snowdonia
A bit of a personal one on the blog today, reflecting on a few little things whilst spending my last couple of days in my twenties. Ahhhh – how did the dirty thirty come around so quick? Luckily, there are so many things I wanted to achieve before turning 30 that I’ve managed to tick off. But like any human being, there are still so many things I want to aim to achieve for when I enter my thirties. But that’s cool, because I’m pretty content I’ve got near enough where I want to be in life. So I don’t have that country mansion yet or a long haired Chihuahua, but hey, I’ll get there…

Basically, I went to see a psychic medium the other week who made me a little bit angry with some of her ‘readings’. And before you sit there giggling at me for paying to see one (I can hear you!) I have actually seen some really good ones before. Like scarily good, so lets not judge me too much for having an interest in them (well you can if you like… I guess it is one of my more odd-er interests). She basically told me I had let go of a lot of opportunities, I hadn’t travelled, I hadn’t switched careers to further myself, and I had let chances pass me by. I could literally feel my blood boiling. OK, so there may be the odd little thing I may have let slip by, but definitely none of the above.

I reached 27 and flew away to start a new little life in Australia. I travelled to some incredible places on my route home. I’ve started my own business – WhatEmmaDid.com – which has lead to launching a side line dress boutique and made me into a little businesswoman (awww, you can call me a #GirlBoss if you really want to!). I’ve worked at some brilliant workplaces all related to my degree and passion for the fashion, journalism and marketing industry. I learnt enough skills to then becoming a successful blogger, securing new knowledge in SEO and letting it take me to new levels. In fact, it all brought me to my current position, where I am a Beauty Content Manager for some of the most loved and excitable beauty brands in the world. I spend my days producing beauty editorials, and I’m super lucky to have been given the opportunity.

I’ve experienced living the city life in the heart of Manchester, and also doing girly house shares in other parts of the country. I’ve lived away at University, I’ve held onto friends and have lots of lovely groups. I’ve bought my own cute little house, all on my own. I’ve done the whole girly holiday period. I can play the guitar. I’ve returned to my old university to talk about my career. I became an auntie to the most adorable niece. Oh, and did I mention I just climbed Snowdon?…….

snowdon
snowdon
emma campbell
emma campbell
snowdon
My lovely boyfriend took me to Wales to finally climb a mountain in the UK as a little pre-30th weekend away, which was always something I wanted to do. Something I wanted to do, but possibly wouldn’t have thrown myself into it myself without the encouragement. A lot of people out there have climbing Snowdon on the good old Bucket List, so I’m super proud to tick it off.

So it sounds like I’m about to turn 30 feeling pretty content, right? Right. I’ve achieved a lot in my sweet 30 years, so I’m actually going to start giving myself a break. That’s right: no more creating huge aims, just stripping them all back. I’ve worked 24/7 during the last two/three years, along with being a complete socialite. So now it’s time to strip it all back. I’m finally where I wanted to be: a great career, a great business, a great house, a great family, great friends, a great relationship, great health… can I say the word great anymore? So why give myself any more stress by adding goals to achieve? I’m fairly harsh on myself in general anyway, always pushing myself that little too much and making myself overly tired and over worked.

So the goals for turning 30 actually consist of this: reflecting on my successful 30 years, and taking a step back. Relaxing, appreciating the things I have, and looking after myself. These three little things below may seem super tiny, but are actually the only goals I now have for my next thirty years.

bath

1. Look after my body and health
Better late than never; it’s time to start looking after my appearance a little more now that I won’t be getting younger. I’m going to make a conscious effort to get much more sleep now I’m entering the big 3-0, no more surviving on 5 hours sleep a night and pretending I’m fine, mid way through a yawn. I’m also going to spend more valuable time pampering myself, whether at spa’s or at home. I’m currently loving the Blissworld brand at the moment – a brand which specialise in skin fixing products and spa-like treatments.. The brand delivers such lovely product ranges and spa services, encouraging everyone to start taking care of themselves and having some ‘blissful’ beauty regimes. This brand in particular has made me decide I’m definitely going to start working on giving myself that natural, youthful glow that I’ve left slip in my twenties from way too many late nights, self neglect and lack of pampering.

