Monday, 29 February 2016

An Extra Day

The 29th February, seen once every four years.  Are you doing anything special on this extra day this year?

Today myself and James are getting away from it all.  Spending quality time together.  A well deserved week away at Center Parcs in Longleat.

Nothing much planned, just taking each day as it comes to see what takes our fancy.

I feel like I need a break so this has come at the perfect time.  I shall be embracing it.  

~ Gem x

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Past Week

Well here we are, the end of February.  March is just a couple of days away and for me it is set to be off to a good start, with a week booked off work.  This past week has been pretty chilled out.  I've met with friends for lunch.  Spent a lot of time working on my crochet blanket.

Relaxed with the Lush Rose Bombshell bath bomb, which smelt incredible.  I do love a pink bath, even more so with rose petals.

And attended the Lee Stafford Academy bloggers event which I wrote about earlier in the week.

All pretty chilled out really.  Let's hope that the weeks to follow are much the same.

~ Gem x 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Lee Stafford Academy ~ Blogger's Event

Last night I spent my evening along with some fellow bloggers at the Lee Stafford Academy in Chelmsford, part of Chelmsford College.

The academy can be found in Rainsford Road, Chelmsford, next to the County Hotel and close to Chelmsford bus and train stations.

Here students are trained the Lee Stafford way in hairdressing and beauty therapy.  The academy opened in June 2012, offering a range of level 1 to level 3 qualifications.  

Students have access to a purpose built facility offering top of the range products in a spacious and modern salon, giving them the opportunity to learn and work in a very realistic working environment.

The evening kicked off with a very inspiring talk by Lee himself.  He talked about how he started out from his parents dining room, and his journey through hairdressing and education, right through to where he is now.  It was great to hear how passionate he is about the educational side of hairdressing, it's something he clearly takes very seriously and it came across strongly during his talk.  It also made me feel that anything is possible if you work hard enough towards it and just believe in yourself.  

Feeling inspired we all headed off for our treatments.  To begin with I had a facial which was lovely.  My skin feels truly amazing.  From there I made my way down to the hair salon.  Such a funky space.  My hair was styled into loose wavy curls that I have seriously fallen in love with.  Why can my hair not look like this every day, and why can I never make it look this good?! 

All in all a fantastic blogger event.  The girls all worked incredibly hard to pull the evening off, I've no doubt they will all go on to be extremely successful within the industry.  Thank you to everyone involved in arranging the event, it was a great evening.  The goody bag at the end of the evening was pretty good too. I shall look forward to using these products soon.

~ Gem x

Monday, 22 February 2016

Winter or Spring

I always find this time of year a bit of an odd one.  It's that in-between stage where I'm not quite sure whether we're still in the throws of winter or whether spring has sprung upon us.

I mean, I know that Spring doesn't officially begin until the 20th March, however seeing trees adorned with blossom and daffodils that have begun to bloom from beneath the cold ground certainly gives me that spring like feeling.  But then there is still that chilly blast of air that blows as soon as you step out through the door and into the cold.  And we're still getting those frosty starts to the day, scraping the ice from the car windscreen.

I feel ready for a fresh start and new beginnings.  I get that feeling every spring as the gardens spring to life and colour can be seen everywhere we turn.  I've already begun the spring cleaning, clearing out cupboards and drawers and giving the house a real deep clean.  Although those cosy days and evenings spent indoors wrapped in a blanket with the candles lit are still very welcomed.

I think it's safe to say I'm still very much undecided on the season front.  I'll just continue to enjoy it for what it is and hope for warmer weather to come soon.

Have a great week.

~ Gem x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Last Week

This week I have enjoyed a coffee date with friends from work.  I decided upon a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.  I mean if your going to get hot chocolate, you may as well go full hog right.

I had ordered myself some business cards for this little old blog right here, which arrived on my doorstep this week. A very happy post day.  I'm really pleased with them.

The Lush Comforter bubble bar was used.

James brought home some flowers for me.

But that same day I'd also bought myself a bunch.  A home filled with flowers is always a pretty one, so I shan't complain.

There has been lots of colouring done.

And a spot of crochet.  I'm planning on making a blanket with these granny squares.  I'm loving pastel colours right now so this colour combination seems perfect.

All in all not a bad week at all.

