The best advice I've ever received

I'm 25 soon. Although a boring birthday and definitely not a milestone, it is bang on mid-twenties! I always thought I'd have my shit together by 25 (and although I definitely don't), I thought I'd share some of the best advice I've received, so hopefully by 30 things may be different? 

‘’Never, ever expose your bare face to the sun’’
Joan Collins was on Piers Morgan once, and Piers was probing her for her anti-ageing secrets. Although I suspect she’s probably had a little extra help here and there, one thing she said totally stuck with me. She said past the age of 21 she never exposed her bare face to the sun, which is the number one cause of wrinkles and ageing skin. As part of the ‘’sun bed generation’’ I always feel really sad when I see women my age or even younger going into sun bed shops or spending 9+ hours in the sun on holiday. Not only are they putting their skin at risk but the chances of developing skin cancer are dramatically increased if you’re not careful in the sun. Since I heard Joan’s words of wisdom I’ve not gone bare faced in the sun and always buy moisturiser and foundation that contain SPF. Shallow motivations or not – I definitely wouldn’t mind looking like Joan Collins when I’m her age! Sunshine is awesome but there are safe ways to enjoy it that don't put your health at risk. (Plus there's always fake tan, once you get past the stale biscuit smell and your partner accepts your decision to spend one night a week covered in brown paint you're good to go without hindering your health). 

‘’You are what you eat’’
Only when I’d tried almost every diet, eliminated 5 food groups and experienced multiple weight fluctuations did I truly understand this mantra. Aside from weight, what you eat – and the quality of it plays a huge part in overall health and the prevention of various diseases. You can’t swing a cat on Netflix these days without finding a documentary focused on nutrition, which is what completely changed my outlook on food. We live in a society where there’s a pill to solve almost every problem, but actually eating well and paying attention to what you eat can help ease and even prevent these problems. I love pizza as much as the next person, but to avoid a week of having a pizza like face I try to limit these to one a week. Vegetables are the way forward!!!

‘’Intelligence is the one thing nobody can ever take away from you’’
Bless my dad. The wisest person I know who probably holds the world record for most viewed WW2 documentaries. In a desperate bid to motivate me to study for my GCSE’s he threw all sorts of clich├ęs and even financial bribes in my direction. One thing he did say however, that has stuck with me since the tender age of 16 is that intelligence (and by default education) are both things nobody can ever take away from you. You can never really know enough or have enough qualifications. You can lose your looks, your partner and even your job but you'll always have intelligence, which is always the starting block for building yourself up again. At 24 I appreciate this more than ever and try to push myself to learn and investigate things that hadn't occurred to me before. For example - ''Koala bears'' aren't bears at all. Interesting.
 (Plus all this is useful when you NEED to beat your boyfriend at the annual Christmas quiz, see smug face below. There is no such thing as useless trivia).

‘’What you put on the internet is written in pen not pencil’’
This is by far the best bit of advice I would give anyone! I remember a teacher telling me this at school and me thinking what a lame way to look at it - but how true. Social media is great and dominates a lot of our free time these days but as someone who regularly over shares sometimes I have to stop myself and think whether or not a post could come back to bite me…the last thing anyone wants is a potential employer/boyfriend Googling you and seeing what you got up to in Ibiza in 2012…ahem. Even after something is ''deleted'' it can still be accessed, haunting you and ruining job/relationship/life prospects! Ultimately - if you're gonna be an idiot on holiday, don't put it on the internet :). 

App Happy

Can you even remember life before smartphones? A time before being able to access Facebook on the bus and instagram photos of your dinner?! I know I can’t. And with the life changing brilliance that is smartphones come various apps that aim to make life a little easier for us. Over the past year (and since upgrading my phone to an iPhone that actually allows space for various apps AND all the best/worst songs of the nineties) I’ve become aware and quite reliant on a few. Here are a few of my favourite apps…

Mobile banking has changed my life. No longer can I continue to buy things and be blissfully unaware of how much I'm spending. Nope. Now I have constant access to my bank account, which helps with budgeting and making sensible financial decisions ahem. As a Halifax customer I check my bank account daily on my phone, which allows me to keep track of direct debits and how many more days I have to have Weetabix for dinner before pay day. If like me you struggle with managing money I highly recommend downloading your bank's mobile banking app. Massive game changer.

