Monday, 13 January 2014

Wedding | Our Engagement Party

As of today I can officially say I'm getting married next week! Next week! Heart palpitations and sweaty palms aside, I found the following post hidden amongst various others on the blog I used to write before the Bluebird & the Robin. As the Bluebird & the Robin is my blog home it seemed right to include our engagement party memories on here, with all the other wedding planning fun! I can't believe how fast time has flown, and reading over this made me feel so happy and excited for the big day next Friday. 

May 2012

There was a moment yesterday, having been handed an envelope containing an amazingly generous cheque, contributed to by a group of mine and Chris's greatest friends, that I was asked to give a little speech. Of course, I couldn't think of anything and resorted to repeating everything Chris had said, in the same order and with the same wording... typical! Put on the spot and I couldn't think of what to say. Of course, about ten minutes later I realised what it was I'd wanted to say, but alas the time had passed. So I thought I'd take to this here blog and type up my 'speech' instead.

Twice last night I burst into tears due to the realisation that we have the greatest, most generous, supportive, loving, kind friends you could wish for. There's no better feeling than realising you have a whole garden full of people who love and support you and want you to be happy. I've known most of my close friends since school, and have also been fortunate to pick up a couple more since then, from uni and various other places. And I must say, if my friends are this amazing then I sincerely hope I'm a good friend in return, because they're all bloody brilliant! I'm definitely guilty of not always making an effort to organise regular meet-ups and it's stupid because when I see them I immediately think 'these guys are hilarious- I need to make more of an effort!' 

There's my beautiful Maid of Honour, Alice, who is more like a sister than a friend, having been introduced when we were little and having stayed besties since (although we once fell out over a Sylvanian families fridge. But let's not go there..!) Not only is she super organised, an excellent baker and a brilliant shoulder to cry on, she's also funny, quick thinking and absolutely beautiful. I know I can trust her to sort my hair out on the big day... and that's all that matters. Jokes! She might also come in handy for the dessert table... I'd like to say thank you to her for always having my back, and for sharing so whole-heartedly in mine and Chris's happiness yesterday. I can't think of anyone more suited to the role of MOMFH ;)

And then there's Zina and Lucie, my two bridesmaids who I know I can rely on to help me get this wedding thing sorted! I've known Zina since we were eleven and I think it's safe to say that neither of us can quite understand how we're now suddenly 23?! Insane! Practical, straight talking but always kind hearted, she's taken care of me when I've been through bad patches and the stack of notes she's kept from our school days always provide a nice trip down memory lane! Zina was partly responsible for getting me and Chris together after I told her to tell him I liked him over MSN (those were the days!) I seem to remember typing A LOT of expletives when she informed me he felt the same way... And Lucie, my uni neighbour who basically got me through the whole horrible year when I thought a history degree was for me! The best cook, and the most adventurous, proactive, determined, positive, busy person I've ever known! And of course the inspiration behind my 'what would L do?' moments :p

Of course I could go and on about all my other friends, but I figured I'd stick to the bridal party or I'd be here forever! I love them all and there isn't a single bad egg amongst them ;)

And Chris's friends. This is the bit I really wanted to say in my little speech, as I've wanted to say it for a while but haven't had the chance. I can't imagine how awful and awkward it would be if your fiancĂ©'s friends disliked you or if you disliked them. So thank God Chris has amazing friends! Together they challenge any gender stereotypes about men always treating women like crap, as they all seem so gentlemanly and they're all friendly, welcoming, sweet guys. I was so nervous when I first met some of Chris's friends at his 18th birthday meal, because I really didn't want them to hate me, and I can be really shy when I first meet new people so it took me a while to come out of my shell around them. And now I can't shut up around them! 

We really couldn't ask for better friends, and that's why, upon opening the envelope to see a card full of our  friends' names and an extremely generous cheque to kick-start our wedding fund, I started to cry. And that's why I just had a little cry writing this blog post. And that's why I know our wedding day is going to be the BEST day of our lives.


