Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Surprisingly Accurate Nightwear from Next!

Hi guys,
A quick peek into the Next sale (looking for stuff for little man actually- I love their childrenswear) lead me to stumble upon this night dress and, of course, I had to buy it immediately! Don't worry, I won't subject you to a picture of me just before bed, but here it is:
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Eerily accurate and in my favourite colour for cotton too. Plus, this stiflingly hot weather means that it's too warm to be wearing my jammies right now. Did they know I was coming?!

The Next sale has been a surprisingly good one this year. I'm usually always unimpressed, because I'm not prepared to join the masses (also known as the crazy people) and stand outside at 5am to get a first peek which means by the time I pop in a couple of days later there's absolutely nothing left. This year though was a pleasant surprise and I did get a couple of cute little outfits for my little man, and of course, this awesome nightie for me!

Have you had any success in the Next sale this year?

Love Tor x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Fabfrocks gets married: Reliving the details

Hi guys,
This week I celebrated my third wedding anniversary. At the same time my sister has been busy organising her impending nuptials and my mum has been posting constantly over on her craft blog (link here) about all of the amazing things she's been making for the wedding. The two things combined got me thinking about my own Alice in Wonderland themed wedding, and all of the amazing details mum and I made in the lead up to the big day.

I think when your wedding day actually arrives it moves at the speed of light and the whole thing becomes a big happy blur. All the things that seemed so important (like the colour of the chair sashes) become completely insignificant. Our vintage car hire company sent us the wrong car on the morning of the wedding (one far too small for my big dress!) but I just folded it in and got going: I was getting married to Mike and nothing else actually mattered! Now though, three years on, the details make me so happy. So indulge me, please! Prepare for a picture heavy post then, as I relive the details of my big day:
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There are certain aspects of my wedding that make me cringe when I look back at them now (seriously: what was I thinking about with that hair do?) But all the little details handcrafted with love? Nothing makes me happier!

Are any of you in the middle of planning a wedding? Are you finding it stressful or loving every minute? I love hearing about other people's weddings!

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

What to Wear in Disneyland Paris in September

Hi guys,
In exactly seven weeks I will be donning my mouse ears, grabbing hubby and baby, and heading off to Disneyland Paris! This will be Wilbur's third holiday and his second trip to Disneyland Paris (not bad for an 18 month old) although as he was so small I don't think he will remember the first trip. He loves Mickey Mouse, Buzz and Woody, and I just can't wait to see his face the first time he sees the castle. Can you tell I'm excited?!

So what will I be wearing for this trip? Well my attitude is that when in Disneyland you should wear Disney clothes: but I also want to be comfortable and look a little on trend too. Here's my inspiration mood boards for hubby and I:

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Minnie Mouse ears, ASOS exclusive, £10/ Bambi top. Paul and Joes Sister, £50/ Khaki joggers, Topshop, £45/ Toffee leather brogues, Shellys, £65/ Mickey mouse necklace, Gogo Phillip, £9.99

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Junk Food Mickey Mouse tee, £30.99/ Dark wash jeans, River Island, £50/ Mickey Mouse rotator watch, ASOS, £75/ Stars and Stripes Converse, £56.99/ ASOS satchel, £18. 

And here's how I wore Disneyland Paris last October, when the weather was much cooler. Note the obligatory ears and the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt!
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I always make sure I've got comfy shoes on when I go to Disneyland, and a small across body bag is essential for the rides too. Pro tip: take more than one pair of shoes, even if you're travelling light. There is loads of walking involved in Disneyland which will leave you with very sore feet at the end of each day. But switching your shoes will change the pressure points being pushed each day, and make your feet a little more comfortable. The weather can also be so temperamental over there (just like it is here!) so we'll also all be taking our rain coats and then, hopefully, shoving them in the backpack because we don't need them!

I've gone a little mad on the pre-holiday shopping. New outfits for all of us (including a Buzz costume for little man) and I am planning to indulge in some serious mouse-themed retail therapy whilst we're out there too. Now I just need to find myself the perfect Mickey Mouse T shirt: do you guys have any suggestions?

Love Tor x

Monday, 14 July 2014

Fabfrocks at Home: Top Tips For First Time Buying

Hi guys,
It's now been 12 months since we moved into our new house; the first one we have ever owned! To celebrate, I thought I would share some top tips for first time buyers. Not from an expert, you understand, but things that we have gleaned from the whole process!
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1. Know what you want before you start looking. In Norwich, a lot of the older houses have downstairs bathrooms rather than upstairs bathrooms, for example. Having an upstairs bathroom was a deal breaker for us, so we didnt even look at houses without one. I love those old houses, but I knew no amount of original features would make up for having to carry Wilbur downstairs every night when he's learning to potty train!

