Saturday, 19 November 2016

Sweet Home Pastry

Hi Everyone!
I hope you've all been keeping up to date with what I've been up to on my Instagram! If not then you  would have seen from my previous blog post that I am currently living in Groningen! I've had a really busy past six weeks trying to settle in and make some friends, and I can't beleive how fast time is going!

I also mentioned in my previous blog post, that I was going to try and find some non-student societied and events on the internet. My search was succesful and I found an expat meetup which was taking place at a local bar. It was a great evening and I met loads of realy interesting people. Which brings me onto the main topic of this blog post.

At the expat meetup, I met a lovely couple, Donika and Luis, who have recently set up a home bakery business, the idea behind their business is a really great one.

Groningen is a very international city, filled with lots and lots of students. So what could be a better idea than setting up an international themed bakery, specialising in the most popular desserts from nine european countries. Their aim is to bring a nostalgic feeling of home to the city, using all fresh ingredients and baking techniques whhich make you feel like you never left home! I've been lucky enough to try some of their desserts and I genuinely can't choose my favourite ones!

The first dessert I tried was Sweet Home Pastrys take on 'Savarin' which is a traditional Romanian dessert, although it actually originates from Poland. I absolutely loved these, they reminded me a lot of the medera cake which I always bought at home, but the extra sweet twist on them really excited me. The strawberries and cream really complimented the Savarin, and created a really lovely combination of textures.



Secondly i tried some Kolaches, which are one of the most popular desserts in the Czech Republic. They are made with a yeast dough, so the base tastes a bit like brioche, so not as sweet as most of the other desserts I tried, but I definitely really enjoyed them. I was lucky enough to try four different fillings in the Kolaches. The first one I tried was the one with strawberry and blueberry filling, I imediately noticed the very homely smell, they really reminded me of jam tarts (which I used to eat a lot of when I was younger.) I also tried the one with just blueberry filling, which I found quite similar to the one with strawberry in it, however I think this is just in comparrison to the next two Kolaches!

The third Kolache I tried was a cream cheese one, it was very similar in flavour to a cheesecake and not too sweet at all! (which is dangerous because then I don't get full so fast!) It had a lovely texture and a simple taste. You definitely can't go wrong with this one! However, kolache number 4 had to be my favourite! Poppy Seed! I thought this was so unusual but the overall taste was so good! The texture was the winner for me and I loved the soft base combined with the crunchy poppy seeds, They're not a usual filling in desserts so that took me by surprise and that was one of the features I liked overall about the Kolaches.



Finally I tried some Kn√∂dels, and these really were the best thing ever! They originate from Austria. It took me a while before trying them to get my head around the fact that they weren't savoury, as to me the breadcrumbs gave the illusion that they'd be similar to a Scotch egg! I can safely say now that they definitely weren't like a scotch egg! They were filled with all kinds of wonderful things, but I thought the chocolate was the best of all, because it took me so much by surprise after trying so many fruity treats! 



I really love the idea of this home business and even more so now that I got to try some of the treats! Donika and Luis are definately so passionate about what they do and I'd love to see their business really take off. Also, despite the fact I am now a graduate (I still don't feel like one) I'm still very much in the student budget mindset, and I was so surprised and happy to see the really reasonable prices of their desserts. If you're in the city of Groningen then please do take a look at their website and support a really great local business!

Find them on Facebook
Or click here to go to their website! 

I hope you're all well!
Leah xx




(photography by Donika and Luis)


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Moving to Groningen!

Hello again!
As I mentioned in my previous post. I have recently (Two weeks ago today) moved to Groningen, a city in the Netherlands. It feels really crazy to write that.

It's definitely been an emotional rollercoaster of a fortnight, ranging from "Wow, I'm such an Adventurer" to "What the hell am I doing here! When is the next flight home?" It's not easy moving somewhere that you don't speak the language, aren't studying, and don't have a job, and I'm sure that anyone who's done the same as me can confirm that.

I've always studied very intense and time consuming subjects so I've never had 'nothing' to do. This meant that my first week here was quite lonely if I'm completely honest. I'm lucky that I haven't moved here alone, but my boyfriend is studying and spends a lot of time at uni, which I completely understand as I was in that position only a few months ago!

