April Favourites

I really wanted to write another favourites post this month, my January favourites feels like it was only yesterday (that’s my excuse for having missed February and March anyway) and a few things really stood out to me this month. Keep reading for a little bit of beauty, a little bit of practical fashion and a quick ‘just to let you know I’ve been back at the gym’ moment.

VIEVE

I did a not-so-little order from VIEVE this month and I’m so glad I did. I was good and held off on ordering the Sunset Blushes as soon as they launched but I finally gave in this month. I ordered the shade Piazza and I haven’t put it down since, so clearly the lesson here is to never have self control and buy the makeup – agreed?

Sunset Blush in Piazza ~ £23
Eye Wand in Mahogany ~ £21
Modern Matte Lipstick in Comin’ In Haute ~ £19

The newest launch from VIEVE is their Eye Wands, I was looking forward to these arriving but I didn’t realise how much of a staple they would become for me. They’re so blendable and really are a one-and-done product, I’ve been using the shades Camel and Mahogany either together or alone all over the lid in the mornings before work. They also don’t fade in the slightest, I use Mahogany as a faux liner quite often and it sticks around all day.

Finally, I just had to add another shade of the Modern Matte Lipsticks to my order. The shade Comin’ In Haute is a deep peach that walks the line really well between not being too warm or too cool. My thoughts on the formula haven’t changed: still super moisturising and the perfect balance between comfort and longevity. I’m also still in love with Vieve and Power Suit and wearing them all the time!

Read more about VIEVE

VIEVE: My New Muse

Jamie Genevieve has fast become my favourite makeup artist to follow. Her talent is undeniable but the thing that draws me in is the love she has for what she does. So of course when I heard she was launching her very own brand I…

Keep reading

Wandavision

I’m not the most insane Marvel fan in the world, I saw Infinity War and End Game but I’m not going to pretend I followed it all… However, I had heard such good things about Wandavision that I thought I would at least enjoy watching it even if I didn’t understand all of the Easter eggs! I had so much fun watching this and totally captivated by Wanda and Vision in their fairytale at the beginning which meant I was super invested once it all started to go off the rails. The whole cast was amazing and the writing was incredible – I full on cried at the end! I was so enjoyable to watch and made me really intrigued to see what they’re going to do next with Wanda.

Clarkes Kaylin85 T-Bar Black Leather heels ~ £75

New shoes

New shoes are always exciting but these are a real stand out because since I bought these I have barely worn anything else since. I have been trying to find some comfortable but not frumpy-looking heels for work for the longest time until I finally looked on Clarkes and found what I was looking for.

These t-bar shoes were just the height I was looking for and the heel looked good and chunky. More importantly, I couldn’t think of many outfits I couldn’t wear them with so I was sold. I actually picked these up on Very as I wanted black leather and Clarkes only had suede, so relieved I checked Very first otherwise I think I would still be looking for something! I’m so happy I took the plunge on these, they were worth every penny and are so comfortable for walking around the office. I have been walking in recently so I just pop these in the top of my bag and switch out my trainers when I arrive. A practical favourite that really doesn’t seem exiting but I’m thrilled with these!

Being more active

The gyms opening up again got me motivated to get more active again and I’ve definitely been doing more exercise. I went back to the gym in the middle of the month and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I’m a bit rubbish in the gym, I don’t usually know what to do with myself and I want to be doing more than I can but I find the weights quite intimidating! Despite this, on my visits since lockdown I was often doing more than I had done before which was a really good feeling. I also worked out a little routine for myself that gives me a much better chance at a successful session: 10 minutes of interval cardio, around 30 minutes of strength training and a good 10 minute yoga-style vinyasa stretch to finish off.

However, the way I have been most active is in walking to work. Since returning to the office I have walked almost everyday, it’s a nice 20 minutes through the park and gives me a nice start to the day. I don’t really need to leave much earlier than normal and I often have a nice hot drink and a podcast to keep me company. I have been loving re-listening to Power Corrupts and have been enjoying British Scandal, they’re are both super interesting shows. On the other end of the spectrum re-listening to My Dad Wrote A Porno is one of the best ways to start my day, even if I do look like a nutter howling with laughter at on my own at 8am!

I love talking about things I like that it makes me take stock of what I’ve been getting the most use out of. Have you got any favourites from the past month?

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30 Days of Yoga

On Tuesday 5th January I started my Yoga with Adriene 30 Day Yoga journey. It was a bit of a whim actually, not something I specifically planned on doing but I did want to start exercising again and had this simultaneous idea of starting yoga. I’ve tried in the past but I’ve never kept it up because it always feels quite aimless, I need a tangible goal and a purpose beyond getting stronger and more flexible. A 30 day program was the perfect solution and once I started I never looked back. It was incredibly challenging at times, and there were certainly days that I just wasn’t in the mood but I sat down on my mat everyday since I started and did at least 20 minutes of yoga a day. Keep reading for my experience of 30 days of yoga and make sure you read until the end for my beginner tips.

Week 1

Day 1: Invite, Modified Crescent Lunge

I started the 30 days of yoga series on Tuesday 5th January so I was actually a few days behind the program (which started on the 2nd). I was tentative and almost certain that I wouldn’t be able to do enough but even in the first week I surprised myself with how much I was able to do. Adriene immediately made me feel comfortable even through a pre-recorded practice. She’s always offering variations and makes it clear that the final poses are not a day 1 guarantee. A great introduction to my yoga education.

