Life Lessons and Back from Hiatus

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Well it’s certainly been a while hasn’t it. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind lately what with working full time and running around the country for various things and it’s certainly been an eye-opening experience, so I thought I’d share a little about what I’ve learnt from these recent weeks.
Firstly I had the interview for the job of my dreams which I came tantalisingly close to, which was the epitome of a double edged sword. Although it would’ve taken a lot of sacrifice it would’ve been the biggest stepping stone to getting the career I want, but the silver lining was that despite my disbelief I now know that at least I’m capable of getting myself on that track.
The next week was a blur of Birthdays (guess who’s finally 22) and interviews, by the end of which I’d managed to land myself a social media internship. Perhaps it was a result of my eagerness to prove that I was still moving forward, that I eagerly accepted the role without properly considering the overall requirements. The following weekend I headed to Manchester to see one of my best friends which was a chaotic yet lovely trip, which combined good food and friends (not to mention a few blog photos)!
But when I came back and started the internship, although the nature of it meant that luckily I could work from home as I had explained that I had a full-time job, I found that a lot more was expected of me than initially indicated. I worked at it for a week but it meant that I was at my job all day then working for the internships all night before heading to bed to do it all over again. I was putting so much work in at both jobs that I was burning out and without any feedback or encouragement I was really struggling. Considering the amount of work I was putting in for the internship for no pay or even contact, I felt that I was being put in a position where I was being taken advantage of, and gaining no experience or chance to learn in return. After a lot of thought I decided that it wasn’t worth it and that I had to quit, as I was burning out and as a result things that I loved like this blog were being abandoned.
It’s weird that you can learn so much in so little time but that’s why I wanted to write this post as I guess as this is my place on the internet where I feel I can write about these types of things. Plus I don’t know whether it’s a result of being 22 and a full blown adult now but I’m proud of the fact that although it was hard, I was able to make the decision to quit and have faith in myself that it was worth the risk. Only time will tell whether it was the right choice but it’s something that I would definitely preach as a life lesson to anyone my age or anyone who is struggling to make their way that as cheesy as it is, there’s nothing more important than knowing your own worth. It takes a lot of courage to not being afraid to make the hard and scary decisions and fingers crossed that this time it pays off for me in the end. But at least in the mean time I’m looking forward to getting back to the things I love namely this blog. Thank you for reading this little ramble, I know it’s a little more personal than the things I usually write on here but I hope that it’ll be something to relate to or some help if any of you are ever in a similar situation. Now to get back to the job search…

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Lush Treats From Oxford Street

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The other week I was lucky enough to not only see my best friend from university, but to spend the weekend with her in London. We are both compulsive beauty addicts so of course one of our first ports of call was the flagship Lush store, and boy it didn’t disappoint! With three stores of pure Lush goodness and that heavenly smell that no matter where you are tells you there’s a Lush nearby, it was pretty much every beauty fan’s dream. Not to mention that there are new and special versions of Lush products that are available only in that store! Although I could’ve happily spent hours (and hundreds of pounds) there, I managed to limit myself to just the four of the newest and prettiest products that they had to offer so I thought I’d tell you guys what I thought in case you need some inspiration next time you’re over.
DSC05277On the shopping list: Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil,

                                 Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil,

                                 Intergalactic Bath Bomb (yes that one),

                                 Milky Bath Bubble Bar.

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First up the Milky Bath Bubble Bar which is literally the bath version of a milk bottle sweet. It’s actually got milk in it, which mixed with a little orange oil and cocoa butter makes it perfect for a calming, relaxing and moisturising bath. Not to mention it makes loads of bubbles and the silky moisturising layer it gives to the bath makes it the perfect cure for dry Winter skin.22

When talking to the lovely lady in the store she noticed I’d already picked up the Milky Bar and suggested pairing it with this Shark Infested Custard Bath Oil (which fyi is one of the twenty of these oils exclusive to Oxford Street). The smell of the two of them combined is like some magical dessert of my childhood  with the milk bottle and custard smells combining to create a deliciously creamy, sweet scent. Not to mention the bath oils melt beautifully into the bath while the custard smell is so completely and brilliantly English, and the vanilla strip representing a shark fin is perfectly whimsical.

