Wednesday 19 December 2018

Last Minute Gift Guide Under £10

Christmas can be a very hard time, whether it's financially, family/friends related, or mental health issues. The last thing you want to be worried about is what to buy your secret Santa or a family member you've forgotten to buy for - oops.

Well, I've got some great last minute gifts for you to get just in time for the big day. You can either use this guide for stocking fillers with things you have already bought, or you can mix and match some of the items or ideas in this post. I personally would love to receive any and all of these gifts so they have my approval!

1. The Bath Lover

The Body Shop is always a go-to place for beauty products, but they also stock these small but powerful bath bombs and bubble bars for just £1.50 each. You could pop a couple of scents in their gift and still have budget leftover for another gift! They currently have Pink Grapefruit Bath Bubble*, Moringa Bath Bubble*, Coconut Bath Bubble* and Green Tea Bath Bomb* available.

2. The Classic Gift

I've always loved receiving socks for Christmas, and as an adult, I still love getting them in amongst my presents. Primark is the best place for getting all of your essential items, plain tees, underwear and PJ's. It's affordable and there are so many cute products you can buy for yourself or even as gifts!

Fluffy socks always take over my sock drawer, so I literally have to have a separate drawer just to have an easy life. I love it when Primark have packs so you can get multiple items without breaking the bank.

Black and Mixed Two Pack Fluffy Socks 

Mixed and Pink Two Pack Fluffy Socks

When looking at their gift section I love love love that they packaged these socks into boxes and adorable little sacks. It looks so sweet and would make a nice addition to any Christmas gift.

Cat Socks Gift Box

Black Candycane Gift Bag Socks 

Grey Santa Gift Bag Socks

Navy Reindeer Gift Bag Socks

3. Self Care

This past year I've dived into self-care, and I honestly believe it's helped me mentally. It feels so good when you dedicate time to you, and on top of that you might be working out, painting your nails or applying a face mask - so you get an external and internal benefit.

I found these cute items at Boux Avenue and thought it's such a good range of gifts. I treated myself to a sleep mask this year, especially for in the Summer if I want a lie in and don't want to be awoken at stupid o'clock by the sun streaming in. Honestly, the best decision I have ever made. It also helps if you have an OH like me who stays up late but you want to go to sleep without the bedroom lights keeping you up.

Koala Sleep Mask

It's an absolute essential for me to have a water bottle at the gym, and I have to have one with a straw that reaches all the way to the bottom. I find it so much easier to drink from and it's just super cute.

Eat Sleep Gym Bottle

I don't think I have to explain why I've popped in a tangle teaser, this is a godsend for any long haired goddess out there - because we're all goddesses.

Tangle Teaser 

4. The Stationary Addict

Self-confessed stationary addict and hoarder over here, these are two of WHSmith stationary items I've got my eye on. Week by week view diary's are really good to scrawl your plans and important dates in, I only ever use day by day if I actually want to write everything down from that day. Everyone should have a diary in their bag or somewhere accessible at home.

Pink 2019 Week by Week View

Little Book of Big Ideas

5. Home Comforts

I love absolutely love homeware and little things to make your home cosy. I have been generously gifted a set of Glass Flower Tealight Holder on behalf of Home Flair Decor*. It comes with two tealight candles, if like me you prefer LED candles you can find some realistic LED candles here.

They come in a lovely presentation box, and it's the perfect size to wrap up!

6. A Sprinkle of Lindt

I often forget that you can either go into a Lindt store or even online, you can put together your own selection of Lindt chocolates. Whether you know what that person likes, or you can select a variety of new flavours for them to indulge in. There's no minimum which is perfect for additional gifts or if you're shopping on a strict budget for a chocolate lover.

I hope you've found my last minute gift guide helpful, I know that I would love to receive any of these gifts. I've only recently been trying to abide by a budget for Christmas and as hard as it feels, I've noticed that I've been getting more creative with present ideas and actually getting so much more for less.

Happy holidays,

Love Saffron x

*As mentioned above I was gifted the tealight holder on behalf of Home Flair Decor, any other links in this post with an asterisk are affiliate links which means if someone buys that item through my link I can make some commission.

