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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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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The Future Investments That Will Stop You In Your Tracks*

We should all take a moment to think about our future, shouldn’t we? After all, I think we can all agree that time moves at a faster pace than we would like and before we know it we will be in our golden years wondering where life has gone. It is important to understand that we need to think about future investments and what they could be worth to us in terms of increasing overall wealth for the future- just so that when the time does come we can continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we have worked so hard to create. This is why I thought I would share with you some of the future investments that will stop you in your tracks and get you thinking ahead.

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

Investing in gold or other precious metals

More people are deciding that investing in something physical seems to be a far more lucrative option than anything else right now. One of the most popular ones to consider is investing in gold or other precious metals. Physically putting your money into gold bars is now becoming a thing- and more people are seeing the benefits for doing so. Gold and other precious metals value is on the rise so it is also a great way to increase your investment profit quite considerably over time.

Investing water

Did you know that investing in water is an actual possibility? Not many people realise, but if you think about it, water is actually one of the most crucial things we need. If water starts to become scarce it is us that will suffer for it. Investing in water, like Michael Burry suggests could mean that you start to see a healthy return on your money from something that has become a necessity to life. There are many ways you can do it and a bit of exploration online could enlighten you on the subject.

Investing in cryptocurrencies

You would have to have been living under a rock to have not heard some of the investment success stories that have recently been shared in terms of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. People who have invested have seen the value of their currency skyrocket, which in turn will have seen them make a huge profit. It isn’t just Bitcoin either- there are other cryptocurrencies you could invest in, and some that are yet to be launched that could see you double your money. It is just a case of exploring your options online to ensure that you pick the right investment strategy for you and your financial situation.

Investing in property

Finally, property is a great way to invest your money for the future. Buying now, moving up the ladder, increasing your value as time goes on will only see you start to move your investments forward and increase the overall value of your profits over time. You could also double your options by buying additional properties to rent out, giving you a short term profit in rent and a long term profit in increased value.

I hope that these future investments have given you something to think about. Have you started making plans for the future yet?

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Head Your Look In The Right Direction*

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So it’s nearly Springtime, and there is no better time than now to reinvent your look and change up your appearance a little. We all get to a certain stage whether it be a few months or a year or two, and we get bored. We get bored of how we do our makeup and how our hair is cut, and we want a change.

Change is good, it’s not something that should be feared – especially when you’re in control of it. There are tons of things that you can do, (some more drastic than others) that will give you a new sense of yourself. It’s important to remember that you are constantly evolving. You may have gone up on your career path and are working towards your dream job. You may have finally left that toxic relationship and are now a free, strong, independent woman. Or you may have just decided that you’re wasting so much time pretending to be someone else, and you’re done with it.

One of our biggest problems is getting caught up in comparisons. We will always seek out other women and compare the size of our boobs to theirs, or whatever else. And believe it or not, guys do it too so it’s not just a ‘girl thing’. You’ll see a woman walking down the street with her head held high, stunning golden locks that fall down her back, and a face that looks so pretty she could be a fairy. Not to mention her style. And immediately we feel crappy about ourselves and wish that we could be more like that. When really, she might be eyeing you up thinking the exact same thing. Sometimes it’s so easy to get distracted by beauty, that you don’t see the other things, like her nervous hand tic because she’s crossing the road and feels super paranoid. Or the fact she always wears her hair down so that she feels more masked and covered. So don’t be so quick to assume that that pretty girl has it all.

But how do you focus on yourself properly, you ask?

Here’s how…

Your face.

Makeup, makeup, and makeup. Why do we love it so much? – Because it’s magic. It can transform you in so many ways. Once upon a time all we could do was try with what we had in our beauty bag and hope for the best. Until a few years ago when social media became the teacher to us all, blessing us with makeup tutorials on how to fix our faces like the professionals do. And now it has never been more fun to experiment and play around with all the products that are out there.

