Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Exploring Nature with Mud and Bloom

Mud and Bloom is a business created by mum of 3 Anja who despite living in the city, is a huge gardening and nature lover. Anja came up with the wonderful concept of Mud and Bloom after previously subscribing to monthly children's craft boxes but realising that there wasn't anything nature or gardening based on the market. The box designed for 3-8 year olds which aims to encourage children to 'engage and connect with nature' in a fun and interactive way has been designed with busy mums in mind and includes everything you need to get you started, including organic, peat-free compost pellets so it's perfect for everyone, including those without a garden as the rest of your materials can simply be picked up on a walk through your local park.

This educational and fun subscription box comes through your door at the beginning of each month and contains four seasonal activities for you to engage in with your child along with instructions, nature news and a quiz. We were very kindly sent both July and August's Mud and Bloom boxes* and without a doubt, Emme has been loving them! I have to admit, I'm not the most inventive person when it comes to thinking of activities for me and Emme to do, especially outdoors; about the only thing we do when it comes to nature is collect leaves in the Autumn to paint as well as watering the plants in Summer, luckily her Dad is always in the garden with her but the Mud and Bloom boxes have not only been educational and fun for Emme, they have for me too!

I think Emme's favourite part of the boxes definitely has to be the seeds we have planted, she was giddy with excitement when I first told her we were going to plant some seeds as it was something so new and exciting for her. The first ones we had to plant were organic lettuce and radish seeds and I have to admit, when I let her put the seeds into the compost herself, I didn't expect much to come from them but it turns out you pretty much can't do it wrong and as soon as she saw her first shoots, she was excited beyond belief! Now that daddy has planted them in the garden she proudly shows them off to anyone she can and I can't wait to see her face when they have fully grown! This month we have a herb garden which excites me so much, especially the chive seeds as I love chives on my salad and it most definitely feels good to grow your own.

The summer flower vases were such a lovely task to complete together, we took the activity out into the garden on a hot day which was a great success as I allowed Emme to do the glue herself and didn't have to worry about the mess. I loved watching her concentrate and couldn't help but laugh at her concentration tongue as she glued the buttons onto the jars and it was great to see her be so independent, wanting to show me how she could be a big girl and do it all by herself, straight from the get go. The jars are now proudly displayed on her window sill in her playroom and she likes to have a couple of stems of her own flowers when I buy a new bunch, to put in her vases, which I think is adorable.

The Nature Paint Brushes were a huge hit with Emme as she sure does love her paints! She loved picking some flowers and grass on her walk to make them with and it was a great way to coax her to leave the park early to come back home for tea. She was so intrigued by the different stroke marks each brush made and couldn't wait to show her daddy her new masterpieces when he returned home from work, this was such an easy and fun activity that we'll definitely recreate.

We're loving August's box so far but with four activities to do and a wedding to plan, i'm trying to spread them out with us doing roughly one per week and so far the Butterfly petal pictures and twig picture frame have been so much fun! There's even enough resources to make another two pictures so we can recreate this one again! 

We have absolutely loved receiving our Mud and Bloom boxes, the activities have encouraged us to do so much more outside and it turns out Emme is a lot more green fingered than I realised! 

If you're intrigued but still a little unsure, you can view past boxes here and if you fancy trying a box before you subscribe, you can purchase these past boxes as a one-off (subject to availability.)

If you love the look of the boxes and fancy subscribing, you can use the code ABEAUTIFULDELIGHT For 15% off your first box (Valid until 29/09/18.) You can cancel or skip a box at any time and you can even purchase a sibling box which contains enough materials for two children!

What do you think to Mud and Bloom? Have you tried one of their boxes yet?

Love Abbie x

* this post contains gifted items, please see disclaimer

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Wedding Accessories

5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding accessories

Finding the perfect wedding accessories for some, is just as important as finding your dress! The accessories you choose can completely change your entire look and therefore isn't a decision to make so easily.

I was never that girl that grew up dreaming of the day she got married, I know some do and for them this is a day they have already planned out in their head a thousand times over and so I'm sure, they know exactly what they plan to wear come the big day, dress, accessories and all, even before they have found 'the one.' For me marriage has never been all that important, although like most, I thought I would some day get married, it has never been at the top of my to-do list and has always been the last step I wanted to achieve, maybe because my parents didn't marry until I was ten and I loved that all of my siblings and myself were all there to share their big day too. It wasn't until we had our daughter Emme that I actually wanted to get married, to me, it's the final step in bringing us together as a family.

