York | The Scenery & Architecture

We went to York. I mention it again because it was utterly fabulous and we are so desperate to return as soon as is possibly feasible. We've travelled to a few places over the last year and York has to be one of the best because of the design of the buildings, the history, the things to do, see and eat and, the people. 
Let me show you some of the views that sucked us in and captured our heart. 

* Taking a Sunday stroll you'll find so many gorgeous designed buildings and architecture that you won't realise where the time has gone. There's always so much to see in York.


* The Shambles is an absolutely beautifully quaint shopping area with cute private and big brand stores all housed in these cobbled lanes. It really felt like I was shopping at Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. My absolutely favourite shop was The House of Trembling Madness which stocks every single spirit, beer or liquor that you could ever want or need. The staff are totally awesome also! Excellent product, amazing (down to earth) service.

* Pubs, restaurants and inns galore. If you don't fancy any of those then there seems to always be food markets and food-based events on also on the high street. So many foods, so little time to eat them all.

* If you're fond of the water you can go and get a tour on one of those cute boats. Connor and I are not water loving types so we just enjoyed a nice drink and stroll beside the water.

* The Ministry is the centre of everything within York. It has the most picturesque architecture and history, however there are majorly long waiting times if you want to go in to view the place, go to a service or climb the tower. We didn't do this due to the wait but it's definitely on our to do list.

* There is a good nightlife in York. Again we never went out pubbing and clubbing but its certainly an option if you fancied it. There are specialised bars with themes, there's hipster bars, food and drink events and possibly one hundred other types of alcohol laden places to go to at night.

* We took a walking ghost tour that met at the Roman pillar outside of York Minster at 7pm. The host was absolutely amazing! He really gets you involved and doesn't overpromise. Even if you don't see a spectre or two the information this host provides is really interesting. Funnily enough, it had been roasting when we went to York (hence Connor in his shorts and t-shirt) but once on the tour it poured! We were soaked. It was great fun.

We're hoping to return as this place has stolen our hearts. There's the Jorvik Viking Centre that we have on our must visit list and we're hoping to head back to Jamie's Italian again as it was absolutely incredible, the place is really down to earth, the food is fresh and *sigh* it's making my mouth water all over again.


I will be posting separately about what we ate, so watch out for that but read on a full stomach or face getting the munchies. If you've been to York what did you love about the place and are there any specific places we missed?

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Flamingo Candles | Pink Ribbon Boob Collection

I'm always for brands that try to make a difference and one brand that's doing just that is Flamingo Candles. The brand is well known for their use of pretty organic, soy bean waxes housed in jars with laser cut shapes such as glittery flamingos, neon shapes and other kitsch branding additions. 
 
The brand has decided to support the Pink Ribbon Foundation with their limited and special ''Boobs'' collection. Just take a peek at the awesome boob print packaging below...


The Boob collection also includes a scent melt (not pictured) as well as the jar and tumbler candles, the good thing is if you can't afford to donate money (and typically most people are asked to donate to so much at this time of year) or you don't want to go and buy a large or expensive product just because it 'donates money' then why not opt for something smaller such as the scent melt? 
 
Purchasing something lovely like these candles not only helps out the charity but you as a consumer are getting something for your money. Destress while helping out Pink Ribbon? Well, count me in. 
 
Bright Pink & Pastel Gold Boob Candles | £12
Jar Boob Candles | £10
Scent Melt | £2
 
The scent is the Flaming Candles exclusive Pink Ribbon scent so you don't have to worry about picking and choosing fragrances. The scent itself is described as: 
 
''Pink Ribbon is a rich, cranberry accord dominated by top notes of sweet cranberry blended with prune juice, complimented by a fruity floral heart of summer strawberry, sun ripened raspberry and citrus orange with sweet honey and rose notes. On dry down, the base is woody, powdery with notes of cedarwood and vanilla with a hint of raspberry''
 
If you fancy buying one or two of these then you can pick these up now as they only launched on September 4th however you can currently buy the melt and a different jar candle (in the usual Flamingo Candle style with the Pink Ribbon scent) just now over on the Flamingo Candles website. 

