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Favourites // July 2016

Favourites // July 2016



I felt like July flew by! I was essentially on night shifts for the whole of July which meant that I felt like I slept for most of the month, haha! 

For the most part July was pretty quiet, highlights included: making the most of my rest days by taking Little Prin on lots of walks in the sunshine, also Starbucks *finally* brought Teavana iced tea over here so that obsession took over most of my month! Workwise - I had a run of super busy night shifts but I really enjoyed the challenge and how much confidence they gave me! Plus the last week of the month marked me being on the shift rota for two whole rotations! I took the last week of the month off work because it was my birthday so we decided to dedicate the whole week to having birthday fun - it was amazing to be able to spend the whole week with my family, I was so grateful for that time off work!

Anyway, onto my faves for the past month!

MONOGRAMMED TOWEL // I've been obsessed with slapping my monogram onto everything I own for the past couple of years (totally guilty of monogramming my car, sorry not sorry!) and I've always coveted a monogrammed towel - it's weird, I know! - so now I finally have one! It's ridiculous how much joy and life affirmation a towel has brought me!

YANKEE CANDLE 'BARBERSHOP' COLLECTION // I'm all about candles that smell a bit musky and manly (I mean I once described a candle scent as "walking through apple trees in the autumn with a hot man in a checked shirt by your side"!) and this collection ticks those boxes! I love all of the scents in the collection but 'Chrome' is my absolute favourite - it's delicious!

L'OREAL NUDE MAGIQUE CUSHION FOUNDATION // I'm a foundation junkie and this is the latest I've added to my collection. I'm not usually the biggest fan of drugstore foundations but this one has made it's way to being the foundation I reach for pretty much every day! I really like the shade (it's usually a struggle for me to find a pale enough shade!), the application is super messy (I like how it's a liquid foundation but in a compact!) and it has really good coverage for a foundation that feels so light on the skin.

L'OREAL PURE CLAY DETOX MASK // I'm not a dedicated face mask user but I picked this up on a whim (it was on the display in Boots next to the foundation - that's how they get you, isn't it?!) and have actually used it twice a week since I got it! It really feels like it draws out the impurities in my skin and leaves it feeling super clean and refreshed. I've got my eye on the glow-y one next! 

ORLY 'RAGE' NAIL POLISH // As is every other blogger out there I'm still crushing hard on all things rose gold. I painted my toe nails with this shade at the start of the month and I've been loving how nice it looks when I'm wearing sandals! If you're on the hunt for the perfect rose gold polish then this is a really good one to pick up!

LE PEN // These pens caught my eye when I saw some planner girls on YT singing their praises a couple of months ago and I've been on the hunt for them (the stationery obsessive that I am!) ever since but even I couldn't warrant paying for shipping from the US for a couple of pens I might not even like writing with! But when I was picking up another couple of candles from the Barbershop collection in Clintons I saw these pens by the till - I got far too excited than I should have and grabbed a couple. As it turns out the planner girls were right, these pens are fab! They write really smoothly and my handwriting actually looks okay when I use it! Plus they write on glossy stickers so they're perfect for using in my planner!

BIRTHDAY WEEK // Like I mentioned I took the week before my birthday off work so that I could get in some real quality time with my family! It was honestly probably the best week of the whole year - we all had so much fun! We packed so much into the week (so much so that a whole post is going to be dedicated to it that should be coming in the next week or so!): a trip to the beach, a visit to our fave ice cream parlour, a trip to the zoo, an insane picnic at the zoo, a breakfast out, a show at the theatre and dinner out to celebrate my actual birthday! To be honest I'm a little bit glad to be going back to work next week for a rest!


So 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 // July 2016

Insta-Lately // July 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 :)



Right at the start of the month I picked up my new car! - my beautiful Volare blue fiat 500 lounge - all of the heart eyed emojis! I love it so much I dedicated a whole post to it!


I really loved the photo I took for my June Favourites post - it's just so summery! Plus the blue tones fit my IG theme perfectly!


Little Miss Katy is all of the insta-goal, especially her overhead legs-in-shot photos - this was my attempt at one for my Share the Love // June post!


At the end of June I really established my planning mojo and figured out how to plan out my week in a way that works the best for me! This week turned out super pretty so I felt it deserved an instagram feature!

