Thursday, June 30, 2016

Monthly Highlights | June

Hi, This month has flown by, I'm not complaining because that means my holiday starts tomorrow. It's been crazy busy at work so then sitting on my computer at home to blog just seemed like torture, (I love blogging but that's too much screen time) problem of blogging when working full time. June has left me feeling worn out and I can't wait to have some time to relax and rethink things.



Mini goals for June 5/10

  • Vote in the EU Referendum
  • Go for a walk/Get outdoors
  • Get my blog organisation together
  • Buy birthday presents
  • Eat healthy
  • Get everything sorted for my camping trip
  • Do an outfit post
  • Have a date night
  • Do something creative
  • Set my Summer goals

I feel like I failed a little this month, time just went by too fast and I wasn’t even the tiniest bit organised. I think the added pressure of creating extra content to cover my travel plans stopped me from blogging at all so I’m sorry about the lack of posts. I’m thinking that the digital detox which is inevitable with camping will clear my mind and hopefully give me loads of inspiration for future posts. I wanted to be super healthy this month and I think I did the opposite, oops. I'm yet to even consider doing an outfit post and adding it to my goals really isn't motivating me. I really want to do a DIY project but I haven't had the time, maybe soon.

So the EU Referendum happened, I voted to stay. I was honestly worried about the outcome, when I woke in the morning to find that the UK had voted to leave my worried where confirmed. I guess the question now is what happens next. I hope our nation can unite and make the changes as smoothly as possible, everything seems so messed up at the moment.

I did manage to get my act together and order some birthday presents so that's one less thing to worry about. We tested fitting the camping gear in the car and to my shock it all fit (it's a different car from last years trip and the boot is tiny). I set my summer goals and I'm already crossing things off. I wish this post was more positive.

Recap/Highlights

  • I set myself 25 summer goals to make the most of the summer months
  • I did my most favourite Lush review yet when I wrote about the Sea Monster Fun
  • I decided to go cruelty free and listed some helpful tips for making the switch

How did you do with your monthly goals?
Sam

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Travel Plans | York, London And Barcelona

Hi, I wanted to share my holiday plans with you, I’m not much of a traveler but it seems that's going to change over the next three weeks. It feels like forever since I had some proper time off work and it's years since I last went abroad so I'm going to make the most of it.


Summer Travel Plans


First I’m off camping on the edge of lovely city of York for four nights. This has become a bit of an annual trip and one that I look forward too as York is such an amazing place to visit. If you haven’t been you really should, you can see what I got up to last year in this post.

July is a month full of birthdays, it's a big birthday for my mum this year so the family decided to jump on a plane and celebrate in a warmer climate. We're going to Barcelona for a four night stay. We've pre-booked some really exciting things to do so I’m super looking forward to all the fun to come but a little worried about getting on a plane again, it’s been years.

After I get back from Barcelona I’ve got a few days back at work before I pack my bags yet again for a long weekend down in London to take in the sights at Hyper Japan. I’ve had it booked for so long now, I can’t wait. While in London I plan to make a trip to the Oxford Lush store and any other London treats that haven’t quite made their way north of the UK.

So there you have it three weeks of almost nonstop holidaying, I want to apologise now because there is going to be a lack of posts during this time but I hope on my return I will have some extra special posts to share with you.

Are you going anywhere nice on holiday?
Sam

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lush Haul

Hi, Last Sunday I took a little trip into Leeds with my family to go for some food and a few drinks in the city center to celebrate Father’s day. I’m really lucky that it’s only a 20 minuet train ride away so I get to hang out in this amazing city quite often. One thing my home town is missing is a Lush store so whenever I get the chance I have a little stock up on bath time goodies (I need to branch out and try some of the skincare range but I fear for my bank balance).

I bought four bath bombs and almost popped a Brightside bubble bar in my basket but I still have some bubble bar left so resisted. I’d been roughly counting up the price and expected £12 only it was more like £15 and I'm not going to lie I felt a little ill at how much I’d just spent on bath bombs (totally worth it but ouch). I’ll stop rambling and share what I bought with you, expect reviews of the following at some point in the near future.















