Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. As soon as January comes around I start looking forward to that special day in the middle of February, as not only do I get to enjoy it, but it adds a bit of brightness to the gloomy winter for people everywhere! I’m also a firm believer that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be miserable for those who aren’t in a relationship, as it gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself, or spend time with family or friends.
So, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, over the next week or so I’ll be bringing you my pick of the best, affordable Valentine’s gifts – perfect for your loved one or even for yourself! Today’s pick is this adorable little set of Love Hearts Tea Lights, available from It’s A Wot.
Since I moved out of my mum’s house and in with my fiancé, I’ve become more and more interested in interior design, and making my home look pretty, and these tea lights help me do just that. They come beautifully wrapped in a Love Hearts wrapper, so they look like a super-sized tube of sweets, and inside you get six tea lights, each of which comes in a sturdy plastic holder.
The tea lights come in three colours – pink, purple and blue – with two of each in the pack, and they all have an iconic Love Hearts message printed on top. The pink ones say “Kiss Me”, the purple ones say “Love Me”, and the blue ones say “Hug Me”.
Despite their small size, the tea lights burn really well. I had them on for several hours the other evening and the flame hardly made a dent in the wax, and they don’t produce much smoke, just a steady flame. My only issue with the candles is that they aren’t scented, but it’s not a deal breaker and I still think they’re lovely.
At just £1.84 for a set of six, these tea lights would make an ideal Valentine ’s Day ‘stocking filler’ for someone who loves cute and quirky little house gifts. They’d also be great for adding a touch of romance to your Valentine’s evening, or even just to help you unwind and relax after a busy day. Want some? Get them here.
*These Love Hearts Tea Lights were sent to me by It’s A Wot for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
As my regular readers will know, a few months ago my fiancé and I moved in together. Since then I’ve slowly been trying to make the house look more like a home, and though it isn’t yet complete (working full-time means very little time to nest!), we’re almost there. As such, I thought it was about time I showed you some of our decor, starting with the living room.
When we moved in the house had been freshly decorated with light brown and white paintwork, and a beige carpet throughout. Neutral tones aren’t usually my thing, but they were easy to work with when it came to adding colour. The living room has been brightened with purple throws, cushions and curtains, and an ambient orange lamp, but it’s the little extras that make it even more homely.
I’ve always liked small mammals and woodland creatures, and the current trend for such wildlife has meant I’ve managed to pick up some lovely pieces. Here are a few of my favourites…
I don’t usually like having an abundance of cushions everywhere, but that all changed when I found these awesome animal photo cushions in Asda, for £7 each. There were several different animals to choose from, but I went for the squirrel, as they’re one of my favourite animals, and the Highland cow, as it reminds me of a lovely time spent in the Scottish countryside a few years ago. These take pride of place on my sofa, and as you can see Miggley approves!
Time for Tea
One thing I struggled to find was a nice set of coasters, and then when I was about to give up, I came across these gorgeous Sass & Belle Wooden Owl Coasters from Flamingo Gifts. There are six coasters in the set (much better than the typical four you usually get!), and they come in a handy stand to prevent clutter when not being used. The quality and design of the coasters is fantastic, and they look great on my coffee table.
The Abode Mouse & Field Mug is also from Flamingo Gifts, and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it as the little grey mouse reminds me of my Russian Blue rat, Heather. I prefer a mug to a cup (it holds more tea!), and this is the perfect size for my morning brew. The simple but eye-catching geometric design is by artist Luzelle van der Westhuizen, and is a good fit for my natural theme. It would also make a nice present as it comes in a gift box, and costs an affordable £8.50.
By the Fire
My fireplace features a lot of owls, with the main attraction being this owl clock. My mum gifted this to me when we first moved in, and I love how it matches the wooden coasters above.
Another of my favourite owls is this lovely felted piece that I bought from a street market in Edinburgh in the summer, during the Fringe. It took me a while to find the right place for it, but it now has a home at the side of the fireplace.
I have two of each of these hares and mice. I have a thing for hares, and I bought these in Glastonbury about ten years ago whilst on a camping trip. They’re special to me, and it’s nice to finally have them on show in my own home! The mice are actually a salt and pepper set, but I have them on display as ornaments as they remind me of my heart rat Mog (RIP). Aren’t they cute?
The Rat & The Hare
These rat and hare sculptures were Christmas gifts from my dad, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They’re by Norfolk-based artist Tracy Whinray, and are wonderfully textured with such expressive little faces. I think they look great in front of the wooden pentagram, handmade by my step-dad.
What do you think of my woodland theme?
*The Wooden Owl Coaster Set and Abode Mouse & Field Mug were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
There’s nothing I love more on a sunny, summery day than to grab some indulgent snacks and head to the park for a relaxing little picnic. What I don’t love, however, is having to lug around a bulky hamper or cool box.
