Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mini French Photo Diary

Hi everyone,

Following on from my last post I wanted to put together a teeny photo diary of our mini holiday! We visited Brittany for the first time last summer and knew without a doubt that we would come back. Within hours of touching down at the tiny airfield (it doesn't warrant the title airport, really) I could feel myself starting to relax and enjoy the sea air, despite the temperatures being a bit miserable!

I shan't ramble too much as I did post about virtually the same holiday this time last year - it follows a nice routine of sleep, walk, beach, eat, rinse, repeat. This year we ventured into Dinan for a rainy day lunch at a restaurant named Le Cantorbery (harking back to my uni years!) with a roaring wood fire and steaks aplenty. Jon developed a taste for the local delicacy Kouing Amann, which is a buttery croissant-like cake, whereas I stuck by my faithful pain au chocolat. I constantly bemoan the lack of a real bakery where I live now as I grew up with proper boulangeries and patisseries on every street corner - if only Brentwood would follow suit! Dinan is the most beautiful old town with medieval houses, cobbled streets and oodles of charm, plus a pharmacy on every street (almost), so naturally I had to pick up a couple of skincare bits... Effaclar Duo and Caudalie, oh yes.

We didn't spend as much time on the beach this year as it was simply too cold (I'm a bit of a wimp). Instead I spent mornings curled up in the conservatory with a good book - I got through four books in four days - and when the rain eased off we went walking along the coastline and pretended to be smugglers (well, I did.) It was blissful and quiet and totally relaxing - I want to go back already!

If you would like to see more photos I did post a few on my Instagram, as well as the beach photos from my previous post! My next task is to convince Jon we need to get married over there, how fun would that be?

Lots of love,

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What I Wore #109

Hello everyone! Sorry for the two week absence from the blog; I've just come back from an altogether too brief holiday in Brittany and am recovering from all the cheese and wine that may have been consumed... I'm also not liking the fact that summer seems to have made a speedy getaway and now it truly feels like la rentrée is here and it's time to go back to normal daily life. Time is just passing much too quickly for my liking!
We snapped these on our last visit to the beach, mere hours before the flight home hence why I am wearing rolled up jeans (obviously not usual beach attire). It was a bit too chilly for my liking but I paddled nonetheless! I'm just wearing a very simple, comfy outfit with a top from Next (a nice Breton stripe with a nod to the local fashion) and Dorothy Perkins jeggings as they're nice and light. My hair is all natural and totally untameable in the sea air as you can see! There isn't really much more to say other than I wish I was still there; Jon and I are truly in love with the area and could see ourselves getting married there, or at least returning for many more holidays in future.
I have a little holiday photo diary planned, as well as a beautiful dress post and also a few duty-free goodies I may have picked up...oops.

Hope you all have a fab Bank Holiday; here's hoping the sun makes one final summer appearance!

Love Dani

Sunday, 10 August 2014

My jewellery collection

How much is too much jewellery?

As with most things in life (lipstick, shoes, cheese) I just can't help myself when it comes to pretty, sparkly things. Even as a skint student I still spent many a pound in Accessorize (especially once I discovered their student discount), and now that I work in the jewellery industry my magpie tendencies have developed into a full-blown obsession. I don't even wear my jewellery all the time (how many statement necklaces can a girl wear?) but instead I like to arrange them all and gaze at each piece lovingly. Some are spontaneous splurges, others are pieces I've waited to buy for weeks, and there's one very special piece that I wear all day every day... I've gathered my favourites here to show you and maybe inspire a magpie tendency of your own!

I remember the first time I had my ears pierced, I was eight and it was a week before my first communion - I was so excited yet terrified because of my well-established needle phobia. My mum took me to a little jewellers in the Hempstead Valley shopping centre in Medway and I got a frozen yoghurt with sprinkles afterwards as a reward for not biting the assistant's hand or throwing a full on tantrum (also well established at the time. Ahem). Since then I've worn earrings pretty much all the time and my collection has developed from the teeny gold studs that first adorned my ears. I love these cubic zirconia Fiorelli silver studs as they're a perfect every day option and the hexagonal shape makes them stand out from all the usual round stones available. I also am loving the rose gold statement discs, they're so fun and catch the light really nicely! I also own a few other studs but these are my favourites at the moment.