~ Gem x

Friday, 19 February 2016

Would You Rather ~ Book Edition

After seeing this little book related blog post idea over on Sophie's blog, I just knew that I had to join in.  I love books and really enjoy reading.  I just wish I had more time to be able to enjoy this past time.  So without further ado here are my would you rather answers.

1. Read only trilogies or stand alones?
I've never read a trilogy of books.  There I've said it.  the whole thought of all those pages just puts me off somewhat.  I find it really daunting and much prefer a quick and easy read (my interpretation of quick though is not what most would expect). 

2. Read only male or female authors?
For me it really doesn't make any odds who has written the book.  I have read many books that I have really enjoyed that have been written by both male and female authors.  I wouldn't ever pick a book purely on the basis of whether it was written by a man or woman however my top 3 favourite authors are all women so make of that what you will.

3.  Shop at a book shop or Amazon?
Price is a big impact for me when buying books and I will admit to borrowing from a library or buying from a charity shop just to keep the cost down (I know, I'm every authors worst nightmare right!) But the thought of loosing book shops really saddens me.  It makes me think of the film 'You've got Mail' with the little book shop around the corner.  Get's me every time.

4. All books become films or TV shows?
Purely for time reasons i would have to answer films.  If i fell in love with a book I know i'd get caught up watching a TV series and with not enough time to do everything that i want to do as it is, adding more fuel to the fire would just finish me.  i'm a sucker for temptation too so I know I wouldn't be able to resist.  Whereas a film tends to last around and hour and a half, I could easily fit this into my week.  plus as i mentioned in my blog post the other day, there are some really great books that have since become films.

5. Read five pages a day or five books a week?
I would so love to be able to answer five books a week, oh how I would.  But I just never have the time, I'm lucky if I achieve five pages a day.  When I used to commute daily into London I would easily read a few books a month which I was happy with, but as soon as the commuting stopped so did the reading. 

6. Be a professional reviewer or author?
Would it be greedy to answer both?  I would so love to write my own book someday.  But surely as an author you would need to do your research and what better way of doing that than by reading and reviewing books of a similar subject written by fellow competitors.  If i'm only allowed one answer though it would definitely have to be author.  

7. Only read your top 20 books or only ever read new books?
Hands down, new books.  I don't think I have ever read the same book twice.  There are so many incredible books out there and many more new ones yet to come. My favourite books change regularly (by regularly I mean every year).  Of course there are the firm favorites, but new ones are always being added to my list.  So if I were to just stick to the top 20 I have now, imagine how many incredible books I would miss out on.

8. Be a librarian or book seller?
A book seller.  Again I'm picturing the little book shop around the corner from 'You've got Mail'  I would love to have a little shop like that in the heart of a community *sigh* Perfect.

9. Only read you favourite genre, or read every genre except your favourite?
I would stick with my favourite as I tend to do most for the time anyway.  You kind of know what you are getting.  It's like a safe little haven.  There are times when i will stray from the sidewalk if a book has been recommended to me and 9 times out of 10 it's a good move but i always steer back to chick lit.  It's just such a feel good easy to read kind of story line.  Plus I'm a sucker for a mushy romance.   

10. Only read physical books or only read e-books.
I'd like to think I would never be tempted by an e-book.  Yes it is 2016, and I know many people would disagree with me here, but nothing beats the feeling of holding a book in your hands.  Feeling the pages between your fingers.  Being able to sniff the pages, and look at the cover of a physical book.  
I'd love to hear if you decided to join in with this one or even just leave some of your answers below, I like to be nosy.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Few Of My Favourite Things

I really feel it's important in life to surround ourselves with the things that make us happy.  They can be the most simplest of things, and yet immediately it creates a sense of contentment and calm.

* Fresh bedding

* The smell of rain

* Hearing a song I love on the radio

* A tidy home

* Fairy lights

* Fresh flowers

* Pretty china tea cups

* Spending time with my loved ones

* Pastel colours

* Sitting in a candle lit room

* A nice hot bubble bath

* Tea in my favourite cup

* Getting stuck into a really good book

Just a few of my favourite things.  The list could go on and on.  It's surprising how many things you can think of when you but your mind to it.

~ Gem x

Monday, 15 February 2016

Valentines Celebrations

Did you all have a lovely Valentines day?  Ours was a quiet affair as we don't really celebrate the occasion, although this post may suggest otherwise. 