Week 2

Day 12: Drop, Yogi Squat

As I mentioned above part of the reason I started yoga was because I wanted to exercise again but I knew I needed to start slowly so I didn’t burn myself out. Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Journeys always include a few slower days focused on stretching and calming, kind of like palette cleansers. However I wanted to make sure I got some proper movement in everyday so on these slower practice days I would do two days in one sitting one after the other. That meant that even though I started a little behind I caught up and finished on the final day (31st January) which doesn’t really make a difference but was quite nice and satisfying! Despite my trepidation I still found myself getting something out of these slow practices, sometimes after a day working from home I needed 20 minutes of stretching and stillness.

Week 3

Day 18: Centre, Crow Pose

This week was a bit of a rollercoaster, it was a very lockdowny week for me so I really appreciated the 20 minutes a day I took to just be calm. This was also the week that I really started to follow the practices and there was a noticeable jumper in the amount of poses I recognised by name rather than description.

That definitely doesn’t mean that I could do all of it, but oddly I still get something out of the moves I can’t do because it just makes me laugh! Looking up to see Adriene in perfect stillness balancing all of her weight on one leg, the other leg high in the air and perfectly straight, with her hands wrapped around her ankles is absolute insanity to me.

Week 4

Day 28: Trust, Dancer Pose

The final week was when I realised this wasn’t just something I wanted to continue but something I would continue. I was already up and doing most of the beginner poses without modification so I began to try and perfect these positions even if it made me less stable. I know I sound a bit like I’ve joined a cult but I started to trust that I was going to be okay even if I wasn’t perfect.

I also noticed how certain poses became easier. My twists felt more natural and my hamstrings felt slightly less strained when I was in downward facing dog (a pose that I’m sure is relaxing for some but a struggle for me!). My big achievement was that I managed to hold crow pose for a few seconds without momentum holding me up, it felt good and made me want to see what else I can manage.

My takeaways

Its been a week since I finished the 30 Day Yoga course and I am currently 7 days into the course from 2020, I’ve even managed to rope my parents into a few! I’m still really enjoying it and want it to be something I do everyday no matter my plans. I think I’ll carry on with the 30 Day courses as my guide and maybe try and mix in some more ‘work out’ yoga and some more advance balancing eventually. I’m sure that is a long way off but it’s exciting to think about!

Yoga has also seeped into my life off the mat. I found myself hearing Adriene’s “ground through all corners of the feet” when balancing on one foot putting on my socks and “heart over pelvis, head over heart” when sat at my desk. Regular practice has helped my posture and made me feel less sluggish particularly on those days when I haven’t left the house (which happens more often than I would like with the shorter days and working from home). Overall I’m incredibly happy that I tried this out and want it to be a change I’ve made that continues throughout the year.

Beginner tips from a beginner

Get a proper mat – as a reward for finishing all 30 days I got a new mat as my current one was bunching up during practice, this is the one I’ve got and it’s brilliant (apart from the unfortunate name!).

Laugh at the weird things – the spiritual concept of yoga is the last reason I’m interested in it, so when Adriene tells me to ‘feel the fire inside’ I laugh it off – smiling also makes you feel more relaxed which really helps!

Laugh at the things you can’t do – similar concept, instead of getting annoyed and thinking that you’re not good enough because you can’t fold perfectly in half laugh at the fact that other people can. Expecting to do it all is a recipe for disaster and you are much better doing a modified version and building up than falling all over the place trying to sprint from a standing start!

Be proud of the things you can do – I don’t care what anyone says, yoga is hard. Anything that you manage to do that looks remotely similar to an instructor is an achievement and remembering that is so helpful.

I hope this post was helpful if you are thinking of starting yoga, I would encourage everyone to do it! Be sure to subscribe if you liked this and follow me on Instagram – no yoga content on there yet but you best believe if I start balancing on my head there’s going to be pictures to document it!

Yoga with Adriene’s BREATH: A 30 Day Yoga Journey

January Favourites

I love a favourites post. So many products and trends get spoken about online so I feel like a favourites post is the best way to see what people really love, not just what they tried once and liked at the time. This is unlikely to be a monthly thing because I wouldn’t want to force it, but when I have that epiphany and things naturally stand out as something I’ve been loving that’s when I know a favourites is overdue. I hope you like these kinds of posts as much as I do, and keep on reading to see what I’ve been loving this month.

VIEVE

My VIEVE collection

I did a whole post on VIEVE if you’d like to read my in depth thoughts on the brand, but spoiler alert: I love it. I think the standout product for me are the Modern Matte Lipsticks but I’m always surprised at how often I use the Essentials Palette. It’s just so versatile and even a super quick everyday eye looks finished and curated even when I only use two shades. VIEVE have just announced that they are releasing some blushes next month and I’m both insanely excited and terrified for my bank account.