Baci e abbracci, 

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Wedding Worthy Beauty | Body Care

I'm getting married in 12 days! That's less than two weeks, people! I figured a great way to prevent falling into wedding planning meltdown (believe me, it's easily done) would be to write up a series of beauty based wedding posts. What could be more relaxing than chit chatting about beauty products and snapping photos of bath time treats?! 

Today's post is on wedding worthy body care, featuring the products I've been using to whip my skin into tip top condition for the big day.

First up is a selection of bubbles, scrubs and gels that have become firm favourites over the past month or so. Soap & Glory is, in my humble opinion, one of the best high street bodycare ranges available in the UK. I'm a huge fan of pretty much every product I've tried from them and The Scrub Of Your Life (£7) is brilliant at sloughing away dry skin. It's particularly good at smoothing bumps on the back of the upper arms, something I struggle with during winter. My skin feels super soft and moisturised after using this and it takes pride of place in the bathroom as my number one scrub. 

I've developed a slight obsession with Jenny Packham's Salonniere range, which debuted at Boots as a 2013 Christmas range. The Body Wash and Bath Creme, available as part of the Salonniere Bathing Collection (£10) share the same delicious rose scent as the Hand Cream, and both Body Wash and Bath Creme are a rich gold colour which makes any bathing experience feel a touch more luxurious than usual! My skin feels soft and smooth after using these and the scent is so relaxing. Perfect for when I'm feeling frazzled from non-stop wedmin...

I don't care what anyone says, wedding planning is stressful at times. Trying to juggle and coordinate multiple suppliers, sift through all sorts of logistical requirements as well as trying to create a day that people enjoy (and most importantly that you and your beloved enjoy!) isn't always an easy task, and I have had a number of sleepless nights spent tossing and turning while creating mental check lists of wedmin tasks still to do. I received an adorable travel sized Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil as a Christmas gift and boy, does it wake you up! The zingy citrus scent works wonders at perking me up in the mornings, lifting my mood if I'm feeling stressed or tired. 

I've been a loyal user of Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter (£10.50) for years. In fact, I think it was one of the very first Soap and Glory products I tried upon their release. I've remained faithful for good reason: this stuff is incredible! From the fresh, sweet scent to the richness of the cream and the way it delivers an intense moisture boost without being sticky or oily, this is my holy grail body moisturiser. It works especially well when applied to still-damp skin, and I love heaping on a generous amount before bedtime. The tub lasts absolutely ages, making it a total bargain. 

However, my Righteous Butter addiction doesn't mean I never stray in favour of a new discovery... Sanctuary Spa Relax Cocooning Body Butter (£9.50) has been a favourite since I stumbled across it a few years ago. It has a comforting sweet, creamy scent and it moisturises well without feeling at all cloying or heavy. I'm also a huge fan of Champney's Distant Shores Body Butter, which came as part of their Distant Shores Travel Collection (£12), especially when I'm in the mood for a lighter, floral scent. Whenever I apply a handful of this I'm transported to an image of a tropical beach, white sand under my toes, waves lapping at my feet... *sigh* This will be the body cream that makes it into my honeymoon suitcase! 

Another Jenny Packham Salonniere goodie, the rose scented Hand Cream is an absolute must for getting my hands into great condition prior to the big day. I'm usually awful when it comes to remembering to apply hand cream but I'm a girl on a mission at the moment! I know there will be plenty of pictures taken of our wedding rings, and therefore our hands, and I want to show my bling off with pride, meaning hand TLC is a top beauty priority over the next 12 days!

What's that, I hear you cry, another Soap & Glory product?! It only hit me last week that I might want to pay my feet some attention as I really, really love my wedding shoes! Which means smooth skin and freshly painted nails are a must. I've been slathering on a layer of Heel Genius (£5.50) before popping on a pair of socks at night, letting the gel cream get to work while I (try to) snooze. My heels feel much softer while my feet in general appear much more presentable, so I'll be continuing my tootsie pamper routine right up until the wedding. 

Over the next week or so I'll be posting my wedding worthy hair care, skin care and makeup picks, in between last minute wedding planning! Are there any products you love reaching for before a big event? I'm always open to recommendations! 

