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The Old House: Summer 2016 Cocktail Menu

Thursday, 28 July 2016
I've been to The Old House a couple of times for drinks and food and always really enjoyed it, the decor is lovely and the atmosphere is always really good, so when Nick and I was invited along to try out the new summer cocktail menu, I was intrigued to see what they had on offer!

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

When we arrived we had a browse of the new menu and straight away I noticed that they are music themed, alot of the names are music inspired which I thought was quite fun. Nick decided on a Disco Slushie 2000 which tasted exactly like skittles and really does look like a slushie, this was really good and I was glad we tried it because next time we find ourselves in there I will be trying it again! I decided to go for Only the Tobleronley which had so much stuff in it, but it was basically chocolatey, creamy, honey and coffee goodness. It didn't taste like a Toblerone like I imagined but it still tasted pretty good.

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

After we'd drank our first cocktails we were treated to a selection of food from the new summer menu, which I don't think is out yet, but it came out and so many people were looking round at our table, lets face it, the presentation was pretty impressive! I loved the slate cake tier, it looked really cool and made me think about buying one for home! tehe. There was everything from scotch eggs, quiche, pork pie, fish and chips and a little pot of pomegranate and mango salsa which was my absolute favourite, it was so fresh and tasty, I really need to eat more mango in salads!

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

Then to finish up we had another round of cocktails, of course! I went for a Passion Fruit Caipirinha which came with flaming passion fruit on top, which was pretty cool! This tasted so frikkin good, I love passion fruit and I love sweet things full stop so this was the perfect combo.

sweet allure The Old House summer 2016 cocktail menu alcohol food booze drinks

I was gutted we couldn't stay longer and try more of the cocktails but we were driving home so had to be good! I guess it means we'll just have to go back and try some more on a date night some time! I really thought all the cocktails were super tasty and the presentation was really good, they were all quite colourful and vibrant, which is exactly what you expect from a good cocktail.

The Old House is owned by the same people as The Forum, who put on a cocktail masterclass not long ago that I loved, we were invited to make a bunch of cocktails and learn a little more about the brewery, which was such a fun night! I really need to go back and try some more of the new menu, there was a chocolate orange one that has my name written all over it!

Note to self: drink more cocktails.

Have you tried the new menu? What's your favourite cocktail in general? I'd love to know in the comments so it gives me an excuse to go out try some more of your suggestions!

Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment*.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Hello ladies and gentlemen, you've probably come here because the title of this post says bedroom and I don't blame you, I would totally have clicked it too, having a nosy to see if sex is mentioned, well it's your lucky day! This post is quite a scary one for me to write but because of this reason I also think it's super important that I be brave and write about topics like this on my blog, because I want to be open and real on my little part of internet.

sweet allure Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment sex erectile dysfunction problems penis vagina

When I saw the campaign for bloggers to write about a positive bedroom environment I was initially put off and thought 'oh god what if my family or work colleagues read this?' but then I realised, this is exactly why I should be talking about this kind of thing, it needs to be something that can be talked about openly, free from judgement and negativity, so I put my name down. This post is basically going to be talking about my top tip for making a more comfortable and open bedroom environment possible and why I think it's important.

Sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, have I said it enough in this post now to make it not weird yet? Good, so lets crack on.

Sex is completely normal, single, married, gay, straight, young or old, sex is a very normal and healthy part of life and relationships. It's certainly not like all the magical romantic scenes we see in the movies where it's raining and Ryan Gosling sweeps us off our feet and we make love in some gorgeous town house on some blankets, in fact sex can be kinda gross when you actually think about it. But what's important is that it's healthy to enjoy it and want to  have it.

It's all very normal to have problems in the bedroom, erectile dysfunction is very common, with a quarter of men under 40 suffering with it, so unlike what Rachel from Friends says, it is common, it can happen to any guy and it's not a big deal. Women can also suffer from problems just as often as men. It's very common and can be effected by so many things, from stress, anxiety, depression to medication, tiredness and alcohol, so many things effect our sexy time from time to time which is why it's so important to have an open mind in the bedroom.

My first tip is to talk about it. If you have a partner and you are worried or embarrassed about it, just talk about it, you shouldn't feel bad about something that you can't control. By talking to your partner, a friend, your parents, a doctor, it makes it so much easier to deal with. Being open about these things help get rid of the pressure around these topics, it helps your partner understand whats going on and talk through your worries or anxieties. I know when I'm having a problem, at work, in life or in the bedroom, talking to Nick about it makes me feel better, he's reassuring and understanding and it helps clear my head of all silly thoughts I was having, which hopefully means next time it'll be better knowing he understands.

It's also important to talk to a doctor if you are having persistent issues as there might be underlying problems that you need to have diagnosed but again a doctor is someone you should feel confident confiding in, they do not judge you, they just want to help. However you can buy sildenafil aka Viagra over the counter medicine for erectile dysfunction to help get things going in the trouser department if it's a one off occurrence. It might help you with the occasional problems and help gain some of you confidence back, but remember to always talk to a doctor if the problem persists.

