Learning the art of Flower Arranging at Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

On the weekend, my mum and I were invited down to Marks and Spencer in Milton Keynes, to take part in a one-to-one flower arranging session at their newly revamped flower section, aptly named “The Flower Shop”.

Marks and Spencer is most definitely one of my favourite high street stores. I adore their cruelty free beauty and toiletries collections, and I spend a small fortune in there when it comes to Christmas presents each year. Of course their fashion is lovely too. If you spot me out and about in my pink coat, it was a Marks and Spencer Christmas Eve online sale bargain that I grabbed at 50% off!

When we arrived at the Milton Keynes store, we were greeted by a lovely lady called Emily, who is one of the flower arranging experts in store and she taught us all about how to arrange flowers and create a beautiful bouquet.

Mum and I were allowed to each pick our favourite bunch of flowers from their selection in store, then Emily took the bunches apart to show us how to put them together again.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Each and every stem was laid out on the table. The next step is to take the lower leaves off the stems to leave you with a fresh flower, and make it easier to piece the bouquets together.

Emily showed us how they initially take one main flower to use as the focal point of the bouquet. The other flowers are then added in a spiral around this main flower, and it continues until you have completed your bouquet.

Once you’re holding your completed bouquet, it’s a good idea to pull up a few pieces to add a variety of heights in your bunch.

When you’re ready to tie your flowers together, you can take an elastic band, place it around one of the thicker stems, pull it up towards where your hands are holding the flowers, then wrap the entire elastic band around the stems about twice, and then fix it into place by wrapping the other end of the elastic band around another stem. (Not sure if that made sense, I’m sure you could YouTube that technique if you’d like to give it a whirl!)

Mum and I each had a go at putting together our own bunches. It’s certainly trickier than you think. I found myself concentrating hard on what colours and shapes to put together, whilst trying to hold it all together when adding the new pieces in. Here’s a snap of our bouquets, mine on the left and mum’s on the right.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

When you have your flowers nicely secured, it’s time to trim those stems. Usually when I receive flowers, I end up sitting on my kitchen floor with my scissors struggling like mad to cut the stems. Emily had these super easy-to-use secateurs which made cutting the stems a breeze. So I’ve definitely added a pair of those to my wish list!

Top tip: Emily told us that it’s best to cut the stems on a slant, to help prolong the flowers’ life.

Once everything is tied together and looking beautiful, it’s time to wrap that bouquet. Emily cleverly folded the tissue paper and cellophane around the flowers and created a little “bubble” by the bottom of the stems. This bubble is able to hold a little bit of water. So once tied, wrapped, secured and placed into the box shaped bag, Emily made a little hole between the flowers and carefully poured a little water into the bouquet to ensure they are carried away with their water-filled bubble – how clever!

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Every bouquet also goes away with feed to ensure your flowers stay looking their best.

The Flower Shop within Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes is filled to the brim with the most gorgeous blooms. You can choose from a vast array of flowers, plants and gifts. From teeny tiny little pots, to taller bigger plants. Whatever the occasion, they have something for it I’m sure. I just love receiving flowers and plants for birthdays.

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

Flowers Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

The very generous team at Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes also gifted us some rather delectable sweet treats to enjoy too. The packaging on these is absolutely stunning! (See piccy below). So bright and beautiful. I love it.

On Mother’s Day we tried each of these (with Dad’s help too!) and they are all delightful. The Handmade Nougat is the softest, tastiest and quite frankly the best nougat I’ve ever had. The nougat flavours include pistachio, hazelnut & sour cherry, raspberry & almond.

The Rose & Violet Creams are lovely, the rose ones taste a bit like Turkish delight, and the violet flavour is like a subtle Parma Violets taste (I love Parma Violets) – so if you love those flavours, you’ll love these. They’re a really yummy and quite uniquely flavoured treat to enjoy.

The Peach Bellini Truffles are quite chocolately but definitely have a peachy taste to them, very creamy too. A real indulgent treat. A perfect accompaniment to a glass of fizz – mum’s choice of fizz for Mother’s Day was Asti.

We loved the Sea Salt Caramels, they had a nice smooth filling and a good balance of the caramel and sea salt flavours. The chocolate outer was a decent amount of chocolate too, no thin chocolate layers here!

Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles…as with everything else, these too were an absolute delight. They’re dusted with a lovely coating of freeze dried strawberries. Inside is a whole load of truffly goodness. It’s an indulgent chocolate but not too heavy compared to some. I’d happy receive a box of these as a gift.

Sweets from Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning! If you’re after a blooming lovely treat for yourself or a loved one, I really recommend popping by The Flower Shop within Marks and Spencer Milton Keynes. I think you’ll be really impressed with how the area has been revitalised.

As mentioned, they really do have a huge selection from smaller blooms to bigger plants, so I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you need. If not, the Flower Shop team can order online for you right there in store. Perfect.

Plan your visit to the Milton Keynes Marks and Spencer store online here: www.marksandspencer.com

*Thank you again to the lovely Marks and Spencer team for inviting both myself and my mum down to this one-to-one flower arranging session, we had such a wonderful time and picked up some brilliant tips.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog


Celebrate Mum with Prestige Flowers this Mother’s Day

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

The beauty of the unexpected. I’ve never sent any surprises through the post to my mum, or anyone actually, so when Prestige Flowers offered me the chance to send my mum a beautiful bouquet to celebrate Mother’s Day, I jumped at the opportunity. My mum loves flowers and tending to her garden, so I just knew she would love this.

The flowers arrived at my parents’ home whilst I was at work today. As soon as they arrived my mum rang me to say she thought she’d email me to say thank you, but decided to call me at work instead to thank me personally for the flowers. She was absolutely thrilled to receive them.

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers Combo teddy and chocolates

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers Combo teddy and chocolates

The beautiful flowers arrived with a gorgeous little teddy bear and a very welcome box of chocolates to enjoy. Doesn’t it all look so lovely?

Don’t worry, you still have time to order for Mother’s Day from Prestige Flowers! Their fantastic delivery service means you have the option for Next Day delivery if you order by 9pm the day before. Or you can choose Saturday or Sunday delivery options too. They even have a selection of flowers that are available for same day deliveries if you order by 3pm.

Phew. Mother’s Day saved.

I genuinely feel that flowers are such a wonderful gift to give. I love a bouquet filled with different colours and shades, different styles of flower, you can truly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness in every flower. There’s nothing better than seeing a fresh bouquet sitting pretty in your home, whether it’s adorning a table or a fireplace, they really brighten and refresh the home so easily and elegantly.

Prestige Flowers Mother's Day Flowers

The great Mother’s Day Combo bundles allow you to get everything you need from Prestige Flowers. A cute teddy bear, chocolates or even a bottle of bubbly can be ordered with the flowers. They each come with a vase too, so there’s no need to worry about how they will be displayed in the home.

The bouquets are arranged by highly skilled British florists, so you will be guaranteed to receive gorgeously arranged flowers. They’re also running a competition at the moment – every Mother’s Day order will be entered into a competition to win flowers for a year. Imagine!

If you fancy something a little different to a bouquet of flowers, they also have a lovely selection of Mother’s Day plants and gifts as an alternative. A little something for everyone is on their website.

Besides Mother’s Day, Prestige Flowers provide flowers for all occasions, silk flowers for ever-lasting floral beauty in your home, Haute Florist for that touch of luxury and a huge collection of hampers.

It would be lovely if we all had enough time in our busy lives to head to a local florist and piece together a bouquet in front of our very eyes, but sadly that just isn’t the case in these busy days. So it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to order flowers online and know they’ll arrive quickly, safely and beautifully to your recipient. Prestige Flowers also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee for your peace of mind, which is great to know if you’re like me and always want to make sure you’re giving the best quality of gift.

I just want to thank Prestige Flowers again for gifting these to me, well, to my mum! We were so impressed with everything and wouldn’t hesitate to order from them in the future.

So if you’re in a rush and need a beautiful gift, and quick, for your mum (or any other special lady in your life!) for Mother’s Day or any other upcoming occasion, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with a bouquet from Prestige Flowers.

Discover the Mother’s Day collection at https://www.prestigeflowers.co.uk/mothers-day-flowers

*The bouquet, teddy and chocolates were gifted to us from Prestige Flowers, but of course as always, the thoughts and writing regarding the items are most definitely mine.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

New Year Home Makeover

WoodWick Wax Burner

Isn’t it funny how our tastes can change in just a matter of years? When I first bought my home I had plans to make it look really cool, fun and funky. And now after years of realising how much “stuff” I own and surround myself with, I’m striving for a calm and clutter free space, and I much prefer the look of a minimal paired back style.

