2020 Beauty Affiliate Wishlist

Wedding Beauty Affiliate Wishlist

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AD/PR Sample | Learning British Sign Language (BSL) with Red Letter Days


I've always been interested in learning new things, whether this is a back when I was learning Spanish as a child, honing my cooking skills over the years, or how to do digital illustrations which I've been doing more recently. I will continue to enjoy expanding my knowledge and ability in a range of areas - there's just something I love about learning. September is the annual Festival of Learning, a month-long period that celebrates and highlights the benefits of learning as well as encouraging people to try something new. You might have something you'd love to give a go but don't seem to have the time or feel like it wouldn't fit in with your current commitments. Red Letter Days offer a range of online experience courses that allow you to learn something new in your own time and at your own pace so that it can fit around your lifestyle. They recently got in touch to see if I wanted to try out one of these courses. 

I had a browse through their website and noticed that you could learn some British Sign Language (BSL) which really interested me. Due to my own health conditions, I sometimes have trouble with my hearing. I've wanted to learn BSL for a while now as I'd like to be able to use it to communicate if I have problems with my hearing as it can be really frustrating when I can't hear properly. I also think it's a really useful skill to have as you never know when it could help someone when you were out and about. My partner is also learning with me so he'll be able to understand and help me when I'm having difficulty with my hearing. Deafness is a spectrum that means some people are hard of hearing or have sensory processing issues and others can be completely deaf. Remember that BSL is a language so it's great for anyone to learn it as a whole range of people can and may need to use it at some point.

The BSL course I completed consisted of 18 modules that cover a variety of signs for common and useful things. There are a couple of introduction modules, and the rest covers things such as letters, numbers, people, time, greetings among others to give you good coverage of signs that you would need to know. They are split into levels, starting at Foundation and moving through Basic and finishing with Expansion. Even though I had never done any BSL before, apart from learning how to sign my own name many years ago, I found the videos super easy to follow. 

Each one demonstrates the sign while the word appears on screen at the same time so you can begin to associate the sign with the word. Even when doing the Expansion modules I still found this okay to follow. For all of the sign videos, they show it from different angles which I found really helpful as it can sometimes be hard to understand which way you should be doing and with which hands if you are looking straight on and trying to mirror. The other great thing is that you can replay the video as many times as you like to practice until you feel confident with it. I went back on another day to revisit some of the modules I wanted to do again. 

Once you had completed all of the modules you are given a multiple-choice test at the end. You can take this as many times as you need to so that you achieve the pass mark and once you get there, you'll be able to download your diploma certificate as proof that you have passed the course. Overall I really enjoyed learning British Sign Language with this online course from Red Letter Days. I found the process really easy to get set up, as once you purchased the course and received your e-voucher from Red Letter Days, you were sent clear instructions on how to redeem it and within 5 minutes I was ready to start my first module. 

The only thing I would say for the course I did is that it could have been slightly improved if the first two introductory videos had subtitles. As this course is designed to help people learn sign language, and the first two videos involved someone speaking to introduce things before it got into demonstrating the different signs, it could be a little difficult for those hard of hearing or deaf to understand these first two. Apart from that, I thought the course was very informative and helped me start my BSL journey. There any many other online courses available on Red Letter Days which I'd recommend having a look through to find one to suit you.



BSL course from Red Letter Days gifted in exchange for an honest review post

AD/PR Sample | My Glossier Summer Picks


It's been a couple of months since I picked up some of Glossier's bits for spring. I had a browse on their website recently and chose three products to try out. The first thing I ever heard about Glossier was their balms, and although I've had the chance to try out a couple of them previously, I fancied testing out their birthday balm this time around so that was on my list to pick up. Glossier offers both makeup and skincare products, along with a few body and fragrance items too. They have their own beauty website called Into The Gloss which allows people to share the products they love which help to drive the ideas for the new items they bring out which ensure they are designed around what people actually want and need. 


