Monday, 11 February 2019

10 funny as f*** Valentine's Day cards

If you're in need of a laugh, this one is for you. Words cannot describe how much fun this was to pull together (FYI some of the below are rib achingly good). So without further ado... 10 of the funniest Valentine's Day cards out there right now

As found here

My partner and I have this unspoken bond that chicken dippers and chicken nuggets are the dogs bollocks. We always have a fully stocked freezer (as well as fish fingers BECAUSE FISH FINGER SANDWICHES) and a huge plate of these bad boys are a a pretty standard weekend lunch for us. However they have also been prone to work their way into late nighters / midnight snacks (we have no shame). We're also all about chicken katsu (hello again breaded chicken), the Old El Paso crispy chicken fajita kit, and adding breaded chicken sides to any pizza takeaways we have. LITERALLY ADDICTED. Sound familiar? If you and your partner are the same, this may be the card for you!

As found here

I love how the site in question responds with the following:
"...like a flute, a saxophone, a clarinet or bubbles" 
Ok then hun ;)

As found here

I don't even have children and I still love this card!

As found here

I often make this joke when it snows... a CLASSIC

As found here

If you're from the UK and follow This Morning 
(specifically Phillip, Holly & Gino's antics) 
then this may make more sense to you!

As found here

Because any reference to Stranger Things is pure gold

As found here

THERE ARE NO WORDS

As found here

Honestly, the Jon Snow "winter is coming" ones are so 2011 
Loving some of these alternative Game of Thrones memes

As seen here

Works of art with silly captions added in?
Definitely something I can get behind

And finally a very topical one...

As found here

WHERE CAN I GET THESE?

All links provided in situ above

There's still plenty of time to order ready for the big day (if Valentine's Day is your bag)
And if you hate Valentine's Day with a passion, hopefully you can appreciate this piece for the lolz
Besides, isn't it refreshing to read a blog post that isn't moaning about the Instagram algorithm?

#justsaying

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Thursday, 7 February 2019

A sneek peek at what I got for Christmas

Well hello there. I'm already doing a lot better than last year when I published my What I got for Christmas in March. I'M A WHOLE MONTH EARLIER GUYS. But anyway, I digress.

I love reading these types of posts and looking at the performance of my previous gift guides, you guys seem to too! I find them invaluable for giving me gift ideas for friends and family for the year ahead. Plus it's always a bonus discovering new products that you may not have known about otherwise. As ever, I am incredibly grateful to friends and family and feel very lucky to have people in my life who know me so damn well!

White Company White Pompelmo collection

The White Company is one of my favourite brands so anything from here is always a winner. Hello there White Pompelmo hand wash and lotion (which FYI incorporates grapefruit, lemon and lime). As with lots of the other White Company products, these smell fresh and like an absolute dream.


White Company Winter candle

It wouldn't be Christmas without a White Company Winter candle (FYI the Winter range is currently 20% off here). With sweet cinnamon, cloves and a subtle hint of orange, nothing makes me feel more festive.


Yankee candle [not pictured]

And talking of feeling festive, Yankee Candle's Festive Cocktail candle does exactly that with a scent described as "mountain berries with a sprig of fresh-snipped pine". Currently down to just £2 in the sale here, I have packed mine away ready for next December.

Cath Kidston Alice in Wonderland cups

You will no doubt notice a theme (it's no secret than I'm an Alice in Wonderland fanatic!). We've been saying for the longest time that we'd like to throw a lot of our old mugs out and start over with uniform mugs that all match - so these Cath Kidston Alice in Wonderland mugs came at a really good time.


Alice in Wonderland V&A tea set

Last year I received these lovely side plates from the V&A collection, so it was a nice surprise opening the matching milk jug, sugar bowl and tea pot this year. The packaging is really well done with each box snapping open / shut effortlessly (magnets) and is very on brand with the "open me" script. I especially love the top of the tea pot ("we're all mad here!")


