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Favourites // June 2016

Favourites // June 2016






Erm, how are we over halfway through 2016 already? This month has gone by insanely fast - I swear I was only just collating my favourites together for last months post!

June was a busy one - I started off with an amazing trip to Penrith for Appleby Horse Fair (check out this post!) and I finished off the month on a high too by ordering myself (and Mum) a Lay-z Spa (best post-night shift decision ever!). Work-wise I officially marked my two years of being in full-time post-grad work (I'm so proud of how far I've come in those two years!), I got to the stage where I felt completely comfortable and in control when preparing products for a major hemorrhage for A&E (I used to be so incredibly scared of them!). Other notable events was the #EURefFloatilla - at the time it was hilarious but looking back on the results of the EU Referendum I can't laugh about it anymore. On a happier note - I absolutely adored watching the Trooping of the Colour for the Queen's birthday, it made me so proud of our armed forces and Royal family.

So, onto my favourites from June:

RUFFLE SHIRT // In the summer I live in sleeveless shirts and this one is a good 'un! Thanks to Dotty P's! I love the slight ruffle, I'm not a fan of a lot of frills on shirts but this one has just the right amount! Plus it's blue, which is essentially all I wear in the summer! 

OSKIA RENAISSANCE CLEANSING GEL // I've been reaching for this cleanser pretty much every night this month and I've been really enjoying it! I love how clean it makes my skin feel (and removes my makeup at the same time!) super quickly but also feels quite luxurious to use on a daily basis because of its balm-y/oil-y texture. 

JESSICA - TRUE BLUE // I adore blue nail polish - I wear it at every chance I get and have an embarrassingly large collection of blue hues! But I've been wearing this one most this month because it reminds me of an exciting thing that's happening in the next week or so! But aside from the excitement, it's a great colour for summer - such a creamy, opaque 'true' blue - exactly what it says on the tin, well bottle!

BLOGOSPHERE MAGAZINE // I'll admit I wasn't really interested in blogosphere magazine until this latest issue - mainly because I couldn't really get to grips with it, is it a blog in magazine form, is it trying to bring blogs into the magazine genre? Anyway, either way, this month I had to order it to have a read of because my lovely bloggy buddy Aftab was in it! His piece was really good in it - all about the balance between running a blog on the side of a full on university course but also the rest of the magazine was really fab! I've been loving dipping in and out of it every few days, just settling down with a cuppa and having a read of an article or two at a time. I feel like I've found some great new blogs to read and I've learnt some new bloggy tips too! I'll definitely be getting the next issue too!

MINTY HEARTS SUMMER SIGNS // After a couple of months of not really been into stickerating my planner I really got back into it this past month. I find it such a fun, non-internet hobby! Obviously with my rekindled love I had to order some new stickers, this sheet from Minty Hearts is just so fun and perfect for the start of summer - on the one hand I can't wait to use them in my planner but also I kinda want to save them because they're so pretty! That's crazy, isn't it?!


Aaaaand that was everything I've been loving in June! If you want to see what I got up to during the month via the medium of instagram pics, then check out this post!


Insta -Lately // June 2016

Insta -Lately // June 2016


It's time to share my past month through the medium of my instagram feed - if you fancy following along then my insta is @belsmay13 :)


The start of June saw me going on a road trip up to Penrith with my Mum and G - and of course, any excuse to use my LV duffle! 



Whilst we were away we went on a boat trip on Lake Ullswater - it was such a great way to really appreciate the incredible scenery of Cumbria.


We went to Penrith specifically for Appleby Horse Fair - Appleby is such a quaint little town, I fell in love with this flower shop!



Caesar salads are just my thing - I had this one when we went out to a pub for lunch and it was so good! I love sitting outside in the summer sunshine!




My favourite way to spend a lazy morning is lying in bed, with the curtains and windows open, sipping on iced coffee and catching up on my Bloglovin' feed - is it Saturday again yet?!


We have a little part of our garden where we just let wildflowers grow and this year some peonies turned up - they were so beautiful! And of course, did you even have peonies if you didn't instagram them? :P


I just *love* this dress from asos - it's the perfect length, really lightweight for summer, a flattering shape and has some great swishy-ness! I've been wearing it at every opportunity this month!


I had a few early shifts this month and I really enjoyed being able to have late working lunches - I'm so much more productive when I'm on early shifts, I manage to get so much stuff done each day!


In between the stormy weather there has been some seriously hot and sunny days in June and I've been loving being able to walk Little Prin in the evenings after work!


A new red nail polish became my fave polish of the month - Essie's Fifth Avenue even got a whole post dedicated to it because I love it so much!


