RESOLUTIONS AND REGRETS (BLOGMAS – DAY THIRTY-ONE)

…and just like that it’s New Years Eve again. 2021 has been a strange one. Little snippets of a reality we used to know interspersed with a ‘new normal’.

I feel like I’ve had a permanent headache trying to wrap my brain around what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I’m sure many of you feel the same.

Anyway, I digress. This year has been filled with isolation, binged box sets and far too many biscuits. I don’t want to fall into the old ‘New Year, New Me’ trap but in 2022 I’m making some changes!

Read more…

Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you how much I love reading. There is always a stack of books on my bedside table and list as long as my arm of recommended reads on my kindle.

I started the year off on a high, devouring novels like I was at an all you can eat buffet but somewhere along the line things just…stopped.

I lost what was left of my motivation and reading weren’t something I did for pleasure anymore. It feels so wrong even just saying that as it has always been my escape.

I’m making it my mission to ensure that 2022 is full of books. A book a week in fact.

Exercise…

I have NEVER been a fan of exercise. However, I will begrudgingly admit that when I do throw myself into some semblance of a routine I do feel better for it. Not just physically but mentally too.

I don’t necessarily feel the need to lose weight, I’m undoubtedly at the heaviest I have ever been (pregnancy excluded) but actually feel quite confident in myself. I would like to be healthier though. Since having covid late last year I would definitely say I’ve been more sluggish, I really hope this is something I can overcome with a better diet and exercise.

I guess it would also be nice to look and feel my best on my wedding day!

Do well at uni…

I’m about to embark on my second term of uni and it’s going well so far! I’m really enjoying it and honestly, I think it was something I desperately needed.

Whilst the course might have taken me by surprise I feel comfortable in my growth and really hope that I can keep it up.

I so want 2022 to be the year that I absolutely SMASH my first two modules. I think that would be a highlight for me. With a creative writing assignment on the horizon as well as some intense reading I’ve got some hard work ahead!

Make memories…

With 2020 & 2021 being somewhat a waste of bloody time I feel like now more than ever is all about seizing the day and really grabbing every piece of happiness you possibly can.

I want to live my life and create the most beautiful memories with my loved ones. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Manifest…

This might sound a bit loopy but I experimented with manifesting back in the summer and can honestly say (in my own experience) that it genuinely works. I really want to try and implement that positive frame of mind into my daily life next year.

I truly believe that good things are coming my way and I am so ready for them!

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Do you have any regrets you’d like to rectify?

3 FAMILY BOARD GAMES THAT WILL HAVE YOU CRYING WITH LAUGHTER (BLOGMAS – DAY THIRTY)

My family are the biggest board game fans I know. We have regular get togethers that revolve around whatever the newest release is and have been known to spend hours laughing/arguing over them.

Here are my top 3 choices right now!

Telestrations

Each player begins by sketching a TELESTRATIONS word dictated by the roll of a die. The old-fashioned sand timer may limit the amount of time they get to execute their sketch, but it certainly doesn’t limit creativity!

Time’s up! All players, all at the same time, pass their sketch to the next player, who must guess what’s been drawn. Players then simultaneously pass their guess — which hopefully matches the original word (or does it??) — to the next player who must try to draw the word they see.

smythstoys.com

This game has led to THE MOST ridiculous amount of belly laughs I have ever had in my life. The sheer ridiculously of it is astounding. It sounds so easy yet somehow we manage to absolutely annihilate any sense of sensible behaviour we may have possessed. Honestly, it’s hilarious.

Colourbrain

YOU START WITH THE ANSWERS

All the answers you need in Colourbrain are in your hand. And they’re all colours!

300 COLOURFUL QUESTIONS

What colour is the lid on full-fat milk… what colour is a sharon fruit… which colour cards would you put down?

bigpotato.co.uk

The concept is so simple (which I love! There is nothing worse than spending half the evening reading the over complicated instructions of a subpar game). As a family Colourbrain is a favourite of ours. With a group of mixed ages it can sometimes be tough to find something that’s suits everyone but this is a winner!

Top of the Pops

TUNE IN, POP OUT

Top of the Pops is back and this time it has got kazoos!


MUSIC FOR EVERYONE

You don’t have to be a music genius to play this game, you just need to know a few songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and beyond


BATTLE OF THE BANDS

Round 1: shout out (or sing) songs against the clock. Round 2: get your team to guess the artist by saying one word, quoting lyrics or murdering one of their hits on your kazoo.

bigpotato.co.uk

One word…kazoo!

