Monday, 18 August 2014

TAG // WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

I'm at one of those points where I have so many ideas about things to blog about but I just simply don't have the time to get around to it! So for the meantime, I thought I'd have a go at Shona Louise's tag that she created, since I haven't done a 'personal' post in a while. Additionally, as she stated in her post, I think sometimes it's far too easy to forget what things make you happy when you're having a bad day.


WHO MAKES YOU HAPPY?
My family and friends make me happy. I'm a real home body, so some nights I'm happiest just sat at home watching a movie with my parents or going out to dinner with my family. It might sound boring, but it's true. A few weeks ago, everyone got together for a family wedding and we had a great time. My friends make me happy too and I feel I can rely on them for even the stupidest of things. If I need a night out to let my hair down, we'll go out. If I need to chill after a long week at work, then we'll have a quiet evening at the pub. My friends are great at advice or just helping distract me from what's wrong, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Music makes me happy! No matter what mood I'm in, there's something I can listen to to make me laugh, cry, think, or even just escape my own mind. It also helps me in other ways too. Music has brought me closer to friends, has helped me make new friends and has even sent me on fun adventures that have left me with amazing memories. Other things that make me happy are movies, food (haha) and big hugs. Sometimes you just need a big hug.

3 PLACES THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
My local pub is one because me and my friends always seem to migrate there, whether its for a summer drink, Rock 'n' Roll bingo or our yearly Christmas meal. We've had so many great memories there and even if we're just stopping for one or two non-alcoholic drinks on a quiet Sunday evening, I still find myself leaving with my cheeks hurting from laughing so hard at our many topics of conversation.
South Shields beach - although I no longer live up North - always has been and always will be a favourite place of mine. It holds so many great memories and just signifies an important three years of my life.
Finally, don't judge me, but my bed makes me happy! Obviously I love catching up on sleep but I love reading in bed or watching a movie or even just snuggling up in the warmth and listening to music on the rare occasion in the middle of the day!

What makes you happy? I'll certainly refer back to this post when I'm having a bad day and do something mentioned here!

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Friday, 15 August 2014

FASHION // WOOLOVERS 25TH BIRTHDAY

To help celebrate Woolovers 25th birthday, I thought I'd do a little post today on some of my favourite picks from the site. At work, we're beginning to bring in our autumn wear which has me longing for those cold winter nights when I can finally start wearing some lovely fluffy jumpers! Being that it rained almost all day yesterday, I'm definitely eager to put away my summer clothes and admit defeat; it seems summer has been and just about gone, and so come out the jumpers.

Luckily, Woolovers have a wide range to offer and I love how much variety they have in terms of colour. Here are some of my favourite picks that I'll no doubt be purchasing come payday.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Fashion // Woolovers 25th Birthday; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Woolovers
Images taken from Woolovers.com
A thick striped top is first on my wishlist because I've really been loving the whole nautical look lately. This will take the place of the favourite stripy vest top I wear for casual, as a vest top is just going to be too cold this winter. This jumper will keep me warm and is a perfect example that jumpers don't have to be plain and boring.

I also absolutely adore this ladies fair isle jumper because it's SO cute and stylish! I love how it's seasonal without being too over the top. I think we had our fair share of corny Christmas jumpers last year and this is a subtle nod to that trend, without actually trying to re-create it and thus being out of date. It's colours are really cute and I can just imagine wearing the cream one on Christmas day, going for a long walk in the countryside - or even just in the last month leading up to Christmas!

Finally, you can never go wrong with a simple and basic crew neck jumper. It's fitted, it's long sleeved so keeps you really warm and these are often quite stylish too. What I like about these jumpers is that they're great to wear just on their own - you don't necessarily need to keep this kind of jumper just to throw over something else.

These are just three of many jumpers that have caught my eye and I am very sorry for talking about Christmas and winter already, but with the horrible and gloomy weather yesterday, I have to admit, I'm really in the mood for winter now!

What do you think? Is it too early to start thinking about winter fashion, even though the shops are beginning to stock their autumn ranges? Have you got your eye on any knitwear from Woolovers? Let me know!

