My 2017 Obsession: Geocaching

a geocache found in devon

I have to admit that I get an obsession over certain things quite easily; whether it’s a new jacket I’ve been lusting after, a set of Spectrum brushes, an indulgent dish or over Geocaching! When I first started heading out on these adventures I wasn’t really sure what to expect, it had been recommended by a friend as an idea for a date, so I decided to try it out in 2016. Over a year later I still love it and regularly head out for a little expedition. Now you may be wondering what exactly Geocaching is, so carry on reading to find out more!

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7 Things Travelling Has Taught Me

travel on a budget

I am lucky enough to have been on some incredible trips in my life so far, from family holidays to Germany, to travelling solo to Thailand and enjoying the luxury of a villa (with a hot tub) in the south of France. Every trip teaches me something new, be it about travelling, my personal tastes or the wonderful world around me. I love to travel for so many reasons and I can’t wait for my next adventure. Here are just a few of the things that travelling has taught me…

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Tried and Tested: Holy Grail Make Up & Skincare Products

Tried and tested beauty products including Liz Earle, L'oreal and Rimmel

My beauty obsession began almost 10 years ago now, and since then I have tried hundreds of products. Having recently slimmed down my beauty collection to the core basics and just a few extra special additions, I thought I’d share some of my Holy Grail items with you. These are products that I have been using for years and will probably continue to buy for the rest of my life as they are simply the best, better than all the rest! Is there anything you think I need to add? Let me know in the comments!

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5 Reasons You Need To Invest In Spectrum Brushes

I’ve wanted to write a blog on my favourite brush brand to ever have existed for a while now, and I can’t believe I’ve only just gotten around to it! For anyone who knows me personally, or has seen my Twitter account, you’ll probably know that I am a tiny bit obsessed with a brand called Spectrum. For those of you who don’t know (HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING?!) they’re a vegan, cruelty free brush brand who sell the prettiest makeup utensils I have ever seen. Everything about them is amazing, from their customer service to the quality and aesthetic. I first discovered the brand when I received a Pink Strong Finish, AO4 Tapered Finishing brush in one of my monthly Birchboxes, and a few days later, a full set was the top of my Christmas list and I’ve never looked back! Here are just 5 (of around 1000) reasons why you too need to invest:

*C O M P E T I T I O N T I M E* Hey beauties, we’re so excited to announce that we’ll be stocked on Boots.com very soon 💕💗watch this space! To celebrate we’ve got a giveaway where you can win one of everything stocked on Boots.com ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨our 10 Piece essential set, 8 piece eye, Marbleous smoke & Sculpt sets, our White Marbleous cosmetics bag, Rainglow and a selection of 9 singles 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄Also a new 6 piece Beauty Fix set in 💕pink 💕which is exclusive to boots, swipe to see the set. To enter just make sure you’re following us, like the post & leave the comment #spectrumxboots The competition closes on Friday at 5pm and we’ll announce the winner just after. Open internationally. Good luck!

A post shared by Spectrum Collections ® (@spectrumcollections) on

1. They are the most Instagrammable products ever

As I mentioned before, these brushes are beyond beautiful. They come in a wide selection of colours (my current favourite is the Bomb Shell collection) to suit a wide range of personalities, occasions and moods. Even if you aren’t a good photographer, these brushes basically create the photograph for you, particularly if you have a set with one of the dreamy cases! I’m sure I read that the Instagramability of the brushes was what initially make them such a hit, and I can certainly see why! Check out their Instagram (@spectrumcollections) and you too will be in brush-envy heaven.

A selection of brushes in a copper basket

2. They have changed my makeup application forever

Having used cheap makeup brushes when I first started out with makeup, I never knew how much the brush quality would effect the final look. When I upgraded my brushes to a selection of Body Shop and Real Techniques, I immediately saw a difference in the way it applied to my skin and how long it lasted. Then when I discovered Spectrum brushes, I had found perfection. I love the In The Buff B01 Flat Top Buffer brush for applying foundation and will probably never use anything else! It gives such a glowy, even finish, and because of the softness, it feels so lovely on my face. Having the right tools for your makeup certainly makes a difference, and the selections of brushes available from spectrum mean that you’ll have something for every job.

beautiful Spectrum brushes in a copper basket

3. They are the easiest brushes to clean

I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes these brushes so easy to clean, possibly the synthetic fibres, but I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Having spent HOURS cleaning each individual brush before, my entire collection of Spectrum brushes seems to wash up perfectly in around half an hour. The foundation brush is obviously the tough one, but even this seems to clean up well. I’m definitely going to invest in some of the Mermaid Tail Scrub (brush soap) in my next order as from what I’ve read; this is going to make the cleaning process even easier!

