Getting Festive in the Studio

Can you believe that it’s the first of December? I still don’t have my Christmas decorations up and I don’t actually see it happening any time soon. For someone who normally has their Christmas decorations up in the first week of November, this is a bit of a big deal!

Despite the lack of festivities in my personal life, my photography studio been been regularly bringing a snippet of Christmas Day into my home.

Recently, I had the sweetest little elf visit for a Christmas photo-shoot, and once you see his little smile, you won’t blame me for wanting to share these with you. With his little pointy ears, his festive cheer and his childish wonder, he brightened up my home. I admit, I did feel a festive twinkle whilst photographing this beautiful baby in his little elf outfit. I’m only human!

The Rose Quartz Photography Christmas PhotoshootThe Rose Quartz Photography Christmas Photoshoot

Once he left and the Christmas props had been packed away, however, all signs of Christmas cheer vanished into thin air and the reminder that Christmas is almost upon us made me cringe. I promise, I’m not always this much of a Grinch. This year has been tough – really, unforgettably tough – so mustering up a bit of happiness for something that 2016 has to offer me is proving a lot harder than I thought it would!

The solution: lots of Christmas photo-shoots!

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4 Subscription Boxes I’d Love To Try

I have this weird fascination with subscription boxes, yet I’ve never actually ordered one! They’re always so full of wonderful things. I don’t often find the time to buy myself little gifts so having somebody else send you a selection of goodies in the post each month is just so appealing.

When I do decide to take the plunge and fork out a bit of money each month, here are the 5 subscription boxes that are just calling for me to own them:


Bloom and Wild:

Bloom and Wild Subscription Box

Having fresh flowers dotted around the home is one of my favourite things. These ‘letterbox flowers’ are carefully delivered in the post each month for around £15 a month (depending on the subscription you choose). There is also an option to send these as a one-off, which would be a perfect gift idea!

OwlCrate:

OwlCrate Subscription Box

Each month, the lovely folks at OwlCrate round up a themed bunch of goodies and pack them into a box fit for a queen bookworm. This was the first subscription box that I ever happened upon – in fact, I found this company back on Instagram a while ago, when they were a tiny little thing, packing boxes in their living room. Filled to the brim with bookish goodies, these subscription boxes are £25 per month.

Loot Crate:

LootCrate Subscription Box

Loot Crate is the ultimate geeky subscription box. Every month has a different theme with some past crates being ‘invasion’, ‘dead’, ‘futuristic’ and ‘dystopia’. It’s pretty hard to describe the contents of these subscription boxes as they vary so much month to month – generally, they include a Pop Funko and a geeky t-shirt! On a monthly contract, you can get these geeky boxes from £21 a month!

CatLadyBox:

CatLadyBox Subscription Box

I am a massive cat lady so, no surprise, this is my dream subscription box! Anything kitty related is just my best friend. The box is full of goodies for you and your furry friend, including items of clothing, jewellery, home-ware or treats for your cats, all for £32 a month.

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Are you subscribed to any boxes? Which one’s would you like to try?

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How I’m Improving My Sleep Hygiene

Me and sleep aren’t friends. We haven’t had the best relationship for around 6 years now but, as I’m getting older, I’m becoming less and less able to bounce out of bed in a morning on 3 (or sadly, sometimes way less) hours sleep. To try and improve this, me and Matt have been making a real effort to manage our sleep hygiene – and no, that’s not whether or not you’ve had a bath before bed! Your sleep hygiene is the habits and patterns you practice nightly, that are helpful towards improving your night’s sleep.

Improving Sleep Hygiene

I’m grouchy in the mornings (you probably already guessed that I’m definitely not a morning person!) but, when I’ve had no sleep, I’m a completely different person. Working on improving my sleep hygiene has been absolutely vital to my sanity, my relationships with everyone around me and my health – you’d be surprised what insomnia can do to your skin and hair!

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So, how am I trying to improve my own sleep hygiene? Here are my five tried and tested tips for a good night’s sleep:

Make your bedroom an irresistible sleepy kingdom: Black out curtains, shut your bedroom door, fresh bedding, your favourite ‘bedtime’ scent – think lavender mist or, my favourite, Lush’s fairy dust. These are all going to help make your bed seem inviting, even on the worst nights when you just know you’re not going to get any sleep.

Maintain a regular bed time: Try and trick your body’s “internal clock” into thinking that you have your shit together. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (including weekends!) is going to really help create a consistent sleep schedule.

Don’t eat too late: However tempting it may be to cook yourself some chips at midnight, they aren’t going to settle in time for you to comfortably go to sleep.