Monday 3 December 2018

Why I Love This Season

When I start to feel a slight chill in the air, a small smile creeps across my face. Why is that you ask? because; layers. It means I can start the process of changing my summer wardrobe into autumn/winter. I live for jumpers.

I find even though I love nothing more than a cosy night in, in my fluffiest pyjamas, dressing gown and socks, I also find myself hunting down fun wintry activities. Oh, did I also forget to mention I love any occasion to get a knitted bobble hat out?

I've only recently been pumpkin picking and it's adorable. I went to Pickwell's Farm in Southampton and you could pick ANY size pumpkin for £2. Absolute bargain. They also have a cute shop where you can buy groceries, Pickwell products and other little independents items.

It's also motivated me to go picking for fruit when the season comes back around, plus I'd love to get back into baking and make some yummy goodies with hand-picked berries.

I really love it when Halloween comes around, I live for experimenting with makeup and trying to transform myself. I used to do drama at school, and I used to dance for several years and have this innate need sometimes to dress up, perform and feel like someone else.

Autumn is such a nice little transition into Winter, albeit in England we can still get overly warm days when we've just put on three layers expecting the worst! As soon as the 5th of November comes around I start feeling so festive. Bring out the gloves, hats and scarves and let's go see some fireworks!

Now, don't get me wrong. I do love fireworks displays and you can have some really fun ones. But, some people have been taking the cake in terms of their own fireworks at home. I've heard fireworks going off for weeks leading up to Guy Fawkes night and weeks afterwards. It's distressing for animals and children, and I even find it a distraction and hazard sometimes as a driver. I think some people need to be more considerate and use them more nearer the date.

I'm looking forward to more wintry and festive activities. I'm planning a post to share my ideas of what you can get up to, I'm looking at ones that are fairly cheap too! Christmas can be a hard time financially, but not everything has to cost loads of money.

I love it when people come together over Christmas time, it's my favourite part. Yes, it's an excuse to eat as much as you want and drink as much as you want. But, you get to see your friends and family and there are lots of fun things to do, and amazing festive menus in restaurants and cafes.

I'd love to know your favourite festive things to do, let me know in the comments.

Love Saffron x

Saturday 24 November 2018

Lust List | November

I've been planning a Lust List series for quite some time now. I'm one of those people who screenshots, saves and bookmarks things I like. Then I'll set some time one day to go through everything and pick what I want to buy.

I love looking at things other people love as well, I think it's great to draw inspiration from. I love a good freshen up of my wardrobe or trying new things!

New Look Suede Jacket in Mustard* and Grey* £39.99

This suede jacket is just gorgeous! I'm prepared to add this to my wardrobe for my staple going out jacket...

The following few items are from ASOS, but I've come across Sass & Belle in Brighton and I always make a stop whenever I'm visiting. It's full of cute home bit and accessories, and as you can see I have an obsession with sloth items...

Sasse & Belle Large Sloth Bowl £15.00

Sass & Belle Gingerbread Mug £8

For this time of year (or all round I'm not fussy) just imagine having a cosy hot chocolate with whipped cream on top...I'm not drooling, you are.

Boohoo Disney Mickey Initial Tee £8.00

I love Disney, and I love the mustard colour. I don't really like overboard Disney clothing so this would work nicely with a leather/suede jacket.

I don't really have many party dresses, but then I don't get to go out out too much these days. But it doesn't hurt to have a good stash of pretty dresses! These two from New Look are so gorgeous and would suit any festive occasion.

New Look Burgundy Velvet Strappy Skater Dress* £24.99

ASOS Design Cotton Slubby Frill Sleeve Smock Dress £18.00

One of my fashion goals is to have countless cute and easy outfits, and this dress ticks both boxes. I'm finding in my older age I just want to be comfortable, what's the point of squeezing into clothes that aren't right for me?

When I've been to The Body Shop® events, I've had the Huwaiian Kukui Cream tested on my hands and arms and I absolutely love it. The scent is right up my street, and it makes my skin feel so soft and smooth, so I must get this soon!

