Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Body Shop's Argan & Nails Blogger Event



Last Sunday, I was invited to The Body Shop in Preston by the lovely Rachelle from Inspired by the Retired. The event was to have a nosy at the new launches, in particular - the Wild Argan Oil range and the Colour Crush nail varnish collection. I met Rachael (From Rachael Claire) on the train and we headed into Preston together. Three Rachels in one day, all spelt differently! A little confusing! We did a little bit of shopping in Primark first before making our way to The Body Shop. We were greeted by Rachelle and lots of yummy nibbles with Bucks Fizz!



She introduced us to the new Wild Argan Oil range and briefly explained the products to us. Rachelle and her co-worker had brought in all the Moroccan decor which I love and I now want to decorate my house in the same way! I'll have to visit Morocco! I had a play around with some of the products and my favourites were the solid oil lip balm, which I purchased on the day, and the body scrub. (This will no doubt be a future purchase!) 


For me, the most exciting range of the day was the Colour Crush Nail Varnish collection. I adore nail polish and have a pretty big collection already but it didn't stop me walking home with 5 of the shades! I purchased Gorgeous Grey, Meet Me At Dusk and we were kindly gifted Got The Blues. (I already had Mint Cream and Rosy Cheeks which were kindly gifted to me for review by The Body Shop PR - look out for a review soon.)

I almost purchased this too but as finances aren't great right now, I was very sensible and put it back as I already own most of the Vitamin E range along with even more skincare products from other brands! But it looks super luxurious and I will DEFINITELY be trying it out in the near future. Rachael did purchase this so she may review it on her blog if you're interested.

Both Rachael and I, purchased a Colour Crush Shine lipstick (in exactly the same shade!) We picked up shade 15 which is called Fuchsia and I cannot wait to try it out. (Obviously, it's got to be photographed first!) I haven't tried much of TBS make up before but I love the Honey Bronzer and the texture of the lipstick felt lovely when I swatched it. 

I didn't actually purchase anything from the Honeymania range but as I love honey and include it everyday in my breakfast, I may be picking up some products soon! I still have loads of body butters and body scrubs etc that need using up first. Maybe one for the Christmas wish list although the gingerbread scent will hopefully be making a return!

I adore the Almond Hand & Nail Cream but unfortunately, I'm coming to the end of my tube. (Side note - I must buy one of those tools to squeeze all the product out.) I wanted to try something different this time. TBS have recently released new hand creams but they're only minis which would only last me a week! Instead I picked up the Vitamin E Hand & Nail Cream based on Rachelle's recommendation. 

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this beautiful rainbow wall made out of body butters. I have a few in my collection but this makes me want one in everyone colour to make my own rainbow! 

Thank you Rachelle for organising and hosting another fabulous event. I love seeing all the new product launches and obviously I love meeting up with new bloggers and existing blogging friends. 

Have you tried any of the new products from The Body Shop? 

Rachel x

Sunday, 7 September 2014

What's in my beach bag



This year has been a special year for me and as a result, I got to travel abroad twice. Back in April, I went to Tenerife with my friends for my hen do and more recently, I travelled to Mexico with my husband for our honeymoon.

I love spending days by the beach or pool so a beach bag to pack all my essentials is…essential! I know it's now September but lots of people love the winter sun plus it's cheaper to travel now the kids are back at school. I don't have that option as I work in a school so I always have to travel during peak season.



First up is my trusty Cath Kidston bag. This is the perfect weekend bag and has served me well over the years. It's also well travelled – it's been to Majorca, Ibiza, Tenerife and Mexico! As the bag is coated with PVC, it makes it the perfect beach bag as it is easy to keep clean and it's fairly waterproof.



Obviously, I need a swimsuit for the beach and this beautiful bikini* is from George at Asda. It's actually Rory's favourite from my collection and I have about 10! It's great value and the quality is great – it still looks brand new after being in the Caribbean Sea, the swimming pool and the washing machine! I definitely recommend swimwear from George at Asda. You can check out the full collection here.

We didn't actually need to take beach towels to Mexico as our resorts provided them but I did for Tenerife. How awesome is this one from South Beach**?! Plus it's named Veronica which is my mother-in-law's name! (Fun fact for you!)



