I've always been a sucker for homeware. Even when I moved into halls at uni, the effort I went to when choosing out the perfect posters and fairy lights to don my noticeboard was quite something :')

For years I've been collecting bits and bobs for when I get my own place and now that I've decided to take the plunge, I feel like I am already pretty prepared on most fronts. There are always a few added extras that I think really make a difference when it comes to making somewhere feel 'homely' though, hence I thought I would share a few tips on here today and list a few favourite places where I like to search for these.

One of my new discoveries of late has been Mi Vida - the most gorgeous gift shop on Bold Street. I picked up this little copper dish there the other day as I thought it would make the perfect coffee table accessory, and also got myself a copy of Garance Dore's 'Love, Life , Style' there for the same reason. Other finds have included a giant wooden S and some of their beautiful hand-painted mugs. If you live nearby and are planning on popping in this weekend, they have a 20% off everything sale on so it's well worth a wander!

Something else I've been on the hunt for are some gorgeous prints to have scattered around the flat - I had already placed an order with Society 6, but then whilst browsing Home and Pantry I came across this coffee one and also fell in love with the marble leather tie chopping board - by no means kitchen essentials, but too cute to resist right? ;)

H&M home is another fave of mine for affordable bits and unlike their clothing delivery, the homeware seems to arrive in a couple of days as opposed to weeks! Their cushions are beautiful - I picked up a couple these green velvet ones the other day and also nabbed myself this pink herringbone throw which is super soft and luxurious.

And finally, everyone's current one stop shop for interior inspiration - West Elm. So far I've gotten my hands on these geometric tumblers just because I thought they were a bit unusual, and this stripy marble bookend ready to support my ever-growing collection of cookbooks.

Still plenty of knick-knacks left to discover, but I think I've made a pretty good start :) Any other suggestions of where to find more beautiful bits would be much appreciated!

Sarah x

It's been a quiet week all in all - thanks primarily to my expert present buying skills meaning I was all set weeks ago without the need for any last minute dashing around.

One of the most exciting parts (sad as it sounds), was finally finding the 'perfect' sofa for my flat - available here if you fancy a gander. It really feels as though things are starting to come together now ready for the move - how do I know this? Because I'm starting to get nervous about the fact that I have a mountain of things to pack and very little time inside which to do so. 

I was one of the unlucky souls that spent up until 1pm Christmas Eve sat behind my work desk, dealing with the the ins and outs of the new Mortgage Credit Directive as opposed to drinking eggnog and eating mountains of mince pies. The evening however, was spent catching up with friends and overdoing it on amaretto and cokes. A splendid way to start off my four day weekend...

And then there was Christmas Day itself, which, if you've read my previous two posts, you will already know was a pretty quiet affair. Mum cooked a beautiful dinner which my Sister and her boyfriend joined us for. We opened gifts and then went for a long wander up the mountain with the labs, followed by an evening of wine, cheese and pjs on the sofa. 

If I'm being totally honest though, despite joining in with all the merriment - today's toasts, charades, copious amounts of trifle - underneath it all there was a melancholy feeling that I couldn't quite shake. It felt like a little part of me was missing. No one to entertain my Uncles with tales of Beatles trivia, no one to pitch in and stir up a bit of controversy during the debate re the Syrian refugee crisis that had just kicked off around the dining table.

Even whilst I'm sat here writing this, I'm hoping something will change. I know there's nothing I can do though. It's something that is out of my hands. Keep on working hard, keep on working on myself, is, I guess, all I can do. Continuing to have fun and to take advantage of any opportunities that present themself. 

Roll on New Year's Eve, house parties and rudimentary cocktails. 

Sarah x

I was a very luck girl again this year with Mumma P and KP spoiling me rotten. You might notice there's a bit of a theme with the gifts too - i.e. comfy and cosy. 

Brandy Melville has been calling my name for some time now and KP was kind enough to get me the softest grey hoodie known to man along with this beautiful burnt orange knit. She was also a complete babe and picked up the denim button up a-line skirt I'd being eyeing up from ASOS. As a little added extra surprise too, she knows I'm going away for my birthday in February so got me a Travalo to make my favourite fragrance handbag friendly :)

Mummy dearest went all out and got me my favourite bath salts from Therapie, the yummiest smelling candle and a beautiful (also very apt) mug from Anthropologie. She stuck with the cosy theme too and gave me this beautiful striped River Island scarf and super cute pooch slippers from Oasis.