DSC05294Although I initially picked the Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment because of its remarkable likeness to a real life sweet, as soon as I realised it was the Snow Fairy scent (which is my all-time favourite) it went straight into my basket.  Although I’ve had pretty much every Lush product ever with this scent this is by far my favourite as the bath oil formula creates a really strongly scented bath, while the cocoa butter and shea butter means it’s a lot more moisturising as well.
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And finally it’s the big one, possibly the most famous Lush product to be released in recent years, the explosion of colour that is the Intergalactic bath bomb. With peppermint, cedarwood and vetivert oil it’s hard to pinpoint the scent amongst the heady scents of the shop, but once you get it home the freshness of the scent really hits you. Its invigorating scent is reflected in the multitude of colours that spread across the water leaving you with a bath that truly looks like a snapshot of a galaxy. Not to mention the popping candy and glitter enveloped in the bath bomb made it one of the prettiest and most enjoyable baths I’ve ever taken.DSC052832

I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you an idea of some of the amazing products available from the new store and I highly recommend you give it a visit and try something new. Or if you’ve already been please let me know your recomendations!

September Favourites

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Finally I’ve got round to doing another favourites post! I think this is one of the best times of the year for favourites posts as the transition from Summer to Autumn is perfect for trying new things, so I thought I’d do a round up of some of the things that have been changing my life for the past month.

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Thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

Although I’m lucky that I’ve never suffered deeply from sleep problems, I’ve recently found it harder to wind down in the evenings since starting work full-time and this has been a life saver. A natural combination of Camomile, Lavender and Vetivert it smells incredibly comforting, and I’ve found that by spraying it on my pillow before I get ready for bed creates a really relaxing routine. Not to mention that by inhaling the scent as I go to sleep has left me having better quality of sleep and feeling a million times more refreshed in the morning.

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Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream

Not the most glamorous entry on the list this month but with my move to full-time work I’ve been enjoying any little pamper time I have. In true Burt’s Bees form it’s amazingly moisturising and unlike other foot creams I’ve used. It’s not sticky like others plus the coconut scent smells amazing and makes application feel incredibly indulgent.

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Cinnamon, Fig and Oak Candle

This is one I picked up in New York last year but it the flavours meant it just didn’t feel right burning it in Summer. It’s the perfect mix of Autumnal scents that combined provide a perfect warming, Wintery smell to any room, and it is one I’ve been burning regularly to get me into the seasonal mood.

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Paris Street Style

I received this as a thank you gift from the lovely girls at The Blogger’s Market but up till now I haven’t been able to put it to the use it deserves. In my attempt to create something resembling a capsule wardrobe for Winter this has been invaluable for providing inspiration and advice for classic pieces to buy that will work all season long. Plus did I mention the pictures are really preeeetty.

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Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Cherry

I’ve been really loving Burt’s Bees this month, can you tell? This lip shimmer is something that I was given as a gift, and considering I’ve never tried any of their coloured lip products before I was blown away! The pigment is amazing for a lip balm and its lasting power is really impressive, plus it does the Burt’s Bees name proud in providing a huge amount of moisture. It’s great Winter prep for those like me who need some moisture on their lips but also can’t live without a pop of colour. Now to collect the rest…

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Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation

I rediscovered this recently in my makeup stash and I’d forgotten just how much I loved it. Now Make Up For Ever is available in Debenhams I thought I’d make a repurchase as the range of colours available is brilliant, and it’s the perfect consistency for me in that it’s a medium to full coverage formula, which is buildable yet feels light on the skin. I’d definitely recommend a primer beforehand, but it’s got fantastic staying power so that I find myself needing minimal touch ups during the day. Basically it’s a win win!

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Travelling

Recently with day trips to places like Brighton and Lincoln I’ve been realising how much of the UK I haven’t seen, so I’ve been making plans to change that! I’ve never really been a fan of day trips before but I’ve realised that with a little planning they’re perfect for a kind of ‘best bits’ style holiday, so I’ve made the resolution to travel more in the next few months starting with Manchester for Halloween! So wish me luck and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with how it goes.

