Welcome to the land of Laura… Thank you so much for visiting my site!
So a little about me… I am a laughter loving girl from Belfast who is always travelling, eating out, shopping (much to my husband’s dismay!), cooking (much to my husband’s delight!) or walking my wee dog Allie! Anything which is bright, bold, beautiful and flowery will always catch my eye so expect to see a lot of that in my blog!
Recently, I have discovered so many places, foods and fabulous finds that I wanted to share with you all. My little bits of sparkle to hopefully brighten up your day!
I would love to hear from you all with any ideas or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or pm me on my Instagram.
Well where do I start?! It’s safe to say that I LOVE shopping! I wish I could say that there is just one thing in particular that I love more than anything else but unfortunately, much to my credit card and husband’s dismay, there is not 🙊 Some weeks it’s shoes, the next handbags, then earrings, dresses….. You see the dilemma I’m in?! My brain is getting tired just thinking about it!
My love of shopping and buying pretty things started as a little girl. I remember going shopping on Saturday mornings with my Mum and Nan so really this obsession is there fault right?! I remember my first velvet dress and I remember looking back a few years ago thinking why oh why did Mum choose that?! Then, this Christmas I bought a velvet jumpsuit and my love of velvet has been kick-started again! So thank you Mum – I can now see your thinking!! I think that’s why I love fashion, it’s always changing but there is something for everyone and everything comes back in fashion someday! My favourites as a little girl were always dresses, frills and all things pink and I still love these things to this day!
However, it is safe to say that I love to be organised and I hate to faff around so I am not a very good browser. I need to have a plan. What do I need? (Or more accurately, what do I want?!) Where will I get it? How much will it cost? Those are the types of things I think. There are just so many options out there now, too many! So I have decided to help you guys out and break down my favourite shops for you.
Laura’s little shopping loves…
1. The online one (at least over here in Belfast!) ~ BODEN
It is safe to say that it is on this website I lose most of my monthly data, my monthly salary and my general time! I just absolutely love their whole range! From casual bretons and jeans to smart workwear and pretty going out clothes, it pretty much has all bases covered! My favourite thing about Boden is how they will do a certain style, whether it is a pair of trousers, a dress, a shirt etc and they will do it in several patterns.so once you find the style that suits you, you don’t then need to waste time looking around elsewhere – just buy one of their other pretty colours or designs. And on that note, I think that this is another unique thing about Boden. Their patterns are all unique but yet classic and they have something that suits all. As I am a fan of flowers and colour, I always go for the bold prints but thy do so many beautiful subtle prints and colours too so there really is something there for everyone. The only downside is that as they don’t have a shop in Belfast it can sometimes be difficult with sizes BUT their customer service is incredible, they respond quickly to any issues and they make returning clothes so easy. I guess I will just have to plan a London trip just to see one of their shops?! (PS please come to Northern Ireland!)
2. The supermarket ~ TESCO
I think that this one is perhaps the most dangerous for my bank balance for 2 reasons.1. I’m in Tesco several times a week and sometimes the temptation is just too much!
2. Everything is so reasonably priced that I struggle to say no… 🤫
Without doubt, my favourite thing about Tesco is their clothing brand Florence and Fred. For clothes for my walks/yoga I would not go past them. The selection is great, the prices are fab and I always get compliments on all the patterns on my leggings! And the other thing I absolutely adore from their is their PJ’s and dressing gowns! They do so many pretty ones in lots of styles that suit everyone (I don’t know about you but I’m super fussy about what PJ’s I have, they have to be super comfy!!! And also respectable as I often water the garden in them 😆).
However, don’t be thinking that’s all they have to offer because the amount of little dresses and tops I have bought from there (too many to begin to count…. 🙊) that people think are way more expensive than what they are is incredible. Which I think just shows you how great the quality of their clothes are.
So next time you go shopping to Tesco make sure to bring a few extra pounds!
3. The quirky one ~ OLIVER BONAS
This shop was my favourite find of 2018. I just love absolutely everything about it! I love how beautiful the displays are, the unique and bold prints and the stunning but quirky jewellery.I tend to get quite a lot of little tops and blouses from here and then just put them with a pair of jeans or wide leg trousers. The prints are so bold and unique that I often find I like to keep the bottom half neutral to let the top half do the talking. I also love how regularly they update their stock and have new things in. Their jewellery is just WOW. They have everything from chunky to fine and have so many colours its unbelievable.
Another thing I love about it is the staff. They are so smiley and helpful and I think that makes a huge difference. I find it is a great shop for presents, something a little bit different and special. And finally, the home stuff is just beautiful. Always so in trend but yet with their own little touches added.
So my advice, if you haven’t been yet – GO. But just warn your credit card in advance as you will struggle to come out empty handed!
