Sunday, 9 December 2018

Top 5 Christmas Films

With just over two weeks to go until Christmas Day, now is the perfect time to stay in with a hot chocolate and binge-watch Christmas films. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't watched any Christmas films yet this year... however, there are a handful of Christmas films that I watch every Christmas and I've seen a few new ones this year which I'm hoping to watch too. So, without rambling on anymore, here are my top picks for Christmas films this year:

#1 Elf
A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC! This is my ultimate Christmas film - I watch it about 5 times every Christmas! I can recite pretty much every scene! If you haven't watched this yet, where have you been!? No, but seriously, you NEED to watch this. Will Ferrell is a human that was raised with elves in the North Pole and then travels to New York in search of his real father, which has hilarious results. This film also makes me really want to visit New York at Christmas time (maybe one year!).

#2 Home Alone
I love all of the Home Alone films but the first one is definitely my favourite. Young Kevin McCallister wakes up to find that all of his family have left for their Christmas holiday and forgotten him. Initially, he loves being home alone but he then finds out that two men are planning to rob his family home so he sets up some impressive traps to protect the house. You need to watch this if you haven't already, or why not watch all of the Home Alone films back-to-back!?

#3 Love Actually
I feel like everyone's probably watched this film already because it's such a lovely film. The film follows nine people's stories which become intertwined due to love. My favourite scene is when Hugh Grant, who plays the role of the British prime minister, is dancing around to Jump by the Pointer Sisters - it's hilarious! Also, great news because this film was recently added to Netflix.

#4 The Grinch
I must admit that I haven't watch this in years, however I do love it. The Grinch lives inside a cave with his dog, Max, and hates Christmas. His neighbours in Whoville love to celebrate Christmas, so the Grinch comes up with a plan to steal Christmas in order to silence the Whos. The Grinch has been remade this year, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and it looks so good.

#5 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This is an oldie but goodie - it's so so so funny! Clark Griswold is trying to plan the most perfect Christmas ever for his family, however things keep going wrong for him. This film demonstrates the chaos of Christmas but also shows the importance of family during the festive period.

Hopefully I've given you some ideas for films to watch in the run up to Christmas. There are so many more films on my watch list, such as The Princess Switch, A Christmas Prince and The Holiday Calendar - hopefully I'll be able to get through all of these before Christmas. Let me know if you've watched any of these films and what you thought of them.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

The Checkered Trousers Everyone Needs

I've always been a jeans kinda girl. They go with everything and it makes outfit planning so simple. However, I've been trying to step outside of my comfort zone by wearing trousers that I wouldn't usually go for. And that's where these Topshop Check Belt Trousers come in!

These are the most comfortable trousers I have EVER worn. Usually with jeans, I'll take them off as soon as I get home and put on joggers but these trousers are comfortable enough to lounge around the house in! These trousers come in both regular and petite - I always struggle to find trousers short enough for my 5'3" self but these are perfect. Also, these trousers can be styled up or down. For nighttime, I'd pair these with a black or blush pink crop top and boots or heels. Whereas for daytime, these can be worn with a cosy knit jumper (like this Super Soft Chevron one from Topshop) and trainers.

I'm so pleased that I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and try these trousers because I love them so much! I'm definitely going to get some more trousers like these - I've got my eyes on these Burgundy Multi Stripe Casual Trousers from Pretty Little Thing for my next purchase. Have I convinced you to get a pair of these trousers?

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Christmas Gift Guide For Her

How is Christmas just over 5 weeks away!? 37 days!? If you haven't even started thinking about what gifts you're going to buy for everyone (like me), DO NOT PANIC because I am here to provide you with the ultimate gift guide for all of the important women in your life.