Nabla Cupid’s Arrow Liners

Nabla Cupid’s Arrow Eyeliner

I’ve needed new pencil eyeliners for a long time so when I heard about the Cupid’s Arrow range from Nabla I thought “why not?”. I bought the shades arrow 2 (brown) and arrow 4 (black) and I really like them, they’re a perfect balance between creamy and long lasting, They are some of the softest pencil liners I have ever used but seem to last a long time in my waterline and certainly don’t make me look like a panda by the end of the day. I’ve heard good things about Nabla so I’d like to try out some more things from the brand soon!

Monki High Neck Jumper

Monki High Neck Jumper, Hollister Check Trousers

This is not a new piece in my wardrobe but one I’ve been reaching for again and again this month. I’ve been actually getting up and dressed virtually everyday working from home this month, I wrote a whole post about this recently if you want to know my how I got on, and this Monki jumper has been a staple for me. I am obsessed with the colour, it’s that perfect neutral tone that doesn’t wash me out which is such a blessing! It also goes with everything: I can wear it with all of my skirts and trousers as well as under little pinafore dresses. Kind of a sneak attack favourite and not something I ever thought I would be gushing over when I bought it, a practical purchase that has turned into something I don’t want to be without – the dream!

6 Minute Diary

6 Minute Diary

I found the 6 minute diary on Amazon whilst looking for some kind of gratitude diary. I should start by saying that I am not into manifesting or The Secret, I just can’t get on board with it but I do love the first part of that philosophy which says that thinking positively is a helpful habit. I don’t believe that thinking about my dream house or car or career will make it happen, but I do believe that thinking about it will make me happier than dwelling on the negative would. When I saw the 6 minute diary I thought it would be a great aid, particularly as you use it first thing the morning and last thing at night meaning that I should start and end my day on a positive note, no matter how lockdowny my day has been. The diary definitely forces me to think of the good rather than the bad, which during lockdown can easier said than done!

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian on Disney+

I’ve been watching The Mandalorian with my boyfriend via Teleparty (previously Netflix Party) over these past few weeks and I had no idea how much I was going to like this show. I have seen all the start wars films but I’m still not super knowledgable on it so I wasn’t sure how much I would like The Mandalorian, but there’s so much to love about it. The show looks amazing visually and I always get lost in the episodes which is so important for me. The writing is also fantastic, it never feels convoluted and I’m never questioning the decisions made by the characters. The casting and acting is superb, and Baby Yoda is a genuinely incredible addition to my life. I felt like such a basic bitch when I fell in love with him but I actually cannot contain myself when he is on screen, I make these weird squeaks and I gasp anytime something mildly perilous happens near him. My boyfriend actually sent me a stuffed Baby Yoda and he sits on my desk when I work from home, he’s just so cute. I’m nearly done with season 2 and I’m actually getting a bit sad about it 😦 clearly I could go on and on, so yeah it’s a favourite!

My blog

I’m really enjoying getting back into writing again, it’s undoubtedly giving me something to do and occupy myself with which is welcome right now! I’ve always said to myself that my blog is something that is there for me when I need it, I try to not feel guilty when I don’t post on it for months because I started it for me so if I haven’t got time to write I’m not going to force myself! But at the moment I am making time for it and loving it.

I hope you enjoyed that post (which mainly ended up being about Baby Yoda, no regrets) and if you did it would be great if you stuck around and subscribed and followed my Instagram – I’m trying to do some reels and it’s going…. interestingly..? Also if you have anything you’ve been loving this month definitely let me know!

I wore office attire working from home everyday for a week: did it make a difference?

I feel like there’s two types of people in the world. The first type gets dressed like they’re running into every manager that’s ever sacked them and ex partner they’ve ever had, even when their day consists only of a supermarket trip. The second type (hi, nice to meet you) puts joy and comfort above all. That means that when staying in the house they’re wearing tracksuits and that hoodie we all have that’s been around for so long that it’s near enough moulded to the shape of our torsos. And with this comes the conundrum of the work from home outfit.

I will be working from home for the foreseeable future so I’ll be toeing the line between ‘workwear’ and ‘I haven’t left the house in three days’ wear. My happy compromise is usually the Zoom outfit: that is of course a suitable top – ranging from a nice plain t shirt to a shirt – and the comfiest trousers I can find. Sometimes I go the extra mile – in both directions – and put on a full face of makeup and fuzzy socks and slippers.

Anyone who does get dressed like they’re going into the office always swears by it; “I just can’t get into the right frame of mind if I’m not in my work clothes” “how can you work in your pyjamas?”. So I decided I would test it myself. Would wearing human clothes make a difference? Or do the pyjama gang have it all figured out?

Monday

& Other Stories Mock Neck Jumper in Pink, ASOS Design Leather Look Leggings, UGG Slippers

I felt kinda sluggish on Monday, so comfy and warm was on the agenda. I got this jumper for Christmas and was super excited to wear it, and if my morning cup of tea wouldn’t wake me up that colour certainly would! I really wasn’t sure about this jumper when I first got it but wearing it throughout the day only made it grow on me. These leggings are also a great compromise between looking put together and being comfy. Day one: success!

Tuesday

Stradivarius Pearl White Jumper, River Island Trousers, UGG Slippers

On Tuesday I went for a classic work outfit for me. This is definitely comfier than it looks because these trousers have a nice amount of stretch to them but they still look structured. This jumper also kept me nice and warm when I went out for my walk, it’s been so cold recently I needed all the help I can get!

