I’m always so surprised that so many people haven’t heard of TopCashback.
To me, it’s now a way of life when online shopping and the easiest way to save money on my everyday spending.
So, what is TopCashback?
TopCashback gains referral commissions for directing its users to partner retailers. In return, they offer you cash back incentives. These include percentage discounts and small payments for using these well known retailers.
TopCashback is free to join and each time you shop with one of these high street or online retailers, you get money back!
What’s the catch?
There is none! They work alongside over 5,350 retailers worldwide to offer you a percentage of money back when shopping via their website or application.
If you have your doubts, they are currently running a national TV campaign and their Trustpilot reviews speak for themselves.
The only annoying thing is cashback can take some time to be authorised by retailers. Expect up to 12 weeks in some circumstances!
How much can you save?
To date, I’ve saved £162.44 since November 2020. This includes shopping for things like my latest Christmas presents, moving house costs and when buying baby stuff for my baby boy due in March 2021.
You can save money on switching energy and gas or insurance providers, buying takeaways, redecorating your home and buying the latest fashion and technology!
Once authorised, this money can be paid to you via bank transfer or PayPal, whichever suits you best.
You know the drill, you’re busy at work, the cold weather has well and truly set in and you are well overdue a spring clean.
However, when do you find the time? Fantastic Services offer a variety of cleaning services for the home across the UK, as well as gardening, landscaping, tradesmen, removals and storage, waste removal, inventory services, pest control and appliance repair.
We opted for a one-off deep clean as we are in the process of putting our flat up for sale. The service included three cleaners coming into our one bedroom flat for two hours at an arranged time to suit us.
Before they began, they asked me which areas they should focus on, focusing on a customised cleaning check list. Taking a room each in turn they blitzed our place.
They made the bathroom gleam, polishing up all ceramic and metal surfaces. Honestly, it looked like a show bathroom once it was done, I don’t think it was this clean when we bought the place.
In the combined kitchen and living room, our kitchen area garnered the most attention. Surfaces were cleaned and polished, the oven was bombed and blitzed, as well as the microwave. Our upholstery was also given the once over, with the sofa cleaned
Throughout the property, interiors of windows were made to shine alongside their sills and skirting boards were cleaned. They finished by hoovering the place, adding a perfumed spray across all carpets.
So, what did I think of Fantastic Services?
Afterwards, the cleaners asked me to inspect the property. It’s safe to say, I walked back in and found myself in awe. Everything sparkled and smelt sensational.
I found the Fantastic Services cleaners to be thorough, professional and oh so polite. I will definitely be using them again in the future.
If you would like to take advantage of Fantastic Services and their incredible cleaners, you can use the code LDNGAL to receive £10 off your first service.
Are you overdue a spring clean? Have you used Fantastic Services before?
The follow to unfollow saga: the ugly side of blogging
If you blog often, you will know exactly what I am talking about here. The follow to unfollow game is a tedious affair to say the least. So, here is why I’m over the blogger follow to unfollow game.
So many bloggers work so hard to organically increase their following and engagement, interacting with others in their niche and producing killer content time and time again.
The follow to unfollow saga is simple. Select bloggers will follow on mass, await for you to follow them back and then remove you by unfollowing within 24 hours. Most go unnoticed and almost cheat others out of a follow.
Follow to unfollow on social media? You are part of the problem…
If you have experienced this, it leaves you feeling a bit rubbish. Blogging is as much about content as it is community. If you love someone’s content, you follow them to read, embrace and even share it from time to time. However, the follow to unfollow saga diminishes the blogging community and this mutual respect, tarnishing organic growth.
Of course, you don’t have to follow others back that don’t speak or relate to your interests, that is absolutely fine. But for those who follow just to unfollow again – it’s really not cool.
Instagram tends to be the social media platform that falls victim to the follow to unfollow game the most. Leaving many a blogger keeping an eye on their social following each week through third party tools that track unfollowers. It isn’t a numbers game but it’s never nice to see your counts dip up and down relentlessly.
If you love your community and fellow bloggers, share your fabulous content, engage with others and follow with intention. It’s really not all about the numbers and quality should always trump quantity.
What do you think of the follow to unfollow saga? Have you fallen victim to it?
If you are an Oxford local, the news of a new John Lewis store opening has probably had you excited for many years now. Well, now it is here, along with the shiny new Westgate and it is time to spend galore. I was lucky enough to be invited to the new store to get a feel for what they were offering and to tour the services it provides.