Everyone loves to have a stylish phone case, but what if you could go the extra mile and give someone a personalised phone case? This is where CaseApp comes in handy. They offer a range of phone cases, laptop skins, iPad skins and phone skins, which you can personalise with text, photos and clipart. I chose their "Crazy Galaxy" design for one of my cases - I kept it simple by not adding any personal touches. For the other one, I created a personalised phone case using their "Black Marble" design and adding my initials to the case - there were loads of different fonts to choose from and you could also choose the colour of the text. I also played around with creating a photo collage phone case. I decided against ordering this one, however it was really quick and simple to create (maybe next time I'll go for that one!). Having used a CaseApp case on my phone for the last 2 years without it getting any scratches or the design wearing off, I can vouch for the durability of these cases. So, what are you waiting for? Give your friends and family a gift with a personal touch this Christmas. And if you order before 13th December, you can receive 20% off with the code EMMABOUGHTWHAT20.

If you've got any blogging friends or family, then a subscription to Blogosphere Magazine would be the perfect gift for them (it's on my Christmas list!). I find the magazine so useful for blogging help and advice and it's also a great place to discover new blogs. They also organise regular Blogosphere events - I really want to attend some of them next year - and if you're a subscriber you get to hear about the events first. For a yearly subscription, it's £30, which is completely worth it in my eyes considering it's packed full with over 150 pages of information. If you're still not convinced, check out my blog post from earlier this year (here) where I rave about it!

A chunky scarf makes a great Christmas present, especially if we get the same amount of snow as we did last Winter! My go-to for oversized scarfs is Zara because they're soooo soft and can be used to revamp an old outfit. The one in the photograph is actually from a few Winters ago but I've found a similar one in Zara's current collection.

There's nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a good book when it's cold outside. So why not treat someone to a book this Christmas? I'm currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and it's been really good so far - I don't want to give anything away! This book has won numerous awards, such as the Costa Book Awards and the No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller, so you can rest assured that it's a good'un.

The Ted Baker Finishing Flourish Gift contains the perfect nail polish shades for Christmas time. The set contains four nail polishes in Dark Green, Light Pink, Red and Rose Gold Glitter. I personally like to apply the Rose Gold Glitter on top of the other nail polishes to add some extra sparkle. These nail polishes also come in beautiful rose gold packaging.

Jewellery can be a bit tricky to buy for other people, however it's pretty much guaranteed that everyone loves rings from Pandora - I swear every girl I know owns at least one of them! I love the simplicity of their Sterling Silver Shimmering Wish Ring, which also comes in Rose Gold. The ring can be paired with many of the other Pandora rings, for example, I wear mine with my birthstone ring. If you want to buy someone a more high-end, meaningful gift, then this ring is perfect.

Baths are made so much better when you've got a bath bomb, so treat someone to Joules Bath Fizzers this Christmas (slightly different to the ones photographed). The set includes 4 circular bath fizzes that are individually wrapped in beautiful printed paper. They smell amazing and are sure to add the finishing touch to a relaxing bath.

Yankee Candle is my favourite place to go for candles and their Festive Cocktail one is my favourite for this time of year. The candle is a mixture of berries, pine and vanilla - it smells heavenly and fills the room! The candle comes in various sizes - I have the Large Jar which promises 110 to 150 hours of burning time.

And there you have my ultimate Christmas gift guide for her. Hopefully this has given you some Christmas present ideas. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

*This post is in collaboration with CaseApp. I was kindly sent the phone cases from CaseApp, however all views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Two Halloween Looks

Halloween is one of my favourite celebrations - I love experimenting with makeup to create spooky looks! This year I attempted some Halloween makeup looks that I had never tried before.

