Tuesday, 28 February 2017

10 Super Easy Little Acts of Kindness - February 2017

Hi lovelies! Last month I joined Kimberley's brilliant Ambassadors of Kindness campaign which aims to spread kindness by everyone who takes part completing one act of kindness a day. Unfortunately due to a couple of things that happened in January and February I fell out of my blogging rhythm and along with that, I also didn't keep up with this campaign as much as I should have. However I am determined to make March a more consistent month!

Until then, another way I wanted to help spread a little kindness is by doing monthly posts on 10 acts of kindness you can do for yourself over the next month! These are all super easy and while they may be small, the ripples they create can be much greater, so if you can try giving one or two of them a go in March!

1. If someone's been having a bad day/week etc. surprise them with a bar of their favourite chocolate

2. Think someone looks cute AF in their selfie? Tell them!

3. If you're in a crowded public place, hold the door open for the next person after you
This is so simple but it always makes me smile when someone does it for me!

4. If you can afford to do so, donate your small change in a charity pot

5. Had really great service from someone? Send the company they work a quick email to tell them how brilliant their member of staff is

6. Clear out your wardrobe/bookshelves/DVDs etc. and make a pile to donate to a charity shop

7. If you're at work/university etc. and you're going to get coffee, offer to pick one up for someone else

8. Follow any small shops or blogs on Twitter? Give one of their promotional tweets a retweet - it might very well make their day!

9. If someone you know is feeling under the weather drop round some flowers to help them feel a little brighter

10. Share a smile with the cashiers/waiting staff etc. that serve you
As a cashier myself, this definitely makes my shift a lot lovelier!

Remember to check out Kimberley's original post on the campaign to see how you can get involved yourself. See you in March for my next post!

Have courage and be kind


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones Book Review

Hi lovelies! Ever since I saw Howl's Moving Castle, it immediately became my favourite Studio Ghibli film - the charming characters, the love story, the beautiful animation... I have to watch it at least once a year to get my fix of it! Naturally the book that the film is based on has long been on my reading list! I finally got round to reading it recently so I thought I'd do a little review of it for any other Studio Ghibli fans who were thinking of reading it too.

* SPOILER WARNING: I've written this review for people who've seen the film but have not yet read the book, so if you fall into this category there will be no spoilers for you, but if you've not seen the film or read the book then there may be a few for you! *

One of the main reasons I picked up the book, other than to see where the film's beautiful story originated from, was I was curious to see how similar the two were. While there were a lot more characters and plot lines in the book, the film and the book were strikingly similar in their over-riding themes which shows just how well Hayao Miyaaki (the director of the film) and his team have succeeded in plucking out the heart of the story for the film. From reading the book you can see how the storyline has been streamlined for the film by combining certain characters and plot lines.

Because I'm so used to the simplified version of the story, it did feel at times like there were a few too many character/plot points than were necessary in the book. Despite this however, there was not a single dull moment! It was so lovely to get to know the characters that I already love from the film in even more detail - there's more of Sophie's sassiness and Calcifer's grumpiness, but I think my favourite had to be Howl. He was way more dramatic in the book. One of my most beloved scenes from the film is when he throws his extremely over-the-top temper tantrum over his hair dyes getting mixed up and to my delight there was even more to this in the book! Watch out for the chapter where he gets a cold... I could not wipe the grin off my face the entire time I read it!

The book also had more of a magical feeling to it than the film which I adored. Unlike the book, Hayao Miyazaki decided to give the film's story a war backdrop and while I think this helped simplify and tie some of the plot together a little better, it meant that a lot of the magic from the book was lost. And that magic was definitely a large part of what made me love the book so much! It felt like I was reading a cross between Harry Potter and The Hobbit which is a pretty spellbinding combination to me!

Overall, this was honestly one of the most charming books I've ever read. It was so wonderful to experience this beautiful story in more detail and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner! If you're a fan of the film then I cannot recommend it enough, I'm sure you'll love it just as much, if not more!


