Monday, 22 August 2016

July Favourites | 2016

I'm aware we're over halfway into August now haha, but here are my July favourites (finally)

Body Shop Papaya Body Butter
I loooooove this so much. I was out shopping in Oxford whilst +The Body Shop UK had a sale on, so managed to bag this one (the big size) for only £6! It smells just like summer, and like every other Body Shop body butter, it's lovely to use and really makes your skin feel hydrated. I've used it for sunburn, keeping a tan etc, and it's worked perfectly. So happy!


Snapchat
I do love a snap now and then but at the moment I've been loving it a lot more. The filters are endlessly fun to play with (I regularly try them without sending anything) - my favourites are the dog filter and the butterfly that suits everyone haha!

Tanya Burr Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in Martha Moo
Lots of people have been raving about this, and for good reason; I love this lipstick. I'm a big fan of liquid lipsticks, because they're easy to apply, they last well (if not better) than a regular matte lipstick, and you can get just as much out of them. This was only £5.99 from +Superdrug - which is an absolute bargain, because the quality is so good. I've worn this so many times and it stays so well, even after eating and drinking. The consistency is a little sticky and heavy, but if you put a thinner layer on it will still give as much coverage and dries very quickly. Will definitely be buying this for a long time!


Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast
This great podcast by Emma Gannon (you can have a listen here) is really entertaining. She's interviewed a variety of women about a range of topics, particularly careers and the internet, and I really really love it. I'm not usually a podcast person, but this is one I always go back to! I've also just bought her book and will be taking it on holiday with me, I can't wait!

H&M Mac
I saw this whilst out shopping in Oxford too, and fell in love with it instantly. H&M always have good stuff (it's one of my go-to stores) and this is no exception. I was very much in need of a mac, as I always seem to settle for jackets with hoods that are too small for my big head, or using an umbrella, and this is easier! I got it in a size medium which is still too big for me (I'm never a small) and it was about £40. It's really lightweight, easy to wear, and the khaki colour goes with a lot - perfect for a British summer if we were having more of a typical one! Can't wait for a rainy day so I can really try it out...

(image taken from www.hm.com)
Oliver Bonas bath salts
These were one of my gifts from my boyfriend for my birthday this year, which was lovely because I <3 a="" class="g-profile" href="https://plus.google.com/105100793997022619071" nbsp="" target="_blank">+Oliver Bonas
 very much, and I love a good bath. The elderflower smell is beautiful and very summery - even though you may not want a bath in the summer so much, for a British summer it's ideal because it's only been hot for a couple weeks overall, but it's still been sunny out :) I don't know how much they are as they were a present, but they work well in the bath - albeit a little slow to dissolve at the start, though they're fully dissolved by the time you get in.


Bluebird Tea Co.
This was a great find. I'm a fairly big-ish tea drinker, and particularly love a cuppa on a really cold, miserable, day, but these knock them right out of the park. +Bluebird Tea Co. have a huge range of different teas available as loose leaf or in tea bags for you to try, and I'd really recommend it! I bought 5 to choose from, and have to say I am really liking Dozy Girl at the moment, which has been really helpful in making me feel more relaxed. Will be buying some more for the autumn too! Check them out here!



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Let's Talk About Happiness

Today's post is something that's been playing on my mind for a while now. For those who've not seen +Inthefrow's video (watch it here), she talks about something we all need to focus on once in a while - being happy.

We all have our ups and downs - sometimes we have 'upper' ups and 'downer' downs than others - but there's always a time in everyone's life where we struggle with various things. It's so important to look after ourselves and others, and by making ourselves happier or bringing a smile to someone's face, we not only break the harder things down so they're more manageable, but we feel more positive in the long run and we learn more about ourselves.

I have a psychology background, so naturally I'm going to bring some of it into this (you have been warned!). There's a field of psychology not a lot of people know about, and I myself didn't know much until recently. It's called Positive Psychology, and it's focusing on how to make the most of your life and your experiences. It's a little similar to mindfulness, but it's not primarily used to treat mental illness - more of a useful approach everyone could learn from!

It talks about how we find happiness through lots of different ways, and that whilst sometimes there will be negative things that happen to us, equally there will be a lot of positive things in our lives. The happier we are with life, the happier our lives will be. Easier said than done, right?

Chances are, you might already be picking up some techniques. You might have heard people talk about writing down 3 things they're grateful for every day. This is called the 'gratitude exercise', and it's actually a part of positive psychology. It reminds us all of the things we have that we take for granted rather than the absence of things we don't have, and by doing so, allows us to focus on the positive rather than the negative. (#psychologyinreallife #wedontjustreadminds)


The reason why I've been looking into happiness a lot recently is because I've not been happy; I've been very stressed out. I won't go into it here, but not feeling happy is taking a toll, and I've realised how important keeping happy and healthy is in everyday life. Some may have seen I've done a few posts talking about 'The 16-week challenge' which seem to have dwindled - this is because I genuinely haven't been well; but when I was, and I was writing those posts, I felt so good in my own skin, and making progress for myself.

