Monday, 22 May 2017

3 Skincare Gems

Now I'm definitely not a beauty blogger! I know diddly squat about skin care and look a bit like I've been punched in the face any time I attempt to use eye shadow! But I have definitely been on the hunt over the last few years, trying many a different product, drinking loads of water etc etc to try and get rid of ma damn spots! Now I don't have acne as severe as many others - it's not a condition, I literally just think due to messing my poor hormones around over the last however many years, they're coming back kicking and screaming (oh and there's chocolate and alcohol which probably doesn't help) ... HOWEVER (ramble over) over the last few months I've been using these products below and I've noticed a mahooosive change! So much so that I haven't worn make-up - partly because I don't need to, partly because I care less - for over a month! And that may sound like nothing, I know an awful lot of lucky buggers who never wear makeup and get a spot perhaps every couple of months, but for me (and I'm sure I'm not alone) I usually had at least one - more likely a few - lovely white mountains somewhere quite clearly visible! And I was very conscious of them, so I'd wear a lot of foundation and powder to cover said lurkers up.

So basically, I wanted to share these gems with you because I really have never had clearer skin (unless perhaps I was on holiday because the sun is a godsend) - they really even out my skin tone, I've still had a couple of spots but very few compared to usual and clear up pretty quickly - this never happens! and tbh they're just lovely products that leave my skin so nice and refreshed and smooth - it takes even more willpower not to touch it accidentally cause it's so nice!

1. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish - £15.50 (includes 2 muslin cloths)

If you've been reading other blogs or watching YouTube videos or probably just spoken to people who love skincare - I probably won't need to tell you how amazing this product is and it won't come as a surprise that I love it so much! The first time I purchased it (like 3 years ago!) I mainly bought it to use something that was good for my skin to take off all my makeup thoroughly and properly - my transition away from wipes was a very good decision indeed! It's brilliant at taking off make-up but since I haven't been wearing any these past few weeks, I wasn't going to use it but it's still a really good cleanser, that leaves my skin really soft.

2. Deliciously Ella Rose Lime and Cucumber Facial Wash - £16

A while ago I did a review (which you can read here) on the new facial skin care range by Deliciously Ella and I've got say I'm still loving and using the products (although they're definitely running out and i'm in need of a new purchase). My favourite is the facial wash which I use every morning as soon as I wake up before using the Kiehl's Breakout Lotion below. It's such a nice smelling and refreshing wash and leaves my skin nice and awake and beautiful!

Now, this was the main thing that changed my skin completely, so I'm in awe! I started using this lotion and around that time, my skin started clearing up and it's been beautifully clear (albeit a spot or two) ever since! However, it was also the time the sun came out and I went on holiday so that might have played a part, but still - I'm still loving it and although it was slightly pricey (for me anyway) at £38 - I would say it was totally worth it and I'll most definitely be repurchasing, although I've been using it a while now and I'm no where near finished. You really don't need much and although I use it morning and evening (maybe 3 times when my skin wasn't as good) it lasts ages, making the price even more worth it!

I used to find it really difficult to stick to a good skincare routine, as a lot of the ones I've seen on YouTube or read about are really long with some lovely, fancy products (probably amazing mind, but a little too pricey for moi). So I thought I'd keep it simple so I just wash my face with the Deliciously Ella face wash in the morning, wash it off with a flannel, then put on a dab of the Kiehl's lotion massaging in circles (and then a moisturiser of some kind), then I wash my face with Liz Earle's Polish in the evening, wipe it off with hot water and the muslin cloth and then use the Kiehl's lotion again. Takes 3 minutes max! And I've got to say I've never been happier with my skin!

What are your favourite skin care products? Anything vital to your routine you could share?

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, all product choices and opinions are my own - I just thought they were too good not to share tbh!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Workaway: My first experience

Last summer me and my best friend took a 10 day trip to the south of France to undertake a holiday through the company Workaway. I basically found this business on, I think, a list of ways to travel on a budget - I wasn't asked/paid to go or to review it, I just think it's a great idea and don't know anyone else who knows about it, so thought I'd explain a bit...

