30 December 2015

10 resolutions (that actually matter) this new year's




1. To drink more water

This is probably one that you make (and fail at) every single year, if you're anything like me. But it's just so important. Imagine having great skin, hair and not feeling tired all of the time and being able to thank trusty ol' water for it. It sounds like a pretty decent deal to me. I for one will definitely be putting that little bit of extra effort into staying hydrated in 2016. Maybe this will be the year that we all look after our bodies as well as we do our social media pages.

28 December 2015

Favourite things: December

Pretty much the whole of December has been my favourite. Anybody that has shown the slightest bit of interest in my little corner of the internet this month will have already figured that out! Being home and celebrating the festivities with all of the people that matter to me in the world, making presents look pretty and cosy nights in front of 'Elf' have made for a rather fantastic time. It definitely made it hard to whittle down the hundreds (maybe thousands) of favourite things I could mention today. Just be warned that the following are very, very festive.


26 December 2015

10 things to remember on Boxing Day

If you're anything like me, you probably woke up with a sinking feeling this morning. Granted, this day is still better than 95% of the rest of the year. But it's still just not Christmas Day, is it? It's hard not to focus on the fact that the 25th, with all of its Yorkshire Puddings and presents, is no longer upon us. I'm not one to dwell on the negatives though (or I can at least pretend I'm not), so here are some things to remember this Boxing Day.

24 December 2015

How to make Christmas Eve even more magical

As you have probably guessed, I'm not spending my Christmas Eve typing up a blog post. In fact, right about now I will be eating my weight in soft cheeses and drinking my fair share of champaign (yes, this early in the morning) surrounded by many of the people that I love. Luckily, the wonder that is scheduled posting exists, which leaves me with the perfect opportunity to wish all of you, my internet friends, an amazing Christmas. Spread love, eat as much as you can in the next 72 hours and try to actually get some sleep tonight despite the excitement! Remember that things will go back to normal all too quickly, so embrace every single moment of the magical day that will be upon us within a matter of hours.

As though the prospect of tomorrow morning isn't enough to make you feel like you're going to burst with happiness, here are four ideas on how to make your Christmas Eve even more magical.


22 December 2015

11 things to remember as Christmas approaches

It's a time for living, a time for believing, a time for trusting, not deceiving. And also a time for unsolicited comments from family members about your weight and a serious amount of present envy (prenvy?) We may all love Christmas, but there are definitely some things to keep in mind as the big day approaches.


20 December 2015

A winter saviour: DIY coconut bath melts

Apart from the fact that it houses Christmas, I'm not a fan of Winter. Frankly, I have enough trouble with my skin in mid-July thanks to its overly sensitive nature (if it were a person it would cry at the M&S Christmas advert), let alone when the wind is dead set on stripping every thing good away from it. And during the festive period, I aim to spend at least 90% of my time eating cheese and/or chocolate, not slathering copious amounts of moisturiser on. Which is why I was so excited when I found out that you could make bath melts from coconut oil. You can totally eat chocolate in the bath and still leave with nourished skin!


18 December 2015

Wrapping tips for the clueless

I come from a family of Christmas obsessives who treat wrapping like an olympic sport. I think I could actually say that my Mum puts as much effort into wrapping, ribboning and labelling our presents as she does into buying them! The view of the underneath of our tree is the stuff of legends. Thanks to this, for most of my life I've been able to leave my presents with my family members and trust that they will come out looking like they've just been dropped off directly from the North Pole. Mainly because my Mum couldn't handle the idea of not having everything looking uniform...

But this year I've been left to it. I've really had to step up my wrapping game as well as keeping it nice and cheap on my student budget. I feel like I've finally got the hang of it, thanks to a few failed attempts and the fact that I seem to have unconsciously absorbed some of the family tips over the years. I thought I would share some cute wrapping ideas for those of you in a similar position to me (broke and inexperienced) because let's be honest, you haven't even touched a roll of wrapping paper yet. I wouldn't have unless I was planning this post, that's for sure.


15 December 2015

24 thoughts you definitely have whilst Christmas shopping

 
  1. Okay, let’s go. It’s going to be super quick this year. Just think about the Nandos at the end of the tunnel.
  2. It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeear.
  3. John Lewis is a great place to start. John Lewis has everything.
  4. If I buy 16 reed diffusers, that ticks off more than half the people I need to get gifts for.

13 December 2015

The best festive drink you've ever had

Okay, so the title lied. We all know that the best drink at Christmas is Baileys and that nothing will ever compare to that. But this s'mores hot chocolate is definitely a close second. It's a cup of warm, gooeyness, that's perfect for keeping you toasty when the outside is rather set on doing the opposite. 


11 December 2015

What to buy for the people you always forget

With two weeks to go, I feel like right about now is when Christmas looses a bit of its novelty because you start to remember all of the presents that you actually still need to buy. You may have thought your job was complete earlier this month when you bagged that scarf that was perfect for your Mum, but you inevitably forgot the aunt who will be joining you for lunch and the school friends that you will be reuniting with over the holidays. Crap.   

