of fairytales and romantic men. It really is a beautiful read and I still pull it out a lot to have a flick through when I’m feeling all soppy and emosh.

The Jane Austen Collection.

I am a Jane Austen nerd. I love them all. They bring out the soppy romantic in me and have me dreaming of living in those simple times. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are my favourites, I think I’ve seen every film and TV version of them and are the books I have on my shelf. I’d be lying if I said I’ve read them cover to cover. Jane was quite a wordy writer. But I do like to have a flick through them every now and again to find my favourite quotes.

Parenting the Sh*t out of Life- Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka.

This is my favourite to pick up and read for a giggle but it also has parts that are so moving. I follow both Mother and Papa Pukka on Insta and they really make me laugh. You don’t have to be a parent, or planning a baby, to enjoy this.

Not that Kind of Girl- Lena Dunham.

I don’t think there’s a girl in the world who can’t relate to this memoir. It’s laugh out loud funny. I just love it. I have favourite parts I love to read over and over. It’s life-affirming, hilarious, and just brilliant. I suggest every girl 18-40 reads it at least once. Or about 30 times like me.

On our bookshelves we also have a ridic amount of cookbooks. We are constantly buying cookbooks for eachother and have afternoons where we sit and read them all and put markers on the recipes we’d like to try. I’ll do a cookbook edition of this post in the next few weeks!

I have a thing with children’s book too. I have a whole section of children’s books on my bookshelf. There’s something so wonderful about how simple and magical they can be and I love the beautiful illustrations. Ones with meaning also make lovely presents and keepsakes for a special occasion.

When it comes to buying books I am very passionate about where I buy them from. Although guilty of the occasional quick Amazon prime purchase I do feel a lot better when I’ve bought from a book shop, particularly independent ones. Although more expensive I love to support small businesses and book shops are a dying tradition that we must not lose. There’s something so magic about a good bookshop and gives you a feeling you can never get from ‘adding to basket’ on Amazon.

Let me know your suggestions for what I should be reading this summer. Do I join the Insta hype and read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?

Katie x

Our Perfect Spa Break at Rudding Park.

Hey guys,

Really excited to share this post with you! Earlier this week we got back from a dreamy spa break at Rudding Park which was the best last minute pre-birthday treat!
This week we were going to go on a boating trip on the Thames but the forecast was just looking so shocking and the river current so high we decided to postpone until August. Cue frantictically searching last minute.com and air B&B for a weather proof alternative.

I remembered about Rudding Park in Harrogate, only 30 minutes from our flat but I’d heard about their new rooftop spa and great food so gave them a call. They are currently running a midweek spring time offer which was too good to refuse and took the original quote for a full overnight spa package down by a significant amount. I rang Max while he was out at football to check I was ok to go ahead and book and luckily he was super keen (the boy loves a Spa).

We set off to Harrogate the next morning (with a pitstop to get a new tyre and an M&S meal deal) and had a little wander around the shops and picked up a little birthday treat in Jo Malone, but really we just couldn’t wait to get to Rudding Park and check-in.

When I rang them to book they asked if it was for a special occasion and I’d said its a last minute holiday alternative but also in the week of my birthday. When we checked in we were told we’d been upgraded to a suite as a ‘Happy Birthday’ from Rudding Park and were walked to the suite by a member of staff. I knew even the more basic room we had booked would be beautiful but the suite was even lovelier and we really were overwhelmed by what we were given.

The suite had a bedroom, lounge, a huge bathroom and a balcony which ran the whole length of it. They’d even left a bottle of pink fizz and a birthday card for me in coffee table.

I felt like I was walking around in a dream world and once I had finished taking snaps and popping open the fizz, I ran a bath in the beautiful rolltop tub complete with TV and Molton Brown goodies. I was unbelievably content lying in that tub with my glass of fizz watching the men’s gymnastics at the commonwealth games.

We then got ready and headed down to dinner at the Clocktower restaurant, a meal that was included in our package. The food in the Clocktower restaurant is a modern twist on British Comfort food, the food and service were perfect. We particularly loved the rhubarb cheesecake for pudding which was served in a perfect pink sphere on top of the biscuit crumble base. We then headed to the bar which had a very impressive gin collection and great cocktails. I had a lovely rhubarb gin and elderflower tonic but by the last few sips I was rushing as I was so excited to get into the massive bed.

That bed was honestly the best place I’ve ever watched Masterchef and I slept a dream on the soft sheets. Breakfast the next morning was just as lovely as the meal the night before, but really to me, you can’t go wrong with an smoked salmon and scrambled egg muffin.