To help console myself over the absolute craziness that was the EU Referendum results (I can't even begin to express my disappointment in how the British public have voted and conducted themselves during this time!) I consoled myself with a cupcake and a read of my Blogosphere magazine. 

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So that was June! As if we're halfway to Christmas already?!

Essie's Perfect Summer Red Polish - Fifth Avenue

Essie's Perfect Summer Red Polish - Fifth Avenue



It's very rare to see me with my nails not painted either nude for when I'm at work, or blue for when I'm off work. I have to wear unobtrusive nail polish for work and then when I get the freedom to paint my nails whatever colour I want, I always (almost without fail!) reach for a shade of blue! So when I found myself reaching for a red polish to whack on I thought I'd best blog about it!

I completely blame Vivianna & Lily for making me reach for a red/orange shade to adorn my nails with this week - they've both been wearing Chanel's Espadrilles recently, which is such a gorgeous colour I *needed* it in my life! But, seeing as I'm an infrequent warmer nail polish colour wearer I talked myself down from that impulse buy and toddled off into our beauty room (aka our spare room that has one wall taken over by a bookcase that mum & I have stuffed full of all things beauty!) to trawl through our nail polish stash to find a dupe for Espadrilles!

Essie: Fifth Avenue - was the closest I managed to find and it's good but is a little lacking in orange tones to make it exactly like Chanel's offering, but still it has satisfied my need for a blood orange nail polish this week!

It's a bright blood orange that verges more on the red side of things. Which makes me feel like it's a little easier to wear day-to-day than a bright red - I just feel a bit ostentatious wearing a bright red in the daytime - I know it's silly but I do! I always class red as more of a fancy, daring nail polish choice - just one that's a little bit too adult-y for me! I love how summery and cheery this shade is! It's so lovely and eye-catching that a couple of people have complimented me on it - winning!

As always with Essie, it's super easy to paint on and was opaque in a couple of coats - with a slick of a good top coat (my fave is Seche Vite) it has been chip free for almost a week now!

Whenever I get tired of reaching for my usual blue hues I'll definitely be bringing this one out again for a change during the summer time!

Currently // 19-6

Currently // 19-6



It's time for this month's currently post! Here we go...

Eating // bitter ice lollies - lemon ones preferably! I just find that sour ice lollies really seem to quench my thirst when it's warm outside (well for that couple of weeks it was warm before it started raining non-stop again - bloomin' English weather!)

Drinking // a Jimmy's Iced Mocha - I'm really into iced mocha's at the moment - I must need the extra caffeine boost!

Watching // I've become a little obsessed with watching people's Disney World vlogs on YT - there's no way I could ever go to Disney in Florida because it just wouldn't be worth it (I don't really like rollercoasters and I'm too shy to go and meet characters!) so I'm vicariously going through their vlogs! Ellie's and Charlotte's are my faves!

Listening // Whenever it gets to summer I bring my country playlists out again! Yep country music is my guilty pleasure - I just love that whole Southern lifestyle/vibes! Give me a house with a porch on a street lined with magnolias and I'll be a happy gal! Every month or so I add a few more albums to my phone and then just shuffle them on the way home from work - and yeah, I might occasionally sing along!

Reading // I've been re-reading the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines this month - I just fancied a bit of good chick-lit summer romance to read!

Planning // what to do for my birthday week! I've taken the week before my birthday off from work so I've decided that I want to pack it full of fun activities. I'm thinking a trip to the zoo, a visit to the beach, potentially a road trip - there's so much I want to do!

Obsessing // over my naughty purchase! I treated myself to a new bag (!!) - I'm a real handbag girl and I've been lusting after this one since my mum bought one for herself a few years ago! It's my first Louis in the Damier Azur colour way and I just adore it for summer! Now I need to start saving for the matching holdall then I'd be all set for travelling!

Smelling // I've been working on actually burning my candles - I'm guilty of buying them but then just hoarding them all! I've been alternately burning Lake Sunset from my Yankee Candle stash and Splash from Kringle Candles - I really like clean and fresh water-y scents for my room in the summer.

Wearing // I've been wearing this gingham dress at every opportunity (work and play!) - it's so comfortable and flattering, plus it's works great for casual wear with trainers or sandals but it can be dressed up with fancier heeled sandals.

Wanting // the lovely summer weather to come back so I can do all the things I'm looking forward to!

Feeling // Contented. In my work life and my home life - sure I'd like a few things to be different, but for now I'm enjoying it!


My Favourite Summer Lunch

My Favourite Summer Lunch



If you ask me, the summertime is just made for long, lazy lunches eaten whilst basking in the sunshine in the garden. 