But never fear, your Curly God Mother is here to help you out with this gift guide for the people that we forget to buy for every year.


9 December 2015

Review: Lush's T'eo natural deodorant bar

We all know that I'm more than a little bit obsessed with Lush. Much to the despair of my bank balance, it's been pretty much the only place I've shopped since attempting to transition to all-natural skin and hair care. Thanks to this addiction, a few weeks ago I made the risky decision to swap my trusty Sure deodorant for a less chemical filled alternative. So that you don't have to risk sweat patches the size of your head and the embarrasment of people staying a few feet away from you at all times, I thought I'd save you the trouble of testing one of Lush's natural deodorants out yourself and just let you know what I think.


7 December 2015

The 9 best things about Christmas

The count down
Perhaps this is a bit controversial, but I kind of think that the countdown to Christmas is a little bit better than the day itself. Firstly, advent calendars are probably one of life’s best inventions. Secondly, on the day itself you get that sinking feeling at about 10pm when you realise it’s all over. For me, ‘Christmas’ and ‘December’ are just interchangeable terms.



5 December 2015

Learning to prioritise

Life has been hectic recently - A crazy mix of completing university assignments, attending lectures, attempting to visit home and trying my best to keep on top of blogging as well as everything that comes with it. Until a few weeks ago, I didn't know it was possible to be so insanely busy, yet feel like you've accomplished nothing in a 12 hour day. My schedule was constantly full and my days just became a tool for ticking things off my to-do list. It was boring bordering on soul destroying. And I knew that I needed to change things lest I end up hiding under my covers for a month.


3 December 2015

Christmas gift guide: What to get a student

As a student who is just a broke and just as clueless as the rest, I feel as though it is my duty to tell you that we no longer want Barbies for christmas. Replace barbies with booze and you're probably on the right track. It's not that tricky. Still, I understand that some people probably want to give their friends/family members something other than alcohol on Christmas morning (bottles are a bugger to wrap, after all). And 17 crates of vodka may be a bit excessive.

My few months at uni have made me qualified to suggest some gifts which won't hurt the liver but will leave the receiver thrilled, or at least mildly amused, on the 25th. Who doesn't like novelty mugs, really?




1 December 2015

Positive thoughts to take into December

I could very easily cop out of the December edition of this series and merely have a blog post containing the word "Christmas". The connotations that come along with that - cheese, chocolate, roast potatoes, twinkly lights, Mariah Carey, mulled wine - are all enough to get anyone raring to jump straight into the month.

Alas, I feel like I'm kind of obliged to give you a little more than a word to start your December off on a positive foot. This month it comes in the form of a TED talk given by Zain Asher, about how we all need to learn to 'trust our struggles'. This one for anybody who has a goal in life. If you've had a tough 2015 so far, Zain hits home how integral the struggles that we face are in building us as people and allowing for our future successes. I won't give anything else away, but it's a truly inspiring 15 minutes and definitely worth a watch.

Click here to see the talk 





29 November 2015

Favourite things: November

Usually, the thought of how quickly a month has gone makes me pretty sad. But, Christmas. So really I'm just glad that December will be imminently upon us, bringing with it copious amounts of cheese, Mariah Carrey and a couple of weeks off from university work. November has had its ups and downs, and probably more downs that it has had ups. But, not wishing to dwell on the bad, it's time to share with you some of the wonderful things that this month has offered up for me.

26 November 2015

How to feed your inner anarchist

I kind of think we're all a little bit anarchistic deep down. Maybe it's buried under cardigans and cheese on toast, but there's always a voice somewhere inside of us that doesn't entirely agree with all systems of rule. Maybe the voice is saying "wow, the education system is actually pretty messed up, when you really think about it" or maybe it's screaming "Screw this whole system! I'm going to travel Europe in a camper van and wear flower crowns whilst I busk for money". And hey, I say that either way you should nurture that voice and let it grow. Not that I'm suggesting you start a riot or actually physically harm anyone or anything. I just think it's good to question authority every now and then and not be mindless for the sake of an easy life.


24 November 2015

6 things to do that don't involve the internet

As much as I love the internet, there are days when I just can't handle it. Not to go all Essena Oneill on you, but sometimes it all just gets insanely overwhelming. My brain realises that I have the opportunity to accidentally offend hundreds, even thousands, of people on a daily basis through social media and I just have to switch it all off for a while. And breath.

I actually think it's really important to have some tech free time once in a while. It allows me to refocus myself, realise what's important (aka not whether the picture of my breakfast only got 4 likes) and calm down as I disconnect from a world of constant movement. I haven't gone for a full 24 hours yet - baby steps, people! - but I am starting to turn off my laptop and phone more often for a few hours at a time. The first 15 minutes are always the hardest. It's too easy to relapse into Facebook when you realise you're not actually sure what to do with your life in the real world. But trust me, with these 6 ideas to keep you busy, you'll forget what Twitter even is. 


