Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String: Christmas gift wrapping. 

I love this time of year, and I get such great pleasure from purchasing and wrapping up my Christmas gifts for loved ones. I’m always ordering extra little bits just to make the gifts that tiny bit more special. This year, I browsed Pinterest for ideas and blended a few together to create the perfect gift wrap for my presents. 

My 2015 gift wrap is brown paper with white ribbon and tied up with string. I’ve purchased little white and red tags that will have personalised gold stickers on! In addition, I’m tying little candy canes into the bows and finishing the gifts off with gold icicle sticks scattered around the paper. It might sound extravagant but it can be done so cheap when you hunt around. 

  
In my small town, there’s a shop which is full of cute little trinkets, shabby chic ornaments and furniture, and at this time of year – the sweetest Christmas items. I took my 6yr old niece after school yesterday and she said ‘this is the most beautiful shop I’ve ever seen!’. Here, I purchased the brown paper and string and the cute card tags. You’ll be able to find these basic items in tones of shops or online! 

Here’s a few pictures I’ve found of beautiful gift wrap that you could copy or take inspiration from! Most are simple and DIY and they’re all very festive and pretty! 

   
    
    
    
 
I’ve found the best place to get bits and bobs from is eBay! Many can be personalised and cost just a pound or two! Just be sure to order from your home country so they come in time! If you’re a bit stuck on how to get a neat wrap, head to YouTube for tutorials! 

When all of my things arrive and my gifts are wrapped, I’ll post pictures. Tag me in your Christmas wrapping pics on Instagram and Twitter @heliemac1 and help get me feeling really festive! 

Hels X 

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2015 Victoria’s Secret Show

Oh. My. Gosh. It’s feirce, it’s feminine, it’s glamorous and it’s the most anticipated show of the year. Last night, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2015 commended, with some jaw-dropping outfits and the worlds finest supermodels strutting their stuff down the runway. 

Last year my boyfriend managed to pick me up a 2014 show makeup bag (that’s all that was left of the show gear!) and I loveeeee it. This year I will definitely be heading down to the store to pick up some show goodies! 

VS is one of my favourite things in the world. I don’t think any other brand can ever quite compare. Here’s some of my FAVOURITE pics from the night. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 Which were your best bits? 

Hels x

November moodboard. 

I’m finally starting to get into the Autumn/winter time of year, even though I’m a complete summer girl. 

Here’s a few of my top picks for the month. 

   Mullberry and chunky knits, a match made in heaven. 
    It’s time to get the blankets out! I’m in love with chunky knitted blankets and throws. 
  ‘Basically nude’ bras to keep secretly feminine under all of the baggy clothes and coats.   Cute silky PJs, all year round. 
  Particularly Victoria’s Secret ones.   Major hair envy. 
 Barely-there makeup with a dewy glow and a dab of glowy highlighter. 

 
Illamasqua cream pigment for contouring.   
 Time to top up my MAC lipstick collection with a few warm autumn tones. The reds and purples are unreal. 

   
Guilt free winter warmer – Matcha Green Tea Lattes. 

 Mocha thigh high boots are everywhere at the moment. 

   The 2015 Victoria’s Secret show IS TONIGHT. I’ve decided I’m prepping my body for the 2016 selections. A girl can dream….? Every female models ultimate goal. 

What are you loving this season?

Hels x 

New obsession: Chai Latte. 

I was just browsing in Tesco when I stumbled upon this little pink tub that caught my eye. At just £2 I thought I’d give it a shot and I’m now obsessed! 

If you’ve never tried a Chai Latte, it’s ‘a sweetened blend of tea, skimmed milk and spices’ and is a sort of light brown coloured powder. All you have to do is mix in hot water/milk to whip up a winter warming drink. Another option is blending in cold milk and ice for an iced version. 

Only 90 calories per cup, 99% caffeine free and a nice change from hot chocolate. Pick up some DrinkMe Chai Latte Spiced today and you can enjoy a chilled Sunday with a hot mug in hand! 