I hope you liked this collection of my favourites this month and it gave you some ideas of a few new things to try, and please share with me what you’ve been loving this month too!.

Perfect Movies For Cozy Autumnal Nights

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There’s something about Autumn that conjures thoughts of thick jumpers, crunchy leaves, hot drinks and curling up in front of the TV. With the change in the weather there’s no better feeling than staying inside and escaping into a great film with a cosy blanket. So I thought it was the perfect time to share with you some of my favourite films that really get me in the Autumnal mood.

500 Days of Summer

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Although the film takes place throughout the four seasons, without spoiling the ending, if you’ve seen it you’ll know exactly what makes it perfect for the transition to from Summer to Autumn. Not to mention the soundtrack is perfect at encapsulating the hope and reflection that Autumn brings.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

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It could be argued that every Harry Potter film is perfect for Autumn but I think it’s the detailed, extravagant Great Hall scenes in the first film that really emphasise all the beautiful seasonal colours. Plus who doesn’t feel festive when they hear the Harry Potter theme tune?

Dead Poets Society

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This is one to spur you on as you start the new school year and leave you wishing every teacher could be as inspiring as Robin Williams. As an English graduate I love this film on a deeply nerdy level and the autumnal setting will leave you wanting nothing more than to make the most of those beautiful Autumn days.

When Harry Met Sally

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This is one of the great Rom-Com classics that epitomises the romantic element of Autumn in Harry and Sally’s beautiful walk through Central Park. Although the pinnacle of the film takes place on New Years Eve it’s those autumnal scenes that you remember and who doesn’t love a bit of romance on these cold Autumn nights.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

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In true Wes Anderson style this is one of the most beautiful films on the list to watch with its entire spectrum of oranges, reds and yellows creating the perfect Autumnal world to escape into. One of the best adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books it’s a heartwarming tale mixed with adventure and a great one to watch with family and friends.

Rushmore

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Another Wes Anderson entry but what can I say, when the man picks an aesthetic he runs with it. Jason Schwartzman plays precocious student Max Fischer and although it’s not a film for everyone’s tastes, it beautifully covers the whole Autumnal season through to Christmas. Plus it has Bill Murray in it, and who doesn’t love a Bill Murray movie!

St Elmo’s Fire

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Another one that is very close to my heart as it is about a group of recent college graduates, and is one of the most often forgotten 80’s movie for no good reason. The final scene where they walk off into the night perfectly reminds you that there’s nothing better than wrapping yourself up against the cold, and that no matter what you always have your friends to count on.

Autumnal Spiced Apple and Plum Pie

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There’s something about the change in the weather that immediately has me reaching for a cookery book. After  a bit of tinkering I came up with this, my spiced apple and plum pie which is to me epitomizes everything that’s good about Autumn.

This is the best season for plums and mixed with the apples and spices they combine to make a pie that’s perfect for a winter treat, and one that always proves a hit with my family and friends! Not  to mention that there’s something just so comforting about a slice of pie with custard of ice cream that makes it the food equivalent of a hug, and the perfect medicine to chase those winter blues away.

What You’re Going To Need

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For the Short Crust Pastry

255g plain flour

Pinch of salt

140g hard butter

6 tsp cold water

For the Filling

5 Cooking Apples

2 Sweet Apples (I used Braeburns but any sweet apple would be just as good)

6 Plums (You can add slightly more or less depending on taste)

2 1/2 Tbsp of Cornflour

175g of Sugar (I prefer golden caster as it gives it a caramely taste)

155g of Brown Sugar (I used Demerara which is also perfect for giving a caramel flavour)

2tsp of Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg (About 2 good pinches)

Milk to glaze

Then it’s time to get down to business!

For the pastry I cheated and sifted my flour and salt into my food processor and added the butter until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor just use your fingers instead, they work just as well! Slowly add the water until the mixture is combined then tip the pastry out onto a floured surface and lightly knead. Then clingfilm it and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool and relax the dough.