22 November 2015

All-natural curly hair care

I have a love-hate relationship with my curly hair. Obviously, my blog name is pretty contingent on it so I don't detest it or anything, but we do have our altercations. And before you say "but you get the best of both worlds - it's easier to straighten curly hair than it is to hold a curl in straight hair!" - no. If you think that me sitting in front of my mirror for an age attempting to tame this into something vaguely reminiscent of straightness makes it stay like that for more than two hours, you'd be very mistaken. On the plus side, I can achieve levels of volume that make me look pretty bad ass and kind of like a lost member of an 80s hair-metal group.

Since chopping a lot of my hair off a few months ago, I've been trying to show my curly locks some more love. Much like with my skin, I've ditched the chemicals and have gone all-natural. It seems to be working a treat and my hair is definitely 100x healthier than it was at the beginning of the year. Plus (lazy people unite) I have to wash it a lot less often - product build-up is a thing of the past.

After months of experimenting, I think I've finally got the art of natural hair care down and I now follow the same few steps every time my hair needs some attention.

Washing 

The "Honey I Washed My Hair" shampoo bar by Lush is my hair washing staple. Mainly I love it because it smells bloody fantastic. But it also does its job pretty well too. It contains honey which means it leaves my hair feeling soft and shiny and it applies like a dream. Although the idea of a bar of shampoo may be pretty alien, you just have to run it between wet hands like soap and then lather it into your locks. They also last an insane length of time, which is a bonus.


20 November 2015

How to not annoy your flatmates

Perhaps unfortunately, most of us have to suck it up and move into a house share at some point in our lives. Usually uni is to thank for thrusting us together with people we've never met, to pay extortionate amounts of money for a bed and a shower the size of a matchbox. I've been very lucky to have a flat full of lovely people because, frankly, the whole thing is a recipe for disaster.

I think there's definitely certain rules and etiquettes that you need to pick up on pretty quickly after moving into a house share, lest you be hated by everyone else and wake up to find your milk has been poured down the sink. So, just in case you didn't get the memo, here's how not to annoy your flatmates.


18 November 2015

4 inspirational YouTubers and 4 of their best videos

I don't think I'm the only person who has logged into Youtube with the intention of watching one video and then found themselves two hours later having followed the suggestion bar to the side of the internet that is all conspiracy theories and cats. It's too easy to just get lost among the millions of channels and forget that you actually have stuff to do (uni work, cleaning, breathing). I don't know if the creators of Youtube planned on it becoming the ultimate tool for procrastination but that's certainly what it's turned in to.

Still, that's not to say that it's all pointless (but no doubt entertaining) clips of people falling over or talking about their latest makeup purchases. The one positive that has come from countless hours browsing YouTube is that I now know which channels to head to if I need inspiration or guidance. Some people truly do have a talent for spreading positive messages through the media of videos. So, if you're going to procrastinate (which we all know you are) you may as well get something positive out of it by watching these four amazing people and four of their amazing videos.

Marie Forleo 



16 November 2015

I started a 'Wellness Journal' and you should too

When I was 8 years old, I got a pink snakeskin notepad for Christmas, which I immediately recognised as the one. I decided that it had to be the first notepad that I would fill from front to back, so I dedicated the slot between watching The Simpsons and me going to bed to filling in at least a page each night. This journaling business was going to be easy.

Obviously, it didn’t happen. I think I maybe did it for three nights. Possibly two.



13 November 2015

Surviving long distance at uni

Being in a long distance relationship at uni is tough. Sometimes, you actually feel like you're going to spontaneously combust because you miss them so much. You get jealous that other people get to see them on a daily basis. You get possessive. You actually want to kick your flatmates in the shin for having the audacity to have a significant other who lives within close proximities. And on top of all of that, you have the people that take pleasure in telling you how unlikely your relationship is to last and that you should probably just quit while you're ahead so that you can enjoy the "freedom" (promiscuity) that every uni student should aspire to. It's lucky that you're in love really, because otherwise all of that is enough to turn someone a little bit insane.

As difficult (cry-yourself-to-sleep difficult) as it was at first, a few months into uni life and I think I've finally got into the swing of this whole "long distance" thing. I've made enough mistakes, and had enough late night FaceTime calls, to be able to pin point some of the things that I think have made having a long distance relationship possible amongst all of the socialising and drinking and assignments that come with being a Fresher.



11 November 2015

Exploring London: A love-hate relationship with Whole Foods

I think I maybe built it up a bit in my mind and was expecting the Jerusalem of hippie snacks and natural products. I feel like I anticipated people in baggy trousers greeting me at the door, ready to downward dog when business got quiet. Or maybe a "namaste" instead of "would you like your receipt in the bag?" But no, Whole Foods was definitely a lot less zen than I expected. In fact, I left feeling a little bemused by the amount of money I'd spent, had a bag far too heavy for the cramped tube carriage that awaited me and a sore foot from having it run over by those wheely baskets which always seem such a great idea at first. 