2. When things go wrong, take a couple of days to dwell on it, pick yourself up and start again. The offer we put in on our dream house (which was at the very top of our budget) was rejected: the house ended up selling for much more than we could have afforded. We sulked for a day or two, picked ourselves up and started the hunt again. The very next house we saw was our house. It felt like home the minute we walked in the door, and now we can't imagine living anywhere else!

3. Once you've found the house you want and your offer has been accepted, make sure you choose a solicitor you're happy with: sometimes it can be tempting to just choose the one that gives you the cheapest quote, but that isn't always the best way. We were really happy with ours, because they took the time to talk us through every step of the, frankly confusing, process. It is nice to know that if you do choose a bad one though you have some recourse: Professional negligence claims against solicitors (a service offered by Redress Law) are always an option if you get a bad or neglectful service, although of course that would add to the stress of the already complicated house buying process so try and choose right in the first place!
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4. Do as much work as you possibly can before you move your furniture in. It will make the process so much easier, and those days after you get your keys are likely to be when your motivation is at your highest. In the three days after we got our keys and before the furniture van arrived we managed to paint and paper all three bedrooms. Around a month later I painted the bathroom. Twelve months on and we're still yet to paint any of the downstairs rooms, despite the fact the paint has been in the cupboard for a full year! I really wish we'd taken a couple more furniture-free days and just got it done!!

5. Finally, take loads of photos on the day you move in. When it feels like you're not making any progress (something I feel all the time, when Wilbur is making it impossible to strip those doors or wanting to ride me like a horse when I'm bent down to fill in the skirting boards) you can look back at those photos and instantly see how far you've come!

Anyone who's been through the process of buying there first home, or currently going through the process now: do you have any tips and hints to add?

Love Tor x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

My favourite rainy day shoes

Hi guys,
Are you as sick of all this rain as I am? All the sunny summer days activities I had planned (preferably whilst wearing flip flops and sundresses) and instead I'm stomping around muddy fields with my hood up and my wellies on. The only silver lining to this is that I actually love my wellies! They're Hunter Originals in classic bottle green which means they go with everything - it also means they match my Levis Made and Crafted parka perfectly!
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Until I had Wilbur I wasn't really a big fan of mucky outdoorsy activities, but he loves being outside and getting his hands dirty whenever possible. And if he loves it, I love it, so it's outwards-bound for me! Luckily, with my wellies I fit right in! I know you can buy really great wellies elsewhere - I'm also a big fan of the quirky patterned Joules ones, and toyed with getting a pair of those for a while.

In the end though it was the idea of the Hunters and their heritage that stole my heart - Wilbur has a little pair of matching red ones, and (with my encouragement!) Mike is going to get a Black pair and join the club. There is no better feeling than matching my boys as we find muddy puddles to jump in! So maybe all this rain isn't so bad after all.....

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sponsored Video: I want to be slim. And fast!

Hi guys,
As you already know, I am a curvy gal. Certainly no one has every referred to me as being 'all skin and bone'! However since I had Wilbur my size 14-16 frame now sits very firmly in the size 16 camp and when the little man hit 18 months old last month, I decided it was time to do something about it: Curves are good. Fat is not!

Summer is the perfect time of the year to start a diet. Delicious salads and yummy summer fruits are a much better alternative to heavy meals on hot days anyway. It's also a wonderful time to start a new diet plan: and there's no better plan to try than the Slimfast 3-2-1 plan! Basically, you eat three Slimfast snacks (or fruit and veggie snacks: as long as its under 100 calories per snack) substitute two of your daily meals with meal replacement drinks and eat one delicious low calorie meal of 600 calories for a woman and 800 for a man a day then you watch the weight fall off. It's as easy as 3-2-1!!  The plan is scientifically proven to work and has been approved by The European Food Safety Authority.

Slimfast shakes aren't what they used to be. If (like me) you last tried one ten years ago and found them to taste a little powdery then you're in for a pleasant surprise. Nowadays it's just like drinking an ordinary delicious milkshake, and when combined with your three slimfast snacks a day, is just enough to keep you feeling full until dinner time. My favourite is the strawberry one. I also really like the Slimfast chocolate caramel treat bars: chocolatey yum!

If you need a little more motivation to get going, why not follow Slim Fast on Twitter for a range of hints and tips? I'm also going to be giving it a go, and am currently halfway through a week of sandwich-free lunches, so you can follow me for inspiration and motivation too! There's also a great new Slim Fast website to check out! Do you have any weight to loss? And what plan are you currently trying?

Love Tor x

*This post has been sponsored by Slimfast but all thoughts are my own 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Fabfrocks at Home: How does your garden grow?

