#findthehappy – Week 9 – Part 1

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 9 – Weekend of 20 – 21 June 2015
THE REVEAL!
 
#findthehappy is running a bit behind this week, please see my last post
Things might be a little higgledy piggledy for the next couple of months due to work. 
#tired #stressed #needaholidayagainalready
So this weeks #findthehappy is going to take a slightly different format.
Usually we have 5 things a week that have made me happy. Last week we had one big super happy, so going to focus on that! We will do this in 2 parts because a) it is epic and b) I am not sure I can write this all in one go!
Jezz turns 30 on the 28th June so as a birthday surprise I planned a trip to London to see The Book of Mormon and a stay in a posh hotel. I booked it all in March so have been planning it for ages, finally last week it came around, time for the big reveal!

 

I had “booked” the weekend up with a mysterious family event that I basically just didn’t actually tell him about. We have a shared calender so I put it in there and kept quiet not wanting to get tangled up in a web of lies!
On the Thursday evening as we entered Sainsburys to get some dinner, he asked me what we had planned that weekend. Thankfully this meant that I could browse shelves and with some air of confidence tell him about the family thing early on Saturday, avoiding any eye-contact
(I am a terrible liar, thank goodness I could look the other way and pretend to be looking at salad!).
He had drinks with work planned on Friday evening after work (EAK!!) so I told him that he must not get too drunk, being hungover on Saturday is not an option… he said I could come for drinks too… I just mumbled some noises and said it was best to stay at his so we could get the bus in the morning…
ahem… yes….. *look in opposite direction*
I do not play the nagging girlfriend hugely well and I was sure that my demands for him to be home would uncover my secret plot… or make him think I had lost the plot as it is quite out of character. But no, he didn’t thing anything of it, was on the train home with some work friends at 8.30 pm. I met them for a beer and we joked about how much he couldn’t wait to get up SUPER early to go and see my family…. *mischievous giggle*
 
When we got back I presented him with a wrapped present, and early birthday present. After much squishing and shaking of said present he finally opened it to reveal a nice wooden elephant box…. and when he opened it, inside was all of the tickets. He was super pleased, but still hadn’t clicked that we were going that weekend! Haha! There was much celebration, and excited chatting. We went to bed at a reasonable hour after watching some Orange is the New Black and set the alarm for the morning to be sure to make our train!
 
In part 2 I will tell you about our wonderful weekend in London!
 
Watch this space….

Summer Update – Busy Bee Buzz Buzz

Hello lovely readers,
I wanted to get a quick post in now as a heads up! 
As you may or may not have noticed I have been aiming to get up at least 2 posts a week, Monday’s #findthehappy and then something a little later in the week, usually a Wednesday. I am so pleased that I have kept frequent blogging up however have found it really tough this week to put up 2 posts. I am super busy with work, and by the time I get home I am exhausted and the last thing I want to do is type any more (or to be honest, I have used up the little brain power I do have to supply anything entertaining or interesting!) For those of you who don’t know I work in an English language school and summer is our busiest time, June, July and August are horrific. We must be the only industry to wish away summer! Anyway, hopefully come the end of August I should have some more time to post and things will be more frequent. 
 
Please keep checking! 
 
