Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pay Day Quiz Clothing Occasion Wear Wishlist

(L-R) 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

If there's any excuse to splurge on something you've been lusting after for a while then it's pay day. Am I right that January has felt like the longest month ever in terms of a) work and b) getting paid? I do hate saying goodbye to the glitzy Christmas and NYE season, but as soon as it resets to January I'm already thinking about the summer holidays, so there's that.

I'm not a massive fan of nights out anymore, more dinner or tea and cake with friends kinda thing, I'm 100% heading for old lady status, along with the fact that I now like frequenting homeware stores and watching Location, Location, Location on the weekend. BUT like every girl, I love nothing more than getting dressed up for a night out, lets face it, it's always the best part of any night. So to give myself something to lift my spirits in the gloomiest month of the year I've put together some little beauties from the Quiz Clothing Occasion Dresses range that I think you might like too.

I'm instantly drawn to anything embroidered, glittery and off the shoulder, still. I'm always in shock at how cheap Quiz dresses are too, and they're perfect for any occasion, from proms to cruise formal nights. I am head over heels in love with the 3rd one in as it has some serious mermaid vibes going on. Some of the shorter dresses would be perfect for spring and summer weddings or nights out, the 2 off the shoulder embroidered dresses are so simple, yet beautiful. They have loads in the sale at the moment too, so it perfectly ties in with pay day! Now I just need to find an occasion to wear one of them...

What do you think of my picks? Which dress is your favourite?

*This post has been written in collaboration with Quiz Clothing, but, all opinions in this post are 100% my own.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Favourites: The Shower Edit

Contrary to popular belief I DO actually have showers, and not just constant Lush baths, just so you know. Like baths, they're one of those things that you just look forward to at the end of the day, and totally the highlight of any day when you've done nothing but lounge around in your pjs all day (best type of day in my opinion).

It's just the concoction of lots of shower luxuries that I just enjoy the most. We all have our favourite lineup for the shower, but I do like to mix it up sometimes and try something new. Despite receiving enough shower gel this Christmas to last me for the whole year, I can't resist adding to it when I spot something I love on offer, or something new and exciting.

So, this Friday favourites will be going over my shower edit and my current lineup. I may make these edits a thing if you enjoy them, like Nicole's breakfast edit, Nicole's Bath edit, Nicoles makeup edit, more of that type of thing I'm thinking as it makes it fun and interesting. But for now take a peek into what I'm currently reaching for in my shower...
Original Source was probably one of the first 'grown up' brands I remember reaching for when I was younger. Despite the influx of new shower products on the market and my growing obsession for Lush, they'll always be a place in my heart for the classic Lavender and Lime original source shower gel. They just smell so good, and they're one of the only brands that actually help to get rid of that cloying chlorine smell after training. There really is nothing worse than coming to work and still smelling like a 25m swimming pool. I kid you not.

Determined to #ShakeUpYourShower in 2017, Original Source have created their new and ultra divine Moisturising Shower Milks* that are Vegan, are paired with delicious scents and they're so much more moisturising than your typical, everyday shower gel.

Firstly, they have a flavour that smells just like Bakewell Tart, the DREAM. Like, how is this possible? For this reason alone the Cherry & Almond Milk is undoubtedly my favourite, closely followed by Sweet Apple & Vanilla.  

With 4 flavours to choose from, this is definitely going to be the hardest shower decision I'm faced with every day. But on the plus side, each shower milk is packed full of real vegan milk extracts, natural moisturisers and 100% natural fragrances. So whatever flavour you pick they'll help to deliver a moisturising shower to leave you smelling fruity fresh for the rest of the day. 

These no nonsense, fuss free shower milks are a dream for busy people like me. I'll even go as far as missing my moisturising regime after a shower if I've used these, score another 10 minutes time to scroll through my phone before work!
You've probably tried Original Source at some point in your life so you'll already know how amazing and affordable they are. These shower milks are only around the £1.80 - £2 mark and usually on special offer, so adding one of these to your next weekly shop isn't going to break the bank!

Have you tried any of these before? Which fragrance is your favourite?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

6 Tips For Surviving A Spending Ban

Spending ban, what's that? Don't worry I'd never enforced such a thing on myself either until I was in a position to start 'properly' saving for a house. YES, YES, YES. I'm only a few weeks away from moving into my dream home now and it has 100% been worth my sacrifices over the last few months. Firstly, who knew it could be so expensive? If I wanted to get myself into gear at the end of last year I knew I had to make drastic attempts to curb my spending habits.