The most incredible thing about the John Lewis store in Oxford is its rather subtle Alice in Wonderland theme, a nod to Oxford’s beloved literary history. All around the beautiful interior of the store are hidden secrets of Alice and her time in Wonderland. The main seating area on the ground floor presents an open book, adorned with towering roses telling the story of Alice within printed petals. Each week, this area acts as a storybook museum for children and as an event space when needed.
As you continue around the store you will find teeny tiny secret doors (great for keeping young minds busy), the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and even an Alice mannequin with a very Rapunzel-esque blonde wig – encouraging you to leave no corner untouched.
So, what do I think of John Lewis Oxford?
Once you get over the sheer genius of the theme you discover a store that satisfies every whim and sense. Within the store, you will discover a gargantuan beauty, homeware, clothing, famed haberdashery, technology, and leisure department.
A unique feature is the Experience Desk, which enables guests to visit and see the daily events on offer within the store and ask any questions that they may have. The John Lewis Oxford store also offers appointments on home decor, beauty, nursery advice, travel, personal style and lingerie fittings – they even have an onsite optician!
Surprisingly, John Lewis Oxford has more services available than any other John Lewis store in the country and are paving the way when it comes to the success of the stores.
It is music to my ears to discover that the beauty and skincare events are very popular in my hometown, with near-daily events and a first-of-its-kind nail and brow bar, ensuring quick and flawless fixes. Dining is also covered with The Café Bar by Benugo, The Place to Eat restaurant and the highly-recommended KuPP.
It is no surprise that people are so excited to come and shop. Finally, if you do visit, be sure to pop up to the Experience Desk on the first floor for the latest and greatest from John Lewis Oxford!
Have you been to John Lewis in Oxford yet? Do you like the Alice in Wonderland theme?
In the South of England, there’s really only one place you want to spend Halloween being thrown about from rollercoaster to rollercoaster, and that is Fright Nights at Thorpe Park.
I love theme parks. Actually, that is an understatement. I ADORE theme parks. There is nothing quite like being hurtled around loops and sheer drops that doesn’t make a great start to the day.
Although lacking elaborate make up or a costume, I knew I was in for a spooky and fun day spending Halloween at Thorpe Park.
SO, WHAT DID I THINK OF THE FRIGHT NIGHTS EXPERIENCE at Thorpe Park?
Walking in, the park had evidently had a Halloween theme revamp, with ghoulish décor, low-lit lighting, smoke machines and live actors creeping in as dusk settled for the night.
In collaboration with AMC The Walking Dead, Thorpe Park also featured two new scary mazes. Say hello to THE WALKING DEAD: Living Nightmare and THE WALKING DEAD: Sanctum.
Sanctum was a real treat, a creepy live action outdoor maze with a deep South twist. With accents haunting each twist and turn, the live actors certainly knew how to put a shiver down your spine.
In addition to the usual thrill ride and attractions, the special evening welcomed four additional mazes and attractions to explore, including Saw Alive, The Big Top, Platform No. 15 and Containment.
It was certainly a worthwhile venture, with later closing times, the addition of new mazes and attractions and the haunted vibe taken into consideration. I would recommend a ticket for 2018 and I will probably return again myself. Do remember though, ‘the island changes after dark’.
Have you been to Fright Nights at Thorpe Park? How did you spend your Halloween this year?
I have to admit, I was rather excited for my visit to the Wellcome Kitchen. Not only because it looked exquisite, but also because I was very eager to take a peek around the many exhibits and galleries at the Wellcome Collection in London, known as being the “free destination for the incurably curious.”
The Wellcome Collection is a truly spectacular and unique museum near Euston Station, brimming with intriguing exhibits and collections on science, health and life – blurring the lines between all of this and art.
As curious as I was, I soon dashed to take our summer-inspired afternoon tea in the Wellcome Kitchen, on the museum’s second floor. This boutique venue is divine, with fabulous bright and simplistically elegant decor, including a focal display of the celebrated Pill Dress by artist, Susie Freeman.
What is included in the Welcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea?
So, what did we get in our Wellcome Kitchen afternoon tea for two at the Wellcome Collection? Check out the menu below:
A selection of finger sandwiches including cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and coronation chicken
A selection of mini cakes including 2 raspberry and cream tarts, 2 nutty brownies, 2 lemon mouse macarons and 2 red berry cakes
Two fruit scones, Cornish clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry jam
A pot of loose leaf tea (a variety of flavours) or a hot drink each
So, what did I think of the Wellcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea?
In all honesty, I loved this afternoon tea experience. The venue was bright, quiet and the food divine, with a fabulous mix of sandwiches and selection of cakes (these were all sampled but not all finished – cake overdose comensed).