These are just a few of the things I'm lusting for at the moment! Let me know if you'd be interested in me making this a regular feature on my blog, and I'll try and get all fancy with how I display the items.

Send me any links of some of your saved items/things you want to buy!

Love Saffron x

*items marked with an astrix are affiliate links, which means I can make a small bit of commission on items bought through this link.


Saturday 15 September 2018

4Ocean Bracelet

Last year I was educating myself in cruelty-free beauty and now I've expanded into an eco-friendly life and seeing how I can reduce the amount of plastic and packaging I use in my day to day life. I also try to partake in beach cleanups near me, you can read about my first one here. A friend introduced me to 4Ocean. A company whose goal is to reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean by selling bracelets - yes you read that correctly. Customers can either get one single bracelet or a sign up to a monthly subscription to these bracelets, which are made out of recyclable materials found in the ocean. By purchasing just one bracelet, it allows the company to pull 1lb of rubbish from the sea.

As you can see in the images the bracelet has the 4Ocean logo, a thin adjustable cord which is made from recycled polyester, and recycled glass beads. Each month 4Ocean bring out limited edition bracelets of which they give profits to different charities. For example, at the moment they have a green and yellow bracelet to support Marine Nurseries.

So far there have been 1,144,460 bracelets sold, therefore 1,144,460 pounds has been removed from our oceans.

According to 4Ocean, it's estimated that 16 billions pounds of trash makes its way into the ocean.

They hire crews from around the world to clean up different aspects of the ocean. Over a year ago I was conducting some internet research for a video production company on ocean waste. I hadn't personally seen or heard of how much waste was in the ocean, I had never thought about it before. Until that is, I came across The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A floating trash island.

The fact that these bracelets are made from materials found in the sea just astounds me. Earlier this year the BBC reported that there were more than 80,000 tonnes of rubbish forming this floating island. This specific area is between Hawaii and California, this rubbish patch is just one of five areas across the planet, but it's by far the largest. The rubbish congregates in areas where strong currents sustain the "island" in strong whirlpools. As well as the literal plastic pollution made up from bottles, containers and the like, these plastics then start to disperse microplastics into the ocean's water.

These items end up here either just by the sea drawing in rubbish from the land, winds depositing plastics, tools and nets used by fishing companies and fisherman, or even via boats which are trying to move recyclable items or rubbish to another continent to be disposed of or recycled. In the past year, China has refused to take in and deal with other countries waste and recycling. This could have an even bigger environmental impact on the UK if we struggle to keep waste out of our environments.

I don't want to bore anyone too much with my preachy environmental views, but my blogger friend Sophie has a whole bunch of informative posts on Environmental Issues and Zero Waste living.

Because I love our planet and nature, I've been making baby steps to try and reduce my contribution to our world's waste. My favourite alternative is reusable coffee cups, you can get aesthetic one's from Primark from £2.50. Using these cups can save you an average of 15p per hot drink from most coffee shops.

Let me know if you'd love to hear about my personal changes to try and be more environmentally friendly, it's something I've been getting very passionate about this year.

Photo credit: Connor Cleary on his Canon 5D Mark iii.

Disclaimer: I purchased this bracelet out of my own money and I've not been sponsored to write about 4Ocean or the topics discussed - I'm just really happy with this product and have a chip on my shoulder about plastic waste.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Victorious Festival | Day 3

Saturday had such lovely weather, but this whole weekend I had to scrutinise the weather forecast to try and wear weather appropriate clothes. Especially as the festival is right by the seafront it's going to be a bit colder and windier.

I had seen that the whole day was supposed to be raining and potentially have up to 40mph winds! Considering how I did not have sensible clothes on Friday when it was raining, there was not a chance I was going to make that mistake again. I had some blisters on my feet from wearing my Doc Martens all day on Saturday, so I layered up with three plasters and three pairs of socks to pad my feet out a bit. I went for doc martins again as they are pretty good in the rain and I've worn them in the snow earlier this year. I decided to wear my Victorious tee from the 2016 festival, my new Victorious hoodie, my coat and a black cap to stop the rain getting in my eyes.