coffee press

2. Become more ‘house-wifey’
OK this one isn’t as dull as it sounds. But what I mean is the pure shame I feel when I watch younger girls than me bake brilliant cakes from scratch, or produce some crazy cooking concoction that I haven’t mastered yet. I want to become a bit of ‘lady in the kitchen’ – even if that means spending my Saturday mornings having a bit of bake off with my oven. I’m going to drink more fresh coffee from a decent French Press Coffee Maker during weekend mornings, read cooking books, and plan some new meal and dessert ideas. The 30 year old me is going to be such a Nigella. I have discovered that the older I get, I have developed a strong love for proper coffee, and a good quality French Press Coffee Maker is one of the items I’ll be purchasing with any birthday money. Plus, how good do they look in your kitchen?

3. Explore more
I just mentioned above that I took a weekend out to climb Snowdon. Uh… since when did I become a climber? The 28 year old Emma would have laughed at the 29-pushing-30 year old Emma, hunching over the mountains grabbing onto my thighs in agony. But I tried it, and I loved it. What I loved even more that it was a chance to explore Wales. I mean – it’s only the second time in my life I have been to Wales. How pathetic is that? As soon as I have some free weekends, I’m going to try and fill them with adventures and sightseeing trips. The world is a big place, and I haven’t even discovered a fraction of it yet…

Anyway, I’ll stop waffling on now and go and enjoy the last three days of being in my twenties! 30th birthday party photos will follow shortly… (if everyone turns up to it, mind!).

minimal house
You may remember my blog post a couple of months ago entitled Live Lagom – a project I am taking part in with IKEA, all about living sustainably. Right back in my first blog post, I mentioned about moving into my own home, and how easy it is to become unaware of trying to live a sustainable life. I don’t mean to obsessively become aware of everything little thing you do in the house, but if you think long and hard about it, there’s a lot of things we could do that we don’t.

My bug bears were the following, in which I explained to the IKEA Live Lagom team:

– Leaving lights on due to having a dark kitchen
– Not purchasing a washing machine, thus drying my clothes via radiators
– Not purchasing a proper maiden, for the above reason
– Not being frugal enough with my cooking and left-overs
– Throwing food away and creating extra waste due to poor meal preparation
– A cluttered, un-organised bathroom

Phew! What a list and a half. With those thoughts in mind, challenged with the Live Lagom way of life, here’s how I am getting on so far…

ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
It’s goodbye to hand-washing clothes and using heaps of hot water. Yes – how embarrassing, right? I moved into my lovely little two bedroom house just under a year ago, and just held off looking into a decent washing machine. Instead, this meant lots of buckets full of washing over the sink, absolutely rinsing through the hot water (literally!) and creating enormous water bills. Totally not acceptable. But to make things even worse, I was then leaving my clothes spread out across the house, with the heating on full blast, to dry my clothes this real unethical way. I’d even go as far as to line all my clothes along the radiators. And yes, I totally knew that this method is the cause of dampness in the home.

Luckily, with my sustainable living head now securely fastened on, the fantastic RENLIG FWM7 washing machine is making my life so much easier. The machine is designed to be both water and energy efficient, saving more than the average model. It has a low noise and super quick functions – such as a 30 minute spin which seems to be getting my clothes uber clean in my opinion. Let’s just say I’m not missing those evenings hunched over the sink!

The next issue included adding some brightness to my kitchen, as well as avoiding using my new radiators as devices for drying my clothes…

monochrome kitchen
monochrome kitchen
drying maiden

ikea live lagom
ikea mirror
crystal light
The above photos show my kitchen in it’s usual shaded format, complete with the huge radiator I was guilty of drying my clothes on. Now, I have a huge drying rack/maiden, which is brilliant for neatly spreading my wet clothes on to air out and dry. Plus, when it’s warm outside, I can pop this outside to air out naturally.

The situation, I’m very pleased to announce, has been resolved a much more energy saving way. And this is due to turning off my kitchen lights to try and shed some brightness to my monochrome kitchen, and adding mirrors instead. I’m currently in the process of adding an array of the IKEA KOLJA mirrors to the back wall, reflecting the light from the window to bounce back into the room.

