Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A lovely weekend | Manor House Farm

Hello everyone,

I can't believe summer is almost over! This summer has gone so quickly and with working a lot of weekends, it has felt that I haven't had much of a break so it was so nice to go home over the weekend with my boyfriend and have nothing to worry about. After a long journey and a chippy tea with my family, we headed to Manor House Farm in Rufford, a beautiful bed and breakfast overlooking the marina. We were greeted by the lovely Martin and Jackie who were amazing hosts throughout our stay. The room was simply amazing with luxurious interior, a king sized bed and HD TV. I really want to live in a house like this one day!
After a great night's sleep, we awoke to the smell of bacon...yummy! We'd been so excited for our full English breakfast all week and it did not disappoint, it was delicious! I loved all the little details such as the little pots of jam and local honey as well as the clear jars which the cereal was stored in (I'm going to get some of those for my new house!). The rest of the day was spent with my family and we were treated to some lovely meals out. 

Before heading back to Manor House Farm, we went to one of the local pubs for a few drinks with my mum and dad which was lovely. When we got back, we had a couple more drinks and watched the thunder storm from the window...the simple things are the best! Luckily, the sun was shining the next day and after filling ourselves up with another delicious full English breakfast, we went for a nice morning walk along the marina. To end our trip, we enjoyed a barbecue in the garden surrounded by my family with two cute little dogs running around - perfect. 

I had such a great weekend and can't wait to go back to Manor House Farm in the near future! 
Have you been anywhere nice over summer? 


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?