Love love love
 
Amy
xxx

#findthehappy – Week 8

Find The Happy – Week 8 – Monday 8th June 2015 – Sunday 14th June 2015
Happy #1 – One of my colleagues recently returned from a visiting her family in South Africa and bought us back some of the most delicious treats! I love trying things from other countries, we had some chewy sweets called Fizzer which were like a cross between Chewits and a refresher bar. A mixture of Nestle chocolates, guess a bit like celebrations we have here, a selection of different chocolates that are bite sized. The Peppermint Crisps were my favourite. So good! And some Biltong, which I am pretty sure I ate the most off. More please.
Happy #2 – Salted Caramel goods! So this week I tried Options Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and also a Salted Caramel muffin from Sainsburys. In France I had the most delicious Salted Caramel crepe and since then have wanted to eat all the salted caramel goods in the world. For the record this was over 2 different days not all in one sitting! The Hot Chocolate was great, but as with all Options hot chocolates (I find) that they are not blow-your-mind with flavour but still pretty tasty. The muffin was obscene but could have done with a bit more salt in that caramel.
Happy #3 – May Day Bath Bomb – Baths are the best, it is just so nice to use the Lush goodies I got last week and chill out in some lovely smelling bath water. I like to put SkyGo on the tablet and sit in the bath watching TV until I am wrinkly. Lovely.
Happy #4 – On Thursday I went to see my parents in Peacehaven after their most recent trip to Portugal. We had a lovely evening with take away pizza and lots of cat squishes. 
We do eat other things than pizza when we get together by the way… hahahaha!
Happy #5 – On Friday we celebrated my friends birthday! She lives quite far from us in Brighton so we do not get to see each other as much as we would like but when we do we do it well!! We went to Jimmy’s restaurant at the Marina and then all came back to the flat for drinks and general merriment. Glorious time, drank too much rum. Had a fabulous time. I hope all that came did too! 
(Obligatory shot of my mug before the carnage)

Breakfast Smoothie

Earlier this year I invested in a Nutribullet, there has been lots of experimenting with some hits and some misses, so here is a recipe for one my hits! 
For the past couple of weeks I have been enjoying this delicious smoothie for breakfast a couple of times a week. Here is how to make it:
The Ingredients
 
1 Banana
1 Tub of Natural Yoghurt
Honey
Frozen Kiwi (or another frozen fruit if you wish, I have also used pineapple)
Oats
Milk
Method
Step 1 – Break banana up and pop in blender
Step 2 – Add frozen fruit
Step 3 – Add yoghurt
Step 4 – Add a good squeeze of honey to add sweetness
Step 5 – Chuck in a handful of oats (the one I used had dried fruit it hence the lumps!)
Step 6 – Top up with milk (oops gone a little over the max line!)
Step 7 – Whizz around in your blender until smooth and lovely.
Step 8 – Pour into your cup of choice
Away you go! 
Enjoy your smoothie!

#findthehappy – Week 7

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 7 – Monday 1st June 2015 – Sunday 7th June 2015
Happy #1 – After returning from our holiday in France I booked a couple of extra days off so on Monday I took a little trip into town and bought some bits.
Having a mini shopping spree is always good to make me happy!
I got some new shoes for work from Diechmann, a bargain at £17.99.
I got 2 bathbombs and a bubbleroon from Lush. I got the Avobath bathbomb, May Day bathbomb and The Green bubbleroon. Stopped there, otherwise I would buy everything in the shop!
I also got a few bits from Tiger. I bought a pedometer (used it twice so far, dropped it repeatedly and left it on my desk), some scissor shears and two sets of stamps.
Happy #2 – I had Tuesday off too! I had a big sort out of my wardrobe and filled huge bag to take to the charity shop. I did some work on the blog and watched far too much TLC
(Say Yes to the Dress, Extreme Cheapskates… absolute nonsense crap TV…joyus!)
Happy #3 – Upon my return from France I had an email offering free goodies when you spend money at Clinique… never one to pass up a good deal (or absolute sucker, I am not 100% sure) for a freebie I bought a replacement Moisture Surge Extra Thirst Relief Lotion and a new mascara.
Yes, hefty price-tag (I spent a total of £51.50 on the 2 items!) however look at all the freebies I got!!
While Clinique are quite pricey if you time it right I think you can get the most for your money. I am certainly pleased with this haul! I got a free mini chubby stick, free sample of their perfume “happy”, a free sample of their custom serum and a “bonus time”  with a whole bunch of stuff. I got a cute little make up bag which contained generously sized samples of the 7 Day Scrub Cream, Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, All About Eyes eye cream, High Impact Mascara, and also an eye-shadow duo and full size lip stick. Really pleased with all of the items!
Happy #4 – Friday evening saw myself, Jezz and a group of friends frequent our favourite drinking establishment the Lion and Lobster in Brighton. They do the BEST cheesy chips. Fact. They actually do a lot of really seriously good food, however after too many pints of cider, cheesy chips are the way forward.
We drank too much, made a lot of noise, chatted and laughed. It was lovely.
Happy #5 – Had a really lovely relaxing Saturday and Sunday. Jezz did some work and I coloured in my new adult colouring book. This is a thing! If you haven’t realised where have you been?
Watched pretty much an entire series of Third Rock from the Sun, coloured and drank hot drinks. Brilliant. (Apart from the fact I now have a numb patch on my finger where I clearly am not used to holding a pen for so long!).
There are hundreds of books and I spent ages deciding on one, and I chose Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford. The book is a thing of beauty, the paper is beautiful and thick so there is no fear of pens leaking through and spoiling the design on the other side. The designs are so cute, lots of leaves and castles and animals. I love it! Although I am going to have to buy more green pens, pretty sure I will run those out the quickest. It is very therapeutic, switch of your brain, have a bit of telly/radio on and the hours disappear! It is nice to be away from the computer for a bit.
What have been your happies this week? #findthehappy