I literally can’t wait to get these three sleek square mirrors drilled into the back wall. It really does amuse me how excited I now get about making these little changes. These reflective additions are going to brighten up the room so well, especially in the Spring/Summer months. I’ll be showing off the final appearance as soon as these beauties are up. Oh and the best bit – £12 a mirror. Yes, £12 a mirror. Enough said.

ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
ikea live lagom
The next batch of photographs show how well equipped I have been getting in my kitchen. Tidiness – check. Clever storage – check. Organised appearance – check. Affordable? Double check. I’m one of those who has cupboards spilling over with cardboard boxed foods, piled up high knocking over the tins and all sorts of scatty mess. But after realising that living this way meant throwing boxes out, letting food go rotten, messy cupboards and just a general poor kitchen set-up, I knew that clever storage was key.

IKEA have the handiest stack-able range of lunch boxes, cereal holders, containers, food boxes, bottles… the list is endless. I tackled my problem is two ways:

1. To create a space saving, savvy kitchen I can enjoy being in
2. To utilise the correct kitchen tools to prevent food waste.

So far, I’ve been tackling number one by ordering my food and condiments in plastic, see through containers. These line up neatly in my cupboards and fridge, and allow me to remove cardboard, tin or plastic packaging and recycle them straight away. To tackle number two, I made sure I purchased the glass containers which allow me to cook meals in the over, and then transport them straight into the fridge or freezer afterwards if needed. They are absolutely super for cooking up a baked meal, dishing up, and then keeping the left overs in the fridge. This way, I’m straight away encouraged to take the container to work with me the next day for my lunch. Or, I can freeze it away for another day, or even store in my fridge for the next day.

I also invested in some brilliant stainless steel pans and drainers, for much more effective cooking. The sleek, metallic items are again easy to stack, creating more space in my cupboards, and actually make me look forward to cooking…

white living room
cute living room
cute living room
As you can see from the photos above of my lovely and cosy living room, all these sustainable amendments have made me enjoy my home life, and want to spend more quality time in my home. I’m really enjoying keeping my living room free from any clothes washing, but more importantly, I’ve started coming up with new, creative little recipes when it comes to cooking! I have fully updated my kitchen equipment with some real handy bits and bobs, and they have totally won at making me think up healthy and inspiring foods which I can bake in bulk, and then store properly.

Take the below for example. I added these chunky white bowls from IKEA to my shop, so that I can start effectively mixing together all my ingredients. After baking, I can then transport my creations into my shiny new food containers, and distribute my food out during the week. My favourite new invention is this cherry and banana oat flapjack – take a look at my little step by step below!

ikea bowls
ikea bowls
These chunky white bowls are stack-able and sturdy enough for so many food textures…

superfoods
oat flapjack
I start by throwing in a mixture of wholesome goodness. Yep, that means wholegrain oats, flaxseed, cherry, banana, seeds, nuts, chunky peanut butter and coconut oil. I literally mix them all up so that the bananas, coconut oil and peanut butter bind the mixture together, and then spread into baking tins…

banana oats
cherry flajack
After baking for around 20 minutes, I’m left with a tasty, delicious and healthy oat flapjack, one in which I can slice up and have throughout the week. It lasts around 4-5 days when stored in the fridge, and mark my words, it’s real yummy! You can add a few other extras in it too depending on preference. I know cacao nibs are a popular choice, as is manuka honey to bind together.

flajack healthy
To read a little more about the Live Lagom project with IKEA, check out the website here for more details. I’ve also spotted this fabulous sustainable living collection called ANVANDBAR, which is more for the green fingered people out there (growing your own herbs etc!).

Keep your eyes peeled next week for my final post, where I’ll be concluding on my thoughts regarding the project, and going into a little more detail about the changes I have made…

natural deodrant
So I have to admit that I’m doing really well with keeping up with the whole natural beauty product way of life. I made a conscious note to myself a couple of weeks ago to try and use the most natural products when it comes to skin care, body care and hair care, whether that be eco-friendly, organic or botanical. I’m not going to lie – it sure can be hard, especially when you rush through the crowded aisles of Boots on a Saturday and just want to but an affordable face cleanser.