4. The pretty one ~ CATH KIDSTON
This one I think is my one true love. From pretty girly prints to beautiful feminine cuts it is just so so hard to go wrong. I mean no, I couldn’t go in here and buy my whole wardrobe but what I can do is find one off stand out pieces that set any outfit apart from the rest. To a flowery shirt dress to a Disney patterned blouse. The quirkiness and girliness is endless! And I love how versatile their clothes are. One top can be dressed up or down in so many different ways! And that is part of the fun of it, being creative in creating your fashion masterpieces!
I also absolutely love how their shops are laid out in lovely little sections, not crammed together, and therefore easy to spot what you love! My favourite thing that they have done recently is their collaboration with Fearne Cotton. The prints that they created with her were just stunning and I can’t wait to see what she designs next with them!
5. The all rounder ~ MARKS AND SPENCER
This is the one I have had the longest relationship with. This is a relationship has evolved and changed over the years but it has still always been there, the one I can always depend on. The range of clothes here means that there is something for everyone. It is one of the few shops that I can go shopping with both my nan and mum and we all come out with something we love!
The quality of their clothes is always fantastic. I genuinely would go nowhere else for my underwear, they are just the best and also so pretty!
I know that there may be some of you doubters out there that think it’s a granny or a mumsy shop but oh contraire! Yes they may have a fee collections with more classic looks but they also have some amazing totally in trend options too! Their latest collaboration with Holly Willoughby is fab!! I mean who doesn’t want her wardrobe?! If my credit card limit allowed me too I’d buy literally every outfit she wears 😍 so I guess it’s good my limit isn’t that expandable! The amount of compliments I have had from clothes I have bought from here and then the shock that went with the “Oh thank you, it’s a marksies number!” is unbelievable. So get down there! Get searching and find something amazing ❤️
6. Unusual one off pieces of jewellery ~ WOLF AND MOON
This I discovered locally even though it is based in London. But this is what I love about local shops that source unique products – it opens my eyes to new and beautiful things that I otherwise wouldn’t have found. So thank you Nook Living (little gift and homeware shop in Carrickfergus, near Belfast).
Their jewellery is all handmade and is just absolutely stunning and so unique. I could genuinely buy every single pair of earrings they sell (I think it’s safe to say I have an earring obsession…) as they are just all so beautiful and versatile!
Another amazing thing about them is their customer service. I had to get in touch about an order and they were incredible. So quick at responding and so friendly! And their packaging is just oh so pretty! I love it when I know I have an order coming in the post – the goal is to get to the post before Allie, she is also a fan of the packaging and likes to chew it and the produce inside 🤭
So honestly guys, if you love earrings then check them out! And yes, a lot of their earring may be bigger and a statement piece, but they also have some lovely wee studs. Something for everyone. I’m currently waiting on a pair to wear to my 30th party and I think I’m more excited about them than the party!
7. The creative small business ~ ADORNMENTS BY ROSHEEN (via ETSY)
Oh how I adore Etsy. I mean absolutely ADORE! There are so many reasons why including finding unique products, supporting small and local businesses and finding individual products from all around the world! However, I normally head to Etsy for gifts for others but recently I decided I wanted a nice little patterned hairband. I looked in so many shops but I couldn’t find any that were both pretty and comfortable. So that’s when I headed to Etsy and I found the adorable little shop of Adornments by Rosheen and boy am I glad I did!
Firstly, she is just amazing to deal with! I had a question for her and not only did she reply super quick, she was so friendly and helpful – I felt like I’d known her my whole life! I think that sometimes nowadays we are so caught up with big brands that the personal touch is lost and so I love it when I can connect with someone and know that there is a real person behind a product.
Secondly, I know that hairbands are the in thing right now and I did buy a couple of cheap plain ones from a standard high street store but you just cannot compare to these ones on so many levels.
1. Comfort – They are literally so comfortable! And trust me, that is no easy task! Fellow hairband lovers will back me up here!
2. Style – The amount of patterns and styles that Rosheen does is insane! Some really amazing quirky prints and also some very versatile everyday ones.
3. Custom – And if you don’t find something you like…. do not fear! She also does custom orders!
So get yourself to Etsy and in particular check out this wee shop and support a small business that is really selling some absolutely delightful products.
So enough about me and what I like. They were just a few wee insights into what I have found and been thinking recently. BUT – and it’s a big but – fashion is so personal and unique to each and every one of you. As long as you are wearing something that makes you feel confident, happy and beautiful then you are onto a winner! However, there are a few key things I want to say that I think apply to everyone…
1. Mix and match from different shops. And dare to be different while you do that! Get creative!!
2. Don’t wear something that’s “on trend” just because it’s “on trend”. Wear what actually suits you, your style and your shape!