These days I’m much more drawn to interior inspiration that uses natural shades, whites and wooden surfaces. Every day I lust after the homes of interior queen Charlotte Valentine from The Home That Made Me and Lauren from Hunters & Heels, who has the most beautiful country cottage.

Today I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite interior possessions and show you a few that I’m lusting after right now to give my home a much needed new year home makeover! I have a mix of affordable brands and some a little more higher end. After all, there are some amazing bargains to be had out there.

My current favourite possessions…

Grey Ikea Lantern

My IKEA lanterns. I got these as a gift from Ian and they were exactly what I was after, the matte metal isn’t too “look at me” it’s simple, stylish and looks so elegant with these white pillar candles. I have two of these, each sitting to the side of the main window in the living room. They look great! I can’t find these exact ones on their website, but if you love the look of them, they are also available in white – *click here to see them*.

Decluttering the home

I love a little taste of country-esque styling in homes, I really feel it creates a warm homely look. This cream jug from Tesco was an absolute steal, I think it was about £6 when I bought it and it was exactly what I had been looking for for quite a while. It looks lovely sitting on my wooden and cream dining table (not the table pictured). It just shows you don’t always have to shop in expensive stores to find perfect pieces.

Last year I was lucky enough to review some gorgeous WoodWick candles and a beautiful electric melt burner lamp, which looks fab at night – you can see it in the top image of this post. I’m still so in love with this lamp and I will keep it forever! (You can read the blog post about WoodWick *here*). Just pick your favourite scents to burn on the top, switch it on and enjoy all of its beauty. WoodWick have a vast array of styles and designs to choose from, so if this one isn’t your cup of tea you’re bound to find one that is.

Heart of House Stag Cushion

My Heart of House (by Argos) stag cushion. I ended up with this cute little addition after I spotted it in a sale last year. I think it cost me about £6-£8, so it was a real bargain and I’m super pleased with it. It’s a lovely quality and I love the watercolour style. Again, it just goes to show sometimes you don’t have to spend a fortune to fill your home with lovely little items. Save your pennies for the bigger more well-built items such as furniture!

What I’m lusting after…

Now it’s time to talk *wants* from little goodies to bigger investments, here’s what’s on my wish list right now.

I love *these Laura Ashley baskets* that I spotted in their sale. We’re definitely on the hunt for more storage at the moment, both in the form of some kind of sideboard in the living room and at least some kind of trunk style baskets (or something similar) for the master bedroom. I love these trunk style baskets from Laura Ashley, they’re a decent size and are £50 down from £100 in the sale right now. I love the colour and the wicker style, I think they’re really timeless and something you could keep for many years to come instead of just buying quick “it’ll do” storage items like plastic boxes.

French style arch mirror

Not that I have anywhere to put one right now, but I absolutely love arch window mirrors. They’re so different and a real statement piece. The photo above is from a beautiful place my parents and I stayed in when we visited Whitby last year, their mirror is gorgeous! Mirrors can be super expensive sometimes, but I’ve found *this lovely white one* at Dunelm if you’re on the hunt for one of these right now…

We’ve also been thinking about getting a stylish looking bin for our kitchen. So I’m totally lusting after *this simplehuman voice activated, yes, VOICE ACTIVATED bin!* I mean, can you get any fancier and hygienic? I was searching for a simple sensor bin and came across this little piece of not-so-rubbish (excuse the pun!) luxury and now I really want it. So if superhuman read this post and fancy sending me one for a review, I’m totally game! Haha :)

Another lovely little addition I’d love to add to our home at some point is a cake stand or two. I just think they’re such a lovely way of displaying both cakes and other lovely treats. I’m undecided whether I want a plain white or cream one, one with a beautiful print or something a little different like *this slate 2 tier serving stand at Lakeland*. I’d love to know what you guys have at home? I’d love for you to comment below with your recommendations if you have any. I need some inspiration!  A bigger cake or a lovely collection of cupcakes would look lovely taking pride of place in *this glass cake stand by M&S*. It’s simple, understated but still such a lovely luxury to add to the dining table, I definitely want one of these as well!

