The Goldsmithy Bespoke Handcrafted Jewellery in Milton Keynes

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

What an absolute find this place is.

Tucked away in the historic town of Stony Stratford, just on the outskirts of Milton Keynes is The Goldsmithy. A father and son run business, creating the most beautiful bespoke handcrafted jewellery.

Catering for your every need, from wedding jewellery through to enamelling, engraving, restoration and mechanical clock and watch repair/servicing. This is certainly one place to keep on your radar.

I was invited down to The Goldsmithy as part of the most recent MK Blogger Network event to find out more about this fantastic business, that’s been running since 2010. I was absolutely blown away by the craftsmanship shown by this duo. They are truly keeping this craft alive.

The Goldsmithy Goldmsiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

We spent just a little over two hours in the beautiful Goldsmithy workshop, nestled down in O’Dell’s yard in Stony Stratford. Those two hours were the most educational two hours I have had lately. What these two don’t know about jewellery making isn’t worth knowing.

We were talked through the whole spectrum of their world, from the tools they use to ensure your jewellery is crafted to the highest quality, to the vast collection of items they have created over the years.

Did you know that precious metals could contain tiny air bubbles inside which if they aren’t squished right down properly, could cause your metals to crack or break easily? With the careful skills of The Goldsmithy team, metals are processed properly to ensure your jewellery is handed over to you at the highest quality. This is jewellery, properly made.

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

One thing I absolutely loved the idea of, is when two people are wanting to get their wedding rings made. You can even have a go at working on the rings yourself! You can work on your partner’s ring and vice versa. It’s so lovely that you can be a real part of the creation process. A really unique experience and one that will be so personal to you.

Another wonderful and really thoughtful idea that The Goldsmithy came up with, is the Arthritis ring. If you know of anyone who suffers with Arthritis, they may find it uneasy to push their rings over their knuckles. The clever and thoughtful team at The Goldsmithy have come up with an amazing idea of a bracelet style ring with a clasp, making it super easy to put on and wear. Most ring types can be adapted by The Goldsmithy to have this style of opening and fastening, allowing sufferers to enjoy wearing their favourite jewellery once again.

I have to say a huge thank you to The Goldsmithy for having us down for the morning to learn all about their craft. They truly are the most wonderful people who a really keeping their craft alive, and producing jewellery of the highest quality whilst doing so. I definitely urge you to pop by or at least visit their website at www.thegoldsmithy.com to discover what this father and son duo are capable of.

To reiterate what I said at the beginning…what an absolute find!

Brunch by Camerons Stony Stratford

Thank you to Cameron’s in Stony Stratford too, who laid on the most wonderful brunch for us whilst we were at The Goldsmithy. We had a whole range of the most beautiful foods to choose from, I wish I could have had one of everything. You can find out more about Cameron’s on their website http://camerons.restaurant/

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

The Goldsmithy Goldsmiths Watchmakers Stony Stratford

On the day we also got given the most lovely goodie box. Inside we had a load of lovely things from a variety of businesses. The Goldsmithy gave us a complimentary clean and shine, I loved the notebook from Hello Stationery too saying “Just Winging It” (I totally am!), Beeswax Wraps – these are the coolest eco alternative to clingfilm or tinfoil, Popaball kiwi flavoured balls for Prosecco or G&T (I can see Ian nicking these for his G&Ts), a yummy doughnut shaped chocolate from Rocky Road Treats, free cocktail from Revolucion de Cuba, money off one of my favourite restaurants – Giraffe, a voucher for the Peel Juice Bar (yet to try these guys, but really want to!) and more. Thank you everyone!

Fancy following the other bloggers that were there on the day? Here’s their blogs…

Sophie’s Suitcase (this lovely lady runs the MK Bloggers Network)

Secret Diary of a Scavenger

Taylor Hearts Travel

Try Everything Once

El Stavo

Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug

Pinks Charming

Heels in my Backpack

Spinkdot

Lisahh Jayne

Uncover more about The Goldsmithy at: www.thegoldsmithy.com

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

SS18 Fashion at intu Milton Keynes

intu Milton Keynes

The clocks have sprung forward, wahey! Can spring officially begin now please? I want warmer days, sunshine and pretty dresses!

Whilst we wait for SS18 to truly arrive, it’s time to start planning our wardrobe to ensure we’re ready to hit up those golden days with the most awesome outfits and accessories.

intu Milton Keynes invited me and some other lovely local bloggers down to intu, for another fun and fabulous event to discover all things SS18.