Hi guys,
Gardening is one of my least favourite house hold chores. I don't find digging up weeds or mowing the lawn therapeutic: I find it damn hard work! But I also think that if you buy a house with a garden then you should make the most of it, and in order to spend time enjoying your garden you have to do all the hard work first! Sigh. I've spend the better part of the past two days in my garden having a tidy up. Here are some snap shots, as well as some gardening tips for lazy girls:
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- Be sure to check out your local pound shops if you're on a budget.  (Wilbur chose the little froggy in my hydrangeas for just £1 from poundland). I've found some very pretty garden stakes and trellis in mine: much cheaper than heading to the local garden centre, and ideal if you just want to tidy up without spending a fortune.
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-If you hate weeding that garden in pots. I grow all my flowers, plants and herbs in pots or baskets and it makes them much easier to tend to. It also means I can mow the lawn quickly/vigorously without worrying about clipping my flowers or destroying low level flower beds. This is also a hangover from my renting days, as when you're renting you don't want to do someone else's garden for free: you can just pick up your pots and move out!
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-Cuprinol garden shades is the best thing to ever happen to gardens! Outdoor wood paints in wonderful vibrant colours can really help to dress up your outdoor space. If you have old wooden garden furniture you can make it look like new. We used it to give new life to our garage side door (which was structurally sound but covered in disgusting peeling brown paint) and we also used it to paint a couple of bird boxes to tie the blue colour in.
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- This is a tip that's only relevant for mummies, but if you have little ones then have a separate kids zone. In our garden the lawn is Wilbur's and is covered in a wide array of slides, swings, see-saws, ball ponds and other various toddler paraphernalia. The patio is all mine, apart from Wilbur's miniature table and chairs where he sits to do his jigsaw puzzles in the sun. It's nice to have your own little corner to relax in!

Have you been spending any of this week's sunny days in your garden? Do you have any gardening tips to add?

Love Tor x

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sponsored Video: I flick my hair back and fourth!

Hi guys,
I've always been blessed with thick hair, in fact, my 'crowning glory' has always been something I'm pretty proud of. My hair only got thicker when I was pregnant, and looked more luscious than ever. After I has Wilbur though my hair fell out in clumps and even now it looks lanker and much more lifeless than I would prefer. Which is why I was interested to hear more about L'Oreal Fibrology from Elvive by L'Oréal Paris and why I wish they'd invented it 18 months ago!
When I saw the product advertised on the TV I was fascinated: A product designed to give hair more volume and a thicker appearance? Count me in!! When you use the product testers say that you can actually see results within around a week, which means you don't have to use it for months before you can tell its working (Like so many other thickening products on the market). The technology involved in creating Fibrology is completely innovative, and took 17 years to research and develop followed by 8 years of extensive testing. The aim of the product is to make hair look fuller, with luxurious body and bounce. It works by penetrating the fibre of the hair and actually increasing its diameter from the inside. Even better news for blondies like me? It even works on bleach lightened hair. Now I'm not going to lie, science isn't my strong point so I'm not going to attempt to tackle the science bit: but the important thing is, it works!

Have you used Fibrology yet? I can't wait to give it a try!

Love Tor x

*This post has been sponsored by L'Oreal but all thoughts are my own 

So, how do you monetise your blog?

Hi guys,
It's one of the first questions most people ask me when I tell them that I make my living from writing online, and from writing my own blog: how exactly do you monetise your blog? Is it even possible to make a living from your own blog? In my case no: I also run my own copywriting company, the Little Copywriting House (a shameless plug, I know!) But I do make money from my blog on a monthly basis, and I have also had experiences I wouldn't have ever thought possible thanks to writing this little corner of the internet. Here's how I do it:
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Sponsored Posts 

You have probably noticed that I write occasional sponsored posts and share sponsored videos on the blog, and I also work with media agencies in London, such as Total Media, to share links and other content with you guys. Some bloggers don't like sponsored posts, but my attitude is that as long as they're written with integrity and of relevance to your audience they're adding value to your site. I wouldn't say that a product I didn't like was wonderful, for example. But if someone's offering to give me money to write about how much I love Topshop or eBay (and I really do!) then why would I say no?

Onsite Advertising

There are thousands of bloggers that have their onsite advertising situation worked out so much better than I do: I definitely have a way to go! The key to getting your onsite advertising right is to be proactive. Sign up to advertising networks (I currently use Unruly Media) who will pay you per click on the videos or ads you display on your site. Also, ensure you are prepared for advertisers than will approach you directly. Create your own media kit outlining what your site has to offer to an advertiser: mine details the demographics of my readers (you guys!), how much traffic I get each month and of course my advertising rates! It only took an hour to put together, but it makes it easy to reply to advertising enquiries quickly and without any hassle!

