Thursday, 8 December 2016

My Go To Christmas Movies | Sponsored



Frankly, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without watching festive films. It's not that I get chance to watch them day in day out in the lead up to the big day but when I get the chance, I like to make myself a hot chocolate, get into my comfy clothes and watch my favourite Christmas movies.

Of course, you want the best experience when it comes to watching films and one of the best ways to do that is by watching them on a good TV. The Panasonic 65inch UHD TV is the perfect choice if you want a real cinema experience. With it's 65inch screen, it's big enough for all the family to watch with ease and it's sleek design would fit in with any interior. You can read some reviews about this TV here and here.

Choosing my favourite go to Christmas movies was tricky as there are so many but I've managed to wittle it down to my top 3.


The Holiday

I can't even begin to feel remotely festive until I've watched The Holiday. It's one of those films that can so easily be related to if you have or are facing Christmas alone whether by choice or circumstance. What I love about The Holiday, is that I can relate to each of the characters (Iris, Amanda, Graham & Miles) and their individual stories and it makes me feel all warm inside when everything comes right for them in the end. Don't worry there are no spoilers today but if you want to get in the festive mood or even if you are feeling a bit low and are in need of a film to make you smile, this is it.

Love Actually

An admission here but I only watched this for the first time in 2015 after being badgered by friends to give it a watch and I'm glad their nagging was actually beneficial. I love British made films like Notting Hill & Four Weddings & A Funeral so I had high expectations for this and I wasn't disappointed. Films that have multiple story lines always get my attention and the fact all of these are all tied by Love makes me really happy. Some things happen that may shock you and if you're like me, you will find yourself screaming at your tv shouting 'WHY..WHY?!' But as a Christmas film, Love Actually has it all. Love, sorrow, Christmas spirit and laughter.


Father Christmas

Raymond Briggs is best known for creating 'The Snowman' which of course is a Christmas TV staple, but for me, 'Father Christmas' is what makes Christmas official for me. I've watched this every year since I was a toddler and I introduced Sarah to it who loves it in equal measure. I love the concept behind it. He's in dire need of a holiday before his busiest night of the year comes around again and he can't seem to find the perfect destination - He's either recognised, falls ill or blows all his money and being voiced by the amazing Mel Smith makes Father Christmas the typical, grumpy Englander. Like The Snowman, it's only a short film but it's heart warming and I can't wait to watch it with my grandchildren one day.

*This post is sponsored

Thursday, 15 September 2016

I need a break


The title of this post is a little confusing but hopefully I can explain.

In the last 2 weeks, my world has changed quite dramatically. I know minds will be racing with 'Oh god what's happened, is she ok'? But one thing a lot of people don't know about me is that I am a very private person when not with very close friends and because the situation involves other people, I'm also respecting their privacy.

Anyway like I said, my life has taken a huge turn and I am now in a very difficult position where my life has done a complete 360 and a lot has changed and will have to be changed. The initial thing that happened to me and my family has now set off a landslide of other runs of pure bad luck that seem to be following me around like the plague. If anyone tells you bad luck comes in 3s...believe them.

I've been around for 30 years now and I have spent the majority of that being the 'rock' for everyone else and their problems and don't get me wrong, I have loved being able to help everyone around me but there comes a point where I have to pull off my armour and admit defeat. I have spent so long putting everyone else before myself that I've forgotten that I'm the same as everyone else - I have feelings, I have my own problems to deal with and even sometimes I need help. Unfortunately because of the absolute shit I am going through, there is no one and nothing that can help me - Ironic isn't it, someone who trained to be a counsellor that cannot listen to their own advice.

It's not often I feel like a failure, I admit when I'm wrong of course (well, eventually) but in the last 2 weeks, circumstances have made me feel like I can do nothing right and that I've failed to make everything better. It's not something I should be feeling but because it's been so hard to cope with, I've hit rock bottom. The worrying thing for me is that I have been in this kind of place before many years ago and the prospect of reliving that time is terrifying me which is why I need to take some massive action right now to stop it happening.

