Our Bathroom

26 Jul 2019

Ever since we moved into our house in August 2016 I've wanted to renovate the bathroom. It wasn't awful but it wasn't to my taste at all and there were a few things wrong with the bath & shower that needed fixing. We got engaged in October 2016 so we spent all of our money since then on the wedding so once that was all finished I wanted to make a start on renovating the bathroom!
I spent ages going through Pinterest and tile websites looking for inspiration and whilst we were in New York we stayed at 1 Hotel Central Park and the bathroom there was great inspiration too.

I'll start with the walls & tiles as they're the biggest part of the bathroom really - I decided to go for the Oakham Tiles from Walls & Floors, they're grey with a white criss-cross style pattern. I absolutely love the pattern and we finished with grey grout which I was a little worried about it ruining the pattern but you can barely even notice and it means we don't have to worry about the grout getting that dirty!

Inside the shower area I chose the White Gloss Linear Tiles from Walls & Floors which are just long, thin rectangular tiles and had white grout so it didn't stand out too much. They're nice and simple so they don't take away from the black shower enclosure or the grey patterned tiles.

For the walls I really wanted to do shiplap but that's more widely used in America and the cladding that's available in the UK wasn't really suitable and I would've had to treat it and then paint it as well, with it being used in a bathroom. So I decided to use a thick, white wood laminate flooring for the walls! I bought the Vintage Pure White Laminate from Floors Direct. I ordered a couple of samples but this was the whitest out of the two - once it went up on the walls it's not quite as white as I hoped but I still like it - it looks like a very light grey so it still goes with the room. 


Now onto the shower & bath...the bath was here when we bought the house so unfortunately I don't know where its from but it's a black cast iron bath with brassy colour feet. I'm not a bath person - I've probably had about four baths since we lived here but I know it'll come in handy in the future when we have kids & it looks so nice, so we kept it.

The shower cubicle was definitely inspired by 1Hotel Central Park who use a black-edge enclosure in their bathrooms. I wanted something a bit different to the chrome so opted for the Mode Tate Sliding Door Enclosure along with a simple white Orchard Shower Tray. I bought them both from Victoria Plum as my Dad has a trade account so we got a bit of discount.
(I have since got a new basket for my plant that actually fits better ha!)

Also from Victoria Plum we bought the toilet - the Dulwich design from The Bath Co which isn't too old-fashioned but isn't too modern at the same time, a great in-between option. For inside the shower we bought the Clarity Thermostatic Shower which has a large square overhead showerhead with a handheld one too.

For the sink I ordered an Oak Sink Cabinet from Raw Furniture on Etsy. It was just over £300 but so worth it. I had to order the basin separately so I chose a rectangular one and then finished with some Mode Tate taps - I had spotted some really nice black ones online but they were around £125 and I couldn't quite bring myself to spend that much on some taps - although I may change my mind!

To match the sink I also ordered two Dark Oak Wooden Shelves from Ben Simpson Furniture on Etsy and a Toilet Roll Holder (with phone shelf ha!) from Ruscyled on Etsy who make rustic, recycled creations. To go above the bath I ordered a Wire Box Shelf Rack from The Farthing which has three square holders and four hooks for our towels.


To finish off the room I bought quite a lot of accessories. We had some John Lewis vouchers from our wedding so we bought a few bits from the Ocean range - Tumbler, Soap Dispenser, Accessories Tray for the window sill and a Toilet Brush...all a bit expensive but we had the vouchers so we decided to splurge!

We also had a Next voucher so we bought a Jute Storage Basket to hold our toilet rolls and also a cute little Vase to go inside the wire shelves.

We had a little bit of extra room just inside the door next to the shower so I bought a large plant from IKEA and also a couple of other plants and pots to go around the room too, so everything is more natural & green.

I think I've mentioned everything but if there's anything I've missed or you want to know where something is from then leave a comment below or ask me over on my Instagram/twitter (thisnaturalbee).

Amber

*This post contains affiliate links.

Green Beauty Haul

9 May 2019

I've bought a few new green beauty bits over the last couple of months so I thought I'd share what I got in this post...

My local Holland & Barrett is quite small but last weekend I went to Rushden Lakes and they have a huge one with a lot more selection. Beauty Kitchen have recently rebranded and they were on 3 for 2 so I bought a Free From Hair & Body Wash which I'm going to use as a body wash with my own essential oils. I also bought their Natruline (natural alternative to Vaseline) in both the vegan and beeswax formula as with the offer it meant one of them was free!

I also picked up a natural toothpaste whilst I was there as I'm currently using a non-natural one and thought I'd give a natural one a go again. I bought one from The Humble Co in a minty flavour - I am yet to try it but I will update this with my verdict once I've given it a go!

