Monday, 31 July 2017

Week in Photos - 30th July 2017

Regular readers will probably have noticed that my usual Sunday Snippets posts haven’t been such a regular thing over the last few months. This was partly due to me going into hospital for three weeks, but also because I had stopped enjoying them if I’m totally honest. Sharing so much of my life every single week and having to keep detailed records of everything I had been up to was becoming quite a pressure. The reason I blog is because I enjoy it, so I didn’t see the point in forcing myself to do something that I wasn’t enjoying any more. However, I know some of you really enjoyed my weekly posts and I do like having a record of things I’ve been up to, so I didn’t want to get rid of them completely. So I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and start a new weekly post – my week in photos. I will post photos that I’ve taken throughout the week with little captions to explain them, but without all the detail I had in my Sunday Snippets posts.

As I haven’t done a Sunday Snippets post for quite a while, I thought I would use this post to share some photos I’ve taken since I came out of my three-week hospital stay. It’s been a very up and down couple of months, as you will probably have seen in my post about Living with Chronic Mental Health problems. But there have been some good times too, which I wanted to share with you.

A couple of weeks after coming out of hospital, I picked up my sparkly new Motability car – a bright yellow Ford EcoSport! I’m planning a separate post and video about it at some point, so won’t go into it too much, but it’s an automatic, so easier for me to drive. And it also has a hoist in the boot to lift my electric wheelchair in and out, so will hopefully allow me a bit more independence.

I think it’s amazing that so many bloggers and YouTubers are doing great things like releasing merchandise and writing books. One book I was particularly excited to hear about was Louise Pentland’s ‘Wilde Like Me,’ so I pre-ordered it and it arrived on the day of release. I’m really looking forward to giving it a read.

While I was in hospital I made some amazing friends. It was a bit of a different experience from your usual hospital admissions, as we were all there for planned rehabilitation and a lot of us had the same diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It really did make my stay so much better and I hope to keep in touch with the group of girls I met forever. One person I was there with was Lydia, and we decided to meet up in Windsor about a month after leaving hospital. Despite living where I do for most of my life, I had never been to Windsor before, so as well as it being lovely to meet up with Lydia, it was great to explore Windsor. We looked round some of the shops, had some lunch and then went down to the river to have an ice cream.

I always like to share my subscription boxes with you, as it was only through Instagram and blogs that I discovered these boxes and decided to try them out! The July Birchbox came in a gorgeously summery box and included some of my favourite products yet! I’m particularly excited to try the Origins facemask, the Rituals foaming shower gel and the Benefit Tint.

I also received my Pink Parcel subscription, which never fails to impress me with the goodies inside. I like the fact that I’m getting my monthly essentials, which I would have to pay for anyway, but that I also get some treats to make things a little bit better. I’m really looking forward to trying the Nip and Fab Cleansing Pads, as I’ve never tried the brand before, the Joe & Seph’s popcorn and think the bracelet is so pretty.

Back in February, my Mum celebrated a special birthday. My present to her was to treat her to afternoon tea at The Ritz. I went for my 21st birthday and knew then that it was something I really wanted to do with my Mum, so her special birthday seemed like the right time. So, last Monday, we made our way up to London to enjoy some yummy treats. We got there quite early, so had a look round Cath Kidston and Fortnum & Mason, which was fun. Then we went down the road for afternoon tea. As I was in my wheelchair, we were taken round to the delivery entrance to get into the hotel (it’s all very glamorous when you use a wheelchair!) but the staff were all very helpful and accommodating. When I went last time we weren’t allowed to take photos, but they seem to have relaxed the rules, so I managed to snap some pictures of our afternoon there. We both had a lovely time, even if we weren’t able to eat everything we were given!

We have a couple of flowerbeds in our garden, which are predominantly for a variety of rose bushes that we’ve acquired over the years. They are all flowering at the moment and all the different shades look so pretty. I’m still waiting to get a red rose in memory of my friend Natasha, who sadly died at the end of last year, but we need to extend one of the beds first. So hopefully I can get one to add to the collection soon.

One of my best friends, Katrina, who I met when I was at college, is getting married in August, and I’m lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to her proper hen weekend, as it was going to be too much for me to manage, so I wanted to do something special with her. We decided to have a spa day at Champneys Forest Mere and oh my goodness it was amazing. I’ve been to Champneys before a few years ago, when I was lucky enough to have a three-day break there with my Mum, so I knew it would be good. But I’d forgotten just how relaxing it was. They have also made some improvements and changes since I was last there, so it’s even nicer than it was before. We enjoyed breakfast, had a dip in the pool and the Jacuzzi, had a nap on some heated water beds (amazing!!), tucked into a delicious but healthy buffet lunch and I also had a very relaxing massage. At the end of the day I really didn’t want to leave! I’ve now decided that I need to save up and go back for a longer break again.