That's why I'm doing the best I can to focus on the little things that make me happy. I'm a big believer in appreciating the small moments - like the fact that in a couple of weeks time I'll be on a beach reading a book, or that I'll be seeing friends at the weekend, or even that tonight I'll treat myself to a bath and a cup of tea. I always try and write about things that make me happy; the process of writing about it and creating that content makes me happy in myself! This is why I have this blog - because it's my little creative corner of the internet, like a diary, that I can use to remember my happy moments.

I really love the whole idea of positive psychology, because really, we all do it whether we know it or not. It's inbuilt into who we are, we just need to access it! Yes, sometimes life does get in the way, but those are the times we need to be kindest to ourselves; we're doing the best we can with what we've got and that's pretty good.

So really, today, I'm grateful for:

  • the fact that I'm going on holiday soon
  • the fact that soon it'll be September and into Autumn, which is one of my favourite times of the year
  • the fact that I have a day off work to work on my Master's degree

Happiness is apparently the key to success, after all...


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

To Not Be At Odds.

Friendships can be so incredibly complicated. We go through life meeting people who float in and out of our lives making some sort of difference. If we're lucky, these people get to stay for a long time, perhaps forever. But a lot of the time, many people are only there for a short period.

A situation I've been in for a while now has made situations like this incredibly awkward. One person says something about one person, that person hides a few things, others believe the non-truths, others make situations harder, you help someone out and suddenly everything falls to pieces. It's just not worth it.

As I get older, my perceptions about friendships are shifting. I used to be the person who was so afraid of being disliked that I wouldn't ever stand up for myself. Nowadays, I'm of the opinion that nothing I feel should ever be put down or ignored; everyone has the right to express their own opinions and say how they feel.


There is only one problem with this; if speaking your mind and doing what you want intentionally hurts someone.

The situations I've been in during the past year or so unfortunately involve people like this. As a result, I've realised that those who hurt others on purpose are just not the people I want in my life. Aside from adding far too much extra drama, you can't rely on someone who doesn't have your best interests at heart. And it hurts, it really, really hurts to feel let down like that, when you've been there for them and they take you for granted.

I'm not perfect, I never will be and I don't intend to be. I've made my fair share of mistakes and I'm sure I've let people down in my life. But for the future, I want to be surrounded by those who care and who are always there, and luckily, that's what I've got.

It gets a lot harder when those who only provide toxic friendships don't seem to get the idea of what's going on. How do you tell them you've been hurt and want no more without hurting them? How do you prevent yourself from being a hypocrite? I still don't know but I'm trying to work it out. In the current situation, I've just been focusing on my own life, and what's been going on for me. It's meant I've been more distant - which is normal as we all grow up and drift - but for some reason, the situation still exists, and it's gotten to a very awkward and upsetting position!

It gets to a point where you just have to lay your hands down and say no more. No more drama or awkwardness or hurt. Honesty has got to come out at some point, and if that doesn't work, what else can you do? Dumbledore is always right isn't he?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Out For Dinner: Madison's, St Paul's, London


A couple of weekends ago, it was my friend Rachel's birthday. She lives in London and she'd asked me if I'd be interested in going out for dinner and drinks with her and our other friend, Georgia, the night before. She suggested Madison's at St Paul's, which I was VERY happy about as it's been on my London bucket list for a while!

We booked in advance - which I'd recommend as there is a very long queue - and we headed upstairs via the lift. It was around 8.30pm on a Friday night when we went; it was quite busy when we arrived but by the time we left, it had definitely gotten less packed! Madison's appears to be the place to go for many of those who work in the city after work.

For dinner, I had salmon with tartare sauce, radish, and seaweed. I don't usually go for fish over a meat dish, but the menu had certain things with the meat that I wasn't a fan of. It's quite an upmarket place and a little pricey (though not the most expensive in London by any means) so some things on the menu may be a little fancy/experimental for some if you prefer simpler menus! However, the food was absolutely delicious, and the perfect amount - not too little nor too much.


We also ordered a bottle of rosé for the table which was lovely, and had after-dinner cocktails. Rach and I both went for a Rooftop cocktail - which has prosecco, lime, gin, elderflower and apple juice in, and was AMAZING - while Georgia went for a Strawberr'Le, which is made up of limoncello, prosecco, sugar, strawberry and ciroc.


Because Rach had told the staff it was her birthday, they were really lovely and brought out a surprise dessert for her with sparklers! It was such a nice touch and she was really pleased by the gesture. Such good service!


Outside, there is the main selling point of Madison's, and the main reason it was on my bucket list: the views from the rooftop are incredible. St Paul's Cathedral is literally next door, and you can also spot other iconic landmarks like The Shard and The London Eye in the skyline.



It's definitely somewhere I would come back to - perhaps at sunset so you can see more of the skyline - but I'd recommend it if you're looking to have a nice meal or a few drinks (without a budget) overlooking the city!