Baci e abbracci,
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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Beauty | Midweek Picks #1

Happy Humpday! Today marks the start of a brand new beauty series on the Bluebird & the Robin, Midweek Picks, designed to give you a taster of the products I've been reaching for most throughout the week so far. Let's kick things off with the following four gems!

Perhaps predictably, I'm a big fan of a berry lip during Autumn/Winter and Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon (£7.99) in '06 Plum Russian' is just the ticket for a delicious plum pout. The shape of the crayon makes it quick and easy to apply neatly, and the moisturising formula feels so comfortable to wear. It gives a slightly darker kick of berry than other berry toned lip crayons I've tried, which I like as it makes it a little more glam. 

Ooh look, another celebrity fragrance! I'm making no apologies, being a huge fan of all of Britney's perfume releases to date! While 'Radiance' is my favourite of the bunch, 'Fantasy'(£22 50ml) (pictured) comes a close second, and I've been craving its sweet scent over the past week or so. When I say sweet, I mean sweet; sugar loaded with hints of creamy vanilla, this is a really romantic concoction. Mmm! While I do like musky scents, sometimes I feel like being girly and 'Fantasy' is what I reach for. I actually snagged this 50ml bottle as part of a set for only £15 in the Superdrug sale, so do have a look and see if it's still available if you're a fan!

I reviewed Seventeen Skin Wow! 3 Way Highlighter (£5.99) upon its initial release, but it's only now that I've fallen properly in love with the glow it's capable of giving on cold Winter mornings! I tried using this with my favourite summer foundation, Maxfactor's Facefinity 3 in 1, but found that due to the matte texture of the foundation I had a hard time applying Skin Wow! on top. However, now that L'Oreal's Lumi Magique foundation has become my base of choice for Winter I've been able to make great use of Skin Wow! due to the dewy finish of L'Oreal's base. I tap a little Skin Wow! cream coloured lotion along my cheekbones, brow bones, nose and temples and I LOVE how it instantly adds a pretty glow! 

Last but by no means least is my new hand cream obsession: Salonniere By Jenny Packham Hand Cream. This came as part of a £10 Christmas set available at Boots (now half price!) and I quickly picked up plenty more in the sales. A true rose scent with hints of violet, geranium and sandalwood, the Salonniere range smells divine. My hands tend to get very dry all year around so a good hand cream is vital, and Salonniere's offering doesn't fail to impress. Satisfyingly thick and creamy yet easily absorbed, with pretty pink and black packaging and a gorgeous scent, this takes pride of place on my dressing table while another tube resides in my handbag for on the go application.

What have you been loving this week so far? Are you reaching for  new discoveries or trusty old favourites? Spill the beans below!

Baci e abbracci, 

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Monday, 6 January 2014

If you only do one thing

We set resolutions with the best of intentions but sometimes they can start to feel a little overwhelming. Bridging the gap between dreams and reality isn't always easy to visualise, and although I do want to write a series about detailed SMART goal setting I think it's worth bearing in mind that baby steps and a smaller focus can work wonders in building confidence and instilling a sense of success. 

I felt a little overwhelmed this morning when reading through my resolutions and couldn't figure out where to start. Which resolution comes first? Should I work on them in tandem? How should I begin each one? What should the first step be? 

It occurred to me that by wrapping my resolutions in the above quote I can cut myself some slack, take time to breathe, and begin making my dreams a reality. If I make it my mission to do one thing every day that moves me forwards in some way then I can safely say I'm on my way to accomplishing my goals. Plus, through doing one thing every day in relation to those dreams I hold so dear I'm actually living out an aspect of the dream right now, in the present moment, no matter how seemingly small. 

Tracing each little step definitely delivers a self esteem boost, particularly handy when anxiety strikes and sends me into an action coma. Today I decided to contact my local Mind centre to ask about the discounted Reiki sessions and relaxation sessions they offer. This one thing connects to many of my goals: training as a Reiki healer by experiencing Reiki as a 'patient' first hand; finding healthy and productive ways to handle my anxiety; and getting out there and meeting new people, building links with the community as a step on my path back to work. 