We all met at the beautifully refurbished Loaf & Bloom restaurant in Debenhams Milton Keynes. If you’re yet to check it out, you can read my review of Loaf & Bloom by *clicking here*. As soon as I arrived, one of the lovely personal shoppers at Debenhams offered me a glass of fizz, she could totally tell I’d had a long day and needed one.

What we were doing on the evening was a suprise, but we ended up being taken round on almost a little mini tour to learn about a mix of things, which was lovely. On the evening we chatted with the lovely people who work on the Debenhams Personal Shopping team in Milton Keynes, then headed down to the Dior Backstage area in the beauty section in Debenhams and then completed the evening with a trip to my favourite store in intu – Lush.

Did you even know that there’s a free personal shopping experience at Debenhams Milton Keynes? I didn’t! You can pop down for an express session if you’re simply refreshing your wardrobe for the new season or if you’re off somewhere fancy, maybe a wedding once the wedding season starts once again, you can ask for a Special Occasions session to focus on that amazing outfit you need. Girls and guys alike are all welcome to go and check out the service.

I recently had a personal shopping experience elsewhere and it’s a great chance to bounce of off someone else when making decisions – and a great time to try something that you’d never usually pick up off the rails. If you’re worried about going, please don’t be, the two people who run the personal shopping in Debenhams Milton Keynes seemed like the most lovely and approachable people. I think it’s really important for people in that type of role to be like that to ensure their customers are put at ease, and I totally think these two are just perfect for it.

Whilst we were up there we got to browse the most gorgeous pieces for SS18, from bridal gowns (yes! Debenhams has it all!) to the most pretty lingerie and must-have fashion items for the new season. I absolutely loved this little cropped top which just screams summer to me, as well as this very cool Chanel-esque jacket – which looks SO wearable.

intu Milton Keynes

intu Milton Keynes

intu Milton Keynes

intu Milton Keynes

After downing my glass of fizz and throwing a piece of duck wrap in my face as a quick snack, we then popped downstairs to chat to the lovely Dior beauty team. They have a new Dior Backstage area in the beauty section and the most beautiful bright and neutral colours available in their new collections. We even got the chance to get skin matched with their clever little machine to see what foundation colour we would be. Snazzy.

Lush intu Milton Keynes

To finish the evening, we went to my absolute favourite store in intu, Lush. I only buy cruelty free beauty and toiletries, so being a cruelty free and truly ethical company, Lush has my heart.

We had so much fun learning about their super cute Easter collection. It has such a range of scents and types of product, there’s certainly something for everyone. I think Lush has a huge young following because of all the bright colours and wonderful scents. So if you’ve usually dismissed them because of this, I urge you to pop by and really explore all the products they do. It’s not all about zany coloured bath bombs, they do such a lovely collection of luxurious products for both women and men too.

The Easter range is all about cute little carrots, bunnies and eggs. It’s so fun! I mean just look at the amazingly shimmery Golden Egg. It’s filled with “luxurious moisturising fair trade organic cocoa butter, uplifting bergamot and almond oils” …lovely.

Lush intu Milton Keynes

Lush intu Milton Keynes

It was blogger challenge time once again…

If you’ve ever read my intu blog posts before, you’ll know that quite often intu has challenged us to find the cutest clothes and accessories that we think would be perfect for the new season ahead.

Obviously, this time round it was all about SS18. I’m really longing for those sunny days and picnics at the park now…

intu Milton Keynes asked me to find 3 spring/summer capsule items that I love, plus one extra special Star Buy, so here’s what I’ve chosen…

First up is this really cute shirt from Oasis. It’s a classic shirt, but is adorned by these super cute embroidered stars. I think this makes it look so fun, but it’s still classy enough if you like to dress up at work or like wearing cool shirts. I think this would look great paired up with jeans, or maybe tucked into a denim skirt, which I’ve spotted quite a few of in the shops at intu. Love it.

Oasis intu Milton Keynes

Oasis intu Milton Keynes

Secondly, bucket bags. This is a huge trend this season. I spotted one in TopShop, but I loved these ones by Faith in Debenhams. Whether you’re more of a bright person or prefer neutral tones, it’s great that they have choices for you.

These bags look so fun and I’m sure they will be a talking point, so if you’re going to spend money on a bag this season, why not make it something really different like this?

