Sunday, 22 October 2017

Brunch at Boston Tea Party


Here's the thing, I have never been out for brunch. I think it's because brunch has only come into my mind since becoming a blogger, I mean it's such a blogger cliche right? But at this time, I was either a) ill b) recovering or c) skint. You could argue I could have gone when I was recovering but it's so structured and set meals that I never was able to justify skipping a meal to then combine two.

Anyway, I've finally been out for breakfast/brunch and it was glorious. I'm definitely regretting never having done this before an I shall certainly be doing this again.


My friend's favourite place for Brunch is the Boston Tea Party in Birmingham. She's an expert as brunching so I left it to her to choose the restaurant and give me menu options. I went for brown rice porridge in the end, despite swooning over the entire menu. I know it may sound boring but porridge is quite possibly one of my favourite foods, and with peanut butter, my day is made.

Anyway, I absolutely loved the place. It's such a cool, hipster place with a retro vibe. It has literally every possible tea you could think of as well - I had chocolate tea and it smelt amazing!


I'd definitely recommend this place if you are looking for a different way to begin the weekend. Such a relaxed place to go with a friend or loved one.

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Saturday, 7 October 2017

A/W Knitwear




Hi, my name is Samantha, and I'm addicted to buying knitwear.

I'm meant to be buying train tickets to Uni and thinking about Christmas presents but apparently it's more enjoyable browsing through ASOS and Missselfridge, which is not OK and yet it keeps happening.

Talking of Miss Selfridge, they actually do have an amazing sale on right now and I managed to get the pink floral jumper for £12 instead of £40 so I don't feel too bad. It's so warm and cosy too so I'll definitely get a lot of wear out of it. Paired with winter boots and skinny jeans; an effortless, lazy and stylish look. Zara are also really impressing me lately. I usually go through love/hate relationships with that store but they have some really nice pieces!

Apologies if this post now enables you spend money, but we have to keep warm this winter, don't we?

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Cutest Stickers Ever


I haven't done a blog collab in ages but there is something about stickers and stationery that makes my heart melt, so this is one I wasn't going to turn down.

Ever since Paperchase, Ban.do, Kate Spade (you know the brands I'm talking about) put stickers into their diaries, the first thing I now do to my diary is use all the stickers for important dates, dinners, birthdays, holidays etc. There's something about turning a page to see a something ridiculously cute sitting next to your hectic work plans.

I'm sure you've probably all heard of Caseapp because most bloggers have had matching iPhone and Laptop cases by now, however StickerApp are the sister company who allow you to create custom stickers. So, you can either scroll through pinterest for hours and find cute images to turn into stickers, choose some ready made stickers on their site, or you can be professional and create blog stickers.


I am actually in love with how these turned out - I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these yet but the avocado and peach just make me smile so much haha! This particular design is more expensive but you can pick different templates depending on your budget and preferences. I think this site would be really good if you were a teacher or parent who needs reward stickers.

I'm now off to find somewhere to stick my new peach!
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Sunday, 1 October 2017

October Goals


Safe to say it's definitely Autumn, eh? It's rainy, windy, cold and gloomy but the colours are stunning and we are getting closer and closer to the festive season, which is something I just love.

My life has come back up to speed this week. My first week of Uni is done and I've already had to do 5 assessments (which I did really well on) so inevitably, October will be much busier. However, I still have a few things I want to focus on.

1. Fitness. I may have mentioned that once I came back from Croatia, I gave my lifestyle an overhaul and I've kept it up. I definitely feel less frumpy and now I'm working on toning more than anything so I've introduced small weights. This month is to try and build strength a bit because when I was really ill, my muscles essentially wasted away and I'd like to reverse that.

2. Work/life Balance. I'm a workaholic. I'm insanely organised and I'm very self driven. And I know I can get carried away doing work because I do find it easy to get shit done. I have deadlines looming already and whilst I know I could work, work, work, I just need to remember to take a step back sometimes.

3. Try not to neglect this space. I'm always either in love with my blog or go for ages without feeling any creative vibe. I'm not a dedicated blogger, and that is okay, but I don't want to go for weeks without posting.
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Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Final Year


On Monday, I begun the final year of my masters.

12 months until I finish my degree, 14 months until I can register as a qualified social worker, 15 months until I graduate. 

I am not someone who likes to wish time away but I am so ready to get this year ticked off and begin my career as a practitioner. This year is going to be hard. I’ve only been back four days and already have 5 online assessments to complete before Sunday. I’ve done 3 so far and plan to finish them today but I guess this is why you never hear anyone say a masters degree is easy. And, I guess it shouldn’t be either because if it were easy, everyone would have one and it wouldn’t necessarily carry the same value.

