first birthday.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

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Today, is Parisian Orchid's first birthday! *party popper* A year today, I wrote my first blog post introducing the legacy title of 'A Thoughtful Sunday Blog'. If you've stuck with me this long, thank you so much and if you're a new reader/follower, I hope you're enjoying my blogging journey.

What started off as a little post postgraduate degree project has grown into something that I've loved doing. Sharing a little part of my life with the internet and getting to chat with like minded bloggers and readers like you make me happy. I want to continue to write, inspire and be creative with my blog and I know that if it wasn't for people like you reading my blog, I would have given up after the 10th post!

So help me celebrate by baking some cake or going to buy your favourite delicious treat and let's all have a little tea party! Thanks for reading and thanks for sticking by me for so long!

Oh boy. One year. Where has the time gone?


Vanessa

x

thirty ways to save one pound

Thursday, 18 April 2013

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Money Supermarket come up with the most amazing and imaginative challenges out there. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the £1 coin, bloggers up and down the country and given the challenge to come up with 30 money saving tips. 

Living like a student has fined tuned my mind to try and find bargains, even now as I'm in full time employment, I can't resist a little bargain now and then. Here are my 30 money saving tips. Pop the kettle on because this may be a long one!

Fashion
1. I analyse clothing items with the amount of wear I'll get out of it. Spending a little more money on a quality garment will save you money in the long run than having to regularly buy the same item at a lower cost. 
2. I shop using the three day rule. If I see something I like in the shops, I leave it for three days and if I still want it/need it after the thinking period, I will go and buy it. This prevents impulse buying and instant regret when you find it unworn in the back of the wardrobe after 2 months!
3. STUDENT DISCOUNT. I miss being a student because of the amazing discounts that come along with it. Don't be scared to flash the student card at the till and ask. They may secretly do it and it'll save you some pennies in the long run.
4. If you're patient enough, wait for the sales. Usually something you want at full price will be discounted at the end of the season at a snip of the price. 
5. Charity shops are a great way to get clothing items inexpensively. Plus, the charity will benefit from your kind donation and sometimes you can find some brilliant pieces.

Lifestyle
6. It may be worth it sometimes to get a cinema subscription card if you're a cinema bunny like me. With the cost of a month subscription, you just have to go to the cinema around 2 times to make up the cost. One month, I went 8 times making 6 of those trips free!
7. Sign up for restaurant newsletters to get discounts on food. Places like Prezzo and Pizza Express do amazing weekday deals on their food. Register a separate email address for these if you don't want to be inundated with these offers in your personal one.
8. Listen, do you really need that gym membership? You plan on going around once a week but you never make it. Assess what you actually use or maybe the gym can get you a cheaper deal for using less facilities. Let's hope they don't pull a 'Friends' moment on you and bring out a beautiful man/woman to entice you to stay!
9. Shop around. Don't always buy the first item you see that you want. You can often buy it cheaper in a different store or online if you don't mind waiting for postage.
10. Shop loyalty cards. Places like Boots, Superdrug and Waterstones do loyalty cards if you shop there often. Saving points means money off items on a different purchase or free things. I've managed to get a Chanel foundation with £33 worth of Boots points and lots of books for free after 5 years of legal education at Waterstones!

Beauty
11. Research, research, research. Read blogs and reviews and find out if that beauty product would work for you or worth the hype. I can't tell you the number of times I came home disappointed with something because I didn't do enough research.
12. Don't be fooled by those 3 for 2 deals. I'm a regular sucker for these deals. I didn't really need the extra lipstick or eyeliner when I only needed a mascara. Sometimes buying just the one item will save you money.
13. Look out for blog sales. You can sometimes get amazing deals on makeup that is no longer loved by another and needs a good home. Look on Twitter for any going around or Google it.
14. If you're a MAC lover, save those containers and if you save up 6 empty product containers and take it back to MAC, you get a free lipstick! Check the website or your local counter to find out more about it. 
15. Cheapsmells, Fragrance direct or feelunique do amazing deals on beauty and fragrance so it's always worth checking out.

