Tuesday, 28 May 2013

I know I've not blogged for a week or so, and I had wanted to do much more as I've been advertising on Sprinkle of Glitter this month (hello to any of you that have found me this way!) but this week has been quite hard. I did go away for the weekend, but whilst I was away my house cat got out and hasn't come home since, so I have been focusing a lot of energy on hopefully trying to find her. I'm trying to stay positive as she has been seen, she just doesn't seem to want to come back into the house. (Edit - My baby has now finally come home!!)
Before I went away, alot of my time was taken up with wedding planning. I said I wouldn't overload you with loads of wedding-y stuff, but as this is what my month has mostly consisted of, I thought I would share some of the pictures I've been pinning as part of my weddings ideas.
Wedding Planning

I have already booked both of my venues. We will be getting married in my village Church, with a wedding breakfast and evening buffet at a local golf club. This hopefully prevents any difficulties with travel arrangements for people and all of our guests should be able to attend.

My colour scheme is going to be navy blue and blush pink, with cream. My bridesmaids will be wearing navy dresses, and my chair sashes will be navy. The pink will be picked out in the flowers, the men's cravats/ruches, and perhaps some of the favour ribbons. I'm hoping to wear navy shoes too!

Probably somewhat unsurprisingly, I want to go for a bit of a vintage theme. Despite the modern colour scheme, using the navy, I think this is still quite achievable, and although my picture selection perhaps doesn't demonstrate this fully I have ideas in my head of how I want it to look.

I don't want a traditional wedding cake either, and will juts have one top tier with the rest being cupcakes.

The Dress
I have found it really hard to pick a dress I like as I don't like many styles of wedding dress. I have found one online that I like but I haven't tried any on yet. At present I think I want something slightly lacy, in cream, with straps or sleeves. I don't want to show it too much just yet as I want to keep some surprises for people. I'm not intending to change my hair colour or style, and I think I'm going to go for either an art deco style head hair brooch/clip or maybe a small 'birdcage' veil.

Sorry this months list is a bit short and disjointed, but hopefully you can all understand that at present my heart just isn't quite in it at the moment. I'm trying to remain positive and hopefully I'll be back soon with some posts from the Sheffield Blogger Meet and various other bits and pieces.

Do you like seeing my wedding updates? Would you like to see more of them?

Bows Bangles & Bakes Book Review -The Forgotten Garden

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Does anyone else ever find themselves in a bit of a book genre rut? Well not necessarily a rut, but I go through phases where I read load of books of the same genre or by the same author. I appear to be in bit of a "historical fiction" phase at present.

After reading The Unseen, I went on to read The Legacy, which is by the same author. Whilst trying to source the next book by Katherine Webb, I decided to do a quick Google search to see if I could find any similar authors. One of the ones that came up was Kate Morton, and I downloaded a copy of The Forgotten Garden to my Kindle.

"1913 On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned after a gruelling ocean voyage from England to Australia. All she can remember of the journey is that a mysterious woman she calls the Authoress had promised to look after her. But the Authoress has vanished without a trace. 1975 Now an old lady, Nell travels to England to discover the truth about her parentage. Her quest leads her to Cornwall, and to a beautiful estate called Blackhurst Manor, which had been owned by the Mountrachet family. What has prompted Nell’s journey after all these years? 2005 On Nell’s death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into a surprise inheritance. Cliff Cottage, in the grounds of Blackhurst Manor, is notorious amongst the locals for the secrets it holds – secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is at Cliff Cottage, abandoned for years, and in its forgotten garden, that Cassandra will uncover the truth about the family and why the young Nell was abandoned all those decades before."

Like The Unseen, The Forgotten Garden shifts between timelines - but just to complicate things this shifts between the late 1800's to the early 1900's, the 1970's and the present day. It sounds like it would be rather complicated, but actually it's reasonably simple to keep up with. It explains the story really well, and weaves in and out of the modern day story of Cassandra following her family history.