I'm not a big bracelet person. I love the way they look on other people but they irritate me on my chunky wrists and usually get in the way of typing and other activities, but they're so pretty and I do have a little collection going! The charm bracelet is by Thomas Sabo and I received it for my 20th birthday from my parents; since then my mum has made a point of buying me a new charm for every birthday (yikes, there have been a few!) and Christmas and I love how each charm fits me personally. The key isn't actually a charm, it's a pendant but the chain for it broke and since I've not got round to replacing it I have temporarily transformed it into a charm. My dad bought the watch for me last year; it's by DKNY and I love the mother of pearl face, it's so pretty and shiny! Finally I also have a few brass bangles which I like throwing on to jazz up an outfit, they're really pretty and have a burnished gold effect.

So you may have spotted I have a bit of a thing for necklaces... I just feel undone without a necklace, it's the perfect finishing touch to an outfit before I head out the door. I have so many and I've mentioned them on the blog before, I'm sure, so I won't ramble too much! Here I've collected together a few favourites - the rose gold chunky chain is by H&M, the coral flowers are by Dorothy Perkins, the teeny gold plated moon is a new addition I picked up in the Accessorize sale (I also have the matching earrings, not shown because I was wearing them at the time!), and the rest are all by Fiorelli, collected over the last couple of years! My absolute favourites are the multi-coloured flower necklace and the rose gold chain; so different but I actually find them both really versatile.

Last but not least...
I simply couldn't write a jewellery post without mentioning my all-time favourite ever item - my engagement ring! Aside from the sentimental value it is simply the most stunning thing I own and I couldn't possibly have picked a better ring for myself - Jon really did well! It's quite an unusual shape as well (which means I get to play with custom-made wedding rings, aha) and I've not seen anything like it on the high street. It's 18ct white gold and it's from Swag in Bluewater if I remember rightly - the only one they had in stock at the time was too small for me so it had to be ordered in especially, and poor Jon stressed about it so much as it didn't arrive in time for the proposal! But I think it was definitely worth waiting for and I love it so, so much.

So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and please let me know if you'd like to see more jewellery-based posts in future as I really enjoy putting them together.

Have a great week!

Love Dani

Friday, 8 August 2014

iPhone apps I love

As part of my latest venture to write the blog I want to read, I thought I'd do a bit of a lifestyle/tech post today just to shake things up! I have been an iPhone owner for four years now, before then I spent a few years using phones that wanted to be iPhones but sadly fell short, and now I am pretty much set in my ways. I use my phone all the time - sad but true - and so I thought I would share the apps I use pretty much every day!

Social media
I'm always checking on the usual suspects such as Twitter and Facebook, but Instagram and Pinterest are definitely firm favourites. I cannot stay away from Pinterest at the moment, it's addictive! I also highly rate the Bloglovin' app for keeping up with my favourite blogs - I mainly read posts on the train to and from work and the style of the feed is just super helpful for when I'm whizzing through areas with low signal as I don't have to open up any new pages.
It's not quite perfect but another app I use a lot is the Blogger app, to jot down drafts for new posts, publish posts when I'm out and about (I don't trust the schedule option as it has always let me down so far!) and generally just use for upkeep when I'm not near a computer.  I feel it could be improved in terms of adding more editing functions as well as stats but it's perfect to tide you over until you next hit the laptop.

Photo editing
In order to feed my Instagram addiction I have a number of photography apps on my phone, the oldest of which is Hipstamatic - anyone remember that?? I prefer to take photos on the actual phone camera rather than through Instagram and then use a different app to edit where necessary. My latest fave is Afterlight - it has heaps of filters and you can layer them or adjust the image however you like. I'm going through a very bright, clear phase at the moment and Afterlight is perfect for achieving this (although I also enjoy the Instagram editing update!). A Beautiful Mess is another much-loved app for adding text or banners to images, it also has a few lovely filters and the option to purchase more if you like. Finally, my friends and I discovered a hilarious app named Pudding Cam (quite some time ago now!) which among others also has the option for a mock-fisheye lens - this makes for quite ridiculous results, especially on girlie nights!