Personal
16. Set up a savings account. If you get a regular income, try and put a little of it into a savings account and watch it grow. I'm lucky enough to still be living at home so I tend to put about more than half of my monthly income into a savings account (excluding any essential payments like MOT or car insurance). Even a little bit a month will soon add up.
17. Budget. I'm a geek with too much spare time so I make a spreadsheet up each month monitoring my month spends on essentials and what money I have left to play around with.
18. Get an empty jar and empty out your purse at the end of the week. Pop those shiny pennies into the jar and keep the £1 or 50p coins in your purse. Once full, take it to one of those Coinstar machines in the supermarket and get it back in useful cash. Yes, they take a little commission for it but once I did it and I had about £25 in pennies and coins.
19. I used to do payday treats where I buy something after each payday but after a while the novelty wore off and I preferred to save the money and put it to something else. Like, do you really need another NARS blush or YSL lipstick when you have a pretty nice collection at home?
20. Review bank accounts regularly. After each tax year, get your ISA or savings account reviewed to see if you can get a better interest rate the next year. If you're not planning on using the money, sometimes fixed rate accounts give you fantastic savings.

Food
21. Never shop whilst you're hungry! One of the worst things I did was shop whilst I was hungry and I came home with more food than I intended to buy. At least have a small snack before you leave so you're not tempted by those cream cakes in the bakery section.
22. Plan your meals. My work colleagues think my family is crazy because we plan our meals. Usually means there is not much food wastage that needs to be thrown away at the end of the week.
23. Sometimes supermarket deals lure you in with a false sense of security. For perishable goods, I never buy into the deals. I don't know about you but I will never be able to eat 16 yoghurts before the expiration date just because it was a great deal. I'll just buy the 8 thanks.
24. If you food shop online, rotate your weekly/fortnightly deliveries with different supermarkets. Some supermarkets send you discount vouchers to get you to go back to using them after a while. Hello, £5 voucher anyone?
25. Supermarket branded foods is sometimes better than the branded items at a cheaper price. I like using supermarket brand butter for my cakes rather than the branded stuff. Makes no difference taste wise and it's cheaper.

Miscellaneous
26. Never online shop without doing a quick Google search for a discount code.
27. If you're a music lover like me, join Spotify for free music streaming. I don't mind the adverts as much and you can search on a plethora of artists.
28. Planning a holiday? Go on comparison site to compare on flights and hotels to save heaps of money!
29. Don't take a bank card with you on nights out. We can all get a little card happy after a few drinks. Therefore, carry cash and keep an emergency amount in the pocket of your bag for a taxi home.
30. Always think: Do I need it? Where can I put it? Will I use it?

If you made it to the end of this post, I think you deserve a medal! If you're a blogger, you can certainly do this challenge! Head over here to read all about it. If you do this challenge, leave me a link in the comments! I love reading these types of posts!


Vanessa

x

service announcement.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

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One of the items on my bucket list of life was to learn how to snowboard. I didn't have the courage to do it until I accompanied my brother to my first ever lesson on Monday as I had bought my brother lessons as a birthday present.

I must admit, this week has been the worst week in terms of my luck. I had trapped my finger in a clothes horse, my visa application to go travelling had been refused and they say bad things come in threes. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I have broken my wrist. Snowboarding. And I was doing so well as well.

I thought it was badly sprained so I went up to A&E after it happened but had to come back the next day to visit the clinic. I ended up going to work my nightshift, despite being in so much pain. I returned to A&E the next day and had it x-rayed. Turned out it was broken. Cue me feeling like rubbish having driven to work and having not showered before getting my cast on. For the next 6 weeks, I'll have a cast on and it's not even the kind where people can sign it and make jokes about it either. I can still move my fingers really well with no pain but my thumb is out of action. Therefore, blog posts will be very thin as I'll be unable to take pictures but I'll try my best to get some things up!

I laughed at the time, now I just feel foolish and embarrassed. It was just a sign of bad things to come so now I have 6 weeks to re-evaluate my life! Will I ever go snowboarding again? Possibly not but I really don't want this to put me off so never say never. For now.

Have you ever broken a bone before? How did you do it?


Vanessa

x

recipe: healthy(ish) banana oat muffins

Sunday, 14 April 2013



I've been focusing a lot more on healthy eating and exercising the last week or so and I'm really noticing a difference in my energy levels. One of my big vices is snacking. At home, I'm always rummaging through the cupboards for a snack so I cut down on all my snacking but I still get the odd pang for an afternoon treat every now and then. I went looking on the internet for a heathy banana muffin recipe but none really caught my eye. So I invented my own. Like you do.

