|The Gift of Gifting – Gift Guide |

If you’re anything like me, you love buying gifts for other people. There’s nothing better than seeing someone you love filled with joy & excitement when they open a gift that they truly love. The next few months for me are full of birthdays, anniversaries & not to mention Christmas (I’ll admit I just did a little excited squeal then) so I’m trying to plan ahead so that I’m organised & not rushing around last minute.

I was recently asked to check out an online company called Uncommon Goods & you guys know that I’m always looking for new fantastic brands that I can fall in love with, so of course I agreed to check them out. After perusing their site of goodies I just fell in love with their brand, their company ethos & their fantastic range of gifts & I’m all for supporting great brands so I wanted to share it with you in a blog post.

In a nutshell, Uncommon Goods is an online store that sells a variety of hand-crafted goods that have been created by incredibly talented people across the world. It’s like going to a craft show online & we all know how beautiful craft show products are! They sell everything from mugs to wall art to handmade jewellery so when it comes to gift shopping, you’ll find something for almost everyone.

As I’m currently shopping for gifts for my loved ones I thought it would be a nice idea to pick out a few of my favourite products from their site & create a mini gift guide. Any help when it comes to gift shopping is always appreciated, right?!

Choices for the Besties

My besties birthday is coming up next month & I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gift for her. Besties appreciate thoughtfulness behind their gifts as after all, we’re the ones who know them the best. Here are my top picks:

Anatomy of a best friends heart mug
For the Sentimental | Anatomy of a Best Friend’s Heart Mug
Womens Organizing Travel 4-Pack
For the Traveller |Women’s Organising Travel 4-Pack
Literary Candles
For the Book Worm | Literary Candles

A full selection of products perfect for your friends, including my faves above, can be found here.

A little help for the men

Shopping for girlfriends isn’t easy. We’re fussy & sometimes we just can’t decide exactly what we want so ladies, if you want to give your men a nudge in the right direction tell them to check out Uncommon Goods. They’re been super nice & dedicated a list of gift ideas for the lost men out there who can’t decide what to buy for their girlfriend. You can find it here. Gentlemen, if your lady’s taste is anything like mine, I’ve also included a few items that I loved from that list below. Just don’t forget the card!

Wine glass set
For the Wine Lover | Iridescent Stemless Wine Glass Set
ring
For the Fashionista | Aquamarine Branch Ring
what i love about you by me book
For the Romantic | What I Love About You By Me Book

 

Christmas Gifts

I know I’m thinking quite a bit ahead but I’m one of those people that likes to be super organised at Christmas time & have all my shopping done by the end of November. The Christmas rush is just too much for me to handle & I’d rather be sipping on a glass of mulled wine than dealing with crazy crowds of manic shoppers. Thankfully, if you’re a little less organised than me but hate the mental atmosphere of Christmas shopping, Uncommon Goods have a wonderful selection of Christmas gifts here which you can shop in the comfort of your own home. My absolute favourites are:

 

Driftwood Iphone Charging Dock
For the Tech Lover/Interior Decor Enthusiast | Driftwood Charging iPhone Dock
Box of Chocolate Soaps
For the Chocolate Obsessed | Box of Chocolate Soaps
links of love bracelet
For your Mumma | Links of Love Bracelet

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this gift guide & that it gave you a few ideas of your own. If you check out Uncommon Goods please let me know what you think of their products, I really think you’ll love them!

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| Blogger 12 Questions Tag |

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In the blogging community (whether you’re a blogger or a reader) most of us love a good tag so that we can get to know the bloggers we follow & learn a little more about their lives – whether that’s out of curiosity or in my case, nosiness. So you can imagine that I was a little excited when I was tagged by a lovely fellow blogger, Hayley from Hsaysblog (who’s blog you can find here), to do the 12 Questions Tag. 

In a nutshell the purpose of this tag is to answer 12 questions that I have been asked & afterwards I must ask 6 other fellow bloggers to answer questions that I myself have chosen for them. I’m all for helping my readers to discover other fantastic bloggers out there so I will be tagging the 6 ladies of my choice over on my Twitter which you can find here (Not that I’m promoting my Twitter or anything!)

So let’s get into it shall we:

Question 1| Who’s your idol and why?
I don’t really have an idol per-say. There are of course many people who I greatly admire e.g. successful female entrepreneurs such as Arianna Huffington or humanitarians such as Mother Teresa but I’ve just never really had an idol.

Question 2 | Do you have a fashion icon? If so who and why? 
My fashion icon is Olivia Palermo – She is so effortlessly chic, classy & elegant & I am yet to see her wear something I hate. She is one hell of a style icon & there have been many occasions when I’ve seen her outfit & felt true style envy.

Question 3|Whose your favourite musician?
I feel like I’m such a cliche in so many ways when I answer this question but it is undoubtedly Ed Sheeran. Since little ol’ Ed first showed up on the music scene I completely fell in love with his music & how honest & beautiful his writing style is. He is truly a talented musician!

