A Very Moonpig Christmas

Press Invite to Moonpig HQ, all thoughts and views my own

Are you among the 1 in 3 people in the UK that has used Moonpig before? I certainly am, and I cannot tell you how many times. When Moonpig got in touch about their Christmas event this year, I was so excited to get my train booked and head into London. 

Moonpig Christmas saharasplash.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an event at Moonpig HQ, but as soon as I walked in, the mood was set. Moonpig had gone all out to make a handful of bloggers feel welcome and get into the Christmas spirit. There was a huge screen with a burning log fire and a glass of bubbly waiting for us. Moonpig cards and gifts were scattered about  as well as gifts under a huge Christmas tree. It was so lovely seeing the latest collections, including a few Frozen items too! 

Moonpig’s CEO Nickyl Raithatha led us into the evening with a presentation on the company’s background and most importantly this year’s Christmas message: personal giving. If you haven’t used anything like Moonpig before, it really is so easy to create a heartfelt, personalised card to send to anyone for any occasion. They have thousands of designs you can customize with text and photos, and have it delivered in record time. 

Back to the event, we had three fun activities to try and up first was cocktail making. Even though I am not heavily into the alcohol, I did thoroughly enjoy our Christmas tutorial from our personal mixologist. He taught us how to make three cocktails (recipes below) and I became quite partial to the Christmapolitan! 

Cocktails

  • Gingerbread Mojito – Rum, Mint, Lime, Gingerbread Syrup, Soda
  • Port of Call – Gin, Port, Cranberry Sauce, Cinnamon Syrup
  • Christmapolitan – Amaretti, Lime, Cranberry Juice, Champagne

Moving onto our second section, photoshoots! Moonpig, being kings of creativity, pulled out all the stops and set up a green screen for a true Christmas photobooth experience. We even had a visit from Santa, so I decided to grab Olaf from the present stash and bring him in for a Frozen-themed snap. I then got to upload the photos onto Moonpig.com and create my own Christmas card which was posted out to me. 

Cocktail finished and photos done, we moved onto our final station of the night, and there was a table full of flowers waiting for us. Moonpig had organised their very own flower buyer to give us a masterclass in flower arranging. I picked up a letterbox flower gift filled with beautiful tulips, and we each picked three jars. We were shown how to properly cut the stems and arrange in different sized jars to create a floral masterpiece. 

saharasplash.com Moonpig Christmas

As if that wasn’t enough to finish the night, Santa then came round to deliver us all a present each. I couldn’t have felt any happier to act like a child on Christmas, so thank you to Moonpig HQ for an epic night! 

saharasplash.com Moonpig Christmas

Are you planning on using Moonpig to give personalised cards and gifts this year? All links to products used on the night are right here for you: 

Personalised Christmas cards: 

https://www.moonpig.com/uk/personalised-cards/

Flowers used for the table decorations:

https://www.moonpig.com/uk/flowers-and-plants/all-flowers/

Gifts section, including the spirits we used for the cocktails: 

https://www.moonpig.com/uk/gifts/  

Saharasplash x 

Wanting more Christmas-related content? Then head right on over to my Christmas Gift Guide 2019 blog post 

AD] Visiting RUSH Ipswich- An iconic look in the making

NB: Press visit to RUSH Ipswich, all thoughts and views my own

I’ve always been a sucker for an iconic look. Be it Dorothy’s bunches from the Wizard of Oz or Frenchie’s easter egg do from Grease. I’ve attempted many looks throughout my teens and into my twenties. I decided I was fed up of my poker straight hair at 16 and got a perm. During my Sixth Form years (and my obsession with Twilight) I decided to chop it all off and recreate Alice Cullen’s pixie style. 

Then I discovered hair dye. Over the course of ten years I had my hair dyed professionally in numerous shades. Cherry red was my boldest move as I started teaching abroad in Spain, right up until my last escapade in 2016 for my wedding when I went silver/grey.

I absolutely adored these looks, but found the upkeep far too tiresome for someone with very dark roots. Falling pregnant was the only thing that slowed me down, and so for the past few years I just let the blonde grow out leaving me with a subtle ombre. That was until the start of this summer, and I decided that I needed to up my barnet game, for lack of a better expression. 

I had dabbled with a fringe as a teen, but it was more of a side fringe rather than an extreme level blunt statement. So as I entered the later stages of my 28thyear, I decided that over the summer I would go for a bold fringe. I experimented for weeks trying to fold my hair back on itself to see what it would look like and I was strangely calm as the day came round to have it cut. You can find my blog post featuring the before/after chop shots right here! The fringe, although awesome, does require a frequent upkeep schedule so that I can wear mascara and not get it in my hair.

