AD] My Christmas Gift Guide 2019!

This is a gifted/sponsored post in collaboration with the brands below. All thoughts and views my own.

This year I am doing things slightly differently. In the past, I have separated out men’s and women’s things, but for some reason I just can’t do it this year. Labels, sections and lines are being removed from our society day by day, especially in the beauty industry, so why should I have to put certain things under a certain label? Short answer is, I don’t, so I won’t. I have three amazing sections this year…Category is… ok I’m laughing at that one a little too much, if you’re a RuPaul fan then you’ll get why. If not, let’s just move on swiftly to my big fat Christmas gift guide 2019.

Looking and smelling good as hell  

Cienna Rose

Cienna Rose are a vegan and non-toxic brand that create the most beautiful shades, especially this time of year. Below are shades “Let it Snow” (clear with holographic glitter flakes) and “Ice Cream Sundae” (pink, orange, blue and white micro glitter) along with “Plump it up High Shine Gel Effect Top Coat”.

Nail Colours: £9
Gel Effect Top Coat: £10.50

Mavala

Mavala are a Swiss-based brand that I cannot get enough of. They have a stunning range of makeup and skincare, but I particularly wanted to showcase their “Cyber Chic Collection” in the form of this festive, mini trio set. I highly recommend their waterproof mascara too for a great stocking filler.

Cyber Collection Individual Minis: £5
Waterproof Mascara: £10

Spacemasks

In aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Spacemasks have designed a beautifully packaged pack of five masks. The amazing thing about these masks (with ingredients of essence of rose and iron) is that they react with oxygen once applied and gently heat up for 15 minutes of bliss.

5 Pack of Spacemasks: £15

Pevonia

A company very close to home are Suffolk-based skincare experts Pevonia. With a very enticing Christmas gift section, you’ll have no trouble finding a perfect preside. Below are some favourites from the “Spa at Home” collection, including body moisturiser and shower gel.

Spa at Home Moisturiser: £6
Spa at Home Shower Gel: £6

REN Skincare

I have been a REN Skincare enthusiast ever since I discovered their miracle allergy spray. They have their ultimate season staples all wrapped up in one complete package here in the “Face Favourites” skincare gift set. Containing three bestselling facial products for glowing, hydrated and youthful looking skin.

Face Favourites Gift Set: £35

American Crew

Est. 1994, American Crew is distributed in more than 30,000 salons across over 40 countries. This “Essential Grooming Gift” can go anywhere with you, and nothing from this selection will go to waste. I just love a gift that’s thought of it all, and American Crew definitely has! Contains shaving gel, lotion, 3-in-1, cream pomade in this stylish bag.

Essential Grooming Gift: £35

Olverum

Taking its name from the Latin “oleum verum” (meaning ‘true oil’) Olverum will prove to be the hit of the household. Only half a capful needed per bath, a little will go a very long way. A sublime gift for anyone needing a bit of R&R this Christmas- can you smell the lavender already?

Olverum Bath Oil: £35 (125ml)

Saint Iris Adriatica

Such a beautiful name for a brand, don’t you agree? It’s named after the Sweet Iris of Dalmatia and uses sustainable ingredients such as wild plant oils, healing honey and pomegranate. This “Everybody Energy Cleanse” will invigorate the sleepy soul and awaken a newfound sense of self. Trust me, I’ve tried and tested it.

Every Body Energy Cleanse: £29

Quirky things, bubbles and gold

Moving onto section two of my Christmas Gift Guide 2019. I think you’ll find a few things in here to rival anyone’s standard Christmas list…

Zap-It!

If you have a friend or family member that tends to shy away from getting into the festive spirit, or maybe you know someone who is choosing to go it abroad this year, then hear more about Zap-It! Perfect for winter sun, beaches and picnics, this device generates a harmless, low electrical impulse that stops the itching of an insect bite within minutes. Bet you’ve never heard of a gift quite like this before?! Available via Asda, Superdrug and Amazon.

Zap-It: £5.95

Beds.Net

If you are looking for an ultimate gift to spruce up your favourite couple’s home, then how about a beautiful piece of furniture? Grey Chenille Bedroom Accessories like this one can become a nursery toy box, or a blanket storage system/seat to sit at the end of a bed. I love its versatility and thanks to IG’s newfound home interior craze, you’d be number one on anyone’s list well into 2020 with this gift-giving expertise.

Grey Storage Chest: £89

Yeti & The Fox

Be prepared for another mind-blowing stocking filler. This gift comes with the notion of forward-planning for those times where festivities+alcohol=bad next day. With the gift of Yeti & The Fox capsules, your recipient will receive a present that will help promote optimum health when they most need it. These capsules aid in replenishing the body with much needed glutathione, which plays a significant role in energy metabolism. For a better description, no more feeling dodgy after you’ve gone too hard.