My friend Danielle had told me that the festival team had started to prepare the site for the rain and winds so they had removed some of the flags, the hammocks in the VIP area, the TV screens by the stages had been moved down. The site looked so gloomy when we arrived, puddles of water started to appear around what is Southsea Common and there was barely anyone in the main area, they had all sought shelter or gone home to come back later.

The Sunday line up was ok, but all three acts that I wanted to see were all on at the same time: last performance of the evening on their respective stages. I wanted to see Years and Years (who I've already seen twice - they are amazing by the way), Lucy Spraggan and The Prodigy. As much as I wanted to see Year and Years and Lucy Spraggan, my younger teenage self would never have forgiven me if I passed on The Prodigy.

I wanted to try and catch some different bands throughout the day so I headed down fairly early to try and get some content. The weather was just atrocious. It was raining quite hard and constant and there weren't too many areas to seek shelter and I didn't want to stay out in this weather all day.

I had decided I wanted to get my hair braided as I knew it was going to get wet and thrown all over my face, and I just needed a neat girly hairstyle. Fortunately, I came across the All Out Beauty station, they had different compartments on the ground level where you can get your hair styled and take pictures with instagrammable backgrounds, and upstairs was a VIP viewing area of the festival with more aesthetic decorations.

All of the staff there were in high spirits despite having to sweep water off of the walking areas and their ponchos getting blown in the wind. They were all so lovely and friendly it made up for the horrible weather.

By this time I was soaked through, I bought some yummy warm churros and retreated back home for a nice roast dinner. Then headed back in the evening with Connor for The Prodigy. The band before TP were called Friendly Fires, and after questioning the frontman's (Ed Macfarlane) thrusting and bopping on stage and the crazy fans manoeuvering their bodies in no particular pattern, I was actually really into their vibe. It was upbeat and entertaining, I will definitely be checking out their music and would love to see them again.

We were so excited for The Prodigy to come on, we really wanted to be down in the crowd but Connor had really bad feet from working all weekend and didn't have suitable shoes on <insert eye roll emoji> but at least I could see the stage and all of the festival goers from the VIP area. I love watching the crowd and feeling the vibe from the audience, I soak it all in.

The minute that TP came on stage they completely changed the atmosphere, they had a crazy lighting set up and smoke that clouded over the stage. Maxim, Keith Flint and Liam Howlett were absolutely incredible. They had so much energy that you couldn't help but sing and dance along to all of the classics. They had made some changes to some of the tracks which made it seem more modern - I'm a big fan of a lot of Invaders Must Die tracks.

Out of all the acts I had seen over the weekend, The Prodigy were by far the LOUDEST. I don't know if it was because of the genre or the fact that they were the big headliner for the weekend but it was so great to have to music pulse through you. They were the highlight of the weekend without a doubt. There were so many great acts, but with their performance and the reaction from the crowd it was just unforgettable.

photo credit: Tom Langford

It was an amazing end to the weekend and I loved every second of it - even the rainy parts. I would one hundred percent go back next year. Victorious have got early bird tickets here - including whole weekend tickets!

Did you go to this years festival, or are you interested in next years? I'd love to know in the comments.

Disclaimer: Carousel PR were generous enough to grant me a press pass for the whole weekend at Victorious Festival which included access to the VIP area. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Sunday 9 September 2018

Victorious Festival | Day 2

Saturday was a beautiful day, and because Connor had to work at the festival filming I invited my lovely friend Charis (as seen above) to explore and be my photographer.

We got to the site early to have a look around and get some photos with no one else around and grabbed a bacon roll from a food truck in the kid's area. There was also a chocolate company called Montezuma's giving out free bars of chocolate which was actually really nice, they have dairy free, gluten free and vegan chocolate bars. I'm a little bit in love with their chocolate and will have to seek out their Chichester store soon!

I love that at festivals there are cute little market stalls, especially as they might have something that you need like Charis needed sunglasses and lots of stalls had them! Plus it's another way to kill some time if you're waiting for an artist.

We survived mostly on the free Coca-Cola cans being given out, they had vanilla, peach and cherry mini cans and you could recycle them back to their area, and if you queued to go inside you could win prizes. Probably the best incentive to recycle cans ever and the vanilla was my favourite.

