I’m having a BABY!

Can’t believe I’m actually blogging about this guys. FINALLY. I’ve wanted to tell you for SO long, but time has just not been on my side, let alone my energy levels. But yep. I’m only having an ACTUAL BABY. Holy crap. I have a little human growing inside me. Eeeeeek. It’s SO exciting, but nerve wracking at the same time. I feel like I have SO much I want to say but I just don’t know where to start?!

We’ll start with how many weeks I am – I’m actually 20 weeks and counting. Yep. Past that halfway mark. And I can’t believe I have managed to keep it a secret for this long. Wow. I had originally planned to do a whole reveal blog post after our 12 week scan – however that plan went down the toilet because I honestly just did NOT have the energy. Which will bring me on to my next point..

How I’ve been feeling? I’ve actually not been THAT bad so far (thankfully!). The first few weeks I was just SO FRICKIN’ exhausted. Literally guys pregnancy fatigue is real. I would come home after work (which I barely made it through without wanting to knock out at my desk) and just sleep. And no matter how much sleep I got – I still felt knackered. I couldn’t make it past 8pm, and struggled SO much to get up in a morning for work. I also found out that my iron levels were quite low, which definitely explained why my tiredness was so bad. I still get pretty tired now, although it’s definitely improved from my first trimester! I’m just trying to take everyone’s advice and SLEEP as much as I can, before I forget what the words ‘lie in’ mean.

Another thing that I have that I think is worsened by my anaemia is how quickly I get out of breath. I know it’s a symptom of pregnancy anyway but bloody hell I can’t manage going up one flight of stairs without being left feeling breathless AF. Nice.

Also – one of the main questions I always get asked when I tell people I’m pregnant – did you have morning sickness? Answer – no. Did I have all day nausea? Answer – yes. For the first 12 weeks there wasn’t a day where I didn’t feel nauseous, and I found I felt it more in the evening (odd I know), but I never actually threw up (which I was really thankful for!). I was so chuffed when I passed 12 weeks and the nausea just slowly started to die down. It’s amazing how your body just gets used to the crazy amount of hormones it produces!

Also – there are certain foods/smells that I have completely gone off. Firstly – you know the Lush Twilight body spray that I fell in LOVE with? Makes we want to vom now. Mini eggs – the thing that I could eat a whole bag of in one sitting? I can’t think of anything worse to eat. Chicken – what I used to have every single day? Completely gone off it. I’ve been living off a diet of clementines, beef steak & ready salted crisps. Nom.

So how is my little bubba doing? Thankfully, every scan we’ve had has been amazing and bubba is VERY active. I have an anterior placenta so was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t feel movements until the 24-26 week mark, but I’ve been feeling flutters since 17 weeks which is SUCH a surreal feeling. In fact, as I’ve been writing this, bubs has been moving around in there quite a bit.

 

Phew – what a relief to finally blog about my news! I am so chuffed to tell you and put out some pregnancy/new mamma blog posts! There are SO many amazing bloggers that are pregnant/new mums and I am so excited to join them! I’m sure this explains why I’ve been absent for so long – for the first 12 weeks all I did was work, eat and sleep, and since then I’ve just been trying to get into a routine but FAILING miserably. I’m planning to get on it now and get myself organised, so I can get plenty of content out there! If there is anything specific you guys want to see – let me know!

Sending you all lots of love!

Saira xx

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Baking For the Lazy (Or Busy)

Baking. I’m sure all of us have dabbled into the world of baking at least once right ? Whether it’s something you do whenever you have some free time, or you just use the ready made mixes once in a while (ahem, moi), it’s always fun & satisfying to enjoy something you’ve made. I have always wanted to invest more time into baking so I can get REALLY good at it, but sometimes time is just not on your side (boo). With working full time, and spending every weekend doing the things I can’t during the week, I barely have spare time to put aside for hobbies like baking – meaning I usually delve into the shop made stuff (which we all know is never as yummy right?).

Now, there is something about the colder months that just makes you want more sweet, homemade things right? I think it’s the idea of having everything with a huge hot chocolate that gets me every time. Guys, is there anything better than a homemade cake with a marshmallow topped hot chocolate after you’ve been outside in the cold all day? Definitely not. This is why I was so chuffed when Dr Oetker contacted me about some new products they had launched (and yes, I was shaking with excitement when I received the email!).

So – Dr Oetker itself is always the brand I know everyone can trust when it comes to baking. My sister (an avid baker) is always picking up their products when she has something special to make, so I knew I was in for a treat. I received their ‘Bake in the Box’ loaf cake mixes, which sounded like they’d be perfect for me.

 
So, on Saturday morning I got set on baking them. I received 3 flavours, Double Chocolate, Banana & Choc Chip & Lemon & Poppy Seed, and decided to bake 2 of them, and save one for later. I went for the chocolate (obviously) and lemon. So, all the instructions called for was to preheat the oven, remove the lid from the box, pour in some milk, whisk it up, and bake. That’s all. No mess, no mixing bowls, no awkward measuring, no greasing – it literally took me 5 minutes. I then popped it in the oven and went about doing some laundry, and then came back around 25 minutes later to TWO FRESHLY BAKED LOAF CAKES. I then let them cool, removed them from their baking boxes and served. Safe so say they didn’t last long.

 
My thoughts on the Double Chocolate

 
The recipe used a little bit more milk than the other & required some more baking time (only around 5 minutes), but I think that was due to it having chocolate chips/a more fudgy texture. This one was DEFINITELY my favourite. I have always been a fan of chocolate cake, and this was no exception. It is not too sickly, and I loved the fact that it had chocolate chips in too.

