What Laura Wrote: I heart fall tag

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I mentioned it a little in my Autumn post a few days ago but I decided to write about the 'I Heart Fall' tag too. I much prefer the word Autumn and I've found a lot of people from the UK have started calling it Fall too which is upsetting because Autumn is such a pretty looking and sounding word.

Favourite autumn lip products?
I need a good lip balm in the autumn as my lips dry out extremely fast so while I usually use Burt's Bees I always keep a pot of Vaseline handy in my handbag for emergencies. I love deep berry red's and plum's for autumn too so Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in shade 04 and MAC's Ruby Woo are favourites along with MUA's shade 13 and Bare.

Favourite autumn nail polishes?
I tend to stick to deeper colours in the autumn and unless I'm going out I don't use bright shades. However, since receiving Revlon's Cherries In The Snow I've loved it and worn it a lot. I've also loved MUA's deep purple toned nail varnish and Essie's Recessionista.

Favourite autumn beverages?
I'm going to be predictable and say Starbucks pumpkin spice latte with an extra shot of espresso. I can't lie, it is my favourite drink. I'm also partial to a hot chocolate in the evenings complete with whipped cream and marshmallows.

Favourite autumn scents?
I'm currently obsessed with Ritual's Sacred Fire candle in White Patchouli & Cedar Wood which I reviewed a few days ago. It's still burning strong daily and the scent is so beautiful for autumn and winter. Yankee candles in Cinnamon Stick is also a staple in my house. I'm a fan of vanilla scents but in the autumn I like to warm them up with cinnamon to add depth.

Favourite autumn fashion accessory?
I have too many to choose one. One of my favourites are 100 denier tights. I love opaque tights but I've not experimented with coloured tights yet as being a woman with quite thick thighs I don't feel they'll suit me so the staple tights are always in black. I'm fond of ankle boots, knitted berets and printed scarfs and pashminas too.

Haunted house, haunted hay ride or haunted corn maze?
Honestly, I've never done any (unless you count the haunted houses in fairgrounds which you obviously don't because they're awful) so I can't answer this. However a haunted corn maze sounds like a barrel of laughs.

Favourite Halloween movies?
Hocus Pocus because it was the first Halloween film I ever saw when I was younger and became addicted. It's a tradition to watch it at least once every October now. I also enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas and (don't judge me, I was an impressionable child and it's stuck with me) Halloweentown. I'm a huge fan of scary films so I have a whole host of horror films in my collection but none of which I watch religiously on Halloween, just as the mood strikes me to whip one out.

Favourite candies to eat on Halloween?
Anything I can stuff into my mouth. I'm partial to Bailey's chocolate but they tend not to give that to children as trick or treat sweets. I've always wanted to try candy corn since that episode of Sabrina with the river of candy corn coming from her dining room doors? You know what I'm talking about!

Favourite autumn memory?
Last Halloween Layla and I completely forgot about sorting out a costume so I put her in a witches costume and painted eyeliner symbols all over her face. It started to rain so we stayed inside with Amelia dressed as a pumpkin and stuffed our faces with food while the girls promptly decided to jazz up their outfits with whatever was in their clothes drawers. It seems simple and boring but it's one of my favourite recent memories just because of the simplicity. Things don't always go to plan.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?
It's Halloween today so I was originally going as my boyfriend and him as me. He's not too fond of the idea now it's here and now he knows we'll be going on a bus to my sister's Halloween party with him in a wig, dress and padded bra without being viciously drunk. I'm thinking of going as the token girl in horror films who's addicted to some sort of intravenous painkiller. Smudged eyeliner, deep purple lipstick, an all black outfit and a bandage on my arm. However, around these parts people won't even turn their heads but my Dad may have a bit of a heart attack when I threaten him to either give me chocolate or I'll egg his house.

So, that was the 'I Love Fall' tag with fall substituted for Autumn. If you do it, let me know so I can check you out. I definitely haven't seen enough YouTube videos of this tag yet.

What Laura Reads

The Happiness Project website here and you can purchase the book here too.

