Life: 5 Good Things in January

My Instagram username: daisyelizabeth87

I've been really enjoying writing my monthly summaries but have decided to change it up a little for 2016 and focus on 5 good things that have happened each month. I always love reading Victoria's 5 Good Things posts as they are always positive and feel very personal. 

1) We started off the New Year in the Cotswolds and it was a wonderful way to bring in 2016. We spent our four days there playing games, going on walks, watching films and eating lots of pub lunches. We stayed in a village called Blockley and it was a lovely area.

2) I've managed to watch quite a bit of TV this month (typical January!) and have discovered some brilliant series. I've started The Affair and am loving it so far - it has Joshua Jackson in so basically worth watching just for him. I have also raced through Happy Valley which is a police drama featuring Sarah Lancashire (who is incredible in it) - it's a tense watch but so so good. We are also really into Game of Thrones and are now onto series 2. 

3) Hanging out with my family has been lovely this month. We spent last weekend up in Lincoln and it was a really relaxing weekend. We did some shopping, enjoyed fish & chips and watched Game of Thrones. My Dad also came down to London for a work meeting and treated my brother and I to a yummy Pizza Express - can always rely on Pizza Express!

4) Having a quiet month. December was very busy so it's been nice to have a quieter January - especially as my job is so busy at the moment. I've been heading straight home and getting snuggly under blankets on the sofa.

5) Chris and I went to Jamie's Italian in Greenwich yesterday. We haven't been in a while and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the food there. I had the pumpkin ravioli with squash and it was so delicious - highly recommend!

Fashion: A couple of OOTDs

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these outfits but I thought I'd post them on here too - classic mirror outfit of the days!

I have been wearing lots of different variations of the outfit on the left over the colder months- I'm loving the skirt, jumper, black tights and boots combo. It's warm and comfortable but looks smart. The jumper here is from H&M (I have it in about five different colours!) and the skirt is from New Look (yes, the zip is meant to be on the front!).

The second outfit is one I have also been enjoying as I'm loving all over black at the moment. The black turtle neck is from New Look, the jeans are from H&M and the boots are from Primark.

Beauty: Olaplex No3

Olaplex is a big name in the haircare world at the moment. I heard of it a few months ago when my colleague (who has a friend in the hair business) started raving about it and saying how much of a game-changer it was. And when Caroline Hirons mentioned the difference it had made to her hair in a vlog I knew I had to try the at-home treatment.

The treatment is especially beneficial for chemically coloured hair and can restore the health of damaged hair types - it repairs broken hair bonds which are damaged during thermal, mechanical and chemical services. So it's not just a treatment for coloured hair- if you use any kind of heat on your hair it can be used.

There are three steps to Olaplex. Steps 1 and 2 are used in the salon as a treatment and then step 3 is a hair protector which you use at home once a week to boost the strength of the hair. I haven't actually had the treatment in a salon so have only used the at home treatment. 

To use this treatment, you apply a generous amount to towel-dried hair, comb through and leave on for a minimum of 10 minutes (I usually leave it for half an hour) and then rinse, shampoo and condition. You can use it more than once a week if you wish. So what are my thoughts? Well, I can't review the whole treatment but the at home one seems to be working a treat. The best part is rinsing it out of your hair because your hair feels like it's made out of silk and it's pretty incredible!

I wouldn't say the look of my hair has drastically changed but it feels stronger and I feel like it's doing my hair good. I imagine it's even more effective if you use it conjuction with the in-salon treatments.

You can buy Olaplex No 3 from Amazon here*. Have you tried this treatment?

*Affiliate link

Beauty: Sabai Soaps

(Features press samples)

I was contacted recently by a new company called Sabai Soaps. They are a small family run business (something I am always keen to support) and sell luxury handmade soaps which are made in Northern Thailand.

All of the soaps are made using locally sourced pure essential oils such as coconut oil and olive oil- these all combine to help moisturise and smooth skin. They are also suitable for vegans to use.

Something else which I think is lovely is that believe that their profits should be shared amongst the community so they donate 20% of all profits they make to their partner charities in an around Thailand - a great thing for a small business to be doing.

As you can see, the soaps are beautifully packaged. The set above is their Unwind gift pack* which gives you a selection of Lemongrass, Green Seaweed and Sesame Scrub - the Lemongrass is my favourite. The scents are all beautiful and filled the room with scent when I opened the box - you can tell that they are great quality!

Their soaps are priced from £5.25 and you can buy them from their website here

Life: 5 Things to do in January

January is not my favourite month - I like the start of a new year and feeling excited for what lies ahead, but it's also quite a quiet few weeks after the fun of Christmas and I am usually pretty poor after being paid early and spending money on presents! Here are 5 suggestions of things to get up to in January to welcome the new year.

1. Plan the exciting things you want to do in 2016 - whether it be places you want to visit or people you want to make time to see. Even if you don't do them all, it's fun to think about all of the possibilities for the year. 

2. Have a spring clean and clear out. I am always full of motivation to get cleaning and sorting in January. Dedicate a day to spring cleaning and sorting out the cupboards you usually avoid! 

3. Start a 'Good Things Jar' - I love this idea from Charlotte. Every time something good happened in 2015 she'd write what happened on a post it note and pop it in the jar. At the end of the year she read all of the notes and reflected on the best moments.

