Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7 Things That Made Me Happy In July

I'm going to save you the whole 'OMG, how is it even July, life is just flying by' for you this time, because A) I say it every month and B) It's a fact of life. So yeah, July has been pretty great. I've already started working through my 25 things before I'm 25 list and it's been an all round really good month.

After wondering how I would ever fill that empty void in my life that was Love Island, it clicked at around 8pm tonight that I used to actually blog, so here we are now. So yay for no more rushing around to get everything done before 9pm. Altough I'm secretly counting down the days until it starts again net year, and I'm not even sorry.

Between the Love Island sessions these 10 things made July for me, let's hope August is just as good!

#1. She arrived!  

She's here and oh boy is she bloomin' beautiful. I waited 10 weeks for this new pink gal (Blush Frame Armchair from Made.com) to be made and delivered and it was worth every single second. I nearly had a heart attack when the chair 'almost' didn't fit through the door, but it's been plain sailing ever since.

I'm too scared to sit on the chair, because LOOK, but I feel like it completes my living room and it looks pretty good on Instagram too so I'm A-OK with that <3
#2. I Donated My First Pint Of Blood

I did it. I really did it. I didn't faint, I ate lots of biscuits and I feel amazing for doing it. Donating blood has been something I have wanted to do for so long and it was the push from my friend that finally made me do it. It wasn't scary, it wasn't really painful and I am so proud of myself for doing such a wonderful and selfless thing. 

I only had to spare 1 hour of my time, and my pint of blood could help to save one adult or 8 babies which really is bloody amazing. I also found out that I'm A+ blood group which is pretty cool, I'm still waiting on the text to see where my blood has been administered to, but I already know it's something I'm 100% going to do again. 

#3. Beach Day

Beautiful weather in Plymouth on the weekend naturally means a beach day and it's not something I have done for soooo long. We headed to Whitsand Bay at the start of the month, probably one of the best beaches near Plymouth, and it was perfect.

The beach is so long that there was barely anyone around, we sunbathed, listened to music and ate milk bottle chews, and oh my it was the best day ever. More days like this in August please.

#4. Bloggers Brunch

I look forward to the #PlymBlogBrunch every month, the Plymouth blogging community is wonderful. I love spending one Sunday each month with some of the loveliest people, whilst they'll nearly always be pancakes consumed, by me at least.

This month we headed to Bistrot Pierre, and it also means I can grab some outfit pictures afterwards too which is always a bonus!
#5. I Booked A Holiday!

This year saw me make my biggest purchase to date (I'm talking about you new home) so I wasn't too sure where or if I would be going on holiday this year. Despite realising I probably spend more money on food than my mortgage each month, I've managed to book a weeks holiday to Mallorca at the end of August, much excite!

I'm not even lying when I say I'm literally going to sunbathe, relax and eat for the whole week. Is there any other way to do it?

#6. Croissants In Bed

They don't lie when they say the little things in life really are the best. Croissants in crisp white bed sheets with strawberry jam and dominos on the sofa with Inbetweeners on 100% trumps going out for food at the moment for me. It's my comfort blanket, my safe place. 

It's probably because I look forward to breaking the monotony of porridge in the week days, but it's such a bitter sweet feeling. Jut FYI, Lidl Bakery do the best croissants and they're super cheap too.
#7. I Won A Trip To Paris!!

Wait. What??? So this probably scoops the award for what made me happiest in July, or it may have been June but I'm only telling you now, sooo... Remember the Unboxing Plymouth VLOG I did back at the start of the year, well mine won! The prize was a weekend city break to anywhere in Europe for up to £500. 

Naturally, I picked Paris! I've never been before and it's always been on my to travel list so I really cannot wait. We go the weekend before my birthday in September, so expect lots of snaps and some blog posts on my return. If you have any recommendations for things to see off the beaten track, and of course the best food places in Paris then comment below or tweet me!!

P.S Have I nailed the candid laughing look yet? (see top picture).

What made you happy in July?