Thomas Sanderson bay window shutters(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

I’ve fallen in love with the shutters by Thomas Sanderson too! I’ve often wondered how you can add character to a newer built home, and I think these are just the ticket. When I buy a home I’d happily have some of these up on the windows, as I just think they’re such an easy yet stunning way to add character and really change the box-like look of more recently built homes. You can see all their shutters by *clicking here*. They do a really big range which is great, so if you have bay windows, curved windows or want to fit them in higher humidity rooms like your bathroom or kitchen, then they have it all. I really like the idea of fitting them to a bay window if I end up having one of those in my next home, you can see those ones *here* if you have one. The lovely Charlotte Valentine (as mentioned earlier) from THTMM has shutters in her home and I think they look stunning. Very chic.

The list of my wants could seriously go on forever! Lottery win is most definitely needed. I do hope this post has inspired you with a few ideas for your own home though. And I’d love to know what you’ve spotted in the stores right now, leave me a comment below with your amazing finds or things you’re lusting after so I can add them to my list too! :)

This post was sponsored by the wonderful people at Thomas Sanderson, who have the most beautiful shutters that I will now be lusting over until we buy our house! Haha. Of course all the thoughts and writing in this post is mine as always. Now I’m off to hunt down that storage we need…

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston// Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

How I’m decluttering my home for the new year + competition

Decluttering the home

Who doesn’t love a fresh new year? I most certainly do!

I simply love making plans and goals for the year (you can read about mine for 2018 *here*), and also donning a “out with the old” mindset.

If you’ve read my plans for the year, you’d have seen that Ian and I are looking into the idea of possibly buying our first home together. So with this thought in mind and in case it happens sooner rather than later, I’m making sure my home gets as decluttered and fresh looking as possible in case I put it on the market.

Decluttering certainly seems to be an ongoing battle in my home (it’s something I’ve mentioned I’m doing time and time again), but I’m determined to win the battle!

If, like me, you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the “stuff” in your home, here’s what I’ve been getting rid of and the processes I’m using in case it inspires you to do the same.

Top tip before you begin… Make it easy. Start with one room, one drawer, or one box to go through. Breaking down the process makes it so much easier.


I’m having a good think about what I have stashed in my spare room. Time and time again I’ve overlooked how long I have had some of the things in there. And I really mean *long*. This time I’m going to go through *everything* piece by piece to see if it deserves to stay.

Gone are the old suncreams that I bought years ago and kept “just in case” I need them, even though I have plenty of fresher bottles to use. Gone are the matching old aftersuns too. It’s probably safer using fresher ones anyways! Do you have anything lurking around like that? Maybe now is the time to just get rid.

Old toiletries have been put out on show in the bathroom to ensure I actually use them, and use them up first before starting on the newer ones. I will apply this method to all my toiletries and makeup too so they’re all in some kind of order.

I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking on giving myself some proper “me time” lately. So I’m trying to get back into a proper beauty routine and will subsequently make sure that I’m using up and enjoying the products I already have….before buying anything new that catches my eye!

That is another big tip. Try to challenge yourself not to buy anything new until you’ve used up what you have. Not only will your home look better, but your purse will thank you for it too.

Donating, regifting, selling… For anything brand new that you have and won’t end up using. (Queue those Christmas presents that aren’t your cup of tea!). Don’t feel ashamed to regift it to someone who you feel may love it. As long as you’re careful not to give it back to the person who bought it for you, I don’t see the problem in doing this at all. Otherwise, why not donate sealed items to a charity or try to sell it for a few extra £’s here and there.

Receipts and Bills

My receipts have all been shredded away! I even found a few stashed from 2015! So pull every drawer open, look in every box, there’s always something lurking around that can be thrown.

All those notes, receipts, old bills, etc. Grab a cuppa and go through them all, shredding whatever you don’t need to keep. It might seem like a huge task, but you’ll feel so good once it’s done and out for recycling.

…there’s something so therapeutic about using a shredder!

Marketing Materials

I’ve also been making a point of getting my address removed from brochures I receive through the post from companies. These days we can access most things we need digitally, and as lovely as it is to go through the brochures, realistically I don’t often get the time to sit and read through them.

The same goes with any leaflets I come across on my travels or ones that people try to hand to me, I try to say no more often now as it just ends up as more clutter!

Whilst you’re at it. Unsubscribe from email mailing lists you no longer need to be on too!


I have a 3 door wardrobe, two underbed drawers, and clothing rails in the second bedroom filled with clothes. It’s ridiculous. And seeing all these clothes everywhere is quite frankly doing my head in.