God I’m sorry to keep bleating on about Fitbits. I feel like the Fitbit whisperer in that I’m consistently talking about them. But they really are so awesome they warrant a mention in every single blog post I promise. One of my favourite features of Fitbits has to be the phone app. Having an app on your phone that your Fitbit can communicate with directly via Bluetooth is a very easy and motivational way to keep an eye on your activity levels. Had a lazy day? Just check your daily steps via the app – and then walk the long way home. For me, as someone who seems to have been on a diet my entire life it takes the guess work out of calorie counting. By being able to see at the touch of a button calories in VS calories out I can decide whether having 2 portions of lasagne for dinner is a good idea or not…

And on that note, how bloody brilliant is Myfitnesspal?! It seems to be like Marmite in the sense people have either loved it and seen amazing results or hated it and think its overrated. Either way, I fall into the ‘’loved it’’ category. I don’t see how anyone can fail to lose weight by tracking their food intake using this app and then adjusting their activity levels accordingly. It even allows you to scan food packaging via your camera, and will show you the calorie content of whatever you’ve scanned! As someone who’s becoming increasingly more aware and interested in nutrition WHATS NOT TO LOVE?! You can also keep track of how much water you've drank - not to get all Derek Zoolander about it but water truly is the root of beauty and a focused mind at work.  If you’re a fellow Fitbit whisperer it gets even better in that the two apps can talk to each other, and thus make losing weight literally fool proof. Monitor what you’ve consumed via Myfitnesspal and monitor how many calories you’ve burned via Fitbit and ensure the latter is higher. Voila!

If you’re female you have periods. Sorry guys – it’s a fact of life. (If however you're in denial and would rather not acknowledge that we all get periods feel free to skip this paragraph.) Unfortunately however our monthly bill isn’t always on time, which can lead to a whole host of worries and concerns…Clue is an app that tracks your periods via the information you put in each month about your previous cycle, which over time can provide estimated dates and info about future cycles. It can even alert you when you’re about to get PMS, which I know is my personal favourite function (buys cookies in bulk, boyfriend goes into hiding).  It’s also pretty awesome at tracking when you’re likely to ovulate, which for anyone trying to conceive has gotta be useful right? Free to download from the app store Clue is an app I definitely wouldn’t want to be without. Its also added insurance that you’ll never be caught short without a you-know-what again. God I love technology.

Finally, my newest recruit is Headspace. This is a meditation app that aims to improve your mental well-being by encouraging mindfulness. Now as a miserable cow who is sceptical of anything like this I didn’t think this was something that would work for me, or something I’d stick to. The mere thought of me sitting cross legged for 10 minutes with my eyes closed was laughable. But there’s something very calming about this dude’s ability to make me focus on my breathing, and I’ve slept incredibly well since starting this. Initially the app consists of 10 steps, that are 10 minutes each which aim to get the listener to focus their thoughts in the moment, not that they forgot to feed the cat or how much ironing needs doing. This has become part of my night time routine and something I look forward to doing before I sleep. Currently on step 4 I still have a long way to go, but can honestly say I feel the benefits of this already in that I go to sleep calm, and wake up calm (which for anyone that has lived with me will know is a revelation). The recommended time for meditating is first thing in the morning, which makes total sense, however I prefer to use my 10 minutes in the morning sleeping/slapping on makeup/both.  I recommend this to anyone really, but especially anyone that feels they get stressed quite easily, or would like to find ways of learning to focus their thoughts. It's not as easy as it looks and science buffs have also declared meditation as being good for overall health and brain function. Hurrah.

Honourable mentions go to O2 Priority (£1 lunch from Boots on Mondays!) and the ASOS app making shopping on the go dangerously easy.