Sakura Blooming lovely


This bomb is named after the Japanese cherry blossom tree which it was inspired by. It's a subtle pink bath bomb with these interesting looking green crystals on top. I'm really into anything Japanese inspired so this bomb was high on my list of ones to try. I've heard mixed reviews about the overall aesthetic of this bomb so I can't wait to review it. Containing a mixture of calming Mimosa and Jasmine oils which are complimented by the mixture of Lemon and Orange flower oil to evoke the feeling of the start of spring.



Twilight – Let the sun set on worries



Another bomb I was drawn to because of it's point of inspiration. Lush bath bombs that are inspired by the nights sky and the universe are some of the pretties once in the tube so I had to pick up a Twilight bomb to give ago. This bomb is designed to help you sleep with a mixture of calming and relaxing ingredients including Lavender oil and Ylang Ylang oil.


Lava Lamp – Groovy Baby


I was really excited to the see that lava lamp had been released nationwide for Fathers day as I believe it was an Oxford exclusive until then. I think this is a really interesting looking bomb and something male Lush fans would probably opt for. The name perfectly explains this bath bomb as once it's in the water the purple discs of essential oils melt and create a lava lamp effect on the water. It smells amazingly fresh and very much of citrus because of the Tangerine and Orange flower Oil.

Big Blue – Float Your Cares Away


Amongst all the new bath bombs I wanted to pick up an old favourite so I chose a Big Blue. This is one of the best bombs I've used for actually making my skin feel amazing afterwards. Inspired by the sea this bomb contains kelp (which might sounds a bit gross) and fine sea salt but this bomb really works. It's not just pretty it also has health benefits from all the lovely minerals within the kelp.

Have you tried any of these bath bombs? Which is your favourite?
Sam

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

7 Healthy Lifestyle Changes Anyone Can Make

Hi, I have recently been trying to give myself a little bit of a health kick and wanted to share some things which can make us all a little healthier. These are simple things that can easily be worked into your lifestyle and don't require a gym membership.


Healthy Lifestyle Choices Anyone Can Make

Drink More Water
There are so many benefits of drinking water, it's recommended that woman drink 1.6 liters and men 2 liters of water everyday. Some benefits include added concentration, clearer skin and it can even aid weight loss. Keep a bottle of water with you and try setting an alarm to remind yourself to have a drink. Keep it interesting by making fruit infused flavored water, lemon juice is a really nice simple option.

Plan Your Meals
I love to sit down and plan for the week ahead. Planning meals means you can have more control over the food you eat. Having a list to stick to when shopping removes impulse buying and you'll only buy what you need so your bank balance will be a little healthier too.

Cut Out Empty Calories
This relates to the previous point. Eating processed food equals extra calories and added stuff that you don't necessary need to be eating. Start cooking from scratch with fresh ingredient and your food will not only be less calorific but super tasty too.

Walk A Little Further
If you have an office job like myself you'll know how hard it is to keep active. Why not park your car a little further away, get off the bus a stop early, take the steps instead of the lift. Increasing the daily steps you take will make a difference to your overall health.

Get Eight Hours Sleep 
This is an important point and one that I constantly fail on. Get into bed before the time you need to sleep, read a book or get your social media fix but then stop before the eight hour slot of your alarm. Getting your full eight hours means that you'll be more refreshed for the day ahead, which can only be a positive.

See More Of Nature
Get out and about, nature is one of the best natural remedies. Getting some sunshine will boast your vitamin D supply and generally walking and sightseeing in the outdoors will lift your mood. Find a tranquil spot and have a picnic or go visit a beach to watch some crashing waves.

Make Time For You
Mental health is just as important as physical health so make sure you take some proper time to truly unwind. It doesn't matter what you do as long as it's making you happy and giving you a break from the reality of the general day to day.

I hope these tips/ideas are helpful, is there anything you would add?
Sam

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lush Review | Sea Monster Fun

Hi, Today I've got a review of the Lush Sea Monster Fun to share with you. I've never really seen anyone review a Lush Fun product before so I'm excited to share what I think of this highly over looked product. My favourite thing about this product is that it promotes creativity, which was just want I needed.

Lush Review | Sea Monster Fun

Lush Sea Monster Fun - Deep Sea Shapes


Fun is a multi use product, it can be used as a bubble bar, shampoo, body wash and even to wash clothing. It's a vegan product which just adds to it's merits and would make a great all round product to take traveling. The Sea Monster Fun contains a mixture of Seaweed Absolute, Lime and Lavender oil which create a lovely fresh scent and fits the name of the product really well. On first opening the wrapper I was hit with a wave of this scent and it was so awakening, great for first thing in the morning.