We then headed over to the spa for the spa day. We could choose either the Monday or the Tuesday to use the spa but opted for the Tuesday. On arrival we were given a tour of the spa and bands to access our lockers with our towels, robes and flip flops inside. The spa really is beautiful, it’s kept in great condition and there’s plenty of staff about to order drinks and ask questions. The facilities are lovely and the spa wasn’t too busy so you really felt you could relax and make best use of all they have to offer. The new outside area is beautiful and I’m sure will be even better in the summer. There’s different saunas, steam rooms and pools as well as foot spas and heated relaxation beds where we enjoyed a read and a drink.

When we arrived at the spa we booked to have an additional treatment (because we hadn’t already been indulgent enough). We went for a do it yourself thermal mud treatment. The treatment and what to do was explained to us first by a member of staff and then we were left in our own private room. Laid out were different bowls of mud for different parts of the body as well as flannel mittens and a herbal salt scrub. Once the treatment started and we had started to apply the mud, the room then began to get hotter and hotter for the next 15 minutes. You can feel the mud cleaning out your skin as your pores open in the heat and it feels so good! After the 15 minutes showers then come on from the ceiling and using the flannel mittens and salt you can rub off the mud. I couldn’t recommend this treatment enough and will definitely be doing it again, my skin has never felt so good and it was a great experience to do as a couple.

It was a perfect 24 hours and I’m already dying to go back.

Maybe at May half term Maxie?

Katie x

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.

So we are now soo close to it being the best time of year and I’m officially on my full festive setting. I’m planning a full post all about how I like to spend Christmas (mainly sitting down and eating) for the next few weeks, but as a little warm up I thought I’d share some of my favourite candles and home fragrances that are perfect for your festive season! As usual I went a little bit OTT with my buying. Theres not a room in the flat that hasn’t been touched by the scent of Christmas but thats exactly the way it should be I think!

So here we go… kicking it off with the candles..

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Golden Yuletide Spice – The Rose and Thistle Wax Patisserie

I’ve been following this little shop on Instagram for a while and her scents sounded delicious so requested a candle for my Christmas collection. This scent is available in wax melt form and is perfect if you like Spicy scents!

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Spice- Soul Candles

This is perfect. A really luxurious, spicy, festive scent. I’ve recently discovered Soul Candles and love the look of their Relaxing Aromatherapy candles too (I think I’ll treat myself in the new year!). It burns so cleanly and evenly. The scent throw is subtle in my big lounge but so lovely and comforting.

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Cinnamon Sugar and Spice- Lollyrocket Candles

I mentioned LollyRocket in my Autumn candle blog post. Her Coffee and Maple candle fragranced my lazy Saturday mornings for weeks. So when she released her Christmas collection I was straight in there. There’s a choice of design and festive scents. The cinnamon sugar and spice is the the perfect Christmas kitchen scent but it was a hard choice between that and the others!

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Gingerbread- Wickford & Co at Home Bargains.

I saw a lot of hype about these and the other scents in their Christmas collection on Instagram so thought I’d give one a go, and for less than a pound it would have been silly not to even try. On cold sniff it did smell quite nice and did release the scent really subtly when burning, it hardly filled the room but I did go for the littlest jar! All in all, not bad value for money!

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Winter Mint- DW Candles at Home Sense/TK Maxx

I’ve been a fan of DW candles for a while. You can always find them by the till or in the candle section of Home Sense or TK Maxx. They’re a real bargain and most of the scents are really lovely. They burn really nicely and even the little ones really throw the scent. I never thought I’d be such a fan of a minty fragrance but this one is so refreshing! And as a little bonus the boxes for their Christmas collection are adorable!

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All is Bright- Yankee Candle

I mentioned this one in my Autumn post but as it is technically part of their Christmas collection thought I’d include it in this post too! Its fruity and zingy but still very festive smelling too. I think this is my favourite Yankee Christmas scent and such a refreshing change from all the spice (which I do love but a change is nice!).

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Mandarin, Clove and Cinnamon- Marks and Spencer

To me, M&S is a big part of Christmas. They provide the good food, a lot of the good gifts, the lovely adverts and the scents! I can’t remember a Christmas without M&S Mandarin, Clove and Cinnamon candles and the oil version of this scent is how I fragrance my handmade Christmas tree decorations! They change the designs of the candles every year and I’m loving this years glittery rim star in the lovely box, these are a perfect prezzie!