Have a great weekend, 

Hels x 

    

Top 4 places in the world I would love to Scuba Dive. 

Today I spent the day at the Sea Life centre in Manchester, learning about all the different species of sea life, what threats they face, and the marine conservation that Sea Life contribute to. Looking into the tanks with an array of majestic sharks, thousands of colourful fish and a huge but cute rescued turtle named Ernie – I felt a huge urge to swim amongst them and explore their habitat. It got me really thinking about where I’d visit for dives if I ever get the chance…. 
1) Mexico – Cozumel and the Cenotes.

Possibly not somewhere you’d automatically think of for scuba diving but Cozumel is known in the scuba diving industry as one of the best locations to dive. Most diving and snorkelling activity is focused on the reefs and shallow coral formulations which boast abundant underwater see life and brilliant colours.  

   
 Another amazing scuba experience that Mexico has to offer is the Cenotes where you can cave dive with excellent visibility in non-salty water. It’s been described as the ‘closest to flying in water’ and looks like such an adventure. I actually visited Mexico a number of years ago but unfortunately missed the oppurunity to dive but Mexico is my boyfriend and my favourite holiday destination so it’s only a matter of time!    

 

2) Australia – Great Barrier Reef. 

Perhaps a slightly more obvious choice, but all the same its one of those places that any diving enthusiast MUST visit. The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is the worlds largest and healthiest coral reef system. I find it fascinating that it’s the only living structure on earth that can be seen from outer space. It’s no wonder divers from all over the world visit this location.  

   
3) Egypt – The Red Sea. 

As I’ve previously mentioned, my boyfriend and I visitited Egypt last year and experienced the sea life by snorkelling in a few locations in The Red Sea. Since this was such a memorable experience, and The Red Sea is said to be THE best place in the world we would LOVE to go back to do a proper dive. 

This is the only one on the list I can give a first hand account of. The water is warm with very little wave action and amazing visibility. Over 1000 species of invertebrates and over 200 species of soft and hard coral form the Eco-system which include 1100 species of fish. Whilst swimming through the waters you notice shoals of all different size, shapes and colours.  

   
4) Malaysia. 

There are so many scuba diving spots in Malaysia that look and sound amazing that it’s hard to choose just one or two. Malaysia offers crystal clear, pristine waters overlooked by islands with pure white, undiscovered beaches. Aside from this being a luxury holiday destination, it’s also said to be one of the best places to dive. This is due to the stunning biodiversity and exotic marine life, some of which is rarely seen elsewhere in the world. There are many different types of dives on offer including deep, drift, wreck, cave and walk dives.  

 
The international finals of Miss Scuba are held in the beautiful and exotic country of Malaysia. Lucky girls from across the globe will gather here to compete for the coveted Miss Scuba International crown!  

 
If you’ve visited any of these locations or can recommend any other spectacular diving sites, let me know in the comments! 

Hels xxx

Miss Scuba UK

As I’ve previously mentioned, I am currently a finalist for Miss Scuba UK. The concept of MSUK is one that fascinates me, it brings together two disciplines – beauty pageants and scuba diving to celebrate modern day women and raise awareness of marine conservation. This is what drew me into entering and I’m so glad I did. 

  
I’ve always had a love for the ocean. I have fond memories of jumping from boats into the cool water, and being mystified by dolphins and turtles swimming around us. Every year, my boyfriend and I swim out as far as we can when we’re on holiday. Last year, we took a mini cruise out into the Red Sea and were taken to the finest spots for snorkelling. It was amazing to discover a whole new world under the sea! 

