Thursday, 24 December 2015

Weird and Wonderful Gift Guide

I know I've left it a lil late to post a gift guide - alright, it's Christmas Eve - but I've spent the last few days catching up with old school friends and getting lost in glasses of Bucks Fizz. Mea Culpa.

For the disco queen in your life, why not treat her to some new dancing shoes? Adding groovy textures adds a certain je ne sais quoi to any outfit.

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If you know a culture vulture, why not treat them to a membership at a gallery or a magazine subscription? As I'm always back and forth to London and love watching retro films on the big screen, I think a membership to The Prince  Charles Cinema would be a hit!

This month they've been hosting a range of 'Mulled Wine & Mince Pies Night' in which Christmas classics such as Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf are screened and upon arrival guest receive.. yep, you guessed it, a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie!

If you're after an ace secret santa gift for a girlfriend, look no further! During the holiday season most brands release mini gift sets with miniature samples of their best selling products. This is a savvy way to test cult products before purchasing the full sizes.

£10 limit...

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£20 limit...

How amazing do these little pots of aromatherapy bath oil looks?! There are five in total that are based around the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water!

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If you want to treat your loved one to a lil somezin somezin designer, but are strapped for cash - TK MAXX bargains are the answer!

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If you know someone who loves curling up with a book and has a open mind, why not opt for a quirky book?

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 If you're looking to treat someone to some new home décor, how about a cosmic ring dish and a funky fruit bowl?

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Here's some suggestions if you're buying for the kiddiewinks...

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If you do have little'uns, I wholeheartedly recommend watching Room On The Broom together this Christmas ~ it's such a charming story!

For those who are feeling particularly generous, feast your eyes on these:

1: These quirky bags are handcrafted in Nairobi ~ they're all marvellous but this Savanna reminds me of the sun! 2: This insane pallet from Smashbox holds a whopping 25 (!) lipsticks, although I must say some are the names are hysterical "What shade are you wearing?" "Phil" ... 3. This Sigma Mrs.Bunny travel set of brushes speaks for itself! 4. I adore the constellation / Greek Gods theme behind Aesop's Christmas collection this year! 5. This limited edition Flowerbomb perfume is so festive! 6. My fondest Christmas memory is belting Destiny's Child's Survivor with my cousin Livvy on a karaoke machine circa 2003! Great after a few too many bucks fizz...

New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker, photo by Paul Kolnik

Why not treat a special someone to a lovely afternoon out and about. Explore that new Italian restaurant  that you've been eyeing up for weeks, or go to a groovy exhibition! Personally there's two events that have been on my radar recently. I'd love to check out the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science museum and spend an evening watching the Moscow City Ballet perform the Nutcracker in Manchester!

& Finally I thought I'd mention a brilliant charity called Crisis. My childhood friend Ioanna is spending her Christmas day at a local soup kitchen to volunteer and I have so much respect for her. If you have any spare money, why not donate your time or buy a Christmas dinner for a fellow soul.

Wherever in the world you are, HAPPY CHRISTMAS from my family to yours!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


Hip hip hooray ~ it's DBJ's birthday!

I'll save you a piece of cake!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Bibbidi-Bobbidi Bits & Bobs #12

Morning Petals!

It's been a minute since I last blogged as I've been up to my eyeballs in uni assignments and burning the candle at both ends. As I don't take my laptop to hostels in London during the week, my only blogging time is the w/ends which are usually spent catching up on sleep and getting up to trouble. I thought I'd fill you in, so grab a cuppa!

I've just returned from another week hostel hopping, this week I was at a groovy hostel in Kings Cross called Clink 78. The building is stupendously grand and used to be a courthouse where The Clash once stood trial for shooting a pigeon in '78 and where Charles Dickens worked as a scribe... pretty neat!