9 November 2015

A blogger's wishlist

I'm just trying to get better at this blogging thing one day at a time. Unfortunately, wanting to improve constantly and trying to create an online presence has led me to lust after things (often expensive things) to help me do just that. I frequently find myself coming scarily close to buying insane amounts of "blog props" aka cute bits and bobs that serve no other purpose than to feature in the background of pictures. But more worryingly, I am becoming quickly obsessed with a certain camera that would make a rather large dent in my bank account. It's almost as though I'm not a student who has to budget her whole life. Still, a girl can dream.

7 November 2015

Treating your passion as a priority

I think that years inside of the education system can make you too easily forget the importance of pursuing your passion. We’re often left with a little voice inside of our heads ready to remind us that nothing is of merit unless it gets you an A* or some kind of immediate commendation. We forget the importance of simply being and of being happy. Unless our passions fall within the realms of academia, they’re seen as an unimportant “hobby” and are treated as such. You could do a hundred things in the day - clean your house, go to your job, sit on social media, cook meals - and suddenly it’s midnight and you haven’t had a chance to do something that you love with all of your heart. Again. 

6 November 2015

4 books that every woman should read

Considering the fact that I’ve dedicated the next three years of my life to studying English Literature, I think it’s safe to say that I’m rather fond of books. And by “fond” I mean “absolutely obsessed to the point where you will never find me without a book in my bag ready to be whipped out at any boredom evoking moment”. I whole heartedly believe that books have the power to change lives. In fact, I like to think that I’m walking proof of that. My drive to succeed, my writing style and the way that I view the world have all been shaped by the books that I’ve read. Some reads are great for their easiness and the fact that they make you smile, others are great because they leave a permanent imprint on your life.

As you probably know, I’m a woman. So that, and my adoration bordering on obsession with books, leaves me qualified to tell you that you have to read the following four books.


How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

I mean, really, if anything is written by Caitlin Moran it should be compulsory reading for any female. Or just any human. But if you need somewhere to start then “How to be a woman” is an obvious one. It will leave you feeling quietly content with life whilst simultaneously ready to stamp out the patriarchy with your doc Martens. It’s also one of the only books I would highly recommend listening to instead of actually reading, because the voice in your head will not do justice to Caitlin. I spent a solid 80% of the time listening to this book in my car and consequently trying not to crash whilst I almost wet myself laughing.  



3 November 2015

7 signs you're a student in London

You can't help but laugh when someone from anywhere else complains about rent prices 

"£400 a month for a room the size of a box? You lucky devil, you!"

You also start to wonder why you didn't look further into universities a twenty minute bus journey from your family home.

You wish people would find their humanity and just stick to the left on escalators 

Even if you don't need to be anywhere quickly, the sight of these outsiders lounging about on the righthand side of escalators makes your palms sweaty. And when you need to be in class within the next 20 minutes. Well, let's just say they should expect a rather loud tut.


31 October 2015

Positive thoughts to take into November

Jump straight into November, give it a bear hug and know that it's holding so many wonderful opportunities for you. This month, stay curious. Practice the inquisitiveness of a child every single day. Try new food and hate it. Try new food and love it. Change your order at the coffee shop. Walk to work and say "good morning" to the woman at the bus stop on the way. Deviate from the required reading list. Fall in love with the what surrounds you. Simply refuse to be bored in such a vast world.


29 October 2015

Favourite things: October

October, how can I summarise you? Too damn cold, that's for sure. But also pretty fantastic. My longing for the sunshine and the fact that I've had to hand in my first few official uni assignments aside, this past month has also been full of wonderful moments. I've finally got into the swing of this uni thing, I've been busy exploring London and this week has given me the opportunity to head back to Kent for some much needed family and boyfriend time. All of October's adventures have definitely caught up with me now though, since I'm currently bed-bound with a cold that doesn't feel like it will be going anywhere soon. Still, totally worth it.



25 October 2015

Wishlist: lush deprivation

Since starting uni I think I've put more effort into not spending all of my student loan on Lush products than I have on actually doing my assignments. One minute I'm focusing all of my energies on comparing the London of Doyle to that of Woolf, the next I'm calculating how many The Comforter bubble bars I could buy with 6 month's rent. But I'm staying strong, despite the enticing Autumn additions to their website that I can't help but notice. Still, my need to save money certainly hasn't stopped me dreaming. I've accumulated quite the list of products I'm currently lusting over.






22 October 2015

Treating yo' self on a budget

Like most first year uni students, I learnt the importance of budgeting pretty early on. Sure, going out and spending all of your money on alcohol and kebabs in one night is pretty great. Until the next morning when you wake up and realise that you don't actually have any food for the next 6 days and are probably going to have to sell your kidney to provide for yourself. Or even worse, call up your parents begging for a "temporary loan".