I also stocked up on my favourite shampoo - Faith in Nature, Rosemary*. They've recently had a packaging makeover and I really like it - a lot more modern than their previous packaging and it was cheaper on Amazon than usual so even better!

I saw that abeautifulworld had got in a new Natural Body Brush* from Josh Rosebrook so I ordered myself one and whilst I was shopping I got a new bottle of the Hydrating Accelerator Facial Mist* which is just an amazing product that smells incredible and hydrates your skin with a really fine, refreshing mist.

Last but not least I bought the Odacite Gua Sha Tool* from Content Beauty as I've been seeing a lot of people use these on Instagram and I wanted to try one out for myself! It works as a facial massager to get the blood flowing round the face and its supposed to give your skin a glow, smooth wrinkles and firm facial contours. I've really been enjoying it so far - I love using it on my neck to relieve tension and I use it all over my face at night (when I remember!) to work in my facial oil.

Amber

*affiliate link.

Our Wedding - 10th April 2018

10 Apr 2019


Paul and I got married on 10th April 2018 in New York. I wanted to share some of our favourite photos from the day and also go through some of the main parts of the day like venue, photographer, dress etc! Enjoy!

The Venue
I've always known that I would love to get married in New York. It's my favourite place in the world and my Mum and step-Dad also got married there. Paul and I didn't want to have a large wedding so New York was the best place for us to say "I do".

We chose Central Park as it's an iconic place in NYC and fitted in with the greenery theme we were going for. When looking for places to hold the ceremony, we stumbled upon Cop Cot on Pinterest and it was exactly what we were looking for...venue sorted!

For after the ceremony we booked a private room at The East Pole restaurant in Upper East Side for a meal with our family. Finding somewhere to have a private meal was quite tricky, and my sister Leila & I actually ended up flying out to New York in February last year to find somewhere. Many restaurants had crazy expensive minimum spends, which more than doubled for dinner in some cases, which is why we went for an early ceremony followed by lunch. I had a few restaurants and hotels on my list for us to visit whilst on our quick 3-day holiday and it really helped as I went to a couple that I didn't like at all, and it meant we were able to see in person what the restaurant would be like. The East Pole was definitely my favourite as it fitted with our theme and was really close to Central Park.

The Ceremony
We chose Jackie Reinking to be our officiant who is actually our photographer's wife! So we booked them as a package and they couldn't have been more helpful in the lead up to the day and on the day itself. Jackie wrote our ceremony for us after asking us some questions and we loved it. Paul and I were both crying when we read it for the first time and all of our guests were crying during the ceremony (happy tears of course!). We had planned on writing our own vows but after reading the ceremony, we realised we didn't need to as everything we wanted was included and it was just perfect.




The Dress
I knew the style of dress that I wanted to wear on my wedding day. I know that people always say "you don't buy what you expect" but I know what suits me and I definitely didn't want a big ball-gown or poofy Princess dress. I went to three shops on my search for the dress and ended up saying yes at the third shop. The first shop I visited had a nice selection and I found one that I really liked but I wasn't quite ready to say yes as it was the first time trying on dresses.

Then I saw a photo on Instagram of a Paloma Blanca dress that I loved and a shop local to me were having a Trunk Show with 10% off. The dress was way over what I had planned to spend and so I decided to make a trip to Wed2B first, to see if any of their dresses were any good as they only go up to £599 in price. I visited Wed2B in Milton Keynes and the staff were really helpful but unfortunately I just wasn't impressed with any of the dresses I tried and a couple weren't the best quality. I know you get what you pay for, but £599 isn't exactly that cheap and you could see the seams on the sides of some of the slimmer fitting dresses.

So after that I decided to go and try on the Paloma Blanca dress (Style 4746) at Icon Bridal in Kettering. I picked out a few others to try and I tried on the dress I liked from the first store too, which was helpful when making my decision. I'm not one to fall in love with something straight away but I knew I really liked the Paloma Blanca dress and it was exactly what I had in mind for my wedding day. So I said "Yes"!

I loved it on the day and it was exactly how I pictured looking on my wedding. I loved the lace, the belt, the fit and the train was amazing!
The Bride
After choosing my dress I went looking for accessories, shoes & jewellery. I wore a pair of gold glitter heels from New Look on the day. Paul bought me a pearl necklace as my wedding present along with a pair of diamond style earrings. I had a hexagon bracelet on that matched my sisters and a hair comb from Etsy with my veil. I also had a clutch bag from Monsoon to keep my essentials handy on the day!

I also had my own "Wifey" denim jacket that I decorated myself. The jacket was from New Look and I bought the pearl brooches and Wifey letters online. It kept my warm on a very cold day so I was very happy I chose to wear the jacket.