Ever since I started blogging (half a decade ago now) I have always used RUSH Hair and Beauty salons. The majority of visits usually happen in London, but it was very exciting when the Ipswich branch sent out a press invite request for my hometown in the heart of Ipswich town. I love the continuity of the RUSH salons. They are always so sleek and neat- much like how you want your hair to transform once you step out of the black chair. The RUSH Ipswich salon did not disappoint…

I ordered my usual tea upon arrival and met my stylist who listened to what I wanted. Not too much off the length but a good trim up of the fringe. We went to get my hair shampooed and conditioned, I just love the feeling of  a salon professional washing my hair, they do such a better job than I can ever manage to achieve. So after twenty minutes of washing, blowdrying and snipping, here is my finished look. 

A layer of smooth, bouncy waves, a shine to die for and a smart, new fringe that won’t have me rearranging my hair every five minutes. The Kerastase products really do give you that extra wow factor. Top end results every time, RUSH Ipswich did not disappoint so my iconic fringe will stick around for now! 

Saharasplash x

Why not take a few extra minutes to read how little touches can up your style with Muru

How little touches can up your style with Muru

Items in this blog post have been gifted, all thoughts and views my own

It’s not that often that I find myself perusing shop windows or my browser for jewellery. My saved tabs are heavily preoccupied with clothes for Alice and I, and the occasional gluten free recipe. So when a set of jewellery makes my head turn, I have to stop, take a bunch of pictures and write a blog post about it. Muru has been producing feel good jewellery since 2006. Their message is one of empowerment, meaning and expression which is probably why I was so drawn to their pieces. Over the course of a very intense month, I paired a selection of Muru items with my outfits just to show you how little touches can up your style.

This is the Belle and Bunty Unity Necklace in gold. I had the pleasure of meeting the gorgeous blogger duo last year as we were invited to the same Henley Regatta event with Debenhams. I knew instantly that they were genuine and such talented ladies, so it was not surprising to see that they had released a collection with Muru. “Our unity necklace in gold vermeil can we worn to remind us that when we stand in unison with those around us, we gain the courage and strength to face anything. With hanging drop charms this necklace will capture the light perfectly giving you an effortlessly chic look.”

Unity Gold Necklace: £75

Below is the Mother and Child Bracelet in gold. I simply adore this elegant design with the two stars bonded together. Being a mum has no doubt changed my life, yet wearing this piece shows me that my style is still the same even with a mini me attached to my side most days. I wore the bracelet and necklace to a Welsh wedding in late August. The gardens were the perfect place to take some close up shots of the jewellery and I had so many comments about them during the day.

The third piece is a simple Bead Anklet in gold. There’s something about wearing an anklet that makes me feel like I’m escaping on holiday. With this beautiful, golden piece wrapped around my ankle I feel like I can wear anything, go anywhere and be anything. I decided to dress down with the anklet in a loungewear set and basket trainers. A little touch of glam can really uplift your wardrobe choices, and I am definitely investing in this advice from now on.

Bead Anklet: £35

I just had to add this collection into my post as it is officially my birthday month! Muru have a stunning range of star sign pieces that you must see. Whether you’re into gold, rose gold or silver, the star sign collection scintillates just like the real stars!

Saharasplash x

AD |Experience TK Maxx with me

This post is a paid partnership with TK Maxx, all thoughts and views my own

There comes a time in every blogger’s career that when a certain brand/business gets in touch, you squeal in excitement. When TK Maxx got in touch a few weeks ago, this is exactly what happened. Be it TK Maxx in the UK or TJ Maxx in the US, I have been a shopper there since my mid-teens. While some may shy away from the stores and moan that they can never find anything in there, I believe it’s because they haven’t spent enough time looking. Each individual store is a treasure trove of possibilities, you must enter with an open mind and let your hands and eyes do the exploring without a time frame. TK Maxx has big labels, small prices and ridiculous possibilities if you give it a chance.

So this is where my journey took me (with Alice in tow) on a sunny Tuesday in September. I usually frequent my nearest TK Maxx stores in Braintree Village and Ipswich Town, and so I was inordinately excited to be visiting the largest one in the UK on Oxford Street.

Our journey had a bit of a rocky start, half way into London our train was cancelled so we were taken back to where we started and had to drive in instead. Nevertheless I was still in a great mood and looking forward to meeting our guide for a VIP tour of the newly-opened establishment. 

Upon entry into the store we were greeted with skincare and handbags- two categories I just love to peruse. We walked through to find jewellery and then at the back there was a lift (which I definitely needed with Alice, a buggy and a suitcase in tow!). We took each floor at a time until we found homeware, kidswear and toys. Needless to say our tour guide (Miss Alice Schaefer) led me and our real guide straight to the toys, and there she fell in love with a fish named Flippy.