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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Ultimate Travel Essentials For Your Next Holiday

packing-travel-essentialsThis girl over here actually got round to booking a holiday last weekend! Thanks to Thomas Cook I get a daily reminder in my inbox of how many days are left to go and what add on I should purchase next to make it the ultimate holiday, so there's that.

I'll be sauntering off to Mallorca next month in my fluffy Primark sandals that aren't meant for walking in, and that super unpractical basket come beach bag, because fashion. Packing for holiday 100% means packing those 24 outfits when you're only away for 7 and having to bring your whole kitchen sink if you have to. It's what you do.

I've definitely not fine tuned the whole 'packing' thing just yet, but I like ticking off lists and organisation as much as the next person so I always make a list and pack to it. But they'll always be those core products/items that no holiday can be without, and these items 100% all need to be slotting their way into your luggage this summer...
Reading Material

Books, and plenty of them. Holidays are the only time I get time to sit down and totally get lost within a book, and I'm sure so many can relate that it's the best! I'll usually get through a book every 1-2 days so I take plenty! Not a novel as such, but I'm currently LOVING 14,000 things to be happy about. I read a page of it every morning or if I'm feeling a bit down and it restores all my faith and humanity within the world. Sometimes you just need a gentle reminder, and this book is perfect for that.

Luggage Tags

Don't make trying to spot your suitcase on the carousel any harder than it should be, and DO invest in a good quality luggage tag. Preferably hot pink, and from Kate Spade. This Why Hello There Luggage Tagis a little bit of me. They're perfect for suitcases, hand luggage and dare I say it - flat lays. How could you resist when it's so colourful and pretty. I'm sure this one will be gracing my suitcase for years to come.
Makeup/Travel/Bits & Bobs Pouches

*Adds 100th cute makeup pouch to the collection* - Like Breton striped tees, one can never have too many makeup pouches, right? They come in super handy on holidays, from putting your suncream in for by the pool, storing your makeup or even for doubling up as a clutch bag in the evening. Get one that can do them all. 

This Elizabeth Scarlett velvet wash bag* certainly can. It's by far the dreamiest clutch bag - it's pink, velvet and has all the tropical vibes. It's the only way to transport those essentials to your summer getaway! 

The Holiday Rescue Remedies

We all have those miracle products that have to come everywhere with you and I've discovered a few wonders this year that I just won't do without on holiday this year. 

-Kiehls midnight recovery oil is legit the best thing. Apply it to your face before bed, I pop mine underneath moisturiser for added nourishment. If I have tired looking skin, it always looks better in the morning after using this. It smells amazing and has completely altered my opinion of facial oils. I'll *probably* end up getting another bottle in duty free too!

-Urban Decay all nighter makeup setting spray - Ok, so I was a bit dubious about this product, I mean what foundation actually lasts 12 hours on your face like they always claim, they don't. But this spray, it's a game changer. I usually wear it for nights out but I was putting it on during the heat wave for work and my makeup did not move ALL day. It is a godsend from the heavens, doesn't upset my skin and it's far kinder to your skin than using hairspray (I still don't even know if that works?). They do a mini version of this too and I urge everyone to get one for their holiday if you want flawless beach makeup all day!

It goes without saying that I usually will end up bringing my kitchen sink with me, but if it had to be any 2 things I could bring with me it would be the above. Other essentials obviously are...suncream, aftersun, suncream lipbalm, a high quality conditioner to treat those sun damaged tresses and ALL the makeup.
Pool Floats

If you don't have an *insert flamingo or other* inflatable this summer, are you even going on holiday? I'm glad they're more of a thing this year as they're a) super cute b) more instagrammable than a lilo - do people even still buy them? This year I've opted for the cutest Ban.do Heart Inflatable*, it doesn't mean I'll end up passing out from blowing it up and oh am I excited for the pictures of it on holiday! I don't normally take floats away on holiday, but it will save you ££ when you're away and you're ready to hit the pool or beach in style on the day you arrive!

