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Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment*.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Hello ladies and gentlemen, you've probably come here because the title of this post says bedroom and I don't blame you, I would totally have clicked it too, having a nosy to see if sex is mentioned, well it's your lucky day! This post is quite a scary one for me to write but because of this reason I also think it's super important that I be brave and write about topics like this on my blog, because I want to be open and real on my little part of internet.

sweet allure Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment sex erectile dysfunction problems penis vagina

When I saw the campaign for bloggers to write about a positive bedroom environment I was initially put off and thought 'oh god what if my family or work colleagues read this?' but then I realised, this is exactly why I should be talking about this kind of thing, it needs to be something that can be talked about openly, free from judgement and negativity, so I put my name down. This post is basically going to be talking about my top tip for making a more comfortable and open bedroom environment possible and why I think it's important.

Sex. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, have I said it enough in this post now to make it not weird yet? Good, so lets crack on.

Sex is completely normal, single, married, gay, straight, young or old, sex is a very normal and healthy part of life and relationships. It's certainly not like all the magical romantic scenes we see in the movies where it's raining and Ryan Gosling sweeps us off our feet and we make love in some gorgeous town house on some blankets, in fact sex can be kinda gross when you actually think about it. But what's important is that it's healthy to enjoy it and want to  have it.

It's all very normal to have problems in the bedroom, erectile dysfunction is very common, with a quarter of men under 40 suffering with it, so unlike what Rachel from Friends says, it is common, it can happen to any guy and it's not a big deal. Women can also suffer from problems just as often as men. It's very common and can be effected by so many things, from stress, anxiety, depression to medication, tiredness and alcohol, so many things effect our sexy time from time to time which is why it's so important to have an open mind in the bedroom.

My first tip is to talk about it. If you have a partner and you are worried or embarrassed about it, just talk about it, you shouldn't feel bad about something that you can't control. By talking to your partner, a friend, your parents, a doctor, it makes it so much easier to deal with. Being open about these things help get rid of the pressure around these topics, it helps your partner understand whats going on and talk through your worries or anxieties. I know when I'm having a problem, at work, in life or in the bedroom, talking to Nick about it makes me feel better, he's reassuring and understanding and it helps clear my head of all silly thoughts I was having, which hopefully means next time it'll be better knowing he understands.

It's also important to talk to a doctor if you are having persistent issues as there might be underlying problems that you need to have diagnosed but again a doctor is someone you should feel confident confiding in, they do not judge you, they just want to help. However you can buy sildenafil aka Viagra over the counter medicine for erectile dysfunction to help get things going in the trouser department if it's a one off occurrence. It might help you with the occasional problems and help gain some of you confidence back, but remember to always talk to a doctor if the problem persists.

This also goes without saying that if your partner/friend wants to talk about the problem with you then take time to listen, talking about personal topics can be scary and knowing they can talk openly about something that is embarrassing without judgement is really important. I am always here to listen to my friends problems and I would never judge them, it's so so important.

I just think it's really important we start talking about issues like this more openly and help to break down the stigma's we have around bedroom problems. It's very normal and more people might feel that way if it was talked about more often and not laughed at, even if it is one blog post at a time! 

If you take one thing from reading this post, just know that sex is awesome and by talking about and removing the stigmas and pressures around preforming in the bedroom, more people could be having great sex!

sweet allure Creating A Positive Bedroom Environment sex erectile dysfunction problems penis vagina

*This is in collaboration with Europharmacy, but all thoughts and opinions are always my own. I genuinely wanted to talk about these issues to help break down the stigmas around bedroom issues. 

Sunday Sitdown #10

Sunday, 24 July 2016
It's Sunday and I'm awake writing this at 8am, damn the stupid hot weather but i've got so much to talk about that I just really wanted to get writing a post!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

The first thing I want to talk about is my lovely friend Holly's baby shower, I can't believe how fast the last 8 months have flown by and I can't wait to meet the baby! The baby shower was absolutely wonderful, all of the food was incredible and beautiful, I mean just look at these biscuits and the cakes!! I know who I'll be getting to plan my baby shower when I eventually pop out some kids, hint hint Holly. It was just such a lovely afternoon playing games, chatting to people, eating some food and the weather was perfect for it too, I even got a little sun burnt, silly me! 