The Pro Tip Brush Point Liquid Eyeliner (£15) is a black liquid eyeliner that will allow you to get "a smooth, precise line every time". The smudge-resistant formula and incredibly fine tip will make getting that perfect line achievable. It has flexible fibers that will curve along the lash line to make it nice and easy when applying. The quick-drying time helps you to build this product up to create the look you are going for which can last for up to 12 hours, although as it's a densely pigmented product, you shouldn't need to apply too much each time you wear it. With certain products, they tend to get decreasingly effective over time, but the Pro Tip has an internal ball shaker that means the formula can move around evenly inside the product to ensure you get that smooth line each time you use it without it dragging on application. I've found it easier to achieve a good line with this product as the fine tip makes it much easier to apply exactly where you want it. 


The second product that I picked up was the Wowder Weightless Finishing Powder (£18). Glossier say that it will give you the "perfect matte-not-flat finish" as it is designed to reduce shine, set your makeup along with softening the appearance of your pores. You can apply this across any area of your face where you want to reduce the shine and it won't leave a film on your skin. It also won't show up when taking photos with flash which I'm really happy about as this is something I've experienced before with other products and it can be super annoying. Another bonus of this powder is that it doesn't get stuck in your fine lines which can sometimes be a problem with certain powders I've used in the past which then affected the overall appearance on my makeup. This Wowder should enhance your makeup rather than giving a cakey layer over the top while still helping to tackle oily skin. I'm excited to keep using this as I'm impressed so far.


As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to test out some of the Glossier balms previously, but the one I've been looking forward to most is the Balm Dotcom (£10) in the Birthday flavour. Not only will this hydrate, but the natural emollients and antioxidants also help dry skin to improve the condition of your lips. It combines Beeswax, Caster Oil and Lanolin to boost and seal in moisture without making your lips shiny. Not only do I adore the packaging of the birthday flavour balm, because who doesn't like something sparkly and glittery, but I also love the subtle shimmer it gives when you wear it along with the vanilla cake flavour. I love funfetti cake and I've had birthday cake pancakes before so anytime I see something like this I am drawn to it for its appearance and flavour. It's perfect if you don't feel like wearing lipstick or lipgloss but want something a bit more than a clear lip balm to still give your lips that little pop. 

I've loved trying some other Glossier bits again. I've been really impressed by what I've had so far as you can tell they have really thought about the products they create. They don't overcomplicate things, just produce quality products that work well for what they are designed without having a big price tag. I'd definitely recommend having a browse on their website and see for yourself what products you like.



Post contains press samples

AD/PR Sample | Celebrating Father's Day With Moonpig


With everything going on at the minute, celebrating Father's Day will be a little different this year. Many of us won't have seen our beloved Dads in person for quite a while and may have been restricted to video calls for catch-ups. Even though we can't celebrate in the same way as we normally would, you'll still be wanting to give your dad something nice so they know how much you value them. You might be wondering how to go about getting something for your Dad while things are normal at the moment, so I've teamed up with Moonpig to help you find all the things you'll need this year. They have a great selection of cards and gifts all in one place to make things much easier to find the perfect items. Moonpig has even picked out some of their favourite cards and gifts that you can buy your Dad this Father's Day. 


You might wonder how to celebrate this year while not being able to physically see your Dad, but there are a number of ways you could do this. Hosting a quiz on video call is a fun way to catch up, and if your dads are anything like mine and Andy's they love being able to recall loads of random facts. You can make a quiz up yourself using facts from the internet or visit websites like Sporcle, or for interactive game using Kahoot. My Dad is currently a primary school teacher and Andy's Dad is a retired primary school teacher so this might have something to do with their curiosity and memory recall so we know that they would love to do a quiz or two on Father's Day this year. Other ideas are for you and your Dad to each get takeaways and virtually watch a movie or TV show together. If you each set the film going and get on a video call you can chat about it together just as if you were in the same room. I know that we'll definitely be doing some quizzing on Father's Day and I've been busy putting together a selection of questions to test their knowledge and might have to get a Chinese takeaway which my family loved doing together before lockdown hit.