Debenhams intu Milton Keynes

Debenhams intu Milton Keynes

Debenhams intu Milton Keynes

It’s shoesies time! So for my third capsule item to take you through spring summer 2018, I’ve picked out these really lovely shoes from TopShop. Not only do they look great, but being black and having a really wearable chunky style heel, I’m sure these will work with a variety of outfits and, most importantly…be comfortable! I can see these being the kind of sandals you’ll reach for time and time again this year and beyond.

Topshop intu Milton Keynes

Topshop intu Milton Keynes

Star Buy

For my Star Buy, I just had to pop by Karen Millen to pick out a piece. Karen Millen in Milton Keynes always comes up trumps when it comes to beautiful clothing and accessories, with that added little touch of luxe for your wardrobe.

Karen Millen intu Milton Keynes

Karen Millen intu Milton Keynes

My Star Buy is this stunning strappy middy dress, £170. I mean, how gorgeous is this? It’s the perfect dress for any special occasions this season. I just love the print, the fresh colours and the unique shoulder straps. It just had to be my Star Buy piece. Now we just need the sunshine!

I hope you love my choices!

On the evening we were also given a lovely goody bag filled with all these lovely things…

intu Milton Keynes

A big thank you to the following brands… intu Milton Keynes, Lush, Topshop and Debenhams beauty teams (including Dior & Clinique). intu gave us all a little gift card to treat ourselves to a little something. Of course I’ll be sure to share you what I snap up v. soon over on my Instagram. You can find me here: @Amanda_Alston …shameless plug! Ha.

Thank you again for intu Milton Keynes for inviting me down for another #intuMKBlogger event. Here’s to a (hopefully!) very sunny spring summer 2018!

Plan your next shopping trip at intu Milton Keynes using their website: www.intu.co.uk/miltonkeynes

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

12 Top Job Interview Tips

Job Interview Tips

Today I’m going to share with you my top interview tips, in the hope it’ll help to organise you, and help you feel ready to smash your next interview!

I’ve had many interviews across the years, from my first little job after uni (The White Company call centre!) through to my current role working in marketing for premium kitchen appliances company Fisher & Paykel.

I’ve been working in marketing for a good few years now, and I have changed jobs now and again to better myself. Whether that’s for more money (usually the reason) or to find a better working environment. Firstly, don’t worry if people are frowning upon your reason to leave your current role. Only YOU know how you feel in that job, and what you’re looking for.

As mentioned above, my usual reason for leaving jobs has been to better myself salary wise, as in many sectors it seems the only way to gain a suitable raise to be able to attain better mortgages, save more money for the future, pay increasing bills etc. At the end of the day we go to work to make money right? I have also left roles to do something I enjoy more, or simply because the company failed to pay me on time – not cool! This happened in two of the marketing roles I’ve had. Not great when it comes to having bills to pay…

So don’t ever let others tell you what to do with your career. Trust your gut instinct.

Research the company

An obvious one, but certainly important. Get obsessed with the company. What do they do? Have they implemented anything great recently that you could talk or ask about in the interview? It’s worth checking the news or blog sections of their website or even their social media accounts.

They’ll be pleased when you show the effort you’ve made to learn about them.

Be ready for various interview types

Interview types vary SO much. I’ve had really relaxed, informal styles – my favourite of course! Through to pretty formal ones with presentations to prepare and present, and ones with random tests. Even one where I had one room to go in with a presentation to present, and then I had to pop into a room next door to then be further interviewed by two more people. Interviews really do differ from company to company.

So when applying for roles, be ready and open to be interviewed in different ways each time. Just give it your best and take it in your stride as much as possible. I know, easier said than done sometimes, but all you can do is try your best.

Just be yourself

Have you gone through life so far without making a single mistake? I didn’t think so. We all make mistakes. We have all messed up somewhere along the lines.

So when it comes to job interviews, I try to get my head in the mindset of “this is me, this is what I know, take it or leave it”. Obviously I am always nervous to an extent in every interview, but I try to make myself remember that it’s genuinely not the end of the world if I’m not the right person they’re looking for.

All you can do is go in, be yourself, say what you can do, what you have experience of and what you’d like to get out of your next role. If it’s right for them, then great. If it’s not, no worries. It’s on to the next one…

Take examples

In marketing, I can easily take in examples of content I’ve written, or other marketing materials etc. that I have created over the years. Be sure to save down or write down examples from your current role now, even if you’re not actively job hunting, as they may help you in the future when you’re interviewed.

