Posts tagged @Bewitchery_

London Pride 2015

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On Saturday, Charles and I headed down to London to watch the annual Pride parade.  We managed to get a front row spot on Oxford Street so we had a great view of the day’s events, and to top it off the weather was beautiful and sunny.  This year Pride came one day after same-sex marriage was made legal in all 50 US states, which made the day feel extra special.  The atmosphere was so positive and happy, and everyone looked like they were having a fantastic time celebrating.  By the end of the afternoon I was covered in confetti and stickers, and had a huge smile on my face.

One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) leading one of the parade sections.  The film Pride, which tells the story of how and why LGSM was formed, is one of my favourite films, so it was fantastic to see the group out in force, over thirty years later, especially considering the similarity between our current political climate, and that of the 1980’s.

Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos, and they’re not the best quality as I was using my phone, but here are a few of my favourites from the day.

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We also went to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A, which was an amazing and overwhelming experience.  I’m hoping to go again during July, and I also plan on reviewing the exhibition, so check back soon for that.

Did you go to Pride this year?

Naomi x

Waffle Sundae

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It might still be a bit chilly out some days, but it’s slowly but surely becoming more like summer, and what better way to enjoy the sun than with an ice cream sundae?

I’m not one for eating ice cream plain, I love it piled high with sweet, sticky toppings, and sundaes are a fun way to customise your pudding just the way you want it. I recently got hold of these cute little sundae glasses which are made to look like waffle cones, so to stick to the theme I wanted to share with you my easy but delicious waffle sundae!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

2 Belgian Chocolate Waffles

Carte Dor Vanilla Ice Cream

Askeys Toffee Sauce

This isn’t a recipe as such as it’s so simple to make. You just chop the waffle into bite size pieces (you can warm it through first for extra melty luxury), and then layer as much ice cream, waffle and toffee sauce as you like! Minimum effort, maximum deliciousness.

The sundae glasses are from Drinkstuff, and cost £9.99 for a set of four. They’re made of thick acrylic, which is supposed to keep the ice cream cooler for longer, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that my incredibly soft scoop Carte Dor didn’t melt before I finished my sundae. I quite like the fact that they’re made of plastic as they’re almost impossible to break, which is perfect for clumsy souls like myself, especially when eating outside on the patio! They’re the ideal size for a generous single serving, and you’ll be pleased to hear that you can even get your sundae spoon right to the bottom to dig out the last morsels of yum!

What are your perfect sundae toppings?

Naomi x

50 Things That Make Me Happy

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I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety lately for various reasons, so to remind myself of the good things I have going on, I’ve decided to take part in a tag that I’ve seen doing the rounds lately – 50 Things That Make Me Happy.  Making this list has actually helped me feel a bit better and shift my focus away from the negative, so I tag anyone who’s been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately!

So in no particular order, here are my 50 things…

1. My fiancé, Charles.

2. My pet rats, past and present.

3. Cooking, and trying out and inventing new recipes.

4. Spending time with my family.

5. Seeing my friends.

6. Going to gigs.  I love that feeling of being in the same air space as my musical heroes, and hearing them sing my favourite songs live.

7. Taking photographs.  Whether it’s a snapshot for Instagram, or a shoot with my DSLR, photography is a definite passion of mine.

8. Being outdoors.  I try to get out as much as possible as it makes me far happier than being cooped up inside all day.

9. Theme Parks.  There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get from a massive rollercoaster!

10. Eating out at my favourite restaurants.

11. Being appreciated at work.  It’s always nice to hear some good feedback, either from a manager, a colleague, or a student.