Although my living situation is a lil different to most, that doesn't stop Christmas... oh no! This week I stayed in a room with 12 ladies and it was so endearing how many had advent calendars ~ now that's dedication! I also woke up one morning to find a giant Christmas tree in the lobby à la Hogwarts. Anywho, I thought I'd share some bits and bobs that have grabbed my attention over the last few weeks ~ let's dive in...

I recently discovered an offbeat makeup artist called Isamaya Ffrench whose work is inspiring me to be more creative with my makeup and forget the rules ~ for instance, lately I've been using lipsticks as blushers, glitter eyeshadows in my brows and I'm even in the market now for a purple mascara!

Not only is Isamaya the beauty director at i-D magazine, but she's also a UK brand ambassador for YSL. For your surrealism fix, follow her wackydooda instagram ~

I thought I'd share a Youtuber that I've been digging for little over a year now. His name is Alex Ikonn who is an entrepreneur and creates motivating content ~ if you want your daily dose of inspiration, look no further! Here are two tips that I've picked up from his vlogs that I've incorporated and recommend you to do so too:

1) Working in pomodoro's. In a nutshell, it's a super effective technique in which you work in 25 minute intervals. Put your phone on silent, get shit done.

2) In a recent vlog Alex encouraged his viewers to always volunteer to go first, whether it's in your business/social/academic life, as it shows passion and initiative. In many of my uni workshops we have to share our weekly progress and even in year 3, it's still daunting when the dreaded question "who wants to go first?" engulfs the room. As we all have to bite the bullet eventually, I've started to volunteer which my lecturers are definitely taking note of!

Alex's quote "Sit in the front row, ask questions - there are no stupid questions" really resonated with me and reminded me of this corker:

I think this vlog is a great place to begin and will hopefully leave you feeling pumped :-) Alex's kickass wife Mimi's channel is also enriching and also leaves me feeling like I want to better myself!

 & When all else fails, there's always Shia...

This may or may not be my screensaver.
Winter is well and truly in full swing now and it's all about layers. I love these two Topshop pieces as not only do they add a pop of colour, but they also add a jazzy vibe to any outfit whilst warming your cockles! It's always an added bonus when you can totally see your style icon sporting these, Padmé Amidala in my case... speaking of Star Wars, 9 DAYS TO GO!"£?$!"£%£!

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I was recently browsing The Guardian for some inspiration for my Digital Journalism in Practice course when I stumbled upon this spellbinding article entitled Around the World in 40 Pirouettes. As tis the season for spreading a wee holiday cheer, I thought these backstage glimpses of ballet productions of the Nutcracker in all corners of the world was appropriate.

I'm actually planning on blogging about my favourite Christmas films soon which will most definitely feature Clara and the Mouse King, so keep your eyes peeled!

Has anyone else spotted these hysterical Christmas adverts featuring Jeff Goldblum on the telly recently?! I dare you not to chortle!

In my BBB&B posts, I usually share a bunch of mesmerising outfits spotted on the red carpet lately and lust over them. This time there's only one and it's this magnificent noir number that Gwen Stefani wore to the AMAs...

How amazing is the recent announcement that the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be headlining next years Leeds fest?! I've been a die-hard fan of theirs for many moons now and I'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat if the festival wasn't held in August, as that's the month I visit my grandmother in Greece. Whenever I'm working on assignments and need a lil background noise, I always flick one of their concerts on:
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Finally, I thought I'd share this brilliant blog post from my old high school chum Violet who is documenting her year abroad in Paris... alright for some ;-) The post is called Lost in Translation and follows her journey weaving her way in and out of the French language ~ did you know that baguette also means chopsticks, wand and drumsticks? ... confusion/chaos ensue! The piece is particularly hysterical and relatable as I often get myself in a tangle when I'm in Greece. In fact, I just might write a post about the plethora of ridiculous situations I've been in ~ let's just say that the only difference between minced meat and waves is which syllable you annunciate! In any case, I've found that the best way to escape awkward scenarios is to yell "hey is that a unicorn?"

