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Restyled for Summer at RUSH Chelmsford

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I love having my hair short, but I'm also really bad at booking an appointment to get it cut. When the lovely RUSH team got in touch and asked if I'd like to pop into the Chelmsford store for a cut and blow dry, I couldn't resist.

I hadn't had my hair cut in a good few months, so it definitely needed doing. I visited a few Saturdays ago, and had an appointment with Louise. Although I did have to wait around for a good 15 minutes or so after my appointment time, once it got started, the service was brilliant.

I told Louise what I wanted - mainly just a little off the length, some longer layers to give it a little more shape and then my fringe sorting out, as it's too hot to go back to a full fringe. She gave my hair a lovely wash, asked if I wanted the additional treatment on it as the ends were a little dry, and got onto cutting. We spent the entire time talking about my blog and what I do with it, and we had the entire upstairs of the branch to ourselves, along with their lovely budgies.

I was honestly so happy with the cut once it was finished. I'd had a bad experience in another branch about a year prior (I ended up going home and crying) so I was a little nervous but am glad I gave RUSH another chance.

Louise also noticed that my scalp was showing early signs of psoriasis, which was an extremely helpful thing to hear from her. I've been looking at products that can help and I'm really grateful that she pointed it out to me so that I can start treating it before it gets too bad!

If you're in Chelmsford, I'd definitely recommend popping into RUSH, and if not there are plenty of other branches around the UK!

Sophie x

July Favourites & Birthday Giveaway

Monday, August 08, 2016
So here we are again, another month past, and another favourites post. I had actually intended to get this up last week, but I was away towards the end of the week and just never got round to it. Wednesday last week was also my blog's 2nd birthday, so if you manage to read all the way to the end of the post, you'll see a lovely little giveaway for you!

I passed!

I suppose the biggest favourite in July really has to be passing my driving test. I started learning just under a year ago, and with it being my third time lucky, I passed! I've been driving around over the past few weeks, and I absolutely love it. I don't know how I hadn't bothered learning before now! Also, of course I had to treat myself to this ridiculously large rabbit keyring from ASOS to acompany my car keys!

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

Okay, so I know the book has been released, but I'm still going to #KeepTheSecrets. I was so so lucky to see the show at the start of the month, and I already want to go again. It's honestly incredible. As a big Harry Potter fan, I knew I had to see it, but seeing it so early on in the production was such a treat. I went with my friend Sophie, and we saw parts 1 and 2 in the same day. It was a lot of time spent sat in the theatre, but it was so worth it. I honestly don't think I'd have managed to wait and see them on separate days. We had the cheapest seats going, but the view was perfectly fine and the production itself was phenomenal.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I did a full review of Carrie's debut novel here, but I couldn't resist having it in my monthly favourites too! The story follows Evie Snow, an eighty-two-year-old that returns to the body of her twenty-seven-year-old self when she dies. Evie has three secrets that are weighing her soul down, and she must finally reveal them so that she can pass through to heaven. The story itself is beautiful, magical and definitely one I've not seen done before. I loved it, and will definitely be picking it up to read all over again.

Not Yours T-Shirt from Primark

I spotted this t-shirt on Primark's website a few weeks ago and knew I needed to find it. After some searching, I spotted it in the Stratford store and bought two - one for myself, and one for Kelsey. It honestly doesn't feel or look like a Primark t-shirt. It's super soft, super comfy and I really love the design.

Benefit's Goof Proof

Like many people, I grabbed a free Goof Proof in Elle magazine last month, and after swapping my shade 6 with Becky's shade 2, I am absolutely loving it. I have fairly full brows as it is, but the Goof Proof is lovely to quickly fill in the slightly gappy bits, and define the shape a little. It makes doing my brows so much quicker, and since getting it I've been using it every morning!

Now onto the giveaway! The prize is made up of lots of little bits I've picked up over the past few months, including a Whitewash Nano Whitening Kit worth over £30, a gold print from ThatLameCompany and a Yankee candle tea light & wax melt from Love Aroma. There will also be a few surprise items that aren't in the picture below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions: Giveaway is open to UK residents only. It opens on Monday 8th August and closes at midnight on Sunday 4th September. I will contact the winner within 24 hours of the giveaway closing. The winner has 72 hours after I have contacted them to provide their address for the prize to be shipped out, otherwise another winner will be chosen. Entries will be disqualified if entry requirements are not followed correctly.

Sophie x

HomeSense Chelmsford Preview

Monday, August 01, 2016
Last week I was lucky enough to check out the new Homesense store in Chelmsford before it opened. After work on Wednesday, I headed back to Essex and to the store, which is located in the Riverside Retail Park, to have an exclusive look around the store with a few other bloggers.

I'd known of Homesense for a while, from both going in one in Canada last year, and also through my friend Kate, who absolutely loves it. The store is ultimately the home section of TK Maxx, as it's their sister company, and I knew I'd love it as I love their home section already.

