Beauty | L'Occitane Hand Cream

Thursday, 23 February 2017 | 1 comment

Hi
 
For Christmas I got a lot of beauty products, not that I needed anymore, I've had to keep all of the My Little Box boxes just to fit everything in, organised by category of course!
 
I got this set of L'Occitane hand creams as a gift from my work colleague which was totally unexpected. I had one of those 'oh my goodness' how lovely but I haven't got you anything moments, cue the quickest trip to Bicester Village the same for some last minute present shopping!



I can't go for a day without using a hand cream, I suffer quite badly from dry hands especially around my nails. This gets worse during the winter months, its not uncommon for me to cream my hands every couple of hours during the day. My "go to" hand cream is the Vaseline Intensive Hand Cream, I have been using it for years now, not only does it leave my hands soft but I swear it helps my nails grow, it could just be my imagination though!



If you are not a fan of heavily scented products then these are not for you, all three have strong scents especially the Roses Et Reines lotion. It was little too floral for my liking so I would only use this one occasionally.  My favourite is the Karite Shea, the shea butter in it smells lovely but not as strong as the other creams. I was really surprised at how quickly it absorbed into my hands and there was no greasy feeling afterwards.






I'm definitely going to continue using these. Would I repurchase? Probably not, despite really liking how the Karite Shea felt on my hands I can't get past the scent, something that the Vaseline cream doesn't really have.


You can purchase the hand creams from the website here.




Lifestyle | The Maytime Inn

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 | No comments


Earlier this month Mr C surprised me with a weekend break for my birthday. It couldn't have come at a better time in my opinion, despite having a break at the end of December, which feels like a lifetime ago, the month of January turned out to be so hectic that by the start of February we were in desperate need of some R and R!



Now, I did have a little bit of a say in where we were going, the last short break that I left Mr C to organise by himself ended up with me looking to go home the same evening we got there, hence my rather much needed input this time to ensure the perfect night away!




After a late night of birthday celebrations on the Saturday we got up a little later on Sunday before doing a spot of hasty last minute packing (my absolute bug bear). We finally headed out the door at lunchtime. After 45 minutes we arrived in Burford. We had visited here a few times before and I absolutely adore it, full of quaint shops, restaurants and wonderful country feeling all through the town, I was so happy to be back again.
 
We had a quick bite to eat at Burford Garden Centre, this is not like your average garden centre, we tucked into balsamic pork (him), lamb (me), puy lentils and roasted winter vegetables. It was ok, filled a gap for a short while but not sure it was worth the £25 that we paid.
 
We finally arrived at our hotel around 25 minutes later, after a quick stop for water and snacks. The Maytime Inn is situated in Asthall which is just outside of Burford, the road to it seemed very long, thin and muddy but then we turned a corner and were greeted by beautiful stone buildings, cottages and nowhere to park! That was the first issue we encountered, although it was a small one and for a very good reason, as soon as we walked in the restaurant we noticed it was packed wall to wall with diners. For me this is a good sign so we soon forgot about not having a space and were shown to our room.
 


 
We were staying in the Hunting Room, chosen mainly because of the inviting bath nestled at the back of the bathroom, good job I packed an array of bath bombs! After being shown how to work the lights, heating, and given complimentary hot drinks with some delicious choc chip shortbread we were left to our own devices.





 
Ok, first up the best things were the bath, underfloor heating (we need this at home!), a huge shower, a massive bed, the cutest little desk and of course my favourite, a huge full length mirror.

 
 
After a long soak, which was delightful, the bath was so deep and comfortable, I got stuck into my book and then had a nice nap, giving Mr C a dead arm in the process, sorry!

 
 
Dinner was booked for 7.00pm so, after a quick change, and by quick I mean 10 minutes, I couldn't even put on any makeup in that time, we walked the 30 seconds to the main building and got settled at our table. Now, I failed as a blogger here because once we sat down, ordered and started eating I realised that I didn't bring my camera, but hopefully you can picture all of this; our starter consisted of haloumi, chargrilled peppers and aubergines, roast pepper hummous, sundried tomatoes, warm pitta bread and olive tapenade, this didn't last long, everything was delicious, my only gripe was that there was too much tapenade, but other than that it was perfect and I could've eaten it twice over. After a short break we then tucked into our mains, I had a beef, stilton and ale pie with mash and winter vegetables, probably the best pie I've ever eaten. And, despite feeling like I was going to burst I managed to eat every last bit of it, only just managing to restrain myself from licking the plate! Mr C went for the sausage and mash which didn't last long either. Now, you've heard the saying eyes bigger than your belly, well this was definitely the case for me, after a quick look at the desserts we opted for 3 scoops of ice-cream, banana, vanilla and chocolate, with an almost gelato like consistency, this went down a treat, Mr C was in ice cream heaven!