Everything was so well presented, with lovely floral china and welcoming staff who graced you with big smiles. All the food is freshly prepared on site and they even made our sandwiches to order (I cannot have butter, it makes me feel very unwell – odd I know, but, alas) which was a wonderfully helpful touch.
The food is locally-sourced and tends to be seasonal produce, you can even indulge in a glass of sparkling pink Moscato if you feel inclined!
It is the perfect venue to unwind and get lost in great company or even solo. The Wellcome Kitchen is so quiet and calm, away from the vibrancy and bustle of the intrigued visitors of the Wellcome Collection downstairs.
Once you have finished your delicious afternoon tea, you will discover the spectacular Reading Room adjacent, which allows you to unwind with a copy or two and take a peek at an eccentric collection of sculptures, paintings and artefacts.
Overall, a perfect mini-day out wrapped up with lots of culture and food – what’s not to love?
Have you tried the Wellcome Kitchen Afternoon Tea? Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea in London?
A long weekend in Prague – surrounded by pastel-coloured views and terracotta roofs
Prague has always fascinated me – pretty buildings, cultural attractions, and an affordable price tag, what more could a girl want from a city break?
With all that in mind, a weekend in this scenic city was definitely on the cards, and Prague was the next destination myself and my boyfriend had planned to visit in Europe. Here is our guide to a long weekend in Prague.
Our mini adventure would begin after a night’s sleep in our okay-ish hotel. The Hotel Colosseum was well located to attractions and to be honest, pretty cheap. I’m not snobby when it comes to hotels, I literally sleep there.
Seeing the quirky Dancing House
The Hotel Colosseum was less than five minutes from the celebrated Dancing House or ‘Fred and Ginger’ and this was our first stop.
This deconstructivist style building features quirky architectural design and fascinates many in its place amongst a myriad of Baroque, Rococo and Renaissance buildings, to name a few architectural styles found within Prague.
Step back in time in the Old Town
We gave the Dancing House a quick glance and raced towards the UNESCO-listed Old Town – naturally.
Stepping into the Old Town in Prague is very charming, lined with ornate buildings, street food vendors, the grand Church of Our Lady before Týn and of course, the wonderful Astronomical Clock.
Embellished with cobbled streets, Gothic churches and an array of architectural styles, the whole city is very romantic. Our favourite start to each day was coffee together in the Old Town square each morning.
Czech out the local delicacies and try traditional trdelník
While in Prague, be sure to sample some Czech delicacies by indulging in some delicious street food.
Local delicacies include trdelník (a spiralised pastry with delicious fillings), as well as famed sausages and hams.
Watch the Astronomical Clock procession
What did we love most about the quaint Old Town and its buzzing square? It would have to be the famed Astronomical Clock.
Be sure to await the hourly procession for a truly lovely show, with rhythmic chimes and animated figures. We managed to miss it about eight times during our stay before finally seeing it!
Another cultural delight that mesmerised me was the exquisite Gothic Church of our Lady on Tyn. It is a grand building that dominates the Old Town skyline.
Its interior is almost as astounding as its exterior and it dates back to the 14th century.
Get lost for a moment in Letenské Sady Park
However, there is another church that dominates the Prague cityscape, and that is St. Vitus Cathedral, a beautiful church within the mighty walls of the Prague Castle compound.
Uphill, we made our way through the lush Letenské Sady Park to the castle. There is so much green space in Prague, it is truly fabulous.
Once you have made your way to the top of Letenské Sady, ensure to stop a moment and appreciate the wonderful view of the city beneath you. It is so picturesque, a sea of pastel houses, terracotta roofs, and trams.
Prague is separated by the delicate and winding Vltava river and within the park, you get to see a magical birdseye view of it.
For me, St. Vitus Cathedral is the focal point of the area. Its dark exterior boldly contrasts against the smooth and light pastel walls surrounding it.
Similar to the other churches in Prague, the interior is sublime, truly beautiful for any fan of churches.
Take a stroll down the colourful Golden Lane
After a rather disappointing venture into the castle’s interior, we had a bite to eat and wandered down towards Golden Lane, a collection of former and rather cosmopolitan-looking homes of seamstresses, moviemakers, and herbalists that used to live within the castle grounds.
Walk with saints at Charles Bridge
Afterward, we went to Charles Bridge. Strolling along the winding Vltava River it is almost impossible to miss the entrance to the grand Charles Bridge. It becomes an even more impressive affair as you cross it, adorned with religious statues along its ancient stone walls.
Step into a fairytale in Malá Strana
Charles Bridge connects the Old Town with the pastel-coloured streets of the historic district of Malá Strana. It is like crossing into a fairytale, with many a ‘wow’ moment.