Wednesday

& Other Stories Dress, UGG Slippers

Still not sure I’m over this dress yet! I got this dress for Christmas and was fed up of waiting to wear it so I threw it on at home. When I first put it on I wondered if I looked a little too Little House on the Prairie but again it grew on my all day. Good job it goes with my slippers too! (the wfh staple we all need and none of us deserve)

Thursday

Stradivarius Dress, ASOS Design Cardigan, UGG Slippers

I honestly did not want to get out of bed on Thursday, so I felt pretty good about getting dressed! I really did not know what to wear so I just pulled out this old dress from Stradivarius because I know I can’t go wrong with it. It’s probably not a favourite of mine anymore and I didn’t feel amazing in it but it’s good to throw on when I’m standing in front of my wardrobe questioning all of my life choices. The cardigan went on when I got cold and just never came off, not a curated look!

Friday

Monki Jumper, Hollister Check Trousers

I went into the office in Friday for the first time this year so I wanted to wear something I felt good in. I went for some little green heeled boots, these check trousers and neutral Monki jumper, even though I was actually on my feet for most of the day… the boots were worth it (I think).

So how did it go? The main thing I noticed was that I was sitting in a much better posture at my desk. I was less tempted sit like a pretzel because I didn’t want to knee my trousers and I basically acted like I was at work rather than sat in my bedroom! I’m not sure if I necessarily worked any better but I did sit better and my back is thankful for that at least. I also put a full face of makeup on everyday because it felt wrong and a bit like cheating to wear proper clothes with a bare face. This absolutely helped me get into the right mindset to work but the main thing that I notice was that it marked the end of the day for me when I took my makeup off ready for a nice hot bath.

My favourite outfit of the week was definitely Wednesday; LOVE that dress! Although a sneak attack favourite was definitely Monday’s pink jumper – & Other Stories are killing it. I also fell back in love with Friday’s Monki jumper which was a nice surprise. It goes without saying, but the slippers were the true hero of the week. People who say that UGG slippers are the best really are not lying, worth every penny!

Overall, I think this did teach me the value in putting on my work ‘uniform’ rather than sitting in tracksuits, but will I do it everyday..? I hope the answer is yes but I’ll have to see how long I keep it up before gravitating towards the cosies again. One thing is for sure: I will be trying to incorporate the slippers into all outfits from now on.

My 2020 Favourites

It feels like I’ve broadened my horizons over this last year. I think I’ve shaken it up in many areas including but not limited to my makeup routine, my skin care routine (see: actually trying to have one and my clothing. A lot of these came quite late in the year but they’ve made such an impact that I couldn’t not mention them. This is a bit of an eclectic post, featuring single products and longer term changes, thoughts on last year and what I hope to continue for 2021, but I hope there is something in here for everyone.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless filter

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

I’ve heard so many influencers and makeup artists talk about Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter but it was only after seeing Jamie Genevieve use it that I realised how much I needed it. The reason it’s a must-have for me? I haven’t worn foundation since I started using this product. It is not a foundation substitute, there is no coverage it just has a very light tint that evens out your skin tone a little and makes you look glowy. I love it because it wears so nicely throughout the day and gives my cheek products something to hold onto so they stay on for longer – I always feel like they fade so quickly without some kind of base to hang onto! Bottom line: it’s worth the price tag for me.

Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in Ritz

Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in Ritz

I’ve loved Ritz since the day I got it. It’s such a low maintenance but high impact product that makes getting ready in the morning so much easier. This product has given me an answer to that question I ask myself every morning I haven’t quite engaged my brain: “What am I going to do with my eyes today?”. It’s quick and easy to apply and goes with almost everything. I can also layer it on to get something really impactful or add just a touch on a no-makeup makeup day. See my full review on Ritz and Colourpop as a whole here.

My fringe

So I technically got my fringe cut in at the very end of 2019 but I feel like she’s really come into her own in 2020 (it might sound odd that I refer to my fringe as a separate entity but if you saw what she looks like when I wake up in the morning you would be doing the same). Having a fringe totally changes the way my face looks, and I know that’s not groundbreaking but it’s interesting when it’s your face! I also feel like just wetting and blowdrying it in the morning makes me look so put together, equally if it’s greasy af then I can look a shambles! I kept trimming during the first lockdown but by June I was almost ready to let her go, but she’s had a resurgence and I’m loving it.

Skincare

Trying to have an actual skincare routine has totally changed my skin. I’ve tried to do a little bit more research last year into what makes a good skincare routine and the thing that has really stuck for me is double cleansing. Any day I wear makeup I use an oil cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser to try and get all of the makeup off. I’ve also been experimenting with active ingredients like AHAs and BHAs as well as Vitamin C, but I’m still working on getting the balance right. I have a long way to go in this area but I’m excited to learn more this year, my skincare wishlist is long!

My attitude towards clothes

My style has changed every year since I was about 18. It’s partially trend lead but also depends on who I’m seeing on my Instagram feed and what I’m doing at the time. This year I swung away from the super girly stuff and looked for different structures and silhouettes, I dabbled in the puffy sleeve and I don’t think I’ve worn skinny jeans all year (certainly a positive change). Where do I stand now? At the moment comfort is King but feeling good in what I wear is Queen, and sometimes she wears the trousers (pun not intended but definitely appreciated). A great example of that compromise is one of my typical work outfits: a skirt, jumper and boots with a chunky heel – comfortable but I feel confident.