In the summer I seem to crave light lunches, preferably including a bit of fruit along with something savoury - like a melon (gala or cantaloupe are my favourites but watermelon would work too!), cherry tomato and feta salad or a simple caprese with added peaches sliced up into the mix too or a classic rocket/walnut/blue cheese salad with pear thrown in and pomegranate sprinkled on top...okay now I'm drooling! Writing this post just before lunch time was perhaps not my greatest idea!

I make no secret of the fact that I'm somewhat less than gifted in the kitchen (when I was in high school dreaded food tech wasn't optional and I somehow managed to make a swiss roll that ended sticking my parents mouths together when they tried it....oops!) but even I can manage to sling these 'recipes' together!

My ultimate summer lunch idea  - the one I try not to make too often so then it stays as a sort of treat - is camembert (the mild kind, sadly because overly fragrant cheese just isn't for me!) baked in the oven 'til it's all melty and delicious with a platter of different fruits and vegetables to dunk in.

What a smorgasbord of deliciousness, I mean just look at it! 

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Ingredients //
  • camembert (pick your poison in terms of strength)
  • fruits for dunking
  • vegetables for dunking
  • a freshly baked french baguette

Method (not entirely sure this is necessary but having a method is engrained in my scientist brain!) // 
  • pop the camembert into the oven for 10-15 mins (make sure you remove the wax paper and leave the lid off!)
  • whilst that's baking cut up all of your desired crudites (I like a good combination of carrots, baguette, celery, apples and grapes - but mum is partial to adding figs and peaches into the mix as well!) 
  • by this time the camembert should be getting nice and squidgy, so stand and watch the oven impatiently for those last couple of minutes - salivating optional but highly encouraged!
  • arrange the chunks of bread/fruit/vegetables around the centrepiece of the gooey cheese and then dig in!
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I find this is best served with a side of bubbles (be it sparkling water, a fizzy diet coke or some champagne!) and a good catch up in between dunking, scooping and nibbling! Take an extra long lunch break for this one because it's too good to rush!

Right, I'm gonna nip off to Waitrose now to get some supplies to make this for a late lunch for mum and I because writing up this post has made me crave some camembert!

10 Things I'm Looking Forward to Now it's Summer

10 Things I'm Looking Forward to Now it's Summer




It's here. Summer. Finally. 

That lacklustre spring that was practically an extension of winter has passed and now I'm ready to welcome our long-overdue summer with open arms. In England the past couple of weeks have been pretty consistantly hot and sunny (with the odd day of rain and cloudy skies, because it is England afterall!) so it seems that British Summer Time has finally kicked off for 2016. 

So here's what I'm looking forward to now that it's finally Summer!

  1. Eating every meal I possibly can outside - food definitely tastes better outside!
  2. Walking my dog over the fields and her not getting completely covered in mud!
  3. Embracing ice as a food group - all of the ice in my drink and a sneaky ice lolly as an afternoon snack please!
  4. Being able to leave my coat/jacket at home - it's the little things!
  5. Driving home with the windows down and sunglasses on
  6. Long days - I feel like I am so much more productive in the summer because we get those few precious extra hours
  7. Barbecueing everything - even breakfast!
  8. The smell of summer rain - when the heat finally breaks and it starts to rain that smell of the earth opening up is just so refreshing
  9. Reading outside - spending a couple of hours lying in the garden getting lost in a book in one of my favourite summer activities
  10. How unexpected it is - in England a hot/dry summer isn't guaranteed so I love how whenever we get a lovely summers day everyone piles outside to make the most of it, how happy it makes everyone is just lovely.

Inside My Bathroom Cabinet

Inside My Bathroom Cabinet




It turns out, over the past year or so, I've become somewhat of a skincare hoarder. Personally, I blame it on the beauty realm of YT. Vloggers are such enablers - I can't sit through a binge-watching session without adding a tonne of things to my 'to buy' lists! Due to that fact, I seem to have built a reasonable collection of skincare bits and bobs over the past year or so (I used to be strictly a face wipe kinda gal so this is quite the step up!) so I thought sharing it would make the perfect post!

MAKE UP REMOVING // For everyday makeup removing I use Bioderma's Micellar Water - it's a classic and to be honest I've not found any other micellar water to be up to scratch compared to this French offering - they all seem to either dry my face out or sting my eyes but this one definitely just does the job of removing my makeup - simple! For when I want to take off a full face of makeup or if I'm wearing a particularly heavy foundation (Estee Lauder Double Wear I'm looking at you!) I turn to Clinique's Take The Day Off Balm - it manages to break down makeup really easily and quickly, washes away everything and leaves my skin makeup-free and ready for a cleanse. 

