Sunday, 29 November 2015

Advent One

Today is the first day of advent and I am super excited. This day has always been one of my favourite days, the day we begin to count down till Christmas. Now I know what you guys are all thinking, what is such a level headed person like Rachel doing getting so excited by Christmas, right? No you're right that's just wishful thinking I am the crazy person who wears elf costumes at Christmas, but I do have a legitimate reason for acting like a 4 year old. This is Christmas! The birth of Christ, the saviour of man kind, the day God came down and dwelt among us. That is so worth celebrating and getting excited for! Okay now I am going to try to calm down.....a little. I just love to celebrate this time of the year, its an amazing chance for Christians to come together and celebrate and worship God and I intend to take full advantage of it every year.

This year I have decided to do a few different things that I will share with you and you will hopefully enjoy. Firstly this week kicks off the first of my advent series where I will be sharing my advent bible studies with you and all the bits and bobs I've been learning whilst reading about Christ. I will also be sharing Christmas bits and bobs from my week and doing a weekly vlog over on my YouTube channel. I did think about doing vlogmas but I have never done it before so I thought it'd be nice to just do a weekly round up with lots of clips of bible studies and Christmas shopping and decorations and church services I am going to, along with whatever other Christmassy things I get up to.

I found the advent bible study I will be following over on pinterest where there are loads of different ones with advice and tips from all sorts of people. This is just the one I preferred. Let me know if you decide to do this too I'd love to hear how you get on with it.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday and that you are excited as I am for the first day of advent. God bless! 
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Friday, 27 November 2015

Feelin' Preppy

Winter has come and Christmas is on its way! - can you tell I'm excited? Although the weather is getting decidedly colder I am still determined to potter around in cute little dresses with tights and will probably continue to do so all winter. This dress is one of my absolute favourites and luckily for me it was an absolute bargain. I got it from George at Asda last march, I have never bought any clothes from George before and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this dress. Its made of a really comfy, warm fabric that moves really well and it actually fits on the bust. Being large chested can have it's upsides sometimes, (like your strapless dresses don't fall down) but most of the time I find it a right pain especially when trying to fit into dresses. It's very difficult to find one that actually compliments my shape but this dress does it perfectly. I also love the little lace peter pan collar with pearl detailing (I can never resist a peter pan collar).

I am lucky enough to live in Oxford for part of the year whilst I am at uni and so I am never short of beautiful places to go a wandering. These photos were taken down one of many little cobbled back streets and I loved wandering around the colleges dressed like a preppy student. The shoes are from New Look and really comfy with a big chunky heel which is great for this damp weather. The bag was a sale item I managed to pick up on boxing day from Next and although quite small, (it fits in only the essentials -phone, lippy and credit card) I really love it.  

I hope you're all enjoying the last few days of Autumn and you're not getting to wet or cold.

God bless!

What I wore....
Dress - George at Asda | Shoes - New Look | Bag - Next 
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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Last Of The Golden Autumn

Products Used:
The Body Shop Moisture Foundation
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealor 
Sleek Storm Pallet 
Clinique Blusher in Iced Lotus 
Clinique Colour Pop Lipstick in Nude 
Maybelline The Falsies Mascara 
Maybelline Gel Eyeliner in Brown
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Monday, 23 November 2015

The Story Of Bumble And God's Faithfulness

Psalm 36:5 "Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds"

A few weeks ago my little car (his name is Bumble as he is yellow and black like a bumble bee, obvs) died. Like I mean kaput on the side of the road. I was on my way to Leeds where my boyfriend was working at the time, we had planned to meet in Leeds then swop over the driving and go up to Scotland for a long weekend, and I was only about half an hour away from his work when I began to smell burning. As some of you may know I suffer from anxiety and so when I'm driving my car off the motorway and onto a busy ring road and it starts to smell like burning my reaction can very quickly go from confusion, to total panic to full blown anxiety attack within a moment of minutes. However I managed to stay completely calm and cool, telling myself there would be a simple explanation as soon as I get to my boyfriends workplace he can take a look. And then my boyfriend rang me whilst I was in the middle of a very difficult navigation so the map disappeared from the satnav and was replaced with a picture of his face, beautiful as it is to me it wasn't what I needed to see in that moment. I completely missed the turning, was forced to pull into a very dodgy looking car park and decided to ring up my boyfriend to shout at him that I was lost, the car was on fire and the satnav now wouldn't reset because there wasn't enough internet, I would probably be mugged in this skanky carpark and it was all his fault. Then, being the rational human being I am, I hung up.

