Happy Monday everyone – I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend.

I, unfortunately, spent my day yesterday in bed with a migraine, which was my body’s way of telling me to take it easy for the next few days. But there will still things last week that made me smile.

1. Overnight Oats

On Monday evening, I made a big batch of overnight oats with almond milk, yoghurt and blueberries. I had them for breakfast all through the week and I really enjoyed them. I’m looking for other recipes now, so if you have any, please send them my way!

2. Wedding Magazines

I’ve had a couple of wedding magazines lying around the house since we got engaged, but this week I spent some time reading them and writing down a few ideas I found. I really enjoyed seeing other people’s big day and it gave me a lot of inspiration for the kind of things we’d like.

3. Salon Success

I meant to mention this in last week’s post, but it completely slipped my mind. I was very lucky to be sent the new marble straighteners from Paul Mitchell and I can’t wait to give them a go. Total blogger goals!

4. Mini Eggs

This week, Mini Eggs have been a firm staple in my diet, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re back. They are one of my favourite chocolates and the smell just transports me back to being a child.

5. Dinner At The Botanist

On Friday evening, Jordan and I were very kindly offered dinner at The Botanist in Alderley Edge. As it’s my local to work, I spend a lot of my time in there, but I’ve never had dinner there. I’m going to be doing a full blog post on everything we chose, but the food was incredible.

 

6. Wedding Venue

We’re 99% set on our wedding venue, which is really exciting, and on Saturday morning, Jordan and I went there to see it again with my Mum and my Nan who hadn’t had a chance to visit it yet. They both loved it, which sealed the deal for us. I hope that we can get it booked this week.

7. Pub Lunch

After seeing the venue on Saturday, my Mum, Nan and I went for a pub lunch at a gorgeous place called The Ship in Styal. It was so cosy and cute inside and the food was great. We also went to a wedding dress shop afterwards but it was a bit too busy to try things on.

8. London

When I went down to London for work on Thursday, I got a chance to see my friend, Louise, for a quick coffee whilst she was on her lunch just before I jumped on my train home – it makes going down to London even more fun when I get to tie in seeing one of my oldest friends.

9. YouTube Fitness

It’s not often I talk about fitness on my blog, but this week I’ve really been getting into working out from home and using The Fitness Blender‘s YouTube channel. I’m enjoying doing something a bit different than just going to the gym and there’s so much variety to chose from.

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as a beauty blogger (in fact, far from it) but skincare and makeup are two areas that I am hugely into, especially as my skin gets older and changes more regularly.

A couple of Christmases ago, my mum bought me a serum from The Abnormal Beauty Company which I used for a couple of months but never repurchased. I enjoyed using it and it definitely made my skin feel more supple, but it wasn’t a brand I was too familiar with, so I went back to my old trusty favourites.

Last year I saw that there were a lot of beauty vloggers talking about a similar product from Deciem. It took me a couple of months (how embarrassing) to realise that these were the same company and I started reading more into their products.

In November, I was shopping in Covent Garden when I noticed the shop and went in to have a little peruse of what was on offer. I ended up purchasing the Caffeine Solution, which I had heard good things about for dark under-eye circles (which is something I definitely suffer from) and started using it the next day.

At first, I was expecting more of a gel consistency, but this is definitely more of a liquid that you use a pipette to get onto your fingers. I use it under my eyes, on the corners and go over the lid with it too. It’s an orange colour, but it dries completely clear – it does take a minute or two to seep all the way into the skin, so in that time I usually do something else like brush my teeth or get dressed before coming back to do my makeup.

One of the things I find with thicker eye creams is that its hard to put foundation and concealer over the top, but as this one is a more liquid formulation, makeup goes on absolutely fine so I can’t fault it at all.

As I was really enjoying using the caffeine solution, I started to look into their other products and saw that people were raving about the hyaluronic acid with B5. As I had used one of the Deciem serums before, I was keen to try another one as my skin was getting drier and drier without this step in my routine.

I chose this one because it didn’t have a hefty price tag which other high-end beauty brands do (a very reasonable £5.90) and started using it straight away after it arrived. Like the caffeine solution, this one also uses a pipette for the product and its a slightly thicker solution: I use about 2-3 drops after I’ve cleaned and moisturised.

The first time I used it, my skin absolutely drank it up, and has loved it ever since – it just shows how dehydrated it was. I use it in the morning and at night before my moisturiser and when I wake up my skin is much smoother than before.

If you’re in the market for some new skincare recommendations then I would suggest given Deciem products a try. They have a whole range of things to try for different skin ailments for oily to dry and combination.

Have you tried any of the Deciem products? What was your favourite? 

xx

Maybe it’s because I’ve started watching Gossip Girl again or that I’ve been a lover of Sex And The City since I bought all 6 series when I was 16, but recently I’ve had a pang to visit the city that never sleeps.

New York is one of those places that once you’ve been to and experienced the buzz of the city, you always vow to go back to one day – I’ve never met anyone who’s been to New York and not enjoyed it, which says something about the city.