What I particularly liked about the Forgotten Garden, is that Cassandra was able to discover a large amount of the information, that you as the reader knew as well. Clearly as the reader we were privy to richer detail and emotions, and more in depth explanations for what happened, but we discover the answers as Cassandra does. There are a number of twists and turns towards the end, and just as you think you've figured it out, something else occurs that takes the story in a completely different direction. It's difficult to say too much without giving away the ending, but I certainly didn't figure it out until almost the last second!

As a writer Kate Morton's attention to detail really does paint the image right inside your head - the added bonus of a map (available online if not included in your copy/kindle version) only Improves this further. Her writing style is perhaps a bit long winded for some, but personally I liked the rich descriptions she provides.

I really enjoyed The Forgotten Garden, and I will certainly be reading some more of her work - her current novel is The Secret Keeper and the blurb sounds just as intriguing as this one.

Hopefully, I will try to start reading some other styles of books to share with you soon! Once I've got a few more of these out of my system!


Stress and Burnout

Friday, 17 May 2013

Some of you may or not be aware of the type of field I work in. My profession is notorious for being a high stress job for a number of reasons - high workload, high expectations, low pay, low support are just a few of the reasons why.  
Unlike many other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, stress does not appear to have the same level of taboo attached to it. Maybe this is because we as a society talk about being stressed all the time. How many times have you, yourself said, or heard someone else say "Oh my god, I am just so stressed!" but actually, are you really? Honestly?
Stress amounts from too much of something; too much pressure; too much expectation. It makes sense therefore, that a small amount of stress can be a good thing. It gives our adrenaline a boost, that drive to be more productive, to strive to achieve our best, so that once that short pressurised period is off, we can stand back and enjoy the product of our endeavours, with a sense of achievement. I remember my uni days, where I genuinely believe, I produced my best work by tackling it less than a week before the due date; those frantic 4am finishes ready for a hand in the next day, knowing I had the rest of the week to sleep it off. Many of us will agree that we work better under pressure, and sometimes its easy to see why that might be, when we consider the above point, but we all know the saying, about too much of a good thing.
Too much stress can result in that drive and motivation moving at warp speed. You know, those times where you appear to be running around like an idiot, not having anything to eat, and apparently getting lots done, but when you reflect afterwards you realise that  actually, nothing was really achieved in that period of time, and you wonder exactly what it is you were doing. When we are under pressure, our body runs on adrenaline, to keep us pushing through and fighting on, but your body can only produce so much without the time to repair, so you can become tired, lethargic and without any energy. This isn't to say you lose interest, just that physically, you struggle to keep going.
But what if too much, becomes more than that? This can lead to burnout.
Unlike stress, burnout is not about too much, its about the opposite. Where stress can motivate, burnout results in lack of interest and disengagement. This can transfer into all aspects of life, even if the stress is only really coming from one. It's that feeling that every day is a bad day, no matter what has happened. Instead of the fight aspect, you're flight instinct kicks in. In some respects, burnout is all the more worrying.
So why did I decide to talk about this issue? Because I have been to both of these places at some point in my life.
I like to think that generally I deal with stress relatively well. I am able to keep going and going and going and eventually I come out the other side - a bit like riding a wave. But there has been times in recent months where I've literally wiped-out! Stress and Burnout can affect me, personally in rather odd ways. Its not been unusual for me to come home from work, (late I may add) walk straight into my bedroom, get under the covers, fully clothed, in the dark, and cry. I think my other half is getting used to this behaviour now, but the first time it happened, I refused to come out so he ended up calling my mum! When I say he is used to it, it's not that he's any less concerned, just that he knows during these times I need encouragement to relax and take some timeout. Just someone taking the time to turn on a lamp, bring me a cup of tea and a biscuit without asking at times like these, mean a lot. He is also really good at making sure I'm distracted, when taking so "me-time", as otherwise I tend to think about the work I'm not doing, which is counter productive.