Once you've had this realisation I think it's easy to believe that the best of uni is behind you and to spend your evenings thinking about the time before you were rudely awoken to the truths of adult life. You may occasionally cry, "I can't even afford Lush products, is life worth living?" And yes my dear friend, I assure you it is. Being on a budget does not mean that you have to stop treating yourself like a queen.


20 October 2015

9 things you never remember to put in your bag but should

A headache cure 

Maybe it’s just me, but I always seem to get headaches when I’m furthest away from any form of pain relief. Like in the middle of a cramped, sweaty tube carriage dreaming about how good two ibuprofen washed down with water would taste. My usual cure of choice is actually Tiger Balm, which I rub on my temples in times of need, because it’s a herbal remedy that works like a charm for me every time.





18 October 2015

Exploring London: Finding inspiration and The Wild Food Cafe

I’m frequently reminded of how blessed I am to live in London, a city which 9 year old me decreed I would someday call “home”. For one thing, the transport links are beyond anything I could’ve imagined back in Kent (who knew buses were actually supposed to come on time?). And there’s nothing quite like the high-flying feeling of tapping your Oyster instead of rummaging through your purse to find enough coppers to chuck at an Arriva driver. It also has yet to cease amazing me how one bus ride and a few tube stops can take me from the quaint tea shops of Barnes to central - a creative hub that always leaves me feeling inspired. And Central was where today took me. More specifically, in the direction of Covent Garden and The Wild Food Cafe.


16 October 2015

10 quotes that every student needs to remember

I’m a strong believer in the power of quotes. Along with about 98% of Instagram users, I have faith in the their ability to motivate me to actually get stuff done instead of continuing to hunt Instagram for them. I have entire folders on my laptop dedicated to them. I have my room plastered with them. I have them shoved into every nook and cranny of every notebook I own. I’m quite the quote connoisseur. 

And if there’s a time when we all need a little reminder to stay on track (be it with work, money or not slapping your housemate for leaving crumbs on the side again) then it’s at uni.




14 October 2015

Four things to make time for every day

Good Food
I don’t know about you, but tasty food can take my day from a shaky 3/10 to a 9/10. Add in good coffee and we have a full house. Flavour is my favourite mood booster which is why I think it’s so important to take the time to prepare yourself something delicious and nourishing every single day. Your body works hard for you on a daily basis; the least you can do is repay it will fuel that tastes good enough to make you dance.


8 October 2015

Why dating is better without technology

When me and my boyfriend started seeing eachother, he didn’t have a phone. The manufacturer took way too long getting a replacement to him and he had to sporadically contact me using his brother's phone to arrange when to meet. At the time it felt hideous but looking back I realise it's easily one of the best things that could have happened to us. Now I actually believe that all relationships should start that way - with little to no techno-clad communication for at least two weeks. Because if there's one thing I've realise over my time on this earth, it's that technology has a funny old way of messing things up.


6 October 2015

My current favourite Lush products

Lush is beginning to cause me financial difficulties. Ask anyone and they will tell you that I am the most frugal Fresher they know. I refuse to spend more than £20 a week on food (you know, that thing that’s actually essential to life) but I could probably spend triple that in one trip to my local Lush. Bubble bars and lip scrubs are my cocaine. 

If I’m being honest though, I have no regrets about spending a little (or a lot) more on Lush than I would on any other body product ever. Frankly, they’re fantastic. Not only do most of the products tend to last a hell of a lot longer than normal drugstore brands but they’re all natural and smell 100x more amazing. I figure, if a facial cleanser has the ability to make me this happy, then it’s probably worth the money. I’m literally having problems typing this post because I can’t stop sniffing all of the beautiful Lush things I have sat beside me! 

Although I love pretty much everything they sell, I do have some favourites that I gravitate to in Lush. A lot of favourites actually, so buckle up and prepare for a long ol’ post!


4 October 2015

4 easy ways to deal with homesickness at uni

Having now been here for 3 weeks, I feel like I’m officially a uni student. Before it was like I was balancing on the edge, somewhere between here and my hometown, liable to run back at any moment to the comfort of what I’ve always known. I now feel fine walking around my flat in garishly patterned PJ bottoms and eating peanut butter by the spoonful and singing whilst I cook. It’s all kind of just become the norm. 

Still, there are times when I feel like home is worlds away and, like every university student, I’ve had some major bouts of homesickness over the past few weeks. The feeling of missing your family/home cooked meals/your guinea pig is pretty hard to deal with to say the least. But it’s something that we all have to go through and I think I’ve found some (almost) fail safe ways to stop me mopping about looking through old photographs. 



2 October 2015

Exploring London: Orange Pekoe Tea Shop

If somewhere serves rose petal Prosecco, I’m pretty much sold. Which is how I ended up inside Orange Pekoe, a tea shop in Barnes and one of my new favourite places in the world. I feel like it was made for me. Its tag line - “For the art, the philosophy and the love of tea” - could literally act as the tag line of my life!