If you finished college or uni not that long ago, do you have pieces of work you’re proud of that you could take in?

I had an A3 folder filled with assignments I’d received good grades on, creative work I’d completed etc. – and I received praise from interviewers for simply bothering to bring this in, being told that no one else had bothered to do so, and therefore it made me stand out.

Think outside of your career

Are you a blogger? Or do you do any other exciting things outside of work where skills can transfer from that to the role you’re applying for?

Being a blogger has definitely helped me in my career. I’ve been able to show examples of successful write-ups and show why they have been successful. For example, I wrote for a local company in recent times and they were so pleased with my writing that they offered me the chance to run their social media for them. I declined, but I did bring up that success in my current job’s interview to prove the power of my writing.

Can you think of anything like this that you could draw into your next interview?

Dress the part

I don’t dress ever so formal when it comes to interviews, because I’m not the kind of girl to wear a power suit to work each day. Usually I’ll simply pop on a pretty, comfortable dress, tights or nice leggings, a smart but comfortable cardigan or soft blazer jacket and boots.

That’s my style, that’s what I feel comfortable and confident in, and therefore I can be myself.

It may differ from sector to sector and probably level of role too. It’s probably best to go on the smarter end of what you think is best for the job you’re going for, than to be underdressed and look scruffy!

Social Media

Depending on your area of work, you may find it useful to have a LinkedIn career profile.

Ensure it’s up to date and looks great as your potential employers will be likely to look this up, and first impressions do count! Whilst you’re looking for a new role, make your profile public – you can always make it private again once you’ve secured a new job.

What about your other social media accounts? How do they look publicly?

Quite often I see people using Facebook on the public setting, meaning that anyone can see everything they post. It might be worth checking to see how yours looks, what your privacy settings are set at in case you want to hide what you say and show from the entire outside world.

Alternatively, your social media might be a great way to show how fab you are! For example, if you’re a blogger, they may see all your beautiful images, the lovely content you write etc. Definitely give it some thought.

Prep for the standard questions

When have you gone above and beyond in your job? Or to help a customer?

What is your weakness? (You know, the one where you say your possible weakness but spin it to show the silver lining of it).

Can you think of a difficult hurdle in a previous role and how you overcame it? I’m sure there are articles out there if you search online that list the most commonly asked interview questions like these.

Think about those key times in your career so far where you’re really pleased with a result you achieved after implementing something, or difficult moments where you dealt with it smartly to get a good result etc.

Prepping for these questions will leave you feeling much calmer when they spring these types of questions on you. And hey, once you know your examples you’re set for every interview going forwards.

Any questions?

At the end of the interview they may ask you if you have any further questions. And one brilliant tip I picked up a few years ago was to ask them what their best moment has been at the company so far.

You might get an “ooh, that’s an interesting one” reply, but honestly, everyone loves talking about themselves and their experiences. We all do. So it’ll look great that you’ve turned the interview round to be about them and not just you.

It’s also a great way to find out more about the company and the people you will potentially be working with. I’ve asked it in every interview in recent times and I think it’s gone down really well!

Be prepared

Take a copy of your CV, and make sure you’ve read it through before the interview as you’re likely to be asked questions about each role and what you did in each one.

Take a notebook – maybe have a few questions written down inside it for when they ask if you have any questions. You can also make notes in the interview of anything you feel is key to note from what they tell you.

Be on time

I usually aim to go into the building about 5 minutes before. This will give you time to sign in at the premises if you need to and give the receptionist time to tell your interviewer that you have arrived.

This also allows them to start the interview on time, which I’m sure they will appreciate if they have a busy day of work, meetings and interviews.

Nail your communication skills

I’ve been told that I have good eye contact with people, which is a great way to show that you’re listening and wanting to take in what they say.

When answering the questions, aim to answer them in a descriptive way, but try not to waffle on too much. Be succinct.

Strive for a balance between listening, answering and engaging. It should have a conversation style flow, rather than answering questions quickly and shortly as if you’re on mastermind.

..lastly, good luck! I hope this has helped you to get prepped for your next interview. The main top number 1 tip is to simply be yourself. At the end of the day we spend so much of our time at work, it has to be right for both parties.