Question 4 | What’s your favourite animal and why? 
The answer to this question for years was monkeys but since moving to South Africa I have learned that they can be really quite vicious & that they like to steal from you, so while I still think they are beautiful & intelligent creatures, they have in fact been bumped down my list of favourite animals & have now been replaced by DOGS. I have always loved little doggies but since moving away & no longer having a dog around for the first time in 13 years, I’ve realised just how much I miss having one. They are the most loyal, loving little animals & they have truly been sent from the gods. Do I sound like a crazy dog lady or what?!

Question 5 | What’s your favourite item of clothing?
My favourite item that I own is my little leopard print booties which you may have seen in my previous OOTD here . I got them from Dune last year & I have worn them to DEATH because they’re just my style in a shoe. They look amazing with dresses or with black jeans & they smarten up any outfit!

Question 6 | What’s your favourite TV show? 
My absolute fave will always be Sex & The City. But since I’ve watched the entire series more times than I can count, I now love to snuggle up with a good series on Netflix. My favourite shows from Netflix to date are Luther, Making a Murderer & Mad Men.

Question 7 | What inspires you to write your blog? 
For about 10 years I’ve read blogs & watched YouTubers because the beauty & fashion industry is something that I’ve always loved & that has always been a big part of my life. Starting a blog was something that I always wanted to do but that I never had the courage to start & a lot of that was to do with what people would think. But it’s true when people say that you hit a certain age & you stop caring what people think – The day I hit that stage of my life was the day I started my blog. I am so thankful that I took the leap because now I can share my passions with the world & I can meet wonderful people who love the same things – It really is a wonderful community.

Question 8 | What’s your favourite food? 
Can I really just choose one thing?! Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I LOVE food & I would eat all day from dusk to dawn if I could. If I HAVE to choose just one thing then I’ll go for Chinese food. I freakin’ love it & now that I’ve been made to think about it, I now want some. I will say however, that South Africans cannot make Chinese food like back home. They make great Asian food but their Chinese food sucks & the first thing I’ll be eating when I’m back home visiting is a Chinese takeaway as I’ve gone without a decent one for 10 whole months! Tragic, I know.

Question 9 | If you were stuck on an island and could only take on thing what item would you take and why? 
I’d take my partner as I feel like no matter how little I had on that island that I could make light & enjoy the situation with him by my side. So cheesy right?!

Question 10 | If you won the lottery what would you buy first?
I’d pay for my family to come out & visit South Africa. I know how much they all want to see this beautiful country & why I loved it so much that I decided to move here. So I’d like to treat them all, take them on safari & give them the holiday of a lifetime that they all deserve.

Question 11 | What’s your dream job and why?
My dream is to be a successful entrepreneur. To me there’s nothing like working for yourself & creating financial freedom for yourself while doing something that you love. Being able to have time freedom & financial freedom is what I want for my future.

Question 12 | Have you ever met a celebrity and who? 
I’ve met a few but never anyone very famous – I’ve met Jack O’Connell, the big guy from The Chase & Prince Charles waved at me from his car – yeah I know, cool right?

 

Now that’s my answers so my questions to the 6 lovely ladies I’m tagging are:

  1. If you had to eat any food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. What is your favourite quote to live by  & why?
  3. What is your favourite blog post to write & why?
  4. Are you happy with the direction your life is going?
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go & why?
  6. If you could travel back & time what advice would you give to your teenage self?
  7. What colour describes your personality & why?
  8. What is your favourite beauty product of all time?
  9. How has your 2017 been so far?
  10. If you could go back to being a kid, would you?
  11. What were your biggest fashion faux-pas?
  12. What is on your bucket list of things you want to do before you die?

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this tag & if you’d like to find out who answered my questions – I’ve tagged the 6 fellow bloggers I choose over on my Twitter! 

| My August Empties |

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I am currently writing this blog post from a sweet little cafe in Cape Town & it’s such a pleasure to be writing here. After living in South Africa for a whole year (which I just cannot believe) I am finally getting around to visiting Cape Town for the first time & I can now understand why people love it so much – it’s just stunning. However you came here to read an empties post so I’ll get into that rather than raving about Cape Town.

It’s been a hot minute since I have written an empties post as I haven’t been using up many products as of late & I just don’t see the point in writing an ‘empties’ post on just one or two products. This month’s post includes old favourites & also some products that were completely new to me. So without further ado let’s get into the products I used up in the month of August & what I thought of them.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Plumping Serum

I have previously talked about this serum in my Current Skincare Routine post which you can read here (my skincare routine has in fact completely changed since I wrote this post but it may interest you all the same.) I used this serum religiously for about a year & I enjoyed it because of the extra hydration boost it gave my skin but other than that I just didn’t notice any plumping effects. That could be because I’m still on the right side of 25 with already plump skin that cannot benefit from any extra plumping – but who knows! The Dragons Blood serum is a nice product for creating a hydrated base which makes applying makeup that bit easier, however would I repurchase it for £19.95 just to give my skin extra hydration without any other benefits? In all honesty, no. Serums are the no.1 solution to anti-ageing & I just don’t think the ingredients in this product are potent enough to make any real changes in my skin & to prevent the later development of fine lines & wrinkles.