These are actually prescription sunglasses as I wear glasses or contacts everyday. Without them I suffer from serious headaches. I love these ones and for prescription sunglasses there pretty fashionable! I'm part of Boots' loyalty scheme therefore I get glasses and sunglasses for half price. These were still expensive at £75 but they are a necessity for me.

A cover up is a must for travelling to and from the beach and also for those days when the sun is extremely hot. This was my favourite during the summer as it was easier to put on and take off without rubbing off my suncream. Plus it got lots of compliments! It's only from H&M but I bought it a couple of years ago.

Flip flops – I'm not sure these need an explanation! These beautiful sandals are from Primark and they're actually really comfortable.



Suncream is an essential especially in the Mexican sun. I wore at least factor 30 and avoided the midday sun every day as it was just unbearable. It was also extremely humid so that made it feel worse. I'm getting very sensible in my old age and married life!

My hair is extremely dry and damaged already so a UV hair protector is a must. I usually buy one prior to my holiday but I noticed my heat protector includes a UV filter. I love 2 in 1 products as they free up more room in my suitcase!

Lots of people forget their lips but protecting your lips from UV rays is so important. I have never burnt my lips but I never want to. This lip balm is only about £1 from boots but it provides SPF 15.

This was amazing in Mexico and may have actually saved our lives! One day we went to see some Mayan ruins but we were out in the sun at 11am with very little seabreeze to cool us down. Needless to say we were HOT! It did an excellent job at cooling us down and making us feel refreshed.



I couldn't spend the day at the beach or by the pool without my book and music to entertain me. You can see this and two other books which I read Mexico here. I love nothing more than relaxing on the beach, getting lost in a book and listening to music and pretending I'm the only one there. (I can't be the only one!)

What are your beach essentials? 

Rachel x

*PR sample
**Goodie bag

August in photos

I've decided to change my weekly Instagram posts to monthly ones as there were some weeks where I just wasn't that busy and it seemed pointless posting it. As I'm back at work now, Monday to Friday won't be that exciting unless there is a special occasion or blogger event. Recapping once a month, makes more sense and it will allow me to look back over the month with fond memories. 

Apologies for the blurriness, this is the first image we have of us together as Mr & Mrs and it was from a friends phone.

You can see more of our wedding pictures here

Getting ready to board the plane to Mexico for our honeymoon!

Enjoying life by the pool in Mexico

Relaxing by the Caribbean Sea

On our way home :(

Addicted to Dexter

My wedding perfume - read about it here

Books I've been enjoying lately - here

Coordinating my beverage and handbag

Visiting my sister in law down south. This giant bunny was at an amazing garden centre.
Rachel x

Friday, 5 September 2014

August Empties


Sanctuary Spa Body Scrub - I'm not sure if I've said this before, but I'm a big fan of the Sanctuary Products. At the moment, I have too many body scrubs and body lotions etc but when I'm running low, I always stock up at Boots (usually when it's 3 for 2!) I love the scent and the products do exactly what they say on the tin. This body scrub is effective at keeping my skin smooth and removing any dead skin but it isn't too rough. It's the perfect roughness that a scrub should be. 

Impulse Body Spray in Tease - More and more people that I speak to, use Impulse. I thought it was just young teenagers! I must have been buying them for about ten years (since I was a teenager! Ha.) This is my favourite scent of the ones I've tried but I think there are a few new scents so I'll have to step out of my comfort zone and try some new smells. 

Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel - I originally purchased this after a recommendation from a friend for sunburn. I took it on holiday with me and on returning I stored it away for my next holiday. Suddenly one day, I thought I'd try it for a few other things and now it lives on my dressing table permanently. I've actually repurchased two since finishing this (it was buy one get one free!) I use it after having my eyebrows waxed as they stay red for hours and this just helps to soothe them. Also, I use it on my legs after I've shaved them. I get very mild shaving rash on my legs which appear as lots of red dots but they sting so I apply Aloe Vera and after the initial sting which only lasts a second, my legs feel and look so much better. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]* - I was a fan of the original Effaclar Duo so I'm obviously going to be a fan of the new and improved formula. I have actually reviewed this product in full here so I won't go into too much detail as I'll only be repeating myself. 