Try explaining to your mortgage adviser whether the 3 ASOS orders in one month on your bank statement were a regular occurrence. What would I say? Oh, don't worry about that, just trying to get myself up to the next level of ASOS A-List?!

I wish I had been told before how invasive lenders and advisers can be when you're in the process of buying a house, but luckily for me those 3 ASOS orders didn't affect anything. BUT it did give me a wake up call and make me realise just how much money I had been spending on clothes each month, eek.

I've been strict with myself and done 3 whole months of maybe purchasing one item of clothing. For a self obsessed shopaholic, I think I deserve a clap on the back for this one. People fear the term 'spending ban' and I used to think it was a waste of time, but honestly, it's a short term thing and guess what? ASOS and everywhere else is still going to be there afterwards, pretty amazing right?

Whether you have something big to save for or feel like you're sacrificing your weekly food shop for the latest mac lipstick, these 6 tips will help you save plenty of dosh in no time.

#1. Have A Goal - congratulations, you've decided to reward yourself with a spending ban. Any old spending ban that you've strung out of no where is going to fail faster than a teatox diet. So set yourself a realistic goal with how much you want to save each month, what it's for, or even what you want expenditure you want to exclude. Nothing adds up faster than the daily coffee run or trip to Costa, albeit rather delightful little luxuries <3

#2. Budget - When it comes to money, nothing will be achievable without setting yourself a realistic budget. If you're a lover of excel sheets you're going to love this one. This is also something that your mortgage adviser (if you have one) will draw up with you before the buying process to ensure that you will have enough money leftover at the end of the month to basically survive. I wouldn't recommend this yet if you still need to cut down on those 5 monthly ASOS orders...

I usually start with the amount of money I want to save each month, this is obviously the key reason for deciding to put yourself on a spending ban. You can then work out how much money you've got left over for the rest of the month and divide this into your rent, living expenditure, food and any other outgoings such as mobile bills. You may even be lucky enough to have a little bit leftover for those occasions in the month that you need to reward yourself for doing so well.

#3. Avoid The Shops - Sounds logical, but avoid the shops. I am the worst for going in town for one thing and returning with a kitchen sink, that I definitely don't need. I'm an impulse shopper so if I see something I like at that time I get it straight away without a moments thought. In the past, this is why I end up with a lot of clothing that I only wear once!

Make other plans for days out that don't involve town, this way it will stop you from making any unnecessary purchases that you would otherwise not have seen. I would 100% recommend deleting the ASOS app too...

#4. Make Use Of What You Have - Hence last weeks Shopping My Wardrobe outfit post, I have been trying to make the most of what I have so I can justify to myself that I don't need to buy anything else. Having a clear out also helps you to see wood for the trees and actually see what items may be lurking at the back of your wardrobe that you've never worn.

The same applies for makeup products, we all have at least 56789 eye shadow palettes, yet we continue to keep buying them. I guarantee that from shopping your stash you'll find some amazing things you've forgotten about. It definitely makes you appreciate more of what you already have, and stop yourself from buying another striped t-shirt to add to your 100 + collection.

#5. Make Sacrifices - but remember you still need to have a life. This is so important when you're saving, yes buying a house may be the most important thing in your life right now but your health and well being is more important, and saving will be so much easier if you remember this.

But unfortunately for any type of spending ban, sacrifices have to be made. Whether that's cutting out the daily coffee you get from the work cafe, or stopping those unnecessary weekly trips to Boots and Mac for the latest lippy. I see all of these things as non-essentials that YOU can survive without. In my eyes, it's the unnecessary expenditure which separates anyone from their end savings goal. 

#6. Reward Yourself - If you're a fan of Freudian studies, you'll know that by social association, when we do good things we may get a reward for that. Set yourself small targets throughout that month and set small rewards for achieving them. Whether that's rewarding yourself with a tea and cake outing with a friend if you last 2 weeks without buying anything non essential, or having a luxury purchase in mind that you'll reward yourself with when you reach that end goal.

Nothing will work if you don't have an end goal or some kind of reward in mind at the end, life really is too short for that -and it definitely gives you something to work for!