I feel so lucky for all I received and so grateful for having a family that are always there when I need them. It's lovely to receive such beautiful gifts, but it's even better to know that people care enough to take the time to tell you how special you are to them.

Sarah x

Christmas in our house these days is quite a quiet affair - we have a couple of visitors in the morning but they don't stick around long, after which it's just me and Mum now for most of the day. It's nice in a way to not have to rush around and entertain, but truth be told, I've always sort of wanted one of those huge families that all gather together, chip in with preparing dinner and spend the morning exchanging gifts - the type that dress up all fancy and that don't spend the day in leggings and the cosiest jumper in their wardrobe.

I know this year is going to be tough, but I also know I have to stand firm and not allow myself to fall foul to getting emotional/reminiscing about how happy things were last year - it would only lead to me saying something I would regret. Truth be told, it doesn't really feel like Christmas either - these last couple of months have flown by so quickly, they feel more like a couple of weeks.

And so, in short - I thought I'd write this post to a) keep my itchy fingers busy and to b) try to help anyone else who is feeling a little 'meh' like I am this festive period.

I find the best thing to do at times like this - the best way to 'cope' - is to make a list  (if you know me, you'll already know this is often the way I like to deal with things :') ) The list should contain anything positive that you can focus on in order to help you get through the day, and also anything that can help keep you calm and stop you from overthinking. Hence, I thought I would share a few of the things that I have found myself jotting down in the hope that they might aid any others amongst you that are finding it hard;

  1. Zone out - put that phone away and stay away from social media. Whip out the old polaroid instead of spending your time hoping to hear off certain people and comparing your Christmas Day to other's online. Make some new memories - even if they are just of the littlest of little things.

  2. Distractions - take some time to read a couple of chapters of your book, shop the sales, watch some feel good films whilst chomping down on your favourite Quality Street (strawberry cream FYI) and finally - cuddle dem dawgies. 

  3. Relax - a long post dinner wander up the mountain awaits me, followed by a Lush bath with my name on it. Taking ten minutes to meditate, or something else I also like to do - read something comforting/inspirational (I have tonnes of this sort of thing saved to my reading list - packed with self assuring stuff about how best to deal with things in order to achieve the outcome you're after/how best to avoid situations that are likely to trigger negative reactions) over and over again, somehow manages to make me feel more in control.

  4. Focus on the positive - for me, and I think for a lot of people, the thought of a new year and a fresh start always helps. Personally, all my energy at the moment is going into making my new place the cosiest cubbyhole possible and towards a couple of exciting writing opportunities that have come my way recently. The two combined have proven to be enough of a target to aim for without thinking too much about what other good things might follow as a result of trying  so much harder to be the more 'outgoing' Sarah I have long aspired to be.
Whatever you spend your day doing though, I would just like to wish you all a Christmas filled with love and laughter, friends and family. It's no doubt important to remember, that no matter what upset you might be going through now - there are plenty of people out there in the same situation/that are far worse off. 'This too will pass', things will get better and this time of year will again one day be all that it once was.

Sarah x

A few posts back, I mentioned that I had been slowly but surely compiling a list of 'kick-ass' songs to accompany those 'sing your heart out' moments where the only things that perk you up are a) your girlfriends b) cracking out the Southern Comfort and c) LUCKY VOICE. You get me?

It's a work in progress, but today I thought I'd share with you on here, a few of my faves that have been stuck on repeat for the past few weeks - some of them awesome, some of them ashamedly cringe/predictable - either way all of them feel good. Give them a listen, and I guarantee they'll brighten up your Sunday!

Bring Me The Horizon - Throne
Ke$ha - Blind
Nicki Minaj - Bed of Lies
Biffy Clyro - Pocket
The Distillers - Beat Your Heart Out
Weezer - Pork and Beans
Mumford & Sons - Snake Eyes
Andrew W.K. - Free Jumps
Bayside - Devotion & Desire

Read into the lyrics what you like ;) 

Sarah x

This week has been a good one, mainly having consisted of food, drink, food, drink and more food. We had our department lunch on Tuesday which swiftly turned into an all day affair. All ten of us graced Hanover Street Social with our presence - somewhere I had never eaten before but had been wanting to try for a while and I wasn't disappointed.