So there we have it – my top apps. Obviously Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al. are also up there with my most used apps but these are a few that I believe are actually beneficial, rather than a total waste of time and something to scroll through in awkward situations (I’m looking at you, Snapchat)

What are your favourite apps?

2015 beauty favourites

Ok so as it’s now 13th of January it’s definitely no longer socially acceptable for me to say Happy New Year so instead – I hope you’ve not fallen off the diet wagon and into a plate of biscuits yet and have at least tried to be a better person the past 2 weeks. if not don’t worry nor have I.

Working in an office full of women for the past 6 months has reignited by desire to discuss beauty products endlessly. As another year has now been and gone I thought reflecting on the products I loved from 2015 is a decent way to satisfy that urge. As you can see from the photo below I got ALOT of new products for Christmas, word has clearly got out that makeup is the way to my heart!

2015 was the year I got a bit obsessed with highlighters. I went so crazy with the highlight on New Year’s Eve I look like a disco ball in some photos (fail! This is why I always do my makeup before pre drinking!!)  However most of the time I manage to keep it subtle. My absolute favourite highlighter and one I will continue to purchase over and over again is the bareMinerals Love Affair/Shining Moment duo. With one gold toned side and a slightly warmer peachier side this duo is just amazing and when applied lightly on the cheekbones gives the most gorgeous glow I’ve seen from any illuminator. If you want a healthy dewy glow and prefer powder highlighters to liquid ones like me give this baby a try! Candlelight by Toofaced is a close second in the highlighter/illuminator race and as pictured here has cuter packaging but they essentially give a similar effect. if there's one thing you should introduce into your makeup bag in 2016 its a decent highlighter. 

Better Than Sex by Toofaced is fast becoming my new favourite mascara despite the cringeworthy name. The wand is huge (!) but manages to give volume and length to my lashes. I’ve been using this for about a month and half and it doesn’t seem to be running out any time soon (which is pretty impressive given how much mascara I use) so I suspect this’ll be a product I continue to use daily in 2016. The tube is metal and kind of heavy so even the packaging feels expensive. 

Stop the press. I have found a new fake tan. As a diehard tanorexic and someone that takes being safe in the sun very seriously (almost vampire status) the idea of a new fake tan is very exciting for me! Slightly more expensive than my trusty St.Moriz (which I’ve been using religiously for the past 4 years) Bondi Sands is my new tan of choice. At £14 a pop it’s definitely pricier than St.Moriz but I have to say I feel it gives a more natural colour once developed and smells like coconuts, with only a slight hint of stale biscuits. As with all the fake tans I try this does come out the pump very dark so makes application a doddle as you can see exactly where you’re putting it. Perfect. 

 My Fitbit (last year's Christmas present) is by far the product I used, relied upon and felt lost without the most in 2015. If you're interested in fitness, want to make sure you're getting in your recommended steps or even want to track your sleeping patterns I cannot recommend these enough. I used my Fitbit almost every day in 2015 and will continue to do so for the year ahead. Ultimately as much as my inner couch potato hates to admit it health and wellbeing play a huge part in beauty and the healthier and more active you are the less makeup you'll need anyway!

Although I have hundreds of products I love and could mention these were the ''breakthrough'' items. What were your favourite products of 2016?

My New Year's Resolutions


Every single year I sit and think about the various aspects of my life I’d like to change and it seems this year is no different. 2015 on the whole has been a great year, I’ve paid off 95% of my debts, moved into a much nicer flat, lost (then gained then lost) weight and stopped watching the effing Kardashians. I cut out milk, eggs and bread from my diet and only ate pasta once all year (4 bowls of it in one go though so not ideal…) so diet wise I’ve been on track. ish. (Not graced the gym with my presence anywhere near often enough but whatever it’s a start). I can officially announce as of 2nd Jan 2016 that I've been a fully-fledged vegetarian for a whole year! They said it couldn't be done and that my desire for KFC was too strong, but they were wrong. I'm at a point now where I’m even considering cutting out cheese, which for anyone that knows me realises what a statement that is. I’m the girl that will have a salad from Subway and then ask for 3 tonnes of cheese on top. But I digress. My hair has grown and I've taken much better care of my skin, so my 2015 goals have been satisfied.  As those goals have been met (more or less) I want to try and set new goals for 2016 that are slightly more meaningful, and in turn probably harder to achieve. I'm nearly 25 after all.

