Thursday, 12 April 2018

THE REVERSE BUCKET LIST


Have you ever noticed how everyone does bucket lists, (me included) wishlists, dream travel destinations and other aspirational chats about the things they want to do, see and experience?

I thought I would try something new and talk about my reverse bucket list and take you through the things I have been fortunate to do and experience in my 33 years on this earth!

Just a little disclaimer though.. I am not bragging and I appreciate that I have had some amazing opportunities over the years. I feel that rather than constantly wanting something new or better we should stop and take stock of some of the special memories we have built and celebrate those instead.

Everybody Going Surfin'


This is up there in terms of the most random but special things I have seen! Not only was the holiday destination pretty damn spectacular (The Ritz Carlton in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands), but a record label was holding their annual conference at the hotel and as one of only two families who were not involved in the conference, the invite was extended for us to join them at their gala party dinner. 

This was held in the most idyllic location on the hotel's private beach and their musical entertainment was none other than the actual Beach Boys. This was a fair few years ago and I remember at the time me and my sister were disappointed that it wasn't the Backstreet Boys, but I definitely think seeing the Beach Boys on a beach was pretty damn cool!

Walk, Walk, Fashion Baby..


I'm hoping everyone gets the song reference rather than thinking what a weird title?!

I have always loved fashion and each year I would read all the magazines and blog entries on London Fashion Week and lap up those style spotting snaps around Somerset House. When I got an opportunity to attend a blogger hangout at #LFW with one of the top influencer agencies of the time, I was SO happy and merrily headed to London for the weekend. As basic as it probably sounds, I am really glad I went as it was something I had been interested in for so long and I did find the experience really exciting and fun. Moral of the story is if there is something you want to do then find a way to do it rather than listen to all those internal voices telling you reasons why not to do it.

Radcliffe's Great Runners


As these opportunities usually present themselves by email, this was no exception and was along the lines of  'could you help us out here at Francis House?'

Francis House Children's Hospice is a charity that I feel compelled to lend my support to in whatever way I can. Without going into too much detail, they do the most amazing work but get no support from the government, my grandad also wanted to support them and when he passed away I promised myself I would continue what he started.

Francis House had been asked if they knew anyone who had done the Manchester 10K and would be interested in doing some promotional activities with Paula Radcliffe who was launching 'Radcliffe's Great Runners' with a view to helping people achieve their fitness goals and run the Manchester 10K.

What followed was a really random but fun day doing radio, tv and interviews with Paula Radcliffe and talking about my experiences of doing the Manchester 10K. If you have been reading my posts for a while you will remember that I set myself the challenge of doing the 10K when I had literally zero running experience. It was hard work but actually very fun and extremely inspiring on the day reading all the reasons why people do it!



That time I tried on a ring that was almost as expensive as my mortgage...


Oh this was such a fun day. Hancocks Jewellers invited me in to their gorgeous store in Manchester and I could basically try on whatever I wanted and they educated me on their heritage and approach to fine jewellery - I blogged about my day here. My fave was the yellow diamond (pictured above) but at approx £142,000 it's probably not something I will ever get to wear ever again! As much as it was stunning it does blow my mind that you could wear something that is the equivalent cost of a property. I don't feel like even if money was no object I would think to spend this amount of money on jewellery!

Meeting Charlotte Tilbury


I loved both times I met Charlotte Tilbury (blog posts here and here) she kicks ass, is realistic about why people wear makeup and she knows her shit. I know if you aren't a makeup fan to the extent I am, you may question what is so special is about Charlotte. I think for me it is about the fact she has some serious experience behind her, has consulted on a number of other luxury beauty brands and didn't just rush to release a collection that was sub-par. She is super sassy and a really nice woman!

Beauty School Dropout


My contingency plan if I didn't go to uni was to study beauty therapy and my love for all things beauty has never gone away so I randomly decided to study Manicure and Pedicure at night school. I LOVED it... I was the class geek and even though I don't do nails I really enjoyed learning about something that interests me.


So there's a few of my reverse bucket list activities. What would be on yours?
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Friday, 30 March 2018

HAIR SO BIG IT'S FULL OF SECRETS

DOUBLE DRAWN WEFT CLIP IN HAIR EXTENSIONS BY CLIPHAIR LTD
I absolutely love having my hair done and the bouncy voluminous tresses that my hairdresser can create.. but I always struggle to achieve this at home. I am not skilled at blow drying whatsoever and achieving volume from the root, so when I do my own hair I always feel like it looks a little sad and flat in the front... *sad face*

Long time readers of my blog will remember that once I had a weave, (read the post here) just at the front where my hair was thinner and I loved the effect of it. What I didn't love however was the washing and styling of it - it took FOREVER. I have become most cranky in my old age, especially when my hair is bothering me.