Getting stuck in in the kitchen

Lemon Cheesecake

I’ve tried to do more in the kitchen over the last year but the lockdown in March really got me into cooking and baking. I’ve made curries, pizzas, chillis and pastry dishes as well as baked cakes, brownies, more cookies than I can count (not more than I can eat of course) and have a pretty good bread recipe in my repertoire. One of my favourite bakes has been these amazing lemon and blueberry oat bars, they’re similar to flapjacks but are light and flluffy. They’re not too bad for you in the grand scheme of things but still taste amazing with a cup of tea in the morning!

One of the main things I love baking and cooking for is when I’m feeling in a bit of a funk. It gives me something to busy myself with, it’s enjoyable, it feels productive and I (usually) get something tasty at the end of it. I’m writing this with a stomach full of homemade pizza and a slice of lemon cheesecake in my hands, so all in all a very positive change and something I want to continue to work on this year.

Exercise

I’ve always had an inconsistent exercise routine. I suppose routine is a strong word for going to the gym 4 times a week for a month, then not at all for 6 weeks, then everyday for 3 weeks, then not at all, the- you get the picture…

When lockdown hit I started running again with the help of Couch to 5K – which I cannot recommend enough as a side note! I’ve done it twice now and think it’s the best thing to get you running from a standing start. My mum and I did the programme and vowed to continue once it was done – long story short we haven’t… But we’re going again now! The best way for me to sum up running for me is that although I might not love it whilst I’m going, I almost always feel better when I come back than when I left. I was also really looking forward to getting into some classes at the gym this year but that clearly won’t be happening for a while yet.

I would also love to get into yoga and I’m going to try again this year (she says optimistically less than a week into 2021). My main issue is that I’m entirely inflexible and therefore pretty rubbish at yoga. Additionally, getting more flexible and better at yoga is a slow process so it’s hard to see the changes. This all explains why I’ve never done it for longer than a week or two in the past! I tried a few times to get into it in 2020 and it never stuck, but hopefully the fact that I will be working from home for the foreseeable future will give me time to really give it a go. Place your bets as to whether or not I’ll be saying exactly the same thing next year…

Is there anything you loved in 2020? Or any changes that you’re hoping to carry forward into the New Year?

What I got for my 21st birthday

It’s fair to say that 6 months ago I didn’t think we would be housebound for my 21st birthday. I was planning on going on a night out, having cocktails, going out for dinner maybe, but instead of that the BBQ we had at home was a lot of fun and a really nice way to spend the day. I was very lucky this year (like every year) and got treated to some really nice bits from my family which I thought I would share.

You can also read my post from last year here!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Palette

The first thing I got was the ABH Soft Glam Palette. I was super excited to try this out as I love the colour story and really enjoy the Anastasia formula. Safe to say it has not disappointed! The reason I’ve been loving this is because it’s super easy to get a nice natural look by throwing a few browns in the crease, but the shimmers are super metallic and really take any look from 0 to 100!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light

Another bit of makeup, I’ve always wanted to try something from Hourglass because I’ve heard so much about their powder formula. I got this Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light in a little travel size because it always seems to take me forever to get through bronzers! I really like this one because it doesn’t look powdery on the skin and gives a nice summery glow without leaving glitter all over my face.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

I’ve been getting more and more into skincare so I really wanted to try out Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. It has some active ingredients and acids that work overnight to smooth and hydrate your skin and having used it a few times that’s definitely how my skin feels in the morning! My skin is nice and glowy and smooth the day after I use it and even though the acids aren’t too strong I make sure only use this once a week so as to not overload my skin.

Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones

I was so excited to open these! Until my birthday I was the only pleb left in my house with wired headphones and after trying my parents’ out I decided I’d like a pair of Bose SoundSport headphones over AirPods. The great thing about these is that they twist and fit into your ear so they’re much less likely to fall out, which is was put me off AirPods – the thought of losing something that small and that expensive made me too nervous! So far I’ve used these walking the dog and going for a run and they’ve been fab.

& Other Stories Floral Mini Dress

I loved this dress when I found it online and loved it even more when I tried it on! This & Other Stories Floral Mini Dress falls beautifully on the hanger and looks even better on. It’s a perfect fit and such a simple summer dress that could be worn anywhere. The quality of this is fantastic and although its not the cheapest its amazing value for money for the quality, I’ll definitely be looking at some more bits from & Other Stories!

ASOS DESIGN hair clip in layered leaf design in gold tone
ASOS Design hair clip in layered leaf design in gold tone

My sister surprised me with some really cute hair bits from ASOS. The first was this gorgeous gold layered leaf hair clip which I’ve worn a few times and haven’t had any issues with it sliding out of my hair which is fantastic. She also got me a deep red velvet knot front headband which is really lovely, I can’t wait to wear it!

Fitbit Inspire Stainless Steel Mesh Strap in Rose Gold

Another really great present was this rose gold strap I got for my Fitbit. I wear my Fitbit Inspire HR everyday and I used to have a rubber black strap, which was comfortable but looked very clunky on my wrist. This new strap is really nice and slim and doesn’t look out of place when I’m a little dressed up.