12. Running for charity.  I try to complete an event every year.  This year I’m doing the Race for Life.

13. That feeling of buying and wearing new shoes and clothes.

14. Glastonbury.  The town, not the festival.  It’s a beautiful place.

15. Dublin.  Another of my favourite places.

16. Watching wildlife.  Squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, everything.  I especially have a thing for birds.  My mum likens me to Bill Oddie…

17. Volunteering.  I recently did some volunteering at the local wildlife hospital and I loved it.

18. Chocolate, cake, puddings, pastries, ice cream.  All the sweet food.

19. Chilling with my favourite TV shows.

20. Mine and Charles’ takeaway and movie nights.

21. Getting home from work.

22. A good cup of tea.

23. Coca Cola from a cold glass bottle, especially on a hot day.

24. Finding a bargain.  It makes getting something new feel that little bit sweeter!

25. Going to carboot sales.  See above.

26. Books.  The way they look, the way they feel, the way the smell, the stories within them.

27. Watching Grav3yardgirl videos.

28. Listening to my favourite music.  In particular, Kate Bush, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo and Mike Oldfield take me to my happy place these days.

29. Fireworks.  And bonfires.  And Bonfire Night in general.

30. Halloween.  It’s one of the best days of the year.

31. Going to the cinema.

32. Writing.  Blogging, scribbling in my journal before bed, jotting down stories.  Love it all.

33. Saving money for a house.  I smile every time I see my savings account balance go up.

34. Weekend breakfasts.  They usually consist of pain au chocolat, croissants, fruit toast, or something like that. Yum.

35. Storms.  Thunder and lightning reminds me that I’m part of something big and powerful, and it’s amazing.

36. Walking and hiking.

37. Geocaching.  It’s been a while since I last did any but it’s a lot of fun.

38. My mum’s cats.

39. Boxing Day.  I like it more than Christmas Day and Boxing Day lunch is one of the best meals of the year.

40. My birthday.

41. Family and friends’ birthdays.

42. Hugs.

43. Foot and back rubs.

44. New Walk Museum in Leicester.  It’s been one of my favourite places to go since I was a kid.

45. Camden.

46. People showing that they care, with a gesture, a question, a smile etc.

47. Getting a good night’s sleep.  They’re rare, but damn do I appreciate it when I get one.

48. Winning things.  Competitions, games of Monopoly.  S’all good.

49. Swimming in the sea.

50. Camping.  Feeling the grass on my feet, the fresh smell of dew in the morning, watching the sun set, cooking breakfast on a camping stove.  God I love it.

What are 50 things that make you happy?

Naomi x

Race for Life 2015

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I try to do at least one charity run every year, and this year I’ll be doing the Race for Life again.  The Race for Life is a huge nationwide event which runs every year, where women and children of all ages come together to run, jog, walk, or even dance a 5k or 10k route, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  I’ve signed up to do the local 5k race on 5th July, which gives me just under two months to do some fundraising!

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My fundraising target for this year is £50, but I hope to raise as much money as possible.  So, if you can spare a few pounds, please sponsor me via my JustGiving page.  Also, if you’re a UK taxpayer, please tick the Gift Aid box, as this will increase your donation by 25%, at no extra cost to you.

Thank you everyone!  And please check back in July for my Race for Life photos!

Naomi x

 

What I Wore: Burgundy

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Connection Burgundy Dress / George Black Shrug / Primark Tights / Blonde + Blonde Lace Up Block Heel Boots / Juno Black Patent Grab Bag / Le Chat Marcasite Watch

On Sunday I went out for a lovely meal with my in-laws, to celebrate Charles’ Grandma’s 90th birthday.  We went to The Grey Lady in Newtown Linford, and had a private room for twelve to enjoy our delicious three course lunch.

I decided to wear something colourful for a change, so I went for this gorgeous burgundy dress that I bought from Everything5Pounds a little while ago.  Considering it was so cheap the quality is fantastic, and I adore the subtly patterned floral fabric.

Of course, I had to get some black in there somewhere, so I teamed it with black tights and a black shrug from George (it was a bit chilly out!), my Blonde + Blonde boots, which are becoming a wardrobe staple of mine, and one of my favourite bags.

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You might have also spotted our neighbour’s little kitty, who likes to photobomb when I take outfit photos!  She’s the cutest.

Naomi x

What I Wore: Mandala

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Per Una Crochet Long Top (Thrifted) / Primark Basic Vest / Primark Black Skinny Trousers / Blonde + Blonde Lace Up Block Heel Boots / Four Beautiful Keys Moon Necklace

The last few days have been warm enough to go out without a coat or jacket, so today when Charles and I headed out for lunch, I decided to wear something with a bit of detail that wouldn’t be covered.  I’m still not quite over my winter passion for layering, so this long crochet top by Per Una seemed like the perfect transition item.  I picked this up for £1 from a carboot sale a few weeks ago, as you probably saw in my latest thrifty finds post, and it’s so comfortable and light.  I adore the long bell sleeves with their mandala-type crochet patterning, and the length of the top is really flattering.

I needed some new black skinnies for Spring, but wanted something lighter than denim, and these Primark trousers are ideal.  I found them in the jeans section, but they’re actually made of a soft stretchy fabric.  They fit really well too, which is a big thing for me as I have long legs so usually struggle to find trousers that are long enough for me, but these are fine!

The lace up boots are also new, and were an amazing find.  I was strolling through the local shopping centre a few weeks ago, with no intention of buying anything, but happened to spot them in the window of BANK.  The shop was having a closing down sale, and these babies were discounted from £38 to just £7.60!  Lucky for me, despite the shop being almost empty, there was one pair left in my size, so it was meant to be, especially as I’ve been after some laced block heel boots for MONTHS.  Winner!

Naomi x

Degustabox March 2015

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The March Degustabox, as usual, arrived promptly at the end of the month, and was stuffed full of exciting goodies.  A lot of familiar brands cropped up this time, including Jordans, Lindt, Crabbie’s and Brioche Pasquier, but there were also a couple of new brands to try, namely BBQUE and Natvia.  There was also a good balance of food and drink, and sweet and savoury, which is always nice.

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The March box was great value for money, as usual, containing fourteen individual items, with a combined total value of over £24.  Degustabox subscriptions cost an affordable £12.99 per month, which includes delivery, so you’re making a great saving every time.

Jordans Lighter Granola (RRP £3.69)

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Granola is one of my favourite things to have for breakfast, and I’m quite fond of Jordans products, so this was a welcome addition to the box.  This particular granola is strawberry and blueberry flavour, and has 30% less fat than standard granolas, which is great news for the health conscious among us.  I’ve been eating this in the mornings with fruit yoghurt, and it is delicious.  The dried fruit pieces are tasty and plentiful, and soften nicely once wet, without going mushy.  The granola has a great crunch to it and is nice and sweet, but not overly so.  This one gets a big thumbs up from me.

Rating: 9/10

JuiceBurst Juices (RRP £1.25 each)

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These JuiceBurst juices are a quick and easy way of getting one of your five a day.  I received two flavours in my box – cranberry, and mango and lime from the Skinny range, which contains fewer calories but all the goodness.  Mango is one of my favourite juice flavours, so naturally the mango and lime was my favourite.  It was sweet, but this was balanced nicely by the citrus tang of the lime.

Rating: 7/10

BBQUE Original Bavarian Barbecue Sauce (RRP £3.99)

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BBQUE Original Bavarian Barbecue Sauces come in four flavours – grill and beechwood, honey and mustard, chilli and horseradish, and original, which is the flavour I received.  I eat a lot of barbecue sauce so this sauce had a lot to live up to, but it actually ranks quite highly!  It’s runnier than I usually like, which meant it didn’t make a very good topping for my vegetarian chicken New Yorker, but the flavours of cranberries, beer, honey and apples are delicious.  I also really like the bold packaging and branding, although I did have to Google Translate all the German text before eating it, to check whether it was vegetarian!  (It is).

Rating: 8/10

Lindt Lindor Assorted Mini Eggs (RRP £2.00 each)

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I never get bored of finding Lindt products in my Degustabox, and these were the perfect little treat for Easter.  Each bag contains a generous amount of foil wrapped chocolate mini eggs, in three different flavours – milk, dark and white.  Each egg is like a miniature Lindor truffle, and boasts the creamy chocolate and smooth filling that we all know and love.  The gold wrapped, white chocolate ones are my favourite.  Very luxurious, and great to share (if you really want to!)