My thoughts on the Lemon & Poppy Seed

 
There is nothing better than a little bit of lemon cake every now and again. I am a massive fan of lemon drizzle, and knew I’d love this lemon loaf cake too. It was SO yummy, and had a lovely, subtle citrus flavour with the right amount of poppy seeds. Nom.

I am definitely a massive fan of this bake in the box range and how quick and easy it is. Especially on those evenings when you want something homemade but don’t have the energy to fully bake something. I think they would also work a treat if you have some last minute guests coming round and want something sweet to have with a cuppa. I also loved that I could make both a chocolate & a lemon cake in literally no time at all (as my mum is not a fan of chocolate). In fact, I still have the banana and chocolate chip one left – which after writing this post up am going to bake as I am now CRAVING cake. How people cope when posting a lot of baking blog posts I do not know! Make sure to have a quick peek on Dr Oetker’s website here to see what they have on offer too

 
Quick life update before I go – I am working on a post after this one as to where I’ve been and why my blogging schedule has recently gone down the toilet. I am sure you’ll all understand! I am also looking into updating my blog (which I looked into a while ago but just never got round to), so will of course keep you up to speed on all of that too! I don’t think my lack of inspiration is also helped by the fact that I’ve not done anything exciting with my blog since starting (!!). Watch this space ey?

Love, Saira xx

Bath & Body Works Dupes?! – My Autumn Candles

What’s this? Me writing a blog post – holy crap. I know – hey it’s me. It’s been a while right? I guess I ended up having a little bit of an unplanned blogging break – sometimes it happens right? Safe to say I’ve definitely missed writing though.

The last time I posted – people were still trying to deny that Autumn had *officially* started – but now there is definitely no denying it. It’s literally in full swing – the dark morning/evenings are starting, leaves literally COVER the paths wherever you go, and I’ve had to start wearing my coat every morning. One thing I’ve also been doing? Burning candles all frickin’ day. Not only because they make your room feel cosy & smell amazing, but also so I can finish them and buy even more candles for winter time (lol).

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Unfortunately as we do not have a Bath & Body Works in the UK, and I’m a little bit sceptical about ordering through mail services (thanks to customs etc), I try to find alternatives. Now, last year B&M did an amazing range of candles that were literally like BBW dupes – so as soon as September hit I hurried there to see if they had any more this year. Lo & behold, they did not let me down. I got some AMAZING ones. The scents that I couldn’t leave without were:

Mahogany Apples – a beautiful, fresh, crisp apple scent – perfect for during the day when you want something light burning.

Apple Pumpkin Spice – a more spicier scent, but is still very sweet thanks to the apple & pumpkin together. I love to burn this in the evenings as it makes your room smell SO AUTUMNAL & COSY

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Fresh Baked Cookies – of course, you need some sort of bakery smelling candles during Autumn, and I love this because it is definitely not sickly. It has more of a spicy scent.

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Brown Sugar Allspice – I actually had this from last year but I’ve seen it in B&M this year so it’s still there if you want to pick it up. This is again a lovely sugary scent with some spicy notes – I find this more suited to Christmas time but I still love burning it.

That is all I got from B&M – they did have a lot more, including a Marshmallow by the Fire scent, however I’ve never really been a fan of scents like this so I have always avoided them. I am so chuffed with the scents I managed to pick up, and think I contained myself pretty well too. All these are an absolutely steal at £3.99 too – considering they burn SO well and fill your room with their scent AND it lingers after. I highly recommend checking out B&M when you’re next picking up some essentials from there. And also keep an eye out at Christmas time – because they have a lot then!

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Another place that has been absolutely fantastic for candles is literally my heaven on earth: Homesense. I’m that crazy girl who plans a trip every season so I can buy things to deck out my room. Of course – I checked out their candles section too. I found one (yes only one – I had to control myself) that smells absolutely AMAZING. Unfortunately I have no idea what brand it is (boo!), all I can do is show you the packaging. It cost me £7.99 which is fab because the candle is bloody huge and burns amazingly. The scent is Sweet Pumpkin, and it literally smells exactly like that. I adore this candle – definitely one of my faves.

Homesense have already got some amazing candles for Winter/Christmas time – a very popular brand at the minute is DW candles – I brought a lot of my summer candles from them and I highly recommend them. The good thing is you can find DW candles in TKMAXX and Homesense, so keep an eye out.

So these are my top picks for where to find bargain candles for Autumn – let’s hope next year we fix up and get a Bath & Body Works here ey? For now though – I hope you find some candles that you love – and let me know if you spot anymore !

Lots of Love,

Saira xx

 

Reasons I LOVE Autumn

So it’s no surprise to anyone that follows me on ANY form of social media that I am completely and utterly obsessed with Autumn. As soon as the end of August passes, I am in full Autumn mode. Yep I’m that annoying blogger wishing away the summer months and already talking about Halloween and Bonfire night. I just can’t help it. As much as I enjoy the warm summer nights, BBQ’s & the Body Shop Pina Colada range, my heart lies with Autumn. I have the biggest list of reasons why I love Autumn and what makes it the absolute best time of year ever. Hope you enjoy reading them m’loves, and maybe even some of you hardcore summer lovers will be excited.