Take a snap at the John Lennon Wall
The backstreets of Malá Strana are amazing to wander. You will discover an array of food vendors, cosy riverside views and sweet lock bridges in abundance.
An interesting stop in the area, is the John Lennon Wall. A graffiti shine to the late Beatles singer and songwriter which is adorned with some peculiar quotes and imagery.
Discover the castle ruins at Petřín Hill
We took the steep climb from Malá Strana, past the exquisite Baroque St. Nicholas Church, up to Petřín Hill to explore some more. Here we discovered more incredible views alongside the old castle ruins.
It really is nice to just step away from the city for a moment to stop and see it all. We decided against Petřín Tower, already having gained some incredible views from walking through the parks alone.
Sip unique cocktails at AnonymouS Bar
After all the walking and with a recommendation from a friend, we decided to celebrate one evening with a few quirky cocktails at AnonymouS Bar.
Tucked away near Old Town Square, this quirky bar sells some strong cocktails and does so in an animated and exciting fashion. Trust me on this one, try it out and try to get a glimpse of the secret menu.
How did we find our long weekend in Prague?
Prague is a truly romantic city brimming with things to see and do. If you’re looking for a European city break with some flair, opt for a long weekend in Prague!
After our whirlwind weekend, we managed to walk about 30 miles (public transport really isn’t too necessary), see all of the attractions we desired, and had a truly amazing time.
I would recommend Prague to anyone and would be more than happy to give some advice if needed!
Have you been to Prague? Where is the next European destination on your travel list?
As a kid, everyone wants a pet. Be it a hamster, cat, dog or reluctantly accepting the utterly shoddy compromise of a goldfish (we have all been there).
Growing up, I managed the hamster, I convinced my mother with the cats (shout out to Jachibo, Princess and Rogue) and I even got the goldfish (goodbye to my sickly fairground win).
Looking after a Pug puppy
My years of begging did not work when it came to a dog though. Oh, and I begged relentlessly. However, only when I secured full freedom, as a fully-fledged adult and graduate, did I get my little pug puppy.
Rudy (known frequently as little bork – he borks, not barks) came bouncing into my life with a bump. Make that numerous bumps, he is a floppy little thing for something so sturdy looking.
As he has settled these last few months I have convinced myself that he is half whippet (or half something). Pugs are hyper, whatever may be said about the breed being lazy, I object wholly. My little munchkin has boundless energy and he needs long walks each day.
Pugs require a lot of time, love and affection. For all intents and purposes, they are lap dogs, and very needy of those closest to them. As I type, Rudy is leaping all over me with his toys and will continue to do so for the rest of the evening. It’s kind of like having a toddler.
Temperment of a Pug puppy
On that note, be aware. They can be stroppy and manipulative little things, proving to be rather smart indeed. They will try and catch you out if you give them the slightest opportunity and you will give them it often, no doubt about it.
True manipulation is seen whenever food is in the vicinity. Pugs need good quality food. The main reason for this? Other than the fact that you love them unconditionally? Well, it is certainly not pretty or pleasant fact, but, they fart. A lot. It isn’t nice, but it is the truth.
Therefore, good food is a must, it maintains their weight, keeps them healthy and ensures the result of their bowel movements remain ‘consistent’ and a little nicer to deal with. You will thank me for the heads up.
Be wary that pugs are also greedy. This little fella has ravenously gobbled through my cats food more than once now (much to the distress of my boyfriend, I find it all pretty hilarious). Rudy has a special affinity towards eating moss too. Maybe it is the pug version of kale, perhaps he is simply trying to remain trim.
Aside from the minor annoyances (like eating through our PS4 and laptop wires), pugs are quite possibly the best breed of dog in existence and head tilts will forever remain the cutest thing ever.
If you dream of having your own snorting, snoring and snuggly friend, then remain cautious that they are a lot of effort. You get out exactly what you put in when you choose to love something right. Check out further pug care information and guidance.
What is your pet like? Have you ever considered getting a pug?
I recently got asked by Age UK, what would my suitcase essentials be if I were to go on holiday.
As I am off to Australia for Christmas, this question could not have come at a better time, and it got me thinking (and far more excited) about what I will need to be taking.
Obviously, it is dependent on the holiday, are you going on a weekend city break? A week or two away somewhere sunny? Or are you venturing away for longer?
You have to think about the climate, what season is it going to be? Are you going to be sweltering or freezing?
These are my suitcase essentials for travelling:
So, what do I need to take on holiday with me?
