A little bit of sun on my skin is all it takes to lift my mood and make me feel more energetic and enthusiastic for making plans out and about. Last week I drove over to my parents house and, while I was waiting for them to come home from work, took a few photos of the cute ponies who live just across from their garden. They were happy to pose for a few photos (probably in the hopes I had a carrot handy - next time, promise!)

It feels nice to leave the house without a winter coat on with a cardi or jacket in its place, and Lily and Lola definitely prefer the brighter weather. Walking them when it's raining, cold, snowing or windy is basically impossible!

I hope you're all enjoying the slight change in weather. Let's hope we've seen the last of the damn snow!

 photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png
You have read this article diary with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

ASOS peter pan collar dress.

I have a penchant for pretty dresses and I am partial to a peter pan collar so combine the two and I'm all over it! This particular ASOS swing dress which landed on my doorstep recently, in navy blue with a white peter pan collar, is a snip at just £22. (Psst, they do a long sleeved version of it too which I have my eye on too).

I was recently asked to trial the Style in View website which, after spending a rather long stretch of time on, I decided is a genius idea. It's one website which houses a multitude of brands under one roof, where you can search by dresses (like I did) or coats or whatever it is you're after, or you can search by trend such as "monochrome". The search results can be filtered by price, size, colour etc, and if you see something you like a quick click will take you to the external site where you can complete your order.

ASOS swing dress c/o Style in View

With brands such as Dorothy Perkins (one of my favourites), ASOS, Oasis, Warehouse and French Connection it's a great place to browse for purchases, and potentially find new brands or see garments you wouldn't normally spot. For example, I rarely look in Oasis or Warehouse and only look on their websites occasionally, but after a browse on Style in View I found some really lovely things from both of these stores. Oasis in particular is somewhere that does dresses and smart work clothes, things I'm always on the hunt for, but perhaps is a place I have overlooked in the past.

My only criticism of the website is that when searching by brand, instead of searching by garment, there is currently no option to "view all" which is something I personally would like to be able to do.

Style in View kindly offered to send me an item of my choice in return for sharing my honest thoughts on their website with you. The ASOS dress I picked instantly took my fancy as it's a great colour, good length and I couldn't resist the peter pan collar.

I have found the quality on ASOS to be a little hit and miss in the past but the quality of this dress is lovely. It's a soft cotton and hides a multitude of sins due to the shape of the dress, however I felt it looked better on me with the belt I added to cinch the waist in.

It's not too short, something that bugs me with a lot of nice dresses I see, which means it would be a good option for work if your dress code is smart/casual but for me I'll be wearing it on a weekend with tights or leggings and a cardi or jacket over the top.

Do let me know your thoughts on Style in View and if you agree that it's a really good idea!

 photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png
You have read this article fashion / share the love with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Illamasqua: Scarce polish.

I'm not normally a nail polish kind of girl, especially since my trusty Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff top coat dried up, as I find it tricky to make application look neat and I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry, but I bought a couple of bottles recently as I couldn't resist the pretty shades. One bottle I got from ASOS was an Illamasqua speckled polish, in the colour Scarce, after seeing it round the blogosphere and really liking it, and a pretty pale pink shade by Essie called Mademoiselle.

I decided to have speckled "Mini Egg" nails over the Bank Holiday weekend and hoped one coat would cut the mustard as, when it comes to nail painting, I'm a slap-dash kind of girl.

I think two coats would have looked much better and given a better "pop" of colour but I think one coat gives a nice subtle look. Using a base coat and top coat meant that removal was really quick and didn't leave any flecks of polish behind, which I have found with similar products especially glittery polishes.

At  £14.50 each these polishes aren't cheap but I'm happy to have one in my collection.

 photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png
You have read this article beauty with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Bank Holiday in photos.

This Bank Holiday: 
  • Jonathan turned 30 and to celebrate we played crazy golf and had dinner with his family.
    • I discovered I was reasonably good at crazy golf. 
    • I decided after this post and your comments and tweets that I will definitely get my hair chopped off soon and have a consultation for the colour change.
      • We had dinner with friends at a local restaurant, ate until we were stuffed then went home to play Mouse Trap.
      • I tried to get to grips with my camera and actually took a photo I was pleased with *hallelulah!*
      • I made an epic salad which was probably the only greenery I ate in all 4 days.
        • the sun made an appearance which made up for losing an hour of sleep.
        • Jonathan and I watched episodes of The Walking Dead behind our hands and finished series two.
        • I wore my new peplum jumper from Next and looked slightly pregnant.
        • I ate chocolate until I felt sick.
          • I painted my nails to look like Mini Eggs.
          • I took regular naps.

           photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png
          You have read this article diary with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

          March favourites: Hemp Hand Protector & Hemp Hand Oil (The Body Shop).

          My hands really suffer in the cold weather, this year more than most with the extended bad weather we've been having. I get dry patches between my fingers that can be painful and look unsightly but this year I also developed a large patch of eczema on one of my hands which left me feeling very self conscious.

          A firm favourite of mine in terms of hand cream is Soap & Glory's Hand Food which I keep several tubes of dotted around; one in the kitchen, one in my handbag and one on my bedside table. But it hasn't been cutting the mustard with my dry skin recently.