Zara Floral Printed Top
Zara Flat Leather Sandals with Pearls

Finally I bought a little something for myself because if you can’t treat yourself on your birthday then when can you? That’s what I told myself anyway! I popped onto Zara and bought this gorgeous floral printed top, it’s amazing quality and such a nice fit with a super flattering neckline. I also picked up these stunning flat leather sandals with pearls because I’ve been looking for some comfortable flats that I can dress up or down. These definitely fit the bill and are super comfortable which is the most important thing. I actually wore both of these new pieces on my birthday!

A little late this year but I really enjoyed writing this post. Also this way I got to try out some of my presents so I could write about them in greater detail! I had such a nice day, even if it was in lockdown! Here’s hoping I can leave the house when I’m feeling 22.

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My Lockdown Watchlist

I’ve been at home with my family since the lockdown was enforced in the UK so we’ve had a lot of time for TV! I thought I’d share the things we’ve watched and whether we would recommend.

The Handmaid’s Tale

My mum and I sat and watched the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale during the first week or so of the lockdown and we definitely had some thoughts about it! Firstly, I’m not sure if ‘enjoyed’ is the right word for it because the whole premise of the story is certainly quite bleak, but it was definitely intriguing and we couldn’t wait to watch the next ones. The story was fascinating and we couldn’t wait to see how it would unravel as we watched on. As well as the story I thought the casting was fantastic and the acting was incredible (Elisabeth Moss is an icon). Every aspect seemed so brilliantly thought out, all the way down to the costume and set design, everything seemed to fit together perfectly to assist the storyline. Like I said it took us around 10 days to watch the whole season because although I usually binge TV I’m actually really happy that we had some breathing time between the episodes to let everything settle and digest. Bottom line is, if you find those dystopian storylines intriguing like we do then I think it’s definitely worth a watch!

Quiz cast and first look trailer from new ITV drama | TV ...

Quiz

I LOVED this show. Quiz is a dramatic retelling of the coughing scandal on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire where a couple coughed their way to the top prize of one million pounds. It was super quirky and the balance was hit perfectly between being a drama but also very lighthearted and entertaining. The three part mini series follows the launch of the show, a recreation of the show where the coughing took place and their trial afterwards. It was just so fab, definitely one of my favourite dramas I’ve watched in a while. Also it’s worth noting that Michael Sheen is literally flawless as Chris Tarrant, I kept forgetting that it wasn’t actually Chris Tarrant!

Back to the Future Movie Review (1985) | Roger Ebert

Back To The Future

I only saw Back To The Future for the first time last week. I know. And it was so much fun I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner! Such a great film and definitely one that lives up to the hype. Such a funny, crazy film and I now understand why when people found I hadn’t seen it before their jaws would hit the floor! Personally one of my favourite parts that showed how 80s the film is was Doc being absolutely fascinated by a video camera.

Peaky Blinders

We’ve been watching Peaky Blinders as a family in the evenings and I think its safe to say we’re all hooked! So far we’ve seen seasons 1-3 of the 1920s gangster drama and have really enjoyed how intense the plot lines are. The season finales are always really exciting and it’s nice that the seasons aren’t too long so we don’t have to wait forever for the storylines to play out. I know we’re a little late to the party on this one but I’m glad we finally got there!

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Knives Out

I actually went to the cinema with my boyfriend to see Knives Out at the end of last year but after telling my parents how much I enjoyed it we decided to sit and watch it one evening. I think it’s fair to say that my parents felt it lived up to the hype I’d been giving it and for me it was just as enjoyable to watch the second time round! A classic murder mystery with a twist, it’s the characters that really make this film stand out for me. The cast was phenomenal and everyone was fantastic in their role, particularly Daniel Craig as the somewhat unpredictable detective and Ana de Armas the kind nurse who cannot tell a lie. Although the first time watching it is definitely the best (the twists are brilliant!) I still loved it just as much and had a new appreciation for it the second time round.

The Nest looks like BBC's most exciting drama of 2020 so ...

The Nest

I feel like everyone has been watching The Nest recently, and with good reason! Another incredible BBC drama, the nest follows a wealthy couple trying to have a baby and a chance encounter with an 18 year old girl just out of care who later offers to be their surrogate. As the couple uncover more about this girls background they realise that all is not what it seemed and they grapple with who she is and the future of their unborn child. The story was totally gripping and we couldn’t wait to see the end, definitely something to watch if you want to make the hours fly by!

Travel Blogs: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

I’ve been fortunate enough to go to California for two weeks with my boyfriend and his family, first stop on our trip around the golden state was Hollywood. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but safe to say I loved every second of our stay at the home of cinema.

We flew into LAX at around 6pm local time and headed straight for the Loews Hotel, right around the corner from the Dolby Theatre: home of the Oscars! After falling straight into bed that evening we got up the next day ready for our whistle-stop tour of Hollywood.

We had a private tour booked where a tour guide took us in a car round Hollywood, Beverly Hills and of course pointing out celebrity homes along the way! Some of our favourite celebrity palaces we tried to peek at belong to Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, and the home of the late Avicci. My favourite part of the tour was a trip up as close as we could legally get to the Hollywood Sign, so iconic.

