Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Seasons Greetings - A ramble

First things first Merry Christmas! Whether you celebrate or not I hope you at least managed to enjoy a little bit of the festive holidays. I can't quite believe we are gearing up for 2016. In true form I will be posting my musings for 2016 in a separate post on New Years Day but for now I just wanted to check in with a bit of a ramble (my personal favourite).

I feel like I'm going through a bit of a change at the moment - well over the last few months actually. It's way too deep to go into in one blogpost but I fully intend on sharing this with you in the months to come in a series of posts. I don't know if its maybe because I'm getting a little bit older and the way I see things is shifting or if there is another reason but the way I see the world is definitely changing. I'm changing.

I came off the pill in October following some health issues and I am currently writing a blog post about my experience. I've been on various forms of hormonal contraception for over 10 years and the whole experience of going 'au naturel' so to speak has been extremely eye opening - hell I'd even go as far as to say it's been life changing. I want to share this with other women who may be thinking of doing the same and whilst everyone is completely different - my experience may help someone else. As women I don't feel like we talk about this stuff enough and it shouldn't be a taboo subject. 

I also want to talk more about Minimalism and how I am incorporating this into my life in my own way. Thinking about it I started moving towards a more minimalist life when I moved house back in March - my home decor has a strong Scandinavian influence and I cleared out more bags and boxes of unwanted items than I care to remember. I think seeing all of that waste is what started the wave but only over the last few months have I really started to embrace minimalism and the benefits it brings. I am by no means a complete minimalist but it is something I am moving towards and incorporating in my own way. This ties in with consumerism and buying crap for the sake of it. I'm through with it. This isn't me saying I'm not going to shop anymore by any means - this is me saying I'm being more mindful about what I spend my money on and I now only buy things I truly value. When you start thinking this way and living this way your mindset changes significantly. You become more aware of consumerism gone mad and you gain a whole new perspective. It allows you to spend your money on things that add value to your life - invest in items that make you really happy and aren't just some fad that will lie unloved in 12 months time. To quote Sophia Amoruso "Money looks better in the bank than on your feet."

I've been enjoying finding new YouTubers and blogs who share seriously inspiring and creative content on topics from personal finance, investing, minimalism, DIY and home decor and I want to share these with you. 

I totally get that this wont be for everyone but I guess my interests are changing and this blog has always been a place where I share what's catching my attention at any given point in my life. Of course I still love fashion and beauty and always will but I'm enjoying this shift in my outlook and want to share that. I really do believe that you can create a balance of all of the above and live a simple, happy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Wow that turned into quite the little ramble but I'm excited and inspired to share more of what's floating my boat lately and writing blog posts about topics that hopefully you will find interesting too!

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Monday, 7 December 2015

Five Things

1. Well hasn't this been a month of ups and downs. I wasn't well for most of October and then ended getting caught up in the upset in Egypt which was interesting to say the least. I'm pleased to say though that I'm on the mend and enjoying the simplicity of getting back to my usual routine. Its amazing how a dramatic turn of events can leave you craving normality. I started writing this post at the end of November and within a blink of an eye it would seem here we are in December!

2. This weekend I finally took the plunge and chopped my hair off into a lob. My hair was seriously long at the start of the year and I've been having a little bit more chopped off each time I've visited the salon. This weekend I overslept and rushed to my appointment and I think the fact I wasn't even fully awake and hadn't had time to umm and ahh about what to do was one of the main reasons I just went for it. It's certainly very different but I really love it and feel like its perfect for where I am right now in my life. Here's the thing with long hair, it soon becomes a comfort blanket and before you know it you've become so precious about your locks even having an inch taken off feels like an ordeal. Then there's all the compliments - people love long hair on other people and this only further fuels the resistance to having the chop. I kind of wish I'd had the guts to lop it off in one go but I'm glad I've done it gradually over the last 12 months. 

3. I've been really enjoying listening to The Lively Show Podcast on my commute to work. This lovely podcast is "designed to uplift, inspire and help you add a little extra intention to your every day" and I personally think its an absolute joy to listen to. I discovered this via Anna of VDM when I was on holiday and I've downloaded countless episodes since. Whilst I don't think anything will fill the void Serial left when I finished it this is really nice to listen to in a morning to get me feeling positive about the day ahead.