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Sweet Berry Joy- Glade

I picked this up when it was on offer in the Supermarket. And although the packaging isn’t the most inspiring theres no denying Glade candles do the job of throwing out a lovely smell.

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White Pine and Holly Berry- Tesco

A cheap and cheerful find which was worth every penny. Smells lovely and fresh and clean and the fragrance really filled the room!

Now, I’ve spoken before of my wax melt love and it’s just as strong in the festive Season! Wax Melts by Francesca has been my favourite wax vendor this season. Her range of Christmas scents is fab and my monthly subscription box has never been a disappointment! I’m particularly loving my ‘Winter Season’- a dupe of White Company Winter and ‘Christmas Trees’. Cleaves have also not disappointed, her Christmas Spice is the exact scent I was looking for to melt in cosy Christmas evenings and was well worth the stress of quickly checking out on restock night before she sold out! Wax melts by Francesca and Cleaves have also provided perfect Eucalyptus and mint fragrances for when the winter cold hits! (I’ve also found them really useful to help clear a migraine).

If you’re feeling a little confused about my wax melt love have a little look at my previous blog post on Autumn fragrances where I talk about the benefits of them and the best vendors a to buy from!

So as you probably already know I am quite the fan of a reed diffuser and despite many hours in White Company umming and ahhing over their Winter Diffuser I decided to keep it quite cheap with my festive diffusers (and just add the White Company one to my Christmas list).

I bought the Spiced Pear Cider diffuser from Tesco’s seasonal home fragrance range. I’ve had one in the past I was impressed with so knew I wasn’t wasting my few pound! These dinky diffusers do look very pretty, really simple with a coloured ribbon and release a lovely subtle scent. They also last quite I bit longer than the box suggests! This scent is lovely and spicy and perfect for a Christmassy kitchen! In the last few days I’ve also picked up the frosted cranberry version for our bedroom!

I also bought a Woodwick and Co Vanilla Snowflake diffuser from Home Bargains. It was questionably cheap so my hopes weren’t too high but was very pleasantly surprised. There’s no denying it releases it’s scent well and fills my little spare room with a lovely fragrance. £1.99 well spent and I’d definitely think about buying more diffusers from this brand in the future.

Now I’m going to quickly mention Zoflora. If you know about Zoflora then you KNOW about Zoflora. If you don’t you’re missing out. My mum has always used Zoflora so when we got our flat I was quick to stock up and started wiping EVERYTHING with it. It’s a concentrated disinfectant which can be bought in most supermarkets and places like Home Bargains. You dilute it and start wiping! It’s heavily fragranced so I avoid using it in food prep areas but keen to use it anywhere else. But the main reason I’m mentioning it in this post is because of their Christmas and Winter fragrances. I have memories of my mum passing me a washing up bowl full of Winter Spice Zoflora and asking me to wipe all doors, walls and skirting boards ready for having family round for Christmas parties. And to me now it is just one of the main scents of Christmas. Their other seasonal fragrances are just as festive and lovely. My top tip is to wipe down the radiators with it before turning them on, they then release a lovely scent when they heat up!

Hope this inspired you with some Christmassy scent purchases for your homes! I’ll be back soon with more festive talk!

Katie xxx

Fragrance your Autumn.

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So Autumn is well on it’s way in and I couldn’t be more excited. Autumn is for cosy nights, fluffy pyjamas, blankets, slipper socks, hot chocolates, brilliant TV and of course, Candles! As I may have mentioned previously I am a candle and home fragrance fanatic (I think I get it from my Momma), I don’t feel like I’m properly ‘home’ till I have a candle on And Autumn/Winter is my favourite scenty season. So here’s a list of my current favourites to inspire you to fragrance your autumn and get cosy!



Lolly Rocket- Maple and Coffee Bean.

Have you ever seen a more perfect looking Autumn candle?! I first found this small business when another blogger shared some photos of their candles and I knew I had to have one! They do candles with lots of different quotes but this Autumn quote one really caught my eye! There’s a choice of Maple and Coffee Bean or Pumpkin pie. I’d usually lean towards the pumpkin pie but I thought I’d be brave and try a new scent. And I absolutely love it! It smells like the Starbucks in Magic Kingdom and is so strong when burning. It’s the perfect kitchen candle and I had it burning this morning while we were having brunch. I’ll definitely be ordering more from Lolly Rocket!

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So Soy- Caramel, Patchouli and Honey.