 

Stocking up on all the knitwear

Is there anything better than buying new jumpers/cardigans to cuddle up in? Deffo not. I’m already set to raid my local Primark for all the cosy jumpers. Not to mention boots, scarves, gloves, cosy PJ’s….

Costa festive drinks

I’m SO excited for the tasty new combinations, the new festive cups, cosy afternoons spent in Costa – and yes I am 100% a Costa over Starbucks girl. Always. 2nd November guys – keep the date in the diary.

Autumn walks

Sure walks are nice when it’s Summer and you have the sun beaming down on you & are surrounded by flowers – but I much prefer crisp, cool autumn walks. Cosying up with your coat & scarf, seeing all the leaves changing colour and walking through all the crunchy ones that have just fallen. Also – I LOVE when all the conkers have fallen and you can go and pick them. There is just something about it that takes me right back to my childhood.

All the cosy-ness

I’m taking cosy blankets, fuzzy socks, big cardigans and a million candles. And the days getting darker mean you can come straight home from work, light all the candles and cosy up. Literally my happy place.

 

Berry lips

Of course – you can wear berry/plum lipsticks any time of year – but I think we all know they have a special place during the Autumn months. Rimmel 107, you will become my best friend again.

Burgundy & mustard clothes

These two are probably my most favourite colours to wear EVER. And again – they scream Autumn. I cannot wait to start to start rocking oversized jumpers in both of  these colours.

Halloween & Bonfire Night

I absolutely love both of these holidays SO much – I cannot wait to deck my room out for Halloween and spend the day watching scary films (my fave) and eating sweets. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Bonfire night – I tend to prefer being at home with a cosy fire, hot chocolates & sparklers, rather than a big display. Then – it’s countdown to the C word (don’t worry even I know it’s to early to mention that!)

 

Candles everywhere

If there is one time you are allowed candles burning all the time in EVERY single room in your house, it’s Autumn. I love buying all the Autumn scented candles and lighting them for more or less the whole day. I’ve already bought a few this year and have my eye on a few more – probably will end up doing an Autumn candle collection too! We just need a Bath & Body Works in the UK so I can buy all of them too – petition anyone?

Spending weekends doing NOTHING is allowed

During summer – you almost feel like you HAVE to do something to ‘make the most of the summer weather’ – whereas when the months get colder (and evenings darker), it is almost acceptable to have Harry Potter marathons on the weekend, and eat endless amounts of food. My kinda weekend.

I could literally go on for ages about all the things I love when Autumn comes around – I’d love to know the reasons you love Autumn too (or hate it – even though I know VERY few people who do, and if you are one of them we can’t be friends). Lol. Joking guys.

Anyway – expect to see more posts coming your way – including all my autumn candles I have and my bucket list (eeek!). I’ve done a bucket list for every season this year and Autumn by far is the one I’m MOST excited for!

Gonna love ya & leave ya know – sending you ALL the love for the support & lovely messages you leave me. I appreciate them so so much!

Love,

Saira xo

My End of Summer Faves 

Oh hey. This will probably be one of my last Summer themed posts before my blog goes full on Autumn mad guys. If you know me, you’ll know that I am literally all set to say goodbye to the ‘summer’ months (lol) & get myself back into cosy knits, berry lips & buying an endless amount of candles. In fact – as I write this I am burning a ‘Halloween’ candle. I know – I’m nuts.

So – that aside, I thought I would share the things I’ve been loving through summer.  I’ve never been one to do monthly faves – just because I tend to fall in love with something and then use it for months on end – so you would get pretty bored of seeing the same old bits!

I actually have a mix of skincare, beauty & fragrance bits – and I’ve been using these SO much for the past few months.

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Palmers Facial Cleansing Oil

I was lucky enough to receive the new Palmers skincare range and was BEYOND excited to try it. I am such a fan of their body products, so had high hopes for their skincare bits. The first thing is the Cleansing oil – and I actually was so pleasantly surprised with this. The Body Shop Camomile balm is my holy grail – and for me to find something else that I use just as much is a HUGE DEAL. I use a few pumps of this and massage over my face & eyes to melt my makeup away. I then wet my hands and rub the oil into my skin – it actually forms a lather which is fab too! I then rinse my skin & am left with soft, cleansed skin! It smells amazing, is so gentle on the skin and doesn’t clog my pores up – it is also really quick to melt all my makeup which is a plus when I’m having lazy days!

Palmers Facial Oil

I have been using facial oils in my skincare routine for quite a while – and this one has slowly become my favourite to use. It does take slightly longer to sink into your skin – but my face is always glowing the morning after! And the best bit – it smells like chocolate ! Although – if you’re not a fan of that, I’d suggest you steer clear of this stuff.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

I was so excited when this little baby came through the post. I am such a massive fan of Caudalie products – they have always gotten on with my skin and I’ve never had any issues when using them. The Beauty Elixir is definitely no exception – bloody hell this is some good stuff. I am such a fan of finishing/toning/brightening facial sprays, and this is by far one of my faves. I usually use this after I’ve washed my face & before moisturiser, and even sometimes spritz a little bit when I’ve finished my makeup. It has a minty, almost herbal smell (it smells so good though), and really brightens up my skin. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how ‘glowly’ my skin looks after using this – so it’s going to be a definite keeper in my winter skincare routine!

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Zoella Jelly & Gelato Range

I’ve actually done a whole post on this range because of how much I loved it – but there are a few products I’ve been reaching for non stop, especially during the last few weeks. The body pudding is hands down my fave moisturiser after showers in the morning. It is so refreshing & quick to sink into my skin – not to mention the scent is AMAZING. And of course – drowning myself in the Body Mist because it smells SO BLOODY GOOD. This little diamond has been living in my handbag too – and will do until I’m ready to crack out my Gingerbread Body Mist. Tehehe.

