Today marks the one-year anniversary of Jordan and I picking up the keys to our own little home. ONE WHOLE YEAR! I can’t quite believe how fast the year has gone and all the memories we’ve made in the past 12 months.

Buying a house was by no means a stress-free experience. There were tears, arguments and endless email chains where you feel as though you are going in circles, but the reality is, all those things are completely normal.

Although there are still bits and pieces I’d like to do with our little home, and furniture still to buy, I’ve absolutely loved every minute of the last year and the little pangs of excitement I get when I sit on the sofa thinking, this house is all ours.

Today I thought I would share all of the little tips I’ve found during the process of buying our house and afterwards to help any of you that might be going through the process yourselves.

1. Try not to worry if things take a little bit longer than expected. It’s easier said than done, and I always thought the worst when we were waiting to hear from solicitors, mortgage advisors and estate agents, but the reality is, buying a house does take time and there are lots of steps involved, some that you might not even know about, but try to relax as much as possible, because it’s completely normal.

2. Take all the advice you can get. Buying a house is a complete minefield, so much so that we used a mortgage advisor to buy ours and he helped us SO MUCH. I would highly recommend going to see one because they can give you a much better view of the different options out there and all the fees that come with getting a mortgage.

3. Take advantage of furniture sales, January sales and mid-season sales where you can as you can get yourself some much cheaper items. Also, sign up for newsletters galore as you might hear of the best deals first by doing so, no matter how annoying they might be. And don’t be afraid to pick bits up here and there along the way even before it’s gone through.

4. You’ll see kitchens, bathrooms and lounge inspiration all over Pinterest and think you could never do that – WRONG, you totally can have the house of your dreams, but it might just take a little bit longer than expected. Write yourself a realistic timeline of when you would want things done by and dedicate a few weekends here and there to do the jobs. And if it’s going to cost you a bit to get started then having a few months grace will let you save up the pennies.

5. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy. One of the first things I did when we picked up the keys was paint the lounge myself (one of my biggest achievements…) and take down a couple of curtain rails. We also put up all the IKEA furniture ourselves, and although there were cuts and bruises, it felt much better knowing that we hadn’t had to pay for anyone else to do it.

And there you have my five quick tips for buying your first home. It’s an incredible experience and one that I’m sure you’ll never forget!

What are your tips for buying a house? 


Happy Monday everyone!

As you’re reading this, I’m on my very first ski trip to Val Thorens – we arrived yesterday and I’m here with work. The one thing I’ll say first is that this place is gorgeous; it literally looks like a postcard.

I’m going to create some ski-inspired content once I’m back, but for now, make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see what I’m up to.

So, here’s everything I was loving last week.


On Wednesday evening, I was reunited with my friend Sarah, who has been travelling around Asia and Austalia for the past 9 months. It was so lovely to have a proper catch-up with her as I hadn’t seen her since last July, and hear all of the amazing things she got up to whilst she was away.

Salon Success Box

I actually got this last week, but I completely forgot to open it because I had such a busy week, so it felt as though Christmas had come early when I finally got into it. I love receiving the Salon Success boxes as they always let you try so many amazing brands, and my hair is incredibly dry at the moment so anything helps.

Birthday Lunch

One of my friend’s from work had her birthday on Wednesday so we had a work lunch for her with cheese, cured meats, hummus and bread and it was lovely. We also covered her desk with balloons!

First PT Session

I had my first personal training session with Sarah (a.k.a Squat Bot) this week at Train in Heald Green. It was the first personal training session I’ve ever had in my life, and although it was fun, I was aching the next day. I’ve got a few more to go and I’ll be writing up my experience fully.

Getting My Car Back

You may or may not know but about 3 weeks ago when the snow was really bad, I ended up crashing my car when I skidded on the ice. On Saturday I finally got my car back and I was so happy to finally be driving it again. I’ve been borrowing my Mum’s and Jordan’s, which I’m incredibly thankful for, but there’s nothing like being in your own car again.

Homemade Pizzas

On Friday night we didn’t know what to do for dinner but still wanted a bit of a treat, so we decided to make homemade pizzas. I had goats cheese and caramelised onion chutney on mine, and it was delicious. There was a little sense of achievement too as we’d made them ourselves from scratch!

The F Word

I received my copy of The F Word last week, but I only got round to starting it on Monday evening and I’m already almost at the end. I’m a big fan of Lily Pebbles and I’ve been watching her videos for a few years. I’ve been trying to read before I go to sleep every night as I feel as though it helps me to switch off instead of being on my phone.

First Ski Trip

As I mentioned, yesterday I flew to Geneva and then travelled up to Val Thorens in France for a few days of skiing. Most of our day yesterday was spent travelling and finding our way around the resort, and, although I’m nervous for my ski lesson this morning, I’m also really excited! Let’s just hope I don’t break anything.

What have you been loving this week? 


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Have you ever seen someone wearing a piece of jewellery that you love and then you go out and buy it for yourself only to find it doesn’t look right?

If that’s the case, it could be because you’re not choosing jewellery that works for you; you’re choosing jewellery that works for someone else.