Maybe it was fate that I ended up there on one of my destination-less walks with the hopes of finding something new and wonderful, or maybe my lack of direction just happened to have a happy ending this time. Either way, I’m glad that I discovered Orange Pekoe somewhere between seeing a Sainsbury’s Local and a lot of trees. I’m also glad that I picked up one of their cards so that I can actually find my way back again with the help of Google Maps! Because frankly, I have no clue how I got there. 




30 September 2015

Positive thoughts to take into October

As a new month dawns remember that the best is yet to come. But with this optimism for the future, don’t lose your understanding that life is made up of tiny, invaluable moments just like this, which should be relished and allowed to echo through your bones. Walk purposefully towards you goals whilst still keeping one eye turned up towards the sky’s ever-changing colours. Don’t let your determination suffocate you; it's important to be able to breath the present in as fully as you can. 

Be truly, deeply interested in people. In their stories and their aspirations. Ask questions. Listen. Be grateful that you have been given the opportunity to touch the lives of so many in this way. Don't allow solitude to sneak upon you as you seek personal success.


28 September 2015

Favourite things: September 2015

As much as I hate to admit it, September is coming to an end. We’re officially into Autumn and my hopes of a sudden heat wave are withering away day by day. Personally, I vote that we just skip this semi-cold business and go straight into Christmas. Since there’s little chance of me getting the opportunity to sunbathe with a book again until next year, we may as well get the joy of festive cookies and fairy lights straight away as a condolence. 

The ending of summer isn’t the only reason I’ll be clawing onto these last couple of days of September though, it’s just been a rather splendid month in general. Its first half equated to lazy days as the last leg of my insanely long summer holiday came to end and its later half has marked the start of my life at university. Yep, September was a big month! And one full of some favourite things which both helped me to create a summer to remember and to soothe me into all of life’s recent changes.



26 September 2015

A journey to mindfulness

We all know that I like to embrace my granola eating, slightly holistic side from time to time. I practice yoga regularly (albeit through the wonder that is YouTube), I have a slight eversion to wearing any kind of footwear when I'm indoors and I'm an avid lover of Quinoa. I have a soft spot for that kind of thing that I just can't avoid. But I would by no means say that I've reached a state of "mindfulness".



22 September 2015

7 things that the first 7 days of university taught me

I did it! I got through the first seven days of university without dying from starvation or breaking my leg whilst drunk. Personally, I class that as a huge success and think I deserve some kind of medal. Or at least some 10p noodles from Tesco. Despite its successes, Fresher's Week has also been a serious learning curve. I was slapped into reality with some lessons that I will find hard to forget anytime soon.



1. The importance of cooking before you're hungry 

For the first 6 days of my university life I started cooking dinner when pangs of hunger had already kicked in. Rookie mistake. 45 minutes later and waiting for my Mexican chilli to cook through, I'd basically be chewing on the table top whilst feeling like I was genuinely going to faint from malnourishment. It was so much easier when Mummy scheduled my eating times for me.

2. That I have way too much stuff 

When it's 10pm on your first night and you're still trying to cram things into your wardrobe, you have to question whether you really do "need" three leather jackets. Or 7 pretty notepads.

3. That I can survive without my parents being in the same house as me

After 18 years of having them always by side I didn't know whether this was actually humanly possible. I had no idea that my late night conversations with Dad and that Mum's Thai green curry cooking skills weren't absolutely crucial for my survival. Plus, I really didn't know how I would cope with doing everything for myself. But here I am.

4. The wonder that is FaceTime 

Without FaceTime there's a strong possibility that I would've spent a lot of my first week crying and feeling sorry for myself in my bedroom. I still miss my boyfriend a huge amount, but being able to talk to him and see his face before I go to sleep every night has made it a hell of a lot easier. Thank God for modern technology is all I can say.

5. How important it is to always have a pot noodle in your cupboard 

Feeling lazy? Pot Noodle. Just got in from a night out? Pot Noodle. Missing home? Pot Noodle. Listen, I'm all for cocoa nibs and quinoa being stocked in my cupboard, but sometimes a girl just has to eat salty carbs.

6. That I'm probably the world's worst Fresher 

I actually spent a lot of time deciding whether to go out to clubs or stay at home and blog from my bed. It was a case of prioritising between my desire to snuggle and the fact that I should probably socialise. Somehow, socialising almost always won (even if I didn't want it too) but I have no shame in saying that I sold my ticket for Sunday's event in favour of a cosy night in.

7. To never turn down free food 

Never. Even if you're not hungry. Any good student will know to jump at the opportunity not to cook for themselves and save money at the same time. If you can make two trips consecutively - Do that too.

21 September 2015

The post Fresher's detox

Would it be totally un-fresher like of me to say that I am completely relieved that this week is over? To be frank, all I'm craving right now is a few nights in a row with nothing but tea and my laptop to keep me company instead of hundreds of sweaty, drunk first years. That's not to say that Fresher's Week wasn't absolutely amazing! I'm just not sure I could take anymore of it even if I tried.

