Birch Box- January.

One way to get through January is definitely just to treat yourself. My thinking is if you’re getting up in the freezing dark every morning to get yourself to work, without Christmas on the horizon, then you definitely deserve it. So I decided to treat myself to a Birch Box subscription. I’ve been admiring them in social media for a while and decided it’s time I got in on the action. And I love a subscription, it’s like a surprise present in the post every month. The plan is I’ll post a mini review of each box on here every month and the products I really really love I’ll big up on insta.

So here’s what I think about my testers in from the January box:

Rituals the Ritual of Ayurveda Foaming Shower Gel: I had forgotten foam is really fun. Is that a really lame thing to say? It is though isn’t it. It’s so soft and smells amazing. I am in a very long term relationship with Body Shop shower gels but I would buy this product as a lovely treat.

amika Perk-up Dry Shampoo: I try not to use dry shampoo too often. My hair is so dark it often leaves very visible grey powdery patches which aren’t great. But on quite a desperate work morning I thought I’d give this one a go. There were no patches and it really perked my hair up. I’m impressed with this one and may be converted to the dry shampoo life.

Lord and Berry Concealer Stick: I wasn’t so sure about this one at first. My usual concealer (Benefit Boing Brightening) is very soft and creamy and the hard pencil just seemed a bit hard and industrial. But I decided to give it a go over my primer one weekend on the troublesome patches. Once on it did blend well and provided good coverage and in the pencil form was easy to target certain areas. I’ll definitely finish this tester off but but stay faithful to my Benefit.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner (Charcoal): I love this charcoal colour, not too heavy but no too subtle either. It was easy to put on, quite soft and not too scratchy. It lasted all day with no smudging despite a few tears while watching a film at the cinema so I can confirm it is definitely waterproof! I’d buy this again. Best new pencil eyeliner I’ve tried in a while (but have to admit I am very far from the pencil eyeliner expert!)

Afterspa make-up remover: This can only be called magic. Ever since I was about 11 and and was allowed to start wearing make-up on Saturdays my mum has warned me about pulling my eyes to take off make up and how it can age you. So I’ve always been quite cautious about it and tried to go for a cotton wool dab with a nourishing make-up remover or Vaseline rather than a hard pull with a wipe. In recent months I’ve become a big fan of Micellar water but I don’t think I’ll be needing it now I have this! No idea how it works but it does and I love it. Just wet it, dab eyes with it and tah-dah! It goes through the washing machine too. I couldn’t recommend this enough.

Pop Eyeshadow Palette (this month’s free gift with new subscription): Not too much to say about this one really, does what it says on the tin. Really like the two-tone natural colours and goes on nicely. But once again I’m very faithful to my Benefit ‘They’re real’ eye palette and it would have to be something very very special to convert me.

Can’t wait for the February box!

Katie x

The Most Wonderful time of the Year.

Merry Christmas everyone, Let the festivities begin!

