Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Post in collaboration with Yushoi Snacks

Some days, I'm just really really tired, like all I can do is sit on the sofa and not do anything except cuddle a blanket tired.

Mental exhaustion is something I've experienced since I was 17, hitting hard post-GCSE (how I didn't get it before I'll never know) and led to me one day coming home between school and work and having a 2 hour nap on the sofa after having my head stroked for 2 minutes. Bliss, but not ideal every day.

As you'll know by now, I've partnered with Yushoi Snacks over the year to talk about the importance of balance in life, and how eating a healthy high-protein snack can help you keep on track with a healthy lifestyle (plus their vegan friendly flavours are fab!), and today I want to talk about how mental exhaustion has led to a few unbalanced times in my life and how I aim to reset and keep on track when it hits.

Firstly, I can exercise for hours, go on a long walk, and spend the day cooking for ten and feel okay, but a day spent thinking, working, and travelling (and days where all three are combined) really knock me out.

It makes it hard to focus on things, demotivates me, and makes me want to sit on my own with no stimulants (aka social media) until I feel normal again.

It makes my energy sluggish and tired but keeps my brain active, and makes sleep hard (unless I massage my head and work those points until I'm zonked out). It's a time stealer and I have to sign off mornings/afternoons/whole days to it, but by recognising it I've come up with a few things that I personally find a huge help in rebalancing my energy and manage any exhaustion that comes up:

1. Have a productive day before and an easy day after
If you know you're going out or working a longer day than usual, try to fit in what you can around those days and get the things you really need out the way completed first (i.e. for me it's photographing all my posts for the week and planning the written content) and when you're needing an easier brain day afterwards, do something less thinky like editing or emails to stay equally on-top of life but a bit easier on the brain. It helps me a lot, and usually by the afternoon I'm ready to jump back into normal work.

2. Listen to music
Most problems can be cured with music; I've found plugging myself into my fave album or playlist for 30 minutes allows me to get lost in my own world and disconnects me from my feelings, thoughts, and emotions for a short amount of time that I feel ready to go again. If you can't really afford to plan days or get everything done productively, just raise your serotonin and endorphin levels for an instant boost (combine it with your faves awkward 80s dance moves for extra stress release)

3. Have an early night, eat good food, and try to have minimum tv/electronic device time
I try so hard to do this one, as I get stuck watching another episode of OUAT or scrolling on Instagram, but if you can find that willpower to eat dinner at a reasonable time, turn the telly off by 8pm, and climb into bed by 10pm, then you'll be guaranteed a great restorative sleep that will make you more than revitalised for the next day - what mental exhaustion ey?

4. Sit down all day if you have to
Because sometimes, sitting down is the cure for everything. It's comfy, it's easy, and if it means a bit of trashy TV to keep you going then be my guest. Enjoy that write off time and let yourself off for a while.

Now I'm going to try and plan ahead for the week and get ahead of my impending ultra busy week - cue Haim on repeat and lots and lots of blanket breaks!


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

A few months ago I made the decision to try and buy more ethically when it came to fashion, and it's been one of those things that since I thought about where my clothes comes from and the production behind it all, I can't un-think it or look at my old faves in the same way.

Sure, I've kept and still love a lot of the things I bought before (it has made it easier to let go of the stuff I wasn't wearing/got because I was panic buying) but it's made each piece I've got since mean a lot more in my wardrobe and is truly more loved than ever.

So whether you're looking for new clothes or want some more sustainable/ethical options that also look good (because that truly is a challenge if you don't know where to look), here are a few pieces I've picked up that have been worthwhile favourite investments...

When I saw these People Tree Trousers I immediately fell in love - blue wide legs, stripes, and amde with organic cotton. They are one of my favourite brands to go to when looking for new pieces as they've really nailed the mix of sustainable fabric and trendy fashion, and after going to their SS18 preview it's safe to say there are some GORGEOUS pieces coming out (I have my eye on 7 pieces, 7!!) - but back to the trousers; these are a thick woven cotton which means they can be stiff and bit tighter than usual, but it's great at lifting the butt and making your legs look long. I would say you could size up and allow any shrinkage to occur naturally through washing, but due to my height I went to my usual so they would sit on my waist better and I really like the fit - it's a bit more 70's and better for tucking in tees, and really jazzes up the most basic of looks whilst also being made from well-sourced materials.