*Thank you to LOTD who gifted me this gorgeous bag, which is just perfect for work and everyday life! It’s really amazing for just £10, a true bargain that’s for sure. I’d definitely recommend checking out their website at www.lotd.com for really lovely fashion at really affordable prices.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

Learning the art of Flower Arranging at Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

On the weekend, my mum and I were invited down to Marks and Spencer in Milton Keynes, to take part in a one-to-one flower arranging session at their newly revamped flower section, aptly named “The Flower Shop”.

Marks and Spencer is most definitely one of my favourite high street stores. I adore their cruelty free beauty and toiletries collections, and I spend a small fortune in there when it comes to Christmas presents each year. Of course their fashion is lovely too. If you spot me out and about in my pink coat, it was a Marks and Spencer Christmas Eve online sale bargain that I grabbed at 50% off!

When we arrived at the Milton Keynes store, we were greeted by a lovely lady called Emily, who is one of the flower arranging experts in store and she taught us all about how to arrange flowers and create a beautiful bouquet.

Mum and I were allowed to each pick our favourite bunch of flowers from their selection in store, then Emily took the bunches apart to show us how to put them together again.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Each and every stem was laid out on the table. The next step is to take the lower leaves off the stems to leave you with a fresh flower, and make it easier to piece the bouquets together.

Emily showed us how they initially take one main flower to use as the focal point of the bouquet. The other flowers are then added in a spiral around this main flower, and it continues until you have completed your bouquet.

Once you’re holding your completed bouquet, it’s a good idea to pull up a few pieces to add a variety of heights in your bunch.

When you’re ready to tie your flowers together, you can take an elastic band, place it around one of the thicker stems, pull it up towards where your hands are holding the flowers, then wrap the entire elastic band around the stems about twice, and then fix it into place by wrapping the other end of the elastic band around another stem. (Not sure if that made sense, I’m sure you could YouTube that technique if you’d like to give it a whirl!)

Mum and I each had a go at putting together our own bunches. It’s certainly trickier than you think. I found myself concentrating hard on what colours and shapes to put together, whilst trying to hold it all together when adding the new pieces in. Here’s a snap of our bouquets, mine on the left and mum’s on the right.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

When you have your flowers nicely secured, it’s time to trim those stems. Usually when I receive flowers, I end up sitting on my kitchen floor with my scissors struggling like mad to cut the stems. Emily had these super easy-to-use secateurs which made cutting the stems a breeze. So I’ve definitely added a pair of those to my wish list!

Top tip: Emily told us that it’s best to cut the stems on a slant, to help prolong the flowers’ life.

Once everything is tied together and looking beautiful, it’s time to wrap that bouquet. Emily cleverly folded the tissue paper and cellophane around the flowers and created a little “bubble” by the bottom of the stems. This bubble is able to hold a little bit of water. So once tied, wrapped, secured and placed into the box shaped bag, Emily made a little hole between the flowers and carefully poured a little water into the bouquet to ensure they are carried away with their water-filled bubble – how clever!

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Every bouquet also goes away with feed to ensure your flowers stay looking their best.

The Flower Shop within Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes is filled to the brim with the most gorgeous blooms. You can choose from a vast array of flowers, plants and gifts. From teeny tiny little pots, to taller bigger plants. Whatever the occasion, they have something for it I’m sure. I just love receiving flowers and plants for birthdays.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

The very generous team at Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes also gifted us some rather delectable sweet treats to enjoy too. The packaging on these is absolutely stunning! (See piccy below). So bright and beautiful. I love it.

On Mother’s Day we tried each of these (with Dad’s help too!) and they are all delightful. The Handmade Nougat is the softest, tastiest and quite frankly the best nougat I’ve ever had. The nougat flavours include pistachio, hazelnut & sour cherry, raspberry & almond.

The Rose & Violet Creams are lovely, the rose ones taste a bit like Turkish delight, and the violet flavour is like a subtle Parma Violets taste (I love Parma Violets) – so if you love those flavours, you’ll love these. They’re a really yummy and quite uniquely flavoured treat to enjoy.

The Peach Bellini Truffles are quite chocolately but definitely have a peachy taste to them, very creamy too. A real indulgent treat. A perfect accompaniment to a glass of fizz – mum’s choice of fizz for Mother’s Day was Asti.

We loved the Sea Salt Caramels, they had a nice smooth filling and a good balance of the caramel and sea salt flavours. The chocolate outer was a decent amount of chocolate too, no thin chocolate layers here!

Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles…as with everything else, these too were an absolute delight. They’re dusted with a lovely coating of freeze dried strawberries. Inside is a whole load of truffly goodness. It’s an indulgent chocolate but not too heavy compared to some. I’d happy receive a box of these as a gift.

Sweets from Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning! If you’re after a blooming lovely treat for yourself or a loved one, I really recommend popping by The Flower Shop within Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes. I think you’ll be really impressed with how the area has been revitalised.

As mentioned, they really do have a huge selection from smaller blooms to bigger plants, so I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you need. If not, the Flower Shop team can order online for you right there in store. Perfect.

Plan your visit to the Milton Keynes Marks and Spencer store online here: www.marksandspencer.com

*Thank you again to the lovely Marks and Spencer team for inviting both myself and my mum down to this one-to-one flower arranging session, we had such a wonderful time and picked up some brilliant tips.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

Celebrate Mum with Prestige Flowers this Mother’s Day

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

The beauty of the unexpected. I’ve never sent any surprises through the post to my mum, or anyone actually, so when Prestige Flowers offered me the chance to send my mum a beautiful bouquet to celebrate Mother’s Day, I jumped at the opportunity. My mum loves flowers and tending to her garden, so I just knew she would love this.

The flowers arrived at my parents’ home whilst I was at work today. As soon as they arrived my mum rang me to say she thought she’d email me to say thank you, but decided to call me at work instead to thank me personally for the flowers. She was absolutely thrilled to receive them.

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers Combo teddy and chocolates

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers Combo teddy and chocolates

The beautiful flowers arrived with a gorgeous little teddy bear and a very welcome box of chocolates to enjoy. Doesn’t it all look so lovely?

Don’t worry, you still have time to order for Mother’s Day from Prestige Flowers! Their fantastic delivery service means you have the option for Next Day delivery if you order by 9pm the day before. Or you can choose Saturday or Sunday delivery options too. They even have a selection of flowers that are available for same day deliveries if you order by 3pm.

Phew. Mother’s Day saved.

I genuinely feel that flowers are such a wonderful gift to give. I love a bouquet filled with different colours and shades, different styles of flower, you can truly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness in every flower. There’s nothing better than seeing a fresh bouquet sitting pretty in your home, whether it’s adorning a table or a fireplace, they really brighten and refresh the home so easily and elegantly.

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

The great Mother’s Day Combo bundles allow you to get everything you need from Prestige Flowers. A cute teddy bear, chocolates or even a bottle of bubbly can be ordered with the flowers. They each come with a vase too, so there’s no need to worry about how they will be displayed in the home.

The bouquets are arranged by highly skilled British florists, so you will be guaranteed to receive gorgeously arranged flowers. They’re also running a competition at the moment – every Mother’s Day order will be entered into a competition to win flowers for a year. Imagine!

If you fancy something a little different to a bouquet of flowers, they also have a lovely selection of Mother’s Day plants and gifts as an alternative. A little something for everyone is on their website.

Besides Mother’s Day, Prestige Flowers provide flowers for all occasions, silk flowers for ever-lasting floral beauty in your home, Haute Florist for that touch of luxury and a huge collection of hampers.

It would be lovely if we all had enough time in our busy lives to head to a local florist and piece together a bouquet in front of our very eyes, but sadly that just isn’t the case in these busy days. So it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to order flowers online and know they’ll arrive quickly, safely and beautifully to your recipient. Prestige Flowers also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for your peace of mind, which is great to know if you’re like me and always want to make sure you’re giving the best quality of gift.

I just want to thank Prestige Flowers again for gifting these to me, well, to my mum! We were so impressed with everything and wouldn’t hesitate to order from them in the future.

So if you’re in a rush and need a beautiful gift, and quick, for your mum (or any other special lady in your life!) for Mother’s Day or any other upcoming occasion, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with a bouquet from Prestige Flowers.

Discover the Mother’s Day collection at https://www.prestigeflowers.co.uk/mothers-day-flowers

*The bouquet, teddy and chocolates were gifted to us from Prestige Flowers, but of course as always, the thoughts and writing regarding the items are most definitely mine.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

Spending Valentine’s Day at Home

LOTD wrap over velvet dress

These days it seems like there is so much pressure for people to impress, to splash the cash and buy the best. That restaurant you tag yourself at to show off to your friends on Facebook, or to get the most perfect picture or idyllic lifestyle image to share on Insta. It’s time to enjoy the *real life* reason behind Valentine’s Day.

