THE HUNT TO FIND THE PERFECT GIFT

Photography | Laura Ellen Wright


Before we begin, Dad this sentence is for you – Do not read any further unless it is after Fathers Day! Now, let’s crack on…

Last week, Intu Chapelfield contacted me with a challenge of the shopping variety. My favourite past time – Of course I jumped at the chance! Then there were the ACTUAL challenge – Find the perfect gift for Fathers Day without buying socks *Insert head in hand emoji.

Hands up here guys, I am the cliche card giver with a scribbled note inside reading ‘Cinema trip on me’ and this is given to my dad every year. Mothers day is a breeze in comparison, or so I thought.

As if this challenge wasn’t going to be hard enough, I decided to nip onto the one stop Intu shop on my way home from work – Giving me a tiny 30 minute gap to nail this challenge. Being the well practised shopper I am, I also managed to vlog it at the same time (There’s a link to said vlog at the bottom of this post)

MENSWEAR

Slipping past the socks in Zara for men, I found plenty of well priced unexpected items. For £50 you could practically get your dad a whole outfit in here. I particularly loved these shirts, they felt amazing quality too. Just don’t do what I did and go shopping without your dads sizes *Oh there’s that emoji again!

Levi is a store I rarely set foot in, I don’t know why and this is going to change. The wallets were beautiful in here, amazing leather and quality. They currently have an offer on also, buy yourself a pair of jeans and nab yourself 30% off of your fathers day belt! This then gives you a little extra to choose your dad a classic logo T-Shirt or something a little different.

Whilst Intu Chapelfield is your one stop shop with everything under one roof, House of Fraser is an even easier option for those short on time. Without even going too deep into the menswear department I found Ted Baker and their amazing sale – up to 40% off. This meant a whole heap of great quality items with a fancy pants brand name for under £50, again you could treat your dad to a couple of things.

GROOMING

Did you know Kiehls offered beauty services in store? Nope neither did I! Pick up one of these cards and it gives the man in your life a mini facial. You could pick up a couple of products from their display and said card would offer a nice little bonus gift – What’s even better that part would be free of charge to  you!

TECHNOLOGY

Again HMV is a store I rarely visit, I haven’t been in here for years which is probably why I was so surprised by it! There is SO much in here for the man in your life. Beyond DVDs and CDS, there’s Vinyl | T-Shirts | Comic Books | Breaking Bad Travel Mugs | Head Phones and shelves more. The staff are super friendly and helpful in here too so don’t be afraid to ask them anything.

Apple of course, is by far the classic store for technology. Considering some of the highly priced items it sells, there was a lot under £50. An iPod shuffle was the most surprising I thought, along with Mobile Charging Devices | Apple Watch Straps | Phone Cases | Ear Pods | Home Lighting Technology and so much more.

ALTERNATIVE GIFTS

Lisa Angel Has it going on with the alternative presents. There’s a great selection of cards, outdoor gifts and mens jewellery. How on trend are those pineapple cufflinks! Marble ones also for under £50. This store is great if you want to buy a few smaller gifts instead of one lager one.

And of course, if all else does fail Intu Chapelfield have got your back with the classic gift card so he can choose his own manly items. Although we do all recommend you note down – ‘No Socks Allowed’

MY PURCHASES

I went for two gifts this year, the first being from Lisa Angel . As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to get it for my dad who uses Facebook as a diary! It’s also a little present to the rest of the family as I think it would be nice for us all to flick through in five years time.

The second purchase was from Apple . We have to look after theses men in our lives guys, they are not getting any younger. With this in mind, home technology was brought so the living room light can be turned on and off with a  simple ‘Hey Siri…’ Even when you are away from home!

It turns out shopping for men is much easier than I thought. In fact the challenge came with choosing which gifts to purchase from such a huge selection. This is just a snapshot of the shops available in Intu Chapelfield for the full list of shops click here before you go and plan your visit to make it much easier.

All of these shops were visited in 30 minutes and I even found time for a refreshment break in pret! Below is a link to my Intu Chapelfield shopping challenge Vlog – I hope it gives you some inspiration for Sunday and good luck!

Laura x

*This project has been sponsored by Intu Chapelfield Norwich. As always, my opinions are my own – I don’t do that fibbing thing!

