Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

February Favourites

Although my last post was a favourites one (but more of a wish list...) I've decided to start doing a monthly favourites post as a sort of roundup of what I've been loving over the last few weeks. Although February usually feels like you blink and it's over, this month it feels like I have crammed far more in than I usually would, and these are some of the things I've been loving.

1. Florence and Fred Trench Coat

I've been on the hunt for a trench coat since before Christmas, and really though I would be able to find one in the sales, but alas, that did not happen... And then I spied this in my local branch of Tesco (whilst I was on the hunt for Galaxy mini eggs because I am a massive cliche). I'm not usually one to shop in Tesco, and to be honest, I probably wouldn't have even have thought about looking on the rails if it wasn't for accidentally seeing this one in the corner of my eye. I initially tried it on but didn't buy it and then was kicking myself for two days until I took myself back there for a pre-payday treat (meaning I put it on my credit card and still need to pay it off). It was only £29, which for me is quite a decent price with all the wear I think I'll get from it, and plus the only other one I've been close to buying from Primark was £24. Win win!

2. Twitter Chats

On Tuesday evening I found myself with little to do so I did what we all do and took to Twitter. I noticed that a 'chat' was the topic of a lot of peoples tweets, so I clicked on the hashtag to see what it was all about. The ones that was coming up for that evening were 'ask a blogger' and 'FBL chat' and a lot of other bloggers I follow on Twitter were talking about them so I decided to have a go. I'd seen loads of these before, but I'd never taken part so I was interested to see what kind of questions would be asked. I found it hard at first to remember which one I was answering and to use the hashtag so people could see my answers, but after the first couple of questions, I finally got the hang of it and I'm so glad that I did because I loved taking part! I've already written a list on my phone as to when the next chats are, and I can't wait to get more involved in them, and maybe even host my own. And to top it all off, I e-met some really lovely, supportive girls.

3. Zara Larsson - Lush Life

I don't know if I can class this a monthly favourite firstly because I only heard it for the first time yesterday, and secondly because I thought it was Rihanna... but anyway, I haven't turned it off. It's the perfect mix of a Caribbean-esque vibe mixed with an overall catchy tune, and it's a good one to have on when the sun is shining and you're wishing for warmer weather, picturing yourself dancing in a beach bar, cocktail in hand.

4. Topshop Shirt Dress

You might have guessed from my last blog but I love a good shirt dress. I picked this one up about 3 weeks ago, and it's become a staple in my wardrobe. I love the pattern on it; it reminds me of a mix of spring/autumnal flowers which  makes me think I could get away with it in Autumn with tights and boots, and in spring with sandals and flats. I've been mainly wearing it for casual evenings out, but I think you could get away with it on a night out if you paired it with gold jewellery and wedges. It was £39, so I'm sure you could find a cheaper alternative, but I would say I've already got my money's worth and for Topshop I think that's about normal these days.

5. The Little Things

I'll admit that sometimes I take the little things in my life for granted. The ones that don't really mean too much on the outside, but keep you going and make you happy on the inside. If that really cryptic sentence didn't do it for you, the main examples I can think of recently was having the girls over for dinner. Last Wednesday, I had plans to go to a sushi restaurant with a couple of friends, but the closer it got to it, the more we were leaning towards not going (plus it was the week before payday and we all know sushi ain't cheap!) I invited the girls to come round to mine, and I cooked up veggie burgers, sweet potato fries and salad, and it was really really lovely to do something so chilled and relaxed, plus I didn't make them ill with my cooking! We spent the rest of the evening watching the Brits and wondering why James Bae was everywhere... no, just us?! 

6. The Weather

What a boring adult-like thing of me to say... But recently the sunnier days have really made all the difference to my mood. I've felt in a bit of a slump recently and it's something I couldn't really shake off no matter what I was trying, but I noticed that when it's sunny, it really does lift my spirits. I don't think I suffer from SAD, but I think a degree of it could be related to the same sort of feelings. It's also made me excited for Spring and Summer and all the exciting things I can plan for when the temperatures start rising.  