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

I was never a Nivea body lotion user until I started living with my partner. One day when I had run out of my own lotion I borrowed his Nivea lotion for dry to very dry skin (the one in the deep blue bottle) & I loved that it made my skin feel highly moisturised from morning to night. Following this discovery, I decided to purchase this lotion as I adored its delicious cocoa butter smell. Unfortunately however that’s where my love for this product ended. Yes it smells delicious, but it just isn’t moisturising enough even though it claims to cater to dry skin. Johannesburg is so incredibly dry in the winter & this product just wasn’t rich enough for me & left my skin feeling dry again after just 30 minutes of application. Because of the dry climate that I live in I don’t want to bash this lotion too much as it may work for my skin in a less dry climate but while I live here, I won’t be repurchasing this particular product as it just didn’t do what I needed it to.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Shade 1 – Fair

I have raved about this mascara in my The Products I can Trust post so I’ll try to keep this short & sweet. In a nutshell – I am obsessed with this concealer & it’s very affordable price tag. Since I purchased it for the first time several years ago I have repurchased it more times than I can count. It is so lightweight, provides high coverage & it doesn’t cake or feel tacky on the skin once applied. It’s a product that I would highly recommend to anyone & still stands as my favourite concealer of all time. Unfortunately, I have only 2 tubes left from the stash I brought with me from home & I’m going to have to get a hold of some more before I run out completely as I just cannot be without this baby.

Nivea 3-in-1 Refreshing Cleansing Wipes (Normal to Combination Skin)

I don’t know what it is with beauty bloggers & our need fix things that aren’t broken by trying new products even though we’ve already found the ones that we love. In my Current Skincare Routine I raved about the Dry Skin version of these wipes & because I loved them so much I decided that I would try the other kind – even though I am a dry skin girl. Please tell me where the sense in this decision was! I think you know what I’m going to say before I say it – of course these wipes didn’t compare to the dry skin version. Firstly, they smell completely different & not in a good way. The dry skin wipes are scented with the iconic, soft Nivea scent however this version smells strongly of old-fashioned perfume. They did remove my makeup but the wipe didn’t feel as saturated with product so it took me longer to remove my makeup & I also found myself tugging on my skin more – not good if you’re trying to keep wrinkles at bay. I think the Normal to Combination wipes would be good for the people with this skin type (if you can get past the smell) but I’ll be sticking with my fave dry skin version.

What products did you use up in the month of August & what did you think of them?

| September Goals |

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I just cannot believe that we are already into September. Where is 2017 going?! Although I must admit, I am happy to see September as we are finally now in Spring & the temperatures have already gone up this week. Believe it or not, South Africa does get cold in Winter & with no central heating in homes you really do feel the cold when the temperatures drop. So hooray for the long-awaited arrival of  heat, sunshine & summer clothing!

This month my goals are focused around my own personal growth. I am one of those people who always strives to improve myself so that I can get that little bit closer to the best version of myself. With that being said, let’s get into my goals that I want to achieve in the month of September:

Get to the gym more regularly 
When I first arrived in South Africa last September I was so good at getting to the gym 3-4 times per week but this year I’ve found that more difficult & I’m just not happy having lost the tone that I worked hard to get. Life has gotten busier leaving me with less energy & when you’re tired it’s just too easy to make excuses & not go to the gym. I want to get into the best shape of my life so this month I plan on getting to the gym 4-5 times per week.

Eat healthy
Are we noticing a theme here? I promise that I haven’t just started caring about these things because bikini season is on its way. A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to eat healthier & we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day so I decided to make small changes to avoid failure after a couple of weeks. So I decided that I wouldn’t eat any junk food from Monday – Thursday but on weekends I was allowed to eat treats. So far it’s gone really well & I’ve been sticking with that rule. Now I want to improve it further by not eating junk food for 3 days a week & by making small healthier choices on the days when I’m not eating junk food e.g. opting for a healthy stir-fry over a burger & chips at lunchtime. Incorporating these smalls steps will lead to prolonged success!

Meet new people
Moving to a new country is incredibly rewarding but it isn’t easy to meet new people. Lately I’ve found myself needing ‘girl time’ again as I never have that anymore & sometimes you just need that. I think I became complacent as I have my boyfriend here & his friends & while he also has some lovely female friends who I enjoy hanging out with, I also need friends of my own away from his circles. My own friends. This month I’m making a conscious effort to strike up conversations with strangers so that I can meet new people because you just never know where a new friendship may strike up.

Grind, grind, grind!
Last month I had a complete mind shift. It was like my motivation levels were kicked up a notch & I achieved a lot more last month than I did in previous months – and honestly, it felt so good. It made me want to work even harder this month so that I can be proud of myself when it hits September 30th. So basically, I am going to work my little butt off this month as often as it takes & for as long as it takes because I WILL achieve my goals.

I can’t wait to get working on my goals this month. What are you goals for the month of September? 

 

| Why Am I An Entrepreneur? |

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We all know that being an Entrepreneur is the job of the future. The scary reality is that jobs that were once viewed as ‘safe’ are no longer safe anymore. And yet, becoming an entrepreneur is something that will never cross many minds as it seems too scary, or maybe they don’t believe in themselves enough or maybe it just seems unthinkable.

