Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Phone Wallpapers

Recently, I've actually had a bit of a sort through my Pinterest boards (shameless plug, I know) and at the weekend, I may have become a little obsessed with it! I used to think it was so boring but before I knew it, I'd actually spent quite a while just pinning different bits and bobs. It's addictive, isn't it?

Anyway, I found some really lovely phone wallpapers that I thought I'd share on here! I know I love these sort of posts, so maybe you will too?


2. Anyone still loving pineapples? I know I am..
3. One for Autumn
4. Because it's getting colder and winter is approaching
5. A floral pattern
6. You are bootiful

The first one is currently my wallpaper but I love swapping them so often, especially fort the different season. I'm definitely already on the look out for Winter/Christmas designs. Let me know if you like these type of posts, and if you use any for yourself. Where is your favourite place to find wallpapers?



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Monday, 26 October 2015

Tips for a Better Sleep with Bed Linens


Sleep is one of those things that is really important and yet so many of us have problems with it, at some point in their lives. It's just so vital for resting and preparing your body as well as your mind. Thankfully, I tend to sleep pretty well these days but I've had insomnia before and it really can be hell when you're wide awake at 3am in the morning. 

I don't know about you, but I definitely function and feel so much better if I've slept well. On the odd occasion that I finish work at 11pm and have to be there again for 7am, I am SO grouchy and unsociable because I just haven't had enough sleep. I think knowing you have to be up early sometimes makes it harder to switch off but there are definitely certain things though that can really help you sail away to the land of nod..

1. Create a relaxed environment. Let's face it, if you don't like the room/place you're going to be sleeping in, you aren't going to want to go to bed. A dark, cosy room with your favourite scented candle or hot water bottle makes the room much more inviting.

2. Bed linens. And on a similar note, I love having pretty bed linen! I have a sailor/nautical vibe to my room but I recently purchased this woodland set from Asda for Autumn, and I'm thinking this fair isle set for Winter/Christmas from Yorkshire Linen Bed Linens. I’ve also been lusting after this from Ted Baker, and Next’s homeware range, as they have some tartan bedding available. I know, red and tartan for Autumn, groundbreaking right?! There also some great offers on myvouchercodes at the moment too!

3. Electric Blankets! And on a similar note, electric blankets are the best thing ever. At Uni, it was so, so cold and I practically lived in bed with my electric blanket on all of the time because they are so cosy and warm! If you just switch it on half an hour before getting into bed, your bed will be so comfortable and inviting.  Honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t have one!

4. Switching off. Do not scroll through twitter whilst lying in bed!! We've all done it and it keeps me awake for hours because my brain keeps on ticking over and over... Just put your phone down!

5. Caffeine. My Dad makes me laugh when he says he can't sleep but has had a coffee just before going to bed. Caffeine takes a while to exit your system, so opt for another drink if it's later at night.

6. Hot baths & hot drinks. And finally, have a hot bath or hot drink before you go to bed. During my degree, I'm pretty sure that I learnt that the decline in body temperature can make you sleepy, so it's the perfect excuse to devour a hot chocolate or a hot, luxurious bath :)
*This post was written in collaboration with Yorkshire Linen 
but all  opinions are my own.
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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Orelia Jewellery*

I am absolutely loving dainty jewellery at the moment. I used to be all about statement necklaces over a comfortable, chunky knit, but sometimes I think it can all get a little bit too much. So lately, I've been preferring a simple, dainty necklace instead. I think there's just something so much more elegant about it!


I recently received a lovely package from Orelia Jewellery via etailPR, who sell exactly the type of necklaces I've been loving. Orelia is a brand that slots nicely in between high street and designer, which sometimes is the best - a better quality product but at a more affordable price! Their range reminds me of the Z range at accessorize actually, which is one I always check out.


Orelia sells a wide range of jewellery and body art but I chose three necklaces. The first one I chose is this gold plated crystal bar necklace. I just think this is perfect for heading towards the festive season and is a great way to add a little sparkle an everyday outfit.


My second choice was this semi precious triple cube necklace which is a new piece to their range. I'm loving marble at the moment and the stones reminded me of just that, even though they are blue opal! I just think it's a lovely piece that's a little bit different!


And finally, my favourite choice is this love knot ditsy necklace. I chose this with one of my best friends in mind because she loves infinity knots, so I may give it to her actually! It's just so simple but elegant all in one!