7. Having Physio

Ok guys, if you've made it to this point and want to leave right now, I totally get it. I'm becoming a massive wet blanket... But what can I say... Physio is really helping me! I wouldn't call the physio itself a 'favourite' but the fact it is helping my hip, which has caused me pain for the last 8 months (I know, I'm lazy and didn't go sooner) is something I've been so happy about! It's only been a week and a half but I can already feel the difference, and I'm going back next week. Right, now lets talk about something way more exciting ok and pretend I never said that??

8. Date Night

Me and my boyfriend work together and live together, so there is no need for us to spend more time together really, and I don't think that would be physically possible. But I do think it's important to spend real time together. Whether it's a weekend away, or cooking for your other half, or even just a meal out at a new restaurant you haven't tried, it's important to make proper time for one another. I think definitely for couples who live together it's sometimes easy to stay in your comfort zone and stick to what you know, and for us that's eating at the same restaurants, going to the same bars, and spending weekends having brunch at the same cafes so it's good to make plans. Last month we visited the Yorkshire Dales, and we've also booked to go to the Lakes in March, but even something as simple as going to your nearest city or just getting out of the house together should do the trick!

So they are my monthly favourites! I hope you've enjoyed reading this post, and maybe next month they'll be more new ones :) 

I'd love to know what you've loved this month 



Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Fashion | My 10 Spring Favourites

Spring is almost here, can I get a hell yeahhhh to pastels and gladiator sandals and cute flats and wannabe tans?! As you can probably tell, I'm pretty excited for the change of season! I do spend most of the year saying how autumn is my favourite, mainly because I am a sucker for a chunky knit and skinny jeans, but Spring fashion excites me. I'm a girlie girl who loves pastel colours, pretty patterns and anything embroidered and that's exactly what I'm seeing on the high-street and online. What a time to be alive hey??

The below are some of the items I will be acquainting myself with come payday (side note, I will accept donations as well...) and I'm pretty excited to finally get some colour in my wardrobe!

Let's dive right in!

1. ASOS Mom Jeans £35

Here's an interesting fact for you, I don't own any blue jeans! How loose and crazy am I? (Or boring maybe?) well to be honest, I've never found a pair I actually like and suit my short stumpy legs, and the only jeans I do own are my beloved black Topshop Joni Jeans, which I am obsessed with... But then I had a thought, what about cropped jeans that aren't too short, or too long, but are just right being ankle grazers, and are supposed to sit above my ankle? Game changer!
I do really want to try these, but because I haven't bought jeans in so long, and never off ASOS, I have literally no idea what size to order. Woe is me.

2. ASOS Embroidered Mini Dress £60

I. Love. Embroidery. On. Clothes. There I said it! I do not however love the price-tag on this, but I think I could maybe make an exception (or maybe hound my friends who still get student discount... either or...). Also, what's with retailers calling everything 'mini' this season? Maybe it's mini on the 6 foot model, but it definitely won't be for me! Anyway, I do love this smock-style dress. Perfect for a festival, holiday, or simply sitting in a beer garden; it's going to stand out. I'm 90% sure another embroidered dress will definitely be making it's way into my wardrobe pretty soon.

3. ASOS Stripe Top With Chambray Back £22

Because every girl needs a stripe top in their wardrobe. It's a staple. It goes with everything. It makes you feel all swish and stylish and this one is a little bit different to your normal top with the chambray back panel which is a little bit longer. I would pair this over denim shorts or jeans or tucked into a skirt with some cute sandals or flats. I think if I bought this I would get so much wear out of it as well, and I'm definitely on the hunt for a new stripe top as mine is so worn its becoming bobbly!
You could probably get a cheaper one from New Look or Primark, but I like the fact that this one is a little bit different.

4. Topshop Herringbone Chambray Shirt £29

*Spoiler Alert* I actually bought this in white and I have yet to wear it (although I do think it would suit the above jeans) but this is another one I would like to add to my shirt collection. I like that this one is a grey colour and I feel it could be dressed up easily for a day/night out into jeans or a denim skirt. This style is slightly more fitted as well than the white one I have which makes me think it would be better for an evening out/drinks/dinner.