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Whilst I was at the baby shower Nick was off on his stag do in Leeds, which is a little surreal, I don't think it's quite sunk in yet that we're getting married despite talking about it so much, that it was very odd to think he was off on his stag do. I'm dreading what state he'll come back in this afternoon, I think we might be having an afternoon of laying on the sofa watching films and eating pizza so he can recover which is totally fine by me, sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon chill.

Speaking of weddings, this month was also the month that I finally went out with my friend Gemma to buy my wedding dress materials and start putting the dress together. I am SO excited about this, I was really struggling to visualise what I wanted in my head and finally seeing the materials and the shape coming together makes me so excited, I can't wait to try it on and walk around all floaty! I'll be keeping you up to date on wedding things very soon so you won't have to wait long now I promise!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

Then over on my blog I recently did a post about starting an art journal and the response I've had from this post has been overwhelming, thank you so much for all of the nice feedback! I've had so many people ask me to start making prints, so I think over the next couple of weeks I'll be putting together a selection to go up in an etsy store to share with you all and see how things go! I've just really enjoyed drawing and painting again so it's just so wonderful that everyone else likes my work too! Also let me know which one you prefer, the flamingo or the cacti in the comments!

I also had a meeting with all the other TheCityGirls ladies about the event we are planning for later in the year which was very exciting! I'm sure we'll have things to share with you all soon but the meeting went really well and I can't wait to have some things set in stone so we can share some sneak peaks! I think you are going to love it!

So as you can see the last couple of weeks have been quite busy, so much going on in real life and on the blog but it's all so exciting. I'm really excited about doing an etsy shop, it's a new challenge that I'm ready and raring to take on! I will let you all know when I open it!

Until then, I'm going to go scrape together some breakfast from whatever is hanging around in the fridge, make a cup of tea and watch some TV. I hope you enjoy your Sunday and see you on Tuesday!

Sweet Allure Sunday Sitdown #10 baby shower biscuits cakes party etsy store art prints flamingo cacti

I Finally Re-learnt To Drive*.

Saturday, 23 July 2016
Ever since I passed my test almost 10 years ago (sheesh!) I've always missed the freedom driving gave me, I absolutely loved learning to drive, I had such a fun instructor that I got on really well with (banter!) and all I could think about was the road trip adventures I'd go on once I passed.

sweet allure I Finally Re-learnt To Drive driving learning adventures car cars

It took me quite a few lessons before I was confident enough to go for my test, I think I was ready for a good 10 or so lessons before I decided to give the test a go but I was so nervous I decided to just carry on anyway. I feel like my test had everything a learner dreaded, I had an awful and hella steep reverse around a corner and I also had to do an emergency stop, which I always struggled with for some reason, but I passed with flying colours on my first time and I was excited about potential summer adventures.

But, inevitably real life got in the way, I was 17 and couldn't afford a car never mind the crazy high cost of insurance at that age and months turns into years and then I moved to London for university and you have to be crazy to want to drive there. Before I knew it I was 26 and hadn't driven a car for almost a decade. I felt like if I didn't start again soon I might never do it, so I decided last year to change this.

I've mentioned it a few times here on my blog but over the last few months I've been re-learning to drive which has been such a terrifying yet exciting experience. The first few times I went out with Nick (who was absolutely crapping his pants) for a few spins around the block to get me used to it again. I was designated driver over Christmas to take advantage of the almost car-less roads to get accustomed to the car and the roads in general which soon turned into the occasional commute to and from work.

It wasn't until a couple of months I took the ultimate leap and went out in the car by myself, for the first time ever, and drove myself to and from the train station so that I didn't have to get Nick up at 7am on a Saturday. It was absolutely terrifying and I think I  must have sweated buckets but getting there and back in one piece felt so incredible it was unreal, I text my dad straight away with excitement (yes I'm still that girl that texts her dad immediately after she does something cool) and I've been doing solo journeys here and there since.

I can't wait to be confident enough to tackle the motorway, which scares me but only because I've never done it before, so that I can go on more road trips, visit friends and go home to see my family more often. Driving gives me such freedom around when I can leave or arrive, I'm not restricted to the time tables of the trains or buses, public transport is one of the things I hate in life, I hate smelly rammed buses, am I the only one that gets 'the weirdo' always come and sit next to them? At least with driving the only weirdo I have to sit next to is Nick, hur hur!