Spending bans don't need to be a life sentence and scary, if I can stop myself from my frivolous spending habits each weekend then anyone can! Make healthy changes to your lifestyle and your bank balance will love you for it! 

Have you got any other tips? Have you done a spending ban before?

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Friday, January 20, 2017

10 Thoughts You Have In Your 9-5 Job

The one thing uni doesn't prepare you for is the transition from all day napping and the occasional netflix binge to working 9-5, 5 days a week. If that isn't enough to cause a heart attack for a young heart, I don't know what will. 

You can't just skip a meeting when you feel like it, or sink into the back of your seat in a lecture hall to nap when you've had enough. Entering the 9-5 working world, is the first step to adulting. It's scary, it's adulty and it's exhausting.

A lot can happen within that 8 hour time span - enough to keep the gossip going for the whole week anyway, well as long as it doesn't involve you, then it's not so fun. Wherever you work in the world, and whatever you do, let's face it, we'll probably all share these 10 thoughts at least some point during the day.

#1. Is it Friday yet? Yes, it's only 9:05am on Monday morning, but like seriously, is it Friday yet? Also why don't we have 2 day working weeks and 5 day weekends? Now that could work.

#2. HOW MANY CUPS OF TEA DO YOU NEED? Everyone just loves the tea. I'm pretty sure that 6th cup of tea within 2 hours is neither OK or normal. *Applies the same principle to coffee*.

#3. Is 24 too young to retire? Serious thoughts here, and is it okay? I'm not sure how I'll be able to waste my life doing 9-5 for the rest of my life *shivers at the thought*.

#4. Is it really worth having a house, money and stability at the end of the day instead of a lie in, and job for that fact? Probably not.

#5. Hell isn't worse than this. I'd rather be stepping across hot coals 100 x times over than having to sit in my next meeting, oh and actually do some work. 

#6. You wouldn't survive without your co-workers. Sure your laughing to work ratio is 80:20, it might not be the most productive, but you're getting by. The day the office banter dies out is the day I leave. I just can't cope with that.

#7. What can I eat next? Why am I ALWAYS hungry? I only ate an hour ago, help me. Must resist eating my lunch at 10am. So what's for dinner?

#8. You've decided that your colleagues are vultures. As soon as the cake comes out everyone wants to know you. It's like no one's seen a piece of food before, and all sense of self restraint and diets go out the window. Cue the next hour of moaning about their weight loss goals.

#9. Is this really what I look like? Whilst you're milking those toilet breaks every hour you can't help but get a glance at your reflection in the mirror. WHO IS THAT AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ME? You convince yourself it's the lighting in the bathroom, but I'm sure I was wearing makeup this morning, oh is that a grey hair and why are my eye bags longer than my hair. What have I become??

#10. Anything, but work. Why is the sky blue? Arghh I hate it when my nails chip at work. I wonder how many likes my last Instagram post? Is it home time yet? You get the picture.

The good news is that these thoughts are completely normal, even if your mind does feel like a constant washing machine. It's the best coping mechanism for work that you can have, and your best chance of survival in the work place.

Can you relate to any of these? What are your thoughts during your working day?

*This is meant to be a light hearted post, and is not completely true to life...Just making sure I still have a job after writing this ;)
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

100 Date Night Ideas

I'm counting down the days until I'm no longer in a long distance relationship. When I can spend longer than 2 days a month together and can actually have frequent date nights, that would be a fine thing, eh?

It can be all too easy for couples to do the same Netflix, films and binge every Friday night. So whether you're looking for some new date ideas or for first date ideas or things to do with your friends, these 100 should certainly keep you going for a while...