5. Zara Mini Denim Dress £29.99

I'm not really sure how mini this dress is, but it didn't come up too short on the model which makes me think my 5'4" frame can handle it! I am a sucker for anything denim, be it a shirt, skirt or dress and this one fits the bill perfectly. I'm always a different size every time I go into Zara, so this is definitely one I would need to try on in the shop. I can see this being worn with some bright orange heels for a cool yet sophisticated look that I'm all about this season!

6. Topshop Belted Shirt Dress £36

The first dress on the list in this little belted number from Topshop that I spied on their website last week. I'm a massive fan of belted shirt dresses as they pull me in at the right place, and aren't skin tight to show all those areas that you'd rather have covered up. I love the colour of this one as well as it could be worn with tights and boots if the sun doesn't happen (which lets face it, is pretty probable) but could also be worn with a cute beige or white flat or a pair of summery wedges.

7. Boohoo Floral Shift Dress £15

I think this is a great bargain buy for those "I have no clothes and I need something light but something that's flowery and spring like and ahhh" kind of moments, which happen to me quite a lot... I think this would look cute with dressy flats, or even gladiator sandals for a casual look. The great thing with shift dresses as well is that you can disguise your 'had too many burgers at the BBQ' belly, but you can also wear it with a waist belt to give your body at least some dimensions.

8. New Look Patterned Cold Shoulder Top £19.99

I love love loveeee this top so much so that I'm thinking of putting it on my credit card (and I love the fact that it's called a 'cold shoulder too, lolz). I think this is the perfect summer top - not too tight, but also with a cute pattern that would look good over shorts, a skirt and jeans. And it's only £20. Winner winner!

9. Rimmel Nail Varnish in Chase Me £3.99

Ok, not technically 'fashion' but this nail varnish is definitely on my 'to buy' list after payday. I think I might prefer matte nail varnishes (which this one is) as I feel they don't chip as easily. Maybe I'm wrong? But that's my experience with them. And I love the spring pastel shade of this one, and it's a pretty decent price at £3.99.

10. Topshop Printed Platforms £52

I love a good platform to jazz up an outfit, and these are amazing in my eyes. The heel height isn't too high so you could wear them in the day as well, and for lack of a better word (lol blogger mind blanks) they strike me as something really 'trendy'. I'd definitely pair these with blue jeans or a cute denim skirt. Oh and they're embroidered woooo <3

I'd love to know what's on your Spring wish-list and I hope you've enjoyed reading this post!


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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Life Update #1

I don't mean where I physically am, as I'm just at home lay on my couch, letting Simba in and out until he decides he doesn't want to stay out in the rain, but I meant more in a life update kind of way.... And on that note, welcome to a rambling blog about my life at the moment.

It's been a while since I did a bit of a life update, and to be quite honest, not a massive amount has changed. I had no intention to write this blog, in fact I was taking the night off just to chill and watch TV and catch up on Youtube, etc etc. but I thought why not? Why not update the ol' Blogging community with the many thoughts whizzing around in my head... (see what I mean about a rambling blog?) That's just the kind of mood that I'm in right now... I always have the urge to put RN when I say right now, but is that too teenage and cliche? Or just a bit weird?

I've had an odd couple of weeks if I'm honest, nothing crazy to report on, I just mean emotionally I've been a bit up and down. I can't pinpoint if there's any particular reason why, or whether its that time of the month, or I'm just hormonal in general, but I feel a bit all over the place... Oh the joys of being in your twenties hey?

My last post was about Valentine's Day and my lack of plans for it, which to be honest was one of my favourite parts of the last week or so. Not being big on the day itself (did I mention that enough in my last blog or nah?) I was more than happy when my Mum arranged both of my Nan's to come over for a Sunday roast, which by the way was lovely mother, if you're reading this! I do love spending time with my Grandma's because they are so different yet very, very similar. They were telling us stories about how they used to keep warm back in the olden days, their old jobs, how everyone used to smoke, and so on and so forth, and it was nice to hear them reminisce about their younger years. I'm one of those people who is really interested in hearing old stories like that, and even more so when it involves a member of my family because you feel much more invested in the whole anecdote and can really picture them.

