Tuesday, 30 June 2015

This Month I...

I've decided to start up a new monthly tag, how long I'll be able to keep it up for is anyones guess, but perhaps it's something I'll stick to! Even though I have my five year diary to reflect on each day, sometimes it's refreshing to look back on the month and see what you've accomplished....

Stag Coffee Cardiff Full English

This Month I... ate a blooming lot! For some reason this month I've definitely had the munchies.
It started off in Cardiff with a full English at Stag Coffee in Cardiff, then it was these low-fat homemade cupcakes (recipe here) and finally a well-deserved Raspberry & Cream Ice Cream in London. Guess that's a signal for ti take up jogging then...

OOTD Zara Denim Shirt and Topshop Gingham Leggings

This Month I...bought my new favourite denim shirt. Who knew that it'd be that easy to fall in love with a piece of denim? I've got a few OOTD's lined up with this classic shirt from Zara and obviously a dedicated post here.

Empire TV Series

This Month I... watched/became slightly addicted to Empire. In a nutshell, Empire is about a family in the music business fighting it out for the top spot, with lots of people trying to ruin it for them along the way. If you haven't started watching it you NEED to. Seriously.

Billy And Me Book Review By Giovanna Fletcher

This Month I... read Billy And Me by Giovanna Fletcher. Another chic lit book, but I really enjoyed this one and read it in a week, so it must've been good! You can read my full review here.

One Direction 1D Cardiff 2015

This Month I... saw One Direction and am proud of it. Even though they're a four piece now, they can still do an amazing job and the atmosphere beforehand was literally buzzing with happiness. And I wasn't the oldest person there!

So there you go, that's June gone and now we're over half way through the year! Cliche, but it is mad how fast the year has gone already.

Hope you enjoyed this post and please share what you ate/bought/watched/read/saw this month!

Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Sunday, 28 June 2015

St Catherine's Midnight Walk June 2015

St Catherine's Midnight Walk June 2015

Last night I took part in the St Catherine's Midnight Walk, alongside my mum, walking 13 miles across Horsham at midnight. I mentioned in my Raising Money For St Catherine's Hospice in April about all the hard work the charity does to help patients with end of life care and specialist support for patients and also their family.

As the day came closer, I was nowhere near ready for walking 13 miles - so it was definitely going to be a struggle! But the great thing about fun charity runs or walks is that it's not about coming first or beating your personal best, it's about enjoying yourself whilst raising money for worthy charities at the same time.

St Catherine's Midnight Walk June 2015

St Catherine's Midnight Walk June 2015

This year was samba themed, so were were encouraged to dress up and me being me, left it to the last minute and couldn't find anything. Luckily they had a few ladies on hand to stick diamante designs on our face to get us in the spirit! Also, as we were walking through mostly lit streets from 11pm onwards, St Catherine's provided lights to attach to your trainers to help you along the day, which I thought was a nice touch.

After a quick conga round the field, hula hooping, exotic mocktails and a samba-style warm up, we were ready to go at 10:40pm!

We finally completed our 13 mile walk in 3 hours and 20 minutes which was pretty good! Along the way there was refreshment stops with sweets and drinks to keep our energy up and lots of family members and marshalls cheering us on too, which made all the difference.

I love charity walks and runs like this - the feeling after you've completed it and raised all that money is amazing. Marie Curie have lots of fun charity walks across the country you can view here and if you fancy seeing the capital during the night, Cancer Research have their Shine Night Walk in London this September.

Thank you to everyone who has supported and donated - it means so much to me and it'll make all the difference for St Catherine's.

Rhiannon x

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book Review: The Year Of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

Book Review The Year Of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamon Blogger Lifestyle

Call me cliche, but I do love a 'New Year New Me' style of book. It's exciting and refreshing to see how a character evolves throughout the year and keeps to their New Year Resolutions, amongst the ups and downs.

The Year Of Taking Chances has three main characters: Gemma, who is a mum and a wife with two kids and a passion to make clothes, a pregnant Saffron, who wants to escape the pressure of London living and Catlin, who returns to her home town after her mum passes away and discovers a family secret... All three women meet on New Year's Eve and strike up a relationship, which sees them relying more than ever on each other throughout the year.