Lush Review | Sea Monster Fun
I decided to copy the suggested sea monster from the packaging as I had no idea what I wanted to make. I know it's clique but I did have a lot of 'FUN' making my little sea monster (he's cute right?), I felt bad about using him. The product is a little messy to form at times but that just adds to the experience. It did seem to bubble when over worked and leaves coloured residue on your hands, but it's only soap so it washes off easily. As you can see I still had lots of product left after sculpting. I don't have kids but I can see how perfect this product would be for a child to make bath time more enjoyable.

Lush Review | Sea Monster Fun


I put the Fun to the test for a few of the suggested uses, I started with the shampoo option. If you saw my last post 'I'm Going Cruelty Free' you'll know I'm trying to switch out some old products. I've been tempted to buy one of the Lush shampoo bars so figured it was as good a time as any to try a different approach to washing my hair. In conclusion I found Fun to be just as effective at cleaning my hair as my normal shampoo, I love that it's a natural product so should eliminate the build up of nasty chemicals on the hair. A small piece lavered up really well and cleaned my rather long hair root to tip. I tried it without conditioner to see how moisturising it could be. I think I'd still want to use a conditioning product but it didn't leave my hair in knots which was a pleasant surprise.

Secondly I used this as a bubble bar because that is one of my favorite forms of Lush product and I wanted to compare the formula. It was a lot harder to get the product to dissolve in the water due to it's texture but the amount of bubbles and the colour of the water where just as impressive as any bubble bar and I only used about a 6th of the pack. The Lush Sea Monster Fun retails at £5.00 for a 200g pack, I think this is reasonable considering how many uses the product has and it's the same price as a bubble bar. I am going to pick up another one to take on my travels over the summer.

Have you tried any of the Lush Fun range?
Sam

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

I'm Going Cruelty Free

Hi, I've made the decision to go cruelty free! I'm super excited about this and honestly I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've been making more of an effort to buy cruelty free recently so decided to make it official and work on removing all products that aren't cruelty free from my daily routine. After a bit of research I've put together some tips for if you're considering going cruelty free too and just how easy it can be.



Going Cruelty Free - Tips


It’s easier than you think
There are more companies taking an interest in what people want and bucking the trend by going cruelty free. The more people who make the switch will influence the market and eventually cruelty free will become the norm. In the mean time there are lots of brands already selling cruelty free.

People want to share their knowledge
I've followed so many lovely bloggers who are cruelty free and have helped sway me into their way of thinking (I didn't need much persuading). As a result there are loads of informative blog posts and Youtube videos to help you make the switch.

It’s not all super expensive
With stores like Superdrug creating their cruelty free own brand products the prices are respectfully low in comparison with other products. Sometimes it’s worth paying that little bit more, no one bats an eye at spending £4 plus on one bath bomb in Lush.

Don’t throw everything away
Make the switch gradually, throwing everything that’s unused out creates waste which kind of defeats the point. Use up products you've got because you've already contributed to the company's profits. Replace items as and when with cruelty free alternatives.

Don’t trust one source
Research products before you buy and check their cruelty status from more than one source. Making sure the information you use is as up to date as possible (brands can back track). Researching before you buy insures that the product is cruelty free and will stop you impulse buying so you’ll ultimately end up saving money.

Know the logos
There are a few and this is when it can get confusing. Some brands fake logo’s so be careful and not all cruelty free brands are certified but that makes them no less cruelty free, Lush is one of the uncertified brands.

I think the key is to find what works for you and maybe sticking with it, I'm a creature of habit so that’s not really an issue for me. I think once you start to really look you’ll find some lovely products and you’ll feel great using them knowing that no little bunnies where hurt in the making.

Do you buy cruelty free? what are your recommendations?
Sam

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Monday, June 6, 2016

25 Summer Goals

Hi, I believe it's now officially British summer time. This weekend it finally felt like the weather wanted to get into the summer season after as unseasonably cold week. I sat in the garden trying to get some colour into my milk bottle white skin, but with no luck as I just don't tan. I've decided that to make the most of the coming months I'd set myself some summer focused goals.


