Monday, 13 July 2015

Monkey Forest

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went for a day out to Monkey Forest in Trentham. I had been looking forward to this day all week; monkeys are my favourite animal! Once we excitedly arrived at the park, we were given a brief overview of the safety rules and were told that there were eleven newborn monkeys which got me even more excited! What's great about Monkey Forest is that you can see that all the monkeys are happy, free and live as they would in their natural habitats. I loved watching and observing every one of their characteristics and seeing how they communicate with one another from just a matter of feet away. 

After we had walked around the park a few times and took hundreds of photos trying to capture a good shot of one of the baby monkeys, we headed over to the picnic area for a spot of lunch. Even with a light spell of rain, the picnic was perfect and ever so yummy. How cute are the monkey biscuits!!? After our picnic, we went to watch one of the talks which discussed the monkeys' endangerment, hierarchy, and what they like to eat. We also saw the monkeys being fed and one of the baby monkeys happened to be going around stealing all the food, so cute! Before leaving, we walked around the park a couple more times to take lots of photos and spot all the baby monkeys.

Before heading back home, we stopped at Trentham Shopping Village for a little look around the shops and to get ice-cream (strawberry and raspberry ripple with marshmallows- yummy). I had such a lovely, much needed day out and would love to go to Monkey Forest again very soon. I really want to do the breakfast with monkeys experience next time! Have you been to Monkey Forest before? What's your favourite animal?


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Book review | Calm

Hello everyone,

I hope you're all well and enjoying the sunshine!

Recently, I bought the book Calm by Michael Acton Smith and thought that it was too good not to share with you! If you're feeling a little stressed and overworked or love beautifully illustrated books then this book is perfect for you. Calm focuses on the topic of mindfulness and calming the mind which is separated into eight different sections: nature, sleep, travel, relationships, work, children, creativity and food. Designed to be a source of inspiration which you can dip in and out of whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, this book encourages and inspires you to develop daily calm habits that make you become more mindful about your life and appreciate the things around you. At only £6.99 you get so much; beautiful illustrations adorn each of the pages filled with creative prompts, activities, instructions and inspiration which you can come back to time and time again. 
As I have mentioned, every page within this book is beautiful. I don't want to share too many pictures as I don't want to spoil each gem of a page for you! As you can see there are many pages filled with easy, inspirational things to make such as a mind jar, I'll be trying to do as many of these projects as I can!

The creativity chapter is my favourite chapter as it releases the inner child in me and has colouring in pages and spaces to design your own tree house and try out calligraphy - how fun does that sound!

I also really like the sleep chapter as it has many useful tips on how to have the best nights sleep and has lots of inspiring quotes like the one below. A major theme throughout the book is the importance of meditation for calming the mind and alleviating any stresses and worries. The book goes hand in hand with the Calm app which you can download on your phone or use on the computer. This app allows you to meditate any time whether that be for two minutes or twenty. I find this very useful for times when I need to take a break for a minute and it's a great way to start the day, providing me with a positive mindset to carry out all the tasks ahead.

This book would make a lovely surprise gift for a friend or family member and for such a good price it would be silly not to get one for yourself too! Have you read this book? What's your favourite quote?


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Father's day gift guide + giveaway!

Hello everyone,

Father's day is just around the corner and if you're anything like me and have no idea what to get for your dad then you have come to the right place. I hope my gift guide gives you a little inspiration! 

For dads who love to read or make lists, listography books are a great gift idea if you have a smaller budget. I'd recommend either the film or music listography book. Each page is filled with beautiful illustration and space to write lists including 'your favourite all time films' and 'films you walked out on'. This would also be a good way of finding out your dad's favourite films and buying them as a birthday present! At only £8.99 you can't really go wrong with this gift. For more of a wow factor maybe add in a film and bag of popcorn!

For dads who want to be young again or love trying new things then an experience day is the gift for him. Buy a Gift have a wide selection of experiences on offer for Father's day including indoor skydiving, flying lessons and supercar driving. Why not go with him and make a day of it? A treat for your dad as well as you!

For dads who deserve a special treat then the Dad's Emergency Gin and Tonic Kit or The Happy Father's Day H Box would be the perfect gift without having to break the bank too much. The emergency gin and tonic kit comes with all the essentials to create the perfect cocktail. There are also dad's emergency martini, margarita and hangover kits so there is sure to be something for every dad! Aside from the generic gift of alcohol, you could treat your dad to a selection of his favourite chocolates. Hotel Chocolat have beautiful boxes of chocolates for reasonable prices that would make a lovely gift. Chocolate is always a winner!