Brand Collaborations

Brand collaborations are one of my favourite ways of monetising the blog. You get to work long term with a brand, so you really get to know them and know that you are endorsing a company you love. Many brands run these kinds of collaboration programmes: I am currently working with Spartoo on one to regularly bring you updates about my favourite shoes and I love it: reviewing shoes and calling it work? It's a hard job but someone has to do it!

I am definitely not an expert in this stuff! But for everything who's ever asked the question, this is my (fairly lengthy) answer. Are you currently monetising your blog? Do you have any hints and tips you'd like to share?

Love Tor x

Friday, 4 July 2014

Sponsored Video: Welcome to my make up bag, 'They're Real!' eyeliner

Hi guys,
Although I don't get the opportunity to wear a full face of slap everyday any more, I still love doing my make up. It's just that now I look for solutions that are as quick and easy as possible. A couple of months ago I brought Benefit's 'They're Real!' mascara on a whim, and now it's my go to mascara: the one that I wear every day. It makes my lashes look fuller, thicker, and longer and it lasts all day without wearing or flaking. So how excited was I when I learnt that Benefit were adding an eyeliner to the 'They're Real!' family:

If I could only have three items in my make up bag it would be foundation, mascara and eyeliner. In fact, that's the only make up I wear most days! But a long lasting eye liner is hard to come by: however I think I've found it! The They're Real eye liner  doesn't budge or smudge all day. It has a matt formula, which is my preference as I hate shiny make up, and means it's perfect for sunny days like today.  Even better, it utilises the innovative soft AccuFlex™ Tip which hugs your lashline from corner to corner, helping get the liner as close to the lash line as possible (important for that wide eyed look!) In fact during testing, 84% of people said the liner made their eyes look visably larger.

Chanel always used to be my go to make up counter, and whilst I won't ever use anyone else's foundation I think Benefit might be my new go to counter when it comes to my eyes!

Do you have any new make up recommendations you'd like to share? Have you tries the 'They're Real!' products, and did you like them as much as I did? I really would love to hear your thoughts!

Love Tor x

*This post has been sponsored by Benefit but all thoughts are my own 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

What's Your Guilty Pleasure?

Hi guys,
Everyone has a guilty pleasure: whether its that sugar-filled cocktail you know you shouldn't drink or that band aimed at 12 year olds you really shouldn't like. For me, its the latter. Because, in Alcoholics Anonymous style, it's time to stand up and say "My name is Tor, and I love McBusted".*
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For my 30th birthday this year my sister took me to the 02 arena in London to see them: it was the best night out I've had in ages and when they descended from the top of the arena on a space ship (see the pic above) I very nearly passed out from excitement. On Sunday my long suffering husband took me to see them again at Chantry Park (where they were supported by the Back Street Boys!) He and I have a fairly similar taste in music usually, but when it comes to McBusted, I'm on my own! How unimpressed does he look:
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When I think about it, I actually have more musical guilty pleasures than I probably should. Kylie is playing at the 02 at the end of September and the eight year old girl in me that knew the full dance routine to 'The Locomotion' and watch the video on a daily basis would love to be shaking some moves in the audience!

So why am I telling you all this, other than because I crave public embarrassment. of course? Because whilst I was being mocked relentlessly about my second McBusted trip on Sunday it got me thinking about guilty pleasures and the fact that everyone must have one! So I want to know: what's you guilty pleasure? What do you love that you know you shouldn't? Tell me, so that I feel better about being the world's oldest McBusted fan!!

Love Tor x

*Technically I love McFly (more specifically, Dougie from McFly) but the McBusted super group concept is still a pretty awesome one. 

Shoes: Mellow yellow with Missoni

Hi guys,
Yellow shoes? Its not something I would normally ever consider putting on my feet! But I am slightly in love with these gorgeous yellow Missoni heels. I stumbled across them whilst hunting for a pair of yellow court shoes to wear to my sisters Disney themed fancy dress hen 'do (I'm going as Minnie Mouse) and although they're not right for my costume, don't they look amazing? These shoes literally scream summer to me, and they would be perfect for jazzing up a plain dress for a wedding or any other summer event.
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I love Missoni because I love Missoni print. It's iconic, immediately recognisable, and it never goes out of fashion. I have a Missoni scarf I bring out winter after winter, and it does with everything. Yellow is also such a great happy colour, so why not wear it on your feet?! It would make you feel cheerful everytime you looked down!

Even better? You can pick these shoes up for £282.09 (reduced from £433.99) at the minute, because the Spartoo sale is now on!

Love Tor x

*Post written as part of an ongoing partnership with Spartoo shoes