Special Feature: Father's Day Gift ideas on a Budget

This is a special father's day feature. I call it special because it is budget inspired. A great gift shouldn't necessarily rip a hole in your pocket or cost you an arm and a leg because it's the thought behind it all that counts. So worry less about breaking the bank or not being able to deliver,  I present to you some budget inspired gift ideas and it might just give you some inspiration and further ideas of what to get. Let's begin, shall we!

1. Family Photoshoot Voucher - Price £10
    From buyagift.com

I personally find the idea of photoshoots very appealing because pictures are memorable keepsakes. There will be numerous times when you will look at a picture and you realised you have just opened a floodgate of memories. I think this is quite a brilliant offer for that price and you definitely cannot go wrong with it. It's not just super affordable but there will be very rare, beautiful and memorable bonding moments dad will share with the family plus the keepsake you get to take home at the end of the photo session.
Black and White Polaroid Camera
Visit buyagift,com for more budget- inspired gift ideas.

2. Mr Natty Bring me Sunshine Beard Elixir - Price £ 9.50
    From John Lewis

Now I know you most likely were not expecting to see this, but you might have probably noticed there is a bit of the 'beard gang' movement going on at the moment; so this is bang on trend so to speak. Contrary to what I would have imagined, I have seen lots of men looking very suave with their well trimmed and maintained beards. So if your recipient has joined the beard gang train, this might be quite the gift, a bit unusual and unexpected I have to admit but bound to put a smile on his face and keep the beard shiny!
Buy Mr Natty Bring Me Sunshine Beard Elixir Online at johnlewis.com
You can also visit the John Lewis website for more men's grooming and skincare gift ideas for a budget price

3.Gentlemen's Hardware Collar Stiffeners - Price £10
   From John Lewis

I present to you these lovely brass collar stiffeners in a beautiful little box. I personally do not think this is a gift that will end up sitting at the bottom of a box lost somewhere in the house.  I see it as a gift that will enjoy constant use if your recipient is someone who enjoys wearing shirts quite often.  Now I  know some men's shirts will sometimes come with collar stiffeners whilst some don't but could definitely do with one. I think this is a super bargain and bound to be a firm favourite for your recipient. Business, pleasure, whatever the occasion, if a shirt is involved then this is bound to keep the shirt collar in check! Talk about letting the collar do the talking.

Buy Gentlemen's Hardware Collar Stiffeners Online at johnlewis.com
More father's day gift ideas for budget prices at John Lewis

4. Boss Bottled Unlimited EDT 100ml - Price £30
Currently on offer at Boots

If you ask me this is a brilliant one! This perfume/aftershave originally retails for £62 and even more on some other sites but currently on offer hence price above.  If I had to judge Boss Bottled Unlimited by the success of the original  Boss Bottled then I would expect nothing less than near perfect from this fragrance. Hugo Boss is generally a good brand and for that price, you definitely can't go wrong. Good idea if your recipient is big on scents.
Boss Bottled Unlimited-Image Source Google
Boss Bottled Unlimited

5. Three Course Meal with Sparkling Wine for Two - Price £30
Cafe Rouge Various UK Locations

I doubt if my list will be complete without food because more often than not you would find this the easiest option if you cannot readily come up with any gift ideas. Nothing beats good food in a restaurant with a welcoming ambience. It's perfect for getting that special person out of their regular routine to something different, relaxing and of course something the whole family can possibly be a part of too. Of course, this is just an idea so if your recipient is not a fan of French cuisine then there is a vast array of dining options out there to choose from; think Italian, Indian, Meditteranean, a taste of the Caribbean and so much more. There is something bound to tickle the taste buds and leave the tum feeling happy  and well fed too.
Image Source : Cafe Rouge

So there you have it! Whatever it is you eventually decide on, I hope more than anything else, your warm thoughts and kind gesture goes just as far as your gift goes.

Feel free to share your gift ideas with me too!