It was also Christmas jumper day yesterday in the office, so as well as donning our outrageous knits, the payroll team put on a pretty impressive buffet and continued to ply us with liquor!

Last night the girls and I had a little festive gathering involving a plethora of prosecco and exchange of gifts. The lovely Laura played host this year, and provided tasty nibbles before the most amazing satay chicken I have ever tasted <3 That girl is a culinary genius! And if that wasn't enough, she also put together what is possibly the most thoughtful gift I have ever received for us all - a little hamper full of homemade treats - chilli jam, choc chip cookies, poached pears and piccalilli but to name a few.

In amongst the merriment I also continued on my search to find some more perfect pieces to help make a house a home - managed to find this copper floor lamp from Made and fell in love. And, in amongst it all I also found time to pick up the cutest little spruce for outside the front door this year.

I've been continuing with therapy which I'm actually starting to enjoy :) and I've even started getting into meditation - something that I didn't really think was for me up until recently. Whenever I start to feel a little anxious, I just take ten minutes for myself and try to zone out/think about nothing - originally it was difficult but I'm definitely getting better at it. Little steps in the right direction.

Like the picture says - 'focus on the good'. By doing that I think the things you want - and fingers crossed, even better things, will come.

Sarah x

It's official - come January 8th 2016 Apartment 228 will be mine I shall be sat on a new sofa, toasting a new year and, fingers crossed - a whole load of new opportunities.

In order to take my mind off something, I always need a longer term project to focus on in which to really invest my full attention. Once I figure out what that project is, then I find it much easier to be able to apply any nervous energy I might have, to think positively and to look forward as opposed to just remaining stagnant.

Lately this new project has involved the new place – sorting out the particulars, and, my favourite part – ensuring I have everything I need to spruce it up and give it that ‘Sarah’ vibe. I’ve taken comfort in the fact that I will no longer have to endure 5am starts, 2 1/2 hour commutes and rush hour train rides. Instead looking forward to girls nights, lie ins and works socials without the prospect of needing to make a hasty escape before 9.30 when the last train home departs.

The thought of having something – a little space to call my own – makes me feel that bit more self sufficient – like whatever happens, I’ll always have a place to retire to at the end of the day where if I want peace I can have it – if I want friends round to witter away the evening over of  a glass of pinot and a greasy takeaway then that’s fine too.

The enthusiasm when it comes to décor has already taken hold – in fact, as we speak I am perusing the White Company website in an attempt to pick out the perfect bathroom candle scent (yes I am aware of how crazy that sounds, but it’s all in the detail!).

Being an ‘independent woman’ as much as I dislike the phrase, has always been part of my ethos – I’ve always earned my own money, never expected anyone else to provide for me. But now more than ever, for obvious reasons – I feel like I want to make it clear to anyone out there who might have been feeling the same way I have, that you don’t need anyone else to go out and achieve what it is you want - you don’t need to hang around until that person arrives. It might be nice to share the excitement, but your soul doesn’t depend on it – in fact, the joy of knowing you are able to do it all on your own  involves a much deeper sense of satisfaction.

Sarah x
A few suggestions here today re what you might consider picking up this Christmas for any loved ones who enjoy a good pamper/making the effort to look extra glam over the festive period.

First off – the ultimate ‘must have’ in any girl’s make up bag at this time of year – the red lip. And of this season’s new releases, my favourite so far has definitely been Illamasqua’s‘Vega’ – a deep, rich red which unlike most of my favourite bolder shades, is a satin finish. In spite of this though, it wears well and would I think, create the perfect pout for under the mistletoe this year.

Of course, if you’re not after something quite so courageous – there is always the option of rouge talons as opposed to the rouge lips. These gorgeous nail polishes from Smith and Cult would make amazing stocking fillers.

Equally though, you needn’t go make up mad if the person you’re buying for is more into pampering than partying – how about a ‘does it all’ face mask like this retexturising one from Origins? Your standard clay mask but with the added bonus of exfoliating the skin through the inclusion of jojoba beads – claiming to smooth, refine pores and help achieve that glorious glow we’re all after. Or, if you really want to push the boat out, this body cream from Aerin is to die for – packaging aside (because let’s face it, that’s what immediately draws you in) – the consistency is rich but sinks in beautifully and the scent is heavenly. Even if you’re not a rose fan, there is a fabulous range to choose from – lilac and jasmine being another two of my faves.