I am obsessed with books but I admit, I'm mainly obsessed with novels. From old favourites like Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird to new favourites like Chris Carter's The Death Sculptor, I read novels. I have never in my life picked up a self help book or books that claim to change your life in a self-help sense. While this could be classed as a self help book it's also one woman's journey to happiness. After researching happiness and spending a year on a mission to achieve happiness, Rubin comes out with not only a brighter ending but also a great book. While I'm sure I will be using some of the tips she advises in the book, I'm also going to be on my own journey to happiness. It's not that I am unhappy in my life but that I am feeling as if I am in a rut and that I need to start appreciating what I have instead of thinking along the lines of "If I had [insert thing here] my life would be better" or "If I was a size 10 I would be happy".

So, this book (which I utterly recommend everyone who is feeling a bit 'meh' reads) has inspired me to come up with a list of what makes me happy. Some points on the list are shallow and some are not so but this is my list and happy people don't judge.

1. Cold, dry days when my cheeks are flushed, my body is warm under layers of clothing and I'm clutching a coffee.
2. Videos of cats and dogs on YouTube. I am also partial to monkeys and the odd loris.
3. Polite children. Polite people.
4. New stationary, especially new pens and notebooks.
5. January 1st. As silly as it may be it always feels like a time to start anew.
6. Living a new life inside a novel.
7. Live acoustic music.
8. Autumn in general.
9. Making the bed right after I get up. It gets me started for the day.
10. A tidy house that smells of a scented candle.
11. Long, hot bubble baths.
12. Smiles, cuddles and songs from my daughters.
13. Baking and the scents associated with it.
14. Feeling appreciated and loved.
15. Car boot sales and charity shop finds.
16. Coming in under budget.
17. Watching my daughters learn and grow as individuals.
18. Time alone to write, think, sing in my head and zone out from the day.
19. The confidence of looking and feeling good.
20. Coffee, a cigarette and the cool Autumn air on my face in the mornings.
21. Massages.
22. The 'perfect' outfit.
23. Feeling satisfied.
24. Thank you notes, texts, e-mails - writing and receiving them.
25. Texts from friends just with general chit chat.

I could go on all day about things that make me feel happy from the perfect berry shade lipstick to feeling at peace with change in the world. I like feeling like I appreciate the little things that people do or say or little things in nature that really are awe-inspiring when you stop to think. So much of the time I am an anxious wreck about one thing or another, constantly late on bills with too little money to go around, feeling like I'm a failure for not providing more and I forget to shut the hell up, sit down and realise that I am lucky. No matter what happens I have food on my table, warmth (even if it is a blanket and my boyfriend rather than the central heating) and two young daughters who every day make me thankful to be alive.

Sometimes we all need to stop and appreciate the little things.

What Laura Loves: Autumn

Tredegar House, Newport in autumn

I love autumn. Not unconditionally because rainy days when I have to be outside aren't greatly appreciated and we do get a lot of rainfall here in Wales but autumn without the rain is a winner. I'm not too fond of summer as it's either full on rain or sticky heat here and I hate winter because ice and heavy rain don't do it for me either but autumn is perfect. The most beautiful colours combined with a chill in the air that screams for hot coffee, patterned scarves, layers and ankle boots. It calls for earth and deep berry tones, a great tasting lip balm and muskier perfume. It's the rise of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks (actually, I don't mind winter too much because egg nog lattes are delicious), knitted jumpers, Halloween, scented candles burning daily and hearty home-cooked (or sourced at a restaurant) comfort food.

I used to live a two minute walk from Tredegar House. I was born and raised in that house with my mum, dad, brother who then left to get married, sister who moved back in and from the age of thirteen, I was the only child in the home. I have fond memories of the park, a boyfriend in particular, who used to meet me there early mornings or late afternoons to escape our parents and just be together. I used to walk the entire circumference of the park with my headphones in and the dog lead in my hand. Every Christmas we would go to the Christmas event where you got to tour the house on a treasure hunt and end up in the bar with mulled wine, a live folk band and hot mince pies. I still go there at Christmas although now I go with my own family - my boyfriend (not the same one as my teens but the man I will marry) and our two daughters. Although we live outside of that area, I go back to visit often and it's something I love to do. I've always envisioned myself getting married there and I believe that it will happen when we decide to do it. Tredegar House is in a city known locally as 'The Shithole' but it's one of the places that has remained constantly beautiful, season after season.