Holiday to France May 2015

In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday 23rd May 2015, 3.20 am to be exact my alarm went off. EAK, I went to bed gone 11 pm which probably wasn’t the wisest decision but it was okay because I was going on holiday!!
Every year for the past 3 years myself, Jezz, my flatmate aka “my wife” Jo, our friends James and Beth and their little boy Joshua have jetted off on our holiday. This year we had 2 new recruits! Ed, Jo’s boyfriend and Annabel the newest member of the holiday clan, born in September 2014.
This year we flew to Bordeaux in France, we were staying 2 hours south of there at a camp site called La Vieux Port. We booked the holiday through Eurocamp and were staying in 2 separate holiday homes. Beth, James and the kiddies in this one;
and myself, Jezz, Jo and Ed in this one;
Unfortunately due to a slight oversight on our part and the fact we had booked separately we were not actually right next door to each other, but it was fine. It was about a 2 minute walk between two holiday homes.
The weather wasn’t all that great to start, the first couple of days it was a bit overcast and rained a bit but as the week went on the weather improved and most of us came back with adequate sunburn.
It was quite an action packed holiday this year! We spent the first full day chilling out at the camp site and on the next day (Monday) we went to the next closest town Biarritz. It was wet and windy to start with, but the sun soon came out and shone on us for lunch.
I had moules et frites.. had to be done!

 

After we ate all the fish we went to the aquarium, Musee de la Mer and looked at the all the fish! Fish fish fish!!!
I bloody love an aquarium and my friends all know how to keep me sweet (or stop me going on and on and on about aquariums…)
After the aquarium we were all a little peckish and needed a sweet pick me up, so decided to have a wander into the town centre to look for a patisserie. On route we found this little window selling churros…
Jezz bought 30.
It was silly, we drew a crowd and all felt remarkably sick afterwards! #churrosgate
On the Tuesday we rented bikes! After a bit of a shaky start (I am pretty sure the last time I rode a bike was in France about 5 years ago!) we were flying along!
We rode all around very bumpy trails and flew along concreted roads it was so much fun! I think Annabel enjoyed her bike ride.
On Wednesday Jezz, Beth, Jo, Ed and myself went paddle-boarding! Jezz was the only one that had done it before so we were all a little nervous.
As predicted I was the first to fall in the water, and I fell  in it A LOT. Aside from getting very wet it was really fun. We paddled around a big lake and then through a little tree covered stream.
The guide/leader took my camera (with the confirmation that he never falls in lol) and so we got some shots. Unflattering shots, but shots non the less!

 

 

 

We spent the afternoon with the bikes again as we had them for a few more hours. I think everyone was quite glad to give them back after 24 hours – sore bottoms for all! Hahaha!
On Thursday we decided to have a relaxed day at the camp site again, we had a trip to the beach and played in the sand
We flew a kite
And we buried the boys in the sand
As Thursday was our last full day we packed up that evening and played poker after the kids had gone to bed.
On Friday we woke up and checked out about 10.45 am then drove back to Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the day walking around and around and around until it was time to head to the airport around 7.30 pm.
We landed at Gatwick very late on Saturday morning and got a taxi home. Tired, sunburnt and very very happy.
Had a super brilliant holiday with some of my absolute favourite people in the world.
Thank you Jezz, Jo, Ed, Beth, James, Josh and Annabel for a brilliant holiday!