I prefer to use a more compact lunch bag, like this one from Belo & Me. It may look small, but it can actually hold an impressive amount of food. Last week I managed to fit in a packet of cheese straws, a pot of pasta salad, a tub of olives and feta cheese, two small bags of pretzels, two cartons of orange juice and two cinnamon swirls. Oh, and not forgetting the forks and napkins!
As well as being spacious, Belo & Me lunch bags are sturdy and strong. They are all made from 100% biodegradable jute so are kind on the environment, hard-wearing, and long-lasting. They also come in a huge variety of colours and designs, and are just so much more interesting than your average, plain lunch bag! I chose this one as I love the intricacy of the heart print, and the simple yet striking look of white on black. The owls on purple were a close second though.
At £3.90 each for most designs, Belo & Me’s bags are incredibly affordable, and not just for lunches! They’d make great storage bags, gift bags, party bags, shopping bags for small shopping trips, and are the ideal size for children too.
Check out Belo & Me’s full range here.
*This lunch bag was sent to me by Belo & Me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
A couple of weeks ago I noticed on Twitter that canvas printing company CanvasDesign were looking for bloggers to review one of their canvases. I immediately got in touch as I’m hoping to move in with my fiancé soon, and am currently looking for nice things to hang on our walls, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! CanvasDesign were happy to send me a canvas, and I knew exactly what I wanted it to have on it… My favourite photo of my fiancé and I taken at our recent Masters graduation.
CanvasDesign asked me to send them a high quality image (around 500KB), so I did, and within 48 hours the canvas was on my doorstep. I have to admit, I was VERY surprised when I received the canvas as the packaging was HUGE, which I wasn’t expecting, and I was lucky enough to be sent a massive 30″ x 20″ canvas. And it is beautiful.
The quality of the canvas is very high as it is made from 100% cotton, and it comes on a solid, sturdy pine frame. The back is also nicely finished, and looks incredibly neat and professional, and the image hasn’t suffered at all from being enlarged. Rather, it looks clear and vibrant.
A portrait canvas of this size usually costs just £29.99, which is ridiculously cheap, especially considering the cost of graduation photography prints! It was well over £50 for a standard pack at my graduation, which I couldn’t afford, so I’m so pleased that I now have this memento of the day. So, if you have a relatively good camera, and a friend or relative who’s good at photography (my dad took this picture), using CanvasDesign would be a great way to save money on photos of special events. Imagine how lovely a wedding, anniversary or new baby photo would look on a canvas like this!
Overall, I am so, so happy with my canvas. I can’t get over how big it is, the quality is amazing, the service was spot on, and I even got a free hanging kit with my order. I love my canvas, and it’s going to take pride of place in my new home, but for now it’s hanging in my bedroom and it looks fab.
To check out CanvasDesign’s full range of canvas sizes and services, click here. You can also get 15% off all orders using the code ‘BLOG15’!
* This personalised canvas was sent to me by CanvasDesign for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
It’s been a while since I last posted anything lifestyle related, so I thought I’d do something a little bit different today and talk about food storage! Not the most interesting topic I know, but I’ve been getting very bored lately with taking the same old things to work every day for lunch, and I think a new lunch box could be the answer. I was recently browsing the Kleeneze website and noticed that they had some fun looking containers for sale, and they’ve inspired me to scrap the sandwiches and start taking healthier, more exciting food to work with me.
The Snacks To Go tub and the Keep Cool Food Store are what really got me thinking. Both would be perfect for taking salads for lunch, as they both come with a little pot for salad dressing, and the Snacks To Go even has a fork which slots in the side! The Keep Cool Food Store also has a freezable lid so your food can stay fresh. As a vegetarian I have had a lot of practice making salads more appetising, and the idea of having feta and olive, or roast vegetable salads for lunch instead of a boring cheese roll is really rather nice.
The Food Storage Sets may look like normal plastic containers, but the different sized boxes are what I find appealing. I love the idea of having a box within a box filled with fun little treats, almost like Japanese Bento boxes. The small ones are perfect for dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or even dips, the medium ones for veggies and crackers, cookies and cakes, and the bigger ones for pasta salads and suchlike. Yum!
You can check out Kleeneze’s full range of food storage here.
*This post is a collaboration.*
I’ve been reading about jewellery candles on US blogs for a while now, and had been hoping that something similar would come to the UK, so when I saw reviews popping up all over the internet of the UK equivalent JewelCandle, I signed up via their website to review a candle myself. JewelCandle sell handmade scented candles, each containing a surprise piece of jewellery worth between £10 and £250. You can choose to receive either earrings or a ring, but you don’t know what your jewellery will look like until you burn your candle and remove your surprise. A nice idea on paper, but is it well executed?