The Strongbow area were giving out free Dark Fruits ice cream, it was 1.1% alcohol in it so after they ID-ed me I enjoyed my ice cream. I loved how many companies were giving out free food and drink at the festival, I think it's a great way to try new things without having to burn a hole in your pocket.

As it was busier today there were a lot more people about, and I noticed a lot of rubbish just thrown on the floor when there’s plenty of bins. Literally, Victorious organisers had so many bins, recycling bins and even points where you give the cups in to be reused. 

Even in the VIP area a group of people threw all of their cans on the floor and just left about 10-15 cans of rubbish and they pushed crisp packets in between the wooden bench. Myself and Charis helped clean up the area when a litter picker came by.

It was lovely to walk around the full site today and have a look at all of the other food vendors and market stalls that had opened up. I even saw a human fruit machine, I’m not sure what they were promoting but it was hilarious. Lots of families invested in those inflatable sofa things where you have to run around with it to get air in it. Top quality entertainment right there.

There were a lot of younger festival goers today, and a lot more scantily dressed ones. The weather was a lot more suitable for that kind of festival vibe, but some of them looked so young and I saw a lot of bums and boobs.

Today I was most excited to see Gabrielle Aplin and Paloma Faith, I've been fortunate to see both of these artists before and loved them so much I needed to see them again. Gabrielle was on quite early in the way which was a lovely way to compliment her soft voice in the sunshine. I always forget how many of her songs I know, and I enjoyed singing along to Panic Chord, Night Bus and Please Don't Say You Love Me. I made a mental note to add some of my faves to a Spotify playlist.

I ran into some family friends who said I needed to watch the Happy Mondays, which I can say I only know about them because of Shaun Ryder when he was on I'm A Celeb. We didn't have anyone else we wanted to see at this time, so we thought we'd educate ourselves and see what they were like. It was fantastic, maybe not in the way of a good quality performance but one of the band members; Bez was so entertaining. He was playing the "maracas" but you could obviously see he wasn't contributing to the music as he sauntered up and down the stage doing a little mince-type dance and waving the maracas around. Bez absolutely made my day and I was in stitches.

One of my favourite independent restaurants is Pie and Vinyl in Castle Road, Portsmouth. They do amazing pies with all the fixings, it was so good to see them at Victorious. They had changed the names of the pies to have Victorious themed pies, I chose Chick-torious as it's one of my favourites and it's just delicious. They also have options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten free and dairy free food.

photo credit: Tom Langford

The line up for Saturday had a few well-known legends, as well as the Happy Mondays, Victorious also had Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys - with some of the original members, and also Paul Weller from The Jamm. I must admit I didn't know too many of their songs but I love God Only Knows What I'd Be Without You by The Beach Boys and Town Called Malice by the Jamm.

After hearing some of the golden oldies, we moved over to the Castle Stage to see the lovely Paloma Faith. Admittedly, I don't know much of her newer songs but I loved her first two albums. Paloma was wearing a pink patterned A-style cut dress with funky pink glasses - she kind of reminded me of Linda from Gimme Gimme Gimme but it was a good vibe.

photo credit: Tom Langford
I wasn't really into Paloma's performance, it was a bit odd and I know she's a very quirky person but I personally wasn't really enjoying it and it just felt like something was missing? We left after four songs as I wasn't feeling it and we partied our butts off in the Strongbow arena and met with my boyfriend and friend. It was really good to just let loose the dance moves as everyone was having a good time and the DJ set had constant tunes playing. It was a really good way to end the day.

The Saturday was so amazing, it was great to have a bit of sunshine and there was an amazing sunset behind the festival. It's in an amazing setting taking up most of Southsea Common, the D Day Museum, and Southsea Castle.


My Sunday post will be up soon!

All photos taken of me were by my friend Charis on my Canon EOS M10.