 

Follow:

MY THOUGHTS ON MY NEW S&G PRODUCTS

Photography | Laura Ellen Wright


You may or may not have been lucky enough to catch the Soap & Glory mega deal in Boots recently.  I spied it on Laura Stafford-Smith Instagram and headed straight to my local Boots to take a look. In short when you spent £14 on Soap & Glory make up you received a free gift. I wanted to share my thoughts on the products with you and whilst doing so have found out Soap & Glory have the same deal direct on their website – H E R E I’m not sure how long for mind you so get in there whilst you can!

The only product I’ve ever tried from the brands makeup range is Sexy Mother Pucker (Pretty sure that may have even been my first ever blog post!) Walking into the store I realised I was so fixated on ‘The Deal’ I had no idea what I wanted or needed. Almost a full 20 minutes later this is what I came out with. Three of these full sized products were completely FREE OF CHARGE!

ARCHERY™ D-I-Y BROW BAR™ | £12

First Up I decided on a brow product. I haven’t had my brows tinted in a while so though I’d give building them up on my own at home a try. The ARCHERY™ D-I-Y BROW BAR™ is a 4-in-1 kit designed to Shape | Perfect | Highlight | Tame. I’ve never been great at shaping my own brows so made sure I read the instructions and man alive this is a good product!

Firstly you shape your brows with the brow brush | Then using the other end of that brush you work some of the wax  through each brow | Using the colour pallet on the right hand side, you mix it up to create the perfect colour for you | Finish off with a sweep of the highlighter under each arch. The only negative with this product is the size of the brushes, they are small and fiddly to use.

ONE HECK OF A BLOT™ PRIMER | £10

I have to admit, I’m very sceptical of primers. This fear mainly comes from not finding a good one! I have tried so many and I just find my make up sits on top of them and slides off quicker than ever. Given my first product didn’t quite cover the £14 (Nothing did in fact – See what you did there guys!) I chose the ONE HECK OF A BLOT™ PRIMER. I thought I’d choose a primer to wear on its own without make up. This is because I knew I had a skin treatment for my Xanthelasma (Shameless plug – Read more on this H E R E) coming up and I wouldn’t be able to wear make up for a few days. I still wanted my skin to look good so thought this would do it.

I had nothing to fear with this product – Without makeup it instantly mattes your skin and shrinks your pores, well it mine anyway! It comes complete with PORE-SHRINK™ Technology and SHINE-BLOC™ 12HR Matte. Absolutely NO idea what that means but it works! I have also tried it underneath my makeup and it creates a great smooth base and has since become part of my daily makeup routine!

THE FREEBIES

THICK & FAST™ HD MASCARA | £10.50

I am a stickler for my Chanel mascara however I’m not going to turn down a free full sized product! It’s all about the brush with the THICK & FAST™ HD MASCARA. It has 7 sides with a V-Groove which pushes the volume and intensity. It’s packed full of collagen and seriously guys, zero flakes! Whilst it isn’t waterproof, it hasn’t smudged on me once as yet. Having said this, it is really easy to remove – What is this magic!

SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ XL EXTREME-PLUMP | £10

Being a Sexy Mother Pucker fan, I knew I would like the XL Version. I don’t know if I’m a little weird but I quite like the tingly sensation you get with these products. I actually found the SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ XL EXTREME-PLUMP was less ‘tingly’ than the original however most definitely plumps more. This is a great product on its own or over your favourite lipstick. The free full size you receive is the clear version.

SUPERCAT™ | £6

Now eyeliner is NOT my strong point, it never has been. I usually use a liner underneath my bottom lashes. I’ve always wanted to use it on top of my eyelid however my lids are hooded which means I usually end up with a black line higher up where it’s rubbed on to. So with the hooded eyelids in mind, I can certainly kiss goodbye to the perfect ‘flick’! SUPERCAT™ has a really interesting tip, it’s a little like a marker pen.

The idea is you can use the thin end for a precise look and the thicker part for a more intense look. I LOVE THIS I’m putting it out there, I LOVE IT! whilst I haven’t built up to the ability to create a flick, let alone a perfect one… It doesn’t transfer onto my top lid or budge at all throughout the day! It also has that magic ability to stay put yet be removed easily at the end of the day.