Honestly, my body just wasn't made for this. My skin is a mess, the bags under my eyes are big enough to act as pillows for passed out party goers and I have "fresher's flu". The fun was worth it but now its time to rectify seven days of drinking. For those of you that might have overdone it just a tad too, here's my post fresher's detox. Let's full body cleanse.



Your skin 

Your skin probably doesn't like you very much at the moment. I know mine doesn't. Not that we can blame it at all considering everything we've put it through over the last seven days. Wearing makeup every night and letting your usual skin care regime strictness slip under the influence of JD and Coke means that we haven't really given it a chance to breath. Like, at all. Mix this with the extreme lack of sleep and copious amounts of sugar (unless you can drink your vodka straight all of the time because you're totally hardcore) and you have the perfect formula for spots and just generally dreadful skin.

The best way to remedy such a catastrophe is through deep cleansing your skin and then giving it a rest. Set aside some time to steam your face and then put on your favourite facemask to get rid of any left over nastiness. I'm relying on Lush's Magnaminty because it's my holy grail. Then for a few days I won't be touching any makeup. My skin needs some time off!

Your brain 

Get some damn sleep. Just do it. I don't care how many episodes of Bake Off you've missed or whether your favourite youtuber has just released a new video - you need to get some serious shut eye. You're exhausted, you just may not know it yet. Even if you've managed to sleep in past midday after each night out, your quality of sleep probably wasn't the greatest. Especially since you have classes starting soon (wait, we actually come here to do work?) it's crucial to get to bed a little bit earlier for a few days to let your brain and body recover.

Your Hair 

Oh hair, I'm sorry for the abuse I've put you through over the last week. Please forgive me for fighting your urge to curl with a pair of GHDs.

As an apology to my poor hair I'm going to be doing a couple of deep conditioning treatments with coconut oil over the next few days. I'm hoping this will to some extent repair the damage of repeated heat styling and leave it feeling flickably soft once more. The process is pretty simple - warm up some coconut oil between your fingers to turn it into a liquid before rubbing it all over the hair. Leave this for as long as you can - preferably over night. Then just wash it out (go at it with the shampoo twice to make sure all excess oil is out) and you're done.

Your insides 

Alcohol is known to majorly dehydrate your body. It decreases the body's production of the anti-diuretic hormone, which is used to reabsorb water. Less of that bad boy means you lose more fluid than normal through peeing a lot. All together now: Don't break the seal!

Anyway, now that Fresher's is over it's important to get some fluids back into your system. And no, cocktails don't count. Force yourself to drink the recommended 2 litres of water a day at least. Try to also brew up a couple of green teas which will not only give you water but a bunch of antioxidants too.

You in general 

To complete my detox routine I will be amping up my daily yoga habits. Who knew it was so hard to downward dog with a hangover?

Not only will a yoga sequence allow you to stretch out sore muscles from hours of attempting to twerk, but it will put you at one with your body again by making you focus on your breath and its influence on your movements. I feel like I need to make friends with my battered body again and this is the best way I can see to do so.

19 September 2015

How to relax in (about) 10 minutes

Ask any of my family members and they will tell you that I'm a "stresser". Always have been and always (kind of) will be. It doesn't take a huge amount to take me from utterly serene to willing to stab anyone who asks me why I'm tense with a pencil whilst crying. Don't judge me, I'm working on it. Over the years though I have found a few ways to take a chill pill without actually having to take any kind of pill - don't do drugs, kids. I have an inventory of quick fixes at my fingertips to put things back into perspective and get my breathing down to a normal rate.



Intention setting 

Play like this isn't the modern age and pick up an actual pen and paper. Try to forget your iPhone and the new emails that are pinging into your inbox every minute and just focus on turning your thoughts into something more tangible. Think about what's important for you today - what are the goals that you have to achieve? Write it down. This kind of intention setting gives your brain, which has probably been running at 500mph, a chance to clear itself so that you can complete the tasks that actually matter at that moment with a much clearer mindset.

Sun salutation 

The idea of yoga is a little bit scary but once you're a few minutes into a short sun salutation practice all of those worries will evaporate and leave behind a sense of calm. Taking a few moments to just focus on you, your body and your breath makes you realise what's actually important. Spoiler alert: That means you'll recognise that most of the things causing you stress are simply water under the bridge.

The sun salutation practice I use is this ten minute video by Yoga with Adrienne and it works like a charm every time.

Tea drinking 

Pretty much anytime I'm stressed out my first thought is to grab a cuppa. How very quintessentially British of me. However, studies have shown that it's probably best to switch the classic milk and two sugars for green tea instead. One of the key ingredients in green tea is L-theanine. Nope, I didn't know what that meant either. But apparently scientists have shown that it's a significant anti-stress chemical, comparing its effects to anti-anxiety drugs. Who knew?

Guided meditation 

Guided meditation, like yoga, allows you some time to purely focus on yourself. The benefits of this are numerous, with stress reduction being the one that effects me the most. After a few minuets of using the Relax with Andrew Johnson Lite app you begin to become aware of the present moment, not thinking about your seemingly endless to-do list. As well as this, if you practice on a daily basis its calming effects can become more long-term. Not bad for a free download!

