Monday, 6 April 2015


No matter how old I get, or where I end up living, I will always consider my mum and dad's house to be my real home.  I cherish every moment I spend there, all the more so now that I don't go back so often. At university I would have weeks worth of time off, and I would of course spend it at home. But now I've left Cardiff, and I am trying to live as a functioning adult, my time spent there is shorter, my visits less often.
I don't know if I will ever fully feel like I have left home, or come to terms with that fact. My family mean more to me then anything else. No matter how much things don't go my way, I know that I have them there to fall back on.

I always wanted this blog to be a place of positivity, somewhere I could share all the fun things that I do, but sometimes reality hits. I've not written a blog post for a month because I've not had the inspiration to do so. How can I write about positive, happy things when I haven't felt that way?
Being an adult is hard, harder than I realised it would be. Life has ups and downs, and sometimes it is easier to focus on the downs.

Going back home made everything seem a bit better. I relaxed, smiled, laughed, even went for a 5K run with my dad. I feel brighter, and like a little bit of  that weight has been lifted.

I do apologise for this outburst. I know that things are looking up again now. Let me share with you some happy photos that I took. Some are from mother's day a couple of weeks ago, some are from this Easter weekend. (I literally only ate chocolate it was fantastic).

A gift for Mum.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Spring is here!

My Saturday started with my driving theory test. Even though I did revise a bit, I was slightly concerned that I wouldn't pass. I did though, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. Time to book my practical test, pass it, and buy a car!

With this nice bit of a news, and the sun beaming down, I was determined to do something lovely with our afternoon. To me, it felt like the first proper day of spring. The skies were blue, and I didn't have to wear my coat, and this made me extremely happy.

Using the every so handy trip adviser, I searched for 'days out in Surrey'. High up on the list of things to do was RHS Garden Wisley. We didn't know what to expect, and were slightly put off by the fact that it had a £13 entry fee, but without any other options we thought we'd give it a go. It is literally a 20 minute drive from our house, and just off of the busy A3. 
Yet again, we found another gem of a place to visit.

The car-park was packed, and I was unsure that we'd actually find a space, but after about 15 minutes driving around we eventually found a spot, queued to get in to the gardens and headed straight to one of three cafes they have there on the grounds for some lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wondering around the quite expansive gardens. There are going to be lots of photos to follow now, I got a bit snap happy, and I am quite pleased with some of the photos that I took! There were so many pretty things to photograph.

I do love this one :)

There were some very tame ducks in this pond.

And some very tame fish. They actually came half way out of the water to try and get bits of bread and things. They were rather large, and I don't think i'd like to be in the water swimming with them!

There is this beautiful glasshouse, full of tropical plants and Catuses. This weekend was the last couple of days of a butterfly exhibition they were holding. For some reason, butterflies fascinate me. I am generally scared of most insects, but there is something about butterflies that I just find really beautiful. There were some the size of birds in the Glasshouse, but I wasn't fazed, even when they landed on me!

Look at that blue sky!

I had such a lovely afternoon in such a beautiful setting, it was a perfect ending to a week that hadn't been so positive. It is times like this that make me appreciate everything and everyone in my life. Anyway, onward and upwards, and I am determined to make next week a lot better :)

Next weekend is mother's day, and I am so excited to spend some quality time with my mum (and dad, sister and cat). 

Until next week,

Hollie x


Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Current Skincare Favourites

Now, I am no skincare expert. Until about 4 or 5 years ago, I used to think that washing my face meant a sweep of a face-wipe. 
The internet has revolutionised the way that I look at cosmetics in general, with YouTubers and bloggers being hugely influential in the choices I make. Bloggers like Lily PebblesVivianna Does Makeup and A Model Recommends are full of amazing advice and I read these blogs and watch these videos, along with many others, on a daily basis. 
I have now found a skincare routine that I am happy with. No longer do I come in from work and take my makeup off with a face wipe (perhaps I'm a little less lazy nowadays, but they don't half dry out my skin!).

Bioderma is my new 'face-wipe'. This water like liquid is absolutely amazing. On my more lazy days I will just use this before I moisturise, on less lazy ones, I use this to remove the bulk of my make up before I give my face a proper cleanse. 
I will put this on a cotton wool pad and sweep all over my face and it is gentle enough to use on my eyes.
I also use this in the morning before moisturiser to get rid of any residual make-up or grime I may have missed the night before.