It can be really hard to build up the confidence to get yourself out there in a place you don't speak the language, but I decided to take the "what's the worst that could happen" outlook. If i didn't go out and meet people, they definitely wouldn't come to me! I spent a few days just getting out and exploring the city. It's a really beautiful place, with lots of things to see and do.

To get myself out there and hopefully make some new friends, I've started volunteering at a local cat cafe! I've already done one day there! It's a really cool place right in the centre of town. (it's called Kattencafe op z'n kop for those of you who want to have a look!) Everyone I worked with was really lovely and definitely helped me feel more at ease in the city. They also all spoke perfect English which was a massive bonus! I had a really great day and I got to try lots of different cakes and coffees, once my shift ended I stayed for even more coffee and got to play with the cats. One little guy named Puk really took a liking to me (and I loved him too!) He is in the picture below. I have also started Dutch lessons. I've only had one lesson so far so I'm still finding the language very confusing, but hopefully I'll start to pick it up a bit quicker now, I will be doing lessons twice a week, and I'm hoping that it'll be another place for me to make friends! Alongside this, I've been scouring the internet for non student social groups. These are all things that I believe will really build my confidence and it's all very exciting!


Everyone that I've met so far has been so lovely and very welcoming, and I'm really loving the Dutch lifestyle! I've already got a bike and named her Betty!

Let me know if any of you have ever been to Groningen! Maybe you have suggestions of places to go or things that I need to see? I'd love some recommendations!

I'll keep you all updated on my adventure!

Leah xx

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Better late than never: My Summer

Hi Guys!
I know I always say how busy I've been so I won't bore you with that intro again. Instead I thought I'd just give you a little run through of what i did this summer, along with some photos!

I guess my summer began quite early this year, with a very badly timed (by accident) four day city break to Barcelona. The reason it was so badly timed was that we didn't realise at the time of booking that my end of year fashion show would be the same week. Luckily we'd be arriving back (very late) the night before the show. Barcelona was a really beautiful city, I'd definitely recommend it. It was quite different than our usual type of city break as we had the city and the beach all in one place! I've never really been to anywhere 'Properly' hot before, so this was very exciting for me! However, I had to find out the very hard way that my legs aren't as immune from sunburn as English summers had lead me to believe. My Barcelonian sunburn has scarred me for life (mentally, thankfully not physically.) I burnt so badly that my legs swole up and I ended up looking like a tree trunk at the end of year fashion show later that week! I also had to wear leggings and long sleeves for the rest of the city break which was not too enjoyable. I guess the silver lining is that I've learnt my lesson and carry suncream everywhere with me now, infact I think it's fair to say that I'm a little bit obsessed and I inflict it on eveyone I'm with too, i've got lots of blame for people not getting sun tans because of me and my factor 50!  Here is a picture of some of the beautiful architecture on the Sagrada Familia! The attention to detail really was amazing and I'd love to go back when it's completed.



Once I arrived back from Barcelona it was straight back to business and time to start the last minute preperations for the fashion show. (models, makeup and last minute garment alterations.) It was a very emotional evening, partially because of the amount of prosecco consumed, but mostly because it was the evening that our whole degree had lead up to. It finally seemed worth all the stress of fundraising, planning and late nights we'd put into it, and it was so lovely to have lots of proud family members and friends all in one place to celebrate our hard work. It was also amazing to see all our work come to life down the catwalk. For many of us this was our first fashion show displaying our own work, which made the evening even more special. Here is one of my favourite looks being worn on the catwalk! All designed, dyed and made by me! Followed by a picture of me sat with my exhibition space!



The next part of my summer was my first ever all inclusive summer holiday! At the beginning of June we went to Side in Turkey. We managed to get a really good deal online, due to the schools having not broken up for summer yet. The hotel was really lovely, and absolutely huge! I've never been in such a big hotel! It had a huge pool, a water park and it's own beach! It was a nice change from our usual city breaks being able to chill out and relax by the pool every day. We went on some great excursions too. On one day we visited a Turkish spa, which I would definitely reccomend you all to try if you go to Turkey. It's not your usual spa day but it was really interesting and ejoyable once you get used to all the foamy bubbles they cover you in! We also went on a boat trip which was a great experience once I had dosed up on motion sickness tablets. I've never been able to jump off a boat into the sea, come to think of it, this was my first ever relaxing boat trip, having only ever been fishing or on ferries before then. Our time in Turkey flew by as holidays tend to do, but I absolutely loved it and will definitely go back. Here I am at one of the many all you can eat meals that we enjoyed at the hotel, unfortunately looking rather freaked out by the half eaten fish staring at me from my boyfriends plate. (I'm not a big fan of fish) but I promise I looked much happier at all the other millions of meals we had! (I made my kimono myself too!)