1. Build your own burger night
2. A long walk/hike
3. Dinema - Grab some dinner and head to the cinema
4. Takeaway with film night
5. Make homemade pizzas - even make the bread from scratch!
6. Trampolining
7. Go for brunch
8. Exercise together - running, swimming, HIIT etc
9. Sit by the sea
10. Go to a comedy night
11. Go to the theatre
12. Take a dance class together
13. Watch a football/rugby/other sport together
14. Go to the seaside for fish and chips and ice cream
15. Pamper night - so underrated for couples, but sooo good
16. Chocolate fondue night
17. Do some baking
18. Go to an outdoor/ drive through cinema
19. Roadtrip!
20. Have a bar crawl together
21. Plan a picnic
22. Board game night
23. Phone free night
24. Spa day
25. Stargaze - grab some blankets, warm drinks and look up to the stars together
26. Plan a surprise date
27.Wine tasting 
28. Visit a museum
29. Strawberry/pumpkin/various other fruit picking
30. Coffee and cake date
31. Go to the beach
32. Take a surfing class
33. Be a tourist in your own city
34. Go to the park
35. Build a fort - all the fairy lights and cosy blankets
36. Go to a food market
37. Take a city break - staycation or abroad
38. Go on a ghost tour - most cities will do one
39. Romantic meal
40. Ice Skating
41. Have a double date with your friends
42. Go to Ikea purely for meatballs and Daim cake
43. Watch the sunset/sunrise (2 different date night/morning ideas!)
44. Watch some fireworks
45. Boat ride
46. Skinny dipping
47. Binge watch netflix 
48. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
49. Go wild swimming (strongly recommend after my breakwater swim!)
50. Play video games
51. Outdoor yoga class
52. During Christmas walk around your streets and admire all the Christmas lights
53. Choose new Christmas decorations together
54. Do everything by fairy lights/ candlelight for an evening
55. Go to a theme park
56. Go to a dry ski slope/ indoor ski centre
57. Carve pumpkins
58. Go to a corn maze
59. Work your way through the alphabet for date night ideas (e.g A - abseil, B - bike ride)
60. Rock climbing
61. Mini golf
62. Buy a disposable camera and take lots of pictures!
63. Go camping... or glamping
64. Shop for each other - set a budget and buy each other an outfit or something nice
65. Recreate your first ever date
66. Go to a fancy bar/restaurant and dress up to the nines
67. Go to a midnight viewing of a horror film
68. Back to front day - dinner first and breakfast last
69. Go bowling
70. Buy tickets to a concert
71. Do something you've both never done before
72. Have a water fight
73. Throw a themed dinner and movie night
74. Movie marathon weekend - complete with endless snacks
75. Half and half - both of you organise one half of the date night or day
76. Pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it together
77. Carpool karaoke?
78. Write letters to each other and post them
79. Toast marshmallows on a fire - make s'mores!
80. Go fishing
81. Head to a waterpark
82. Fly a kite
83. Head to a flea market/car boot sale
84. Share a bubble bath 
85. Start a DIY project together after picking one from pinterest
86. Buy a takeway pizza and eat it in the park (weather permitting!)
87. Go to a shopping centre 
88. Have a quiz night
89. Have an indoor picnic on the floor with plenty of candles and fairy lights
90. Bike ride
91. Feed ducks at the pond
92. Enroll in a class together - learn a language, learn a skill and have some fun
93. Go to a roller skating night/party
94. Snuggle by the fire
95. Plan a dream holiday together
96.Hot air balloon ride
97. Drive somewhere unknown and have dinner in a place you've never been to
98. Pick out each others outfits for a date
99. Read a book together
100. Share the biggest milkshake you've ever laid eyes on
Don't worry if you can't choose, I'm going to be writing my favourites onto pieces of paper and put them all together in a jar. Then every Friday, or whenever I fancy a date night, I'll pick something out for us to both do. You can then put the idea back in the jar or replace with something new once you've done it. The best thing is most of these ideas are free or relatively cost free, so there's really no excuse to do something a little bit different every once in a while.

Do you have any other date night ideas? Do you have frequent date nights? What's your ultimate date night?
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Monday, January 16, 2017

OOTD | Shopping My Wardrobe

Dress - Glamorous
Jacket - New Look
Boots* - Rocket Dog

I'm 3 months into my spending ban now. Any new clothing I had has dried up and ASOS are contacting me daily to check if things are still OK? and you know what, I don't know if I am.

It's shed light on how materialistic I am as a person and how much I just LOVE new clothing. Nothing makes you feel better than new clothing, especially those 'sent from the gods' items that you actually wear more than once because it's just lurrrve! But the reason for my spending ban is 190% worth it and I'm just thinking of the goal at the end. Once I'm there it's going to be back to those monthly asos hauls, but I think if anything the spending ban has taught is that I can do it, and I can save a lot of money by simply not buying so much stuff and I would like to maybe wear my things more than once every once in a while.

Shopping my wardrobe hasn't been so bad, the hardest bit has been trying to keep up with producing fresh outfit posts for the blog. But I've rediscovered some old classics like this denim dress, again, only worn once. I'm channeling my 1970's style with this sheepskin jacket and the easiest up do hairstyle that I wish I'd known about sooner. Now I'm 4 inches of hair less, I can finally enjoy my hair more - no more sitting down on it, finding yesterday's sandwich in it or getting it stuck in a door handle, HURRAH. This is legit the easiest hairstyle though, and my go to for those mornings before work when I have to be out the house in 5 minutes.

I was short of a good pair of winter boots until these beautiful Rocket Dog Chelsea boots arrived at my door. I've wanted a pair of Chelsea boots for about 35467 yeas, they're also water resistant which is ultra good when you live in Plymouth. They're perfect every day boots that are super comfy too, oh and did I mention they're in the sale too? They're definitely going to last for a good few winters to come!

What do you think of this outfit? Could you last a 3 month spending ban? Do you shop your wardrobe much?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Friday, January 13, 2017

5 Things To Do & See In Copenhagen

I saw the New Year in in Copenhagen and it was pretty special. Copenhagen has been on my travel bucket list for so long. The last time I'd been to Copenhagen airport was when I was on a stopover from Finland and I had a mini life break down after losing my connecting flight ticket. 

But it hadn't all been bad. The airport actually had a Starbucks (Finland didn't) and a Whsmiths, so I knew I wanted to go back without a doubt.

This trip was probably the least I had ever been prepared for any holiday. I usually meticulously write a minute by minute itinerary to make as much of the trip as possible. But spontaneity seemed to work on this trip, and for once it was nice to just go with the flow. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. I finished the trip with 800 DK left, so I naturally spent the rest in Sephora.

Copenhagen was an absolute blast, where there's no such thing as a cinnamon roll too many, and you're more likely to see people cycling than walking (except me, because I can't ride a bike *sobs*). So if you fancy a cute getaway to the Hygge capital in 2017, here's 5 things that you just gotta see in Copenhagen.
#1. Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is a must if you're in Copenhagen. During Christmas and New Year it celebrates the festival of light where you guessed it, everything is lit up. Walking in is the most magical thing, as you're met by twinkly lights adorned on pretty much every Christmas related thing you can think of. It is joined by a wonderful Christmas market, plenty of food places to eat and of course rides! 

It couldn't be in a more central location, it's opposite the train station and a stones throw away from the main square and shopping street. It's also incredibly cheap for entry at only 120 DK (roughly £12) on a weekend which I thought was really reasonable. It remained at this price even on NYE which I thought was great, as everywhere else in the city seemed to have stumped their prices up a 100 or 200 just for the evening. 

Once you've entered you can stay for as long as you like. You don't need to budget for anything else if you just plan on looking around, there is plenty to see. I loved seeing in the new year in Tivoli as they had the most spectacular firework show which created a great atmosphere. It's worth arriving slightly earlier at about 9pm if you're there for NYE though as it does get very busy!
#2. Freetown Christiania
Well, where do I start with this place? If you hadn't guessed from the pictures, Freetown Christiania is a hippie commune of about 850 residents which was founded in 1971, they are an autonomous free town in Copenhagen who don't abide by Danish laws. 

I had heard about this 'town' briefly before I visited, but didn't realise to the extent what the place actually was. If you hadn't spotted it in the picture, photos aren't allowed in this place (soz) for obvious reasons... This place is not for you if you don't like the smell of weed (who does really?), you will spot a different person on every corner rolling a joint and perhaps even throwing a firework, what is up with that? The town is a lot bigger than I thought, and we walked around for a good hour. All in all it's very run down, and it looks like a place that is stuck in the past and still hasn't moved on. 

I didn't feel very safe walking around because of some of the things that were going on, but if you're feeling up for it I would strongly recommend taking a look, it really is something you won't have seen before. You really cannot comprehend the difference of this place to the centre of Copenhagen, you just can't. Again, this took us about an hour to walk from the centre, but DO cycle or get a bus because again it won't take up your whole morning. It also means you can make a quick getaway if you need to...
#3. Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid bronze sculpture makes it in as one of the top 5 things to see in Copenhagen. I wasn't overly fussed about visiting, but it's not every day you're in Copenhagen so I thought I'd make like a tourist and see what the fuss was about. I can't for the life for me remember how we even got there, but it was a few miles walk from the city centre. What's another few miles walk after we'd already pretty much walked the whole circumference of the city. But if you're sensible you will ride your bike there or catch the bus which will save you a lot of time.