How it works is basically you pay for membership for 2 years (either alone $29/~£23 or as a pair $38/~£30 for both of you) and as a 'workawayer' you can read hosts advertisements from all over the world. Hosts advertise work they need doing - could be anything from a bit of gardening, maybe some cooking or teaching a language to helping renovate and set up an organic farm or hostel - and in exchange for this work (usually around 3-5hrs per day) the hosts offer free accommodation (and sometimes food and transport) to the workawayer/s that offer to help.

Genius idea for those poor students out there dying to travel and experience living with locals in a country of their choice. 

For our first time, we chose to stay just over a week and to stay in the south of France in this gorgeous rural area not far from the town of Foix. 

(^ Foix Castle ^)

Our work included gardening, weeding, painting, and some building - not going to lie it was hard work (especially in the blazing heat!) - but for free accommodation (in the most beautiful house and area I might add) and the best home-cooked food ever, and the loveliest company, it was more than worth it! We had a brilliant time!

We stayed with this lovely English family, who very kindly took us to some lovely towns nearby and out to see the area. 

(Live music at fete in Foix)

(A second hand shop in Bastide de Serou that looked like Hagrid's Cabin)

(Stunning view of the Pyrenees where we took a picnic and had a lovely walk)

T-shirt - Primark

Dungarees - New Look

If anyone's looking into volunteering with Workaway, I would definitely urge you to do some research! Make sure you've got a Plan B in case it's not what you expect. Lucky for us, the woman who recommended Workaway to the family we were staying with, was also staying with them at the time of our stay. She got into it through undertaking some Workaway excursions in the past and although most of her experiences were brilliant, she did mention that a one or two she's been on, the hosts did not hold up to their end of the bargain or promised things that were misconstrued and unfair on the workawayer, but that others who had gone out had no choice but to work because they had little money and their trip back was not for some time. 

We were extremely lucky also that the family we were staying with were so lovely and were very receptive to when we were quite worn out and needed a break and gave us some flexibility with work times since the middle of the days were very hot and sunny. 

I would recommend staying with a family and to read up on their reviews - those with many reviews would be safer - and to bring enough money with you as if you were going on holiday, bringing enough for food and emergencies, just in case things go a bit tits up (not that they will, but better to be prepared). Also give all contact details of where you're staying to family/friends back home - we even had a chat with our family over whatsapp before we left and a Skype call/Facetime would be even better!!

Anyone ever heard or tried this before??

This is not a sponsored post, I had heard about Workaway when searching for cheap ways to travel and decided to give it a go!

Also a quick side note, this isn't sponsored or anything but I've recently found a similar site called HippoHelp - which I also think might be free - but I haven't yet used it, just thought I'd add it in here to give you another idea! 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

4 Things I Try To Live My Life By

1. Do one good thing for someone else everyday

If we all did this, the world would be a much happier place! And I mean, is there anything better than that feeling of having helped make someone happy or made their day better? This kind of leads onto my next point but I think that being generous and willing to help others, makes us all much better people which makes us (as well as the person we helped) feel better! I also believe that if you do good things for others, they will do good things to you.

2. Treat others how you would like to be treated

This for me is really important, I'm a firm believer in 'What goes around comes around' and think it's our obligation as people to be kind and generous to others. People often get caught up in themselves and don't take a minute to think of the other person they're interacting with, and I think it's really important to be able to recognise another person's point of view and to treat them how you'd like to be treated. I think, not only does helping others and treating people with kindness and respect help them, but it helps me be a more open and kind to myself.

3. Speak to yourself the way you'd speak to your best friend

This is a great piece of advice, I got from a therapist years ago when we realised that low self-confidence and self-criticism was a big part of my mental health issues. She asked me what I thought of myself and my body image, and I told her. She then asked me if I'd say these things to my best friend. I had to think - because although I would never lie to her and I'm willing to say when she's being a bit out of line or she doesn't particularly suit something, I would always say it in a positive way and in a way that, well quite frankly, isn't mean and horrible - unlike how I was speaking to myself. Now I'm definitely a hippocrit and put my hands up and say I still struggle with this, but it's a great phrase that I try and remember - because loving ourselves helps us be happier and more willing to help others and cycle goes round!