After all of this excitement it was time to get back to real life, and start gradually moving out of my student house in Portsmouth. I found this really sad, and I still (almost five months on) don't feel ready to say goodbye to student life, but still, it was time to go back to London for a few months, to start work again and start saving for the next adventure. I always enjoy going back to work in the summer as we are all like one big family, and they are always so interested and supportive of what I've been up to. Here are two pictures, one of my uni house front door, which must be the shabbiest door in Portsmouth, and a picture of me in my glamourous uniform which I rocked for most of the summer.


On the 13th of July I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a 2:1 in Fashion and Textile Design! It was a really exciting (but busy) day and it meant so much to have all my loved ones in one place especially to celebrate my acheivements. I'm still really proud of myself as doing a degree was definitely not a walk in the park! Doing such a subjective course caused me so much worry waiting for my overall grade as you can never really guage how well you've done in each unit, but of course now it al seems worth it. The photo below shows me on a giant deckchair at the celebrations in the park after the ceremony. It was a lot of fun to see all my friends dressed up like Harry Potter for the day.



Finally, and a very good finale to my summer, was a family trip to Orlando! It really is such an amazing place with so much to do and I don't believe anyone is too old to go there! I loved being in Disneyworld as it really did feel magical, but I am a massive child at heart, The firework display and the night time parade there were the best I've ever seen! We also visited Universal studios (as well as lots of other amazing places.) I can not put into words how much you guys must visit there if you're in Orlando! The Harry Potter rides alone make the trip worth it! Everything was done so cleverly and the 3D effects make the magic seem almost real! Universal has two parks, and I loved that one of the main ways to travel between the two was on the Hogwarts Express, which takes you between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Anyone who follows my Instagram will have already seen my complete spamming of photos, but here are some of my favourites.





I couldn't possibly go into detail about everything we did in Orlando, because the whole two weeks wer completely jam packed, but please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or if you've been then please let me know what your favourite thing in Orlando is. As we were leaving, all the preperations for halloween were beginning and I would love to have stayed longer to see it all come to life!

So I guess that bring me to the end of my summer and onto a brand new adventure. I have just moved to the Netherlands! I am very much still settling in and finding my feet, but I am living in a beautiful city called Groningen. I will be writing another blog very shortly (possibly even by the end of the day) to tell you guys all about what I think of the city so far and how I've been helping myself to settle in!

Thank you to those of you who have stuck it out and read all the way through! I hope you all had really cool summers too! (It seems so strange to be writing that as i'm currently pretty cold)

I promise to blog again soon!
Leah xx













Friday, 1 July 2016

FINAL YEAR OF UNI!

Hi everyone!
Sorry it's been so long since I last posted a blog post. Its been a stressful academic year finishing off my degree, but I've survived it and I'm sure that now I'll have a lot more time to write for you all! I hope so anyway!

I've been super busy since September, and let me warn anyone anyone considering doing a Fashion and Textile Design degree, it is not for the faint hearted! Lots of late nights and early starts (there were also a lot of nights where sleep was not an option!) I worked really hard, and I'm really proud that I'll be graduating this summer!

I'm writing this post to show you all just some of what I spent the past academic year working on. I also managed to fit a couple of really short city breaks in on the rare couple of days I was able to take time away from my sewing machine, I'll post some separate blog posts about them in the coming weeks!



This first photo shows some of my final fashion illustrations. It took me a while to narrow down and decide on exactly what I wanted to create. I have always loved designing garments, and from a really young age I knew that fashion design was the path for me. I find it really interesting to see what a long way I've come with my illustrations since I started my degree.