I'm bloody lucky and I mean REALLY lucky to have some amazing friends and family that have supported me lately but in turn, I feel like all I am doing is bringing them down and I refuse to do it anymore. It's driving me mad because I've been trying so hard to put on my happy face and show the world 'I'm OK' but it's getting harder every day that I'm faking it. For example, a very dear friend of mine recently got engaged and I wish I could celebrate with her but I would just end up being miserable and ruining it for her and that's the last thing in the world I want to do.

The hardest thing of all is that even with all the shit I am dealing with, I still have to be a mum. My daughter is being so supportive but she doesn't need her mum falling apart at the seams and she is like my driving force to get my head together and get my life sorted.

I've made the huge decision to literally cut myself off from the world. I know I will get people ringing and texting, I'm getting it now but I really need to be left alone. I've made plans to go away next week just so I can get out of Hull and try to figure out what is best for me, whether it will help or not I can't say but I hope to fuck it gives me something. I will be continuing to go to work, apart from the fact I need the money, work is a huge distraction which right now is a blessing and I work with some very kind people who know about my situation.

So this goodbye isn't permanent, not by a long stretch but I've hit an all time low and I'm refusing to go any lower.

I'll talk to you all soon

Kate x


My Best Advice For New Mummy's!


Being a new mummy is one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences ever. There are lots of changes that will take place in your life from now on. So, it’s handy when you have some advice to help you get started:

Understand That It Takes Time To Adjust

I’m about to hit you with the most cliche advice out there; you must understand that it takes time to adjust. Giving birth is a massive part of your life, and things will change forever. It’s understandable that this might be a shock to you at first. Obviously, you spend nine months getting everything ready. You make your home baby-proof, and get their room and crib all sorted. But, nothing can prepare you for the moment you give birth. Living with a newborn baby is a tough task, no one will deny that. Your life will be very different, and that’s normal. Don’t think that you aren’t a good mum just because you struggle early on. Everyone struggles with their first child! You’ve never had an experience like this before, how on earth will you not struggle? It’s normal, and you should get that stuck into your head. Things will take time, and you’ll gradually adjust. There’s no definitive time frame for when the adjustment will come. It takes longer for some people than others. But, believe me, you’ll get used to your new life.

Don’t Forget The Thank You’s

When you give birth, it can be easy to get caught up at the moment with your new family. But, you have to remember all the people that helped you during this difficult time. There were countless people that supported you and made life a lot easier. Think about all your friends that threw a baby shower for you. It was great and gave you lots of joy during a time where your moods were all over the place. Then, there’s the doctors and nurses that helped make giving birth as bearable as possible. It’s important that you thank everyone, as they played a huge role in your life. Especially all the friends and family that helped you out. They’ll be expecting a thank you, so, you don’t want to sour relations. Consider things like Sleepymoon Cards for baby showers & christening. A simple thank you card will be enough to put a smile on everyone’s face. Plus, thanking friends and family makes it more likely they’ll help you out again. So, when you need a babysitter, you can turn to your close relatives with confidence. You don’t want to end up doing things all on your own, so, remember the thank you’s for the people that matter most.

Rushing Is The Worst Thing To Do

Many modern mums are guilty of rushing after giving birth. What do I mean by this? I mean they try and rush back into their usual routine. They want to get back to work and return to their job. This is a problem that a lot of men underestimate. When someone becomes a new dad, their usual routine doesn’t get affected too much. They might go on paternity leave for a week, then head back into action. For us mums, it’s way different to that. We’re off on maternity leave before the baby is due. Then, we’re off after the birth to recover and stay with the baby. We could end up being off work for months during all this time. That’s a lot of time away from your job, particularly if you work full-time. Trying to balance your work and life is a huge problem for new mums. You want to get back to work, as you feel comfortable there. You like working, and earning money for the family. But, you don’t want to leave your baby, as you want to spend as much time with them as possible. In the end, too many women decide to rush back into work. Often, this is because of the first point I made at the start of this piece. Their life has changed, and they want to try and revert it back to normal. So, going to work seems like a good solution. However, I recommend you take as much time off as possible. Maternity leave is there for a reason, make good use of it. Stay with your baby and start forming that everlasting maternal bond. Plus, you could try and work something out with your job. Let’s say you do a bit of work from home, or, you slowly ease yourself back in part-time. Whatever you do, don’t rush the decision to go back to work.

