Old English Company Haul and Review

I’m a big fan of shopping small businesses where possible and I have an entire favourites file on my laptop dedicated to my first ports of call when seeking the perfect gift- for a loved one or for myself. High up on that favourites list is the Old English Company- known for their hand letter-pressed wares, it’s one of those sites where you are guaranteed to find something for everyone so when they got in touch asking if I would like to collaborate I wasted no time at all in sending my reply.

All items c/o Old English Comany

I was pretty much given free reign of the website and allowed to pick out some products to review and keep. The decision process was a lengthy one, there were (and are) so many items I love and narrowing it down was near on impossible.
My Mum and I both collect enamel pins and the Old English Company do an impressive selection for £7.00 each. I had to go for the coffee for life pin for myself- coffee IS life, every one who knows me is aware of this and waits until I’ve had at least one cup before attempting any kind of interaction.
I picked the Number 1 Mother pin for Mum as she’s been a bit stressed out lately and I wanted to remind her how much I appreciate her. I seem to barely see her these days between work and spending time at Bob’s so I’ll take any chance I can to make her feel special and remind her that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
As well as collecting enamel pins I also hoard mugs- I have a vast selection at home, and at Bob’s- and his collection is growing rapidly thanks to me as well. The Old English Company sell many, many mugs with tongue in cheek, motivational and sentimental statements on them- perfect for gift giving (and budget special at a tenner each, not bad for something so personal to the recipient). I chose the “good morning my love” mug to give to Bob as it’s the first thing he says to me each day- in a terrible Bristol accent, and as soon as I saw this print it made me smile. Of course I went coffee themed again for myself. It’s become a new fixture on my desk at work, where my dependence on coffee is now a standing joke.
Finally the stationery addict in me couldn’t resist adding this planner (sparkly pen from Typo) to my notebook collection. I’m a list maker, it keeps me grounded and on track and this planner has no dates on it so it’s perfect for ad-hoc use at any time during the year. It would be great as a bullet journal platform as well, and a great gift for any one who is in to their organisation. It’s £11.95 which may seem pricey, but any fan of a good note book will know and appreciate that some times it’s just worth paying that bit more- with it’s chic black cover and pearlescent print, this is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical- it also comes in several other colour ways.
As you can probably tell, the Old English Company certainly didn’t disappoint and I hope this post serves as inspiration and encouragement to shop small businesses. Take a look at the website and let me know in the comments what your favourite products are- I’m desperate to add more of their homewares to my life, and I’m pretty sure Bob won’t notice if a sneak a few to his until we get a place of our own…

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My 9-5 Style

Ok, so I don’t know where the last week has gone but I want my time back! Every time I thought I’d get a minute to sit down and blog something got in the way and at one point I’d convinced myself I had already written and published this post!

Now I’m working 9-5 it’s been harder and harder to get motivated to do any outfit photos, all of my favourite, casual outfits barely see the light of day, and with one exception there’s not much in my work wardrobe that I want to be showing off- and by the time I get home from work I’m usually do dishevelled that it’s not worth photographing. I did finally get my bum in gear though and took this outfit with me to a weekend at Bob’s purely for photo purposes- it ties in nicely with how I’ve been wearing my Zadig & Voltaire watch I featured the other week and whilst my working wardrobe is still a work in progress, this is the kind of style I’d ideally be sporting every day.

Shirt: Monki | Trousers: Monki : Boots: Banana Republic | Ring and Watch c/o watchshop.com

Monki wasn’t the first shop that sprang to mind when I thought about work wear, but on a shopping trip for some weekend clothes (jeans, mission aborted) I ended up grabbing two of these shirts and these trousers instead. I’m not really a shirt or blouse person but these hang so nicely, and are a great length- I got two in the end, this one and a black and white pinstripe one and I highly recommend them. The trousers were very reasonable at £30 and fit like a dream. I love culottes, prefer them over full length trousers to be honest as I can never quite find the right length in not cropped styles. I’m definitely going back for a black pair as well, they are hugely flattering, and whilst I’m not a trouser person these days due to ever expanding waist line these don’t make me feel anything other than a little bit smart and refined.

Sadly since taking these photos my beloved Banana Republic boots have died a tragic death and are no longer in circulation. I’m yet to find the perfect pair to replace them- this is not the time of year to find yourself in the market for a new pair of boots- if anyone has seen any that may bridge the gap do let me know…

I’m constantly seeking inspiration for my work wardrobe these days as I spend the majority of my life there so I would love to know where everyone shops and what styles they are loving at the moment.

That said, I have a week off next week and I am hugely looking forward to breaking in to denim dresses and trainers and kicking back for a while.