I find that books with separate character chapters can be a bit hit and miss - sometimes they work and other times they just fall apart and have no relevance to each other. The Year Of Taking Chances definitely worked out for the better! I loved finding out more about each character and how they dealt with difficult experiences and worked together to form a strong bond of friendship - girl power! (Can't believe I just said that...)

The plot keeps you on your toes throughout and is generally a really enjoyable read that I'll pick up again. I've heard of Lucy Diamond before, so I'll be keeping an eye out for any other books by her! Overall I'd give The Year Od Taking Chances a 5/5, it's fast become a favourite of mine and I managed to read it within a week, so I know it's going to be a keeper.

Have you read this book before? Or any of Lucy Diamond's books that you can recommend?

Thanks for reading!

Rhiannon x
Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 25 June 2015

New MAC Purchase: Sheertone Blush in Peaches

MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches and False Lashes Extreme Black Mascara Beauty Blogger Review

Payday means new MAC make-up purchases right?

On my weekend visit to Cardiff at the beginning of the month, I took full advantage of the city's amazing shopping selection and headed to Debenhams with 10% off all beauty products. This is my second MAC blusher purchase, following Fleur Power, and it's another beautiful shade to add to my collection.

MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches and False Lashes Extreme Black Mascara Beauty Blogger Review

Blushers are one of my favourite products to use and it's rare for me to go without applying a pop of colour on my cheeks. I picked up the gorgeous Peaches Sheertone Blush after swiping numerous shades and leaving with a slightly odd (and pink) hand. Although the above image picks up the pink tones, it's much more of a coral shade in the flesh, making it the perfect summertime shade.

Although I was hesitant about the colour pay off, the Sheertone Blushers give you enough control to build up the colour and one swirl of a brush provides a lightweight and natural finish. I normally use the Real Techniques Cheek Brush or Body Shop Blusher Brush to apply this, across the apple of my cheeks and blending upwards.

MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches and False Lashes Extreme Black Mascara Beauty Blogger Review

Along with the blusher and 10% off, MAC also added a free sample of their False Lashes Extreme Black Mascara. I've long been a fan of their Studio Fix mascara's and generally opt of a plastic brush instead of a bristle one, because they tend to clump for me!

Saying that, this brush isn't that bad and deposits enough of the mascara for natural fluttery eyelashes without looking like a spider. And it doesn't flake or drop - pray to the MAC gods! It's cute small size means it's perfect for taking on holiday or throwing in your bag on a night out without taking up too much space.

Have you tried this blusher before? What's your favourite MAC product?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The ASOS Backpack

ASOS Leather Embossed Black Backpack Crocodile Print Fashion Blogger Review

ASOS Leather Embossed Black Backpack Crocodile Print Fashion Blogger Review

A few weeks ago, a lovely email tinged on my phone with 20% off all of www.asos.com - so it would've been rude not to take advantage of that! 

I've probably owned less than four backpacks in my lifetime, mostly using them for school and sport kits. Does anyone remember these tiny Nike Just Do It backpacks? They were all the range at my school... But since commuting and walking to and from the station and work, my back has been aching from carrying handbags constantly. Que the super comfortable and Mary-Poppins-esque backpack.

When researching for a backpack (and trust me, there was a lot of research criteria to meet!) I wanted it to be stylish and smart, comfortable and, most important of all, able to fit all my shopping and bag contents. The ASOS Leather Embossed Backpack (Let's just call it The Bag) ticks all the boxes and deserves its own dedicated post.

The wide leather straps and fabric shape doesn't strain on my shoulders or back and makes it easy to fit everything it in, and still have room for shopping! With mostly silver detailing, I adore the moc-croc matte leather effect as it's subtle enough without being too 'I'm actually a cool backpack!' 

Almost every ASOS purchase I have placed, the items have lasted so well and as The Bag is made from real leather, it's going to be a great investment. It has a flip over top with a magnetic button and zip around the top, so your stuff isn't going anywhere. To put into perspective just how much room you have, I fit: a book, purse, water, 3x snacks, lunch, big headphones, shoes and all the usual add ons like phone, keys, pass, with still enough room to add on top! It's a serious magic box. 

The only critic I have for The Bag is that I'm constantly loosing everything because it's black! It's sometimes like a bottomless pit. Can anyone else resonate with me?!