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Lush Sleepy Body Lotion

You’d be surprised to know that the Lush Sleepy Lotion actually made the news a few weeks ago – and as named a ‘miracle’ product because it apparently helped people who were struggling to sleep – seriously google it if you don’t believe me. Now – I don’t actually struggle to sleep, but I definitely find that I have a much deeper, peaceful sleep when using Sleepy. It’s been my go to after evening showers, and I honestly could not be without it now. Fan of the Twilight bath bomb ? You need this is your life. Thank me later.

Twilight Body Spray

The last bit of the above paragraph – read it again. The same applies to his body spray. I cannot even tell you how AMAZING this smells. Also, it’s pretty strong stuff so you don’t need to use a lot at all. I think this will be perfect for using during the colder months too – it is such a ‘cosy’ scent. It’s pretty reasonable at £20 too, especially for how long it lasts.

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Polynesian Island Perfume – The Body Shop

If there is a perfume that takes you right back to your earlier summer holiday on the beach – it’s this. Seriously, it is summer in a bottle. I absolutely loved using it with the Pina Colada range – they literally went perfectly together. Think coconut, pineapple & a slight floral scent. Yum.

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I’ve absolutely loved using all these products throughout the whole summer – I love using seasons to try out new products – so you bet I’m already scouring out what new things I can use for Autumn ! Eek!

Expect my next post to be very autumnal. Yaaaaas.

Love,

Saira x

How To Motivate Yourself To Blog

Do you ever get those days where you want to sit down and write down all the blog posts you have in mind – but it just does not happen. No matter how much you want to, the words just don’t come. Your motivation is non existent, and everything else just seems so distracting. You spend hours scrolling through the internet, watching cat videos & conspiracy theories (ahem, not me), but you know you should be typing up that review of your new makeup brushes…

Now – in the (almost) 2 years I’ve been blogging (wow has it been that long?!), I have found that certain things really help me get in the right blogging mind, not just the inspiration side but also writing. Of course – whenever I find certain things that help me blogwise -it’s always a good idea to share them. I know that most bloggers go through the same thing (we rant about it on Twitter all the time right guys) – so ya gal here as got some things that can help you feel inspired & motivated when you are in a bit of a slump.

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Have a blog set up

For some people, they can find the inspiration to write anywhere – whether that is on the bus/train, on their lunch break or on the sofa whilst watching TV. For me – I need a proper set up. I’m talking cosy pillows & blankets, a cuppa & plenty of candles & fairy lights. Even in the summer, I love having candles & a warm drink. I find just being in this sort of chilled environment helps me stay motivated and want to write. It also inspires me to come up with ideas too. If I’m ever feeling a little lost for ideas, I just get in my cosy environment & think about the things that have effected me recently & what I’ve been loving – and some ideas always spring into my head !

Pinterest is your SAVIOUR

Pinterest has so many ideas & inspiration – if I’m ever stuck for ideas I always have a trawl through Pinterest. Whether it is inspo for some post ideas or blog/Instagram shots – Pinterest always has something to help. Plus – making season themed boards is SO much fun – have you SEEN the Autumn ones?!

Sometimes your thoughts/feelings are the best posts

For a while, I’d only feel motivated to blog if I had new beauty products/an interesting, hot topic to post about – simply because I felt like that was what brought in the most views. This eventually made me stress out when I didn’t have anything ‘exciting’ to post about. Then one day – I just literally sat down & wrote a whole blog post about everything that was on my mind. It was almost like a diary entry – and I posted it – and not only did it get a good response, but I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders too. I actually LOVE reading personal, diary-like blog posts too – I think they help you really connect with the blogger too. So, don’t feel disheartened if you don’t have any new products to talk about – your thoughts are enough loves.

Read other blogs & gain inspiration 

Now – I’m not saying go and copy another bloggers post idea – they probably worked their ass off to not only come up with the idea, but to put the whole thing together. But – getting inspiration from other blog posts is definitely a way to motivate yourself and get some ideas. I always feel so out of the loop when I don’t read other blogs, so I always make sure I set aside some time every few days to have a scroll through my fave blogs. Funnily enough – I always find I miss writing blog posts when I read others – so that always helps me get motivated!

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Lastly – blog for YOURSELF & because you LOVE it

Sometimes – no matter what you do – the words/motivation just don’t come to you. If this happens to me, I find taking a few days out really helps. This usually leads me to find inspiration and realise how much I miss blogging. Also – blog because you LOVE to, not because you’re trying to get the next PR package or some extra followers. Blogging is so much fun & it should be something that you do to relax & unwind – but if it is becoming something that stresses you, it’s time to take a few days out. Trust me – you will come back feeling more motivated than ever!

There we have it – a few little pointers that I always find help motivate and inspire me to write when I am having one of those rubbish, slump moments with my blog. If you have other tips you use – make sure to let me know !

Guys – I can’t even tell you how excited I am for the next few months – it is almost AUTUMN – I am already planning my “reasons to be excited for Autumn” post – as well as some other content. I have a few Summer themed posts coming up – then it is ALL about Autumn (how many times did I say Autumn then!?).

Take care m’loves – and I will see you all in my next post!