"Sponsored post

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

REVIEW // SIMPLY COOK MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION BOX

Although beauty boxes began the trend, it seems there's a monthly subscription box for everything these days. Recently I've heard about craft boxes, sweet treat boxes and even a box called 'Mantry' (I absolutely love the name) which is aimed at men! There's not really been a box I've felt worthy of subscribing to so far though as some can be quite pricey and I've not really seen the point in wasting money on something I won't use.

But when I came across Simply Cook, I changed my mind. I'm not a great cook, EVERYONE knows that. I mean sure, I can make basic things like pasta dishes or beans on toast but that's where my culinary skills end. I don't think I'll ever be the type of person who can look in the fridge, see a bunch of random ingredients and just throw something together.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Review // Simply Cook Monthly Subscription Box; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Simply Cook; Monthly Subscription Box

But Simply Cook caught my eye because it offers such a wide variety of food. I like how I can use it do discover new recipes from different cultures and none of it is typical dishes we all know how to make anyway, or things that many people are familiar with but just have a new twist on them. It's a great way to not only widen your food choices but to improve your cooking skills too. It really does offer food from all around the world.

The box basically contains enough for a meal a week and includes three ingredients for each recipe, more so the spices or sauces for each. So you have to provide the basics or the fresh food like the chicken or beef or whatever, although I've found so far that when purchasing the additional ingredients of each recipe, it's never cost me much more then £5ish.

Most recipe cards state that the portions are for two people, but I've managed to cook for myself and my parents on these. The recipe cards are super cute too and I absolutely adore how you can rip off the ingredient list at the bottom of each and just pop it in your purse! It's actually really cheap too at only £10 a month with free shipping which I think is more then worth it considering how many meals you get out of it.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Review // Simply Cook Monthly Subscription Box; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Simply Cook; Monthly Subscription Box

However you can get your first box half price using my referral URL here, and once you've received one box, you can then go on to choose what you want your next box to include. So if you're feeling stumped about what to cook or maybe you're just a beginner like me, you should try Simply Cook.

It really has helped me improve my cooking skills and has helped me actually want to learn to cook new things. I've definitely become more confident in the kitchen after subscribing to this!

What do you think? Are you a novice at cooking? Do you think a monthly subscription box like Simply Cook could help you? Let me know!

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Friday, 8 August 2014

NAILS OF THE WEEK // BLACK LACE

Once again, I feel like I'm in a real life version of The Truman Show because as usual a great idea I've had has been nicked by someone else. This time, it's Primark. Sort of.

Many years ago I told my mum I wanted to try nail art using lace after seeing a photo in a magazine, although if my memory serves me right the photo was of a lace nail art effect without actually using lace (to my knowledge anyway, it's entirely possible that it was actual lace and therefore Primark did not nick my idea as it wasn't my idea in the first place). None the less, I kept saying I'd buy some lace and try it out.

I did not.

The other week when I was mooching around Oxford Street Primark, I saw that they'd brought out their own Lace Manicure kit, so of course I bought one. The end result was fiddly, slightly messy and annoying (and it got more messy and more annoying the longer I wore them)...but it looked damn good, at least before it got too messy.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Nails Of The Week // Black Lace; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Black Lace; Black Lace Nail Art; Nail Art; Primark; Edgy

I spent Wednesday evening at a gig, seeing the ever awesome Blink 182. I've waited at least ten years to see this band and honestly cannot fathom how happy I was to finally be able to see them live. They'd always been on my band bucket list - the one ultimate band I'd never had the chance to see but was always desperate to. When they split up I thought my chance was over, and as happy as I was when they reformed, I simply didn't have the money to see them then. So it was a really lucky day for me when I was able to get tickets this time around and of course, doing my nails like that was partly for the gig.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Nails Of The Week // Black Lace; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Black Lace; Black Lace Nail Art; Nail Art; Primark; Edgy

They're soooo pretty and gothic and edgy. I used Nails Inc 'Hero Shade' as a base colour and then once that was dry, used a top clear coat before adding the lace. I cut off any excess lace and added a final clear top coat to help secure it. Some nails needed going over more than once, but for the most part, the clear top coat really held the lace down well. However for some of the nails, the thicker bit of lace came off & strands loosened more easily like when I was using my hands a lot and doing delivery at work. In future, I'll probably cut the lace less like the lace on my thumb and perhaps more like the lace on my forefinger - so that no 'thick' bits are at the very end of the nail. It was kind of hard cutting the lace to the correct size too, but the hardest part was doing my right hand (I didn't even attempt it, my sister did it for me ha). 