So even though the though of a backpack made me cringe inside with faded memories of baby pink Nike backpacks, The Bag has changed my opinion of them. No longer does my back ache, constantly having to readjust the straps or carrying multiple bags because I've run out of room. Just watch out for my new obsession with Crocs (I joke...)

Do you like backpacks? What's your favourite bag?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

ASOS Leather Embossed Black Backpack Crocodile Print Fashion Blogger Review
"And I can still fit in my Zara shopping?!"

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Instagram: Cakes, OOTD and A Week

A warning to all those feeling hungry, this post could leave you craving cake...


For more of my daily ramblings (not all about food, I promise!) follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

I could take the credit for this amazing cake, but then I know my sister wouldn't be too happy or bake my birthday cake in July (hint hint.) She created this beauty for a family member's birthday last week: chocolate and pistachio cake with toffee for the top pieces. If anyone needs some birthday cake inspiration, you know where to look...

For those who have read this blog for a while now, you'll have seen how my life has changed over the past two years. It seems mad that just two years ago, I had just finished sixth form A Levels and preparing to leave the school I had been at for seven years. Then starting a brilliant journalism course in Brighton with a bunch of amazing people then finding a job I love doing in London last summer. Sometimes all it takes is a little courage to step out of your box and try something different. 

Low-Fat Guilt Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

I did warn this post could leave you with a cake craving! After a recent baking high, I tried a new recipe of Low-Fat White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes, which you can read the recipe here. They were eaten so quickly at home with no complaints, so all went to plan!

I also uploaded a new OOTD after re-discovering a M&S green silk shirt hiding in my wardrobe that I hadn't worn in years. It's one of those fail-safe smart casual outfits for every day, that I know I'll be revisiting in the future. 

And finally a picture of an ice cream, because what's better to finish off a cake than with an ice cream? I spotted an ice cream van (yes, they do still exist) and picked up the delicious Raspberries & Cream flavour. Lets just hope this won't become a lunchtime habit...

What's been your highlight this week?

Thank you for reading!
Rhiannon x

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Book Review: Billy And Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Recently I've been getting through so many books, 'hooked' I guess you can say! I have a large stack of chic lit that I've been collecting for a while and need to get through (it's a genuine tower next to my bookshelf).

I picked up Billy And Me because of its front cover is fairly eye catching - and I know you're not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but still! It revolves around a character called Sophie May who lives a mundane life in her town and works in the local tea shop. Then Hollywood actor Billy turns up to shoot a Pride & Prejudice film in her town and one thing leads to another...

It's a nice and easy read, something you can comfortably sit down and read for a few hours and end up immersed. Almost a too easy read, it's a story that's too good to be true and makes you think 'could that really happen?!' But Billy And Me does have some poignant moments when you discover what happened to Sophie's Dad and how it's affect her relationship with her Mum and also when her close friend and colleague, Molly is diagnosed with cancer.

Overall I'd give Billy And Me 4/5 stars, it's a great example of a chic lit with a whirl wind romance and touch of reality. If you're in need of a light read for a holiday or something for you to escape the world from, then I'd definitely recommend this!

Have you read this book before? What's your favourite chic lit book?

Thanks for reading!

Rhiannon x
Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Usually when it comes to cakes, I'm all about the full-fat, dollops of strawberry jam and clotted cream but I spotted this low-fat recipe in the Cox Cookies & Cake book and gave it a whirl. It's a perfect cake for a homemade afternoon tea or a summer treat, and is so easy to make!

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Ingredients you'll need:

100g of low-fat spread
100g of golden caster sugar
175g of self-raising flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of skimmed milk

For white chocolate topping:
50g of white chocolate
150g of low-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons of icing sugar
200g of mixed berries (I chose blueberries and raspberries)

First off, preheat your oven to 200 C/ fan 180 C/ gas mark 6 and lay out a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases (mine actually made a few extra, so always leave enough cases!)

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe 
Now this is one of the easiest recipes ever, just throw in all the cake ingredients and whisk together until it's pale and fluffy.

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Then spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they're all even. I find that using the back of a spoon can help to make them level and also giving the tray a gentle shake back and forth can help! And finally back for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

If your oven is anything like mine (unpredictable) then you'll need to be checking them every 5-10 minutes or so to make sure they're not burning! Unfortunately I caught mine on the wrong side of golden brown, but they still taste delicious!

Leave them to cool for a few minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Whilst the cakes are cooling, you can start the white chocolate icing.