The day started with pancakes and strawberries for breakfast.

We exchanged cards, well more of a one way exchange as we had said we weren't going to buy for each other, but I couldn't help myself.  Any excuse to spend money.

Then by the end of the day I laid the table for dinner.  

We don't eat at the table nearly as much as we should, more often than  not opting to eat off our laps.  I think I may just have to take note from Sadie at A Life In The English Rain who is making more of an effort to lay and style the dinner table more often, such a lovely idea.

Meanwhile James was in the kitchen cooking my favourite dinner.  Carbonara.

And to finish off, a favourite dessert of both of ours, tiramisu.  Perfect.

How was your day?

~ Gem x

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Past Week

Happy Valentines day to all my lovely readers.

Can you believe we're pretty much in the middle of February already?  Where on earth is this year going, the weeks are just whizzing by.

This week the Valentines decorations were unpacked and put up.

The flowers bloomed from my Amaryllis plant.  I can't get over how huge they are, and such a pretty peachy colour too.  

I also spent a lovely day with Kerri.  We grabbed lunch and enjoyed a spot of retail therapy, where I finally managed to find something to store all of my Lush goodies in.

A relatively quiet week but a lovely one all the same.

~ Gem x 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Valentine's Preparations

Valentines day is almost upon us and preparations in the Wilson household are well under way.

I love any excuse to decorate. Creating little displays around our home to mark the different occasions.    

I've not gone mad this year, and have kept things fairly simple.  But any excuse to decorate with hearts, I'm there.

You'll have to excuse the contents of the dresser, hubby is currently using it as his drinks cabinet.  For the time being I am humoring him with it, he thinks he's got away with it but I'm telling you now, this will not last.

I've tried to limit my spending this Valentines, as I do thing companies pry on people (like me) to buy things that they really don't need.  I have been very restrained but couldn't help buying these pretties from Home Bargains.  They will go perfectly with breakfast on Sunday.

Will you be celebrating on Sunday?  Are you all prepared?

Have a wonderful weekend, whatever your plans may be.

~ Gem

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Clarice House Spa ~ Ipswich

Back at the beginning of January my best friend turned 30.  She is forever and always fussing around after everyone else and never giving herself the time of day.  I wanted to make sure her gift was something special, but also something for her to take some time out and relax.  A Spa day for the two of us seemed like the perfect gift.  A chance for us to spend some quality time together, but also a chance for her to be utterly spoilt, she deserves it.  

I greeted her with a cinnamon bun complete with a wonky birthday candle, substance for our drive there, and lets face it, who wouldn't love a birthday cinnamon bun?!

Having visited the Clarice House Spa in Colchester I was really excited to arrive and be able to compare the two.  From the outside the spa looked beautiful, an old manor house converted to a spa.  However on entering it didn't feel as though it lived up to the Colchester spa.  I didn't get that same luxurious feeling, it felt more as though I'd entered a leisure centre as opposed to a spa which was a shame.

I didn't take all that many photos, it's not the most appropriate place to be snapping away, that and it was nice to step away from technology for a while and just chill out and relax.  

Don't get me wrong, we both had a lovely day and both felt very relaxed afterwards.  I'm not sure I would return though if I were being completely honest about it.  I would much prefer to re-visit Colchester (which is actually closer to home anyway).

Staff were friendly but not overly attentive.  Our package included afternoon tea which was lovely, but in an almost empty dining room we had to ask for our tea pot to be topped up, the tables were ridiculously sticky (to the extent that we had to prise our plates off the table) and the counter beside our table was covered in thick dust.  Not what you would expect in an establishment of this kind.

I also felt as though I hadn't been listened to, which frustrated me.  We were booked in for a manicure and during a courtesy call the previous day I was advised that they didn't offer a service for acrylics (which I currently have on), but was told they could offer me a hand and arm massage instead.  This suited me fine.  On arrival they had no notification of this, but again I was told it was not a problem.  When it came to our treatment the therapist had not been told about the change of treatment.  So for a third time I had to explain myself, which although only a small issue, could all have been avoided if only the staff had of communicated with one another.

It didn't particularly affect our day, but I doubt I'll be returning, after all attention to detail and minor things such as communication I feel are of up-most importance when running any kind of business.

~ Gem x