Happy Fathers' Day :)

Catch up soon x


My Top 5 Fragrances of all Time

I love life and I love the indulgent luxury that comes with it. By that I mean I love the good things of life and because  I work exceptionally hard I think it's fair that I treat myself to the occasional splurge on indulgent items.

I love fashion and all of the added extras that come with it but most people who know me will tell you that if I had to choose between buying a new pair of shoes or a bottle of perfume, I would definitely go for the latter. I have always been a fragrance lover since as far back as I can remember but what's so ironic is the fact that my olfactory nerve is not quite great! 

 I would more often than not be the last person in the room to pick on smells. There are of course good and not so good sides to that but never mind, what I lack in that area I make up for with my super sharp sense of hearing.However, that doesn't deter me from making my house a smell sanctuary, You are surely bound to get engulfed in a potpourri of lovely fragrances in every area of my home you turn to and you might have to do a double take if you walk past me on days when I decide to bask in my favorite smells.

I present to you my top five favourite fragrances of all time, never mind the season.

BLACK ORCHID by TOM FORD: I recall the first time I bought this perfume, it was on one of those days when I absolutely felt low in spirits and indulged myself in a bit of retail therapy to make me feel better. Call it a spontaneous purchase but I have not looked back since then. How do I describe this fragrance? Think rich,exotic and absolutely sophisticated. A perfect balance of sweet,floral and woody. It lingers but not in an overpowering way,I love how it envelopes me its almost like I am being hugged by Tom Ford! haha. Some people tend to think that this perfume is more suited to the autumn or winter months and I agree but I think you might be able to get away with it anytime of the year; day or night  if you spray it minimally because a little goes a long way. Its a unisex perfume but with a very distinct difference.

AVENTUS FOR HER by CREED : A quick spray of my DH's Creed (for men) is all it took me to get addicted to this perfume and I knew I had to get the female version for myself. On days when I want to step out feeling like a BOSS bursting with Confidence, this is my go to perfume. If you are someone who doesn't want to put herself out there then this might not be for you because this perfume is bound to command some extra attention. Its refreshingly empowering and you'd find the question of ''what perfume do you have on?'' rolling in non stop because this perfume is irresistible like that. A lot of people tend to think there is a lot of hype around this perfume but hey, when something is exceptionally good you have got to rave about it! This is not a perfume that lingers overnight and fades away,its crisp smell lingers much longer. Its simply gorgeous. 

GREEN IRISH TWEED by CREED :  Oh dear! Do I love this scent or what?! I don't care what anyone thinks but this perfume I love so much.  When I went shopping for my Aventus at my local John Lewis, I got to try out a couple of fragrances even though I knew what I was looking for. The lady attending to me encouraged me to try Green Irish Tweed and she casually mentioned '' you know there's quite of celebs who use this perfume as well.... Prince William, Naomi Campbell  ( never mind I once bought a concealer at boots after the shop assistant swore Naomi Campbell couldn't do without it but I sadly had to chuck it in the bin because I absolutely hated it)  and a host of names I really can't remember now.
After the concealer experience of course, I sure learnt to follow my personal needs rather than follow celeb trends but this perfume was definitely high up there for me. It smelt so cool,fresh,exuberant and timeless and it reminded me of something but I struggled to place what it could be. It was definitely a happy memory and I loved it! It was no surprise I returned a little while after to purchase a small bottle as its quite a pricey perfume. Unlike my Aventus though, I only use it on special occasions as I don't think its suited for 24/7 use. I also ensure to have it on at least 40 minutes before stepping out of the house so that way am sure all of its 'complexities' have settled nicely. Most people say its more suited for men but not sure I agree, it smells great on me, earns me compliments every time I wear it so that settles it!.

J'ADORE by DIOR :  This perfume makes me swoon! Its beautiful, oh! so ultra feminine and very sensuous. After running out of my last bottle, I purchased another as a special Christmas gift for myself. Guess what?! I am yet to open it just yet because I just cannot bring myself to ruin the euphoria of knowing I have an unopened bottled of J'adore. It just ticks all the right boxes for me and it never fails to uplift my spirits. I love how I can never get over J'adore, its my little perfection in a bottle.