With our tums full to the brim we wandered back to the room and cosied up for a nights sleep. This was my only other issue, the heavy duvets made us rather hot but leaving them off left us feeling too cold, this interrupted our sleep slightly so we didn't wake up feeling as refreshed as we'd hoped. Despite that we managed to get up early for breakfast. I couldn't fault breakfast, my eggs were some of the best scrambled eggs I've ever had, and anywhere that has my favourite pastries is a winner for me!







Even though we had a couple of (minor) issues, we both agreed we would definitely go back, the peaceful location, fantastic food and warming atmosphere were just what we need to refresh ourselves for another busy month ahead!




You can read all about the Maytime Inn here. For reference we stayed half board which was worth every penny.




Style | ASOS Trousers

Thursday, 16 February 2017 | No comments


Hi

I thought it was about time to invest in some more work trousers, I have been wearing my favourite Yours Clothing ones for a few years now. They are super comfortable but I wanted something slightly more tapered as the Yours ones are a bootcut. I purchased these ones from ASOS a couple of weeks ago along with a few other items, I actually bought everything at full price which is very unusual for me, I do like a sale item


 
 I got these trousers in a size 24. I would say that they are definitely true to size, but if you like stretch in your trousers then I would suggest sizing up, there is no give in these at all especially around the waist. In terms of length they were perfect on my 5ft 3 frame, normally I have to get the hems taken up but these hit the tops of my feet which is fine for me. I was also really impressed at how they washed and dried, barely any creasing and so quick and easy to iron.


My new shoes, I'm in love!




Jacket - ASOS
Trousers - ASOS
Shirt - ASOS
Bag - Kate Spade
Shoes - New Look

 
 
 

Style | Down by the lake

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | No comments




One of my favourite things to do when we go to Milton Keynes is to have a wander around one of the lakes. There are quite a few, so far I've been to Furzton, Willen and my favourite Caldecotte, which is where these pictures were taken.



It was such a beautiful day when we went, despite the chilly start the sun then made an appearance and it was lovely. I asked Mr C to take a few snaps of me once he finished photographing all the ducks, swans and geese!



I bought this shirt and pair of shoes recently from New Look. They were definitely late night random purchases but once they arrived and I'd tried them on I was super happy. The shirt is a little something different for me as I rarely wear shirts, they always end up gaping over the bust on me. I sized up to a 24 with this one and although it's slightly big on me I really like the oversized effect it gives and it means no gaping across the bust!


Again, the shoes are something unusual for me as I'm more of your plain, simple shoe girl. But when I saw these I couldn't resist and at £8 that was even more of a reason to pop them in my bag! They were actually quite comfortable while were walking around and I absolutely love how they look, especially with jeans but I would also wear them to work as well.


Shirt - New Look
Jeggings - Sainsburys (available instore)
Shoes - New Look
Coat - ASOS
Bag - Radley (old)





















 


Lifestyle | No Resolutions

Friday, 10 February 2017 | No comments


I have completely given up on making New Year resolutions. I can't actually remember a year that I have stuck to any that I make. I thought last year would be better because rather than just settings goals I broke them down into smaller achievable (or so I thought) targets that I set myself each month. Have a read of the blog post from the end of last year of all my goals I achieved here, oh wait, hold on, you can't because I didn't write anything because I didn't even complete the January goals and then I just gave up!



So, this year I have learnt my lesson, no resolutions have been made and no goals set. I don't feel bad for doing this, I have intentions of doing lots of good things in 2017 without the pressure of a list that I know I'm not going to put a single tick against to come December 2017.

Instead I've decided to focus on things I would like to (hopefully) do this year, no doubt I will be blogging about some of them over the year so I thought I would share one or two with you here on the blog!

1. TRAVEL

If you haven't read it already, Sophie from Sophies Suitcase took 12 trips in 12 months, the concept sounds amazing, the thought of trying to visit somewhere new each month whether its in the UK or abroad really appeals to me. I've been lucky enough to visit some fantastic countries over the years but, there are so many places that I want to see, with Mr C in tow of course, overseas and right here in the UK. In reality I know that trying to do 12 trips in 12 months is not achievable for us right now so I'm aiming for 6 trips in 12 months, one every two months will be much more feasible for us. Now we just need to decided where to go to first!?

2. RELAX

Ask Mr C and he will tell you that I am the Queen of worry, like I could literally worry about worrying! I never used to be like this, ok perhaps a lot of that had to do with living at home, pre Mr C, the only thing that I worried about was the outfit I had to choose for my next weekend out or where I was going shopping. Fast forward 10 years and the list has trebled, who knew that being an adult would be so hard. Anyway, to try and help me relax more I going to try and do a few of the things that I used a few years ago like yoga, walking, reading, drawing, anything to help me get into a zen like state (or as close as possible!)