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water - be careful with this part! Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Heat until completely melted then allow to cool slightly.

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Don't let the chocolate cool too much before adding the cream cheese and icing sugar, then beat them all in until smooth. Chill in the fridge until it firms up a little.

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Using a small palette knife or piping bag, cover the cupcakes with the white chocolate topping. Add the berries on top and a dusting of icing sugar and you're done!

Super easy and quick - and also not too unhealthy! Up next is a Blueberry Compote cupcake and perhaps a Maple Pecan bar I've spotted... Mary Berry watch out.

What's your favourite cupcake flavour?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Baking: Low Fat and Guilt-Free White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

P.S And I can personally vouch for their deliciousness!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

OOTD: Silk Green Shirt and Pointy Shoes

OOTD Green Shirt Marks and Spencer Mac H&M Black Jeans fashion blogger

Jacket and Jeans: H&M
Shirt: M&S
Shoes: Primark
Bag and Necklace: Accessorize

Only thing about summer evenings is taking blog photos! Usually I try to take them in the mornings, but there's a tight routine of shower, make-up and breakfast, with not much left over for photos. Even so, I absolutely loved wearing this outfit.

I've had this shirt for a few years now and it's just been left in my wardrobe 'for special occasions' aka so expensive then, that I can't bear to part with it now. Right on trend with the military and khaki styles I've seen about, it's loose fitting but still smart and ideal for work. Paired with my shoe of the moment, mac coat and structured navu bag, I felt all important and business like (as if) I feel like this shirt can definately work for summer, tucked into shorts then with a chunky jumper and boots for winter.

What do you think of this outfit? Have you got something you just can't bear to throw out?

Thanks for reading!

Rhiannon x

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Instagram: Wales, One Direction and Healthy Cupcakes

So this past week has been a little busy, which is why I've been slightly absent on the blog and social media front, but it's been great to have a little pause and refresher from the online world.

Covent Gardern London Sun Summer June City Break

Now that we're in June, the British summer has officially started! My favourite places in London during the summer has to be Covent Garden (above), Kensington and Regents Park - and a picnic and Pimms is all you need...

 On Friday 5th June I was lucky enough to see One Direction at their first Cardiff show. Being a secret obvious 1D fan, I was in my element. My best friend studies at Cardiff Uni, so I stayed round hers and both went to see the band in the evening. They're still great as a four piece and you forget just how many good songs they actually have! And I had pretty much lost my voice by the end of the weekend...

Cardiff Starbucks Drink Rhiannon

 With my name being Welsh, it's pretty hard for any English coffee shops to get my name right, even after spelling it out to them (I once got a Raymond!) So obviously Wales is the only country to spell my name right, so it deserved an Instagram photo and the obligatory #Starbucks

Cardiff Debenhams were offering 10% discount off MAC products, so like a make-up hoarder to a sale, I came away with a new blusher. It's a Sheertone Blush in Peaches, which'll look so gorgeous in the summer. MAC also threw in a free sample of their False Lashes Extreme Black which is beautiful too.

Cox Cookies And Cakes Guilt-Free Low-Fat White Chocolate and Berry Cupcakes Recipe

Over the past few years I haven't baked cakes like I used to when I was younger - every Sunday I'd be trying out a new recipe with my Mum or perfecting a Victoria Sponge. I found a guilt-free white chocolate and berry cupcake recipe to try out and it was really fun to get back to using the whisks again! Expect that recipe to be up on the blog soon....

That's all from the past few week! What's been your highlight this week?

Thanks for reading.

Rhiannon x
Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Tips For When You're Just Not Feeling It

Whenever I feel down and in need of a pick me up, there's a few things I always do to perk my mood up. From a rubbish day at work, feeling ill, stuck in a blogging rut or just not feeling it, there's certain things that'll get me out of my funk and realise 'realistically, this is just rubbish one day in 365'.

