Monday, 30 June 2014

Nail Art with Cling Film

Two blog posts in one day, I was clearly in a blogging mood! You probably saw the title to this and questioned my sanity. However, some of you may be familiar with the cling film technique. I'm not claiming to have invented it at all, I actually read about it several years ago online. However, I've seen it mentioned so often now I wouldn't actually know who to reference.

My nails were in dire need of a good pamper, and I am a huge fan of the cling film technique. It reminds me of the Water Marble technique which is also extremely popular, however I find this is a LOT quicker and also creates a lot less mess. So here is a quick step by step I've typed up quickly. I hope it's quite simple, but if I make a mess of the explanation but you still want to give it a try, I recommend youtubing it.

What you will need:

Base and top coat (optional)
Two different polishes, I recommend two shades of the same colour
Nail varnish remover
Cotton pads and cotton buds
And of course, cling film!

1. Make sure your nails are clean and paint with a base coat. This is optional, but I really recommend it. It often helps protect your nails and I find my nails don't stain with the colour polish if I use one.

2. Paint your nails with one of your chosen colours. One coat should be enough, but make sure you have good coverage. Make sure this layer is COMPLETELY dry before proceeding

3. When this is dry, paint a layer of the other colour. Make sure it fully overlaps the original layer.

4. See above how I have done my index finger. I tend to do one finger at a time, because you want to cling film while the nail is still wet. Screw up a small ball of cling film and make sure it is screwed up roughly - a round even ball of cling film will just take the full layer of nail varnish off. With the rough ball of cling film, dab over the wet layer, so you can see parts of the dry layer underneath. I use a separate cling film ball for each nail or it becomes very messy!

And Ta dah! You have cling film multi-coloured nails. The photos below were taken before I had tidied the skin around my nails with polish remover, so as you can see it creates minimal mess. Sometimes mine turn out slightly messier, in which case I dip a cotton bud in nail varnish remover and get as much of the excess as possible, but you'll find as you wash your hands and shower throughout the day it will drop off.

Finally, I usually paint a clear top coat on, so they last a few extra days!

In case anyone is interested, I used Barry M 272 Shocking Pink for my original layer, and Barry M GNP 11 Dragon (Gelly Hi Shine collection) for the second layer, or the 'cling film' layer.

I would love to know if anyone else tries this, which colours they think look good, or if they have any other nail art tips.

Shanmade with love x

So my laptop has had to go and live at PC World for a week because it is poorly. This means I can't get on with any of the uni work I set myself for over summer, so I decided with all my free time this week I would take up cardmaking again. It is something I started a few years ago now to help raise funds for my World Challenge expedition in 2011, and I do really enjoy it as a hobby.

A lot of my card making supplies were running low so I went and stocked up uptown today. In total I spent about £35, but the great thing about card making as a hobby is you can really spend as much or as little as you like. As I make and sell cards to other people I wanted to get a wide variety of embellishments. The patterned paper is the most expensive generally, but you can make so many cards from each sheet so I think it was worthwhile.

I generally don't make any cards until I know who I am making them for, or until someone wants me to make one for them to give to someone else. This is so I can make them the card they envision and ask for. These cards are the two I made today, as my niece's 2nd birthday is coming up. The top card is the one from me, and the one below that is one for my Mum and Dad to give her. My Mum told me exactly what she wanted her card to look like, and I think she was really happy with it. Hopefully my little niece will like them too!

I am going to make a few more after this blog post as there are lots of birthdays in July on my calendar!

If any if you have ever thought about making cards I would definitely recommend it. From experience, people really do love opening a personalised card and are always so grateful that so much time and effort has gone in to it. Sometimes I go to someone's house and several months after their birthday or Christmas they still have my card up.

If any of you would like me to make any cards for you to give, please don't hesitate to contact me! I really enjoy doing it and if you let me know what sort of thing you would like I would be happy to try and achieve it - I love a good challenge!


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Saturday Haul

So my parents are home, and it is so great having them back. Me and Mum decided to do a bit of shopping today, as it is very rare she has a Saturday off work these days. I bought a few things which I thought I would show you in a quick post.