4. Stop Comparing Yourself

Leading swiftly on from my last point, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF! Again I'm a classic hippocrit and from years and years of doing it I've worked myself into this habit that I can't quite get out of. It's tough, we all do it - we're all guilty of comparing ourselves, whether it be money, success, body image, grades! And the thing is, it really doesn't help anyone. It's not fair on yourself, it's not fair on the other person and it just makes for a bad mood and bad mental health. 

Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid  ~ Albert Einstein

So here are a few little points I thought I'd share that are easy things that could make you a better person! Anyone got any other suggestions? Anyone already doing these things? I love reading your comments, do let me know!

Monday, 8 May 2017

An Experience of Anorexia Nervosa

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I was brainstorming ideas for posts that I could share to impart some wisdom. But I then came across a draft of a post I wrote a while ago and thought a better way to promote awareness and kick off Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th), rather than giving advice on such a broad subject I don't really know a lot about, was to share my story. Plain. Simple. Exposed. So here goes.

I remember the day I was diagnosed. I remember walking into the hospital with my mum and dad and hearing them tell me I was suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. It was in April 2010. It didn't shock my mum or dad. They knew. It shocked me. I had no idea what I was doing to myself. What these habits and these thoughts were making me do to myself and my body. I cried. I felt hopeless. Everything I knew and was confident about for a long time before that, was my exercise routine and eating (what I thought was) 'healthily'. Everything I was clinging onto for happiness was about to come crashing down around me. 

I was 15. I was a smart, logical and mature girl. I listened to the therapist and nutritionist and my parents and my family. All telling me what I was doing and how to recover. They told me minimum recovery time was usually around 2 years. I remember thinking I could beat those odds. That I wasn't like other 'anorexics' I wasn't really anorexic. I had everything under control. I'd just gone a bit too far, that's all. All I had to do was eat more food, and get to a healthy weight. Simple.

'It's a hard process. Moving out of a comfort zone you've pushed yourself to the very limit to achieve. Having to do things that go against everything your mind and your body is telling you to do. Because you've driven it into this state of starvation. It was torture. I'd try and tell myself it's for the best. Trust the adults. Trust your parents. Trust the professionals. 

But it's easier to say isn't it. It's easy to say eat this, you need it. All they think about is my weight and my physical health. But what about my mental health. What about my body. They don't care if I get fat and ugly. They don't care if I'm unhappy, just as long as I'm a healthy BMI. But I care though. I'm the one that has to live with it. I'm the one that has to look at my body everyday. I'm the one that would have to live alone forever, always being the other girl. The one you forgot the name of. The plain, ordinary, nothing special girl. I'm the one in photos that you're not jealous of. The one with the bucked teeth and a massive nose and a big, square, manly body. The one you don't quite take notice of. I couldn't be that person again. I just couldn't.'

'You see, for me, my eating disorder wasn't a cry for help. Not for anyone else's help anyway. It was an attempt to gain a sense of worth for myself. To prove to myself that I was someone. I was always overwhelmed at the thought of being such an insignificant person in this world who hasn't really got anything to offer. I tried so hard in everything I did and yet I still felt insignificant. I wasn't good at anything. Well that's a lie, I was. I was in the top sets at school, I always did well. I had the most wonderful friends and family. Sometimes I think I shouldn't be allowed to have an eating disorder. To have a mental illness, let alone talk about it or seem like I'm complaining. My life was amazing. Is amazing. There are people in this world who would do anything for what I had. For a loving family, parents happily married, all healthy and happy. To have the most amazing friends. To have financial security, food and clean water, a roof over our heads. Education. Healthcare. I could go on and on. Who am I to be suffering, when there are people who have had actual traumatic experiences resulting in their thoughts and worries. I've just brought this on myself. Stupid, unthankful girl. 

I think I felt insecure. I still do. We all do, I guess. I had (still do, love them all to bits) very high-flyer friends. So I was the quiet one. The 'other' one. I deemed myself the follower. The one that wasn't quite good enough to be in that group. I wasn't as funny. I wasn't as smart. I wasn't as confident. I wasn't as pretty. Maybe being thin and fit and attractive could be my thing. People seem to like attractive people. Maybe if I work hard enough, I could be like that. Maybe then I won't feel as worthless, I'll be more confident and I'll have something to offer.'