Violet also wrote an incredibly poignant post called Learning to Dance in the Rain following the aftermath of the recent tragic events in Paris. If you want to witness the raw power of words and the unity they offer, give this post a read!

I hope you're having a sunny day wherever in the world you are ~ stay safe and love hard!


Monday, 16 November 2015

Meeting Estée Lalonde at The Body Shop (!!!!)

As I'm sure you know by now, I'm an avid Youtuber and have been a loyal fan of Estée Lalonde for almost three years. So when Estée announced that she was teaming up with The Body Shop to release a limited edition Nail Art Kit and that she was having a launch/meet up at their Oxford St store, I jumped at the chance to go along. I followed the competition rules, although I knew it was a shot in the dark considering she has over one million subscribers and yet there'd be just 80 winners.

 Low and behold I received an email from The Body Shop's PR team congratulating me that I'd won a spot to the launch ~ I was seriously freaking out to the point that my hands were shaking! The email said that I could take a plus one, so I immediately rang my cousin Vicky, who also has a rad blog and YT channel, as I knew she loved Estée just as much as I do!

Fast forward to last Wednesday when I caught the train to London for the event. I met my cousin for a spot of pizza at Franco Manca which was otherworldly ~ I ordered the number 4 (ham, mozzarella, mushrooms and ricotta) for anyone drooling over this ^ majestic pizza! We then walked to The Body Shop and spotted Aslan though the windows, the store had a lock in with its earlier guests as the evening was split into two slots.

Eventually it was our turn and to no surprise, we were keen beans and first in line. Before long, we passed the guest list and were rubbing shoulders with bloggers, grubbing on canapé's and supermarket sweepin' ~ guests had a whopping 40% off everything in store, which was amazing for stocking up on early Christmas presents!
The event was an hour and what a magical / surreal hour it was ~ my cousin and I actually managed to chat with the lady herself for a good five minutes, we talked all things pizza and crystals ~ I also tried my best to persuade her to do vlogmas!
 <3 <3 <3

It was fascinating to discover during her speech that she actually used to work at the Body shop ~ isn't it amazing how things tend to come full circle in life? It was a delight to get the opportunity to meet Estée and see how humble and hysterical she is off camera too, what a woman!
A lovely photographer took some candid polaroid snaps of us chatting away and gave them to us afterwards as an endearing souvenir which I'll cherish! Estée was also kind enough to sign one for me ^_^

I ended up picking up the exclusive nail art kit which came with a wicked goody bag worth £45! Here's the gems within...
I've spent the weekend getting creative with the nail art kit, my favourite is the half moon and dotty designs ~ here's Estée's tutorial for anyone interested! It's also wonderful to know that proceeds of the product are going towards safe drinking water for families in Ethiopia, as The Body Shop have also collaborated with Water Aid.


They say don't meet your idols... I say shop with them!


My 21st Trip Around the Sun!

Good morning Petals,

I'm still bursting with gratitude (& cake if we're being honest) from my birthday last week, my friends and family showered me with love and such thoughtful gifts. As Christmas is on the horizon, I thought I'd share some bits and bobs I received ~ perhaps give you some inspo for your wishlist!
On the eve of my birthday, my dad and I had a magical day strolling around Manchester and I was lucky enough to be treated to some goodies that I've had my eye on for a while. We first nipped into Affleck's, which is always an experience ~ after pulling faces in the photo booth, I picked up some silver hoop earrings at £3 a pop. We also picked up this groovy Heinsenberg iron on patch for my brother Billy!

Soon after we bobbed into H&M where I chose these two autumnal jumpers ~ I'm obsessed with the olive and mustard shades! I wore the mustard jumper to the Estée Lalonde event and received tonnes of compliments, one from Estée herself which was pretty surreal! These A/W staples were also just £8/£15 which is unbeatable!