This one is so much harder than it sounds so absolutely worth it for the half hour on a off ugly crying from laughter it caused on Boxing Day. If you’ve ever wondered what a Moose in mating season might sound like then ask my father-in-law to give you a song on the kazoo.

Have you played any good ones lately?

A FLAWLESS BASE WITH JUST 4 PRODUCTS! (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-NINE)

Rocking a bare face for pretty much the entirety of the initial lockdown did wonders for my skin but also in some ways created a monster.

I became incredibly fussy, craving perfection when in reality that’s kind of impossible. Makeup will always and should always look like makeup. We have pores and texture, it’s just a fact of life!

However, I think I’m finally happy with the routine I have cultivated so thought I’d share my findings with you all!

This is my 5 product flawless base. Quick and easy, just the way we like it!

1. MAC Strobe Cream

Hydrates, illuminates and clarifies skin with a mega-dose of vitamins and green tea. Iridescent particles reflect light for a revitalised, radiant glow.

maccosmetics.co.uk

Guys, I’m oily and of course I have to take that into consideration when I’m pondering products but I just love to get my glow on! The MAC Strive Cream really just breathes some life back into the skin.

It also looks fab on its own for those no makeup days.

2. Physicians Formula Butter Believe It Foundation & Concealer

Physician’s Formula Butter Believe It Foundation & Concealer is a ultra-luxurious foundation and concealer with a creamy texture which melts into the skin, leaving a natural radiant glow.

Infused with a potent blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuaçu Butter and Tucuma Butter, sourced from the lush, nutrient-rich Amazon, the long-wearing, weightless formula simultaneously provides buildable coverage. Free from parabens. Cruelty-free & vegan-friendly.

justmylook.com

My holy grail and secret weapon all rolled into one. The perfect amount of coverage whilst avoiding any cakiness. Hands down the best foundation I have ever used and the affordable price makes it an absolute winner for me. Without a doubt the cherry on top of my routine.

3. Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Infinite Universal Pressed Powder

Set your makeup in place with the Conceal & Define Infinite Universal Pressed Powder with Niacinamide. With an extra finely milled formula, this pressed powder will melt into the skin and set your makeup in place without a trace whilst banishing any shine. Suitable for all skin types and tones, this product also has the infusion of blemish-busting niacinamide which will help to reduce the appearance of pores for a blurred complexion which is set for the day.

revolutionbeauty.com

I’ve used some really rubbish powders in my time. I’ve also used some fairly average ones. I can honestly say though, this one is a gem!

Lightweight and lasts forever. What more could you ask for?

4. Makeup Revolution Superfix Misting Setting Spray

Lock your look in place with the Revolution Superfix Misting Spray. Enjoy the holding power of this weightless setting mist, perfect for use with your favourite liquid, matte or powder based base products.

This fixing spray gives you an ultra-matte, shine free look that won’t fade away. Infused with beneficial skin soothing Aloe & Vitamin E.

revolutionbeauty.com

Sounds magical doesn’t it? It’s transformed my makeup game in general by adding so much more longevity (I mentioned how oily I am didn’t I?!) to my look and really has cheered me up untold amounts.

…and that’s it! Will you be incorporating any of my favourites into your routine?

WEDDINGS ON A BUDGET – THE DRESS! (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-EIGHT)

Weddings can be an expensive affair and with the general rise in the cost of living, the fact we already have a home to run and children to feed, a smaller scale day was always on the cards for us.

So I’ve made it my mission to create the wedding of our dreams on the small budget available to us. Less money does not mean it has to be less special!

With our venue booked, (a ridiculously good deal at a local hotel right on the harbour, I’ll go into more detail about that at a later date) we’re now starting to get down to specifics and I’m pretty sure any woman would be lying if they said ‘the dress’ wasn’t right up there at the top of their to do list!

As much as I crave the traditional day out with my loved ones, trying on dresses and sharing tears over the perfect gown I know it’s just not financially practical so I’m going to share my journey so far, my search for ‘the dress’ on a budget.

ASOS

ASOS has got to be everyone’s go to for everything, right? With such a wide variety of brands available it’s honestly hard not to be impressed.