The photos show the final outcome of some of the final garments I created, Hopefully you can see which outfits match up to which designs from the previous image. My final collection was an evening wear collection, and being both a fashion and textiles student means that not only did I have to design and make the garments, it was also my job to take care of the printing, dyeing and embellishment of my collection. Working with silk was really challenging, and definitely out of my comfort zone, but I feel a real sense of achievement that I gave it a go and achieved an outcome that I was really happy with. I was also very lucky to have such wonderful models and photographers to help with my photo shoot! It was the most nerve wracking but rewarding thing to see my garments being worn, photographed and coming to life in a real life environment!



This next photo shows me on the morning of my dissertation hand in! I think it's fair to say that most students have a similar photo to this one. My dissertation was another year long project which ran alongside my final collection, involving lots of research and writing. It was really hard to balance two such massive projects at the same time, but it felt so good seeing the 10,000 words I had written being printed and bound, especially as I was on a creative course, it was nice to be able to submit a piece of academic writing for a change. 



The final photo I want to share with you all is one of my final exhibition space, this was the absolute final part of my university life! Taking it down felt very odd and I have no idea what my next adventure will be! I promise to keep you all updated though! Sorry this has been such a long (but hopefully not boring) blog post, and thank you to those of you who are still reading! I just wanted to share with you whats stolen me away from my blog for a while!

Let me know if you have any questions. Maybe you're considering doing a similar course or degree? Or just let me know what you think of my final collection! I'd love to know what you guys have got to say!

Hope you're all well!
xx


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Arbonne Review

Hi everyone! I hope you're all well. I know it's been a while since I last posted but I've been really really busy with trying to get the ball rolling for my final fashion collection for uni, alongside a 10,000 word dissertation. Busy, busy, busy! However I did manage to fit in a surprise trip to Krakow, in Poland for a few days back in November. It was absolutely beautiful there, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to go on a city break! Whilst I was there I got chatting to Rebecca Marsh, an Arbonne Independant Consultant, who told me all about their products. She explained to me how all their products are vegan, they are botanically based and they are free from any nasty chemicals, parabens and perfumes. Any of you who keep up to date with my blog will know that I have quite sensitive skin, so these products sounded perfect for me! Rebecca very kindly sent me over some bits to sample when we got back to England.
 
As you can see, the Arbonne range has very simple, but distinctive packaging, which I feel reflects exactly what it stands for. No frills, simple beauty products with pure ingredients.


Seasource detox spa- foaming sea salt scrub- I am always a fan of body scrubs because I find that I feel a lot more refreshed after using them. I really like this particular scrub as has a really nice texture and feel to it. It smells very fresh and natural which means that using it on my sensitive skin isn't a worry. My skin feels lovely and soft, and very fresh after using this product.

Seasource detox spa- detoxifying rescue wash- I love the smell of this body wash, it has a sort of lemony/minty smell which is really unusual but really refreshing and feminine! I loved starting off my day feeling fresh, I could also smell the body wash throughout the day which I thought was really nice. This rescue wash costs £30 for 473ml and I would definitely be interested in getting some more.



Calm daily moisturiser- This moisturiser is really lovely as it's incredibly light to apply and spreads smoothly and evenly. It has no scent to it, which is what I like to turn to on days when my skin is feeling a little sensitive, as I know that there's no perfume to irritate it further. I found when using it at night that the moisturised feeling lasted through until the morning, which is something I usually really struggle to find.



Calm soothing eye gel- I am a very keen user of eye gels, any of you who have read my previous blog posts will know that I usually use the simple eye gel at the beginning of my daily makeup routine. I have recently started using the Arbonne soothing gel in the place of my usual one and I absolutely love it. I find the consistency of this eye gel much thinner and lighter than the one from the simple range, which means I can use it in the evening without it feeling wet for ages, or making me feel more awake. I also feel as though it has brought down some of the puffiness in my eyes caused by lack of sleep recently. (Uni has been very hectic lately.) It definitely is very soothing especially after a long stressful day at uni. It dries very quickly which means I don't have to wait very long before starting my makeup in the mornings, which is very important when i'm not blessed with time at this stage of my degree!