Most people who know me know that I am one of those really annoying Christmas enthusiasts. I love it and nothing offends me more than the words ‘we’re not going all out for Christmas this year, just a quiet one’. Why would anybody ever do that to themselves?
It’s perfect: the time of year when chocolate for breakfast, day time drinking and eating till you need to lie down are just the polite things to do.
I’m guilty of taking It quite seriously, I begin mentally menu planning in September, begin stocking up for the Christmas treat table in October, recipe rehearsals in November, usually have shopping done by the start of December and I once spent 4 hours in Middlesbrough town centre in a dilemma over which was the best wrapping, ribbon and tag combination. And don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve listened to Micheal Buble’s Christmas album.
(This years wrapping paper is from Tesco, with personalised ceramic tags from Luna Moon Creations on Etsy.)
It’s my thing. It’s genuinely maybe my main talent.
This time last year I was coming to the end of 2 months travelling in Australia and New Zealand so I missed the whole Christmas build up. We had a late Christmas Day when I got back, just before New Year, which was lovely, but I do feel I have to compensate a little this year for missing last. And, with breaking up from school super early on the 15th, there are 9 full days of pre-christmas festive activities. And by pre-christmas festive activities, I mainly mean watching every crappy Hallmark Christmas film and baking mince pies.
I’ve come up with a list of Christmas pointers and necessities! It’s based on a list I first wrote in 2014 for the blog I kept while living in Italy. I’ve updated it and added to it for this post, but most of it still -and always will -stand true:
1. When Christmas shopping, don’t follow people’s ‘lists’. Never. It’s not about what they want to have, it’s about what you want them to have. I know my Dad hates novelty socks, but I love to see my Dad in novelty socks, so he’ll just have to act grateful and wear them when he’s with me. And that’s what Christmas is all about.
2. You should probably emphasise that it’s very important that other people do actually follow your ‘list’ although they can deviate from the list if they think of something better, more personal and more expensive. They’re the rules of lists.
3. Buy everything in Christmas packaging. I’m a sales man’s dream in December. Do I need Cornflakes?Do I regularly eat cornflakes? No. But am I going to buy a giant box with Santa on it? Yes, of course I bloody am.
4. Do the Christmas food shop in Marks and Spencer’s at 4 a.m. This is completely pointless as it’s just as busy as it is during the day. But still it’s fun and festive and you pick out something nice for your  breakfast when you get in.
5. Buy posh crisps in obscure flavours. You’ll find them in April and be really confused as to why you thought they were a good idea, but still, you’ll eat them one night when you’re peckish.
6. Take a day, or in my case 9,  before Christmas to literally just watch Christmas films and all the greatest Christmas specials.
7. Take a day after Christmas just to simply enjoy and immerse yourself in all of your presents. This day was a lot more fun when I didn’t just get shower gel and underwear,but it’s still always a lovely day.
8. Present displays. No grandparents or aunties or cousins ask to see my presents anymore, but I still like to make a little display in my room.
9. ‘He’s been’ have absolutely got to be your first words on Christmas morning.
10. As of 1st December (or maybe a week or so before), make everything Christmas themed. Socks, towels, toilet roll, bedding, hand wash, washing up liquid, bleach. Everything.
(Our pretty festive flat! Pretty mistletoe heart is from Rose and Ena, find them on Instagram!)
11. Supermarket tour. Go to every supermarket as you never know what they’ll have that’s a bit different. And buy all flavoured fresh creams you can find. Yup yup. That’s an important one. You probably won’t get round to trying them all but it’s comforting to know you can if you want. Also track down the shop with the best offer on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges; this year Tesco did buy 1 get 2 free -an absolute steal!
12. My Mam suggested the tip of don’t buy crackers because they are completely pointless. But my tip would be this: if your Mam says this, buy her crackers as a Christmas present. They are not pointless; they’re fun and festive.
13. Have family nights after Christmas where you watch each others new DVD’s. It’s this tradition that enlightened my Mam about the delight of Gatsby and made us realise my Dad is just too Boro Bloke to understand Les Mis.
(This was one from my original post from 2014 which I loved and didn’t want to take out but now I’m wondering if getting DVD’s is still a thing?! 2014 was a simpler time…)
14. Do not, do not, ever, let your brother win the argument of ‘we’re in our twenties now and we’re too old for hanging- up -stocking photos’. He’s wrong. Never too old. Also force your other half to have a photo with you too. It’s unlikely the photos will ever be shared ‘cos they’re never flattering as you’ll be make-up free and in your jarmies but it’s still quite important to have them.
15. Shop Small wherever you can. Attend local Christmas markets and craft fayres. Browse on Etsy, Not on the Highstreet and on Instagram. There are some beautiful prezzies, food and decorations out there and it’s so important to put money into small businesses. I’ll do a post on my favourite small shops sometime soon!
16. To feel super Christmassy and have a really lovely time go to a Christmas market. I think all cities now have one?! Get tipsy on mulled wine, pose in your cosy winter attire and eat a giant sausage. This year we had a girls’ weekend in Bath for the markets (more details at the end of this post!).
17. Christmas clothes and pyjamas are an absolute must. Update your whole wardrobe and underwear drawer to include festive pieces. Christmas jumpers, pyjamas and novelty socks are the most important I think! And in a world where there’s Primark, it isn’t very expensive to do!
18. It’s the only time of year when anybody in the UK buys a Radio Times. But it really wouldn’t be Christmas without it- it’s part of the family at Christmas time. And it’s so lovely to spend time reading through it choosing all the things you fancy sleeping through on cosy Christmas evenings and then rewatching the next day with a brew.
19. Boil a ham. It’s not Christmas till you’ve boiled a ham. Then live off it for days. It’s nice to boil it in cola, but then you can’t use the stock for soup, so, you decide.
20. Go all out on Christmas fragrances, everywhere. All the time. No non -cinnamon air until the middle January (See my previous blog post for some inspiration!).
As I mentioned a little bit earlier, at the start of the month, I went on a festive girls’ weekend to Bath! It was a perfect little weekend break! We went to the spa, ate and drank a lot and browsed the beautiful Christmas markets. With the cathedral as their back drop, they really did look beautiful and it was lovely to walk around sipping mulled wine. It’s such a beautiful city,I would 100% recommend it for a Christmassy mini break, but check the market dates as they finish Mid-December and be ready for crowds if you’re heading there on a weekend!
Speak again in the new year!
Bring on 2018!
Katie.

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

Our Perfect break at Howgill’s Hideaway.