  1.  Run a bath. Cliche I know, but this serious relaxes me after a stressful day at work. I can stay in there for hours with a Lush bath bomb and my favourite bath products.
  2.  Read a book. Escape the world for a little while, but remember that you've got to come back and face up to it!
  3. Write your worries down. If you're feeling rubbish for some reason, writing it down in a diary or even as a draft blog post helps minimise the situation. 
  4. Shopping. Because what would you do without ASOS and Topshop?
  5. Try a little exercise. Any kind of exercise releases happy endorphins to get your out of your mood. Personally, I love de-stressing with Yoga With Adrienne.
  6.  Give yourself some TLC. Paint your nails, try out a new face mask or use that body butter you've been saving for a special occasion.
  7.  Have a natter. My mum is usually the one I have a good old rant to and my friends get texts with just emojis to explain my moods 🙊
  8. Sleep. This is a serious mood arse kicker. Sleeping gives me a little perspective and then I wake up to a new day - you've only got 365 in a year!
  9. Music makes the world go round. If I haven't got my iPod with me, there's something serious wrong! If you're in a bad mood, listening to calming music helps to de-stress and stabilise your mind.
  10. Perspective. Is that mistake you made at school/uni/work really that bad? Is it the end of the world? You learn from your mistakes and move on, there's always tomorrow.

Have you got any tips for getting out of bad moods? Let me know!

Rhiannon x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Summer Nail Polishes from Barry M, Nails Inc, Rimmel and Models Own

Possibly one of the most exciting things about summer is swapping your dark berry nail polishes for bright and light shades. Although I do love getting a Shellac manicure, painting my nails each week means I can experiment with colours and eventually get through this lot...

Rimmel London Lycra Pro Professional Finish in Pink Amazon Beauty Blogger Blog

This nail polish is the bomb. With a bigger brush, so all you really need to 2-3 strokes and as a chip resistant formula, I love this range. Although the Lycra ingredient seems a bit of a far flung comment, this formula is super smooth and doesn't chip within a couple of days like most do. Hot pinks/reds are some of my favourite shades to wear in the summer, as they just remind me of hot exotic holidays and summer days.

Barry M Nail Paint In Mint Green Nail Polish Beauty Blogger Blog

And as if I could have a nail polish post without mentioning Barry M? Their classic polishes are still a favourite of mine, as they're a no-fuss chip-free formula is one you can trust. Mint Green is an obvious colour for the spring and summer. I've tried wearing this in the winter and my hands just look so ghostly!

Nails Inc Nail Polish in Porchester Square Beauty Blogger Blog

Even though this is a winter-ish shade, sometimes it's a nice break from the pale pinks and fiery reds. I only discovered Nails Inc polishes last year and actually prefer them over a few of my favourites - the only thing that really puts me off is the price! This grey shade has a slight mauve undertone, so I can imagine this would work really well with a tanned complexion too (if only...)

Models Own Nail Polish in Coral Reef Beauty Blogger Blog

And as if a summer nail polish post would be complete without a coral shade? Although this is the only Models Own nail polish I own, the consistency is good, leaves enough time for brushing and spreading the colour on and has a great colour pay off. I do love a bright coral shade during any time of the year really!

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Coconut Nail Polish Beauty Blogger Blog

And for when I want that gel nail polish look, Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine is the way to go. When these came into store, it was so hard picking up the popular shades because they had sold out each time! But what I do love about this shade, Coconut, is that it can hide a multitude of sins, like chipping and any dents or imperfections and makes your skin look a lot healthier. 

What's your favourite summer time nail polish?

Rhiannon x

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

OOTD: New Denim Shirt and Leggings

OOTD: New Denim Shirt and Leggings fashion blogger Topshop Zara H&M blog
OOTD: New Denim Shirt and Leggings fashion blogger Topshop Zara H&M blog
OOTD: New Denim Shirt and Leggings fashion blogger Topshop Zara H&M blog
OOTD: New Denim Shirt and Leggings fashion blogger Topshop Zara H&M blog
 Jacket and Shirt: Zara
Top and Bag: H&M
Leggings and Shoes: Topshop

Can you believe that before now I had never owned a denim shirt? With the aim to change this situation, I headed to denim haven which is Zara and found this gorgeous shirt. Zara have got an amazing denim collection at the moment, the full works from long buttoned down skirts to crop tops and distressed fringed shift dresses - I just want them all!

I just threw this on last weekend as I was heading out to town and I forgot just how comfortable these leggings are. It was when every shop were selling tartan and gingham leggings and you just didn't know which to buy, but Topshop have always done great quality leggings that don't sag or turn see-through the minute you wash them. Because no-one really wants to see that...

What do you think of this outfit? Have you got a favourite denim shirt?

Rhiannon x

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