Calm soothing facial serum- since my skin is naturally dry and sensitive, I don't find that I really get spots, so the only thing I felt the need to sooth were dry patches of skin near my eye area. I did feel that this serum did what it said it would, however I feel that someone whos skin was feeling a little more tender than mine may benefit more from this product. Perhaps for use near spots or more chapped kind of areas.



FC5- hydrating hand creme- I loved this hand cream as soon as I opened the bottle because it smells so good! Being a fashion and textiles student means that I do a lot of work with my hands, therefore they usually need a little bit of looking after. I must say, hand creams are usually my least favourite product as I always find that they leave my hands greasy and I just end up washing it off! Even the apparently non greasy ones! I didn't find that at all with the FC5 Hydrating hand creme. It feels very light when I put it on and it absorbs really quickly- even on me! I also found that it didn't irritate the drier patches on my hand which is very unusual for me! I think this is because of the lack of perfumed ingredients. Despite this lack of perfume, it has a lovely natural lemon scent to it, which makes it really enjoyable to use and I cant stop smelling my hands.

ABC Arbonne Baby Care- Hair and body wash- I sometimes like to use baby products on my skin when it's feeling a little sensitive, as I find it doesn't irritate or upset my skin, As you can imagine I was delighted to see that I had been sent some baby products to test out. I used this as a body wash and not as a shampoo but I could really feel the difference on my skin, it feels very smooth and has a lovely subtle floral scent, apparently from the natural essential oil blend of cotton seed, hibiscus and sandalwood. It is £17 for 235ml which I think is a really reasonable price as you can't put a price on lovely soft skin! I'd love to order some more of this as I really can notice a long-lasting difference when I use it.


The Arbonne essentials energy fizz sticks were my absolute favourite product that I tested. I can't say enough good things about them! I drank this at breakfast time, about 9am, and within half an hour of drinking it dissolved in water, I felt so full of energy! Which believe me, is very rare for a third year fashion and textiles student to say! I felt energised and motivated throughout the whole day, until bed time despite not getting much sleep the previous night! I would definitely like to buy more of this product because I've been really struggling with my energy levels during my third year, and these are perfect size to carry around in your handbag and drink when you're on the go! Another great thing about the energy fizz sticks is that they taste amazing! It's like having sweets for breakfast, but without feeling the guilty sickly feeling afterwards. There definitely is a taste of pomegranate in them, but with a hint of sherbert! Yummy! 



I hope you've all enjoyed reading my Arbonne review and that you consider giving some of the products a go! If you're interested in trying anything out or would like some more information, just send Rebecca a message here or search Rebecca Marsh on Facebook. Once again, I'm really sorry I seem to have vansihed off the face of the earth for a while! I rarely get a minute to myself because of all my deadlines! I'm sure it'll all pay off soon though and I can't wait to share my final collection with you guys! 

Feel free to ask me any questions about the products I've tried for this blog post, or even about whats been going on in my final year of uni! Or even comment just to say hi! I often think about you guys who always comment on my blog posts! (you know who you are!)

I hope you're all well and hopefully soon I will be back into the swing of regular blogging again! :)
 xx


Friday, 11 September 2015

My uni house wishlist!


Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been a while since my last blog post! I hope you enjoyed my underwater selfies last time. (they really excited me.)

I've been really busy since my last post. I've been back and forth from my new uni house, trying to get all my stuff moved in! As well as working a lot and I bought a new car! 

My new uni house is an old fashioned two bedroomed house which has a lot of quirky features. It has real potential to be really homely, so I thought I'd write a post about my uni house wishlist. I've kept the budget low for this wishlist because as much as I hate to admit it, as a student there are more important things to spend money on (rent, bills, food) but hopefully that won't matter because everyone loves a bargain right?






1. Lavender bunting- In our new house we have the cutest little wooden kitchen in a beautiful pastel yellow colour. I think that some lavender coloured bunting would look really cute with the yellow. The photo I've used is from pinterest. Since I'm a fashion and textiles student, I'd feel ashamed of myself if I didn't make my own. I do sell my bunting though and I make it to order, so let me know if you're interested in buying some! 

2. The second item on my list is a chalkboard. Since I'm going into my third year, I think it's going to be really important to be really orgaanised. I think this chalk board is really pretty and would be a lot better than me leaving scraps of paper with little reminders scribbled down, lying around. The one shown is only £9.35 from amazon, how could anyone say no? It's also available with free next day delivery for those of you lucky enough to have amazon prime! (prime only costs £39 for a year if you're a student.)