I then started on God. I asked him what in the worlds he thought he was doing and I was furiously trying to understand why he hadn't protected me even though I'd prayed before getting in the car and starting my journey. I then continued to drive for half an hour round and round the ring road whilst my boyfriend tried to direct me with no real idea where I was until finally he managed to convince me to stop the car in a little road and wait for him to come and pick me up. We then rang the RAC to come and pick my little car up. My boyfriend explained to me that the problems I had been having with the car for the last few weeks were because the clutch was going and I had in fact completely burnt the clutch out on my journey up to Leeds. It soon dawned on me that the clutch had been going wrong for a while and could easily have burnt out at any point along my journey, possibly in the middle of the motorway miles away from my boyfriend. Instead I had broken down just 15 minutes away from my boyfriend meaning he was able to come and get me and get his car so we could continue our original plan and go up to Scotland that weekend. I then discovered not only was I only 15 minutes away from Russell but I was also parked right next to a little convenience store and three different take aways.

My boyfriend has this word which I love to use it's a Godincidence. It means that instead of thinking something is a coincidence we actually realise that something has happened as a result of God's amazing love in our lives. I think that as Christians we use the word coincidence way too much. We have an amazing, loving father, who knows us better than anyone and anything and wants to care for us more than we can imagine. In Psalm 91:4 it says "He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler". He protects us and shields us from harm throughout all of life's problems both big and small. Some people may think I am totally mad to suggest that God protected me, he brought me to within 15 minutes of my boyfriend, in a place easily accessible for the RAC, he gave us another means of getting to Scotland and he provided us with somewhere to eat. God knows me inside out and he definitely knows that when I am stressed and tired a good Chinese take away will make a world of difference. He protected me and gave me refuge.

I think I would rather be the type of Christian who trusts and knows God is good and faithful, that the little things that we might pass of as a coincidence are in fact our loving father at work. If you feel God doesn't often answer prayer or you feel far away from God I would encourage you to be mindful of all the little parts of your life that are good, write things down each time something coincidental happens and I bet some of those will start to link up to prayers. Don't always pass things off as coincidence but instead recognise that God loves you and gives freely to those who trust in him.              
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Friday, 20 November 2015

Meet Me In St Andrews

Hat - Primark, Top - Primark, Jacket - Primark, Jeans - New Look, Boots - New Look, Bag- Primark

As many of you will know if you've been reading my blog for a little while now, I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with St Andrews. To put it bluntly I bloody love it. I went for the first time ever in March last year and it was love at first sight - quaint little cobbled streets, stunning architecture, cosy café's full of homemade cake and more book shops than you can shake a stick at. I'd absolutely love to live here when I graduate but unfortunately the house prices are less than ideal and there aren't many jobs around, but a girls gotta dream. Luckily enough its only about 20 minutes away from my boyfriends parents house and so for now I will just have to make do with the odd little visit every time I stay.

And so one frosty Autumn day whilst having a weekend getaway in Scotland we decided to go to St Andrews for the day. Fall fashion is definitely my favourite and one thing I have really been loving this year are the sleeveless coats. Its always hard to know what to wear this time of year because it's not warm enough to go without a coat but it's also not cold enough to be bundled up in scarves and hats and so as soon as I saw the sleeveless coats come into the shops I knew I needed one. This one is from Primark and although made of a blazer like material its surprisingly warm. I decided to pair it with a black turtle neck and my trusty ankle boots, which are literally the comfiest things I have worn in a long time. I also dusted off another hat this time my favourite floppy 70s number which I love and keeps my head nice and toasty.  

We decided to stop for a coffee at Pret, I say coffee neither of us actually drink coffee and so I had my usual hot choc with lashings of whipped cream whilst my boyfriend went for the spiced warm apple juice which smelled amazing (like autumn in a cup)! We then wandered into a new shop I'd not seen before, The Isle of Skye Candle Company and when I say wandered I mean I saw a shop full of candles and ran towards it (I think I have obsessive candle disorder). The shop smelt amazing and despite my excitement I managed to restrain myself and buy only one candle, in the scent ginger and nutmeg - it's so delicious.

I definitely cannot wait to go back when I am next up at Christmas and I will certainly be having another look in my favourite book shops (I wrote about those here) and this little candle shop.

God bless!

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Plum and Gold

It is officially winter, the mists are rolling in, the nights are dark and wet and the strong eye looks are now definitely a staple for my outfit. I really love the colder months for make up as I feel I can experiment a lot more with colours and styles whereas in the summer I tend to wear very little make up. I don't often wear purple eye-shadow as there's a very fine line between purple smokey and looking like you've been punched in the eye and it can be difficult to get the balance right. But I found by adding a bit of sparkle into the mix it helped to lighten the whole eye look completely.