Laundry Bags

Have I been living under a rock for the last 24 years as how did I not know these ingenious, yet simple inventions were a thing? You never quite know where to store your dirty underwear on holiday and on the return. Stuff it in that supermercado shopping bag or stuff it back into your suitcase in case you need to revisit them when you realise you haven't packed enough pants. Who knows.

These Kate Spade Wash & Wear Travel Bags* make that decision for you. I've never known something so simple and easy to change my life. No more dirty underwear touching your clean clothes and delaying the washing process when you get home. Kate Spade also does a similar shoe bag which is perfect for putting your shoes in when you're packing. Again, far more stylish than that holey white plastic bag you've been using for your shopping for the last 6 weeks.
The other essentials obviously look something a little like;

Clothes, clothes, shoes, more clothes, passport, camera and boring documentation. 

It's the little things like the above that I can't do without, and will help that holiday get off to a relaxing start. I personally don't think you can go wrong with Amara's travel accessories if you're not sure what else you need to pack or don't know what you're looking for. They have a mix of designer and cheaper brands to help you ace your holiday packing!
What are your travel essentials? Are you going on holiday this year?

*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, July 11, 2017

5 Things I've Learnt About Living By Myself

In the last 7 days, I've learnt 2 very important lessons. Never cut bread straight onto the work surface and don't leave tea towels on a burning hob. Turns out neither end well. But the worst bit, I had no one to blame for my actions, so I truly did learn a lesson the hard way.

I've now been living by myself in my new home for 3 months, which is crazy in itself as I still don't have TV and I don't know where the time has possibly gone. Living by yourself as a female seems to be like a taboo subject, people are like WHY, are you not scared? How are you managing? Aren't you lonely?

It turns out it isn't something that is as common as you think, but why not? I admit, I had my reservations before I moved out, I didn't know how I would adjust to living by myself, and I used to run up the stairs at home when no one was in so the monsters wouldn't catch me. Whilst it took a while to settle in, I now couldn't imagine it any other way. I've learnt more about myself and what makes me happy in the last 3 months than I have my whole life!
1. Embracing Your Own Company

I always have enjoyed my own company, but I did have my initial fears that I would feel lonely being by myself the whole time. Whilst it took me a while to settle down to the idea of it, I now couldn't imagine it any other way. Being able to truly enjoy and be content in your own company is a rare and wonderful thing. I do think it's so important to have that time by yourself, and do things by yourself.

One of my goals for 2017 was to learn to love myself more, and in living by myself I truly believe I am well on my journey towards this. I love the solitude when I get home from work in the evenings, I don't have to discuss my bad day with anyone and I can focus on housework, soaking in a hot bath or indulging in copious amounts of chocolate, in peace. Everything that exists outside of my home is a closed book when I get home, I can finally shut out my worries as I have no one to discuss them with, and I really do feel the happiest I have in a long time. 

2. Buying stuff so it doesn't run out

I've learnt that the number 1 way to succeed at being an adult is to ensure that you're constantly buying stuff in preparation for when that stuff actually runs out, and repeat. Toilet rolls, washing up liquid, dishwasher powder, toothpaste... the list goes on. It's boring, it really is. But preparation is key when you live by yourself, funnily enough the fridge isn't an entity that miraculously fills itself up every day.

3. Getting Someone To Take Outfit Pictures Is An Impossible Task

I can no longer rope my poor Mum into taking outfit photos for me on a weekend, which I'm sure she's delighted about after I sort of slated her photography a bit in one post, I am sorry about that.

But yeh, those perks are gone and buried in the water when you live by yourself. So it's waiting until James comes to stay or being overly enthusiastic with my camera at every blogger meet up, but it works quite well. I've enjoyed a bit of a step back from outfit posts as it was becoming a bit of a chore for me which is why I've tried to strip it back to basics - plain backgrounds, outfits I love (not what has been sent to me) and not discussing every bit of the outfit in tiring detail.

4. Everything Remains As You Left It

When I was at uni I dreamt of those times that I would arrive home and my plates would be in the place I left them. My milk would be left untouched and I wouldn't have to avoid cooking until my housemates left the kitchen.