We had a two hour window to shop, and on arrival were so kindly given a £20 gift card to spend. The store itself is pretty large, and is two floors so there was lots to take in. I started up in the stationary section (they have the most amazing collection of notebooks) and then had a quick nose at the bedding/bathroom stuff before I met up with Gem. We looked around a little more upstairs (and had a good look at the food section) before hitting up the candles and wall art downstairs.

I'd been looking for something to go on the wall above my bed for a while, and thought it'd be the perfect place to find something. In the end, after loving a lot of the products, I went for a white wooden sign that has 'faith' on it in a black metal. It's lovely, and was only £16.99 so a complete bargain!

We spent ages in the candle department and had a lot of fun smelling them all and finding ones we liked. In the end, we both went for a Woodwick candle which was £4.99 instead of £9.99. I went for Pineapple, which fits my room scheme but also smelt gorgeous. I absolutely love the way the candle crackles - it's very soothing.

It was great having a look around, especially before the public, and I know I'll be going back whenever I need a new notebook (I honestly can't believe I resisted) or something else for my room! A huge thank you to the Homesense team for the invite!

Sophie x

Favourite Five - Albums

Monday, July 25, 2016
So if we're Facebook friends, or you're following me on twitter you probably already know, but I have some pretty awesome news to share - I passed my driving test! It was my third one (all the best drivers pass on their third test apparently) and I am so so happy that all the lessons/tests are over with! As I'm going to be listening to A LOT of music in the car, I thought I'd do another Favourite Five post and share the 5 albums I currently can't get enough of!

Last Year Was Complicated - Nick Jonas

For those of you that knew me 5 or so years ago, you'd know that I was a MASSIVE Jonas Brothers fan, and out of the three, Nick was my absolute favourite. I wasn't a huge fan of his first solo album but I honestly cannot get enough of this. It's so good, and I could listen to it on repeat. My favourite tracks are Chainsaw and Bacon.

Storyteller - Carrie Underwood

I've been a Carrie Underwood fan for a while now and got to see her at Country 2 Country in March. She was incredible, and since then I've had her album on repeat. I absolutely adore this latest album, although love her old stuff too, and my favourite tracks would have to be Church Bells and The Girl You Think I Am. 

Peroxide - Nina Nesbitt

So Kelsey suggested I should listen to Nina a good few months back, but I'm very set in my ways with music and didn't til about a month ago. I honestly regret waiting so long as I am OBSESSED with her voice, and honestly, I love this album so much. I love the tone of her voice, her music style and just the songs in general. My favourite tracks on Peroxide would have to be Two Worlds Away and He's The One I'm Bringing Back.

Hero - Maren Morris

I'd seen a few friends tweeting about how good Maren was, but it wasn't until I saw her at Country 2 Country that I finally understood. I absolutely love her new album, and couldn't resist buying it as soon as it came out. My Church holds a dear place in my heart after C2C, but I'm also a big fan of Sugar and I Wish I Was.

Start Here - Maddie & Tae

Another country album, and another duo that I saw at Country 2 Country. I was a fan of the girls before I saw them, but I had only listened to a few songs. After seeing them, I knew their album was one to add to my playlists, and I'm so so glad I did. They're incredible, and definitely my favourite duo/group around at the moment! My favourite tracks would have to be Girl In A Country Song and Shut Up And Fish.

Are there any albums you can't get enough of at the moment? I'd love to hear!

Sophie x

Review: On The Other Side

Monday, July 18, 2016

Your soul is too heavy to pass through this door;
Leave the weight of the world in the world from before

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It's the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she's become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won't open.

Evie's soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets which have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it's too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow, some way, she may also find her way back to the only man she ever truly loved...

This is definitely another of the books that I was eagerly awaiting this year, just like Always With Love. I read Carrie Hope Fletcher's debut book All I Know Now last April, and although I loved it, I also found that it was aimed at a much younger audience than myself. Carrie and I are the same age, and have similar interests, so when I found out she was releasing her debut novel On The Other Side this year I knew I was going to love it. I picked the book up on Thursday, and read it in almost one sitting on Friday (I read a couple of chapters to and from work on the train first) because I just couldn't put it down.

The story follows Evie Snow, an eighty-two-year-old that returns to her twenty-seven-year-old self when she passes away. Evie has three secrets that are weighing her soul down, and she must finally reveal them so that she can pass through to heaven. The story itself is beautiful, and definitely one I've not seen done before. It's magical, it's beautiful and it had me in tears at points.

Although it flits between past and present, it's extremely easy to follow along. I sometimes struggle with books that do this, and although it may be because it's quite a light read, Carrie has done this seamlessly. The characters were also completely relatable, and I really loved Evie. I could see some parallels between her and Carrie (including Carrie's green coat) and I'm sure a lot of fans will be happy about that. Vincent and Jim were also characters I fell in love with, one being the one that had Evie's heart, and the other being the best friend who knew that the girl he loved would never love her back. Carrie also included characters that were Bisexual and Pansexual, which was a lovely addition and still something that is fairly unusual to come across in the book world.