I talk a little bit more about the benefits of burning soy wax in my later section on wax melts but I do love burning soy wax. This one smells divine. I ordered it out of interest mostly as the scent sounded interesting. It isn’t how I expected it to smell but so much better! Like a really delicious mens aftershave but subtle and calming. This is one for people who don’t like too overpowering scents. It also comes in the prettiest packaging! (Available in 3 different sizes from the So Soy website).

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Yankee Candle- All is Bright.

I feel like a bit of a sell out talking about Yankee, its so cliche. But this one I couldn’t resist, I cant explain the scent, its kind of citrussy but I would say it’s the perfect Autumn/Winter scent for none spice lovers (I am most definitely a spice lover but can understand how it’s not for some people). Yankee candles so always burn so nicely and give off a lovely scent so keep your eyes peeled for this one!

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Mintoshi- Carrot Cake.

I love, love, love this one. It smells exactly how you’d imagine but not as sickly! It’s so comforting with a really good scent throw and looks so pretty burning. Mintoshi is a small business based in Wolverhampton and their candles can be ordered through their Etsy shop, their customer service is fab and once this one is burnt out I’ll definitely be ordering more!

 

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Matalan- Mandarin and Amber.

I picked this up a few weeks ago as it was a bargain and I couldn’t resist the really pretty autumnal jar. The smell is nice enough for the price but really I’m just all about the jar.

ALDI- Luxury Candle Jo Malone Dupes.

I’ve seen so many mixed reviews about these on Insta. Some adore them, some saw they smell like cat’s piss…. I am a fan. They smell like Jo Malone and cost less than 4 quid. It would literally be rude to complain. For the price they are really good, they burn so evenly and cleanly and release such a lovely smell. They are availalbe in Pomegranate Noir, Blackberry and Bay and Lime Basil and Mandarin. If you’re a candle fan/ Jo Malone fan and see them in your local Aldi it’s definitely worth picking one (or 3!) up!

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Bloom Candles- Clementine and Prosecco.

Bloom Candles are available online via their website and their candles come in the cutest little jars! Their scents are fresh and lovely give off a lovely scent when burning. They also do their own range of melts and diffusers and for a really sensible price.

Skandinavisk- Fjord and Hygge.

Maxie treated me to these for our anniversary, I think they arrived a bit smaller than he had imagined but they are quite an expensive brand! I love anything Scandi so they were a perfect gift! I love their packaging and their really fresh, clean scents.

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Woodwick- Pear Cider.

This has been my first ever woodwick candle after years of sniffing every one in shops. They’re the brand that are famous for the crackling wick, it took a while for me to get used to the crackling to be honest, can’t thinking I’d left a tap dripping in the kitchen but once I’d got over that the crackling did it make it feel very cosy and comforting! This is a perfect autumnal smell as it’s a bit spicier and deeper than you’d expect from the description. It does give off a lovely scent throw when it’s been melting a while. I’ll be trying more woodwick candles I think!

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Olivia Blake- Wild Pumpkin and Nutmeg.

I first smelt this when on a day drinking trip to York and popped into TK Maxx. They only had it available in 1kg and after much deliberation I decided I couldn’t carry a 1kg candle in my clutch bag around the bars of York. So, I was very excited to find this is a normal size in the Homesense in Leeds. It is an absolutely perfect Autumn fragrance and I love to just sniff it when it’s not lit. When burning it isn’t very strong which I wouldn’t usually mind but I love the scent so much I wanted it to stronger! It is however very much worth the £5.99 I paid! TK Maxx and Homesense are so underrated on the candle front, I’ve had some really lovely candles from there!

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Yankee Candle- Wild Mint.

Another mini Yankee shoutout for the perfect kitchen smell masking scent! Not much else to say about this one really. It does the job!

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Primark – White Tea and Violet.

This is one of those candles they have on the shelves by the checkouts in Primark you usually just walk past but you know, are actually pretty good…for a pound. This scent is perfect for a bathroom! I wouldn’t say they’re the best things in the world but I will say you may be pleasantly suprised!

 

Quick tip for candles: Always burn right to the edge every time they are lit to prevent tunnelling and wasting a lot of the wax. The scent also won’t throw as far in a colder than average room this is particularly true with wax melts, they wont reach their full scent potential until they’re at 80c which is difficult for a little tealight to do on its own if the room is really cold!

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Now- on that note- let me confess something- I am a wax addict.

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I mean, it’s not out of control. But it could certainly be creeping onto the addiction scale.

