Zoella Lifestyle: Indie Dupes

Everyone is going nuts for Zoella’s gorgeous new range of lifestyle and homeware goodies and  I can see why.

They are beautiful and very affordable. The rose gold, copper and marble theme  is 100% on trend and a blogger’s dream-come-true. I would be lying if I said I’m not tempted to invest in her On My Travels set but the truth is there are thousands of incredible handcrafted and independent stores online who are doing the same thing with nowhere near the same amount of exposure!

Zoella’s success is incredible and inspiring to any blogger or any female with ambition but, let’s face it, she’s a millionaire and I think she will cope with a few less sales if some of us opt to support independent stores instead. So I’ve compiled a few dupes to spark your imagination. Next time you find a high-street product that you adore, why not search Etsy for an independent/local equivalent? All of the Etsy stores I have included in this post are UK based and none of them have sponsored me to write this blog.

Hover over the photos for links to their original source.


Zoella ‘Write on Point’ Pencils, £5 versus PoshGirlCo ‘Time For Champagne’ Pencils, £5

 

Like I said, Zoella’s pencils are really on trend with their rose gold and copper design but the quirky and celebratory messages that feature on every PoshGirlCo pencil make them really stand out. According to the Etsy store: “they’re designed from the comfort of silky pyjamas, snuggle blankets and a glass of rosé.” My personal favourite is their girly Time For Champagne Pencil Pack! Their pencils make a great gift; there are multipacks for graduations and weddings and for those with wanderlust they have a cool City Pack. I love supporting independent designers and PoshGirlCo was set up by two Fashion Marketing and Graphic Design graduates in England so it’s awesome to see the work they’re creating post-University. Their designs are so up my street and I’m enchanted by their “crazy, pink, confetti world.” They are  going straight into my Etsy wishlist!


Zoella ‘My Eden’ Candle, £10 versus MoBros ‘Wild Bluebell’ Classic Range Candle, £9.99*

I can’t find any information about the size or burning time of Zoella’s new candle range (that’s strike one for me already) so I guess they’re about the equivalent of the wonderful MoBros Candles‘ Classic Range. The Classic Range candles retail at £19.99* which is pricy but FEAR NOT: MoBros offer a whopping 50% off all of their Classic Range candles when you use the Mo50 discount code at checkout. I also offer a unique 10% discount code for purchases on their site: APRIL10. The ‘My Eden’ fragrance is described as the scent of a garden in full bloom: Fresh roses, jasmine and luscious geraniums float on a warm summer breeze. Similarly, the Wild Bluebell candle has top notes of crisp green leaves, bluebells and hyacinths and mid notes of jasmine, freesia, orange and gardenia. If you like soft floral scents then I seriously recommend this candle. It is one of my favourite fragrances ever and MoBros produce some of the highest quality candles I’ve come across. Bonus points: it’s an independent company based in my favourite city, Glasgow, and Jonathan who runs this small company is a seriously lovely guy! I’ve written more about why I love their candles in my Everything You Need To Know About MoBros Candles blog.


Zoella ‘Naps Fix Everything’ Cushion, £12 versus PopTeeCush ‘Nap Queen’ Cushion, £14.99

Fellow nap-lovers: if you are looking for a cushion that professes your love for napping on your behalf but also want to support independent shopping then look no further than the awesome PopTeeCush store. As their name suggests they make pop art pieces, t-shirts and cushions and I’m really digging this ‘Nap Queen’ cushion. Yes, it is slightly more expensive than Zoella‘s adorable throw cushion but you can opt for the cover only at £8.99 and buy your own cheap cushion insert if you want to save a few pounds. The PopTeeCush design is definitely aimed at the more suave and sophisticated nap-lover and will make a great addition to any bedspread or couch. Sunday afternoon snoozes will never be the same again!


