Make your own foil prints

Foil prints. They've sprung up everywhere recently haven't they? I can't get enough of them! My craft room has a whole section of wall dedicated to them. I spent ages deciding which ones to get, and then wondered how they were made. I realised I could probably make them myself and did some research, and thus this blog post was born - a simple DIY on how to make foil prints yourself. (Though you could always just pop over to my Etsy here and get some...)

For this DIY you will need:
A laser printer (VERY important - Inkjet printers WILL NOT work)
White card
Heat activated toner foil (I got mine from eBay)
A laminator (I 'borrowed' my dad's one from Asda)
A frame (Fiskbo from Ikea is like 65p for postcard size or £1.50 for A4)

Step 1 - Print off your inspirational quote, or picture that you would like foiled. It's super important that you use a laser printer/photocopier, as this uses toner, not regular ink. Cut a section of your foil that will cover the design. I recommend using a print colour close to that of your foil in case of any imperfections, but I've used black for this one as it is easier to show you.

Step 2 - Place the foil shiny side up onto your design, and send through the laminator! (Note - do NOT laminate, just send through without laminator sheets.) The way this works is that the toner powder heats up and sticks to the foil, meaning when the foil is removed, some of it stays behind.

You can see it has bonded when it has gone all crinkly...

Step 3 - Peel off the foil carefully to reveal your design!

I then traced round a postcard and cut mine out so it would fit in a frame - but it's up to you!

Tada! Your very own foil prints.

I'd love to know if you give it a try - tweet me your results! Or if you buy one from my Etsy, I'd LOVE to see it displayed.

Wagon in the woods...

I honestly don't know how to start this post, except by saying all what follows will in no way do the experience justice - it was an adventure of pure perfection, and I wholeheartedly suggest you follow suit...

A few months ago, in the midst of busy season at work, I did some 2am blog scrolling to distract myself from yet another spreadsheet, and came across this blog post by Katy. I knew instantly we had to go, regardless of where it was, and I fired off some texts to James, which were answered next morning saying he'd booked it for June.

Weirdly, without ever having heard of it, it turns out Medstead is actually in between Southampton and Basingstoke, so we ended up having an insanely packed weekend, going from home to River Cottage in Winchester for lunch, staying in the wagon overnight, and heading off to Basingstoke the next morning.

We arrived at the wagon around 2pm so had the whole day to enjoy our little escape. It's super easy to get to, but once you're there, you're hidden from view in your own little forest.

 ...which backs onto a field! We made lots of cow friends - I was a bit worried the fence wouldn't hold them and we'd be trampled!

I finally got to toast marshmallows on the fire - the owner/builder, Ralph, has thought of everything and even supplied us with marshmallows!

I was a bit too over zealous...

We spent the afternoon relaxing in the hot tub, drinking the wine we brought back from Italy. It was pure perfection. (You have to heat the hot tub yourself using a log fire - so much fun!)

Afro chicken...
(Ralph's mum Jean showed us the chicks on arrival - they are literally the cutest things ever!)

Everything is handmade!

After our hot tub session, we wandered through the fields to the Yew Tree, a pub a couple of miles away. We had a very scenic walk, and the food was lovely when we got there - I fully recommend the sticky toffee pudding.

The wagon literally had everything you need for a few days away to escape from it all.

After our adventures, we watched the sun sent in the bath under the floor, finishing off the wine....

I honestly couldn't recommend it enough - I had a beautiful time.

Where would you recommend for a secret escape? Tweet me!

Lush Cup O Coffee face mask

Lush Cup o Coffee

A quick rundown of Lush Cup o Coffee face mask...

Oh wow. I don't know where to start with this one!

You may or may not know my history with Lush - growing up, I was a HUGE Lush fan, and would go in a spend all my pocket money on a lump of soap (much to my mother's disdain...).

When I was 17 I got a job in the local Lush and all my teenage beauty product related dreams came true! It was a lovely place to work for the first few months, and I made some great friends like Noor, and the discount was amazingggg.

Around the time I left to go to uni, there were a lot of staff changes in my store and it started to become a bit cliquey...basically I ended up not going back as I had planned for the summers, and the whole thing ruined my perception of the company a bit. That, coupled with no discount, meant I only really used Lush stuff on special occasions, which is a shame as I LOVED it, but it was kinda tainted for me as a brand.