Use this advice and I hope it will help make life easier for you. Don’t be afraid of being a mum, embrace the new challenges!


Monday, 12 September 2016

Fashion Accessories: Do You Own These Style Staples?



From hats to sunglasses, accessories are a great way of adding style and personality to an outfit. You can use them to dress up an outfit for a special occasion like a wedding or a girls night out.  But they can also be used to add interest to basic pieces to create a new look each time. Many of us buy current on-trend accessories on impulse, only to find they look outdated within a short time. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can be wasteful and a drain on your finances. Thankfully there are some accessories which never go out of fashion, no matter how you wear them. So to fill your accessories wardrobe with timeless style staples, use this checklist to help you.


Pearl Necklace

Pearl necklaces have been a must-have accessory for fashionistas for decades. Whether you wear a single string of pearls or layer them, they can add instant class and glamour to an outfit. Wear yours with an evening dress for an elegant feel or add to your favourite band t-shirt for an interesting clash of styles. Pearl necklaces can also be worn in your hair or added to your handbag for a unique look. In addition to a necklace, pearl bracelets and earrings can also be fantastic additions to your collection. You can find and buy pearl jewellery online or in most reputable jewellery stores to suit any kind of budget.


Leather handbag

Whether you’re going on a weekend away or a date, a leather handbag is a valuable accessory to own. They are build to last, easy to keep clean and come in an array of styles and colours. They also work well when combined with casual or formal attire. You can find leather handbags online from specialist leather retailers and handbag stores. Think carefully about how much you usually like to carry around with you to help you choose the most suitable size possible. Also, try not to choose colours and designs which are too contemporary. Instead look for classic designs in black or tan leather which will work well with any outfit. And being a mum does not mean you shouldn't carry your babies essentials around in style, for some great ideas, take a look at this.


Watch

A watch is both stylish and practical, making it a must-have accessory for every woman. You can wear it alone or team it with similar looking bracelets and bangles. While many people only wear watches for work, they can look chic when worn with evening dresses for special occasions too. Again, try to stick to materials and colours which aren’t too contemporary. Colourful watches might look good now, but they may not stand the test of time or complement every outfit you wear. When it comes to watches, you can’t go wrong with black, silver or gold. To start your search for the perfect watch, look for reputable women’s watch retailers online.

If you don’t own some of the items on this list, it might be time to get shopping. No matter what your budget is, always buy the best quality you can afford rather than going for cheaper alternatives. This will ensure these accessories look good for decades to come.






Thursday, 8 September 2016

Kids And Divorce: Starting The Conversation


No matter how hard we try to make a marriage work, sometimes separation is the best and only option. Once the decision has been made, it’s crucial that you discuss getting divorced with your children. This isn’t an easy conversation to start and many parents put it off for as long as they possibly can. But as painful as it might be, the sooner you tell your kids, the easier it will be for them to cope with the news. So if you and your partner want to be open with your children about your separation but don’t know how follow these simple steps.


Choose the right time

As soon as you talk about your divorce, your child will feel vulnerable and upset. So it’s crucial that you choose the right time and environment to share this life-changing news. Avoid bringing up the subject before they go to school or bed. Instead, choose a day when you can be together as a family and not limited with time. This is not a conversation that should be rushed or mentioned in passing. It’s also always better to share this news at home where your child won’t be embarrassed about getting upset or angry.

Simplify the details

While it’s good to give some details to your kids about what your divorce will entail, don’t overwhelm them. Speak in an age appropriate manner and only divulge the details they really need to know about. Talk to them about your new living arrangements and how they will divide their time between the two of you. This is something you and your partner need to discuss at length before talking to your children.

If you haven’t already, look for experienced solicitors who specialise in family law such as Lennons Solicitors. Not only can they help you get the divorce process started but they can also give you advice on talking to your kids.

Be prepared for questions

Once you’ve shared the news of your divorce, you need to be prepared for a whole host of questions from your children. These can range from questions about what a divorce is to why you’ve come to this decision. Your child may also be concerned about birthdays and how they are going to get to school each day. So before you start the conversation about divorce, you should think about how you are going to answer these questions. You can seek advice from your solicitor or talk to other parents who have gone through a divorce previously. It’s important that there is cohesion between yours and your partner's answers to these questions. This will show them that your decision was a mutual one and that trust can still be maintained.