I’d really like to be a bit more positive, as generally I'm a ‘’glass half empty’’ type of person. Until I had a boyfriend and lived with someone who notices all the things you don’t notice about yourself I wasn't even aware of it, but I'm someone who allows anxiety and panic to consume my life over very minor things. Not only does stress give you wrinkles but it can cause a whole host of other health problems – so I’d love to ditch the excess worrying in 2016 ;) Plus who wants to hang out with someone who worries all the time?

Shop less save more. Lol. Something I say with the best intentions in the world and then a sale happens, or an occasion comes up that I absolutely must have a new outfit for…or a new bed set that requires 45 new matching cushions, you get the idea. But given that I am quite literally touching distance away from being out of my shopping debt I racked up at 19 it would be bloody great if I could keep being sensible and start saving towards a house. You never know in 6 years’ time some poor innocent mortgage advisor may actually allow me a mortgage (a girl can dream). And now the government are introducing lots of new ways to encourage first time buyers onto the ladder it seems a good time to put my big girl pants on and grow up. Shoes and bags are not the answer.

Read more. Reading improves my vocabulary, writing ability and is a much healthier thing to do before bed than scroll through Instagram for the 34th time. My aim for 2016 is to read at least 2 books a month, which until I start my final year of my degree is definitely doable! War & Peace probably isn't on my ''to read'' list but if you have any suggestions of books you've read and loved let me know.

Think about others more. A lady in my office suggested instead of secret Santa this Christmas, we should all collectively donate to the local foodbank. I think that’s a lush idea and something in all honesty didn't even occur to me. I think I've grown up in a time where many twenty somethings are quite selfish by nature, and thus this sort of gesture wouldn't occur to me naturally. Going forward I'm definitely going to try and be more thankful for what I have and compassionate for those who aren't as fortunate. Not just in terms of donating to charities and helping others but to actually appreciate what I have and focus less on what I don’t have. I mean seriously who actually NEEDS 89 lipsticks?

What are your goals for the year ahead? Did you manage to kick your Kardashian habit?

How to get over ''I have nothing to wear'' syndrome

You're getting ready to go out, you open your wardrobe and utter the words ''I have nothing to wear''. How often does this happen to you? For me, and despite the fact I have twice as many clothing items than I actually have room for I used to say this at least once a week. Ludicrous when you take into account I could probably wear a different outfit every day for a year and still never wear the same thing twice. Well, I had an epiphany people. And that cycle ends now.
In an effort to save money, reduce clutter and stop ''collecting'' things I never wear I've put myself on a shopping ban. In an effort to create more space for clothes I plan to keep and wear I went through my wardrobe with a cut-throat mindset and donated to Oxfam all the items I either haven't worn in ages or realistically won't wear again. In the end I ended up with 2 bin bags full of stuff, most of which still had the label on and had never been worn. Yep. Oxfam's lucky day.

After my mini money/environment saving epiphany the real question that dawned on me is how do I break the cycle? Shopping endlessly is such an easy habit to fall into and there have been times when I've bought virtually the same thing twice - forgetting I own a jumper that looks almost identical to the new one. Shopping for the sake of shopping is my problem. And that's exactly what it is, a problem.

It's not particularly economical or practical to buy a new outfit every time you think you've got nothing to wear so I've taken action. I read a statistic once that said the average woman only wears 20% of her wardrobe and I can definitely relate to that. Working in an office environment means generally I wear variations of the same smart shirts, blazers & suit trousers over and over which is fine - but even on weekends and date nights I feel myself regurgitating the same outfits. So I've reorganised my entire wardrobe and brought items to the front that have been stuffed in the back for ages; creating the illusion in my mind that I have more options. Such a small change but has made such a difference so far.