All in all for £22 I took home £48.50 worth of makeup! That’s a whopping saving of £26.50. And I have to say with the exception of the mascara (I really do like my Chanel one) I will be using these products on a daily basis and repurchasing.  Here are some quick links to all of the above products but if you’re thinking about buying any, do so H E R E and grab the freebies! I’m not sure how long this offer is on for so apologies if you read and it’s stopped.

ARCHERY™ D-I-Y BROW BAR™ | £12 – H E R E

ONE HECK OF A BLOT™ PRIMER | £10 – H E R E

THICK & FAST™ HD MASCARA | £10.50 – H E R E

SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ XL EXTREME-PLUMP | £10 – H E R E

SUPERCAT™ | £6 – H E R E

Laura x

 

Follow:

MY XANTHELASMA STORY

Photography | Laura Ellen Wright


Yes I am holding my hands up – I USE FACETUNE – Controversial right!? I use it on my selfies for one thing and one thing alone. Actually Whilst I am being honest, I may have used it in the past to alter my body shape (Now I’m talking YEARS ago here guys) which is just ludicrous!

Whilst I would love to be the perfect size 10, I have learnt to embrace my curves and body shape so trust me when I say body altering is not something I’m a fan of now. If you watch my weekly vlogs you may have noticed the blemishes around my eyes and the reason I use this app already.

THE REASON

As I said, I use Facetune for one thing and that’s to slightly smooth underneath my right eye. The reason for this is a skin condition I have which I am ashamed to say, I am embarrassed about – Xanthelasma. To some this may seem like nothing, however for me it’s a big deal.

I can honestly say, I don’t let a lot get me down. Yes I moan about my weight and the odd spot however these are all changeable things and if I really wanted to loose weight I’d be doing it. Spots, I can cover and eat cleaner to avoid them. The Xanthelasma for me is just there. It makes me feel uncomfortable, self conscious and unattractive.

Xanthelasma

If you have never heard of Xanthelasma before it’s a condition which generally lies around the eye area. It shows in small lumps and are often described as cholesterol or fatty deposits. I have to admit, I am lucky, if you google Xanthelasma the photos online are not pretty. If you have these, the first thing you need to do is go to the doctors and get your cholesterol checked out. Mine was thankfully ok and no one seems to be able to tell me the cause of these unsightly additions to my eyes.

I first heard about Xanthelasma when I visited my optician and he asked if I had recently had my cholesterol level checked. In fact I can’t remember the first time I noticed the lumps. I feel like I have always had them! Looking back through facebook they seemed to develop in my late 20s and then get worse when I hit 30.

The photos below are of my face laid bare, unaltered in any way. They do not show however, how raised the lumps are or how they alter during the day. Make up does not cover them, in fact I think it makes them look worse as does smiling – And I like to do a lot of that!

TREATMENT

This week, I am going to visit Louise Thomas at U and Your Skin as I have my first ACP (Advanced Cosmetic Procedure) booked in. After an initial consultation, Louise recommended an ACP treatment (Hopefully I will only need the one) Where she will use a gentle diathermy heat current to oblate the fatty deposits within the skin and breakdown the unsightly lumps under my eye. As you can see I do have a few smaller ones underneath my left eye however the right one is my main concern.

This has not been an easy post for me to write and put out there. I am sure some of you are looking at these pictures and calling me vain. The bottom line is, my eyes make me feel self conscious. I’m working on it by vlogging without make up on, posting this and deleting Facetune. I wanted to share this post because more people than you think have this condition. If a simple ACP treatment can make me feel more comfortable in my own skin, I want to share that possibility with other sufferers.

Of course I shall post an update following on from my treatment with Louise. I am both excited and a little nervous but I know the U and Your Skin family will look after me.

Laura x

Follow:

A Healthy Midday Snack

Photography | Laura Ellen Wright


Quite often I find my tummy rumblings result in reaching for the unhealthy snack option. Whilst I do enjoy food on many levels, healthy and occasionally unhealthy (Well life is all about balance right!) I am currently trying to eat cleaner and create a much more positive relationship with food for myself. Earlier this week I was invited to the preview of a new skin care range created by Louise Thomas – Owner and founder of U and Your Skin in Norwich. The range of canapés on offer all promoted healthy skin care from the inside out. One of which were these bitesize mini lettuce wraps which were taste sensation! Naturally as soon as I had the chance, these tasty nibbles were recreated to the best of my memory and photographed within an inch of their life!