I'm the most indecisive person ever and my biggest flaw is in decision making, so choosing my dress was one of the most stressful times of my wedding planning so far! I'm talking constant flowing tears, countless hours of lost sleep and just finding it so hard to just say yes to the dress even though I absolutely knew it was the one! Luckily with an encouraging nudge from family and friends, I finally bit the bullet and chose the dress of my dreams but the task of finding my accessories, I have found just as hard, if not even harder. Although to some people they are just accessories and really they are just that, however once the day has gone, these are details you can't change and they're accessories I will cherish forever and the idea of presenting some of them to Emme on her wedding day, should she want them, means they really do need to be perfect, so I thought I would share with you a few tips that I have found that have helped me with finding my perfect bridal accessories...

1. Take inspiration from the details in your dress

The thing that gave me the most inspiration towards my accessories was the detail in my dress. Many dresses have some sort of detailing from diamantes to pearls and if they have a band or belt that comes with the dress or is built into the dress, there may be some silver or gold detailing on there too, which can really help when choosing your accessories. My dress has some pearl detailing, so this was a big help as automatically I knew that pearls would compliment my dress really well. For some, there may be quite a lot of bling on their dress so taking inspiration from this detail and choosing diamanté earrings and a bracelet could work really well. This also applies to hair accessories, especially if they are both in eyes view at the same time, the details need to compliment each other as well as your dress.

5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding accessories

2. Choose your hairstyle first

Your hairstyle can play a huge part in the earrings that you choose to wear but most importantly what hair accessories, if any, to wear. If you're wearing your hair down, some styles may not need earrings as you won't actually see your ears whereas an up-do may work better with drop earrings and depending on if you choose to wear a hair accessory and where you wear it will depend on the style of your earrings too. If you choose to have a very detailed hair accessory at the front of your head you may want to opt for simple stud earrings or none at all whereas if it's at the back, even if it is detailed, you may get away with bigger and bolder earrings as they won't both be in eye's view at the same time.

When it comes to hair accessories, there are so many you can choose from, from intricately detailed hair combs to vines that you can weave in and out of an up-do to small pins that you can dot in and out of any hairstyle for finer details. One thing I did know that I wanted was a hair accessory that was floral in some way, I'm a very girly girl and so floral, pink and pretty is kind of my thing, so with my wedding theme being rustic I knew this was the way I wanted to go in terms of my hair details. Lace and Favour are a huge online wedding accessory retailer who sell an array of brands and everything from shoes to veils, wedding hair accessories and even flower girl dresses. An opportunity recently arose to work with them and I was very kindly gifted the hair accessory of my dreams! I chose the Angelina Porcelain Flowers and Leaves Bridal Hair Comb which is so so beautiful, it ticks all the boxes, has flowers, pearls, intricate detailing and will work perfectly with the hairstyle I have chosen. This will be in the back of my hair which allows me to go for more options in terms of earrings too and this is an accessory I know I will treasure.

3. Consider your neckline

There are so many different necklines you can have on a dress from illusion to sweetheart to a v-neck and so many more, which I find can really play an important part as to whether or not you wear a necklace or whether not to have one at all. I personally think that a high neckline or an illusion neckline doesn't need a necklace and therefore opting for some drop earrings may work better along with a bracelet. Some dresses also have a deep v at the back which can work really well with a long necklace turned the other way and draping down the back to draw attention to this detail of the dress. For a strapless dress or deep v neck dress, a larger and more detailed necklace could be worn as you have much more room to allow for more going on. My neckline is high and therefore I have opted not to wear a necklace at all.

4. Don't clash your colours

With champagnes, blush pinks and nude colour wedding dresses becoming the latest trend, traditional white and ivory dresses aren't the only colours you may see a bride in and if you too are a little more daring to go outside of the usual wedding traditions and choose a different colour dress, I think this plays a huge part in choosing your accessories. White and ivory simply go with almost any accessories but if you had a coloured dress like rose gold, this may not go as well with yellow gold jewellery as it could clash. I think silver jewellery compliments a blush pink dress really well along with pearls whereas I think a champagne dress would be go well with diamantes and nude dresses would go well with gold jewellery. I don't want to give away too much about my dress but I'm most definitely not a traditional bride.