As well as providing funny photo opportunities and keeping up with social media, I also use my phone as an encyclopedia of knowledge when out and about (as I'm sure most people do!). One of my recent discoveries which I adore is Zomato, it's essentially a social network for foodies and lists all the restaurants and bars in your area, as well as reviews and comments from other users. You also have the option to add a restaurant to your wishlist, or mark them as visited, or rate them out of 10... it's amazing and I adore it! The only thing I would say is it seems limited to major cities only (in the UK it serves London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester) but it also lists eateries across the globe and I can only imagine it will grow with time. It's free too!
Finally, the app I use the most is probably Whatsapp. My family live abroad and I do struggle with homesickness and loneliness on occasion, which is par for the course when you grow up in a house of six! However Whatsapp has proven to be a lifesaver as I can constantly text my family without the irritation of overseas charges; we share images, soundbites and pretty much anything you can think of, so it's the next best thing to actually being with them! I used to use Viber but now primarily just use that to make phonecalls when I'm abroad as the texting system wasn't great - it's excellent for staying in touch though as the calls take place over wifi (make sure you've got a good connection though!) and I just prefer it to Skype.

 Obviously I also text, make phonecalls and check emails but that's not nearly as fun as messing around with apps now is it? The ones I have listed are all pretty popular so if you have any fun recommendations, obscure apps or handy tips please get in touch!

Love Dani

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Insta-life lately

Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and chat a little bit about what I've been up to recently - I love getting a little insight into other bloggers' lives through their insta-updates, but I am awful at remembering to collate all my images into one post! I do post a lot on Instagram but sometimes I feel as though I'm just racing through photos and not really considering what lies behind them, so today I've decided to put together a little collage so we can sit down and chat...

Recently I've been...

visiting... the Emirates Cup with my little brother and Jon - growing up as Arsenal fans, I always promised my brother Joe I would take him to see them play one day and I was so thrilled to finally do it this summer! We took hundreds of photos between us and have decided we're going to try and attend the Emirates Cup every year as the atmosphere was so great, especially with the mix of visiting fans.

buying... yet more lipsticks... when Debenhams announced £5 off all lippies for National Lipstick Day I very quickly placed an order for MAC's Ruby Woo and Lickable! I adore Ruby Woo, I wore it to the football and it lasted so well. Lickable, I'm not so in love with... it's got quite chunky bits of glitter in it and I just think it will work better as an autumn/winter lipstick. The shade is a beautiful dark pink though!

eating... courgettes! I have been trying to convince Jon to jump on the courgetti bandwagon with me for months and finally just bought a julienne peeler and got to work. Since then I've been adding grated courgette to pretty much everything we've eaten... I'm particularly enamoured with courgette noodles in stir-fries at the moment and my Pinterest board is a haven of recipes.

coveting... these gorgeous dainty rose and gold plated earrings by Fiorelli. I really don't need more earrings but they're so pretty and perfect for everyday wear; I can see myself making a purchase soon...

wearing... heaps of statement necklaces as always! My mum also very kindly bought me a dress the other day that I fell in love with at first glance - it's a very me dress, with a beautiful 50s-style fit and flare shape and midi length. The pattern is so pretty and I can't wait to wear it; I'm thinking a picnic in the sun while in France!

obsessing... over this amazing drink by M&S. It's watermelon and coconut white tea and it's SO tasty and refreshing. I could happily drink it all day - I actually had to dissuade myself from buying 3 at once yesterday...

Hope you've enjoyed this little ramble; have a lovely week everyone!

Love Dani

Monday, 4 August 2014

Mini Beauty Reviews

There is nothing I love more than mini travel-size samples  - they're so handy for testing products, taking on holiday or just to achieve general cuteness! Some days I literally have to drag myself away from the travel section in Boots and I'm such a sucker for mini goodies at Sephora as well.
You can imagine my excitement when I received this amazing goodie bag at a House of Fraser event I attended a few weeks ago (I blogged about their Christmas collections here and here if you're interested!). I've since used all of the products bar the perfumes and thought I would share my thoughts!

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing moisturiser - love this, and I've already placed an order for the full size version! Smells gorgeous, it has an SPF of 15 and my skin loves it so it was kind of a no-brainer for me, despite the price tag (£34).I did find it on Feel Unique with quite a decent saving though - you know me, always hunting for a bargain!