3. PLAN A WEDDING/GET MARRIED?

Funny little story for you, Mr C and I have been engaged for almost 10 years now! Most people now have the most wonderful shocked looks on their faces at the end of that sentence, ha ha! He proposed 9 months after we met, he knew I was the one, I said yes because I wasn't going to say no but, truth is, I was in no way ready to get married, I was 26 years old, the though of being a MRS scared me more than Nightmare on Elm Street. I'm ready now, phew, we were meant to get married last year but the pressure of planning a wedding that wasn't really what we wanted began to take its toll, so we cancelled the venue and lived happily ever after. Ok, maybe not as such but, we became less stressed and now have a clear vision of what we would like. Let the planning commence....

4. MOVE MORE

I spend far too much time inside and a lot of time at work sitting down, it's easy to get lost in the numbers, emails and spreadsheets and then before I know it, it's time to go home. I want to get moving, get out and explore the lovely town I work in, maybe get a little fitter so I plan on doing some lunchtime walking, either on my own or with our 2 work dogs. We did a little walk together a few months ago when they were puppies, the longest 1/2 hour of my life spent dragging them away from ducks, stopping them play fighting and being dragged along. I'm hoping the next time will be fun, I hope??!!

So, those are just a few of my New Year Non Resolutions, I do have more but didn't want to bore you all with an endless list! Anyway, there are a couple of possible trips on the horizon already, could I make it more than 6 trips in a year? Possibly! Oh if you have any recommendations for places to visit please let me know in the comments below!


Much Love
 
Natalie
 
x

Beauty | Clinique Gift Time

Wednesday, 8 February 2017 | No comments


Hi!
Last week I was kindly invited by intu MK to an event at the Clinique counter at Debenhams. I went there in December for another event which you can read here if you missed it!
This event was all about the new Clinique Gift. You may have seen signs around your local Debenhams recently or over the years. I remember getting my first one years ago from the one in Oxford, I didn't touch any of the products for ages because I was so excited about how tiny they were compared to the regular sizes, I mean come on, who doesn't like a mini version of their favourite product!?!



Pep Start 2 in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser

The products in this range are designed for millenials, busy mums and anyone who wants a quick and easy skincare routine. So, if like me you want a product that you can use whilst you are in the shower this 2 in 1 exfoliating cleanser would be ideal for you. It contains small beads, which I might add are environmentally friendly, all Clinique products that contained any beads have all been reformulated so they are all safe to use. I haven't used a scrub on my skin since the days of St Ives, I'm surprised I have any skin left, that stuff was probably similar to rubbing your face with sandpaper.





The Pep start product was completely different, there was no harsh feeling from it. I could definitely feel a difference even after using it 4 times since I received it, almost like the dead skin layers from winter have been lifted away. Obviously you need a few weeks to tell if a product is making a difference but, for me if my skin feels good after a couple of times then I'm happy. One thing I really like is that there's no harsh smell to it as all Clinique products are fragrance free. This on its own won't remove your makeup so I would use a cleanser first, then a small amount of this followed by the dramatically different moisturizing lotion.

Pep Start Eye Cream

Another product that I buy but never use, I have such good intentions when I first buy them and then I get lazy, thank goodness for concealer. I tried this at the event, I was really surprised at how cooling it felt once I put it on, it was also really moisturising as well. The best thing about it was I put it on over my concealer and it didn't smudge it at all. You can also use it as a primer under your makeup as well. I want to try and use this everyday and then give a more in depth review in a few weeks, this post is basically a first impressions post.






Make Up

This is the only thing that changes in each of the bags. In the lemon make up bag you get All About Shadow duo shades from Smoke and Mirrors, Blushing Blush Powder in Precious Rosy along with a Pop Liquid Matte Lip Colour + Primer in Sweetheart Pop. Now, I haven't tried any of the make up yet so I will just be showing you what you get in the different bags along with the skincare and mascara.






In the orange make up bag* you get the limited edition palette with All About Shadows in  Daybreak and Chocolate Covered Cherry and Blushing Powder Blush in Sunset Glow along with Pop Liquid Matte Lip + Primer in Cake Pop.






The gift set is available from now until the 18th February with the purchase of two or more products, one to be skin care or foundation. It's exclusive to Debenhams so make sure you head down there to check it out. If you are in Milton Keynes then mention the #cliniquedebsmk for a free treat! Whilst you are there you can also speak to a skincare consultant and get a free 10 day supply of any one of the foundations!

*This post contains gifted items but all opinions and views are my own*