Pssssttt - I shared how I use my Erin Condren Life Planner in this post


You'd never know I've got a problem with hoarding blue nail polish, would you?! Plus any excuse to throw a bit of a marble background into my feed! I shared my faves in this post!


All of this amazing hot weather we've had this past month meant that an ice-cream sweet treat after dinner was a must - these Ben & Jerry's ice-cream sandwiches are my favourite!


*Finally* Starbucks have brought the Teavana shaken iced teas to the UK - oh my goodness, they were worth the wait! I'm definitely guilty of driving to town just to grab one of these - black iced tea with 3 pumps of peach syrup is my go to order!


The crazy hot (almost tropical storm!) weather called for easy to throw on dresses and sandals on repeat!

Pssssttt - I shared my summer wishlist in this post


This year for my birthday I booked the week of work so that we could plan a week of fun activities - our first trip was to the beach at New Brighton! It was so much fun, Little Prin loved running around on the sand!


I indulged my monogram obsession and bought myself some monogrammed towels - I'm in love with them!

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So that was July! I felt like I had so much time off because I was on nights for basically the whole of the month, it was so much fun!

Currently // 24-7

Currently // 24-7



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

Eating // fromage frais yoghurts - yep the ones for kids. What can I say - I just really like them!

Drinking // a massive mason jar packed with ice and filled with diet coke - it's just so darn hot!

Watching // lots of weekly vlogs - I really enjoy seeing YT people be more 'real' on their weekly vlogs

Listening // all the country music all the time - my new car plays music via my iPhone so I've been loving driving round with the windows down and some country tunes on - something that epitomises summer to me!

Reading // Carrie Hope Fletcher's new (and first!) fiction novel - On the Other Side! I'm loving it so far - it's such a unique and original plot!

Planning // how I'm going to spend my week off work next week - I decided to take the week before my birthday off so I can make the most of my birthday!

Obsessing // over how amazing the weather has been for the last couple of weeks - beautiful blue skies, blazing hot sunshine - it has been fab!

Smelling // I'm still working on burning up my candle stash - this month I've been burning Yankee Candle's Lotus flower pretty consistently - it is being so stubborn, it's taking absolutely ages to finish!

Wearing // my UGG flip flops all. the. time. - they're just so bloomin' comfy!

Wanting // a bit of an update for my blog design - I've *finally* added a SHOP page (I've had this page created but in draft since January!). Now I want to add slider with recent posts - but at the minute the coding for it is completely alluding me - I may have to bite the bullet and buy a whole new blog design that already has it included, which saddens me because I really love my current design!

Feeling // kinda down lately if I'm honest - I was on nights for the whole of July which has really altered my mood and made me feel tired all the time and a bit sad and just generally not in a very happy place.

10 Fashion Buys on my Summer Wishlist

10 Fashion Buys on my Summer Wishlist



Okay, seeing as we've had least two days of a heatwave (currently melting in my 27 °C room, very disappointed that the beautiful copper fan from Sainsburys that every blogger and their mother has isn't that fab at actually cooling my room down - but it does look so pretty sitting on my chest of drawers so there's that I suppose!) I think we can safely say that British Summertime has arrived - finally!

So in honour of that and the fact that I've decided to throw caution to the wind and spontaneously book a week in the sun (Marbella I'm coming for ya!) in October I decided to let myself have a little peruse of all of the summery fashion bits and bobs that's on offer, and well it'd be rude not to share my fave picks wouldn't it?


10 things on my summer wishlist



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Now summer, if you could just hang around long enough for some of these to be delivered after my payday shopping sesh next week that'd be marvellous, thanks!


Feeling the Blues // My Favourite Blue Nail Polishes

Feeling the Blues // My Favourite Blue Nail Polishes



I was looking through my (admittedly obscenely large) nail polish collection the other day on the hunt for a blue nail polish to paint my nails with and I realised that I seem to have amassed quite a few bottles all of a very similar blue hue - oops!

Apparently I just can't get enough of this sky blue/cornflower blue colour - if I'm not at work I, more often than not, reach for a blue polish to paint on my nails and then in the summer I paint and repaint my toenails with one of these bright blues.