Remember that even though you know that a divorce is the most sensible solution, your kids might not see it at way at all. While some kids will accept and adjust easily, others may feel resentment or start acting out. Encourage them to share their feelings and provide reassurance and support throughout.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Safeguarding Your Little Ones If The Worst Happens


It’s a topic we often don’t want to consider, let alone talk about. But it’s important that you know your little ones are well taken care of it the worst were to come about. Most of us should live to a ripe old age and get to see our children grow and mature into beautiful adults, who might have their own kids who we get to meet to. But when it comes to caring for the ones you love, you need to also keep worst case scenarios too. So how do you best tend to your children’s needs in all potential situations?

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Designated Guardian

I guess this is the equivalent of a Godparent. Essentially, a designated guardian is someone close to you who you can trust. This person will take over the role of caring for your child if you are no longer able to. This is a huge responsibility for somebody to take on, so choose wisely and ensure that they are completely comfortable with the position. Don’t pressure someone into agreeing to this.

Write A Will

A will makes things much easier for your family and friends when it comes to sorting out your finances and sharing your property. If you don’t write a will, everything will be divided out according to the law. Though this may seem fair, money and provisions that you want your children to have could be taken from them and given to somebody else. This is especially important if your children are young, young adults, or depend on you financially for other reasons. Another reason to write a will is that it will reduce the inheritance tax taken from your savings and property.

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Invest in life insurance

There are plenty of articles out there on finding the best life insurance quotes and policies for you. An example is http://genesage.com/life-insurance-for-mums. Take your time when choosing a policy, but once it’s in place, it can help cover funeral costs and give your children so money to live off until they find their own feet in the world.

Write notes to leave behind

If you’ve been diagnosed as terminally ill, you might want to consider leaving notes behind for big events in your children’s lives. An 18th birthday, a graduation, a marriage, a baby, etc. This way you can still be there for them in spirit on their big days, even if you can’t be there in person.

Create as many memories as possible

It’s all fine leaving physical possessions to your little ones. But memories will hold much greater importance. Make the most of your time with them and live everyday as if it’s your last. As they say, Carpe diem. Go on trips. Take photographs. Make videos. Learn together. Play together. Bond with your children and leave nothing but good and positive memories and associations.

Prevention is better than cure

Take care of yourself. You need to look after yourself, because you have other people who need you to be well enough look after them. Kick bad habits such as excessive drinking or smoking. Lay off the unhealthy meals and snacks. The inevitable will happen one day but you can do your best to postpone it.


As well as keeping yourself healthy, keep an eye on your children’s health. It’s important that they get all of their nutrients to grow big and strong. Try reading my piece on getting them to eat their fruit and veg. 


Monday, 22 August 2016

Inspiration & Ideas For Helping Your Shy Child Come Out Of Their Shell


As parents, we worry constantly. If we’re not stressing about our children’s eating habits, we’re anxious about their behaviour. As a mum, I know all too well the stresses and worries that come with raising children. I also know that while some issues, such as refusing to eat green foods, can be easy to deal with, others can be somewhat challenging. Such as, helping your shy child to make friends and become more confident.

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Believe it or not, a lot of children suffer from social anxiety and shyness. Often, this is something that in time, they’ll grow out of. However, there are a few ways that you can help and encourage your shy child to come out of their shell and grow their confidence. Below are a few ideas for helping your child to grow their self-esteem and become more sociable. If you’re worried about your child’s behaviour, take these on board and give them a try.

Set a good example

Social studies have shown that children learn by watching, so as a parent, it’s your job to be a good example to your child. When you bump into people at the supermarket or have guests over, aim to be as warm and friendly as possible. This will show your child how they should act around other people and will help to set a good example for them.

To reinforce this, play with your child using their toys and reenact situations. Such as bumping into the bear or rabbit family while at the swimming pool. Show your child how you would approach the situation and then let them have a go. For young children, play is one of the best ways to learn and understand acceptable social behaviours.