First up are these beautiful little Ring Holders. I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted these in a hidden corner of my local Home Bargains. I had been looking for a jewellery dish for quite a while now, mainly to put hair grips and earrings on, both of which I'm forever losing. When I saw these, I just thought they were so cute, I couldn't choose just the one and had to buy both! Both came in under £4 together.

Ring Holders: Home Bargains, £1.99 each

 Also from Home Bargains was this ever so exciting purchase - a shower curtain. I'm really happy I found this actually, because when I went to look round my flat for my final year at university, the shower curtain was a little bit 'out there' to say the least. (See the photo on the far left below - it sort of gives me a headache!) Obviously a strange shower curtain isn't the end of the world, but when I spotted this swallow bird print one in Home Bargains at an absolute steal of a price, I thought it would make my flat a little bit more homely, and it will come in when I move into my own place after uni.

Shower Curtain: Home Bargains, £3.99

Along our travels today, we went to Asda to do a mammoth food shop. I always have a quick look around the clothing section, and found a whole section dedicated to gym wear. I've told myself that I HAVE to lose weight and get fit this summer, and so I have started running and also signed up for Yoga classes with my sister-in-law. I didn't really want to spend too much money on them as I'm only just starting out with this whole exercise malarkey, and so when I saw these I snapped them up immediately. I have Adidas trainers because I believe brands do speak for quality when it comes to sports footwear, but until I really get into it and when I can prove I will stick to it, I won't invest in the branded clothing. I love blue, especially turquoise, but they also have this set in fluroscent pink and grey. The leggings are just above the knee and have a media pocket for your iPod. I'm just going to throw a tshirt over the top and I should be good to go!

Sports bra: Asda, £6.00
Sports half leg leggings: Asda, £10.00

As I was just about to find my Mum to head to the checkout, I spotted these in the pyjama section. And of course, because they had birds on, I couldn't resist! I always buy my pyjamas from Asda; they are super cosy, cheap and wash really nicely, so I find that they last for years! I've found since the 'onesie' craze has hit, I have ended up with more onesies than pyjamas, as I received several for Christmas! They're not all fleecy, but I still feel too hot trying to sleep in them at this time of year, so I'm glad I could find a nice pyjama set today. I also bought a navy vest from the range to go with these, which was £4.

Bird pyjama bottoms: Asda, £6.00

Overall I had a really lovely day with my Mum, even if I did break my 'no spending' promise!
What do you think of my purchases?


Thursday, 26 June 2014

The week my Nan came to stay and Operation Reform Shannon

So this is just a post about things I've been up to this week. I've not been able to sit down for even five minutes I have been so busy, but today I managed to find time to type this out quickly. My parents have both gone on holiday, and as I was working at the weekend I obviously couldn't join them. So I decided to invite my Nan to stay with me while they were away, for a bit of company for us both.

One thing I've always said is that in my life, I want to be as good a Mum as mine has been to me, and I want my grandchildren to adore me the same way my Nan's adore her.

As the weather has been so good to us lately, she decided she fancied a day out in Skegness on Monday. We went on the bus and I had one of the most relaxing and enjoyable days I've had in a long long time.

We found a small chocolatier cafe down what my Nan called 'Chip Pan Alley' for anyone who wants to find it - called Hames', and I had the BEST hot chocolate I have ever had. They basically melted one of their homemade chocolate bars into warm milk, and gave us free chocolates. The staff were so friendly, I would definitely recommend this place to any of my Lincolnshire friends and family. The prices were similar to Costa prices as well which I thought was really good. I do prefer independent cafes like this, with their 'hidden away on a side street' feel and really friendly staff. (That's why you will usually find me in Archie Hardwick's down Dolphin Lane in Boston when I'm home!)

 We sat right near a view of the kitchen, which made me SO hungry as I was watching them make all of the chocolates.

We then walked round the shops and arcades for a bit, and picked up the typical Skegness sweets and treats for my nieces and nephews. Skegness is one of those places that always makes me feel so nostalgic, as I went there frequently on days out with my family when I was a tiny tot. 

For lunch we decided to stop at a place my Nan and Grandad used to go to a lot when he was still with us. Nan wanted to treat me to a Fish and Chip lunch, and we had a nice rest and a good chat about the old days when I would go caravanning with my Nan and Grandad. I think it's really important to sometimes just take time out of your busy schedule to just sit and remember. 

