Friday, December 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | December

Hi, It’s December the last month of the year, I’ve been excited for Christmas since the beginning of November so unlike normal I’m going to put my tree up today (I've got the day off work Yay!). I’ve still got four books to read to complete my Goodreads challenge but I’m feeling optimistic about that. I've only just started to think about what presents to buy and I haven’t found a wrapping paper I’m happy with, so I'm feeling a little behind in the gift area of the Christmas prep. I did however open the first door on my Lindt advent calendar and as I’m not normally a massive fan of chocolate it’s made a nice change to have a better quality one but still at a very reasonable price (only cost £5 and comes with a Lindt mini reindeer and Santa).

Goals for December
  • Buy something Snow Fairy scented from Lush
  • Go to a Christmas Market
  • Drink mulled wine
  • Buy and wear a Christmas jumper
  • Go to a pantomime
  • Find a winter read
  • Do some baking
  • See family and friends
  • Go for a wintery walk (in the snow would be nice)
  • Continue to build my Christmas decoration collection

I went to London at the end of last month and visited the Lush Oxford street store but I didn't really buy anything from the Christmas range so to correct that I want to pick up some snowfairy scented goodies. I like giving myself some super easy goals so the seeing friends and family is more of a reminder of the point of the month ahead. I want to have lots of fun days out so I'd love to visit at least one Christmas market and going to a pantomime would be really fun. Mulled wine will be drunk at some point this month the question is do I buy a premade bottle or make my own.

With four books left for the year I have room to pick out something seasonal (any suggestions please let me know). My good old Christmas jumper has fallen apart (so sad), I need a new one so the hunt is on. I've gone a little mad on buying baubles for my tree but I might still need more, either way I'd still like to pick up some more festive pieces. I want to do some baking so I'm thinking of making something that can also become homemade presents.

Are you excited for Christmas, when are you putting up your tree?

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

November In Review

Hi, What a month, it's been so busy. I'd say this month had two very defined events which would be the Bonfire weekend and my trip to London last weekend. In between these two events I got some serious reading done and I'm now on track for my Goodreads challenge (I hope it stays that way).

Goals for November 8/10
  • 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

Bonfire night this year was so much fun. I went to an organised bonfire and firework display which was great, the bonfire is so big you don't feel the cold. On the big night I had my family round and ate all the yummy food over our incinerator bin and set off some really tiny rockets, it was so fun. I planned a trip to London with my bestie to go see Young Frankenstein (which was very good, highly recommend) and while we were there we got tickets to see Phantom of the Opera. So I didn't go the cinema but I saw two London shows so I'm crossing that goal off.

I've had to de-ice my car so many times this month and the temperature has definitely dropped so I'm glad I've sorted out my car. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do more blogging this month but I have been busy doing other things. I bought a Lindt Advent calendar which I can not wait to start opening tomorrow. After last year and my very bare Christmas tree I've gone a bit mad buying baubles. I haven't made much of an effort to change anything around the house but I think the house will be much more festive in the next few days!

What did you do this month?

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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?
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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Why I’ll Never Be A Fashion Blogger

Hi, With my recent absence from blogging it has given me time to reflect on what and where I want my blog to be. When I first found the world of blogs it was the fashion blogs that I read the most. I still follow all those blogs but my interests have inevitably changed over the years and I’m much more interested in home improvements and food now. My blog has never been as fashion related as I'd originally planned and after almost three years of blogging I’m yet to do an 'Outfit of the Day' post. For fun I've put together a list of reasons why this will probably never change. I did once, a very long time ago, go out to do a fashion post but it didn’t go very well and I've never felt ready to try again.

Why I’ll Never Be A Fashion Blogger

I Don’t Have Anyone to Help Take Photos
This one is kind of self-inflicted because as daft as it might sound my other half is the only person who knows about my blog. As a result my choice of photographer is limited to him and while he did try he just couldn’t get what angles and stuff I wanted in the photos. He did however take my profile pic which is one of very few photos of myself I actually like, I have to give him credit for that.