These are just some words that I'd written a while back on different occasions and edited slightly to put together. I want to stress that, while I still occasionally get old thoughts and urges and am not yet fully recovered, I'm definitely not in that place anymore and I'm in a much better mindset and physical state to keep getting healthier. And I'm much happier. My stage in recovery is down to a lot of hard work, tears, love and support from my friends and family (who I basically owe my life to, so thanks guys) - but it's happened. It's possible. Just now writing this, I can vividly remember several times over the last 7 years when I didn't think it would ever be possible (one only a few months ago in fact, but that's another story). And they'll still be times when I feel unworthy and insecure, because changing your thought process doesn't change overnight, but I'm getting better and with each day of thankfulness and happiness, it gets that much easier and the ana inside me gets that much smaller. Controlled by me now, not the other way around.

I know my experience is very different to a lot of others but here I am sharing mine, if you don't agree or relate or this post conjures up bad thoughts, please just don't read it and close the tab straight away. I know most/if not all the people who read my posts are lovely, kind and open-minded people and I love you all so much - but if you're reading this thinking of a not-so-nice comment to post, please don't - you don't realise how much damage it can do! I feel very self-conscious publishing this type of stuff, but hearing it help just one or two people encourages me to do it.

There are many reasons I'm sure for the development of this and other mental illnesses, and it's most definitely not anyone's fault. I do still feel judgement towards myself sometimes when I actually type out these kind of thoughts, but it's just one of those things that unfortunately affects 1 in 4 of us. And it sucks. And it's hard. But it's temporary. It's an illness. It's not us. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Why I'm not Scared of Finishing University

Ok pinch me... the other day I had to register for my Graduation! *Draw drops, Eyes widen* Ho-ly S*** 

Being third year, fastly approaching the leap into real adulthood *Gulps*, I've definitely been subject to many a 'So have you got any plans?' comment or a 'Have you started applying for jobs/grad schemes?' and in answer to all those questions;


A big fat Nope!

I've not applied for a single graduate scheme, or job. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have basically no prospects for after university. And I'll end up with no money in my bank account.

Well, that's not entirely true... I am planning on travelling in Australia in August for who knows how long (as long as my saved money/Working-Holiday Visa will last). But I've not got a whole load of money and although I'll give it my best shot, who knows if travelling for a living is the right path for me and I might come back and have spent all my savings!

But the absolutely great thing is... I'm not scared. I'm ready! I'm excited for this new chapter and this freedom to do whatever I want!

Everyone around me and everything society or university promotes is this feeling of dread and failure to leave university without a job or at least things put in place or an idea of where to go. And for a time I thought the same - hell one of the reasons I came to uni was to put off work for 3 years (definitely not a reason to be paying £9,000/yr let me just tell you, but moving swiftly on!) - but I've come to realise that there's no point in being scared or worried.

Everything has a habit of working out - opportunities come along when and how they're meant to, doors close, doors open etc etc. As long as I'm happy and working hard in whatever I'm doing at the time, I'm content with the thought that in the time until this point of ''fear'', something - maybe a job, maybe a person, maybe a way of life - will come along and fit perfectly for me at that time.

 And I think this past term, and these past few years, has definitely pushed me and shown me that I can handle whatever life throws at me. That'll change - I know me too well - when the time comes that something feels even bigger or scarier or just different to anything I've faced before, but I'll still get through it.

I admit, my parents are amazing and will support anything I want to pursue, and fortunately they have to money to put up with me for another few (*cough* thirty *cough*) years when I go travelling and hopefully make a load of mistakes/job attempts until I find the one that's right.

But all soon to be degree-finishers - don't worry! This is our time to do WHATEVER we want to do with our lives. And if the job you get isn't what you thought it would be - just get a different one?

Anyone else in their final year? Anyone struggling? Or like me have you stopped caring!?

Image links from Pinterest here;
2. The Daily Quotes

Monday, 1 May 2017

Nassau, Bahamas

So what better way to escape all thought of dissertation and revision, than a spontaneous mini break to The Bahamas?

As I've mentioned before, I'm extremely fortunate to have an Air Hostess mother, who has taken my family and I to many destinations over the years! And since I'm unable to accompany her after I turn 24, I've made it my mission to go with her to as many places as I can pack in before then! So that was my reasoning for jetting off to the Bahamas for 3 days 3 weeks before my dissertation hand in!