What's your favourite season & why? Do you have a favourite place?

What Laura Pinned: The Perfect Home

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

All images with their original credit can be found on my Home board here

As I said in my Etsy favourites post, I am a Pinterest addict. When I finish repinning I often emerge from my mental cave and ask what year it is. There should be a support group. Before Pinterest I had ideas of what my perfect home would look like but they were nothing thoughts but being on Pinterest has given me real insight into how I would love my home to look. Above are a few of my favourite images from my 400 image strong Home board (that doesn't take into account the home ideas that have been spread everywhere from Children to Christmas boards, either). In short, I am obsessed with creating the perfect home/wardrobe/wedding/child's life and I don't have the money, time or energy to do this. Instead of taking these issues to therapy I take them to Pinterest.

I was thinking of making this a weekly feature. Kind of a 'What I've been pinning' post every Tuesday so you can see what I like and maybe get some inspiration yourself. It wouldn't just be interiors every week but everything from organisation tips, weddings, recipes, children's lifestyle, style etc. My question to you is, do I do a post with these categories mixed up weekly so there's 'something for everyone' or do I dedicate different categories to different weeks? Let me know if you like these kinds of posts because I definitely love spending more time on Pinterest to write these.

What Laura Did: A late end of week roundup

Rituals candle scenting the living room | Customised glitter moccasins | Yankee Red Velvet melted to provide me with a handle | Glitter jeans | Shameless self promotion in The Apple Store | Creamy Candy | I love Amelia's Christmas jumper | Pumpkins ready to carve | 2am rice meal

Etsy Favourites

Monday, 29 October 2012

HomeStudio's Etsy shop can be found here with chains sold separately here

I'm an Etsy addict. I will hold my hands up and admit that when I'm up late at night on my own I can be guaranteed to be found curled up on the sofa with Pinterest in one tab and Etsy in the other. Etsy has many times threatened to swallow my bank balance whole but the one good thing that comes out of an Etsy addiction is the great products you find that aren't mass produced. I'm a sucker for jewellery and while I undoubtedly spend a lot in Primark, New Look and River Island, when I have the money and time to wait, Etsy is my go-to. These pendants from HomeStudio are no exception. From the scrabble letter backs to the interesting front design in anything from quotes, photographs of your choice, digital art and definitions I find them to be most attractive. I can imagine one of these as a statement piece against a plain outfit or lots of pendants attached to one chain. I love the literary quotes and definitions but I am a sucker for words.

Most pendants in the store retail for £5.75 with international shipping (anywhere outside of the US as the company is based in California) costing a mere £1.92 with 21p per additional item. While the chains are supplied separately you could skip on that purchase if you have a spare one laying around or get crafty with beads, braiding, wire, lace or ribbon to create a real statement piece.

*These are not sponsored posts. These are my genuine opinions and I have found the companies in these features myself via Etsy. These are weekly features 'spotlighting' my favourite Etsy shops.

What Laura Wants: The Birthday Edit

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

It's my birthday at the end of November and to say I'm excited is an understatement. My best friend has agreed to babysit for us so my boyfriend and I can go for a meal and some drinks in Cardiff and it's usually the only time of the year I get presents for me or money to buy things for me. Since having children any spare money has either gone on houesehold bills or them so it's nice to look forward to treating myself. There are some beauty buys that are on my wishlist as well as the big things (a new Macbook, a new DSLR) that I know I'm not going to get however much I wish but I decided to stick with the things I have wanted for a while to show you all.