  
 I’ve entered pageants since I was about 14 years old, but MSUK is completely different to anything I’ve done before. It’s educational and inspiring and I’ve already learnt so much about marine conservation that I didn’t previously know. I admit that I knew very little about marine conservation before getting involved in this, which is what inspires me to bring it to other people attention and teach my new found knowledge. It really is interesting whether you have previous knowledge of scuba diving and marine life or not. 
The oceans are the world largest ecosystems – therefore a large life support system. They affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat… Not to mention their beauty and inspiration. A fellow finalist (Emily Kishere) posted an image which really took me interest. It demonstrates how long certain pieces of rubbish take to break down – 80-100years for a can!? It’s not uncommon to see an array of these items on beaches. It takes just a few seconds to throw your rubbish into a safe place and protect marine life. The images below show the devastation caused by pieces of rubbish that are dropped without a second thought. 

  

      
The chosen charity for MSUK is Deptherapy which provides specially adapted scuba diving programmed for seriously injured armed service people. This to me, shows the power of the water as rehabilitation can be achieved through the medium of scuba diving. 

I’ve been doing all sorts in preparation for the final. As well as cluing myself up on all things scuba and marine life – I’ve been training in the pool to get my swimming on point, as well as working out in the gym and eating well for the pageant side of the competition. I took a visit into a local nursery to create displays for the walls and fun activities to teach the children from a young age. I’m looking forward to a try-dive with another finalist (Laura Handy) and hopefully some other bits with the other girls. I currently have a raffle going with amazing prizes such as a selection of Nudey Tea goodies, Forever Aloe Vera products, vouchers and more. All proceeds go to Deptherapy! If you’d like to get involved please comment or tweet me @heliemac1

Check-in is on Thursday 27th, with the finals on Friday 28th. FIVE lucky girls will be chosen to head over to Cyprus and Eygpt for a fun holiday and scuba diving! The ultimate winner will be chosen from here, to travel to Malaysia for the coveted Miss Scuba International pageant. 

Wish me luck! I hope you learnt something new reading this and maybe you’d consider entering Miss Scuba UK next year? 

Hels xxx

Goodbye, July. My July Top Picks. 

Perhaps this post is a couple of days late, but I thought I’d do a little post detailing some of the things I’ve loved this July. As I’ve celebrated my 21st birthday, I’ve had lots of nice treats to try out! Here’s my top picks. 

1) Australasia – Spinningfields. 

  

On my 21st, after my graduation ceremony (busy day!) we headed to Australasia in Spinningfields, Manchester. I’ve been before to this Asian Fusion restaurant and it never fails to impress me with the food, drinks and decor. It feels super exclusive heading downstairs and the selection of sushi, delicious dishes and cocktails are exceptional. Make sure you try the chocolate dome! 

2) All things Elemis. 

  

I’ve been loving the Papaya Enzyme Peel, Exotic Moisture Mask and Skin Bliss Capsules that I picked up on my spa weekend. I suffer from dry skin so these are all really hydrating and are keeping my skin glowing. 

3) Nutribullet. 

  

I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve used this every single day since I got it! I’ve been enjoying making new recipes up with different fruits and leafy greens – I would totally recommend this for any health-lovers like me! 

4) WheyHey Protein Ice Cream. 

  

On the rare sunny days in England, it’s nice to have grab a frozen treat and WheyHey offer an amaaaaazing guilt free one. One 150ml tub contains 20g protein and tastes delicious! I think it has an almost sticky/chewy consistency and comes in a range of flavours. You can pick some up in Holland and Barrat or online Here.

5) Fudge Make-A-Mends Shampoo and Conditioner. 

  

I picked these up from the wholesalers and I’m loving how silky they’re keeping my hair. I always like to spend a little more on good hair products, with having bleach on my locks. You can snap some up online Here.

6) All things Missguided. 

  

The affordable fashion site has so much to offer right now that I can’t choose what to buy, I want it all! I picked up a few items already and I know for sure I’ll be making an order this August. Take a look for yourself Here.

7) Muji Aroma Diffuser. 