Overall, I really do love these pieces! These ranged from £12-£15 too, so they are really affordable! They'd definitely make for lovely gifts for friends (especially if you're starting your Christmas shopping soon) or just want to treat yourself.. because let's face it, who doesn't?!
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Sunday, 18 October 2015

Writing




















It makes me laugh sometimes because I actually used to hate reading and writing. At school, I was a Maths geek. I could do Maths without trying, it came naturally to me, and I did well. But English? That was a different ball game. I really had to try to get good grades. I just hated it. I didn't try, and because it didn't just come naturally to me, I couldn't be bothered.

Ironically, I then went on to fail my Maths A-Level and do really well in English..

I'm not sure what happened to be honest. It was like as soon as I started sixth form, my brain transformed and I could no longer do sums but I could write a pretty good essay. And then I went to uni, and continued to write well, but also turned to writing as my own form of therapy. I used to keep a handwritten diary but it actually scares me a little to look back in them now. I can open a page, and there are streams of numbers and calorie calculations, followed by extracts about how I could get these numbers lower and lower. It's frightening, really. 

I then made the jump from handwritten entries to blog posts. If you go far back enough, you'll find entries written from the time I was ill. I don't keep a diary or really write like I used to any more because I figured that if I kept on writing, then I'd always be ill. However, I still love the concept of writing, mostly because I think language is so, so important. We use language to give meaning to the world, express how we feel and perceive things.

I was thinking about my place in the blogging world, and where I want this blog to go. Sometimes I enjoy commercial, light hearted posts, but mostly I prefer to publish a well written piece, that I've actually thought about. Lifestyle blogging is the category this blog would fall under, but lifestyle is such a vague term to use and under that is usually where you'll find the personal bloggers. You know, the ones who capture their lives and moments with beautiful, poetic language; who allow you into their mind, and all you really want to do is continue reading because you're being offered a rare glimpse into the world.

Well, that's really what I hope for this blog. I hope it never becomes a place when blogging gets in the way of writing, because that's what I love most. Being able to write.

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Books // The Lover's Dictionary


The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

This book isn't really a novel in my opinion, but rather something you can flick through in a matter of hours which I did on my train journey to London last week.  It's tells the story of a couple's relationship through a number of words, going from A-Z, just like the dictionary.

It's not in chronological order and is told in a diary styled format, offering tiny snippets into how the relationship began and where it is going. With each word in the book, there is an emotion or memory about the relationship, attached to it. Some are a full page long, others only a few lines.

I can honestly say that I don't know how I feel about this book. It's very different and therefore intriguing, but it's very easy to misunderstand. The tenses are extremely mixed up and I'm still not exactly sure who the narrator was.

But there was something about it that made me want to finish the entire thing, which I guess is what you want from a book? Or maybe I just needed something to fill the two hour train journey I had.. in which case, it's the perfect book for commuters!
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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Saving Money To Travel


You may or may not know that in January, I'm headed to Sri Lanka for 3 months to do a graduate mental health placement; volunteering in a psychiatric unit, helping those with special needs, and not forgetting travelling at weekends.

Last time I did something like this, amazingly I managed to fundraise the full amount to go because it was for charity, however this time I didn't feel comfortable doing that again. I'm not going to work for charity this time, more working on a project, which isn't the same. I've been saving ever since June and I've actually done pretty well.

I think it's important to save money in your twenties though. I mean, you may not want to go traveling but maybe you want a house? There is probably something you'll want to do/or buy in the future that will require some saving for.

Easy ways to save money

1. Work out how much you need to save per week/month. When I got accepted onto this placement, I immediately worked out how much money I'd actually need to save. Going travelling isn't just buying a plane ticket. It's accommodation, flights, visas, vaccinations, insurance and spending money which does add up. I added all of this up and divided it by the number of weeks I had (I get paid weekly), and then on payday, I immediately transfer that money elsewhere. It can't be touched and there's no risk of spending it!

2. Prioritise. The money I then have left then goes on important stuff first like petrol and board (and chocolate when I'm working late). You don't want to be going into your overdraft because you bought a new dress but can't afford to get to work.

3. Don't buy stuff you don't need. I try to stick to a rule where if I see something I want, put it into my online basket (because let's face it, online shopping is the worst culprit for spending), and if I'm still thinking about it a week later, then I actually want/need it. If I've forgotten about it, it clearly wasn't that important!

4. DO treat yourself. And by that, I mean if it's a week later and you can afford to get the said item, then buy it. I find that if I'm on a 'spending ban', then I think about buying stuff more often and it becomes harder to resist.