And finally, the pièce de résistance – Becca’s ‘Ombre Rouge’ palette. Beautiful, buttery shadows – easy to blend and perfect for any eye colour/skin tone, you name it. It’s cute and compact, so perfect for anyone who travels a lot or likes to get that extra 15 minutes in bed of a morning and do their make up on the go. Plus, as a happy coincidence - it also makes it onto the cruelty free make up brand list along with Illamasqua (mentioned above), if you’re looking for something that fits that bracket.

What are you hoping to add to your cosmetics catalogue this year?

Sarah x

It's been a mixed last seven days. On the plus side - yesterday I signed the lease agreement for my new place in Liverpool - moving hasn't been an easy decision for me to come to, but I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. It's all too easy to carry on living in your comfort zone, to not address the issues you know you have and to hope things get better by doing nothing - hence I figured, whatever happens, being closer to friends and to work is going to make things easier, as is being in a new fresh space that I can spend time making my own.

And, in light of the whole 'making things my own' mantra, there has also been quite a bit of retail therapy indulged in over the past few days ;)

Something else I have also been trying to work on is the whole 'mental positivity' thing which, though they are only small steps - I think I have been making some progress with. I've kept up the weekly yoga classes - helped by the fact that Yin Yan have set up lunch time sessions in my office building (timing or what!). And though it's not the easiest thing to talk about - I've also started regular counselling/therapy sessions. I've never been very good at talking to people about crappy things when they happen - internalising everything and keeping it shut away has always been my go to, but this time I think I've managed to avoid that and for that I'm proud of myself.

On a cheerier note - my friend Laura and I went out for Mexican food on Monday. Wahaca has just opened up on College Lane and so we thought we'd give it a go as neither of us have been before. Result? Thoroughly impressed! We went for a mix of starters and street food which were delicious - special shout out out to the sweet potato and the guac and chips - so good!

And then there was Thursday - a bit of a strange one. It would have been Dad's 62nd birthday and so there were a lot of feelings flying around - heightened by the time of year and the festivities going on. It's always hard the nearer it gets to Christmas (especially this year), but it's also nice to hear from so many people that care and that make you realise what a wonderful man he was and how loved.

Things are still far from great, it's going to take time before they feel near to ok again, but eventually they'll be better than ever.

Sarah x

My city – The City of Liverpool.  I’ve always had a bit of an affiliation with this place. My Grandad hails from here, my Dad was a Liverpool fan, and in truth – whenever the toughest times in my life have hit, it always seems to have been there as a sort of safety net to catch me. After Dad died, it scooped me up and allowed me to spend what were probably three of the happiest years of my life here – at uni – living on my own, learning how to fend for myself, surrounded by an extended group of friends and having the most fun I’ve ever had – care free!

And now, since March of this year, I have made a return - this time to work. It’s strange because I’d usually consider myself much more of a country girl at heart, but there’s something about being surrounded by smiling Scouse faces, by that infamous accent, by the ‘bants’ and the  ‘giggles’, the ‘dolly birds’ and the ‘Scouse brows’ – it’s infectious. It’s one of those cities where, unless it needs to be – nothing is ever taken too seriously, yet there’s a sense of community spirit similar to that you’d find somewhere much smaller, somewhere much more intimate.

Having such a connection with what I find to be such a wonderful place, really does make me feel proud to be part of it; I work in one of the most beautiful buildings on the iconic waterfront – The Port of Liverpool – that, each time I wander into work in the morning, gives me an enormous sense of pride knowing I can say I’m part of the history that it represents. When I was in uni, my then boyfriend and I would, whenever we could, get hold of tickets for a match at Anfield and would stand there for 90 minutes in the freezing cold – singing YNWA,  wrapped in red scarves, clutching our cheese and onion pies and hot cups of Bovril – and I loved it. It made me feel part of something – part of something that I want to feel part of again.

Recently, the 2 ½ hour commute I face each morning has started to take its toll what with everything else I’ve had going on, and so, I decided it was time to stop waiting until Prince Charming turned up/I won the lottery so that I could buy the mansion down the road I’ve had my eye on :’) Instead, it’s now time to spend some time, with me, for me, in the place I like to think of as my second home. When you walk through a storm and all that…

Here’s to new beginnings.

Sarah x