I can often be quite reclusive, or depending on exactly whats going on, I can be the complete opposite, and be the life and soul of the party, but in reality all I am doing is avoiding the situation.
In periods of stress I often have odd eating patterns in that I live on complete rubbish. Lots of friends I know just don't eat, whereas I literally could eat the desk in front of me - if it was coated in grease or sugar that is!
It is important if you feel your stress is becoming unmanageable, that you take time out. If it's work related, stop working. This may seem counter productive, but staying up until the small hours working whilst feeling completely on the edge, will not produce anything of any quality. I find that if I actually go to bed and sleep, and wake earlier the next day, I achieve much more than I would have.
I have various things I like to do, that do not stress my body in any way, and help me unwind. I enjoy reading and that sense of escapism, and that time to relax can be a big help. Just laying in a bath doesn't work, as my brain starts spinning, but just by reading something completely unrelated to anything I do at work (this is why I cannot read anything along the lines of A Child Called It) gives my brain chance to switch off, and deal with something completely at odds to whatever its usual function is. I've recently started running as well. Many of my friends have told me what a great stress reliever it is, and even though I'm not at the stage where I'm pounding the pavements with my ear phones on, in my own little world, that 45mins to an hour of just getting out in the fresh air, getting my heart rate up and pumping blood around my body, really has given me an odd sense of calm afterwards.
I'm not an expert in stress, and this really wasn't a post to endear sympathy from anyone, but I wanted people to think more about what genuine stress is and how it affects different people.
Tomorrow I will be reducing my stress levels via a bit of retail therapy with some lovely bloggers at the Sheffield Meet Up tomorrow. It's my first "official" organised meet up (with goodies and the like!) so keep an eye on my Instagram and Twitter for updates during the day, and look out for my post too!

Sheffield Meet Up Wishlist

Monday, 13 May 2013

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On Saturday  I will be going along to the Sheffield Blogger Meet Up at Meadowhall, organised by the lovely Rachel, Caroline and Charlotte. The girls have been amazing in organising lots of special things for us, but whilst there I intend to do a little (okay maybe a lot!) of shopping.
I thought I'd do a quick wishlist of things I'm after. I'm sure I'll end up buying much much more - I haven't been to Primark in ages! - but there are a couple of things I actually need/want.
I recently bought a grey midi skirt, and I love the length of it, so now I'm after one in black, I'm also thinking about a new checked shirt for through the summer, and I love Hollister ones, especially the smell of the shop, which clings to all the clothes!
It may seems strange to put a coat on my wishlist - seen as its supposed to be summer and all, but I realised I haven't got a lightweight coat for those rainy days - a bit like the last couple of days have been!
Finally no blogger shopping trip would be complete without a Lush bathbomb or two!
My posts have been rather short of late, but normal service shall resume (wedding fever aka stress has gripped this household right now) and I'm sue I'll be tweeting and Instagramming like a mad thing on Saturday!

Just a little update

Friday, 10 May 2013


Some bloggers talk as about "free writing". This is sort of going to be a bit like that, only with my usual level of terrible proof reading!

I'm normally reasonably good at blogging fairly regularly, although recently I've not been as regular as I would like. Sometimes life just gets a bit in the way, other times, other things just get in the way. Occasionally of a nighttime I've found myself wanting to just sit and read a book rather than blog.It's not that I don't enjoy blogging, but my laptop is so old and so slow (it makes noises akin to a Lancaster bomber upon boot up) that going through that whole process just seems so long and tedious, I just haven't had the inclination.

I've not been as active on twitter as I used to be either. I've missed a couple of the cats as the last few Sunday have been reasonably busy; a couple of weeks ago my other half's football team played in their local cup final, hence lots of partying afterwards, obviously last weekend was the bank holiday so I haven't been able to join in the #lbloggers chat. I've also missed the #fblchat, as I have recently started a running club, which doesn't finish until 8pm - although that also depends on how fast I run! I'm not particularly good, and I still walk a fair amount, but I'm getting better as the weeks go by and I'm really starting to enjoy it.