After working regular jobs after university I decided that I wanted to start my own business. So I quit my job, moved & started my own company. Fast forward one year & I now own 2 businesses & my life couldn’t be more different. So why did I decide to leave a life of security & become an entrepreneur? Here are my reasons:

I decide my working hours, days & patterns
Following university I worked for 3 years in a few regular jobs. I think it’s important for any entrepreneur to spend a little time working in a regular job as it teaches you invaluable skills that you may not otherwise gain. Working in these jobs gave me security & a regular pay cheque which was nice but it just didn’t fulfil me. I was working crazy hours for the company owners dream & that was never what I wanted. Now I get to choose when I work & how I work & it’s just the best thing ever. Waking up & starting my working day isn’t a difficult task anymore – it’s a pleasure. Every day I look forward to what I can accomplish, what challenges I can overcome & how much I can make my business grow.

A ‘secure job’ isn’t a secure job anymore 
Over the years I have watched people I love being fired from jobs or having to leave their job because of their health & when you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you’ve worked your whole life for someone else in a particular field & you’ve no skills in other other profession – what do you do when you lose your job? People are constantly being laid off from their jobs & being an entrepreneur leaves that risk at the door. Don’t get me wrong, owning a business isn’t easy – but when you make it, you make it big.

I want financial freedom
Let’s face it, we all want to be able to at least be financially comfortable. We at least want to be able to pay our bills, feed our family & have enough at the end of the month to spend it how we want to. I want all of those things & so much more. I want to be able to buy my dream house & my dream car & not worry about the payments that come with them, I want to be able to go on holiday 3 times a year, I want to be able to take care of my parents the way they have always taken care of me. If I want to do these things with a regular job it would take me most of my life to get there & by then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it the same as I’d be a lot older. I wouldn’t be able to go on holiday 3 times a year because I’d have to ask permission to go on leave & I wouldn’t have enough leave to even go on those 3 holidays. Owning my own business gives me the opportunity to earn more than I ever could in a regular 9-5 so that I can achieve financial freedom.

I want to prove it to myself
I want a challenge. I don’t want to go to work & know that at the end of the month I’ll get the same pay cheque that I always do. I want to decide what my pay cheque will be at the end of the month. I want my hard work to pay off & reflect in my pay cheque. I want to prove to myself that I can do this. I can achieve what I set out to do. I want to achieve my own dreams rather than working for someone else so that they can achieve theirs.

I want to help other people
My second business involves helping people to realise their dreams, start their own businesses & achieve whatever goals they may have. Out of everything that I do, this is the most rewarding. I can watch people achieve things that they never thought possible, I can watch them grow & flourish into the best version of themselves. Above everything else, this is the most rewarding part of my work & I am so incredibly blessed to have that opportunity.

If this blog post has struck a cord with you, has made you think again, has awoken something in you or has intrigued you &  you’re interested in starting your own business contact me at beautyandtheblouse@outlook.com. It’s free & I promise I’m a super friendly lady!

‘Be the game changer’ 

 

| Get To Know Me |

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Life has been hectic this past two weeks & I feel like my blog has been suffering a little as a result of this. Only bloggers will know just how time-consuming it can be to take blog photos & write blog posts, so when life takes over its difficult to squeeze in the time.

Excuses aside, I wanted to write about something a little different from my usual beauty posts. While I love all things beauty & fashion related, variety is the spice of life & I like to change it up every now & again.

I love to hear & read about people’s stories, their favourites, their dislikes & just what makes them unique, which is why I thought I would take the opportunity to let you see into my life by doing the Get To Know Me 25 Questions tag. So here goes:

Question 1 – What is your middle name?

My middle name is Elizabeth which I really am quite fond of. My parents didn’t name me after anyone but when my great-grandmother died they discovered that her nickname wasn’t in fact her real name (which everyone thought it was), her real name was Elizabeth! So it turned out to be a great choice after all.

Question 2 – Share your favourite subject in high school

I just cannot narrow it down to one subject so I would have to say Biology & Business Studies. I love learning & always have done but these two subjects were the ones that I loved learning most at school. I loved biology because I am a nerd when it comes to learning about the human body, how it functions & why it functions in that way & I loved Business Studies because I am very much a business minded lady & have always loved studying & reading up on the business world – which is the main reason why I am now a business owner.

Question 3 – What is your favourite drink?

If we’re talking alcoholic drinks then I would opt for a glass of rose wine or a cosmopolitan (such stereotypical feminine drinks I know) or if I’m going for something non-alcoholic then I would usually choose either a diet coke (on very rare occasions) or good old-fashioned tap water with ice & lemon – really pushing the boat out I know!

Question 4 – What is your favourite song at the moment?

My friends always laugh at me because I’m always behind on new music releases – I’m just much more of a movie gal than a music gal so I don’t really keep up with the charts. My favourite song at the moment is from a YouTube clip featuring a sing off between Conor Maynard & Alex Aiono which you can find here. Those guys are seriously talented & they sing the kind of music that I just love.

Question 5 – What would you name your children?

Being on the right side of 25 (although not for much longer) I am not planning on having any little ones for about 5/6 years so I haven’t really given it much thought. Although I do prefer traditional names like Charlie & Lily.

Question 6 – Have you participated in any sports?

