Inform. Inspire. Innovate

Monday, 29 June 2015

My beautiful Cockerpoo, Roxy*

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have been bombarded with photos of my beautiful cockerpoo, Roxy. She’s the love of my life and the sweetest but most diva-like dog you’ll ever meet.

I’m a big dog person, and have wanted one of my own my whole life. My parents had always said no because of the amount of commitment they need (and the amount of times a year we go on holiday!). BUT…One half term when I was in my final year of sixth form, dad took a day off work to take us out for the day so my brother and I instantly decided on a visit to Dog’s Trust. 

Whilst there, Dad found and fell in love with a beautiful dog called Peanut. We were stroking it through the cage then when we got up to leave, he would cry so Dad just kept returning again and again. I’d never seen him like that with a dog before, not even my nan’s dog who we grew up with since I was 6 months old. We finally dragged Dad away and that was the day he changed his mind about getting a pup…

Roxy at 6 weeks old, the day we met her (and fell in love with those beautiful blue eyes!)

Originally we wanted a rescue dog from Battersea or Dog's Trust but after looking into the process and finding out you can’t be too picky with breed etc, unfortunately we decided not to take that route. We knew almost instantly we wanted a cockerpoo as they don’t malt, are known to be clever (that’s the poodle in them), have a lovely nature and they’re quite small.

As soon as the breed was chosen we searched the internet for some puppies. We were definitely quite fussy about where they came from, we wanted a nice home where they would have been treated well in the first 8 weeks of their life. There’s unfortunately a lot of people out there breeding puppies for money and not treating them as well as they should. Most breeders were saying 6 months – 1 year waiting list because the breed was so popular but we couldn’t wait that long. I was at sixth form and home quite a lot so the dog would rarely be on its own, we thought it was best while it was young and being trained to be well looked after.

We finally found what looked like from the internet, a lovely breeder in Chichester and got straight in the car the next day to see the puppies. We fell in love immediately. The breeder lived on a massive farm with loads of land for the dogs to play and run around. The mum, dad and even Grandad of the new pups were around to play with and cuddle which was really reassuring to see they were such lovely natured dogs. There was one girl and one boy left when we arrived, we decided to take the girl and spent the next half an hour cuddling her. The pups weren’t ready to leave yet so we put down a deposit and went home to get her new home ready.

Roxy's Mummy (cocker spaniel) & Daddy (miniature poodle)

Roxy's Daddy a miniature Poodle & Grandad, a full size poodle! They all (including Roxy) have little ginger bits on their ears and chin, it's the cutest thing

Two weeks later, we picked up our newly named puppy, Roxy (I wanted Bella but everyone said no!) and took her back to her new home. For quite a few nights she cried all night downstairs in the kitchen. We felt so bad because she was only missing her mum so Dad slept in the kitchen on a mattress with her for about a week! 

The next few weeks the reality hit of toilet training and chasing her round the house every time she left our sight. You cannot leave a puppy anywhere! As with a child, she had all the toys she could dream of yet would rather play with boxes! After her injections she was allowed outside so we enrolled her in a puppy class to hopefully train her to be obedient. She passed the class with a cute little rosette and excelled at everything except from giving things back – and she’s still the same to this day. 

Roxy at 9 weeks settling into her new home and being cheeky with her tongue always out!

Her first time in the snow! She kept sticking her head in then getting a giant snowball stuck around her mouth in her fur. If only we could teach her to throw them too...

Roxy supporting England at the World Cup - not that it helped
This is her little windowsill perch she sits on all day every day keeping an eye on the street, watching our for cats, bird and her two boyfriends, Dudley & Eric (I'm not kidding!)

She loves to snuggle up

This was after I'd run my first event, I was exhausted so she came and cuddled me when I got home. We both ended up falling asleep together. She likes to spoon by the way, little spoon!

Nearly 6 years later and I couldn’t imagine life without her. She has the biggest character and personality, sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s actually a dog. Whilst she may be a pain in the bum sometimes with her constant conversations (crazy barking) with the chihuahua next door, her grumpiness with other dogs and diva-like tendencies, which are so bad we can hardly leave her with other people (!), she has bought such light and love into our lives she will always take a massive piece of our heart.