The shadows I used were from the Sleek Garden of Eden pallet a pallet that I love but don't get to use that often. I used a sparkly purple for the base and then a matte dark burgundy in the crease followed by a deep dark sparkly purple in the corner of my eye. I then used the sleek gold liquid eye-liner along the top lash line and across the bottom tear duct to open up my eyes. I went for a nice simple lipstick to counteract the boldness of the eye and used the Clinique nude pop.

Hope you're all enjoying the colder weather as much as I am.

God bless!

Products used:
The Body Shop Moisture Foundation
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealor
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder 
Sleek Garden Of Eden I-Divine Pallet
Sleek Pixie Pink Blusher
Sleek Dip It Eye-liner in Gold 
Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
Clinique Nude Pop Lipstick      

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Monday, 16 November 2015

Gods Timing

As women (and men) we often want everything right now, right this second here in front of me, be that the new Iphone, Zoella bath product or your boyfriends attention. We live in a culture where things are now immediate, we can download films, music and books with the click of a button and we can send messages to our friends or ring them to get instant responses to things. The world moves at a very fast pace and as Christians it's hard not to get swept up in a culture of business and immediacy and this can be reflected in our relationship with God. I know that personally I am guilty of praying to God asking him for things I feel I need and then wondering why its taking him so long.We want him to answer our prayer right here right now. But is this really what we should be expecting from God? Should we really be putting our timing above his?

In Galatians 5:22 we are told "the fruit of the Spirit is 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...." and later in verse 25 "let us keep in step with the Spirit". We are told to "keep in step with the spirit" to want to embody these gifts and they will help us to be closer to God and to be more like Christ. We all struggle with keeping different fruits of the Spirit but one thing I hear Christians often struggle with is patience. But patience is so key to getting closer to God and to better trusting and understanding his will, it is so important that we are patient and trust his will.

Throughout the bible there are so many verses that tell us God's timing is perfect and patience is the key to trusting God. In Ecclesiastes 3: 1 it says "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven" and again in verse 11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time". God has a plan and a will and everything fits into that plan perfectly. Not when we want it, not when your Mum wants it, not when your boyfriend, sister, vicar or rabbit wants it but when God wants it. And because it is in his time it is made beautiful by him.

If God is the centre of your life as we are told he should be then why do we worry so much? Why are we so anxious that things are done when we want them instead of trusting in God and in his timing. Acts 1:7 says "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority". It is not for us to know why or when but to trust in him, to trust that he's got it all sorted because he has.

And when we do trust in him things are often even better than we ever imagined, so many times I have been amazed by what God has done in my life. There have been times when I have prayed and prayed asking why do I feel so low? Why is this so hard? Why won't you take it away? But I carried on trusting I prayed that I knew it would be right and that I trusted him, and he has been faithful as always. One thing I think can be really helpful and encouraging in this area is to keep a diary and to look back and see how perfect Gods timing is, that everything came at such a perfect time and, had it come when you wanted it it wouldn't have been as amazing.

Let me know if you've had any thoughts or experiences with trusting Gods timing in the comments. God bless!     
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Friday, 13 November 2015

Borrowed Barbours And Boots

The other weekend me and my boyfriend decided to go for a nice relaxing weekend in the Scottish countryside. As I've said before I am lucky enough to be dating a guy whose parents have a lovely Scottish cottage full of wood fires and comfy chairs surrounded by beautiful scenery perfect for a walk or two and a weekend getaway from all the the stress of life.

We took these photos on a walk with the dogs, I had planned to do a full outfit post however silly me forgot to check my battery in my camera before leaving the house and as soon as I turned my camera on the battery died. So instead of just giving up we decided to take a few snapshots on the iPhone for me to share with you. 

Since moving to the middle of nowhere in Hereford I have found I have a fondness for traditional country attire that I never thought I'd have and so the chance to dress up in my boyfriends Barbour was too good to be missed. Its unbelievably comfy and warm and fit surprisingly well for a man's coat, this definitely won't be the last time I borrow this one. It was quite muddy so I borrowed some hunter wellies off Russell's Mum which are also super comfy! The scarf is a new one from New Look and I just love the autumn colours running throughout, it's also really cosy and warm.    

As you can see the autumn leaves were out in their full glory and the colours were just gorgeous. I know it will soon be winter and all the bright colours of autumn will be gone and so I am desperately trying to make the most of it whilst it lasts. I hope you are all enjoying the transition from autumn to winter at the moment.

God bless!

