Sister Style- Spring edition!

 

 

When I came to the decision to restyle my blog a couple of weeks ago, I really wanted to start incorporating more fashion posts. I wouldn’t say that I’m a fashionable person, but I’m still a sucker for all those beautifully styled Instagram photos of super trendy women in gorgeous clothing. I just said ‘trendy’, I’m so lame.

I’d actually love to have one of those super fashionable Instagrams, as I bloody love clothes; the issue is I hate being in front of the camera, which makes shooting photos to accompany fashion and beauty related posts pretty difficult. As you will be able to tell from most of these photos, I’m a pretty awkward poser. Body confidence isn’t something I possess in abundance.

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But those of you who have been following my blog for a while now will know that my sister, Hannah, loves being in front of the camera. Hannah loves all things fashion and has a pretty hefty clothing collection. Hence when I do decide to do a fashion post, Hannah is my go to.

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Today’s sister style had kind of a sports-luxe vibe- well, at least that’s what I thought, like I say, I ain’t no fashion guru. The weather has finally started to warm up (well, it’s not snowing anymore) here in Lancashire, so we decided to forgo coats and really embrace the ‘Spring’ weather.

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We had great fun shooting for this blog post, as much as I hate having my picture taken, it’s always a nice way to spend an afternoon with my sister.

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I decided to wear this Topshop bodycon dress that I bought a few weeks back. Since the weather’s been so bad up here recently, this was really the first time I’ve had chance to wear it. I paired it with a white t-shirt underneath for a bit of extra warmth and then an Asos denim jacket (courtesy of Hannah!). I love the colours of this dress, I think it has a real 70s vibe that I am totally digging.

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Those of you who saw my last sister style post will know that I am mad about these leather boots. My parents bought me them from Dune for my 20th birthday back in September and I’ve hardly stopped wearing them since! I usually wear these with knee socks when the weather starts to warm up a bit, I have a love of knee socks and mini skirts.

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Resident model Hannah opted for a loose jumper from Stradivarius, paired with some back cropped trousers from Pretty Little Thing. Hannah is lucky enough to have tiny feet, so her shoes are actually kid’s Reebok Classics! I’m so jealous of her shoe size -_- (Plus she has the best selection of shoes and I can’t steal any of them).

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this lil’ sister style post! I always have so much fun doing these posts for you, let me know if you like seeing them!

Hope y’all had great Easter weekends,

Maddie.

 

My Morning Routine

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Going old school with these filters to make up for terrible lighting. Also lets pretend I didn’t cut my head of by accident and that we’re being cool and artsy- K?

As a person I would say that I awkwardly linger right in the middle of being a full on morning person and not wanting to be spoken to until midday. 

I love mornings. I love opening the curtains to a bright new day, the promise of a fresh start, and breakfast. 

I hate getting out of bed. 

But one thing I hate more than getting out of bed is staying in bed all day. I absolutely HATE lying in until the afternoon, or going a day in my pyjamas, un-showered and never opening the curtains.  So, I guess you could say that I am a morning person after all. 

Once I’ve built up the courage and strength to pull the duvet back and venture out into the cold, I actually really enjoy the morning. I am very lucky in that most of my lectures start late in the day, usually 11am or later. This means that I have loads of time in a morning to take it easy and really start my day right. 

8am- The dreaded alarm. 

If I don’t have a 9am start (which is most of the week), I will set my alarm for 8am. This includes weekends. I actually have the most cliche alarm ever- it’s birdsong. This is kind of a nice thing to wake up to, though I have noticed that in Summer I get woken up at the crack of dawn by actual birds singing. 

8:10am- Breakfast!

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The most important meal of the day. I bloody love breakfast, I will never understand how people can skip it. Even when I was waking up at 6:30am everyday for college, I always, AlWAYS made time for breakfast. Over the past few months I’ve gotten into the routine of eating porridge with honey, a chopped banana and ground cinnamon- it is so good. It really doesn’t take an age to prepare either, I get the little microwavable pouches of porridge oats that you just add milk to and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes. I chop the banana while that’s getting nuked and Bob’s my uncle.  

I also always drink a glass of water in the morning. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start drinking more water as there’s so many health benefits of it, so this is a pretty new addition to the routine.

8:30am- Get on down to yoga town.

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Yoga has become an integral part of my life over the past year. I started it primarily as a method for dealing with stress amongst other things; fast forward and I am now in the best shape I’ve ever been, both mentally and physically. A morning started off with yoga is a morning started off right in my opinion. If you’re fancying starting your own yoga practice, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube- it will revolutionise the way you see yourself and others, as well as improve your flexibility, strength and overall outlook on life. Honestly, Adriene is a miracle worker. 

