Saturday, November 11, 2017

7 Tips To Get Your Car Winter Ready

Hi, If you read my goals for this month you'll know that I'm planning on sorting out my car before the winter weather really kicks in. Having a car and being able to drive yourself about is great but also comes with responsibilities. To make sure that you keep yourself and others safe, in the months to come, it makes sense to make preparations. Below are some tips and reminders so you can make sure you and your car is winter ready.


Tips To Get Your Car Winter Ready


Check Your Tires
During the winter months the roads can become dangerous if your cars tires aren’t up to scratch. Check the depth of your tires tread, make sure to replace worn out tires. In the UK the legal tire depth requirement is 1.6 millimetres on 3/4 of the most central part of the tires.

Under the Bonnet
Check your oil level and make sure that everything is topped up and add anti freeze where required.

Clear Your Car Before Driving
Whether your clearing misty windows or a nights down fall of snow, make sure your car is clear and you can see before setting off on a journey. Make sure all your windows, license plates, mirrors and lights are visible to other road users.

Stock up on Winter Supplies
Stock up on de-icer for those cold mornings when you need a quick solution. Get yourself a ice scrapper and other gadgets that will make the winter months more manageable.

Prepare for Emergencies
You can easily get stuck in traffic so make sure your phone has enough charge and a spare battery pack incase. During the winter months it’s a good idea to keep a blanket or warm clothing in your car. A drink and snacks are also a good idea.

Check the Weather Forecast
It might be fine when you leave for the day but checking the forecast gives you a heads up of that strong wind or heavy rain due for your evening commute. Knowing what’s ahead means you can prepare and make your journey safer.

Drive Carefully
Even with all of the checks and pre-planning your journey may well still be dangerous so be careful. When roads are wet braking time is increased so take it steady.

Do you have any tips to add?
Sam
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | October

Hi, Last month I struggled to find the time to read which looking back is annoying but means I had a very social month. I have every hope I can read more in the months to come and I have the Goodreads challenge to push me to do more reading. I've been lazy on making notes on these books and pre-writing these reviews so they are a little lacking, I still want to document what I've been reading and I hope that I'll introduce you to some books you didn't know about.


Reading Challenge 27/35

Nina is Not OK

Author - Shappi Khorsandi
Page Count - 352
First Published - 2017


I picked this book up on a whim in my local library, I popped in to return a book just before closing so I picked a book I'd marked as available in my library on goodreads and I couldn't remember the synopsis.


The book starts on a night out where seventeen year old Nina thinks her drinking is normal but ends with her not remembering why she's holding her knickers in her hand. She has first hand experience of alcoholism growing up with her father, who eventually died from his addiction. While she doesn't openly use this as an excuse for her own reliance on alcohol she can't deny that it might be a contributing factor. She thinks she has control over her drinking but who's really controlling who?
 

This was an interesting book as I haven't read anything about alcoholism before. It was a hard read to see how alcohol can effect someones life so subtly but so destructively. I always find it so hard to write these posts without giving spoilers. This book maybe triggering as it does cover rape.
 

How Hard Can Love Be?

Author - Holly Bourne
Page Count - 480
First Published - 2016


I enjoyed reading this book so much but I knew I would because I haven't not liked anything by Holly Bourne. This is the middle book in the spinster club story but you can read them out of sequence (as I have). Honestly if you haven't read anything by Holly Bourne go correct that as soon as possible.


Amber is finally going to see her mum for the first time in two years since she left Amber behind to start a new life in America. From the start Amber's reunion with her mother doesn't go as well as she'd hoped and a lot has changed in two years. The plan is to help out at Summer camp and spend time with her mum in the evenings but that soon becomes apparent it isn't going to happen. The redeeming factor of being so far away from home is the friends she makes and the fact that she can still take part in the spinster club from across the globe.

Amber is a lovely character who just wants to be loved, her mother is a recovered (no relapse) alcoholic. As a result Amber has a very weird relationship with her mother as she's seen her at her worst. This plays a big part in this story and it's weird that I've read two books about alcoholism this month.

The Apple Tart of Hope

Author - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Page Count - 209
First Published - 2015


I read this book in a day, one day, that never happens. This was a smaller book but I really enjoyed it. I actually got my sister to pick me out a short looking book and this is what she picked. I now want to go and read more of Sarah's titles.
 

Meg and Oscar have grown up living next door to each other and sharing everything while chatting from there bedroom windows. Megs parents plan a six month trip to move them from Ireland to New Zealand, which makes Meg realised she's going to miss Oscar as more than just a friend. The book starts on Megs arrival back in Ireland to attend a remembrance service for Oscar who is missing presumed dead. Meg seeks out Oscar's younger brother Stevie to try and piece together what happened in her absence and hopefully find him.
 

This is such a good little read, there's elements of misunderstandings, bullying and untold feelings. It was such a great short story and I think everyone should try this book.

What have you been reading?
Sam

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | November

Hi, We're into the eleventh month of the year, we're so close to the end of 2017 now. I've started buying Christmas presents and I really want to get out the decoration so I know what to buy to match my growing collection. Bonfire night is in just a few days and I can't wait to go to a firework display.