Zoella ‘Once Upon A Time’ Journal, £12 versus RachelEmmaStudio ‘Stop Perfectionisting’ Journal, £7.50

There is a myth about buying independent and handmade products that they’re always more expensive than their high-street and commercial siblings but this gorgeous rose gold foil notebook by Rachel Emma Studio disproves this as it’s a mere £7.50 compared to Zoella’s £12 journal. Personally, I think the handcrafted RachelEmmaStudio notebook is prettier and I love that it is handcrafted with love. AND they accept custom orders so you could get your notebook customised with your name or your favourite motivational quote. They do loads of cute designs which are similar to Zoella’s trendy lifestyle range. I’m also loving the Read More Books Print.


For more home inspiration, follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and check out the latest monthly inspiration post.

Mad Dog, Cheese & Winchin’: Claire Barclay Draws

Claire Barclay combines my love of Scotland, cheese puns and adorable illustrations in one beautiful and colourful online Etsy store.

Claire Barclay Draws epitomises why shopping independent is the best. Nowhere on the high street would you find so many Scottish culture gems, like this Mad Dog 20/20 print,  AND cheese puns, That’ll Brie Nice, all in one place. Through her greetings card, jewellery, tote bags, art prints and bunting, Claire combines nostalgic Scottish banter with vibrant pop culture and the result is magical.

I always smile when I receive my purchases from Claire. She delivers every time with amazing fun products and it’s even reflected through to her packaging! Would highly recommend. – Fay

Claire is animg_3910 illustrator and designer who works solo from her “wee studio” in Glasgow, Scotland. She loves making work based on funny elements of Scottish culture as well as anything else that’s jazzy, colourful or cute! She creates a whole range or products including greetings cards, art prints, tote bags and jewellery all with her quirky doodles on them. Claire also works on custom orders such as family/pet portraits and wedding invitations.

Super cute and super great also the Claire Barclay Draws customer service is amazing and one of the main reasons I will be a returning customer 🙂 – Jamie

I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a bundle of Claire’s incredible designs and I can testify that the products are as adorable in person as they are on your computer screen. I received two awesome A4 prints, a gorgeous tote bag and a “cat lady” brooch.
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Designs by Claire Barclay and candle from Love Scottish Candles

Art

I’m originally from bonnie Ayrshire but after four years studying at The University of Glasgow, I’m a self-confessed Glasgow wean who is now living in Edinburgh. Claire’s Glasgow Girl designs were just so fitting for me so they were really what drew me in. Claire’s illustrations are personal and you can really engage with them. They’ll have you and your friends giggling with a sense of nostalgia that I don’t think many people are capturing in the same way Claire is.
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Claire managed to combine both my new home and my love of Glasgow in the two art prints I received: Edinburgh Girl and You Can Take The Girl Outta Glasgow, But You Can’t Take Glasgow Out The Girl. These make wonderful gifts for any Edinburgh or Glaswegian gals who want to show off their love of their city or memorabilia for a guest visiting the city for the first time. You can also have these prints personalised to showcase your own home city; I recently spotted a Paisley Girl print on Claire’s on Instagram, which you can buy in the Slug in a Bottle Shop that will be popping up in Paisley soon.
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For anyone that grew up in Scotland, there a few special items that will definitely capture your hearts and imaginations. I’m sure many a Scot’s teenage years were spent drinking one of the following: Tennents, Buckfast, Mad Dog, Lambrini, or Frosty Jack’s – which brings back fond memories of shoving my drunk boyfriend into the back of a taxi after he drank a bottle of ‘fabulous Frosty’s’ at a house party in Glasgow. Claire pokes fun of Scottish youth culture with a variety of prints, greetings cards and jewellery.

Fashion

Claire Barclay herself is a bit of a fashionista and self-proclaimed “jazzy outfit enthusiast” so the jewellery and tote bags she offers are just the cutest. I am so in love with my Glasgow Girl tote but, unfortunately, it has met a sad fate in an accidental washing machine fatality. As long as you don’t mix yours in with a hot wash of towels then you are sure to have a gorgeous tote bag with a long life and the ability to get everyone talking and smiling.