Andy and I celebrate Father's Day by giving gifts and cards jointly to each of our Dads. Since I met Andy's dad and he met mine 7 years ago (although Andy's Dad will argue it's technically 8 years since I met him before I met Andy when he helped move Andy into our University halls in first year), we have always treated them as Father-in-law's, I mean technically we should have been married by now and they would have been officially Father-in-law's but nevertheless, we have always thought of them that way. In this post, I've featured cards and gifts for both Dads and the choice that Moonpig offer meant that we could easily tailor to both. When picking a card I always tend to go for pretty ones with nice messages. I love moons and stars and my Dad likes all things space and astronomy so this card seemed a perfect fit. It also contains a slight humorous message which I think he will like. Andy on the other hand always tries to find a funny and jokey type card. He's always been the cheeky member of the family and likes to reflect this in the cards he gets, and already knows that his Dad will find this one hilarious. The great thing about Moonpig is that they offer a whole range of cards including personalised and photo upload ones while catering for cards for Dads, Grandads and Stepdads alike.


When it comes to gifts, finding some you know they will like is going to be important. Luckily for you, Moonpig has made this process much easier with different sections for the various types of presents you can get so you can find the one that is just right for your Dad. They offer gifts including; gift sets, chocolate, alcohol, games and music/tv/film-themed items. For my Dad, the first gift I picked out was the Duvel Degustation Box which contains two different types of Duvel beer and a distinctive Tulip glass to enjoy them from. It's a great little set with some nice premium Belgium beer. Other beers and lagers are also available so you should be able to find one to match your Dad's favourite tipple. The other item I chose was the 'I Love You' Toblerone. My Dad isn't much of a chocolate person but can't resist a bar of this. I thought the message along the bar was really cute and added a nice touch to a gift that I know he will love. 


Andy decided to choose the Cartwright & Butler Triple Choc Chunk Biscuits because his Dad loves absolutely anything chocolatey so these were the perfect fit. They come in a nice tin that can be reused afterwards to store other items or more biscuits for that matter. They can be perfect to pop on the side in your kitchen to store things that you want to be handy. With it only being a week until Father's Day, it will be worth having a look on Moonpig for gifts and cards that you would like to give your Dad. The great thing about ordering from them is that you can choose to either get it delivered to you if you live with your father or want to wrap it yourself and drop it on their doorstep, or alternatively you can have it sent straight to them. I hope you all manage to celebrate Father's Day this year, whether you are doing this remotely via a video call or are able to see them in person.



Post contains press samples from Moonpig

AD/Gifted | My Office Set Up With Viking


Creativity is a big part of the things that I work on, whether this is for blogging or design and illustration. I can often have a few different things going on and can switch between different projects, so having an area to work that also lets me stay organised is really important. If you are anything like me you'll know that being creative can often lead to a messy desk. Andy calls me 'the tornado' because I can't seem to do anything without making a mess. Being able to have desk items that are handy makes my life a lot easier and will save me time when working which is why I've teamed up with Viking to help with my organisation and desk setup. Viking is one of the UK's leading office and stationery suppliers. They have a whole range of products to choose from to help get what you need when it comes to getting the workspace you want. I had a browse through their Desktop Essentials section to find some things that would help to keep me organised and make my office desk more functional.


I have a bit of a multi-functional desk, as this is where I blog and also where I create and design things. Having somewhere to write my to-do-list and scribble down ideas is a must and the Moleskine A5 Ruled Notebook is perfect for this. It's a good size that gives me enough room to write down all of my notes and lists on the high-quality paper, without it taking up too much room on the desk. It would also be good to pop in my bag and carry around with me. For reminding myself to do something or labeling certain items, I find post-it notes are ideal. I picked up a few different types from Viking to give me choice depending on what I'm going to use them for. The Post-it Index Flags are perfect for sticking to mark a page in my notebook so I can find it easily, and I also use them in recipe books which is a great tip if you want to save yourself a bit of time when cooking. I also picked up Post-it Sticky Notes which always come in useful. I tend to use these to the side of my laptop to remind me to do something, and also for additional notes. I have large writing so I sometimes run out of space on a page (regardless of page size) so I will scribble down any additional items on a post-it and stick them into the page so my notes all stay together.


Not going to lie, when I saw the Post-it Sticky Z Note Dispenser Bear I immediately wanted it because it was so cute! I mean who doesn't need a bear that keeps your post-it notes safe? As much as I didn't buy it for the functionality, it will actually be useful so that I'm not searching underneath things on my desk for my post-it notes when I need them. Something I chose to get to help keep my important items safely stored was the Office Depot Filing Shelves. These will be really great to keep any blogging press releases in, along with other notes and information for future blog posts. They could also be super handy for storing my design items such as prints, so I can definitely see myself picking up some more of these in the future. It was nice to find some white ones that go a lot better in my office than the standard silver ones I am used to seeing.