Associate your bed with sleeping (and sex): I used to read in bed, watch films in bed and just chill out in bed on my phone. I got used to being cosy, without the prospect of sleep. Avoiding all of the above has helped associate the act of getting into bed with going to sleep.

Avoid naps or nap early: I confess, I’m a napper. For the worst part of a year, the only sleep I had was during a nap in the afternoon! After that, I kind of got into the habit of napping… They’re definitely a bad idea if you’re trying to start up a sleeping pattern!

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These tips have massively helped me improve my own sleeping pattern, so if you’re having difficulties of your own, I do hope they help you out!

Do you have any other tips?

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I’m Getting Married!

Our engagement story is a sweet one. Despite months of hypothetically talking about it, the whole thing was actually a massive surprise to me.

After spending the afternoon of my birthday being pampered with my mum – we both had a massage and our nails done at a salon – I head home to spend the rest of the day and night with Matthew. He met me at the car (with an umbrella because it was raining) and he was dressed up in his fanciest shirt, but I still didn’t realise anything was different. He’s always pretty well dressed anyway.

When I walked into our living room, “our song” was already playing and the cats looked a bit coy – they had new, light purple collars on with bells. Matt didn’t like the idea of dressing himself up without dressing up our girls. I presumed, at this point, that this was just an extra special birthday treat. He handed me a birthday gift, which I opened. It was a beautifully bound, golden edged collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales and poems. As you can imagine, I loved that.

He then passed me another gift. So, I’m sat there thinking ah, no, stop spoiling me! I’m already cooing to the max about “our song” playing in the background. I open up this second present, and it’s a collection of love poems. How adorable… Matthew tells me to flick to a particular page and there, cut open in the centre of the book, is the message “will you marry me?”

I couldn’t believe it. I transformed into ultimate girl-mode and just stared at him – wide-eyed – for an unreasonable amount of time. Honestly, I thought it was a weird joke. We’re a pretty progressive couple, in the scheme of things, and I just presumed we’d one day say to each other “so, we’re gonna get married soon, right?” We were already practically married anyway. This, though, wow. It was honestly one of the most romantic, memorable moments of my life. He put so much thought and effort and secrecy into the whole thing. I knew he loved me anyway, but understanding the time that someone puts into something is beautiful.

I'm Getting Married Engagement News

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After a lot of hypothetical plans and dreams (and two years later!), we recently and finally booked our dream wedding venue. Dream wedding venue isn’t even an over-exaggeration – when we visited, a very long time ago, we didn’t think we’d ever be able to book this place in time for our own wedding. It’s a beautiful country house, a little on the outskirts of our home city. It really is something special.

I'm Getting Married Engagement News

So, it’s official! Me and Matthew will be getting married on the 26th November 2017. I honestly cannot control my excitement and I’ll be talking about this for the whole year.

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Obviously, we’re both so excited! We’ve been planning this for ages and for it to finally be happening is just fantastic. 

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Currently, I Am… | #9

Being back at university is weird! I feel like I have both no free time and lots of free time, you know? As illogical as that sounds, it’s pretty accurate. Yes, I could technically stay in my pyjamas all day and play games, but as a final year student that’s not going to lead to good grades or any sort of rise in self-confidence. I’ve been staying late at university a lot recently, hence the lack of attention I’ve been giving my beloved blog. Once I’m home, sitting in front of another computer screen has been one of the last things on my mind. As you can imagine, a computer science degree involves a lot of screen time.

Anyway, hi friends! Let’s have a bit of a catch up.

Currently, I Am Catch-Up

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Currently, I am feeling

…lots of things, which is generally a good thing! I’m feeling busy and a bit stressed but that’s nothing I can’t handle. I had a wonderful birthday weekend, I’ve had some great marks in my university work from this semester and me and Matt are in full-on wedding planning mode! So, despite the stress, I have lots of good stuff going on.

On the other hand, there’s this giant black cloud hovering above me. The recent news, the terrible news, that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States rattled me to the core. It’s terrifying that this joke of a human being – this monster, racist, homophobic, sexist, rapist – could possibly be granted any sort of power. Yet, here he is. Stay safe.

Currently, I am watching

…well, I’m in the middle of watching quite a few things at the moment, but they all got left behind! Me and Matt started Stranger Things, which we were loving, but after maybe three episodes we got distracted and busy. When Westworld aired, we super excitedly started watching that too. Then, we got busy again… We’ll catch up eventually, I promise.