Love, Saira x

Zoella Beauty – Jelly & Gelato Review

Call me a bit of a creep, but as soon as Zoella started dropping hints that her new beauty range would be released soon, I would continuously stalk Twitter to see updates on it. I couldn’t have been the only one right? I genuinely love everything that she has ever brought out (both her Lifestyle & Beauty range) – and knew that as soon as this range was released, I would be straight on the Superdrug website to order some goodies.

I don’t know about you – but I am such a Zoella fan. Her blog was probably the first one I ever read – which led me to watching her videos, and seeing her become the successful woman she is now. So of course –  it was a no brainer that I picked up her new range.

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This year – Zoe’s range was completely focused around Jelly & Gelato – screams summer right? The whole theme was around ice cream & jelly (obvs) and is definitely something to pick up if you love matching your scents to seasons. I had all the heart eye emojis when I saw the range for the first time (seriously though guys – look at it).

So – what did I pick up? I went a little bit mad if I’m honest – and had to stop myself from buying the whole range. I brought:

  • Shower Sauce
  • Shower Shake
  • Body Pudding
  • Cream Scrub
  • Gelat’eau Body Mist

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Packaging

The packaging of the whole range is SO summery, and I literally felt like I had received a box of ice cream goodies when it arrived. If I was to pick my favourite packaging wise – it would have to be the Shower Cream (the one that looks like a milkshake) & the Body Mist. I love the opaque bottle for the mist – it is so unique and gives it such an expensive feel. I also love that the body pudding (moisturiser) comes in a tub – I personally find these so much easier and quicker to use. Although – it definitely looks like it should belong in my freezer along with the rest of the ice cream. All in all, whole range looks beautiful either on your dresser, or on your bathroom shelf.

Scent

So the scent is the same across all products – and let me tell you it is definitely NOT what I expected from this range at all. I originally through the scent would have quite a sweet, whipped cream, vanilla scent – but it is most definitely not like that at all. Instead, it has a very fresh, floral but fruity scent, with a slight hint of double cream – I think that’s a pretty good description? It is described as having notes of Elderflower & Pomegranate – and I can definitely smell both of these. It is such a lovely, everyday scent that is not too offensive and it really does last a long time – especially when using all the products together.

Price

I have personally always found Zoella’s range good value for money – because I have found that every single product I’ve used has worked amazingly, and I always tend to repurchase the goodies. I actually got everything with 25% off as an introductory price – and Zoella’s range is often on a 3 for 2 deal – so you can always pick something up on offer.

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Individual Reviews

It’s always good to go through individual products when reviewing right? I have been using the Zoella range for a few weeks now so definitely feel like I’m in a good place to tell you what I think of them.

Shower Sauce

So – I actually got both the shower Sauce & cream (more on the cream later) – because I go through shower gels SO quickly. The shower Sauce is more liquid, and it lathers up nicely when applied to your loofah. It is a dark pink colour, and definitely resembles that amazing sauce that was poured over your 99 ice cream. Nom. Anyway – love the scent of this, and I definitely could smell the scent on my skin for a while after, and my skin felt pretty soft afterwards too.

Shower Cream

First things first – the packaging of this is probably my fave thing. It looks like a FRICKIN’ milkshake. Adorbs. So – the formulation of this is very different to the shower sauce – it is a lot creamier and doesn’t lather up as much. It is also a cream colour, not that funky pink colour – gah. I tend to avoid using this with my loofah and just use my hands, as I find I use less product this way. This made made skin feel so soft and I didn’t even feel the need to have to use moisturiser after (still did though cos I’m moisturiser obsessed – but you get the option which is what matters right?). Absolutely LOVE using this stuff, especially on an evening as it has such a luxe feel to it.

Cream Scrub

So this was definitely not what I was expecting – it is more of a balm texture rather than a grainy scrub. It has more of a ‘melt in your palm/on your body’ idea when it comes to use it. This is definitely a scrub that you could use everyday as it is a very fine grain, and it leaves your skin feeling so soft & polished after. I have never tried anything like this before either and have definitely fallen in love with it!

Body Pudding

This little ice cream themed tub of joy has become one of fave body moisturisers ever. It looks so beautiful and has tiny little ‘sprinkles’ in which is SO cute. It gives your skin a beautiful, fragrant finish – and using this alongside the shower sauce or cream means you’ll smell delish for hours. This little baby soaks into your skin so quickly as it is such a lovely, whipped formula. One of my faves for summer right here girls and boys.

Gelat’eau Body Mist

I’m in love with this little baby – the scent, the packaging, the whole sha-bang. I’ve always loved the body mists because I find them so handy to pop in your handbag and have on the go – and the scent is definitely one that lasts a while, despite them only costing £8. I find that you can definitely smell the elderflower when you first spray it, this then settles into a sweet, whipped cream, pomegranate scent. YUM. It definitely is summer in a bottle.

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I felt like I was chucked right back into my childhood when using these – it definitely reminded me of summer days spent in parks and fairs. I think both younger girls & more older ladies will like this range – it has such a happy, summery vibe about it. You can see how much effort has been put into the products and Zoe just seems to get better and better with her ranges – and I love them more each time!

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After obsessing over these products as much as I have – I know I need to invest in the bath wafers & milk frosting powder – bring on ice cream themed baths (woop!). So – if you are after a quirky, summery themed beauty range that is instagrammable AF – check out Zoella’s range – I know you’ll love it!