May Favourites

Hello my beautiful readers! If you follow me on Facebook you will be aware that I was off on my holiday last week which is why there was a distinct lack of posts! 
I am now back in the UK and ready to get back to business. Next week we will return to #findthehappy but this week I am hoping to get up a post about my holiday so watch out for that. 
 
In the meantime…. here are some things that I loved last month…
 
 
 
The ingredient list probably reads like a horror to most, apple, beetroot, carrot, and ginger. I am a huge fan of the Cawston Press Apple and Beetroot juice but I can never find it anywhere. The innocent juice is so good. Sweet yet earthy, and I can kid myself that I am being super healthy. 
 
 
I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Korres products. I have had lots of samples though Birchbox and the latest in last months box was this Korres Burgamot Pear Body Milk. It is so nice. I am a bit addicted to the citrus body milk they do and have just cracked open my third tube (this is unheard of!) but this one is also delicious. I am definitely going to be purchasing the full size version once this has run out. It just smells so juicy and yummy and makes your skin feel lush.
 
 
Primers seem to be a thing now, back in my early days of make up I am pretty sure they were not a thing! It makes sense, and after trying this one from Laura Mercier I get it. My make up lasts so much longer when I have used this! It is a really nice light formula that you put on your face as you would a moisturiser (just less rubbing I guess!) and then apply your make-up as usual. This one isn’t cheap at £29 but I think the full size one would last ages, I am still using my very generous sample. You only need a small amount so I think it is definitely worth it!
 
 
I have had horribly cracked, dry and sore lips since winter. I do suffer with them usually but this winter they just wouldn’t go away. I have tried many different lip balms, and creams and lotion and potions but finally decided that I might need to spend a little more. So I bought this at the not so little price of £9.50. The reviews were great and with a name like “First Aid Beauty” I thought I might be onto a winner and I was. Its great. It feels gloriously luxurious on you lips and has a very slight menthol tingle which is nice, but most importantly it has worked. No more cracked lips. HURRAH!
Strawberry Oatmeal
 
 
Currently favourite breakfast! I soak my oatmeal the night before with a tea spoon of coconut oil, then in the morning add chopped strawberries and a good glug of honey, cook and tuh dah! I do mine in the microwave at work in this rather marvellous porridge pot from Lakeland. The porridge smells so good and all the girls at work have commented on the yummy breakfast aromas coming from my desk. Another tip – you only need 4/5 strawberries for this so freeze the rest. Once they have defrosted they go super soft and gloopy, but are perfect to mash up and wack in your porridge. Nom.
 
My favourite perfume is somewhat expensive so I do not like to use it every day. I picked up this one on a whim from Fragrance Direct for £10. It is lovely. It has a really fresh slightly floral scent and I love it. As it is so cheap I am happy to spray it all over myself, every day and smell delicious. That way I can save my expensive perfume for special occasions.
Ciate Fast Dry Top Coat
 
 
I love to paint my nails, however I am rubbish at sitting still long enough for them to set properly. This caught my eye with its “super quick-dry finish” claims, backed up by the rave reviews it had so I thought I would give it a go. It isn’t that cheap at £12 however it is will worth the money. Paint your nails as usual, and then use this as a top coat and it is touch dry in a matter of minutes. It sets quicker so no more smudgy nails! Hurrah!
What were your favourite things in May?