3. The third item shown is a white fur rug. Last year I lived in a four bedroomed house and I had the smallest room, there wasn't enough floor space to put a rug down, and the floor was carpeted anyway so it probably wouldn't have looked right. The one shown above is £17.99 from Argos. I have a wooden floor this year so I think a rug will make my room look really cosy.

4. No house is complete without Yankee candles! So they're number four on my wishlist. Yankee candles smell so good, and these little ones can be found online for just £5.99. It's a good idea to get the small jars if you're undecided on a particular scent, because I think the big ones are quite a commitment. (you also get to test more of them if you buy the small ones.) Try and get into a store to smell them if possible, just to make sure you make the right purchase! 

5. Every student should have a thermal mug for the walk to lectures on cold mornings! This one is so pretty for £8.95 from Amazon (and again, next day delivery is free with prime.) Who doesn't love to start the day with a hot drink? and it'll help keep your hands warm! 


I hope you've enjoyed reading my wishlist! Let me know any cute purchases you guys have made for your rooms or houses! (whether you go to uni or not) And wish me luck going into my final year!! 

Leah xoxo

P.S. Thank you to everyone who follows me! I can't believe I've made it to 200 followers!! Lots of love :) 























Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Budget Waterproof Makeup Review

Hi Everyone!
I'm currently sat by the pool side drafting this out in my notebook, but it'll probably be next week by the time I get the chance to post this online.

I just wanted to share a review of some budget waterproof make up I've tried out on my stay. As I mentioned, I wanted to keep the budget low for this, since I'm only away for two days, and I don't go swimming enough to justify spending a lot.

The first thing I tried was the Makeup Revolution waterproof liquid eyeliner. I'm not usually a fan of this type of eyeliner as I find the thin brush really difficult to get on with, I don't have a steady enough hand! This particular one was quite easy to apply but I found the brush quite sharp on my eyelids. The overall finish was quite good,  although it looked quite shiny on my eyelids which is not the look I usually go for.


 The second thing I tried was the MUA waterproof mascara which was £2 from Superdrug. I was originally planning to spend a little more money than this on a waterproof mascara, but I found that a lot of the more expensive brands had huge brushes which I find really difficult to use. The MUA mascara has quite a nice brush, it isn't too big and I didn't find it all gloopy over the brush, which is what I've found with a lot of waterproof mascaras.
I found this mascara really hard to put on. For the first four or five strokes I really didn't feel that anything happened. My eyelashes didn't look any different until I really went mad with it! Once I got it to work then my eyelashes did look a little bit better, but not much. I don't know if this is just in comparrison to my everyday mascara, which really shapes them and makes them look long and thick. My recomendation would be to only get this MUA mascara if you just want the colour factor. I naturally have quite light eyelashes and this mascara did help with that! Just don't expect it to do wonders for length or thickness.


Now for the fun bit! (I know you can't see my makeup that well but I'm going to include my underwater selfies anyway because they're fun!) I found that both bits of makeup did stay on well, so I really don't have any complaints there. They didn't run down my face when I came up from the water which I really thought they would, considering the price! However I don't think I'd trust them to stay on if I rubbed my eyes. I did happen to touch my eyelashes while they were still wet from the pool, and I did get some eyelash lines on my finger, but I think that's to be expected. At least under my eyes didn't go black!

My makeup before I went down to the pool.

Underwater selfie! I couldn't resist!
(please don't try this if you don't have a waterproof phone! I have the Sony Xperia Z3 compact which is waterproof!)

 
 My makeup didn't run when I came up from the water! Hooray!

Once I'd been out of the pool for about 20 minutes or so, my makeup didn't leave black marks under my eyes. Hooray!


Over all I would say that this makeup does do the job, and it definitely is waterproof, I just didn't find it anything to get too excited over! If you're looking for something that makes you look a bit more done up on the beach or by the pool, I would recommend maybe trying a more expensive brand, but these products worked fine for the couple of trips to the pool that I took :)

I hope you're all well and that you've enjoyed reading this review! :)

xo