Home Sense – Love From First Find event

Last night I was very kindly invited to the Love from First Find event at the new Home Sense store, which is based in Barton Square at the Trafford Centre.

Home Sense is part of the TK Maxx family, so that already gives you an idea of the fantastic array of products you can expect to find.

I am a complete stationery geek, and hoarder of pretty mugs, so that will give you some idea of what I was hoping to find! Here are a few photos of some of the beautiful displays in the store:


And here are the gorgeous items I gifted to myself:



I am moving into a new office at work in the next few weeks, so this was a perfect opportunity to treat myself/my new desk to some new colourful ‘necessities’!

Home Sense have a fantastic 2 floor store at the Trafford Centre with new stock arriving regularly, so if you’re looking for a new sofa or just want a few decorative items to brighten up your kitchen, this is the place for you!

I’d love to see your photos once you’ve been down so don’t forget to send me your links.

Happy Home Sense Shopping!


New Year, Healthy Us!

2 weeks in to January and any New Year’s resolutions can start to lose their appeal. The weather is rubbish, Christmas is a distant memory and the thought of eating healthily and going to the gym feels like torture!

On top of that, gym equipment and healthy food & drink items can be expensive. I have tried a lot of protein shakes and bars, and spent a small fortune doing so. You can imagine then that I was pleasantly surprised by an extremely purse friendly range available at Home Bargains.

There are 6 items in the range I was sent, and you can have all of them for just £10.04! 



The press up bars are less than £4. They are super easy to put together, but more importantly they have a proper grip underneath. This means you’re much less likely to slip when using them. They also have good hand grips to help you when you’re aiming for 10 press ups in a row! They even got the seal of approval from my fitness fanatic husband who has used much more expensive ones in the past.

Press up bar, £3.99


These drinks provide over 100% of essential vitamins to keep your body stimulated and your vitamin levels up. I can’t find anything wrong with the drinks. They taste good, you get a 5 day supply in a pack, so perfect for taking to work or the gym, and the creators have even provided some handy exercise tips on the back of the pack. You can track your progress too on the handy chart. All this for 99p!

5 pack of drinks, 99p


The soup mug is a microwave and freezer friendly welcome addition to my tupperware collection. It could be used for your morning porridge, daily protein shakes or to store your lunch in. At 79p it’s more than a bargain.

Soup mug, 79p


The Strawberry flavoured ProFirst protein bar contains a whopping 21g of protein, which when compared to other brands is fantastic. The fact that it only costs 99p makes it a sure buy, and it’s low in sugar.

Protein bar (strawberry), 99p


The Caramel flavoured ProFirst meal replacement bar easily stands up to the overly expensive big brands. It tastes good, which is a definite bonus as a lot of the range (of other brands) in the supermarket aren’t great! It has 14g of protein in it and contains a long list of your daily vitamins and minerals.

Protein bar (caramel), 79p


I’m sure you’ve seen towels like this in the gym, but I think they’re a great idea if you’re in a rush and need to dry your hair faster. I don’t usually take a towel to the gym, I know that’s bad, but since getting this microfibre towel it’s been added to my kit bag. It’s good quality and very absorbent, so has lots of uses.

Towel, £2.49


So, I think it’s fair to say if you want to try some fitness products without breaking the bank, Home Bargains is the place to stock up!

Let me know how you get on!

Girls Out Loud

This week I attended an event run by the wonderful organisation Girls Out Loud.


They run a number of programmes/events to work with teenage girls. These are: Discovery Days, Role Model Relays, Big Sister Mentoring Programme and 12 week Intervention Programme called Stardom. They all focus on the following:

  • Personal Identity – helping girls get a sense of self, who they are and what they stand for, finding their voice, recognising their greatness.
  • Introducing them to powerful role models in the media and in their community, with a view to them becoming role models for other girls.
  • Encouraging them to recognise and embrace enterprise as a career option now and in their future.
  • Shifting the focus away from external body image and the unrealistic media hype of looking perfect and helping them re-align their self image.
  • Improving confidence, self esteem and self respect.

I attended a Discovery Day, a one day event all about encouraging confidence and self-esteem. I worked with another ‘Discovery Star’ (that’s what they call the women who volunteer to help on the day), and there were 8 girls with us all aged 13-14. We worked on a number of tasks throughout the day with the aim of improving the girls self awareness, motivation and raising their aspirations.