I first got into wax melts when I started up my own Etsy shop last year and started connecting with other small business owners, I love the idea of buying something that is the outcome of someones hobby and getting something lovely in return. The vendors I use repeatedly (I’ll list in a minute!) use Soy wax which is vegan, environmentally friendly and burns cleanly, it also holds a lot of scent (amazing value for money) and is very easy to clean if you have an accidental spillage (clumsy problems).

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So a bit of an obvious one but to melt wax you need a wax burner, they are now available all over, home bargains, tesco, wilkos, amazon and some very pretty ones are available on Etsy! I have a beautiful one from Natyshas Vintage Home. And you obviously need tealights, I go through so many! I tend to stock up on hundreds whenever I’m in Ikea. Some vendors sell their wax in individual melts and to be able to get a good whiff you need to burn 2 at a time, however recently most vendors have switched to wax pots. I like this as they are very easy to store and the plastic tubs preserve the scent for a long time. With these insert a fork into the wax to snap it into two and then once more to get quarters. Insert a quarter at a time into your burner. Each quarter or two melts tend to give 8 hours of scent before it starts to burn off. Tubs average around £2.20ish each for 32 hours worth of fragrance so a bit of a bargain really! It’s also fun to mix the scents! The wax can be stored for up to a year after it’s been made before it starts to lose its fragrance and it’s sometimes good to leave the wax few a few weeks after purchase to let it cure, this stops the fragrance burning off quickly.

The choice available online from small businesses is amazing and I’m currently in my element as this week they are starting to release their Autumn and Christmas fragrances. Here’s a list of of my favourites:

Cleaves Candles- Their is so much hype around this vendor and it’s so deserved, her scents are amazing and give off the right amount of scent. She does a restock once a month but can literally sell out in minutes! You have to be so fast! She also has a social facebook group called Cleaves chat and mingle which you can join to sell, swap and buy wax! I received my parcel of Autumn wax from Cleaves this week and it’s perfect! My favourite Cleaves scent used to be Magnolia and Orange Blossom but it might have just been beat by Frosted Pumpkin!

Wax Melts by Francesca- Her scents are as equally delicious. She uses Beeswax which is also really good for the environment (save the bees) and holds scent so well! I’m signed up for her monthly subscription box which a great way to try new fragrances I wouldn’t really choose myself and is great value for money! She does lovely dupes and special collections along different themes.

Make Life Vintage- I love her Lavender blends and Jo Malone/ White Company dupes. They also look prettier than I ever knew wax could look!

Aromatic Soy- They do really great value scents and their Etsy shop is always well stocked so no stressful Restock nights trying to check out with stuff before it sells out! They do a Coconut and Mimosa wax which I really love and one the best Lush Snow Fairy dupes I’ve smelt!

Scented Wax Boutique- I first tried this vendor when I won one of her giveaways, her wax is lovely and so pretty! I particularly love her Spa Relaxation and Almond Macaroon!

Pretty Little Melts- She released her Christmas collection in August and I jumped straight on the band wagon and ordered some. They smell lovely and she does each fragrance in heart melts and tubs which I like as although I do like the tubs I love having packs of melts to fill my tin!

Rosie’s Wax Melts- She was the first soy wax vendor I ever tried so I feel quite faithful to her! She does regular restocks and her Autumn collection is lovely! All the pumpkin and spice!

Vendors on my ‘To Try’ list: Halliescents, Georgia Lee Candles and Rose and Thistle Wax Patisserie and Oh So Smelly (She literally lives down the road from me so would be rude not to order soon!).

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Reed Diffusers- I do love a diffuser, I have quite a few scattered around the flat. Next are great for diffusers and my go-to place for ones for the bathrooms. They are great value for how long they last and really do make everything smell a lot nicer! I became a bit complacent to them but went away for the weekend and came back and could really smell them again and they’ve been going since we moved in 4 months ago! In my lounge I have a White Company Pomegranate diffuser. Max bought be this after a few months of really unsubtle hints. It does look so pretty but the smell it gives off is beautiful and comforting and can still smell it as much as the day I opened it (but not in an overpowering way). I also love that they so diffuser refills as it also seems such a waste to just recycle the glass! I’m not one to obsess over labels don’t think the more expensive is always the better but in the way of reed diffusers I do think it’s worth splashing out a bit for a lovely long lasting scent that you don’t get sick of. Saying that, I picked up 2 Aldi Jo Malone dupe diffusers the other day so will report back on them!