This also goes without saying that if your partner/friend wants to talk about the problem with you then take time to listen, talking about personal topics can be scary and knowing they can talk openly about something that is embarrassing without judgement is really important. I am always here to listen to my friends problems and I would never judge them, it's so so important.

I just think it's really important we start talking about issues like this more openly and help to break down the stigma's we have around bedroom problems. It's very normal and more people might feel that way if it was talked about more often and not laughed at, even if it is one blog post at a time! 

If you take one thing from reading this post, just know that sex is awesome and by talking about and removing the stigmas and pressures around preforming in the bedroom, more people could be having great sex!

sweet allure Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment sex erectile dysfunction problems penis vagina

*This is in collaboration with Europharmacy, but all thoughts and opinions are always my own. I genuinely wanted to talk about these issues to help break down the stigmas around bedroom issues. 

Sunday Sitdown #10

Sunday, 24 July 2016
It's Sunday and I'm awake writing this at 8am, damn the stupid hot weather but i've got so much to talk about that I just really wanted to get writing a post!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

The first thing I want to talk about is my lovely friend Holly's baby shower, I can't believe how fast the last 8 months have flown by and I can't wait to meet the baby! The baby shower was absolutely wonderful, all of the food was incredible and beautiful, I mean just look at these biscuits and the cakes!! I know who I'll be getting to plan my baby shower when I eventually pop out some kids, hint hint Holly. It was just such a lovely afternoon playing games, chatting to people, eating some food and the weather was perfect for it too, I even got a little sun burnt, silly me! 

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Whilst I was at the baby shower Nick was off on his stag do in Leeds, which is a little surreal, I don't think it's quite sunk in yet that we're getting married despite talking about it so much, that it was very odd to think he was off on his stag do. I'm dreading what state he'll come back in this afternoon, I think we might be having an afternoon of laying on the sofa watching films and eating pizza so he can recover which is totally fine by me, sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon chill.

Speaking of weddings, this month was also the month that I finally went out with my friend Gemma to buy my wedding dress materials and start putting the dress together. I am SO excited about this, I was really struggling to visualise what I wanted in my head and finally seeing the materials and the shape coming together makes me so excited, I can't wait to try it on and walk around all floaty! I'll be keeping you up to date on wedding things very soon so you won't have to wait long now I promise!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Then over on my blog I recently did a post about starting an art journal and the response I've had from this post has been overwhelming, thank you so much for all of the nice feedback! I've had so many people ask me to start making prints, so I think over the next couple of weeks I'll be putting together a selection to go up in an etsy store to share with you all and see how things go! I've just really enjoyed drawing and painting again so it's just so wonderful that everyone else likes my work too! Also let me know which one you prefer, the flamingo or the cacti in the comments!

I also had a meeting with all the other TheCityGirls ladies about the event we are planning for later in the year which was very exciting! I'm sure we'll have things to share with you all soon but the meeting went really well and I can't wait to have some things set in stone so we can share some sneak peaks! I think you are going to love it!

So as you can see the last couple of weeks have been quite busy, so much going on in real life and on the blog but it's all so exciting. I'm really excited about doing an etsy shop, it's a new challenge that I'm ready and raring to take on! I will let you all know when I open it!

Until then, I'm going to go scrape together some breakfast from whatever is hanging around in the fridge, make a cup of tea and watch some TV. I hope you enjoy your Sunday and see you on Tuesday!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

I Finally Re-learnt To Drive*.

Saturday, 23 July 2016
Ever since I passed my test almost 10 years ago (sheesh!) I've always missed the freedom driving gave me, I absolutely loved learning to drive, I had such a fun instructor that I got on really well with (banter!) and all I could think about was the road trip adventures I'd go on once I passed.

sweet allure I Finally Re-learnt To Drive driving learning adventures car cars

It took me quite a few lessons before I was confident enough to go for my test, I think I was ready for a good 10 or so lessons before I decided to give the test a go but I was so nervous I decided to just carry on anyway. I feel like my test had everything a learner dreaded, I had an awful and hella steep reverse around a corner and I also had to do an emergency stop, which I always struggled with for some reason, but I passed with flying colours on my first time and I was excited about potential summer adventures.

But, inevitably real life got in the way, I was 17 and couldn't afford a car never mind the crazy high cost of insurance at that age and months turns into years and then I moved to London for university and you have to be crazy to want to drive there. Before I knew it I was 26 and hadn't driven a car for almost a decade. I felt like if I didn't start again soon I might never do it, so I decided last year to change this.

I've mentioned it a few times here on my blog but over the last few months I've been re-learning to drive which has been such a terrifying yet exciting experience. The first few times I went out with Nick (who was absolutely crapping his pants) for a few spins around the block to get me used to it again. I was designated driver over Christmas to take advantage of the almost car-less roads to get accustomed to the car and the roads in general which soon turned into the occasional commute to and from work.