In all honesty I am in no way sporty & I never have been. I come from a family of sporty people but I was always the black sheep when it came to sports. I do however love going to the gym but I don’t think that counts as a sport. Does it?!

Question 7 – What is your favourite book?

My favourite will forever & always been the Harry Potter series. I am proud to be an ultimate Harry Potter nerd!

Question 8 – What is your favourite colour?

Honestly, I love black & white – I know, how boring right?! But if I had to choose a real colour I’d go for a nice cool-toned dusky pink.

Question 9 – What is your favourite animal?

Dogs, dogs, dogs. I am really quite the crazy dog lady. Since I moved to the other side of the world, leaving my sister’s beautiful dog behind, my crazy dog lady-ness has been bumped up a level. My poor boyfriend has to deal with lots of excited squeals when we visit someone with a dog. They are just the most loyal, loving animals & they deserve all the love & care in the world. Okay, okay, I’ll stop now.

Question 10 – What is your favourite perfume?

I am such a sucker for anything soft, sweet & lightly floral. You can find my blog post all about my favourite perfumes here

Question 11 – What is your favourite holiday?

I have a feeling that this is an American tag so if we’re talking about a holiday in the American context then I’ve got to say Christmas. When I say I love it, I mostly love the run up to Christmas when the family gets together, it’s cold & there are decorations everywhere. Having a sibling living far from home & with me living on the other side of the world, I have come to associate Christmas with the coming together of my family – it’s one of the few times of year when we are all together & I just love that. Those moments are priceless.

Question 12 – On a scale from 1 – 10, rate your childhood.

Without a blink of an eye I’m going with a 10. I’m very blessed to have grown up in a safe, stable home with loving parents & siblings around me. My memories of childhood are playing outside with my friends until bedtime & my only worry was having to get up for school in the morning & doing my homework when I got home.

Question 13 – Have you been out of the country?

I have indeed. I am originally from Ireland but I moved to South Africa last year. You can read about my story here. I have also been to Hong Kong, Spain, Greece, England, Scotland & I’m travelling to Italy next month. Woohoo for pizza, pasta & gelato!

Question 14 – Do you speak any different languages?

I learnt French at school although to be perfectly honest I have forgotten most of what I was taught over the years. I have always wanted to be fluent in a second language so I am currently learning Spanish in my free time as I have always thought it to be a beautiful sounding language.

 Question 15 – Do you have any siblings?

I do, I have an older sister & brother whom I miss so dearly.

Question 16 – What is your favourite store?

I am such a Zara lover. I love how fashion forward they are and how affordable their clothing is. Some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe are from Zara as they offer fantastic, high quality pieces that really stand out against their high street competitors.

Question 17 – What is your favourite restaurant?

If you have ever visited South Africa before then I can guarantee that you will have been blown away by the standard of restaurants here – they blow restaurants in my home country out of the water! My favourite restaurants here are KOI (an Asian restaurant) and Crawdaddy’s – home of great sized portions & one of the best steaks you’ll ever have.

Question 18 – Did you like school?

As I mentioned I have always loved learning so I loved that aspect of school, however I also just could not wait to leave & go to university. Be careful what you wish for! Growing up I always disagreed with ‘grown ups’ who said “Your school years are the best years of your life” now I wish I had listened to them & made the most of it because they really were right. Gone are the days of no responsibility & your biggest worry being your homework & which boy fancied you.

Question 19 – Who are some of your favourite YouTubers?

I am always following & discovering new YouTubers but some of the content creators that I have followed & watched for some time now are:

 Tati, Lydia Elise Millen, The Sparkleicious, Wayne Goss, Wild Kat Makeup, Carly Musleh, Barbara Rossi, N1kk1sSecr3t & ChaChaCakes

Question 20 – What is your favourite movie? 

I am such a movie lover. There’s nothing better than curling up with snacks (usually naughty ones) & getting absorbed in a great movie. Some of my favourites to date are Pulp Fiction, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Batman Trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) Pirates of The Caribbean & The Silence of the Lambs.

Question 21 – What are some of your favourite TV shows? 

Breaking Bad, Luther, Happy Valley, & Mad Men. Is it obvious I like crime series?

Question 22 – PC or MAC? 

I have only ever used PC as I’m familiar with their software. Not to mention, MAC’s are HELLA expensive. My boyfriend has a MAC & he loves it but any time I use his laptop I just find it so difficult to work with – And I like to think of myself as tech-savvy!

Question 23 – What phone do you have?

I have been an iPhone girl for about 4 years & I will always continue to be an iPhone user. It’s like Pringles – once you pop you can’t stop!

Question 24 – How tall are you?

I’m a relatively tall height of 5’8. It’s funny because growing up I used to hate how tall I was but now that I’m older I’ve realised that I’m really not as tall as I felt & I’ve grown to like my height.

Question 25 – Do you have any pets?

Well…technically she isn’t really mine, but I like to think that I have a black Labrador called Poppy. Really she is half mine as she lived with me for about 3 years. She’s just the best dog. So clever, so loving & just the best!