I keep my Cat Lady brooch pinned to my Alohomora Design tote and proudly display it at University every day. It is super cute and sturdy and, if nothing else, it sparks that age-old debate: do you prefer cats or dogs? If you are inclined to obsess over our feline friends then you need one of these little pins in your life. Claire’s brooches range from £3.50 to £9 depending on which design you’re looking for and they look awesome pinned to an oversized denim jacket. Other designs include Geeze a WinchGeein’ It Laldi and, for those of you looking for something less Scottish, there’s a motivational Be Happy brooch.

Claire also makes necklaces (like this quirky and colourful Unicorn Necklace) and earrings (my personal favourite: Taps Aff earrings)


Follow Claire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out her Etsy page and don’t forget my 15% off code expires at the end of October so hurry, hurry!

September 2016: Home Inspiration

Hello and welcome to another monthly round up of all things cute and cosy. Yes, it’s a couple of days late; I’ve been swamped with moving home, starting THREE new jobs and my course but better late than never.

I’ve recently been introduced to the Danish term: hygge. It’s everywhere these days and basically it is the art of cosiness. My September home inspiration is all about the bits and pieces I have filled my new bedroom with in an attempt to create my own little slice of hygge in Scotland’s capital city. Let me know what products you’re loving as Autumn is rearing its pumpkin shaped head.

Nicola Sturgeon/Mean Girls Print from The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company, £11 

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I am besotted by Marisa’s gorgeous illustrations over on the her online paper store The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company. This hilarious and imaginative Nicola Sturgeon meets Mean girls art print really sums up what Marisa is doing with her stationary and greetings cards. It’s all about pop culture, humour and making people smile.  Marisa is super talented and if you’re looking for something a little less politically charged then there are tonnes of other amazing prints on her website.

You can read more about my love affair with The Fuzzy Bee in my full blog post: Buzzing About The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company.


Honey Oatmeal Scrubby from Wee Tree Soap, £4

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This isn’t exactly home style inspiration but the gorgeous packaging and earthy design of the Wee Tree Soaps make it an essential for your bathroom decor. All you need to do is pop one of these on good draining soap dish so that it doesn’t turn to mush and let your guests bask in some skin-friendly, earth-friendly loveliness. I got this adorable faux grass dish from a nearby Flying Tiger store for like £2. Leigh’s soaps are made for sensitive skin, they don’t contain any animal products and they are packed with skin loving ingredients. I hate to mentioned the C-word but I really recommend buying one of these as a Christmas stocking filler!

For more information about why I’m loving these soaps, see Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1 and to buy yourself a beautiful vegan soap bar, go to Etsy.


Edinburgh Girl Print from Claire Barclay Draws, £10

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Okay, I’m just having a general love affair with Scottish paper companies right now. Claire Barclay is making the cutest Scottish culture pieces out there. My flatmates and I marvel at this adorable Edinburgh Girl print every morning over breakfast. The best part is: Claire creates personalised prints so you can get your hometown/favourite city scribed on to one of these gorgeous A4 art pieces! Claire also makes personalised pet portraits amongst Buckfast  and Frosty Jacks inspired illustrations. Oh yeah and you can get a BRAW 15% off all purchases until the end of October with my FOURTHMONTH15 code!!!

I’ll be posting a full blog soon but in the mean time visit Claire Barclay Draws Etsy.


Embossed Latte Mug from Tesco, £1.50

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My main goal is to promote the amazing work that local and independent companies are doing but once in a while it’s nice to throw in a bargain that is easy for everyone to find. This month I’m absolutely loving my big latte mug from Tesco. This was a lovely housewarming gift from my best friend and I drink my coffee from it every morning before facing the stresses of University and work life. It’s minimalist, pretty and it costs a mere £1.50. Next time you’re thinking about buying a Pumpkin Spiced Latte treat yourself to a new long lasting coffee cup instead. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can use it to store make up brushes or pens and pencils in.

Here’s the link to grab your own latte mug!

Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1

Everyone loves to pamper themselves. Put on a candle, run a bubble bath and choose a lovely soapy product that smells like bubblegum or lavender, so good, right? Then you end up with a red rash or a UTI because of the high levels of fragrance and chemicals that just don’t agree with you. It was my body’s adverse reactions to commercial skin care products that sent me on a hunt for high-quality products or “dupes” which were not only cruelty-free but natural and kind to your skin. Cue Etsy: I searched for vegan soaps and found the Wee Tree Soaps store. I was immediately enchanted by their products which look good enough to eat!