The Spectrum Glam Clam Case

4. The storage cases are ADORABLE

Who wouldn’t want a clam shaped bag to hold their makeup brushes? The cases are divine, and very handy! It helps me to keep my makeup station in order and is perfect for travelling. I hate nothing more than having to rummage around in a bag to find the brush I need, so this makes everything easier.

If you’ve not heard, they’ve even just launched a new collection in collaboration with Mean Girls, and the case is “so fetch”; it’s a BURN BOOK! All of the brushes have cute little phrases on such as “You can’t sit with us” and other throwbacks to our favourite childhood film and when stored in a real life burn book, it’s any 00s girls dream! They shared snippets of the launch event on their Instagram and it looked like a small section of paradise.

A screenshot from the Spectrum instagram

5. Everything about their brand is inspiring

My final reason to buy the brushes is less about the products and more about the brand itself. I’ve read many stories about the two women (Sophie and Hannah) who set the company up and how they came to be where they are today and I find them very inspirational, particularly when they’ve created such an incredible range of products! The screenshot above is just a sneek peak of how AMAZING their Instagram is, so be sure to check them out @spectrumcollections. Having started from their garage in Barry, Wales, they’ve made a massive entrance to the industry and I don’t think they’ll be going away any time soon! The products are all cruelty free and vegan too which seems to be a rarity in today’s beauty industry! Even after the terrible things that have happened over the last few weeks (check out their blog if you’ve not already heard) the girls are still up and fighting for their brand! The first time Spectrum ever retweeted me and replied I had a proper fan girl moment and sent the screenshot to all my family members and friends because I was so happy! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM!

The other fantastic piece of news is that they’re now on boots.com (and I believe in select Boots stores)! Have you tried Spectrum brushes yet? Which is your favourite collection? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Screenshot images from @spectrumcollections/Instagram.

How To Land Your Dream Fashion Placement

The fashion industry can often seem like a daunting one to break in to, and it’s understandable why: often you visualise that the people you’ll be working with to be extremely well-dressed, completely self-centered and incredibly pretentious. Whilst that may be true some of the time, you’ll often come into contact with people that are somewhat human!

Saying that you work within the “fashion industry” is incredibly vague due to how many elements there are that make it up, which means that often it is also hard to find a way in. Before landing your first job, you’ll be asked hundreds of times if you have experience, and if you don’t it can be very embarrassing!

The thing is, getting work experience in fashion isn’t actually as difficult as you may think! Thanks to there being so many different sectors within the business, there are also so many people who are willing to help you out. Here are my top tips on how to get work experience when working in fashion.

Clothes on a rail

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My 3-Month Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

a clothing rail ready for my capsule wardrobe

If you read my recent post on Slow Fashion, you’ll know that the topic greatly interests me and that I have been trying to make some changes for the better with my shopping and clothing habits. (If you want to know why then head back to the Slow Fashion blog and you’ll find the large majority of my reasons). Anyway, having found several inspirational bloggers and a ton of pins on Pinterest discussing the benefits of building a capsule wardrobe I’ve decided to give it a go from the next season (autumn). If you’re curious about what a capsule wardrobe is, why I’m building one or have any questions, then hopefully this piece will answer a few of them. You can also check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the challenge here; this is where I’ve done a lot of my research and found some fab inspiration.

My Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe Challenge Graphic

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8 Reasons Why Finland is my Latest Travel Obsession

The Aurora borealis in Finland

Whilst having a browse through Pinterest the other day, I discovered a post about something else which has long been on my travel bucket list, to stay in a glass igloo in Finland! I have to admit, as much as I’ve lusted over visiting this magical haven, I’d never actually done any research into the things to do there and prices. Then I stumbled upon this very inspirational blog (with incredible photos!) by We Are Travel Girls, you can read about their experiences here, it’s worth a read, trust me. I have to admit, I’ve never wanted to get up and go somewhere as much as I did having read this piece. In fact, I grabbed my laptop immediately and began to research all the things discussed further! Having read a little more about Finland, here are just 8 of the reasons why it has become my latest travel obsession:

Alt: Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Finland

1. The Glass Igloo Dream

So, the glass igloos have always been on my bucket list. Just imagine sleeping under the stars, watching the natural beauty of the Northern Lights and drifting off to sleep in possibly the most magical place in the world. The igloos look picture perfect, and I imagine offer a truly unique experience that you really couldn’t get anywhere else in the world! Just take a look at the photos and you’ll be left in awe.