This is the first cleansing balm I have ever used, but I think it is actually the nicest cleanser I have ever tried. It smells amazing, and feels extremely luxurious. I've never had a facial, but using this makes me feel like I'm doing a mini-facial at home. It is also really lovely and moisturing for my skin (which is quite dry for the most part, with a slightly oily t-zone).
I fish some of this out of the pot, and rub it between my fingers to warm it up. It turns into an oil when it is warm, so once it is this consistency I massage it into my face. I then wipe it off with a flannel and hand-hot water. I don't recommend rubbing too much of this cleanser in your eyes though, it does sting slightly and makes my eyes go a bit hazy after I've cleansed.

My toner of choice also feels very luxurious. It has a really herbal scent that took me a while to get used to, but it feels really refreshing on my skin. I use this after I have cleansed and do it just because it feels nice really. I am sure there are many skin-care benefits to this product, but I simply use it because it is nice and cooling. You can also use this to set your make-up, or spritz it during the day if you are feeling a bit too warm.

I am fully aware of the cult following that this serum has, and I can completely understand why. I only have this small sample bottle, which I am rapidly running out of, so I will be purchasing the full size shortly. I pour a pea sized amount of this product into my hands and pat it onto my face. When I use this, I always wake up with amazing feeling skin in the morning, so it must be working some sort of magic over night.

Here is another sample-sized product that I have fallen in love with. I am slightly more reluctant to buy the full size version of this, firstly because of the price tag, secondly because I have loads of eye creams that I need to use up. This one is just so, so lovely. It is beautifully cooling and really helps with puffy eyes, I have been using this at night and in the morning, and I just really want to get the full size. It smells like cucumber, and reminds me of summer. Surprisingly, this sample has lasted my quite a while as it has a deceptable amount of product in it, and you only need a tiny amount.

This product is a real multi-tasker. You can use it as a cleanser, primer or moisturiser. I use it as the latter and think it is perfect as an evening mosturiser. It is quite a light cream, which I like best as I hate going to sleep with a greasy face (with the exception of one product, see below).
I find that it makes my skin feel really plump in the morning, and absorbs really quickly.

I suffer really badly with dry lips, and this is my go to product at the moment. I slather this on before bed and I wake up with really soft lips. It is the only product I have found that really works. I used to love the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, but it has just stopped working for me which is a shame. I would use this lip balm during the day too but I am savouring it. It is also so much more convenient to have the eight hour cream in stick form just for your lips!

My day time mosturiser of choice is a new found favourite. I discovered this after trying a sample and find that it is perfect under make up. When I use this, my foundation just looks nicer. It gives me the perfect base before makeup, sorting out all my dry patches, It is also not too greasy, and doesn't have that uncomfortable greasy feeling that I detest.

The first of two masks that I use on a regular basis, this one is for when my skin is feeling particularly congested. It is super-powered stuff, and has bits of what looks like seaweed within it. I leave it on for about ten minutes, and in that time it dries crispy. I wash it off with a flannel, and it gives my face a good old exfoliate because of all the residue in it. It does make your face feel really clean, but I only use it every so often as it is quite drying.

On the other end of the mask spectrum is this super moisturising one from Origins. It is extremely thick but really does the job, whilst smelling incredible, just like peaches. I put a thick layer of this on before I go to sleep, and just leave it on over night. It is a bit sticky and greasy, and will make your face stick to the pillow, but in the morning it is all absorbed and my skin feels so soft!

So there we have it, my current skincare favourites. I change things up a bit every so often, and love to try new bits and pieces, but for now this works.

This is a bit of a different blog post to the previous ones, and I know it won't be to everyone's taste, but it is something that I enjoy talking about and researching into. I can't have an exciting weekend every week eh?

Until next week,

Hollie x


Sunday, 15 February 2015

A lovely Valentines weekend

Valentines day 2014 was a complete write off. Callum had appendicitis and we spent the night in a hospital somewhere in London. It was an absolute disaster, and he had so much planned. He even made sure that I saw the roses and balloons he'd put out in the lounge the night before before we got in the ambulance!!