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As a Scottish blogger, one of my main goals is promoting handcrafted products from Scotland so it is an added bonus that Wee Tree Soaps is, like me, Ayrshire based. Then I discovered that Wee Tree Soaps are actually manufactured in my hometown: Irvine. What are the chances? When I realised this, I knew I had to get my hands on some of these gorgeous soaps. Not only because they are earth and skin friendly but because they are conjured up right on my own doorstep.

It turned out that Leigh, who makes these incredible soaps, has actually known me since I was a little girl! These products are made in my old street where I have the fondest childhood memories. Some of which include playing with Leigh’s kids who lived round the corner. After chatting about old times, Leigh was more than happy to send me a few products to try. I’m trialling Dead Sea MudHoney Oatmeal Scrubby, Spicy Cinnamon, Avocado and Tea Tree and Tangy Tangerine.

Since I have five soaps to review from Wee Tree Soaps, I am splitting this review into two parts to allow for a proper look at each product. All of Leigh’s soaps are free of palm oil, animal products, and artificial colours/fragrances. She made her soaps with her daughter’s eczema in mind because most bath products would irritate her sensitive skin: a feeling I’m sure many of us can relate to. They are fantastic for anyone suffering from eczema, psoriasis and allergies and perfect for anyone looking for a luxury artisan treat without nasty chemicals. The first of my five to try was the Dead Sea Mud soap which I opened on my first night staying in my new flat in Edinburgh. Here’s what I thought…


Dead Sea Mud

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Dead Sea Mud is a muddy treat: beautifully packaged with a lovely marbled effect. I love the quaint tree stamp that adorns every soap; it really makes you feel like you are using an earth-friendly product. It doesn’t give off a huge scent other than a subtle buttery avocado smell with a hint of citrus from the May Chang essential oil. For me, this is proof that there are no artificial chemicals in use so, if anything, it enhanced my experience.

Like all of the Wee Tree Soaps, it is great for sensitive skin. It is marketed more towards mature skin because of its nourishing ingredients. The oils used in this product will draw moisture into the skin, act as a natural barrier between your skin and the harsh elements you face every day and keep your skin feeling regenerated and moisturised as well as providing a lovely bubbly lather.

I used it on my hands, body and face. I don’t recommend using soaps on your face because they are too astringent. Despite all the nourishing oils, this product was still too drying for my face. Leigh also makes Facial Bars which I’d love to try. However, I absolutely love it for refreshing my hands and body. I really wasn’t expecting much of a lather with a chemical-free soap but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how bubbly it is! It doesn’t take much coaxing to froth up – a tiny bit of water goes a long way. Speaking of water, it is really important to keep your product dry and use a good draining soap dish. Because it’s chemical-free, it will just turn to mush if it lies in water for too long. Keep it dry and your Wee Tree Soap will last a very long time.

Oh, and it’s only four quid on Etsy!


 Honey Oatmeal Scrubby

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Having oily and acne-prone skin, a decent exfoliator is key to maintaining a good skincare regime. This Honey Oatmeal Scrubby does the job whilst being cruelty-free and skin-friendly. It does contain honey so may not be suitable for some vegans.

Why do I love this soap? This exfoliator uses ground oatmeal to provide a natural exfoliant. Many high-street exfoliators contain harmful plastic microbeads which are terrible for the environment. These beads go down your drain, into the sea and subsequently into the food chain. According to this article about microbeads by Greenpeace, 90% of birds now have plastic in their stomachs! By swapping out products that use these dangerous beads for an all-natural soap like this, you could make a big impact on the environment as well as your skin.

Like the Dead Sea Mud soap, this soap contains loads of natural skin-loving oils which keep your skin feeling soft and supple as well as providing a bubbly lather. I’m sure many of you will know that the use of honey for beauty goes way back! Women have been bathing and using honey throughout history to keep their skin looking radiant, it’s been used in folk medicine to treat illnesses and various ailments and it’s just generally really good for you. While it doesn’t have a strong fragrance, the combination of honey and oatmeal gives it the faint smell of sweet porridge.