What I wore......
Coat - Barbour | Scarf - New Look | Jeans - New Look | Boots - Hunters
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Monday, 9 November 2015

Using Your Gifts

You know those amazing spiritual journals you see all over pinterest and instagram, the ones with bible verses written in beautiful typography with little flowers and hearts detailing the side, everything is hand drawn by this ridiculously photogenic girl who sips her Starbucks and has every art supply known to man? Well I'm not one of those girls. I can't draw, I definitely cannot do typography and my instagram pictures could do with a lot of work. But I wanted a spiritual journal and I wanted it to look as good as the skinny jean clad Christian hipster girl's in the corner of the coffee shop with her bible open and all her crayons. And so I bought myself a nice new notebook and I got myself some felt tips and coloured pens and glitter and I set to work on drawing a heart with a bible verse in the middle. For about an hour I scribbled and rubbed and pencilled and ripped out a page until finally irritated to the max I gave up. Why couldn't I draw a nice heart around my bible verse? Why couldn't I have cute drawings and amazing typography and bright colours and fabulous hipster hair?

The problem was I was going about it all wrong, instead of thinking how will a spiritual journal help me in my faith and what was my individual way of doing it using my own gifts I tried to copy some one else's. It wasn't until a few months later that I decided to try again but this time no pictures, no colours, no drawings, just words. I am a writer as many of you know and words are my fortay, creative writing is my fortay, fancy calligraphy and pictures of suns beaming down on bible verses are not my fortay. And so I wrote as I like to write. I wrote prayers, messages I felt God was telling to me, pieces of creative writing, a letter to God, bible verses and what I felt they meant to me at that time and much more. My spiritual journal has now become somewhere I can share the innermost thoughts and feelings of my relationship with God in a way that works for me. For some people it may be drawing pictures for me it was writing.

What I want you to encourage you in today is to be yourself. God has blessed us all with multiple gifts some can draw, some can sing, some can write, some can play music, others sports, others are amazing speakers the list is endless. But just because you can't get up and lead worship or do an amazing talk in front of thousands of women doesn't make your gifts any less. In this world we are often guilty of imagining some gifts are greater than others but God loves all our gifts, he created them as he created us each unique and individual in our own way. Anybody who has played with children knows what an amazing gift it is when a child brings you a drawing that they drew for you and for God its the same. He delights in our gifts and loves it when we bring them back to him. Whatever you're good at see if you can bring it back to God, use it to praise him and come closer to him. Even if you feel like your gift isn't one you can use to praise God I challenge you to find a way that you can bring it back to him, I am 100% sure there is a way you can.

Just remember that God delights in you in Psalm 37: 23 it says that God "delights in every detail of their lives" (NLT) he delights in every detail of your life in all your passions and all your gifts and he loves you to use them for him and for his glory. So whatever your gifts are use them to praise God, use them to get closer to him  and enjoy what our amazing Father has given us.     
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Friday, 6 November 2015

Autumn Wanderings

Autumn is here! Finally, I've been waiting for it for a whole year (awful awful joke sorry I take after my Dad). Autumn is in fact my favourite season I love everything about it from the glorious colour of the leaves to the cosy jumpers to the cinnamon spiced hot chocolate right up to the comforting yet sometimes terrifying build up to Christmas. But one of my absolute favourite things to do this time of year is go for walks when the air is crisp and you have to tuck yourself up in scarves and hats and one of my favourite places to do that is the grounds of a National Trust. I've been a member of the National Trust for 18 months now and am loving being able to relive this family tradition of exploring the grounds and houses of beautiful historic sites. Since my boyfriend has moved to Leeds and is now surrounded by some of my favourite National Trusts he has also decided to join for the year.

So the other day when I was visiting I decided to show him one of my favourite National Trusts from my childhood Fountains Abbey. I fell in love with Fountains Abbey when I was very little, completely entranced by its mystical arches and grand stone edifices I decided it was like something from a fairytale. Now years later my love hasn't changed at all and I can't wait to go back again and again this year to explore even more.

This outfit is one of my favourites at the moment as I absolutely love wearing mustard. This jumper is from Primark and is so cosy and comfy its become my go to on mornings when the weather is dreary and I need cheering up. I also found this hat during my shop to Primark and fell completely in love with it. I don't really suit woolly bobble hats and my hair is quite silky so they tend to just fall off so going for a shaped hat is a much better bet and still keeps my head nice and toasty. The shoes are also a new buy from New Look and so so comfy I am literally wearing them every day at the moment.  

I'd like to do more and more outfit posts so I hope you enjoyed this one let me know if you did in the comments below. Hope you're all having a good week.

Bye for now!

What I wore....
Hat - Primark | Scarf - New Look | Jumper - Primark  |Trousers - H&M | Boots - New Look 
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