2015 was much more successful. I thought I would take the reigns this year, and my idea of a perfect valentines day was to spend it at home together, in our joggers, just enjoying each others company. There is nothing worse than being crammed into a restaurant, knocking elbows with the couple next to you, whilst having a limited and over priced set menu to choose from.

I thought I would cook, so after my driving lesson I spent the day preparing some delicious food for us to enjoy that evening. I spent most of the day trying to bake some red velvet cheesecake cupcakes. They didn't turn out red at all when they came out of the oven!

We decided that we didn't really need to impress each other, so we didn't get dressed up, just put on the comfiest clothes that we could find. This was perfect for cooking in, and as we don't have a dining table, it was also perfect for slobbing on the sofa!

I did decorate the place a little bit... I didn't want it to seem like any other night (and I don't want him thinking that this may happen more often, it was most definitely a 'special occasion' thing! ;-)  ).

For starter I made garlic mushrooms on sour bread toast (a Tom Kerridge recipe from this book Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food)

Fillet steak with sweet potato chips, onion rings and home made pepper corn sauce for main.

And for pudding we had a cupcake each, although I don't think we truly appreciated it due to how stuffed we were from the first two courses.

The rest of the night was spent getting a bit tipsy whilst watching the end of Take Me Out. We fell asleep on the sofa, woke up at about 1 am and went downstairs to bed. (we have an upside down house, which is why we went downstairs!)

Callum promised that as I cooked on Saturday, Sunday he would take me out for lunch. We headed into Guildford and had a look around the shops (I may have been treated to a Chanel foundation, a review to follow I'm sure).

Callum had booked a table at Bill's. This restaurant is an old favourite of ours, we used to go there when we first started going out and Callum would travel up to Cardiff at the weekends to see me. The food is just really nice, simple but really good quality. It almost doesn't feel like a chain restaurant, and you can tell the quality by how busy it always is in there!

Have a look at the menu here: Bill's. They've got restaurants everywhere, but i'd be surprised if you haven't tried it already!

Of course, we took some obligatory 'sat at a table in a restaurant' shots.
The following three photos prove why I am so attracted to my boyfriend.

We shared a Mezze board for starter.

It was delicious, breaded halloumi, hummus, baba ganoush, olives, sun-blushed tomato tapenade and wholemeal pitta, to be honest I was almost full after we polished it off!

Not so full that I couldn't eat a fish finger sandwich though. I seem to order the same main course every time I come here!

The fish was just cooked, and that is how I like it.  I am not really a fan of fish that is so over-cooked, it is really dry, and this was perfect!

You can tell how much I enjoyed it by these photos, I am such an attractive eater!   ;-)

We followed this meal with a little drive, and we found another incredible Surrey view. I cannot get enough of Surrey, before living here I didn't realise how stunning it was!

This field was absolutely filled with sheep, and it makes me so excited to think that in a month or so there will be little lambs prancing around too!!

So, that was my valentines weekend. It was food filled, so the diet starts again tomorrow. I plan on doing a lot of exercise next week and I am going to do a blog post about exercise at some point soon too, as soon as I feel like I've perfected my routine down to a tee.

Thank you for reading. Until next week...

Hollie x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Anja McCloskey and Ottersgear at The Art House, Southampton

I have one huge passion in life, and that is music.
There is no better feeling in the whole world than performing on stage, no bigger buzz or adrenaline rush than picking up my violin and playing it, with a group of amazing musicians surrounding me, and playing a long with me.
This is made even better when you are performing with one of your closest friends!

Anja McCloskey is one of the most talented people I know, an awesome song writer and extremely gifted accordionist. Luckily, I get to play in her band!

From going on a European Tour, to spending a week in Hamburg recording her album, I have had some amazing times in Anja's band.

This gig was no exception.

The Art House in Southampton is a quirky little place, staffed by volunteers, it is a vegetarian café, gallery and music venue all in one. It has a huge amount of charm, and served a fantastic organic cider! :-)

Find some more info here: The Art House, Southampton

We rehearsed for a while, ate some dinner and cake, and got ready for the evening.

Doors opened at 7.30, and the night kicked off with Ottersgear.

Mikey Kenney is someone who I hugely admire. He is an amazing fiddle player, playing a mixture of covers and originals, English and Irish folk, Bluegrass and Americana.
It is difficult not to dance to the music he plays, and it is also difficult not to be hugely jealous of his talents. I wish I could play as freely as he can!