Speaking of tees, I absolutely love the tees I picked up from People Tree's exclusive ASOS range; the first is their 'Don't Underestimate The Power of a Woman' tee (amazing, obviously) and this 'Equality' Tee - a statement red slogan that would't go amiss on Instagram but goes a bit further, really helping the workers and their families who produced the product and also bigging up a very important cause. Of course, these are a bit more pricey than your usual high-street find, but the cotton is incredibly soft, well sourced, and really stands each wear through and through.

Another item standing each wear and tear is my Matt + Nat Hope Bag, which until this year I'd never considered buying a black bag, let alone a circle one. Black just wasn't 'my thing' but when I saw an Instagram ad pop up with the brand promoting their charity bag (literally the only ad I've been swayed by) I knew it was something I'd love and use all the time. The bag donates 100% of sales to a charity of your choice from 7 listed which is honestly incredible, plus it's made from vegan and ethically sourced 'leather', and is a magic porridge pot in that you seem to fit a lot in for such a smol thing.

Finally, the most important fashion item - socks. I love socks, I've grown into quite the connoisseur and am rather picky about the quality of each one I buy (they either have to be really thick and warm to keep my toes warm, or really soft and floofy. Thankfully, Thought Socks + Tights are both thick and soft, which is the perfect combo for warm tootsies and snugness all year long, but especially now. The brand makes their socks from bamboo which grows fast and uses minimal resources, all whilst adapting to your body temperature which is perfect for socks! They're some of my favourite purchases, and I've asked for 3 boxes for Christmas, because I'm a wild adult.


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

There are some things that we are absolutely certain on in life, things that we can go forward with in great confidence and assurance - e.g. photography, knowing where all the usuals in you shop are located so you can zip around in 10 minutes, that I can get ready in 20 minutes including hair if I have to.

There are also some pretty annoying and dampening worries that like to trip you over at the worst moment, and keep your head and heart held back in those crucial moments that you really wish you could excel in; in an effort to be a little less anxious, here's 7 that I've allowed to take control far too often...

1. LOL I should be working
Ever get that guilty feeling when out and about doing fun things (even if it's popping to Waitrose for a sandwich and chocolate milk)? That's literally me, every day. Unless I'm out for events and meetings, I'm always feeling bad unless I'm at my desk actively working, and even then there's times I'm distracting myself with clips of OUAT or The Office, but as long as I'm at my desk I'm doing the right thing in life *eye rolls* I've turned down dates, time with family, and just generally getting out and about to stay attached to my keyboard all day, only then moving to the sofa until bedtime. Sighs...

2. The looming cloud of being unorganised
Oh shit it's the night before a post is meant to go out (like now) and I've not written the words and the pictures are okay but it'll do, and I'll get ahead tomorr-oh wait it's raining and it'll be dark and I'm out all day and then I have to edit after and arrrrgghhhhhhhhhhhhh. I should plan more and stay at my desk this weekend...

3. Not being able to eat
One of the main reasons I've found internet dating hard is telling people you're vegan and then explaining that whilst you don't mind what they eat, you just want to be able to eat something decent (aka not quinoa salad) each time you go out. I've been to events and parties and restaurants where you're told there'll be something to eat but it's either got egg in it or isn't really substantial food i.e bread and a side salad. Cool. I'll just stay inside then.

4. Fear of rejection
My main worry and fear the last few years is being rejected, hence why I don't commit to big things, always ask for reassurance, try not to impose or ask to be friends with people incase it ruins everything. It takes a lot for me to ask someone to hang out because I think we'd get along but then all the worries of 'they'll be busy, why hang out with me? I don't feel worthy enough of their time, oh god what if I'm just awkward? I'll just stay quiet'.

5. What if I'm no good?
This leads on a bit from rejection, the eternal uncertainty of not being good enough - I think every creative or competitive person will experience this, it's just self-doubt crippling you from making bigger and better choices, but it always takes hold in some form and every now and again will stop you from doing something amazing. It's a bitch.

6. Travel and circumstances I can't control
I hate admitting this because it allows others to win, but with the few terrible things that have happened this year I've become more and more apprehensive with travel - the Tube is the worst for me, being underground and so busy and packed, and despite wanting to jet off to warmer climates I've become a bit anxious over flying (I just want to be on the ground and dislike that period between take off and balancing out) and flying anything over 3-4 hours. It's one of the safest forms of travel and I've never had a problem before, but it's definitely made an impact I'm still trying to mentally and emotionally untangle.

7. The constant crisis of Trump, Brexit, the fact our generation won't be able to afford better housing...
Can you blame me?


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Tis the season of dry elbows and extra exfoliation, as well as baths and hot chocolates, but also those dry elbows.