Roxy is such an important part of our family, pet insurance was something we didn’t even need to consider, it was vital and we got it straight away. Vet bills can be so expensive and we would never want to be in a position where we couldn’t treat our baby if she was ill simply because we couldn’t afford it.

Argos pet insurance has been protecting cats and dogs for over 10 years. Cover can start from when the puppies and kittens are just 8 weeks old with prices starting at £4.36 per month for cats and £6.47 per month for dogs, there are different packages available to suit all budgets, all the information is here. A small amount in my opinion considering you can’t put a price on your pet’s health and well-being, and it saves a massive vet bill in one chunk if the worst does happen.

I know some people that don’t have pets, can’t imagine the impact they have on a family but pet insurance is so important. Please make sure, yourself and everyone you know has their pet’s insured… just in case

One of the family

Love Lauren & Roxy xx

First ever spray tan review & OOTD

I completely admit that I've been spoilt with beautiful holidays all my life. My parents worked really hard as I was growing up and we rarely went a few months without a holiday, which meant a pretty much constant tan. Now I've entered the real world and can't get annual leave approved to save my life, I've currently so pale I'm almost yellow and looking drab and far from glowing, with limp lifeless dark blonde hair. Urgh.

Luke suggested I got a spray tan, which I point blank refused having never touched a bottle of tan in my life. I was worried about it turning out orange and patchy with streaky lines everywhere and I refused to pay to look like that. 

During a trip to Westfield I found the most beautiful dress from Lipsy for a Christening we were going to, I just had to buy it. The mostly white dress made me look even more pale than usual so reluctantly I agreed to a spray tan which Luke booked from his sister's recommendation. I did say that if it turned out badly, I wouldn't be going to the Christening and I was genuinely serious.

Not going to lie, turning up at the salon I was nervous, did I REALLY trust Luke to book a spray tan?! He doesn't know the first thing about tan! I arrived make up free and in baggy clothes thanks to Charlotte's advice and met the lovely Harley to do my tan. She offered me Fake Bake, Lauren's Way and Sienna X tan options but I had no idea so just asked her to chose one she thought would suite me best. As it was my first tan, she suggested I went for Fake Bake so I agreed as I'm definitely no expert. 

One of the reasons I'd never had a spray tan before was simply because I was ashamed of my chest, and too embarrassed to be half naked in front of anyone, but since having surgery this has definitely taken a u-turn so it felt great to be confident again! I must admit I was a bit scared of how dark it was when it was first sprayed on but within 10 minutes I absolutely loved the colour and didn't want to wash it off the next day. It's amazing how a quick spray of colour can make me feel alive and glowing. Fascinating! (there's a photo below of my make up free self just after the tan was applied!). You're told not to shower for 8 hours so I went home, danced around the house for a bit admiring the colour and went to bed. I woke up with my hand resting on my chest which meant a white handprint mark and an orange hand - brilliant! 

The only time you'll see a make up free selfie on my blog

In the morning, you're told to have a shower as normal to get the excess tan off. The shower water went bright orange and I literally felt like it had gone completely but it hadn't at all. I'd been left with a streak-free absolutely perfect tan and I was so in love! 

I was expecting it to last about 3 days max but I ended up keeping it on for over two weeks! It was only when colour started peeing off on my chest that I decided, reluctantly it was time to get scrubbing. 

After recommendations from you beautiful people on Twitter, I tried baby oil and my favourite Ted Baker scrub, (which can be found here) and the combination worked a treat. All the tan scrubbed off nicely and my ghostly skin was back. I missed my tan immediately so I ran out and bought a Garnier tinted moisturiser to fill the gap. It's okay, but it's not a professional spray tan and I've somehow managed to make it go patchy - not a good look!

Overall, I literally CAN NOT wait for my next spray tan. If you're ever in the West London area then make sure you check out the salon - I would recommend it to anyone. You can find their website here.


This Lipsy dress is just so beautiful, I couldn't not include a little OOTD to show off my lovely tan! Definitely my new favourite dress. I'm buying a Lipsy dress a month at the moment and I have to say their collection is beautiful! I think I'll have to write a whole post on my growing Lipsy collection, I seem to be buying a dress a month at the moment - naughty habit!