Simple Eye Make Up Remover - This continues to be my go to eye make up remover. I used to use it to remove all my make up but now I use a Miceller Water to remove make up and just this to remove mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow if I'm wearing any. If I leave it on for too long, my eyes do sting a little but they are sensitive. (Although Simple products are supposed to be suitable for sensitive skin/eyes.) I wash my face with a cleanser straight away so I don't have any problems. 

Dr Organic Tea Tree Oil* - I received this in a goodie bag a while ago. I applied it to spots using a cotton wool pad but I found it too harsh and even though it wasn't near my eyes, it made them sting. As I use The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner, my trick was to add about ten drops to the product - turning two products into one super product! (This may have been more psychological than anything!) 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (sample) - Oh My God! This product is like a miracle product. The first time I used it, I woke up with new skin which I didn't recognise! I went out and purchased the full size before I'd even used up the sample. I love it so much and it smells so heavenly! 

Jergens Daily Moisture Hand & Cuticle Cream - I picked this up in Superdrug as it had a third off or something. It was actually a really good hand cream as it provided the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy. It absorbed really quickly, leaving behind a lovely scent. 

Collection Colour Lash All Day Colour Mascara in Clear - I used to get away with getting my eyebrows waxed every 5/6 weeks but this year, I've had to go every 3/4 weeks. It was only when I stopped using this clear mascara as a brow gel that I noticed a slow down in growth. When I read the tube, I noticed it contains protein which must be making my eyebrows grow.  So if you ever over pluck your brows or you want to lengthen/thicken your eyelashes - purchase this clear mascara for £1.99 and watch the magic happen! 

Collection Illuminating Touch Concealer - Again, this continues to be my go to concealer for hiding my dark circles under my eyes. It's also a great cream highlighter if you wanted to save room when packing. I use the brush on the product to apply but I use my foundation brush/concealer brush to blend it in. 

Rachel x

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A Truly Magical Day - Becoming Mrs Maloney

Mr & Mrs Maloney

Friday 1st August 2014 was the best day of my life. It was the day I married my best friend, my soul mate and the love of my life.

We got engaged three years ago, in August 2011, but didn't book the church or reception venue until September 2012. The planning process didn't properly start until January 2014 and I was very indecisive on exactly what I wanted the day to look like. Wedding magazines and Pinterest became my best friends as I spent hours flicking through the glossy pages and pinning wedding dresses and cakes to my virtual pin boards. Planning a wedding is very stressful, tiring and time consuming but I loved every minute of it. I wish I started earlier but looking back on the day, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

There were too many pictures that I wanted to share with you so I made collages from my favourites so the post wasn't too long! I hope you enjoy looking at our special day and if you have any questions just ask.

Rachel x

The church // Inside the beautiful church // The rings // Walking down the aisle

Exchanging vows // Exchanging rings // Family & friends

The kiss // Signing the register // Kissing my husband

Walking up the aisle as Mr & Mrs // Confetti 

Mr & Mrs Maloney // Me and my beautiful dress

Arriving at our reception venue // Our beautiful venue // In the back of the car // The room

Cake stand flower arrangement // Place setting // Chair bows

Our delicious wedding cake // The table plan

Mr & Mrs Maloney // Husband & Wife

Mr & Mrs // My beautiful flowers // Our rings // Cutting the cake

Thursday, 28 August 2014

What I've been reading lately #1



I love reading. I love reading books. I love reading magazines. I love reading blogs. Besides wedding magazines, I've not actually read anything for a few months and I want to change that. I'm hoping that if I document the books I read on my blog, I'm likely to read more. On holidays, I usually read a couple of books. With this in mind, I decided to take four books on my honeymoon. As you can see from the above picture, I managed to read three of them and I'm part way through the forth. 



Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob - the man she's about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben - best man and the best friend any two people ever had. 

And that's the problem. 

Because if it wasn't Rob waiting for her at the altar, there's a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive, Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right? 

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it...