I have become so obsessed with my hunt for the 'perfect' blue shade that I thought it was time to blog about my favourite blues that I've found so far, so here are my top six blue nail polish shades I'm loving:

SEVENTEEN GEL COLOUR // LIGHT BLUE

TOPSHOP // BLUE RINSE

BARRY M COCONUT INFUSION // LAGUNA

JESSICA // TRUE BLUE

BARRY M SUNSET GEL // BUG A BLUE

ESSIE // SALTWATER HAPPY


How I Use my Erin Condren Life Planner

How I Use my Erin Condren Life Planner





I've had my Erin Condren Life Planner for just over six months now and I'm still as obsessed with it as I was when I first ordered it (!) so I thought it was time to share a little 'how I use it'-type of post here on the ol' blog!

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The stickerating element of using an ECLP is definitely what drew me to it. I love how customisable you can make your week so that your planner works the best that it can for you. And I love how easy it is to be creative with it - even me (who is seriously lacking in creative talent!) can use stickers to make look oh so pretty whilst still being functional. 

STICKERS //
I pretty much always stick to the colour scheme of the month, I just like everything to match and flow. For three weeks of the month I use a monthly kit and then one week I treat myself to using a bit more decorative and fancy weekly kit (it's a little bit cheaper than to buy a weekly kit for each week of the month!). I like how this combination works because it really fits with how I like my planner to look - quite a clean and uncomplicated spread, so I tend to go for a majority of functional stickers with just a few decorative stickers thrown in - my stickers have to add to the functionality of my planner and not detract from it. For example, it sounds crazy but I love the bin stickers - I think they're a much cuter way of keeping track of which bin is being collected each week!

WEEKLY LAYOUT //
Over the last month I think I've finally nailed how I like my weekly spreads to look. I like half boxes and white space at the top of the daily column for any big tasks for the day (so which section I'm working in on that shift or something I need to get done that day). The middle section is where I can add extra things that I'm doing - but primarily it's where I like to have the most decoration in my week. In the bottom boxes I always have to-do lists for those little bits and pieces that I need to write down otherwise I'll forget to do them!

DAILY SECTIONS //
The way my week looks is very uniform across the week, despite the fact that every day is different. I use header stickers to categorise the different sections of the day depending on what I have going on. For example, the days that I have work I use a work header for the top section, but the days I'm off I use a today header. For the days I'm at work, I like to use an afterwork header for all the things I want to get done after my shift. I like how the headers split up my days differently so that each day can be planned out in the most appropriate way for me and my schedule.

SIDEBAR //
The sidebar is very functional for me - it has my work schedule for the week (ie. what shifts I'm on and when my rest days are) and also a step tracker (I just like seeing which days I'm more sedentary than others so I can hopefully improve on them!).

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After six months of changing up how I plan out my weeks I'm so happy to have finally found a way of planning that is functional and helps me stay organised but also is a creative outlet for me and looks pretty!

My next task is to make myself use the monthly spread in a more helpful way, any planners out there have any tips and tricks for me?


Five YA Books in my TBR Pile

Five YA Books in my TBR Pile



I'm a total bookworm - I reach for a book at any (and every) given opportunity. A half an hour of winding down before bed, a couple of minutes in my car if I get somewhere just that little bit too early, hours upon hours getting lost in fiction whilst sitting in the garden during the summer. I just love reading, I've always got a few new books on my kindle ready to go - I live in perpetual fear of being somewhere and finishing a book without having a new one to start straight away (crazy, I know!). 

So I thought I'd share some of the YA (my favourite genre, don't judge me for still reading YA at 22 y/o!) novels I've got sat in my TBR pile:

THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J Maas // After I fell head over heels for the ACOTAR and ACOMAF series I knew I wanted to read some more by Sarah J Maas - I adore her writing style, her plots are so complex and thrilling, her characters are so multi-dimensional and her romances - oh her romances! I can't wait to have some more from this author in my reading life!

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh // This came up in my kindle suggested books and the blurb really intrigued me - I'm a sucker for a strong female protagonist! I've not really heard anyone rave about this book so we shall see how I get on!

ALWAYS WITH LOVE by Giovanna Fletcher // Gi's books are the perfect chick lit for me - they're such easy and enjoyable reads! Sophie and Billy's story is by far my favourite so I'm very excited to read the next instalment!