So to declutter my clothing, I’m going to get rid of anything I just don’t fit into, things I have not worn in the last few months or so, or things that maybe I have just worn once in a season and have plenty of other options to choose from that are similar, nicer, or that I wear more often!

I’m sure I only wear about 20% of my wardrobe!


I’m sure we all have random “stuff” lying around that we don’t need. I recently came across a whole load of mini notebooks that I definitely didn’t need, so I rang my parents to see if they had any use for them…and they did! They also took a few pens and pencils off my hands which was so helpful. So be earth friendly and ask friends or family if they have any use for what you’re getting rid of – I’ve often given away unneeded makeup or accessories to friends!

Magazines, I’m a hoarder of them. I’ve even recently been taking some lovely Elle magazines from a neighbour once she’s finished with them, but I just haven’t got round to reading them! I have a few home magazines I’ve kept too – thinking I will go back to them for ideas, or to create an inspirational mood board on a creative day… It’ll never happen. So, very soon I will be getting rid of practically all of them and I think I will have to say no to my neighbour for the next lot she offers too!

When decluttering your magazines, consider your family, friends or maybe somewhere like your local doctor’s surgery as places to donate them too if they wish to receive them!

It’s good to take a moment to truly be honest with yourself and evaluate how often you use your things. Some items may have sentimental value, but do you ever use it or look at it to remember where or who you got it from? Sometimes it’s good to just let go. Obviously, be careful not to throw away items that have *genuine* sentimental value. Just learn to draw the line somewhere in order to live your best life now and for the future – one that’s clear of clutter!

Saying No

This is the new process I’m taking on to beat the battle against clutter. Saying no.

Saying no to unneeded new clothes, makeup, toiletries, stationery, basically everything and anything that comes into the home. Of course, there will still be times I treat myself to the odd thing I don’t really need. But the more I can say no and buy less, the nicer my home will be!

Keeping a bit of a minimalist head on as I continue through the year will ensure my place stays clear of clutter too. Tidy home, tidy mind.

Decluttering my home

It’s competition time…

To kick off the new year in style, I thought I’d give away some lovely new stationery to help a lucky winner to get super organised for 2018 too!

In this bundle of loveliness there’s a daily planner to help you break down your day by hour to keep you on track whether you’re at home or even at work, along with a “to do” section, a notes section and a “quote of the day” area to write down a mantra to keep you inspired! I’ve also included a matching notepad for all those helpful notes you need to write down during the day, alongside some matching sticky notes too! I also picked up this gorgeous boxed pink & gold pen from Clintons to scribble down all your decluttering plans and goals for the year.

So if you fancy getting super organised and winning these goodies, here’s how to enter…

Enter on Twitter – Follow me *here* and retweet the competition tweet which is pinned to the top of my page.

Enter on Facebook – Simply like my page *here* and like & share the competition post which is pinned to the top of my page.

Enter on Instagram – Follow me on Instagram *here* find this photo on my feed and follow the steps under the image.

One overall winner will be chosen at random from all my social pages. Feel free to enter via all of them to increase your chances of winning!

Competition ends midnight Saturday 13th January 2018. UK only. Good luck! :)

I hope I’ve inspired you to declutter your home! I’d love to know what you’re doing to get your home ready for 2018.

Join me on social… Twitter: @Amanda_Alston// Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

Welcoming Autumn with WoodWick Candles

WoodWick Candles Review

Autumn is now officially here! Yay!

I know, I know, it is pretty sad that summer is over. Only just a couple of weeks ago I was sunning myself under the Tenerife skies with a glass of cava in hand and an amusing “musica electronica” radio station playing in my ears. As much as I am missing it now and wishing to be back to our seemingly endless bar in the sunshine, I am excited for all the lovely things a new season brings.

You know the Autumn drill… Snuggly jumpers, hot chocolates, crunchy leaves, multi-coloured trees as they start to turn, berry colours, rich warm tones in clothing…it’s all pretty lovely!

…but you just can’t beat a season suiting candle burning away can you? It can totally transition both you and your home through to the lovely new season and get excited for the months ahead. I’ve totally fallen in love with the WoodWick collection of candles, because not only do they do the most gorgeously scented candles, but they crackle too! Perfect for that snuggly fireside ambience if you don’t actually have a fire (like me!).