Today’s post is sharing with you some of the products I’ve currently been using, and how I am incorporating them into my daily beauty regimes. Some of them are hero items I’ll be keeping in my beauty cupboards (yep, I literally have designated cupboards for this stuff!) for when needed, and others are pretty much everyday essentials!

natural deodrant
Native Unearthed 100% Natural Crystal infused Deodorants
This natural deodorant is perfect for the large vegetarian and vegan customer base there is out there, due to this being a cruelty free product. I proudly own the crystal infused roll-on deodorant with Mangosteen  –  a unique fruit bursting with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamin C. This fruits is said to be soothing and healing, and is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a bottle full of nature. Mangosteen is also known for its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used for centuries in the Far East.

You have to slightly wet or warm up this product before it rolls quite freely under the armpit, which shows just how natural it is. It doesn’t need to be filled with nasties or added cheap properties which would break it down to be slightly more of a looser substance. Before using this product, I was using another natural and organic roll-on deodorant, and this one didn’t disappoint at all. It  keeps me fresh and odour free throughout the day and has quite a nice, unusual texture when applying. The selection of natural deodorants cost just £6.49, and they also retail an aloe leaf version too. No guilty feelings when using this…

natural deodorant
S5 Clarity Cleanser and Purity Serum:
Ah, that feeling when fantastically packaged beauty products which land on my desk, looking super chic and ready to trial out. I love the clean white carded box of the serum, with its bold green embossed lettering. This type of sleek and modern packaging portrays a brand which really cares about it’s products looking premium and quality. A bit about the brand: S5 is designed to solve skin problems naturally using the strength of ingredients found in the most extreme parts of the planet (such as Antarctica, the Wadi Desert in Egypt and the high mountains of Tibet). They say our bio-actives have naturally evolved strength and resilience to extreme environmental stress over millions of years.

I first used the Clarity Cleanser, which has a rich foaming texture when massaged into the skin. It’s designed for oily/combination skin, and removes excess oil and light make-up with one gently wash. It features Papa Enzymes, which are enzymes from organic rainforest fruit to gently smooth and purity the skin. The brand advise applying to dry skin and then mixing with a little bit of water, before leaving on for 1-2 minutes and rinsing. This should act as deep exfoliation too, so I’m looking forward to trying this.

The serum was recommended to me due to the fact I suffer from regular breakouts, and my skin can be fairly spot-prone. I’m usually a bit unsure when it comes to applying serums – like, do I finish with a moisturiser? Or is a serum alone good enough? This one contain 2% salicylic acid, which is effective for boosting cell renewal, but also has moisturising properties, so I find I use this instead of a moisturiser. But you can follow up with one – it’s totally up to you. I’ve noticed from using this a couple of times a week for the past 3 weeks that it’s super calming – a lot of red, blotchy areas have settled, and it speeds up the fading of any new spots. My spots do seem to be reducing in general, but I guess I’ll have to continue using to see if the results carry on!

s5 serum
s5 cleanser
s5 serum
s5 serum
natural beauty products

Naissance Aloe Vera Gel:
Good old Aloe Vera Gel – a skincare staple I’ve been aware of for so many years, which always comes in handy. This particular brand – Naissance – again focuses on the purest, most natural properties to form the basis of beauty heroes. In all honesty I was actually due an Aloe Vera product, as I haven’t owned the product in a pure form for a long while. I personally love it for it’s antibacterial and antifungal properties; it has deep penetrating properties and acts as an anti-inflammatory. In a gel form, it is also highly moisturising and has soothing and cooling properties. They say it’s great for those with sensitive skin and skin conditions, as it’s non irritant and super cooling.

I’ve been using this product in particular to treat the damaging effects associated with sunburn, moisturising and cooling the skin. As soon as I catch the sun, I always apply this stuff to my face/body at night, to let it heal and repair my skin. Similarly, this gel is highly moisturising and offers soothing relief for irritated skin – so also great for acne. They say that for people that have scalp conditions such as dandruff, Aloe Vera Gel may help eliminate the dandruff and repair skin that has been damaged by either scratching or by the condition itself.

A must have for any girls beauty shelves!

aloe vera gel
aloe vera gel
aloe vera gel
Pure Potions Scar Oil and Skin Salvation:
Another natural beauty brand I’ve discovered lately is Pure Potions, which aim to exactly what their name says. They are completely transparent about the properties and ingredients they use, only utilising natural, organic ingredients. They also make sure what goes into their products is naturally sourced, and can be used on anyone: adults, teens, babies alike. The two products I’ve been testing is the Scar Oil and the Intensive Moisturisation Ointment – two essential items which are great to keep as staples.