One small action, but one connected to my goals and dreams. I'm not sure yet what tomorrow's action will be, but by sticking to one overarching resolution of doing one thing every day to move myself forwards on my path I know I'm well on my way to accomplishing all I've set out to do this year. 

What will your action be today?

Baci e abbracci,
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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Beauty | New Year, new purchases!

Gosh, it's been a while since I last blogged a beauty post! I'm trying hard to stick to a schedule but with the wedding fast approaching (three weeks from today!) it's proving mighty tricky to post as often as I'd like to *sad face* I thought I'd do a little 'first impressions' post of the beauty booty I've been hauling lately, seeing as it's a brand new year which can only mean one thing: new beauty discoveries!

 While I may still be on first impression terms with some of the goodies pictured above, I've already started full blown, long lasting love affairs with one or two things! 

It's true, I'm a sucker for celebrity perfume! I always pick up a new bottle in the January sales. This year I went for 'Taylor', Ms Swift's 3rd perfume offering, and oh my is it a beauty! While 'Wonderstruck' and 'Wonderstruck Enchanted' are quite sweet and 'fruity floral', 'Taylor' has more of a musky aroma and as such makes for a wonderful Winter fragrance. I picked up this 30ml bottle as part of a set including matching shower gel and body lotion in the Boots half price gift set sale, meaning I paid only £11.50 for this beauty! Bargain! (Last time I checked there are still sets available online!) And can we take a moment to admire the bottle? How cute is the little pearl detailing around the neck? Adorable!

I can't resist a primer, and so upon spying this colourful little tube in Boots (and after having sneaked a peek of a review over at Kirstie's gorgeous blog) I had to give it a go. Claiming to 'instantly vanish pores', Maybelline's Instant Pore Eraser promises perfectly smooth skin. It's clear in colour and has a strong 'silicone' texture (which I'm not a huge fan of, to be honest), but I've found it does a pretty good job of smoothing out my pores and lessening any redness and uneven skin tone, so all is forgiven on the silicone front. I reckon if I had clear skin I would wear this without foundation on no make-up days, as it makes my skin look nice matte and smooth, but alas because of my current skin woes I'm loathe to do this yet...

OPI Nail Lacquers 'The More The Marry-ier Minis'

Aren't these colours adorable?! So romantic and perfect for a wedding..! I received these as a Christmas present and I love them! I'm a huge fan of pinks and nudes and these are no exception. I haven't given them a try yet but I'll be sure to report back with my verdict! I had to include them in the photo as they're so mini and cute in size, haha. 

L'Oreal Lumi Magique Light Infusing Foundation (£10.99) 

I usually go for a matte base but recently I've found my skin looking a little dull, which isn't helped with it being so grey and miserable outside. I decided to try this out as with the aim of injecting a bit of a glow to my Winter worn complexion! So far I'm loving the results, as my skin definitely looks less dull after smoothing this on, although I do need to set it with a little powder as there's a fine line between dewy and greasy. It's super comfortable to wear and the colour match is pretty good with my pale skin, which is something of a relief! Coverage is medium, I'd say, meaning I do need concealer on problem areas afterwards, but this is something I've come to expect when using a high street foundation so it's not really a problem. 

L'Oreal Le Blush 'True Rose' (£7.99)

I've been on the lookout for a brighter blusher for a while and this little pot has just the right amount of punchy colour and shimmer to satisfy my blush requirements. I team this with my Real Techniques blusher brush for a gentle flush of colour. It definitely helps perk up my ghostly complexion in the mornings!

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL 'Pink Out Loud' (£10)

This came as part of Soap and Glory's 'The Yule Monty' bumper gift set, which is packed full of amazing Soap and Glory products! As a super fan of the brand I was excited to give this little gloss a go, and it has quickly become a firm favourite of mine. It gives a very slight hint of colour and tingles like crazy, which I really like! My only word of warning would be to avoid wearing it with your hair down if it's windy outside... I keep making this mistake and getting gloss all over my face, which isn't particularly attractive. Oops! 