4. I've been on the hunt for a perfect grey nail polish for ages and found it in Essie Cocktail Bling. Its a ridiculously simple grey but perfect for winter and just solidified my love for Essie nail polishes.

5. I am quite simply obsessed with Sugar Mamma TV's videos. I found her channel on Youtube after researching the fastest way to get out of debt (more coming on that later). Canna is a seriously savvy financial advisor from Australia and her channel focuses on empowering women to take control of their financial future. It's really inspiring stuff and her messages are delivered in a way thats relatable and easy to digest. I've watched almost all of her videos over the last couple of weeks and I'm itching to start sorting my finances out and start investing in a better future for myself.

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Yarndale 2015

Last weekend me and my Mum set off on our annual trip to Yarndale. We went for the first time last year and I think its safe to say it will forever be an annual tradition to go together.

Yarndale is a festival dedicated to all things made with yarn. It's an explosion of colour and creativity and has a wonderful selection of stalls and delights to feast your eyes on. This year there was almost two hundred stalls to look at which I must admit at points was a little bit of a sensory overload and lots of the stalls started to blend into each other but it was a really lovely day out none the less. I was very restrained and only bought a couple of balls of wool to make some socks with but I could have gone absolutely nuts at the Toft Stall. I already have the Edwards Menagerie book and would have loved to have splurged on some of the beautiful Toft wools but unfortunately my brakes went on the car last week and I am on a budget for the rest of the month - roll on payday. 

I will leave you with my photo diary of the day - I've tried to capture what a beautifully creative and colourful atmosphere it was. Until next year...

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Zara Haul & Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag Dupe

I've been on the hunt for a new bag for a while now, ideally I wanted a structured bag for work but when I was browsing the Zara website last week I stumbled across a perfect dupe for the Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag and I had to have it. 
The Mansur Gavriel has sold out everywhere plus after the amount I've spent on home improvements over the last couple of months my days of designer handbags are over. 

I popped into Zara on pay day and I grabbed myself the Zara version (link here get it while you can) and it is gorgeous let me tell you. It's actually a really good size and feels well structured. I love the red lining and I feel like its the perfect bag to transition into Autumn/Winter.  

I also spotted these killer flats when I was in store. I originally saw these on Anouska's blog and decided what the hell and bought them. I've been wearing Primark flats for the last 6 months so these feel really luxe. I am completely obsessed with them and never want to take them off.

Finally I grabbed myself a little bottle of perfume to throw in my handbag - this smells pretty good and was a steal at just £5.99 - its also the perfect size for your handbag and matches the lining too - bonus.

Not bad to say I was just nipping in to pick the handbag eh?

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

New In

I have been meaning to write this post for the last couple of weeks but after two ridiculously busy weekends I am only just getting around to sharing with you a few new items that I have been enjoying. 
Craig come home with a bottle of one of my favourite perfumes Armani Si. I normally opt for the Eau de Parfum (the one with the black lid) but the toilette is equally as lovely and a little bit lighter for every day wear. I first bought this perfume in duty free on the way to Mexico so it always transports me back to the amazing holiday every time I spray it. This scent is the perfect perfume for every day wear - sweet but not saccharine, woody but not too heavy. If you haven't already definitely have a spritz on your wrist and then have a sniff as the day wears on - for me it smells even better after its had an hour or so to settle.
I ordered OPI Nail Envy and used it for a couple of weeks in the hopes of putting an end to my peeling and flaking nails. After a couple of weeks though I ended up buckling and getting acrylics done again. I haven't had them for over 12 months and to be honest I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them in the sense that some days I love them - others I feel like a fake bitch and hate them! 
This week I finished reading the Life Changing Magic of Tidying. If you are into organisation like me or just need that bit of guidance to get your shizz together then this book may be good for you! The KonMari method is extreme and advises that you tidy everything by category and that you do it all in one go. Any item that doesn't "spark joy" has to go. I for one found some parts of the book really useful and I have to be honest my home never looked so good! There is something surprisingly refreshing about getting rid of all of the crap you've been clinging onto and only having the things you really love around you.
Did you see the Apple LiveStream? I am so getting my hands on the Rose Gold 6s Plus. When I got my gold iPhone 6 I thought the plus would be too big but you always get used to the size difference in no time don't you? I regret not getting the plus last time and wont be making the same mistake twice! Until I get my mitts on the new iPhone I've bought myself this pretty flamingo case from SkinnyDip. I actually picked this up in Topshop who now stock Skinny Dip cases - definitely worth checking out if you need a new case.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new Naked Smoky Palette. I have all of the other Naked Palettes so it would be rude not to add this to my collection wouldn't it? I haven't had chance to properly try all of the colours but I did wear some of the shadows for my anniversary meal out with Craig last week. We went to a local little Japanese restaurant and for once I piled on loads of slap and do you know what I really rather liked it! There's a really nice mix of shades in here with a selection of matte and shimmer finishes - if you're debating purchasing - just go for it! 