First up – the Scar Oil. Now I have a love/hate relationship with Bio Oil, as I used to rave about it for years, before I then felt it kind of stop working on me, and it’s texture became more greasy. Keen to see what this Pure Potions version was like, I was happy to see first of it’s use of Rosehip, vitamin C, and omega 3 and 6. Rosehip is known for it’s abilities to soothe scars, with it’s rich moisturisation and cell renewing properties. This makes is a great ingredient for scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone and dry/aging skin. This Scar Oil fuses the Rosehip with grape seed oil, chamomile and lavender, which are all powerful natural soothing and replenishing agents. From my first-hand experience with this, I found it refreshing and moisturising, but I mainly loved how it renews the skin, revealing brighter, redness-faded skin.

scar oil
scar oil
scar oil
scar oil
Next up is the Pure Potions Intensive Moisturising Ointment, and believe me when I say this product is just so super cute. It’s mini little pot is great to carry around, and straight away I can tell you this is a must-have for those with eczema, dermatitis, sensitive skin, and any skin concerns which need hero natural ingredients to help soothe and treat. This particular moisturiser is in the form of a balm, and can be rubbed onto the face or any dry areas of the body. It contains beeswax, hemp seed oil and nettle extract (to name a few), which are all skin loving and caring. I found this to have a rich, deep moisturising formula, which creates a semi-occlusive barrier which protects the skin from everyday external irritants. So lovely to use, and great for hydration without any irritation.

skin salvation
skin salvation
skin salvation
Inika Truly Oragnic Enriched Rosehip Oil:
As mentioned before in the Pure Potions review, Rosehip Oil is one of my favourite properties. I tend to have a lot of marks on my skin from previous breakouts, and the tendency to have dull skin. I’ve used this brand’s organic and natural make-up before and always been impressed, so it’s fair to say I knew this product would live up to my high expectations.

This vegan friendly Rosehip oil targets premature ageing, with the helping hand of 4 Australian native botanicals: Kakadu Plum, Quandong, Riberry & Crown of gold. For me, it’s an added bonus that it aids the repair of aging skin, as I used it more for refreshing, brightening and encouraging the healing of my skin (fading red marks, leaving it feeling smooth). This product is said to be great for fading sun spots, red marks and any old blemishes, and for me, that’s what it does. I’ve been using it at night (possibly used this for around 4 nights up to now), and have been waking up feeling like my skin is much fresher. Again, I’ll be hoping that with continued use, I’ll start seeing an improvement to my dull texture and marked skin.

Another point is that this product is extremely pleasant to use – so calming and gentle to the skin. It’s £20 price tag more than reflects it’s uses, and I’m obviously not the only one who thinks that, seeing as it’s currently sold out!

inika rose hip oil
inika rose hip oil
So far, I’m overly happy with my decision to focus on natural, organic skincare. Not only am I feeling like these brands and products are so gentle and caring to my skin, they also seem to perform brilliantly. And the best bit is that I feel good for using them! Their natural scents are uplifting, with luxury textures making them lovely to use.

What are your thoughts on natural skincare? Do let me know if you have tried making the switch too!

rocketdog shoes

So today I heard on the radio that we are set to have the hottest Summer in a long long time. Now I don’t know if it’s time to get excited and start building up everyone’s hopes, but the radio guy did sound fairly certain. And hey, if he’s making that kind of confident statement to whole of the UK at prime drive time, then I sure do believe it. In a bid to celebrate the promise of an actual real-life hot Summer, I put together an outfit for today’s post which is inspired by those fresh sunshiney days.

In true Emma style, there’s a main colour of khaki featured. You didn’t expect me to start showcasing Summer brights, did you? It may be the end of May, but my neutral colour palette vibes are still going strong. The items in question are these beautiful Belize Tanned Heeled Sandals, from RocketDog, and this cute khaki dunagree dress which was ordered from a new retail start-up called Octer.

rocketdog shoes
rocketdog shoes
rocketdog shoes
First up – these shoes. Just how fabulous are these? I opt for tan pretty much every time when it comes to dressy Summer shoes, as I literally love this universal colour. Tan shoes bring out my bronzed legs (when I have them!), yet also seem to hide the pastiness of my legs when I’m ghastly white. They look great with light or dark denim skinny jeans, yet also compliment bare legs, as mentioned before.