We’ve had some beautiful sunsets recently, and I managed to capture this one out of our Velux window one evening. I couldn’t believe how pink the sky was!

This Monday, I went to a local craft village called Holme Grange with my best friend, Sarah, and her little boy, Charlie. I can’t believe he will be one in a few weeks – I don’t know where the last year has gone! I don’t get to see them very often, as they don’t live nearby anymore, so it’s always lovely when we do get to meet up. We had a little look round some of the shops and then enjoyed some lunch in the café.

My sister-in-law, Lisa, had her birthday back in April, and my present to her was tea and cake at Peggy Porschen. After seeing it in blogger photos and on YouTube videos, I shared them with Lisa, and she and I were both desperate to go. So, this Thursday, we went up to London with my brother, Richard. We started by looking round Borough Market, which I’ve never been to before. It was crazy busy and a little bit scary when you’re in a wheelchair, as you just see people’s legs and stomachs! But it was nice to see all the different market stalls. We then made our way over to Belgravia (which was harder than it sounds, as none of the stations nearby had disabled access) and had our tea (or rather, pink lemonade) and cake at Peggy Porschen. It’s such a beautiful little cake shop and, although the flowers aren’t real, they do look pretty. It was smaller than I expected, so luckily it wasn’t raining and we were able to sit outside. There were a lot of people stopping to take photos outside, so it got a little crazy at times, but otherwise it was lovely.

I saw these Disney accessories on the Primark Instagram (or possibly on someone else’s Instagram – I lose track!) and knew I needed to get my hands on them. Usually, if I see something that I love on the Primark Instagram, chances are it won’t be available in my local store (I’m looking at you, ‘Chip’ mug and Mrs. Potts Teapot!) so I wasn’t holding out much hope of finding them. But my Mum and I popped into Camberley this week and I asked if we could have a quick peek in Primark. And low and behold, the staff were just putting out these backpacks and wash bags! I’m really hoping we can go to Disneyland Paris next year to celebrate my 30th (I really wanted to do Florida, but it’s going to be too expensive) so these would be perfect to take with me.  

As Sarah and Charlie were back for the week, I wanted to fit in as much time with them as possible. We were both free yesterday afternoon and had planned to go for a walk/wheelchair ride somewhere, but the heavens opened and it poured with rain. So I just went over to Sarah’s parents’ house and we had a homey afternoon instead playing with Charlie. He’s just started really saying ‘Mama,’ which is so adorable.

I also received my Tea Tourist box, which they kindly send me every month. This month’s box has a selection of teas to take you from first thing in the morning to just before you go to bed, so I’m really excited to try them out. And, to make it even better, I’ve been given a discount code for you guys! So, if you use ‘JAFFACAT30’ you will get 30% off your first box when you start a monthly subscription. Let me know if you do join up – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Another blogger to release a book this month was Grace Victory. For some reason I had never really heard of her until a couple of weeks ago when her video came up in my recommended section of YouTube. But I was soon binge-watching her old videos and absolutely loving how openly she speaks about mental health, self-esteem and body image. So when I found out she was releasing a book, I, of course, pre-ordered it. I’m really looking forward to giving it a read, as I think I will identify with a lot of the things she talks about.

You can check out my YouTube channel here, where I have recently uploaded a few new videos (and hope to continue doing!)

I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Bloglovin here - I would love to reach 800 followers and we’re so nearly there! I do have a little giveaway planned for when I get there!

I also just want to apologise for the slightly shabby appearance of my blog at the moment. I had some problems after Photobucket changed their rules but am gradually getting it sorted and hope to have a new layout as well soon. 

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Festival Place Fashion Event 2017

Back at the end of April, before I went into hospital, I was invited along to the Festival Place Fashion Event in Basingstoke. I’ve been to it for the last couple of years, and it’s always a brilliant occasion with lots of opportunities to check out some new outfits, as well as beauty products. So, on Saturday 29th April, my Mum and I headed over to Basingstoke to enjoy the show!

The main part of the fashion event is a huge catwalk in the middle of the shopping centre. The models walked for different brands throughout the day, showing off the new season’s greatest picks. Stylist JP was the brains behind the outfits, picking some lovely SS17 trends to show off on the catwalk. First up was Debenhams, who had some gorgeous summer clothes and accessories. They included bright and colourful floral pieces, straw accessories and tropical prints. For the men, there were bright colour-block shorts paired with loud Hawaiian style shirts. Perfect for the summer ahead.

Next up were some outfits from Select, a store I’ve never really looked in before to be honest. These ensembles had a sporty vibe to them, with black, grey, white and red being the main colours. I thought they all looked great on the models, although I wasn’t sure about the socks and sandals! It’s probably not a fashion choice I will make.

The male models then followed, sporting some rather sexy suits from Moss Bros. This time, I wasn’t keen on the no socks look, but apart from that I thought they looked very dapper. These would be perfect for a summer wedding or a day at Ascot, especially with the slightly softer colours of navy and grey, rather than black.