I usually do around forty minutes of yoga in the morning, with the type depending on my energy level for that day. Sometimes I will opt for an ab or glute workout, or sometimes I will enjoy a slow morning sequence to help me wake up. 

9:15am- The boring stuff- shower, teeth, hair.

After I’ve finished with my yoga session I’ll hop in the shower, before cleaning my teeth and brushing my hair. Just the usual stuff here I’m afraid, nothing exciting. 

9:30am- The fun stuff- getting dressed and applying makeup.

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At this point in the morning I’ll usually do a quick check of the expected weather for the day and temperature and decide what to wear. As I live in northern England, the usual weather is the standard ‘freezing your tits off with an extra portion of rain’.

On a day to day basis I keep makeup pretty quick and easy; if I’m really rushing but still want a bit of something something, I’ll stick to just mascara, concealer, brow gel and blusher. If I have a bit more time on my hands I’ll add a bit of eyeshadow, bronzer, highlight and a lipstick too. And of course setting spray. I never wear foundation on a day to day basis, I like to keep my look pretty natural for uni.

10am- More food.

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If I don’t have to be at a lecture for 10am, I’ll squeeze in some extra time for eating before I head out the door. I have Gilbert’s syndrome, a liver condition that means I can get very lightheaded if I don’t eat regularly. Also I’m just a greedy b*tch. 😉 My favourite mid morning snack to have is some strawberries topped with greek yogurt and honey. I’ve recently been working on building my glute muscles, so the yogurt is pretty good for that. 

And there we have it!

There you are guys, I hope you enjoyed this little run through of my morning routine. My friends call me absolutely nuts for spending two hours getting ready in the morning, but I really think that taking some time for yourself to get your mind in the right place and ready for the day is so important. I can say that, at least for me, taking the extra time getting ready in the morning means that I arrive at my lectures awake and ready to learn, with a clear head and a full stomach, and the satisfaction that I’ve already done some exercise. 

What’s your morning routine like? Are you a morning person or would you much rather get up in the afternoon? Do you think I’m crazy for spending so long getting ready?

Let me know in the comments!

Love ya, 

Maddie.

Upcoming content- what to expect from A Little Mad Smith

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We’re going lifestyle baby! 

Yes, hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, A Little Mad Smith is becoming a lifestyle blog as of today.

“But Maddie, wasn’t this already a lifestyle blog?” I hear you cry! Well, yes, it was, but I had a mental rule that said every post must have a specific purpose, like a recipe or DIY. As of today the rule book is going out the window, and I will be posting whatever content I fancy.

Please do not be alarmed! Recipes and DIYs will still be a frequent feature here on A Little Mad Smith, especially when Summer comes around and I have some more free time. But in the meantime I thought it’d be fun to share with you some of the more mundane stuff about my life, so you can get to know me a bit better.

Check out my new and improved “About me” page to see what I mean!

So what sort of things can you be expecting to see from me over the next few months?

I’m hoping to get some more chatty posts up here, monthly favourites, morning routines etc. I’ll also be aiming to post some throw back posts for you all on a regular basis, to keep that creative content coming!

If I can commit to taking a photo of my face that I don’t want to immediately delete, I would absolutely love to start getting some makeup tutorials up for you all seeing as I’m a makeup addict. I’m also hoping to get some “Sister Style” and fashion posts sorted when I’m back home over Easter! Maybe some OOTDs? Who’d like to see that?

I’ll also be giving you some tips on dealing with stress, balancing a degree and a healthy lifestyle, and coping with loneliness as we get closer to exam season.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TO SEE?

Please let me know what else you would be interested in seeing! Are you excited for the change? Or have you already gone and unfollowed me? (lol please don’t).

Have an awesome day,

Maddie.

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Love birds!- DIY modelling clay owls

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Hey guys!

I am soooo ready for spring at the minute. As of tomorrow afternoon I will be having a short and much needed break from university life, and will be making the journey down the motorway to spend the weekend at home with my family and Jason. I had been intending on taking my winter coats home to be put away for another year and busting out my spring time jackets- as those of you who live in the UK will know, this will sadly not be the case. Most of the UK (and a good chunk of Europe, actually) has been hit with some serious snowfall for this time of year. Luckily for us Lancashire folk, the Northwest has managed to escape the worst of it; however we are being battered by incredibly strong winds.