Well that’s the end of the tag folks, I don’t know how many people found me interesting enough to get to the end but I really enjoyed doing this tag & I hope it helped you to get to know me better. Have a wonderful day!

|My June Goals |

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I just cannot believe it’s June already – where is 2017 going?! I’ve been feeling a little out of sync because it is at this time of year that I’m usually getting excited for the arrival of summer but instead it’s my first year in South Africa where we’re now going into Winter. It’s all very strange! Although, in reality, South African winters are something similar to Irish summers so I really can’t complain.

I have decided that at the beginning of every month I will post my goals for the month ahead as I think it’s important to reflect on our lives & to try improve them wherever we can. These posts will also allow you, my lovely readers, to get more of an insight into my life so that you can get to know me that little bit better.

My goals for the month of June are as follows:

Goal 1 – Have a digital detox

Being an entrepreneur I spend a lot of time on my computer & unfortunately this just cannot be avoided. However recently I’ve been finding that I spend between 6-8 hours on my computer a day & then in the evenings I’m on my phone browsing social media & messaging friends & family. While I know that technology has become an essential part of our lives & is an essential tool in the business world, I just don’t want to spend my entire days wasted on it. What kind of life is that!? So in the month of June my goal is to become aware of my digital time & limit it to my working hours. Once I shut my laptop for the day – my phone will be switched off too.

Goal 2 – Write my wedding speech

So my darling sister is getting married in Italy next month & I couldn’t be more excited. By the time the wedding comes around I won’t have seen my family in 7 months so you can only imagine how much I’m looking forward to being reunited with them! Even though my sister didn’t ask me to, as her sister & only bridesmaid, I felt that it was important that I speak at her wedding. I have been putting off writing this speech for a while, but now that the wedding is next month I think it’s time that I get started so that I have plenty of time to perfect it.  While I am not a confident public speaker, & I am almost certain that I will be shedding a tear or two during my speech, I know that it will be more than worth it to see the smile on sisters face.

Goal 3 – More quality couple time

My boyfriend & I are both business owners which means that we both work from home a lot & we don’t ever really stop working. Recently I’ve noticed that we’ve both been quite consumed with our businesses & that we haven’t been spending as much quality time together as we normally do. This month I want us both to find that balance again & to take more time out to go on ‘date nights’. Making a success of yourself is important but spending time with the one you love is more important.

Goal 4 – More ‘pamper’ time

This point leads on from the previous one – I’ve been working from home a lot & I’ve been so busy with business this past month that I just haven’t been taking care of myself the way I normally do. Lately I’ve only been wearing makeup once a week, I mostly have my hair up & only style it approximately once a week & I haven’t been treating my skin to my usual weekly face mask. While to some these may seem like trivial things, to me these things are important as I always like to take care of myself. When my skin is looking good, my makeup is on & I’m having a good hair day the world is just a better place & I’ve not been pampering myself enough with these things. This month I want to go back to the more glamorous side of me.

Goal 5 – Write in my diary more

I’ve kept a diary on & off since the age of about 14 because for me it is the best way to spill my heart out & get everything off my chest be it good or bad. My bestie bought me a journal just before I moved out to SA so that I could document my journey & I have only been writing in it about once a month. Too much happens in one month to just update it once every 30 days & I want to keep a better record of my time here. We’re only young for so long & how wonderful would it be to read back on my life when I’m an old lady & remember everything I went through & all the adventures I had in my prime.

What are your goals for the month of June?

| My Most Loved Perfumes |

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Over the years I have owned countless perfumes, some great & some really not so great. (the days of Charlie perfumes anyone?!) Over time however I have found my ‘signature scents’ and I just couldn’t imagine opening my bathroom cupboard & not finding these particular perfumes there.

Perfumes are an individual thing with everyone having their own unique personal taste and preferences. I love softly sweet smells that aren’t over powering or sickly sweet – if I smell a fragrance & it’s so soft that it feels like it’s tickling my nose – then that’s my kind of scent.

So let’s take a look at my favourite perfumes!

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Emporio Armani Diamonds 

I have worn this perfume since I was in University making it about 4 years since I first purchased it (which scares me to think that I graduated 4 years ago!) When I first took a sniff of Armani Diamonds I completely fell in love & couldn’t stop smelling my wrist where I had sprayed it. Armani Diamonds is described as:

Gourmand-floral – The top notes are litchi and raspberry, the middle notes – freesia and lily of the valley, and the base are vetiver, cedar wood, patchouli and vanilla.

From the description it’s easy to tell that this is a floral perfume, however, I am pretty fussy when it comes to perfumes with many floral notes as they can sometimes smell too ‘old lady-ish.’ This perfume however doesn’t make me smell in any way like an old lady. It is such a delicate, soft scent but one that lasts throughout the day. It can be worn either during the day or in the evening and also one that can be worn no matter what the season. Out of the perfumes I am discussing today, this is the one I have been buying for the longest & is one that I will continue to buy for more years to come.

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Emporio Armani Diamonds Violet 

I have already talked about this perfume in my Handbag Essentials post so I won’t go into quite as much detail on this particular one. This perfume was released back in 2015 and as a lover of the original fragrance, I had to test this one & much like the original I fell in love with the Violet version too. Armani Diamonds Violet is described as:

A delicious, floral-fruity-gourmand, intended for a night out. Top notes include juicy and exotic fruits of raspberry, passion fruit and lychee. The heart captures flowers of violet, Bulgarian rose and lily of the valley, on the base of sweet praline, patchouli and vanilla.