Alice in Wonderland tea tidy

And last but not least... when you consume as much tea as I do, lots of tea equals lots of used tea bags. Eventually they go out into the food compost, but because I'm the laziest person alive, they usually sit for a little while in teeny dishes that came from an old Jamie Oliver olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping set. It's with joy that the Jamie Oliver dishes can return to their intended purpose, and we now have an actual tea bag tidy! Our new one can be found here and much to my relief, it's dishwasher safe so I can keep those tea stains at bay!


Maldives guide book

Don't get me wrong, I've been excited about our up and coming trip to the Maldives for MONTHS now, but receiving a Lonely Planet guide book for Christmas made it feel even more real if that makes sense?


Travel kit

We also received two travel kits filled with all the essentials which will come in really useful. We will need to pack many more bottles of factor 50 sunscreen though!


Personalised passport covers

Remember these passport covers I coveted in my couple's gift guide? I amazingly received a pair for Christmas and can't wait to take these to the Maldives!


Hotel Chocolat chocolates [not pictured]

Not pictured, because THEY GONE. I love Hotel Chocolat's dark rum chocolates and also the mixed pack with cognac, whiskey and rum. Always a winner.

Food hamper [not pictured]

Not pictured, because edible things don't last long in this household! We received a similar hamper last year with lots of Italian cooking essentials like pasta, sauces and the like. This year we received wholefoods like seeds, nuts and pulses all contained within a cupcake carrier (the latter being very useful since my Poundland cupcake container broke after only one use!)

Mason Cash mixing bowl [not pictured]

Not pictured, because I'm an idiot and forgot. Remember how I was using an old discoloured plastic mixing bowl with the popcorn machine here ? Our new mixing bowl is a much more aesthetically pleasing affair. Mason Cash have brought out a range of pastel coloured bowls like powder pink and powder blue (we have the blue). They also have this amazing black mixing bowl

Umbra geometric diamond wall art

How amazing are these? I'm looking to create a gallery wall with lots of wall art and quotes and typography, but also want to incorporate lots of extra decorative touches, which is where I think these Umbra diamond pendants could work really well!


Dessert candles

A product combining two of life's greatest things - dessert and candles. I'm intrigued to open these up and smell what their take on chocolate brownie, lemon meringue and cherry bake-well are like. And how amazing is the packaging?!


Kitkats

How mad is it to say that you received A RED DOUBLE DECKER BUS OF KITKATS for Christmas? It's a lovely little set and would be a great gift for overseas friends or family with the iconic London red double decker bus. Saying that, I'm a Londoner and I still think it's bloody brilliant!


Whittard hot chocolate gift set

I would say that Christmas isn't Christmas without hot chocolates aplenty, but who am I kidding? Let's be real here. I'm a hot-chocolate-all-year-round kind of girl (FYI Whittard's white hot chocolate in this gift set is AMAZING).


Calvin Klein body lotion

True story, but this is one of my favourite products that I swear by. It's perfect just after a shower as it's scented, meaning that you don't need to shower in anything particularly fancy beforehand. It was hard to picture this one as Bailey decided he wanted to get involved!


Have you tried any of these products before? 

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Monday, 21 January 2019

8 ways to combat the January blues and that Blue Monday feeling

Going back to work after the Christmas break is always a tough one. Yes, the dark mornings were still very much there pre-Christmas, but the lead up to Christmas and the excitement of it all pushed it to the back of your mind temporarily. Post-Christmas, the dark mornings take on an even more sinister turn (or is that just me?), whereby your body refuses to get out of bed and wails I CAN'T DO IT. And who can blame it? Think comparatively back to your days off work spent reveling in the fact:

  • you don't need to get dressed. 
  • pyjamas, onesies and slipper socks are your new BFFs
  • you don't need to leave the house (unless your online food shop screwed up)
  • you can finally sit down and read that book that's been on your list forever
  • you can finally sit down and watch all those films you have never got around to watching
  • eating tins of Quality Street, Celebrations, a cheeseboard and all the Pringles constitutes a meal

Whilst these first few weeks have been trying (who else feels exhausted already?), there are plenty of reasons why to feel the LOVE this January. (See, the below picture IS relevant.... ish).


No more Christmas ads

Crikey they were awful this year weren't they? Mind you, I can only speak for the UK TV ads. If you are one of my non UK readers, were your Christmas ads any better?