1. This watch is something I have been lusting after for a while. Not this exact watch, of course, but the Michael Kors version. I know I'm not going to be getting that any time soon so when I saw this beauty on Cariad I had to have it. I haven't acquired it yet but soon, my pretty *cackles*.
2. This bag from OASAP is something I've had my eye on. I've been looking for a big, sturdy black bag for every day wear that's still stylish and big enough that I could carry my life around in. I don't do well with little bags and I don't do well with expensive bags so I had to find something right in the middle. This is it!
3. These are more of a practical purchase. I always seem to buy my boots from New Look and I find them to be quite practical and hard wearing so for this bargain price and the fact that these are wide fit for comfort makes them a winner for me.
4.These boots are like the coveted Chelsea boots that I have yet to buy but with a glitter heel. Need I say more?
5.I love these little friendship bracelets. They are a bargain at £4 and I love the fact they're quite dainty and could be worn with anything.
5.I have seen cat ears everywhere and while I thought I would leave them to the braver fashionista's and children playing dress up, this little beauty of a headband makes me think I could pull this off. I think I'm going to have to try.

Cardiff Fashion Weekend & Blogger Meet

Sunday, 28 October 2012

This was my outfit to Cardiff Fashion Weekend. The tropical print top is from Primark as are the leggings and bag, the blazer is from Topshop many moons ago and the shoes are from New Look but customised by myself. I wore some Eyelure falsh lashes to the event with MUA lipstick in shade 11 and NARS lipgloss in Penny Arcade. The nails are Topshop High Voltage with a sprinkle of gold glitter (review coming soon).

A few of us met up at 4pm to get to know each other a little better over a delicious Starbucks. You can't beat a pumpkin spice latte on a cold autumn day.

Delicious Prosecco and food at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in The Hayes, Cardiff.

As you can see, it was a brilliant day from the time I arrived and met Michaela for browsing around the Vivienne Westwood store to the coffee meet, the actual party and the fashion show. The fashion show was brilliant. It was my first time seeing a live fashion show and while my phone didn't pick up brilliant shots from the show, Georgina made a video of the shows that I'll embed below. It was lovely to meet some of the bloggers that I've read and followed for a while as well as bloggers I had already met. You should definitely go check out their websites as they're not only all incredibly beautiful but also extremely lovely women. I had a fantastic time and I can't wait until the next time we all meet up.

If you want high quality pictures Gemma has a great post and Laura has fabulous photos (but a not-so fabulous one of me).

The bloggers

And without further ado...the show!

Rituals Eye Cream

* Rituals Rich & Firming Eye Cream £23.50

What Rituals say: Contains firming botanical extracts and an anti-wrinkle complex. For a visibly smoother eye contour. Apply with the finger tips, gently tapping around the eyes. For an optimal result, apply before the face cream.

While this is an anti-ageing product and I am a mere twenty three years old I feel that this has really benefitted me. Has it eased me ever deepening crows feet? No but then, it doesn't claim to. This is what I love about this eye cream - it claims to be moisturising and to nourish the delicate skin around the eyes but it doesn't claim to be a miracle potion or that it would reduce wrinkles or dark circles with a few swift applications. I am always dubious of products which lament that they're miracle products but this little jar is just a pot of intensely moisturising cream that is advised to be tapped on gently with the fingertips before facial moisturiser.

While 15ml may not sound like a lot for £23.50 it really is as you need such a small amount. I literally tap my finger in and it's enough to spread around both eyes and feel like they're really getting a lot of product. I have been using this every morning and a little more every evening for five days now and I honestly feel like the skin under my eyes is a lot less dry and worn. While my dark circles can only be reduced by concealer and while the lovely crows feet I found when I turned twenty one are still there, this cream really is rich and nourishing. Judging by the ingredients I have no reason to doubt that over time the cream would help improve elasticity in the skin and in turn that would help with the ageing process.

I love the packaging. I was wary about getting fingerprints all over the pretty mirror lid but if there are any strays a baby wipe would sort those out. It looks very elegant on my dressing table and while I should be thinking of the quality of the product instead of the packaging, nice packaging helps. I am such a magpie - anything shiny and it's a winner. The scent is lovely, not too heavy but definitely smells like a 'cream' but more natural. I have an idea of what I'm talking about even if you don't. It's an eye cream that I enjoy using as part of my twice daily routine and which has made a significant difference in the way my skin feels to the touch so I would definitely repurchase this when I run out.