I’ve been to New York once before when I was 17 for a school trip to the UN and since then, it has firmly been on my list as one of the places I’d love to go back to. Although that trip still stands out in my mind for being one of the most fun weeks of my life, we weren’t there for that long and had to stick to a strict itinerary for the few days we were visiting, meaning that we didn’t really have much downtime or a chance to explore what the city had to offer so I’ve always wanted to go back and experience New York as an adult.

I follow a lot of travel bloggers who go there a couple of times a year and always find something new and exciting to try, and it has really captivated me about how much the city has to offer, so today I’ve rounded up all of the reason I would love to visit.

1. The High Line

Back when I visited New York in 2007, the High Line hadn’t opened yet. I wasn’t really aware of it until I saw pictures of one of my favourite bloggers walking along it last year taking photos from an angle you wouldn’t normally experience. If you aren’t aware, the High Line is an elevated park, built on a stretch of abandoned New York railroad on the West Side of Manhattan and spans around 1.5 miles. The views look incredible and it seems like a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets below.

2. Rooftop Bars

If Sex And The City taught me anything, it was that Manhattan has its fair share of rooftop bars with a pretty sensational backdrop. As someone who loves to be outside when I’m eating and drinking, I know I would love to experience some of the best rooftop terraces in the world whilst watching the day turn into night.

3. Coney Island

I’ve heard this place described as the Blackpool of America, which instantly should give you a reason to visit. It’s just under an hour on the subway out of the city, but definitely worth the trip out as it’s a completely different vibe to the rest of New York – there’s also a beach there too!

4. The Food

If there’s one thing that American’s do well, it’s food. Not only have they made the gigantic slice of pizza a thing, as well as incredible burgers from the likes of Shake Shack and Jo Junior, but New York is also home to some of the best restaurants in the world including ABC Kitchen and Per Se.

5. The Neighbourhoods

It’s not every city that has such a diverse range of foodie delights from Korea Town to Little Italy to The Meat Packing District, scattered between the upper and lower East and West sides, which makes New York one of the most exciting places to visit. You can walk down any street and be wowed by the choice and diversity of the place.

6. Central Park

No trip to New York is complete without a trip to Central Park. I would love to visit in summer and take advantage of the glorious weather and have a picnic and take a break from the rest of the city. On my last trip to New York, we went Ice Skating and on a horse-drawn carriage, and it is one of those memories which I still think about to this day.

7. The Sports

One thing I would love to do in America is to watch a baseball game. New York famously has two teams, The Yankees and The Mets, both whose stadiums are not too far from the island. I can’t say I would understand fully what was going on, but I think it would be a great experience.

8. Getting The Chance To Explore Brooklyn

Brooklyn seems like it has a much slower pace than Manhattan, but is also steeped with things to do. Not only will the walking the Brooklyn Bridge give you some great views of the city, but there are also loads of cool independent shops and bars to visit as well as The Brooklyn Brewery and the outdoor market, Smorgasburg.

And there you have my 8 reasons I would love to visit New York this year – anyone fancy treating a girl?

Need travel insurance for your trip? Check out some reviews for Topdog Insurance!

Have you been to New York? What would you recommend? 

xx

Laptop with notebook and glasses

Happy Monday again everyone! I can’t get over how fast 2018 is already going, but I’m also excited to get stuck into the rest of the year and all the fun things I’ve got planned.

This week has had many ups and downs in my work life, but as always, there have also been things that have made me smile along the way.

1. Catching Up With My Parents

My parents are lucky enough to have booked a January holiday, so this week I made sure I saw them before they went away. We hadn’t caught up much about the wedding, so it was nice to talk to them about the progress we’ve made and get their opinion on some of the decisions we have coming up.

2. Ski Trip

Our company do an annual ski trip every year, and this year they announced it on Friday as being the last ever one. We’ll be heading to Val Thorens in France in March, and I’m so excited because I’ve never been skiing before and the pictures look amazing.

3. Brunch

On Saturday morning, I met some of my favourite blogging girls for Brunch at Evelyn’s in Manchester. I’ve wanted to try their brunch for ages as I’ve heard amazing things and this was the best opportunity to catch up with everyone after Christmas. We were also saying goodbye to the beautiful Faye who is off on her travels next week.

4. Saturday Evening In

Our lovely friend Emily and her husband invited us round for dinner on Saturday evening as we’re all trying to be good with money. As I’m still being veggie, they made a chickpea and lentil curry with homemade onion bhajis. It was all delicious and gave me some inspiration to branch out with new ingredients. They also had all their wedding photos printed off so it was lovely to go through them and relive the day.

5. Sausage Dog Cuddles

I had some parcels to drop round to a friend from work on Friday evening. I was more than happy to do so because it meant I got to see her sausage dog, Bruce, who I haven’t seen for a couple of months. It definitely perked me up after an incredibly busy week and he was so adorable.