Hitting the January sales

I didn't find the January sales particularly inspiring this year, but I did pick up some Christmas decorations for next year (as seen here) and some homeware pieces, all from The White Company, Marks & Spencer and Anthropologie. I always find it really tricky finding realistic looking garlands and wreaths which don't cost the earth, so was pretty chuffed to find a decent looking ones reduced in the sale. If unlike me, you still have some spare dollar, these sites still have some pretty good discounts on:

  • Marks & Spencer - now up to 60% off here
  • ASOS - up to 70% off here (use promo code ASOSSALEPLZ until the 21st for an extra 10% off)
  • Debenhams - up to 70% off Blue Cross sale here
  • House of Fraser - up to 70% off here
  • Anthropologie - enter discount code EXTRA20 for an extra 20% off the sale here 
  • The White Company - up to 60% off here
  • Cath Kidston - up to 60% off here

Looking ahead to next Christmas

Following on from the above, all being well I have some new Christmas pieces ready for next year. It's a great time to stock up on half price gift wrap and cards for next year. Those on my Instagram will have had a sneak peak of my cards for next year here

Reduced price advent calendars

Not so great for perishables, but for longer life items like candles and some beauty products, you can grab a bargain to save and use next Christmas (provided the products in question don't have a 6 month use by date!).

TV has stepped it up a notch

I turn into a bit of a hermit at this time of the year, but that's ok. I'm more than happy to stay in most evenings wrapped up in blankets on the sofa since it's the best time of the year for TV. Namely the new Black Mirror (have you tried the interactive episode yet?), Bird Box, You and other Netflix gems.

Back to normality

Every year I start my Christmas shopping in October and tell myself this is going to be The Year I'll be organised and avoid a last minute panic. BUT NO. Time has this annoying habit of creeping up on you and then suddenly ARGH it's a few weeks until Christmas. I am thankful for normality and that I no longer have the last minute scrabble for gifts, or have to pop out to JAM PACKED shops because [insert supermarket name here] failed to deliver certain Christmas foods in the online shop. You now have your evenings back. You no longer have to sacrifice evenings for card writing, wrapping presents and the general panic that Christmas is x days away and I STILL HAVE ALL THE THINGS TO DO.

Great discounts on food and drink

Some restaurants have pretty sweet deals on in January. Admittedly when doing my research, I found less food and drink deals than other years (thanks Brexit), but here's a few ideas to get you started with:

  • Giraffe  - 2 for 1 on main courses if you use this voucher here
  • Cafe Rouge - 50% off all main courses until 8th Feb. Download your voucher here
  • Carluccios  - until 31st January get a £1 main course when bought alongside another main dish. Click here to get a voucher and remember to show this when paying your bill
  • Vinoteca - until 31st January (excluding Sundays), you can get steak & Malbec for just £16 at their London branches (full T&Cs here and must be booked in advance here). 

A clean slate

Urgh, such a cliché, but it's true. I'm not talking New Year, New You (if anything it should be New Year, Same Awesome You). Rather, leave toxic people and things that don't fill you with joy behind, and move forward. You deserve that much.

Stay positive this Blue Monday folks!

If you are one of the restaurants or brands featured in this post and your January offer has since expired or changed, do reach out to me at lucy@curiouser-and-curiouser.co.uk so I can keep this page as up to date as possible!

Friday, 11 January 2019

How to keep the holiday feeling going for longer

Christmas is a cruel mistress. We have to wait the best part of a year for it to arrive and when it does, it passes in the blink of an eye. Now the twelfth night has happened upon us, it's time to say goodbye to the Christmas tree, pack up all the decorations, and erase every trace of festivity from the house. However just because the holidays are over for another year, it doesn't mean that we have to let go of it completely.

One of my favourite things about the Christmas period is cosying up with a hot drink. I'm talking mulled wine / cider at the Christmas markets, grabbing a festive cup from [insert High Street coffee brand here] or staying home with tea and extravagant hot chocolates piled high with whipped cream. And seeing as Christmas markets and festive cups are no more, this only leaves the latter. Which is as good an excuse as any to cosy up on the sofa with a box set, right?