As I don’t have my ears pierced, I specifically requested a candle containing a ring. The earring candles cost £16.95 each, but the ring candles are quite a bit bigger, so cost a few pounds more at £24.95. There are many different scents to choose from, including Sweet Cupcake, Cookies & Cream, Pina Colada, Candy Floss and Passion Fruit, but I went for Cinnamon Bun as I love the smell of cinnamon and it’s suitably festive!
In terms of appearance, the candle looks great. The glass jar is very high quality and has a secure lid, and is finished off with a lovely white bow. The font and the graphics are simple, but also look quite appealing. The ring, wrapped in foil, is also visible through the side of the jar, which is a little bit of a tease as you have to wait for the candle to burn down before you can get it out!
The scent of the candle is nice and sweet, and definitely smells like cinnamon baking. Scented candles often smell nothing like what they’re meant to, so it’s always a bonus when they do! The scent isn’t overpowering and headache-inducing, but it fills the room with a pleasant smell within minutes of being lit.
I’d read on other blogs that it takes about 3 hours for the candle to burn down enough for the ring to be retrieved, but it took mine a LOT longer, and after checking the JewelCandle site they do say it can take 10-15 hours. The day I received it I burned it for around 4 hours, but it wasn’t even close to the ring. The next day it took another 6 or 7 hours before I could get it out, and even then I had to dig it out with a knife as I got impatient! On the plus side, at least you know you get a good burn time out of these candles. After 10 hours in total it was still only a quarter of the way down, and it’s still going strong.
After waiting so long for the candle to burn, I couldn’t wait to see my surprise piece of jewellery. The ring itself came wrapped in foil, and also in a small sealed bag, so it was well protected from the wax, and after waiting a few minutes for the foil to cool down I opened the tiny package. Here is what I found inside…
The ring itself is really pretty, and in the right light could look quite expensive, but the stone in the middle feels like plastic, and the silver isn’t very thick. However, it is labelled and stamped as 925 Sterling Silver, so at least it won’t turn your skin green! I have no idea how much the ring is worth as it isn’t printed on the label like it’s supposed to be, but I’m guessing it’s one of the £10 rings. Unfortunately, it’s also far too big for me. My fingers range from a K to an M in size, and the ring is extremely loose on all of them, including my thumb, so I’m unable to wear it myself. So, if JewelCandle were going to improve anything, I’d suggest it be the sizing! I’d definitely like to see the option to choose the size of ring inside, otherwise it becomes quite a redundant idea if you can’t even wear the jewellery. It might also be nice to see some necklaces, or even just pendants in the candles. At least then one size fits all!
Despite the oversized ring, my overall verdict is still fairly positive. The candle looks great, is an impressive size, smells gorgeous and burns for a long time. Though big, the ring is quite nice, despite not being of high value. But with a bit of improvement, JewelCandle could be even better, and I hope to see them expand in the future!
*This Cinnamon Bun JewelCandle was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
About three years ago I made a couple of changes to my lifestyle (namely eating healthier and exercising more), and consequently lost three stone in weight over the healthy time span of about two years. Since then, though I don’t weigh myself obsessively, I do like to check my weight every now and then, mainly because I want to maintain my weight and make sure I’m not losing any more! So, when I was offered a set of Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales to review I happily accepted, especially as my previous set had recently broken!
To look at, the Ozeri scales aren’t anything special, but the design is nice and modern, and the tempered glass top is a lot better quality than the typical white plastic sets of scales you often see. They are also slim and, though weighty, aren’t too heavy, so they’re also easy to store. The scales run on four AAA batteries, which is handy as they’re easy to get hold of, unlike my last set which used one of those flat silver batteries that aren’t always easy to find.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a set of scales is their accuracy, and these are incredibly accurate. I even tested them alongside my mum’s bathroom scales! I weighed myself three times on each to compare the readings, and on my mum’s I was given three slightly different readings, whereas on these I got the same reading every time. I think this is down to the four high precision GX sensors that the scales boast, as they can weigh up to 440lbs/200kg, in 0.2lb/0.1kg increments, so they’re extremely precise.
You can also change the units that the scales measure in, from pounds to kilograms to stone, using a small switch on the back. I personally weigh myself in stone, but it’s always handy to have the other two options there, especially if you want to weigh your suitcase before going on holiday to check you’ve not gone over your baggage allowance!
The screen on the front of the scales is a nice size, has a blue back light, and the digits are large so they’re easy to read. A bonus for anyone who doesn’t have the best eyesight. It also switches itself off automatically to help conserve battery life.
Overall, the Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales are a quality set of scales and they do everything you’d want them to do. They’re robust, accurate, low maintenance, and easy to read, and are well worth the £18.95 they cost. If you’d like a set for yourself, they’re available on Amazon.
*These Ozeri Precision II Digital Bathroom Scales were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*