L'Oreal Glam Shine Balmy Gloss 'Sin For Peach' (£6.99)

A bit of an impulse buy, I realised after purchasing this that I already have quite a few nude balm sticks... Ah well! I actually love the texture and colour of this one as it's a little darker than others I've tried and it feels really moisturising. It's easy to apply and doesn't require a mirror, making it handy for on the go application. I'd like to try some of the more adventurous colours in the range such as the plum coloured stick as I fear I'm becoming too comfortable wearing nudes! 

Makeup Academy Undress Your Skin Radiant Under Eye Concealer (£3)

This is in fact a repurchase of a much loved product; it's bloody brilliant! From the thick and not at all watery texture to the light reflecting particles that instantly help deflect attention away from my tired peepers, this is one of my makeup bag must haves. And it's a total bargain! I don't often repurchase makeup from cheaper brands as I usually end up falling for base products from slightly more expensive ranges, but this is without a doubt one of the best bargain finds I've ever come across during my Superdrug sprees. Run and get one right now, I urge you!

Seventeen Miracle Matte Loose Powder (£5.49)

I like applying a light dusting of loose powder to set my makeup and I decided to try Seventeen's newest offering, in part due to it's matte promise. Now I know that might seem to conflict with my aim for more 'radiant' skin, but actually this works really well with L'Oreal's Lumi Magique foundation! As far as I can tell Seventeen's Miracle Matte comes in one universal translucent shade, and it works with my pale skin perfectly. I've found I don't need to re-powder much throughout the day when using this (although I do have bit of an addiction to powder so I can't say I've stopped completely!) The only gripe I have with it is the packaging, as there isn't a powder puff included and although powder puffs are generally rubbish for applying product, they do come in handy for preventing spillages when the pot is rolling around in my makeup bag! When opening this I have to be careful as often a lot of powder has collected right underneath the lid. 

Et voila, we've come to the end of my new purchases rundown. I've got some fun wedding related beauty posts lined up over the coming weeks, so hopefully there won't be such a long gap between beauty posts throughout January! Have you purchased your first products of 2014 yet? I'd love to know what you went for!

Baci e abbracci, 
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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Hello 2014!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful time ringing in 2014. I spent the evening having dinner and champagne with Chris, watching the fireworks on TV and toasting what will be a very special year for us: we're getting married in 23 days!

I've got lots of goals for this year and I'm going to be writing up detailed goal setting posts over the next week or so which I thought I'd share here. One of the handy lessons I learned during the employment and careers advice workshops for those with anxiety that I attended in the summer is the importance of SMART goals, a mnemonic developed by Peter Drucker (you might have heard of SMART in school, it certainly rang a bell for me!) SMART stands for specific, measurableattainablerelevant and time-bound, the perfect blend for effective goal setting!

One of the main triggers of anxiety for me is feeling as if I have no control over what I'm doing or where I'm going. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing what you want to achieve but not quite being able to get there, and so this year I'm delving in deep when it comes to goal setting. Last year brought me the tools needed to work on my inner self and tackle anxiety; this year it's time for outward action! 

I'm grouping my 2014 goals into the following sections, and for each section I'll be writing up a special Anxiety Diaries goal setting post, developing concrete SMART goals and working towards achieving my 2014 dreams. What are your goals for the coming year? I'd love to know! Nothing beats buddying up with fellow goal setters for moral support!


  • Launch my tarot business (I am thrilled to be working on this! I have so many plans bubbling away!)


  • Graduate with a BA (Hons) English Literature
  • Train and qualify as a Reiki Practitioner 
  • Attend another tarot course 


  • Have a dream honeymoon!
  • Visit New York in December before Christmas


  • Have a bedroom free from clutter! 
  • Cook more meals from scratch 
  • Indulge in more baking 

Quite a few goals, right?! With a little dose of SMART planning they become a lot more manageable and a lot more likely to happen! I'll be posting the first of my in-depth goal setting posts this week, so keep your eyes peeled. I also have one or two secret goals... You'll have to wait until New Year's Eve 2014 to find out if I managed to achieve those ones! Something tells me, though, that I'm in with a really good chance. 

May all sorts of great things happen in 2014!

Baci e abbracci, 

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