3. Most importantly, don’t worry about what other people think. Everyone is beautiful and unique and as long as you love what you are wearing, then that is all that matters 😘 there is no point trying to please everyone as that is an impossible task so instead please the most important person – YOU ❤️
I hope you’ve enjoyed this wee post. Any questions just leave them below or message me 😊
If there is one thing that I love more than anything, it has got to be travelling! Especially when it involves staying in somewhere unusual and beautiful with all of your home comforts plus a few wee extras ❤️
Oh but here wait…. I lied…. There’s another thing I love just as much as travelling and that is to plan!!! Understatement of the century! Ask any of my friends or family and they will confirm that I’m a little (*cough*massively*cough*) bit ocd in my organisation of anything and holidays are no exception!
So when I can combine these 2 things together I am absolutely in my element! And so I take all opportunities to plan as many little trips as I can. And trust me, I go on many little and big trips as I can afford and fit into life!!
So when it came to organising my husband’s birthday trip this year (we opt for holidays/experiences over gifts now!) I decided to try somewhere a little bit different…. 🙈
And that’s when I discovered this amazing little travel company called Canopy and Stars. It has lots of amazing and unusual places to stay in the UK and further.
As we drove through the beautiful countryside to get to our home for the weekend, we knew we were gonna have a peaceful escape and decided that we would do a digital detox – so no social media! We got dropped off at the main house and then walked up the lane to our treehouse. As we pulled our cases through the farm (stony paths – my workout for the weekend!), we passed fields of horses, sheep and alpacas and I knew I was in heaven 😍
Then we got our wee treehouse and all I can say is WOW!!! It was amazing! The views out over the fields of animals and surrounding countryside was incredible. And we got those views all from our own balcony that had a tree growing right up through it!
Once inside the adorable treehouse we found that we had a fully kitted out kitchen, living room with lots of games, bathroom, outdoor shower and bunk beds that we had to climb up into. And boy we could not wait to look at the sunset and sunrise from the viewpoint up there! Oh because yes, how could I forget the best bit – there was one wall that was solid glass looking out over the countryside 😍 those views!!!! The hosts had even provided us with home baked bread, crossants, jam, eggs, chocolate and milk! It was just perfect for our idyllic escape.
We spent most of the weekend dandering around the local countryside, wandering into the village (15 minute walk), making jigsaws, having food and a pint in the village pub and of course eating chocolate and drinking wine whilst sitting by the fire and looking out over the beautiful fields.
It was the perfect mix of tranquil and idyllic without being too far out of things. The hosts were also nearby and always at hand with helpful tips without being on top of you.
It is safe to say that we will most definitely be using Canopy and Stars again (in fact, Andrew has booked us a little stay in one for my 30th in a few weeks!) and can highly recommend this particular location, Uplands Treehouse.
My first “little love” that I wanted to share with you all is my garden. My happy place 🌸
After yoga this morning (don’t worry, a post will come soon on this!), with the sun shining through the studio windows, I felt so calm and energised at the same time. I left knowing I wanted to spend some time in among the flowers in my own wee garden.
I don’t think that there is anything more relaxing and therapeutic than just taking some time out with nature and allowing yourself to relax and quite literally smell the roses 🌹
When I was a little girl I used to always watch my Dad spend literally hours in the garden and I would always wonder how on earth is he still out there – is there still more to do?! Now as an official grown up with my own house and garden, I understand! There is always more to do and that’s exactly why I love it! Each day there is something different I spot, something new to focus on or some new wee plant budding. I love watching my garden grow right before my eyes and I just love the satisfaction of knowing that it was me who first planted that seed.
I’m by no means a Mrs Green Fingers as I always have to take my Dad with me on any plant shopping spree (ps plants are EXPENSIVE – my husband hates it when I say I’ve spent the morning at the garden centre!) but I love love LOVE learning about all the flowers, what to plant when and where, pretty wee pots to plant up (yes I am most definitely a girly girl!) and just discover something new about the pretty world around me. I always look forward to that time with my Dad as he shares his knowledge and stories with me over a cuppa in the coffee shop (if you aren’t from Northern Ireland, ALL garden centres have a coffee shop and so it’s essential to stop and have a scone and coffee, it would be rude not to?!). Family is everything and I love any opportunity that I get to sit and chat with Dad (minus football chat obviously!) and my advice to you all, take every little chance you get to spend quality time with the ones you love, even if just for a cuppa and bun as you just never know what life is going to throw at you.
But back to the garden!! So if there are any of you out there who thinks that you can’t grow things, think again!! You can! I promise its easy! Just get yourself down to your local garden centre and just ask someone for some advice, they are always super friendly. Pick a pretty pot, choose a colourful plant and then get home and just spend some time in your garden. Then sit back, relax and watch it grow. And if ever you have had a stressful day, things aren’t quite going to plan or you just need some ‘me time’ just take yourself outside with a cuppa and breathe in the roses for the best pick me up straight from nature ❤️
Love to you all ❤️🌹
Ps if you head over to my Instagram have a look at my #s for my regular northern Ireland garden centre haunts!