First up was a clown. This look took me a lot longer to create than I had anticipated - I watched a few YouTube videos on clown makeup looks which lasted about 10 minutes, however this took me nearly an hour! Therefore, if you're wanting something quick and easy, I would not recommend this one. I began by prepping my face with the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer and then applied the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation in shade 'Sand' and the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. Next I filled in my brows with the Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil - I tried to make my brows look more arched than usual so that they would blend in with the triangles. I used the Benefit Hoola Bronzer to subtly add some colour to my cheeks. I then used the shade 'Buck' from the Urban Decay Naked Palette (unfortunately this has been discontinued) to fill in the creases in my eyes and filled in the main part of my eyelids with the Lancome Le Crayon Khol Eye Liner before packing the shade 'Blackout' from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette on top of the eye liner and blending outwards. To outline my eyes I used my trusted Kat Von D Tattoo Liner - you can make the lines as thick as you want! For the triangles above and below the eyes, I used the Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner. I drew the outline of these first to make sure that they were even and then filled them in, joining the bottom triangles up with the Tattoo Liner. I then drew the circles at each point and shaded around the bottom triangles with 'Buck' - taking this all the way up to my temples. Again, for the nose I used the Maybelline Eye Liner - if you have white paint, then you can add a tiny bit to the nose to give the impression of a reflection. In the corners of my eyes I added some gold glitter and then I applied the Benefit They're Real Mascara to finish the eyes. Lastly, I outlined my lips with the MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in 'Dark Out' and filled them in with the MAC Lipstick in 'Sin'. To create a longer smile, I drew out the lines with the Maybelline Eye Liner and filled them in. I then tried to blend this in with the lipstick to create ombre lips, however, the MAC lipstick has a matte finish which made it difficult to blend. Overall, I'm really pleased with how the clown makeup turned out and I'm sure that it will become a lot easier to do once I've practiced it a few times.

The next look I attempted was a half skull/half glam look. Although the skull looks quite complicated, it was so much easier and less time consuming than the clown look. I began by focusing on the glam side - I used the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer and the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation again. I added colour to my cheekbones and around the edge of my face with the Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder. I then used the theBalm Mary Lou Manizer to highlight above my cheekbone, on my brow bone and down my nose. I again used the Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil to fill in my eyebrow. For my eyes, I used 'Half Baked' and 'Smog' from the Urban Decay Naked Palette and the Benefit They're Real Mascara. Lastly, I applied the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade 'Cannes' to half of my lips. You can choose to do the glam side however you want, for example, you could use more colourful eyeshadows than I have or apply false eyelashes to give yourself more dramatic eyes.

For the skull side of my face, I began by using a beauty blender to cover that half in white paint (you could use a very white foundation instead if you don't want to use paint). I then outlined the eye socket, nose, cheekbone and jawline with the Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner before filling them in. I also blended 'Blackout' from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette into the cheekbone and jawline area. The teeth are the trickiest part of this look - I started by drawing vertical lines where I wanted the teeth to be and then drew little crosses at the top and bottom of each tooth, which I could blend out to create a 3D effect. I then very carefully went around each tooth with a small amount of 'Blackout' to create a shadow. To make the teeth stand out more, I coloured them in with the Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil. To finish the look I added some cracks to the skull with the Maybelline Eye Liner.

Hopefully I have explained how I created these two looks clearly enough. If you have any questions, then feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. Have you got any plans for Halloween?

Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Stay at Cowley Manor

A few hours ago (please appreciate my efficiency with this post!) I returned home from an amazing stay at Cowley Manor with my boyfriend, which is situated in the Cotswolds. Cowley Manor is a country house hotel with contemporary interiors and an award winning spa. The Main House consists of 15 spacious bedrooms, public areas, a bar and a restaurant. The Stable Block contains more bedrooms built over one, two and three levels. Cowley Manor offer a variety of rooms to stay in, which differ in price - we stayed in one of their 'Great Rooms'. This consisted of a king size bed, Green & Spring toiletries, mini bar, LCD screen and Bose Sound link.

Cowley Manor is situated in 55 acres of Grade || listed gardens. You can get a map of the grounds from the reception so that you can go exploring. The grounds looked spectacular in the autumnal weather and, even though it was quite rainy when we visited, Cowley Manor provide wellies and umbrellas to borrow. There are three lakes in the grounds - our room overlooked the Upper Lake. There are also some sculptures displayed within the grounds, which are previous winners of The Cowley Manor Arts Award.