SO. When the wonderful team at ClipHair told me all about their clip ins I was immediately interested to see what I could do with them! I wasn't sure what colour I needed but sent a couple of pics over to the team and the most amazing hair arrived in the post a few days later and was a SPOT ON match.

I had my roots done and a nice curly blow thanks to my gorgey hairdresser Jaymee at Muse Manchester and then curled the hair pieces with my GHD large curling tong and then put in some, but not all of the pieces, as I wanted thickness in the front rather than extending the length of my hair.

I am SO impressed with the hair, how it blends seamlessly with mine and how they look, they are exactly the kind of thing I was after and I have no doubts I will be using them a lot.


I think they are a very reasonable price point for the quality and especially when you look at similar products from other brands.

As well as having the hair clipped in and loose, I also think clip ins can be a great way to style your hair in an updo or curly pony. I was able to pop my hair up into a ponytail, you couldn't see the clips,  it was so easy to do and looked great! Perfect for the Races or Holidays where you need your hair to last. 

I am off to Dubai in May and it will be very hot, so at night it will be nice to be able to put my hair up and it still look nice. A massive plus on hair extensions is that they seem to hold a curl much better than my own hair does :)

I would highly recommend ClipHair and they have the biggest shade range I have ever seen!

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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

#WEEKDAYWISHLIST: THE RIVER ISLAND EDITION

RiverIsland1

Get Your Holiday Wardrobe Sorted with River Island 💖

After being stranded in Dublin last week in the snow I am getting ready to book a holiday... GET ME TO THAT SUNSHINE BABY!

On a serious note, I was actually stranded in Dublin after Storm Emma hit. I was supposed to leave on Thursday and ended up having to come home on a 12 hour journey, via Belfast, on Saturday instead. I know that doesn't sound very long but when you have packed for a work conference and somehow pick up the lurgy aswell I think I'm allowed to be a little miffed.

Me and my pal Steph are heading to Dubai again once we can find a date that suits us and naturally as soon as there's a sniff of a holiday I immediately hit up the online shopping and consider pieces to purchase for the perfect holiday wardrobe.

I had a Birthday code sent through from River Island which is what prompted this wishlist but actually I see there is 20% off at the moment (on 6th March 2018) when you spend £75 using code SPRING18. CHA-CHING!

I lovvveeee the glamour of Dubai and my suitcase contents usually reflect this - you will see from the above there is a mix of night time dresses and playsuits and then some more casual bits thrown in for good measure!

Special shout out to the yellow cardigan for either travelling or braving the shopping malls as you should cover your shoulders and they can often be freezing with the air con!  

What's on your holiday shopping list?
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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

WEEKDAY WISHLIST: INTERIORS ON A BUDGET

Buying a house or a flat is expensive and then once you are in you have the task of kitting the house out with lovely things to make said house, a home. I've discovered loads of places where you can buy pieces that won't break the bank but will bring all your decor dreams together.

H&M Home, Dunelm, TK Maxx and Homesense are all fantastic for picking up soft furnishings and decorative items, whereas for larger furniture I'd recommend DFS, SofaSoGood and eBay or Shpock as you can grab some absolute bargains.

Also raid your family and friends houses for upcycle projects! There are so many videos showing you how you can rework old items and the sense of achievement you will get from doing so will be great!

Photos and poster prints also help fill those blank walls or cover up walls that are awaiting a lick of paint. Desenio and Etsy are my go-to places for gorgeous items to put on my walls and Amazon have literally every size and style of frame you could ever want!

For inspo I check out Pinterest or Instagram and then check out all my faves to achieve the look for less.

What are your favourite interior stores?
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YOUR WEIGHT GOALS CAN BE WITHIN REACH


There’s no other way to say it: it’s not easy losing weight. Whether you’re trying to significantly lower your weight, or you’re just trying to slim down a little, it can sometimes seem like a forever uphill task, one that doesn’t appear to have too many success stories along the way. Part of this stems from the sheer wealth of information out there. There’s a lot of contradictory advice floating around society, which doesn’t help! So let’s simplify things. Below, we take a look at a few simple rules you can follow.