Just before Christmas, Adagio Teas very kindly sent me some of their Holiday Cheer range for me to try over the Christmas break. For the purposes of clarity, "holiday" in this sense has a wider meaning as the gift set also contains autumnal flavours like toffee apple and pumpkin spice, as well as traditional Christmas flavours such as chestnut, candy cane and gingerbread.

Gift set can be found here @ Adagio Teas

Each tea is individually wrapped and comes in the form of a pyramid tea bag, eliminating the need for a tea strainer (as is the case with loose leaf teas). All teas in the set are black tea and there are five of each variety, making for 30 in total. It's a great little set (I haven't seen some of these flavours before!) which would make a really lovely gift for tea lovers.


GINGERBREAD TEA


Opening this up brought back all the Christmas feels. Containing black tea, ginger, cinnamon, orange pieces and gingerbread flavouring, it was easy to see why. In all honesty, I couldn't really taste the ginger or the orange, but the cinnamon did come through and gave it a subtle spice. I'm not usually a fan of black tea, but I did like this one because it had additional flavouring so it wasn't your average black tea. Even the cat thought it smelt good.


CANDY CANE TEA


I was intrigued by this one - plus you can't really get any more festive than candy canes! Again this called for 5 minutes steeping time, and as well as black tea, this contained candy cane pieces (yes really) and peppermint flavouring. I expected this tea to smell of mint whilst brewing, but to me this was more like liquorice (I didn't really get a minty scent from the initial opening either). I was a little nervous about this one as I don't like traditional black tea OR mint tea, however I needn't have worried as the mint flavour wasn't too strong. Initial tasting brings a very subtle mint flavour, then out of nowhere cleverly comes a cooling sensation in your mouth like you would get with a peppermint candy cane. Our cats love anything mint so Bailey just had to get involved.


CHESTNUT  TEA


Fun fact: I've never had chestnuts before or anything chestnut flavoured, so you may want to try this one for yourself and make your own verdict! The contents of the tea bag were very brown and comprised of black tea, sunflower petals (yes really!) and chestnut flavouring. I left it to brew for the recommended 5 minutes and was struck by how it filled the air with a sweet aroma. I'm not into overly sweet things, but thankfully the tea didn't taste as sweet as it smelt. All I know that is that I couldn't taste the black tea at all (which works for me as I'm not a fan of traditional black tea), meaning there must have been another flavour coming through. I cannot comment on whether this flavour was chestnut or not, and it's hard to describe, but overall I really enjoyed the flavour. There was nothing offensive about it and it covered the traditional strong black tea taste which earned two thumbs up from me!

PUMPKIN SPICE TEA


What hit me first was how amazing this tea smelt - both in the tea bag and when brewing in my tea cup (perhaps thanks to the addition of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin flavor to the black tea mix). It had that wonderful autumnal smell that you associate with Halloween and the lead up to Christmas. I expected such a strong scent to be more subtle in taste, however the cinnamon and pumpkin both really came through and held their own against the black tea (an achievement in itself). The benefit? A much healthier alternative to spiced pumpkin lattes with huge dollops of cream!

.... and apologies in advance: I lost the pictures for these last two...  > . < 


CRANBERRY TEA

Cranberry isn't one of my favoruites (although Body Shop did an amazing Cranberry gift set a few years back!), but the combination of black tea, cranberries, raspberry leaves and cranberry flavouring sounded intriguing. I left it to brew for -  you've guessed it - 5 minutes and there was this amazing aroma drawing me in. Admittedly this aroma reminded me more of strawberries than cranberries, but it was every bit as inviting. I was a little disappointed with this one as it didn't taste as strongly flavoured as it smelt, however saying that, it was flavorsome enough to cover the taste of traditional black tea (works for me!).