FAR AWAY by AVON:  Yes. You read that right and its nothing to do with downgrading or being broke and unable to feed my ''high- end'' luxury perfume addiction. Its just that there are times when I feel like getting lost in the crowd, not drawing any attention to myself  or I just can't be bother to pull out all the stops whilst dressing up. This is my all time favourite classic. I have never run out of a bottle and don't think I ever will!  If you are a fragrance lover and you have never tried any of the avon fragrances especially 'Far Away' then I encourage you to give it a try. Even if it means trying it out as a bed-time fragrance. You can thank me later. Its an unbelivable stark contrast to its price and you have to wonder how something that smells so good can come at such a pocket friendly price. You definitely got me on this one Avon.

A lot of people tend to ask me to critic perfumes and fragrances knowing how much I love them and I always say my love for perfumes and fragrances has ironically not evolved to that status just yet. I just want to bask in those gorgeous smells without having to bother my head talking about sillage, opening notes, base notes and all that malarkey. I'd let the critics do all the smell, sillage and longevity analysis.
If its smells good, makes me feel great, doesn't cause wreckage to my pocket then all is indeed good with the world!

I am open to trying new fragrances so feel free to share your favs with me.

Catch up soon!


Pause and Reflect : Blogging Reality Check+What I have learnt so Far

image source pexels
Image Source: Pexels

P.S This is not a blogversary post :)

I can't believe its been just a bit over three years since I started this blog. At the time, I was on maternity leave having recently had a baby and I recall my sister who blogs here had encouraged me to start a blog as I couldn't stop moaning about how much I lacked ideas on what to do besides caring for the baby.

Although I work in an IT related industry, I still had to run  to my sister for virtually everything in terms of getting the blog up and running. Once my blog was all set up it meant I had to find my footing in the blogging world or as in the bloggers lingo ''find my niche''.

In the early days, I wanted to be a mummy blogger who reviews stuff and by that I mean I wanted to basically talk about products, stuffs and services on my blog, form an opinion about them and draw a conclusion which I think might help readers make an informed decision if they ever felt the need to either make a similar or guided purchase etc. So sometimes , I would write about personal purchases and at other times as I learnt the ropes really quickly I would ply the ''Blogger request'' route.

Most times when I did the latter though, I did feel like a fish out of water as I am quite a shy and introverted person and did not feel like I stood the chance against other well grounded bloggers with an already established blog presence in terms of audience,content and influence. So I gave up that route and stuck to talking about personal purchases and the occasional review opportunities that came in via direct contact with companies and agencies. 

As time progressed I started losing interest in blogging, I gradually slowed down and before I realized it I had completely stopped blogging!  It took me well close to a year to return to blogging and I promised myself I would only go with the flow, no stress,no pressure and definitely no desire to limit myself to just a specific area of interest anymore.

Image source:Pexels
Image source:Pexels

In Hindsight, if I had to start it all afresh i.e newbie blogger , here's what I would have loved to tell myself :

-  Follow your heart and do what makes you happy: Its definitely the first thing I would have said to myself. As I mentioned earlier, I started blogging majorly to help me balance things out on the home front, i.e new baby, family, etc. Deep down within me I wanted some sort of creative outlet, somewhere I could put my thoughts to words,somewhere I could explore and just generally talk about things that interested me, just an extension of me really. However, before I realized it, I had veered off my original path and was doing something totally different and inadvertently carving a ''niche'' for myself without realizing it! 
I am not saying its not okay to have a niche because there is nothing wrong in having one  and it does have its own benefits but I did not feel it was for me.  I would describe myself as a mix of rebellious and unconventional so boxing myself into a corner by focusing on a specific area left me feeling bored and I lost interest in no time hence the long break. 
So, for the past couple of months since I returned to blogging, I have blogged solely about my interests. It doesn't feel so contrived anymore and I appreciate the freedom of being able to express myself . its been out with the ''niche'' and in with the ''interests'' and if I had to , I would describe myself as a blogger of many interests and my blog as a general content blog with something for everyone.

- Give it Time: Everything good requires time...and effort. In my early days of blogging, I wanted everything to happen quickly. I mean from engagement, traffic, social media following, monetization etc. Outside of blogging,I am not quite a ''waiting person'' but I soon realized that my impatience was something I had to actively work on. 
Right now I am in a place where I realise that all of the things that I wanted for my blog requires not just fulfilling the''effort and working at it'' side of things but it also requires copious levels of patience because with blogging there is no magic recipe for success, Time and patience is all you need so K.E.E.P C.A.L.M  and  B.L.O.G  O.N 
image source : google
Image Source: Google

- Don't Compare and Contrast because you are not in competition with anyone:  ...except yourself.  That's right!  This is something I have always told myself even prior to blogging. I am not a competitive person so I take everything in my own stride. I do not seek to outdo anyone other than myself  because I realise the only competition I need is within me.  When it comes to blogging , it is exactly what it is, blogging and nothing more! 
There have been times when I have visited other blogs for a bit of idea and inspiration but that's about it. I always say a little bit of healthy competition is okay if it works for you and from a blogging perspective that will be in terms of motivating and inspiring you to put up better posts than the last one you have written. But if you find that you begin to put so much pressure on yourself to be better than the next blogger then you need to pause and reflect before you lose your identity.   
Above anything else, blog for your self and for what you believe in; Stop comparing...start blogging!

Engage- Interact- Repeat: I honestly wish I knew this earlier ! Looking back now, the saying that no man is an island was so apt to my situation back then. What was I thinking, hoping that people would keep stumbling on my blog and helping themselves to my blog posts? Ha!   
Now I do appreciate the importance putting my blog out there and I never hesitate to utilize the various social media platform available for such opportunities. Sometimes I chide myself for not engaging more and I often put it down to my introverted nature but of course I do not see the need to put so much pressure on myself than necessary, so I take things easy and go with my flow.
Networking, engaging with readers, i.e responding and appreciating comments, engaging with other blogs and just keeping these actions locked on constant repeat does go a long way not just for blog growth but think self confidence and morale booster too.
Web Page, Parts, Social Media, Contact
Image source: Google

Never give up! : You really should be proud of yourself and what you have achieved on your blog because not everyone has a flair for writing. Not everyone is interested in putting their thoughts to words or sharing their opinion in the manner in which you put yours out there so well done!   
I remember when I struggled with content continuity and the niche I found myself in, back then, I experienced more ''bloggers block'' ( yeah, bloggers struggle with what to write as well, its not exclusive to writers alone) even though I had so much time on my hands. I just simply lacked ideas, whereas these days I struggle more with finding the time to put up content for the many ideas I have - such irony of life! 
Don't forget I said it takes time, so if you find yourself fizzling out, its ok to take a break but keep it in mind never to give up.  Run out of ideas? Take a good look around you, the internet, friends, family, work etc. There is definitely something that is bound to catch your attention which you can capture ideas from. Revamp your blog, redesign your blog, re-brand your blog, something is surely bound to get you back on track but it all boils down to you not giving up! so never forget that.
Motivation, Strengthen, Encourage
...So don't give up!
Image Source: Google

...And on a final note
Doing things the same way as others will mean losing your individuality. Like everything else, blogging requires a bit of individual approach and  personal touch so if you choose to be a niche blogger or a multi interest blogger like me, ensure you do not lose your personality because that is the uniqueness that makes you stand out.

You might find that some of the things I have talked about resonates with your blogging journey or it doesn't at all, the bottomline is - Just do you!

You have probably realized by now that there might come a time when you will be pretty much faced with making decisions, taking next steps or  probably just starting afresh but definitely not quitting.

Take some time out, reflect and ask yourself the question '' what would I do differently?''

Catch up soon! x