Summer Styling with Unicorn Born

How would you describe your personal style? For me, the buzzword is eclectic. I can't really seem to stick to just one "look", although I really envy people who can! However, when it's not just a jeans and jumper day and I do make an effort to look nice, it's great to have a mix of things in my wardrobe so that I can dress to reflect my mood. Sometimes I like looking like a fairy who has just stepped out of the enchanted forest, and other days, I enjoy trying something a bit more daring to show off my inner Catwoman.

Just how mix-and-match my style really is was showcased when I was offered the opportunity to test out some beautiful handmade chokers, created by Fee from Unicorn Born. Naturally, the items that I chose were polar opposites: one delicate pink crochet piece, and one black, vampy number that wouldn't look out of place on Morticia Addams.

Being an Unapologetic Blogger

I see this happening on social media all the time. Bloggers apologising and expressing how bad they feel about not having a blog post up on time, not blogging in a few weeks, or missing a post in their upload schedule. So today, I've decided to talk about why saying sorry is completely unnecessary. Get ready to be unapologetic.

Luxe Interiors for Less*

Spring might be well known as a time where people have a big clean out, but it also provides an excellent excuse to give your home a fresh makeover too! Whether you live in a rented flat, student digs, or own your own home, there are always ways to give your space a luxurious feel. Fully redecorating isn’t always an option for everyone, so if your home interiors are looking a little tired and dated, here are three top tips on how to achieve a brand new look for less!

 ðŸ’¸ Shop around for Bargains 💸

If you’ve been browsing blogs, Pinterest, and catalogues for some interior inspiration then you’ve probably seen some furniture or a look you’ve fallen in love with. With this in mind, it’s easy to buy a piece of furniture from the first place you see it. However, it’s often best for your wallet to shop around before you buy. Scour discount sites or eBay, you may find the same item for less! Sometimes furniture shops have a clearance or ex-display stock so it’s worth asking. Local Facebook selling pages can also have some really great deals if you're prepared to sift through the rubbish!

On a really tight budget but good at DIY? Sign up to Freecycle or Gumtree to find items for free that local people are giving away. You can find really interesting, vintage bits of furniture that (once given a lick of paint and some new handles) can be transformed into a unique, one-off piece for your home. Another benefit to upcycling is that, not only is it cheap and individual, but you can learn new skills and make something that has your stamp on it.

💸 Invest in a Statement Piece 💸

If you’re happy with the overall look of your house but it feels like it's lacking a little va-va-voom, you could use your budget to buy a single statement piece to breathe some life into a room. Personalisation is a big trend at the moment in interior design and there are so many options for all price ranges. You can create cushions, personalised with your photos for a tenner or a canvas with your choice of photo or quote for around the same price.

Perhaps you have a dull colour on your walls? If you don't have the time, money, or inclination to redecorate, loads of bloggers with Etsy shops sell cheap prints to brighten up your room. Taryna has one of my faves - she sells everything from bright and colourful Disney prints to stunning Harry Potter watercolours. For something at the higher end of the budget, you could invest in a Hollywood mirror with lights, like the ones at Pebble Grey*. These will make you feel like a real celeb, as well as providing the perfect lighting for makeup application.

💸 Top-Up with Texture 💸

An easy way to create a luxurious look in your home is to mix up the textures you use in a room. Once you have a colour scheme or a running theme through, you can start thinking of how to incorporate different textures to add layers and depth. Don’t be afraid to mix wood with soft fabrics, a thick faux fur rug on a hardwood floor and it instantly makes a room feel warmer, more cosy, and very well put together. Fluffy throws can be purchased from Primark for a knock-down price, and you can raid B&M Bargains for real-looking artificial flowers that will never wilt and die! These can be contrasted with metal candle holders, which you can buy inexpensively from H&M!

Where are your favourite places to buy homewares? Do you have any budget-friendly stores to recommend? Hit up the comments below and let me know!

Until next time,

A x

*This post is sponsored by Pebble Grey

My Travel Essentials: Hand Luggage*

Without a doubt, one of the most annoying holiday expenses is paying for a checked bag on the aeroplane. You can be charged as much as £40 to put a bag in the hold, especially if you're flying with a budget airline. However, travelling with just hand luggage can be a real challenge, especially if you're spending a full week or two abroad. But last summer, my friends and I took this challenge on! We went to stay in Northern Ireland for a week and we had a fantastic time! Today I thought I'd share with you the products and sneaky hacks that enabled me to get the most out of my hand luggage holiday!

First on my list of essentials the foundation - you need the right bag. Maximise the amount of swag that you can squeeze in by using a bag that fits the hand luggage dimensions exactly. Usually these are 55cm x 45cm x 25cm, but check with your airline before you travel, as this can differ. The perfect bag needn't be expensive, however! You can get lightweight, decent quality mini suitcases from Primark that will do the job! Pick a lightweight case with external pockets - that way you can stash your headphones and glossy magazine of choice in there for easy access, ready to keep you entertained on the flight.

When packing your clothes, the old 'roll, don't fold' rule is still a golden one to follow, but you can take it one step further! You can buy packing cubes in various sizes which will fit into your mini suitcase, that will really allow you to squeeze in more stuff very tightly! If you're a total cheapskate like me, you can also do this with carrier bags! Roll up your clothes and place them inside carrier bags, then tie up the bags tightly, squeeze out as much air as poss and VOILA! More room for those totally necessary pairs of shoes....

One of the biggest difficulties I faced when I was travelling with hand luggage only was definitely the limited amount of liquids that you can put in your carry-on. You can take onboard containers of up to 100ml, provided that their total amount does not exceed 1 litre. If you have an extensive makeup or skincare routine, choosing which products to sacrifice can be a nightmare. But not so if you switch out your usual liquid products for solid alternatives! LUSH and other cosmetic retailers offer solid conditioners, and you can even buy solid cleanser from Pixi on ASOS! The liquids rule shall trouble you no more with these sneaky alternatives!

Another important tip is to downsize on your tech as much as possible. My bulky SLR camera takes up an enormous amount of room in my hand luggage, so much so that I had to leave it behind for my trip to Northern Ireland *sob*! Choosing a compact camera that still packs a punch in the image quality department is therefore a wise decision. Recently I've been eyeing up the Panasonic CSC Camera* - with 6k photo capacity and the world's first 4K video recording, all in one easily portable device, it's the travel blogger's dream come true! So if you're in the market for a new camera, why not check this baby out?

Finally, something that I always ALWAYS forget to do before I go travelling, which takes up absolutely no space at all is to download some apps to play on during the inevitable long wait at the airport. The beauty of modern tech is that you can play a million different games on the same device without having to take along CD-ROMs or GameBoy cartridges (am I showing my age here??!). I'm an old-school board game lover, so one of my favourite apps is Yahtzee, which you can play by yourself or with your travel buddies. If you have any good game apps to recommend, please let me know in the comments below!

What are your hand luggage essentials? Do you have any packing hacks to share? Spill the beans in the comments!

Until next time,

A x

*This post is sponsored by Panasonic

Abbey Bakes Choc Chip Cookies

In need of a hump day treat? Girl, I've got you covered. What could be better to lift your spirits than a batch of delicious homemade cookies? I certainly can't think of anything I'd like more! Seeing as I haven't shared any baking posts on my blog since January *gasp* when I guided you through my scrummy fruit scone recipe, I thought it was high time that I provided you with some more mouthwatering treats! Today, I'm sharing my tried and tested recipe for chocolate chip cookies, so get ready to DROOL.
© Abbey Louisa Rose. Design by Fearne.