25 Summer Goals

  1. Eat outdoors (Picnic/BBQ)
  2. Go for a walk in the countryside
  3. Go Camping
  4. Read a lot
  5. Blow bubbles
  6. Visit a park
  7. Make Ice lollies
  8. Watch a Sunset
  9. Buy some fresh flowers
  10. Wear a flower crown
  11. Visit a beer garden
  12. Use my Passport
  13. Make time to relax
  14. Go on a boat trip
  15. Make cocktails
  16. Visit a beach
  17. Have a day out with friends
  18. Attempt a creative project
  19. Make a daisy chain
  20. Take more photos
  21. Have a technology free day
  22. Keep my blog active
  23. Try a smoothie recipe
  24. Eat ice cream
  25. Try more meat free options
I plan on having lots of fun this summer and a much needed relaxing break from work. I'll have time to travel and do lots of reading. I wanted to add a few simple things and a few gratitude goals to prompt myself to make the most of my time and the nice weather.
Do you have any summer goals?
Sam

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Reading Roundup | May Book Reviews

Hi, Look at that massive pile of books! May has been an awesome month for reading where I've used every bit of free time working my way through my TBR shelf. I think the fact that it's light a lot later has helped as I feel more alert into the evenings. As you can imagine this is quite a long post so get comfy and maybe grab a drink before you start, good luck!



May Reading Roundup - Year Book Count 17






The Martian

Author - Andy Weir
Page Count - 369
First Published - 2011

Mark Watney is one of a six manned mission to collect samples from Mars. A large storm hits and the team are forced to make an early exit from their mission. Five of the team successfully leave but Mark Watney was struck by debris and feared dead, he is left on Mars. To every ones surprise Watney didn't die and so his solo mission to survive alone on Mars beguines.

I'm going to start by saying I have mixed feelings about this book, I think with all the hype and the fact that it has recently been made into a film I expected more. The writing style (log entries) was one I was excited to experience and it made total sense within the story. I think part of the excitement was lost with the retelling of past events for example there's a major issue, one that could cause Marks untimely death, but he's documenting it after the event so you know he's fixed it before you even find out how bad the event was. I loved the concept and the problem solving element, the what will try to kill Mark Watney next element but it was undermined by the for-mentioned point.

I can't help but be a little bit disappointed by the point in time that the book ended as well. I've since seen the film and I think it worked a lot better because you'd see the event and then he'd go talk to the log about it. The film did make his survival appear a lot easier and a lot shorter so for that I'm glad I read the book first because I felt a lot more strongly about the ending of the book versus the film.

The Girl With All The Gifts

Author - M.R. Carey
Page Count - 460
First Published - 2014

I featured this book on my Spring TBR list and I was told it's a good read which I can now confirm to be true. I enjoyed this book so much, I'd picked it on a whim unknowing it's true content. This might be a spoiler but the book is about Zombies and it totally for filled my need for a zombie fix. I don't think knowing about the zombies makes any difference as I would have worked it out by about page 20 anyway.

Set in a time of a zombie invasion there is a research center where Melanie is kept. She is strapped in her chair and taken to class with a gun pointed at her at all times. Days with lessons from Miss Justineau are the best and Melanie looks forward to seeing her favourite teacher. Her friends start being taken away never to return and she starts to wounder what's really behind the big metal door at the end of the corridor.

The story dragged a little in places but I always wanted to read on and see what would happen next, it's so hard to write reviews that don't include spoilers. The ending was a lot deeper than I envisioned and the story had a really nice twist on the classic zombie outbreak.

The Glittering Art of Falling Apart*

Author - Ilana Fox
Page Count - 294
First Published - 2016

This book was one of a group of books I won on Goodreads, you can see what I won here. With that in mind I don’t think this is a book I would ever have picked up but I am so glad this book came into my life. The story is set in the present day from the perspective of Cassie. She has a love for her family’s rich history and Beaufont Hall which has been left to the elements. One day when it becomes inevitable that they must sell the hall Cassie finds some old diaries while clearing up. These diaries belong to Eliza a member of her family she has never heard of, reading the contents starts to unravel a dark family secret.

The chapters are split between the present day and the past setting of the dairy entries, this was really well done and I never got lost with the time difference. I liked the element of mystery and the shared feelings of dismay and elation of Cassie as she discovered the history of Eliza life. I worked out the ending quite early on but that made me want to read quicker to confirm my theory and I don’t think any other ending would have satisfied me.
 