So whilst I’m not naive to the fact I may become a hermit this year and have no social life, I am really looking forward to my final placement. I’ve met my team and supervisor, and genuinely couldn’t ask for a better team or have a better supervisor. I know I’m going to have a great experience which will hopefully put me in a good position when it comes to applying for jobs.

I always think the first week of the academic term is a little overwhelming. I mean, being told you need to do 5 online assessments, 3500 word assignment, 100 day placement with portfolio, 3500 case analysis and 10,000 word dissertation is enough to make anyone run a mile but I am more determined than ever to do well. I always aim to achieve highly and the perfectionist in me will not let me merely scrape through. I’m just reminding myself to take one thing at a time and look after myself too. Work/life balance is important.

Theodore Roosevelt once said

‘Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well’ 


I hope he’s right. 
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Free Time

I don't go back to University until the 25th September, so this is my second week of doing absolutely nothing. Bliss, right?

Yes, for most people (I think?).


On social media, namely Instagram, I've had the most amazing summer. Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Germany and Hungary are the places I've seen and explored. I know so many people who would have loved my summer but have instead been working. But you know what? If I hadn't have been to these places, I actually fear for my mental health.

I don't deal well with having nothing to do. I can barely do a day of staying in the house reading, blogging, watching films/Netflix etc. I could have job searched but even that seems pointless, especially when you're over qualified for a minimum wage job which I'll then have to give up as soon as Uni begins again due to placement. It's hardly fair on an employer.

I get restless, fed up and end up listening to my own mind. Having time off gives me too much time to think, think and then over think a little bit more. It gives my mind room to turn toxic and all I can do is simply sit with it.

I'd also put weight on this year. Not loads but enough for me to notice so I've begun the body coach workouts and joined a gym class. I don't weigh myself but a progress picture shows me I'm back to where I am comfortable. But my god, I had forgotten how easy and addictive that life can be and sitting here with not much to do at all, really doesn't help.

I don't think the student life particularly suits me any more and I am SO ready to enter the world of work. One more year and a new chapter begins (and I'll probably be kicking myself for moaning about the time off)...
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Friday, 8 September 2017

Sweat In Style

You will either love or hate this post because I find the fitness industry to be a little like marmite sometimes, you're either obsessed or not interested at all. 

Anyway, about 2 months ago I realised I was carrying a few more pounds than usual and didn't really like it so I've changed my diet a little and started following the Body Coach philosophy. I am so so so aware that with a history like mine, weight loss is always a difficult road to go down which is why I haven't weighed myself. Instead I've tweaked my diet slightly, been doing 15-20 minute HIIT workouts and one fitness class a week. 

And with that also comes the lust for new, stylish fitness gear..











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Monday, 4 September 2017

September Goals



4 days late, I know, but better late than never, yes?

I always see September as the time for new starts. Probably because it's the beginning of the academic year and this year really is the beginning of my final ever academic year. At the end of this month, I will be beginning my final year of my masters. I genuinely don't know where time has gone.

There are just a few things I want to do before I head back to University and here's where they'll be documented.

1. Read as much as I can

I've read 7 books this summer and I plan to read 1 or 2 more before I stop reading for pleasure again and start reading for my dissertation. Even writing that word makes my eyes roll.

2. Get fitter

This summer I started to feel a little bit more wobblier than I like to be, so came back from Croatia and changed my diet and fitness a little. I've been trying the body coach HIIT workouts at home and joined my local gym, just to find some classes I can take part in. I actually went to one last week and really enjoyed it so I'm hoping to keep it up.

3. Try and enjoy the time off that I have left

I know you're all going to be sat there thinking, 'oh for god sake, I wish I'd had x amount of weeks off' but I actually hate having nothing to do and really struggle with summer holidays. However, I know as soon as I go back to Uni, I'll be in need of some chill time so I'm trying not to take this time for granted.
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Friday, 1 September 2017

Autumn Wishlist

In true September style, I have all the Autumn vibes heading my way, and feeling of starting a fresh as my final MA year is approaching. But also, I'm trying to change the way I buy things, starting from now really.

See, I follow Primark and New Look, and other shops which are similar, and always get hooked when the latest blogger or influencer is wearing something cheap. So I go out and buy it, and I probably wear it ONCE. So whilst it was cheap, it's still a complete waste of money. My ever decreasing, student pot of money.

So, I'm taking a step back and re-evaluting what I buy. I'm going to fully think over the purchases I may want to make and go back to the trustworthy rule my Mum once taught me... if you want something, and still want it 1 week later, then chances are you do actually want it.