After finding a wealth of exciting things to play with we headed to my most favourite section of all- homeware. If you like a bit of organisation, then feast your eyes on this gorgeous snap…

Yes, there are lots of different types of kitchenware items BUT they are so exquisitely unique and assorted by colour you are easily able to find a colour scheme that fits your agenda. Shop by colour, not by item is definitely the perfect attitude to adopt in this section and you will be guaranteed to find some gems no matter what you are looking for.

We had endless fun playing hide and seek in the pillow section

At the moment I am going through a massive organisation phase. After seeing Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’ show I am on a mission to find a place for all my belongings and that normally means a storage box or three. This next wall made my heart flutter, I want all of them!

To sum up my visit to TK Maxx, I would say that I was blessed to arrive on time despite the train debacle, super impressed with each unique section on each floor and definitely satisfied with the prices of everything I bought. At TK Maxx, prices are up to 60% less than the RRP so it’s not just another high street store. What you can’t bargain on is that things will stick around, so make sure you head in-store or online to find exactly what your home needs this season.

Saharasplash x

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out another before you go? Being a Blogger without a Photographer is waiting for you…

AD|Being a blogger without a photographer

*Items featured in this blog post have been gifted, all thoughts and views my own

As the world produces an ever increasing amount of bloggers every day, the endeavours to generate engaging and top-quality content become that much harder. Take it from a blogger that started almost five years ago and still going, a blogger must go through great lengths to get the shot, even if they have no help. Although I am lucky to have a husband that doesn’t complain when I ask him to hold off taking a bite of dessert or to do the same shot again but from a lower angle, during the week I find myself rooting around the house to find a good place to prop my camera up and set it on the timer. Being a blogger without a photographer to help does have its limitations, nevertheless I find that when I am forced to be my own ‘tog’, I can create my best work. Last week I planned to shoot a few looks once Paul got back home from work, but alas the boy hadn’t left as I found myself dressed, makeup/hair done, child asleep and ready to shoot. So I pulled my softbox into the living room, used Alice’s high chair and a toilet roll as a functioning tripod and got to it! 

Look one: Green Camouflage Utility Playsuit

Femmeluxefinery.co.uk
Green Camouflage Utility Playsuit: Femme Luxe Finery
Orange Buckle Belt: e.buckled

This green camo playsuit is like nothing I own, which is saying something! I have always looked at other playsuits but nothing ever quite called out to be the way this one did, and so when it came it was the first thing I wanted to try on from Femme Luxe. Matching it with one of my sister’s hand-made orange buckle belts (e.buckled) and some suede khaki block heels I hit the self timer button on my Huawei P30 Pro! I learnt the ‘flamingo leg’ trick from Kendal Jenner and was so pleased to find this shot in my camera roll amongst other dubious attempts at posing. I used the free photoshop app to add a little more saturation plus a light flare et voila. Would you have guessed this was a self-taken phone shot?? 

Look two: Black Chain Print Belted Satin Shirt Dress

Femmeluxefinery.co.uk
Black Chain Print Belted Satin Shirt Dress: Femme Luxe Finery
Croc Print Ankle Boots: Topshop
Femmeluxefinery.co.uk

A satin shirt dress will always have me hitting add to favourites, especially one with such a gorgeous print as this one. This chain print shirt dress was second on my shoot list, so I shifted my softbox to the sofa and decided to set up again. I do actually own a tripod with a phone holder, so this time I used it as the shot required was from a lower angle. I find this type of self-timer shot easier from a seated position, I can just lean forwards rather than running back to find my spot again if standing up. I left my makeup be, but tried out a space bun look on my hair which actually ended up being awesome so will absolutely try this hairstyle again soon. Heading back to the outfit, I chose a pair of croc-effect ankle boots from Topshop that I salvaged from a charity box from my mum’s garage recently. I experimented having my feet up on the sofa vs on the floor, and landed this half-up, half-down shot that ended up being one of my favourites. 

Look three: Red Satin Cowl Neck Bodycon Midi Dress

Paul made it home just as I was ready with the third look of the night- a sultry satin red dress. I couldn’t help laugh as I opened the door to him wearing this. Any other man would have thought that he had missed an anniversary, but Paul understood straight away this was not for his benefit. He did mention he liked my space buns though! So…the red dress… I was a bit dubious adding this one to my order. It was one of those items you see on the model looking amazing and you think to yourself, this is never going to look as good on me. But actually, I was feeling all kinds of Jessica Rabbit in this number. It fit so nicely, every curve flatteringly accentuated and the ruches were in the right place to hold it all together. I must admit I had trouble doing up the corset-style back, but tonight I was on my own as Paul was getting his dinner so I sucked it up and carried on. I found one of my favourite pairs of earrings (hand-painted, clay flowers to look like the ruffled tulip from the New Moon book cover) and paired the look with patent red heels and a white Dior bag.  