Fragrance Direct/Tanya Burr Haul

  • Fragrance Direct is a really rather marvellous website. 
  • It is like finding the hidden bit in your local Boots store where everything is super cheap and exciting. They stock make-up, skincare, bath and of course fragrance. I love to spend hours looking at all the hundreds of item, fill my basket and never actually buy anything. (Especially at the weekend, usually after I have consumed too many fizzy pops the night before) This time however I clicked “buy”. I spent £20 on the following 10 items!! Got to love a bargain! 
  •  
  • Fashionista Custom Design Palette1 6 x 2.5g
 
  • I love a palette, I have my eye on a couple of Urban Decay and Stila ones but at around the £30 mark they aren’t something I can bring myself to just buy. This was £2.99 (RRP £12.99). It has 3 eye shadows, 1 blush and 2 bronzers. It has a huge big mirror and looks really pretty. However I can’t help but feel like something is missing from this. Upon researching “Fashionista” I cannot find anywhere that stocks this brand any more. I suspect the reason it was so cheap is because they are no longer about. There is usually a reason for something like this! I don’t feel like it is really special and have not found myself going to pick it up when I put my make up on, but still sticking to what I usually use. Still for £2.99 I think it was worth a punt.
  • It certainly didn’t fill my need to own Stila Eyes are the Windows in Soul
 
  • I have finally come to terms with the fact that as a freckly red-headed lass I am never going to have a tan. I am very aware of how easily I burn and have been caught out on many occasions and ended up with a face the shade of a lovely ripe tomato.
  • I was very interested in this specific lotion from a well known sun cream company designed for your face. The packaging is quite nice, the liquid has a nice swirl in it which is quite attractive. The lid isn’t very secure and I get the feeling that it would probably come off in your bag and all of your handbag would end up covered in sun cream, but as a bass for my make up it works pretty well.
  • It smells like sun cream rather than a normal moisturiser, slightly coconutty like Hawaiian Tropic lotion always does. It did initially feel a little greasy but it soon sunk in and felt fine. The smell was a little much for me, on holiday this will be fine but as a day to day thing I am not sure I would want to smell like I am on the beach all the time!
  • I will not get this again to be honest, I will probably use it but there are many more products out there that do the same thing and I wasn’t hugely impressed with it.
  • Especially as this hit our news http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32738241
 
  • For those who are down with the kids and the rise of the “YouTuber” you will know who Tanya Burr is. (Yes, I am down with the kids….) 
  • Tanya Burr is a beauty blogger, make up artist and writer well known for her YouTube videos. Last year she released a line of beauty products and I have wanted to give them a go. Being that she is quite hot property at the moment, they have been raved about in the blogging community so when I spotted them on Fragrance Direct I was excited to get a few and give them a go! I got 3 lipglosses and 4 nail varnishes. £1.50 each (RRP £5.99-£6.99) 
  • Tanya Burr Lip Gloss 8ml (Mistletoe Kisses, Red)
  • Tanya Burr Lip Gloss 8ml (Just Peachy, Natural)
  • Tanya Burr Lip Gloss 8ml (Aurora, Pink)
I am not a huge fan of lip gloss. To be honest I struggle with all lip products, to not look like a 3 year old that has got into her mums make-up.  However everyone has raved about these so much I wanted to give them a go. 
They are nice, they have a very sweet flavour and smell tasty. The package feels nice in your hand, solid and good quality. The applicator is really nice, it doesn’t take on too much product so during application you can put on as little or as much as you like. 
I went for 3 different shades, a strong red colour, peachy natural colour, and a gentle pink colour.
 
 
 
I love the Mistletoe kisses, it is lovely, it gives your lips a really gentle lovely flushed look without looking too made up. I think this one will find its way into my regularly used collection.
Just Peachy is really not for me, it is quite opaque, pastel and creamy. It really doesn’t suit my skin tone. I really didn’t like the shade or the way it applied, being quite pastel it either had to be laid on quite thick or smoothed out so it didn’t look like I had any on. One extreme to the other. I really didn’t like this one.
Initially I wasn’t bowled over by Aurora, it is a very similar to the shade of my lips, and I didn’t really see the point. However I have found myself picking it up and using it more and more. As a day to day product its great, doesn’t look too much for work, but adds a nice tint to your lips.  
If you like lip gloss then get involved, there are many different shades and definitely one to suit everyone! 
 
  •  
  • I had to stop myself from buying all of these, I stopped at 4 shades which I thought would give me a good sample across the range.
 