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Degustabox- The March Edit

Cliche as it sounds, it seems like I’ve barely blinked since I wrote my February Degustabox* post and yet here I am with the March edition. This month’s box looked full of promise with a mix of products I was vaguely aware of as well as some I had no idea existed.
It’s actually Easter Sunday as I write this post, with a belly full of roast dinner I’m still finding the lure of these Smarties and Milkybar mixed mini eggs almost impossible to ignore. In my eyes nothing beats the original mini eggs (recipe change and all) but these come pretty close- the bag claims to be perfect for sharing but I’m finding it hard to be generous with these. By the time you read this the chances of finding these will be slim to none, but if you do see a reduced price bag then grab them- and keep your eyes peeled for next year.
This limited edition flapjack from “Hafervoll” sounded absolutely delightful. Lebkuchen is one of my favourite things ever, and being hand-made without any added sugar, cheap fillers or chemical additives these are undoubtedly better for you. I’ve not been able to try this due to nuts, and I’ve never seen the brand for sale in the shops near to see if they do any other flavours, but if I’d certainly be tempted to try one despite the hefty £1.99 price tag.
As you can see from my photo, these noodles from Mr Lee’s arrived damaged and therefore I didn’t take the risk and try them. I’m absolutely gutted though as I adore noodles and these would have been perfect as a lunch snack. Again, I haven’t seen these in the shops near me- and at £2.99 I’m not sure I’d pick them up if I did- but if I had the chance to try them I’d jump at it.
I’m not, and never have been a big fan of milk based drinks but this one certainly did appeal with it’s fun and fresh packaging. I don’t like the taste of milk, but disguised with chocolate and knowing I could do with a boost of calcium (and the fact it’s free of nasties like refined sugar) I’d pick this up on the go when I needed a snack but didn’t have the chance to actually stop and eat something. I’m a convert.
I’ve pretty much given up energy drinks having found myself relying a bit too heavily on them. Still, it would have been rude not to try Tenzing Natural Energy- it contains just six natural ingredients and has 55 calories per can- definitely better for me than sugar free red bull, and I can stomach liquid calories when I know they come from good, honest ingredients and not a tonne of sugar and additives. It’s not my favourite energy drink ever, but it’s not half bad.
What can one say about a jar of pasta sauce? Well, for starters this is Cirio pasta sauce, and being a big fan of their entire range of products I knew this would be good. This makes for the perfect quick and healthy post-work dinner served piping hot with some wholewheat pasta- at £2.00 per jar it’s more of a luxury than a store cupboard staple but one I’d like to keep around.
I’m all for a bit of nostalgia- it’s a long time since I had a carton of drink like this, but having grown up on a diet of ribena and Roald Dahl how could I resist? I might look a bit odd with one of these at my desk when I’m almost 31 years old, but I don’t care, these are really very tasty little drinks and contain nothing suspicious or artificial- now, where’s my copy of the BFG?
As I mentioned above, I grew up drinking Ribena so I was excited to see a new variant in their no added sugar range. Pineapple and Passionfruit is every bit as fruity as it sounds, deliciously tropical, I finished this bottle in a couple of days and I’m now impatiently awaiting for it to hit shelves locally.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned before, but Bob and I are obsessed with hot sauces, obsessed. We usually buy from independent retailers- at markets and the like and find the bottles you get in supermarkets just don’t live up to the extra hot claims (having survived the experience of the world’s hottest chilli flakes most things now seem a bit tame). We were both impressed by this Encona Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce, it’s not the hottest we’ve had by any means but it certainly packs a punch. At £1.49 it’s a fraction of the price we usually pay too, and so it’s become a new staple to our kitchens. Heat loves rejoice- and those with a more delicate palette, approach with extreme caution!
Another battered box (my delivery driver clearly wasn’t in a great mood when he dropped this month’s box off)- shreddies max granola. I haven’t been able to try this as there are nuts listed in the ingredients which is a shame as it sounds delicious. I love granola and could easily eat half a bag at a time straight up- let me know if you’ve tried this and what you thought.
There was also a coupon in the box to pick up a Cheestrings Snack Mix which I totally failed to do- I used to love Cheesstrings though and these do look tempting so I will do my best to source one and pop up a mini review on Instagram.

For those who don’t yet know, Degustabox* is a monthly food subscription box that gives you the chance to try new and exciting products on the market whilst providing amazing value for money.
On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this as you can see if you do the maths.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £5.00 off of your first box (making it just £7.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

Zadig & Voltaire at WatchShop.Com

My obsession with watches is well documented on this blog – I might only be able to wear one at a time, but I can never resist adding a new time piece to my collection, and this is further fuelled by a great working relationship with a leading watch retailer. I was recently sent a stunning new piece by Zadig & Voltaire, they have long been a brand I have admired so the news they are now stocked at WatchShop.com was both welcome and dangerous.

