Starting the new decade right with Boxclever

This post contains gifted items, all thoughts and views my own 

Happy 2020! I’ve been away for what feels like my longest break in blogging. Sometimes we all just need to take some time out and chill, especially during the festive/NY period. Though I can assure you it was more non-stop than relaxing, I am starting this new year with nothing but positivity. There are lots of changes coming in 2020 for the Schaefer family, and I cannot wait to share all the details. It’s going to be an interesting beginning to the decade to say the least so I need to get myself organised. Starting the new decade right with Boxclever has got me motivated and going in the right direction for 2020… 

SAHARASPLASH - Starting the new decade right with Boxclever

Boxclever are a brilliantly British stationery company who specialise in designing the most beautiful calendars, diaries and wall planners. I was thrilled to be gifted the 2020 weekly family planner calendar (£11.99) to show you. It has a handy 16 months so you can start using before the new year begins, six columns for all the family members and is designed in a week-to-view style. 

This family planner calendar is just so easy to use, they really have thought of everything. You can add recurring activities on the plastic overlay and it comes with a host of stickers – from doctor and dentist to birthday and exclamation marks – for those things you just cannot forget! Alice was so eager to help me put the stickers onto the right days, so it’s something you can get your kids involved in to help them learn the fun of planning. 

It’s so simple to follow as the planner is nice and strategic, yet it has a graceful charm that you will want to hang on your kitchen wall for everyone to see. I know exactly where mine is going to go. This is a no-fuss, super organised calendar that just fits within my family life. Where has this been in years gone past? Guaranteed I would have forgotten a few less things! 

SAHARASPLASH - Starting the new decade right with Boxclever

Boxclever have a design perfect for any household and decor so why not take a look on the website and find your 2020 match, there’s no excuse to not get organised! 

Be back soon with a few more life updates, 
Saharasplash x 

Did you catch my epic trip to see WICKED! with Official London Theatre?

A Frozen themed blog post

Items in this blog post have been gifted. All thoughts and views my own. 

It’s no secret that this family is kind of Frozen obsessed. When Frozen first came out in 2012 (in a pre-Alice world) I absolutely adored it and went to the Disney store to get some licensed gear that same week. I was captivated by the music, the plot and characters and nothing brings me more joy than being able to share this love with my daughter. It is definitely her favourite Disney film by far, though we haven’t quite got round to seeing them all yet! Needless to say, I have been gearing up for Frozen madness all summer and it is now time to let it all go in this Frozen themed blog post. I’ll be covering Alice’s second birthday, our trip to see the latest movie in the cinema AND our top gifts for a very merry Frozen Christmas. So without further ado, let’s head over to Arendelle in a Frozen themed blog post! 

Alice’s second birthday

Alice celebrated her second birthday not long ago, and I started planning it in my head like all events I’m in charge of running about 6 months prior. For Alice’s first birthday, we did an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party which was such a hit. I re-booked the same venue for her Frozen party, and invites went out in August. I contacted a local soft play service called Little Angels Soft Play (based in Essex). On the day, they provided and set up an amazing soft play area for the children (all Frozen-themed) as well as a ball pit! 

I found a gorgeous dress for Alice, though it proved difficult to find anything Frozen related and in her size as she is so small. I got this tie-dye effect dress second hand from Depop, and then decided to get an Elsa dress for myself! My good friend came dressed as Anna, and we also had an Olaf suit going around as well.

We had a photoshoot area with snowballs and a cut-out Olaf which proved very popular. Snacks included popcorn “snow flurries”, carrots as “Olaf’s nose” and some beautiful snowflake lollipops made by Sparko Sweets

I decided to save some pennies and decorate a store-bought cake. I bought the Frozen base/stand along with balloons from Children’s Party Shop and used blue food colouring, icing sugar and white chocolate snowflakes to decorate. I finished off with scattering Frozen figurines around the cake, which Alice now has in her toy box! 

Our Frozen 2 cinema experience 

Our trip to see Frozen 2 has been a much anticipated moment on my 2019 calendar. Ever since I booked the tickets on presale for the five of us (Alice, Paul, auntie Evie, James and me) to see it, I had it on countdown. A cinema trip with a two year old is never an easy feat, so I was pretty anxious on the day that everything would be ok and we wouldn’t have to leave early. I decided to put a little film together of our real life experience which you can see on Alice’s Instagram page (link below). She absolutely loved it. Just one toilet break needed, and she was singing along to the latest hit “Into the Unknown”. We had lots of popcorn and snacks to keep her occupied, and even though I was a little miffed to have forked out almost £70 for about three hours, it was worth it. 

www.instagram.com/thealiceiris

Frozen gifts for Christmas 

If you are just like us and love everything about Frozen, here are some perfect gift ideas for you, your kids and anyone you know who has been enchanted by the magic…

Olaf blanket and Bruni- Disney Store

Bruni is the newest addition to the cute selection of characters. He is a salamander that represents fire in the second movie. Granted this wasn’t a Christmas present for Alice, we picked him up as soon as Disney released him in October and she goes to sleep with him every night. I can’t seem to find the little critter online anywhere except for eBay, but if you really want him I think that Disney will stock him again so keep checking!

We have saved this fluffy Olaf blanket (£15), and it will be waiting under the tree on Christmas morning for her. It looks like a cushion, as it folds up into the case oh so cleverly. 

Frozen puzzle, water bottle and duvet set- Aldi

Aldi have released a huge selection of Frozen gifts this season. Take a look online and in your local stores for more of the range, but here is a lovely selection from kitchen and bedroom to play time. The duvet set is £12.99, puzzle is £1.99 and water bottle is £3.99

Frozen pjamas and Christmas cards- Matalan

We have just bought our Frozen Christmas cards from Matalan. You cannot go wrong for £2.50 for 20, plus right now they are on a 3 for 2 offer along with other Frozen gifting items too. Also, I just love the range of Frozen pyjamas starting at just £7 for sets, robes and nighties.

I hope this Frozen themed blog post warmed your heart, much like Olaf’s warm hugs. Please leave a carrot out this Christmas not just for the reindeer, but for Sven too! And if you see any snow, it was definitely Elsa. 

Saharasplash x 

Check out my Christmas Gift Guide 2019 which is out now before you go!

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…