Until next time,

Love Saira x

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How To: Throw A Summer Party

Summer ey. BBQ’s, lots of ice cream.. oh and my birthday. If you follow me on twitter you will know that it was my birthday recently (well, 2 weeks ago), and I actually planned a pretty special party for it. I’ve never had a massive birthday, and I think it’s only right to have at least one extravagant birthday party in your life right? Anyway – the party itself was a massive success, everyone had a fab time and I enjoyed planning it so much !

So of course – planning parties and all that jazz is FUN for some people (ahem – moi), and maybe not so fun for others – I definitely picked up a few hints & tips whilst planning the party. I knew from the second I decided to have a party that I would write a blog post all about the planning – and to be honest this could be applied to any sort of get together, so I hope it can help some of ya. Also – throwing this party meant that I could tick something off my summer bucket list .. yaaaas!

Planning

Pick a theme

This was the first thing that I did and I honestly had quite a few ideas in mind! Things like Pinterest will become your best friend – not just for inspiration for themes but also snacks/drinks/decor etc. Of course with my birthday falling in July, I wanted a beach/tropical theme – think lots of bright colours, pineapples, flamingos & Hawaiian flowers. Once you have a theme, you can start to focus on location, decor, food & activities.

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Pick your location

Of course – living in the UK, you can never rely on the weather – more likely than not it WILL let you down. Best thing you can do is prepare for it. As I was set on having my party outside, we invested in a gazebo for the garden, but also ensured we had enough space inside just in case we had to make a last minute change and were cursed with awful weather. Of course – in any case, location depends on quite a few things: how many people you’re inviting, what type of party you’re having, budget restrictions etc. It’s always a good idea to ring around community centres & restaurants – you could even ask family members/friends if you can use their garden – always a good idea if they have more space than you! For me – we had around 35 people so the garden was the perfect size & the gazebo kept us sheltered from any drizzle we had on the day!

Get your numbers

This is so important so you can plan food, activities, seating etc. So … obviously modern tech means we can just invite people via text/email – but I wanted to add a little bit more of a personal touch – so I handwrote some invitations and delivered them myself! It also means you can get an indication of how many people there are to come! I also left my number at the bottom of the invites so people could officially RSVP me. Knowing your numbers is so important as you can avoid overspending on food/drinks/general bits & bobs.

Wowing your guests

Of course, when you are planning a party for either a birthday/anniversary/house warming – it’s always nice to have something that will impress your guests. This will not only leave them with a wonderful memory of your party, but also ensure they are kept occupied! This all depends again on your theme & budget – we had quite a few things going on: a candy floss machine, chocolate fountain, slush machine & popcorn!). That may seem like quite a lot for a small *ish* party – but it meant there was a massive variety for guests and it definitely kept the kids entertained! We booked all of it via a company called Sweet Candy Dreams – who were absolutely FANTASTIC. Everything was so easy to arrange with them, and they stayed during the party to ensure everything ran smoothly.

You can get as creative as you want – and it can include things like setting up a den/tent for your guests to wind down in, getting creative with your decor, or wowing them with your food choices. This is your chance to use your imagination guys – or just Pinterest, I’m not judging.

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Food food food!

Now – obviously food is SO important, and it’s a pretty big topic too so I thought it would be best to split it into a few sections!

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Before the party

  • Ensure you get any dietary requirements sorted. This is so important because there is nothing worse than not being able to cater for guests with different requirements. Put a note on your invites for anyone to let you know so you can make arrangements
  • Decide if you want just snacks or proper food. I think this obviously depends on how many people you have & how long your party is lasting.
  • Plan you snacks and/or main food. I used Pinterest & YouTube to decide what food we were going to be having.

Setting up & during the party

It’s best to have the snacks dotted around your party instead of just in one place – so guests aren’t all crowded around one area, and they can also snack wherever they are. A few ‘can’t go wrong’ snacks are:

  • Crisps & dips
  • Mini pizzas
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Carrot batons & hummus (or other dips of choice)
  • Mini sandwiches

It’s always best to keep an eye on the snacks too and have some extras ready just in case you run out!

For drinks – plastic cups are your best friend! As I had a summer theme, plastic Margarita glasses were essential! I picked these up from a poundshop, but they are everywhere at the moment! Also – it’s always fun to have a designated drinks table where people can help themselves. I added lots of funky straws, umbrellas and stirrers for a nice summer touch – and they worked a treat!

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We had plenty of sweet treats on the day, but some quick ones to prepare are:

  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Pick & mix
  • Cookies
  • Doughnuts

Decorations

Probably my favourite part. For decorations, you can go as all out as you want! The best thing to do is look online – as you’ll find a bigger variety, and a lot of the stuff is so much cheaper too. I got the majority of my decorations from Party Delights, as they literally have everything – from tablecloths to Tiki Bar signs. You can also pick up a lot of decor from places like The Range, Home Bargains, B&M, poundshops & supermarkets. With it being summer, a lot of these shops are geared around planning for garden parties, so will have more or less all the essentials you need. If you are going all out (theme wise) though, online is the way. One thing that I highly recommend having which I found gave such a summer feel, is bunting. There is just something so summery about  bunting, and I got all mine from a poundshop. Winning.

Activities on the Day

Of course – a lot of the party will be people socialising, but it’s always a good idea to have some activities lined up. I had planned for everyone to play charades & the ‘speak up’ game – but guests actually spent most of the time around the chocolate fountain and socialising! But activities like that are always good as they allow for a large group of people to take part and are pretty light hearted.

So – I think I have covered most of the stuff that you need for throwing your own garden party! Now – I want to run through what I did for mine – from sending invites, food, decor & things to do!