Enrol them in a performance art

One of the best ways to build confidence in kids is for them to learn a new skill or start a new activity. Performance arts can be a great option as not only will your child get to make new friends; they’ll also take part in productions. This is a great confidence booster, and should help your child to become more sure of themselves. Whether you enrol them in ballet school or drama club, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you find your child a new hobby to try that’s fun, allows them to make friends, and helps them to build confidence.

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To make it easier for your child to adjust, use a step-by-step approach. The first week, take them to watch the class. The next week encourage them to join in for the last 10 minutes. And then, the week after, get them to do the whole class while you watch. Then, gradually leave for longer and longer periods, until your child is happy to attend dance or drama class on their own.

Praise your child

One of the most important things when it comes to raising your child’s confidence levels is praising them. If your little one is told how proud you are of them when they do something well, they’ll start to become more confident. Whether it’s reading aloud to you or doing a dance on stage, if they do well make sure to praise them. Even if they don’t do well, be careful of what you say, as for shy kids, criticism can easily set them back.

When your child is shy, it’s never easy to get them to come out of their shell. However, with the right encouragement, you can help them to become more confident in social situations.



Six Of The Most Unique Present Ideas For Kids


Whether you’re a parent yourself, or you have young nieces or nephews, buying presents for children can be a tricky thing to do. You want to buy them something nice, but where do you start? The shops are full of thousands of items, and it can be overwhelming. Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of unique presents you can buy. There’s not a computer game or screen in sight.

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Name A Star

If the child is a budding astronomer, this is an ideal gift for them. A real star will be named after them in the Gift Republic Star Registry. This is periodically sent to the British Library for public access and preservation. The gift includes a lovely tin with details of the star inside as well as an astronomy booklet and souvenir poster.

Dolls House

Lots of little girls dream of having a beautiful old dolls house. There are some stunning ones to choose from, such as Melody Jane Dolls Houses Accessories. You can choose all the furniture to go with them, or perhaps let the little ones choose how they’d like to decorate it. It’s a traditional toy but one that will provide hours of entertainment.

Build Your Own Racecar

If your child is car-crazy, then this is sure to excite them. The 25 piece set is assembled using seven easy snap-on parts to make the body of the car. It comes complete with a motorized min power-drill to add the bolts to the car. When it’s assembled, you can then decorate it with stickers. Fun for kids and parents.

Fairy Garden

Encourage creative minds with a fairy garden. Remember when you used to believe in the fairies at the bottom of the garden? Well, now children can create their own indoor version. It comes complete with an enchanted cottage and a fairy bowl to grow the grass. There is even a washing line so you can peg out the washing. It’s ideal for those with an active imagination.

Junior Carpenter Toolkit

Does your enjoy making things? Then they’ll love this toolkit. It features a hammer, clamp, chisel and screwdrivers amongst other things.  Don't worry - there isn’t any anything sharp. It comes in a wooden storage kit that looks pretty cool too. It is as close to the real thing as you can get, so they’ll love helping out and making things with this kit.

Live Butterfly Garden Kit

This kit is supplied with a voucher to buy live caterpillars, so it’s perfect for a present or when you’re not sure when they’ll be starting the butterfly kit. This is a fantastic way for children to learn about metamorphosis, as they can watch the caterpillars change into chrysalides and then emerge as Painted Lady butterflies. They can then release them into the wild. The kit includes a mesh butterfly habitat, feeding pipette and all the instructions you’ll need. The live caterpillars are sent out between March - September.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Mickey Mouse Magic and Florida Fantasies: Let’s Go On A Villa Vacation



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Picture credit: Pexels

Enjoy the best of both worlds and take a trip to Orlando for some Mickey Mouse Magic and some relaxing Floridian sunshine. Whether you’re travelling as a family with children or you’re going with a group of friends, Orlando is a great place to visit. It’s time to release your Disney dreams and unleash your inner child. Hotels in Orlando can be expensive, and Walt Disney World resort hotels even more so. A great way to experience Walt Disney World but also have the freedom to enjoy the rest of Orlando, is to rent a villa.