Focus On Yourself

You could spend forever asking for advice from other people on their own weight loss journey, or become dispirited by seeing how much progress they’re making when you’re still trying to shift your first inch. When you set a goal (and this applies to everything, not just losing weight), it’s important that you only focus on yourself. After all, you’re the one on this journey! What works for everyone else might not work for you. Find your own routine, your one way of doing things, and it’ll be easier to stay focused.

Beware of Elementary Errors

It’s not just a matter of exercising and eating less. There are many other factors that could be stopping you losing weight, such as not getting enough sleep and not drinking enough water. The body is complex, more complex than some of the best minds can understand, so it stands to reason that there will be a lot that goes into slimming down. If you’re aware of the common dieting mistakes, however, you’ll be in the best position to make as much progress as possible.

Look at your Lifestyle

It’ll be no good eating well and exercising if, for the vast majority of the rest of the time, you have a lifestyle that is working against you. We’re all a little bit guilty of leading a sedentary lifestyle; we drive to work, sit down for eight hours, and then drive home! Luckily, this is something that we can easily remedy. Simply park further away from the office than you usually would, and walk the rest! During the day, find moments to get up out of the chair and go for a walk. It’s nothing overly complicated, but it will make a difference.

What’s in the Food?

Now, there’s something that you should know: not all healthy food is created equal. Indeed, some foods that are considered healthy - or claim to be - actually turn out to be anti-weight loss! Instead of eating what you’ve heard is good, or which claims on the packet to be good, do your own research. You might be consuming more calories than you think just because you thought a food was good for you.

Torturing Yourself

Finally, remember that you won’t get too far if you’re torturing yourself, and abstaining from any food and drink which is any way bad for you. Find a diet you’re comfortable with, even if it means having the very occasional chocolate bar.
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Sunday, 18 February 2018

MILLENNIAL MUSINGS

What is a 'Millennial?'

Google tells me that a 'millennial' is; a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.

Digging a little deeper, Urban Dictionary cites Millennials under the following description;

'Millennial is an identity given to a broadly and vaguely defined group of people. There are two wings of "Millennial" that are often at odds with each other: Generation Y (people born between 1981-1991) and Generation Z (born between 1991-2001). People of Generation Y often have characteristics similar to Generation X, which is why Generation Z will confuse Generation Y with Generation X and then claim to be the generation that represents "MIllennial," when in fact, birth years for Millennial range from about 1981-2001, just as the birth-years for Baby Boomers ranged from 1946-1964'

'Both Generation Y and Generation Z can be called "Millennials," with the primary difference between the two being technology. Generation Y grew-up on personal computers, cell phones, and video game systems, while Generation Z has grown up on tablets, smartphones, and apps. Yet, the common ground between both generations is that both have been transforming and altering communication and identity.'


What does this mean for me?

I guess this means I am a 'generation Y' millennial, born in 1985 and remember a life where school work and projects were not typed, there was no Google, to find stuff out you had to use encyclopedias and to talk to my friends I called the house phone and had to undoubtedly speak to a parent before getting through to my bff to discuss boys and lipgloss and all the other fun stuff a younger me felt necessary to talk at length about...

Today's Communication

I think being the earlier 'millennial', I am quite shocked sometimes by what I see on the internet and how people speak to each other. Whilst this post isn't intended to be a rant about Twitter-beef, I do have to say that I often feel disappointed by what I read and the ease at which young people become such keyboard-warriors. I use social media and so enjoy the experience 80% of the time. Communication is real time and you stay connected 24/7. Things that used to feel out of reach are suddenly more accessible and I've made actual friends off the internet! Which leads me to;

'Millennial Dating'

In a world where 'someone better' is just a swipe away, this is the aspect of modern life which infuriates me. There's so many memes and inspo quotes about not making your online persona too fake and to acknowledge the rough with the smooth, yet this seems to be precisely what online dating is like. Again, I won't use this post as a platform to bash the whole dating-dating app game (this is a whole other post) but for me, if you are looking for something genuine, you have to BE genuine.