Goals for November
  • Give my car a check before Winter hits
  • Read, read and do more reading
  • Go to a bonfire
  • Continue enjoying blogging
  • Start planning for Christmas
  • Eat Bonfire food
  • Buy an Advent Calendar
  • Plan a trip away
  • Go to the cinemas
  • Make my home cosy for Winter
I've got a trip to the bonfire we've attended for the last few years planned but I'm also inviting my parents and sister round for some bonfire night food (Jacket potatoes, chilli and hotdogs) on the 5th. I'm really looking forward to Christmas and I feel it's allowed now. I want to get a nice advent calendar and I need to start thinking of gift ideas. We've already had a few days where I've had to defrost my car in the morning so I want to make sure my car is sorted before it gets really cold. I really need to get reading if I want to complete my goodreads challenge.

Are you going to a bonfire this year?
Sam

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October In Review

Hi, Happy Halloween! It's a while since I've written one of these month in review posts and I'm not sure where to start. It's been the first October for a long time that I've not celebrated Halloween, I did buy and carve a pumpkin but that's the highlight this year.



Goals for October 6/10
  • Enjoy the change in the season
  • Work on a DIY project
  • List unwanted clothes on Ebay
  • Read three books
  • Eat less meat
  • Share a recipe
  • Get back into blogging
  • Comment on lots of blogs
  • Carve a Pumpkin
  • Set a TBR list for the rest of the year

I feel I've totally embraced Autumn this year, I haven't been on any woodland walks like I would have liked but I've really enjoyed wrapping up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate. I have bought so many new jumpers, I'm so happy I can wear because it's cool enough. While getting into the spirit of Autumn I've been enjoying getting more reading done and I've been working on keeping up with my Goodreads challenge but I'm still two books behind (oops). I've also been doing some crafts to create decorative things for my home which I think I'll go into more in a separate post.

I've been wanting to get back into blogging for a while and I was stuck not knowing what to do. I finally got past that point and I've done so much blogging compared to the rest of this year. I wanted to get back into the blogging community by commenting on blogs but sadly I've just not had time. Another thing I've not had time to do is sell my unwanted clothes, I'm so ready to just give them to charity to give myself more space.

I don't want to go vegetarian or vegan but I do want to be more conscious of my impact on the environment and my overall health based on what I eat. I've been cutting down on the amount of meat I've been eating and having more meat free meals. I've got a recipe I want to share but I didn't get round to it this month (blog post idea for the future).

What did you do to celebrate Halloween this year?
Sam

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Clocks Go Back | Make The Darker Nights More Enjoyable

Hi, Tonight here in the UK we're turning the clocks back by an hour. It's now going to be dark by 5pm and get eariler and eariler, this is both massively annoying as I hate driving in the dark and exciting as it means that it's now getting close to Christmas. There are so many celebrations at this time of year that would be so different if they where held at the height of summer. Halloween wouldn't be as scary and you'd be forced to wear your costume without the cover of darkness. Bonfire night would have to take place so late in the evening you'd be too sleepy to even watch the fireworks. One of the best parts about Christmas is all the fairy lights and decorative displays which wouldn't look half as good if it wasn't dark.


Today I'm sharing things I'm doing to make the most of the darker nights and not let it become an issue with my mood. It's a bit easier said than done when the weather is so wet and windy but I'm still seeing the beauty in this time of year when the seasons change, Autumn is my favourite time of year. While summer brings the opportunity to stay up till late soaking up the sunshine, Autumn also has it's benefits as a time of relaxation. I tend to slow down during the Autumn months before Winter properly kicks in with all the Christmas and new years parties. Below are some really simple ways to connect with these transitional months. 

How To Make The Darker Nights More Enjoyable


Take Part In Seasonal Celebrations
As I mentioned above we've got Halloween and Bonfire night to look forward too. I feel these celebrations are a kind of consolation prize for the darker nights. Embrace these events where possible.

Get Cozy
When it's colder outside there's nothing nicer than getting all wrapped up in comfy warm clothing. It's time to dig out the fluffy socks and slippers and maybe invest in some big cozy jumpers or even another new set of pajamas. Change out the bedding for snugglier nights and don't forget your blanket.

Update Your Home/Room
Changing up a room to match the season is a good way to make the season more enjoyable. Update your colour scheme or just add more comforting elements like subtle lighting to keep the darkness at bay.

Bake or Buy Nice Snacks
Pumpkin spice is everywhere right now so why not try a new seasonal baking recipe.  Alternatively try out what the shops have to offer in the form of seasonal goodies. Using seasonal ingredients is a good way to embrace the new season.

Hot Drinks
One thing about the drop in temperature is that I now want every drink to be hot. I don't drink normal tea or coffee because I'm weird but hot chocolate is a must in Autumn, preferably after a long woodland walk.

Box Sets and Films
It's darker outside so the allure to go out is lower but that means more free time to catch up on those box sets you've been meaning to watch all summer or find a new favourite. Plan a trip to the cinemas it's already dark so you're not missing the sunshine by going to watch a film.

Stock Up On Bath Bombs
Take the time to have a relaxing bath, I always feel weird having a bath when it's sunny outside like the heat of the water is wrong. The drop in temperature means I'm more than happy to have a bath and it's even better when you get to enjoy some Lush bath art too.

Get Stuck into a Book
I'm so behind on my goodreads target this year so I'm really hoping the darker nights are going to give me a reason to chill out with a book more often. It might be dark and raining outside but in a book you could be traveling the world and enjoy someone else's summer if you're missing the sun.

Start a Craft Project
Extra time means working on those household DIY projects or you could start working on homemade Christmas gifts or start a craft project just for the fun of it.

What's your favourite part about the nights getting darker?
Sam

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Lush Review | Ectoplasm Jelly Bomb

Hi, Today I've got a review I've been very excited to write as I've finally tried a jelly bomb. I think the first concept of the Jelly bomb was shown at the 2016 Lush showcase (it looked very different) and I've wanted to try it since because it just seemed so weird. If you read my recent Lush Haul you'll know that I had to make two visits to the Leeds store as they hadn't got the Jelly Bombs in yet on my first visit. I honestly would have bought more but at £4.95 I decided that one was enough to start with and so I picked the most Halloween themed Ectoplasm.

Ectoplasm Jelly Bomb





Another reason this was the first jelly bomb I choose was the scent. It's full of citrus oils in the form of Tangerine and Grapefruit Oil which is my favourite. I've read some reviews saying that their bombs didn't dissolve so I want to say that my bath was run with just hot water which might make a difference. I think the bath bomb looks quite muted in tones but once it hits the water a luminous green spews out from the jelly discs complemented by the bright purple (my camera didn't pick up the true colours).

The ectoplasm jelly bomb features a little ghost on one side, this motif is individual to the Ectoplasm jelly bomb and there are lots of different motifs across the jelly bomb range. One thing they all have in common is the construction style of a mixture of the normal bath bomb mixture along with discs that are seaweed infused. It's the seaweed within these discs that create the slime texture.

Onto the jelly! It's weird, but so fun. As a concept of slime the jelly works really well within this Halloween themed jelly bomb, I'm not so sure I'd enjoy the idea so much with a different style of bath bomb. I'm aware that the texture of the jelly is putting people off, but by the time I'd added some cold water to level out the water temperature the jelly had all but gone before I got into the bath. Have fun with it and then make sure it's all dissolved if you don't fancy being covered in the stuff. 

I can't say I found that the seaweed that creates the slime was that silky in the water like cocoa butter feels but my skin did feel really soft after my bath. The water ends up the most bright luminous green/yellow which was a totally different colour to any other Lush product I've used which was a nice change.

Have you tried any of the Lush Jelly Bombs?
Sam

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Why I Count Calories

Hi, Weight loss is a funny thing to blog about, you're so in danger of offending or giving bad advice. I debated writing this post but decided to write it from more of a personal prospective rather than self help. Just remember that everyone is different and what I personally find beneficial for myself may not be right for you.


Why I Count Calories


Why I Started Counting Calories
Simply I like to snack a lot and I'm not active at all, this combination means calories can quickly add up. I'd got to my heaviest of 9 stone 6 pounds which on my petite frame is heavy. I'd noticed all my favourite clothes being a lot tighter and was making a conscious decision to wear baggier clothing. My doctor even commented that I'd put on weight during my last visit.

My Weight Loss Goal and Progress
I figured this post is pointless without me sharing my personal experience of calorie counting. I've been counting calories daily since the start of July which is now about four months (I thought it was longer). In that time I've managed to lose a stone and I'm feeling so much happier about how I look and feel. My rate of weight loss works out at about a pound per week, the loss was totally down to what I've been eating as I've made no change to my activity levels.

How I Track My Calories
I use the MyFitnessPal app to count my calories. You set a target weight and a rate in which you want to lose the weight. I don't think it's the most scientific on calculating your daily goal but it's also based on your activity level. Once you've set everything up you then simply follow the target calories. You log your daily intake by scanning barcodes and looking up ingredients, it's really simple.

Why I Think It's A Positive Thing To Try
I know a lot of people are against calorie counting because of the idea of under eating and it's a valid point. I think it's only an issue though if your not learning to eat the right foods that are both filling, healthy and low calorie. You might loss weight if you stick to your goal and only eat junk food but you're going to be hungry and your body will lack the nutrients it needs. It's all about educating yourself about portion control and reassessing your diet long term.

What Have I Learnt
  • Calorie counting doesn't mean restricting, it's about healthy swaps and planning ahead.
  • Going over your target calories doesn't matter in the long run.
  • It's not a quick fix, it's an educational process and a lifestyle choice/change.
  • A kitchen scale and other measuring devises will become your best friends.
  • You can still socialize and enjoy restaurant food.
  • I like eating calories more than I enjoy drinking them (so much less alcohol).
  • I'm so much more interested in cooking and trying new things.

I think there's a lot more I could say about calorie counting but I don't want to ramble. I've found it a helpful and positive experience and while I'm now going to increase my calorie intake to sustain my weight rather than lose it I'll continue to track my calories so I don't over indulge too often.

Please let me know what you think about calorie counting?
Sam

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