Happy Half Term holidays! Well actually mine is now coming to an end… It went way too fast but I am feeling ready for Autumn 2 half term and for the countdown to Christmas to really begin! I’ve had a lovely break catching up with friends, giving the flat a big Autumn clean and a lovely glamping mini-break with Maxie.

I’ve written in the blog before about how much I love camping/glamping and I love it most in the Autumn when it’s colder and cosier and the countryside looks beautiful and colourful.

We found this trip’s site on Air B&B. Me and Max have a bit of love/hate relationship with Air B&B, I love it, he hates it and doesn’t understand why we just don’t book a hotel. But even Max admitted Howgill’s Hideaway was a brilliant find and has soared to the top of our list of favourite glamping sites (followed closely by the yurts at Mason’s in the Yorkshire Dales).

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Howgill’s Hideaway is in the Howgill fells (unsurprisingly) just between the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. The scenery is beautiful!

They have 3 pods which all face out to the beautiful views. The pods are so cosy inside with a mini kitchenette, double bed, sofa bed and a mini desk. Even a TV which was a real surprise and came in very useful for checking in on the Strictly results! They each have their own firepit too, which we loved. And as they provide the wood, matches, fire starters, marshmallows and skewers, via the honesty shop, it was really easy to get it started and get toasting marshmallows and drinking beer around it (not singing campfire songs, Max refused).

The three pods share a toilet and shower block which is a short walk from the pods but behind them as to not ruin the view! There were 2 showers and 4 toilets which were kept really clean and quite toasty warm which was lovely!

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I think I love glamping so much because it’s just so acceptable to do all the lame but relaxing things you always kinda want to do but never really have time. And when you’re camping its totally fine drink more hot chocolate than you’d ever drink at home with all the squirt cream and marshmallows you can fit on. This camping trip we took a jigsaw. A jigsaw! We’re in our mid twenties! But, although I don’t think we’d ever properly admit it to eachother, we really enjoyed it. We did terrible, barely even got the edges finished in the 48 hours we had there but the subdued project in our cosy pod really did feel lovely.

One of the biggest perks of Howgill’s Hideaway was the breakfast hamper deliveries. You do have to pay a bit extra for them (£5 pp per morning) but they’re fab, presented so beautifully and having one dropped off outside your pod for you feels such a treat. You do have to cook it all yourself but the little kitchenettes in the pods are really well equipped so it’s easy to do so. On arrival we even had some home baked cupcakes waiting for us in the pod and more freshly baked cakes and biscuits, fresh eggs and sweetie bags were available to buy in the honesty shop.

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On our only full day out in the Howgill fells we drove to Kendal, one of the nearest towns to the site. To get there we had to (actually there was probably another route but we were feeling quite daring) drive over the narrowest bridge in the world (probably not an official title). It was only 6ft and a little bit wide, the parking sensors were doing a constant beep all the way across and the bridge wall was just centimetres away from the sides of Max’s precious car. But we made it across with no scrapes thanks to Max’s good driving and we successfully did it another 2 times coming back and heading out the next day. Kendal is a really pretty little town with a fab chocolate shop and tearoom called The Famous 1657 Chocolate House. It has an insane hot chocolate menu, we spent a lovely hour in there keeping warm!

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On our last day once we’d left our little pod we drove to Keswick which is about 45 minutes away from the site. I’ve always loved Keswick and it just looks so pretty in the Autumn! We went to the Pencil Museum first (Max’s idea) which was actually pretty good but heaving as it was a misty cold day in half term! We then walked around the town and shops to the lake before going for a pub lunch. The Dog and Gun pub is in the town centre and was recommended by my Mum and Dad who have very regular day trips to Keswick to go walking and stock up on Mr Vikki’s chutneys and Curry Sauces (they are the literal best and sold in most of the delis and gift shops in Keswick).

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Like everywhere the shops in Keswick are starting to get very Christmassy! This picture I took in a shop called the Orchid House, couldn’t resist buying a bauble from there! Christmas is getting so close now and I’m already feeling festive and starting to get things sorted. I think my next few posts will have a real christmassy theme!

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

Migraine troubles.

I thought I’d write this post today because I’m on a Migraine comedown, just at the stage the pain and nausea have gone but at I’m the stage where I feel my stuffing has been knocked out of me and all I feel like doing is some casual typing on the laptop while wrapped up in a blanket.

The reason I had a Migraine this morning? I got locked out my apartment building in my pyjamas and dressing gown and in the pouring rain (I went to collect a parcel and forgot my keys) and the panic was enough to cause too much adrenaline which then gave me a migraine. I kid you not. Don’t worry though it got sorted after like half an hour of me just frantically buzzing every other apartment in the building about 100 times. Glad it got sorted because my next plan was going to be to knock on the door of every house in the street and ask to use their phone to call the police, because I know their number off my heart, I don’t know Max’s (I’m not very good at thinking rationally in a crisis).