A couple of the items I picked up that I will always have a use for were the Bostik Blu-Tack White and the Sellotape Double Sided Tape. I tend to use the blu-tack it for sticking up prints to the gallery wall we have at home and also attaching decorative fairy lights to our banister. I went for the white version as we have a lot of white areas in the house so it doesn't stand out like the blue one would do. The double-sided tape comes in super handy including scrapbooking, wrapping presents in a neater way, and card making. I can get through this quite quickly so it's always a welcome addition to my office supplies.


The last items that I received from Viking were the Pritt Glue Roller and the Foray Tape Dispenser. Being able to easily and quickly apply glue to an area makes the process a lot easier and cleaner and means I don't make quite as much of a mess when making cards. It can also be used to apply glitter to and means your glue will be in the exact area it needs to be for when you tip the glitter on. The tape dispenser is a staple item to have on a desk which always comes in handy in everyday life and makes finding the end of the tape much easier, and I find it particularly useful to use in comparison to normal tape when I'm wearing false nails. So that's it for all of my Desktop Essentials from Viking that helps with my creative process and ensures I stay organised and on track. If you want to pick up some stationery items to help you be more productive and keep your desk space functional then I'd recommend checking out Viking for this.



Post contains some press samples from Viking

Celebrating What Would Have Been Our Wedding, Under Lockdown


On the 16th of May 2020 it would have been our wedding day. But thanks to Coronavirus, it was cancelled. We decided to celebrate anyway and have a lot of fun with it. It wasn't a sad day for us at all. We got dressed up and took photos and had a lot of fun. We listened to some songs and picked out our first dance song, which has changed since the original one we had picked in University, which was Twenty One Pilots cover of the Elvis Presley song 'Can't Help Falling In Love'. We have decided to definitely have that feature somewhere during the wedding somewhere.


We dressed up nice to take some photos because I did not want photos of me in pyjamas to go on Instagram, even if I do refer to them as my 'workwear'. Andy wore a navy suit that he's had for quite a few years but doesn't wear often so it looks brand new. He also wore the tie clip that I had bought for the original wedding, with the date 16.05.2020 inscribed on it. He has since decided that he is going to wear it on our new wedding as a nod to the original date but also because it looks nice and he is not about wasting money. I had already bought some nice dresses from Chi Chi London for multiple events I was supposed to be attending this year, which all but one have since been cancelled. I straightened my hair twice, but it kept frizzing up so I left it as it was. We then went back into the living room and played our new favourite game, Dead By Daylight Mobile. I had bought the PC version a while ago when it was on a discount on Steam, but my laptop can't run it. It's fine with The Sims and all the expansion packs I've been collecting since September 2014, but this game it does not like. But the new mobile version means me and Andy can both play so every evening now we have a 1-2 game time which is nice. No this is not sponsored, we just really like the game.


Andy went out to the shops, as he was finally allowed out after a 14-day quarantine after I had an unexpected trip to hospital in April. He bought us a red velvet cake which I love, and we cut that with the cake slice device that his Grandma Peggy bought us for our housewarming. We very cringelly (is that even a word?) fed each other a slice like you might do at a wedding. Notice how I made Andy's piece a lot bigger than mine. After this we had a healthy picnic with some of our favourite foods. We had a salad, cheese barms, beetroot and pickled onions which are my favourites, sliced canteloupe and honeydew melon, crisps, houmous and carrots. Since I went vegetarian last year, I've enjoyed eating different foods and trying them out. Later on, we ordered a curry from our favourite takeaway 'Landmark Indian Restaurant' in Liverpool. We had Quron Massala, Quorn Passanda, pilau rice, garlic naan and a poppadom each. We couldn't have rounded the day off without this. All in all, it was a lovely day. You can read about what it's like to cancel your wedding in this post here.