4. Celebrate Burns Night on the 25th January - cook a traditional Burns Night supper (Haggis is the tradition but if you don't fancy it the BBC have lots of inspiration!) or go to one of the many bars and pubs who will be celebrating the day.

5. Go to the cinema. There are lots of great films out at the moment as it's the award season time of year- I want to see The Danish Girl and Room.

Life: 5 things you learn when you buy a house

We bought our flat in London over two years ago so this post is a little overdue. I thought I'd pull together 5 things I have learnt since owning our own place.

1) A lot of lingo. As soon as you start looking round properties you are introduced to a whole new world of words and it gets even worse when you actually go through the buying process. Freehold, leasehold, exchange, completion, fixed mortgage, tracker mortgage...I could go on. It's quite intimidating as it's all so unknown but luckily there are lots of websites out there to help, and people to ask who have been through it all!

2) Sometimes you have to take a risk. I'll admit - I was a nervous buyer as a lot of people are when they buy, especially for the first time. I wanted to feel completely in love with a place and that it was 100% right for us. It may just be the intense London market but I realised pretty quickly that this wasn't going to be the case - there wasn't time to be fussy or fall in love with somewhere. I probably wouldn't have gone for our flat if Chris hadn't of pushed it - the location was perfect but the flat needed lots of work and the survey highlighted even more issues with it. I would have pulled out following the survey but Chris was persistant and the risk paid off- we both love it now and the brilliant location has put us in a great position.

3) Buying and owning a house = an endless money pit. You think that once you've bought your place you'll have a break from having to spend lots of money. Nope! There are so many things you don't think about that cost money- boiler services, paying for the leasehold if you're in a flat, buying all of the little bits and bobs that you need to furnish a place. As soon as we moved in we had to pay out £500 for the house to be painted and then another chunk of money for roof repairs!

4) You will become a house magazine & Pinterest addict. In the first year after moving in I was a Pinterest demon and bought every house magazine I could find. I nearly bought a subscription to Ideal Home magazine (still my favourite actually) as I loved it so much. Now that the flat is mostly done I've calmed down a lot on my interior obsession but be prepared to go a bit mad with it in the first few months.

5) It's all so very worth it. Owning a place really is the best feeling. I struggled when we lived in rented places as felt like my money wasn't going anywhere and it made me feel quite unsettled. We had to make sacrifices to get the money together to buy- we both moved back into my parents house (twice!) to save as it's so difficult, especially in London. It's been so worth it though- I feel so secure and it's lovely to know that we have our own piece of property. It's something that we will never take for granted.

Home: A Polaroid Winter

Ah Winter, how I love and hate you. I love staying in, getting snuggly and lighting a million candles but hate having to venture out in the rain and being cold. 

To celebrate the Winter season, Ocean Loans set up a lovely little project to bring people's home to the fore this winter, and to showcase some fun snaps using the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8*. I am loving polaroids at the moment and was ridiculously excited to try the Instax Mini.

So here are a few of the polaroids that I took - the first is the view from our living room bay window and is a pretty typical Winter view; bare trees and a cloudy sky. I love watching the changing seasons from our front room- it's pretty special. 

The second is of our fireplace, decorated with lights in a vase and obviously candles. My favourite at the moment is Marshmallow Fireside by Bath & Body Works. The third picture is me in the kitchen, drinking a big mug of hot chocolate - a winter essential.

Life: 2015

2015 has been a great year and I wanted to write a post with a list of some of the brilliant things I got up to. 

  • Barcelona in April with Chris - it was my first visit and I LOVED it.
  • Two of my best friends got married in May and June which was really special and the hen dos and weddings were so much fun.
  • Spent a long weekend in Center Parcs with friends, and also went there for the day when my family were there.
  • Went to the top of the BT Tower.
  • Had a wonderful addition to the family - Betsy the cockapoo! She is naughty and hilarious and we love her so much.
  • We finished the hallway in our flat which makes our flat transformation almost complete!
  • Had lots of fun work nights out.
  • Went to Brussels for a surprise 30th birthday for our friend Jez- it was one of the best weekends ever and we all had the most amazing time.
  • Spent lots of time in Lincolnshire with my family - always enjoy being up there.
  • Booked a holiday to Florida for April 2016 - woohoo!
  • Finished and brought in the New Year in the Cotswolds with Chris and friends.

Let's hope 2016 is just as great!

Fashion: Michael Kors Selma Satchel Bag

Chris pulled it out of the bag (ha) this year with my Christmas present. His Christmas presents have been getting better and better- after nine years together I guess we should know each other pretty well! 

Along with a big box of yankee candle votives, Justin Bieber's CD and a big tin of luxury hot chocolate (yes, I was spoilt) he surprised me with this beauty. He had no idea that I have lusted after this bag since Michael Kors became popular and actually saw a girl in the street with it. He thought I'd like it so took a sneaky picture and tracked it down online. 

This is the Michael Kors Selma Satchel Bag. It's a structured leather satchel handbag and has a zip top fastening and a removable shoulder strap (which is really handy). It also has an internal zip compartment and a couple of pockets inside. It's also a great size as has enough space for my essentials but isn't too huge so that I fill it up with a lot of things I don't need!

I love it and now that I've photographed it (blogger problems) I'm excited to start using it. Thanks Chris!