A wooden sledge in the snow

2. Sledging

This one might be a slightly childish reason, but I watched a video of a very candid couple visiting the Kakslauttanen Arctic Village and heading off down a mountain covered in a thick sheet of snow and it made my inner child jump right out! I’ve never really experienced proper snow, just the rubbishy excuse that we experience here in England, and some not-very-snowy snow on my last ski trip to France, and I really would LOVE to go sledging on that mountain.

Snowmobile in Finland

3. Snow Mobile Safaris

I’ve ridden a quad bike and ridden a jet ski, so next on my list is naturally a snow mobile, and why not take it for a test drive on a safari in Finland?! The safari looks like a once in a lifetime experience, with a stop off for some tea or even a chance to cook lunch on a roaring fire, it sounds like a true adventure!

a smoke sauna in Finland

4. Smoke Saunas

Until recently on a spa weekend, I wasn’t a big fan of saunas as I find they make it a little hard to breathe. However, at my spa weekend my opinion changed and the thought of a steamy hot sauna in the centre of an ice haven sounds like a dream come true! I have to admit, my only problem with this type of holiday is that I’m not a massive fan of the cold… With a sauna at my disposal though, I think I’ll cope!

An icy lake in Finland for swimming

5. Ice Swimming

This sounds like an interesting idea to me, however, when I read “don’t worry if it’s frozen over, we’ll simply cut a hole in for you” I was a little concerned. Surely it is far too cold to swim in? Apparently not, and although I’m not sure I believe them, I still want to have a go and swim beneath the ice! Imagine going diving there!

Skiing on a mountain in Finland

6. The Skiing

I’ve only ever been skiing once, and lets face it, I wasn’t very good at it. My hand-eye coordination has never been fantastic, neither has my balance and this leads me to being very clumsy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it and wish that I was good. The skiing in Finland looks ridiculous, particularly at Saariselkä, one of the best cross-country skiing destinations in the world, the 200km track and 30 kilometres of illumination, I would LOVE to have a lesson here.

The Ice Hotel in Finland

7. The Arctic Snow Hotel

On my ski trip to France, we visited an amazing igloo for a not-so-amazing party; the vibe might have been dull but the surroundings and sculptures were so very beautiful. The Artic Snow Hotel is on another level however, and looks like an absolute palace! You can even rent a room here, and apparantly you won’t freeze to death either! Everything is illuminated with vibrant lights, bringing out the strong ice patterns and really giving the whole place a life of its own!

The Northern Lights over a mountain in Norway

8. The Northern Lights

I’m not sure why I’ve left this until last, as the Northern Lights was the original reason that I first fell in love with the thought of Finland. If you’ve ever seen the film ‘Brother Bear’ you’ll know that the Northern Lights is probably the most magical thing ever to have happened, and I would very much like to experience this for myself! I realise that I’m comparing a real life experience to a cartoon film about a bear, but it really is a fantastic film with wonderful annimation, and it has set my expectations high! I’ve heard that you can sometimes see the Northern Lights from Scotland, but I can’t imagine that it will be quite as unqiue as seeing them from a glass igloo in Finland…

Have you ever visited Finland, or dreamed of visiting? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

Images: Clément Belleudy and Tarja Mitrovic

 

Introducing The Travel Blog Squad on Pinterest

Having struggled to gain any kind of reach on Pinterest, a group of my blogging friends came up with the idea that we should start our own collaborative-shared board where all of our travel blogger friends can share their tips and stories, so that is just what we have done!

If you’ve not experienced shared boards before, then this will be a very happy discovery for you, as it allows you to pin to the same boards as others, rather than just your own. The pins are all focused around the same topics (in our case, travel), and naturally, all the collaborators have a shared interest, which means that both your reach and engagement levels can see great increases when shared to these boards!

Our board is called “The Travel Blog Squad” and can be found here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cultureandcouture/the-travel-squad/. If you would like to become a collaborator, feel free to fill out my contact form, or give one of the current collaborators to the board a message on Pinterest with a link to your blog, and a short summary about you and your content and we’ll be happy to add you into our squad!

Obviously, as our board is just starting out it’s unlikely that you’re engagement will increase tenfold immediately, however, we hope that in the near future this will be a fantastic place for travel bloggers to come together to share their experiences with a wide, engaging audience! If you have any questions feel free to get in touch!

Introducing The Travel Blog Squad on Pinterest

We can’t wait to add you all to our new board and hope that you find it helpful! Happy pinning!