Now it's here and it doesn't quite live up to it's expectations. Those strewn clothes across your bedroom floor remain there for the whole week, breakfast dishes unwashed, dead flowers waiting to be thrown out and bin bags waiting to be taken to the bin. The stuff really does stay where you left in the morning, and only you can do something about it. 

But nothing would be possible without my dishwasher, so for that, I am very grateful. Thank you <3

5. Friends coming over = tidy apartment

I'm so busy during the week that I usually let the mess build up until the Friday where I do a quick blitz of the apartment. But the fastest way to get a tidy apartment? Have friends over. I've never cleaned my hob, bathroom and floordrobe faster, there's no motivation like it! 
Outfit details:
Top - Primark
Skirt - Topshop
Clutch Bag - Topshop
Mules - Office

What do you think of this outfit? Do you live by yourself? What have you learnt about moving out?

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

25 Things Before I Turn 25

Probably one I should have written at the start of this year, it's kinda already half way through the year and I'm already thinking about Christmas lol. BUT, I actually turn 25 in a few months time, so I probably should have given myself a bit more time to prepare for this post and actually do the things I want to do. But I'm on a mad one with keeping myself busy at the moment, so I think it will be OK?

As I approach a quarter of a century I am excited at what is yet to come. I don't know why people dislike growing older, like HEY more life decisions to make, the year I may actually look older than 14 and the promise of a Colin the caterpillar cake, it ain't no birthday without Colin. 25 seems like more of a milestone than 21 to me, I feel more established, I'm a lot happier in myself than I was 4 years ago and I cannot wait to see what the next few years bring.

As I love a to do list to tick off like the next person here's 25 things I aim to achieve before I'm 25, let's see how I do...

1. Learn To Cook - Lol. This is something I've been telling myself I'll do since I went to university, still yet to happen. But I have hope and determination, I have no excuse not to now I don't have to cook in a kitchen which features the leftovers of a 2am banquet. I've created a pinterest board for main meal ideas and I'm setting the target of learning to cook one new meal each week. I've already scorched one tea towel and cut into my worktop, so wish me luck. 

2. Give Blood - This is something I have wanted to do for ages. It's always been one thing after another with my health and I've only recently got myself back to a healthy weight so I can now give blood. 

A big shout out to my good friend Ben who gave me the push to donate, I'm going to do my first one next Wednesday and I am both petrified and excited at the thought. Giving blood doesn't take much time out of your day, but it is a simply amazing thing that can help to save someone's life. It's a total yes from me!

3. Do Yoga - 2017 is the year of feeling good about myself, and yoga is something I need to do for both my mind, and to purge for forgiveness for the years I have never stretched before or after exercise. 

4. Sea Swim - I vowed to continue swimming in the sea after the breakwater swim last year, but nope. I seem to have sunk back into my old habits of hibernating in a chlorinated pool so I must change this and have at least one sea dip this summer. I really have no excuse when I live 2 minutes from the sea...

5. Write A List - But not just any list, a list of more things I want to accomplish before the year is up. I'm in the centre of a big cloud of motivation right now so I want to capture that and set myself some real targets to push myself until the end of the year.

6. Sign Up For A Night Class - I want to learn something new every year, and learning Finnish to a higher standard has been on my new years resolutions for at least 2 years now oops.. Whether it's a new language or a cooking class, I really want to start upping my game before I turn 25 and investing in myself.

7. Sort Out My Asthma - I sometimes forget my lungs are working at about 30% less capacity than everyone elses as I swim miles during the week and rush around like a headless chicken. I am still yet to find a medication that doesn't cause my throat to be a b***, but I live in hope. Sorting this out before my 25th is like asking how long is a piece of string? I just hope I'll get there soon!

8. Get a Macbook - It wouldn't be a list of mine without a materialistic goal popping up. My current laptop has seen better days, and to up my game both professionally and on my blog I really need a smart, fast Macbook to go with it. All I know is I'm getting the copper one. Obviously.