I'm a bit terrible at keeping moisture in my skin at the best of times, but come the colder seasons I can see those dry irritated areas flaring up and feel more like old parchment than I do human, and if you get the same feeling then I've got some products that'll sort those winter scales right out...

I've never really landed on a body moisturiser, which is probably why I don't enjoy moisturising; after many dips and slathers, I've rediscovered Palmer's Cocoa Butter and not only is smelling like chocolate great, but it's quickly soothed and softened a lot of of my dry and cracked areas, especially those angry red and itchy patches. It's a classic you can't go wrong with and now I'm rubbing my weenus like no tomorrow (because your weenus is your elbow guys...)

Despite my strong love of Lush's festive body wash, I needed something gentle on my eczema prone areas, something to nourish and moisturise without too many harsh chemicals, and Pai's Gentle Genius Wash* has been a true hero - it has a very subtle herby smell which I love, and the lather is really moisturising so is great at rehydrating those irritated areas. Being sulphate-free, it's a truly fab option for sensitive skin, plus it doubles up as shaving foam which is a win-win for lazy girls!

If you like soft hands, then let me point you in the direction of The Body Shop Hemp Hand Cream which is hands down (pun intended) the thickest and most deliciously moisturising cream ever. It's a nice neutral smell, non-irritant, seriously rich, and always keeps my hands happy through winter - what more could you want?

Softness and hydration I always overlooked was pre-makeup, and since adding two pumps of Too Faced Hangover Primer* into my routine, my skin and makeup has been feeling more hydrated than ever; foundation lasts longer and wears better, plus the added coconut water gives that extra boost we could all use this time of year - who says matte is best when you can have a dewy glow all year?

Of course with lots of dry skin comes exfoliation, and whilst I'm not a big fan of physical exfoliants I do love Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm* which seems to work as both physical and chemical - once wet, the balm starts to tingle and helps buff off all the dead skin, perfect if like me you have a reoccurring dry patch on your lips, plus if you need a real scrub-a-dub after a long day out, this will really freshen up you skin to rival a soft squishy baba.

And speaking of those baby soft lips, just as nourishing as Palmer's is on my skin, the Cocoa Butter Lip Balm really keeps those chapped lips at bay through the winter - just slather on a few layers morning and night and you'll have no problem wearing dry matte lipsticks all season long, especially when drinking a hot chocolate or two ;)


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

For a while now I've felt pretty zonked from trying to keep up with myself all the time; my brain is going at one racing speed, my energy levels at a slower pace, and my creativity is somewhere in the middle trying to stretch itself accordingly.

I love being active and doing things, I love being creative and working on exciting projects, I just hate being behind on everything else.

It doesn't help either, that you feel like you're expected to keep pushing through it all and give 100% when you just can't.

There are instances where I know I can get stuff done, but that's not the problem; the problem is the work ethic we've had drilled into us (not only by others but by ourselves) that if you're not working hard you're not working at all.

I'm all for success, for achieving the best you can, but I'm also for knowing when to stop. Those days you can't form sentences, are unable to focus, generally feel you're not putting 100 into your work, those are days you just don't want to give at all.

I know I can also be a real lazy arse - when I decided to watch one more episode of Once Upon a Time when I know I shouldn't, or spend a bit too long in bed in the morning checking social - but damn it guys when did it become such a crime to put yourself and what makes you happy first?

When I was reading Hannah's posts on 2018 Blog Predictions and Learning to Accept When You Need a Write-Off Day, I actually felt okay and understood for once, that everyone feels stressed and a bit of a flop sometimes because we all think we have to go above and beyond to show we're actually doing stuff.

I like having the weekends to myself so I can see family and go and do something 'normal' like visit a garden centre or go into town, and I like having dinner and a bath and doing three face masks. I like not working past 5pm and I like to get 10 hours sleep. I also really like making dinner.

I like being selfish yet productive with my time, I know what's going make me excited to get up in the morning and what job will be worthwhile not only for paying the bills but also with my time.

I like feeling excited about taking photos and not pressured to conjure up something last minute, I like finding a rhythm with my daily life and being energised, and I like generally enjoying the work I produce without forcing it.

Whilst this current mood has led to more off-days than I would've liked, I feel like I'm ready to be more honest with myself and just try to get my shiz together the way I want to, and it doesn't mean me sacrificing my time and energy doing something I'd rather have done a better way.

I know we don't all have the opportunity to throw in the towel one day and pick it back up the next, or are able to meet up with people who can give you a hand, but it's still demotivating to experience these feelings nonetheless.