WERK

Is it just me or do us millennials get unfairly labelled as being lazy or high maintenance?! In the workplace, I do think we see alot more fluidity in terms of what people do from one job to the next. The benefit for me of a potential or contracted employee who is more in touch with what is out there and learning things online, self taught via YouTube etc is that they won't get stuck in a rut. Some of the most inspirational managers and business leaders I have met have been of the view that each of us has a 'product' that we sell; ourselves. Employers 'buy' our product and employees need to be confident in what they are selling. AND. Enough with the recruiting and seeing a few jobs as being a bad thing... I am no job hopper and unfortunately as a result of the recession (that sh!t was not even our fault!!) I have been made redundant a few times. I find it insulting that recruiters will say something negative about the amount of jobs on my CV. The truth is that my experience in a number of industries sets me completely apart from someone who has stayed at the same company for ten years. PREACH.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being a 'millennial'?
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Sunday, 4 February 2018

A PRODUCTIVE COMMUTE


Anyone else find themselves just staring gormlessly out of the window or at their fellow passengers during the commute to and from work??

I am sure I am not alone.

I actually really quite enjoy my commute now, I've gone from being sat in the car getting road rage and an increase in blood pressure most mornings to a little walk then two trams. Now, I realise that I am probably quite lucky in that when I get on the tram in the morning, I am the first stop so I can always get a seat for the first leg of my journey which makes things a bit nicer.

I promised myself that in 2018 I would try and make use of my commute and here's what I have been doing so far...

Wake Up and Life Admin


I like that I can take time where I don't need to concentrate and properly wake up with a coffee and give some thought to my day. List making, Tesco ordering, personal email answering and a general chat with my family in the family whatsapp are all things I make time for in the morning.

Morning Playlist

 

I love listening to music in the morning, it takes me from cranky just woken up mood to feeling motivated and ready to start my day! Spotify has some amazing playlists for every mood and I am so glad I decided to get the premium subscription so I can save playlists, skip and listen ad-free.

Let's Get Social

 

Like many other commuters, I do like to have a browse of social media in the morning and catch up on Twitter and view insta-pics! I also use the time to post content myself!

Catch Up on YouTube

 

Sometimes I struggle to watch all the amazing content produced by my fave bloggers - my morning commute has been useful to sit back and catch up with their videos and I do this pretty regularly now!

Podcasts

 

This is a new one for me but I am really enjoying listening to podcasts at the moment, some thought provoking, some funny and some personal development style!

LinkedIn Learning


I've not managed to do this yet, but I plan to make use of my works partnership with LinkedIn Learning to do some personal development whilst on the move. As well as business courses there are also ones that will help me with my blog and photography so I am looking forward to tuning into those!

Other


A few more things I plan to try when work will get a bit busier later on this year is doing guided meditation (I hear there are some good ones on YouTube) and also I want to start reading again! I almost never read anymore and I used to love it.

How do you spend your commute?


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Sunday, 28 January 2018

TIPS ON BUYING A USED CAR

SPONSORED POST IN COLLABORATION WITH CARS.COM
Buying a car is a minefield when you aren't sure what you are looking for other than the type of car and the colour. I was looking for a car late last year and hated feeling clueless about the process.

I turned to the internet to help me with things to look out for and I also used the wise experience of my dad! Now I would like to impart my knowledge on to you...

Set a Budget

I had an idea of how much I wanted to spend and when searching for a car only allowed myself to look at cars a little over that amount to make sure I was getting the best deal for my budget range. Plus there's always room for negotiation...!

Get Insurance Quotes

Don't be stung by expensive car insurance as older cars tend to hike up those prices! Do a insurance comparison before the funds change hands and be clear on what outlay you will have each month.

Check the Vehicle's History

There's websites out there that will help you do this and it is absolutely worth doing. We'd all like to think that people aren't untrustworthy but sadly they are. You need to know if the vehicle has been in any accidents or previously financed so you don't end up in a sticky situation further down the line.

The Car's Value

Make sure you aren't paying too much for your car. Get an idea of what else is on the market that is similar so that you know you aren't paying more than you need to!

Get a Good View and Test Drive

Try and view the car in daylight so that you can see any defects, bumps or scrapes. Take someone with you and also go for a test drive if possible! Always look under the bonnet too.

Ask to see Documents

See the V5 and other documents so you can see the vehicle's MOT and service history.

Check the Vital Stats

Tyres, locks, clocking and the odometer! You can tell alot by seemingly inoccuous things so be sure to see if they add up.

If everything checks out then go forth and buy your dream car! I am so happy with mine and there are lots of lovely used motors out there that are good buys.
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