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Disney Nail Art Collab - Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty

"You're living in the past, this is the 14th century!"
- 14th century sass from Prince Phillip himself ;)

Hi lovelies! As I mentioned in January's post, Sam from The Belle Jar and I are collaborating on a series of 12 Disney nail art collaborations this year based off the 2017 Thomas Kinkade Disney calendar, and as February is Sleeping Beauty, Sam has done Aurora-inspired nail art, and I Prince Phillip! I was a little worried about doing Prince Phillip at first as I wasn't sure there was enough detailing on his outfit to base a design off but when I recently re-watched Sleeping Beauty in preparation, the design actually came quite easily!

I decided to base each nail off an aspect of his character so the first nail after his horse, the second and fourth his Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue that the fairies give him to help defeat Maleficient, the third his hat feather and cape and the fifth his tunic and belt!

And the colours I used for this look! For the base colours I used:

1st nail - Models Own Hyper Gel in White Light
2nd nail - Ciaté Nail Polish in Pillow Fight
3rd nail - Models Own Hyper Gel in Red Lustre
4th nail - Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Blueberry
5th nail - Barry M Nail Paint in Mushroom

 I also used a coat of Ciaté's Pillow Fight under each nail as Phillip's colours are all quite muted.

For the details I used Barry M's Nail Art Pens in Black, Pink and White, one of Primark's Nail Art Pens for the darker pink colour and Ciaté Nail Polish in Hidden Gem for the belt buckle on the last nail.

What do you think? Did I do Phillip justice? Make sure to check out Sam's accompanying Aurora design when it's up a little later!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

February 2017 Disney London Meetup & London Haul

Hi lovelies! On Saturday I headed off to London for the Feburary #DisneyLondonMU - the second one that I've been able to attend. As you can see from the photo below loads of people came to this one! Unfortunately I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted to (damn my awkwardness/shyness!) but the people that I did speak to were downright lovely!

Credit goes to @lostinthemagic1 and @playtalkwearred for these photos!

Once we'd all had a look around the Disney Store, everyone broke up into smaller groups for some lunch and shopping. Luckily I somehow ended up with the loveliest bunch of girls: Lizi and Mallory who I'd met previously and Sam, Victoria and Jackie! I'd been wanting to meet Sam and Victoria for ages as I'd known them through Disney Twitter/Disney blogging and I can honestly say that they were just as lovely in real life! We headed off for Pizza Hut for lunch followed by a good few hours of shopping around Oxford Street! Of course I ended up picking up quite a few bits and pieces...

...And here's what I ended up buying!

From the Disney Store I bought this adorable little Animators' Collection bag (#1) and Minnie Mouse emoji soft toy (#2). I picked up the emoji soft toy to see what it was as I hadn't spotted these before but when I felt how soft and squidgy it was, I couldn't put it back! I think I'll actually use it as a stressball haha!

We also ended up in the Lush Oxford Street store. This was my first visit and I can definitely see why people rave about it now - it was absolutely huge! As I don't currently have a bath (woe is me...) I headed off to the shower gel section. To my surprise they had Lord of Misrule (#3) which is my favourite shower gel from Lush but I believe it's usually a seasonal product in other shops so of course I had to pick up a bottle! I also bought a little bottle of Plum Rain to try out.

During the meet I also picked up a few things off the people there. From Lizi I got some more of her magical Disney Underground prints (#6) from her Etsy shop that I'd ordered (expect to see lots of pictures of these on my social media and blog over the next few weeks!), and from Sam I received this gorgeous Disney plaque keyring (#4) that her parents had kindly picked up for me from the Parks!

And finally, before I'd even headed to the meetup, I realised the place I was meeting Lizi was right next to the Platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter shop! Of course I had to have a little nosy around and before long I was heading out with a new Hufflepuff hat (#5) in my hands... In my defence, it was freezing cold that day so this was a necessary purchase really! ;)

Thank you so much to Lizi and Eleanor for organising this meetup! I had such a lovely time!


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

How I Edit My Blog and Instagram Photos | Updated - 2017

Hi lovelies! Last year I shared a post on how I edit my blog and Instagram photos but as my editing has changed a lot since then I thought I'd do an updated guide! Just a little disclaimer before I begin, I'm not claiming to be a brilliant photographer or editor but I know posts like this are really helpful for me when I want to change how I edit and need some new inspiration. So without further adieu, here is how I currently edit my blog and Instagram photos!