I also want to stop buying cheap crap and invest in nicer, perhaps a little more pricier pieces. It may not work but this is the plan I currently have in my head.

But of course, I'm still female and have a wish list that's as long as my arm. As the A/W trends are now hitting the shops, here's a few things I've got my eye on..
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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest. The third and final summer destination. One of the most beautiful cities I've seen so far.

Also a place full of disasters from start to finish because as soon as I arrived, I fell down the concrete bank which is next to Parliament and have either badly bruised or fractured by tailbone, and am still in a lot of pain! However, glossing over that, I tried to forget about the pain and carried on like nothing had happened.

If you've ever been to Paris, Budapest feels like you are there. The buildings are very Parisian and decorative, which I actually loved looking at and walking around. Parliament, as you can see, is both stunning day and night.




We visited all of the 'sights', so Parliament, Fisherman's Bastille, St. Stephens Bastion,
SzĂ©chenyi Thermal Bath, Buda Castle and the City park including a trip to the zoo. 

I must admit, although everyone raves about the spa, it wasn't for me and I only lasted an hour. 
If any of you don't like baths because it's like bathing in your own dirt, you'll know exactly what I mean! 
It was an experience though and one I'm glad I did.





I was also really impressed with how cheap the food and drink was! One of my favourite places to visit was Karavan which is like a small garden full of street food. We shared this pulled pork goulash bread dish which was really good. I loved how it was lit with lanterns as well which I imagine are so pretty in the dark.


I know Budapest feels like the place to go in the blogging world (and real world from what I've seen), but I can definitely see why. It's a beautiful place, great summer weather and extremely kind people.

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Best Shave Yet

I am one of those women who always has time to shave. As Samantha Jones says in Sex and the City 2 'you wouldn't see me on my deathbed with a bush like that', and I'm sorry to say that I'm totally with her on this.

I haven't stopped writing about products but I'm just becoming more particular when it comes to choosing what I write about. As I've been away a lot, one thing I find myself reaching for in supermarkets is razors, because you cannot take them on a flight where you have no checked in luggage.

Disposable razors just do. not. make. the. grade.

And to be honest, neither do the well known brands which are approximately £10 every time you need a new one.



 But y'know what does make the grade? The new rose gold razor from Friction Free Shaving (FFS) subscription service. Not only does it look beautiful, but it's actually a really good, 6 bladed razor which comes with a fresh new blade for every week of the month.


FFS lets you choose from 2 high quality razors, either £5 or £9 per month which includes delivery, and comes with 4 blades to last the month. They provide 4 blades because a new blade every week makes shaving cleaner, sharper and less irritating - and it definitely works! I absolutely love this razor, it's so much more affordable than regular brands and it's so much higher quality. The only thing that may have put me off, is the subscription service but actually, you can cancel at any time SO easily.


And if you do fancy trying this out, FFS have kindly given my readers 25% off your first razor with the code 52NQKM or simply follow this link. You can thank me later :-)


*this post is in collaboration  with
Friction Free Shaving  but 
all  opinions are my own!


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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Berlin, Germany

Like I said in my last post, I recently went away to Germany with someone who doesn't appreciate travel but I'm not going to dwell on that here.

I think the most fascinating part of history lessons when I was stuck in GCSE history, was definitely WW1 and WW2 so when it came to picking a city break, Berlin has both the history and the newly revamped modern vibe to it. It was pretty high on the list of places to go in Europe, so that was that.





We did so much in Berlin; the Berlin Dome, River tour, Checkpoint Charlie, National History/Science Museum, Anne Frank Centre, Jewish Museum, the Reichstag, Brandenburg gate, Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Centre. Oh and we did all of this on foot so ended up walking 10 miles a day!

For me, the Jewish museum really stood out as it was as more solemn museum to visit. I've been to Poland and seen it from their perspective but in Germany, the museum was more about trying to create the feelings which the jewish may have felt. I use that sentence lightly because of course, we would be feeling no where near as frightened as they were.

There was a room which resembled a holocaust room; nothing in there but darkness. Small and dark. Awaiting death.

There was another garden, almost like a maze but the floor was very uneven and the maze was all different heights. The idea being that you set foot into this garden and feel uneasy, almost sick as you walk around because you're so disorientated. I just found this to be really powerful.






I've also just finished reading Anne Frank's Diary that I purchased at the centre. Not the best in terms of writing (she was a young teenager so must remember that) but a really important read. One I recommend wholeheartedly.

Berlin is a really cool city, one I'd go back to again for sure.
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Travelling

I think we often forget that travelling is a privilege. To be able to afford a plane ticket, passport, spending money, accommodation, cameras etc.. well not everyone can. I've been fortunate to have visited seven new countries this year which probably makes me sound like a spoilt brat (FYI, I worked hard and funded it myself) but I am so grateful to be in a position which allows me to do so.