WoodWick Candle Review

WoodWick Candle Review

Peanut butter hot chocolate cream and marshmallows

The sound is so soothing and comforting, it’s just so Autumny! …and hell to the yes for the season of cinnamon swirls and hot chocolate too!

FYI: our hot chocolate was the super yummy limited edition peanut butter hot chocolate from Whittards, a little added cream (not light! The full on fatty cream goodness type!) and a sprinkle of marshmallows, just because.

I opted for this medium Jolly Gingerbread candle and I’m so glad I did. The scent is perfect, even better than I expected and it certainly gets thrown into the room – it’s gorgeous!

The candles are created with sustainable soy wax, to provide you with a long, slow and clean burn. The crackling wooden wick itself is organic too, fab!

…and how about this. How breathtakingly beautiful? (Insert heart eyed emoji!)

Cello Wac Burner Review

This stunning Cello electric light is not only a perfect lighting piece for your cosy nights in, it’s a wax melt burner too! So you can snuggle under a blanket on the sofa, whilst enjoying the sight and scent of this beautiful wax burning lamp. I’m genuinely going to keep this forever, I love it!

I just think this is such a gorgeous homeware piece to invest in (not that it’s expensive at all!) as it’ll look beautiful all year round and you can burn whatever scent you like on it. If this one isn’t to your taste, you’ll be amazed at the variety available on the WoodWick Candle Shop website here: www.woodwickcandleshop.co.uk …I found it so bloomin’ hard to choose!

I was also given the opportunity to pick out a few of my favourite wax melt scents from their shop and oh my, I love them all. I mixed it up with some yummy seasonal scents, alongside some nice fresh scents which I love to use (boring sentence incoming…) when I’m cleaning and freshening up my home. They’re just so fresh and clean smelling, they’re going to be perfect when I throw open the windows, let the fresh air in and get everything looking lovely!

WoodWick Wax Melts Review

The lovely people at WoodWick Candle Shop have the first authorised website totally dedicated to bringing you an unbelievable range of WoodWick candles, wax melts, burners and loads more.

So if you fancy picking up one or two for yourself, you can find them here: www.woodwickcandleshop.co.uk

I spotted on their Instagram that they have some yummy new scents for the new season too, including Hot Toddy, Fig, Pumpkin Butter (bet that’s lush!), pomegranate…

Let me know which ones you go for! You can find me on Twitter at: @Amanda_Alston and on Instagram: @Amanda_Alston :)

Thank you ever so much to the team at WoodWick Candle Shop for providing me with these lovely things for free. I’m genuinely impressed and cannot wait to enjoy them over the coming months! :)

Ideal Home Show 2016 Review

Ideal Home Show 2016When Money Saving Expert said they had *free* tickets to give away for the Ideal Home Show, I thought “ooh, yes please, I’ll have some of that!” So I grabbed some weekend tickets and went to check out the event.

When you step off the station at Kensington (Olympia), you’re greeted by a blooming floral façade, faux grass flooring and a cute little coffee van. Once you walk through the entrance doors into the main arena you’re again greeted by a bloomin’ great area with a lovely water fountain.


The building the event is set in is rather beautiful! The glass dome ceiling looks so impressive, so do make sure you take a moment to view the building itself, from the roof to the lovely ornate metal railings.

Now, onto the event itself! There’s a little bit of everything for everyone at the Ideal Home Show. Whether you’re looking for a great kitchen gadget, materials and tools for your home renovations or simply want to gorge yourself on some damn fine food, you’ll be happy.

Bush stand at Ideal Home Show 2016


Ideal Home Show 2016

First we walked around the main arena (after a quick wee and hot drink stop of course!), perusing around some great stands full of clever tools, key home fixtures and fittings alongside appliances including Smeg who had huge stand full with all their aspirational and funky products – we wanted to steal one of their fridges!

Ideal Home Show show houses

Ideal Home Show show homes

Plonked in the middle of the main arena were 3 practically life-sized houses of differing styles, including eco and modern-traditional style. You can queue up to walk through these homes, picking up lust-worthy style inspo and clever home ideas as you go! The eco home was quite intriguing with its figure of eight shape and grassy roof, it’s definitely worth having a peek inside.