Then it’s time to prepare the filling. After peeling the apples core them and the plums, then loosely chop them and throw them into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar, cornflour and spices until the fruit has softened and the juices have combined to form a caramely liquid. Once the liquid had thickened and the fruit has softened take the fruit off the heat.

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and remove a third for the topping. I prefer my pies to be open topped so I only removed about a quarter but feel free to decorate however you want! Roll out the pastry and line your tin (tip using the rolling pin to help you lift the pastry makes it much easier), then line it on top with greaseproof paper and baking beads, and pop it in the over for about 10 minutes. As you can see I didn’t have any baking beads so I improvised with linseed but rice works just as well.

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Once it’s slightly coloured, remove the beads and paper from the pastry and glaze it with your milk. Cook it for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is fully dried out.

Meanwhile you can roll out the lid or decoration for your pie, and once it’s out of the oven you can fill and top it! I like to use a slotted spoon as it’s great to remove the excess liquid that can make your pie soggy, then I add my lid or decoration and bake it for 40-45 minutes. But make sure if you’re using a lid you mark a hole in the top to let the steam escape.

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But then voila, an autumnal spiced pie, perfect for those cold winter evenings, all that’s left is to serve it up!Af.

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I hope you enjoyed this post as I’m really trying to get back to posting recipes as I really enjoy it and Winter recipes are some of my favourites to make. I would love to know if any of you give it a go and what you think, or even your favourite recipes as I’m always on the look out for new ones!

A Day In Brighton

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For years I have been seeing hundreds of posts and videos of bloggers raving about Brighton, not to mention the hundreds of beautiful instagrams taken of it. As a result it has long been number one on my list of must-go places in the UK, so of course when the chance came for a brief day trip I jumped at the chance! I thought it’d make a nice beginners guide to Brighton and give me a chance to share with you the best places I managed to stumble upon during my day.

 

Mange Tout

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This was one that came highly recommended by pretty much every blogger who’s written about Brighton, and when we turned the corner from the car park to see it opposite I knew it was fate. With a varied yet simple, fresh menu it ticks every box and was the perfect brunch fix. Not to mention it has some of the best coffee I’ve ever had which was served with some delicious homemade meringues! This is the perfect option for the pickiest of friends not to mention those who like things a little on the healthier side, all in all putting our trip off to a great start.

 

Magazine

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This for me was literally the stuff dreams are made of, a shop dedicated to magazines! This is the hardcore stuff though, no Grazia or Elle to be found here, only slightly obscure yet beautifully made magazines covering everything from fashion to film. Some of them are more like books than conventional magazines, and although I finally manage to whittle it down to one (trust me it took a while) I could have easily left with half the store. Whether or not you’re a magazine obsessive like me I cannot recommend it enough even if just to look and try something new!

 

The Flour Pot

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By this point we’d done enough walking that we were ready for another snack so as soon as I saw The Flour Pot bakery I knew that it was the answer to our prayers. This was another one I’d seen highly recommended by multiple bloggers so I had to pop it and grab a few treats for later. There was an amazing of variety of both savoury and sweet treats and a great gluten-free selection as well (which in hindsight I can thoroughly recommend as some of the best coeliac bakery products I’ve had).

 

Bert’s Homestore

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This is one for those who love all things home, Bert’s has everything from baking supplies to decorations, to toys. It’s one of those places that is impossible to leave without at least a little something, not to mention it’s just a lovely place to look around while you’re reminded of all the things you don’t need but really want. I am so distraught that these stores are only in Brighton, but it’s probably better for my bank account.

 

Edited

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After Bert’s I was definitely in the homeware mood and Edited was perfect to give me that fix. It’s like a combination of all the coolest stuff you’d find on Etsy all in one place. With a brilliant mix of the quaint and quirky there’s something for every style, and left me really wishing that I could fit one of those giant ice cream cushions in the car with me.