Rating: 8/10

Maynards Sour Patch Kids (RRP £1.00) and Bassetts Jelly Babies Berry Mix (RRP £1.48)

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Unfortunately neither of these bags of sweets are vegetarian, so I’ll be passing them on to someone else.  It’s a shame really because I love sour sweets, berry flavours, and I was always a fan of Jelly Babies when I wasn’t veggie.  I just hope Maynards and Bassetts decide to add some similar vegetarian-friendly offerings to their ranges soon!

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Fruits (RRP £1.50 each)

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I really like Crabbie’s drinks, and these alcoholic Fruits were the only product in the box that I’d tried before.  Unlike most of Crabbie’s products, these flavours contain no ginger, but are made with real fruit juice, which give them a thirst-quenchingly fresh flavour.  I received two different flavours – raspberry & rhubarb, and black cherry, but they also have a zesty lemon flavour in the range.

Rating: 7/10

Kents Kitchen Posh Noodles (RRP £1.75)

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I had high hopes for these Kents Kitchen Posh Noodles, but they were quite disappointing, and not a patch on the Kabuto Noodles that appeared in the January Box.  The noodles were plentiful and had a great texture, but the positive points stop there.  The Szechuan flavouring was intense, but not in a spicy way.  The flavour actually made my mouth hurt and my tongue feel sore, almost like I was having an allergic reaction, which was incredibly unpleasant.  The noodles were also lacking any vegetables or soy pieces, which made them pretty boring after a while.

Rating: 5/10

Natvia Sweetener (RRP £2.00)

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Natvia is a 100% naturally sourced alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, which is derived from stevia.  Stevia seems to be the ‘in thing’ at the minute, so I was keen to try these sweeteners out.  One of these in coffee is the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar, and to be honest it’s hard to tell the difference in terms of taste, which can only be a good thing!  And even better is the fact that Natvia contains zero calories.  I think I’ll be using these in baking next to see how they compare to my usual caster sugar.

Rating: 7/10

Brioche Pasquier Baked Bread Bites (RRP 50p each)

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Before now, I’d only ever tried Brioche Pasquier’s sweet breakfast products, so it was nice to try something from their savoury range.  The box contained two of these little bags of bacon flavoured baked bread bites, which will be launching in shops soon.  Despite being a vegetarian, bacon happens to be one of my favourite crisp flavours, and I really enjoyed the smoky taste of these.  They also had a lovely crunch to them.  The bites are healthier than your average crisp, containing less saturated fat, no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, and less than 90 calories.  They’re also quite versatile, and work well as a snack, but also as a crouton-type topping for soup.

Rating: 7/10

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go yourself, you can get a £3 discount by entering code 2S7LB at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Degustabox was sent to me for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

Travel Bucket List

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When I hit my 20s I decided to create a bucket list, and though I’ve managed to tick a few things off over the last few years, my list is still growing.  Quite a few of the things on my list involve travel, and though I’m not yet very well travelled, I’ve been lucky enough to tick a couple of them off fairly recently, albeit the ones that are close to home.  In 2013 My fiancé and I flew to Dublin for a fun-packed mini break, and last year we went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – something I’d been wanting to do for years.  However, I’m still saving up to go on my three big bucket list holidays, so I thought I’d share them with you today.

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1. Ontario, Canada

When he was young my dad lived in Ontario in Canada, and his stories of the hot summers and snowy winters of his childhood have had me longing to visit there for years.  I’m a sucker for a beautiful landscape, and from what I hear Ontario has an abundance of them, especially during Autumn, when the rust coloured trees transform the mountainsides into glowing dunes.  I’m a keen photographer and hope one day to hike through Canadian woods, and take a boat trip over Ontario’s lakes, so that I can photograph the natural beauty of the land.

I’d also like to visit Toronto whilst I’m there, as I’m not averse to the bustling city vibe either.  I can just picture myself grabbing some poutine from a little independent café, before wandering the streets and browsing shops full of books and trinkets, before stopping for dinner in Hogtown Vegan, a fab little vegan restaurant that I’ve heard nothing but good things about.