9. Digital Detox - Shame on me. After I vowed to have more digital detoxes throughout the year I haven't. I'm not sure I could go a week without it again, but I am definitely going to be fitting in a weekend off it at some point, it will be like I've never gone off Instagram, literally. 

10. Learn How To Park - Those memes about parallel parking are me, to a tee. I practice every day in my work car park, the perks of turning up 30 minutes early. The reality is I would hit a car if there was one there, but there isn't, so it's ok. I need to seriously learn how to reverse into a bay at least.

11. Learn How To Say No More - I don't just mean about social events, I mean work wise too. I say yes to things which leads to me over committing and working myself to the bone. I need to be realistic and know when to say no. 

12. Get My Teeth Whitened - Who doesn't? Turns out it's not just tea, coffee and red wine that stains your teeth. Say hello to my Nakd bar addiction that permanently stains my bottom row of teeth. So that's saying goodbye to nakd bars and getting my teeth looking at in the next 3 months. Ain't nobody got time for teeth the colour of sweetcorn.

13. Outfit Posts - I'ts been an up and down year for outfit posts on the blog this year as it's probably been one of the most hectic years of my blogging career. Now the dust is starting to settle, outfit posts are going to be at the top of my agenda soon. Plus, I have plenty of new clothes I need to share!

14. Go Paddleboarding - I need to really start making the most of living by the sea and paddleboarding is at the top of my list and probably one of the only watersports I've never done. I'm going to make it happen this summer without a doubt.

15. Go To Paris - Paris has been a city on my to travel list for years, there's something about the promise of croissants, Parisian style and atmosphere that I just want in on! I'm lucky enough to be going a week before I turn 25, so much excite.

16. Buy Plants - A trip to the garden centre is desperately needed, I need about 10 more cacti and a few trailing plants that I can add to a copper plant stand. I feel like I'm finally ready to be able to look after something other than myself!

17. Go To Cafes By Myself - I feel like this is on condition of getting a macbook as carrying my heavy laptop with its charger around everywhere is not as appealing. I want to do more things by myself this year and going to cafes is one of them. 

18. Have A Clear Out - I'd say that there is still 80% of my clothing left at my parents house that will sit there for an eternity if I don't do anything about it. I need to be a bit more brutal with stuff I haven't worn in years so a clear out is definitely needed, and it will all be going to a charity too! 

19. Have A Make Your Own Pizza Night - Dominos on a Saturday is standard procedure when James is down, it's definitely one of the only things I haven't grown out of since I left uni... A make your own pizza night probably won't be as tasty, but it will be fun and something a bit different.

20. Meet Up With An Old Friend - Social media means that so many friendships are left untouched for years, it's like they're still there so you don't need to reconnect and meet up with them. Meeting up with an old friend is good for the soul, and it's normally like you've never been apart. More effort is definitely needed!

21. Have A Picnic - I don't mean some sandwiches and a packet of crisps for a day at the beach. I mean the whole hog. I've never done a proper picnic with plates, plenty of snacks and drinks. There's something a little bit quaint and charming about it and it has to happen!

22. Open Air Cinema - This is something I have wanted to do for sooo long. I usually end up missing out on buying tickets or leaving it too late. I'm planning on going to watch La La Land at Royal William Yard in September and I am very excited!

23. Wimbledon On The Lawn - Royal William Yard have set a screen up for Wilbledon and they'll even be strawberries and cream on offer at the weekend, it's something I really wanted to do last year so I'm aiming to have a little watch there this weekend!

24. Learn How To Ride A Bike - I'm really not lying when I say I don't know how to ride a bike. The last time was probably 20 years ago, with stabilisers. I'd love to be able to ride to work and do a triathlon one day and I'm finally going to make that happen at age 24!

25. Start Vlogging (properly!) - If and when I get a macbook this will make vlogging and editing videos soo much easier! I love the idea of vlogs and the way that blogs are going I think it will be the right time to make the jump.

So there we go, 25 things to do in 3 months - let's do this!

Have you done something similar to this? What things do you want to achieve before your next birthday?

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