Just a Girl Standing in Front of a Boy

Author - Lucy-Anne Holmes
Page Count - 403
First Published - 2014

Jenny Taylor never had it easy, the target for the classroom bully's and picked on by her own Father, she now suffers from depression. That is why 'The Smiling Fanny Manifesto' was created by her best friend, it's a set of daily tasks that Jenny must complete to keep her depression at bay. These tasks have led Jenny on some crazy adventures and made it possible for her to meet her roommate Al and current boyfriend Matt. One day Jenny's mum turns up after leaving her father with the plan of bonding with her daughter. Meanwhile Matt proposes and Jenny meets Joe King who changes everything.

I can't say any more with out giving away the plot but it was so good. I always doubt chic-lit novels of having a well thought out plot and an unexpected ending but this book had both. I need to give this genre more credit but I read some really bad chic-lit books in the past. This book would make a really great summer read.

 

The Age of Miracles

Author - Karen Thompson Walker
Page Count - 369
First Published - 2012

Julia is eleven when the slowing first starts, the Earth is taking longer to rotate and the days are getting longer. When people finally become aware of the shift the days are already a few hours longer and people start to fear the end of time. Society starts to split between real timers and clock time followers, causing a rift among humanity. The animals and plants start to die and the world looks very different.

This book was so much more than I was expecting and I was hooked from the first chapter. I honestly hadn't payed that much attention to the blurb and I think that made me love it all the more. From the cover I was fooled into thinking it was a young adult soppy romance but it's so much more. The concept for the story was so new to me and really got me thinking, the fact that such a small amount of time could cause the degeneration of the Earth and it kept getting worse.

 

What Milo Saw

Author - Virginia Macgregor
Page Count - 419
First Published - 2014

Milo is a nine year old boy with Retinitis pigmentosa, he's slowly going blind and this gives him a new perspective on the world. His gran is taken into a nursing home and Milo realised it's anything from perfect and sets out to expose the Nurse in charge for all the wrong doing. There are loads of other intertwined character plots but I don't want to add spoilers.

The first book I've read since my book haul and the one I was the most excited to read but sadly it left me feeling like it was hard work. I loved the idea behind the story of people only seeing what they want to see for an easy life and that a small boy had so much passion to put things to rights but it just seemed to drag. For me personally there was too much of characters feelings included, I wouldn't have minded if they where plot integral but they just weren't. I would still recommend this book because the subject matter is so interesting and overall it was a good read but it should have been a bit shorter.


If you made it to the end of the post well done, it took forever to write so I hope it was enjoyable and you've maybe found a new favourite. What have you been reading recently?
Sam

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*These books where won via a Goodreads Giveaway

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Monthly Mini Goals - June

Hi, This year is going by too quickly! June is going to be a month of forward planning for all the things that take place at the beginning of July including lots of Birthdays and my annual camping trip to York. Added to this I've got a whole load of work related deadlines to complete before I can relax on my holiday so wish me luck. All in all I need to get myself super organised this month which can only be a good thing.



Mini goals for June
  • Vote in the EU Referendum
  • Go for a walk/Get outdoors
  • Get my blog organisation together
  • Buy birthday presents
  • Eat healthy
  • Get everything sorted for my camping trip
  • Do an outfit post
  • Have a date night
  • Do something creative
  • Set my Summer goals

I don't know about you but a birthday at the beginning of a month always seems to catch up unaware, I fall into the trap of thinking oh but it's next month. This year I intent to be a lot more organised and buying something in the next few weeks for the Boyfriend, Mum and Sister (sorry bank balance). I'm thinking I should work on eating a little more healthily this month to allow for all the birthday cake that will be eaten in a few weeks time.

I also need to look through the camping gear and check that everything is fine and what we need to stock up on before our trip. The boyfriend got a new car since our last trip and it's boot space is pretty small, it will be interesting to see if everything fits (fingers crossed). I don't want my blog to grind to halt when I go on holiday so I'm going to try and get some content ready.

I'm going to vote in the EU Referendum but I still have no idea which way to vote which is pretty daunting. Fun goals include being creative, going on a date night and spending some time outdoors which I should do more especially with the weather being a lot nicer this time of year.

Do you have anything nice planed this month?
Sam

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