So even though we’re not experiencing that warm Spring weather that I’ve been anticipating for so long, this miserable climate is good for one thing- staying in all day and crafting! As my regular readers will know, I haven’t had much time for crafting recently (or anything else for that matter!). My degree is pretty full on, so I’m always grateful of any chance I get to spend some time doing something fun. (Not that Physics and Maths aren’t fun… LOL.)

As luck would have it, I ended up with a couple of hours spare the other evening. Enter my modelling clay owls! 

I recently uploaded a post about my first attempt with my new FIMO clay and asked if you guys would be interested in seeing some little tutorials and more creations. As always, you were lovely (thank you!!) and great fans of my little dinosaur, so today I’m bringing you a quick tutorial on how to make these little love birds!

These two owls are actually going to be a birthday present for my gran. She’s owl mad and has a huge collection of little owl ornaments, so I thought it’d be a cute idea to make her these little guys to join the family.  Like I stressed in my last post, I am by no means a professional standard clay modeller. You can also probably tell from the photos of these owls that I accidentally got pen on the blue little guy, oops. But I’m still kind of happy with how they turned out!

Fancy making some? Find out how below!

To make one owl:

  1. In the colour that you want the body of your owl to be, roll out a small ball of FIMO clay in between your palms. Once you have a nice smooth sphere, place it on your work surface and press down lightly with your palm so that you have a circle of around 1cm thick. Begin shaping the body of the owl, as shown below. To get the ‘ears’, place your pinky finger at the top of your circle and mould the clay around it. P1240286
  2. Once you are happy with the body of your owl, in a contrasting colour clay or a lighter shade like I did, roll out three small balls, much smaller than the body of your owl was. You want two of these to be the same size, and one to be slightly bigger. Using your palm, press your balls flat until they are about 2mm thick. These will be the wings and stomach patch for your owl, as shown above.
  3. In white clay, roll out two small balls. Press them down lightly with your palm, but not as much as you did with the body of the owl. These will be the owl’s eyes.
  4. Assemble your owl. Place the wings on either side of the body and the stomach patch on the front. Add the eyes in the desired position. You will not have to apply a lot of pressure in order to get your pieces to stick together, be gentle. P1240291
  5. Out of orange clay create a very small triangle and press this on just under the centre of the eyes. To help your owl stand up, from the same clay as you used for the body of your owl, create a small triangle. Add this to the back of you owl to act as a little support for when it is stood up.
  6. Bake your owl in the oven according to the directions on the packaging of your clay.
  7. Once your owl is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool completely before handling it. Once cool, add two black dots for eyes. Ta da!

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this quick little DIY- maybe it inspired some of you to have a go playing with FIMO yourselves! I must admit I am really enjoying it the more I play around with it; it’s great fun and you can be really creative with your designs. I can’t wait until I have some more time on my hands to see what I can come up with! 

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

Making Beeswax Soap- Review and How To!

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Hello you lovely people! How are we today?
Today’s post is all about my first experience of beeswax soap making! As some of you may remember, for my birthday back in September I did a HUGE Hobbycraft haul, returning home with innumerable crafting goodies, supplies and kits that I was just dying to try out. One of those kits was this Kirstie Allsopp Beeswax Soap making kit.

Soap making is one of the few popular crafts that I hadn’t tried out prior to purchasing this kit, and I was super excited to give it a go and see how it turned out. There were a couple of other soap making kits available at Hobbycraft during my visit, but I loved the luxurious vibe of this one, thanks to the beeswax.

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So how did I find it? 

This kit retails for £10, and contains enough ingredients to make four square soaps. You also get a mould for your soap, an instruction booklet with some background information on the process of soap making, and an inspiration booklet.

This kit uses a Melt and Pour base to make the soap. This means the process is super easy, and all you have to do is melt the base, add your preferred fragrance and colour, before pouring into your moulds. Your soap will be ready to use after just a few hours of setting time. This makes the kit great for novice soap makers, like me, and great as a gift for young adults too.

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The process was super easy and I was really pleased with the result. I began my soap making endeavour by melting my beeswax pellets in a double boiler and setting it to one side. Once I had done this, I melted the soap base in the double boiler before adding the beeswax.

I then removed my mixture from the heat and stirred it thoroughly, before adding a few drops of fragrance. Then all I had to do was pour the mixture into the provided mould and allow my soap to cool over night!

I loved the look of the finished soap, and actually ended up wrapping some up to gift to friends over Christmas. Also, the fragrance provided with this kit smells divine- it’s a wonderful sweet honey scent.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed making this soap, and I think this kit would make a great gift for the crafters in your life who are wanting to try something new.