Here's a super posey photo of me last weekend wearing said eyeshadows. I hope you've all had a nice weekend - I'm currently sat in my pjs listening to The Beautiful South whilst writing this. I'm really trying to post regularly again and trying to be consistent with weekly posts. I'm also toying with the idea of starting making Youtube videos again in the New Year. I'm really into Snapchat at the moment (username kellycpeel) and I must admit its giving me the urge to start making videos again! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Chocolate Chip Blondies

After stumbling across Maybe Matilda's lovely blog and Instagram page I spotted a photo of some rather delicious looking cakes. I soon discovered they were actually "Blondies" and set about whipping up a batch for me and Craig to indulge in whilst watching the Great British Bake Off.

The recipe is ridiculously quick and easy and even the most troubled of bakers will have no problem serving up a plate of these.

Thanks Just Add Sprinkles for sharing this lovely recipe.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels (I didn't include these in my blondies)

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and linke an 8x8 baking dish with greaseproof paper
2. Add both light and dark sugars to mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter. Once thoroughly mixed add in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Add in your dry ingredients, flour, salt and baking powder and mixed until it is all combined.
4. Fold in your chocolate chips and butterscotch morsels if you are using them
5. Spread the blondie batter evenly into your baking dish
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
7. Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then serve.

Why not whip up a batch of these to enjoy tomorrow night with the bake off? You wont regret it.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales | Rukins Park Lodge

We set off on our road trip early in the morning with the car full to bursting with us and all our camping gear. Now I'm the first to admit I'm more of a glamping girl than a camping girl but Craig absolutely loves camping and being outdoors so we meet in the middle and compromise. We have all of the bases covered, plush sleeping bag, air bed, camping stove, tea making facilities and most importantly a good tent. Now if I had my way we'd have a canvas bell tent like this one I snapped at our campsite, a girl can dream right? 

We had a couple of things we wanted from our campsite, Craig wanted to be near water, in a remote location, be allowed to have a camp fire and I wanted the campsite to have toilets. After searching on Cool Camping we decided on Rukins Park Lodge a spot right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales and next to a river. We invited some of our friends along and set off on the long drive.

The drive up to Keld was more picturesque than any of us could have imagined. I've made many a trip to the Dales over the last few years but I'd never been off the beaten track like this before. This was literally the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, no civilisation for miles with the exception of tiny villages and lonely farm buildings. The villages were post card perfect - everywhere you looked was a photo opportunity.

When we arrived at Rukins Farm we were greeted with a warm welcome by the owner Barbara. There are all the facilities you need on site as well as a small tea room and shop selling essentials. We paid for our pitches, grabbed some fire wood then headed down to the river to set up camp.

We pitched right by the river and to our amazement we were within a minutes walk of a waterfall - the setting was quite simply stunning. It felt a million miles away from the usual chaos of life.

After we'd explored our surroundings and set up camp first things first and in true Yorkshire style a cup of tea was in order.

We chatted the night away and after having dinner we started up the camp fire, toasted marshmallows and watched as the stars came out one by one.

We awoke with the birds the following morning and after a slight disaster with breakfast we packed up and set off towards Hawes, a small market town just down the road and home to the largest single drop waterfall in England - Hardraw Force. We had to stop along the way to take in the incredible scenery - simply breathtaking.

You access Hardraw Force via the Green Dragon, a 13th Century Inn packed to the rafters with charm and its very own dozing cat in front of a roaring fire.

After going through the inn you only have a small walk until you reach the beautiful waterfall.

After taking everything in we strolled back to the car feeling thoroughly content and more than a little sad that we had to leave the Yorkshire Dales behind.

Even if camping really isn't your thing, with the right camping essentials and a setting as perfect as Rukins Park Lodge I'm sure that you will have a thoroughly enjoyable, peaceful and restorative weekend in the Dales.

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