What It's Like to Cancel Your Wedding Due to the Coronavirus


May 16th 2020. That was the date of our wedding. We were supposed to start the ceremony at 2:30, photos shortly after, a three-course dinner and a lot of dancing afterwards. We knew this wasn't going to happen two months in advance. On March 14th we went on our 'STEN' Do and I was so anxious about going. Lockdown still hadn't been announced and Andy was still going into work every weekday. We went to play bowling, arcade games, and pool with our Groomsmaids and their partners. We followed this by a lovely meal and for me, some mocktails. I've pretty much given up on drinking alcohol now thanks to the amount of medication I have to take for my chronic illnesses. Anyway, one of the first things Abbey said to us was "what do you think will happen with your wedding now?" and we had rehearsed this response ahead of time. We knew we would have to postpone because the virus was only spreading further in the UK.

Within a week we had rearranged our entire wedding. We had contacted our venue and asked to postpone for the following year, as my Dad had advised me not to have it later this year due to how bad the virus was spreading at this point. The venue said no, that the wedding was still going ahead. We clearly were not happy with this. Not only would I not be able to go to my own wedding, but some of both of our families wouldn't be able to attend due to being in the at-risk group, whether it down to age or medical conditions. I was not having this, absolutely not. So we asked them again for the following year, and they said no, but it could be postponed to Autumn/Winter 2020. I'd had enough. After this email, I immediately started enquiring with other wedding venues and asked our photographers what dates they had available for Spring 2021. Although our original date 'weekend' was available with the venue we chose, the photographers had a wedding booked in. And because the venue price had jumped up, because let's face it, we were definitely settling on the previous venue due to price, we couldn't afford the extra cost. It was an extra £1,900 ish to have a May wedding, so we settled for March. Now it will be colder unless the environment continues to get worse and we have another late Winter/early Spring heatwave like we did in 2019. But because our venue allows you to rent out outdoor heaters, we've agreed to fund this extra cost to keep guests (and me) happy.

Since we've had to move venues, we've also been in limbo about how we're getting legally married. We gave notice on January 27th of this year, therefore our notice is valid until January 2021. So not only did it run out too early, our venue is now in a different county. So do we cancel getting married by a Liverpool registrar and choose a Cheshire one, or keep the Liverpool one and get married in the Registry Office? We chose the latter. I'm not revealing the date, because as of yet only 2 witnesses would be allowed to come with us and due to unfairness, we have decided it would be 2 friends because it's not fair on our families, who are both divorced, to pick between who gets to attend. But we are getting married in Liverpool City Centre sometime this year, to still have a 2020 marriage date.

We've clearly had to make some tricky decisions. Due to this, we've decided that the Registry Office 'wedding' is just going to be a formality for us. Not our real wedding. We're not going to wear out wedding rings until the real 'do', we're also not changing our names until after the real 'do'. Although I will technically be Mrs Hadley from this date, we will both be Mr & Mrs Hadley-Smith come March. Now this was a decision we made during University once we had started dating. Andy doesn't like how frustrating it is to have common his name is and how his email addresses all have to be like 'andysmith18472' because so many people have the address already. I really like my name, and Hadley means a lot to me (fun fact, if my Dad hadn't had changed his name to his Mum's maiden name after his Dad left, I would have been a Clark), but at the same time, I wanted to have Andy's name. He seems to really like my name, so we've decided to double-barrel it. Oh and I forgot to add, we need to find a Celebrant now since the second 'wedding' won't be a legal one.

If it wasn't obvious, this isn't a 'woe is me' type of post. I've lost a pet during this bloody virus who I was only allowed to see once during this whole thing, and I know to some it's not the same as losing a person but I'm genuinely heartbroken. But moving a wedding is not the worst thing ever. Yes, we are down about £4,000 and are desperately trying to get some money back from our wedding insurance because we clearly do not have that amount of money sitting around, but it is not worth crying over. If you've had to do the same, make sure to contact all vendors and try and come together for a good date you can all do. Luckily, all of ours have been wonderful.

I do think it's a bit amusing that we've actually booked our venue without seeing it aside from photos and videos (and Abbey toured it when looking to book her wedding venue) and also chose our caterer and the food we're choosing without tasting it. It really is okay. We can have two wedding dates. We did actually celebrate our original wedding date which you can read about here.

Stay safe everyone.



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