Prices vary from £6 to £50 depending on quantity of sachets

The Hugg Shop

Hashtag trending, if you didn’t know, is all things CBD this year. Completely legal might I add, with a variety of benefits, I bring you the “Hugg CBD Gift Kit”. Containing CBD Oil (to be used sublingually) as well as CBD bath salts, this gift kit will be perfect for someone who deserves a long bath and some royal treatment. FYI the bath salts contain coconut oil, orange and ginger root essential oils that will remain fragrant on your skin long after the bath is over.

Hugg Gift Kit: £32.99

Natural Deodorant Co.

Eco-friendly and sustainable are words on everyone’s lips right now. The Natural Deodorant Co. is the ultimate go-to choice for many a celeb with all products free from palm oil, synthetics and pore-blocking preservatives. These velvety balms melt into the skin helping nourish, banish odours and provide all-day protection. The Natural Deodorant Co. are the only deodorants to have been selected by Selfridges to be part of their Project Ocean campaign. Current best sellers are Fearne Cotton’s favourite, “Clean Orange + Bergamot” and refreshing “Active Coriander + Lime”.

Prices vary from £2.50 to £11 and come in 3 different sizes

Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

Now it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas Gift Guide without a little tipple would it? I have never really been hugely interested in alcohol, especially wines. That was until I tried Barefoot. These guys adorned the tables at my wedding and they are always on my Christmas list each year. Introduced into the UK market in 2007, the brand now boasts an extensive collection of still and sparkling wines. My favourite has to be the Pink Pino Grigio.

Barefoot Pink Pino Grigiot: £6.75

Seol + Gold

Seol originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for silver “Seolfor”, originally used for sterling coins. Seol + Gold caters for all vibes, from delicate 9ct gold flourishes to richly plated statement jewellery for layering. I have on show below the beautiful “North Star Studs”, totally worth a double-tap am I right?!

North Star Studs: £14.95

One for the Kids

Now onto my final section, for the kiddos in your lives that you generally have no clue what to get for them because they already own everything.

Gift Giving All Wrapped Up

Peppa Pig, an icon of this day and age. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit that this character has stolen the hearts of our mini nation. We love Peppa in our household and so here are a few lovely ideas from Gift Giving All Wrapped up to score some major points from those little angels this season.

Peppa Pig Christmas Bauble £9.95
Bamboo mug £4.95
Bamboo Christmas Eve Set £12 

Little Siberica

For the kids who really have got the lot, or maybe the parents have asked you not to splurge out on toys and chocolate, Little Siberica is a great option. Organic birch extract in the baby soap softens the skin and relieves irritation, while organic extracts of chamomile heals and relieves in the baby daily care cream. Both these wondrous gifts provide gentle care of baby and child’s delicate skin for 24 hours.

Baby Soap £8.99
Baby Daily Care Cream: £4.50

Babyblooms

If you are considering spoiling your niece or nephew rotten this year, then I would love to introduce you to Babyblooms. Equipped with personalisation services and a gift-wrapped box next to none, just take a look at these gorgeous and thoughtful gift ideas below. I just cannot get over the personalised toy makeup set with palette, lipstick, compact mirror and brush. Not a piece of plastic in sight, and utterly stunning. Also featured below is the “Personalised Little Bunny Christmas Breakfast Set and Christmas Eve Box”- you just can’t go wrong.

Personalised Little Bunny Christmas Breakfast Set and Christmas Eve Box £65
Personalised Toy Makeup Set – £38 

Caran d’Ache

A second Swiss-made company on my list, and this time it’s for the art lovers out there. A present like these beautiful neocolor pastels will receive enjoyment from all ages, and they are perfect for many surfaces from paper, cardboard, glass, to wood, leather, fabric and even stone! Alice loves drawing and painting, so a gift like this is perfect for my budding little artiste.

Caran d’Ache Neocolor I: £25.99

Chelsea Peers NYC

Last, but certainly no means least on my Christmas Gift Guide extravaganza list is a beautiful set of pjamas from Chelsea Peers NYC. I can honestly say I’ve never felt pyjamas so soft before. Both Alice and I had such fun taking these shots while having a snowball fight with daddy! You can see more matching sets on the website, below we are wearing “Bearly Awake Long PJ Sets” in adult and mini size.