5. Don't forget the length of your dress

The length of your dress can really help in deciding what shoes to purchase for your big day. If your dress is really long you could choose to focus your budget elsewhere as you might not see them at all,  a long dress could also mean you can afford to wear higher heels whereas if you have a knee length dress you may want to opt for more detailed shoes and really make them a focal point. My dress is long and I've paid for extra length as I'm tall however my fiancĂ© is the exact same height as me so I'm opting for flats and because my dress is long and you won't be able to see my shoes, I've opted to go for simple sandals which allows me to use the budget I would have spent on them on my jewellery instead.

Did you find it hard to choose your wedding accessories?

Love Abbie x

* this post contains gifted items, please see disclaimer

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A Rustic Wedding On a Budget

All images via Pinterest

Pinterest is my go to platform for everything from parties to decor and everything in-between, I can often lose myself in it and spend hours pinning away until the early hours when Dan makes me turn it off and head upstairs for some sleep before our little one has me up during the early hours. So I thought I would put all of my hours pinning away to good use and share with you lovely lot, the inspiration and ideas behind our wedding day! I love to see other people's mood boards and ideas so I thought why not share mine too!

With only giving ourselves eight months to plan and prepare for our wedding (we're already half way there!!) I knew that our wedding would have to be on a budget and I'm actually quite liking the challenge as it allows me to use my best side, my creativity, meaning there are lots of D.I.Y projects well under way and many in the pipeline too! 

We've decided to go for a rustic theme with blush pink and hessian but we have already deviated from the plan a little. When attending our wedding decor appointment, the lady who is decorating our venue on the big day suggested going for a blush pink linen for the chair sashes and table runners as it still gives the effect of hessian but goes well with my colours and the linen sits better on the chairs than the hessian does so we decided to opt for that and I cannot wait to see how it turns out! We also have gone for soft tones of pink rather than just blush pink because bridesmaid dresses aren't easy to find on a budget and it's hard to match up all of the colour pinks when everybody's shade of blush pink is different. I'm hoping to add touches of greenery in there too because Pinterest has had me swooning over it!

We're not having a very traditional wedding, without even trying we have scrapped so many traditions with one of them being that we've decided to skip the wedding breakfast (the three course meal you have after your ceremony) because eating in front of others is something that makes me very uncomfortable and therefore if we had one it would only be for the sake of others so with Dan being happy to skip the extra cost, we decided not to bother. We are of course feeding our guests but with us not getting married until the afternoon, we're having canapes followed by an evening buffet. For that reason we don't expect people to be sat down for as long as they would be if they were to have a sit down meal and so we wanted to keep the centrepieces for our table quite simple.  

Gypsophila has always been a big favourite of mine, it's simple yet beautiful and this makes up the basis for all of the flowers at our wedding. We're opting for a simple vase of gypsophila on a log centrepiece with a tea light and one other item that we are yet to agree on. It's a really simple and inexpensive centrepiece and I'm hoping it will be enough and not look too bare!

I love the idea of confetti cones and at our venue the confetti has to be biodegradable, which I think is quite standard now. I had found a lovely company called The Confetti Cone Company who sells the biodegradable confetti and cones but my mum has already started drying rose petals and saving them for me each week which I think is such a lovely idea so I'm going to use the excuse to buy myself roses every week and start saving mine too.

I love the use of chalkboards, I think they really add to the rustic theme, we're hiring chalk boards from the lady who is decorating our venue but I am very tempted to create one of my own from the Ikea Mala Easel like they have here. We plan to have one at the welcome entrance, one next to our polaroid station and maybe a few extras for things such as our photo booth prop and cake table.

We have hired a set of three crates to make a crate display similar to the one in the photo above, this will be in the welcome entrance and I still need to get them items to go in the crates but I think they will fit it really well with out theme. I do have a wooden Mr & Mrs bunting sign that I bought in my Ginger Ray Wedding Haul which I think may look quite cute hanging from this along with some flowers and we also have the lantern in the photo so I might add that too.

One of the new items our wedding decorator has is a wooden floral arch which we keep umming and ahhing over having. It's an extra cost that isn't exactly necessary but if you can't go all out on your wedding day, when can you? If we do go for it, we plan to have it at the end of the isle during our ceremony and then I thought we could maybe move it to the conservatory and add a floral backdrop such as the Ginger Ray White Floral Back Drop which will then look a little similar to the above photo and can then be used with the photo booth props and polaroid frame that I showed you in my Ginger Ray Haul which should make for some cute photos all round.