The mermaid sculpture is situated in a park area so there is other things to see whilst you're there. Not too sure it was worth the one hour walk in my opinion, to not even be able to get close enough for a picture, BUT it is an iconic landmark for Copenhagen and is taken from a character in Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, it's also free to see so it is worth a visit if you're in the area.
#4. Nyhaven Harbour
Okay, so I came to Copenhagen purely for the pretty, pastel coloured houses and who could blame me? Nyhaven Harbour is one of the hot spots to visit in the capital, and it's only around 10 minutes walk from the start of the busy shopping street, you really can't miss it.

There are various canal trips that you can take from here, but apart from that the experience is completely free. There's plenty to do and see in this area, with lots of lovely restaurants and cosy cafes to choose from. The view really is spectacular and it's a must have visit for that Instagram shot. If you walk around the corner a little further you'll find some free trampolines on the floor that you can use. It's quite random, but so fun, why don't we have anything like that in the UK? It's also not far to go to Freetown Christiania from here either, so you can kill two birds with one stone if you're planning on doing the 2 in one day.
#5. Hygge Cafes
One of the things that I was most looking forward to about the trip was the 'hygge'. It came to no surprise that literally every cafe in Copenhagen was hygge. There were even signs outside declaring that hyggeligt times were waiting to be had inside.

But it wasn't that that caught my eye. I don't think there was one cafe (maybe except Starbucks, SO mainstream eh?) that wasn't lit by candles. Candles and fairy lights instantly open the floodgates to Hygge. Paired with the fact that it was freezing outside, there wasn't anything more inviting than getting cosy inside and defrosting with a delicious hot chocolate. Boy, were they good. 

There is so many coffee shops to try, and don't get me started on their bakeries. I definitely came home 110% cinnamon roll body and I am A-OK with that. Sweet lord have mercy, the above bakery was one of the best I have ever visited, and there ain't nothing more hygge than grabbing a sweet, sugary pastry and bringing it back to your warm bed. I feel this is something I'm going to have to continue now I'm home.

Copenhagen was a super fun city break, we were there for 4 days and managed to cover pretty much everything on our list, but as usual, I'm sure there is so much we missed and could do another time. With flights starting at around £20 from London airports, who could really resist. City breaks can 100% be done on a budget these days, so there's never been a better excuse to explore the world bit by bit.

Have you been to Copenhagen before? Is the capital of Denmark on your travel bucket list?
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What I Learned From A Week Long Social Media Detox

It was barely 5pm on Christmas Day when I'd already stumbled across 4 fresh engagements on social media and was scrolling past one after another bikini clad instagrammer whilst my hand was firmly wedged in a tub of cheeselets (Not sorry).

Boxing Day brought a backlash of abuse on twitter for those who chose to go sales shopping and indulge in getting some half price Christmas bath bombs (I only wish I'd been up earlier as I sat at the 92,000th person in the queue). Don't get me started on the amount of tweets I saw from people slating those who were showing what they got for Christmas. I'd never seen anything like it, and it all made me incredibly miserable.

With so much of my time spent online, I don't think I realised how much I was being affected by what I saw online. I was constantly comparing myself, never feeling 'good enough' despite knowing that people only portray the best bits of their life online, and I spent far too much time scrolling, and not participating in life.

Let's not forget that I probably spend 70% of my week online in some capacity. Pictures were only taken on the grammability factor, and I had this awful compulsion to check how many likes I would get at least 10 times after posting (definitely more). Now I absolutely love Instagram and taking nice pictures, but was this normal behaviour? I don't think people believed me when I said I literally buy food from pretty cafes and nice things because you know where that would look good? Instagram. I was tired of 'having' to take pictures of everything, instead of just 'being' in the moment and not having to record every last detail online. After all, blogging is NOT my full time job, its a hobby.

So I decided it was time to do something about how I was feeling and thought I would kick 2017 off with one of my failed 2016 resolutions and have a social media detox for one whole week. I chose to keep Pinterest as my my only vice to keep me going, I needed something to help with the withdrawal at least. As my friends and family know, this was kinda a big deal - my dad said I wouldn't even last 2 hours, so thanks for that, I didn't know how I would cope without it, but I couldn't wait to see how I got on and what my outlook would be at the end of the week.