Ingredients
100g caster sugar
100g butter
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
50g rolled oats
1 ripe banana
1tbsp golden syrup - optional
handful (or two) of seedless raisins - optional
25g roughly chopped dark chocolate - optional

Method
1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Alternatively add the eggs with the flour and beat well after each addition.
3. Add the vanilla extract.
4. Mash the banana in a bowl with a fork and add to the cake mixture along with the rolled oats.
5. Add your optional ingredients. You can add seeds, more rolled oats, apricots...etc.
6. Divide the mixture into 12 paper cases and bake in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
7. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

As with about 99% of my recipes, always best enjoyed with a hot beverage. Now, these aren't exactly 100% healthy so I wouldn't recommend eating all of them in one sitting (however much you try to resist!). They fill that little afternoon snack hole in my belly and I feel satisfied that I haven't strayed from my healthy eating.

I hope you like the recipe and let me know if you end up making it!

What are your favourite healthy snacks?


Bon app├ętit 

Vanessa

x

spring outfit ft. paul & joe sister

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Dress | Headband | Bag | Shoes

The weather was looking so hopeful where we were having 2 days in a row of sunshine! Albeit, a bit chilly but still, sunshine nonetheless. I thought that I'd put together a little Spring outfit to get us in that mood.

1. Paul and Joe Sister Dress: Isn't this a beaut? It screams Spring to me and I've always been a lover of all things floral. I didn't know Paul & Joe did clothing (have I been living under a rock?) because I know they are well known for their makeup line but this is just so pretty.

2. Crown & Glory Headband: I probably spend more time than is considered normal on this website. Everything is stunning and so beautiful. I need to place an order soon! This headband would look so lovely with the dress. Some may think floral overload but I think it's sweet.

3. YesWalker Crossbody Bag: You can never go wrong with a simple black crossbody bag. Keeps your hands free for holding that camera, ice cream or that special someone's hand. 

4. Mint Green Converse: I've been a bit fascinated with the colour mint green lately. I was reading someone's blog post (can't remember who, sorry!) and I heard that Converse were bring out some new colours. Mint green!! I basically live in my Converse and Vans because I love comfort more than anything. When I think Spring, I think of spending my days at the park, picnics or having adventures which means, lots of walking! Converse have never let me down and I know they won't for you either!

What do you look forward to when Spring comes around?

Vanessa

x

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post. I just love sharing things that I find on the internet with you all!

primark bargain

Tuesday, 9 April 2013



I like popping into Primark and having a little peruse within the store (preferably on a weekday morning!) whether or not I buy anything, it's sometimes nice to see what they have. I surprisingly tried on 5 items but I didn't really like any of them so whilst wandering through the clearance section, I spotted this beauty.

I've always wanted an oversized blazer style jacket. I even considered the Topshop one but it just didn't sit right on my shoulders, plus £70 is a lot of money! This however was £7 reduced from £16. Oh yeah. I love me a bargain I do! The material is different shades of blue and it's a great slouchy fit that will (hopefully) go with a lot of things! Especially with the weather getting a little more warmer, it'll be a staple piece in my wardrobe.

Admittedly, it looks a little old school and my Mother commented on it being 'Granny-ish style' T_T but I can't stop looking at it's prettiness. I'm a happy chappy. £7 well spent!

Do you like spotting a good bargain in Primark or anywhere else for that matter? :)


Vanessa

x

family tree

Sunday, 7 April 2013

It's not often that I get to go out with the family and do nice things. Because I work shifts, I have to work the odd weekends and really unsocial hours but today (Sunday), we decided to make a day of it. Here are some highlights of the day.

We fired up my brother's Mini and started the day off at Harvester for my YOLO meal of the week. Love me a free salad bar as well! Last minute, we headed into the city where an International Market was being held. It comes every so often and it's been going on for years but recently it's all been food and not much of the traditional market stalls that I used to love. Came so close to buying a new pashmina and some delicious hot chocolate but I held back!

We then went to a garden centre called Dobbies. Long story short, my friend took me here a few days ago and I fell in love with it. It has so many things to buy and see and the restaurant is amazing! I toyed with the idea of buying an orchid (seeing as my blog is Parisian Orchid) or a wee cactus but I wasn't sure how I was going to take care of either so I thought I'd do a bit more research before committing. Orchid or cactus?