          Just over a week ago I passed The Body Shop and thought they may have a solution for me so I asked one of the Sales Assistants for their recommendation. She took me straight to the Hemp stand and explained that although the products don't smell great they're really good for very dry skin and they have had some amazing feedback from customers claiming it has helped their eczema and other skin complaints.

          That was all I needed to hear! I picked up a 100ml tube of the Hemp hand protector and a 15ml bottle of Hemp Hand Oil Treatment. At £10.00 and £7.00 they're not the cheapest items on the market but I thought they would be worth every penny if they helped my skin. The Body Shop had a lot of offers in-store that day but unfortunately no "3 for 2" offers on skincare (only facial skincare) otherwise I would have chosen a third item for free, but that's definitely something I will look out for in the future.

          These products have worked wonders for my hands and I am so pleased and impressed with the results they have produced in a small space of time.

          I have been applying the hand cream as I would normally, at regular intervals throughout the day after washing my hands (particularly after using a hand-dryer which really drys them out). The smell isn't unpleasant in my opinion, however it's no Hand Food and doesn't smell like marshmallows or flowers or fluffy puppies.

          I have been using the oil on my patch of eczema and between my fingers every evening whilst watching tv, gently massaging it into the affected areas. I have also been applying another coat just before bed. It is oily but not really greasy, but you do need to be careful not to touch your hair or anything that you don't want the oil to transfer to. Saying that though, it does eventually sink in and gives the skin a nice protective barrier.

          After just over a week of usage the eczema on my hand has pretty much disappeared. Had I known how effective these products would be I'd have taken a before and after photo but you'll just have to take my word for it.

          The dry patches between my fingers have dramatically reduced and continue to improve as I carry on using the hand cream on a daily basis. 

          To summarise: I am so impressed with these products and will definitely repurchase them, as well as having a look into the other products in the Hemp range. They've worked absolute wonders for me! I would highly recommend them for dry skin and skin complaints such as eczema. The smell isn't super sweet or particularly nice but it's not unpleasant by any means. Top marks!

           photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png
          You have read this article beauty with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!


          The name Eostra, a goddess of spring and fertility, was honored with feasts during the month of April.  It’s from her that the holiday of Easter takes its name.  One of Eostre’s symbols was the rabbit, because of the animal’s well-known fertility.

          Rabbits were seen as a good omen of growth, rebirth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune. Of course, these are all concepts closely tied to Springtime and the celebration of Easter.

          Between Christmas trees and the Easter Bunny, we owe a lot to the German immigrants who brought their holiday traditions with them when they came to America. In the 1700s, Germans first imported the concept of Osterhase (the German name for the Easter Bunny) to Pennsylvania. The children’s custom of making nests for the Easter Bunny to fill with colored eggs eventually spread around the country. Over time, Americans replaced the nests with Easter baskets and chocolate treats were added to the mix.

          While Easter is now primarily observed as a religious holiday and the secular customs of the Easter bunny are generally thought of as wholly separate from Christian beliefs, the histories of the religious and the secular aspects of Easter are more entwined than you may think.  Early Christians celebrated Passover at this time of year.

          It was when they tried to convert the pagan Germans, who were reluctant to abandon the customs of Eostre’s feast, that Christians chose to adapt those customs to their own beliefs, thus creating the modern Easter and uniting Jesus with the Bunny.

          So from me to you... Happy Springtime!!

          You have read this article with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

          Hair talk: featuring Mollie King (The Saturdays) and Nicole Richie.

          There are no two ways about it, my hair feels like a mess at the moment. Since dying my highlighted blonde locks back to my natural(ish) colour in 2010, after being a blondie for 6years, I haven't done much to my hair and it has left me feeling a bit drab and in need of a boost/change.

          At first I enjoyed the amount of money I saved as well as the improvement in the condition of my hair which meant less visits the hairdresser for a haircut (something that fills me with dread), but now I'm ready to feel pretty again!

          First things first, I am fairly certain I'm going to have a chunk of hair cut off. I do love having long hair but I think sometimes it's more of a "security blanket" feeling rather than it actually looking nice. I can't achieve any volume (and lord knows I have tried using every product under the sun) and my ends aren't thick enough to give me a full, bouncy-looking mane.

          Initially I thought that a couple of inches off would be brave enough to start with but, having previously had my hair in every colour and style under the sun, I'm kind of thinking of going the whole hog and having it cut quite a bit shorter. I really like Mollie King's hair (from The Saturdays) as it looks lovely whether it's straight or styled into waves. Hopefully losing some length and having a really good cut would mean I could achieve a bit more body and it would make drying/styling my hair a lot easier.

          There is a part of me shouting "noooo don't do it!" but it's only hair right? It grows back! My hair grows like weeds, which is why it's so long now, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I wasn't 100% happy with it (I lie.. it definitely would be).

          I think Mollie's hair looks particularly lovely because it's a great colour which leads me nicely onto my next topic...

          I want to change my colour!