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Summer Ready with Yves Rocher*

Hopefully by now, you’ve had chance to catch up on my Yves Rocher make up review, if not, you can see it here. I loved the products, and the brand so when I was offered the chance to try out some of their summer range, I was more than happy to accept.

If you read my blog often, you’ll know I’m getting much better at trying out new products, particularly ones that are innovative or different in any way. The four products after the Blonde Vision stamp on approval are:
  •         Monoï de Tahiti Precious Dry Oil
  •         Éclat Radiance Rinsing Vinegar
  •         Low Shampoo, delicate cleansing cream
  •        Monoï de Tahiti Lagoon hair and body wash

Monoï de Tahiti Precious Dry Oil

They say: "Moisturised, illuminated and deliciously perfumed skin. Reveal the radiance of your skin in an instant! Close your eyes, breathe in, you’re a Polynesian beauty. Rediscover the benefits of Monoï de Tahiti in this Precious Dry Oil enriched with illuminating shimmery pigments for skin that is drenched with sunlight. Its irresistible and non-greasy texture spreads deliciously over the skin to intensely moisturise it while revealing its exotic notes. Your tan is enhanced, body and hair shimmer delicately. Bonus + : Its fine shimmery pigments delicately illuminate the skin"

This is one product that has summer written all over it. You know when you’re on holiday and you have that summer glow on a night out? That’s this product, in a bottle. I have to admit, when I tried it at home a few weeks ago I liked it, but I wasn’t wowed, I didn’t feel too glowing with my pasty legs any way but I still had high hopes for the product, trying it again whilst in Barcelona. I was in love. The oil left my side feeling hydrated and the tiny specks of sparkle left me glowing – literally. Obviously the new tan helped as well but I just fell in love this with product. The only downside is that I didn’t find it particularly easy to apply and most ended up in a bit of the mess (which pretty much sums me up!). I worked out it was best to apply it standing in the bath after I’d showers so I could rinse away all my mess from split product!

Would I buy myself? Yes!

Éclat Radiance Rinsing Vinegar

They say: "Enhances hair’s natural shine! A genuine traditional remedy revisited by Yves Rocher to enhance the natural shine of your hair and leave it radiant with beauty! Its delectable scent alone is a divine sensory experience. The Plus: Its delectable scent!"

When you’re on holiday, does anyone else’s hair go lovely and soft? Then as soon as you get home it goes back to normal again? Mine too, until I found this product. Usually anything with the word vinegar in the title puts me off, mainly because I hate the stuff – on my chips that is! I was a little dubious when I first read the bottle, but I opened it up and the smell was absolutely amazing, I just had to give it a go. After using the product, my hair was definitely noticeably softer, which is exactly what it needed after not being looked after for a long time. The product was simple to use, which is always a plus and the smell is jut fab! Soft holiday hair at home? Yes please!

Would I buy this myself? Yes

Low Shampoo, delicate cleansing cream

They say: "What is the Low Shampoo? Inspired by the no pow (no shampoo) method used in the United States, the Low Shampoo* is a new way to wash the hair. Switch your classic shampoo with a hair care enriched in cleansing agents. It's the new trend in the daily hair care routine. Let yourself be surprised by its new formula which does not foam! This Delicate Cleansing Cream protects the integrity of the hair fiber even used daily."

I’m really fussy when it comes to hair care thanks to my ever greasy fine, limp hair. I didn’t really get on with this shampoo as my hair got quite greasy quickly after using it. I have heard that it gets better over time but I’m not ready to go to work with a grease ball!

Would I buy this myself? No

Monoï de Tahiti Lagoon hair and body wash

They say: "Treat yourself to an exotic escape with this 2 in 1 formula! ThisLagoon Hair & Body Wash which is scented with Tiare Flowers crushed in Coconut Oil rinses away perspiration, sea salt and sunscreen. Result: it leaves your skin soft and your hair shiny! The Plus: leaves your body scented from head to toe!"

Now, this product is holiday in a bottle. Seriously. If I shut my eyes during a boiling hot shower, I could totally be back in Mexico by the pool – then I open my eyes and I’m faced with reality. Okay any way, if you can’t tell, I love this body wash. I wouldn’t personally use it for my hair, because as I said, I’m fussy, but it’s great for a body wash and leaves my skin lovely. Luke used it (without me knowing) on his hair and it smelt amazing – then he had to admit he was using my beauty products! Thumbs up there from Luke as well Yves Rocher!