The C-Side Spa offers an outdoor pool, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, gym and treatment rooms. The indoor pool has a floor to ceiling glass wall, which provides beautiful views out to the woods. Unfortunately, I didn't get a treatment whilst I was there but they have a selection of facials and massages to choose from.

The Malt Restaurant provides delicious locally sourced food. The dishes are more creative than a standard restaurant menu - I had beef and truffle ravioli to start, followed by roast pork with seasoned parsnips and carrots and sage croquettes. Although the dishes were delicious, they were also quite small and the service was a bit slow (which is disappointing when you're hangry!). After dinner, we had cocktails at the bar. Cowley Manor offer an extensive range of cocktails, spirits and wine - I would highly recommend their berry one.

Overall, Cowley Manor was a lovely getaway for the weekend. There were plenty of things to see and do there, but equally you could relax in your room (and massive bathtub) for your whole stay. Generally, the staff were really helpful and attentive - we ordered a cooked breakfast and got it delivered as room service promptly. So, if you're looking for somewhere to go on a staycation, you should definitely consider Cowley Manor. Are you going away anywhere soon?

Sunday, 15 July 2018

One Night at Casa do Principe

On the last night of our holiday, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at Casa do Principe (he's a keeper!). This was the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in! Casa do Principe is named after the Royal Prince, King D. Pedro V, and has 9 suites which each refer to a significant part of the King's life.

We stayed in the King D. Pedro V Suite, which has a spacious bedroom and lounge area. The ceiling in this room is incredible - look how elegant it is! There is also a balcony overlooking the Principe Real Garden. The room includes free wifi, TV, air conditioning, daily maid service and an ensuite bathroom with toiletries. Breakfast is also included, which is a selection of croissants, cereals, meats and cheeses. There are loads of fashionable shops to wander around in the area surrounding Casa do Principe and there's also the University of Lisbon Botanical Garden down the road.

If you're in Lisbon and want to indulge a little, then you should definitely book yourself a night at Casa do Principe - you won't regret it! Are you going away anywhere this summer?

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Ultimate Lisbon Travel Guide

For the second part of our trip, we stayed in Lisbon for five nights. Lisbon was a bit cooler than Seville, which made it more bearable to walk around in, however I have never been to such a hilly place - everywhere we went involved climbing up and down several hills (but at least we got our cardio in!).

Things to see:
There are loads of beaches if you go further along the coast of Lisbon, however these beaches tend to get really busy, so, instead, we went across the 25 de Abril Bridge to Costa da Caparica. We had to get a taxi across to it so it was slightly more expensive than going to one of the other beaches, but that was worth it in my eyes because I'd rather go to a quieter beach. One thing to note is that you shouldn't try to leave the beach when people are finishing work because the traffic on the bridge is horrendous and most taxi drivers won't pick you up at that time. There are also loads of museums in Lisbon for you to visit. Unfortunately, MUDE was closed whilst we were there but we still went to the Berardo Collection museum and the MAAT. I particularly enjoyed the MAAT because it contained loads of interesting exhibitions based on art, architecture and technology. A short walk from the MAAT is the Torre de Belem - this apparently gives great views of Lisbon, however, when we went it was incredibly foggy so we didn't bother going up it. If you have an afternoon free, then you should have a wander around the Alfama district. This is the oldest district of Lisbon and you can really see a difference between Alfama and the other districts, plus it gives amazing views. We visited the National Pantheon whilst we were in Alfama, which is where important Portuguese personalities are buried. To get back from Alfama, we got Tram 28 - which is one of the oldest trams in Lisbon. Usually this tram is really busy but, because we got on later in the evening and at a quieter stop, there was plenty of space on the tram.

We were lucky enough to be in Lisbon when the 'Lisbon Under Stars' immersive spectacle was being shown at the Carmo Archaeological Museum. Virtual dancers and visual effects were projected on to the ruins of the old Church of Santa Maria do Carmo to show the history of Lisbon. Unfortunately this spectacle has finished now, however, if you're planning on visiting Lisbon, then I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out to see if something like this is happening again.

