31 January 2015

Lifestyle: Bye Bye January, My Month in Pictures (and update)

January is a bit of lull month isn't it?  I definitely had a case of the January blues over the last few weeks. There is always so much happening in December and when all the excitement and stress is over, the new year brings with it a sense of feeling lost, confused and a bit disorientated.  Therefore life on the blog has been a bit quiet recently. I think I just needed to take some time out after the huge venture that was Blogmas, and also to find some steady ground to slowly get back into the swing of everyday life.  I have also been doing a lot of planning/organising/making future decisions this month, January is after all the month to get organised.

Subsequently, there is not much to show for my life over the last month but these are the few Instagram pics that did make it. Nothing too exciting and certainly nothing to write home about.  There are quite a few foodie pics and that just goes to show how I spent most of my January indoors seeking comfort in the kitchen.  Obviously my cats made an appearance because who doesn't spend their evenings photographing their pets? I didn't really do much at all in terms of socialising, I was a complete hermit!  But hey, this is my life and I am honest enough to show you all how life can be sometimes.

I can already tell that February is going to be quite a busy month for me and my blog so keep posted :)

How was your January? Do you suffer from the post-christmas blues like me? Have you got any exciting plans for February? I would love to know in the comments below!


30 January 2015

Lifestyle & Beauty: What's in My Little Box, January 2015

After My Little Box's big debut into my life at the end of last year I was super excited to receive the latest edition for January. I was dying to open it all up to discover what lovely little treats I had in store. 

 This month's box was centered around fitness and wellbeing.  A perfect fitting at the time of year we set those ridiculous resolutions (how many of you are still going for that run 3 times a week?).

I really liked the little motivational quote card this month.  Something to hang up in my office maybe, a few little words of encouragement when I hit a mental block. Or maybe by my bedside to help with those cold mornings and to kick myself out of bed!

I was even more pleased when I discovered this really lovely little calendar.  I was thinking of making another one of those photo calendars for this year but didn't get round to doing it and I'm glad I didn't because I love the little motivational quotes in this one.

I also got this very practical gym/duffel bag (obviously I wont be using it as a gym bag.. maybe a weekend bag?).  It's so lightweight and folds up so small it would also be great to take as a carry on luggage on a flight.  Either way, a bag is a bag and you can never have too many (says the girl who hoards canvas and plastic bags like nobodies business!)
 And then came the beauty part.  If you read my last My Little Box review in December you will know that beauty products don't really get my motor running and my morning routine literally consists of face wash, exfoliator, moisturiser and a bit of hairspray. The appeal of My Little Box for people like me is that it isn't centered around the beauty component and you just get 3 samples (or in this case 3 full sized products!).
This Nails Inc varnish in Tate (£11.00) was the first thing to catch my eye. I do love a bit of nail varnish (when I can be bothered) and so was very happy to add this little one to my growing collection.  Also, it is a lovely deep shade of red... basically the only colour varnish I use! Winner winner chicken dinner!  Nails Inc have always been one of my favourite brands to use, I love the quick application and I can get away with just one coat.
I was a little bit sceptical of this Energizing Mist by My Little Beauty (£7.50).  Not realllly sure the point in it.  It says that it contains Green Tea and Vitamin C to help brighten the appearance of dull skin. It may be good for those make up free days just to give you a bit more of a boost. However, it didn't make my skin look any brighter. Maybe it would be nice and refreshing after a long run or gym session but I do neither of those so it is a bit wasted on me. I will probably keep it to take away on holiday in the summer to cool me down after a long sunbathing sesh.

 I've never heard of the Talika brand, but maybe that is because I am not a beauty connoisseur (?!).  However I do like to try out different moisturisers so was quite happy to try the Photo Hydra Day Cream 30ml (£30.00). It says that it uses the energy from natural light (what?!) to deeply moisturise and hydrate the skin.  Since when was light used to moisturise? Confused!  But here is a bit I do understand.. it contains mango butter which nourishes and prevents dehydration.  Okay something I can believe, thank you Talika. Sounds like they have gone a bit overboard on their marketing schpiel there.  Anyway, take away all that crap and it is actually an okay moisturiser.  It doesn't feel heavy on the skin and has a cooling effect so may be another good product to use after some heated exercise. Again wasted on me. I think I will stick to my cheapy Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion (£8.99) instead of forking out £30.00 for something that does the exact same thing (plus only getting a fraction of the product!)

All in all, this was a great little box. However, it was a bit wasted on the likes of myself and probably more suitable for the fitness fanatics out there (weirdo's).  I am going to make good use of the calendar, quote card and nail varnish though so it was definitely worth it.
Until next time, My Little Box!


Nicola Bhamra

14 January 2015

Upcycling: Annie Sloan Colour Wishlist 2015

As it is coming up to Spring (YAY!) and subsequently the time of year that my paint brushes come out of hiding, I thought I would write a post dedicated to all the colours I am lusting after this year.  These are all on my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint shopping list so expect to see their big debuts on some pieces of furniture in the near future.
Primer Red

Image courtesy of Annie Sloan
If you read my recent post which featured Pantone's colour of the year 'Marsala' you will know I am becoming a little bit obsessed with this gorgeous shade. I have had my beady eye on ASCP 'Primer Red' for a while now and after spending the last year staying well within my comfort zone of whites and greys I think it is time I experimented with a dash of colour.  I think this colour works really well when paired with lighter shades of cream (as demonstrated in Annie's photo) and I have a few ideas on how to use the two on some pieces of furniture.

Duck Egg Blue
Image courtesy of Annie Sloan
This is a colour I have been in love with for some time now and it has had a huge rise in popularity over the last year or so - mainly on the front doors of houses all over the country.  I actually have three tester pots from Farrow and Ball in shades of this colour at home that have been sitting in my kitchen since last summer.  I have been thinking about painting my 'pillar-box red' front door but it seems like such a huge job when I read up on it I have been putting it off!
 Maybe this is the year to get that done.
Image courtesy of Annie Sloan
I 'dipped my toe' a little deeper into the colour chart last year and experimented with ASCP 'Versailles' which is a very very very very pale green. So pale in fact that in the photos it looked... well you guessed it, cream. However, I did like the greeny hue of the paint so this year I would like to go a little deeper and try this 'Olive' shade. I am sure it would look lovely a little lighter with a dash of 'Old White' mixed in too.

Now time to get furniture hunting!


12 January 2015

Upcycling: Pantone's 'Colour of the Year' 2015 Award - Marsala

Pantone UK
Pantone have released their long awaited 'Colour of the Year' for 2015 and the award goes to... drum roll please....Marsala 18-1438! (a sort of burgandy, reddish brown kinda colour to you and me) and I am pretty much in love with it.  I have a little obsession with these particular shades of reddish browns, honestly most of my wardrobe is either black, grey, or burgundy.

I am sure we will see this colour all over the red carpet, in shades of lipstick on make up stands and of course strewn over our interiors in the forms of wallpaper, cushions and rugs. And so, in keeping with my interest in interiors and furniture I have compiled a little collection on Polyvore to give you some inspiration on how to decorate using this magnificent colour.

Nicola Bhamra on Polyvore

I have already started to think about up cycling some furniture in this colour and instantly went to Annie Sloan's blog to see if she had any tips on creating this shade and low and behold she had! You can always count on Annie! She recommends mixing Burgandy, Primer Red and a dash of Old White.

Image courtesy of Annie Sloan

Looks like a trip to my local stockist is in order.
I am thinking about new colours for a new year and will report back soon with my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint wishlist for 2015.



06 January 2015

Lifestyle: Oh hello there, 2015

Picture courtesy of Louise at Sprinkle of Glitter
Ahhhhh a fresh, new, unwritten year ahead... I love that feeling, don't you?  It is a bit like opening a brand new textbook to an empty new page at the beginning of a school year.
However, where on earth has the last year disappeared to?

 I am sure you are all asking yourselves that very same question.  Time goes by so fast and whenever January rolls around I cannot believe that another year has passed. I often think around this time of year of the importance to take in each and every moment of life and savour it, and to not waste a single drop wishing the days away because before you know it, it will all be over.

Anyway, it's the start of a new year which can only mean one thing... New Year resolutions!
The blogging world has been inundated with resolution posts and it is such a great thing to look back on the following year to see how many you have actually managed to stick to.  Since I have just started blogging I can get away with not having to think of excuses why I am such a failure as I don't have any resolutions to look back on.  So here I am, beginning my new tradition!

Instead of setting myself ridiculous tasks that I know I won't stick to like cut down on sugar or join a gym I have decided to set myself a few goals that I would like to have achieved by the end of 2015. 

Look after my health
A nice, vague goal that doesn't mean I have to join a gym I wont use or buy stupidly expensive trainers for those runs that I know I wont take.  I just want to be more aware of my health this year. Book appointments that I have been putting off, take the stairs instead of the lift and make the most of the gorgeous countryside that I live in by exploring more (on foot I might add).

Get the house in order
We moved into our little house just over a year ago and in that time we have redecorated a couple of rooms and completely redone the garden.  This year I would like to finish all the little jobs around the house.  There are the bigish jobs: replace the flooring in the living room, get new windows, decorate the kitchen, turn the spare room into a functional living space and replace the upstairs hallway carpet.  And the little things: new curtains for the kitchen, get some shoe storage in place in the porch, get some barstools for the breakfast bar and redesign the layout of the extension.  However, in order to do all of this we need to...

Save, save, save!
I don't know if any of you are guilty of the same thing but I am terrible at saving money.
It tends to go a little like this: I spend, spend, spend - get immensely carried away - have a mental breakdown when I see how much I have spent - decide to do something about it - make myself save way more than I can afford to - realise I have no money at the end of the month - get depressed that I can't buy any pretty things - take money from my savings - spend, spend, spend....It really is a vicious cycle.   I have decided that this year I am going to save sensibly, a little each month should do it. It is important to be able to have a little money leftover to spend on things that make you happy so I wont over do it on the savings.  Moneysavingexpert.com have so many tips on saving money and this year they have put together 10 New Year Resolutions dedicated to saving money.

Go furniture crazy
I want to put more time and energy into up cycling furniture as possible this year. It will soon be Spring, the best time to gather as much second-hand furniture as possible and stock my shed up to the roof ready for painting in the warmer months of Summer.  Winter is a bit of a lull for me, the weather is too crap to dry anything I have painted, my house is too small to use as workspace and no one is clearing out their homes and so there is no second-hand furniture to be seen... anywhere!  This year I need to find/create a space that I can use all year round to work in.  A heated workshop would be ideal, so I am looking at building a big shed at the end of my garden. I would like to have that up and ready to use next Winter.

Travel more
We have a few places on our bucket list that we would like to get through and provided we nail the savings this year we may be able to tick a few off.  We have already started to plan a little get away to see some family in Mallorca this Summer and we may even be able to sneak in a couple of weekend city breaks too! Bruges would be lovely over Christmas time and I have always wanted to go to Paris (hint hint Hubby!).  We are also dying to go back to Corfu, so maybe with a couple of cheap flights we will be able to have a week there too (here's hoping!)

Now they are there, in writing and on the internet I have even more pressure to get these ticked off. 
Time to get my butt into gear I think!

Until next time.