Disclaimer: Carousel PR were generous enough to grant me a press pass for the whole weekend at Victorious Festival which included access to the VIP area. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday 31 August 2018

Victorious Festival | Day 1

outfit: denim jacket - cancer research, dress - h&m, sandles - new look

This was my first whole weekend at Victorious Festival, being fairly local this festival is in a really good location and I had attended one day at the 2016 one. It is quite handy that you can go to a festival on your doorstep for no more than £45 a day, but it would be quite handy to release weekend tickets - which Victorious are doing for next year! You can already grab an adult weekend ticket for £80.

I managed to bag myself a press pass for the whole weekend, which included access to the VIP area. And my oh my, did this come in handy to hide from the wind and rain!

The VIP area had hammocks, hay bales, a cute circus tent with loads of seating, unique food vendors who weren't in the main area, massages, face painting, a bar and a viewing area for the main stage. This place was heaven when the weather decided to attack Portsmouth. I chose the wrong outfit of course; a completely summery festival look for anticipated photos. 

I've never paid for a VIP upgrade before but had always wanted to know what it was like, the viewing area was a godsend as it meant that a shorty like me was guaranteed to actually see what was going on! The fancy flushing toilets were such a nice surprise - I've had my fair share of horrible portaloos so this was a sight for sore eyes.

my goofy cute boyfriend
It looks like they’ve expanded their stages from when I went two years ago, there were more places to buy food and drinks from, some cool photographic signs, lots of colourful flags and hilarious Dave signs. 

the common stage
There was a food vendor called Passion and Smoke selling poutine! Which usually you can only get in Canada (I was informed by my lovely new friend Danielle that 7Bone in Guildhall Walk also do it - review opportunity to come) It was really nice but went cold a little too quickly and I’d have liked it if the cheese curd had completely melted but it was still goooood. They also had seasoned the fries which tasted lovely.

poutine on the right and delicious churros on the left
We arrived early on Friday to try and get some photos before the festival-goers turned up, but the site was quite limited as they were still setting up the other areas. There was the Common Stage, Strongbow DJ Bar and Beats and Swing tent available and a lot of food trucks were open.

One of the first things we did was check out the merch stalls, the merchandise was dirt cheap! T-shirts for £12 and hoodies for £23. I’ve never seen festival merch prices like this and I’m in love, I'm used to £20-£25 for a shirt or £40-£50 for a hoodie at most gigs. I was most definitely getting a line up t-shirt and line up hoodie.

After exploring the main area, the weather got quite bad so I sought refuge in the VIP area out of the wind and rain. I have been taking up reading again as I've always wanted to re-read the Harry Potter series as I'm pretty sure I didn't read most of them properly when I was around seven. I started chatting to some other festival-goers who I was sharing the table with and despite the gloomy weather they were very chipper, and it restores my faith in humanity when people can be really friendly in less than ideal situations! Think about it, would that have happened on a train? Probably not as train commuters are usually grumpy and don't want to be near anyone - I have been one of these people!

But put those people into a festival and those frowns turn to smiles, even with people dancing in the rain and puddles.

I caught a few of the acts at the beginning of the day who I liked; Marley Blandford, Hymn for Her and Come Together. One of the things I love about festivals is just rocking up to a stage and not knowing the artist or band and then falling in love with their sound. I'm one of those people who doesn't mind going to concerts of bands I don't know because listening to them live for the first time is such an amazing experience - plus you have the memories from the festival/gig attached to those songs.

photo credit: Tom Langford
I thought it was kind of odd that Kaiser Chiefs weren't the headliner's for Friday, I don't really know The Libertines that well. Ricky Wilson was such a good front man for the band, he put all of his energy into his performance and even at one point he started to climb the scaffolding around the stage - I'm sure this is a huge health and safety risk but it was pretty cool.

By this point I couldn't feel the lower half of my legs or my feet so Connor and I shivered our way back to the car. I was looking forward to getting all toasty in the car, and the fact that Saturday was supposed to be warm and sunny! It was really good to experience the Friday line up and I was excited for what was to come next.

Keep an eye out for the Saturday and Sunday posts!

All photos taken of me were by Connor Cleary on his Canon 5D Mark iii.

Disclaimer: Carousel PR were generous enough to grant me a press pass for the whole weekend at Victorious Festival which included access to the VIP area. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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