The original Armani Diamonds & the newer Armani Diamonds Violet have similar notes however Violet has a slightly stronger scent & is more fruity than the original which I think comes from the addition of the passion fruit as that note comes definitely comes through. If I had to choose between the original scent & the Violet version I think I would pick the original just because it’s slightly softer however I do still very much love the Violet version.

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Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder

I’m not quite sure if I can call this a perfume as Estee Lauder describe it as a ‘skin scent’ but I’m putting it in here anyway. This was a purchase last summer from Duty Free while on the plane journey back from Greece. I was clearly still in the summer holiday mood because this fragrance just encapsulates the smell of summer. Bronze Goddess is described as:

A sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot, warm Amber, Tiare Flower and Vanilla combined with delicious creamy Coconut.

To me this perfume smells of coconut, sun-cream & flowers. Could it be any more perfect for the summer months? Estee Lauder have always marketed this scent as a summer fragrance as you can only buy it during spring & summer. It is perfect for taking on holiday or wearing on those hot summer evenings. It has quite a strong scent however I do find that it doesn’t last quite as long as some of my other perfumes so do bare that in mind!

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La Nuit Tresor by Lancome 

Can we talk about how pretty this packaging is?! I cannot tell you just how much I love this perfume. While all of the perfumes I am talking about today are favourites, this one is most certainly my ultimate favourite. I purchased this after sampling it in Dubai duty free & instantly had to have it. When I bought this perfume it was a travel exclusive so could only be bought in airports. Why? I have absolutely no idea, but thankfully I’ve just discovered that they now also sell it in stores! La Nuit Tresor is described as:

Discover La Nuit Tresor, a sultry, smouldering perfume for women with notes of fresh raspberry, frankincense, and vanilla, with a bewitching heart of Black Rose essence.

This perfume is just DIVINE. It’s really quite sweet with a slight hint of floral and yet has so much depth with the addition of frankincense & papyrus. Because I love this perfume so much I like to keep it as my ‘special occasion’ perfume & I have had so many compliments when wearing this it. It’s also very long lasting & I can still smell it on my skin at the end of the day. This baby is never leaving my collection. Ever!

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What are your favourite scents?

My Current Lifestyle Favourites

 

Lifestyle Fave

I thought it was time that I posted something a little different than my usual beauty posts & let you see more into the life of me, Megan, the girl behind Beauty & The Blouse. So today’s post will be all about my current lifestyle favourites including what I’m enjoying doing, reading, watching & drinking.

What I’m enjoying:

Reading I love reading, I always have, but over the past couple of years I’ve found that I was reading less & less. In the past 2 months I have made a concerted effort to make sure that I take time out of my day to read & I feel so much better for it. I am now giving up unnecessary time on social media to benefit & grow my mind. Sitting down in a quiet room with a cup of tea or coffee and pouring over an open book is one of life’s little pleasures & I am so glad that I have started doing this again.

Learning Spanish After moving to Johannesburg and finding that almost every person I meet can speak at least 2 languages, I felt that it was time to grow myself & learn another language. I did study both Spanish & French back in my school days but over time I had forgotten most of what I had been taught so I decided that I was going to learn Spanish because I think it is such a beautiful sounding language. After doing a little research I discovered DuoLingo – an absolutely fantastic language learning app that can teach you a range of different languages. It teaches you how to read, write & speak Spanish in a fun way & I must say that I am picking up the language fairly easy with the teaching methods they use. And did I mention it’s a FREE app!? If you want to learn a new language I really recommend downloading DuoLingo!

What I’m reading: 

The Secret This book is fantastic. I have never been one of those people that loves to sit down with a self-help book, it’s just not my thing & I never enjoyed reading them. However, since I turned entrepreneur these kind of books are so important for self development & this one has been recommended to me several times. After finally listening to those around me and reading this book I feel like my life will never be the same again. This book is based on the law of attraction & teaches about the power of positive thinking to attract everything that you want in your life. I am aware that this is a controversial read but I do believe that our minds have much more power than we are aware of & that is why I believe that The Secret can work.

What I’m watching:

Narcos I have been watching this Netflix Original series this week & both I & my boyfriend have been enjoying it. It’s a series about the life of drug lord Pablo Escobar & is an exciting watch full of crime & conspiracy.  It does have a lot of subtitles as most of the time the actors are speaking Spanish but if you don’t mind reading subtitles this is a good watch!

Luther I just recently finished watching every season of this series & I just had to tell you, my lovely followers, about it. If you haven’t yet watched Luther and you love a crime series full of tension & excitement – watch this! It is exceptional & I found myself looking forward to watching it in the evenings. I found this series really quite creative compared to a lot of other crime series out there & many times I found myself very tense while watching it. The seasons are very short so you can binge watch & get through it very quickly & trust me, you WILL binge watch it.