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Do I think it’s worth the money? 

I do think this kit is worth the £10 I paid for it. I had great fun making the soap and it does make a wonderful homemade gift for friends and family.

I probably wouldn’t repurchase this kit, but I would definitely purchase the soap making ingredients individually. I usually find with trying out new crafts its always better to start out with a kit and then purchase your ingredients separately from there on; it normally makes things cheaper in the long run, and prevents you from repurchasing unnecessary instruction booklets and moulds.

That’s all from me today folks! I hope you’re all having a wonderful January, best wishes to you all! 

Love as always,

Maddie x

5 Top Tips to save money and stay healthy on a student budget

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Hi all! Seeing as it’s a new year and all that, I thought I’d do something a bit different for today’s post. So, who’s been making New Year’s resolutions? I’m one of those people who only makes resolutions that I can keep, to save me from being disappointed in myself when it gets into February and I find myself surrounded by empty chocolate wrappers even though I swore I’d cut out chocolate this year- we’ve all been there. Last year my resolution was to start a regular home yoga practise, a resolution that I’m very proud to say I managed to keep! I now practise yoga daily. My only resolution for this year is to drink more water, something that I know I really should be paying more attention to.

I’m pretty sure that one of the most common new year’s resolutions is to be healthier, whether it be eat better or start a regular exercise routine. Another popular choice seems to be save more money! So today’s blog post is bringing you a little combination of the two- how to eat healthily and save money!

As some of you will know I am currently a second year student at Lancaster University, England, studying Theoretical Physics with Mathematics. Following moving out of my family home for the first time and learning to look after myself, I’ve come to know a few tips and tricks that have enabled me to really save my pennies when it counts. I also like to eat a well balanced diet, so I’ve gotten used to shopping in a manner that allows me to make plenty of healthy meals whilst saving my money.

I’ve put together my top 5 tips that I have learnt during my time as a student that have allowed me to make my money go further, whilst also maintaining a healthy and well balanced diet. Enjoy!

Meal plan! This is without doubt the most important thing I could tell you about budgeting. Weekly meal planning has saved me so much money over the past year, as it ensures I won’t go hungry while keeping waste to an absolute minimum. I will not buy anything unless I know I will definitely be using it for a meal that week. Make a plan, write your list and stick to it. Meal planning also means that you can concentrate on making meals which all use the same basic ingredients, and also ensuring that you will be eating a wide variety of healthy foods over the week ahead! Almost everything I cook will feature the same basic ingredients, whether it be a curry, chilli, risotto or quiche. I purposely buy veg that I know will work well together and in a variety of different recipes, such as onion, red pepper and mushrooms to name a few. Cook with the same kind of oil all the time to save you buying several, whether it be vegetable oil or olive oil. Purchase a few carefully chosen spices that are good all rounders, such as black pepper and mixed herbs. These will allow you to add favour to your dishes without requiring a full spice cupbpard to store them in!

Buy veg individually and focus on carbs Purchasing your vegetables individually will keep costs low. Buying just one or two carrots every week as opposed to a pack will mean that less food is wasted and also less money. I do this will all my vegetables, and usually only pay a few pence per item. You’ll already know exactly how many of each vegetable you will need thanks to your meal plan, so stick to it and don’t get carried away buying 3 for 2 cauliflowers when you know you’re only going to eat one. Opting for veg instead of fruit is also a great way of eating your five a day whilst on a budget; it’s cheaper and can be used to make several different dishes. Focusing on carbs such as rice and pasta is also a good way of maintaining a healthy diet while on a student budget. You can purchase a kilo bag of pasta for just a few quid, and it will be a great foundation for so many meal possibilities! The same goes for rice; open up your mind to curries, chilli and risotto, all using the same main vegetables, of course.

Learn the lifetimes of your groceries This is something that you will get to grips with within your first two weeks of moving away, though you probably won’t have given it much thought before. Think about it, if you live in a house with four people and you all drink milk, you’ve probably never seen that milk go off before, seeing as you all drink it daily. But if you go and buy yourself a 4 pint of milk just for you, you’re probably not going to drink it all before it sours. The same goes for your eggs, fruit, veg and meat. Learn the lifetime of your food! Once you know how long things will last, you can evaluate if its worth you buying 12 eggs or 6, and if its really worth buying a full pack of bacon just for you.