5. Make money online! I don't do this very often but websites like Valued Opinion, Top Cash Back and Qmee, are actually really easy ways of making a little bit of extra cash.

6. Always remember why you're saving. At the end of the day, it's going to be so worth it when you're sat on a beach in Sri Lanka, because you managed not to buy that dress that you didn't really need anyway. And if you are going travelling, remember that travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer.

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Monday, 12 October 2015

Made by Steffie B














A little bit of a different post today but I wanted to feature a lovely lady named Steff on here, in the hope of raising some awareness and potentially helping her out.

Last week, I stumbled across Made By Steffie B which is a blog/shop run by Steff. Sometimes things do just stay with you and you want to help, don't you? You see, Steff was left infertile five years ago due to an untreated miscarriage, and is now attempting to save up for IVF, as she is not eligible for IFV with the NHS. After reading her blog, my heart goes out to Steff and her partner, as she was clearly mistreated and her infertility could have and should have been prevented.

At 42, her dream is still to have a child of her own however, IFV is £7000 a pop. So, Steff has set up an online shop, making crochet keep sakes named 'cuties' in which you can adopt. Each 'cutie' has a name, comes in a beautiful box, and are all completely unique with individual embellishments and colours to ensure the same one is never made twice.

I think this story really sits with me because I know what it's like to infertile and it's not something we discuss openly. Thankfully, mine was reversible but we definitely take it for granted because it's only when you realise you can't have something, you find out that actually, you might want it.

This isn't a sponsored post and Steff didn't ask me to write this, I've written it because I wanted to so please do go check her site out, share her story or just tweet about it.

Every little helps (right, tesco?).
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Friday, 9 October 2015

Being Average


This post is definitely one of those which has been a draft for some time now because sometimes it's not so easy to just write about how you are when you know who is actually reading it. It's not as easy to write freely online any more, everything has to be well thought out and sometimes filtered out because the last thing you want is to be left feeling vulnerable. But, f*ck it.

Believe it or not, I'm not one for comparison any more. I think we are all completely different, our lives take different directions, and if we're not good at one thing, chances are we're good at another. People often say social media is the worst culprit for inviting comparison, but when I see someone on holiday or in a pretty outfit, I don't get jealous. I think good for them! And if I want it, I'll go about trying to get it. 

Maybe it's a trait left over from years of living with an eating disorder, but something I do fear, is being average. Not average in comparison to any one else, but average in terms of what I believe it to be - the need to live up to my own expectations. So when I say that I was sat the other day, almost missing my tiny, anorexic frame, it's not something that I want people to worry about. I don't miss it because I want to be skeletal again, but because it's not average. 

See, when you hardly eat, you're numb. You live in this hazy bubble and people wrongly idolise you. 

I wish I had your willpower.

It's a huge compliment. You feel superior to the rest of society, especially when half of humanity seems to be on a diet or attempting weight loss, and miserably failing due to the amount of temptation there is out there. I no longer receive this so called compliment any more because I make sure I eat properly, healthily and unhealthily. I can quite happily say no to dessert. I can easily decline junk food. However for me, the ability to starve isn't a sign of strength, but rather strength is going against that vicious voice in your head, eating adequately and remaining a healthy weight - which doesn't even require any effort now because I'm no longer unwell.

Not being conflicted any more is amazing. I really do love being able to enjoy a piece of cake offered by my Uncle again without a second, doubtful thought. It's normal. It's average, and I look very average now too. I'm not skinny, no longer a walking zombie, and clothes don't hang off me - which I know, is actually a whole lot better than the alternative. But sometimes, and it isn't often but just sometimes, I miss feeling superior to the rest of the world. 

Really, I should learn to feel OK with feeling average. If it means being alive, healthy and free, then maybe average isn't so bad after all.

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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Meeting In London

I've been blogging for around three and a half years now, and the one blogger I've followed from the very beginning is Josie. We've been saying for ages we'll meet soon, but sometimes words are just words, and so I decided it was time to turn words into actions.

Last week I had a week's holiday so I booked a train to London. Sometimes spontaneity is a beautiful thing because I honestly had the best time there. I met Josie in Covent Garden and we just mooched around, mostly just chatting. And that's when I realised how amazing blogging can really be.. I'd never met Josie before, but we were like old friends meeting up again after a few months apart. We know each other, yet we've only met once?!