It wasn't until a couple of months I took the ultimate leap and went out in the car by myself, for the first time ever, and drove myself to and from the train station so that I didn't have to get Nick up at 7am on a Saturday. It was absolutely terrifying and I think I  must have sweated buckets but getting there and back in one piece felt so incredible it was unreal, I text my dad straight away with excitement (yes I'm still that girl that texts her dad immediately after she does something cool) and I've been doing solo journeys here and there since.

I can't wait to be confident enough to tackle the motorway, which scares me but only because I've never done it before, so that I can go on more road trips, visit friends and go home to see my family more often. Driving gives me such freedom around when I can leave or arrive, I'm not restricted to the time tables of the trains or buses, public transport is one of the things I hate in life, I hate smelly rammed buses, am I the only one that gets 'the weirdo' always come and sit next to them? At least with driving the only weirdo I have to sit next to is Nick, hur hur!

I think the first trip I want to be brave enough to do is to vist Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the KAWS exhibition, which I've been wanting to go to for aggeessss. It ends in December so I've got plenty of time to work up the courage, eek!

Are you learning to drive? Or just really enjoy road trips? Let me know in the comments!

sweet allure I Finally Re-learnt To Drive driving learning adventures car cars

*This post is in collaboration with BookLearnPass, which has all of your learning to drive needs covered but as always, all thoughts, opinions and lame jokes are my own.

Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings

Tuesday, 19 July 2016
I asked recently via a Twitter poll what you, my readers, would love me to write next and Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings was the winner, so here I am, giving the people what they want!

If you've been following me over the last 7 or 8 months you'll have seen a running theme around here about how skint I've been, with buying our first home 1 year ago and planning our wedding, money is just a fleeting number in our bank accounts each month. However the reason why we can afford these things is because about 2 years ago I did a complete overhaul on our finances, which is what I'm going to be talking to you about in this post.

I'm going to write a little disclaimer here just in case, but these might be tips that work for some of you and wont work for others, but these are what helped us personally. I really hope you can take something from this post!

Sweet allure Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings saving reduce tricks bills money

The first thing I did was sat down with our bank accounts and figured out exactly how much our outgoings were, the first and most important are the bills because obviously they need paying first. Secondly we looked at the things we were paying for that were for pleasure, for example, Netflix, Spotify and game subscriptions etc. I highly recommend you do this to help see where your money is going and what things you don't need to be paying for or don't use anymore.

Once we had all of our bills in plain sight with exact amounts, I decided to look over some things. The first thing we noticed is that we were paying for our electricity every quarter (we only had electric at the apartment if you were wondering about gas). I looked over our bills and rang them up to make sure we were on the cheapest tariff and decided to switch to paying a direct debit amount every month. This was just an easier way to keep track of how much we were paying out month by month and wasn't a huge shock when we suddenly had to fork out a lump sum every quarter. If you end up paying too much on a direct debit you get refunded your over payments and they reduce your direct debit accordingly after 6-12 months.

This is something you should do with all of your bills, look over them and make sure you are getting the best deal possible, if you are single and living alone make sure you are taking advantage of 25% council tax discount. Same goes for car insurance, house insurance, etc etc make sure you find a comparison website and see if you can be getting a better deal and switch, don't be paying over the odds for things that you can get for cheaper, this is a great way to save some serious £££.

Then the next step is to do the same with your pleasure outgoings, do you have some old subscriptions to things that you didn't realise you were still paying for? I decided to stop paying £10 for my Spotify when I could sit and listen to 30 seconds of adverts and Nick decided to stop paying for his Wow sub. I only recently noticed that you can reduce your Netflix account too, I think it defaults to two devices, which if you only ever watch it on your TV you can knock a couple of quid off your bill from that too by switching in your settings to just 1 device! Which also leads me to my TV Licence, I spoke to the TV Licence people and they said because I only watch Netflix, which is pre-recorded, that means I don't need to pay for a TV Licence. So if this is something you do too, you might be able to save yourself some cash also.

The next thing that really helped reduce our outgoings was meal planning. Meal planning is amazing. If you haven't thought about this before then you really should. Planning your monthly meals means you don't need to nip to the shops as often and risk splurging out on all those pesky deals! The amount of times we've been to the shop for a handful of things and come out with bags of things we didn't need because we were tempted by chocolate, crisps, pop etc and all of these purchases soon add up. I also find Poundland is amazing for toiletries, stop paying £4 for a tube of toothpaste in Boots when you can get the exact same thing for £1. We still buy things like kitchen roll and hand wash from here because it's so much cheaper.

Another thing I've discovered is cashback websites, when you do have to fork out some cash on something new or expensive, like a new washer or fridge for example, you can find the best deals and get cash back from those big purchases. It might not seem worth it for one off things but if you make a few little purchases over the year it soon adds up! I cashed out £80 last year that was completely free, I was spending money on those things anyway but I get £80 back by going through cashback sites, which is amazing. Every time I plan on buying something online I always just go through the cashback website to see if there is a deal first, you can even get it on things like Just Eat, so it's completely worth having a look and building up some £££.

I've rambled on for quite awhile with this one, but the main thing really is to use your common sense. Research your purchases before buying something, keep a look out for better deals on your bills and really consider little things, like if Spotify is really worth paying £10 for or if you can stand listening to a few adverts once in awhile. All of these things helped Nick and I save a couple of hundred pounds a month which we then put into our savings account to help towards house deposits and wedding things.

I really hope this post helped in some way or another and that you end up reducing your bills and saving some cash to put towards something more exciting than bills! Let me know in the comments if you have anymore tips or if you found this helpful!

Sweet allure Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings saving reduce tricks bills money

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Living on a budget: Where to start?

I Decided To Start An Art Journal.

Monday, 18 July 2016
During a recent browse on twitter I came across a post by FoundSomePaper about staying creative with an art journal and I don't know if it's just me feeling super inspired recently but I had an overwhelming urge to start drawing again. So at lunch time that day I went out and bought a cheap little notebook from Paperchase and started doodling again.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles watermelon fun hobby

For as long as I can remember I've always been creative, ever since my grandma taught me to knit when I was in junior school I've been obsessed with everything arty. I draw, paint, knit, cross stitch, collage, photograph, write, you name it, i've tried it. During my college years I did a double A-level in Art and I was opened up to the world of continuous line drawing, this is basically a drawing technique where you never take your pen/pencil off the paper when you are drawing. It was something that I just immediately fell in love with and it's one of those style that i'm always drawn to and always go back to when sketching, I just love the sketchy look that doesn't look super perfect and finished.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles icrecream ice lolly fun hobby

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles bananas fun hobby

Why am I telling you all this? Well because I've decided to challenge myself and attempt to do a drawing every single day. They don't have to be something super big or crazy, they'll be the odd days where they are really simple and cute but I really want to let my creative art side out much more than just through my writing. So I plan on sharing these images with you as I slowly fill the pages with fun and silly things.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles icecream cone icecreamcone fun hobby

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles dougnut donut sprinkles fun hobby

They will be mostly coloured with watercolours, as I personally find that watercolours and continuous line drawing really suit each other in the messy not quite perfect sense and I really enjoy working with watercolours as a medium. So, I thought I'd share my first weeks worth of pieces with you because sharing is caring and I hope that it might inspire you to start something creative or re-kindle a passion with an art form you've neglected for far too long. Life is too short to forget about hobbies you love doing! Also can you spot the reoccurring theme here? I think I might be slightly obsessed with bright coloured food! ha ha.

I really hope you've liked the start of my new art journal and if you are interested in continuing to see
updates from it, please let me know in the comments! Also please leave any suggestions as what to draw, as I need to challenge myself and try thing out of my comfort zone!

Update: For those of you interested in buying prints, I have now opened an Etsy store with these prints available! Sweetallureshop

Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On.

Saturday, 16 July 2016
When this post goes live it'll be 1 year since buying our own house which I have to say is a pretty crazy thought! Not only has the last year gone super quickly but it's starting to feel more like home. 

sweet allure Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On homeware interiors lifestyle blog owners first time buyers

If you read my last post, 6 months on, you'll know that I was finding it hard to settle in and get that feeling of home. I feel like putting our own stamp on the place has really started to help with these feelings, we've pretty much made the living room exactly how we want it, it's just a matter of working round all the other rooms now and fixing them up.

I know this is a process that probably will never feel complete or fulfilled because I'll always be wanting to do things to the house like adding little touches here and there but after awhile it really has become the place that I can't wait to come back to after work and just relax.

It hasn't all been rainbows and butterflies though, for those first time buyers out there I'm sure this is a common issue but they're lots of things that have gone wrong along the way that we've had to fork out to fix. Not only did we have to buy a whole new set of kitchen appliances when we moved in, the boiler and the old dishwasher broke so we had to repair those. We're also having problems with our guttering at the minute that we're having fixed this weekend, the last thing we want is damp! And to be completely honest, there are still some things we haven't properly unpacked yet and we still have a spare room that you can barely get into because of all the stuff just dumped in there! I am getting to the stages where I'm wanting to sort through things now and really make the most out of our awesome house!

Although we are deep in the mist of paying for our wedding right now, one thing that does excite me about next year is having the funds to start doing the rest of the house up. The next room we really have to sort is the bedroom which is still quite literally a white shell, it has no personality stamp on it what so ever and I can't wait to buy a new bed, loads of fun bed sheets and cushions and really make it more homely. I also can't wait to have all of our wedding photos hanging around the house, that will for sure fill up all of the blank walls and shelves! I mean what else is a wedding for right?

I'm still so happy that we made the big leap from renting to buying our own home, it feels so much better knowing we are paying towards something we'll eventually own and not just wasting money on rent, especially when our mortgage is only £140 more than what our rent was anyway! I'm not about to preach and say this is something you should do because everyone is different but it felt like the right thing to do for us as a couple and we have absolutely no regrets.