Watch c/o Zadig & Voltaire at WatchShop.com | Ring c/o Karl Lagerfeld at WatchShop.com

WatchShop.com also very kindly sent me the Karl Lagerfeld watch of my dreams, which I recently featured in a wish list post so right now I feel like the luckiest, and best accessorised girl around. The ring is everything I hoped it would be, and more…and the watch, well despite owning countless styles at this point, all of which I love, this one has 100% reached it’s way to the top spot and hasn’t left my wrist since it’s arrival. The attention to detail in this watch is incredible and it just looks so classy, and yet a little bit badass too.

I’ve got an outfit post coming later this week showing just one of the ways in which I’ve been wearing these pieces, and also gives a glimpse of what I wear during my 9-5 life.

In the meantime, let me know which watches you are most coveting right now, and which designers just seem to get it right every damn time.

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Never Pay Full Price Again With These Savvy Shopping Tips*

“I need to be more responsible with money!” How many times have you said that to yourself? It’s not always easy to show restraint, and if you find that your savings are always being sacrificed for the latest ‘must-have’ you could start feeling anxious about your financial future- I’m forever telling myself I need to spend less and save more, but then something exciting comes along and I find myself splashing the cash.
Is there a way to shop and save? There certainly is- and when you become a better bargain hunter you can learn to get the things you want at a lower price – allowing you to put those extra savings aside.

Want to learn what it takes to be a savvy shopper? Read these top tips and never pay full price again!

Never accept the first offer
When you’re shopping – the first price you see doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you end up paying. See that price tag as a challenge to beat and save yourself some money. If you always approach shopping with a view to saving money you’ll develop some great habits that will make you much more thrifty – without compromising on the things you want. You’ll need to work on beating your urge to impulse buy, but once you get past that – there’ll be a whole world of shopping opportunities at your feet.

Always compare

Comparison sites are great, they do all of the hard work for you so that you can get a clear picture of every deal that’s out there and make the best decision. Take cheap car insurance for example, to quote those (annoyingly true) TV ads – a quick search really could save you £££s on your car insurance. Comparison sites exist for everything from insurance and flights to makeup and blu-rays – always do a little comparison, even if it is a manual one to see which retailer offers the better deal.

Make money while spending

Are you using a cashback scheme? If not – start one right away. Cashback schemes like Topcashback or Quidco are great for saving money while doing your usual shopping. They work as a sort of gatekeeper to online stores, simply start your retailer search with them rather than Google and you’ll be given back a percentage of your spend into your account. When the cashback amount builds up you can swap it for gift vouchers or a bank payment to use as you please – it’s such a simple way to get some extra savings with barely any effort!

Search high and low for discount codes

There’s nothing better than finding a great discount code. Saving 10, 20 or even 30 percent can make a big difference when you’re unsure of whether you can afford to buy something. A quick search for ‘retailer + code’ could open up a lot of offers that you wouldn’t have found elsewhere. Sign up to newsletters, search Twitter and try every avenue possible to find a good discount code.

As a little bonus tip, you can buy discounted gift cards from places like Zeek. This means that if you can’t find a discount code for something you want to buy, you could buy a discounted gift card instantly and use that instead. Some cards are sold for as much as 15% off their actual value – which is a great discount to have off different items. If you do manage to find a discount code on top, your savings could be even greater!

Make wish lists

Wish lists are great for bookmarking items you might want to buy later or might be out of your price range at the moment. Having a wish list for places like ASOS, Amazon and Topshop means that you can find discounts and sale deals easily – without you having to search around for them. When sale time comes around, you’ll already be able to see the savings on items you liked in the first place – stopping you buying items on impulse.

Don’t forget eBay
eBay is a fantastic tool when you use it properly. Using eBay to shop doesn’t have to mean buying used or second-hand goods, there is still plenty of newness there for you to sink your teeth into. Some amazing eBay buying tips include searching for ‘new with tags’ on items you have been eyeing up elsewhere, and seeing what comes up. You could find yourself saving much more on an item that’s still in store simply because someone couldn’t be bothered to return it. It’s always worth a try, and you can even set up search alerts to make it easier for you to get the latest deals.

By becoming a savvier shopper, you can help your money stretch further to build up your savings. You can also grow your savings through investments, which can make those goals such as a house deposit or wedding fund much easier to get to. Good financial habits are important as you get older, so make sure you start adulting when it comes to your money.

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