However, there are things you don't always write about so it was just so lovely to share stories and be given an insight into someone else's world. I'm sure she won't mind me saying, but Josie also has CF, and I was so inspired by her because she really does have the best attitude to life. She is so determined and really doesn't care about what anyone thinks of her, which is just so refreshing. I felt so instantly comfortable to be in her company, and I think that's a rare quality to have.

In the evening, we also met the lovely Sophie for dinner which was so nice as well because the one thing you can't pick up from a blog post is someone's mannerisms, their voice or little quirks so it's always nice to put a face to the writing.


It was so easy for me to just go down to London for the day, and it's definitely something I'd do again. I know people think it's strange when you talk about 'friends' you've never met, but what else do you call people you know really well, get on with really well and enjoy each others company?

I really did have the best time.
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Books // Only Ever Yours


In this world, women are designed to be perfect. Baby girls are no longer bred naturally, so they are bred in schools and raised to master the art of pleasing a man. The girls or 'Eves' remain at school for sixteen years, and on graduation, ten are picked to become 'companions' for the men. This is the best option, as they are required to live with their husbands and have sons until they are no longer useful. The rest either become 'concubines', who are effectively prostitutes, or teachers in the school - both of which aren't great prospects.

Freida is in her final year and graduation is looming. However the pressure of being perfect is clearly too much for her. Being fat is not acceptable. Being ugly is not acceptable. Every girl must be perfect but there is always room for improvement. The eve's go to extreme lengths to achieve perfection - restricting intake, purging, forever comparing to one another. They are also treated appallingly, not even really having a name but referred to as numbers.

Freida and Isabel were best friends, but final year takes its toll and Isabel gains weight. Along with the intense pressure to have friends and fit in with the other eves, the Inheritants (men) are coming to the school on a weekly basis to assess the eves so that they can choose one at the Graduation ceremony. Ultimately, Freida needs to decide which love she really wants - her best friend or the love of an inheritant.

Honestly, this book is the best book I've read this year. I'm not the fastest reader and usually I'm looking ahead, seeing how many pages left of each chapter, but I flew through this without looking because it was just so gripping. I really enjoyed this book, but I don't know if enjoyed is the correct word. It's haunting, disturbing and excellently written.

If there's a book you need to read, it's this one.


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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Relaxation & Self Care


I think self care is something a lot of us completely forget about or don't bother with because we're too busy working, stressing, or simply opening too many tabs for our brains to even begin to cope with. And then, before we know it, we can't sleep, we over/under eat, drink, smoke.. you get the idea.

But really, if we don't look after ourselves, then who will? And if we're not well, how can we possibly look after others? Relaxing and looking after ourselves is something we really should all be doing and I really do think it's important to look after your mind. So, when I was asked by Legal & General home insurance* to discuss how to relax at home, it didn't require much thinking about. Staying relaxed is completely different for us all, we're all individual and will prefer to relax in different ways, but here are some of my favourites.

1. Create a calm, relaxed, safe environment. We live in an age where everything is go, go, go and we're usually using something electronic - I mean, I'm writing this on my Macbook now. Anxiety is also cropping up more and more so step away from the online world and comparison, create a little area with some scented candles, blankets and pillows and just enjoy your own company. A home which you love and feel safe in is one where you'll definitely feel more relaxed.

2. Find a focused activity. Not everyone loves reading but it is a really great escape. However, you could also try painting, listening to music, sewing/knitting, baking etc. Just something that you can do without staring at a screen.

3. Practice yoga or mindfulness. Ok, I know this isn't for everyone and it's not always for me either but just taking 10 minutes to focus on breathing or stretching is actually really helpful. There are some amazing routines on youtube such as Yoga with Adriene that are really great.

4. Take a hot bath, paint your nails or apply a face mask. Just three simple things that you can do to pamper yourself a little bit and will make you feel better, more relaxed (and a little bit warmer in the autumn/winter months!).

5. Get some exercise. Maybe you're not one for always chilling out so maybe going for a country walk or run is better for you. Exercise = endorphins, and all that. Just getting out and clearing your head will do the world of good.

Oh, and don't feel bad about it either. Just 30 minutes to recharge your batteries will be appreciated by your brain and body. I know I'm definitely trying to spend less time on social media and make time for myself because I really do believe that if you aren't well, how can you possibly be capable of looking after someone else?
*This post was written in collaboration with Legal & General insurance
but all  opinions are my own.
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