Anyway - why the story? WELL. I have been missing out for the past few years clearly! I only really used the products I was given as gifts, until I met up with Noor for coffee to discuss our engagements (EEEEEEEE!), and it turns out, despite our in-store experiences and lack of discount, she is still a die hard fan, She immediately recommended this mask to me - Noor has never been wrong with a recommendation so I had to check it out, and that was that.  True face masky-love. I am sure I would have discovered this earlier and fallen for it as hard if I'd have stuck with the brand, but oh well!

Lush Cup o Coffee

I've got quite dry, dull skin, with a bit of a clogged up nose area, so all round a bit icky. 

Let me tell you, for me, this has been a wonder product!

Heads up though, if you don't like coffee, this may not be for you, however I love the smell! (Is that bad?) I tried to get Becky to use it, but she hates the smell of coffee so refused :( 

Basically, you smooth a layer over your face and leave for 10-15 mins, then wash off, scrubbing as you go. 

My skin has never felt so soft!

In case you can't tell, I love it!

I got the little pot, and it's lasted me ages - it's not a 'fresh' one either, so it's got a fairly long life for Lush products - I don't remember it being too expensive, and would definitely get it again!

What Lush products would you recommend? Tweet me! 

Adventures in Rome

Our first stop on our Italy trip was Rome and it was simply amazing! We did so much exploring and crammed so much in - I'd love to go again, it's such a great city! (So glad I ticked it off my 25 in 25 too...)

Here are the final photos from our trip!
(There are some more on my INSTAGRAM if you want more!)

Waaaaahhhhh! We're at the Colosseum! So many tourists! (Everywhere...) Sneaky side photo of James at the right there...

This is the Trevi fountain from the non-famous can see how busy it is!

Arty shot of coffee in a square...pure bliss.

Typical Italian street...

Bridge over the river on the way to the Vatican.

Garden at the top of one of the hills.

The first real life elephant I've ever seen! (We went to the Zoo, they're not free-roaming, don't worry!)

Ruins and blue skies everywhere!

It was an utterly perfect two weeks, and I can't wait to go back! (We've got a few other places to tick off first though...)

Have you ever been to Rome? I'd love to hear your stories - TWEET ME!

The Radleys - Matt Haig

The Radleys Matt Haig

My latest book in my reading quest is The Radleys by Matt Haig. (See my other conquests here...)

Matt Haig is possibly my favourite author at the moment - I read the Humans and fell in love. I've since finished Reasons to Stay Alive, which I fully recommend everyone reads.

This one is a bit different - it's about vampires. Specifically, an abstinent vampire family called the Radleys who live in suburban England.

As with all Matt Haig works, the story is extremely well written, funny and easy to read. I finished this in a day - I couldn't put it down.

The story follows the Radley family as the big family secret is revealed to the teenagers, and they embrace their vampiric ways, just as their wayward uncle decides to pop in for a visit. Carnage with the locals follows...

It's actually so well written, with so many underlying themes, such as growing up, and infidelity, that you forget the story is about a family of vampires - it all seems too realistic!

I'd definitely recommend you give this a read - you won't regret it!

Have you read anything by Matt Haig? What did you think? Tweet me!

Adventures in Florence

Again, in short, Florence is beautiful! I thought I'd share some more photos from our trip with you! (There are some more on my INSTAGRAM if you want more and you can catch up with the last part (but first blog post?) of our Italy trip here...)

Florence was our middle city and we spent the weekend here exploring - here are some photos! (I won't give you a play by play of the weekend, but it really is a stunning city!)

Above is inside a cool cafe/flower shop we found down one of the back alleys...

Duomo. I don't actually know what it is, but we used it to navigate as most roads in Florence seemed to lead back to it!

Michaelangelo. Aka, the famous naked man statue.

Florence is famed for its art and culture so I tried to get all arty in a floral dress. I am super pale...

The Ponte Vechio (sp?) - a super famous bridge lined with gold shops...

Rose garden on the hill overlooking Florence...

Behind this bubble is the best human ever, but he doesn't like photos and would be even less impressed if I put him all over the internet, so a bubble photo will have to do...


Have you ever been to Florence? I'd love to hear your stories - TWEET ME!