All travel documentation
First of all, remember your passport and ensure that it is valid for the duration of your trip! You will also need all travel and health insurance documentation, personal identification and visas. If travelling in Europe, be sure to bring along your European Health Insurance Card.
If you have a student card, it can come in handy for discounts for tourist attractions.
Also be sure to have a copy of all relevant emergency numbers. Have a copy of contact details for your bank, travel insurance provider and emergency contacts at home.
Travel money (home and destination currency)
Another thing to remember is to have travel money for your destination country and money for when you return home.
Remember to take along your debit and/or credit cards in case of emergencies and a secure wallet to keep everything in.
Holiday clothing and accessories
Remember to bring clothing and accessories for the climate you are traveling to.
Most noteworthy, remember underwear, tights, sleepwear, swimwear and accessories. Don’t forget bags, belts, jewellery and watches but be careful with heavier items such as shoes.
If you are doing sports outdoors, remember specialist sporting clothing.
Above all, remember to bring some outerwear just in case it gets chilling in the evenings.
Whether it is hot or cold, sun protection is key. Be sure to pack sunscreen, after sun, sunglasses and insect repellent.
Beauty and hair care essentials
There is nothing worse than forgetting your beauty and hair care essentials on holiday. Make space for your makeup, wet wipes, nail varnish and a nail file.
You do not want to forget your hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, hairbands, shaving gel and razors. Optional extras include straighteners, curling tongs and tweezers.
Personal care essentials
Even more important are your personal care essentials. Toiletries such as shower gel, body lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash). Remember, these things can be carried in hand luggage if 100ml.
You’ll want to make space for antiperspirant, perfume, female hygiene and sanitary products and any relevant prescription medication (painkillers are a must). Towels are often provided but you may want a beach towel.
Your camera, mobile and laptop
Most importantly, be sure to bring along your camera, mobile and laptop. This is to record all of your holiday memories and adventures online. You may want to contact family back home if on longer ventures and update your blog.
Make sure that your phone has the relevant data plan to ensure that you aren’t charged too much while abroad. You may also want to bring along some headphones.
Note, that you will need to remember to bring all chargers and the relevant travel adapters. Batteries can come in handy too.
A notebook and pen
Bring along a notebook and pen as you never know when you may become inspired. Be sure to pack all relevant stationary too.
Before you head off, double check uour luggage allowance. Some baggage restrictions are very specific. Also, be sure to keep space for all the goodies you bring home with you!
Be sure to keep your valuables in your hand luggage. Although it rarely happens, suitcases can go missing or get damaged in transit.
What do you always pack? Are you off anywhere nice this summer?
Everyone has something they must do as daily as part of their beauty routine, or they simply do not feel right.
For me, it is my eyebrows. Some may find that strange, but I just feel shoddy without them coloured in.
This is why I have been very excited to try out the Benefit Cosmetics, Gimme Brow* brow-volumising fibre gel.
I have been a ‘Benefit girl’ for many years now, so I had a lot of faith that this would be another one of their wonder products, especially in light of its 2013 Allure best of beauty award.
Being a (somewhat ginger, I blame the Irish in me) brunette I opted for the medium/deep shade, there is also a light/medium alternative.
Benefit claims an, “innovative brush-on fiber gel that adheres to skin & hairs, creating brows where before there were none. It builds easily for thick, lush arches, thanks to a tapered brush for blending & precision tip for shaping.”
I have to say, I was very impressed with Gimme Brow. I usually swear by my Beautiful Brows Kit and I was concerned about it running out, but Gimme Brow is totally on the same level.
If anything, it is nicer to have it in a gel format as opposed to powder when it comes to application.
Gimme Brow is super easy to use, you can layer the shade on subtly, or add pressure to your strokes to take full advantage of the shade (as I do, dark and intimidating eyebrows seem to be a thing with me).
I applied as recommended, in short pressing motions, combing across the length of my brow and using the tip of the brush to define shape.
For a more natural look, it is advised you “start at the inner edge of your brow and move outward. Repeat to add more volume.”
What I like about Gimme Brow, is that it lasts throughout the day and as promised, was water resistant, natural-looking and buildable. The latter quality being the most appealing, as it is suitable for all intended looks.
Currently Benefit are hosting their Bold is Beautiful campaign, raising money via their brow waxes for women’s charities Look Good Feel Better and Refuge.
100 per cent of the money raised will go to charity and you’ll also receive a full-sized Gimme Brow of your own! If that isn’t an incentive, I don’t know what is!
The campaign only has a day remaining so be sure to get your eyebrows waxed to perfection and donate to an amazing cause!
What do you think of the new Benefit Gimme Brow? What item of makeup can you not leave the house without?
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