  

This is one of the many gorgeous gifts I received from my lovely boyfriend, after he’s noticed me lusting after them in selfridges for ages. I adore things like this and always have scented candles and oil burners on so this is perfect for me as it vapour uses water and essential oils and produces a scented must that fills the house. My favourite oil so far is the Mandarin one. You can purchase online Here or visit selfridges. 

These are just a few of the things I’ve loved this month and I’ll be sure to post next months up on time! 

Hels xxx

10 Problems All High Maintenance Girls Will Understand. 

So high maintenance girls get a bit of a bad rep, but it’s not so bad to want to be a princess and demand everyone around you to treat you like one. 

Of course this article is just in jest… But I guess there’s a little truth behind each one! 

1) White bed sheets are a major risk. 

  

Extra sheets are a must on tan days. It’s probably wise that boyfriends opt for darker sheets too…

2) Washing up is not an option. 

  

Hot water, bubbles and a fresh manicure don’t mix well. Not to mention the panic attack when something touches your finger. 

3) We leave a trail of hair everywhere we go. 

  
Plug holes, clean laundry, beds, carpets…. You name it. 

4) We require a seat everywhere. 

  

Bars, packed tubes, nightclubs… 

5) The bedtime routine. 

  

We need at least an hour for all of our cleansing, serums, oils, creams, lotions etc… 

6) Having to approve every group photo. 

  

If it’s not up to scratch, you will delete it. 

7) Baggage limitations are the enemy. 

  

A girl needs choice! At least 3 outfits per night should suffice. Maybe. 

8) Shopping is a full day event. 

  

In girl world ‘straight in, straight out’ is not an option. We have to look at every item in every shop. 

9) If we want something, we need it. Now. 

  

That chocolate bar, lipstick, cute pair of shoes…… Baaaaaaaabe? *queue puppy dog eyes* 

10) We’re always late. 

  

It’s become so expected that we’re often given a time 30 minutes before we actually need to get there. And we’re still late. (Winged eyeliner doesn’t just happen naturally. 
If any of these secretly remind you of yourself, why not give it a share? 

Hels xxx

Hoar Cross Hall Spa Weekend

As I turn 21 tomorrow (21st July), my Mum treated me to a gorgeous spa weekend, just like she did for my elder sisters on their 21st’s! Apart from abroad on holidays, I’ve never actually had a spa weekend so this was such a treat and my kind Mum went all out for it! We arrived on Saturday early afternoon and left on Sunday early evening so we had plenty of time to pamper!  

         I will try almost anything in the name of beautifying and detoxing etc so I was super keen to use the ice old plunge pool and freezing showers which supposedly detox your skin. I wasn’t brave enough at first but I forced myself in and it was actually so refreshing!! There was also body jets, hot and cold sprays/jets/waterfalls, heated stone seats with massaging water jets, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, 2 pools…. Basically everything you could want from water therapy! I love trying all of these things out but my mum isn’t so keen! I love the fact everyone walks around in their bikinis, robes and slippers! It’s so chilled. 

   
   

I had three amaaaaazing treatments – 2 on the first day and one the next day. The first was the Rose Hydrator which involved an all over body scrub, being covered in luxury oils and creams and wrapped up, finishing with a scalp massage. I left feeling super soft and silky! 

My next treatment was the Elemis Facial. This is tailored to your particular skin type and my therapist adjusted the products according to my dry skin. I’ve been suffering with dryness on my forehead and eyelids at the moment and I can honestly say that these were about 70% better after the facial! The products felt and smelt amazing. 

My final treatment was a full body Hot Stone Massage. I have always carried quite a lot of tension in my shoulders and tend to have knots there, so it was quite painful having those massaged out but I feel much better for it! I would recommend all of the treatments I had if you guys ever visit the spa. 

   
 We spent the rest of the day using the facilities and reading by the pool. I downloaded ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green a while ago and started reading but never got chance to properly get into it as I had my exams. I’m now 90% through and I LOVE it. It’s so thought provoking and the story line is brilliantly unpredictable. It was nice just to be able to chill and do nothing except read and relax. 