I did my own makeup on the wedding day and had eyelash extensions done a week before. I've written a full post on my natural & organic bridal makeup.
 
The Groom
Paul decided to go for a bright blue jacket and trouser suit from Next paired with Dune brogues, a green tie, cufflinks and white shirt from T.M Lewin. I bought him an Armani watch for his wedding present.

The Décor & Flowers
The theme we were going for was greenery with hints of gold. I had a clear vision in my head of the sort of flowers I'd like on my wedding day. I loved eucalyptus garlands running through the centre of the tables and this was perfect for the restaurant we'd chosen. I chose ivory verbena roses, ivory garden roses, veronica and eucalyptus for my bouquet and a smaller bouquet for each of my sisters. I asked the florist to add a few roses to the eucalyptus garland for the table too, along with a sprig of eucalyptus on each plate with the gold place names.

The Bridesmaids
I asked my three sisters Mia, Ella and Leila to be my bridesmaids a few weeks after I got engaged. I wanted them all to wear different style dresses as I knew that one dress wasn't going to suit them all. Leila chose a halterneck, Ella chose a one shoulder and Mia chose a strappy design. They were from Alfred Angelo and Venus Bridal in the colours Sage and Celery and luckily they all arrived just three weeks before Alfred Angelo went bankrupt so we were so lucky. I bought them matching personalised bracelets from Lily Belle as their bridesmaids presents and I bought myself one that was a hexagon shape that I wore on the day.

The Photography
I've followed the photographer we chose on Instagram for a couple of years so it was easy to choose. Sascha Reinking was our photographer and he was absolutely incredible. As we were getting married in Central Park we decided to have some of our photos taken there too but Paul & I headed to the Rockefeller Centre without our guests to have some more photos taken of just the two of us with views of the New York skyline. I'm absolutely in love with our photos and can't wait to hang them up on our walls at home!
 
The Video
I desperately wanted a wedding video of the day. It took a lot of persuading to get Paul on board as it is pretty expensive however I managed to bring him round to the idea. I did a lot of research online of videographers around New York and some ranged from £1200 to over £5000! In the end we opted for Luke from Mesh Films whose videos were absolutely incredible for the price. I found others that were charging way more and were nowhere near the quality of Mesh Films.

We're both so happy we decided to get the video now as it is incredible! It's so amazing to be able to watch the day back! I'll be keeping the video private for now though, sorry!

Extra details
We gave our family personalised M&M's in little "love" canvas bags which looked so cute on the table. The M&M's had our names, wedding date & just married on.

We also had a fake cake on the day! My family run a bakery so there wasn't a chance I was going without a cake. We didn't really need a real one as we were having a three course meal for lunch so we took two blocks of polystyrene & a cake board and then my sister frosted it and added some of the flowers from one of the bridesmaid bouquets when we got to the restaurant.

Mr & Mrs Lucas
10th April 2018

AD Homemade Berry Hair & Face Mask Recipes

8 Mar 2019

I have a brand new natural skincare DIY post for you all as the team behind the Love Fresh Berries Winter campaign - Berry Beauty - have given me three DIY berry face and hair masks to try. The recipes have been created by dermatologist Abigail James and feature different types of delicious berries that all have amazing benefits for your skin. There are two face masks and one hair mask that are made with all-natural ingredients that you'll probably be able to find in your kitchen cupboard already.

I really enjoyed creating my own DIY recipes when I first got into green beauty so I'm really excited to bring you these berry-themed recipes...


Recipe 1 - Balancing and Brightening Face Mask - Perfect for skin prone to breakouts/blemishes

This mask is suitable for all skin types, however Abigail James has specifically tailored it to be suited to skin that might be prone to spots, breakouts and blemishes which is perfect for me so naturally I tried this one first.

Blueberries contain salicylates (the salt aspect of salicylic acid), a widely used antibacterial ingredient found in many skincare products to target spots, large pores, acne and general breakouts. Blackberries are particularly high in Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin when treating breakouts. High water content also adds hydration to the skin without contributing extra oil and their amazing blend of minerals are great for problem skin (especially zinc). 

Honey has antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects whilst cinnamon has antibacterial and soothing benefits. Green tea is included for its really high levels of antioxidants and soothing properties. Natural yogurt is used to help restore the skins flora and acid & alkaline levels.

Ingredients
15 blueberries
8 blackberries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 large teaspoon honey
1 green tea bag
1 tablespoon natural yoghurt


How to make:
  • Boil the kettle and steep your green tea bag (white tea is also an option).
  • Place all the other ingredients into a blender.
  • Remove the teabag and cut open, add the tea leaves to the ingredients in the blender.
  • Blend for 15 to 20 seconds.