It's also an amazing feeling knowing you can do what you want to the place without the restrictions of renting. We can hang what we like, paint what we like and no-one can say otherwise! It's a very liberating feeling after living in rented accommodation for almost 10 years!

Have you recently bought your first home? Or are you saving so you can one day do so? Let me know in the comments!

sweet allure Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On homeware interiors lifestyle blog owners first time buyers

Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Remember back when I did my To Highlight or Not to Highlight post and I was approximately 100 years behind the trend? Well that wasn't a one time occurrence, it's basically describes my entire life, liquid lipsticks included.

I've been contemplating getting a liquid lipstick from either Kat Von D or Jeffree Star for a long long time and when JS released Rose Matter it was a shade I was immediately drawn to and after some scrolling online I did an impulse purchase, which never really happens for me with beauty products...take away food yes..but beauty products...never!

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan

So what appealed to me about this one enough to buy it? I just really liked the colour of Rose Matter, it's a pretty standard colour, nothing too out there which is what you normally get with the JS range, and all the swatches I'd seen online looked really pretty. It definitely seemed like a colour I could wear and not feel really self conscious about. It probably helped that I'd been really into watching JS's YouTube channel, binge watching if you will. So I decided to take the plunge.

So ordering just one lipstick cost me about £20 with the postage included, the package arrived quite quickly, I think it arrived in just over a week, which isn't bad really coming all the way from America. I didn't have to pay any import tax but then I only ordered one, so if you are ordering more than one, I'd do some research in case you get taxed.

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan

First impressions are that I really like the packaging, its very bright and pink but I quite like that, it stands out on my make-up table! The wand is quite bendy and easy to use, having a flexible wand makes it much easier to apply. I have to admit that I don't really like the smell of this, it's quite strong and sweet smelling, I prefer to have products without any smells because if I don't like the smell it tends to put me off using it!

Now, I absolutely suck at applying this, I have a really thin upper lip and I think liquid lipstick just highlights that rather than makes it look better. I also think this would be much better with a lip pencil to line your lips, I just don't have any pencils that would match this shade! It does dry down really matte and isn't drying at all. The colour stays on my lips for hours and it only came off after eating something properly for dinner, it lasted through my lunch at work and sipping water throughout the day!

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan
This is freshly applied so still has a sheen but does dry completely matte, I  promise! 

I'm honestly not even sure this colour suits me which is a huge disappointment after having splurged on it and waiting for it to arrive. I'm going to keep wearing it when I feel brave enough and maybe i'll eventually get used to wearing more of a bright colour. I do think buying a lip pencil will help because it'll make applying it much easier, it's hard to make a liquid lipstick look amazing on your lips when they aren't lined!

After taking the photos for this blog post I have noticed that if you pay really close attention you can notice very tiny tiny speckles of glitter, which is cute but you'd never actually notice!

I can honestly say this wasn't worth the splurge, the colour is beautiful but I just don't think it suits me personally, which is such a shame. It certainly looks darker on me than the lighter coral shade that shows on JS's website, so if you do order please make sure you research some other swatches online!

Let me know your liquid lipstick recommendations as I would love to try some other brands and hopefully find the one that converts me!

* This post went live before all the recent issues surrounding Jeffree Star and I will not be endorsing his product from now on.

8 Things I Learnt From Re-Watching How I Met Your Mother.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
I want to put my hands up here and say How I Met Your Mother is one of my favourite TV programmes and I've pretty much watched through the entire series 3-4 times. During the recent watch through I noticed/learnt a few things that I had never really paid attention to before, which is always interesting when you've seen something so many times!

Sweet allure 8 Things I Learnt From Re-Watching How I Met Your Mother.  tv film netflix opinions

01. Ted is pretty annoying.
There is always one character out of a group that you like the least and for me it's always Ted. He's really whiny and miserable and his whole life seems to revolve around getting 'the girl'. I understand that is pretty much the entire premise of the show but he doesn't need to be so smarmy about it.

02. Barney is brilliant.
Now I'm all against sexism and women being viewed as objects, but it's a TV show and Barney is hilarious. The writers are so creative with his character and Neil Patrick Harris plays the role perfectly. Who hasn't said 'Legendary' or 'Haaaaveeee you met Ted?'. Classics.

03. Lily Pad and Marsh Mellow are goals.
Some people probably find Lily and Marshal really cheesy and gross but I absolutely adore them. They're such a great couple together, they really work together as a team and truly love each other. Even when Lily does a runner one season we all knew she'd be back and everything will be back to gooey goodness. I wish I could get pancakes made for me every Sunday!

04. There is a whole season where Lily just disappears.
I think the actress Alyson Hannigan was pregnant for this season and she just wasn't it for some reason. I'd never noticed before but once you notice its so blatantly obvious. She's just not there or she's in the odd episode for about 3 minutes at a time and it just all looks really odd and Marshal doesn't seem to mention her being away or anything. Which leads me onto my next point..

05. Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smoulders are both heavily pregnant during Season 4. 
Again this is something you might not notice for the first couple of watches but once I noticed it, it was really hard to un-see it. Basically for the entire of Season 4 both actresses were heavily pregnant and the costume designers do a fab job of covering it up! Alyson is the more obvious of the two as she's so tiny and she suddenly wears very baggy clothes and things are very conveniently placed in front of her during shots! But look out for it if you've never noticed before!

06. The episode Barney sings about suits is my favourite.
Ever since I saw this episode it's always been my favourite. Anything kind of musical-esque wins my heart over and a comical song about suits? What's not to love, seriously. YouTube it.

07. The 'mothers' story is very short and sad.
After so much build up throughout the seasons, you do eventually meet the mother of Ted's children however she is a very brief part of the show and without spoilers, isn't around for very long. I feel like this is such a disappointment. You are just left wanting to get to know her a little better which is probably why they did it this way, but it certainly leave the viewers a little underwhelmed after 9 season of finding her.

08. The ending is very disappointing and predictable.
I was very disappointed with the ending to the TV show. It's also very predictable.. It's one of those things that was pretty much set up from the beginning of the show, I do wonder if they just ran out of ideas of what to do and just did a Lost and just went with the boring predictable option. The first time around watching the series I actually saw a spoiler for the ending accidentally and just stopped watching it because I was so disappointed but I soldiered through recently and was as disappointed as I expected I would be.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I always love writing these type of posts because watching TV series and talking about them is basically my favourite hobby.

Please let me know if you've noticed anything that I haven't! I love hearing peoples opinions on TV and film.

If you've enjoyed this post you might also enjoy the following;
8 Things I Learnt From Re-watching Sex and the City.
3 Disappointing Moments from the Harry Potter Series
7 Things I Learnt From Re-watching Twilight 

Meadowhall Illamasqua Vegan Event.

Sunday, 10 July 2016
When I got invited to the Illamasqua Vegan event in Meadowhall, I was quite excited to learn about some more cruelty free products. I'd heard of Illamasqua before but I've never tried any of their products, so it was a good chance to get to know the products and the brand a little better. They have recently been approved by PETA and the event was to highlight the products that were fully vegan.

Around a year ago, not long after starting my blog I decided to go cruelty free. This is something I thought would be a really hard transition but it actually turned out to be a pretty easy swap over. There are so many amazing cruelty free brands around that I've discovered and so many amazing products, it's good to know you can still look incredible and animals haven't suffered for the privilege.

sweet allure Meadowhall Illamasqua Vegan Event.  peta cruelty free beauty make

Upon arrival we were welcomed with strawberries and marshmallows and then we were offered some elder flower juice, I love all three of these things so it was lovely to have a little snack and of course they were all vegan.

We were then shown two make up looks with the vegan products. The first was a more toned down natural look for everyday and second was a bunny inspired look, for those that don't know a bunny is the logo for PETA, so it fitted the theme of the event nicely.

sweet allure Meadowhall Illamasqua Vegan Event.  peta cruelty free beauty make
Thank you to Aimee - for letting me use her image as mine didn't come out great!

I really loved this second look, obviously it's not an everyday look unless you are into something a little out there but I really really liked the flick of white at the end of the eyelashes, I thought it was really cute and really made the eye area stand out more. I also loved the white freckles, I'm a big lover of freckles and I thought this was such a lovely little twist. I just really enjoyed the whole look in general, it was really fun and nothing i'd seen before. Maybe it'll inspire me to try something new!

After the demo's I had a look around the products because like I said previously I've never actually seen any of the ranges before. I'm always drawn to the foundations and the lipsticks and I accidentally fell in love with two lipsticks called Climax and Scandal. I think after the wedding and the spending ban is lifted I'm going to head back and try a few things out.

Until then though we were all lucky enough to get given a little goodie bag with a black eyeliner and a primer which I can't wait to try out, I swatched the eyeliner on my hand and it's a really thin and precise line and very waterproof, I had to use cleanser to get it off because it wouldn't budge! So keep an eye out for a review of those soon!

I love going to events, especially for cruelty free brands so I can add them to my list of brands to try. Please let me know if you've tried Illamasqua , what your thoughts are or your favourite products as I would love to know!

Life Lately: A Little Update.

Saturday, 9 July 2016
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this post but I've been feeling a little shitty about a few things recently and writing a post feels very therapeutic sometimes, so that's what i'm going to do.

Life Lately: A Little Update. chat chatty wedding catch up stress

I've felt really stressed out and 'on edge' recently, I've never been to the doctors or really thought I suffer with anxiety but recently I've been feeling really on edge, like I'm balancing on the edge of something that some days feels too much and other days I can just about cope with.

The main focus of my stress is money, I've spoken a little about our money situation in this post about living on a budget, we are getting married at the end of October this year and it's quite literally taking all of our money to pay for it. At least twice a week I go over everything for our budget and nothing ever changes, it's costing a fortune and sometimes I honestly believe we won't afford it. The stress of worrying over every single little thing that comes out of the bank and thinking about everything that could go wrong between now and October pretty much takes up all of my head space. We're both just exhausted from worrying, worrying about money, worrying about not being able to afford it and some of the time it takes over so much that we just think 'what are we doing?'.