I think the first trip I want to be brave enough to do is to vist Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the KAWS exhibition, which I've been wanting to go to for aggeessss. It ends in December so I've got plenty of time to work up the courage, eek!

Are you learning to drive? Or just really enjoy road trips? Let me know in the comments!

sweet allure I Finally Re-learnt To Drive driving learning adventures car cars

*This post is in collaboration with BookLearnPass, which has all of your learning to drive needs covered but as always, all thoughts, opinions and lame jokes are my own.

Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings

Tuesday, 19 July 2016
I asked recently via a Twitter poll what you, my readers, would love me to write next and Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings was the winner, so here I am, giving the people what they want!

If you've been following me over the last 7 or 8 months you'll have seen a running theme around here about how skint I've been, with buying our first home 1 year ago and planning our wedding, money is just a fleeting number in our bank accounts each month. However the reason why we can afford these things is because about 2 years ago I did a complete overhaul on our finances, which is what I'm going to be talking to you about in this post.

I'm going to write a little disclaimer here just in case, but these might be tips that work for some of you and wont work for others, but these are what helped us personally. I really hope you can take something from this post!

Sweet allure Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings saving reduce tricks bills money

The first thing I did was sat down with our bank accounts and figured out exactly how much our outgoings were, the first and most important are the bills because obviously they need paying first. Secondly we looked at the things we were paying for that were for pleasure, for example, Netflix, Spotify and game subscriptions etc. I highly recommend you do this to help see where your money is going and what things you don't need to be paying for or don't use anymore.

Once we had all of our bills in plain sight with exact amounts, I decided to look over some things. The first thing we noticed is that we were paying for our electricity every quarter (we only had electric at the apartment if you were wondering about gas). I looked over our bills and rang them up to make sure we were on the cheapest tariff and decided to switch to paying a direct debit amount every month. This was just an easier way to keep track of how much we were paying out month by month and wasn't a huge shock when we suddenly had to fork out a lump sum every quarter. If you end up paying too much on a direct debit you get refunded your over payments and they reduce your direct debit accordingly after 6-12 months.

This is something you should do with all of your bills, look over them and make sure you are getting the best deal possible, if you are single and living alone make sure you are taking advantage of 25% council tax discount. Same goes for car insurance, house insurance, etc etc make sure you find a comparison website and see if you can be getting a better deal and switch, don't be paying over the odds for things that you can get for cheaper, this is a great way to save some serious £££.

Then the next step is to do the same with your pleasure outgoings, do you have some old subscriptions to things that you didn't realise you were still paying for? I decided to stop paying £10 for my Spotify when I could sit and listen to 30 seconds of adverts and Nick decided to stop paying for his Wow sub. I only recently noticed that you can reduce your Netflix account too, I think it defaults to two devices, which if you only ever watch it on your TV you can knock a couple of quid off your bill from that too by switching in your settings to just 1 device! Which also leads me to my TV Licence, I spoke to the TV Licence people and they said because I only watch Netflix, which is pre-recorded, that means I don't need to pay for a TV Licence. So if this is something you do too, you might be able to save yourself some cash also.

The next thing that really helped reduce our outgoings was meal planning. Meal planning is amazing. If you haven't thought about this before then you really should. Planning your monthly meals means you don't need to nip to the shops as often and risk splurging out on all those pesky deals! The amount of times we've been to the shop for a handful of things and come out with bags of things we didn't need because we were tempted by chocolate, crisps, pop etc and all of these purchases soon add up. I also find Poundland is amazing for toiletries, stop paying £4 for a tube of toothpaste in Boots when you can get the exact same thing for £1. We still buy things like kitchen roll and hand wash from here because it's so much cheaper.

Another thing I've discovered is cashback websites, when you do have to fork out some cash on something new or expensive, like a new washer or fridge for example, you can find the best deals and get cash back from those big purchases. It might not seem worth it for one off things but if you make a few little purchases over the year it soon adds up! I cashed out £80 last year that was completely free, I was spending money on those things anyway but I get £80 back by going through cashback sites, which is amazing. Every time I plan on buying something online I always just go through the cashback website to see if there is a deal first, you can even get it on things like Just Eat, so it's completely worth having a look and building up some £££.