Travelling is really important to me. I believe it probably saved my life (along with a very good friend) and for that reason, it has a special place in my heart. When you travel, you no longer have a routine. You don't necessarily know where you'll be tomorrow, what you'll be eating, learning, exploring or seeing. And yes, a very long time ago, that would have been terrifying to think about but now it's the most exciting thing I can imagine.

I try not to go to fancy hotels and fancy restaurants when I'm away. A basic AirBnB works wonders providing there is a bed and bathroom because really, how long are you in the room for? As for restaurants, I think part of the fun is experiencing the local delicacies and flavours. Long gone are the days where I sit by a pool for days but you'll find me exploring the town, museums and landmarks at least trying to learn about the history and culture. I never used to think history was important but to understand the present, we should at least try to understand the past and how we came to be.

I try not to get taxi's everywhere, choosing to mostly walk miles all over as you get to see so much more. And I take lots of pictures because I want to show my grandchildren all of the places I've been and that life is much bigger than their bedroom walls.

I recently went away with someone who didn't have this same outlook on travelling. They didn't leave their comfort zone and it broke my heart. A new place with a wealth of opportunity - wasted. I get that travelling isn't for everyone but trying something new is how we learn and grow. As an adult, you don't come across those opportunities in the same quantity as you do a child, so you have to grab them with both hands and run.

If you go away and embrace everything possible, you rarely come back the same person. You'll have a new outlook on life, something in you will have changed because you will see that the world is much bigger than what you first thought.
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Monday, 14 August 2017

Kotor, Montenegro

So the opposite direction to Bosnia, is Montenegro. Another border crossing for us but we were off to visit the town called Kotor and the Lady of rocks in a town named Perest.

The morning began with Kotor, a beautiful little town surrounded by a wall. We were shown around by a local guide who taught us about the churches and famous iconic buildings. I don't actually remember doing much here though as it was way too hot (there was a heatwave when we arrived reaching temperatures of 38 celsius) so I just sat in a bar and ordered cool drinks. There are steps up (45 mins worth) to the most famous church in Kotor but the heat immediately threw that idea out of the window.




After exploring the town, we drove back to Perest. This is home to the legend of Our Lady of the Rocks. It's a tiny man made island which homes a beautiful blue and white church. We took a small boat over to visit it and learned that according to legend, seamen kept finding a religious painting where the island is now. They moved it to the local church but it just kept returning to the rock. As a result, they built this artificial island and the painting remains inside.

We didn't stay here for long but did explore the church with a guide showing us the rooms and artefacts. I don't actually think it's a place I'd stay for a long time as I love activity but the bay of Kotor is definitely somewhere I'm glad I've ticked off my world list.


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina


These posts are really few and far between, which I apologise about.. actually, I don't because I'm busy seeing European cities (currently on my way home from Berlin). But it does mean I'm writing these from memory rather than in the present.

Anyway, whilst in Croatia we decided to do two excursions with the first being to Bosnia & Herzegovina. To get to the main part of Bosnia, you actually have to cross two borders from Dubrovnik which is a little laborious but definitely worth it.

The trip included a stop at Kravice waterfalls which was absolutely beautiful. We only stayed an hour but the water was again, crystal clear, and also freezing cold. It didn't matter though because Bosnia is even hotter than Croatia so it was nice to feel temporarily refreshed!

 


Then we drove onto Mostar. Our mini bus actually crashed so can say I experienced an accident in Bosnia! Luckily everyone was absolutely fine and we were on our way within 30 minutes.

Mostar was even hotter than the waterfalls but again absolutely stunning. I've never been to Morocco but I imagine it to be similar to the markets in Marrakech - female heaven! We had a 30 minute tour with a local guide before heading off on our own to explore and grab lunch.

Mostar really is beautiful, especially the view of and from the bridge. I'm so glad we spent the day there.



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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Dubrovnik, Croatia

This summer is all about travelling. Seeing the world, exploring new cities and making memories with close ones.

I've kick started this with a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We were there for 10 days which was actually far too long to remain in one place, so also ventured to Bosnia & Herzegovina followed by Montenegro.

We honestly had the most amazing time. I won't write much as the pictures do the talking but we did everything from visit the old town, relaxed in bars, swam in the most crystal clear waters, chilled out on the beaches, sailed to different islands... oh and walked at least 5 miles a day due to the steps down to get anywhere!

The weather was beautiful (if not a little hot towards the end), the food was delicious and everywhere you looked was simply stunning.

I will leave you with photos (the other countries will follow in later posts!)

















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