17 September 2015

Meal planning at university

The student loan will soon be in. And I'm pretty sure that I've never seen so much money in one place at one time in my whole life. I'm not used to actually having anything above waitressing wages in my account so the temptation is to head straight in the direction of Topshop. Alas, I'm aware that this is probably not the best idea and instead I'm attempting to save my money in the form of meal planning.

I know you want to spend all of your time getting exceedingly drunk and eating takeaways, but at the end of the year when the funds are dropping low you will thank yourself for meal planning. In fact, at the end of the week when you actually have food left you'll thank yourself for meal planning! It only takes a few minutes and will save you more than a few pounds. Here's how I do it:

1. We'll start with dinners - Decide on one meal that you really fancy. Whatever it is, write down all of the ingredients that you'll need to make the complete dish (everything down to the cheese you sprinkle on at the end!) This will then act as the starting point for deciding what the rest of your meals will be. Also remember at this point that you can make a few portions extra and chuck them in the fridge or freezer for later.

For me my starting meal was a vegetarian spag bol.

2. You're only feeding you but unfortunately most shops don't sell half onions and individual portions of Quorn mince! Use your starting meal to try to form new dishes from all or some of its ingredients so that you're not wasting precious food and are saving money and space in your undoubtedly tiny facilities.

For example, I decided to turn my spag bol into mexican style chilli by just picking up some chilli flakes, kidney beans and a red pepper. Any ingredients that I've already bought for my first meal I write in pink so I know not to pop them on my shopping list twice. Again, feel free to double up - chilli is heaven on a jacket potato for lunch the next day!



3. Start again. Work through picking meals with similar ingredients until you have 7 days worth of food. By this point you've made creating a shopping list super easy for yourself since you already have all of the ingredients you need for each dish written down. Jump over any ingredients you've already bought for another dish and your dinners are sorted!

4. I don't plan my breakfasts and lunches anywhere near as much as my dinners. Dinners can end up being tomorrow's lunch or even breakfast. I have no shame. Instead I just buy some staples like porridge oats, frozen fruit and yogurt for smoothies and milk to make my tea drinkable in the morning. For lunches I grab bread and I usually already have cheese for sandwiches, or I make some kind of super easy olive oil based pasta dish.

5. Treat yo' self! If you're lucky enough to have money left (using this method I usually do) then buy yourself some luxuries to make your uni life that little bit more comfortable. Think chocolate, drink mixers or your favourite branded cereal.

Just one last tip - I would recommend online shopping so that you can keep an eye on your running total cost for the shop and delete more "luxury" items if needed. Because frankly, my mental maths is appalling!

Now just for the actual cooking part...

15 September 2015

Creating a space at uni

A few months ago I had my uni room completely planned out in all of its minimalist, plant covered glory. It was going to be white washed with rose gold accents and potted cactuses in every corner. Basically, my plan was to live in Tumblr. But as anyone who has ever stayed in halls has probably guessed by now, it didn't quite turn out that way. A girl can dream but she certainly can't avoid the bright blue wall in her new bedroom and her lack of a budget to go throwing around at Urban Outfitters and Anthropology.

Sitting here in my new room as I type, despite the fact that it's not quite so photo-worthy, I'm just happy that I've managed to create a space that I feel comfortable in. Moving to uni is terrifying and the fact is, even if your room looks like it was taken straight from a minimalist interior design blog, when you're going to sleep on your first night it's more necessary for it to feel like home. For those of you who are still to move into their halls, here are some easy ways that I found to create a calming and inspiring space.


Photos 

A simple one but never underestimate the power of bringing photographs and pinning them to every possible surface. Homesickness in the first few days is real but any time it hits I just go and look at some of the beautiful memories I've captured. It's like a comforting hug for your eyeballs! Not to mention the fact that photos add some life to an otherwise exceedingly plain room.


(I found out after taking these that I had to take my fairy lights down. Cry with me!)

A cosy bed

So you might not be sleeping all that much during Fresher's, but having a cosy bed to get (or stumble) into at night makes the whole process a lot easier. You probably won't get to choose whether you have a comfy mattress or not but I invested in a memory foam mattress topper as well as bringing along my favourite bed sheets and a fluffy blanket. I don't know about you guys, but feeling cold can quickly turn into feeling sad. Obviously my teddies had to join me too... I am not ashamed.


Your favourite products 

There's nothing better than the smell of a room that houses Lush products, right? So even though my shower room is tiny and I could probably reach out and make my bed whilst on the toilet, that's okay because I've filled it with my favourite creams and potions. When everything around you is changing it's surprisingly reassuring to have your normal skin care regime to fall back on.

Stationary 

Who doesn't love new stationary? Is there anything more thrilling in this world? I would argue not. Pretty pens and notepads also double as a way of making your desk area look beautiful. And a beautiful desk equates to more willingness to study.