When choosing your base, you’ll want to make sure that the colour is right for your skin tone. If you’re lucky, you will find the perfect shade, but unfortunately, a lot of you may have to mix a couple. But this isn’t a bad thing, because bear in mind in the summer, your skin would have caught the sun anyway, making you slightly darker, so having two shades of foundation can actually work to your advantage. You can also use bronzer is the summer time to contour with as a pose to your usual contour sticks, because it still creates the shadow you want, but without being too harsh and heavy – especially when it’s super hot outside. Plus it gives you a nice shimmer and glow at the same time.

If you’re looking to do something different with your makeup routine though, you’d be amazed at how changing a couple products will do just that. Lipstick, and blusher. Don’t wear either already? – Start applying them. Already wear them? – Change the colour.

The hair.

Your hair is what frames your entire face, think of it as the frame that shows off the pretty painting inside. A bad one will tarnish that piece of artwork, while a good one will compliment it. The best way to pick the right kind of cut, is to figure out what face shape you have, as this plays a big role in the overall look. Short hair for round faces pairs up wonderfully, especially when cut with a lot of texture by having shorter layers that are uneven, as this will give you more edge and create depth. While doing this on a longer face may make it appear even longer. So you need to put all of this into consideration before you go chopping away.

You will also want to think about the colour. If you’re happy with the shade it is now, then never feel the need to dye or bleach it because you think it’s how people will want to see you. You do you. Having said that, if you do want to spruce things up a little, why not go to the salon and get some highlights or lowlights put in? This way you don’t have to stray too far away from your natural colour, but you can still get some more definition going, especially as the sun starts to make an appearance, catching those subtle lights. And if you’re feeling really daring, then go pink, or purple, or blue, or red, or all of them combined! This is the beauty of creating your own look – you can do whatever you want. Be free, break out from the norm. Sure, expect to get some looks, but don’t immediately perceive them as being negative – people look out of awe and wonder, and maybe even think to themselves, “I wish I had the confidence to do that!”

Your outfit.

Be the trendsetter that you know you can be. There are so many different looks that are going on right now, sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but hey – you don’t have to. Just because the magazines or Instagram tell you what is in trend this season, doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Seek inspiration wherever you see fit. This could be from online, or the tv, or out and about in the city. Or even nature. There are so many things that are beautiful, so take what you can, and combine them all together to create your very own style.

One great way to figuring out your sense of style if you’re struggling, is to think about music. What kind of genre do you listen to? Who’s your favourite musician? What songs make you feel all types of ways? Being in touch with that emotion and feeling is brilliant because it allows you to create a vibe that is of substance. If you believe it, then people will feel it as soon as you walk into a room. It may be poetic, or dark, or wild, or risque – but they’ll know.

You also need to think about your body type. The size of your clothes doesn’t matter – at all. It doesn’t matter whether you’re big or small, it’s how you wear them, rather than how they wear you. So before you go shopping, understand what works and what doesn’t. If you want to cinch in the waist, then focus on things that pull you in around that area. The use of accessories works great in this department, so take advantage of chunky belts, or even a funky scarf that has multiple different functions.

Your confidence.

As they say, confidence is the key, and as cliche as it may be – it’s true. If you hold your head high enough, keep that back straight enough, and smile like you mean it, you can make anything look good. Confidence is such a powerful thing that so many people want to have, because it changes everything. It changes the whole way you see yourself. How you carry yourself. And how others see you too. So even if you have to fake it – fake it! No one else knows, and sooner or later, once you see how much better everything is, you’ll start to believe it too.

Look for the things that make you happy, and draw out that energy from them, using it to your advantage. If you have certain insecurities that are always in the back of your mind, then face them – don’t let them win. It’s important to remember that everyone has things that they don’t like about themselves. Even Beyonce! No one is perfect. It doesn’t exist. We all have our scars, our stretch marks, our spots, our cellulite, our pockets of fat here and there. It’s just part of being human, and the sooner you accept that, the easier your life will become.

We spend so much of our time trying to fix ourselves, when really we should be trying to embrace all of our qualities, because they are what makes us, us. Imagine living in a world where we all accepted each other, and were each other’s cheerleaders… Wouldn’t that be just magical?

We’ll get there one day. We just need to spread the love and encouragement among everyone. It will get better.

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