I spend last Friday night at a very close friend's leaving do as she is moving back up to Scotland. (Well, actually she's already moved back there). I really hate saying goodbye to people but this one hit home a little bit more than usual because she wasn't just leaving the company, but is literally moving country altogether and won't just be down the road. But I can't really talk about it because it makes me sad to even think about!

But I have news of my own! I have a new job myself, and will be leaving my current role at the end of March, which seems like a lifetime away, but I know it will fly by. It already is! I am terrified of leaving the company I have worked at for over six years, but in the back of my mind I know it is the right decision and a really good career move for me. It means we have had to put the house-hunting on hold for a little while until I get settled in my new job, but to me thats also a good thing so that we have more time to save and understand what we really want and can realistically afford.

Anyway, I think that's enough rambling for one night. Hopefully the next post will have more content behind it, and maybe even be planned if you're lucky! But for now I am going to finish eating copious amounts of chocolate, drink my tea and put the cat to bed!


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Thursday, 11 February 2016

6 Non-Conventional Ways to Celebrate Valentines Day

I'll be first to admit that I am not a romantic person. I cringe quite easily, I hate anything lovey dovey and if I hear the words 'I wrote something for you' or 'poem' etc. etc. my whole body shudders - Luckily though, I have found someone who feels the same way. I wouldn't say there isn't any romance in our relationship, but it'd definitely more low key, day-to-day type romance filled with stupidly long conversations about nothing, the occasional surprise chocolate bar or an unexpected trip to somewhere new and this quite frankly is enough for me. It will come as no shock then that I am also not a fan of valentines day. I won't be a cliché and say 'well I love him all year round so why do I need a special day'... actually I will, that's exactly how I feel. To me,Valentines Day is something that is such a big deal when you are younger, but once you have found someone that you really click with, there shouldn't be a specific day to celebrate on... call me a bore if you want!

So this is a list for the rest of you who don't want to be cramped in your local Italian restaurant, paying double what you usually would for a lukewarm bowel of pasta and trying not to vomit over the couple you can see in the corner of your eye who definitely need to get a room. *Side note, if you don't see that couple, its probably you...*

1. Aren't we lucky that Valentines day falls on a weekend this year?... Why not take yourself to that local country pub you both always drive past but forget the name of when you're trying to think of somewhere to go at the weekend? Maybe pair it with a long country walk or the local farmer's market? Something that gets you out of the house and active means you won't feel as bad eating the ironic valentines chocolates you bought yourself...

2. If valentines chocolates aren't your thing, put aside some time and bake something instead. Is there a recipe you keep putting off because you don't have the right ingredients, the time or the right baking equipment? This weekend is the perfect excuse to prepare your dessert in advance and eat it with your other half. Maybe you'll just use one spoon to make it 'cute'? (optional)

3. You know who hates valentines day as much as you? Your single friends. Invite the girls over, or maybe a big group of you and do a Mexican night instead. Nachos + Fajitas + Dips + Tequila + Cheese + More Cheese + Drawn on Moustaches = lots of happiness (and silly pictures for Instagram #winning)

4. Have a date night in. If you still want to do something semi-romantic, you could treat your other half to a slap up meal. Get the cookery books down, dig your apron out and get creative. If cooking isn't your thing, maybe share the courses or buy a 'Dine in for Two' deal (Tesco are doing an amazing deal this weekend.) Or if you really don't want to set foot in the kitchen, get a takeaway. There's no judgement on Valentines day!

5. Babysit. Maybe you have younger nieces and nephews, cousins, or even your friend's children, but wouldn't it be nice to let the parents have a day off looking after them? Offer to take the kids off their hands for the day or even just a few hours and let them bask in the romance. You could even end up spending your Valentines Day in an aquarium or the zoo, which quite frankly seems like the best plan ever.