I treated the family to a little afternoon tea. My brother had a Croque Norwegian (toastie with ham, cheese and dijon mustard topped with white wine sauce, cheese and smoked salmon), it was definitely another meal in itself! A carrot cake was also ordered but I just sipped on a little mint chocolate milkshake, which I couldn't finish :(







We then went to the beach. I love Aberdeen beach. I live by the coast as well so I have a stunning view of the sea front when I go for my run. We walked along the prom and then played a little bit inside the arcades. We won about 520 tickets so we exchanged them for some of those tacky prizes. I really wanted some 1D push up pencils but I got some crayons for my 'Art April' and my brother got a Family Guy glass. We used the rest of the tickets to get sweeties and we got FIZZ WIZ! Old school popping candy...oh yeh!

Had such an amazing but tiring day. It's times like these I appreciate the days I get to spend with my family.

Cheesy but true.


Vanessa

x

recent Boots haul

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


I mentioned on Twitter (@ParisianOrchid) that I went into Boots to buy a heat protectant spray because I had finished the one I was using. I left the store about 30 minutes later clutching about 6 other products that I didn't need. Why do you have 3 for 2 offers on Boots?! Making the best of a bad situation, here is a mini haul!

Real Techniques Core Collection £21.99: I've had this on my mind since they had been released and I basically use my RT Stippling Brush about 99% of the time I wear makeup so  I got this kit as an investment. And the handy carry case with come in useful when I go travelling.

Lee Stafford Hair Treatment £7.99: I've used this treatment before and I loved it. I'm trying to grow my hair out again so this will come in handy.

Soap & Glory Supercat Black Eyeliner Pen £6.00: With my wonky asian eyelids, eyeliner just does not look nice on me but I decided to give it ONE LAST GO before I retire all liquid eyeliners to the bin and admit defeat. I've heard good things about this so I'm looking forward to testing the waters on this one.

John Frieda Full Repair Styling Spray £5.99: I've not actually heard a lot about this but I like the sound of it. 

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle £4.99: Pretty much went crazy on the haircare products. Again, heard good things about this!

17 Blush Powder in 'First Flush' £3.49: I'm very much over using my NARS Penny Lane blush so I thought I'd pick up an inexpensive blush for the Spring season. First Flush is quite bright in the pan so hopefully it won't be too bright once I apply it onto my cheeks.

Jergens Hand Cream £1.49: This was a justifiable purchase, my Garnier one has ran out so this was an essential purchase. I've never used anything by Jergens before so looking forward to trying it out.

All in all, I saved about £10.99 with the Boots 3 for 2 offer. Good news is is that I have about £22.00 on my Advantage Card now! Chanel, I'm almost there! Please no one let me go back there again anytime soon because I will buy the entire store. 

Have you been taking advantage of any of the Boots offers lately?

Vanessa

x

my shopping experience: space.nk

Monday, 1 April 2013

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I really enjoyed writing my previous shopping experience post a few months back and I think it was quite popular with you lovely readers so I thought I would revive it and possibly make it a regular thing.

Today, my shopping experience is with Space.NK. We don't have a Space.NK. in Aberdeen so I always like to peruse the store when I'm in Glasgow. The Glasgow store is situated in Princes Square Shopping Centre just off Buchanan Street and it's on the second floor. Last time I went a few months ago, I had no money so it was just to do a little window shopping but with this trip, I had gotten paid so I would have liked to treat myself to a little something something.

I walked up the 'Titanic inspired' staircase and got a rush of excitement as I spotted the front door. But that soon went away. Before I even walked through the front door, there were two sales assistants standing behind a display just looking at me. Actually the right word would be GLARING! I had to double check that I didn't have anything on my face or that I hadn't grown a second nose during my journey. 

I headed straight for the Diptyque candles and went on a smelling mission but I still got the feeling that someone was watching me so I stopped and looked at some other things. The store itself is very well laid out, bright and tidy so there is definitely no complaints there. I wandered around a little more but I just felt more and more uncomfortable. I just had to leave. Not sure why but I felt like I was being judged before I even stepped through the threshold and there was not really anyone around to assist with my query (this happened last time as well when I was wanted to get colour matched with a Laura Mercier foundation).

Had it not been the fact that I got such a frosty reception, I probably would have parted with some of my cash in exchange for a lovely product but I'm afraid you've lost a customer in me, Space.NK. Sorry. 

Vanessa

x