This makes me sad, I can't wait to marry Nick, I really can't but sometimes the stress of everything just tops that excitement and fear and panic takes over instead. There have been times when we've honestly just thought about forgetting all about it and running off and getting married on our own but then the logic returns and we change our minds all over again, of course we want our parents and friends there.

I have to admit one of the things that are getting me through is Christmas, I love Christmas and the thought of us having money again and being able to buy each other presents and eat amazing food really helps me. We've even discussed finally getting a puppy! I know people reading this will be like 'surely getting married to the love of your life will make it all worth it?!' and yes, 100% of course it will be, but when all of your stress revolves around wedding thoughts, sometimes it's nice to have things to look forward to that aren't about the wedding.

Last month I had the contraceptive implant, I'm going to write a post about this at some point, but basically I was always forgetting to take my pill and I certainly don't want children any time soon. However I think it's also playing havoc with my hormones which certainly doesn't help when I'm trying not to lose my shit constantly. I've been having some serious back and chest acne appear out of no-where, which I think is stress related but this just adds to the worry of 'how will my wedding dress look' and 'will people notice' and bleerge.

I guess this post is basically just me telling myself that it's totally okay to be stressed out about everything to do with weddings. So many people think it's all fairy lights and cake and pretty dresses and you know what, it is, but it's also laced with panic and worries about self consciousness and ultimately what makes you, as a couple, happy. I have no doubt in my mind about marrying Nick, but being able to talk about all the things that terrify me helps.

I'm terrified of having our photograph taken all day, I'm terrified of all the attention being on us, as we are both very introverted people. I'm terrified about my make-up, my hair, my dress, what if on the day I feel like shit and will be captured in photographs this way forever more. I'm terrified of speaking my vows in front of people because I basically have word dyslexia and always mess up something. I know all of these fears are irrational and I'm sure on the day none of that stuff will matter but it's all there swimming around in my brain waiting to seep out when I'm feeling low.

But then on other days I push that all to the back of my mind and know that I'm excited, I'm excited about celebrating with all our friends and family and to drink and dance and have fun and those days are the days that I'm trying to cling onto at the minute. And that in 3 and a half months time it'll all be done and we'll be looking over the photos, laughing and smiling and reading cards of love and congratulations.

Well, that escalated quickly didn't it? ha! I guess I just needed to get some things off my chest. Hopefully I'm not the only one out there that feels this way sometimes and maybe now I've let it out, my mind can rest a little and relax.

I really hope that when it comes to my next wedding update post I have a few of these things sorted and not plaguing my mind.

Thanks for listening,

My Current 3 Inspirations For Blogging

Thursday, 7 July 2016
If you've been blogging for awhile you will at some point have hit the inevitable bloggers block. As someone who tries to think of creative posts that doesn't involve buying stuff, this can be particularly tricky to get the creative juices flowing, especially as I like to post 3 times a week. So when I'm feeling like I  need some inspiration I start with the next three things that never fail me and I always come away with ideas whirling around the old noggin!

sweet allure My Current 3 Inspirations For Blogging

01. Listen to Podcasts.
As I've mentioned before in my recent top 5 favourite podcast post, I'm really into podcasts at the minute and if you combine this with blogging you have the perfect duo for inspiration. I didn't find any good blogging podcasts for a little while then all of a sudden I stumbled over a bunch that I felt I really needed to share.

Make it happen: A podcast by Jen Carrington: Jen interviews other bloggers and digital entrepreneurs and discusses all kind of topics from income, working too hard, believing in yourself, tips and tricks and generally just being awesome at doing your own thing online. This really inspires me to push myself creatively and think outside the box.

Ladies Who Lunch: This isn't a blogging podcast but it's two YouTubers talking about issues such as definitions of success, sexuality, personal identity, Feminism, online dating and so on. The topics and thoughts they have on these topics definitely inspire me to write about the things I'm passionate about and talking about more 'real issues' on my blog.

Ctrl Alt Delete: Again this an interview type of podcast, Emma interviews creatives from blogging, YouTube and Instagram. This podcast does talk about specific topics like working at Twitter, using social media and what it's like to go viral, so it's really good to pick out a topic you are interested in to learn and inspire you!

Filler: a creative industries podcast: You've probably noticed the theme already but this is again an interview style podcast, I find this one a little more varied and not specifically about blogging, which means you learn about some other creative fields.

I find learning about different kinds of topics makes me question more things, gain opinions and develop new interests which always helps get the cogs turning.

02. Take inspiration from your life.
Secondly, I love taking inspiration from my own life. Everyone has hobbies or interests and everyone's are different. I know for a fact that my interests shift all the time, sometimes I'm really into reading, or watching Netflix, other times I'm really into watching YouTube, listening to podcasts or chatting on twitter, so tailor your posts to your interests. Maybe you've just bought a new house, moved, got engaged, had surgery, suffer with mental health or started a new job, there are always things going on that you might not find interesting but could be really informative or helpful to someone else. For example I am currently in the process of planning my wedding, so I like to talk about it as it'll only happen once and people love hearing about things you do or don't want, what you've learnt or tips and tricks, it's always great to share things that help people get to know you better too, so don't be afraid to open up!