6. Go to another city or town. I don't mean pack up your bags and move away (unless you really want to!) but why not try and change of scenery for the day. It doesn't have to be far, I'm sure there are plenty of new places that can be reached within the hour, or that are just a train ride away. Sometimes it's hard to get away for a few hours so this is the perfect day to put aside some time and spend it with your other half.

Let me know if you have any other non-conventional plans this Valentines :) xx

Monday, 1 February 2016

Travel | Our trip to the Dales

Today marks the start of a new month, which means January is over! I'm usually one to hate on January for being so long, drab and boring, but I actually had quite a fun month, which in my eyes, has flown by. It's been a bit of a weird month. I thought I would be majorly down in the dumps about Christmas being over, and having to go back to work after having most of December off, but this year, January was different. For one, it was really fun, and it felt like a fresh start.

Without getting into too much detail, 2015 wasn't the best year for me and to be honest, I was happy to see the back of it. I had a good end to the year (well last 2 months of the year) and I surrounded with close friends and family which made sure I brought 2016 in with a smile on my face, excited for the prospects that the new year will bring.

Anyway, tangent aside... this post was supposed to be about my night away in the countryside!

I've always been a believer that life can sometimes throw things at you where you just need a break, and although I've been saying that January has been a good month, I definitely wanted to get away. We had originally booked to visit to The Coniston Hotel to celebrate our 2 year anniversary (which was in December) but someone's boyfriend didn't read the small print that stated that it wasn't valid during the festive period... So we decided to go at the end of January :)

I'm a lover of the countryside, but unfortunately don't get out there as much as I would like, which is a bit ridiculous seen as I literally live about 20 minutes away. We arrived at the hotel at 2pm, feeling a bit keen as that was the time the check-in desk opened... We dropped off our bags and decided to have a look around. I don't know about you, but in the North West on Friday, the wind was so bad it felt as though the car was going to take off along the M66, and this just got worse the further north we went. We were trying to find the spa, and I was literally crying because it was so windy (and I'm a wuss when it's cold) but we eventually got to it. It was in another building about 100m from the hotel, and up a hill, but that gave the infinity pool an amazing view over lake Coniston.

The lobby of the hotel had a log fire and a lovely view of the pool. We had a quick look around, told the receptionist that we were staying in the hotel, and she said just come back whenever we wanted. We nipped back to the room to get changed and drove back to the spa because LOL so lazy and cold!
I got changed into my mismatched bikini, grabbed my book and headed out to the pool. There were two saunas (one normal, and one salt, detoxing, fancy one) a steam room, a Jacuzzi, the pool (obvs) and an outdoor heated infinity pool, which I got forced into, but it was amazing having your body submerged in warm water and your head in the cold, fresh air.

After we had a few hours in the spa, we got ready for dinner and drinks, and headed to the bar. We had two glasses of Prosecco in the deal that we got (of which I had one and a half) and maybe another two with dinner. To start I had scallops, wrapped in parma ham with black pudding, followed by chicken and potatoes (it was a lot fancier than I just made it out) and a fudge cake. I didn't take any photos of the food as we had a no phone rule for the evening.

In the morning we had breakfast downstairs in the main restaurant. Afterwards we decided to take a trip into the nearest town, Skipton. It reminded me of Harrogate, but slightly smaller, and it didn't have as many shops ie. no Topshop. It did have cobbled streets and canals and pubs down back alleys though which reminded me of my beloved York <3

The weather was a mixture of high speed winds, snow, sleet, rain and sunshine, so overall it was an odd mix. It did add to the whole experience though! I've noticed as well that people in Yorkshire, and smaller towns, tend to be much more laid back than us city folk. On the way back we found my favourite shop ever. It was called Keelham's Farm Shop, and it was the most amazing place ever! It was full of fresh fruit, veg, a bakery, a smoothie bar, a hot food counter, a cheese counter, free samples - honestly it was so amazing, and we bought the best pizza for about £3.

Now that I've got the taste for the countryside again, I feel as though I want to visit more and more, and try new places. The next place I fancy is definitely the lakes, as it's been a few years since I last went.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our mini adventure!

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