Look four: Mid Wash Denim Button Down Dress

Look four happened the day after – three looks in one night was enough for me! The day in question was going to be 32 degrees if we stayed put, so I opened my weather app and found a much cooler, coastal spot to visit where it was only going to reach 26 degrees, and that place was Clacton-On-Sea. The drive only took us an hour and fifteen, and I knew that Alice would love a trip to the beach. I packed up her things as well as my own and we made it there just after lunch. We had fish and chips (gluten free) at Armstrongs – I’d been there before and was really impressed with the food – and after a play on the amusements we headed for the sand. The day was beautiful, we found a spot to set up camp about fifty feet from the pier. Children were playing, parents were sunbathing and Alice was totally content with an empty jar to collect sand and shells in. I set up my camera, this time perched on top of Alice’s changing bag on a rock, and I took these shots. I paired my denim blue dress with this stunning orbis lapis ring (gifted from Sacet jewellery). This next photo essentially epitomises my role as mother and self-employed blogger, rolling them both into one in perfect harmony- well, most of the time!

www.sacet.com

So, for any blogger out there who is just starting out or has been in the game as long as I have and worries when having to go it alone, the truth is that most of us are and you wouldn’t even know it. The real truth is that people don’t admit what goes on behind or in front of their cameras enough and I want to tell it how it really is day to day. Being a blogger without a photographer is quite alright – we are resourceful, creative and bloody proud of our hard work. 

Saharasplash x 

5 Fun Things To Do in Leicester Square

This is a collaborative post with Evan Tyler, all thoughts and views my own

I think it’s an understatement when I tell people how much I love Leicester Square. It really is my home away from home, and my most favourite location in the whole of London with no comparison. It holds countless memories for me, I have camped out in the square overnight for film premieres and met some of the world’s greatest actors and directors there. It is forever changing and adding new and exciting things from cinemas to restaurants, so I thought that I would share some amazing things to do in Leicester Square…

1.) Cinemas

Leicester Square is packed with wall-to-wall cinemas. Specifically, there are three major cinematic venues inside the square itself, with a discount cinema just north of the main area. The three major ones are The Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, The Empire (Cineworld Cinema), and Vue West End. The slightly cheaper option is the Prince Charles Cinema, a lovely, intimate place that consistently offers tickets at a considerable discount. Basically, if you are looking to catch a film in London’s West End – whether it be a new box office release or a vintage film brought back to the big screen at a discount – Leicester Square is the place to go.

2.) Statue Of William Shakespeare

You simply cannot miss a glimpse of this if you visit Leicester Square, but anyone with an interest in the arts or literary history ought to take a closer look. The statue of William Shakespeare has been the centrepiece of Leicester Square Gardens since its construction in 1874, and was restored earlier this decade. This famous marble tribute is surrounded by dolphins and elevated on a pedestal in the center of a magnificent fountain. In this sculpture, Shakespeare is holding a scroll with a popular quote from his legendary play Twelfth Night. This monument is just one of the ways that Shakespeare is still honoured within Soho.

3. Meeting the Stars

As mentioned before, I have done my fair share of red carpet events whilst living in London. Some I attended just as a spectator and others I was lucky enough to see the film too. My most memorable events have both been Star Trek related. Into Darkness saw me camping out to get a prime spot in the front row- mainly to watch Benedict Cumberbath get out of his car which certainly was worth it, along with an autograph from JJ Abrams. More recently, I found myself at the Star Trek Beyond premiere in the press tent, where I interviewed Chris pine before going in to see the movie. Again, just a totally awesome day.

4.) Hippodrome Casino

The Hippodrome, situated on the very corner of Leicester Square, is the largest and most popular casino in the UK, offering over 100 slots, 45 table games as well as sites just for bingo and interactive experiences. Speaking of experiences, the Hippodrome is currently the venue hosting Magic Mike Live shows, and of course my ticket was bought as soon as they announced the dates. Last year my sister and I went to see the show on opening week, and boy did it take me back to the first time I watched Magic Mike in a tiny cinema in Los Angeles. Seeing the show live is so fun and totally perfect for a night out with your bestie!

5.) London Film Festival

Finally, let’s not forget the annual London Film Festival. It’s held in Leicester Square every October and is sponsored by the BFI. Founded in 1953, the festival showcases more than 300 films, documentaries, and shorts from nearly 50 countries and features films that would not otherwise get a UK screening. World premiere showings at the BFI London Film Festival are also accompanied by fancy galas that have also become elite, red carpet events. If you are as much of a film buff as me, you probably have your time booked off work already, but if not it may be worth scheduling your next trip to London around this once-a-year event.

Check out @discoverlsq on Instagram to stay up to date on all the latest news from my favourite spot!

Saharasplash x