Apps: Almost all my editing happens on my phone so once I've snapped a picture (I'm using this one I've taken above) I mainly use the following apps to edit it: VSCO, Touch ReTouch, Afterlight and Instagram. Luckily I believe all of these are available on both the Apple App Store & Google's Play Store so hopefully most people should be able to access these! 

1. VSCO: To begin with, I always start out by importing the image to VSCO and adding a filter and adjusting the brightness. The filter I use is called 'HB1' and depending on the image, I usually turn the intensity of this down a bit, usually between 8 and 10. I think this may be one of the filters you have to pay for unfortunately but I wouldn't be without it! I also adjust the exposure to make the photo brighter, again depending on the image this could be anywhere between 1 and 4. For this photo the intensity of the HB1 filter was 10, and the exposure 1.

2. Touch ReTouch: Another app I also sometimes use is Touch ReTouch to remove any unwanted parts of the photo, like a stain on your clothes, or a mark on a book cover. For the photo above I removed a few creases from my duvet cover to make the image look a little cleaner. I explained how to use this app in my previous post so if you're unsure how it works you can see my explanation here.

3. Afterlight: After this, I usually then import the image to Afterlight to add light leaks. I think this helps make the photos look dreamier which is right up my street! I usually play around with the different light leaks until I find one that blends in with the image. I still don't always get this right haha but I try to find a leak that you can't really see the outline of in the photo if that makes sense? I turn the intensity down on the leaks to 50 and I only use one, maybe two, on each photo so they don't overpower them. For the photo in this post I used the number 26 light leak (my favourite one!).

4. Instagram: Finally, I use Instagram's Gingham filter turned down to 50 to complete the dreamy-look. As I haven't found an easy way to use Instagram's filters without posting the photo yet, if I'm just editing a photo for a blog post then I have to delete it as soon as it's posted!

So there we go! I hope this helps anyone who's looking to change up their blog and Instagram photos!


Friday, 3 February 2017

Disney Classics Challenge - January 2017

Hi lovelies! In case you've missed it, in January I decided I was going to challenge myself to watch/re-watch all 55 Disney classics in 2017! I thought a good way to track my progress and to share my thought on the films I've seen each month would be to do a little monthly updates post! To keep on track with this challenge I need to watch 4 to 5 films a month, so I managed to get off to a pretty decent start in January by watching 4! Here are my thoughts on the classics I watched last month:

1. The Princess and the Frog - As I mentioned in my dreams for 2017 post, I am hoping to take inspiration from the hard-working Tiana this year to chase my dreams so I knew I had to watch this first! I've always loved The Princess and the Frog but I feel like the more I watch it, the more appreciate it! And that ending scene, oh my gosh. *All of the happy tears*

2. Lilo & Stitch - I have a confession to make. When Lilo & Stitch first came out I absolutely loved it, but all in honesty I forgot about it until last year when I re-watched it for the first time in about 10 years! Now that I've re-discovered it, I wanted to re-watch it as soon as possible because it is one of the best Disney films! I did a whole load of fangirling on Twitter over David during this re-watch because WHAT A DANG SWEETHEART.

3. Emperor's New Groove - My first and only film this month that I've never seen before! I know, I know. I am the worst Disney fan. I wasn't really sure what to expect from Emperor's New Groove as the only thing I knew about it was "pull the lever Kronk" but now that I've seen it, I can definitely understand why it's so treasured to so many Disney fans! I have to admit that it didn't really feel like any other Disney film but then again that's true of a lot of other Disney films! My favourite parts were definitely whenever Kronk and Yzma were on screen - they were so hilarious! I'll definitely be re-watching in future.

4. Mulan - I call so many Disney films my favourites, but Mulan really is one of my most beloved films. I watched this while I was stuck in bed with a cold earlier this month and it was just what I needed! No matter how many times I watch it, that "would you like to stay for dinner?" - "would you like to stay forever?" bit always kills me!

5. Wreck-It Ralph - I've only seen Wreck-It Ralph a handful of times but I love it so much! It's such a clever concept, I can't understand why it's not more well-loved? I'm so looking forward to the second film though - I need more Ralph and Vanellope!

I'm hoping in Feburary to watch more than 5 films so I can really get ahead of this challenge! See you in a month for the next update!

All gifs used in this post are from Tenor
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