 

Brighton Pier

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One of the last places we managed to hit is probably one of the most famous places in Brighton, the beach! It is one of the most picturesque beaches so I couldn’t resist having a ride on the merry-go-round and a go on a couple of the arcade games while I was there. A must have for anyone visiting, it was the perfect way to reflect on the events of the day while enjoying the picturesque scenery. Plus it’s a great place to visit if you’re a big kid like me and can’t resist a ride or two.

 

The Brighton Pavilion

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This is a bit of a cheaty one as we didn’t actually manage to go inside because they were renovating, but the gardens alone were worth the visit. The building itself is so stunning I can’t wait to come back and see the inside, but for the meantime I was perfectly content to wander around the grounds and take some pictures. It was definitely the perfect way to end my first trip to Brighton.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it hopefully gave you a few ideas of where to go if you’ve never been to Brighton before. I enjoyed it so much I’m thinking of doing some more “In a Day” guides, so let me know if you’d like to see some more of them and where I should go next. Also please let me know your favourite places in Brighton too as I’m already compiling a list of where to go for next time!

Doing The Sushi Samba

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When I was little I would always imagine being some high flying business woman who would spend her evenings going to amazing and beautiful places in London. Who knew that I didn’t need to be that much older, or that high flying to go to such places. Led by my best friend Olivia (couldn’t get rid of her last week) whose childhood dreams equalled my own, we headed over to the Heron Tower and up to the 38th floor to live out our dreams for real. After the best elevator ride I’ve ever had we arrived and headed up the stairs to our metaphorical bar heaven.

DSC04770If this is what heaven looks like, count me in!

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Unfortunately we had just come from dinner, a choice I was severely regretting when I saw the magic these chefs were serving up. But on the upside guess I’ll just have to come back for it!DSC04708 DSC04710

We picked a perch with a view and set our sights firmly on the bar, although it took us about 20 minutes just to read the cocktail menu, and there’s nothing I love more than a healthy dose of choice when picking my cocktails!DSC04711 DSC04727

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To be sensible I asked for the non-alcoholic cocktail option which hear me out, was made with roasted red peppers. Sounds strange I know and granted the first sip was slightly startling, but the perfect mixture of savoury and sweet flavours made it one of most interesting and satisfying cocktails I’ve ever had.

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Have you ever seen a view like this before? I would happily have set up camp here all evening, but unfortunately we had to make do with just a few hours.
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We would’ve happily carried on drinking and talking the night away but unfortunately it eventually came to home time and we had to make our way downstairs, but not before I’d taken a few photos of course! I mean come on when else do you get to pose with London’s skyline as your backdrop?DSC04766 DSC04767We also couldn’t help but swing by the incredible outdoor bar which was packed and for good reason due to the most amazing tree sculpture I’ve ever seen.
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I wasn’t joking when I said this place was stuff dreams were made off.
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Dragging our heels we finally got to the lift which gave me just enough time to soak in my last glimpse of the city skyline and of course give my best blue steel for one last photo. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a pretty backdrop!
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Until next time London, but thanks for letting two girls live their childhood dreams even if just for one night. Cheesy I know, but seriously if you’re looking for somewhere amazing whether it’s for a celebration or simply a drink or two, give Sushi Samba a try. Even if it’s not your cup of tea it’s worth it just for the ride and the unbelievable views.

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These two goons certainly enjoyed it anyway!

Leopard Print Shoes Two Ways

DSC036612Leopard print shoes are one of the most must-have A/W items this season with everyone from New Look to Net-A-Porter bringing out their own versions. From Beyonce to Fearne Cotton, to Harry Styles there’s nothing like a pair of leopard print shoes to make you instantly cool. But animal print is also one of those things that if not styled correctly can look a little Pat Butcher so I thought I’d share with you a couple of the ways I thought they can be worn for a casual everyday look.
DSC036842DSC036692Jacket: Topshop (similar here), Shirt: Jack Wills, Jeans: Topshop, Shoes: Primark.DSC036882 DSC036912

I love this combination because it combines both my favourite leather jacket and jeans (where would we be without Jamie Jeans), but the shirt gives a slightly smarter element as well as bringing a dash of colour to the outfit. Plus did I mention the shoes were only £4!  DSC036982DSC036992 DSC038202 DSC038372

My second look is a more casual basic look with my favourite breton print dress, my Rayban wayfarers and the classic life saver of black tights. I’d also wear it with my cropped denim jacket (which I may or may not have forgotten) and just a dash of casual red lippy.