ASOS EDITION Francesca plunge wedding dress with tonal embroidery £350

I’ve fallen for several dresses (and a jumpsuit or two!) in the time I’ve been browsing. There are so many styles to choose from with prices starting at less than £100.

Hope & Ivy Bridal sheer plunge embroidered backless dress in ivory £150

I know for a fact that if it really came down to the wire and I had 24 hours to choose a dress, ASOS would be the one!

Chi Chi London

Similar to ASOS in that there are a variety of styles to choose from however I would say that everything feels much more traditional!

Cowl Neck with Lace Insert Maxi Wedding Dress in White £155

From sleek and modern to fairytale princess, Chi Chi has it all and I can totally see why it would be a favourite.

Bridal Long Sleeved Maxi Dress in White £140

I also love their dresses in general, wedding guests eat your heart out!

Coast

A hidden gem of ever there was one! I was first introduced to the Coast bridal range back when I attended The Bridal Beauty Festival and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

V Neck Tiered Tulle Dress £279

Everything feels so extra and I am here for it! Styles I never imagined myself going for have now made my dream day list and I’m so excited to see them up close and personal.

Bandeau Dress And Embroidered Maxi Dress Set £448

They also have a fab line of bridal separates for a truly unique take on the most iconic part of your day. The mix and match system really adds something special.

WED2BE

WED2BE is my wildcard for today. The concept is great, wedding dresses on a budget whilst still being able to experience that all important day out I mentioned earlier.

ELTON
a modern strapless ball gown in luxurious mikado
£599.00

Round up your best girls and get to your nearest store. There are sooo many dresses to choose from of all shapes, sizes and budgets (pricier than the other retailers on my list but still a steal compared to the traditional bridal showroom).

LUCA
an illusion back crepe gown with statement train
£599.00

One of the things I like about WED2BE is that you can browse the website before hand and suss out your favourites whilst also noting the price so there are no nasty surprises on the day.

Happy shopping loves!

I REWATCHED BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, AND HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-SEVEN)

I’m an anxious little soul and one of my coping mechanisms has consistently been revisiting an old favourite TV series or film. The familiarity is so comforting and really helps me to relax or get through the more mundane, everyday tasks I find myself doing.

For the last few months I’ve been rewatching Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and Angel too!). Experiencing one of my favourite shows of all time through the eyes of an adult has been something else entirely and here are a few things I’ve observed along the way…

Buffy was under appreciated…

Guys, the girl saved the world repeatedly! She killed the love of her life without any thought for herself and step up for her friends, family and random members of the public countless times but was still given nothing but shit when she eventually came to the point of needing some backup. Buffy sacrificed her own happiness more times than I can count.

Ungrateful swines.

Xander was a bit of a dick…

I will never get over what he did to Anya and the fact he never really suffered any concrete consequences but besides that rather huge point he was just always a bit of an entitled knob really, wasn’t he?

His behaviour towards Buffy and hatred of Angel was so childish and it still pisses me off that he never got a smack for not passing on Willows Message to Buffy in the Season 2 episode ‘Becoming’.

The women in his life were consistently treated like property and whilst I don’t hate him I will never think that his class clown act made up for his horrible attitude.

At least he was good to Dawn I guess.

Anya was the best character…

Funny, sarcastic, strong, beautiful and intelligent. She was goals and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong, I’m not even sorry.

Anya’s character progression was insane. To go from a fun little one episode feature to a full blown, beloved member of the show is huge. She managed to stay true to herself whilst growing as a person and I’m still obsessed with her.

That show did her dirty though and I’m still livid.

Kennedy was pointless and annoying…

If Anya is my number one then Kennedy has got to be right down towards the bottom. I hated how overbearingly strong she came in and the way she felt so entitled to slot herself into the group, changing the dynamic and Willow. I genuinely don’t see what positives she brought to the table. The polar opposite to Tara who was selfless til the end. just a pointless love interest for the sake of it that I’d rather have done without.

Buffy & Spike were the better match…

Ok, I’m a HUGE Angel fan but do I truly believe they should have ended up together? Absolutely not. I still don’t feel like their relationship was built on anything really whilst Spike was another matter altogether.

I love an enemies to lovers story arc anyway but the whole thing just felt so natural, so inevitable. Their connection was honest, gritty and relatable. I ship!!!