Currently, I am playing

…Skyrim! I recently bought Skyrim remastered for the Xbox One. It’s my favourite PC game of all time, so having the chance to play it on an updated console with achievements is just a no-brainer. It’s fantastic, obviously.

Currently, I am excited for

…the first thing that comes to mind, our wedding. I’ll be covering this in a post of its own some time soon, but me and Matt recently set our date, booked the venue and put down a deposit. It’s our dream venue. I’m also pretty excited for Christmas, obviously. I’ll be putting the Christmas tree up soon!

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So, what are you most excited for? Do you have any good news?

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Patisserie de Bain: Creme Pâtissière Review

If you’ve ever wanted to rub the sweet scent of vanilla all over your body, then you’re going to love me for introducing you to Patisserie de Bain.

I picked up this gorgeous gift set (which includes a shower gel, a body souffle and a vanilla-scented body scrubber) from Superdrug a couple of weeks ago. It was actually a free gift for buying two selected skincare products and I didn’t even realise what a little gem I had my hands on until I got home.

Patisserie de Bain: Creme Pâtissière Review

Before I even gave the products a sniff, I did a quick bit of research to check if the company was cruelty-free, vegan friendly and/or owned by a nasty parent company. I was over the moon to discover that not only are all of the products cruelty-free but they’re almost all suitable for vegans. The exception to the rule here is the lip balm, which does include beeswax. Routine checks, done.

Simply opening up these products was heavenly. The vanilla scent hit me immediately and it’s really, really mouthwateringly realistic. Both products smell equally as beautiful, too. The shower gel does take a bit of effort to lather up nicely, but you really can’t complain too much as the scent lasts on your skin all day. The body souffle, which is just a fancy way of describing a body butter or body cream, is absolutely perfect. It’s thick, it’s moisturising and it dries quickly, leaving you smelling fantastic.

I’m in love with this set. I, stupidly, presumed that these scents would be the company’s only choices but I was so wrong. There’s a massive range of other scents, including lemon bon-bons, cranberries and cream and orange zest. You bet I’ll be going back for some more!

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Have you ever tried any Patisserie de Bain products?

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Superdrug Store Opening, Beverley

Being a cruelty-free kitty, Superdrug is my idea of heaven when it comes to buying new skincare and cosmetics. Alongside the shelves of cruelty-free brands, Superdrug even has it’s own completely cruelty-free and vegan line of cosmetics and skincare called B. So, as you can imagine, I was super pleased to be invited to the opening of a new Superdrug store at Beverley’s Flemingate shopping centre.

Beverley Flemingate Superdrug Store

Superdrug stores are always super colourful and this Beverley branch isn’t any different. It’s pretty pink in there! As expected, there are aisles full to the brim with practically everything health and beauty related but it’s not the pretty aisles that make this store stand out, it’s the beautifully mirrored back wall, full of high-street make-up. Each stand towers around six-foot tall and displays such a range of cosmetics that any lipstick lover would throw a wobbly just looking at them all.

Towards the back of the store, you’ll find a Beauty Bar. This little gem offers eyebrow threading and tinting right there in the store. If I hadn’t recently tamed my own eyebrows, I’d of loved to try this out for myself! With it being at the back of the store, it’s nice and out of the way too so if you’re a bit shy (like me!) you wouldn’t be put off.

Beverley Flemingate Superdrug Store

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Whilst I was there, I also picked up up some goodies for myself. (How could I resist?)

I have tried a couple of Superdrug’s  cruelty-free ‘B’ products in the past, but I hadn’t ventured into their skincare range. My trip to this brand spanking new store was the perfect excuse to try something new, really, so as well as a Makeup Brush Cleanser, I picked up the B. Confident Day Cream and the B. Nourished Night Serum. 

Superdrug B Skincare Product Review

I’m still in my early twenties, so I’m not particularly covered in wrinkles but I do have the tenancy to scowl or smile way too enthusiastically. Before these little lines get any worse, I thought it would be a good idea to try something out. Both the day and the night creams are supposed to help with the prevention of early signs of aging. It’s only been a week or so since I began using them but I’ll be sure to share the news if these end up being miracle workers.

Either way, they both smell fantastic and they soak into the skin super quickly. This is especially a bonus for the night serum, as you don’t wanna be going to bed with a sticky, moist face! As far as face creams go, they’re really lovely.

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I really enjoyed my trip to Flemingate! Whenever me and Matthew go to Beverley, we always end up gravitating towards this place because who doesn’t love a shopping centre?

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

I purchased these products with a complimentary gift card for visiting the store. As always, all views are my own.