All The Info:

Theme

My theme was summer – so anything bright and with flamingos, pineapples and a beachy/Hawaiian vibes was what I was looking out for.

Invites out

I picked up my invites from TKMAXX – I don’t think I actually got a photo of them (grrr!), but they had flamingos on them and came in a bright envelope, which I thought went perfectly with my theme!

Location

Originally, I wanted to have the party out in the garden and set up blankets on the grass, with a little cosy tent set up in a corner – but I had been keeping tabs on the weather and saw RAIN FORECASTED. The joys. So I set out plan B – a gazebo. This was literally a lifesaver. Make sure you get one that fits in your garden too guys – and try to have it on grass rather your driveway. It is SO much more secure, and I think it gives it a nicer, almost cosier feel.

 

Food

So – the foods I had were:

Snacks:

  • Mini Pizzas
  • Chicken Dippers
  • Crisps & Dip
  • Breadsticks
  • Olives
  • Carrot Sticks & Hummus

Main:

  • Pizzas (again haha)
  • Chicken Wings
  • Rice & Chicken (we actually got this catered)

Sweet Stuff

  • Chocolate Fountain
  • Popcorn
  • Slush
  • Candyfloss
  • Birthday Cake (obvs)

It took hardly any time to set up snacks on a table under the gazebo & inside on the kitchen table. I picked up some cute trays from B&M so it all matched the theme (hehe!) For the mains – we had everything ready in the kitchen (pizza’s & rice were delivered & the wings had been cooked in the morning), and once it was ready to serve, they were put on trays and put out for guests to help themselves.

Make sure to keep plenty of napkins & paper plates handy – as well as some black bags so people can throw away their rubbish (or you will just end up with piles of used paper plates – nice).

Decor

So – for decor, I did go a little bit mad – but it was honestly the best bit.

Firstly – the gazebo. I tied a CRAP load of bunting throughout the whole of the inside & outside. I also tied some in the living room and in the driveway, just for that extra touch. I picked up a little Hula Girl party sign online, and also around 40 hawaiian flower leis, and lined these up on a table, all ready for the guests on their arrival.

For the snacks, I covered a coffee table with a printed tablecloth, and put all the trays with the crisps & dips in. There were also paper plates (themed of course) and napkins too – which added to the decor too!

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I found a “Tiki Bar” sign at a party shop in my local market, and tied this to the top of the gazebo. I also picked up some metallic “Happy Birthday” balloons and had these filled up with helium and tied them up on one side. I had a designated drinks table, which was literally the garden table with a tablecloth & table skirt on it. I then lined all my plastic margarita glasses up, and put a LOT of cute straws, umbrellas and drink decorations out. I then filled a drink dispenser with some homemade “punch” (recipe below), and lined up some bottled drinks, et voila! The cutest drinks table EVER.

Homemade Punch

  • 2 cartons of orange & pineapple juice
  • 1 carton of orange juice
  • 2 oranges (sliced)
  • A few chunks of fresh pineapple
  • Ice cubes (as much as you want)

Mix all drinks together in a drinks dispenser and serve!

Anyway – carrying in with the decorations. I set up plenty of chairs, but covered them with some pretty, colourful pillows so they fit in with the theme. Also, in the gazebo we had the popcorn, candyfloss & slush machine, and I thought they added to the decor nicely – so that was all we had in there!

 

Then – in the kitchen, I covered the dining table with a cute tablecloth and lined up more snacks. I also added another table skirt & more bunting – you can never have too much, muaha. Then, in the living room, we had the chocolate fountain and a place where everyone could put any gifts they had bought. I also piled up some cushions and blankets, alongside an inflatable palm tree and some bunting, so there was a cosy place for anyone who wanted to relax!

 

I think that is everything covered? I feel like there is A LOT in this post – but I hope it is enough info to help anyone planning a party! I honestly had SO much fun, and it was such a success on the day! I am definitely planning my next one (although maybe not so big next time!).

Let me know if you have any plans for summer parties – and also if anything in this post helps you!

Lots of Love,

Saira

Where the HELL have I been?!

Hi. It’s me *waves awkwardly*. Bloody hell has it been a while since I’ve been here. I thought it’d only make sense to post a little something explaining where I’ve been before getting back into it! Right now I’m cosied up in my bedroom with all my fairy lights on. Literally perfect blogging set up too right ?

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So – where on earth have I been? In all honesty, I’ve not gone anywhere. I’ve been right here. But oh my goodness have I been busy. These past few weeks have literally flashed right before my eyes. Firstly – Ramadan finished which meant a few days of Eid celebrations. Then, we had a few very warm weekends where I spent the time with my family enjoying the rare sunshine we get. I’d have been daft not too right? Then, my birthday started to come around – and of course for that I planned a huge garden party, which was a massive success (wooo!). Full blog post on this to follow guys! Again – the planning and prep of that kept me quite busy too. I have also joined the gym so spend a few of my evenings after work there! Speaking of work – that has literally been manic too which in turn has left me feeling exhausted when I get home. All I literally have the energy for is getting some dinner & watching Love Island – which to be fair is another thing that has distracted me away from blogging. Ha. It’s almost over too which I am thinking is going to be bitter sweet for me (boo!).

I basically just had a lot going on these past few weeks and lost my routine. But I’m getting back on track. I spent the whole of yesterday organising my room and putting away all my shopping from the past few weeks & my birthday gifts from last week! I have the biggest pile of ironing to tackle and a million blog photos to take – as well as so many post ideas to write ! My Instagram has also not been touched in a while – so I need to take a whole load of pictures for that! I’m getting there – slowly but surely!