Yes, events such as Valentine’s Day have been commercialised these days and don’t I know it…I work in marketing after all. But this doesn’t mean you can’t go against the grain and make a pact not to spend if you don’t want to.

At the end of the day, YOU are the one in control of your pennies and if you’d rather spend that money on something else. That’s totally your prerogative.

Ian and I will be spending Valentine’s Day at home this year. No cards, no presents – just us, a bottle of something lovely, a good steak dinner and an equally good movie. That’s all we need and more. After all, surely the best gift you can give this Valentine’s is your time?

LOTD velvet wrap over dress

LOTD velvet wrap over dress

Velvet wrap over dress by LOTD (gifted)

You can still make it special by getting dressed up, throwing on a lovely dress, a little makeup if you fancy it too. If it makes you feel lovely, you needn’t be going out anywhere to wear your Sunday best! It’s also 100% fine if you want to sit in your joggers and get super comfy, with no makeup and your hair up in a messy bun.

So make a night of it. Simply enjoy being you. Enjoy each other’s company. That’s all you need.

Now, I must be honest, just 10 days after Valentine’s Day is our 3 year anniversary. We will be heading out for a lovely meal then, so we’re certainly not missing out on a meal out this month.

We’ll save our pennies for our anniversary meal and the money we would have also spent on Valentine’s Day can go towards even better things, such as our next home, holidays, etc.

I have to say a huge thank you to LOTD who gifted me this beautiful black velvet dress. If you are saving the pennies this year, I’d really recommend checking out the amazingly affordable fashion available on the LOTD website. I was so impressed by the quality of everything I received from them considering how little they cost. This dress is just £12, can you believe it?

Check out all their collections at www.lotd.com

I have a few other pieces from LOTD that I’ll be sharing with you guys very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for those lovely things too!

So… Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember that the day is whatever you wish it to be. A fancy meal out or a takeaway at home, it doesn’t matter. What matters is time spent together.

The gorgeous dress in this post was gifted to me by LOTD, but of course my thoughts are mine as always.

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A yummy & healthy snack discovery

Getbuzzing protein bars

You guys may have heard me waffling lately about how I want to get healthier in 2018 after a rubbish year for health last year. I’ve joined a gym, I’m eating relatively well…still with the occasional treat of course. But one thing I’ve really been trying to hunt down lately is an array of tasty and healthy snacks.

I’m trying to find snacks that fit into my busy lifestyle of working full time, trying to keep on top of blogging, running a home and fitting gym time in too – you guys get the drill! Life is busy.

So it was pretty lovely to discover the snacks by getbuzzing lately and find out how awesome they truly are.

First up, these snacks are nut free. Yes not one nut in sight. The company goes to great lengths to ensure nuts are kept well away from their bars, if this is something that’s important to you, I’d recommend reading their about us page *here* where they explain all. The bars also have no additives, preservatives or colourings, just good stuff. getbuzzing even have a collection of gluten free bars too.

They have a huge range of flavours and even have a range of higher protein bars too, which are great for gym goers. So there’s definitely something for everyone. I mean, HELLO Mint Choc High Protein flavour! *insert heart eyes emoji* ..this is my favourite so far alongside the Wowbutter flapjack. Yeap, they even have moreish flapjacks too. Flavours include –  banana, wowbutter (yes, still nut free & delicious!), mixed berries and date & seed. To think these bars are all made with natural ingredients is pretty impressive.

Ian was eyeing up these snacks all last week and asking me over and over if he can eat any yet. He’s been really into the gym lately, and to be totally honest he’s done amazingly well. So the protein bars definitely caught his eye when they arrived and he’s so impressed by the way they taste.

Getbuzzing date and seed bar

It’s so good to find another healthy snack alternative that is so easy to throw in your handbag for a shopping trip or to stash away in your snack drawer at work.  Variety is the spice of the snack life I think.

Ian and I have both been so impressed with the flavours we’ve tried so far. They’re honestly so much more delicious than we thought they’d be.

You can find out more about the getbuzzing range of bars on their website www.getbuzzing.co.uk ..they’re most definitely worth a try.

Thank you so much to the getbuzzing team for letting us try your lovely snack bars for free. As always, all my thoughts are most definitely mine (or Ian’s).

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog