Thursday, 26 March 2015

5 signs you're becoming a functioning adult...

I’m going to be 30 next year (*insert screaming emoji here*) and I’ve noticed that while I don’t feel old I’m definitely starting to feel more grown up – I have a mortgage, I’m getting married this year and a lot of my friends are having babies (I have pugs…I’m VERY happy with my pugs).

I thought I’d put together a little list of the things that I’ve noticed that to me, have signified that I’m becoming a grown up rather than a wide eyed, fresh faced youngster in my early twenties:

1. Two nights out in a row is no longer do-able – and if you try it, it takes you the best part of a week to fully recover and start feeling like a normal human being. Two day hangovers are the norm rather than the exception.

2. You find it easier to say no – whether it’s an event you don’t really want to go to, a friend that isn’t necessarily your cup of tea or someone seriously pushing their luck declining doesn’t bother you the way it would have 5 years ago.  You don’t feel like you have to be involved because you might miss out. Your time’s precious. 

3. You’re just not as bothered by hype any more – whether it’s the latest iPhone, 90’s style (that – at the risk of sounding less like a grown up and more like an old lady – should stay in the 90’s) or the latest band everyone’s loving, you’re just  indifferent to that stuff. 

4. You seriously start to scrutinise anti-ageing products – you might even spend a bit of time furiously googling botox (no I never did that…ok I did that) and you regret ever setting foot in the sun without total sunblock.

5. You start saving money – dropping your entire wage on a whole lot of Topshop on the 26th of the month just doesn’t do it for you anymore.  You actually start to care about interest rates, finance deals, mortgage comparisons and making the most of your money.  I’m currently saving for a wedding, a car and the future in general.

And my final point is where Nutmeg comes in.  Nutmeg – and bear with me here – is an investment platform that uses the information you provide to build and manage an investment portfolio for you for a reasonable monthly cost.  They take into account your attitude to risk and aim to produce the best return for low cost without you having to worry about managing your investments and fund choices yourself.

You can pay in a lump sum or a monthly amount too which is great whether you’ve got some money stored up or you’re trying to build up your savings. For someone like me, who has a broad understanding of finance but not the detailed technical knowledge (or time and inclination) to spend time managing investments and choosing funds it’s ideal for me to still get results - you can set things up in 10 minutes.

There are a range of investment options (including ISA's which are tax free - so many people don't realise that you pay tax on income you make through savings in an account) and it's all fully regulated by the FCA.

I told you I was growing up...

Sponsored post

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Help me choose my wedding invitations! (Review of PaperShaker)

I still haven't sent my wedding invitations out yet (something which seems to be causing concern to some of my guests) - with 4 months to go I'm not worried but I thought I'd start sorting out some invitations.

My initial thoughts were that I would make my own but after a first attempt I decided to get them printed but I didn't know where or how to get it done really.  I want them to look professional and impressive but at the same time my budget is important.  We're just having a small wedding and are prioritising what we feel is important to spend on and where we can save (without it looking like we've cut costs).

My friend then sent me a Save the Date for her wedding next year (she's getting married in Greece so is trying to gauge numbers early) and they looked great, I asked her where she'd got them from thinking it would be somewhere out of our budget as they were so well done (and she's spending at least twice as much as us on her wedding).  It turned out she got them online at PaperShaker, a website a bit like Moonpig etc where they have template designs that you can personalise.  They do all sorts and I have to say their wedding invitation section is extensive, there's a design to suit any kind of wedding and budget - quite often there are big discount codes flying around too which helps!

Here's what I thought was great about using PaperShaker:
  • Easily personalise your designs with photos, text, font styles, colour, images and layout
  • Choose different paper types (matte, pearlescent, glossy or texture) and envelope colours to match your colour theme
  • Quick delivery - even standard arrives in a few days.  Next day delivery didn't quite arrive the next day for me but I think that was down to the post office rather than PaperShaker
  • Really easy to use interface that makes designing your invitations easy even down to centre lines, text boxes and print margins
  • Ability to order a variety of quantities and even individual samples if you design your card but want to see it "in the flesh" before you commit to ordering a large amount

I'd always recommend that you get samples printed to check out the colours and finishes as some of the colours will look different on monitors and might not be quite as you'd expect.

So, I've spent some time designing a variety of different invitations but I'm struggling to decide which one to go for so I thought I'd ask for your help!  To help me choose all you need to do is:

  • Visit my PaperShaker Wedding Invitations board on Pinterest (find it here)
  • Favourite the invitation that you think I should go for for my wedding invitations
  • Whichever one has the most votes by the end of April 2015 will be the one I go for
 You can find photos of the samples I ordered below too, I've tried to vary it up and do some different designs.  There were even more gorgeous designs I'd have used too if I was having a different type of wedding but they just didn't "fit" with mine. 

I've added some wedding inspiration pics to the board too so you can get a feel for how my wedding will look and how the invitations fit with the theme - colours are cream, pink and silver.

For more information about PaperShaker and to see the range of designs and product types they offer click here.  You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Friday, 13 March 2015

BaByliss Diamond Hair Straightener - Review

For the past decade ( it a decade?!) I've been a GHD girl through and through when it comes to hair straighteners, I think I'm on my third pair now and it wouldn't usually cross my mind to even try another brand.  However I was recently sent the BaByliss Diamond Straightener to review and I have to say I'm really impressed.

Firstly, they look fantastic, glossy black with a subtle gold sparkle to them so they look great on your dressing table.  Secondly they're really easy to use - heating up quickly with the ability to adjust the heat setting up to 235 degrees, I've been doing mine on a low setting to try and help my poor hair get back into good condition and pleased to say they're no less efficient!  I actually find these feel better to use than my GHD's.

My hair is naturally thick and frizzy - not really curly or straight - but unnaturally it's really damaged and thin which sometimes means it doesn't straighten so well.  Not the case with these.  These straighteners have a Diamond Radiance Shine System which combines diamond infused ceramic plates with ion technology for smoothness and shine.  I think you can definitely tell this as they do seem to keep my hair straighter for longer as well as adding some much needed shine while still keeping my hair looking/feeling soft.

I'm really pleased with these straighteners and tellingly, I haven't used my GHD's since these arrived!

For more information about the BaByliss Diamond Straightener click here.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Wedding Hairspiration

Ok so there are 4 months to go until I get married (eek!) so at the minute I've totally got weddings on the brain - most things are sorted, I just need rings, a wedding car and oh, to actually get the invitations out.  I've got my hair and make up trials happening next week so I'm excited to see how that looks and to start seeing my bridal look com together.

Here are some of the hair styles I'm thinking of for my wedding day:

As you can see, I'm going for quite a glamorous, "big hair" look and from what my hairdresser has said I'm going to need some hair extensions in there for quite a few of them.  I've been experimenting with various types of extensions to take with me when I go for my appointment, one of the latest I've tried is the American Dream Instant Bun that I was sent for review a little while ago.

These buns are 100% human hair and come in four different sizes. The size I have is large (given my penchant for big hair!) and it's not ridiculously huge but definitely big enough.  As you can see from the pics above, it fastens with a drawstring.  I've been trying it out before my appointment and basically what you do is tie your hair into a little bun and secure with a bobble, then place the American Dream Instant Bun over your own hair, pull the drawstring tight and tuck the string into the bun.  I usually secure with a couple of pins but to be honest it feels secure enough without.

When I've worn this I've had so many compliments on my hair - with people saying how nice it looks and asking how I've managed to do that with my hair, not one person has said "oh I like your fake hair" ha!  It does just look like my hair but better and it's so easy and quick to use.  I would definitely recommend this and am definitely happy to keep wearing it - it turns a bad hair day into a good hair day with minimal effort.

I haven't taken a photo of it in because my hair colour is still slightly in between shades and this doesn't quite match yet - the plan is to be a natural blonde colour again by the time I get married but at the moment it's more brown with blonde hightlights and a bit of ombre still going on at the bottom.  Never again will I experiment with trying to bleach my own hair at home - after 6 months of doing so the whole of the top/front of my hair has snapped off and I've had to lay off the bleach for the past 6 months.  Given that I want to be blonde it my wedding pics there has been a few times where I've had a slight panic!

This looks way more natural than a structured bun ring and because it's human hair it behaves like it should rather than getting any weird kinks or overly shiny "Barbie" hair going on.  It always feels secure as well so there's no worry of it flying off when I'm walking to work or anything.

For more information about American Dream Extensions click here.

To see my Wedding Inspiration and Hair I Like boards on Pinterest for wedding and hairstyle ideas click here.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

LDN Skins Self Tan Mousse (Tone 3 Medium Dark)

I've had this for a while to try but it's taken me a while to get around to it as I sometimes find applying a full body "proper" tan (rather than a gradual one) to be a serious effort!  I had a night out last week that I felt warranted a nice deep tan so I decided to finally give it a go this LDN Skins Mousse a go!

This is a mousse formula tan and I have to say it is one of the easiest, mess free tans I've ever used.  It comes with a professional application mitt and really easily and streak free using this.  The guide colour is really easy to see as you apply which takes out a loss of guesswork and stops you over applying.  I have to admit as it came out of the bottle the colour wasn't quite what I expected, it was a bit more....ashy than brown which worried me.  It actually felt really moisturising on.

The other thing, which I thought was great, was how quickly it dried - no hanging around in the bathroom freezing cold for 40 minutes while I dry off!  Absolutely no drips or mess, and the best part was that because it dries so quickly my bedding was spotless the next day - I hate it when you tan and then the next day your sheets are tanned too!

I applied this late at night, not particularly carefully, and slept in it while it developed.  It actually smells alright too, and not too "tanny", even the next day.  It's lightly lavender scented , I don't usually like the smell of lavender but this was fine for me.

After I rinsed this off I was really pleased with the colour - yes it was pretty dark but not orange or over the top at all.  There was some colour that clung to my knees and elbows but that happens with every tan I use because my knees and elbows are so dry, even with extra moisturiser.  I really felt happy with the colour and more confident with this tan on.

The fade off wasn't too patchy (except on my hands and face which I wash several times a day).  I will definitely use this tan again and would repurchase in the future as it's easy to use and gives me a colour I'm really happy with.

For more information about LDN Skins visit their website - the mousse I used can be found here for £28.


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