A cringeworthingly sentimental person, I hold on to all sorts of crap I don't need (I still have the receipt of the hotel we stayed in in Paris last year) and the same can definitely be said for clothes. So as part of my wardrobe overhaul I've also donated anything I won't wear again that I was keeping purely for sentimental value (except my 18th birthday dress, long live pink leopard print)... and you'd be surprised how much space that's freed up.

I've also thought more about ''quality over quantity'' and perhaps having 35 white blouses from Primark (god I hate Primark) is not quite as economical as having one great white shark blouse that costs more but is better quality and will stand the test of time overall. And surely you're more likely to wear something you love over something you picked up on a whim? My advice is donate anything that doesn't fit or could be a perfect item for someone else to pick up in a charity shop. H&M's new ad campaign about their clothing recycling service is nothing short of amazing and something I will definitely bear in mind in the future. Keeping a dress you've only worn once that doesn't fit any more is such a waste when it could be recycled and turned into something else. Plus you'll have more space for when it's time to invest in something new that you will wear and is worth having.

Reducing my wardrobe to staple pieces that can be worn over and over regardless of how much my style changes seems far better than having piles of stuff I've forgotten I even own. I can't believe I'm saying this but - less is more? (anyone that's ever lived with me would definitely say YES). Skinny jeans in a couple of colours, a couple of blazers, tops and skirts and 350 pairs of pyjamas is enough for me. Rearranging my clothes and having a really thorough clear out has reintroduced me to items I forgot I had, and even some items I have no idea why I bought in the first place. But nevertheless it has helped conqueror my shopping problem and kept ''nothing to wear syndrome'' at bay.

What do you think? Are you a clothes hoarder or just the bare necessities type of girl? Have you held on to anything purely for sentimental value that if anyone else knew would think you're mental?

Trends I can't wait to see the back of


There are so many trends at the moment that make me shudder. Everyone’s style is different and I appreciate that, but there are some current trends if I never see again it'll be too soon. Here are my least favourite of the trends doing the rounds at the moment...

The end of summer also means the temporary end of fad diets yay! I have done a few juice detoxes recently and I consider those beneficial for actual health (so don't lecture me, thanks) but all these ‘’detox teas’’ and Juice Plus capsules have me exhausted. My weight fluctuates a lot and I can tell you honestly as someone who has been on one diet or another since I was 16 (how sad) the only thing that really works is diet and doing more exercise. Boring but true. I find the detox teas are probably exciting if you don’t drink herbal teas normally, but as someone who drinks about 8 cups of green or peppermint tea a day its not hugely different. Don’t believe the skinny Instagram models posing with the tea packets it’s all a conspiracy. I look forward to the end of Juice Plus and the return of broccoli.

Instagram eyebrows. Everyone’s face is different and in most cases eyebrows totally frame a face. I know lots of girls personally who absolutely nail the high-arched perfect eyebrow look and it looks awesome.  I’ve also seen a lot of girls who don’t quite nail the perfect eyebrow look nor do they need to. If your face looks good with smaller eyebrows don't be worrying about not looking like Cara Devangeline! If she jumped off a cliff would you jump too? I'm guessing not. Step away from the brow palett and accept your brows as they are.

On the subject of OTT makeup I think contouring has had its day. Sorry girls. Adding colour and definition to the face after foundation is great but I’ve seen people get so carried away with it they just look dirty. Combine the overly done bronzer with overly done eyebrows and you’re a hot mess. I much prefer the newer ‘’strobing’’ trend which is what I’m all about – highlighting parts of the face to create a way more natural finish.