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Good Morning Retexturising Primer - I was super excited to receive this as I love primers and cannot apply make-up without them. This offering is quite slippy on the face and a little certainly goes a long way; I haven't noticed a massive difference in the longevity of my make-up but it definitely creates a nice smooth canvas for application. I like mixing it with the Bourjois Happy Light Matte primer to create a smooth yet matte effect on my skin.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Daily Youth Restoring Serum capsules - Oh wow, I LOVE these so much but I've been using them sparingly as I'm not sure I can afford to repurchase at £37 for 30 capsules! I'm limiting them to once a week for a nice Sunday night treat. It feels so luxurious to apply, the serum absorbs quickly so you're not left feeling greasy and it leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft and hydrated. This is without doubt going on my Christmas wish list.

Lancome Eau Micellaire Douceur - I'm a massive fan of micellar waters for a first cleanse and have used both Bioderma and the Garnier offerings. I really like this product but I feel there are cheaper products on the market that do the same thing - that said, it doesn't sting my eyes at all and does a pretty decent job of removing waterproof mascara, so if you like your luxury products then you can't really go wrong with this! This is also the perfect size to throw in my holiday luggage so I'm saving it for when we go away in a couple of weeks' time.

Nougat London Sparkling Body Shimmer lotion in Peony - this body lotion is very pearlescent and shimmery, I'm not sure it's flattering on me, but smells so good I can forgive it for making me look as though I belong in a Stephenie Meyer book! It's a beautiful fresh peony scent and I've been smoothing a little on my arms every morning as it meshes well with my current fragrance.

Perfume samples - I'm not really one for perfume samples unfortunately as I'm very fixed in my ways when it comes to scent, but I have passed these on to family members so they get used up! 

 Do you love mini products? I kind of feel as though they're a bit dangerous for my bank balance as I almost always fall in love with the most expensive testers!

Love Dani

Friday, 1 August 2014

Winter Jewels (feat. Fiorelli, Fred Bennett & D for Diamond)

So it's the first day of August and I've got another A/W (read: Christmas) preview for you today - if sparkles and gemstones are your cup of tea then look no further...

On Thursday I visited the Fiorelli, Fred Bennett and D for Diamond autumn/winter press day to showcase the new designer jewellery collections that have just launched. With beautiful on-trend pieces designed for women, men and children, there's definitely something for everyone here!

My personal favourites are Fiorelli costume - I wear this brand a lot and there are always some gorgeous statement pieces to be found.  I'm such a magpie and easily drawn in by glimmering crystals - my favourites are the big clear crystal statement necklaces, I definitely want them both! I also adore the teeny star and heart earrings which form part of the Fiorelli silver collection - so dainty and so elegantly beautiful. Rose gold is always a winner in my eyes, it warms up my skintone which is always appreciated during the winter months when I am washed out and pale.

D for Diamond is such a cute collection, aimed at children of all ages. This autumn the theme is woodland animals and they also do some adorable christening jewellery; there aren't many children in my life at the moment but these pieces make perfect gifts and I am actually coveting a few of the enamel pendants myself...I adore the colours they use as well, so bright and cheerful!

I also couldn't help but admire the collection for Fred Bennett, naturally aimed at men but that cufflink collection is so colourful and fun,  I want to buy them all and bestow them upon the men in my life! I never usually notice men's jewellery but there are some fab gift ideas here; I can just see my brother sporting some of the leather bracelets...

As if the stunning jewellery wasn't enough, each collection was decorated by bespoke cake pops (made by Flour Pots bakery who also make some of the most delicious looking wedding cakes I've ever seen!) - I loved the black glitter pops as they really complemented the dark, glamourous shades of the Fiorelli pieces. So pretty!

Overall the magpie in me was sated for the day and my Christmas wishlist has been bolstered yet again - these press days are not good for my purse-strings (or those of my family for that matter...).
I am in love with so many of these pieces and can see my jewellery collection growing even more over the next few months, especially in the run up to Christmas and the party season.

All the items shown above are available now - for stockists please check the links below!

Fiorelli Jewellery
D for Diamond
Fred Bennett

Have you got any jewels on your Christmas list?

Love Dani

Disclaimer - the press day was hosted by the company I work for; I do not receive free samples but do benefit from
 staff discount when making purchases. I have not been paid to write this post.