Places to eat:
We went to The Mill for breakfast three times whilst we were in Lisbon - it's THAT good! The place is quite small so we had to wait outside for about 10/15 minutes every day, but it's worth the wait. I had the veggie breakfast a couple of times (perfect for any avocado lovers!) and I also had the pancakes (these were the fluffiest pancakes I'd ever seen!). The best lunch we had was at O Prego da Peixaria - they served delicious steak sandwiches. In fact, their steak sandwiches were so good that we had them for both lunch and dinner one day - please don't judge! Lastly, we found that the Time Out Market was the best place to go for dinner. There's loads of different stalls you can choose from and the meals are generally cheaper than if you were to go to a restaurant. However, there's limited seating here so you need to get here early to guarantee a seat.

For the final night of our trip, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at the Casa do Principe aka the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in! I'm going to do a separate post on that because I feel like it deserves a whole post to itself. So there you have my summary of Lisbon, hopefully you've found it useful. Have you been to Lisbon before?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Ultimate Seville Travel Guide

Hola! If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I've recently been on holiday with my boyfriend to Seville and Lisbon (if you don't follow me then why not!? Jks). We stayed in Seville for four nights, which was the perfect amount of time to explore the main sights of the city and still gave us some time to relax. For accommodation, we used Airbnb and found a lovely apartment in the heart of the city with a rooftop terrace - this was so much cheaper than the hotels.

Things to see:
Seville isn't as touristy as other cities, which meant that it was a lot quicker to get into the attractions and nothing was too pricey. The Metropol Parasol was one of my favourite attractions - it's a wooden structure located in the old quarter of Seville and it provides incredible views across the city. We witnessed the most beautiful pink sunset when we went up and it only cost €3. Another thing that you must see in Seville is the Real Alcazar. For this it's definitely worth buying a ticket in advance because this was the one attraction which had a massive queue when we went. The Real Alcazar is a UNESCO-listed palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, which you can spend hours walking around. Also, for any Game of Thrones fans out there, the Real Alcazar has been used for filming the series (so maybe you could go there and recreate some of the scenes!). The Plaza de Espana is a square in the Maria Luisa Park. The square has a river around it, where you can hire row boats, and the tiled bridges are a beautiful example of Renaissance and Moorish Spanish architecture styles. Seville Cathedral is another UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and it's the largest cathedral in the world - you can't fully appreciate the size of it until you go inside. We bought tickets for the rooftop guided tour, which allowed us to see parts of the cathedral that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I would definitely recommend the rooftop guided tour if you are wanting to learn more about the history of the cathedral. The Giralda can be accessed via the cathedral and gives amazing views across the city, however, you have to walk all the way to the top!

One attraction that I wouldn't bother with if you're on a strict time schedule is the Torre del Oro. The tower is located next to the Guadalquivir river so it provides a different view point across Seville, however, it's not as good as the views you get from the Metropol Parasol or the Giralda.

Places to eat:
Seville offers amazing value for money when it comes to food and drink. Everywhere we went the food was so cheap but also so delicious! COCOME offers a selection of healthy breakfasts made with fresh ingredients. We went here a couple of times during our stay and both times I had the yogurt bowl and a fruit smoothie. You need to check this place out if you ever go to Seville! For lunch, Casa Morales is a great tapas place. Each tapas dish is roughly only €3 each so we shared six dishes between us. Their tapas menu varies from day-to-day but there were plenty of options to choose from. Possibly my highlight of our trip was the place we went to dinner for our last two nights in Seville; a tapas bar and restaurant called Eslava. The tapas here is INCREDIBLE - two of their dishes have won awards. Yet the price was no more expensive than the other restaurants we had eaten at. If you're in Seville, you must go to Eslava - but make sure you get there early otherwise you might have to wait a long time for a table (the first night we waited for 40 minutes but it was still worth it!).