UP IN FLAMES by Abbi Glines // I love the Rosemary Beach series (and all of Abbi Glines' other series because she's just awesome!) so of course I can't wait to read the final book in the series (sob! I'm not ready to say goodbye to all of the character pairings I've come to love!)! I adore all of the other characters in this series, Nan is by far my least favourite so I'm intrigued to see if this novel will change my mind about her! Plus, the release of the last book in a series is just a good excuse to re-read the whole series first, right?!

ON THE OTHER SIDE by Carrie Hope Fletcher // Carrie is such a bookworm so I'm really looking forward to her debut fiction release! I've got high hopes because the blurb has me so interested already! The premise of the whole novel sounds really original and unique way of presenting a love story.


also - apologies for the acronym-heavy post title!

My New Car // Fiat 500 Volare Blue

My New Car // Fiat 500 Volare Blue






Apologies in advance but this post is basically me sharing my excitement for my new car!

Last week I signed for my first brand new car! I'd had my old car since I passed my test five years ago and to be honest it just wasn't cutting it anymore - it was a bit too old to be doing the long commute to my work every day and was starting to be a bit temperamental - there were a few times last winter when I'd got in my car to drive home after my shift and it wouldn't start which meant having to sit around waiting for the breakdown man to come and fix it before I could go home which wasn't really ideal! It was time for a little upgrade and a grown up purchase!

Anyway, this is my new baby! It's a Fiat 500 Lounge in Volare Blue! When I was looking at new cars it was a no brainer - this has been my dream car for the past few years now (to be honest it's the only car I've ever driven past and thought "oooh that's pretty"!) - this colour definitely helped with that decision, if I was a colour I would be this colour! This creamy, bright cornflower blue is the colour that I always have painted on my nails when I'm not on work - I just can't get enough of it!

I'm no car buff (far from it!) - all I can say is that I love driving it, it feels really comfortable and is surprisingly more roomy that I was anticipating - I just adore it! 

Every time I look out my window and see it parked on the drive I just get so happy and feel so proud of myself - I've worked so hard to get into the position that I am, to be able to treat myself to this commitment! This is the first car that I've basically decided that I wanted and subsequently got for all by myself (well Mum was there to hold my hand throughout the scary adulting process of course!).

So that's my new car...beep beep!

Share The Love // June 2016

Share The Love // June 2016



Apparently it's already time to share my fave blog posts that I read in June - I swear I was only writing last month's the other day!

  • I've had some serious wanderlust this month - every seems to be jetting off on their summer adventures! I especially loved watching Amelia's vlog (it has definitely made Cyprus a potential for my summer jolly this year!) and Carly's series of blog posts about her trip to Ireland - Ireland's right on my doorstep but I've never really felt the year to go and explore it, Carly's definitely changed my mind - I didn't realise how beautiful it is!
  • Speaking of travel - I thought Aftab's post sharing his first Solo Travel Experience was such a lovely read - I was so proud reading it that he managed to go and explore Paris all on his own! I know for sure that solo travel will never be inside my comfort zone!
  • I found this post from Laura to be really helpful - I'm yet to invest in a 'proper' camera (I'm looking at you Olympus Pen!) for blog photos, I love the ease of using my iPhone and I'm always on the lookout for tips and tricks to get the most out of my iPhone camera.
  • I'm a pretty anxious/worrier type of person generally in all aspects of my life (including my bloggy one!) so this post from Rebecca was right up my street - The Worrier's Guide to Blogging
  • Another bloggy tip post that I really found helpful this month was this one from Katy Belle - I work full time as part of a 24 hour shift service (all the night shifts, early shifts, weekend days along with 'normal' 9-5 hours!) so it's a struggle at times to fit work, studying for my next portfolio for work, 'life' and blogging all in so the tips in this post are much needed!
  • Speaking of work - I'm always saying sorry - literally it's a running joke, everyone at work makes fun of me for it! This post from Dara really opened my eyes to how people may perceive me as a result of my near-constant apologies - really worth a read if you're a serial apologizer like me!
  • I have such a sweet tooth - I'll be trying out this healthy chocolate smoothie bowl recipe from the Blonde Prep very soon!
  • This outfit that Amelia posted has given me serious summer outfit inspo!
  • Both mum and I are serious candle lovers so Rebecca's Ultimate Candle Lovers Guide was right up my street - all of the candles please!
  • Hannah Gale is just goals in all aspects of life but this post about when her and Chris built the perfect den is just too amazing - I need a den building buddy!

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