The end result looked fab, but I am considering maybe using some stick on designs that aren't actual lace. I think that'll be less fiddly, although at the same time I really like that it's actual lace and not just a painted on pattern!

None the less, that's my nails of the week and I've had lots of compliments on them. I do think with more practice they'll be less messy. From afar they look fine, but if you look closely overtime you can see where strands of lace have come up and loosened a bit on the end of my nails. But, I doubt anyone will be bothering to look that close!

What do you think? Would you try out the lace nail trend? Make sure to let me know with a comment!

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Monday, 4 August 2014

RAMBLINGS // AN ODE TO ADVENTURES

With the weather being so beautiful lately, it's no surprise that I've got serious Instagram envy. Usually when I'm on the bus on the way to work, I scroll through the app and find myself faced with photographs and memory making from people having a clearly better time then me, enjoying the sunshine. I've seen photo after photo of ecstatic and eager crowds soaking up the atmosphere at Warped Tour over in America, something I've dreamed of attending since I first discovered rock music. I've felt pangs of jealousy as I see #nofilter photos of stunning sunsets taken in the countryside, no doubt after a relaxed day of picnics, gentle walks and maybe even a BBQ. I smile as I remember my own visit to Brighton earlier this year when I study photos of that beautiful blue sky overlooking the pebbled beach and pier.

And each of these photos make me want to go back to those memories; to eat chips hungover on the steps leading down to Brighton beach, the same beach myself and my friends had a bonfire with my favourite band only the night before. I think about last summer when I'd visit my sister and we'd take long strolls around the countryside where she lives, or when I house sat for a week and my friends came to visit and take advantage of drunken karokie at the pub literally a 30 second walk away. And although I'm missing Warped Tour in America, it'll never really beat my own little tour of the UK in November, followed by some pretty awesome VIP treatment at London's own Warped Tour.

I may still have time to make some more amazing memories this summer, or at least for the rest of 2014. So I seem to work on every day it's sunny, but that doesn't mean I'll never get a day off again at the same time as my friends, which will surely be spent tanning up by the outdoor pool followed by a lush pub lunch. September will see my first long weekend away to Amsterdam, which will hopefully be followed by some more little adventures with my favourite American rockers. And I've also been invited back as a VIB to Bloggers Fashion Week again, so I have a lot to look forward to.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Ramblings // An Ode To Adventures; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; The Maine; Kennedy Brock; Pat Kirch; Brighton; Brighton Beach; Bonfire
Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Ramblings // An Ode To Adventures; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; The Maine; Kennedy Brock; Pat Kirch; Brighton; Brighton Beach; Bonfire

I think sometimes when times get tough, it's hard to look ahead and see what you've got to get excited about. I think sometimes the hardest thing is feeling guilty for wanting to be happy again; for wanting a distraction and to still enjoy your life even admist all the madness and chaous and downward spirals happening around you. But it's important to remember that even in the hardest times, you've still got to find a way to smile and somehow keep that zest for life. Even if you haven't got much to look forward to, you can always rely on good memories. 2013 into 2014 was a pretty good year for me and gave me some epic adventures and memories I'll never forget. Hell, I experienced things that no one else has and it's some of those reasons alone that keep me upbeat and positive. Just today I was on the bus on the way home, bored, when suddenly it hit me once more that some of my biggest idols know me by name, that I have repeatedly been drinking with them and hung out with them and forged some form of 'friendship'. This might sound corny to you, but to me it's a source of many good memories and a glimmer of hope of further good times to come, more memories to make, more laughs to be had, more beer to be shared.

And though sometimes some people think don't necessarily agree with my random little adventures, some say I should grow up and stop wasting money on things like this, I see no reason to stop doing what makes me happy. Everyone has their vices. Some people waste all their money on holidays, some on drink. I spend my time and money on adventures, trying new things, meeting new people and doing the type of thing not everyone gets to do. And that makes me very, very happy,

2014 may not be the best year for me so far, but I'll make damn sure I'll still create some good memories to come from it...and I'll certainly await a fresh and hopefully happy start in 2015.

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