You can watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Disney+

FESTIVE LASH GOALS WITH RAPIDLASH (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-SIX)

I’m very honoured to say that I was recently asked to take part in the RapidLash #ElectricToElegantChallenge over on TikTok and honestly, it was too much fun!

Using the power couple that is RapidLash & RapidGlam was a piece of cake and over time the duo produce it phenomenal results. I have the worlds most ridiculously awful lashes and to be honest not much makes them look anything other than subpar. I’ve been using the RapidLash line for a while now and I wouldn’t be without it. They have become an integral part of my skincare routine.

If you’ve like to know more about the products I used you can read below…

RapidLash

Boasting visible results in up to 8 weeks, the RapidLash® Eyelash Enhancing Serum is a potent yet gentle lash serum, designed to promote longer and fuller-looking lashes.

The lash serum is enriched with Hexatein 1 Complex, a uniquely-concocted blend of six high-performance ingredients: peptides, biotin, amino acids, panthenol, soybean oil and pumpkin seed extract.

Ideal for weak, brittle, thin or short lashes, it coats each lash in a conditioning, moisturising and strengthening formula. Apply daily to help enhance the overall appearance of your lashes.

lookfantastic.com

RapidGlam

The world’s first mascserum, RapidGlam™ is a perfectly balanced blend of the proven RapidLash® Eyelash Enhancing Serum and smooth, fibre-infused primer and mascara. RapidGlam™ amplifies your lashes instantly and coats them in hair-loving ingredients that help to condition, fortify, curl, while enhancing the lashes for a stronger, fuller and longer appearance in as little as 6 weeks.

The innovative formula utilises a unique Hexatein 7 Complex of advanced polypeptides to help reinforce the look of lash fibres, while also protecting against breakage. An infusion of biotin, panthenol and pumpkin seed extract provides intense nourishment and seals in moisture, while kaolin clay and cellulose give the appearance of thicker, more voluminous and fluttery lashes.

The ideal solution for brittle, thin and short lashes, as the mascserum wraps each hair in jet-black pigment that dries rapidly to a smudge-free finish.

lookfantastic.com

MERRY CHRISTMAS! (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-FIVE)

Just a quick word from me today, I’m sure you’re all busy!

However you choose to celebrate or not celebrate the day I truly hope it’s a great one.

I know this time of year can be difficult for many. Losing loved ones, battling personal difficulties and just the general slog of working through our new normal has taken it’s toll but there is always something to be thankful for.

Merry Christmas!

Love always, Kelly x

FAN SERVICE, NOT FRACKING – GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE REVIEW *WITH SPOILERS* (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-FOUR)

Of course I’ve always loved Ghostbusters. I’m sure most of my generation holds a special place in their heart for the iconic franchise but having a child who has become equally (no that’s a lie, MORE) obsessed has been another experience altogether.

Seeing his eyes light up at his favourite scenes, playing pretend with his older brothers and bursting into random recitals of some of the most unforgettable lines of any movie franchise makes my heart burst.

It was then I knew that the revival was going to be something special. I now had a reason to will it into being spectacular. I desperately needed it not to be a letdown.

When a single mother and her two children move to a new town, they soon discover they have a connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.

imdb.com

From start to finish the film tugged at our heart strings with the small flutter of childhood memories. Ever so subtle but perfectly executed.

Casting wise they got it spot on. Mckenna Grace as Phoebe Spengler was a triumph. Definitely her grandfathers, granddaughter but indisputably a fantastic character in her own right. The heart of the film and a link between old and new.

I wasn’t so invested in Phoebe’s mother Callie Spengler (the wonderful Callie Coon) however, that almost felt intentional. It wasn’t really her story and in a way it made the climax all the more satisfying. Finn Wolfhard’s awkward teenage Trevor Spengler was a nice offset to his younger sister. Entertaining in himself whilst allowing her to shine.

The return of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson was expected of course but no less welcome. Their characters filled the screen with another level of nostalgia (and I won’t lie, brought me to tears on more than one occasion).

The pièce de résistance however lay with the incredible amount of work it must have taken to feature the late Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler. Presented to us in such a tasteful way that it was hard not to break down in uncontrollable sobs.

The film was written and directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman (who also happens to not only be the producer but also director and producer of the original two movies). In case you didn’t already know, Jason had a small part within a child’s birthday party in Ghostbusters II which is pretty damn cool. I love a full circle moment!