Can we also just talk about the cover for a second? It's absolutely stunning, and I'm not sure I even own another just as beautiful. The colours are gorgeous, the illustrations are too, and it completely encapsulates the storyline, with everything on the cover being an important aspect. The cover under the sleeve is also gorgeous, just like that of All I Know Well, and once again the Hopeful logo has made it to the back cover as a lovely nod to Carrie's fans.

Overall, I loved On The Other Side a whole lot. It was magical, had me on a rollercoaster of emotions, and I completely fell in love with the storyline. It's definitely a strong debut in the fictional world from Carrie, and I cannot wait to see what she does next.

Sophie x

It's Tiki Time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
On Sunday I headed up to Birmingham for the #BloggerTikiParty organised by the lovely Kirsty. I hadn't originally planned on going until a few weeks back, but with a space available and a super cheap train ticket the plan fell into place. To be fair, I mainly only ever go to London events, as it's not too far for me, but as a few of my friends were going and I rarely ever go outside of London, I thought I'd give it a try.

The event was held at Island Bar in Birmingham and there were just under 40 of us there. There were a few brands there, including Love Aroma, TOAD Diaries, and Lipivir, as well as goodies from Cranes, Perkier, Earlybird and Pink Parcel to name a few.

As well as it being a tiki party, it was also Pina Colada Day which meant we got a free Pina Colada courtesy of Malibu. The bar even gave us the option to make them, so ChloSophie and I gave it a go. I really liked making mine, but I did end up with sticky hands because I cannot pour a drink without spilling it.

Picture: NaturallyBeige

It was such a great afternoon, and Kirsty did such a wonderful job organising it. She even had incredible goody bags put together for everyone, which were absolutely full to the brim of products I cannot wait to try.

I'll probably be blogging about a few of the products I picked up over the next few months, so keep an eye out! I'm extremely looking forward to trying the Dinki Belle nail wraps!

Sophie x

Oy With The Poodles Already

Friday, July 08, 2016

This post was originally published on She Did What She Wanted

When it comes to female characters in TV shows and movies, there are a fair few that I absolutely adore, but there is one who stands out above all. If I could pick a favourite TV show growing up it would be the Gilmore Girls, and back in my teens I would have picked Rory Gilmore as my favourite in the show, but not now.

My love for Lorelai Gilmore was always there, but having re-watched the show in my twenties really solidified that love. For those of you who haven’t seen the show (have you been living under a rock?!), it’s the story of Lorelai and Lorelai “Rory” Gilmore, a mother and daughter duo, and their lives in Stars Hollow. Lorelai had Rory at age 16 and refused to marry Rory’s father, Christopher, which was what her parents wished. Instead, a year after Rory was born, she left home and brought her up on her own, with the help of Stars Hollow citizens.

Lorelai was (and hopefully still is, if the revival goes right) a woman who wasn’t scared of following her dreams. That was something she passed onto Rory, and even though she had her own dreams for her daughter, she knew how important it was to support her daughter’s dreams, too. She was a woman who fought for what she believed in and worked hard to get to where she wanted to be. She was a successful businesswoman; she worked her way up from being a maid at the Independence Inn to being the manager before opening an inn of her very own. One of the key moments for me in the show was when Lorelai went to community college to get the degree she never had the chance to get. It was important to her, and the look of pride on her face as she graduated was beautiful to see.

Lorelai was a wonderful mother to Rory. She treated her as a friend and was there to support her right from the start. She worked hard to create a life for the two of them, and she did all she could to give Rory a great childhood. Although she worked hard, when it came to paying for Rory’s education, Lorelai worked past her poor relationship with her parents to ask them for the money that she knew she didn’t have. Doing that, which was something that she hoped she’d never have to do, showed how much she put Rory first and showed her love for her.

One of the things that is important to me as a person is being independent. Lorelai was definitely independent. Leaving her parents home a year after Rory was born and then raising her alone was only the beginning. From that moment, she showed her independence creating the life that she did for her and Rory, and also showed independence when it came to love. She fell in love, but when it was too much she said so, and when things weren’t going right she stopped them. She didn’t need to be in a relationship constantly, she didn’t need to be dependent on another person, and that is how I believe life should be.

Most of all, I think that not only was Lorelai an incredible woman who was charming, beautiful and witty, but she taught me one of the most important things I could learn in life. She taught me that even though there are people out there who I can look up to or aspire to be, the most important thing in my life is to never give up on my dreams. She taught me to keep working to be who I want to be and that as much as I would love to be her, it’s more important for me to follow my own path, and have the life that I dream of. She taught me that it was important to be independent, because people don’t always stick around, and she taught me to just be myself.

I’m extremely excited to see how Lorelai is portrayed in the revival, and how much has changed in her life. The last we saw was Rory going off into the world on her first proper job, so it’d be interesting to see what Lorelai’s life was like without Rory close by. I know how much the actors adored the show, and I can only hope that Amy Sherman-Palladino and Lauren Graham bring back the Lorelai Gilmore that I love.

Oy with the poodles already!