28 September 2017

Secondhand Styling and Autumn Excitement | #OOTD

girl standing in a field

I'm known to latch onto my favourite shoes and wear them absolutely to DEATH, so now I purchase most of them second hand. Not only is the rubber from the soles of our shoes one of the things that are super bad for this beautiful planet, but I wear everything down so quickly that there's not always much point in me buying brand new shoes.

I got these little brown boots from a friend back home, and they fit like a dream.

Most of my clothes are amazing charity shop finds, but this dress was a last minute purchase from the high street as I was visiting Wales and needed a new outfit, stat! I bought it a good few sizes too big, which I reckon doesn't look too bad with the embroidered belt. (forgive me, I'm new to this whole fashion thing)

girl in field with leather jacket

girl in field with wildflowers

My faux leather jacket was also secondhand, purchased while surviving my first year of university. When buying a new item of clothing I always ask myself how much will I actually wear it? And damn, if there's anything I've outworn ever, it's this jacket. Which is why I decided to spruce it up with some paint!

I painted some quite bad roses on it last minute, before catching our train to Wales. Alex actually stepped on one of them so there's a cute sock print on it. Mmm, vintage. So authentic.

I've said my goodbyes to summer again and again this year, but I think that last one is for good. The hemisphere is starting to transition into Autumn, my favourite season, so you can bet I'll be cracking out the chunky knit scarves, PVC skirts and yet more boots. I'm not sure why but something about Autumn is so refreshing. Maybe it's the crisp air or the fact that with each September came change.

This is the first September since I can remember that I'm not in education which is pretty bittersweet- but the turn of the leaves still all feels like a new start. I can't wait for strolls in the park through crunchy leaves and breezy sunrises.

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24 September 2017

Fantastic Ideas and Where to Find Them

pink planner flatlay

Today I met a man who's friend had invented the doorstops we used at work. That sounds very boring and simple but it got me thinking- literally anyone could have had that idea. The guy simply used his annoyance at a problem, had an idea that he might have forgotten had he not written it down and actually used his motivation to transform this idea into a real thing.

Have you ever watched Joy with Jennifer Lawrence? (it's an okay movie, inspiring and I'm a fan of her so theres that) It's a true story about a woman who invents the self-wringing 'miracle mop' and her climb from laborious single mother to millionaire. While not everyone's motivation is money, again this is a simple idea that anyone could have thought of, in this case she thought off it when she cut her hands up wringing a mop that had broken glass in. Again, Joy wrote down her idea and made it a reality.

I feel like most of us have had an idea in passing then discovered that someone has either a) already done it or b) did it around the same time / just after you thought of it- but you can't do anything about it because you didn't vocalise it.

In the UK it's actually not illegal or breaching copyright to use someone's idea, so the idea you had for a blog post, or a book, even if you pitched it, can be used by someone else without much ground for a fight (why I don't share every sketchbook page ever haha) The key really is to just DO the thing.

I love to think of ideas like clouds... they pass over you, you take them in and you can either take the picture, capturing it or let it travel on past. The cloud will then pass over someone else, and they are given the exact same opportunity. Think of ideas as physical things that pass from one person to another. If you don't catch that idea and write it down, someone else will!

So the key to finding and keeping ideas is to catch them in the act. Carry a little notepad around with you, or a note in your phone ready for these clouds of inspiration.

Use the things that annoy you (think of the unspillable wine glass, am I right) and figure out a solution.

Ideas aren't always epiphanies, they like to camouflage with your regular thoughts. With time you will get better at distinguishing the two; I'm still learning!

At the moment, one of my jobs is as a waitress. I wake up at 5:30am some mornings and use my food order pad as an ideas pad, stuffing the notes in my bra as the shift goes on. At the bottom of my bag is always a pile of crumpled up notes, some which I pull out later and use, develop on and some that eventually end up as wrinkly little chewing gum wrappers which are arguably useful either way.

You have nothing to lose from writing them down.

It's not 'sods law' when you think of something and someone else does it after you- you just need to be that person! Be the one who runs with an idea. Stew on it if you have to, but don't let the universe take it from you, you were lucky to stumble upon it.

If it's inspiration that you need then think about your best projects so far, what mindset were you in when you created them? How did you get there? Maybe explore new territory- new crafts, movies, blogs, towns, cities and cultures. Remember that inspiration doesn't always have to be big and colourful, it can be in the tiny details that you often and easily pass, like the patterned tiles in a bathroom stall, or the quiet conversations in your local coffee shop.