It really was the best day. Since Monday, we've been busy meeting up with my brother and his family, as he has an interview coming up which I wanted to help him prepare for, and taking my nephew to his Athletics group to watch him. Whenever I'm home I try to be the best Auntie possible, because I hate being away for 30 weeks of the year and missing them all grow up. I love picking them up from their schools, watching them at their various hobbies and clubs, and taking them to bowling or buying them a McDonalds. It probably sounds cheesy but my favourite job in the entire world is being an Auntie. There is no greater feeling in the world for me than being told that they love me, or surprising them at school to pick them up and their little faces lighting up.

I've also been trying to 'Bridget Jones' my life. I call it this, because I love the parts of the films when she decides all men are useless and she is turning her life around as a strong independent woman. Except mine isn't quite like that. For the first time in my life, I'm not doing any sport and minimal exercise, I'll go through phases of having no appetite, and then phases of having the biggest appetite, so I am really unhappy with my weight. I'm not sleeping properly and my work-social balance is completely off. When I finished my final exam of second year, and stopped for five minutes, I realised how exhausted I really was. So this summer I set myself a goal to start losing weight and get fit, sleep better, and have more fun, while also starting work on my dissertation and deciding on modules for next year. I've always worked extremely hard at school and university and I won't let that suffer, I just want to find a better balance. I've started running, and even though today was my first day, I'm hoping to keep it up. I've also been trying new foods and adding more colours to my plate. 

When I'm home for summer, my social life generally improves, but I'm already thinking of ways to improve my social life when I'm away at university, including joining one or two more societies and things. I don't want people to think I never see anyone and I am a little hermit, because that is definitely not the case. I am already a member of several societies and have lots of friends, I just always get this niggling feeling I should be doing more work, and I just struggle to unwind. 

So since I've been home, I've read The Fault in Our Stars and the latest Bridget Jones novel already. I can't remember the last time I read something non-academic! I've also been finalising the details of my summer internship which I am REALLY looking forward to, and seeing all of my lovely family and friends. And I can tell you I'm really really happy, and my sleep has definitely improved. I have a tendency usually to work too late, and then my head just won't switch off! I managed to read The Fault in Our Stars in less than 12 hours, I just couldn't put it down, and I had promised my best friend Beth I would read it before she took me to see it at the cinema next week. 

This may not be something everyone wants to read, but I really wanted to write it all down, so you can all ask me when you see me if I've been sticking to it, and to help motivate me. Now I've written it down, I feel like I have to stick to it even more! If anyone else is currently trying to lose weight or just improve their lifestyle, I'd love to speak to you about what you are trying because I am pretty clueless. I've tried detox diets and strange exercise routines, but I think ultimately when you are at university or work all day, it's difficult to incorporate those into your every day life without them taking over. I'm just trying to be sensible really. So if anyone is going to any exercise classes they would recommend or can point me in the direction of any yummy healthy foods, or good novels, I would love to hear about them.

Monday, 23 June 2014

June Favourites

I always love reading monthly favourite posts on other blogs, and noticed this month that I'd made some cracking decisions when spending my money. While I'm no beauty expert, several people have commented how nice my skin has been looking recently and so I thought it wouldn't hurt to do a quick post. I've bought several products this month which I think are good value for money, and also thought I'd include a few of my favourite birthday presents which were wonderful surprises and really personal to me. I love receiving presents knowing someone has really thought about me when purchasing them.

First up is this beautiful ornament from my parents. This is definitely my most favourite thing this month! It is a 1961 Wade Disney Bambi figurine from the Wade Disney Blow Up Collection. I can't believe how immaculate the figure is for something over thirty years older than me. I have developed a real bambi/fawn obsession this year and so I couldn't believe it when I unwrapped this. The poor quality photo doesn't do it justice, it is so gorgeous.

Second on my June favourites list is my very own personalised Emma Bridgewater mug. I'd been wittering on for ages about wanting one, and so I was really excited to open this from my brother, sister in law and niece and nephew. It was better than I could have ever imagined or purchased for myself, because on the bottom is an added extra from my niece and nephew. I have a tea obsession and so the mug is very me!