As we didn't have that long there, we did spend most of the time hanging out at the beautiful Colonial Hilton hotel to exploit the stunning views and incredible weather... oh and I did bring revision with me, it was a lot easier to read revision cards when lying on a hammock accompanied by a rum punch! Even if after the third one, the information started going in one ear and falling straight out the other!

The next day we ventured out on a boat trip to Blue Lagoon Island, just off of Paradise Island. The island was stunning, with it's gorgeous white sandy beaches and beautiful turquoise blue water! It even had inflatable slides and trampolines and things out in the water that my brother and the other kids greatly enjoyed!

On the island you had the chance to do the dolphin or sea lion experience, where you's get a chance to swim with them and feed them, but we stuck to the island experience and managed to see the beauties frolicking in the sea!

With the island experience, we were treated to a lovely, hefty BBQ lunch and were free to explore the island as we pleased!

The other days we took lovely little walks around the towns and down the streets by the sea. And by constant request by my brother, we managed to get the chance to go para-sailing - which was pretty awesome (and I managed to use my GoPro for the first time and it worked perfectly!)

A couple of great tips I'd advise if anyone was going over there - it's a very popular place for cruises and their presence greatly dictates the business of the island. We noticed on days where there were none/few present the number of restaurants and bars open was very minimal, but was pretty buzzing when the cruises were in! For great food and apparently a very popular place for the young beach bums is 'Senor Frogs', just by the Hilton hotel and another place we loved - and had smashing food and Mango Mojitos - was Lukka Kairi, further along the beach front.

Anyone ever visited these gorgeous islands? 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Am I a Freak?

*Goes to any family gathering*

Family Friend/Member: 'So have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?'

Me: *shrugs and laughs it off* 'Oh no, not yet'

A big insecurity of mine has always been relationships. And this post is quite difficult for me to write and share on the internet for all to see, but I came across this draft from a while ago and thought maybe, just maybe, it's not just me feeling this way.

I think a lot of kids - teenagers - go through the 'boyfriend' phase - you know the one where you don't actually talk to each other, but you got your friend to ask them if they want to 'go out'/'go steady' with you and then you add their name with a heart on your MSN tag line and it's official! 

We all I think - or at least our peers at school - go through it. And it's around about year 7 which is also the step up to a new school - and I think it somehow got drawn into me that this was a measure of worth, of being desired, of being cool!

As the title suggests, this never happened to me. And it's not a huge issue - I haven't been totally consumed by this idea, because I've always been quite a smart and logical person, so I know now and I knew back then - that seeing this a measure of worth is total bollocks! 

And I can go into my sassy, girl-power mode and say 'You don't need a man to make you happy', 'having a boyfriend doesn't impact your self-worth' and yes I truly believe that and that's why this isn't a massive issue and I can live a long and happy life, succeeding as I have and will do in the future. 

And yet, it's been an insecurity of mine ever since then, and I won't deny that's it's knocked my confidence slightly in the past and no doubt will do in the future. And although I only really get down about it when I'm already in a bad mood or upset about something (and tend to fall into that lovely spiral we all love so much!) it keeps coming back to me. The idea that there's something wrong with me? Why am I 21 and never had a boyfriend? Does it make me weird/odd that I'm in my twenties and I've never had sex? 

Which spirals into a field of ongoing questions that my over-thinking, scientific brain likes to analyse like;
Am I disgusting? Am I ugly? Is there something wrong with my body?

Or worse; Is it me? Am I just unlovable? Am I the 'nice' person who no-one ever really has as their first choice? Am I too boring or uncool?

And luckily I'm in a good place right now that I can write this logically and know that everything's fine. I'm content with the faith that really, the person that's right for me is out there and to quote Mr Bublé, I just haven't met him yet. And at 21, I've got my whole life to go out and meet different people, all of them right for that time in my life. It's easy to get caught up in the superficial things like sex or the relationship label, but at the end of the day I'm the soppy one who just wants love and I can wait a lifetime for that!

I'd like to point out that this doesn't rule my life - I just realised that it was a recurring thought over the years and wondered whether anyone else had ever felt that sense of doubt?

Also a little reminder, that you're the main person who deserves your undivided attention and love and you're totally amazing no matter your relationship status!