If you didn't know, I'm a massive McFly fan and Giovanna Fletcher happens to be Tom's beautiful wife. Last year, Giovanna released her debut novel, Billy and Me. Billy and Me was one of those books I just couldn't put down. I laughed, I cried and I couldn't wait to find out what happened between Sophie and Billy. In May, Giovanna released her second novel about love and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. I bought it in May/June but as I was busy planning our wedding, I knew I was going to save it for our honeymoon and read it in Mexico. It was well worth the wait. Again, it was another book I couldn't put down and finished it in two or three days. I loved all the twists and finding out what happened in the love triangle between Maddy, Ben and Rob. I 100% recommend this book along with Billy and Me. 



Kitty Logan has lost her way...

As a journalist, she's spent the past few years chasing the big scoops - no matter the consequences. When she makes a terrible mistake, she finds herself mired in scandal, her career implodes and even her personal relationships are tested to the limits. 

At a loss, Kitty finds distraction in a list of one hundred names her late mentor and boss, Constance, has left her. Kitty's been given one final chance, the most important assignment of her life - to write the story behind the one hundred names as a tribute piece to Constance. As she tracks down the people on the list and tries to work out what connects them, Kitty meets some extraordinary people. 

Can these strangers' stories help her finally understand her own?

I'm a massive fan of Cecelia Ahern and I've read all her previous books. I'm currently reading her latest novel, How To Fall In Love. One Hundred Names was released earlier this year and I bought it a couple of months ago to read on my honeymoon. However, I have to say, this was my least favourite. It took me a while to get into the book and nearly took me a week to finish it. I carried on reading as I wanted to find out what connected the 100 people on the list, but if that curiosity wasn't there, I probably would have given up and this saddens me. I enjoyed finding out about each character though and their fascinating lives. I'm enjoying How To Fall In Love more and fingers crossed it's just a one off. Cecelia Ahern has a new novel out in October, The Year I Met You.



Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

I know I'm very late to the party but I have to admit that I put off reading this book. I just thought it would be too sad. I bought it for my honeymoon but was debating whether to take it or not as I didn't want to sit on the beach blubbering my eyes out. I'm so glad I finally decided to read it as I absolutely loved it. I am such an emotional person and cry all the time at TV so it shocked me that I only cried once in this book. I read this book in about two days as I couldn't put it down and loved reading about Hazel and Augustus' relationship. It's so romantic in a non obvious way.

Do you have any book recommendations for me to read next?

Rachel x

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Wedding Perfume - Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne










"The essence of charm. Peonies in voluptuous bloom, exquisitely fragile. Flirtatious with the juicy bite of red apple and the opulence of jasmine, rose and gillyflower. Mingling with the sensuality of soft, blush suede. Luxurious and seductive."

Back in October 2013, during Vogue Fashion's Night Out in Manchester, I stepped into Harvey Nichols' Jo Malone department. That was the first time I experienced the Peony & Blush Suede Cologne. Peonies have been my favourite flower for as long as I can remember and I knew I wanted to include them in my bridal bouquet as I walked down the aisle. (Also, my new surname is Maloney!) I had recently read an article (or a blog post) about choosing a new perfume for your wedding day as smell holds the biggest memory. As soon as I smelt Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede, I knew it was my wedding fragrance.

In April 2014, I went on my hen do to Tenerife. As I was in Manchester Airport, I popped into Jo Malone and I couldn't resist the 20% off! I managed to get the perfume for £31.20 instead of the usual £39 for 30ml. I kept it in its box and bag in my cupboard and resisted all the urges to spray until Friday 1st August 2014! I didn't know I had that much self control! 

Throughout my wedding day, I went into our bridal suite to freshen up. When I did, I added another spritz to keep the fragrance strong to make sure that I would associate the scent with my wedding day. I haven't used the perfume since the day as I don't want to ruin the memory. I'm going to test the theory and use the scent in a few months. A good test will be on my husband, and see if he recognises the smell. 

I would love to keep the bottle on display in my bedroom but I know it will last longer if I keep it hidden away in a dark place. Then the memory of our magical day will last longer. (Or I could use it and buy a new one every wedding anniversary or better still Rory could!)

Rachel x
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