CANDY APPLE TEA

Admittedly I have never once said "you know what tea I fancy? Toffee apple!" - but reading through the ingredients (black tea, apples, cinnamon and caramel flavouring FYI), I did very much like the sound of apples paired with cinnamon (a classic). I also really admired the fact that the tea contained real, actual apple rather than apple flavouring. For this reason, I thought the apple flavour wouldn't edge its way past the black tea as apple isn't the strongest of flavours compared to black tea. I WAS WRONG. In all honesty,, I couldn't really taste any caramel or cinnamon (it did smell of these things though) but you could really taste the apple. Apple tea was a new one for me, and I really enjoyed it.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

This tea set couldn't have come at a better time because I've been enjoying many a night in and Netflix are SMASHING IT RIGHT NOW. Who else has been watching You and Bird Box? (I am addicted to You!)


Adagio Teas have very kindly offered one of my readers a holiday tea gift set of their own. The teas in the gift set don't mention any expiry dates, so you can crack them open now and at the same time save some for Halloween and next Christmas! To enter, pop on over to my Instagram, taking into account the following:

** COMPETITION CLOSED **

* Tea set and teas very kindly provided by Adagio Teas for review purposes, but as ever, all opinions are my own. I also have another set for one lucky reader (for more details, read above or head on over to my Insta)

Monday, 31 December 2018

47 things I was thankful for in 2018

What a great year for Curiouser and Curiouser! I said in last year's review here how I wanted to do more this year and more is an understatement! The start of the year is usually a pretty quiet time for campaigns and collaborations as some companies' new financial year doesn't start until a few months in so I didn't expect anything much to happen. However right from the offset of 2018 I was kept busy. Not too much, but certainly enough to sink my teeth into. Curiouser and Curiouser had an incredible journey in 2018 and with that, a review of 2018 and 47 things I was thankful for.

January
  • I attended Fast and Furious Live at the London premiere opening night where it was opened by none other than Vin Diesel himself! (car videos on my Instagram here and here)
  • Wrote a style guide here about how to take your outfit from day to night with an item kindly gifted from Simply Be.
  • Had a bit of a shambles with my first ever Deliveroo order which I wrote about here. It's safe to say that I haven't ordered from Deliveroo since!
February
  • Went through my Gran Canaria photos and wrote this Gran Canaria travel guide in collaboration with Holiday Gems.
  • 2018 was the year I geared my content more towards my passion for interiors and dipped my toe in the water with this interiors post which Prestige Flowers very kindly supplied me with beautiful flowers for.


March
  • I attended the Ideal Home Show and swooned over this bathroom and this pink kitchen 
  • For the first couple of months of the year I was trialing a new evening routine which worked wonders. I wrote a guide on it here and reading before bed instead of watching TV was a big part of it. 
  • I re-ignited my love of reading and started reading every night. In the first few months I got through more books than I ever imagined and discovered so many new authors. I wrote my first book review for Driven by Dane Cobain which can be found here
  • I embarrassingly only got around to publishing my "what I got for Christmas" post in March here. You know what it's like. You write something. It sits in your drafts for a hot minute (in my case, months) and you're left wondering whether to publish or not. 
April
  • I visited a restaurant I'd been wanting to try for ages - Granary Square Brasserie -  and fell in love with the interiors which I wrote about here
  • April was colder and wetter than hoped (those April showers though) and I lived in boots. I wrote a style guide here on five ways how to style knee high boots for which XYLONDON very kindly provided boots for

May
  • May was my one of my busiest months and also my birthday month!
  • I attended Rose Festival with Cyprus Tourism which you can read about here
  • I reviewed the prettiest rose gold headphones (head here for my review and a 15% discount!)
  • Hello sunny May Bank Holiday! I wrote a no nonsense picnic guide here which Mateus Rose and Altruist very provided wine and sunscreen for.
  • For the second May Bank Holiday, we had rain and mesmerising lighting storms. The rubbish weather gave me a serious case of wanderlust and whilst planning where to travel to next, I wrote a holiday outfit guide here
  • I went back to the Gilbert Scott which I wrote about previously here. This time I had the dreamiest of desserts as seen here
  • I went to a Madeira Tourism event hosted by Pestana Hotels and fell in love with Madeira even more (my urge to visit intensified after seeing Madeira featured on Travel Man). 


