Off duty ‘Luxe’

Some women are glam through and through – you could cut them open and they’d bleed diamonds. Some women, aka me, are slightly more informal and relaxed in their style and try as they might pretend they like to get dressed up, are casual to the core.
Bearing this in mind, I wanted to share with you my latest favourites from Femme Luxe Finery. You may have seen my previous post, and as part of my ongoing collaboration with the brand, I absolutely could not wait to show you my latest goodies.
This sweatshirt whooshed straight into the #1 spot in my wardrobe the second I tried it on, how amazing is this! Worn ironically into the office on a casual Friday it definitely prompted loads of compliments – I need one for each day of the week! I would recommend wearing with leggings for a comfy weekend outfit or glam up with maybe some leather trousers and heels for a bit of a different night out vibe.

The second item of clothing I wanted to speak to you about is these jeans. Now we all know how bloody hard it is to find a decent pair of jeans and I’ll be honest, when I chose these for part of this post I wasn’t expecting to love them – as nearly every pair of jeans I buy from a fast fashion website don’t quite cut the mustard. However, these are the one. Thick denim, really nice colour and they fit my waist perfectly. I don’t feel like they’re going to wear out around the crotch/inside leg like so many flimsy jeans I’ve had before have done and they’re the perfect length. What can I say, I urge you to give them a go! As you can see from the pictures, I wore these all day at a music festival and they did me proud – bravo Femme Luxe Finery and their jeans! Continue reading

Bee Natural Wax Melts, Suffolk

I had absolutely no idea what a wax melt was until the start of this year, but then I started following Mrs Hinch on Instagram; Like many others, I instantly went out and bought a burner, I was hooked. I bought a couple of Yankee Candle melts to begin with and I also purchased some of the infamous Ava May Aromas melts, both lovely but I really am trying to buy local where possible, and knew there were a few small companies in the area making gorgeous wax melts. Like some sort of internet magic, one night whilst scrolling through the ‘gram, I came across Bee Natural Wax Melts. Bee Natural instantly drew me in, they made a product I wanted, were local (Lowestoft) and their branding is absolutely a bit of me!

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Holkham Country Fair

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Horses, shooting, classic cars, tractors and delicious food – what’s not to love? This is what I was lucky enough to be surrounded with when I visited Holkham Estate recently for their annual country fair! Held over the weekend of 20th and 21st of July, the yearly spectacle of Norfolk’s finest did not disappoint on my first ever time visiting, despite the downpour of rain we were unlucky enough to have on the Saturday of the show! If you’ve never been to Holkham Estate I highly recommend it, the grandeur of the hall and the beauty of the grounds never disappoint me – belonging to the Earl of Leicester, the 25,000-acre estate really does take your breath away! Continue reading

Athleisure – Best trend of 2019?

Sports wear that you don’t have to break a sweat in? I’m there.

You may have noticed a rise in sporty looking everyday clothing and even workout inspired evening wear – you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone in leggings or joggers at the moment and I’m loving it. Up until probably the beginning of this year you would’ve felt out of place going to the shops in your workout gear but move into summer 2019 and its positively encouraged! Ever wanted to go on a night out in joggers?  Now you can!
It’s a trend that I think confuses men and divides women, you either love it or you hate it. I was slightly reserved at first but then Femme Luxe Finery sent me a lounge wear set and now I’m slightly hooked! I love that you can buy the matching sets and either wear them together or mix and match like I have in the picture below. You can style them down with trainers and a cap or dress them up with hoops, a killer pair of heels and extra sass.

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Unruly Print – ‘Learn to Lino’ workshop

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Last Friday night I was sat on the A14, stuck in traffic whilst rainclouds loomed above, but what awaited me was worth it; I was on my way to attend a ‘Learn to Lino’ lino printing workshop hosted by the talented Andy aka Unruly Print. This isn’t a usual Friday night activity for me, I haven’t done anything arty since I was allowed to drop the subject in year 9 at school, and even then what I produced was reminiscent of someone giving it a go with their eyes closed, so I was slightly apprehensive that I would be no good at lino printing. I needn’t have worried, as Andy was a brilliant teacher and actually the beauty of lino printing, I found anyway, was that the imperfections translated onto print as interesting detail and I don’t think you could really get it too far wrong.

The workshop began with Andy telling us a little about lino printing and the different tools and materials which can be used, and gave us a tour around our workstations so we could work safely and choose the type of lino we liked best to work with. It was so interesting just having a little play around with the different types of lino and the different tools you could carve your design with, the variations of designs you could make were vast! I decided to use tracing paper and trace my blog logo – forever trying to get my name out there 😉 It was fairly difficult for me to get my head around the whole concept of whether to write my words normally or back to front, because obviously you’re going to use the lino to then print your design in reverse, but luckily for me Andy is an expert and was on hand to help! Continue reading

Cinema City Norwich & The Dining Rooms

Everyone has their own favourite genre of film whether it’s sci-fi, horror or a good old rom-com. One of mine happens to be biographical films about famous figures, I love knowing about the childhood and life of people before they were the people we know and see in the spotlight. The best ones I’ve seen are The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawkin, Bohemian Rapsody about the incredible Queen and, as of last Friday night, Tolkien. I was lucky enough to be gifted two tickets, one for myself and one for my partner, to see the new film about the creator of Lord of the Rings – the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien.