I don’t care if it’s Gucci and that Carrie Bradshaw wore one - bum bags are AWFUL. Are they even called bum bags? Fanny packs? Whatever, they’re terrible. I don’t even see unless you’re a looky looky man in Ibiza how they’re even practical. In case you were thinking of getting on the bumbag bandwagon my dad used to wear one on holiday along with his socks and sandals combo so yeah. Swerve on that…

Another trend I think we'll look back on and laugh/cringe in a few years is everyone's obsession with getting lips like Kylie Jenner. Sorry honey but sucking into a piece of plastic is not going to make you look like Kylie Jenner, and in fact they only thing that will is paying a load of money to borrow her surgeon for a day. Lip liner is great for achieving matte lips and even over-drawing slightly to give a slightly fuller-lip look is fine, but let's not get carried away. I would say with quite a bit of certainty looking like a toddler has drawn on your face is not a good look - for anyone. And why would you want to look like Kylie Jenner anyway? Literally the least inspiring ''A Lister'' of the moment. 

I don't have an issue with long hair on men - in fact I think it looks great on some guys but what is with men walking round with top knots. It's not even practical!!! The purpose of buns is to keep hair out the face, you don't need to wear your hair in bun if it's 3 inches long! I blame TOWIE for the total emasculation of men since 2009 and Nando's regulars feeling the need to copy everything they do. Stop it. I usually hold ASOS in pretty high regard given that 90% of my wardrobe is from there but even I had to laugh when they introduced their clip on man buns. Surely nobody thinks this looks good??? You can tell even the model is thinking wtf. 

What trends do you hate? Are there any 2015 trends you can't wait to see the back of?

The best things about Autumn

As mentioned in my previous post I absolutely adore autumn and winter. Summer is basically wasted on me as I spend the entire time inside counting down till Christmas and muttering to myself any time someone mentions the word ''heatwave''.  (I like to think of myself as the summer equivalent of Scrooge). Aside from the fact Autumn is generally beautiful outside I wanted to share a few of my other favourite things about this time of year...

Fall fashion. Boots, scarves and layering is BACK! Maxi dresses are fun but nothing beats bundling up in scarves and boots. Ah who am I kidding I'm just happy its socially acceptable to wear a onesie again.

It makes me sound like the most superficial person ever but I think autumn is the best time of year to be in a relationship. Boyfriends are indeed for life and not just for Christmas but I definitely appreciate sleeping next to a human hot water bottle in the colder months, and having someone to stay in and watch Netflix with while it hammers it down with rain outside. Boyfriend season is here!

Pumpkin Spice errrrrrything. Since converting to vegetarianism in January this year I no longer look forward to Gregg’s Festive Bakes or pigs in blankets but pumpkin spiced lattes. And living in a city means there's a coffee shop every 20 metres which is ideal if you're a white girl in Autumn...

Guaranteed crap weather. Ok, nobody really wants to be cold and wet for 6 months of the year but at least in Autumn you know it’s going to be crap and can therefore save yourself an hour in the morning not bothering to straighten your hair. Messy buns from September to March is pretty much standard for me. It's also nearly socially acceptable to put the heating on (although this is something I've been doing since mid-August). There's always an ongoing debate in every office I have ever worked in about the temperature and I'm so happy it's nearly our time to be comfortable! Heating on windows closed sorry guys. 

Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner. As an avid Halloween supporter I’ve been going out in my underwear on the 31st of October since I was at an age that my dad had no choice but to let me out the door. It’s ironic that I enjoy Halloween when I can’t even sit through a scary film or an episode of American Horror Story on my own but I enjoy the fancy dress element and chocolate at least. I'm a Christmas freak. I started Christmas shopping two weeks ago need I go on.

The weather is an excuse to cancel plans once again. I love my friends more than life but sometimes you want to sit on your own in your warm flat and stare at your pores in a magnified mirror - and that's ok. The best thing about Autumn is the cold weather is now a legit excuse to cancel and the truth is your friend is probably secretly wanting to cancel too. 

Here are a few other honourable mentions of things I love about Autumn:Cosy socks – An extra hour in bed – Downton Abbey – I’m the only person in the room with a tan because I fake it - Christmas shopping -  No more ''hotdogs or legs?'' Instagram posts - candles 

What are your favourite things about this time of year?