I’m sure it happens to everyone once in a while ey? Life just gets on top of you and unfortunately that means my blog has had to take a back seat for the past few weeks. But I am back and determined to get myself back into the whole blogging lifestyle again. I’ve had a lot of scrolls through Twitter recently and seeing all the posts you guys are coming up with is just motivating  me to get some bangin’ content created (soz for the Love Island lingo).

Anyways – I hope that explains a little bit of where I’ve been. I’m gonna leave it there and get back into writing some new content for y’all. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting stuff!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xxx

THE YUMMIEST MOCKTAILS

Oh hey

You wanna know what I’ve been obsessed with recently? Mocktails. Making them experimenting with them, DRINKING THEM – most important part right? Of course, I don’t drink alcohol and I know a lot of other people don’t due to personal preference, religion.. or sometimes you do just fancy a mocktail. I’ve been playing around with some recipes and have come up with my 3 favourite drinks so far. Each one is so easy to make & tastes SO good. Trust me, you have to try them.

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Before we get started, there is one thing  you HAVE to do. Literally the most important thing that will bring all your mocktails together & make them taste SO good. What am I babbling on about? Simple syrup. You gotta make yourself some of this stuff guys, it makes all the difference. What is simple syrup? Probably the easiest thing you’ll ever make. It’s literally 1 part sugar to 1 part water, put it in a saucepan and slowly bring it to a boil. Once bubbles start to appear, take it off the heat and place in a cup. This will store for around a week in the fridge. Why do you need simple syrups? Think about it, you have a lot of citrusy fruits going in your drink so you need to add some sugar to sweeten it. Adding sugar to a warm drink – it dissolves pretty quickly. Adding sugar to a cold drink – it’s going to take a lot longer to dissolve – and you could be left with a whole  load of sugar in the bottom of your glass. So this is where simple syrup comes in – it’s a sweet liquid that brings the drinks together nicely – and is an essential in mocktail making.

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Of course – get yourself some fancy glasses, umbrellas, funky stirrers & any other pretty props you want. Because what’s a mocktail without some fancy decor?

HOW TO

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Strawberry Daiquiri:

I feel like this is one drink I have mastered because I’ve made it SO many times. This is definitely everyone’s fave – and it is literally SO easy to make. The combination of strawberries and limes/lemons is SO yummy & perfect for helping you feel refreshed. With this being a frozen mocktail, it’s perfect for hot summer days. I think this is probably my fave out of the lot too.

1 cup strawberries frozen

1/2 cup ice

2 tbsp simple syrup

2 tbsp pomegranate syrup

4 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp lemon juice

Splash of lemonade/7up – you can add more if you want – I just prefer a more slushie texture!

FYI – This makes around 5-6 small glasses worth of slush

Prep your glasses by rubbing a lemon round the rim and dipping it in sugar. Add a lime & strawberry to the rim and set aside. Add all the ingredients to a blender & blitz for a few seconds. You might need to stop and give it a stir because it will be slush! Add a splash of lemonade to the bottom of the glass, then spoon in the Strawberry Daiquiri slush. Give it a quick stir and serve!

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Virgin Mojito

This is definitely the one when I want something a little bit ‘lighter’ and refreshing. I didn’t think I would like the combo of mint & lime, but it is SO good. It is so easy to make and you don’t need a blender for this one!

FYI – these ingredients are per one glass

1 lime – chopped – I add a whole lime for extra flavour, as there is no alcohol

6-7 sprigs of fresh mint

Crushed ice – 1 cup

Simple syrup – 1 tbsp

Lemonade – personal preference. I add around 1/2 of the glass I’m using – but you can always add more/less

Lime/mint to garnish

Add the chopped lime, mint leaves & simple syrup to your glass. Muddle these for a few seconds (don’t crush the mint leaves – your drink will taste AWFUL if you do). Just press the ingredients gently (I use the end of a rolling pin – works perfectly fine), until you can smell the mint coming through. Then, add your crushed ice, lemonade and mix well. Garnish with lime & a few mint leaves, et VOILA. The yummiest virgin mojito ever – and it’s SO quick to make.

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Pineapple Margarita

Now unfortunately – I have not been able to make a Pina Colada that I actually really like the taste of *cries*.. BUT I have an amazing Pineapple Margarita that you can try in the meantime ! I WILL make the perfect Pina Colada. For now though – hope you enjoy the Margarita guys.

2 cups fresh pineapple – chopped up

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tbsp simple syrup

2 cups of ice

Lemon & pineapple to garnish

FYI – Makes around 5-6 servings

Add all the ingredients (except the lemon & pineapple that are to garnish) to a blender and blend well. Rim the glass with lemon & dip in sugar. Pour drink in & add a slice of pineapple or orange for decoration. And THAT’S IT.

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So there we have it. 3 VERY easy mocktail recipes for you to enjoy during the summer – or any time of year that you fancy. These drinks have been so much fun to make and really are the best thing to have on a hot, summer evening. Make sure to let me know if you try any of these!

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I’m working on experimenting with a few more ingredients, so if you enjoyed this post let me know and I’ll definitely share some more drinks with you!

For now – I’m going to let you enjoy the rest of these sunny days we’re having in the UK at the moment, and will see you all in my next post!

Lots of love,

Saira

Xx