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Wellness | Ninja in My Kitchen

At the moment we are on a bit of a health kick, you may have noticed over on Instagram that we're trying to eat right and get more exercise. Generally, just yoga and walking but hey, it's a start, isn't it? 

Our change of lifestyle has been a long time coming but our main issue was organisation - with a few house moves and life changes we just hadn't got a handle on everything and, our eating habits went downhill. We both put on weight and when you're looking to the future, weight gain and crappy health is the last thing you want to hold you back. 


So retrograde ended and with that came a new found passion for eating well. Over the last week, we've taken our eating habits to the Philippines (not literally but our meals have been Filipino inspired) and we've eaten Pancit Canton, Kare-Kare and crispy sea bass with chilli, lemon and coriander sauce. What you've not seen on IG is that we've also had freshly made soups and plenty of smoothies and fruit slush desserts. 

There have been two things that have helped us achieve these changes, the first is ASDA home delivery - it's been a godsend. The second is our Ninja blender and smoothie maker. 

In the past, I've had juicers and blenders and smoothie makers and I've used them but grown bored purely because they take seconds to use but ages to clean. I don't have the patience for that in all honesty. The Ninja, however, is basically a ninja! It's super quick at cleaning which is a major factor in how much I use this. 

The second important factor is the speed or the usability. Again previous blenders have promised the world but fallen short because their speed was too slow and they were unable to blend correctly. The Ninja has a 700W speed which literally takes seconds to blend up my frozen (yes frozen) smoothie mixes which typically consist of frozen chunks of pineapple, mango and other yellow fruits. 

Here is the video showing how easy this is to use. You simply pop in your fruits or veggies, top with a liquid, pop on the blender/smoothie lid and place the cup upside down onto the Ninja machine. To make it work you simply push down the cup and it blends the ingredients to perfection. 

video

I used frozen pineapple and mango topped with coconut milk. Blending this up you can either have it straight away by simply swapping the blender lid to an on-the-go lid. It's really as easy as that. You receive two cups and lids so you can make two quickly, pop one in the fridge or simply use one as one is being washed. 

So far this has been a doddle to use, takes up very little room and is helping us immensely in our pursuit of health. The blender is currently on sale for £39.99 from £49.99 and in all honesty, this is a bargain guys. You can check it out over on the Ninja Kitchen website. 

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Jo Malone | The English Oak Collection


Jo Malone has partly launched their Autumn 2017 collection which is aptly titled ''The English Oak Collection'' There are two scents in this collection which are marketed towards his and hers. However, they really can be used by both genders depending on your fragrance note preferences. 

I know I love a good wood, musky, sexy scent and those notes typically come in more male orientated scents. I've been known to spray on Connors aftershave sometimes, ah hell OK, quite a bit actually. I love a scent that's transferable from day to night and that typically comes from wearing a scent that's comprised of notes that work with your own body chemistry. 

For me, I think this collection could be it. I'll be definitely giving this a sniff and then purchasing if all goes well but what do you think of this? 

The two scents available include: 

✓ English Oak & Redcurrant | The forest at dawn. The juicy bite of redcurrant. The zest of green mandarin. The freshness of rose softened with white musk. Enveloped in roasted oak. Bright. Embracing. Bewitching. 

✓ English Oak & HazelnutAn enchanted walk. The crunch of green hazelnut. The spice of elemi. The earthy woodiness of vetiver cooled by Emerald moss carpets. On a warming base of roasted oak. Earthy. Enticing. Enchanting. 

Products in the range include: 

 Cologne in 30ml & 100ml | £44 & £88
 Body Creme | £52 for 175ml. Coming soon. 
 Body & Hand Wash | £30ml for 250ml. Coming in September.  
 45 Hour Candle | £44. Coming in September. 

The candle intrigues me but then I am a HUGE candle lover. What are your thoughts about this collection? 