  • I have been after a brown/grey shade so the first into my basket was Penguin Chic, which I really like. I remember first seeing grey and brown shades of nail varnishes and not instantly thinking wow but they have really grown on me. I think they can look quite classy and they are a good shade for all times of year. I really like this, it is listed as grey but I think it is more of a grey brown. 2 coats and it was good to go.
Second into the basket was Little Duck, described as green but I would say more of a blue, perhaps duck egg blue is where the name of the shade came from. This also only needed 2-coats to give a lovely colour. I really liked this, and I think it will be a lovely colour for spring and summer. It is quite playful and fun,
Peaches & Cream is a nice peachy orange shade which again I think is really lovely and will be great for the summer. This also only needed 2-coats.
Mini Marshmallows is a really cute pastel pink shade, this needed at least 3-coats to get to a good level but is super cute and very girlie. 
All in all I am really pleased with the nail varnishes, they are all lovely shades and good quality. The lids did crack and creak a little when I opened them and I was a bit worried the plastic would break but it was fine, not quite as good quality as the lip glosses but still good.
 
Overall pretty pleased with my Fragrance Direct purchases, and really pleased that I finally got to try out some of Tanya Burrs products. 

#findthehappy – Week 6

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 6 – Monday 11th May 2015 – Sunday 17th May 2015
 
Happy #1:  On Wednesday evening I went over to see my friends Gemma and Mike for the evening and have dinner with them. We had the most delicious chicken, leek and mushroom doings (3 of my favourite ingredients!) and put the world to rights. Had a really super good natter with them and then because apparently they had not already been kind enough in giving me my dinner, they gave me a lift home. Super lovely evening.
 
Happy #2: On Thursday I went over to my parents house to see them and to have dinner. It has been a couple of weeks since I last saw them (bad daughter) but we had a really lovely evening, with lots of giggles and homemade pizza – nom!
Happy #3: This week I told lots of my friends about the blog! I have set up a Facebook page (please go “like” me!) so that my friends and family would know about my ramblings. They have all been really positive and encouraging which was nice. It is always a little nerve racking showing people that know you something creative that you have been working on.
But all in all everyone has been lovely. Thank you :) xx
Happy #4: Birchbox came this week! It was full of great stuff again this month, and had a great theme of colouring! This seems to be all the rage at the moment. I got (L-R) Caudalie Vino Perfect Radiance Tinted Moisturiser, WAH London nail art pen in Navy, RMK Point Make Up Remover, PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturising Sea Salt Spray, Number 4 Lumiere d’Hiver Reconstructing Masque and Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge. It also came with a little pack of colouring pencils and a box you could colour, what a fab idea!
By far my favourite item was the WAH London nail art pen, it comes with a fine brush and a pen-like nib to do pretty patterns on your nails! It’s a bit tricky but with practise I think you can have some great fancy schmansy nails!

Happy #5: On Sunday I had a really lovely day with the boy. We had a lovely lay in and then a nice cup of tea while watching an episode of House (now on the final season..boohoo!!) and then we went into town for lunch. We went to Noodles soup, one of our current favourite places to go for lunch. I had king prawn laksa with rice noodles, it was delicious! We then went to see The Avengers – Age of Ultron at the cinema. Can’t beat a bit of superhero action movie!

Embarrassing Mix Tape

We all have our dark secrets. 
 
Ones that we will take to the grave having never told a soul for fear of persecution and ridicule.
Ones that hide in the deep recesses of our minds…
…and iPods.

Welcome to Amy’s Embarrassing Mix Tape!

Side A

1. Take That – Promises
2. Enya – Orinoco Flow
3. Ennio Morricone & His Orchestra – Chi Ma
4. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
5. Sisqo – Thong Song
6. Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield

Side B

7. 50 Cent – Ayo Technology ft. Justin Timberlake
8. Limp Bizkit – Rollin’
9. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
10. N’Sync – Bye Bye Bye
11. Hoobastank – The Reason
12. Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
You’re welcome.

What songs are there lurking on your iPod that you are ashamed to admit?

1 4 5 6 7 8