  
The amount we ate this weekend is kind of rediculous! We had lunch and dinner on the first day, then breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea on the second day. Lunch and dinner are both three course meals! You can imagine how full we were (but we still managed most of it!). The meals were brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed. 

   
                  As an additional treat, my mum purchased some of the Elemis products used in my facial for me. I chose the Papaya Enzyme Peel, Exotic Moisture Mask and Skin Bliss Capsules. I’m excited to use these products and will be blogging the results! I’m excited equally about them all – the Papaya Enzyme Peel removed the dead skin cells, while the Exotic Moisture Mask hydrates the skin and can even be used as an overnight treatment. The Skin Bliss Capsules (which I used once a while ago and loved) are to be used as a course 3 times a year – the contain 30 days worth of capsules both day and night, with different scents and oils. 

   
 On the whole, we were really happy with the weekend. We had a lovely room, comfortable beds, everything was clean and nice and the food and treatments were spot on. However, there are a couple of negatives we both pointed out. The meal time service wasn’t totally up to scratch – absolutely no fault of the staff! The staff were lovely and tried to be attentive but they were totally understaffed so they were rushed off their feet. This meant that we were sat for hours to have a meal and left a number of times without drinks. For our evening meal, we couldn’t get a booking until 8.45pm and weren’t shown to our table until past 9.00pm. We didn’t end up finishing the meal until around 11.30pm! It wasn’t ideal but we still enjoyed it. 

The second thing I’d comment on is the treatment times. My Mum and I both checked the times of our treatments and each and every one of them was 10-15 minutes shorter than we had paid for! It’s understandable that they need to set up for the next client, but that time shouldn’t be taken from the treatment times. 

I will definitely be booking future visits to Hoar Cross Hall and I now feel perfectly refreshed and ready for the rest of my 21st celebrations. 

Hels xxx

Miss Scuba UK: Red Carpet Ready Photoshoot

Today, I’ve taken a road trip down to Lincoln for a very glamorous Photoshoot. In August I will be taking part in the annual Miss Scuba UK pageant. It’s way more than your standard beauty pageant – the main focus of the competition is marine conservation and taking care of our beaches and sea life. On the night, we will find out the top 5 in no order, who then go to Cyprus AND Egypt to scuba dive and for a girly holiday! The ultimate winner will then be decided and will head out to Malaysia for the Miss Scuba International pageant! This is an amazing opportunity and I’m so privileged to be part of it. 

The shoot was at Red Carpet Ready – an amazing dress shop that’s stocks a wide array of beautiful designer gowns and dresses. When I say amazing – I mean you just would not believe it! It’s set in beautiful grounds and has three separate sections, each full of the latest designs. There’s something for everyone. 

   
    These are just a few snaps of what’s on offer at Red Carpet Ready!   

  A group image of some of the finalists. Can you spot me? 
   

   This is the stunning Pia Michi gown I wore for the shoot – it’s understated but still glam due to the intricate sparkles and unique back. This particular gown is slightly too big on me, but you can imagine the amazing silhouette that this dress can create. 

We had a few group shots in different locations on the grounds. The sun was out in full force and my sensitive eyes were watering all over the place so I hope my images don’t come out all squinty! It was a great giggle though. I can’t wait to see the images when they’re released – keep an eye out on Instagram! 

You can purchase these gowns and many, many more at Red Carpet Ready or visit the store if you’re ever in the Lincoln area. They’ve just had a new showroom fitted with crisp white walls and marble floors with stunning big mirrors – perfect for a few selfies! 

Big thank you’s go out to Jaime-Lee, Jill and Sue (and the rest of the team) at Miss Scuba UK, Kirsty and the ladies at Red Carpet Ready, Tom Parnell – the brilliant photographer for the day, all of the girlies and of course my Mum for driving the long journey for me! 

Hels x