All in all I don’t think it could have panned out any better. Whilst I appreciate it did ride the coattails of its predecessors ever so slightly I also feel it deserves its place with the franchise on its own merit (and going by those mid and post credit scenes I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the gang).

Just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten. Paul Rudd is so wicked. Funny, charismatic and bold. Basically just another day at the office for Mr. Rudd.

TROUBLE STYLING YOUR FULL FRINGE? I GOT YOU BOO! (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-THREE)

Fringe? Bangs? Well whatever you call the funny flap of hair obscuring your face it can be a blessing or a curse.

I would say with absolute certainty that having a fringe is part of my identity. I’ve only ever not had one, once. For a VERY brief period of time that seemed like a good idea. Let’s grow up and get rid of it. You’re a big girl now. Nope, absolutely not. Big mistake.

So for basically the entirety of my life I have yo-yo’d back and forth between a full fringe and a side fringe. It’s what I do when I get bored. One of the biggest challenges to having a fringe is styling it just right, because I guarantee we’ve all been there. Leaving the salon feeling like a Disney Princess and come wash day you became something more akin to Spock.

Here are some of my favourite hacks for making the most out of your do!

1. Nothing looks better than a freshly washed fringe. It instantly elevates your look. If you’re the type of person who can go long stretched between hair wash days (and I so envy you!) that doesn’t mean you can’t give you fringe a quick freshen up over the sink regardless. It’ll make all the difference!

2. Never, ever, EVER leave your fringe to air dry. You’re just asking for chaos. Grab your hairdryer, a round brush of your chosen size (I like to go big!) and away you go. It can be fiddly finding the right rhythm at first but you’ll find yourself a pro in no time.

3. Velcro rollers have been a secret weapon of mine since my college days (a million years ago) and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. I stick a couple in my fringe when my hair is still hot from straightening and remove just before I’m ready to walk out the door. Voila! Volume for days! (Well, hours but you get it). If you’re feeling brave and can find a comfortable angle you could even wear them overnight.

4. Take it easy when it comes to styling products. It’s all fun and games until you overdo it on the oil and end up looking like The Penguin. Not even Danny DeVito could pull that one off. A little goes a long way. Think sparingly.

5. I’m sure you all know the wonders of the simple dry shampoo but regardless of it’s insane powers of transformation when it comes to a set of locks in between washes it’s also a great way to give your hair some oomph! A couple of sprays and your refreshed and ready to face the day.

Now go and get em tiger!

5 STYLE OBSESSED SWEETHEARTS THAT WILL HAVE YOU WANTING TO GET DRESSED (BLOGMAS – DAY TWENTY-TWO)

I don’t know about you but since the pandemic began I’ve been in one hell of a style funk. Living in old pyjamas whilst at home and lucky to make the effort with a sweatshirt and leggings when on the school run. I really don’t feel any desire to get up and ready. It just seems unnecessary and I miss the fire I used to have to look my best.

There 5 social media babes have all given me the kick up the arse I needed to get back on the horse and glam up in the new year. Here’s hoping it lasts!

Laura Byrnes

Instagram: laura.byrnes

TikTok: laura.byrnes0

Wardrobe staples to die for and the perfect place to start if you want ideas for your capsule wardrobe, Laura is the be all and end all of naturals in fashion.

Lauren Sarah

Instagram: its_laurensarah

TikTok: its_laurensarah

Sarah is adorably relatable and pulls together outsiders that are easily achievable but fun and could be adapted to suit anyone. I have a pair of faux leather flares on the way and if that isn’t the power of an influencer I don’t know what is.

Lily Melrose

Instagram: llymlrs

TikTok: lilymelrose

Everyday fun fashion with a dark, grungy edge is what Lily has to offer and I’m so here for it. She’s full of little tips and tricks for really transforming your wardrobe.

Sammi Jefcoate

Instagram: sammijefcoate

TikTok: sammijefcoate_

Luxury brands and harnesses, could there be a more perfect mix? Sammi has an eye for throwing together the most stunning and sometimes surprising outfit combinations.

Joanne Lewis

Instagram: petitesideofstyle

TikTok: petitesideofstyle

I feel just a little bit more stylish knowing this beauty is local to me, as if her influence might waft through the sea air and encourage me out of my dressing gown. Well, a girl can dream can’t she?

Have you found any new favourites?