Would I buy this myelf? Yes (and so would Luke!)

All in all, I’ve been massively impressed with Yves Rocher. It’s not a brand I had ever used but they are good price and even better quality.

Thanks Yves Rocher!

Love Lauren xx

*PR gift

Monday, 15 June 2015

#SplashedbyGeorge - 4 outfits under £100*

A while ago, George at Asda challenged me to chose one staple wardrobe item and then create three additional outfits around it, all under £100. I'm not usually a fashion blogger, but it is something I waned to try, and I'm always looking to feature brands you don't see so much on other people's blogs so, Challenge Accepted! 

I knew straight away a bikini was going to be my staple piece. I didn't own a single bikini that fitted me and with a holiday coming up I decided to challenge myself to stepping out of my comfort zone and creating four looks all under £100 - something I thought would be extremely hard! 

The Staple

So, my #SplashedbyGeorge challenge starts with the beautiful bikini at the centre of all of these looks. I'll put my hands right up in the air and admit I'm seriously fussy with bikinis, and if I don't feel completely comfortable, I won't wear it. It took a long long time to chose one (hence my fussiness!).

After going round in circles, I went for a colour block bandeau matching set with the top priced at £6.00 and the bottoms, £4.00 - although a little birdie tells me they're currently in the sale going for the amazing price of £2.00! 

The bikini has a clasp back but can also be undone with the zip on the front as well. It has lightly padded cups and no under wire which for me means maximum comfort! Both the top and the bottoms were true to size. 

The Pool Party

With my staple item sorted and a gorgeous rooftop pool to relax at, the first of my three outfits had to be some kind of cover up or kaftan. I like my cover ups loose, especially in a hot country but I always find I lose my shape. The Kaftan I chose was a lovely light chiffon with a tie around the waist to pull it in which I loved. It was pretty low cut so gave a little flash of the bikini and was a good length for my 5ft nothing self - which is a rarity! To completely the look I went for some big oversized sunglasses with gold detail, a must have for any pool party! Big thumbs up from me on both items! You can buy the kaftan here for £10.00, and the sunglasses for £9.00

Little close up so you can see the detail on the glasses!


Barcelona is a city full of culture (not just beautiful hotels, beaches and bars!), so I knew I had a lot of sightseeing to do! I always wear bikinis during the day on holiday whether I'm by the water or not because it's way more comfortable (and less sweaty) so I needed an outfit to keep me cool, comfy and fit with my bikini. I'm the biggest lover of crochet so this top was an instant choice. I absolutely love it and have already decided to buy it in another colour ready for my next holiday. I also decided on white shorts which can be seen below as they're a bit hidden in the outfit photo! They are a beautiful fit, but I'm not totally keen on the embellishment in person as it's not really my style! You can buy the crochet top for £12.00, and the shorts for £14.00

I had such high hopes for this photo from our bedroom floor to ceiling window with views over the whole of Barcelona, but with the bright sunshine behind me you couldn't see a thing of the actual outfit so I had to improvise!

The Night Out

For my final outfit, I wanted an simple transition from day to night. A maxi dress is always a winner for slipping over a bikini and suddenly turning an outfit evening appropriate. I actually thought this dress was more orange on my laptop screen but it turned out quite bright neon. I wasn't sure at first but I've had quite a few compliments on it so I'm coming around! It had a crochet insert and side splits to add a bit of glam. I teamed up this dress with a bead statement necklace, straw print clutch and white casual loafers, all of which you can see in more detail below! The bag is a personal favourite! 

You can buy the maxi dress for £14.00, the necklace for £4.00, clutch bag here for £9.00 and the shoes for £12.00. 

So there we have four outfits to see you through the whole day of a holiday all for £94.00 - bargin! Overall I was seriously impressed with the design, cuts and quality of all of the clothes. Even my label snob boyfriend managed a compliment and that's extremely rate! If there's one thing you need to take from this post it's how gorgeous the George bikinis are though, trust me on that one! 


Look out for all of these items on my blog in the future too!

Love Lauren xx

*PR gift

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