Next was Boots where I took full advantage of their 3 for 2 offer and stocked up on some makeup goodies. I've heard a few bloggers state that Maybelline's Fit Me concealer is s dupe for Nars' radiant creamy concealer, so I picked one up. As I'm in need of a new foundation and mascara, I was also treated to L'Oreal's Infallible matte foundation and false lash telescopic mascara ~ I'm one happy bunny!

As cliché as it sounds, I also thought since it's my 21st it's a good time to buy my first serum. I opted for this Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum ~ I also couldn't resist Una Brennan's super facialist as it was on offer!

My pops also treated me to this quirky Dr Martens scarf that
I'll be hiding under all winter...

In the Arndale centre, I popped into Next as I was on the hunt for NYX'S Transylvania matte lipstick, turns out they don't stock NYX there anymore :-( I did however buy my mum a treat as although it's my big day, I wanted to get my mum a small present to say a BIG thank you for putting up with me all these years! I treated her to her favourite Next perfume which she used to wear religiously many moons ago!
A fresh green floral fragrance with soft fruits and pink blooms.
Notes of green mandarin, jasmine, musk and patchouli.

One of the last stops was Harvey Nichols where I picked up this HEAVENLY hazelnut syrup ~ the nectar of the gods! From Topshop I picked up some glitter socks as I love the instant pizzazz it gives any outfit ~ the 3 for £8 deal was also pretty sweet.

My dad and I originally waltzed into Selfridges hoping to make a beeline for the Monica Vinader boutique, but we soon discovered that it no longer stands :( We did however hit up Mac where I was treated to two lip liners that I've been lusting over for as long as I can remember. I bought their darkest shade Nightmoth and their classic brown shade Chestnut.

As cheeky as it sounds (yes, I am aware), when asked a billion times this year what I wanted for the big 2-1, I asked for mula as hostel hopping / commuting from Manchester / London life isn't cheap! I was, however, treated to a few other goodies from my loved ones...

My best friend Caitanya got me some groovy plant pots and dainty jewellery, as well as this cosmic Iris Apfel documentary from Fopp!

My cosmic cousin Livvy designed two personalised pieces to hang in my bedroom, which her wildly talented friends created. The Manchester / Corfu / London creation made me especially teary as they're my three homes <3 I'm also utterly in awe by the intricacy of the thread daisy artwork!

If you love the location print as much as I do and would like your own bespoke piece, search 'H&L Handmade Crafts' on Facebook :-)

My brother and his wonderful girlfriend Beth also went all out and bought me this AMAZING Fujifilm instax! I can't wait to whip it out at all of the Christmas / NYE doos :-)

Sticking with the eponymous theme, I also received a camera case adorned with daisies and a MAGICAL Daisy necklace that started off as a rough sketch by my brother. There's also a canary yellow diamond in the centre which is the cherry on top ~ I'm so in love with it!!

My grandparents also treated me to some special gifts including some groovy earrings and a bookmark that my nana made for me one crafternoon. I've mentioned before that my grandparents are in a band ~ big up The Oakmere singers :p ~ well one of the members knitted the band and as a gift I was given my nana and grandad *heart eyes emoji*

One of the most unique and unexpected birthday presents was getting to meet Estée Lalonde the following day as I was one of her competition winners! I'll be spilling the beans soon, so stick around!

Anyway I'll have to love you and leave you ~ I have a bunch of thank you cards to write...

Monday, 9 November 2015

Monday Blues #13 Fortune Favours The Bold

On a recent jaunt to Chinatown, I picked up a bunch of souvenir fortune cookies for my friends and family back in Manchester. You wouldn't believe my Aunty's bewilderment on Halloween when she opened hers to discover:

Pretty sure she thinks I'm a witch more than ever now! In the spirit of all things mystical, I thought I'd share two fortune cookie messages that have resonated with me which I stumbled across on - of all places - Instagram!

Drew Barrymore / Lily Collins

What mantra guides you through rough seas?