6. Exciting Opportunities

This week I’ve had some exciting opportunities come through my inbox, which I’ll be a very happy bunny if they all go ahead as planned. One of the best things about having this blog is the amazing brands that I get to work with that I will always be grateful for.

7. Sunday Well Spent

This Sunday we had no plans which is unexpected for us, so we took the chance to go on a country drive down all of the back lanes, get organised for the week ahead and cook a veggie toad in the hole from scratch. A very relaxing end to the week.

8. Working From Home

A couple of days this week I’ve been working from home, which has meant that I’ve finally got to use our home office which we’ve been slowly renovating for the past few months. I always find that I get so much done when I’m there and it was nice to be in my own little space that I’ve been putting together.

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing an interview series on my blog for the past few months, but something has always come up. This year, I made it my mission to get one going as I love reading about people’s lives and how they got to where they are.

I originally was going to do it based on bloggers in the industry, but I decided to interview people who I think are inspirational, not only in the online world but in their everyday life.

My first guest is Alexander Ward, photographer and Associate Director based here in Manchester. If you’re from the city, you will have no doubt heard of him, but today I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the man behind the lens.

I hope you enjoy, and if there is anyone you would like to see in this series, please just let me know in the comments.

1. Hi Alex, thanks for joining us as the first guest on the ‘Be Inspired By’ series. Let’s start by getting to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Alex, I’m a Photographer in Manchester who first picked up a professional camera in 2016 and have been striving to move my photography forward ever since. I’m originally from Essex and moved to Manchester a few years ago after falling in love with the city and the people in it; I’ve always loved how Manchester has this unique melding of history and pace, it has this special way of humblingly celebrating its history whilst having this ethic of focusing on the future. I’m dead passionate about doing what you love and representing people in the right way.

2. You’re definitely an up and coming photographer on the Manchester blogging scene – how did you get into it? 

Thanks! When I was 17 I started my own creative agency and ran it for just under 11 years, closing it in 2012 when the recession really kicked in. Since then it took me a while to find a creative outlet and, having always had an interest in film and photography, my other half suggested I pick up a cheap camera and give it a whirl. I instantly fell in love with it, I grew this immediate feeling of having a shot in your mind and experimenting until you got it. I started out by putting ads in groups like Reddit to shoot people and build my experience and it wasn’t long before I discovered how passionate I felt about photography and was building a decent portfolio.

3. What tips do you have for people who are just starting out with photography?

Firstly, above all else, do what you love. It’s a creative gig and every shot you take has a piece of you in it – if you’re not feeling it, if it’s not what you really want to be shooting, you’ll be able to tell. People often find a barrier to photography is the cost of the equipment but it needn’t be – get a basic camera and start shooting, just explore, find what you love and don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things. Most importantly, be collaborative and be kind – if you’re joining the game for Instagram likes or to feel better than someone, it’s time to find something else.

4. Have you seen your personal photography change over the years? If so, how?

In every way, but somehow, not at all. The reason I do so much portrait photography is because I’m utterly fascinated by people; indeed, I’ve always had this knack of being able to understand what someone’s about when I meet them – to me, photography is about a process of bringing that person to the surface and representing them – to show the world what I see. My work has changed in that it’s developed in style and approach, technical know-how and creativity, but ultimately that core need is unchanged. I want to showcase people, and my love of that continues.

5. How do you stay motivated as well as having a full-time job?

I’d be lying if I said I never felt pangs of worry over my work – I think that’s a natural process of anyone creating something and developing themselves – but really, I’m driven by people. I love discovering what someone’s about, what’s made them who they are, what makes them tick – this drives me on, showing the wider world who these incredible people I meet are all about. I would give a tip here for anyone starting out either in photography or anything creative – don’t compare yourself to others; take inspiration, but remember how utterly subjective art is and allow yourself to develop in our own way on your own path.

6. How would you like your photography to progress over the next 12 months?

I’d be genuinely thankful for another year like 2017 – I’ve met so many incredible people, worked on some amazing projects, had an amazing exhibition and been booked up for months. I’d love to spend the next year growing the people I work with and honing my approach – I’d definitely like to produce further creative pieces, those shoots where you plan and bring together a raft of things of this single creative vision. Also, I have some news coming soon about something I’m doing this year, watch this space 😉

7. Is there anyone you would love to photograph (famous or not)? 

Hmm, good question! I’d really love to shoot (and interview) someone who’s been on the frontline of helping people; from those people in our community who devote time to helping others to those abroad who are part of organisations tackling humanitarian issues. I think I’d like to try to unravel and convey the complexity and truth of what they deal with. I think that makes sense.

8. What is your end goal with your photography?

I’d like to do more of what I love and I see it growing in my life, but I also have a great day job working with awesome people. I see my ‘end goal’ as much grander than the next five years – I want to get to a point where my work has real value, where I help people tell their story – whatever that is.

Thank you so much to Alex for being the first interviewee.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about his work, and how he sees it progressing in the next few years. Alex is such a talented guy, and you can find his website here and Instagram here – go give him a follow. I’ve also included some of his favourite shots below over the past few months.

xx