Call me old fashioned, but one of the things I love about this style of shoe is just how sturdy they are. I own way too many heels which don’t quite feel like the cosiest fit, but these are so secure around my ankles. I have to also add how cool the inside soles of the shoes are too! Such a fun and fashionable printed design to add a bit of interest.

The Belize Tanned Sandals cost £44.99, and in my opinion make the ideal staple pair of tan coloured Summer heels.

rocketdog shoes
rocketdog shoes
rocketdog shoes
rocketdog shoes
In an attempt to keep a muted and neautral colour scheme going, I teamed these heels up with a pretty little dress from Octer, as mentioned earlier on. Octer lets you search across a range of top UK retailers, in which my specified search lead me straight to this dungaree dress. It has a real laid back utility style, and comes in a petite fitting. Perfect for my little self!

I layered up the dress with a crisp white fitted t-shirt and these chunky heeled shoes, which to me all goes together fairly well. For those days that fall in-between Spring and Summer, this will be a cute little feminine outfit to wear for those work days…

dungaree dress

dungaree dress
dungaree dress
dungaree dress
tan heels
tan heels
tan heels
tan heels
The best thing about both of these items is that they are completley timeless, where I know I’ll continue to get so much wear out of them both. They are both super affordable too, which is ideal right now as I’m always hunting for discounts to try and put a stop to my over spending. You can also avail some latest discount codes like Argos promo code to save money while shopping these products online. Visit here for more information.

wedding sign

Weddings are supposed to be the loveliest of celebrations, ones that create lasting memories and establish a potentially lifelong bond between two soulmates. Such a momentous event should be relaxing and entertaining for the bride, groom, and all of the invited guests. Thus, it is imperative to properly plan and arrange a wedding to avoid a massive disappointment. So if you are planning your big day, consider the following five tips to help ensure the utmost in comfort and convenience for your guests:

1. Pick a Day Based on the Weather

There are some things that affect comfort which are completely beyond your control, like the weather. Fortunately, nowadays we can predict the weather fairly accurately even months in advance. Thus, one of the biggest factors you should take into consideration when choosing a date for the wedding reception is the forecasted weather conditions. Of course, this is especially important if all or part of the reception will take place outdoors.

2. Arrange Plates, Utensils, and Favours

Waiting until your guests begin to arrive to start the process of setting up is a common mistake. Ideally, your guests should arrive to pre-arranged tables complete with dishes, utensils, and a bag of wedding favours. Many people choose to have their guests retrieve their own plates and utensils before serving themselves from a buffet, but this option is obviously not as convenient as a pre-arranged setup.

wedding accessories

3. Make Food Easily Accessible

If you’re not going to be delivering food directly to guests, make sure it is at least easy to access. You don’t want huge lines building up because 10 people want a piece of cake and only one side of the table is accessible. Make sure you leave plenty of room in the aisles for guests to walk past each other, and make sure there’s plenty of serving space between each food item to give guests adequate elbow room.

4. Give Guests Name Badges

A great way to help everyone get to know each other is to include name badges in the favour bags. In addition to adding a personal touch, custom badges (http://www.color4care.co.uk/53-name-badges) can make excellent souvenirs that people can use to remember your wedding years down the line. While opting for disposable nametags is the cheaper route, badges are more elegant and will last longer.

wedding balloon

5. Plan Seating Strategically

Who wants to be cramped into a pew less than an inch from the next person while perched in the back of a room hundreds of yards from the nearest room? Nobody, that’s who. Don’t make your guests feel like they’re trapped or set back too far from the food, festivities, and the ceremony itself. Everything should be close together, yet not close enough to give the feeling of being crowded.

Don’t Let the Pressure Stop You From Being Nice and Hospitable

Often, the stress and anticipation of planning a wedding can create a very hectic environment on wedding day. Don’t let the logistical burdens stop you from having a good time and enjoying the company of your guests. Greet everyone with a smile and remember that this is supposed to be a beautiful day, and beautiful things are never perfect.

This post has been provided by a guest writer.