This mask is a little runny in texture, so I found it easier to apply with my mask brush (you can also use a foundation brush or an artists paint brush). Apply one layer evenly over the face, it will tighten slightly on the skin as it dries so you can apply a second and even third layer. Leave to dry for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove with a with a warm flannel or cloth. As it has a strong colour it does require wiping off a few times with the flannel - I'd recommend using a dark colour flannel to avoid stains. 

I tried this mask first and I was really impressed. I had a small spot on my chin and this mask bought it out into a whitehead straight away so I was able to cleanly pop it and it completely disappeared. My skin was red for a little while but that went down after using another mask afterwards and it did soften and brighten my skin too. I loved the scent of the cinnamon coming through in this one!


Recipe 2 - Hair Restoring Strawberry Mask - Perfect for healthy hair & scalp


Ingredients
3 strawberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
1 egg white
1 sprig of rosemary OR 4 drops of rosemary/lavender essential oil 

This recipe is to create a hair tonic mask for healthy hair and scalp. Use strawberries for their naturally high Vitamin C content and supporting iron absorption for healthy circulation, along with natural silica for healthy hair growth. 

Olive oil is included to nourish the hair and scalp whilst egg white is full of natural proteins and great for giving hair a natural shine. Plus, it helps support the scalp preventing excess oiliness. Apple cider vinegar is perfect for giving the hair a glossy finish and supporting scalp health. Honey strengthens the hair follicle and rosemary (picked fresh from my garden) stimulates blood flow for a healthy scalp - I use a rosemary shampoo all the time so I know it has great benefits for your hair.


How to:
  • Blend all ingredients together thoroughly for 20 to 30 seconds. This can be a little messy to apply so best done in the bathroom over the sink.
  • Apply to dry hair; start in the middle of your hair at the root and apply small amounts down the parting. Massage in, then separate the hair and continue to apply all over the scalp massaging in each time. To cover the back of the head it is best to hang the head over the sink. Then, apply whatever is left and massage this to the lengths of your hair.
  • Give the scalp a good massage, pile your hair on top of your head and leave on for 20 minutes. I found using a clip to hold it all up was best.
  • Thoroughly rinse off then wash with your normal shampoo and a very small amount of conditioner. 
I found this one a bit difficult to apply as it's very runny. I found that it was best to just slather some on my hands, not too much and then press my hands onto my hair. If I put too much on my hands then it just fell off when I tried to tilt my hands - definitely best to do this over the sink, bath or in the shower!

I left this on for around 20 minutes whilst I made the final mask and then washed it off in the shower with two rounds of shampoo. I found my hair to be less knotty and I didn't need to use conditioner. It was quite messy so probably not one I'd be desperate to try again but it did leave my hair looking shiny and soft.

Recipe 3 - Mixed Berries Ultimate Face Mask  - Perfect for a glowing complexion
Natural Berry Face Mask Recipe
This mask is the perfect blend of ingredients to brighten your skin thanks to the Strawberry AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) which has a brightening and exfoliating effect. There is an amazing blend of antioxidants from all the berries especially with the high levels of Vitamin C and A. There is also Vitamin K for supporting blood vessels, an amazing blend of essential minerals for skin health, notably magnesium, zinc and potassium. 

Oats give a soothing and healing benefit when applied topically to the skin, honey has incredible anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and healing properties, and natural yoghurt is added for its probiotic effect balancing the skin acid alkaline balance and it also has soothing benefits. Coconut oil acts as a beautiful skin hydrator as it's nourishing, anti-inflammatory and is packed with vitamin E. 

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small strawberries
4 blackberries
8 blueberries
7 raspberries
2 heaped tablespoon oats
1 teaspoon of honey
1 large tablespoon yoghurt
1 table spoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground almonds (optional)



How to make:
  • Place all ingredients into a blender for 20 to 30 seconds until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Apply with your hands (it can be a little messy). Natural fruit acids in this mix may cause a mild tingling sensation.
  • Massage over your face and neck, working the mask into the skin to activate the exfoliating properties, avoiding the eye area.
  • Leave on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes, remove with a warm damp flannel or cloth. 
I used this mask after the balancing & brightening mask which had left my skin a little red and it was lovely and soothing, but it also softened my skin and left it looking brighter and clearer. It was easier to apply than the hair mask as it was thicker and I even made my husband use it afterwards as I had some left. I would definitely try this one again if my skin was looking dull.

Overall I had a lot of fun creating all of these berry masks. The face mask recipes make enough for more than one mask so I'd say pop out and get your ingredients, get the girls round and have a fun night in with some berry masks!

Amber

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