So let’s get this kicked off with what you will need to make 4 mini lettuce wraps:

1x Midget Gem Lettuce | 1x Small Sweet Potato | 1/2 Avocado | 10g Feta Cheese | 10g Pomegranate Seeds

| Carefully set aside 4 whole lettuce leaves |

| Weigh out your pomegranate seeds |

| Crumble up your feta |

| Chop your Sweet Potato into chunks and place into a small microwaveable container with a tablespoon of water and microwave for 5 minutes or until softened |

| Scoop out and chop your 1/2 Avocado into small pieces |

| Using my chilli infused Fry Light, I then griddle my sweet potato for added flavour |

| Place all 4 ingredients into a bowl and carefully mix together. If it’s a too crumbly, try adding a little lemon juice |

| Spoon your mix evenly into the cups of your lettuce leaves and grab your camera –

These are perfect for your Instagram lunchtime snap! |

| Enjoy with a glass of cold water with blueberries – Another steal from the Louise Thomas launch evening! |

It’s that simple – Five ingredients less then 10 minutes and you have yourself a fresh lunchtime snack.

These ingredients aid towards healthy clear skin so get ready to stuff your face!

I’ve since made these again with the addition of lemon juice and sliced marinated chicken breast for a fuller meal. Aldi do a great marinated Caribbean chicken breast in their fresh section which goes perfectly.

Make sure you share any twists / additions to this simple snack, I’d love to try them out

Laura x

Follow:

STYLING MILITARY

Photography | Scott Wright


I always find this time of year a little funny for fashion. Deciding what to wear in the mornings isn’t easy. First thing it’s cold and misty then when the sun breaks through layers and layers of wool and scarfs can become to much. Last weekend, Scott and I had the day to ourselves so wanted to get out and grab some fresh air. Knowing we wanted to head to the outskirts of Norwich and the Cafe Jungle at Urban Jungle, I just needed to work on my outfit decisions.

We have been wanting to visit Urban Jungle for ages. Well I say we, I totally mean ‘I’ wanted to visit and drag Scott along with me! Although I have to say he was pleasantly surprised by the amazing cafe decorated with cacti, complete with cosy fire. We also spent an imaginary fortune on plants whilst there, all good planning for the house we may one day have.

A couple of weeks ago I brought a few new pieces from Zara including my black Military coat. From memory, this coat should have been way over £100. What’s that? Under £40 in the sale, oooh yes please! I’ve popped a link down below to the last few on the website. Knowing I wanted to wear this, I worked backwards with my outfit. Sundays always call for an element of cosiness so my bell sleeved grey jumper was choice number two. Now making simple decisions has never been my strong point, I can often spend an hour deciding just what to have for lunch! So whilst simple skinny jeans were a given, the shoe choice was proving a little more challenging. Until I remembered I picked up a pair of new flats in the H&M sale.

D E T A I L S

For the first time in a long time the sun had his hat on so I grabbed my MK Sunnies as we headed out of the door. Scott brought me these sunglasses a few years back and every year they fail to disappoint becoming a trusted ‘go with everything’ wardrobe staple. As I mentioned my pointed lace up flats are from H&M and although they said £7 in the sale, they scanned through at £5! Don’t you just love it when that happens. There’s a link down below as there are still a few pairs left online and available in black also. My Black slouchy bag is from H&M too – surprise, surprise! This bag is brilliant for a quick throw everything in and go. A great shape to transition into spring also.

The pop of red under the collar of this coat really caught my eye in store. I love the contrast against the black and how it compliments the beautiful gold buttoning detail. The thin pockets and stitching on the coat are all clean details which suit the shape perfectly.

W H E R E | T O  B U Y

Zara Military style coat, available – H E R E

Zara grey bell sleeve jumper available – H E R E

H&M skinny blue jeans, available – H E R E

H&M black slouch bag, available – H E R E

H&M pointed flat shoes, available – H E R E

Michael Kors sunglasses, available – H E R E

Lisa Angel personalised necklace, available – H E R E

L A U R A  x

 

 

Follow: