A mini break

Monday, 21 December 2015

As you can see content has been lacking on here and that's just due to various reasons! I won't have the time to do any posts for the rest of this month, with it being Christmas and then me going away to Dublin, so I just wanted to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and I hope you all have an awesome New Year :) xxx

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December Book List

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Whoops, so I am just a tad bit late with getting this up – but better late than never! As it’s December and this up, I can finally do a little victory dance, because I managed to keep this up for a whole year!

I finished up reading my books for November in early December; it took me longer than expected as there were just days that I was busy so I couldn’t read. I found all the books in November’s reading list so interesting. The first thing I read was The House Girl, this was SO good. I think I really enjoyed it because it was much more than I expected it to be. I kind of wish it had a sequel or just something because in a way I really want to find out what happened beyond the book but it did end in a satisfactory way of some sort. I’d really encourage anyone who’s interested in slavery to pick this up. It has the right emotions in the book and focuses on people who were white that were helping slaves too. It switches between two periods (the time of slavery and present day in the book) but is just so very interesting. The next thing I read was Island, you’ll already know from last month that I wasn’t looking forward to this but I really ended up enjoying this. I think it’s because, as it should be, it’s very different to a brave new world. One thing I remember thinking whilst reading this book is that it literally could have been written in the past ten years, what it talks about is just so current that you can’t really put a timestamp on it. I think I found it really good because it’s a world I can get on board with; I’d whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone.

The final book I read was The 10pm Question, this wasn’t what I expected for some reason I thought the main character was a sufferer of depression, but it’s a great book nevertheless. It does focus on mental health but it’s just so much more, told from the perspective of a young boy, it focuses on this daily life, friendships and his agoraphobic mother. It’s a really good light-hearted read.

So this month I have picked three books to read again. I doubt I’m going to read much more than that because I’ll be away for a 5 days in Dublin at the end of December, so unlike previous years I won’t have the extra time to read.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz - I’ve heard this book mentioned by two people and when I heard the second person mention it, I just knew I had to get it. I love spiritual books such as this; they make you to question the things around you and what you believe. I’ve literally read about 5 pages at the moment, but I already know I will love this book because I read the inside leave which contained the four agreements and they left me feeling empowered and secure.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg - What would a book list by me be if it didn’t feature a book on mental health eh? This was definitely taken from a list about books to do with mental health and is about a young girl who suffers from schizophrenia. From what I’ve read it’s semi-autobiographical. This isn’t an area of mental health I know much about, but there’s never any harm in learning.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - This book has been on my list for probably 2 years and I thought it was just time to get it off my list. I think this book landed on my radar because of my love of Khaled Hosseini’s books. This is written by an author who gathered women in Iran to talk about controversial books such as Lolita, you then find out it becomes so much more than that. I have a strange interest in books about women who live in strict regimes but still do things that carry very severe consequences. I’m much too much of a wimp for that, so I guess I just love the insight into these women’s minds and their thoughts and dreams.

So that’s my list for this month. Hopefully I can do some reading on the plane to Dublin, but sadly I don’t think I’ll be hitting the end of my Goodreads reading challenge. I’m currently on 37 books out of 45. It’s a shame but at least I’ve read a decent amount this year!
What’s on your to-read list?

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November - music picks

Thursday, 26 November 2015

I thought I'd sneak this post in because I've found four song in November that I really love and have just been on repeat. I won't even try and make this a regular series, because most of the music I listen to is nothing spectacular but I think these tracks are just aaaamaaaazing.

Sinead Harnett - She Ain't Me
Kyla La Grange - Skin 
The Weeknd - Shameless
Disclosure - Bang That

I was fortunate enough to hear Bang That live and ughhh, so good! If you have any music to share I'd love to hear it, seriously!

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Sephora Haul

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Now before we begin, my bestie got these from me on her recent trip to Dubai. Sadly, my feet haven't left London, let alone England since I got back from Ibiza :( So whilst she was there I got her to pick me up a couple of things that I've seen floating around on blogs and YouTube. I probably got this about two weeks ago, so whilst it's a haul post, I will also do first impressions on some of these.

I've heard so much about Sephora's own range through YouTube and I'm so gutted that when I lived in Italy about 3 years ago that I was not interested in make-up or skincare (I probably saved myself a fortune though). So I decided that I really wanted some of their own brand as it was something I certainly couldn't get over here. I know you can order Sephora online but I really don't want to - I don't even know if their own brand ships to the UK. 

I chose the Sephora Green Tea sleeping mask because I can be incredibly lazy when it comes to skincare sometimes and anything that allows me to skip some of my night time routine is a winner in my books. I've used the green tea sleeping mask twice now; I wash my face, apply my Serozinc and then put this over it. I like using this, it's a gel formula and doesn't have any scent (at least not that I've noticed). The Green Tea mask is supposed to 'absorbs excess sebum and purifies for a matte, clean complexion.' and because I have oily skin I wanted to get this. I can't vouch for any of the claims as this has to be used over a long period of time, but after washing it off in the morning my skin does feel fresh. 

I also wanted to get a regular mask so I chose the Sephora Lingzhi Mask, I didn't expect it to be a sheet mask (actually it's a fiber sheet mask) but I thought it would contain the product and you just squeeze it out and put it on your face. So I'm looking forward to trying it, the Lingzhi mask is the anti-ageing mask that aims to 'create the appearance of smoother, plumper, and younger-looking skin.' It hit me some time in the past two months that turning 25 next year means that I will have to start using this anti-ageing stuff, whilst I'm not old it will certainly creep up on me! I haven't had the chance to use this mask yet. 

The amount of stuff I've heard about the Peter Thomas Ross Pumpkin Enzyme mask is unbelievable. I didn't think I'd actually get to try it until I went to New York next year, and stupidly I was thinking about actually buying the full size. That is until I was looking on the website for the name and thought actually they must have a sample set and found this, meaning I got to try three masks instead of one! 

The Mini Mask Magic Kit is apparently exclusive to Sephora and contains:

  • Cucumber Gel Mask - helps to soothe, hydrate, and detoxify dry, irritated skin
  • Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask - contains cutting-edge plant biotechnology that isolates and replicates the perfect rose stem cells for maximum age repair
  • Pumpkin Enzyme Mask - a powerful and highly effective exfoliating treatment that addresses a dull, aging, and congested complexion
So far I've only tried the Rose Stem gel mask and the Pumpkin Enzyme mask, and both of these I have only used once. I don't think I can really say much after one use about their effects, but I didn't feel any stinging upon application. The sample sizes are good enough to get a week or two weeks use out of them - so maybe I'll have more to report on later! 

The final thing was the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 Always Red. At least I hope it's in that colour, it says 01 so should be. I wanted more of these but they didn't have any of the other colours I requested. I stay away from red lipsticks because I'm yet to find one with the right tone that suits me. When I tried this on when I got it I was like yes maybe this would work, but then I put it on again on Thursday last week to go to work and was aah no. I think it's probably just a case of me not being used to red lipstick now, and it being winter that made me want to have a darker colour on my lips. So I went over this with one layer of my Revlon 'Black Cherry' and ended up with a dark red colour which I loved - I even got a compliment about it at work saying it suited me so yay! The colour last for over 8 hours with me drinking and eating (for reference the Revlon lipstick is a creme one so tend to wear off during the day) and I didn't have to touch up. I could have course have touched up but I'm hella lazy and I spent two hours of that day freezing my nuts off so I didn't really care how my lipstick looked.

So that's it for the Sephora purchases. I have a feeling I'm going to do a lot damage to my bank account when I head to New York in May! 

Party season outfit ideas

Sunday, 15 November 2015

I have not blogged in forever! It's a combination of not having anything to blog about and not having the time to blog. My workplace has announced the date of the Christmas party and it has sent me into panic mode! First of all it makes me realise I need to stop inhaling all sorts of crap, but second reason for my panic is finding something to wear! So I’ve been doing some searching here and there but really most of these I have discovered because they’ve landed in my inbox from certain brands. I’m mainly looking for a dress because I find them easier to work with, but I have found some cute tops/bottoms.

I know Christmas outfits can be something that people spend a lot of money on, but I don’t want to especially because I’ll probably wear the item(s) once. Although I was just reminded by my friend last night, that I'll be in Dublin celebrating a friends 30th and New Years, so I actually have more than one occasion to wear my outfit. I’ll start to buy stuff at the end of this month, but for the time being I thought I would show you what I’ve found. I know everyone is doing these party wear stuff, but I’ll only be going to that one Christmas party so thankfully it’s not going to cost me a fortune! I am planning a Christmas shindig/game night at mine, so I maybe I would like an outfit for that but other than that my plan is to save money and stay warm. 

I love these pieces from Zara, their evening look book email arrived in my inbox and I decided to take a look. I know half the stuff won’t fit me or look good on me because my body shape is nothing any of the models they show, but I can always try them! I do love the fact that they set up a look book for it and you should totally check it out here. I love that most of the things in the collection are all black, and of course my favourite pieces are black.

Out of all of these I have to say the red textured dress is my favourite - lovely colour, not too tight and the cut will flatter my shape. I have so many accessories saved in my ASOS basket, so I will probably pick a clutch bag up and some jewellery and hopefully I'll be sorted! 

Have you seen any dresses that would be perfect for the party season? I’d love to see them.

November Book List

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

This is a couple days late but I have been suffering since Halloween and could barely lift my head let alone type out a whole blog post.

So October has come and gone and I managed to read four books! *fist pump* I'm not sure how this happened, but I suspect it's due to the fact that I just seem to get through real books rather than the ones on the Kindle. I did however read a book on the Kindle because after I finished my last book, I remembered that I had purchased The Cuckoo's Calling when it was like 99p so I went off to read that before ordering some more books.

I started off reading Low Expectations in October and whilst it was okay I really didn't feel that it had any substance to it personally. It wasn't terrible but I finished it and thought meh. I next moved on to Me Before You and if you've read my book review then you'll already know that I thought it was fantastic. It struck so many chords with me and every time I had to stop reading it on the tube I was so upset. After this I went on to Only Ever Yours, again this book was just meh for me. It had a edge because of the dystopian setting but in the end it was just underwhelming, it did raise some good points about women and society and the roles we're expected to play but it wasn't anything new and for me didn't shed anything exciting or revolutionary. I finished this on the 23rd of October, so I was able to go on to The Cuckoo's Calling. I've read all the Harry Potter books and The Casual Vacancy and from those two I was thoroughly convinced that JK is an awesome writer, reading The Cuckoo's calling further confirmed that. She does every genre so well and she just takes the reader on an awesome journey. I was happy to find out that The Cuckoo's Calling actually has two more books after it. If you don't know it's about a detective, so I think there's definitely room for more books!

So on to this months books! I have decided  I will purchase more actual books as I do want to meet my goal and if they help me to get there faster, then so be it!

Island by Aldous Huxley - This has been in my saved for later basket for ages and I can't really say why. I know it's a very well known book but that isn't what usually compels me to read something, so I think I must have seen a really good quote from it somewhere. I have read Brave New World by him back in 2013, but I seriously cannot remember it. This is meant to be the other part to Brave New World, as it talks about a utopia, whilst Brave New World is about a dystopian society. In a nutshell the story is about a man who ends up shipwrecked on an island.

The House Girl: A Novel by  Tara Conklin - This book again has been sitting in the basket and I just really have no idea why as I can't really seem to even explain what the book is about, so I will just have to point you guys to Google for this one. I must have seen a snippet of the book somewhere and thought it would be a good read. I wanted to have a range of books for November and this sort of bridges the gap from smart and depressing.

The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi - I love young adult novels and this book has featured in a lot of top ten lists when it comes to depression. Again this has been sitting in my basket for a while and I'm in the mood to delve into another book around this topic, so I just purchased it. I'm not really sure what this book is about, other than a 12 year old boy and something do with 10pm and his mum. The blurb doesn't really give anything away, but all the reviews I've read about it are very promising.

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Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

I'm not usually one for Halloween because it was just never the done thing in my house. I have done things for it over the years though. This year however I'm going my best friends Halloween party which also doubles as a launch party for her events business. I'm so excited for all the costumes, decorations and of course, the drinks! 

 I hope you all have a safe and spooktacular evening! 

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My ASOS saved items

Sunday, 25 October 2015

ASOS is my favourite place to shop online and even though I know I need to branch away and shop on other stores I can't help but still add things to my save for later basket. With pay day being a couple of days away I thought I would show some of the things I plan to pick up!

1. Yumi Bird Print Dress with Fluted Sleeves - This is something I think would be lovely for work. I like wearing dresses that have a simple cut and a cute pattern, I feel like it looks like you've put a lot of thought in to your outfit but really you haven't. I love the colour, it's a bit out there for me but I hope it suits me! 

2. YRU Luna Animal Slipper Shoes - This is something that's not very me and I don't really tend to wear a lot of flats, but I thought these were soooo cute and will just spice up my normal outfit of black trousers and a black jumper. 

3. Brave Soul Longline Jumper With Side Zips - I think this is another one that's perfect for work. I could also wear it when I'm not at work for just a casual day. I love the zip detail down the end and the colour. 

4. ASOS Denim Girlfriend Jacket in Black - I haven't bought a denim jacket in years but I love the way this looks on the model, it looks much nicer when it's left open. I really love the colour of this and I'm hoping it suits me as I can see it just topping off a lot of my outfits and making it look like I tried. 

5. b.Young Hills Printed Trousers - This is something I thought I could wear for work and for when I'm out and about. I typically don't tend to wear printed trousers because I feel they bring more attention to my thighs but I think they are a great way of jazzing up an outfit. I love the line that this has running down the sides, it gives it such a lovely casual look. 

6. ASOS Smart Front Bar Detail Backpack - I'm in need of a new bag and I love the colour and the gold bar on this one. I don't really like backpacks because I don't feel like they are very safe, so as much as I like this I'm not sure if I should actually get it. But it is lovely and comes in black too! 

7. ASOS Large Face Sunray Dial Watch - This is just such a gorgeous watch and I love that the background is a rose gold colour. Sadly this watch is sold out :(  That's the only sad thing about putting things in your saved for later bag - you come back and most things are out of stock! 

8. ASOS Coat with Dropped Pephem - This coat is so so lovely! It's not something I'd typically go for as it's pink and has a peplum style but I think it's just so different and really cute. I don't think it will suit me, but I'm definitely willing to try it on. 

9. Influence Elephant Print Sleeveless Skater Dress - I love the print on this dress and I love myself a skater style dress, I think it flatters my body shape. This also has a lovely back, so if I was to wear it to work I'd wear a jumper to cover it up, which is good because it's that time of year! It would also be great for summer. 

So these are some of my bits in my basket - I can't wait to place my order and see what I end up keeping! I'd love to film a haul video, so maybe watch this space! I hope every had a wonderful weekend :) 

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Book Review: Me Before You

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

There's one thing I haven't done in nearly a year and half and this is write a book review. To be honest I made a conscious decision to stop doing them because they take a long time to execute. I think with book reviews you really need to structure your content well and it's just not something I'm great at. I also don't read that many books that make me think 'wow, I really want to write a review on that.'

I did however read Me Before You this month and I just loved it so much. I thought it was beautifully written and I could really relate to Will, although I still have all my limbs functioning it was Will's thoughts about life and his choice to die that I felt I really could relate to. So for that reason I thought I would write a semi review, whilst talking about why I personally found that I had to write something about this book. I want to see if I can bring to light some parallels between his story and my own battle with mental illness and suicide/assisted suicide. Warning: This does contain spoilers. 

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Fiction, Romance,
Length: 481 pages
Publisher: Michael Joseph (UK)
Publish Date: January 5th 2012
Format: Paperback

What's it about?
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
from Jojo Moyes' website

My thoughts
I put off reading this book for so long because really I had no idea what it was about, I knew it was hugely popular but I hadn't read anything about the actual storyline. When I did find out what it was about, it didn't really scream out to me as something I should pick up immediately. I ordered this from Amazon at the end of September because I wanted a change from my typical reading genre.

I’ll start off by saying that I love how this is written and that it isn't all clich├ęs or completely unrealistic. This book really sunk its teeth in to me and every time I stopped reading it I still found myself thinking about it. It's been a looooooong time since a book has done that for me. When I was younger this used to happen all the time, I'd carry all the characters with me, and this was what made me love reading. This book hooked me in and I found myself naturally wishing what everyone else probably did – that Will would change his mind. For me it was interesting to see Lou take on the challenge of trying to get Will to change his mind and Will explaining about how life was for him and why he wanted to make this choice. It was at this point that I realised that I knew exactly how Will felt.

Now I won't pretend that Will's condition is anything like mine, but what really touched me throughout the book was Will's decision to die. I think with a lot of terminal illnesses these thoughts prop up, but I've never read anything surrounding the situation in any great detail. Will's reasons stuck a chord with me because in so many ways they are similar to the thoughts that went through my head on a number of occasions.

The thing with life is once you see it in a certain way; people's words and premonitions about how it gets better are just futile. I truly believe that unless you're in a person’s shoes you can't possibly know that it will get better. Oh I know it's cynical for me to say and I wish to god it weren't true, but we all don't live the same life and want the same things and the mind is just such a complicated thing. It was of course possible for Will to change his mind-set and readjust to living in a wheelchair, but would have made him happy? It is of course possible for me to readjust my mind-set and want different things from life, but honestly it doesn't make me happy most of the time. I feel like I'm just going through the motions. The thing is changing your mind-set will probably only work for so long because there is still that other part of you that knows life is and should be better than this. Will was used to being an active person and with his accident he couldn’t do anything that he used to be able to do or wanted to do. I think until you're actually faced with something that limits your ability to live your life to the fullest, you just don't quite get it. There are SO many things that I want to do but can’t.

I know life is not a colourful rainbow for everyone, but with depression it is incredibly bleak. Even in my "recovered" state I still do not possess that enthusiasm for life that everyone else seems to have around me. Whilst I no longer want to die, there are days that I no longer want to be alive, and yes, there is a difference. I will never again make an attempt on my life, but this book struck such a chord with me because I thought finally maybe it's not only depressives that feel this way. That's probably very obvious to some, but I am of the belief that most people around me seem to love living life even faced with horrid illnesses and situations. The book highlighted to me that perhaps this feeling that spans across other illnesses and there is justification for wanting to end your life. It's never a decision that is made lightly and I think everyone should have the right.

I also emphasised with Lou because well duh I have emotions (a hell of a lot of them), we all want the people we care about to be around us and enjoy their life. It was touching to see what lengths she went to do make Will feel like he should change his mind, and in so many ways I'm reminded of how my friends and family encourage me when I'm nearing a very dangerous place. I of course know that none of this is easy for anyone and for most people it's hard to contemplate that someone would make this decision. I thought Lou's character was very well written and she just had all the right emotions for someone who went through what she did.

If you can't tell already I loved this book, not only for the story but the writing, I didn't feel that it lacked anything or over described anything. I think Moyes must have researched the topic very well and you can tell she really thought about her characters as humans. The book takes place over a 6/7 month period and I think the page length of the actual book is perfect. I don't feel that anything went on too long, or that some of the things featured in the book were just there to bulk it up. Every chapter felt well thought out.

So to summarise, I think everyone should read this book. I cannot wait for the film to come out and when I finish some of the books on my list I'll definitely be picking up After You, which Moyes wrote due to people wanting to know what happened to Lou after.


5 out of 5

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Ole Henriksen - 3 Little Wonders Kit Review

Monday, 12 October 2015

Ole Henriksen 3 little wonders mini gift set*
I was fortunate to be sent this little trio to trial by the lovely ladies over at Escentual. I’m already familiar with some of the products from Ole Henriksen and I reviewed some earlier this year on Ole Henriksen ‘The Full Works’ review

 The gift set I received actually contained two products that I had already used and they were both two products I really loved! The whole point of this was to try and transform your skin in 7 days. I started on the 27th of September so I'm well over my 7 days and so I thought I'd share my results. 

As I mentioned when I previously reviewed this, I absolutely love the smell of this serum. It smells like chemical oranges, so so good. This a water based serum and it absorbs into the skin pretty quickly. It's a anti-aging product so I can't really comment about how well it worked sadly! One thing I did like and think it was the combination of this and the moisturiser, but the dry patches of skin starter to disappear from my face when I started using this. For some reason since coming back from holiday my skin has been incredibly tight and dry and this seemed to insert some sort of moisture back in to it. 

I love this moisturiser. It says it can be used for all skin types but I think if you're oily you'll like this especially. It's so light weight, but incredibly hydrating. It's also supposed to combat dark spots, but as it's not something I've trialed for long I can't comment on that. I will say though that it's a fab moisturiser!

I was really excited to try this but I really don't think it did much for my skin. It's hard to judge because I don't feel like 7 days is enough for something like an AHA to take full effect and show you dramatic results. Also with these sorts of things, the minute the pot is opened they start to lose their potency, so really I don't feel like I can give this a proper proper review. I do love the fact that I got this though because after were up I was using this every other day and then my Paula's Choice BHA, I haven't seen much of an improvement to skin texture - but it's a work in progress.

Overall I did see an improvement to my skin and this I think was mainly due to the serum and moisturiser, they both really worked together to hydrate my skin and restore it back to a semi acceptable (hey it didn't give me flawless kin) level of good skin.

*Disclaimer: This was sent to me but I wasn't asked or paid to review it - I just thought I'd share!

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5 recipes I've tried and loved

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I am a foodie through and through, although I'm the foodie kind that doesn't touch seafood or fish. My favourite thing after eating is cooking. I can't bake to save my life, but cooking, cooking I can do and most of the time it's very therapeutic for me. I love changing up recipes and seeing what the end result is, typically with cooking I always end up feeling like I've achieved something so that's why it's such a good thing for me.

Over the years I've found some good recipes from the net and I can't believe I've never shared them on my blog or just generally talked about my love for food. So I've rounded up my top 5 used recipes and talked about any adaptation I've made and how easy they are to make.

This recipe is divine. I love creamy tomato sauces when it comes to pasta and so when I stumbled across the picture of this I thought I'd found the perfect one. When I found it it was a red pepper sauce I was like "huh?" but I still wanted to give it a go because it had cream and cheese and looked amazing. I actually use soya "cream" or lactofree cream when I make this recipe, because I can't stomach normal cream. This recipe is just so so good, so if you're after an alternative to a creamy tomato sauce this is your best bet. I've made this about 3 years ago (I was in my final year of uni) and it's still a firm favourite. It takes a bit of time with roasting the peppers and then blending it, but it's so worth it.

Oh my goodness, this recipe just made me love making meatballs from scratch. I don't actually make the sandwich part, I just make the meatballs to use with spaghetti. I actually don't include Italian sausage because for some reason I could never find it, and then I gave up trying. These meatballs are so bloody tasty. Every time I've made them my brother has just snapped them up because they just contain the right amount of flavour, they're not dry and the ricotta gives it a lovely taste. I made some of these on the weekend and even ended up adding feta and mozzarella to the recipe just because I had them in my fridge. I make a simple tomato sauce of peeled plum tomato, tomato puree, chilli flakes and seasonings that I have in my cupboard. The only long part of this is making the mixture into balls and then browning them.

I love M&S food, they have such a wide variety of salads and basically everything else. I love their microwave superfoods and the red and white quinoa one. This recipe incorpartes that and you through in some other bits and then you have yourself a nice and fulfilling salad. I don't like avocado so I don't use it, but aside from that I love everything else this includes and sometimes I just add whatever is lying around in my fridge. It's so simple and easy to throw together.

This is a lighter version of the meatballs I posted above. Turkey is leaner than chicken and the mixture doesn't involve as much cheese, and generally basically all the ingredients are halved in this recipe. I love the use of the basil in the tomato sauce, it gives it a really lovely flavour which helps as turkey isn't the most flavourful of meat.

Such a simple dish and I actually stumbled across this when I basically had all the same ingredients and just wanted a recipe for a simple home made sauce. I looked in my Pinterest foooood! board and found this recipe about two months ago. It's so lovely and light and just perfect for when you want to make a stir fry, also if you have curry powder and you add it to this it's jut yummy! I made this to go over rice and even my brother loved it. It's such a simple dish to make, honestly just like making a normal stir fry but taking 3mins extra to make your own sauce - flavourful and healthy! 

Img credit: 1|2|3|4|5


So those are my top 5 that I've tried and tested. I have SO many bookmarked and so many saved in my Pinterest board so make sure you check it out, to get some inspiration. If you have some favourite recipes to share please leave them below - I'd love to see them!

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October Book List

Sunday, 4 October 2015

This month I read two very different books and rekindled my love for reading. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi was a great read, she's an author that creates real lives right in front of you. All of these chaaracters felt so real, like people you would actually come across in life. The book is about the split of a family after their father leaves, and in the book it brings up an interesting point of black men and their families, it is not in anyway judgmental though. This book was a treat to read and I loved weaving through the pages of this one. I started Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton and loved it so so much. She's a wonderful writer and I don't think I've ever read a more acute description of what depression is like. I love the way she writes and her story into depression and into recovery was very interesting. I'm still in the process of reading How You Can Talk to Anyone in Every Situation but I am really enjoying it so far. 

So with that out of the way it's time to get on to this months books! This month I've decided to go for a varied genre in my book list. I picked up two books that were in my bookmarks and then one that had a lot of publicity early this year/last year. My amazon book list was looking pretty samey (all depression related), so I thought I would delve into other topics for October. It's that time of year when it gets cold and meh anyway, so what better way than to cheer yourself up with a book!

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - I saw this book being advertised on Twitter by Quercus Books and when I read the blurb for it I was intrigued. It’s not the sort of things I would typically read. I’ve read 1964, and Margret Atwoods ‘The Handmaids Tale’ is in my ‘to-read’ list but generally dystopian books don’t really rank highly on my list. This for some reason pulled me in and I suspect because it’s also classed as young adult because it’s about two teenage girls, who are born in a time where women are bred for men. I’m just intrigued to see what this whole thing will be about. Plus the author won the Bookseller YA book prize.

Low Expectations by Elizabeth Aaron - This book was also one I found from following Quercus on Twitter and it sounded right up my street! I love books like this that just talk about drunk single women who have all sort of funny trouble with life and men, because it’s me and my friends in a nutshell. The protagonist in this book is 24 (same age as me, so I wanted to read it even more), lives in London and is working her way up in the fashion world. I think it will be similar to books like The List and Pear Shaped.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - The final book is one that was advertised quite a bit last year and I thought yeah I should read that, so I’ve just added it to my list. The book is about two very different people who end up in each other’s life due to chance circumstance, it then goes on about how their relationship develops. And yadda yadda they change each other’s lives. It’s even getting made into a film next year, so very popular!

What books are you reading this month? If you have any suggestions for horror/Halloween themed books let me know, even though I won't read it until next month I 'd still like to read some.

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Headspace - Take 10 Review

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Let me start off by saying I have some pretty awesome friends and one of my friends pointed me in the direction of Headspace after I was talking about how my anxiety was getting out of control on Twitter. I'd heard of Headspace when it first launched, but really didn't care about meditation and back then it was bloody expensive. But when she mentioned it to me, I was like you know what it wouldn't do any harm to try it again. I've tried meditation apps and some of them have been great, I've just never been consistent with it. 

Take 10 from Headspace is a 10 minute guided meditation challenge that you do consecutively for 10 days. They call meditation the 'gym for the mind' and after my experience, I really do believe them! They encourage you to practice mindfulness through meditation, and they encourage you to start with 10 minutes out of your day. The wonderful things is that the Take 10 challenge is free, so after that you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead and purchase one of their memberships and explore different parts. I've been fortunate enough to have access to paid account to see what else is there and there's a whole range of topics on there such as eating, sleeping, relationships and self esteem. I've decided I will be purchasing a membership package. 

Anyway I thought I would share my experience and challenges that I encountered whilst doing the challenge. P.S It took me more than ten days! 

Day 1 - Tuesday 15th September - I did this in the evening. I don't have a chair in my room that has a back, so I decided to sit upright in my bed. I followed the meditation and found that it was so simple to follow and that 10 minutes went past so quickly. I didn't find myself wondering when it would be over and it didn't feel weird at all to have 10 minutes with my thoughts just going over me. In fact at some point it felt good to let my mind wonder because I had this designated time for it. I felt SO clam after and really happy with myself that I'd managed to do it. I slept like a frikkin baby that night. I also did yoga before the meditation too. 

Day 2 - Wednesday 16th September - This was not a good day in terms of meditation. I was a little high off the success and feeling of my meditation the night before. However, I just found that I was super distracted (which isn't such a bad thing in meditation) but I just couldn't focus. I kept wondering when the 10 minutes would be up and when it was done and didn't feel like anything good had come of it.

Day 3 - Thursday 17th September - I found that this was a good day for me, I also had by therapy session and I had mentioned to my therapist that I was doing it and he thought it was great. I had similar feelings like those that I had on Tuesday, I was able to concentrate a lot better and it felt a good use of those 10 minutes.

Day 4 - Friday 18th September - I was a bit worried this day as to when I'd find the time to do this. My friend was coming round and we would be drinking, so I definitely wasn't going to meditate then nor was I going to sleep at any decent hour anyway. So I decided to do it after I got back from work, I waited about an hour and then started. It was really good, as it was the end of the week my thoughts usually reflect back to things that happen and usually I give myself a hard time about things, but during the meditation I was able to let these thoughts come and go without dwelling on them.

Day 5 - Saturday 19th September - I spent the rest of my weekend at my sisters and with my two nephews who are 3 and 2, safe to say I was incredibly worn out. I still decided to go ahead with the meditation and yup it didn't go so well - I actually felt asleep for like a minute or so! So I packed it in at about eight minutes and just went to bed. Hey, sleep is just as important as meditation :P

Day 6 - Sunday 20th September - This session went okay, I'd had a good weekend and was sufficiently exhausted and was just read to get some chill time away from everything so I really enjoyed my whole 10 minutes.

Day 7 - Monday 21st September - This just went so badly. I had barely had any sleep from the night before so I was just waiting to go to bed and therefore I was incredibly tired whilst doing the meditation. I spent a lot of time fighting the urge to sleep, rather than focusing on what was being said. There's a point in the meditation where you're just counting your breath up to 10 and it's a sure way to put you to sleep! I finished off my 10 minutes but I knew I did not give it my all.

Day 8 - Wednesday 23rd September - So I skipped out Tuesday, I had a horrible day on Tuesday and it was not a job for meditation to solve. Wednesday was also rough but it was not as bad as Tuesday, so thankfully I was able to use healthier tactics to cope with what I was feeling. My practice that say was really good

Day 9 - Thursday 24th September - This started off good but then I realised how tired I was and though "oh boy, here we go again" I actually decided to open my eyes and continue with the rest of the meditation otherwise I would have just been snoozing! It was a good session though.

Day 10 - Saturday 26th September - So on Friday I was lucky enough to win tickets to see Disclosure at Apple Music Festival, which meant I'd be out in the evening and before that, I just didn't have enough time so my practice took place on Saturday. I was a good session but more than anything I was super happy that I'd managed to finish it off! I even went on to listen to some of the intros for eating and commuting, and that's when I decided I needed to purchase myself a membership.

I thought it would be helpful to give an day by day snippet of how I got on to show that nope, it wasn't perfect at all times, but I stuck with it. I'm not sure what it was about this challenge but I really wanted to see the ten days through, I don't stick with a lot of things so I was determined to do this. I absolutely love Andy's voice, it's soothing and calming. I think that's an important thing when it comes to guided meditation - the voice you're listening too, I've been put off many guided meditations simply because of the voice or the tone of voice. So all in all my experience was a good one, I struggled at times but I kept preserving because I was noticing how good I felt when it was done properly. 

I loved setting aside 10 minutes of my day, I just kept saying to myself "it's only 10 minutes, you can do this."  Also I thought I'm doing this for me, so why on earth shouldn't I persevere? When you buy a membership you have the chance to do a 20 minute or 30 minute guided meditation in the same style, or move on to the different topics using mindfulness. I'm really excited to start this journey, I'm not sure if it's just where I am in my life but I really feel like I connected with this. Hopefully this coupled with my current therapy can put me in a more positive mindset. I'll keep you all updated!

Have you had any experience with meditation? Let me know how you got on AND do check out Headspace.

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What's on the wishlist

Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's that time of the year again in the UK when it starts to get cold and all you want to do is go home and crawl under your duvet for warmth and peace. Because most of my days are like that, I decided to take a look at my wish list/to buy list and then decided to put them together for this post. Because y'know, I have time on my hands people, even if I have no money!
Items to buy

For some reason I am really into primers. I can’t honestly say that I notice my make-up lasting longer because I don’t test any foundations with a primer and because I have oily skin, I’m always powdering away. I really like primers because I like that barrier between my skin and the foundation. 

1 - Revlon PhotoReady Prime + Anti-Shine Balm - I've read some good things about this product. It's in a balm formula which isn't something I've ever come across in a primer but main thing that sold me on this was its promise to minimise the look of pores and to create a matte finish. It can also be used over make-up to remove the shine from the oil build up. As this is available in Boots and is inexpensive, I've popped it on the list as I know it's something I will pick up eventually. I'm just hoping it's as good as I want it to be because seriously I cannot fork out for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, no matter how much I love it.

2 - Khiels Micro Blur Skin Perfector - This is a primer hybrid thing. I have actually wanted this one for year, I rememeber Amelia talking about it in one of her beauty videos and really wanted it then. Lately I have seen it pop up in various videos and it just reminded me how much I wanted it. Like the Revlon one it promises to blur imperfections (titles in the name folks) leaving you with a smooth canvas to put the rest of your make-up on. 

3 - Ginvera Marvel Gel with Green Tea -  Oh skin care how I love you. Korean skincare has had quite a buzz about it for a while, and well me? I just love me some green tea, so when I saw this on Cult Beauty I was intrigued. I love exfoliating products and I'm always trying to find one that I can see results from. I popped this on my list and must remember to buy it at some point - it will be my first purchase from Cult Beauty!

4 & 5 - Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush & Makeup Greek Rounded Blush Brush - Brushes, brushes, brushes. Probably one of my favourite things about beauty, even though I don't own a lot and what I do own are medium quality. But I dunno, I just love how they have a different use for a different stage of make-up application. I love my RT buffing brush but I've seen the BB doing the rounds on blogs for over a year and I'm just ready to take my brush game to the next level. Defintely one for a wishlist though because I dunno who I think I am to be spending £30+ on a brush! I'm after the Makeup Greek brush because I need a dedicated blush brush and I want it to be small and concentrated like this brush.

6 -Illamsqua Powder Blusher in Thrust - I'm forever searching for blush for darker skin tones. For some reason blush is my favourite thing when it comes to make-up. I think it's something about adding colour to my face. I barely wear eyeshadow, so really my blusher is the only colourful thing I will apply to my face. This shade is gorgeous, it's described as a deep magenta pink and Illamasqua is a brand I've heard a fair bit about, but not one that I thought I would ever want anything from. Must.get.my.hands.on.this.

7 - Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser - I have had this in my to buy bookmark for ages. I just always forget that it's there. Like I said before, I love me some good exfoliation and I'm willing to search high and low for my perfect one. This one has good reviews and Clarins is a well known brand, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

8 - Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue for Lips and Cheeks in Chocolate Cherry - I'm sure this was in my birthday list and it's still something on my list now because I just love the colour of this product. I also like that it's versatile enough in colour to be something that I would actually use on my lips and cheek. The colour would suit my skin tone for both uses. I don't think this is particularly pricey either, I'm just forgetful/lazy. 

9 - NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - I haven't used a concealer in yooooooonks. Not because I don't have blemishes or things that I want to cover up (I wish) but because I find actually my foundation does a pretty good job of covering it up. Anything else on my skin is just hyperpigmentation and requires colour correction (something I don't do either). This concealer is raved about by everyone, for ages I didn't even think it came in a dark shade because I only saw lighter skinned ladies using it but then I saw more women of colour using it and praising it on YouTube and I was like I must have this. I think for me personally I would use it for highlighting bits of my face. I dunno even the name just makes me want to have it, it sounds a bit like a dessert. 

So that's my list, I hope I've given you some ideas for things you may want to try out, or just post on your list. What things are on your wish list?

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Thoughts on what you are not

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Happy Hump Day all! I thought today would be the perfect day to share this post with you all, as it might get you over the last of the working week quicker and feel better about yourself.


Enough is enough with the constant war on myself.

With the volunteering I do for mental health I've always been told I'm so brave to share my story and live my life despite my difficulties, but in light of any of that I've never felt brave. I know that blogging so openly about my mental health in a word that stigamatises it is quite risky and I've been called brave on so many occasions for doing so. I think about it and I think it's good to share my story, but it still doesn't take away my illness. I still feel in my core the very things I write about and share and they still sit inside me rotting me away. But I'm tired. I am tired of waging a war on myself because I feel I have to be 100x better because I have an illness that makes me feel like I am nothing. I think in the struggle to defeat my illness I enhance it because I live in a society where people are just actually better than me. That's just it. There are people doing more exciting things than me, people happier than me, people funnier than me and the list goes on. But I've come to that point where I have to just let that be.

We all have a journey and a role, and sometimes I think just taking a step back and assessing your life objectively is the best way to see your role. Trying to be everything is exhausting, and often, untrue to yourself. Sometimes chasing a way of what you think you should be will trap you in an endless cycle of misery, as you struggle to attain the unattainable. 

The thing with depression is you feel empty. The thing with low self-esteem is you never feel good enough. I struggle with both so these feelings are bound to plague me. But it's worth nothing that being a female in her early twenties means I have doubts about being good enough, because I'm just at the stage in my life, and well because I'm human. For me it can be hard to differentiate between what is an illness and what is just general life thoughts. The thing with spending all your time wondering if you're enough is it consumes your energy to actually be good at the things you're already good at, or could be good at. So it's a vicious cycle of what is what, and how do I fix myself? But I'm not broken.I have an illness that takes away a lot from me, and in my fight to fix what I am not, I keep forgetting what I'm up against.

I've come to realise always had a thing about being "perfect" things can go really well, but I will pick out what did not go well and negate the rest. Wondering about what you are not is a waste of time. You cannot be everything, nor should you really want to be. To always focus on what we are not, means we never appreciate what we are. 
Not funny enough, not active enough, not clever enough. Not enough.
To tell yourself this repeatedly is a sure to way to ensure that stay stuck in a cycle of "not enough." You're enough as you are, and you're enough when you're happy and doing good.

One quote that I read years and and has always stuck with me is "Comparison is the thief of joy" So much of our lives is spent comparing ourselves to others that we ever rarely appreciate how good we are now and just how far we've come. Mental illness or not we're all guilty of what I've written about today and it's time for a breath of fresh air and pat on the back. As much as we'd all like to "get over it" life can get incredibly tough and dark and it's at these points you realise that you've got to take the pressure off yourself and know that you're good enough. Everyone has their own journey, and whilst you can feel like you're not doing what everyone else is because you don't have enough money/don't have a partner/don't have this skill/you're ill, know that you have great things coming for you and not everything has to be now now now. In the mean time I plan to not devalue myself, my friends or my life because of what I think I/they/it should be or because of what other people have.

P.S I'm finding yoga and meditation very helpful, it makes my head a lot clearer!

P.P.S Jess Glynne says it all here 

Img credit: 1

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