          When I was blonde I always used Nicole Richie's blonde hair as a reference (usually the picture) and I loved it. I had a blonde short "pob" like Frankie from the Saturdays, which then grew into a bob which I sometimes curled like Nicole below. I dabbled in extensions at one point and experimented with a full fringe and side fringes too. Yes it was a bit of a pain having to go to the hairdressers every 5 weeks but I felt pretty and was usually happy with my hair, the colour especially.

          Unfortunately my old hairdresser is winging her way round Australia at the moment but I have a consultation booked in next week with a really good hairdresser in Leeds (who will cost an arm and a leg but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it properly!)

          I'm not sure what they'll think of my colour plans as, now that I have brown hair again, a lot of people can't imagine me being blonde. But most people who knew me as blonde aren't too keen on my brunette hair (Mum, I'm looking at you!) so all I can do is go armed with photos and see what happens.

          My back up photo is this lovely Wildfox model who actually has the Mollie King hair cut going on, as well as a colour which would, I assume, be easier to achieve on my hair and look more natural too.

          Help guys! What do you think - go for the chop? Change the colour? Did you read my blog when I was blonde? Is it time to let the blonde go and go for a more natural colour like the one above? I need your advice!

           photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png 

          You have read this article beauty with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

          Fancie by night, Sheffield.

          If you read my blog or follow me on Twitter you'll know I love the Fancie shops and eating a cupcake-shaped treat every once in a while. I have visited the shop on Sharrowvale Road a couple of times, and have been for lunch at the new "grown up" Fancie shop on Eccleshall Road which opened recently. I had the veggie breakfast with a huge mug of tea and it was delicious. When I heard that this particular shop would be opening on an evening my friend and I vowed to go back to sample some of the grub.

          Last Saturday our party of 4 braved the snow and drove to Sheffield. Fancie had called my friend earlier in the day to check whether we were still able to make it and, not letting a bit of snow put us off the promise of amazing food, we said "yes".

          The venue

          If you've been to the Fancie at Meadowhall or the shop on Sharrowvale Road you will be familiar with the pink colour scheme and the chintzy mismatched nature of the chairs, tables and crockery. The new shop on Ecclesall Road is much more grown up. Think exposed brick walls, shabby chic touches, mismatching sofas and tables, bench seating and amazing wooden stools like you had in Science lessons at school. It is definitely my cup of tea in terms of the style and feel of the place.

          It was quiet when we arrived at 7pm, probably due to the weather, which meant we were seated at our table straight away and received attentive service from the girls who were serving. We were informed that in terms of alcohol it was "bring your own bottle" which most of us already knew, but we all opted for cups of tea or juice (I believe there is a £2.50 charge for each person drinking their own wine or beer). A bottle of water was already on the table and was topped up as we got through it.

          Photo pinched from my friend (@katy2811 on Instagram)
          As the evening went on custom got a little busier but most people were seated upstairs. Due to the layout of the ground floor with the exposed brick wall in the centre of the space, it felt very intimate and quiet where we were sat, and it was a comfortable atmosphere to chat and enjoy our food.
          Starters & mains

          Okay, the food. The important bit right? I went for the mushrooms on toast to start with followed by the tomato risotto with deep-fried goats cheese and lemon. The mushrooms on toast were D-I-V-I-N-E. They were definitely the most upmarket mushrooms on toast I've ever had. The gorgonzola cheese gave them a strong flavour and there was plenty of sauce to be "mopped up" with the toast. I could have quite happily eaten it again for my main course. The risotto was tasty but definitely needed the goats cheese element to it to add a bit of variation in flavour. The portion size was just right and I finished feeling full, but ready for something sweet to finish things off (there's always room for pudding).

          Other courses sampled by Jonathan and co that I can remember were the fishcake starter, the steak, beef cheeks, and chicken and chorizo stew, and there were no complaints around the table. I know Jonathan particularly enjoyed the beef cheeks and it was something new he hadn't tried before.


          For dessert Jonathan and I shared a piece of salted chocolate tart and a cupcake from the counter. I opted for the mint-choc cupcake as it's a flavour I haven't tried before. I am, unfortunately for my waistline, trying to work my way through the flavours.

          The choice of desserts wasn't huge but you do of course have the cupcakes to choose from behind the counter. Katy was hoping to get a Creme Egg special which unfortunately had sold out, so they went for a slice of salted chocolate tart and a creme brulee to share between them.

          The salted chocolate tart was really, really good but I'm glad we shared as I think eating a whole slice would have pushed me into a chocolate-induced coma! The cupcake was, sadly, a little dry perhaps as it was the end of the day. Jonathan only had a couple of fork-fulls which left me with no choice but to polish the rest off!

          A nice added touch to the evening was the pretty cup and saucer brought to our table housing 4 cream-filled brandy snaps (I had my own and someone elses... no shame!)

          Apart from the slightly disappointing cupcake everything was great and we would definitely like to go back, although from a vegetarian point of view I would need to wait for the menu to change so I could try something new. Although if the mushrooms on toast were on offer I wouldn't complain!

           photo bloglovin-2.png  photo twitter-3.png  photo facebook-3.png  photo instagram-2.png 
          You have read this article adventures / share the love with the title 2013. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!