I've rambled on for quite awhile with this one, but the main thing really is to use your common sense. Research your purchases before buying something, keep a look out for better deals on your bills and really consider little things, like if Spotify is really worth paying £10 for or if you can stand listening to a few adverts once in awhile. All of these things helped Nick and I save a couple of hundred pounds a month which we then put into our savings account to help towards house deposits and wedding things.

I really hope this post helped in some way or another and that you end up reducing your bills and saving some cash to put towards something more exciting than bills! Let me know in the comments if you have anymore tips or if you found this helpful!

Sweet allure Tips For Reducing Your Monthly Outgoings saving reduce tricks bills money

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Living on a budget: Where to start?

I Decided To Start An Art Journal.

Monday, 18 July 2016
During a recent browse on twitter I came across a post by FoundSomePaper about staying creative with an art journal and I don't know if it's just me feeling super inspired recently but I had an overwhelming urge to start drawing again. So at lunch time that day I went out and bought a cheap little notebook from Paperchase and started doodling again.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles watermelon fun hobby

For as long as I can remember I've always been creative, ever since my grandma taught me to knit when I was in junior school I've been obsessed with everything arty. I draw, paint, knit, cross stitch, collage, photograph, write, you name it, i've tried it. During my college years I did a double A-level in Art and I was opened up to the world of continuous line drawing, this is basically a drawing technique where you never take your pen/pencil off the paper when you are drawing. It was something that I just immediately fell in love with and it's one of those style that i'm always drawn to and always go back to when sketching, I just love the sketchy look that doesn't look super perfect and finished.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles icrecream ice lolly fun hobby

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles bananas fun hobby

Why am I telling you all this? Well because I've decided to challenge myself and attempt to do a drawing every single day. They don't have to be something super big or crazy, they'll be the odd days where they are really simple and cute but I really want to let my creative art side out much more than just through my writing. So I plan on sharing these images with you as I slowly fill the pages with fun and silly things.

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles icecream cone icecreamcone fun hobby

Sweet Allure I Decided To Start An Art Journal creative sketchs drawing watercolours painting doodles dougnut donut sprinkles fun hobby

They will be mostly coloured with watercolours, as I personally find that watercolours and continuous line drawing really suit each other in the messy not quite perfect sense and I really enjoy working with watercolours as a medium. So, I thought I'd share my first weeks worth of pieces with you because sharing is caring and I hope that it might inspire you to start something creative or re-kindle a passion with an art form you've neglected for far too long. Life is too short to forget about hobbies you love doing! Also can you spot the reoccurring theme here? I think I might be slightly obsessed with bright coloured food! ha ha.

I really hope you've liked the start of my new art journal and if you are interested in continuing to see
updates from it, please let me know in the comments! Also please leave any suggestions as what to draw, as I need to challenge myself and try thing out of my comfort zone!

Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On.

Saturday, 16 July 2016
When this post goes live it'll be 1 year since buying our own house which I have to say is a pretty crazy thought! Not only has the last year gone super quickly but it's starting to feel more like home. 

sweet allure Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On homeware interiors lifestyle blog owners first time buyers

If you read my last post, 6 months on, you'll know that I was finding it hard to settle in and get that feeling of home. I feel like putting our own stamp on the place has really started to help with these feelings, we've pretty much made the living room exactly how we want it, it's just a matter of working round all the other rooms now and fixing them up.

I know this is a process that probably will never feel complete or fulfilled because I'll always be wanting to do things to the house like adding little touches here and there but after awhile it really has become the place that I can't wait to come back to after work and just relax.

It hasn't all been rainbows and butterflies though, for those first time buyers out there I'm sure this is a common issue but they're lots of things that have gone wrong along the way that we've had to fork out to fix. Not only did we have to buy a whole new set of kitchen appliances when we moved in, the boiler and the old dishwasher broke so we had to repair those. We're also having problems with our guttering at the minute that we're having fixed this weekend, the last thing we want is damp! And to be completely honest, there are still some things we haven't properly unpacked yet and we still have a spare room that you can barely get into because of all the stuff just dumped in there! I am getting to the stages where I'm wanting to sort through things now and really make the most out of our awesome house!