I’m Not Photogenic
I'm not hating on myself, it's just a fact that I don't have a good angle. It's something that has forever annoyed me and honestly I’ve developed a dislike of cameras as I never look like me in photos. You might have noticed that I never post selfies and there’s like two photos of my face within the posts on my blog.

I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands
I could come up with an outfit I like but then look like a total idiot in the photos because I just don’t know how to pose. I know this is something you'd learn with practice but it just makes the whole process take longer.

Finding Locations
You don’t need to have a different location for every outfit but lets be honest it keeps things fresh. I could set up a camera against a white wall, but that just wouldn’t be keeping up with all the other amazing fashion bloggers (my aesthetic goal is clearly too high for a newbie). I also rarely leave the house to find those amazing outdoor locations.

The Horror of Taking Photos in Public
You find the perfect location and it’s right on a busy main road or in a very busy park. I’m sure if I looked harder I’d find hidden gems of locations perfect for my shy self. On my one outing I just didn’t feel comfortable and like someone was going to walk past and judge us, but why do I care? social anxiety cares I guess.

I Can’t Afford to Keep Up With the Trends
This is a part truth because with places like Primark and my own style of just picking key pieces, I could probably keep up with the trends but do I really want too? I think fast fashion is something we need to curb as it's really not good for the environment or our bank balance.

My Style is Very Basic
My outfits wouldn't be that interesting. I've got a style uniform of a pair of skinny jeans, a plain t-shirt, a long cardigan and a pair of Dr Martens. While I'd consider my style to be alternative it's been diluted over the years to me just having a very neutral wardrobe.

It’s Just Too Much Effort For Me
While I’d love to do an OOTD post I’m really just not motivated enough to put myself through the effort of all of the above issues to come to edit the photos and hate every one. Maybe this is something I should have a go at but do it on a whim while out somewhere rather than putting so much pressure on the moment.

Do you like to create OOTD posts?

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Friday, October 13, 2017

A Little Lush Haul

Hi, I ended up doing two small shops in Lush not far apart so I decided to share what I've been buying. I've got a total of four products which are all new to me. I orignally visited the Leeds Lush store to pick up one of the new jelly bombs but at the time they hadn't made it to that store. I couldn't not buy anthing so I picked up the first two items a Never Mind The Ballistics bath bomb and a Yellow Submarine bath bomb. On my second visit I was happy to see the store full of all the Halloween and Christmas stock but I restrained myself as I have way too many products I already needed to use. I finally picked up one of the jelly bombs Ectoplasm and a Rocket Science bath bomb because it was too fun not to buy.

Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bomb
This bath bomb looks so sad in the photo because the cocoa butter coating on the top has dryed out so much the whole bomb is falling apart (I've had it about a month). This is without a doubt a bath bomb that doesn't last long in the open air, I forgot to pack it away. I love the cocoa butter bath bombs as they are so softening and it smells so good.

Lush description: These aren’t ingredients for anybody else except for yourself. Lime and sweet wild orange oils are fresh and peachy on the nose, exciting the senses and shaking up your mood. There’s no time for apathy in the bath, so this anarchic bath bomb fizzes and rolls and spews colour with no holds barred energy. Fair Trade cocoa butter melts alongside fresh bananas to soften both the water and your skin. God save the clean; this deserves a replay.

Yellow Submarine Bath Bomb
I got this one just because the design is fun and I wanted to see this little submarine tugging along around my bath. I think the colour mix with this one is going to be so nice in the tub and is a fun cheaper alternative to the classic bath bombs.

Lush description: Why take a plane when you can take a submarine? Start off in the hustle and bustle of the city, submerge and let the waves wash over you, waking up on a tropical island with coconut scent gently blowing through the trees. A cocktail of Brazilian orange, lemongrass and coriander seed oil will enliven the senses and transport you to sunny shores, until pink and yellow sunsets ground you in the most spectacular bath.

Rocket Science Bath Bomb
I think I saw this bomb on the Lush instagram and instantly wanted it. It's one of the cheapest bath bombs at only £2.95 so would make a lovely stocking filler. The blue and yellow looks like it's going to make the most awesome patterns in the bath. There's even tiny little stars in the rocket blast, can't wait to see what happens to them.

Lush description: Blast off to another world with this mix of uplifting bergamot and lemon. It’s smooth soaring to beautiful bath waters as mellow yellow fizzes with deep blue and pink. Lower onto the surface of the water, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as it leisurely glides around the bath. You'll love this to the moon and back.

Ectoplasm Jelly Bomb
I finally got hold of a jelly bath bomb and I'm super excited to try this and review it. I'm not sure if this is a Halloween exclusive product and will disapear. I picked it as it was the most halloween themed of the bunch and there's a lot of jelly bomb variations. I was also swayed into picking this one because it's full of citrus oils and so has my favourite scent.

Lush description: For soaks from the other side, launch this slimer into the water and let the gooey jelly ooze across the surface. Made from brown seaweed, it softens your skin as it goes. If you're feeling ghoulish, the uplifting tangerine, grapefruit and restorative litsea cubeba oils will have you in high spirits in no time. Take the gunge.

What have you been buying from Lush?

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | September

Hi, It's been a while since I've done one of these monthly book reviews and to be honest I want to go back and post the previous books I've missed for my own reference. I'm really behind on my Goodreads challenge but I'm not surprised because I've been slow/lazy with reading. I really need to plan what I want to read during the rest of year to stay on track so keep an eye out for a TBR for the rest of 2017. Both the books I read this month where finds at my favourite charity shop for books because they are only 50p each.

Reading Challenge 24/35

How to Love

Author -
Page Count - 389
First Published - 2013

I bought this book about a year ago and finally got round to reading it. As there was such a long time from picking this book out I'd forgotten what it was about, but it's obviously a romance book of sorts. 

Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande since she can remember. The son of her parents friends they have grown up together but Sawyer has never shown Reena any attention until one day they fall in messy love. Sawyer leaves without an explanation, leaving Reena behind. Time passes and Reena has a new love of her life, her daughter Hannah. One day Sawyer arrives back in their lives and Renna has to work out where he fits in her new life.

This book was such a fun read because of the writing style of telling both the before and present story in alternative chapters. I overall wasn't blown away by this book but I did enjoy reading it and seeing how the story developed. I don't want to give spoilers but there's so much more to this story than I've explained above. I really enjoyed how as the reader was giving little bits of information from the past that then made the present situation make more sense.


Elizabeth is Missing

Author -
Page Count - 275
First Published - 2015

I've had this book on my radar as one I've wanted to pick up and it finally turned up at 50p. I hadn't realised until writing this post but this is another book that moves from past to present. This book does it more creatively through the main character getting confused and transitioning from present to past via memory triggers.

Maud is elderly and losing her memory to dementia. She writes notes to remind herself of things but doesn't remember what they mean. There's one note however that keeps resurfacing which is that her best friend Elizabeth is missing. The present story interlinks with the disappearance of Mauds sister
Sukey when she was a little girl. Maud is trying to solve one disappearance while getting confused and trying to solve the mystery behind her sisters disappearance.

I found this book a little long winded because I didn't have the time to sit down and totally indulge. I find this is a massive issue I have with my overall reading experience, it's me not the book. Again no spoilers, there's so much more to this story and if you only read it for one reason read it because it's an insight into dementia and how it affects people.

Any short story recommendations (I've got a lot of catching up to do on Goodreads)?

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | October

Hi, Long time no blog! so why the absence? Well first my computer broke and then well I fell out with blogging and gave myself a break. I can't say I had a digital detox because I've continued to read lots of blogs and been watching Youtube a little too much. I honestly wasn't sure if I wanted to come back to blogging but here I am giving it another go.

A Quick Catch Up
My last personal post was back at the start of June so in total it's been 122 days or 4 months since then, it's crazy how fast time goes by. I'll share the highlights from the last few months because I think it's nice to have posts to look back at as a diary.

June is so long ago now I can't think of anything that happened worth noting. July I went on holiday to Filey on the east coast of Britain for a few days to celebrate my boyfriends birthday. This was kind of the second reason I stopped blogging because it was time away from the screen and then I found it hard to come back. August was a weird month as we visited three churches in under two weeks. Once for a wedding (my cousin's which was lovely), a funeral of a distant relative and finally to witness the Christening of my Niece. Finally September the month we are just saying goodbye to was pretty chilled out. I went to see Mother! which is a crazy and mind scrambling film but very good, you just have to watch it with an open mind. I also went to my second wedding of the year for a couple we've been friends with for years and they did everything so for them it was perfect.

Goals for October
  • 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 haven't even talked about the fact it's now Autumn and Halloween is looming. Here's to blogging again and making the most of the month ahead. I felt that finally sitting down and writing one of my monthly goals posts would give the motivation to actually have another go at blogging and I'm looking forward to creating content, I always find the winter months easier to blog about.

Are you enjoying Autumn?

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | May

Hi, Last month was a slow one for reading, I only finished two books, I'm really hoping to find the time in June to catch up on my Goodreads goal (currently one book behind). Both the books I read last month where ones I knew nothing about because I picked them up from my local charity shop for just 50p each.

Reading Challenge 14/35

The Sky Is Everywhere
Author -
Page Count - 320
First Published - 2010
Seventeen year old Lennie Walker is an avid clarinet player and content with living life in the slow lane shadowed by her older sister Bailey. The story starts just after Bailey's sudden death and covers Lennie’s feelings and how she handles the sudden loss of her sister. Lennie is forced to take center stage in her own life and suddenly boys are very much a part of her life. She is stuck between Toby her sister’s boyfriend who she finds a connection with because of their joint grief and the new boy who causes Lennie immense happiness. I was reading this book waiting for the inevitable to happen.

I read 'I'll give you the sun' another book by Jandy Nelson and loved her writing style, it’s very similar in this book, very honest and funny at times. A classic YA of self discovery with some romance thrown in, also covering grief and guilt. One of my favourite parts about this book is the illustrated pages littered throughout the book with these poems/stories that Lennie writes and then hides.

Author – C.J. Skuse
Page Count - 318
First Published - 2015

Nash is sixteen and thinks her biggest struggle is the fight for head girl at her prestigious boarding school Bathory. Her brother goes missing while traveling and her parents are forced to leave Nash at the school over the Christmas holidays to try and locate him. There have been reports of sightings of the Beast of Bathory (an old town legend) and people are going missing or been found dead. A blizzard rages outside the school and things start to get weird. The girls left behind over the holidays have to work together to survive until help arrives.

I believe this book would be classed as a thriller but with a YA setting, I'm not the biggest fan of thrillers as I feel a lot of the book tends to be filler to hold the suspense. I didn't dislike this book but I do think it's one that needs to be devoured and read in a few sittings to truly make the most of it. I struggled with the book because I didn't have the time to truly get into it.

Is there a genre of book you struggle to enjoy?

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | June

Hi, I think the weather has finally got to the point where you could consider it summer. June has the the longest day of the year so it must be summer now right? Well I'm trying to be more adventurous with my outfits to make the most of this lovely nice warm weather, but British weather is so unpredictable.

Goals for June
  • Do a book unhaul
  • Read four books
  • Have a BBQ
  • Do an outfit of the day post
  • Enjoy the sunshine
  • Do something to the house
  • Make a cocktail
  • Buy Paramores new album
  • Share a recipe
  • Plan a day out

I love fashion and it's something I'd love to blog about more but I'm really camera shy. I feel like I could take photos of an outfit without being too personal but that would be of someone else and I'm not sure my boyfriend has the eye for photography (but I haven't made him try so watch this space).

I have so many books I no longer need so I'm thinking an unhaul of books is a great way to make the most of having a clear out (inspired by Imogen's unhaul post). After last months slow reading and lack of time I need to up my reading and so I'm setting myself a four book target. I want to tidy up the garden some more (the grass needs cutting so badly). I'm thinking that a BBQ with homemade cocktails in the sun is a must this month.

I've been loving Paramores new album and I don't know why I haven't bought it yet so that needs putting right. With the better weather I would love to have a day out even if it's just a picnic at the local park.

Are you getting better weather? Any plans for the month ahead?

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May in Review

Hi, This month has flown by and I can't believe I'm already writing this post (I'm sure I say this every month). Time passing me by is reflected in my lack of posts this month, I just haven't had the time. I haven't done any reading either which means I've got some catching up to do but that's what days in the sun are for.

Goals for May 6/10
  • Survive a hen party
  • See Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Post five times this month
  • Cut down on my fizzy pop intake
  • Get to 200 Pokemon on PokemonGo
  • Start a DIY project
  • Book a trip away
  • Review my cruelty free progress
  • Try something new
  • Work on my Pinterest boards

I finally went to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy film, which was so good. It was a really good film and the story was very unexpected, I managed to avoid the spoilers. I don't think it was quite as good as the first one because that was such an unexpected favourite. I've been on a bit of a health kick this month and made a big effort to avoid fizzy pop and it was pretty easy to cut out. I've also been trying a lot of new healthy recipes. One of my favourites is a seafood noodle soup concoction I made, it tastes so good.

As mentioned above I've been a bad blogger and so I've failed two of my goals. I've not posted five times and I didn't review my cruelty free products but I'm still planning on doing this as soon as possible. I did however complete my PokemonGo goal of getting over 200 Pokemon, I'm now at 204, new Pokémon include Muk, Sunkern, Milktank, Clefa and Bayleef.

The highlight of the month was my weekend away in Newcastle for my cousins hen party, I'm happy to say it was a lot of fun. We went to it’s a knockout, had a cocktail making class, karaoke booth and partied the night away. A very busy and tiring weekend and then Huddersfield town A.F.C only went and won the match at wembley, putting the cherry on the top of the hen party weekend. I haven't book a trip away but I'm feeling good after this last weekend, it's been discussed about having a cheeky holiday in the sun with my sister.

How was your month, did you do anything new?

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Tips For Meal Planning

Hi, Do you ever get home from a long day at work and you have no idea what to cook or find the fridge is empty. Well today I'm talking about how much easier my life has been since taking a little time each week to plan meals. I plan my lunch/Tea for Monday-Friday, leaving the weekend open to spontaneity/takeaways.

Tips For Meal Planning

Bonuses of meal planning
  • Meal structure can lead to a healthy rate of weight loss.
  • Having a list will make shopping quicker.
  • A weekly menu takes the stress out of cooking.
  • Sticking to your list will stop spontaneous purchases, saving money and calories.
  • Helps you use up left over foods or things coming close to there use by date.

How to plan a weeks worth of meals

Tip 1. For breakfast and lunch try to keep it simple. Buy ingredients that will work for a few meals, a 500ml carton of yogurt, to have with frozen berries, will last you the week.

Tip 2. To plan your weekly meals start by looking at what you already have. Meal planning makes it easier to use up meat from the freezer or veggies left over from the previous week. Using up ingredients you already have lowers your weekly food bill and reduces food waste.

Tip 3. Using any ingredient you have found, work out the meals you want to eat for the next five days. You don't have to have anything fancy just stick to the foods you know you'll look forward to eating, this will stop temptation to change your meal plans later in the week.

Tip 4. When buying fresh plan meals that will use ingredients that are usable over a few recipes. A good example would be eggs, you have to buy a minimum of 6 so plan to use them before their use by date.

Tip 5. Write all your ideas down in no order and then work out what sides you would have with your choices, to keep meals interesting try to have a mixture of rice, noodles, pasta, vegetables or bread as a side. Now work on your final meal order.

Tip 6. Once you have your meal ideas write a shopping list of all the ingredients you need. Sticking to the list will help to stop spontaneous purchases which will save you money and stop the temptation to buy that bar of chocolate.

Tip 7. Make your meal plan visible, write in out in a place you will see it, I have a black board for this very reason. Seeing your daily meal will remind you of any preparation required (like getting the meat out of the freezer).

When meal planning remember it's only five days and then you get to start again next week. Keeping a record of your weekly meal plans and rotating them makes the selection of meals even quicker.

Do you think you would meal plan?

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