I use this in the shower (do not leave under the water for too long) to scrub the dry skin on my body. This is a great soap to use before applying fake tan or for anyone who feels their skin is looking dull and rough. Unlike many exfoliators, it is very gentle but leaves your skin looking healthy and shiny.

Again, it is a mere £4 on Etsy so fetch yourself a bargain today. This is a lovely gift for vegans and for friends and family with sensitive and irritable skin.


Next time I’ll be reviewing Avocado and Tea Tree, Tangy Tangerine and Spicy Cinnamon!

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Find Wee Tree Soaps on Etsy and follow them on Facebook.

For more home and beauty inspiration, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Buzzing About The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company

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The Fuzzy Bee is an online paper store created and founded by the lovely Marisa Woods. Marisa has a Bachelor of Arts in drawing from Providence College in Rhode Island and has been making cards since opening The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company in 2012. She runs her own blog and you can find her at various markets across Glasgow.

As most of you know by now, I have embarked on a new adventure to study Publishing in Edinburgh. As a result, I’ve been landed in a new flat with a new room to kit out. Being away from home is never easy: missing family and friends, being in an unknown place and, frankly, feeling a bit scared. One of the best things you can do to make a new room feel cosier and more inviting is to adorn it with prints and posters. I wanted to get a couple of illustrations to frame and put in my room that would make me smile in the morning or after a long day at University.

When I saw The Fuzzy Bee’s Nicola Sturgeon meets Gretchen Weiners à la Mean Girls poster, I knew I had to have some of Marisa’s amazing designs in my new home. She is a super talented illustrator, which you can see from the prints and cards she creates, and pretty funny too. All of the cards and illustrations are hand drawn using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop and they started simply as a way for Marisa to document different moments in her life.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a big thing for me to promote small businesses and, in particular, Scottish companies. Marisa is based in Glasgow so lots of the humour is Scots – although there are tonnes of non-Scots products to buy for any other UK and International readers. Next time you are redecorating or buying a card: please try to source them from local, small businesses. It’s more personable, the products tend to be made with an extra helping of love and, of course, it supports the local economy instead of sending your hard earned cash to goodness knows where.


The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company Products

Art Prints

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Nicola Sturgeon/Mean Girls Print

It was Marisa’s prints that enticed me to her store and you can browse a variety of awesome art pieces here. They make an amazing addition to your home and will have all your guests talking.  I’m really digging the Little Map of Glasgow and Little Map of Edinburgh just now, which are great souvenirs for travellers or just lovely keepsakes for residents. For something Scottish, try the Haggis Print. For something inspirational, try this Throw Kindness like Confetti Print. For general awesomeness, try this Eat Pie for Breakfast Print. Prints vary from approximately £11-12 each.

Greetings Cards

 

Looking for something a touch more personal? I am not exaggerating when I say that The Fuzzy Bee Paper has greetings cards for everything. See for yourself here. There are ‘be my best man‘ cards, ‘happy anniversary‘ cards and ‘congratulations on your new job‘ cards. No matter what occasion you’re celebrating, there’s a card for it here and each of them is as witty as the one before.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few including the ‘I love your new digs’ card: perfect for anyone who is moving to new house or flat! There are loads general friendship/love cards like this You Do You card. They’re perfect for moments when you want to let someone know you care. Now that I’m living a solid two hour train journey away from my friends and family, a greetings card is a lovely way to let them know I’m thinking about them. Alternatively, buy yourself a few unique greetings cards and frame them for decoration like I have! They’re only £3 each so they’re a total bargain.

Stationary

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A6 Notebook (Candle from MoBros)

Marisa also makes lovely A6 note books like the one you can see in the picture to the left. The note book designs range from autumnal leaves and pretty flowers to sloths and tacos. Like I said on Instagram, it is a truth universally known that a nice notebook will make the stress of Uni that little bit better. They’re only three quid so go pick one up over on Marisa’s Etsy store so that you can be the Queen/King of Stationary in your next class.