I had forgotten what it’s like being a teenage girl. It can be summed up in one word; hard! All those hormones mixed in with wanting to belong, be popular, be liked. It’s exhausting. Throw in social media, mobile phones, celebrity ‘role models’ and boys, and well you’re just asking for problems. I am so glad that when I was young(!) there were no mobile phones or numerous apps to add to the stress of being a teenager. Before I say anything else I want to comment on how impressed I was by the girls I worked with. They might not have been excited about taking part in the day, but they were polite and well mannered throughout.

So, during the day we worked with the girls on who they saw as role models, what they thought of the media’s portrayal of women, and how they could improve their self esteem and confidence. Remember being at School and having to work on a task but not wanting to embarrass yourself in front of everyone else? Well I guess that’s how some of the girls felt on the day. They were initially quiet and didn’t want to join in, but as time went on they all engaged in their own way.

I learned a lot too. For instance, I didn’t know that Zoella, beauty blogger and writer has anxiety. One of the girls explained this to me and said that as she also has anxiety she can relate to Zoella and sees her as a role model because she hasn’t let it get in the way of her success. I shared with this girl that I too have anxiety. I told her that it didn’t stop me doing things even when I felt anxious, and I was rewarded with a little smile!

I think my favourite part of the day was working with the girls to design their own magazine cover. They were such a talented group! In fact all the groups produced something fantastic. Here are a couple of images of their work:

Aren’t they brilliant!

They all really took on the board the idea that women should look like women, and not be digitally enhanced or manipulated. They wanted to produce something positive and inspiring, and they did!

I would love to think they will remember this message and apply it to themselves, but even now as the grand old age of 32, I’m influenced by the media. Why else would I buy the magazines?!

I found the whole day to be really inspiring. I wanted to get to know the girls more and find out what they were hoping to achieve, but the time just flew and before I knew it, it was time to leave.

I would have loved an event like this when I was a teenager, to show me that there is life after School, that you can be whatever you want to be, and that there are people willing to help you achieve your goals.

Girls Out Loud are always on the lookout for amazing women like you to take part in their events. You could inspire these girls! If you’re up for the challenge then get in touch either via Twitter or email: kirsten@girlsoutloud.org.uk 

And remember:


(Girls Out Loud Mantra)

Department Store for the Mind

My name is Clare and I’m a stationery addict. I’m also a mental health awareness advocate, while openly struggling with my own anxiety and depression symptoms. So when I heard about the Department Store for the Mind, it was as though it had been created just for me! It sells stationery, household items and gifts all individually designed for emotional health and wellbeing.

Below are just a few of the beautiful items you can buy:

a few kind words2
A Few Kind Words
A Record of Good Things
Simple Reminders
Box of Blessings
A Box of Blessings

You can search the shop by collections, gift type or mood.

Department Store for the Mind was created by Sophie Howarth, who also co-founded The School of Life.


Sophie explains that the purpose of the Store is to focus on psychological needs rather than practical ones. Sounds like a much needed resource to me, and particularly relevant at this time of the year.

A Candle for Hope


If you’re lucky enough to live in or be around London between 15th – 23rd December, there will be a Christmas pop-up shop at Unit 3 in Old Street Underground. You will be able to check out a range of products and hopefully pick up something completely unique for a loved one, or even yourself! After all, this is retail for the soul, and I think we could all do with some of that.




Bellissima Beauty

This week while I was at my favourite beauty salon, Bellissima, having my only real treat of a manicure, they were celebrating 25 years of being in business.
bel7         bel1

As part of the celebrations they were launching a new salon professional make-up brand called Mii.



Mii has a gorgeous range of products including mineral powders and highly pigmented crayons

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bel4                bel5   bel6

The lovely and very talented ladies at Bellissima can give you a makeover using the range, and you can then treat yourself to a few goodies to take home!

I have to say that prior to my first visit to Bellissima, I’d never had any kind of beauty treatment and felt a little bit intimidated about going in to a salon. But the team are all lovely. They make everyone feel welcome, and are all very good at what they do.

So, if you’re looking for somewhere to have a manicure/pedicure/facial/makeover/etc, head over to their website and get yourself booked in!