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Pexels

Villas in America are super plush. Even on a budget, you’ll be able to get something spacious that includes a private swimming pool. Villa vacations are great for families that like to sprawl and groups of friends that want to entertain and cook together in the evenings. Search some popular Orlando vacation homes to find your dream apartment. You can get 4 bedroom villas complete with swimming pool and air conditioning from as little as £90 a night.

Whether you’re a fan of Mickey or Minnie, or you just want to see Cinderella’s castle, you’ll want to send at least a few of days at Walt Disney World. There are myriad ticket options available so do your research and pick the best ones that suit your group. You’ll want to explore the Magic Kingdom, the wonderful Epcot Centre and Hollywood Studios. There’s also Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach and the Animal Kingdom. Phew! You’re definitely going to need a few days here. Outside of Walt Disney World, you can also enjoy Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and Legoland Florida. A villa vacation is a great choice because it means you can kick back and relax in the comfort of home, before another enchanting adventure!

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Pixaby

Orlando has a pretty good temperature all year round. Especially for us Brits! It’s a great holiday destination for year-round sunshine. And when you want some downtime away from Disney? Don’t worry; Orlando has plenty to offer. There’s shopping, golf, botanical gardens and fishing; all there for you to kick back and relax. In Kissimmee, you can take an airboat ride through the Everglades, take to the skies in a hot air balloon or enjoy an exhilarating journey on a zipline. Florida is a pretty cool destination for hen parties, anniversaries, birthdays and more.

The Sunshine State is also home to the alligator. While you may not fancy joining this ferocious creature on his home turf, you can get up close and personal at Gatorland. Here you can also zipline over alligators and crocs. Not for the fainthearted! Want something more low key? Florida is also home to championship golf courses, including The Champions Club Tom Fazio designed 18-hole course. If you want to leave your man playing golf, you can always go and enjoy the many American malls on offer. Florida is home to Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Jimmy Choo and the ever iconic Tiffany & Co.


Monday, 1 August 2016

How I Like To Prepare For Special Occasions & Nights Out




I love getting ready for a night out or a special occasion - what could be more enjoyable than picking out an outfit and pampering myself? I don’t know about you, but when it comes to getting ready for a night out or special occasion, like a wedding, I like to be prepared. I have a list of essentials that I have to do beforehand, as well as lots of great tips for pampering myself. In case your night out preparation could do with a little revamping, I thought I would share all my best advice for getting ready to go out. Be it a night out or a wedding, it doesn't matter, these tips will come in handy.

Beforehand:

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Pick your outfit and accessories - The first thing you should do is decide what you’re wearing. It can be tempting to leave this until the last minute, but it’s really not worth it. You’ll only end up stressing about it if you do. Even if you’re not buying a whole new outfit, it’s important to feel confident in what you’re wearing. A great way to boost your confidence is by investing in luxury lingerie from Knicker Locker or another lingerie store. There’s something about nice underwear that helps to boost self-esteem. At least, I think so, anyway.

Get a spray tan - It’s never a good idea to get a spray tan on the day of a special event or occasion, just in case it runs or something goes wrong. So if you’re going to get a spray tan, it’s best to do so at least a day beforehand. The great thing about spray tans is that they contour your body, making you feel more confident.

On the night itself:

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Have a bubble bath - Start your preparation with a lovely, relaxing bubble bath. It’s always nice to spend some time unwinding before heading out, and a bubble bath is an ideal way to do that. Run your bath at least three hours before you have to leave, so that you have plenty of time to relax and unwind.

Smother yourself in your favourite scent - To make your perfume stay in place throughout the night, layer it up. Start off applying a scented moisturiser that is the same smell as your perfume. Then spritz your body, while still damp, with a small amount of perfume. Damp skin is meant to lock in scents better than dry skin, you see. Once you’re dressed, spritz your perfume of choice onto your outfit and into your hair.

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Do your hair and makeup - Last but not least, do you hair and makeup. Start by doing your makeup, and then do your hair. If there’s a certain makeup look you want to recreate, give yourself plenty of time to do so. The last thing that you want is to be rushing to get ready. As for your hair, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time - at least 40 minutes. And don’t forget, even if you don’t normally use it, to set your hair with hair spray.

There you have it, a guide to how to prepare for a special event, occasion or a night on the town.