For dad's with style or those who may need a little help, a smart shirt may be the thing he needs. House of Fraser have a variety of formal shirts to suit all styles. If you don't have the money then why not enter my giveaway below to win your dad a slim fit Howick Tailored Danville Wide Gingham Check Shirt in size 16. Another great gift would be a set of ties that match one of your dad's shirts, the ones below are a steal at £5!
a Rafflecopter giveaway All you have to do to enter the giveaway is complete the Rafflecopter form above. This giveaway is open to all UK residents only and will end on the 18th June. If you have any questions tweet me @littlelaurensbl. Good luck!


*This giveaway is in partnership with House of Fraser, all opinions are my own.

Monday, 8 June 2015

The little things

Hello everyone,

It's been a week now since I moved out of my uni house and into a new place with my boyfriend. The week has been full of unpacking, film nights, pizza, shopping and exploring the city. Although from the outset this sound like a great week (it really was), but I have been so nervous about getting my university results and finding and applying to what feels like a million jobs has been stressful. Today was the day. The dreaded day of dissertation results. I'm so proud to say that I finished with the degree I wanted, a 2:1! I spent weeks worrying about what grade I might get, but does it really matter? More often than not, we put a crazy amount of pressure on ourselves and worry too much about what other people think. To anyone who has received any results, you should be proud of what you have achieved because you have done the best you can! If you're yet to receive your results just remember that most of the things we worry about never happen, so the chances that you've done well are extremely high!

If you're feeling a little nervous waiting for your school/college/uni results then try to think and focus on three little things that made you happy today and this should put you in a positive mood and take your mind away from the stress. The three things that made me happy today are the lovely flowers that my boyfriend bought home for me after he finished work, making tea and it not being a complete disaster and the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a really long job application.

Good luck to anyone receiving results!
What are the three little things that made you happy today?


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

25 things to do before I turn 25

Hello everyone,

I've seen a couple of '25 things to do before 25' posts recently and love the concept so have decided to do my own and share it with you. Maybe it will inspire you to write one too! There are so many things I would love to do, some less realistic than others, but I will try my best to complete this list over the next few years. I feel like now is a perfect time to start as I have just finished my degree and am about to embark on the next chapter of my life. I want to fill my life with more fun, adventure and different experiences as you only get to live one life, so you may as well make the most of it! Each time I do one of the things on the list, I will cross it off on this post and link a blog post on each adventure - it will be fun to share these with you all and to look back on in the future!

1. Eurotrip I would love to explore Europe, particularly France, Italy and Spain
2. A holiday with my best friend We've planned this since high school so it needs to happen soon!
3. London Fashion Week I'd love to watch this and get some fashion inspiration along the way
4. Do something crazy Do something out of my comfort zone like diving in an aquarium or skydiving 
5. Learn how to cook proper meals I need to learn how to cook things other than pasta and fajitas!
6. Try as many cuisines as I can I'm not very adventurous with food so this will be a challenge
7. Do some volunteering I love helping others so want to volunteer as much as I can in my spare time
8. Have my makeup done professionally I would love to see how someone else would do my makeup!
9. Get a different haircut My hair has been the same for a while so it's in need of a change!
10. Create my own afternoon tea I love going for afternoon tea so would love to recreate my own
11. Be in a magazine Whether that would be me being featured, writing a page or being in the letters page
12. Ladies Day Grand National Getting all dressed up with friends and going to the races will be a great day
13. Write a book Not a published book, but an autobiography or fictional story that I can look back at
14. Spa weekend Nothing sounds better than being pampered for the weekend
15. Horse back riding This to me sounds very princessy (I've been watching too much OUAT, I want to be Snow White)!
16. Visit the Science and Natural History museums I want to go mainly for the dinosaurs haha
17. Feed penguins at the zoo How cute would this be?! Penguins are so cute!
18. Buy a DSLR camera I want to be able to take nice photos on holidays and days out and also to improve the photos on my blog!
19. Try a new form of exercise Yoga? Pilates? Running? As well as continuing with the gym
20. Go strawberry picking I loved doing this when I was little so would love to do it again!
21. Learn something new Such as attending a class on cocktail making, cookery or jewelry making
22. Explore all the tourist attractions in London I'd love to visit all the touristy places 
23. Go rock-climbing Whether that's indoor or outdoor, I want to try it!
24. Learn Italian I would love to go to Italy one day but want to learn the language first
25. Go on a safari I'd love to see all the animals up close!

What would be on your 25 things to do before 25 list?