CLEANSING // I'm a sucker for a cleanser - I love having a variety of cleansers to pick and choose from depending on what my skin feels like it needs. On a day to day basis I grab FAB's Cleanser - it's unscented and just does the job of cleaning my skin without being over-complicated or fussy which I really appreciate. In the winter I reach for the cleansing balm offering from Emma Hardie because my skin gets so dry, it really needs that injection of moisture that this thick balm provides. In contrast to that, in the summer I love the Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel - it's really foamy and leaves my skin feeling really refreshed and squeaky clean - it's perfect to use in the mornings to wake me up too! The newest cleanser to my collection is another gel cleanser - the acclaimed Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. I've not had much change to test drive this one but I've loved it the few times I've used it - it's like the perfect hybrid between how lovely and hydrated a balm cleanser leaves my skin but also how fuss-free a gel cleanser is to use. 

MOISTURISING // I'm always a bit anxious at changing up my moisturiser - I'm nervous that using a heavier moisturiser that it's going to leave me looking all greasy and just encourage breakouts! So, I tend to stick to my Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre - it's another simple product that I can slap on and know that it works with my skin, it's easy and a product I reach for everyday. I've recently been adding the occasional spritz of Pixi's Hydrating Milky Mist into my routine when I'm feeling particularly lazy - putting cream on my face is just too much sometimes, a spritz of moisture is so much faster! 

BITS & BOBS // If my skin is feeling problematic (all of the redness and breakouts!) I tend to use a combination from La Roche Posay. Serozinc really helps to deal with the excess oil during a break out and just helps to calm my skin down. Their Effaclar Duo is what I dab on to spots to sort them out overnight - it really helps to reduce how angry breakouts can be and help them to fade away again! I tend not to exfoliate very often, my skin is quite sensitive so doesn't react very well to too many harsh chemicals so when I feel like my skin needs a bit of resurfacing I swipe over a FAB Facial Radiance Pad - they don't irritate my skin and just help to make my skin look brighter and fresher. Finally, the little treat step in my skincare routine is the splurgiest product in my cabinet - Sunday Riley Luna Oil is a little bit of a seemingly unnecessary step but oh wow it's fast become my favourite step! I wake up after using it as my last step in my skincare routine before bed the night before and my skin feels incredibly refreshed, plump and soothed. 



Wow, that's quite a lot of lotions and potions isn't it?! Having written this post I realise that I love having this variety of skincare products to create my perfect routine each day depending on how my skin is feeling.

What's in your bathroom cabinet? What are your go-to skincare products? Let me know in the comments - I'm sure I could squeeze in a few more bottles/tubs! 

Staycation // Appleby Horse Fair & Penrith

Staycation // Appleby Horse Fair & Penrith


Today's post is a somewhat hastily pulled together affair! I've been away in Cumbria for the past few days and to be honest, the need to organise/write a post for today completely slipped my mind! So I thought I'd share a few of my most favourite photos that I took whilst I was away!



We went up to Penrith to see the Appleby Horse Fair (my Grandad has been going every year for the past 38 years so this year we decided to go with him!) - our first stop was to go and sit on the banks of the River Eden to watch the travellers bring their ponies down to the river for a swim to cool off after the journey. 

I've never seen horses truly swim before and honestly it's beautiful - watching them splash around in the water before plunging in and seemingly canter through the ripples was stunning. 


The next day we went onto Fair Hill itself - what an experience! We wandered around the stalls and settled in to watch the hordes of ponies get driven down into the village - we loved it!

Afterwards we took a drive up to Lowther Estate to see the castle - oh wow, it really is beautiful! The scenery in the Lake District really is nothing like I've ever seen before - everywhere you look the mountains are just breathtaking!

  


On Saturday we took a trip along Ullswater Lake to visit Glenridding and Howtown. Both places were so quaint and cute - we even stumbled across the tiniest pub ever - the bar was only about a metre long!


We rounded off our trip with a drive up the fells to have a picnic for dinner. It was so relaxing to sit and eat in the quiet with such incredible views! We had a wander up the fell a little to see if we could spot any of the wild fell pony herd up on the fells and we did! We were even lucky enough to be able to see a foal - only three days old! It was such an amazing experience to be able to see the wild herd that my fell pony came from in their native habitat.


So that was our trip to Appleby - it was my first time visiting the Lake District and I can now truly understand why everyone raves about how beautiful it is up there! I'll definitely be going back next year!

Share The Love // May 2016

Share The Love // May 2016




It's time to share my most favourite posts that I read in May, here goes:


I have to say that a lot of these posts have really helped me mentally/emotionally this month - I'm so grateful that blogging has allowed for this outlet for people to share their feelings/experiences, it has certainly helped me to feel better this month!

What were your favourite posts that you read/wrote this month? Leave me links in the comments please!