And there you have my ultimate guide to Seville. Hopefully you have found this useful and, if you're planning a trip to Seville, then hopefully I've given you some ideas of what to see and do. Seville is the cheapest city I've visited so it's perfect if you're wanting to travel on a budget. Are you going away anywhere over summer?

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Pink Parcel Monthly Box

Pink Parcel is the UK's number one period subscription box. The box includes a mixture of tampons and pads, as well as beauty products, tea and chocolate to help you feel your best during that time of the month. Additionally, when you subscribe to Pink Parcel you can choose to have just tampons, just pads or a mix of both.

The box is split into sections so it's easy to know what to use when. The patterned bag is 'for now' and contains plenty of tampons and pads. The 'for later' box contains even more tampons and some other pads which are slightly thicker. The box 'for night' contains pads for nighttime. Overall, Pink Parcel provided me with plenty of tampons and pads - there were 12 tampons, 5 thin pads, 8 thicker pads and 5 nighttime pads. Also, all of the tampons and pads are from established femcare brands, such as Tampax, Bodyform, Lil-lets and Always, so you know you are getting good quality products.

The exciting part is the 'for you' box, which contains lots of goodies for you to treat yourself. I was really impressed with the products I received because they are well known brands and good-sized products. My box contained: The Beauty Crop Fabulous Flocking Lashes, Beauty Pro Eye Therapy, Catherine Malandrino Style De Paris, Greenfrog Botanic Natural Bodywash, Jelly Pong Pong Lip Scrub, Cocoba Orange Milk Chocolate, and t+ Multea Lemon and Peach Green Tea. Therefore, there are plenty of products to try until the next month.

There is over £40 worth of femcare and beauty products in each box and you pay roughly £11 per month (depending on which membership option you choose). In addition, if you buy the 12 month membership option, you also get a birthday treat and VIP extras. Pink Parcel have kindly given me a code for you all to get 20% off your first box - use the code 'PP20'.

Hopefully you love the sound of the Pink Parcel box as much as I do! Will you be subscribing to Pink Parcel?

I was kindly sent this box for free from Pink Parcel, however this post contains my honest opinion.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Magazine Every Blogger Needs

Bloggers are constantly trying to improve their blogs; whether your aim is to gain more followers, work with more brands on collaborations, or increase the number of page views, one magazine that can help you do that is Blogosphere Magazine.

For anyone who doesn't know what Blogosphere Magazine is, it's a quarterly publication all about the influencer industry. Each magazine is packed full with useful blogging tips (for example, the latest edition has an article on paid-for vs. free apps), there's interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry (who else is a fan of the latest cover star Lydia Millen?), and a handful of blogs from various categories get selected for each issue so it's a great way to discover new blogs.

Personally, I get a lot of inspiration from the magazine and it motivates me to improve my blog. Blogosphere features other bloggers blog posts, which helps me to come up with new blog topics and also gives me ideas for my photography. Additionally, if I'm stuck on something, they've usually covered it in one of their articles, so it's a great resource to refer back to.

Blogosphere Magazine recently introduced The Blogosphere Network. This gives anyone the opportunity to sign up to the network and, as long as your application is accepted, brands can view your profile and contact you about collaborations. Signing up to The Blogosphere Network also means that you have the chance to feature in the In The Spotlight section of every issue, where three bloggers are picked from a shortlist of ten and interviewed about their blog.

Blogosphere Magazine brings everyone in the influencer industry together, featuring bloggers with followings in the hundreds right up to the millions. They also hold weekly Twitter chats every Sunday at 8pm (@BlogosphereM), which is a great way to connect with new bloggers and you could potentially get featured in an article in the magazine.

If you like the sound of Blogosphere Magazine (and I don't see why you wouldn't!?), then by subscribing you can save 7% and receive the issue before it hits the shelves. Just head on over to their website!

P.S. This isn't a sponsored post - I just really love Blogosphere and wanted to share it with you!