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Lottoland | If I Won the Lottery

I've never been someone who gambled. I've lived a modest life with modest dreams and bought a scratch card here and there, or put a lottery ticket on here and there. Nothing regular mainly because I saw it as a waste of money. The chance to win on the National Lottery was so slim due to the increase of draws and with the prices going up that I didn't want to waste ten pounds plus per week when it could go on shopping or towards a bill. 

However...

With a lot of life changes, things are no longer the same. I have dreams and ambitions, I want the best in life for my sons, my partner and my family as a whole and, with that comes the need to earn money or to start to do things that increase our 'win' chance. 

I did start regularly playing the lottery. But those old niggles I had about it being a waste of money came back as I never won a penny. I then started looking for other ways to increase our luck and our ability to 'win' and found Lottoland. 

The first of our wishes is having a nice family home. We rent currently and while we want to make this home a lovely, warm and inviting home our ultimate dream is to buy a forever home.  
The second is getting married. We discuss this right now and this board shows some of our ideas. Of course, it takes a lot of money to achieve the perfect wedding. 
The third is travelling. We have wanderlust lists that are increasingly growing. As we get older we don't believe that travel is out of the question. This is our current wanderlust list. 
So it's easy to see why I've started looking into luck games such as the lottery. Checking out the Lottoland website there are three games that stand out for me personally and those include: 

• Euromillions | This was one of the games that I played offline as they always had the larger jackpots. 
• Powerball | This was the one that was heavily promoted across the news as they had a 1 billion jackpot earlier this year. I know I wished I had been apart of that, well, now I can be (if that jackpot ever shows up again). 
• Irish Lottery | A great alternative to the UK lottery. Again it's something different but the rules remain the same. It's definitely worth a try. 

I will absolutely be giving these a go, we've nothing to lose and the cost is very minimal. I tend to be someone who's positive so never say never, guys. You could be in the minority that wins. 

How does it work? 

Lottoland isn't linked to the National Lottery in any way so won't always work in the same way as they do, I think that's a good thing. Any money you win is paid out from Lottoland as they are the separate independent organisation. 

Lottloland matches the prizes of each lottery as if you had won with an official lottery ticket. They operate an insurance model so larger wins are paid from insurance and smaller wins are paid out directly from sale revenue so you can be sure you'll always receive your prize. 

While you could go out and play the traditional offline lottery, playing with Lottoland allows you to get more for your money via discounts, special jackpots, free bets as well as other unique features that you won't get offline. These specialities always ensure you have a larger chance of winning. Well, at least in comparison to the National Lottery. 

So, if you're looking for a lucky win, then there are other options out there such as Lottoland. Check out the Lottoland website for more info if you're unsure or want to see what your options are. 

Good Luck! 
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Wellbeing | Moving Forward in Life With Bidvine


We're nearing the end of 2017 (I'm sorry but its true) and high hopes for achieving as much as possible but, it seems 2017 was not my year so, I'm going to try to put into place now as much as I can so 2018 starts with a bang! 

Some of the things I wanted to do include:

 Learn a foreign language so that I can speak, read and write it well. Or at least as well as I can manage. 
 Decorate my house so it feels homely. 
 Get organised. 
 Grow my business
 Start planning or at least putting down ideas for my future wedding (we won't set dates yet but planning didn't hurt anyone).  
 Learn how to relax. 

So far I've managed none of these and you know, I feel a bit sad about that. It feels like I've tried and tried this year to sort out our lives after surgeries, drama, moving home twice and plenty of changes that I won't go into and, with each drama there comes a hindrance that stops us from putting our plans into action.  

At the moment I know the last option is the most important, learning how to relax is key to getting everything done but I know I can't do it myself. I really need to find an alternative healer and ideally someone who performs Reiki. Finding someone myself is possible but, it means researching, hunting down places that do this and then finding out about times, prices and availability. It's so much planning and I just don't have the time. 

I want to move forward in our lives and I found out about a website that may just help us to tick off some of those must do's listed above and that website is - Bidvine. As soon as I found out about it I decided to give it a try, what did I have to lose afterall? So I went through the process which was super easy and the below images show the step-by-step. 