After the men showed off their smart suits, it was the ladies turn to showcase their wedding ready looks, this time from Oasis. I’ve always loved the clothes that Oasis makes – they’re really good quality, look beautiful but are on the higher end of the affordable high street price range. The three models were wearing delicate floral dresses with the most awesome yellow flowery shoes. They really caught my eye and were a fun addition to the outfits.

The last brand on catwalk show number one was family favourite Next. It has always been one of my go-to shops for just about any occasion. Whether you’re looking for adorable baby clothes, cute outfits for children, smart pieces for work or more casual and comfy garments for those lazy days, Next pretty much has something for everyone. The theme of this part of the show was a sort of khaki jungle vibe with dark greens, beige, brown and white. I loved the lightweight green jacket and the two children looked fab in their nearly matching outfits.

As well as the catwalk, there was also a beauty lounge, where brands from Festival Place demonstrated their different products perfect for the approaching summer days. I was lucky enough to have a bit of a makeover from one of the lovely ladies from Clarins. I’ve heard a lot about Clarins over the years, but haven’t really tried out many of their products for some reason. So it was good to try some of their make-up products out, and I was particularly excited to wear one of their Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils. Oh my goodness do they smell (and taste!) amazing!

After my makeover with Clarins, my Mum and I went for a little wander around Festival Place to do some shopping and grab some lunch. We decided to go somewhere a bit different from our usual Costa/Starbucks, so went to Café Giardino for a sandwich (my Mum) and a jacket potato (me). Although it was pretty busy, the service was good and the food was nice, so I think it’s somewhere I would go again. We then had a look round some of the shops before going back to the Fashion Event for more fun.

By this time, Clarins had left and had been replaced by The Body Shop, who were displaying their new facemasks and some of their most popular skincare items. I was really excited to find out more about their new range of facemasks, which include a British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask and an Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask. They smell amazing and sound like they’re packed full of goodness to make your skin feel refreshed and renewed. The lovely lady from The Body Shop then showed me their liquid peel range, which I’d heard about but had never experienced myself. There were three different ranges – Drops of Youth, Drops of Light and Vitamin C. I got to try one out on the back of my hand and I can honestly say it made my skin feel amazing. Lastly, I had a look at a couple of their body creams from their Spa of the World range. The scents definitely reminded me of that fresh and relaxing spa smell and the indulgent texture was so thick and creamy; it just sunk into my skin.

Another catwalk was about to start, so we went back round to the seating area to see some more outfits styled by JP. I think the first brand in this show was River Island but I’m not 100%, so I apologise if I’m wrong. For this show, JP had styled the models with denim and complementary pieces. The young girl wore some adorable dungaree shorts, which I think would look awesome in adult sizes too! And the male models paired their jeans with blue shirts and clean white trainers.

Warehouse were the next brand to show some outfits and they followed on with the blue theme perfectly. I loved the light blue shirtdress, which looked effortlessly cool and would be spot on for a warm summer’s day. The white sliders would also be really easy to dress down for the beach or dress up for going out in the evening.

Next up was New Look with some rugged and rock chick offerings for the audience. Ripped jeans, leather jackets, animal t-shirts, fishnet socks and floral embroidery probably doesn’t sound like a combination that would go together, but somehow JP managed to make them look good. I’m not sure I could pull off these outfits, but some of the individual pieces I would definitely pop in my basket. I particularly loved the embroidered denim jacked, the black and white rucksack and the green tinted sunglasses.

Superdry came next with their typical comfortable numbers. I’ve only ever really bought t-shirts, hoodies and coats from Superdry before, so it was nice to see how a whole outfit could by styled from there. The outfits for both men and women were simple yet stylish, with jeans in different forms (skirts, jeans and shorts), crisp white trainers and figure hugging tops for the ladies and branded t-shirts and jumpers for the men.

USC is a shop I’ve only ever really been into to look at trainers, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw they were showing outfits in the event. They stock a lot of sporty clothes, so all the outfits JP put together followed the sports-luxe theme. I was a big fan of the paint splatter Puma range, but unfortunately when we went to look in store they didn’t have any of the leggings from the range, which is what I was really looking for. Still, all the bright colours, tracksuits and comfy-ness were right up my street (although again, I wasn’t feeling the socks and sandals!)

Overall, my Mum and I had a really good day thanks to Festival Place and yet another great event. I would really recommend keeping an eye on their social media channels, as they’re always putting on fun events for all the family throughout the year and I’ve never been to a bad one yet! I really enjoyed seeing all the different outfits and getting some inspiration for my summer wardrobe, and it was lovely to speak to the ladies from Clarins and The Body Shop to find out more about their new products.

Did you go to the Festival Place Fashion Event? If not, what do you think of the idea? And which outfit is your favourite?