The constant hum of 'killing it' all the time to be successful will keep leading to write-off days until something changes, and whilst I love doing what I do in my career every day, I do love me more. You can 'kill it' less and still be successful.

So if you're equally feeling tired and trying to push through to meet some invisible score board or criteria, know you're not alone, and that you're human, and that your worth and ability can't be measured by how much you try to push yourself past the breaking point. The only thing you should be stretching is your happiness, not your health.


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Stranger Things 2
Of course this is on the list, I mean everyone and their dad is obsessed with the show. I binge watched the whole season the day it was released and the very bleary eyes afterwards were worth it. I won't spoil it too much for anyone who hasn't finished it yet, but the Hopper fam is damn cute and the endings of ep 8 and 9 still makes me scream 'YAAAAAS' every time I re-watch them - also who the hell turns down Dustin at a dance? I'll end you. My little sci-fi heart is whole again, until season 3 that is when I'm sure I'll be in turmoil over demodogs again.

Oatly Chocolate Milk
I may be 23 but chocolate milk is the best.damn.thing.ever. I've been using it as a base for my fancy hot chocolate and it's taken drinks from a 5 to a solid 9. I don't know how else to describe chocolate milk but just try it, you won't regret it.

Hot Chocolate
Speaking of hot chocolate, I've been having about one mug a day - it's the season, and I'm going to enjoy it. It's great in the evening when you want something warming but not too filling, and when put marshmallows on top and they go all gooey, ooh that's the good stuff!

Once Upon A Time
I love to hate this show but I'm also so addicted to it - it's never ending drama, just when they break a curse someone else bad comes along and wages a wrath on all the characters. I'll admit I've read slightly ahead because 7 seasons are you kidding?! but I am enjoying Robert Carlyle's character, he is one great Rumple.

The Good Place
There is a lot of Netflix going on with this list, but I've finally found some good programmes to watch with other members of the family that aren't too lowbrow or too dramatic it causes stress eating. The Good Place came up on a whim and anything with Kristin Bell in makes me want to watch it asap - it's a great comedy about life after death in 'heaven' and what happens when you're not meant to be there, and that's all I'm going to say because it is just really funny and I hope it gets a third season! (Also if you love Adam Scott, he's in it too ;) )

Nut Roast Wellington
I have not stopped eating this since discovering you could put a nut roast inside pastry - very obvious I know, but a revelation for someone who loves both nut roast and pastry. We always make a big wellington that can be frozen and last a few days, and it's a bloomin' treat - might even do a recipe post on it!

Bleach London Eyeshadow
I picked up two shades recently as my fave palette turned out not to be vegan and had given me some irritation, and I love love love the bold colours. I blend both shades together for a really poppin' warm autumnal eye, and the whole range is cf/vegan which is bloody fab - thanks Bleach!

PUR Soiree Diaries Palette
Another eyeshadow to end on, and I've really been enjoying the PUR Soiree Diaries palette - it's got a lovely range of soft browns, reds, purples, mattes and sparkles, and really covers all occasions. I usually end up with a combo of Gala and Stunner, still a soft yet defined look with a bolder shade that's perfect for the autumn season.


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, November 06, 2017

It may be too soon after Halloween and waaay too soon before December, but I cannot help but get into the festive spirit now - notice I'm trying not to say the Big C Word, it's taken a lot of strength.

If you've read my blog for a few years now, you'll know I'm a huge Christmas fan (oops that didn't last long) and would happily get in the festive spirit as early as September, but we've got to give pumpkins a chance right? So I held off as long as I could and now I'm in full festive mode - I've already burnt through 2 candles, have been drinking spiced liquids (sounds dirtier than it is) and am consuming at least one hot chocolate a day.

There are few other things I've picked up recently, so if you're wanting to make your home feel cosy and incorporate small bits of festivity into daily life, here's a few bits to get you started...

Yankee Candle Cinnamon Stick
One of my favourite candles ever, if you can't bear to clear the shelves of Homesense and TK Maxx to find a rare gem, then you can count on the Yankee classics! Cinnamon Stick and Spiced Orange are truly glorious that you can get away with burning them as early as September, and if you get the large size it'll last you a good few months - get ready for your walls to become impregnated with the scent until New Years ;)

Pine Cones
These aren't just any pine cones, these are cinnamon spice pine cones! You could just got find some in nature or buy a regular bag of clean pine cones, but I picked up these pre-festive oiled from the local garden centre at a complete bargain, plus some top-up scented oil at £1 which means they'll smell incredible all season long - and no I haven't doused all the woodwork in cinnamon oil. Yet.