I’ve always had an interest in how jewellery can make an outfit and I love experimenting with different pieces, but when I look back at some photos, there are definitely some choices that I tried to follow a trend with, and just didn’t work!

There are so many different things that matter when it comes to choosing the right accessories and jewellery, and today I’ve compiled a few tips on how to find the right items for you.

Don’t be Bound by the Expectations of Others

Deep huh?

The first thing to remember is that other people’s thoughts really don’t matter when you’re choosing jewellery for yourself to wear. If you worry too much about what’s cool and what’s in fashion, you’ll end up with a bunch of jewellery that’s not right for you. So stop buying what you think you should buy and start buying what you want to.


Consider How Your Lifestyle Will Impact What You Wear

We a go about our day to day lives in different games ways, so it’s important to consider how your lifestyle will impact which jewellery you wear.

You don’t want items to get in the way or annoy you day to day, so consider how you can make the right choice for you.


Always Research Ahead of a Big Purchase

There are some jewellery purchases that are more significant than others, and they’re the ones that you really need to take the time research before you hand over your cash.

If you’re picking out ‘THE’ ring that your partner can buy you for that special day, places like can really help. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or get involved! Girls choosing their engagement ring is becoming increasingly common, and it’s one purchase you want to get right.

Anytime you’re planning on spending a lot, you should do plenty of research into the options.


Take Your Face and Body Shape Into Account

This is quite a strange one to think about as jewellery is usually worn on the neck upwards, but the shape of your body and the shape of your face will both have an impact on what kind of jewellery you should wear each day.

If you end up with a pattern or shape that simply doesn’t show off your body or facial features, it’ll look all wrong. Do some research into this and find out which shape you are; it’ll make all the difference in the long run. 


Complement Your Skin Tone

As a pale girl, I know that the more silver something is, the more washed out it can make me look, so this one is really important to think about, espeically if you are investing money into the pieces.

Your jewellery will most likely be resting against your skin when you’re wearing it. That’s why you need to think carefully about how your skin tone could be having an impact on how your jewellery looks on you when you’re wearing it.

It’s something that’s definitely worth being aware of. There’s a solution out there for very skin tone so you won’t be short of options.

Picking out the perfect jewellery for you is not always easy. But if you’re willing to think things through carefully and reach considered conclusions, you’ll get the hang of all this in no time at all.

It might seem a little overwhelming now, but by understanding all the factors mentioned above, you’ll save yourself time and money going forward.

What are your tips for picking out the perfect pieces? 


Welcome to the third instalment of the ‘Be Inspired By’ series where today we are joined by one of my favourite bloggers, Sophie Cliff.

Sophie lives and works in Leeds, but is originally from my side of the Pennies, growing up in between Manchester and Liverpool before moving over for university. Her blog is a mixture of Lifestyle, Travel and Fashion but she shares heartfelt, personal posts and shared a lot of her wedding with her audience last year which was an absolute joy to read.

She has been nominated for a number of prestigious blog awards, has launched her own e-course and worked with some incredible brands from Jet2 to Dorothy Perkins amongst many more.

Get ready to be inspired by – Sophie Cliff!

1. Hey Sophie, thanks for joining us today – can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi Ellie, thanks for having me! I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger based in Leeds. By day, I work for a tech startup in the beauty industry, and by night, I share my life with the world via my blog, I live with my husband, Sam, and our cat, Lola, and I’m a big fan of holidays!

2. What were your reasons for starting a blog?

I started my blog just over 3 years ago. I had just moved to a new job and while I loved it, I missed the creative elements that my previous role had offered. I was looking for a creative outlet, and as I was a massive fan of reading blogs, I figured blogging would be a good hobby for me!

I was also really keen to have a bit of an online scrapbook of everything I was up to too – looking back now, I’m so glad I decided to start. Not only have I learnt tonnes and met some brilliant people, I also have a record of some really exciting moments in my life, such as buying my first home, getting engaged and getting married.

3. You’ve recently started an e-course alongside having a full-time job (find it here) can you tell us what motivated you to do so?

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I manage to run my blog with a full-time job. I realised that over the past 3 years I’ve picked up quite a lot of hints and tips and I was keen to share them with anyone who was interested. I knew that a blog post wouldn’t quite be enough to cover everything, and so I decided to start my e-course “How To Grow Your Blog With A Full-Time Job“.

It’s been a huge learning curve as I’ve never really taught anything before, but I’ve really enjoyed it too. It’s incredibly rewarding to see people falling back in love with their blogs as they work through the course, and there’s a lovely community of bloggers taking part.

4. You got married last year in what looked like the dream location; did you have any hesitations about sharing such an intimate part of your life with your readers?

In a nutshell – no! I know for some people it would seem really strange to share such a personal day with the world wide web, but my blog has been such a huge part of my life for the past 3 years that I always knew I wanted to share our wedding planning process and the day itself on my blog.

I’m so happy I have all of those emotions and thoughts captured somewhere – just 9 months on it’s hard to remember some of the little details, so I’m really glad I wrote about the day while it was still fresh in my mind. Plus, we worked with some really fantastic suppliers who helped us to create our dream day, and I wanted to share them with my readers!

5. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and seen you grow massively in that time. Do you think not having a specific niche has helped you write about such a wide variety of topics and attract a large audience?

Thank you so much for being a long time reader!

I’ve always been very wary about having a specific niche as my blog is very much a hobby first and foremost, and I never wanted to put too many restrictions on it. It’s a space for me to exercise my creativity, and I knew that setting rules would only demotivate me.

Instead, I’ve always just tried to be as authentic as possible. I know that the word authentic gets bandied around a lot in this industry, but I’ve always written my blog as if I was writing to my best friend or my Mum, and I think that helps me to be as genuine and relatable as possible. I guess it also means that there is a lot of variety in my content as no two weeks are the same!

6. You focus on travel a lot in your posts; which three places would be on your bucket list if money was no option?

Oooooh, this is a fun question! There are so many places I’d love to visit, and in fact, I’m not sure there is anywhere I wouldn’t visit if annual leave and money weren’t a constraint.

Japan is high on my bucket list at the moment, and I’d love to visit somewhere tropical, like Bali or Thailand. I’ve always wanted to visit the West Coast of the USA, and I’m very excited that we’re finally going this year for our belated honeymoon!

7. You recently started a new job just before the end of last year. Do you mention your blog in the world of work?

I certainly do!

My blog is a big part of who I am and I’m incredibly passionate about it, so it would feel strange for me to keep it a secret. Plus, there are so many skills that I’ve learnt through blogging that are really relevant to the world of work – above anything else it shows self-determination and drive which is important for any job.

8. And finally, what is your biggest achievement in the blogging world?

Ooooh, this is a toughie! I’ve been afforded some incredible opportunities through my blog during the past few years, and I’m proud of every brand collaboration and award nomination.

However, nothing makes me happier than when I receive an email or a DM from a reader telling me that my blog post has resonated with them or helped them in some way. It sounds super cheesy, but it really does feel incredible to know that people use my travel tips to book their holiday or feel a little less sad because of something I’ve written.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the third instalment of the ‘Be Inspired By’ with Sophie.

Find her here on Twitter, Instagram and on her blog.


I was really lucky enough to be invited to the last of Tampopo’s vegan tasting menu nights a couple of months ago, so I took my friend Charlotte (who was doing Veganuary at the time) to come and try the 5-course menu with me at their restaurant in Albert Square in Manchester.

Just as the first point of this blog, I would like to acknowledge the fact that I’m not vegan but I do love to try vegan menus as I find it really interesting all the ingredients you can use to make food taste delicious without using any animal products. I know a lot of people might shy away from trying vegan products, but variety is the spice of life in my opinion and I enjoy trying new things and concepts.

I’ve worked with Tampopo a couple of times so I knew we were in for a treat when we got there. We were seated by a lovely waitress who let us know how the evening would pan out and that the dishes were being prepared by Masterchef finalist, Jackie Kearney, who was really into her Asian inspired cooking and is a vegan herself. We both ordered Tiger beers as our drink (when in Rome hey?) and had a lovely catch up before the food arrived.

Couse 1 – Sticky Tofu

I know tofu isn’t to everyone’s taste (even some veggies I know personally) but I’ve never had a bad experience with it and actually quite enjoy it even if it is quite spongy. The tofu was done with a teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds, with a pickled cucumber salad and spring onion.

Course 2 – Malaysian Spicy Rebus Tofu

The next course was served in a little bowl and comprised of tofu with a sticky peanut-y sauce, pak choi and noodles. This dish was a lot spicier than the first one but just as enjoyable and the noodles meant that it was a bit more filling.

Course 3 – Lotus Salad and Jackfruit Rendang

When we were reading the menu once we arrived, this was the course that I was most intrigued by, mainly because I’ve never heard of a jackfruit, but I am a fan of fruit in curry dishes, especially if they’re on the spicy side. The curry was my favourite dish of the whole night as it had so much flavour and came with a dairy-free flatbread to dip which was also delicious. The salad came with some fried tofu too which was equally as delicious.

Course 4 – Hot & Sour Stirfry Tofu and Sweet Potato Katsu Curry

A katsu curry is something I would usually order if I went to an Asian restaurant, so I was really looking forward to this dish as the sauce is one of my favourites. The sweet potato was cooked really well and was breadcrumbed which I’ve never had before and the stirfry tofu was also very tasty and done with sticky rice.

Course 5 – Banana Fritter and Mango Sorbet

I’m a real sweet tooth, and I was septical that a vegan dessert would be as nice as what I would usually get in a different restaurant, but this one really complimented the rest of the dishes perfectly. My only experience of a fritter was the ones you get in Chinses buffets, so I was a bit worried, but this one was really light and very enjoyable: The sorbet went really well as the accompaniment too.

After the food, Jackie came out to talk to us about how inspirations for the menu and get some feedback from us and it was really lovely to meet her and see how passionate she was about this menu.

If you’re vegan, or even if you’re not and just want to try something new, these dishes are now available on the Tampopo menu, and I would really recommend giving them a go.

Have you ever tried any vegan dishes at Tampopo? What did you think?