2. Pennsylvania, USA

California, Florida and New York tend to be the American holiday destinations of choice for most people, but I feel more drawn to Pennsylvania.  As well as Ontario, my dad spent some of his childhood in Pennsylvania, so one day I want to take a trip there to see where he grew up.  I’d love to stay for a while, and treat the state more as a home than a holiday spot, blending in rather than doing the tourist thing, so that I can really get a feel for what life is like for the people who live there.  I want to visit all the spots that my dad has told me about, and eat the food he used to eat.  I’d also like to go to some NFL games, as my fiancé is a big NFL fan.  It would be great if we could see his team (Minnesota Vikings) playing my team (Philadelphia Eagles)!

3. Oslo, Norway

Last but certainly not least is my ultimate bucket list travel destination, and that’s Norway.  Or any Scandinavian country for that matter.  Ever since I was a toddler I’ve been fascinated by space, and one thing that’s always intrigued me is the Northern Lights.  Every time I see a photograph of clear night skies lit up with smudges of green, pink, purple and blue, like an oil painting, my heart skips a beat at the sheer, phenomenal beauty of it.  It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to stay in a humble log cabin, in the snow, under the stars, next to a roaring fire, under a blanket with my fiancé, eating toast and watching as the magic of the sky dances above us.  It would be amazing.  Truly amazing.

Visiting Norway would also be a great opportunity to pack in some action, and create lifelong memories with activities like husky sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer spotting, and trekking through vast forests.  Imagine the stunning photographs that I could take!

This post is my entry into Transun‘s #TransunLights Blogger Competition, and the prize is to win a trip for two to see the Northern Lights.  Winning would help me tick a trip off my bucket list, which would be incredible, so I’m keeping everything crossed!

What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

Naomi x

Highcross Spring Beauty Fix

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A few weeks ago the Highcross in Leicester ran a two-day Spring Beauty Fix event, so I headed down on the Saturday to see what was going on.

I decided to get there early so I could appreciate the event before the centre got really busy, and already there was a buzz around what the Beauty Fix had to offer. There were several displays featuring this season’s fashion trends, with a colour consultant on hand to advise on the best colours to suit your style throughout Spring. I had a quick browse of the rails and spotted a cute dress covered in polka dots, which happens to be my favourite print for clothing, so I’m hoping to see more dotty items in the shops soon!

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Another stand which caught my eye was the Beauty Amnesty, which invited shoppers to discard five unwanted items of make-up, in exchange for a £10 gift card to be spent on beauty items that day. A great deal considering several brands were offering discounts, and brands such as Nails Inc, Urban Decay and Hotel Chocolat were all giving beauty advice during the event!

There were also many offers to be had on the day in stores, and several freebies up for grabs. Rituals and Decleor were offering complimentary skincare consultations, and Rituals, YSL and Clinique also had free samples and items to give away.

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Whilst at the event I also managed to do a bit of shopping, and whilst browsing Debenhams’ beauty offerings I spotted Ghost’s Eclipse fragrance, which I decided to treat myself to. Ghost perfumes are my all-time favourites, and Eclipse’s light floral and fruity notes will be perfect for the coming warm months. I also headed over to H&M as I wanted a new dress, and managed to get a lovely grey number, as well as some cute mouse slippers.

Overall it was a fun day, and I’m looking forward to the next event that Highcross puts on, as they’re always enjoyable.

Naomi x

Thrifty Finds No. 6: Car Boot

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It’s that time of year when the car boot sales start up again (yay!), so on Easter Sunday I went along to my first car boot of the year.  As usual I was on the look out for fashion bargains, and lucky for me the clothes were out in abundance.  I spent a good while rifling through boxes and clothes rails, and managed to come away with four good quality pieces.

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Next Button Wrap Front Dress £2.50

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Per Una Crochet Sleeve Jumper Dress £1

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ASOS Swallow Print Skater Dress £2

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Miss Selfridge Drape Front Cardigan £1

I also got a cute little ‘Sew Your Own Baby Owl’ kit for 50p, which I thought would be a nice little craft project to do one evening.

It total, including the craft kit, I spent just £7.  I’m really pleased with my latest thrift haul, and I hope I can keep up the pace and add more bargainous additions to my wardrobe next time!

Have you been thrifting yet this year?  Have you managed to find anything exciting?

Naomi x

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