Christmas Bedding
Every year I struggle with festive bedding - it's either too formal, too red, too kitsch, or has giant polar bears and font across it (who wants font?!) but this year I've found my dream combo, and I may have had to go to the children's section to get it but lord knows it's a winner. This Llama and Santa bed-set has ticked all my boxes - I love llamas, I love Santa, I love small designs, and I like a subtle amount of red. Can I put it on my duvet yet?

Pom-Poms and I are having a love affair as of late, and when my mum text me a picture of this red and white garland I immediately replied 'buy it buy it nowwwwww'. It's just a nice addition for the fireplace that's a bit subtle but adds some colour and cosiness, and was only £13!

I've only picked up one cushion this year which is a new record for me, as I do have a lot....but I loved the design and simple colour scheme of this beauty from Homesense - plus it matches the pom-poms which is fab ;)

Christmas Cordial
I'm already scared of running out of this Belvoir Christmas Cordial because it turns out nowhere aside from the garden centre sells it in-store! It's like Ribena on another level, packed with warming spices and a little less sugary, yet still a delish non-alcoholic treat if you fancy somethin'somethin'.

Anthro Mugs on a Budget
Can you ever have too many mugs? (The correct answer is no, but only so I can justify these) Another bargain find, these Anthro-inspired mugs again from TK Maxx had to come straight home with us and now I enjoy many a hot chocolate in them.

Even more candles
Another 'can you have enough?' is candles - not already content with my little selection, I've picked up a few more scents for festive warmth. My current fave is Toasted Cinnamon, which I've already burnt through half of one and picked up a scent because you know, Homesense finds are hard to come by!

Have you been getting into the festive spirit lately? Or are you more of a December 1st person?


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Friday, November 03, 2017

Skincare is my main love, and after sharing 5 essential products for all skin types, I wanted to shout out to my fellow blemished/acne-prone skin types with 5 (okay maybe 6) products you need in your arsenal to soothe and heal any breakouts you've got past, present, and future.

They're all cruelty-free and vegan, some more suitable for sensitive skins and others a bit more active for those who can take it, but I can guarantee there's a way to make each one work for you, and to see a huge difference too...

Pai Geranium and Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream* is a very gentle option for skin that hydrates enough to feel comfortable all day long without clogging the pores or sinking in too quick. It's very light, sealing in all the products I've used in the morning, and the formula helps balance oil production so you don't gave to worry about an overly greasy t-zone 6 hours later!

The key to keeping spots at bay is always exfoliation, and the Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask* does just that and more - the light fruit extracts help to delicately exfoliate the skin whilst the clay also draws out and cleanses the pores of sebum and gunk, it's a true double threat for spots.

A new addition I've been trying and had heard good things about is Glossier Pure Serum, one of the few Glossier products that is vegan and aims to get you that dream Glossier girl skin. It's an extremely watery and light serum that's best applied directly to the skin (I use 4 drops, one on each cheek, the forehead, and chin) and contains zinc which is a well-known spot killer. I've been using a few weeks now and I like it....but I don't love it. I'd say it's definitely good at calming redness, and I haven't had any proper spots come up, it's just not cleared up those under-skin ones that linger around for months. If you get more 'poppable' spots, this may work a trick, but I'd also highly suggest Pai Copaiba and Zinc Serum* which has more natural ingredients and really does add clarity and clears up skin!

Speaking of redness, Sunday Riley Luna is a godsend at calming skin and clearing up spots and scarring pronto. I've raved about this loads, and although pricey it seriously works miracles. The added retinol helps clear up scarring and take down redness, protects form pollutants that clog pores, plus it helps skin renew faster which is always a plus when you need a spot to disappear pronto ;)

If pronto is your thing, then Sunday Riley Saturn* is one to try - a high sulphur based mask that shrinks spots, reduces sebum, and prevents further breakouts. My pores always feel cleared out after using this, and those big under-skin nasties I was talking about? Shrunk and calm again! Definitely a quick long-lasting fix for breakouts.

Okay, so I'm cheating on the 5 products here, but I had to give a little nod to Indie Lee Blemish Mask. Indie Lee is a fab natural brand and their clay mask is a great topical treatment that works at calming breakouts and clearing out the pores whilst also mildly exfoliating. It's not as active as Saturn, but it's a lot better than whacking on Sudocreme and hoping a spot will vanish. Expect your blackheads to be tiny by morning!


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest

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