Although we are deep in the mist of paying for our wedding right now, one thing that does excite me about next year is having the funds to start doing the rest of the house up. The next room we really have to sort is the bedroom which is still quite literally a white shell, it has no personality stamp on it what so ever and I can't wait to buy a new bed, loads of fun bed sheets and cushions and really make it more homely. I also can't wait to have all of our wedding photos hanging around the house, that will for sure fill up all of the blank walls and shelves! I mean what else is a wedding for right?

I'm still so happy that we made the big leap from renting to buying our own home, it feels so much better knowing we are paying towards something we'll eventually own and not just wasting money on rent, especially when our mortgage is only £140 more than what our rent was anyway! I'm not about to preach and say this is something you should do because everyone is different but it felt like the right thing to do for us as a couple and we have absolutely no regrets.

It's also an amazing feeling knowing you can do what you want to the place without the restrictions of renting. We can hang what we like, paint what we like and no-one can say otherwise! It's a very liberating feeling after living in rented accommodation for almost 10 years!

Have you recently bought your first home? Or are you saving so you can one day do so? Let me know in the comments!

sweet allure Buying Our First Home: 1 Year On homeware interiors lifestyle blog owners first time buyers

Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Remember back when I did my To Highlight or Not to Highlight post and I was approximately 100 years behind the trend? Well that wasn't a one time occurrence, it's basically describes my entire life, liquid lipsticks included.

I've been contemplating getting a liquid lipstick from either Kat Von D or Jeffree Star for a long long time and when JS released Rose Matter it was a shade I was immediately drawn to and after some scrolling online I did an impulse purchase, which never really happens for me with beauty products...take away food yes..but beauty products...never!

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan

So what appealed to me about this one enough to buy it? I just really liked the colour of Rose Matter, it's a pretty standard colour, nothing too out there which is what you normally get with the JS range, and all the swatches I'd seen online looked really pretty. It definitely seemed like a colour I could wear and not feel really self conscious about. It probably helped that I'd been really into watching JS's YouTube channel, binge watching if you will. So I decided to take the plunge.

So ordering just one lipstick cost me about £20 with the postage included, the package arrived quite quickly, I think it arrived in just over a week, which isn't bad really coming all the way from America. I didn't have to pay any import tax but then I only ordered one, so if you are ordering more than one, I'd do some research in case you get taxed.

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan

First impressions are that I really like the packaging, its very bright and pink but I quite like that, it stands out on my make-up table! The wand is quite bendy and easy to use, having a flexible wand makes it much easier to apply. I have to admit that I don't really like the smell of this, it's quite strong and sweet smelling, I prefer to have products without any smells because if I don't like the smell it tends to put me off using it!

Now, I absolutely suck at applying this, I have a really thin upper lip and I think liquid lipstick just highlights that rather than makes it look better. I also think this would be much better with a lip pencil to line your lips, I just don't have any pencils that would match this shade! It does dry down really matte and isn't drying at all. The colour stays on my lips for hours and it only came off after eating something properly for dinner, it lasted through my lunch at work and sipping water throughout the day!

Sweet allure Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick Review: Rose Matter beauty cruelty free vegan
This is freshly applied so still has a sheen but does dry completely matte, I  promise! 

I'm honestly not even sure this colour suits me which is a huge disappointment after having splurged on it and waiting for it to arrive. I'm going to keep wearing it when I feel brave enough and maybe i'll eventually get used to wearing more of a bright colour. I do think buying a lip pencil will help because it'll make applying it much easier, it's hard to make a liquid lipstick look amazing on your lips when they aren't lined!

After taking the photos for this blog post I have noticed that if you pay really close attention you can notice very tiny tiny speckles of glitter, which is cute but you'd never actually notice!

I can honestly say this wasn't worth the splurge, the colour is beautiful but I just don't think it suits me personally, which is such a shame. It certainly looks darker on me than the lighter coral shade that shows on JS's website, so if you do order please make sure you research some other swatches online!

Let me know your liquid lipstick recommendations as I would love to try some other brands and hopefully find the one that converts me!

* This post went live before all the recent issues surrounding Jeffree Star and I will not be endorsing his product from now on.