Work has been busy as usual. I've been drafting a post in my head in relation to work related stress. This was slightly inspired by a post I read on Rosie's blog about anxiety, but I'm still thinking about whether to post it and how to word it.  

In other news, I've finally taken the plunge and decided to start planning my wedding. My blog was born out of wedding research over a year ago, but it never really went anywhere. My boyfriend and I have talked about ti and decided to finally get on with it. I haven't got very far, it's still early days, but I already had plenty of plans and ideas. I promise not to turn this blog into wedding central.
So this is a bit of a rambling psot, with not entirely much purpose, but I just wanted to type something out to let you know what's been going on.

Room Tour

Sunday, 5 May 2013

I've been meaning to do this post for ages, as I took these pictures a while ago.
As you can see, my colour scheme is navy and gold. This is a complete pain as it's unbelievably hard to find matching bedding. The wallpaper was put up by my mum when she still lived here. It was quite expensive and I didn't want to just rip it down, so I decided to keep it.
I have now got myself into a situation where I can't change the colour scheme, as my vintage suitcases match the colour scheme. They are stacked up in the corner of my bedroom and I use them to store my handbags - large ones are in the bottom, day to day bags in the middle and clutch bags go at the top. I've got some shoes and other blue bits and bobs sat on top to look pretty. I have a mannequin that I drape scarves around and pin my brooches too - I intended to dye the bodice of this blue, but I think I'm going to keep it white, but I may paint the stand.
I love my dressing table with all my pots and my dressing table set. I use the little pots to store jewellery in. I've added some more bits and bobs to my table recently, which I will share in a charity shop haul post. The tall bottle with the ribbon around is from Dunelm Mill. One of the little perfume bottles was from Boux Avenue and the other is a Dior one, I saved once the perfume was all used up. 
I also wanted to show you how I store my hairdryer and straighteners. They kept getting in the way when they were on top of the units, so I put two sticky hooks on the end of the units and hung them up. They are still easy to get to and the cables are hidden by my cases.
The cream wooden baskets hold hair products and deodorants etc, and the small top drawer has make up. My long top drawer has other make up products and jewellery and brushes in, the other two are the only drawers I have with clothes in, and they mostly hold T-shirts and shorts. I share a walk in wardrobe with my boyfriend, which I haven't really photographed in this room tour.
I hope you liked this little look around my room. If there is anything else you would like to see, please let me know in the comments!

Sunflower Nail Art Tutorial

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

For my guest post, Jenni and I agreed I would do a nail art tutorial, and inspired by the almost Spring-like weather we’ve been having lately, I decided to go for sunflowers! This was actually really easy to do and didn’t take long at all. The hardest part was getting a colour for the centre of the sunflower as I didn’t have a shade I thought would look good, so I ended up mixing two shades to get the perfect one!

You’ll need base and top coat, as well as a background colour, for which I used Sinful Colors ‘Cinderella’. You’ll also need brown (which I mixed from two Technic polishes), green (Models Own ‘Jade Stone’), and yellow (Missguided ‘Misslead’) nail polish. Finally, you’ll need a small nail art brush or paintbrush - mine was from a local craft shop and cost me about £1.20. Paint all your nails with your base coat and the background colour.
Using a brown nail polish and your nail art brush, carefully paint on a semi-circle to the tip of your nail, like a French tip. It doesn’t need to be neat as your petals will cover the edges. Clean the paintbrush by dipping in nail polish remover and wiping clean.
Once this has dried, use your paintbrush to paint on the petals with your yellow polish – I found the best way to do this was placing the brush on and lifting off, along the edge of my brown semi-circle. Don’t clean your brush before the next step, which is using the brush to gently dab a pale green polish onto the centre of the sunflower, to imitate the seeds. Finally, top off with your top coat for a smooth, glossy finish!
I hope you enjoyed this little nail art tutorial as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Jenni for having me as a guest! If you’d like to see more of my tutorials, check out my blog at

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