My Ultimate Alternative Travel Bucket List

Travel has long been a passion of mine; I love everything about it, from the build up of sheer excitement before the trip to the excitement about returning home to my own bed, and everything in between. Being away from home certainly changes your perspective, and learning about new cultures and traditions, alongside discovering stunning destinations all over the world pairs together for the ultimate experience. As I grow older, my preferences of where I’d like to travel and what I’d like to do have greatly changed, however, there are a few places that have captured my heart and long been on my bucket list:

Alt: Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Finland

Sleep under the stars in an Igloo

Having stumbled upon this idea whilst browsing through Pinterest some years ago, I’ve fallen in love with the idea! I absolutely love stargazing, and imagine doing this in your very own igloo haven? The picture above is of the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village in Finland, and look at how amazing, and cosy, and romantic it looks. My dream is to visit at a time when you can see the Northern Lights as that is something that is also on my bucket list!

Alt: Holiday village in the Maldives

Take a break in an over-water villa in the Maldives

This may be something that is on everyone’s bucket list, but it looks incredible. The inspiration for this came from a Tanya Burr video I once watched where she visited the Maldives, and it looked so relaxing, and like it was quite a unique visit. I’ve even seen some resorts that have slides on the roof so you can skid down straight into the crystal clear sea, then you can head back to your room and watch the fishes below through a glass panel, WHILST enjoying a lovely full body massage! Dreamy right? I have to admit though, I’m saving this trip for a very special occasion (for example when I graduate next year, or my honeymoon if I ever get married)!

Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park in California

Hunt for treasure on The Glass Beach in California

The Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park is the result of a terrible tragedy of an astounding amount of rubbish having been dumped, but resulted in something truly beautiful. The sand is made up from gently polished shards of glass, which have been worn away over hundreds of years. Many who visit spend hours searching for the rare ruby-red gems, which would have once been part of pre-1967 car lights, or sapphire stones created from old apothecary bottles which sounds like an exciting experience! I’ve never seen anything quite like this anywhere else in the world, and I imagine it to be a breath-taking experience where picture perfect moments are all that surround!

A group of flamingos spotted in Kenya

Flamingo Spotting in Kenya

Rumour has it that a secret spot in Kenya is the best place to see flamingos migrating, and at peak periods, you can see up to four million birds! They fly in impressive V-shapes and brighten up the sky with their pretty pink feathers. I’ll admit, this is a new addition to my list as my latest obsession (second to Spectrum brushes) are all things tropical themed! Although I imagine they’ll probably scare me half to death, the sight would be incredible, and something I imagine would be ingrained in my memory forever.

The El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico

Go Geocaching in The El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico

I imagine the rainforest to be a photographers dream, and as an avid fan of exploring new destinations, I would absolutely love to go Geocaching – and set my own sneaky caches, in the El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico. With a similar biodiversity to the Amazon rainforest, but squeezed into just 28,000 acres, this rainforest certainly doesn’t skimp on interest. It has over 240 different species of trees alone, not to mention the rest of the flora. With around 18 walking/hiking trails I’m sure you could spend years exploring the unique forest! I’ve read online a few times that some of the most amazing caches can be found here and I would simply love to go on the most unique Geocaching adventure of all!

 A National Park located in Croatia

Go on an island-hopping extravaganza in Croatia

If you read my first ever blog on Greece, you’ll know how much I LOVE island hopping, and think it is a fantastic way to explore! With the recent trend for visiting Croatia set aside, it has long been a destination I’ve lusted over visiting, and I can’t think of any better way than through an island hopping extravaganza through the thousands of islands and inlets. I’d love to try the wide variety of sumptuous foods, get the adrenaline flowing on some water sporting activities and explore the wonders of the national parks and cities! There is SO much on offer there that I imagine it’ll be a place I return to time and time again. I’m even considering ticking this off my list in my next in my next holiday planning session!

Girls walking on a catwalk at Fashion Week

Visit the four big Fashion Weeks: London, Paris, Milan & New York

With an interest in fashion having been my passion for the last eight or so years, I’ve dreamt of visiting the prestigious Fashion Week events in places such as Milan, Paris and New York for many years. We visited London Fashion Weekend a couple of years ago, and I loved the experience but just wanted to see more! I would love nothing more than to gaze over the incredible designs, to meet the designers and get a deeper insight into the industry and to write of my experiences – particularly with the sustainability movement that is up and coming! I’m excited to see where the industry goes in the next few years, and hopefully by the time I get an invite to one of these show stopping events we will have seen the changes starting to take place to make the industry more ethical and sustainable!

Image credit: Tarja Mitrovic, Lisa Nottingham, Jeff Gunn