Bearly Awake Mini Me Long PJ Set: £25
Bearly Awake Adult Size: £32 

Et voila, fin, ende, final and any other language you can add in here. I hope you loved reading through the plethora of amazing suggestions as much as I did compiling it. Of course, my gift guide would not be half as possible or fun without the support of the brands involved, so my final thanks extends to you all,

A Merry Christmas and Goodnight!

Saharasplash x

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|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 

AD| Two killer outfits for a summer wedding with Goddiva

Whether you’re a Katherine Heigl and trying on 21 dresses or you’re getting hitched yourself, wedding bells are in the air as the summer season is here. I have two weddings to go to over the course of July and August which I am super excited about, however this brings the dilemma of outfit choice. There are several rules when attending a wedding such as don’t wear white, but I also want to wear something that is long-lasting, dance-capable and just killer. So, I’m here to share with you two of my killer outfits for a summer wedding with Goddiva. 

Goddiva is the perfect choice for a wedding outfit as they specialise in luxury, affordable wedding attire. They even have a section for mother of the bride, and have recently launched a collaboration with Vicky Pattison. I have two dresses to show you from the VP collection which are just stunning, so without further ado… 

Outfit 1: Burnt Orange Beauty 

The first dress is a halter neck maxi dress in my favourite shade of orange.

This dress is great for summer weddings, and as the evening draws in you can pair with a neutral jacket to cover up. If you want to rule the dance floor, go for a dress with a side split so you can move and shake the night away.

I have two bags with this dress, a yellow and a neutral so you can get creative with how you accesorize.

Outfit 2: Lime Green Goddess 

I’m sure you’ve seen that lime green is all the rage this season, so why not go for something that you have never dared to try before?

I was so surprised at how much I loved this colour and one-shoulder, asymmetric effect. The one way you can dress this down a bit is by using dark accesories and some shades to make it slightly more edgy.

The only decision I have to make now is which dress for which wedding! Shop the Vicky Pattison Goddiva collection here

Saharasplash x 

Thanks for stopping by. Before you go I have a post all about money saving tips and ideas for summer, so if you are looking for a dress on a budget then definitely check this one out!  

Press Samples gifted in this post. All thoughts and views my own

A Magically Mike evening at Seckford Hall

For those of you who have followed me since I started, you will know that I got married in 2016. My hen do was a few months before the big day, and I will always remember watching Magic Mike XXL at midnight as we ate popcorn on very low beanbags. The film was one of my highlights from my 2015 cinema trips and puts a huge smile on my face each time I hear a song from the soundtrack on the radio. So, when I was contacted by Seckford Hall in Woodbridge about a ‘Magically Mike’ tribute night event, my seat was definitely RSVP’d!

As the evening drew closer, the race was on to find a kickass outfit worthy of a night that was clearly going to be one to remember. I narrowed it down to either a floaty maxi dress or a glitter playsuit, keep on reading to see which one I wore…

The evening began at 7pm sharp, Paul was at home with Alice so I had a baby-free night ahead of me with one of my amazing friends, Gemma. We definitely came dressed for the occasion as seats started to fill, glamorous girls were celebrating their own hen nights all around and it took me right back to 2016.

This playsuit from Quiz Clothing was definitely the right choice

We dined on a delicious three course meal that really set the tone for the evening:

PEAR AND STILTON SALAD
with watercress and glazed walnuts


SUFFOLK CHICKEN PARMIGIANA
with roasted new potato and seasonal vegetables


VANILLA POD CHEESECAKE
with raspberry coulis

The starter was a delight- though being a stilton virgin I wasn’t quite sure how I would like it…but I loved it. The chicken was effortlessly scrumptious and definitely left me wanting more. The cheesecake however was not gluten free, but I have it on good authority from Gemma that it was heavenly!

We had a fabulous drag queen to host the event called Miss Crystal, and by the third song we were all up and dancing with her. And then came the part of the night we had all been waiting for- the UK Pleasure Boys…

It was such a fun show, and although I tried to capture some shots for this blog post, I was also trying to watch and not be rude with a camera in my hands. I definitely saw the whole thing with my own eyes, and that is most definitely a pun! The Pleasure Boys really knew how to work the audience, pulling up brides to be to sit on chairs, participate in many acts which left us all cheering and having the best time.

As midnight approached, my final fantasy came true… a tea and coffee table! I’m actually being serious, as everyone else around me was on their third bottle of Prosecco, I wouldn’t have wanted to trade my pot of tea for the world! A perfect end to a perfect night at Seckford Hall.


Saharasplash x

Have you ever been to Seckford Hall? If you are local to Suffolk, you should definitely consider stopping by for a range of fun activities, spa sessions and dining out options.

Seckford Hall invited me to the event to review the evening, all thoughts and views my own.