After lunch and a cheeky trip to Sephora for some sheet masks (aka: essentials) we had a tour round the Dolby Theatre and got told the story of Oscars night. Along our tour we found out that each Oscar is made from a copper core and twice dipped in 24K gold… they really are as heavy as they look!

Our second and final full day in Hollywood was spent on a VIP Experience at Universal City Hollywood. In the morning we had a tour around the sound stages and the backlots, some of which were active filming locations! This was definitely my favourite thing we’ve done so far as we were able to get out of the cars and walk on the sets. We saw the set for War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise, the City Hall Square from Back to the Future, their very own New York Street, parts of which have featured in shows like Brooklyn 99 and How I Met Your Mother, and finally my personal favourite we saw the outdoor set for The Good Place (I may or may not have had a minor fangirl moment when the guide said she’d seen D’arcy Carden) (I definitely did).

The afternoon was spent with VIP tour guide Jeff taking us round the theme park taking us on almost all the rides, my favourites were Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Revenge of the Mummy. Another highlight of the day was when I got pulled out in Olivanders to take part in the wand choosing ceremony, my wand was made of ivy. The Holly(ie) and the Ivy..? I liked the coincidence anyway!

All in all a very successful and memorable trip to Hollywood, I think you’ll agree! If you liked this post please like, share and subscribe to see more and follow me on Instagram to see some more photos from my trip.

Hollie x

My favourite things about Southampton

I have been a student at the University of Southampton for two years now (where has the time gone!) and in that time I’ve come to love the city I live in for half the year. I wanted to write a post on my favourite things about Southampton from the perspective of a student not only for any prospective students but for anyone looking to visit the city. Keep on reading to see my favourite things about Southampton.

The university campus

I visited a few different universities in preparation for applying to uni and over the past couple of years with visiting friends and I’ve not seen a nicer campus than the Univeristy of Southampton. Highfield campus, the main campus, is modern and well equiped for lectures but it’s still beautiful and not overcrowded with towering buildings. Walking through campus is a joy, the areas of grass to sit on and the little stream make it difficult to be in a bad mood, even when I’m inundated with essays and exams!

The nightlife

One of the things that seems to set Southampton apart from other university cities is the variety of nightlife, from bars and pubs to clubs there’s something for everyone! One of my favourite places for drinks with friends is Wild Lime in Portswood, just down the road from Trago Lounge a cafe and bar that’s just as lovely for coffee and brunch as it is for evening drinks. One of the best student nights is Karaoke at Stags on campus, it gets super busy super fast so better head in straight after your 4pm lecture to get a seat! With cheap drinks and a buzy atmosphere Stags is a great place for a drink with friends anytime.

There are so so many clubs in Southampton so there’s definitely something for everyone. Everyone loves a night at Oceana, of course we head straight to the cheese room for some what I like to refer to as year six disco classics mixed in with some ABBA and not forgetting a Grease medley at the end of the night! I’ve also heard great things about Popworld and The Edge, they’re two of the places that nearly always come up when I’m asking where to go for the best night out. But the crown jewel in Southampton’s nightlife has to be Jesters, she might not look as swanky as Oceana but I’ve had some of my best nights at Jesters. There’s one mystery I just can’t solve about Jesters though, Southampton students help me out, what do they put in a Jesticle?! All of their signature cocktails are equally as confusing but we’ll keep ordering them!

Places to meet friends

If going out until 3am isn’t your thing, Southampton has some really lovely coffee houses and eateries to meet friends instead. I’ve already mentioned Trago Lounge is great for both daytime eating and evening drinking and another similar option is The Bridge. Located in the Union Building on campus, it’s another great place to chat, laugh and cry over essays (only sometimes!). Although we love a good Costa and Starbucks, Coffee#1 on Portswood high street is my favourite coffee house. I love the atmosphere in there whether I’m relaxing or furiously writing last minute essays (it happens more often than I care to admit..).

The layout of the city

I really like that the campus sits slightly outside of the city centre, it means I can keep my uni work and my social life separate where I can. It’s much nicer to walk home from lectures and put my work out of my mind when I need to. The house I rent sits bang in the middle of the city centre and the university so I’ve got good access to both my lectures and Westquay shopping centre, just how I like it!

Transport links

This might sound like a weird one, but with a spread out city a good bus service is vital! I got a free year long pass for the Unilink buses in my first year because I was living in halls and it was a lifesaver when I was running out the door for a lecture. Not only that but both Southampton Central and Southampton Airport train stations were really convenient whether I was going all the way to Plymouth or heading home for the weekend. Good transport links might seen strange to single out but you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone!

That rounds up my favourite things about Southampton as a student, I hope it was helpful to any prospective students or any visitors! If you liked this post please like, share and subscribe and follow me on instagram to see when I post first.

Hollie x

How to get the most from your money: saving money

I’m lucky as a student in that money isn’t something that causes me real worry and stress, however I still try and make it last as long as I can and with saving for holidays this summer I’m trying my best to save where I can! Below is my list of the best ways to try and save a little money here and there.