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But these weren’t any old cinema tickets, they were for a viewing at Cinema City, Norwich. I love this cinema with a passion, it is one of the countries Picture House cinemas – a small chain of special buildings which are a world away from the big cinemas you may be used to visiting. Fewer screens, better food and drink, special events and a better atmosphere all mean I would always choose a Picture House cinema. This being said, better snacks to keep you busy whilst watching the film isn’t always a good thing as I found out – my lovely fiancé Daniel decided on some rather posh looking pork scratchings without thinking about the crunch factor! Cue waiting for noisy parts of the film for him to crunch his food and trying to stifle our laughs as we realise the ridiculousness of the situation – lesson learnt haha! I myself skipped the snacks but did have a delicious glass of rosé whilst watching the film, a welcome step up from a tango ice blast I must say! I have reviewed this cinema previously, a few years ago, so you may already know its a favourite of mine – and it just keeps getting better.

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Recipes for the health conscious – Buy Whole Foods Online

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my own recipes for you all rather than reviewing other people’s food, so when Buy Whole Foods Online kindly sent me some ingredients to try I jumped at the chance to get the creative juices flowing! If you’re anything like me and spend hours browsing health food stores and love healthy, natural ingredients then you have to check out the Buy Whole Foods Online website – they have all kinds of ingredients in bulk, everything you could ask for – I literally have to stop myself buying everything on their site!!
I would just like to tell you a little about the company before sharing my recipes for their beetroot powder and juniper berries, as they have a lovely back story. BWFO was started in 2007 by two cousins who loved whole, healthy foods, and their first office was a garden shed! The two men worked from a shed developing the company for 4 years, before finally moving into larger premises in 2011. The business is now more as you would imagine a global enterprise to be, running from a large warehouse in Ramsgate and is growing all of the time! It’s such an inspiring story, I wish I had the patience and drive to do something like that but unfortunately for me if something isn’t an overnight success, I give up pretty quickly – something I’m working on.

Below I have two amazing (if I do say so myself) recipes for you using ingredients from Buy Whole Foods Online – I would love to hear from you if you do recreate these yourself – send me some pictures or tag me @justhollieblog on both Instagram and Twitter!

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Procoal Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Face Scrub

Is there anything that feels more satisfying than using a face scrub? Not for someone like myself with oily, problem skin there isn’t. It was rumoured that Marilyn Monroe washed her face up to 15 times a day to keep it clean and to minimise blemishes, but I’ve got something slightly more practical for you lovely lot! (FYI Marilyn I feel you, sometimes at work my face feels so awful I could stick my head in the sink, oh to have non-greasy skin I tell ya!).

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I was lucky enough recently to be gifted a tube of Procoal’s new face scrub, which as soon as I squeezed a blob onto my hand I knew I would love. Full of gritty yet gentle pieces of pumice and charcoal which make you feel like its really doing something to your skin. These ingredients work alongside Allantoin and Calendula Oil which are the more silent skincare saviours, I can honestly say it makes your skin feel clean, glowy and makeup goes on smoother as a result. Continue reading

5 minutes that could save your life…

I’m gonna go straight in and say it; I had my first cervical cancer screening last week.
Smear, screening, sweep – whatever you call it, when was your last one?
(Boys, probably not the most relevant blog post for you but please send to sisters, girlfriends, colleagues!).

So rewinding a little here, having my first smear test was something I had been nervous about for a little while. I turned twenty five almost two years ago – I received the letter inviting me to attend my screening and honestly just point blank ignored it for at least a year. I started to feel guilty about not going when I saw the recent #smearforsmear campaign online backed by lots of different Instagram celebrities and influencers, so I plucked up the courage to book myself in alongside a recent routine contraceptive pill checkup. The other reason for me booking in was genuinely my other half nagging me to get it done and I cannot praise him enough for this. How many men do you know who would even broach the subject of cervical screening let alone actively ask you to go and have one! He’s a keeper what can I say!?

The date and time of my appointment rolled around and apprehensively I attended, sweating in the waiting room with a buzz of different questions rolling around in my head: What if it hurts? Was it weird to prune ‘down there’ for the occasion or is it courteous? What am I going to do if the nurse turns out to be a man, I don’t want a man doing it, how do I tell him? These and a host of other things ran through my consciousness but I stayed strong and walked into the room with the (female, phew) nurse when my name was called.

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Wedding series, 3: The dress

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my wedding plans (read my proposal story here and my first visit to a wedding fair back in February here) so I thought I would do a bit of an update for those of you interested!
I can’t believe my last wedding post was 9 months ago back in Feb, it honestly seems like just mere weeks ago I was writing that after my first overwhelming visit to a wedding fair. The scary thing is, it is only just longer than the distance between then and now compared to now and my actual wedding! It’s under a year to go now and I know it’s going to just fly by – really time to ramp up the planning I think, eek!

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(Quick note by the way – I struggled for pictures to put into this post as I obviously couldn’t post pics of my trying on my wedding dress, so I’ve sprinkled this with pics of my all time favourite famous wedding looks. Let me know your fav in the comments, I would love to know!)

I haven’t completely been resting on my laurels – on top of the venue and church which was all I had booked last time I wrote about this we now have a photographer, stationary, florist, DJ, decor/prop hire and most importantly I HAVE A DRESS!!! That’s really what I wanted to write about in this post today, because it’s just a dreamy as you would imagine trying on all of the beautiful dresses and prancing about like a princess! Continue reading