But I do get Migraines that easily, anything that gets my adrenaline going for good or bad reasons is pretty much guaranteed to give me one.

As well as:

  • Raw Red Onion- I quite like it but it makes me feel like its made my brain swell to twice the side of my head.
  • Skipping a meal.
  • Time of the month- for pretty much the whole time. Just because feeling like all my organs are falling out isn’t enough apparently.
  • Certain perfumes, really sickly floral ones. I have to run through Debenhams and John Lewis shouting ‘Noo, don’t spritz near me!’ I do love perfumes and sprays but do just need to be fussy about scents!
  • Muggy weather where the air is really ‘close’ just before a storm comes.
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Not enough sleep, too much sleep, waking up in the night, sleeping in a weird position.
  • Hangovers (Obviously), I tend not to get a fuzzy head, just go straight in with the full blown migraine.
  • Not having a cup of tea on morning. This gets me every time, I need the caffeine! When I’ve been travelling and working abroad and tea hasn’t been readily available first thing on a morning I have managed to wean myself off it but when I’m at home, I’ve got to have a brew first thing!

Obviously some of these things I just have to avoid but some are unavoidable. Luckily I am prescribed really strong tablets which can sort me out within an hour, they just leave me feeling really sleepy and achey. But sometimes these tablets need a bit of a boost to get going (I’ve learnt this is because your metabolism slows down so much when you’re having a migraine) or sometimes, because of how they make me feel after, It’s just not really a good time to take one so have to think of some other ways to try release the pressure in my head.  Teaming up Ibuprofen and Cocodamol can work but needs to be teamed some more natural remedies too so heres some I’ve discovered really work:

  • When I get Migraines I feel really sick and lose my appetite but I do really really crave certain things. All the good stuff, starch, sugar and salt. I just ignored it but my Doctor told me I was daft to do so as my body is telling me that’s what it needs. And giving in to these cravings does really help get me back to normal quicker and eating does get your metabolism going again. The things I always go for are Cola (HAS to be full fat, the artificial sugars they use in diet options are renowned for making migraines worse and for some reason has a quicker effect when drank from a can?). Really salty nuts or crisps or McDonald’s fries, I never fancy these unless I have a migraine. Tangfastics, I keep a bag at the back of kitchen cupboard for Migraine emergencies, all the sugar just really helps the tablet kick in. Max is now well enough trained to know when I frantically rip open a bag of tangfastics to not think I’m really letting myself go and give me a judging look or say ‘tea’s in a hour, why you snacking?’, he just knows I must be feeling pretty shit. They’re a weird one though, for some people all the sugar makes them feel so much worse but for me, I literally see it as part of my medication and is guaranteed relief.
  • Acupuncture yoga mat. You might just need to really trust me on this one. I first read about them online when I was really struggling with Migraines when I lived in Italy and had to use my tablets so sparingly and the local shop didn’t have tangfastics. My tablets were available through the pharmacy there but were SO expensive I only bought them once in a really desperate situation. But once I had the acupuncture mat they really settled down. I still use it a lot now when I’ve taken a tablet but desperately trying to get it to work quicker. It’s basically just a yoga mat with loads of really sharp plastic spikes on it. Whenever I have a go without a Migraine I can’t stand it but standing on it or doing a few simple yoga moves on it when I have got a migraine really really works to quickly release the pressure. Theres a lot of science behind how it works and blood flow, hormones etc, but I would just really recommend, they’re available on amazon and not very expensive.
  • A trick I read about on a forum once, which I have found really works, is putting your feet into really hot water while draping a frozen flannel around your neck. It releases the blood thats in your head causing all the pressure and is quite an instant relief, If you’re struggling and need a quick fix I would give this one a go.
  • Olbas oil! It particularly works well if you dash some in the bottom of your shower, it creates vapour steam which makes your head feel clearer and generally a lot fresher! I’m also a big fan of wax melts for home fragrance and minty/eucalyptus ones can help too! Just like if you’re all bunged up with a cold!
  • The obvious one: going to sleep, having a nap, or atleast just lying down! I’m a rubbish napper, even when I really need to I really struggle to, but I usually listen to a relaxing playlist of an audiobook to help me chill out a bit.
  • Fresh air! The last thing you fancy with a migraine is going outside but just sitting on my balcony for a bit really helps!

So there’s a few tips I’ve found can help! Obviously everyones bodies are different and will react differently but when you’re in that much pain and anything is worth a shot!

If you have any of your own please share via the comments or emailing me at katiejade92@yahoo.com. I’ll add them to the list and they may help a migraine sufferer out!

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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