I’m also really loving my Molton Brown Coco and Sandalwood room spray. This is quite expensive but the scent lasts for ages and smells amazing even when used sparingly! I love giving my lounge a good spritz of this although my lounge probably isn’t worthy of the lovely scent!

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So there we go! That’s mainly what my flat will be smelling like this Autumn! Stay tuned for a Christmas candle post in the next few months!

Katie! x

Mother’s Ruin. (The Botanist’s Gin Masterclass)

This week, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Blogger’s Gin Masterclass at the Botanist in Leeds. I’ve always loved the Botanist, a great place to stop for a cocktail and a bite to eat while shopping or as part of a ‘Cocktail Tour’. The one in Leeds city centre is below the Trinity Centre on Boar Street, it’s quite hidden, I’d been visiting Leeds a while before I found it, but that doesn’t stop it filling to the brim on a weekend evening! The Botanist has such a good reputation for great cocktails, gorgeous branding and decor and good looking bar men in braces throwing bottles between each other really coolly. So safe to say I was really excited to be invited to try their Gin Masterclass!

I have to admit, although I love Gin my Gin repertoire is quite small. I know Edinburgh Gin quite well, after lasts month’s tour and tasting at their distillery, and we do have a fair few different ones on our bookcase (A lot of Edinburgh Gin, Masons, The Lakes Gin, Bombay Sapphire) but when these are with a tonic I find it hard to tell the difference! Gin is Gin right?! We do have two flavoured Gins, Opihr (Oriental Spiced) and Ginger Ninja Gin I picked up at a farmers market which is lovely with Ginger Beer. But that’s all I’ve got so far on the Gin front. I’ve always been keen to try new ones, when in a bar I’m always tempted by all the interesting looking bottles but then just bottle it and ask for a house gin- partly because of the fear of pronouncing the name wrong I think I’m showing I’m clueless! I am still a newcomer to the Gin scene. I avoided it for years after my Mum told me it made her so angry she once through her engagement ring at my Dad in a club and he had to crawl around on the floor to find it. But luckily, so far, it hasn’t had that effect on me! But anyway, the Gin Masterclass at the Botanist was a brilliant way to try new Gin’s without feeling awkward and just looking for the prettiest bottles! I definitely have new favourites now and will avoid the panic and asking for a house gin!

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The Gin masters (?) were fab and gave us a brief history of gin and how it is made while we sipped on the Botanist’s signature cocktail. And then we got tasting, we were given a shot of each gin first to try straight before trying it mixed with a tonic.

The first Gin we tried was Tanqueray, I am quite sure I’ve had this as a house gin before, this is probably what I’m thinking of when I think of a standard Gin. Is good with a tonic, tastes nice, and gives you the nice warm feeling you want from Gin! (not the feeling it gives my Mum!) Next, we tried Thomas Dakin Gin. One I’d never heard of before but it has been made in Manchester since the 1700’s (not always to the recipe that’s used today!).  I think this is the first gin I’ve ever tried straight that’s made me genuinely saying ‘Oooo’ rather than grimace and reach for the tonic. I could drink this on the rocks no problem. It’s lovely and zesty and fresh with notes of horseradish, really refreshing! We then tried Langley 8. I’ve definitely seen this one before but think this was my first time trying it. From a bit of reading I’ve been doing since I learnt it’s branded as a ‘Male’ Gin. I’m feeling a bit guilty I don’t remember much about this one, but I definitely don’t remember it being awful either. Soo..lets just say it was nice. Next came Brockmans, I loved this one! The bottle is sexy, it tastes so smooth, another one I think I could just drink on the rocks. Although I have heard it’s lovely with Ginger beer! We then had Gin Mare. This is one I’ve really never heard of this one before but was by far my favourite! We had it has a perfect serve with olives and rosemary and it was sooo goood! The best gin I’ve had and can’t wait to have it again! I’ve heard you can buy it in Marks and Spencers (another subtle accidental M and S plug!) so I’ll be off there to treat myself shortly! We also got the chance to taste two different Gin martinis using different gins and garnishes. Gin with grapefruit is now one of my new favourites! The masterclass also included yummy nibbles from the Botanist menu to help soak up some of the Gin!

So there we go, that was a bit of brief one, hope I got the point across and inspired you with some new gins, or for presents for gin lovers or to book a Botanist Gin Masterclass for you and your friends! The masterclasses can be done at selected Botanist’s and a booking enquiry can be sent through the website, I would definitely recommend for a really fun and tipsy evening and to open up new gin doors!

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