03. Write what you want to read. 
Then finally, reading other people's blogs. Now it's pretty obvious that reading other blogs can inspire you with themes or topics to talk about on your own blog however what I find inspiring is figuring out the topics in my feed that hasn't been covered, if that makes sense? So I tend to look for the missing things on my feed, the less covered topics or genres and get inspired that way. Or I see a topic that is covered more frequently but think of a way to make it different, for example my To Highlight or Not To Highlight, That is the Question post, highlighting is a very popular trend at the minute but I wanted to talk about it in a different format, a way that I hadn't seen it been talked about before.

I think this is a great way to take something you've talked about before or items you've owned for yonks but by putting a creative spin on it you can talk about it in a whole different way. Take a topic you've talked about before and do a brain storm with all the words you can think of to do with the topic and see if anything new comes up that you haven't thought about before! You can open up a bunch of new twists on old classics by just thinking outside of the box!

I really hope this post has given you some new avenues to explore if you are having a little writers block. I always find sitting down and really thinking about some of these ideas help inspire some new posts. I'm going to do some serious brain storming this weekend and get some new blog posts lined up for the coming month!

Please let me know what things inspire your blogging juices when you are feeling a little lost, as I would love to explore some new things myself!

The Importance of Defining Your Own Terms of Success.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016
I've been listening to the Ladies who Lunch podcast a lot recently and one of the topics about jealousy and envy really stood out to me. One of the things Ingrid said was that everyone has their own definition of success so we shouldn't compare ourselves to other peoples versions of success.

This is such an important topic when it comes to life and relationships but today I want to talk about this in terms of blogging.

Sweet allure The Importance of Defining Your Own Terms of Success.

The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.

Monday, 4 July 2016

When The Forum in Sheffield invited me along to the Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass event being excited was an understatement, learning to make cocktails with my blogger chums, whats not to love! 

I've been to a menu tasting event at The Forum before and it was a really good night, lovely hosts and great food and drink, so I knew it was going to be a good one!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass

Upon arrival we were greeted with a Gin & Elderflower Fizz which was really light and tasty, I love elderflower, so this was a great little start to the evening, I like the little spring of rosemary on the top, it added a little something extra smelling that as you drank it!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.

Then the first cocktail we were shown from the new menu was the Polish Espresso Martini, this is Polish vodka with coffee. For someone who isn't a massive coffee drinker this was quite strong on the coffee front, although I did enjoy it in small doses, I can imagine some people will love this at the start of a drinking session after work to perk them up a little!

After having a taste of this one we were taken for a little tour of the brewery they had next door. Firstly, I had no idea they actually had a brewery, I think it's pretty cool that they brew their own beer quite literally next door. Secondly, I think it was pretty cool getting to try some of the beer in the brewing stage, I'm not a fan of beer but I enjoyed tasting something that was brewing right in front of me. For any beer lover this is quite cool to know that something is being brewed so locally and can be purchased meer feet away.

After our little tour we were taken behind the bar to make our own Polish Espresso Martini, it was really fun getting to make some cocktails, I haven't made any since back in my uni days! I forgot how much you need to shake them at the end ha!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.
The professionals!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.
My attempt!

Then the next cocktail we were shown was the Candy Martini, this is definitely my favourite, it's very sweet but quite light and fruity. This has Licor 43 in it which is a Spanish Liqueur made from fruits and spices, then has fresh raspberries and pineapple added to it! This is such a good cocktail for summer, I can imagine drinking this out in the beer garden. I also think the added edible flower is so pretty, perfect instagrammable cocktails!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.

Then the final cocktail we were shown was the Lemon Cheesecake, I've got such a sweet tooth even when it comes to alcohol so this was also right up my street. This has Amaretto, Vodka, cream, lemon juice and Limoncello, which is a lemon liqueur, then to garnish they crumbled a digestive biscuit on the top. This is also really nice, my absolute favourite dessert is cheesecake so this was always going to be something that I love! The lemon was quite balanced with the sweet so it wasn't really bitter or anything like that. I also managed to nab a cheeky biscuit!

Sweet Allure The Forum: Bloggers Cocktail Masterclass.

Then to make this evening pretty much perfect, Amber one of the event organiser came around with a Polaroid camera to take some snaps for us to take home, anyone that has read my blog for awhile knows Polaroid photography is my jam, so this was a perfect little addition to the night!

It was really fun tasting some of the new cocktails and getting to make them all! It was fun pairing up .and having a laugh spilling booze everywhere! I do have to say that the Candy Martini is my favourite and I might be heading back one date night to have another tasting..or three.

I absolutely love cocktails, so let me know what cocktails you enjoy for the summer months!

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