Prepare to get “how the other half live” jealousy as you walk past the very fancy hot tubs and huge massaging chairs that look almost like cars by design. Aside from the expensive stuff, of course there are bits and bobs that everyone can afford, from candle holders through to fab lighting ideas, bedding and smoothie makers etc. There was also some rubbery floor brush thing that seemed to be very popular and made me think I’d missed out on some amazing deal somewhere… We played “spot the rubber brush thing” as we stood on train platform ready to leave and it was crazy how many people had one! What did I miss?!

Homewares at the Ideal Home Show

Furniture at Ideal Home Show

Food Demonstrations at Ideal Home Show

Rosemary Shrager at Ideal Home Show

Demonstrations were found in every room, from the latest pan that will make cooking super easy or a great fancy cooker that will make you the next Nigella without your friends noticing. We sat and listened to Rosemary Shrager (celebrity chef) and her crab cooking tips on the main stage in the foodie bit…alongside a guy from the audience whose parents had stitched him up to get him up there helping – he really didn’t look happy about being there and got straight off the stage as soon as they finished!

Food at the Ideal Home Show

If you love your food, you NEED to head over to the food section when you’re hungry, it’s amazing! Pizza, indian, duck wraps, noodles, hog roast, burgers, hot dogs, fruit pots, ice cream, plus more and more can be found, it’s definitely one of the most impressive areas of the show. We opted for a huge hog roast roll filled with lovely meat, stuffing and apple sauce, it was so big I couldn’t even finish it.

Fashion at the Ideal Home Show

Catwalk at Ideal Home Show

Don’t forget to head over to the beauty and fashion section where you can check out various fashion styles from upcoming companies, alongside a catwalk featuring the latest high street fashion. There’s also a beauty bar where you can get your nails done.

**Top Tip** at the back of the Fashion & Beauty area you can pick up a free goodie bag. I love a good freebie me! Inside you’ll find some yummy deli crisps, some nice smelly stuff for your washing machine, some Baileys chocolate (yum!), hot sauce, etc. Plus, if you’re not driving, make sure you stop by the bar for a little tipple to drink on the way round!

At the Ideal Home Show you’ll find some big brands alongside lots of smaller companies to investigate and uncover. I think it’s the perfect show for anyone who is thinking of renovating their home from top to bottom as you’ll find everything you need there. Personally I liked walking around dreaming about what I’d like in my perfect home whilst taking inspiration for upcoming home décor purchases.

The Ideal Home Show is on until 3rd April 2016. To find out more and to grab yourself a ticket, head over to www.idealhomeshow.co.uk

Amanda :)

Feel free to say hello! You can find me on…

Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest

Affordable Furniture: £14 IKEA Lack Coffee Table

“Don’t buy any cheap tat and ruin the look of your home!” my Dad exclaimed when I talked about buying cheaper pieces of furniture for my new home. I don’t blame him! Sometimes you genuinely have to pay out for quality that will last etc. etc. So with that in mind I treated myself to the (more expensive but still affordable) Made.com Hooper Coffee Table in Walnut. A coffee table that I’d had my eye on for a while and just had to snap up when it landed in a flash sale a few weeks ago. So I was super disappointed when I opened the box to find one end of the table poorly finished. Whoever had done the wood staining must have swished their cloth across the end, as they left an obvious swoosh mark. So back to Made.com the table went, not wanting the fuss of exchanging it for another, so as I type I’m waiting to receive my £130+ back.

There I was, left coffee table-less, so what was I to do? Head to IKEA of course! So I took a trip to IKEA and spent a whole £14 on their Lack coffee table in white. What a buy! Granted, the table might not end up being as hard wearing as the other one I originally purchased, and yes, it might not look as super stylish – but I don’t think it’s doing a bad job at all!


IKEA Lack Coffee Table in White


The table feels rather sturdy and more hardwearing than I thought. It has a separate shelf underneath the top of the table, which is perfect for magazines or books.

I thought the white table may be a little too stark white for my living room which has shades of dark purple, black, silver, alongside warm cream coloured carpets. However, with my walls still being white since the building was built and with a few accessories adorning the table…it actually looks pretty good! Well done IKEA!


The sunlight was beating through this morning – so gorgeous!



Coffee table books are a must! (…yes I like cake!)


Have you got any IKEA furniture recommendations? I’d love to receive some inspiration for the rest of my home, so please feel free to leave links below to your own IKEA posts.

Amanda :)

Feel free to say hello! You can find me on…

Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest