Sunday, 21 September 2014

Life | Dear Sam Pepper

I don't know if you've seen, but Sam Pepper (a YouTube I'd previously had no knowledge of, although wasn't he in big brother years ago?) has released a video on his YouTube channel of one of his 'pranks' (it seems he does this type of thing a lot) in which he accosts young beautiful women on the street with a pretence of asking where the apple store is, only to secretly grope them with his hand whilst they're looking the other way. Ha ha ha. He squeezes their bum and then blames it on an unsuspecting member of the public who's walking passed at the same time. Ha. All of the girls look anything from mortified, embarrassed, shocked and a little scared with one girl saying "I don't like that, I don't like that" 

I'll tell you why I have a problem with this, and it's really made my blood boil...Firstly, it's just a prime example of some arrogant little shit using women for his own enjoyment, without any thought to how it makes them feel. Women's bodies are not the play thing of any man who sees fit to use them, and to do so, film it and then put it on the internet?! It's lower than low. Ask any girl, anywhere about this sort of thing and they'll tell you it happens daily. Sometimes in broad daylight in the  street, sometimes verbally. It's embarrassing and creepy, we all hate it. Even worse, in a club when some guy thinks because you've got a drunk in hand, a pair of heels on and you're dancing means you're 'fair game' and will therefore touch you, grind up against you or put his hand up your skirt. If this ever happens to me, I turn around and ask the guy exactly what he thinks he's doing touching me without my permission. It's usually enough to then make them walk off, sometimes I have to make a scene to make them go away and realise I'm serious. I will always do so though because the sooner men in general realise that this is not ok behaviour, the better. 

The second thing that bothers me so about this video is the comments. I know the internet is not one for censorship and everyone is entitled to their own opinion but so, so many people (mostly men but also some women) saying the video was ok because the girls didn't seem bothered prove just how normal this type of behaviour is. And it's terrifying! Because Louise from sprinkle of glitter (@SprinkleofGlitr) is right in the sentiment that I want any future daughters of mine to grow up in a world where her body is hers, and sacred and respected by everyone. Not groped all for a joke and a few likes on a YouTube video. 

I've posted about feminism before and it's a controversial topic but nothing moves me more than seeing such casual sexism glorified and promoted by idiots such as Sam Pepper. 

So, if you're reading this Sam, or any Sam fans, any men or women who think this sort of behaviour is okay...imagine your daughter or sister or girlfriend or best friend or even mother in the position of one of those poor unsuspecting girls that Sam groped and see if you don't just want to rip the moron's hand off. It is not okay, it is assault. There is nothing right with touching someone without their consent, and if you find yourself a victim of such an event then cause a scene, and tell the person in no uncertain terms to never touch you again lest he suffer your wrath. Your body is YOUR BODY and can only be touched with YOUR CONSENT.

The world is full of idiots. Do not become another one.  this is a great video from @JackHoward about consent. Watch it a hundred times and take note. 

EDIT: I apologise for the ranty off the hip post, but it's something i felt strongly about and couldn't leave without adding my piece. I know it is not all men, before anyone points this out. However not all sharks have eaten people and they're still seen as dangerous as a species. There are plenty of really decent guys out there. But unfortunately there's just as many bellends. I won't apologise for that. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Review | Birkenstocks; shoes to wander the world in!

With less than a week to go until my Trek America trip the preparations are in full swing! Hopefully you've seen my Hand Luggage post, that bag is all packed and ready to go just waiting a few last minute additions! I'm constantly thinking about packing my suitcase and watching all the videos I can find on YouTube. I've got lists for everything coming out of my ears and I'm lapping up any information I can get in relation to my upcoming travels! 

I'm in love with Victoria from In the frow's channel and she has some excellent packing and travel tips that I've written down and am using to pack my case!! I've also read all of Monica from The Travel Hack's posts on trek America and am constantly bugging poor Rosie from A Rosie Outlook for her experiences and advice! I'm a woman possessed!  

One vital preparation I have made is ensuring I've got the right shoes. It sounds stupid but it would be tragic to travel halfway across the world to explore exciting cities and new places only to moan half way round because I've got blisters! With that in mind I headed to Schuh for some comfortable yet stylish sandals. 

Enter my perfect Birkenstocks! These are the Rio 2 style in white with an ankle strap in addition to the iconic slider style toe strap. I wanted a sturdy pair that would look good walking round San Francisco but I could also explore the national parks without fear of breaking an ankle, getting a blister or losing my shoes and these fit the bill perfectly. I'm not sure why I went for white, as I'm definitely more of a black accessories girl but actually I'm really happy with them and have worn them loads! They go with everything and are seriously comfortable. Like, seriously -I could hike up a mountain in these -comfortable. 

Birkenstocks are really well made and are timeless in style so I know these will last me for years to come. I'm excited to wander the world in these! 

Life | Harry Potter's Biggest Fan?

(Photo Pinterest) 

Ask anyone I know and they'll tell you I'm a die hard lover of the Wizarding world, and I'll make no apologies for that. Ever since I read "Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much" I was hooked into JK Rowlings magical world. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and they taught me a lot. I remember devouring the first few books from a young age and then awaiting the next one with a violent impatience. It became, and had remained an obsession. I've got the books in every format possible, and several copies of the films. I've been to the studio tour twice, and have the Deathly Hallows tattooed on my foot. But I know that being a Harry Potter fan isn't about the material possessions you've's about really living and loving the stories and continuing to learn from them every time you read them.

When I saw a tweet asking for Harry Potters biggest fans to make themselves known I instantly fired off an email to get involved. To celebrate the opening of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the people at Florida4Less are trying to find the ultimate Harry Potter fan. So here's my entry! A little poem. I hope my complete adoration for JK Rowling and the world she created is clear from my effort! 

Magic is why I love Harry Potter. 
Magic is what drew me in.
Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin.
The Wands and the brooms, 
The magical rooms
The wizards and witches and spells. 
I was hooked.

Friendship is what I learnt from Harry Potter.
Friendship is what kept me there.
As solid as a Bludger, hurtling through the air, 
he protected them and they fought for him. 
Even when he had no plan, only Ron did despair 
(But he came back. Dumbledore knew he would care)
They followed him into the unknown and never left his side. 
That is the pride,
the loyalty of Gryffindor. 

It excited me, I felt they were my friends too and we were in this journey,
travelling this unknown path together.
From Hogsmeade to the Forest of Dean
Whatever the weather, 
The trio of friends were on a quest, 
And it was up to me, the reader to invest 
my time and my childhood to reading along. 
Rowling didn't just write about magic, she weaved actual magic 
with her pen as her wand. 

I couldn't get enough. 
I'd lock myself in my room for hours, 
Imagining myself in Hogwarts, the astronomy tower.
Lost in the adventures and triumphs and heartbreak 
of the boy who lived. 
The misfit with the most honourable aim,
to die for love. 
Who just strolled into the head of a woman on a train
who wrote for us. 
Exquisite. The world she has created, the evil she has slain, 
how can something so intricate, so detailed 
Be encapsulated by just a name.
Harry Potter. 

Even now, as an adult it is the world that I love, 
The notion that imagination was my most powerful spell, 
And friendship the most potent potion
you could have. 
It wasn't the Death eaters, or the Dementors or the Dark Lord 
the twists and the turns, the action galore.
It was a boy! The chosen one, The Boy Who Lived that won!
The Potters' son. 
In a story about loyalty, bravery, courage and heart
Where from the start he faced adversity and hell
That in the end, he taught me
"All was well."

"Whether you return by page or by screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home"

Monday, 15 September 2014

Travel | hand luggage essentials.

In preparation for my exciting trip to the US, I've been constantly hunting down what's in my hand luggage posts and videos and taking notes! I've made a few sneaky preparation purchases based on what I've learnt and pulled some important items from the sample stash I seem to have acquired! Here's what I plan to include so far. I'm writing this a bit before I go so I've got time to add in anything you think I'm missing. Please let me know in the comments or on twitter as it's been so long since I've been on a long haul flight, I don't want to miss anything out! 

1. A travel pillow 

This is the J pillow and is a relatively new concept to the travel pillow world...whilst the original travel pillows are U shaped, the J pillow has extra 'wings' that can be used to support the chin and neck. You know when you're travelling, even if you've got a travel pillow your head seems to either flop all over the place or end up on the strangers shoulder next to you? The J pillow stops all that and is just a revolution. I got mine from amazon and have tested it on a couple of long car journeys and whilst sitting at home...I can confirm it is genius and I will be the envy of all on my plane! 

2. Headphones 

Obvious. What's cool to listen to these days? Let me know what your favourite songs/albums are at the minute, I need some new music to listen to! 

3. Travel documents. 
This gorgeous document wallet is from Bombay Duck and houses all my tickets, passport and spending money in one really cute place. It's not a necessity but I couldn't resist. 

3. Electronics. 

My iPad, kindle and iPhone. I'll also be taking my iPhone and camera but they're currently otherwise engaged during this post! 

4. A clear plastic bag...
This is the bit I've done the most research on, if I'm honest! 

The lineup so far includes; face wipes, moisturiser, eye cream, tissues, cotton pads, eye mask, rollerball perfume, miceller water, toothpaste, concealer, hand cream (x3...) facial SPF, hand sanitizer, lip balm (disguised as nipple cream...don't ask) and ear plugs. I'm planning to add in a blemish treatment, a toothbrush, a hairbrush and clips, tablets (incase of headaches etc). 

5. Spare top and underwear 
I'll save you the photos on this, they're pretty self explanatory too. It'll be nice after a long flight to be able to change and feel slightly fresher. I'm also paranoid about my luggage getting lost and being without clean pants...nightmare! 

6. Sunglasses and reading glasses.

7. Notebook and pen
Vital for the travel diary I intend on keeping, any plane games we want to indulge in (classics include squares, noughts and crosses and the alphabet game) and for any details I need to write down and keep safe! 

8. Portable charger 

While I am taking a camera and iPod, my phone is my default for both those functions and using it a lot will inevitably cause a serious battery drain! I don't fancy being stranded abroad with no way of being contacted so this is an absolute necessity! 

All of this is neatly housed in this gorgeous pastel leather rucksack from Topshop. 
This was a summer purchase inspired by Victoria at In The Frow's beautiful purple backpack. I couldn't quite stretch to an exact copy but this one suits all my needs and will look cute with all the outfits I'm taking! Perfect for leaving my hands free whilst sight seeing and exploring the West Coast! 

What are your hand luggage essentials? Have I missed anything out?!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Books | 'Because she loves me' Mark Edwards.

After recently speaking to the lovely Mark Edwards (@mredwards) on twitter recently about my love for his first book The Magpies (if you haven't read it I seriously suggest you go and find it!) he kindly offered my the opportunity to review his new book 'Because she loves me' before it was released. 

I finished reading 'Because she loves me' in about 2 days. It's one of those books that grabs you and sucks you in until you're reading so fast you're missing bits out and you have to remind yourself to slow down (tell me it's not just me who does this?) 

Because she loves me is written from the male perspective of Andrew as he meets his seemingly perfect girl, Charlie. It's a book about jealousy and the destructive nature of that particular emotion. I also thought it portrayed well the idea that real monsters are closer to home than you care to imagine. There's lots of twists and turns in this book, the most surprising of which coming right at the end.

Now I'm all for plot twists and I'm never one to turn my nose up at a surprise ending but I found the end of 'because she loves me' was such a total twist that it fell a bit flat for me. I think maybe I was so caught up in how I thought it was going to end that I was disappointed I was so wrong! Saying this, it didn't ruin the book for me at all, I loved the suspense and the ambiguity of everything that happened. Edwards is very good at weaving a thick plot web so you're never sure what's going on or what's coming up! The characters are genuine and believable and I found myself really liking Andrew and enjoyably disliking Charlie, which I'm sure is the intended effect! 

Let me know what you think if you give 'because she loves me' a read! It's well worth it and if you can guess the twist at the end I'll give you a pound*! 

*i won't actually be giving anyway any money. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Life| Dear 16 year old me...

Dear 16 year old me,
Hey girl! How's it going? So you're just about to start college and you're dead excited, right? I know you're really worrying about college and making new friends. Don't. You make tons of new friends, and still keep your old ones (the ones that matter) can I give you some advice though? Don't wear that black top on the day you have your photo taken, you'll regret it every time you get your student card out. Also, don't imagine for a second that biology will be interesting. It's not and you'll fail it anyway. You'll enjoy college though, you've always thrived when you're learning. Join the netball team and the dance club because you'll wish when you're older you'd kept up those hobbies! Get back to learning the piano too, for the same reason. Don't get your ear pierced halfway up, it'll hurt and get infected. Do experiment though. Get your sternum done like you really want (mum and dad don't care!). 

Life wise, you'll be okay. You'll be more than okay, in 6 years I can promise you you will be astounded at what you've acheived, and so so proud. I won't tell you what will happen or where you're going because half the fun is finding those things out! Stop worrying about boys though. You're okay, you're not as ugly as you think you are and honestly no one cares about your braces. They're not the reason you can't find a boyfriend! You don't need a boyfriend. Have fun. You've got high standards and not many people meet them. Stay calm. Study hard. Join a gym, eat healthier. It will help with your skin and self esteem but you don't need to lose weight, trust me. 

Stop spending all your money. Save some for a rainy day, you'll need it. You're not going to work at Asda all your life so stop being so miserable about it, be happy that you're lucky you have a job that pays well. And actually it will be the reason for a massive life change for you so hold on tight to that green shirt and roll with the punches. Smile more at work aswell. You'll thank me for it. 
Stop using face wipes, start reading blogs. Caroline Hirons is your first point of call, the rest will come from there. Enrich yourself. Read up on feminism. Make friends with people you think are a bit odd, they'll teach you the most. Learn sign language. Learn any language actually, it'll be so much help in the future (try polish. Seriously, learn it now). Endulge your passions while you've got the time and no responsibilities. Consider a gap year, you'll wish you did it later on. 

Your parents love you, a lot. Whatever is to come they never stop loving you. Look after your little brother. He won't get into the army and he'll be heartbroken but promise him from me it's for a better reason and good things are to come. 

Overall, be happy my little flower. You're smart, you're healthy and you've got amazing friends. Spend more time with them. Treasure every moment of the life you're living now. You're coming into you order prime, it will be amazing. Look forward to the unknown, don't be frightened. You achieve everything you want to, and much more, so continue to work hard it's so worth it. The good times don't ever stop. 
Stop worrying. 

All my love and best wishes. Make good choices (don't cut your hair!) 

22 year old you (I'm not that old, I heard that). 



Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review | benefit They're real push up gel eyeliner.

Now, I'm just jumping on a very full bandwagon with this review, I know. It isn't the first nor will it be the last, benefit are so good with their promo! However I thought id just chuck in my two penneth worth and give you my thoughts on the new eyeliner.

I probably don't need to tell you, but I'm going to anyway, they're real push up liner is a gel formula in a pen format. Genius. You just twist up from the bottom (for quite a while before first use!) and drag along the lash line to achieve the perfect line. Sounds so easy! And it is, it just takes a bit of practice to get used to the angled tip and formula of gel in a pen. 

The eye liner stays put well and more importantly, stays black! Nothing worse than faded cat flicks. Benefit do do a remover specifically for this product, but I've found my nars eye makeup remove to do a pretty good job. 

Whether you're an eyeliner professional or are just starting out, I'd be happy to say you won't go raring from adding this to your collection. Gel is my favourite type of eyeliner anyway and here real negates he need for a fiddly little brush and reduces the space in your makeup bag. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Review | Limited edition pastel GHDs in lavender.

GHDs aren't a new concept, in fact I'd go so far as to say there the leading hair tool brand out there at t be minute! I don't know anyone who hasn't got a pair of GHD straighteners in their hair taming arsenal! Completely unrivalled in my opinion, the straighteners just keep on coming in more and more appealing shades and shapes.

My previous gold edition had lasted years without any signs of ageing. I've literally had  them since high school without a problem. I only decided I needed a new pair when my boyfriend snuck off with mine and refused to give them back!

Next day delivery is a wonderful thing, and when I opened the box I wasn't disappointed. The shade of lavender is so delicious your eyes just seem to drink it in. With their shiny exterior and contrasting black plates they really are perfect! I distinctly remember a little 'ooooh' of appreciation as I opened them! So shiny and new it was almost a shame to whisk them out and use them, but use them I did.

Trawling the GHD website this beautiful pair caught my eye. I'm a total sucker for anything pastel at the minute and this lavender pair had my heart at first click. Not cheap at £110, however I just knew that it would be a worth investment. 
Jack has an asos premier account which means free next day delivery so I was overjoyed to find the straighteners on their site! A few clicks later and they were winging their way to me. 

Luckily they're as perfect in use as they look and my thick and usually unruly hair was tamed in a flash. While my old GHDs were in great condition they weren't quite as smooth as they once were. Using the new model was a dream, they slid through my hair with ease. 

12 hours later and my hair is just as straight, just as sleek. I'm excited to curl with these too, their slightly rounded casing will make for easy waves and curls. GHDs really are so versatile and now they're branching out in design I'm sure there will be the perfect pair for you. I can't ever see myself buying a different brand of straighteners! Now I just need to get my hands on a GHD hair dryer and film star worthy mane will be mine! 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Life | how to clear your mind

I don't know about anyone else but I'm the sort of person that worries. I worry about significant and insignificant things with equal gusto, and I worry if I have nothing to worry about. I'm constantly thinking of what needs to be done and how I'm going to make things work. This personality trait also doesn't go well with the fact that I like to be busy...busy to a point where I have to plan a slot to do my washing in. 
Often this leaves me feeling panicky about getting everything done and sorted. That at horrid feeling of not being able to breathe and having a lump in my throat occurs regularly if I let things get on top of me.  Without jumping on the bloggers anxiety bandwagon i do let myself get anxious and over stressed about small things so I've had to develop some pretty fool proof coping mechanisms. I know I'm not alone in this so I thought it might be quite handy to do a little post on how I clear my mind and tackle the tasks at hand! 

Number 1, 

The first thing I do when I feel myself becoming stressed is call my Mum. She puts things into perspective and reminds me that every problem is solvable. It doesn't have to be your mum, a boyfriend or close friend will do the trick too but sometimes just talking through what is worrying me or what I have to get done helps me to sort it in my mind. 
Often it just ends up with mum reminding me that a misplaced earring is not a viable cause for a panic attack, but it works.

Number 2, 

Write a goddam list. Once everything you think you need to do is out of your head and down on paper I like to then rearrange the list in order of priority. If I've got a particularly busy week I'll plan each day, including space for food prep, washing and me time. Once i can see that actually, everything can be done, I find it much easier to actually start. 
I love crossing things off as I go as well. It makes me feel  accomplished and more productive. 

Number 3, 

Take a deep, deep breath. Do it now, breathe in for 3, hold it at the top and release for 3. If I really feel that an attack is imminent then this helps a lot. I like to lay down, shut my eyes and concentrate on nothing but breathing if I'm really letting things get to me. Sometimes I use visualization and imagine breathing in a happy colour like yellow or pink, and breathing out the stressful colours of black or red. I don't know if this is a legit technique but it works for me. 

Number 4, 

Crack on. Things aren't going to do themselves and, sadly, I'm now an adult and have bills to pay, food shopping to do and work to go to ,so as much as I'd like to spend an entire day in bed on Pintrest (and sometimes do) it's just not viable to do every day. Once you accept this, it becomes a lot easier. 

Number 5, 

Treat yourself. Whether this is the aforementioned duvet day, an episode of Suits or a new lipstick it's so worth doing once you've finished a good portion of your jobs for that day. My favourite treats are getting in a bath with some lush products, a magazine or the #bbloggers twitter chat (hi, I'm creepy naked tweeting girl). 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Books | The Silkworm- Robert Galbraith

 Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling's alias)  second crime novel, The Silkworm is a book I was really excited about reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the first, A Cuckoo's calling and was happy to see Galbraith continue the adventures of private detective Cormoran Strike's adventures! 

It's not necessary for you to read A Cuckoo's calling before The Silkworm, as although it does reference the former a fair bit throughout the book, none of the details are vital to the story. 

The Silkworm follows Strike as he tries to locate missing writer Owen Quine. I don't want to elaborate too much on the story, I don't want to give anything away! 

 I love a good crime book and this has all the ideal ingredients; a likeable rouge main character and an intricately woven plot line that has constant surprising twists and turns (which we know Galbraith is a master at, whatever name is on the front of the book!). Throughout The Silkworm you're drip fed little details and teasers of what's to come. Obviously the road ahead is not a smooth one for Strike and his secretary come assistant,  Robin, and I love the mixture of the professional and personal lives of these protagonists, and the stark reality they encompass. Things aren't tied up neatly or easily resolved and it feels quite gritty and true to life. Well, as true to live as a crime novel can be in my law abiding world! 

I recommended this book to my Dad, an ex policeman and avid crime reader. He blanched a bit when he realised Galbraith was Rowling's alias but once I'd assured him that wizards and dragons were nowhere to be seen he got stuck in, and finished it quickly with his seal of approval. 

I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of crime and mystery! I wouldn't say it matters if you're a Harry Potter fan or not...I am and I can identify Rowling's writing style, but my Dad isn't and he enjoyed it just as much! 

Have you read anything by Robert Galbraith? Have you read any good crime books recently? Let me know! 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Travel | Malta

It's taken me a while to write this post as I'm in complete denial that my holiday is over! My boyfriend and parents recently made our way over to he beautiful Mediterranean Isle of Malta. My family used tog to Malta a lot but it was jacks first time and I was excited to introduce him to the beautiful country and it's wonderful people! 

We stayed in st.julians bay, which is a small town on the north east coast of the island a short half an hour transfer from the Airport. We had a pretty bad exerience with the hotel and travel company, that I won't go into, I'll just say make sure you research your hotel and check trip advisor before you go! 
Despite this, it made no real impact on our holiday overall! The area we stayed in was pretty lively and seemed to have a lot of younger groups of friends on holiday together. Malta is in no way the next Ibiza but the MTV isle of music festival was the day we arrived so I suspect a lot of locals and nearby visitors had come for this  and stayed the week. My boyfriend and I enjoyed this, the atmosphere was always lively and there were plenty of bars in which to enjoy the balmy evenings. 
My parents didn't enjoy this aspect so much but luckily a short evening walk away led to st Julian's bay where there were plenty of relaxed restaurants and bars for them to enjoy. 

A couple of pool days later and we were itching for an adventure so we booked ourselves onto one of the many boat cruises to see the small island of como and the famous blue lagoon. Troy and parts of Game of Thrones were filmed here and you can see why- the scenery is  amazing. The lagoon was absolutely breathtaking, if a little more crowded than the times I've been before! It's definitely a popular spot so I'd advise going on a weekday as it would be almost unpleasantly crowded on a weekend! 

We also made the 40 minute journey on a hop on hop off sightseeing bus to the capital city of Valletta which is a beautiful city within stone walls, housing your normal high street shops and also a tourists market. 

After a wander round and some lunch we decided to get the most of our all day tickets and travelled a further 30 minutes to the small fishing village of Marsaxlokk. We'd been told there was a bigger market here, but in reality it was probably smaller and selling the he same type of touristy souvenirs that we weren't really after. Also,we went on a Monday which seems to be when all the main restaurants were closed! Despite this we had a lovely walk round, watched the fish in the crystal clear waters, dipped our toes in, took lots of photos and had some cooling drinks and the best ice cream I've ever had! There were a few restaurants open, literally right on the waters edge but I'm not a fish eater and we'd not long eaten so much to jacks disappointment we didn't get to sample to fresh catch of the day. He assures me it smelt good though! 

This photo makes me laugh because it reminds me of Joey and Chandler on the tour bus round London. I am Joey. 

I'd highly recommend Malta as a holiday destination. It has something for everyone and always has beautiful weather. The people are so, so friendly and whether you're after a bustling city, or a relaxing pool break (there aren't many beaches in Malta!) then you'll find something to interest you. Malta has stunning scenery and a rich history so there really is something for everyone. I wouldn't recommend but apart from the false start it was a perfect week away that was exactly what we needed! 

Have you ever been to Malta? 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Life | holiday prep

So in exactly two weeks I'll be jetting off to Malta to enjoy a week of sunshine, cocktails and gorgeous beaches. I'm going with my boyfriend and my Ma and Pa and I'm so very excited to just have a week to myself with no stresses or to-do lists! I've been gymming and planning for a while in preparation (by planning I mean buying bikinis and kimonos) and now it's time to step the prep up a notch! 

These are the little beauties currently aiding me in me beach body prep. Now, I'm never going to a Triangl model (sob, selling my Triangl Winnie bikini for this reason!) but I do want to feel happy in my own skin. I've really started to focus on my diet and fitness to tone up the final wobbly bits. I've cut down my simple carb intake and upped the fruit and veg content. Plus lots and lots of water to clear my skin and get me feeling energetic. 

I've been following the LDN Muscle bikini guide for a while and have started to see some improvements, so I'm continuing to stick to the brutal regime and punishing myself daily at the gym! 
Soap & Glory's sit tight 4-D smoothing serum is massaged daily into my lower body to help achieve beach ready smooth legs! You really feel the burn with this when you're sitting down and I've been using it daily! It's a weird but not unpleasant feeling and although I'm yet to see any dramatic results the bottle says it may take 14 days...which is perfect timing for me! 

I'm not a tanner, in the sun I tend to singe and my freckles just multiply. While I don't mind this, I do crave that golden glow that everyone else seems to obtain- so I just have to fake it. The clarins liquid self tanning cream is a dream for my face (I never put body tanners on my face, ever!) I'm using it twice a day until I have the tan on my face I like, then I'll drop it to once every other day to maintain. It's not orange, not streaky and it doesn't smell like fake tan. It's just a really nice, light, moisturing gradual self tanner...such a winner.

Another tanning love is the Dove summer glow with soft shimmer. Now, this does smell of fake tan but I'm one of those weirdos that absolutely loves that smell! The shimmer is really subtle and only lasts for the first day of application.
I have this in the medium to dark skin, which I clearly am not however, I thought this might be the most effective and I was right. I put this one once a day and already I've had loads of people ask if I've been on holiday! It's easy to apply and doesn't streak at all, it does feel a bit sticky for a while afterwards though and it's so easy to forget to wash your hands and in between your fingers after applying so be careful. No body likes the tell tale orange palms or tide marks on your fingers! 

So that's a short summary of my holiday prep that's going on at the minute! I love everything about flying, airports and the resulting hot beaches so I'm sure I'll be posting a lot of that in the coming weeks! It's also good practice for my Trek America holiday in September! 

What do you do to prepare for your holidays? Anything I'm missing off my list? 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Review| glam glow super clearing mud mask

It may have come to your attention, the thing I crave the most in the world, and probably the main reason I'm so into beauty and skincare is because I have bad skin. It started in high school with white heads and blackheads that I doused in clearasil and witch hazel. 
Progressing to college and full blown acne was in situ on my poor face. I'd wear three foundations at a time and always wear a scarf so I could tuck my face in and feel less ashamed. 
Fast forward a few years and my breakouts aren't half as bad, however the scars and breakouts I do have still knock my confidence in exactly the same way. It's trivial in the grand scheme of things but it's all I see when I look in the mirror, fellow acne sufferers will vouch for me here. 
The point I'm trying to make is, I'll try absolutely anything once to try and improve my skin. I dread to think how much I've spent on products that do nothing, or worse, encourage the blemishes. However when a well written blog post (I've forgotten who's, I'm so sorry!) rolled into my bloglovin screen regarding the glam glow super clearing mud mask, I was feeling impulsive. I clicked purchase and a few days later a tiny pot of expensive grey goop turned up on my doorstep promising instant results. 

I slapped it on using a real techniques foundation brush I don't like for foundation and waited. It dried pretty quickly to a satisfyingly crispy (gross!) layer but that's not the best bit. You can actually see where this mask draws out the grease and gunk from your pores. The longer you leave it the better it is. 

The real magic comes when you flannel this off. My face instantly feels clearer, redness in many blemishes is reduced and the overall tone is smoothed and soft. 

It's an expensive little jar of grey mud but it bloody works and I'll definitely be repurchasing this when it runs out!  

Have you ever tried anything else from Glam Glow? Anything else I need to put on my to buy list!? 

Review| La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +. A second chance.

A while ago I got sent, by the kind people at Escentual the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + (product name and a half?!) I excitedly slathered it on and awaited amazing results. Unfortunately, for reasons still unclear, I then broke our massively with large, painful, cystic under the skin acne. Mmhmm such a treat. As the LRPED+ (does that work?!) was the only new product I had used, I but the blame solely on it's shiny white and blue packaging and put it in the draw to be forgotten about. 
However, when asking on twitter and around my beauty minded friends I got recommendations for the effaclar duo again and again. No body else had had such a reaction! 
One particularly desperate day, as I was looking at my terrible skin in despair I dug out the effaclar duo and figured it couldn't get any worse. After using my glam glow super clearing mud mask (post to come) I massaged this in and waited. 

A few weeks on now and I have to say, I'm impressed. My skin appears clearer and I haven't had any break outs as yet! My scars are fading, slowly, and any blemishes that do dare to pop up are gone in half the time. 

I realise I'm pretty late to the party on this one but I think it goes to show first impressions aren't always the ones you should go on! Now I'm off to try on those jeans I thought didn't suit me last week! 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Life | my job; a day in the life of a Midwife!

So maybe you know, and more than likely you don't, but I'm a newly qualified (6 months!) Midwife working in an NHS trust. I have to be really careful what I write about my job on the internet but I thought it might make an interesting post and after a little research on twitter (@_tuesdaysgirl) I decided to give it a go!

I went straight to University from college with average A-Levels. I'd always known what I wanted to do, since about year 10 in high school, so I was overjoyed when I got in on my first application as Midwifery is notoriously hard to get on to. I think for 33 places at my uni there where 200 applicants!
If you want to know more about the application process and the course itself I'll do a separate post on that, I've got a lot to say! It's definitely not your normal course and if you're really wanting the student lifestyle I'd recommend reconsidering Midwifery. Our 'freshers' week consisted of mon-fri lectures 9-5 and we worked 37.5 hours a week 45 weeks of the year. Most of the course is placement based with essays, exams and lectures on top so essentially it feels like a degree on top of a full time's tough!

An average day on labour ward starts at 7am. My trust does long days from 7am-7.30pm but others do short shifts like 'earlies' from 7-1 and 'lates' from 12-8. You turn up a bit before 7am as you have to be prepared to deliver a baby at 7.01am if you need to! Handover takes place where the senior midwife from the night shift gives everyone coming on to the day a quick run down of all the clients on labour ward at that time. Midwives are then allocated to a client whom you'll care for until they deliver and can be transferred to the postnatal ward, or home.
Midwifery deals with a very intimate part of a family's life- you're there when a woman transforms into a mother, you're the first person to touch and see a new born baby take it's first breath. It's such a magical time and you've got to be totally respectful of all that woman's choices whether you agree with them or not.
Delivering a baby is relatively simple, the woman does all the hard work. However there are lots of things that quickly turn from normal to abnormal and you have to rely on your training to prepare you for this! If women bleed or babies don't breath your training completely takes over and it's only afterwards when the adrenaline has worn off that you get time to swear and sweat a bit!

Like any job, midwifery has its ups and downs. A day on labour ward can go from utter elation at the most perfect waterbirth to tragedy pretty quickly. Saying that, it's the only area of healthcare that is 99% happy and I love that. It's amazing to watch women as they progress through labour and turn into these magical beings that suddenly become two seperate people. Honestly there's nothing more magical in this world than watching a woman make her family one bigger.

My favourite part of delivering babies, apart from the obvious happy bit, is the watching the Dad's face as they observe their partner bring their baby into the world. Some look pretty confused, some look grossed out but the majority literally beam from ear to ear and some even cry. This always chokes me up! It's hard, hard work but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Life | International day of the Midwife!

Happy international day of the Midwife! It might mean nothing to you, but as a Midwife it's a day to appreciate the hard work that goes into my profession from midwives around the world. I'm very proud to do what I do! 
If you think you'd like a more in depth post about my job then I'd love to do one! I just don't know if people would find that a bit boring? Do let me know on here or on twitter (@_tuesdaysgirl) I'm always up for chatting about the job I love.

Being a midwife means being an honoured witness to a woman giving birth...and sometimes being the lucky one who gets to catch the baby." 

It's not just the making of babies but the making of mothers that is the true miracle of birth!  Whether you're pregnant, had a baby or have babies in mind for the future you will need and meet lovely midwives. Nobody is a midwife for the glamour or the money and that is evident in the care we give. If you know a Midwife, hug one. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Life | my tips for the gym!

I'm  not claiming to be a super fit gym freak (far from it) or know anything extensive about training programmes or diets. I hate the word diet in fact, they never work and just encourage guilt when you inevitably fall off the wagon on a Friday night. I have, however, stuck to a gym routine and a healthy eating lifestyle for a good couple of months now and I'm beginning to notice the change. I thought I'd share the things I've found helpful for staying motivated and sticking to it!

* Join a gym; a lot of gyms are offering really competitive, no contract memberships nowadays and they're definitely worth looking into if you've got the disposable cash! I had a Results with Lucy prescription for a few months and while the workouts where fun and did make me ache afterwards (always the sign of a good regime) I just found it so hard to stick to on my own at home! which leads nicely on to..

* Go with a friend; I arrange to meet my gym friend before and we go together, it stops me wimping out because I'm tired and she pushes me to do my best when we get there! I think I make a pretty good cheerleader for her too, and we keep each other entertained. Having a friend with me also makes me feel more comfortable navigating the weights room and the various machines. I know for a fact without her I'd never dare attempt anything too scary looking!

* Buy nice things to wear; I treated myself to some new trainers a month into my gym membership and it's funny how that made going feel worthwhile. With regards to clothes to wear at the gym, they needn't be expensive! most of mine come from either Tesco or Asda and do the job well! If I feel like I look good at the gym I find I work a lot harder than if I'm worrying about how these leggings make my bum look, or if that top is clinging to the wrong bit!

* Get a plan; a lot of gyms offer free personal training sessions as an incentive for joining up and you can ask the staff what kind of exercises you should be doing for certain results. I went one further and bought the LDN Muscle bikini guide because I wanted expert advice on how to change my body. I find that having a plan reassures me that I'm doing enough and also motivates me to go because hell, I've bought the bloody thing so I better go and use it! I find this one really hard work but I'm already seeing positive results and the instructions are clearly illustrated and actually aren't that scary once you get into it. I did have to give the eating plan pages a few reads but I'm on board with that too now! it's changed the whole way I look at going to the gym and has given me something to aim for!

* Change it up; if you go to the gym every day and sit on the bike  for 45 minutes then go home, not only are you going to get really bored really quickly, you're going to plateau and not benefit from that expensive membership! Try classes or a different activity every day, like swimming or running. That's another good thing about having a plan, my LDN Muscle one has A and B weeks and works different muscle groups on different days so I'm never bored.

I think the most important thing is don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day or just don't go. No-one is perfect and no-one never has a pizza. Everything in moderation! Being healthy should soon become a lifestyle; if it ever become a chore you're going to resent it and are more likely to sack it off pretty quickly. I  have loads of inspiration pictures on pinterest and places like that that I can look at if I ever get bored with it all!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Life | OHMYGOD #blogfortrek WINNER

I am in a total state of shock, still. I woke up from a night shift this afternoon, about half 12 to see Trek America had tweeted they'd announced the winner of their #blog4trek competition. I sleepily checked the page to see which lucky girl had got it and when I saw my name, I couldn't believe it. It's such a cliché but I actually couldn't believe what I was reading. I've been squealing and dancing ever since; you know that total elation when something seems just too good to be true? that happy feeling in your tummy and the glow you seem to emit? I've got that today! it's like a happy warm furry cat constantly on my chest- such a lovely feeling.

Long story short, I've been totally buzzing all day, and haven't stopped talking about it to any one that will listen. I'm never, ever lucky with things like this and it's made me so happy! I keep finding myself on the Trek America page researching the Westerner 2 and imagining what it's going to be like.

I want to post a huge, huge thank you to the panellists; i'm honestly so, so grateful. You don't know what this means to me! A big thank you also to lovely PR lady Michelle, who's put  up with my excited garbled emails and hundred questions. Obviously thank you Trek America for opening up this opportunity for me and sending me on the trip of a life time!! and thank you to anyone that liked my photo in the second round, or read my first and third round entries. I'm truly lost for words with joy.

Commiserations to the other 4 girls who got through to round three with me, I honestly never expected it to be me who won. My blog is probably the smallest out of the lot, and their entries where all so fantastic!

I am planning lots of posts leading up to the trip, obviously during the trip and probably a sad little post during the come down afterwards! I hope you'll come along with me and it will inspire you to travel, even if it's just exploring your home town!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm off to continue to dance round my room. I'm not sure I've annoyed my neighbours enough yet with my squealing!