I do suggest you listen to his music: Mikey Kenney

After the amazing opener, we went on stage.

The place was full, which made it all the more fun. The atmosphere was great, and I had a lovely time on stage.

We all played together for the song 'Instigate It'.

Please do check Anja out. She gave my musical life some variety. I am a classically trained violinist, but Anja gives me the chance to do something a little less serious, and extremely enjoyable!

Here is her website, she plays all over the country and I do recommend seeing her live (if I do say so myself). The day after this she went from Southampton to Birmingham to play another gig!  Anja McCloskey

So, next weekend is valentines day. Now, would it be completely wrong to take pictures? Probably. But I'm going to do it anyway.

Hollie x


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Pay-day treats

So, this Friday I was paid for the first time since Christmas eve. January has seemed like a very, very long month.

After my driving lesson, we headed to Bluewater shopping centre. I had a deep craving for a Nandos, and it did not disappoint! I may have been treated to something (from Pink), but more on that later on... Bluewater shopping centre is like every single other shopping centre, just so much bigger. It is also not the sort of place you take photographs for a blog, even though I took my camera! Who wants to see a photograph of me stood in front of TopShop?!

After Bluewater, we headed to Ikea (and finally got some bedside tables), and then headed home and fell asleep in front of a film.

A bit of a lay in was had Sunday morning, but I was eager to get out of the house as soon as possible. We headed into town, and grabbed some lunch first of all.

We went to a little café called Glutton and Glee and it was yummy!
Find it here: Glutton and Glee Guildford
They do a delicious Rice Crispy cake, which had lots of chewy marshmallow in it and was extremely sickly sweet. Exactly my sort of thing!

Now, where can you take nice pictures in a town centre? Outside Space NK?

Or what about Guildford Castle?

It was a bit windy!

All I can think about now is Spring and Summer. How nice it will be when we can sit by the castle without the cold wind making us shiver! As much as I like Autumn and Winter fashion (warm knits and winter boots) I now have a huge yearning for warmer weather. When I see my first Daffodil is when I know Spring is near.

We spent the rest of the day darting in and out of various shops. We spent quite a bit of time in Mappin and Webb, to my dismay. Watches don't really interest me, but he could stare at a Rolex for hours!

I picked up a few things...


Is it wrong to display my underwear choices on the internet? I don't know, but Pink by Victoria Secret do some nice knickers!

Pink by Victoria Secret

 I don't think you can order online, but they have stores in Bluewater and Westfields. I really wanted their 'I HATE RUNNING' top. Maybe next time.

I also picked up this bra set from Next. They are just simple, black and white numbers. A sort of 'every day' bra.

Space NK purchases next. I am still looking for a lip balm that actually works. I went through a phase of loving Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, but it has stopped working. The 8 hour cream one seems nice, but I am still undecided. Time to give Dr.Lipp's Original Nipple Balm for Lips a go. Originally designed for breastfeeding women, this nipple balm is now generally used and marketed for the lips. I've heard and read positive things, so we will see. Find it here: Nipple Balm.

Another hyped range that I have wanted to try for a while is the This Works- Deep Sleep range. If i'm honest, I don't have that much trouble sleeping, but for nights where I'm feeling wide awake, I will give it a go. Maybe a review to follow? This Works - Deep Sleep Night Time.

My last two purchases are YouTube related. First of all, one of the new Real Techniques Bold Metals brushes. I picked up the blusher brush. I have since removed the packaging, and this brush feels ridiculously soft. Find the brush here: Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush
The design and look of these brushes is so beautiful. It looks so nice on my dressing table.
I am obsessed with the Pixiwoo girls' videos. Please do search for them on YouTube and watch. They are who taught me what I know about makeup.

Finally, another YouTube love, Tanya Burr. When I heard that she was bringing a book out, I knew that I would buy it. I find her so down to earth and normal, yet so sweet. I would quite like her life, but for now I will just read about it. Love, Tanya by Tanya Burr.

It is so late, and I have got to get up for work tomorrow. I need to be more organised when it comes to writing these blog posts. Maybe ten to midnight on Sunday isn't the best time?

Until next week,

Hollie x

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