Day 1
I decided to start one day earlier than planned. The sooner I start the sooner it will be over, right? I signed out of all my accounts the night before ready for the challenge, it felt like I was getting ready for the biggest event of my life ever. It felt like it anyway. I was staying at James' house at the time and when I woke up I instantly reached for my phone to check the gram, Facebook feed and my tweets, it was an instinctive habit that I quickly realised I couldn't do right now.

I felt a little bit lost. Scrolling on my feeds when I wake up with breakfast is MY thing, and it has been for a good few years, forget reading the morning newspaper or actually speaking to my parents. I also knew I had a 5 hour train journey ahead of me and I wasn't sure how I was going to fill the void of refreshing my Instagram feed every 30 seconds. I knew today would be the hardest as I would be heading back to work on day 2 and that would take up a big chunk of my day. But I did it, I wrote 3 blog posts in the process and planned a lot of content for 2017, it felt great. A productive train journey for once! I also didn't end up on 0% battery after the first 30 minutes which is always a good thing.

Day 2
I survived day 1. I can do this. It was my first day back at work, back to a routine after a week, I had missed this. The only thing missing with my breakfast was my social media dose. I read a magazine whilst I ate and spoke to my mum about my holiday, I was finished 10 minutes earlier than normally and gained 10 minutes extra getting ready, I liked this.

When I arrived at work I had encouragement for giving it up for a week, they know how addicted to 'the gram' I am. I was prepared for lunchtime and brought my magazine with me, I usually spend the whole hour refreshing all channels for new content, it's far less exhausting than engaging in lunchtime conversation, right? 

Usually when I get home from work I feel obliged to go through the entire Instagram feed back to where I was at lunch so I'm all caught up, I'm very much one of those people, and if I've not had a chance to look at work it feels like a chore in the evening. But nope, I didn't have to do that this evening. I actually had FREE TIME for once, what is that?! I blogged, I read my how to not give a fuck book and felt fabulous. It was the first time in months, even years that my head actually started to feel a bit clear and I felt happy. Oh, and I could actually fall asleep straight away, my head wasn't whirring with what Sally had been doing, and my head wasn't visually stimulated as I hasn't been looking at my phone for a couple of hours before I went to sleep.

Day 3 - 5

The next 3 days in the week at work went incredibly fast, as they always do. It just felt like the norm being without social media and I certainly didn't miss it, the only thing that felt different was that I had more time in the mornings and evenings to do what I wanted. I haven't gone this long without social media probably since a summer holiday in 2008 when getting internet on your phone abroad just wasn't a thing. But I wasn't even itching to check my notifications, I just couldn't care. I was feeling 100% happier, and for the first time in ages I felt really good about myself and could properly focus on what other things were going on in my life. I think I'm actually enjoying this?

However, lunchtime on Day 5 was hard as there wasn't anyone around to speak to at lunch and I'd already read my glamour magazine page to page 5 times. At least social media is usually my safety blanket during lunchtimes if nothing much is going on. I think I'll have to change this after the ban by replacing it with reading a good book or blogging in my lunchtime. I was starting to miss it slightly, especially the blogging community and the close friends that I have made through blogging. My phone was like an empty vessel, I think it even missed the constant notifications coming through too, and I still kept checking my phone only to realise the apps weren't there. But thanks to Facebook and Instagram it was like I'd barely been off it as they even emailed me my notifications to check if I was okay? Was I still alive? WHY HADN'T SHE BEEN ONLINE IN 5 DAYS???

Soz guys, I had better things to do.

But the weekend would be the real acid test. What would I do if I ate a piece of cake and couldn't Instagram it? Would it really have happened?

Day 6-7

I kept myself busy during the weekend. I had a huge to do list which is usually a chore on the weekends that I can't be bothered to complete. But without having to check my phone every 2 minutes, it was achievable and I felt so good for finishing it. I was starting to realise just how much of my free time is actually spent looking on social media. Yes, I am busy every week. We're all busy. But social media is the biggest time waster, and guess what? We all have as many hours in the day as Beyonce if you take some time away from social media every once and a while. Incredible isn't it?