What I’m drinking:

Nescafe Cappuccino sachets I am a big coffee lover! There is nothing like the smell & the taste of a cup of coffee in the morning to wake you up & get your day started. Lately I’ve been having these Nescafe cappuccinos as a treat on weekends & they are an absolute delight to drink! If I’m drinking coffee I’m usually drinking a cappuccino so I like to think of myself as a little bit of a cappuccino connoisseur & I must say that these sachets make some of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever tasted. They are however a little pricey at R59.99 for 10 sachets which is why I drink them as a treat but a treat they certainly are.

 

What are your current lifestyle favourites?

My Emigration Experience

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As you may have seen in my ‘About Me’ section I emigrated to South Africa in September 2016. I know that others out there have also emigrated or are maybe thinking of emigrating so I wanted to tell you a little about my experience.

I grew up in a small town in the North of Ireland where everyone knows everyone’s business and almost every day involves the same mundane routine. Growing up I never felt like I belonged there, I always felt like I wanted to live somewhere else & get away from those small town opinions & routines. Then in 2015 I met the person who was about to change my life forever. By complete chance I met an incredibly handsome & charming South African man who was working in Ireland for 6 months. After a whirlwind romance he had to travel back to South Africa, much to my heartache & dismay.

Then several months later I decided it was time to travel to South Africa to visit him where I completely fell in love with its beauty. From that very first trip I knew I was going to do everything in my power to move out there. On my arrival home from that first trip I sat my parents down & I told them that I was in love with a South African man (who by this stage was my boyfriend) & that I was going to move there. I know that I broke their hearts right in that moment.

Fast forward 6 months later & my visa finally arrived in the post accompanied with a lot of relief. At this point I would like to say that visa applications are not easy.  They require so many checks & so much documentation & it is both a stressful & exhausting process which is why I was so relieved to have it in my hand. 1 week after my visa arrived my bags were packed & I was ready to travel to the airport. But first I had to tackle the goodbyes – out of the whole moving process, that was the hardest part. No matter how old you are & how mature you believe you are, saying goodbyes are never easy. They are especially hard when you say goodbye your parents – the two people who raised you with all the love in the world & whose life revolves around their children.

After the emotional hurdle that were the goodbyes & after the long journey from Ireland to South Africa – I had arrived & I was ready to start my new life. My transition process wasn’t as difficult as the transition that others may have faced as my boyfriend is here which meant I was never alone & he has been an amazing support through this whole process. When you move to a country far away from your own it is so important who you choose to surround yourself with. Thankfully I had my boyfriend, his family & his friends who I get along with so well & every single one of them welcomed me into their lives with open arms. I was so lucky in that aspect!

Moving out here has changed my perception of the world. Coming from a small town where people are happy to live ordinary lives to then moving to a place where people strive to succeed & achieve something in their life makes you think about what you want from your own life. This shift in thinking led me to start my own business – something which I never thought I would do at the age of 24. Starting a business in a foreign country while you’re still learning about the culture & market isn’t easy but boy is it exciting.

One of the biggest hurdles for me has been the massive cultural change. The Irish culture & the South African culture are incredibly different. South Africa has many different cultures & even has 11 official languages. For a small town Irish girl that is a lot to get used to! But once I had gotten used to, I learned to love how culturally diverse this country is, it’s what makes South Africa a beautiful & unique country. When you move to another country it is essential that you are open to the culture & adapting to it. After all, you are the foreigner in this situation & you are moving to their country so you must be willing to accept & take part in it.

One other big hurdle I have had to face is being without my family & my close friends. Most of the time I am able to go about my day-to-day life without pining for home, but other times emotion can hit you square in the face & suddenly I feel incredibly homesick. I find it difficult no longer have ‘girl time’ over wine with my best friends or when I miss my family that I can’t just call round for a cup of tea & a chat. But when you emigrate these are the things that you must accept. I have found that keeping in contact with my family & friends enough but not too much is the best way to handle it.

So would I recommend emigrating? Absolutely yes. We as humans are not caged birds but we’re made to fly. Emigrating & experiencing a new culture shapes you as a person in whole new ways. It teaches you about people & cultures around the world but more importantly it teaches you about yourself. Believe it or not, my relationships and my communication with those I have back home have improved massively. When we are surrounded by the people that we love we somehow take them for granted, but when you are suddenly separated by continents you appreciate & love those people infinity more.

My top tips for emigrating:

  1. If you don’t know anyone actively go out & try to meet people. Join clubs, groups, go to gym classes – anything that allows you to interact with people!
  2. Don’t Skype/call/message your family or friends constantly, especially when you are already homesick. It doesn’t help & it doesn’t make you feel better. Instead, put your phone to the side & keep yourself busy – you’ll soon stop thinking about them so much.
  3. Don’t get frustrated when people don’t understand you. I know that I have quite a strong accent & sometimes people find it difficult to understand me. Just be patient.
  4. Learn all the emergency numbers in your first month there – you never know when you’ll need it.
  5. Keep a travel journal – it’s a good way to get all of your emotions, thoughts & feelings out & it’s also a wonderful keepsake that you can read decades from now.
  6. Learn the culture! This is one of the most important things you can do. You must know what is acceptable & what is unacceptable in the new country you are in. You don’t want to upset or offend anyone!