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Dress: H&M (similar here and here), Sunglasses: Rayban,

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I had a couple more ideas for how to wear this (so tell me if you want to see those anytime soon) and was surprised at just how wearable these shoes are. Granted I don’t think I’ll be reaching Sienna Miller or Harry Styles level of cool quite yet but it’s definitely encouraging me to try some new things and take some risks when it comes to some of my fashion purchases.

Plenty at Polpo

Polpo is one of those places that I’d seen mentioned by bloggers millions of times and of course had seen their ubiquitous octopus cookbooks everywhere, but every time I was in London I somehow ended up miles away from their … Continue reading

Take a Break You Deserve It

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Raise your hands if you’re guilty of overworking… yep me too. I am one of those people that finds it almost impossible to turn my brain off, instead choosing to worry and stress about every little thing going on in my life. It reached a peak during my final months at university when I was struggling to juggle work, university exams and trying to find a job as well as day to day dramas. It left me unable to sleep or relax and created huge tension in my back which resulted in a doctors trip and physiotherapy. It became clear to me that although this was a time of great change in my life and many important things were happening it was ridiculous that at the age of 21 the stress of it was affecting me so badly. The physiotherapy was the last straw as I decided something had to be done as living under so much self-enforced stress wasn’t healthy for me mentally or physically. I would like to mention now that I am by no means any sort of expert on this topic but I just thought that I would share with you guys what worked for me in the hope that it might be helpful for one of you now or in the future.

The first thing I tackled was sleeping as I knew that with a decent night’s sleep I’d at least be able to tackle my issues with a clearer and more rational head. I decided to stop reading university related articles before bed as this often left them plaguing my mind as I slept, and instead chose one of the many fictional books I had gathering dust on my bookcase. This helped almost immediately as my mind was occupied on the fictional events on the page not to mention it majorly improved the subject matter of my dreams as well! I also stopped using electronic devices in bed as I read that the blue light they give out is a major issue in achieving deep, peaceful sleep (here’s the article which will better explain it than I ever will). I stopped using my laptop in bed and limited myself to one Instagram check before I started reading to make sure there was enough time for it to not affect my sleep as much, and the improvement was incredible.

Exercise was the next big one as I was often spending all day either at the library or running around at work, giving me very little time outside. I started by attempting at least a half hour walk outside every day which slowly increased to an hour or two or even a short run. It gave me time to think outside of the stuffy work environment, as well as giving me some fresh air and a chance to enjoy the nice weather. This provided me with an escape and a chance to gain some perspective, as well as helping to tire me out just enough to help improve my sleep.

The last is a much simpler one and I think the most universal and that is simply just taking the time to relax. Whereas before I would feel guilty about taking a long bath or some time out to have a cup of tea and read a magazine, by emphasizing to myself that I deserved it slowly allowed me to relax and enjoy it. It was difficult to begin with but once I’d acknowledged all that I had achieved and accepted the fact that no matter how much my brain may have been whirring away no work was being done for the next half hour, it helped to alleviate the stress massively. It also helped physically as I hadn’t realised how tense my body had been until I was able to relax and loosen up. Not to mention once you’ve learnt to enjoy the act of relaxing it becomes a treat that you can look forward to and actually helped my productivity as I wanted to feel that I had deserved my reward. My current method as you’ll see is a hot bath with an assortment of bath bombs and bubbles, lighting a candle (my current favourite being my Jo Malone) and reading my book with my bath pillow at the end of the day.

It’s like they say in one of my all time favourite films Zombieland “Enjoy the little things” and I think that’s what I’d recommend more than anything. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a coffee with friends it’s the little things that make the bad things not so bad, so don’t be afraid to make the most of them because it’s the only life you’ve got. I know this is a little deeper than my usual posts but it’s something I really wanted to write and I hope you enjoyed it or it at least encouraged you to take a break because you deserve it.