I enjoyed things without feeling the need to take a picture and then share it. I'm not going to lie, recently it has felt like a chore keeping my Instagram up to date. Like 'GUYS I haven't done an Instagram in 2 days, I better force something'. Sometimes I really do want to just enjoy something and live in the moment without having to keep taking a picture or 50 for the perfect shot. It's felt more like a burden than anything else, especially as I work full time and do other things in my spare time. 

I was bored at points during the weekend where I would usually check my phone and refresh all the feeds, but usually to stumble across something that I would rather have not seen. Instead I was trying to fill this new free time with wholesome things that actually made me happy. The week was all about being prepared with things to keep me occupied when I finally had some spare time. It was difficult, but I knew at this stage I only had one day to go and even though I was feeling great, boy had I missed Instagram. 

So after a week free of social media, how do I feel? And what have I learnt?

It's something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and having a week away from the vortex that is social media has been a real eye opener. Yes, I feel like I'm out of touch with things, but isn't this what normal life was like 10 years ago? Stripping back to the basics of interaction, reading and having time to myself without worrying about other people and seeing things I'd rather not see has finally opened my eyes to what I've been missing in life. I've been so miserable caught up in this online world, that I couldn't see in front of me how great my life actually is and what I've been missing out on. 

It's true that too much time is spent caring about people that you don't like and doing things you don't want to do whilst worrying about what other people think. The funny thing is that the majority of things you see on social media are fake or inaccurately portrayed, just because people portray their lifestyle to be absolutely bloody fantastic, the truth is it probably isn't. 

I'm of course now back on social media, I did miss it. More for catching up with my favourite bloggers and eyeing up the Asos feed for things to buy that I can't afford. But I do need to be kinder to myself at least, and know that when I'm sad it does stem from social media. I'll definitely be having more down time from social media and have more weekends away from it, and if I feel like posting something in the future that isn't 'insta friendly' to hell I'm going to do it because I couldn't care less if 10 people unfollowed me for it, at least I'll be fitting in with the consistent theme of Instagram at the moment, eh?

Social Media is an amazing thing, but treat yourself kindly with it. Have plenty of time away from it, take things with a pinch of salt and only post things because you want to. Not because you think your followers would like it. If you follow these rules for social media you won't be needing to take week long breaks off like me. Now, how many likes did I get on my last post?

Would you be able to cope without social media for a week?

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Monday, January 9, 2017

OOTD | I'm Back!

Jumper - New Look
Skirt - Primark
Bag* - Boohoo
Boots - H&M
Rings - Primark

I'm back!! Well it's no biggie, but I've just survived one whole week without social media, pretty amazing huh? They'll be more about that on the blog on Wednesday! I chose to take a week off my blog too because firstly 1) it's not my job and I can have time out to focus on my life whenever I want and 2) I really wanted as much of a break off the internet as possible so I could come back fully refreshed.

Let me tell you, it's the best thing that I've done so far in 2017. Yes, there's only been one week in January so far BUT it's the clearest my head has felt in a long time, and I've taken a step back to realise what I want for my blog this year as well as plan loads of new content for 2017, so who's the real winner here? It's been a week of doing things as I've also had 4 inches chopped off my hair which I should have done ages ago! It looks so much healthier and a lot darker, this is the shortest it has been in so long, but on the grand scale of things is still really, really long!

I'm going to start or at least try to up my posting to 3 times a week, this is definitely doable after discovering how much time social media eats into my life. You'd be surprised! I love writing and love producing content for myself as well as my readers, so I hope you'll stick around this year for plenty of new stuff coming your way!

I'm seeing in the first outfit post of the year with the most beautiful and understated getup. I spied this metallic skirt on a few bloggers last year and did a double take when I was told it was from Primark. Like how?? I was lucky enough to get it from Santa for Christmas, I guess my hinting really did pay off. 

I want to wear this metallic midi skirt EVERY day, it's not just for formal wear. I feel good when I wear things like this and it looks good. So every stare on dress down Friday will be 100% worth it!! I teamed it with such a simple yet beautiful jumper from New Look, the ruffles on the shoulder just set it apart and make it look so chic. Just FYI they also did this number in a baby pink colour which is just divine. I'm all for pairing simple things with something beautiful for a gorgeous look like this!

What do you think of this outfit? Have you set yourself any blogging posting goals for 2017?

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