Most of us have things we want to do or achieve and the main issue that stops us is: 

a) you don't have the time
b) you don't have the know-how 
c) you don't have any help. 

Well, Bidvine can help erase each of those problems. 

The Process

1. Decide what you need help with. 
2. Answer a few specific questions to match the right persons to the job. 
3. Answer a few specific questions so that the persons understand what is required and can bid more accurately. 
4. Your inquiry or job request is then sent to local professionals who can help. Bidvine work to ensure that the right professionals are sent your bid so you can get the best estimations. 
5. Bidvine only shares the information that you give in relation to your questions. They do not share your personal details or email. 
6. Typically you will hear back in around four days from bidders. 
7. You can then compare the bidder's profiles and reviews so you can decide who you feel is a right match. 
8. Get things done with the help of your professional's help. 
9. Once complete review the professional so others can see how well they did. 

Professionals pay a small charge so they are able to contact customers, so you know that only serious professionals are going to bid. All you need to do is enter your requirements and then let Bidvine do the work. In all honesty, it's been a weight off my shoulders. I'm still within my four-day response time frame but I'll let you know how it goes. I like that I enter my details once and get a range of bids and pricing with no sales pitches that make you feel that you have to accept their offers. 

I'll leave you with the link to the site again and a few Ohm's (practising ahead of my Reiki treatments). - Bidvine Website

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Radical Skincare | Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads


I had been so excited for these  Radical Skincare Exfoliating Pads to come. I only recently found out about the brand and after researching them a bit further I realised I had to give them a go, my skin at that time was bad - I had a rash that consisted of boils and cysts, I had scar marks from previous cysts and my face was severely oily and dry at the same time. 

I had tried so many products but nothing was working other than antiseptic creams which were drying out my skin even more so. Fast forward to today my skin has improved drastically and while I do still have pimples and some of the previous scars (red marks from previous pimples) I knew I could really focus on testing out skincare products once again. 

There is 60 exfoliating pads inside each pot, the packaging is gorgeous and has a luxury air about it. I've found in the past when using 'pad' products that as soon as you pull back the silver protective foils you're hit with a super strong antiseptic scent - with these you're not. 


The key ingredients are AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) which is a super hyped ingredient for good reason. AHA's are used in glycolic peels but at a much stronger concentration of course, it works by sloughing away dead skin cells leaving fresh skin. 

When I first used them I expected them to initially sting the skin a little, leave it a bit dry and it soaked up the yuck but they did neither. They cleaned my skin, felt fresh and clean just as though I had washed with water and I did notice visible changes especially on the apples of my cheeks and my nose area. 

I'm still in my first test week so I'll be sure to update when I'm nearer finished. So far so good though and I'm impressed enough to recommend these to anyone who wants to get back that healthy glow, radiance and vitality back into their face. You can purchase these from the Radical Skincare website.
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Aromatherapy Associates | Mini Bath & Shower Oil Collection

Ten miniature bath and shower oils all housed in a cute Aromatherapy Associates box. It's the perfect little gift for anyone who takes their skincare or relaxation routine seriously, I being one of them. 

I've never been a huge fan of giving or receiving beauty gifts purely because they're so specific to a person's own taste and it's the one type of gift that you can get so wrong so easily - kind of like gifting lingerie, it's wrong on so many levels unless you've been specifically asked to buy it. 

This Bath & Shower Oil Collection, however, is so unobtrusive and suits everyone - we all have skin that benefits from natural, luxurious oils and we all suffer from stress, sleep issues or a need to smell good at some point in our life don't we? If you're anything like me you'll prefer buying something that's going to be value for money while still feeling as though you've treated yourself; I'm so indecisive so prefer mini sizes or products that offer me a choice so this really ticks all of those boxes, the hardest part is deciding which of the nine mini oils to use first? 


Each glass bottle holds 3 ml's of premium oils blended with essential oils which can directly or indirectly. While 3 ml's might not sound huge you'd be surprised at how far it actually goes - if you're choosing to add an oil to your bath, for example, you're only going to need a third at a time, each vial will do three baths so this gift set will last for nearly a month worth of daily baths. 