Next up is my new perfume. I think most of the women in my family were grateful when I received this - I first smelt it when I stole a squirt of my sister in laws. My Mum then loved it so much she bought some, which made me feel extremely left out being Naughty Alice-less, and so I ended up using Mum's whenever I was home from university. What I love about it is the fact it IS Vivienne Westwood, who is my favourite at the moment (especially as I have recently found out she is a fellow Midlandser) and I also love that it isn't what EVERYONE is wearing. The packaging is super super cute and the bottle even comes with a free bracelet, which isn't tacky at all and both me and my Mum have received several compliments on.

Another of my June favourites is my Thomas Sabo Swallow charm from my other brother, sister in law and three nephews and my niece. The picture doesn't do it justice and I can't wait to get it on my charm bracelet. When I build a charm bracelet, I love to have charms that are really personal to me and so you can virtually get to know me just by looking at my bracelet! I've been obsessed with swallows since my early teens really. Vintage swallow tattoos are said to represent sadness at loss, which I feel represents all the loved ones who are sadly no longer here, but also were typically seen on sailors to symbolise that they will always come home. Some might find it a bit embarrassing, but my Mum has always said while I've got my birds with me, whether it be on clothing, jewellery or whatever, I'll always have a bit of home with me and will always be able to come back. I think it's quite lovely really!

That's it for birthday presents, although I received other gifts that I am so grateful for and in love with. I just thought people might find these the more interesting of the lot to read about, because they have their back stories.

Next up is a few beauty products I purchased. As I said I'm really no expert and am really really lazy, but this Nivea Primer is absolutely amazing! I've tried other primers before, including high-end brands, but this has really kept my make up lasting all day and despite having combination skin, it works whether my skin is dry or oily that day. 

This Liz Earle set is something that I know will become a permanent part of my toilletries collection. I'd heard about all the awards it had won and read a lot of good reviews, but couldn't actually believe how well it worked when I tried it. My skin has improved dramatically and I've received a few compliments on how fresh faced I looked, and it's great if you're lazy like me because it's really no big effort at all. I've always tried to look after my skin because I have really sensitive skin, and I feel that no matter how many make up wipes you use, your skin never seems completely clean.

This next product is actually something I bought for my Dad for Father's Day. While many may be thinking that a Scholl Express Pedi device is probably not the best way to tell your Dad how much you appreciate them, with many of you opting for beers and chocolates and various gifts, I know my Dad isn't one for all the typical stuff with 'Dad' written on, and know he's been in a lot of pain with his feet lately. I'm so glad this made his feet feel better, and decided to give it a go myself because if there is one thing I hate about summer it is seeing disgusting feet. While the process of removing the hard skin is obviously vile, it has left my feet in an amazing condition! I've had really sore feet ever since I trekked across Africa on my World Challenge expedition, and would definitely recommend this to anyone as feet conscious as me. 

Last but not least is a really random purchase. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE purchasing homeware. I feel like if all my stuff is pretty, my house feels more homely. When I saw these little birdy spoons in the Lakeland sale I knew I just had to have them. I don't know how clear the picture is, but basically they're for hot chocolates when you want to demolish the squirty cream and marshmallows, and the little bird sits on the edge while the spoon is in the mug. You're probably reading this thinking I am extremely sad, but I just thought they were so cute, especially because of my bird obsession. (Please don't think I'm a crazy bird lady, I'm actually EXTREMELY scared of real life birds).

I'm still trying to get to grips with this blogging malarkey and I apologise for any teething problems I'm having. At the moment I'm still trying to do a bit of everything, and whilst I don't claim to be good at any of those things, I really am enjoying sharing different aspects of my life with you! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Food, friends and Open Day madness

So even though my exams are finished, I could only spend a long weekend at home as I am employed by the University to help on Open Days. I was only scheduled to work on Wednesday afternoon, Friday and Saturday, so I had a bit of spare time in between.

I'm not going to lie, my week involved a LOT of food. But I regret nothing! It was so good. 

I got back to my student house late Tuesday afternoon, as a very mardy Shannon (for all my Southern friends, mardy = grumpy) because I generally hate public transport, especially when I have to travel alone. However, my friend had the best idea ever - having a barbecue. We managed to get a disposable one for just £2 and even though we were sceptical about whether it would work, it did the trick. I loved just sitting in the garden with an Archers and Lemonade listening to music and not worrying about anything for once! We went completely mad on buying food but it was a really nice evening.

We then decided to go to Wetherspoons in Leamington later on, just to unwind and because we'll be moving there in September and want to get to know the area a little better. I'm extremely excited about moving into my new flat, it's definitely going to be my best year at Warwick out of the three.

The following day we went back to Leamington to do a bit of shopping in the morning. For once I managed to show a bit of self control and didn't buy anything, except I did eat my weight in Mcdonalds. (That isn't all mine in the photo I promise, but I do have to admit I did eat two burgers and a large fries, I think that still makes me guilty)

I spent the rest of my week meeting various friends for cocktails and for afternoon teas on campus. I also had a few meetings about how to start going about my dissertation, but generally just relaxed and began enjoying my summer. I think I'm going for a feminist approach to international security as my topic, as I'm really interested in how women who commit violence are framed in Security discourse.

The weather has been fab this week. It was a bit too hot for the Open Days, what with trying to organise and show 11,000 people round, but it is actually a great job for students and I can't complain. I love feeling like I'm really helping people. Me and my friend had an Indian takeaway on the Friday night, because we were absolutely exhausted and couldn't be bothered to cook. I recommend the Zaika Lounge in Kenilworth to all Warwick students, it is the best Indian cuisine I've ever tasted and they always have price offers on.

And so now I'm back home, and my second year at university is officially over. While I'm so happy to be home to enjoy the summer with my family, it's also crazy to think I only have the one year left. Time really does go so quick! I've got a lot planned for this summer and I'm aiming to be good at keeping this blog updated.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Hi everyone!

A lot of people have asked me why I have decided to start my own blog. The main idea is that because my family and friends are scattered here there and everywhere around the world, it would be the perfect way for everyone to see what I've been up to, particularly as I am becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the more traditional social media. Also, some periods of my life seem to be so jam-packed and chaotic, I figured it would be nice to document everything all in one place, so a future me can look back and reflect on it all. It feels like a time of huge change in my life, with moving into my third and final university residence, no longer being a teenager, and applying for jobs and looking towards the future. And I really enjoy reading blogs myself, so thought I would give it a go.

The first post I wanted to write was about my birthday because it has been such an amazing time.

Even though my birthday is on the 7th June, it fell smack bang in the middle of my exams this year, so I spent the day revising (boo). However, my day was still made super special by two of my best friends. We went for cocktails the night before so I could see my birthday in in style. Excuse how dark the photo is, the cocktail bar work that whole 'dimly lit and ever so cool' look! I had a personalised birthday cocktail made just for me and was told I could have any taste in the world and so me being an absolute sweet-toothed monster, I asked for something similar to Refreshers sweets. I'm not sure how he made it but it was so yum!

On the actual day they pounced on me while I was in bed with millions of balloons, and got me a lovely cake and some presents and the most spot on cards ever, linking to personal jokes we have. I really wasn't expecting anything as we were all swamped with work and revision, and so it was all such a lovely surprise.

We went out for a meal in the evening and I had one of the best burgers I think I've ever had! I'm such a foodie and spend quite a lot of spare time eating out and trying new places.

By the time exams were over - because I swear we are ALWAYS the last university to finish - it was a week later, but that didn't stop my family making it a lovely birthday weekend. I was told that we were having a small barbecue on Father's Day, just for whoever wanted to pop by for a bit. I was quite overwhelmed  to find a house full of family and one of my best friends. It was such a lovely evening, and I was so distracted catching up with everyone, spilling a plate of pasta down myself (true story) and being chased by six nieces and nephews with water guns and the hose pipe that I didn't manage to get many photos. It was such a relief to not have to worry about exams, as this exam season has probably been one of my most stressful and I've been quite poorly.

Thank you to everyone for my beautiful presents, cards and money. I'm back at university now as I have to work on a few Open Days, so my next blog post will probably be about what I got up to during my week here with revision/ academic work to do.

Shannon x
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