The Beehive Box

Another amazing aspect of The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company is the subscription box that Marisa founded. Marisa teamed up with loads of other amazing and talented designers to create a special stationary box: The Beehive Box.

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Delightfully curated box of locally sourced stationary and paper products from all around the UK.

It is a great way to keep up to date with adorable designers and be able to grab a Fuzzy Bee goodie from time to time. Their subscriptions range from the £8 p/m Worker Bee Subscription, £15 p/m Honey Bee Subscription and £25 p/m Queen Bee Subscription. I’ve subscribed already and I’ll be posting a blog about that in the future. It’s free shipping to the UK and it is also a great way to encourage and support local/small business.

What are you waiting for?

With Christmas coming up in the not-so-distant future, there’s never been a better time to go old-school and send your loved one a special handcrafted card; F.Y.I letter writing is also a great way to work on Breaking Up With The Internet. If you’re stuck for a Christmas gift for family and friends, try framing one of Marisa’s A4 prints or greetings cards as a unique gift for your fave person.

Whether you visit a market, subscribe to a stationary box, shop on their official site or browse their Etsy store, you need a beautiful Fuzzy Bee Paper Company design in your life!


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How To Turn Student Accommodation Into Your Dream Home

Starting University is daunting but moving into student accommodation doesn’t need to be scary. Once you’re done packing the bare essentials (pyjamas and loo roll), fill your suitcase with adorable bits and bobs to give your new flat that cosy feel.  Here’s some of my favourites:

Inspirational Quotes & Prints

One of the things I did to jazz up my new room was frame some gorgeous illustrations. Get on Etsy and search for prints that reflect your personality. It could be something witty that’ll make you laugh when you see it or something more motivational to get you in the studying mindset. If you’re into a Live, Laugh, Love quote then who am I to judge? Be careful sticking them on walls because some letting agents will kick up a fuss – avoid blu-tac and sticking pins straight on to a wall. If you have a corkboard that’s a great way to showcase your favourite designs and throw up some family photos too. I like framing my prints and resting them on bookshelves and desks. My favourite illustrators right now are The Fuzzy Bee Paper CompanyClaire Barclay Draws and Lemmon Studios.

Candles

You’ll know by now that I’m addicted to candles. I guess it comes down to that Danish lifestyle concept: Hygge. Candles will turn any empty room into a warm and fuzzy place to snuggle up and read a good book. I’ve written a lot about my favourite independent Scottish candle companies but here’s some to get you started. If you’re a book lover like me, invest in a couple of Meraki Candles. For something a bit more luxurious, try MoBros Candles and use my 10% off code: APRIL10. Other candles I love are Love Scottish Candles and McKelvie Candles. Please be careful because not all landlords allow you to burn candles. Find out if it’s okay and if not they still make for gorgeous decorations and smell gorgeous even when they’re unlit.

Books

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Books, glorious books! Nothing makes a room feel more homely than a shelf stacked with your favourite books. I like books that are worn and weathered from a loving reader who has pawed the pages so many times and a cracked spine from an overly zealous reading session. There’s a reason this John Waters’ quote is so famous…

If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!

Books are the life source of any room and you can completely personalise your space by choosing which books you put on display. At the moment, I don’t have many books in my new room but I’m getting there. They’re mostly to-be-read like A Court of Thorns and RoseHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Improbability of Love but I will be fetching a fresh copy of Jane Eyre because no bedroom of mine is complete until Jane and Mr Rochester are adorning the shelves!

Soaps, Lotions & Potions

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You don’t need to spend a fortune to have some luxury beauty products in your new home. Having some sweet-smelling, pretty soaps and lotions adds a special something to your room. Between the chaos of starting your course and moving out, it’s important to take time out to practice self-care. That means burning a candle and pampering yourself with your favourite beauty products. Like I said in the Top 10 Tips For Acne-Prone Skin, I love Liz Earle and I’ve recently been enjoying the amazing Wee Tree Soaps too. They are cruelty-free, perfect for sensitive skin and only £4. Investing in nice soaps and lotions makes your room feel more expensive and gives you the chance to unwind too.


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