June
  • June I dubbed as interiors month as it was the busiest month for interiors events and campaigns!
  • I attended a Sweetpea and Willow event which I wrote about here and was BLOWN AWAY. So many beautiful homeware pieces 
  • I won tickets to the launch night of Emily @ The Pink House's collab with Sofas & Stuff. I went with one of my besties Chiara and we swooned over this chair and this chair. Apparently there was a lipstick goodie bag which I only found out about when I got home. Sad times. 
  • I attended a Life Kitchens event where I met the lovely Tanya for the first time. It was an evening of swoon-worthy kitchens and wonderful food which I wrote about here
  • I wrote about how to transform a room from bland and boring to bold and beautiful here in collaboration with Wallsauce
  • I tried my first ever escape room at Lock'd with Tanya who I met at the Life Kitchens event
  • I was spoilt rotten by the lovely Adagio Teas team and wrote about their amazing range of teas here


July
  • I originally hoped to say "went to a dreamy bloggers supper club" but the truth and harsh reality of it I wrote about here
  • I experienced a serious case of wanderlust after writing this piece about dreamy travel destinations in association with Destination2
  • I discovered a great life hack and went to the zoo for a mere 90p which I wrote about here


August
  • Mr Curiouser & Curiouser turned male model for Jacamo and graced his face for the first time here
  • Mr Curiouser & Curiouser and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary which I wrote about here
  • In the height of summer I received an incredible parcel packaged in ice and filled with pies, sausages and pastries from Wild & Game. I used some of the sausages in an incredible stew which I wrote a recipe for here and then a salad type thing which I wrote a recipe for here
September
  • I took a cheeky trip to York at the end of August and wrote about the hotel here and food here (York travel guide to follow!)
  • I discovered that the charity Sue Ryder 1) has an online shop here and 2) has an amazing homeware collection which I wrote about here 


October
  • I saw Enrique Iglesias perform and still can't believe how close we were! (video evidence here)
  • I wrote a couples gift guide here with some items very kindly gifted from Find Me A Gift 
  • I wrote about the homeware pieces making me happy here
  • I went for wine and food pairing with a difference and wrote about it here


November
  • I reviewed a lovely Japanese and Peruvian fusion restaurant and also a fish restaurant (reviews for both coming soon!)
  • I was invited to a special media-only Jack the Ripper walking tour which I wrote about here
  • I reminisced about The Circle here, still swooning about the interior decor
  • I discovered the beauty that is Friuli Venezia Giulia which I wrote about here
  • Booked my honeymoon FINALLY
  • I attended the Vuelio Blog Awards and donned my glad rags as seen here

December
  • December was a busy month of events. Fully burnt out, I fell ill meaning that the latter side of December was an enforced quieter one (boo). Luckily I recovered in time for Christmas!
  • Being ill, I didn't have time to compile my usual Christmas gift guides so solely focused on Nightire pyjamas this year here.
  • Before I fell ill I participated in a really fun cookery event held at L'Atelier des Chefs in association with NEFF and Currys PCWorld. I wrote a guide on the event and how not to make a gingerbread house here
  • Other than that, December involved festive shirts (as seen here) and eating my weight in cheese (because Christmas isn't Christmas without a cheese board!)

SUMMARY

One thing I was proud of in 2018 is how I managed to grow both my Twitter and Instagram channels. I did this through just being myself. No giveaways. No buying of followers. No follow unfollow nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I still don't have a particularly high following on Instagram and get ignored for all the exciting campaigns requiring 10k+ followers (lol), but that's fine by me. These days it's so difficult to know whose Instagram following and engagement is legit, and you know what? Brands and PRs are starting to wise up to the fact. I am truly grateful for every opportunity that comes my way and for all the brands and PR companies that see past the numbers and approach me because they like me for me / my photography / my writing style.

In 2019 I hope to:

  • get back into vlogging. I started earlier this year, lost my camera (doh!) and have only recently re-found said camera
  • FINALLY get some wedding posts up for you and share my incredible engagement story with you all
  • and last but not least... I am beyond excited to be heading to the Maldives in 2019 so should have some exciting travel content coming your way!

A huge thank you to everyone who reads this little space of mine and for your continued support. Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! x