Make in bulk I have to be honest with you, I don’t freeze food. I wish I was more confident with that, but it’s just not something I’ve ever done. I do still, however, make food in bulk. Cooking for just yourself is strange, you’re dealing with much smaller portion sizes that will probably only require, like, a quarter of a pepper or something. I make things like veggie chilli and pasta salad and keep these in the fridge in tupperware for about three days. This means that I can still use full vegetables when I cook, and it gives me some really quick and easy no-cook meals later on in the week! To avoid getting bored of eating chilli three nights in a row, I’ll mix it up by serving it with rice one day, sweet potato another day and maybe tacos on the third day. But, of course, if you don’t fancy eating that much of the same thing and you’re comfortable freezing your food, by all means, go for it!

Buy the cheaper brands– OK, so I know this is probably not the piece of advice that you wanted to hear. You like your Heinz tomato ketchup and your Kellogg’s cornflakes, I get it. But cutting down costs does means that you have to make some sacrifices. I’m not saying you have to give up everything; decide which brands you cannot live with out and which ones you’re open to change with. I don’t like cheap baked beans as much as Heinz baked beans, so I still buy Heinz. But I purchase the supermarket’s own brand of bolognese sauce and honey. Making these decisions and being open to trying new brands really will cut down your weekly spending.

There you have it guys, my top 5 tips to help you save money and live healthily on a low budget. Going from living at home to managing your own finances at university can be challenging, and daunting for some, but with these top tips I guarantee that things will be a little easier.

So remember: implement your meal plan and stick to it, don’t buy perishable items in bulk, learn the lifetimes of your groceries, make large batches of food for the fridge or freezer, and be open to making sacrifices.

I hope that you’ve found this helpful, whether you be a student or simply looking for a way to cut down your weekly spending!

If you would like any more advice on food shopping on a low budget, or anything else for student life, please get in touch in the comments! You can also check out my other post on student life, Packing for university, here

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

A rather bad attempt at pumpkin carving! (What else?)

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Hey guys! So it’s finally here, the scariest night of the year, Halloween! It’s been a weekend of fun filled Halloween activities up here at uni; I may have not taken part in the clubbing, but I have been getting in the Halloween spirit nonetheless. (Probably the saddest sentence of my life right there, I do go out clubbing sometimes, I swear…)

Jason actually came up to visit this weekend, so most of my time has been dedicated to watching films under heaps of blankets, eating lots of food and going for coffee. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a bit of pumpkin carving before he arrived.

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Ok, so this guy is supposed to be a little hanging bat. I know, I know, this is NOT up to my usual artistic standards. Unfortunately, my pumpkin carving process this year was a much more rushed affair. I usually spend a few hours at in, but this year I had to squeeze it into a mere forty minutes. It was just a consequence of the sheer amount of work I had for uni, and trying to get everything done before Jason came to visit on Saturday.

I’m not as proud of the result as I have been in previous years, but it still ain’t half bad. And besides, it’s the process that makes pumpkin carving so fun! I had loads of fun creating this little bat design, even though I didn’t get to spend as long on it as I’d have liked!

Typically, being at uni, I’m also not allowed naked flames in my bedroom, so my pumpkin is sans candle. I’m pretty gutted that I couldn’t take any funky pictures of this little guy glowing eerily in the dark, but I did put my phone inside with the torch on and that looked pretty cool, haha!

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I love pumpkin carving. I think it’s such a fun and creative activity at this time of year! I’d never actually tried pumpkin carving until fairly recently, in the big scheme of things. I may have done it when I was really little with my mum, but throughout most of my childhood and early teenage years I don’t remember doing it. I guess my mum didn’t want to leave me to do it until she could trust me to handle a knife on my own (which in actual fact she still doesn’t; I almost sliced my thumb off at the start of uni last year, but thats a whole other story). But she trusts me a bit more with knives now. Ish.

For the past five years (I know this exactly, thanks to good old Facebook’s ‘look what you shared five years ago’ posts), I’ve had a go at pumpkin carving on my own. When I’m at home I always take the time to sit down and plan my design out, before merrily setting to work hacking away at my pumpkin. I actually really enjoy getting all the guts out, which I know is some peoples least favourite part of the whole process. But for me its super satisfying, whilst being really gross and slimy; perfect for Halloween, am I right?! 

So that’s all from me today, I hope you enjoyed this post guys, despite it not being my usual style! Would you like to see more of this type of chatty post, or should I just stick to making stuff? Haha!

Best wishes to you all for this Halloween, whether you be spending it Trick or Treating, partying or just watching a scary movie and hiding behind a cushion. Or if you’re just staying in with the lights off pretending your not home to avoid the Trick or Treaters!

Have a wonderful and blessed day guys, best wishes to you all!

Maddie x