If you're choosing to add some of the oil to a nasal steamer or a bowl and towel steamer you'll literally need a few drops - as for applying directly to the skin each vial will last an age purely because the oils are so saturated the scent lasts all day whereas your £50 to £60 designer spirit based perfume, lasts a few hours at most. I also like to add a few drops to my moisturisers to apply before bed because the oils are released as your body warms meaning that you get your hydration boost as well as the full healing benefits of the oils blend. 

At this time of year (I can't believe it's nearly autumn already) I go through far more AA oils than I do in summer as my skin is naturally drier, adding the oil to the moisturiser really works and saves me more money, anything with petitgrain is great for problematic skin and we like to add these blends to even our sons moisturisers - prior to buying this set my families favourite oils are the newer Inner Strength oils which are so gorgeous and the Renewing Rose oil which even my sons adore. Now though, we've added a few new favourites such as the Support Breathe (seasonal winner) and the Revive Evening oil. 

There are two oils from Relax, De-Stress and Revive and three from the Support collection: 

Relax Deep || Does what it says on the tin - makes you feel so relaxed while being the perfect addition to your evening bath or a few drops added to your pillow. Vetivert, Chamomile and Sandalwood make this oil a naturally unisex and earthy scent. 

Relax Light || If you're a great sleeper but just want that extra push or have children who need to wind down in the evening then this is your oil - lavender, ylang ylang and petitgrain soothe and relax the mind, the oils also work as a spiritual perfume which can be used in the oil burner or applied directly and the petitgrain is great as an extra hydration boost in your body lotion. 

De-Stress Mind || Contains frankincense, petitgrain, wild chamomile and rosemary and smells really herbal but nice. Its aim is to help focus your clarity but I definitely think it helps me to stay focused on the task at hand. 

De-Stress Muscle || Warms and soothes tight muscles with rosemary, black pepper, lavender and ginger, great for those lady aches and pains or if you're a sporty person whose muscles are literally needing to de-stress. 

Revive Morning || Refreshes and invigorates with grapefruit, rosemary and juniper and helps to wake up the mind ready to start the day energised. 

Revive Evening || If you like to head to events, parties or even just start or continue working late into the night Revive Energy is a great pick-me-up, it contains geranium, ylang-ylang, patchouli and sandalwood and is my favourite scent out of this collection, so much so I used (it's finished now so a repurchase is in order) this as my daily perfume for months. 

Support Breathe || which is my new BFF. Apparently I've got a blocked sinus tube in one ear so this has helped get rid of that stuffed up feeling and face pain - I use it in my nasal steamer and we pop some of this oil into some hot water and leave it in our sons room before bedtime, it contains eucalyptus, pine, tea tree and peppermint so definitely clears your mind without stinging your eyes. 

Support Lavender & Peppermint || Lavender to relax and unwind, peppermint to invigorate and awaken, this little oil has the dual benefits and is great for stuffy children who can't [or won't] sleep.  

Support Equilibrium || This smells amazing! Geranium rose and frankincense can't fail to make you feel confident and happy. 

The full sized oils cost £40 for a 55ml sized bottle, this miniature set costs £35 (full priced) for nine oils, it's especially great if there's one or two you'd love to test but don't want to drop money in case it's not what you expected, this way you can try out nine luxury oils for less and have the chance of finding a few favourites. 

I purchased my gift set from the Aromatherapy Associates website. AA no longer have this set however because they've upgraded the gift box to a ten oil set so as a bonus you're going to receive Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil also but for the same price *win-win*


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5 Home Business Steps For Creative People

If you love exercising your creative muscles at home, then why not consider turning your creativity into a source of income? Working a nine to five job isn’t for everyone. Creative people especially would love to spread their wings and spend more time doing the things they love best. If you’ve been putting off exploring the possibility of starting up a home business, then read on to find out just how simple it could be:

The big idea

First of all, you need to know that what you create fills someone else’s needs. You need to be able to solve a problem or create a highly desirable product if you’re going to convince a customer to part with their cash. Many of your projects might have been for self-interest so far. How can you use those skills and ideas to create something other people would love to own? That’s the big idea, and that will form the basis of your business proposition.


Where will you make it?

Artists need somewhere quiet yet inspirational to be creative. You might need a workshop if you’re a sculptor or a studio if you paint of photograph. If you’re a musician, perhaps you need a soundproofed space? As a writer, you might need a light and airy desk room. Building this at home might require a little creative thinking in itself! You can build workshops or studios in the gardens by using things like Armstrong Steel buildings to create the outbuilding you need. It will save you from having to give up any part of your home. You might even have space for an office out there.


Getting creative

You might need a few tries to get your project just right. The early days of any business are always the toughest. They require long hours and enormous tenacity. Over time, you’ll refine your process and develop your skills. You’ll find the things you can do best, and you’ll figure out how to become more efficient at creating them. The important thing is not to lose interest even if it’s not going right at first.


Making a sale

Getting your first sale is a monumental moment for your business. You might feel like you’re cheating if you sell to friends and family at first. That’s not the case. Everybody starts with their closest supporters and builds their network up. Social media shares are the way forward, so encourage your friends and family to post about your products. Hopefully, that will lead to more customers and sales over time.

Quitting work

Once you’ve got your business up and running, it might still take many months or even a couple of years to see enough sales come in to earn a living. You’ll need an effective website and a strong marketing campaign. That takes a lot of time and energy away from your creative duties. Can you handle all of that? Chances are, you’ll be calling on your friends and family to help you in lots of ways in the beginning. But if you’ve got a great idea, a great product, and a good business head, there is every chance you can eventually quit the nine to five. Good luck!

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Not For The Kids! Geeky Things For The Grown-Ups

If you have a grown-up geek in the house, chances are you’re already aware of some of the things on our top list of great geeky goodies here. Of course, it’s not all about playing with toys, or reading comic books. These things are very serious, you know, and definitely not kid stuff! If you’re looking for ways to make your beloved geek super happy, then why not invest a little time and money on some of these amazingly awesome things that are strictly for the grown-ups only?

Lego

Most children have had a bag of lego bricks and about half an hour of trying to assemble something reasonably recognisable. Lego for grown-ups is a world away from that. For a start, sets to build VW camper vans, or Star Wars Death Stars cost over £100. That’s not play money! Much of the joy in this for your beloved geek is in displaying the finished assembled item. This means a dedicated room or substantial cabinet complete with childproof lock and key are essential.


Anime

On the face of it, anime might look like a highly stylised cartoon. In essence it is, but it is the content, the story, and the nature of the characters that make this form of entertainment strictly for adults only. You can sometimes find two different releases or versions, such as with the anime Kite so that these films can get past the censors. Strong stuff at times, but anime has an enormous fan base both in the West and in its original Japanese territories.

Drones

With more and more rules and regulations applied each year, flying a drone has become strictly an adult-only pastime. You might also have heard about one or two injuries including head wounds and cut-off fingers! Yes, these things can be dangerous, but they come complete with safety instructions that simply need to be followed. For a bird’s-eye view of your favourite landscapes fit a camera to your drone and enjoy.


Star Wars Figures from the 1970s

It’s been forty years since the original film was released, and the popularity of Star Wars merchandise has reached dizzying heights. The first wave of figurines are now highly sought after and coveted as collector’s items. If they’re in the box and never opened, that means they’re worth even more. Definitely not to be played with! Instead, they require their own bulletproof, triple-locked cabinet so they can be adored from behind the yellow line.


Superhero Movies

Despite originating in comic books (sorry - graphic novels), these movies are definitely not for the wee ones. We're talking about Deadpool, Logan, Suicide Squad and other recent superhero hits. They contain graphic depictions of violence, lots of foul language, and humour that children should never be exposed to. In other words, these films are brilliant and well worth a full evening on the couch with your favourite geek friend.

What does the geek in your home get up to once the kids have gone to bed? Perhaps it’s time to jump onboard and have a little more grown-up fun yourself? Are you ready to release your inner geek?

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