Nails of the month #3 Mint green Rockstar

Following on from last month’s nail post, I might have stayed with Shellac…oops!

I've continued my pointy nail love affair, but they got so long from last time that I had to have them properly filed down as they were getting in the way - they're a bit more rounded now and a fair few millimetres shorter, as sad as I am, it's probably for the best.

We had our office summer ball, and I needed some beautiful nails that would last - it was on a Friday night but I was working away during the week and I would have no time to get ready. Lucky would have it, I was in the office for a day the week before so hopped to the salon after work and 45 minutes later these beauties were mine! They’re still my natural nails – the filing down of the length took forever and felt so weird!

The colour is CND Shellac in Mint Convertible with some iridescent glitter layered over the top and sealed with the Shellac top coat – the result is super smooth glittery nails that should last two weeks…perfect for when I'm busy at work and away without my nail polish stash!

(I still keep waving my nails about and getting them to twinkle in the light like a child – I feel kind of like a unicorn!)

What do you think? I think I'm going to have to cut back on the Rockstar as for some reason it was more expensive this time round - what do you think I should go for next? TWEET ME!

The Grown Up - Gillian Flynn

The Grown Up Gillian Flynn

This may be a very short book, but it is a book nonetheless and I am counting it in my quest to read 50 before I hit 25. (See the others here...)

I read Gillian Flynn's first three books, Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places in about the space of a week when I was at uni - I devoured them, and thought they were brilliant, so obviously when I saw this on Amazon I had to snap it up.

Because there's so little of it (79 pages) I can't really say to much without giving it away - all I can say is it is fantastically written, and is full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing the whole way - as you would expect from Gillian Flynn quite frankly.

The story focuses on a psychic/sex worker who is begged for help by a woman being terrorised by her new haunted house and step son, and follows the narrator through some twists and turns as she attempts to exorcise the house - I won't say any more as I'll give it away, but it is well worth a read - I managed to finish it in just over an hour, so it won't even take up too much of your time!

If you're into horror and suspense, I'd definitely give this one a shot!

Have you read it? What did you think? Tweet me! 

Cancer Research UK - Race for Life - Pretty Muddy 2016

I'm sitting here rather proud of myself and in a 'can do' mood because this morning I did something I've wanted to do (kind of) for years - I completed a Race for Life and have raised almost £100 for Cancer Research UK!

I'm super happy to have raised some sponsorship money, as everyone knows how awful cancer is, but I recently went on a google tangent and found out much much more than I ever wanted to know about just how it kills you. I'm now terrified, but happy that I could do something to try and help.

I've wanted to do a Race for Life for years - me, my mum and sister used to walk to the playing grounds at the back of the family home and watch the runners every summer, but we never did it - we always said we'd do it the next year but never got round to it. Last year a friend mentioned the Pretty Muddy race they do in some places (Southampton being one of them) and I just knew I had to do it this year.

Obviously I completely forgot until a few weeks ago when I was late night browsing and saw a reminder. I signed up instantly (was only £20!) and got my JustGiving page going. 

I then proceeded to do absolutely no training. Ooops.

If you know me, you will know that I am the world's most unfit person (see here) so this wasn't exactly unexpected. I thought I'd be fine, as I'm attempting to do a half marathon in October, and was aiming to get my fitness up for that, but I ended up working away for work for two weeks and then the date just snuck up on me.

I started panicking last night that I might not be able to do it, as 5k is a lot if you barely leave the sofa! (Though not a lot for others I admit...)

Anyway, here are some before and after photos!

I did it! It took me about half an hour with all the obstacles, and it was super fun. I'm definitely going to do it next year! (My trainers were ruined from all the mud pools though, so hopefully Primark have some pink ones again next year...also that's muddy water down me, not sweat - one of the marshalls decided I was too clean and tipped a bucket of muddy water straight on my hair - hence the mud waves in my hair!)

I'm so happy I did it, and actually really proud of myself considering I can barely walk up the stair to my flat. I really recommend it to anyone to try - girls of all ages were doing it, and you can pick your pace. It was so so much fun and it's for such a good cause! (I think I'm going to attempt to do the 10k Race for Life next year on the Sunday too!)

Did you do a Pretty Muddy? Are you going to do the normal races tomorrow? Let me know how it goes on Twitter!