The photo booth table is one of the features I am most excited for and really hope goes to plan. I had an Instax Mini 9 Camera for my birthday which we plan to use for this and have a few possible ideas. We had seen an idea on Pinterest for a Photo Booth guest book in which everyone takes a photo and clips it up on a frame instead of a guestbook, we had also seen an idea in which people took a photo and added it into the guestbook along with their writing and the final idea was the one above in which people drop their photo in the bowl which I think is most likely to go to plan more than the others haha so we have a few to choose from, maybe we'll do all three!

So as you can see Pinterest has been such a big source of inspiration for our wedding, most of these ideas are just that, ideas and aren't set in stone so there's still time for them to change yet but overall I'm so happy with out theme and ideas and I cannot wait to see it all come to light on the big day!

Aere you planning your wedding? what theme have you gone for?

Love Abbie x

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Lipstick Palette You Need | Urban Decay Vice Metal & Matte Lipstick Palette

I haven't owned a lipstick palette since I was about 8 years old, so as soon as I saw the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette, it was like an instant nostalgic feeling hit me and I knew that I had to have it, so when Dan's mum offered to buy it me for Christmas on a shopping trip back in December, I was pretty excited to say the least!

First let's talk about the packaging, this strikingly beautiful purple metallic case embossed with the Urban Decay branding is sure to attract attention when pulling it out of your bag and it's the perfect size to keep in your handbag, for those after work dinner and drinks or for taking on holiday because why would you only take 3 lipsticks when you can take one compact with twelve colours?! I know, it's a no-brainer right?! The lipsticks are also protected by an inner lid featuring the phrase 'lipstick is my vice' which could not be truer and you simply flip this over before and after use to protect the wells and it even has a retractable lip brush for ease of application, which I would usually just swap up for my own choice when these come with palettes however this one I actually do use and love!

The lip brush has gorgeously soft bristles that don't harden like some lip brushes do, yet are stiff enough to allow for precise application. It's easy to keep this brush clean and the retractable mechanism means it takes up much less space allowing it to fit in the bottom of the palette perfectly. The 'stair-step' wells that contain each lipstick colour allows you to wipe off any excess product, perfect to ensure that you don't waste any of your favourite colours and it also stops the colours from being mixed. The lid also encases a very handy sized mirror, perfect for touch-ups on the go and unlike some cases, the lid actually stays upright so you can balance your case on the table rather than needing to keep it in your hand and multi-tasking.

Top Row (L-R) Banger, Amulet, Fast Talk, Big Bang, Mad, Spark
Bottom Row (L-R) CSB, Tame, Backtalk, Double Team, Shallow, 714

Featuring twelve shades altogether, six metallized and six matte, with six of them being new, this palette has a lot to offer. The shades range from gorgeous neutrals to more daring brights, making it suitable for all skin tones and making it easy to go from office to date night in just one easy step, simply apply the metallized pairing on top and voila, you have yourself a glam lip, ready to go! The shade range for me was pretty exciting because it meant that I had every day colours to wear but also colours that I could experiment with and create makeup looks that I wouldn't usually wear day to day but that would be fun to create and photograph. I would say that Backtalk which is a matte nude-pink is most definitely my most worn colour so far thanks to it's versatility, followed by Tame, which is very similar but a little less pink, both are perfect for all occasions, whilst Banger and Fast talk made regular appearances over the festive period.

What I really love about the Urban Decay Vice palette is that the formula is the exact same formula as the vice lipsticks which gives a rich, creamy consistency that doesn't dry out the lips and the pigmentation is amazing meaning less application time, less touch ups and overall using far less product so you do get plenty for your money with this palette. The staying power of these lipsticks isn't quite as long as I would like, like quite a lot of lipsticks, they're good until you have food and drink and then they seem to disappear but I do find that to be quite standard for most lipsticks on my lips unless they have a very dry matte liquid formula and with how handy this palette is for travelling and touch ups I don't mind at all!

At £31.50 it is most definitely a splurge but if you think you get 12 shades making them just over £2.50 per colour, it's actually quite a bargain! Sure, you don't get a full sized lipstick but who actually ever gets to the bottom of a lipstick? I don't think I ever have! I love lipsticks too much to use just one colour so for me, it's most definitely the way forward!

Have you tried the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette yet?

Love Abbie x

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