Disclaimer: I definitely don’t scrimp and save every penny I have and definitely shop unnecessarily, for example going shopping “because I’m bored” is not a foreign concept to me. What I’m talking about here is realistic and easy ways to save some money when I am spending and trying to make my money go as far as I can, just fyi!

Get a seperate savings account

This might sound strange, but the first thing I’d say you NEED is a seperate savings account. Without that you have no where safe to store any money you take from your main account to prevent you from spending it. Trust me it makes such a difference!

Take a certain amount of money from your account each month

This one is simple, but so easy and effective. As I’ve been starting to save for my holiday I’ve been taking out about £20 per month so that I just won’t spend it. It has shocked me how easy this has been because even if I have overspent a little that month I’ve never thought “oh if only I had that £20”. It’s such an easy way of saving and I’m definitely going to continue next year.

1p Savings Challenge

The premis is very simple, you take 1p and save it on day one, 2p on day two and so on for 365 days and at the end of that year you manage to save a huge £667.95. I only saw this one very recently but it caught my eye and I started immediately, it sounded so easy and doable that I had to give it a go. The first few weeks are obviously far easier than the latter weeks but even if I don’t manage to make it all the way to the end I’ll still manage to save a little along the way! You can see how it works in more detail here.

Student Discounts

Far and away one of the top perks of being a student is the student discounts which I believe are eligable to those over 16 and in full time education, that includes you sixth form students! They’ve help me save so much money over the past 4 years and most of the websites are free to sign up to. Anyone who tells me they “just don’t use them” blows my mind because they are literally FREE. FREE. FREE and you can get up to 40% at certain restuarants as well at 10% off all year round at places like ASOS, Superdrug, Boots and even discounts from Apple, Hp and Microsoft. If I haven’t convinced you now I don’t know what will, all I can tell you is it will be a sad sad day in the Edmeades house when my student status expires.. it makes me very popular with my parents when I manage to get us money off when we’re eating out!

Some of the best sites that I’ve used include Unidays and Student Beans. Both of these sites are very similar in that you sign up with a personal email address and enter your school/university/college email address to verify that you are a student. After that you simply set up you ID with your name, date of birth and a picture of yourself and you’re good to go. These discounts can be used both online and in store and I never really go anywhere without checking for a discount! You can sign up for Unidays here and Student Beans here.

Another great option is the TOTUM Card which is run by NUS Extra. I used to have one of these when I was at school but unfortunately my university is not associated with NUS and therefore I can’t get one anymore 😦 this one is different because you do have to pay for it but it carries great discounts so the card will pay for itself in no time. I would really recommend signing up to as many sites as possible because whilst some discounts are carried across multiple sites they all offer some slightly different ones and you never know what you’ll need! You can check it out here and see if your institution is eligable.

Other discount websites

As great as student discounts are, the more general websites can also be worht checking out. I am signed up to both VoucherCodes and vouchercloud which I always check especially when I’m eating out. They work very similarly to the two student discount websites I talked about earlier, they’re free to sign up to and give you discounts both in store and online. I always try and look for discounts where I can because its literally only takes a minute and if I don’t find one then its no problem, nothing to lose by having a check! You can check out VoucherCodes here and vouchercloud here.

Railcards

I use the trains a lot and have saved incredible amounts of money by using my 16-25 railcard. There are a range of railcards available and almost everyone will be eligable for at least one of them! Most of them cost around £30 a year (and with a student discount you can get money off buying your 16-25 railcard!) and give you a third off your train fare. These cards pay themselves off so fast, for example everytime I travel to and from Plymouth to see my boyfriend I save about £20, so all I need to do is buy at least two sets of tickets (which I would be doing anyway) and the card has paid for itself. With a bit of quick (and probably slightly dodgy) maths I think I’ve saved about £300 a year since I’ve been at uni, literally ten times the amount it cost me to buy it in the first place. The best thing about this card is that you don’t have to spend extra unnecessary money to make it worthwhile, most people who own these cards use the trains frequently so they genuinely help you save money rather than coaxing you into spending where you otherwise wouldn’t, safe to say I’m a fan! You can see all the railcards available and choose which is right for you here.

Loyalty cards

This one might sound weird in terms of saving you money but hear me out! I tend to sign up for loyalty cards anywhere I know I’ll be a repeat customer because I don’t see any reason not to. They all work differently, but most allow you to build up points which you can then spend to save some money later on. I know there is the idea that they make you spend more money because you think more about the points you gain than the money you spend to get them but honestly I don’t need an excuse to go shopping, I’ll probably just go anyway so might as well take advantage! Some cards also allow you access to student discounts which you can’t use if you don’t have their points card. Some of my favourite and most used cards are Boots’ Advantage Card, Superdrug’s Health and Beauty Card, my Nectar Card, Tesco Clubcard and my Costa Card. All of these let you spend points once you’ve built them up and some give you access to discounts and offers that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

If you’re still reading at this point, congrats! Maybe you deserve a treat.. shopping maybe..? And look at all the money you can save now! Sorry thats not very helpful! But really thank you for reading this far I hope it was helpful, I understand that some of these ways of saving are pretty well known but I hope you’ve seen a new way to save, the more you know the better chance you’ve got of finding that discount! If you liked this post then please like, share and subscribe and follow me on instagram to see when I post first. Also let me know of any ways you know to save some money!

Hollie x