Stay open minded and ideas will come to you. No idea is a bad idea (unless it might get you killed, uhh) and there's really no harm in making a note. And hey, even if you don't act on an idea, at least you can say you thought of it first!


p.s the awesome luxury planner in the first picture is from Rooi. It's HUUUGE and I LOVE IT. Expect to see some organisation posts with it soon.

Have you ever had a genius idea that you discovered someone did already? Where do you get your best ideas? Mine are in bed and in the shower haha.

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17 September 2017

4 Ingredient Sunshine Coffee Scrub

coffee scrub on legs

It's been a long time since I've done a minimal ingredients recipe. The difference with this one is that you can't eat it (...I mean, you could brew it but I'm not sure that cinnamon and turmeric would go down too well), you scrub your whole human bean bodeh' with it.

Coffee is a part of my day-off routine.

Wake up, stretch, (snooze, wake up again) coffee, before anything more productive. Just call me Lorelai! I've tried so many gorgeous flavoured coffees in my impromptu TK Maxx hauls but recently switched to a cheap alternative, so it wasn't a loss to make a beautiful body scrub out of. Plus, it makes you smell like sweet roasted coffee beans, and who wouldn't want that.

Although the caffeine in coffee causes anxiety for many people, did you know the smell actually reduces anxiety symptoms? That's something that makes this scrub perfect for day or night use- if you love to wake up and smell the coffee, use this in your morning shower. If you need to wind down and destress, deep inhale the aroma of coffee in your night-time shower. Perrrrrfect.

To make your scrub | 5 minutes & 4 ingredients: 


Body scrub ingredients flatlay

Grab your coffee (ground for cafetiere use, you want a grind that's not too fine as otherwise it won't polish away those dead skin cells as well), some turmeric and cinnamon from the spice rack and some granulated sugar. The larger the grains of all of these things, the better.

You will also need a container for your scrub and a piece of paper to use as a funnel, or even better, an actual funnel!

For my container I used a bottle from the Porters Gin sample I received when I met Instagram's co-creator with Creative Debuts! I knew bottle hoarding would come in handy.

pouring coffee into bottle

Sugar, Coffee and cinnamon

Fill your container two thirds with coffee grounds, then mix together the final third of sugar with a good shake of cinnamon and turmeric.

Turmeric is used in face masks quite a lot as it's super rich in anti-oxidants. Cinnamon, when taken, is a metabolism boost and both spices help circulation. Exfoliating does too! So these combined is the perfect skin boost.



Add all your ingredients to your container and shake it up! Shake it like you're real mad about it, until it's all mixed together (my bottle was a bit wet before so it separated a bit). 

Use your new natural body scrub on wet skin, like a regular exfoliator. Massage in circles to buff away dead skin so you feel smoother than a smooooooooth criminal. 

If you're feeling spicy, or are dreading having to get up on cold mornings ahead, add a little ginger for the perfect winter warmer scrub. Ginger will also help boost your circulation a lot and physically feels warming, so if you're anything like me in Winter and can't feel your fingers, this is the best. When you're done exfoliating, simply rinse. The sugar will dissolve in warm water and everything else will wash away, leaving no stains.

Don't be alarmed if your skin starts beaming sunshine yellow while you scrub- that's the turmeric working it's magic! 

coffee body scrub on legs

coffee scrub on legs

After I exfoliate I always massage some coconut oil into my skin for a glowing, softer than clouds finish. Honestly, coconut oil is my everyday skin saviour.

If you're looking for more Autumn/winter warmers, turmeric milk (also pepper milk / golden milk) is one to look out for. Mmmmmhmmm, this glowing mix of snowy morning spices and turmeric simmered in some non-dairy milk is a life saver, especially if you have a cold or want a restful night's sleep.

Let me know if you make my sunshine coffee scrub or if you have your own spin on the recipe!


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14 September 2017

Camping, Colwyn Bay and Sunset Beaches | Photo Diary

Porth Dyniewaid

Prepare for HELLA photos. Snagging two days away from work was one of the best things I did in August and I've been dying to share these snaps with you ever since! I visited Wales for the first time as an adult last year, as Alex's family live in Colwyn. We paid them a visit, explored Llandudno and Conwy which was so beautiful but nothing compared to this year's trip, not even the gloriously green camping trip to Balloch of '16.

There are quite a few photos in this post so scroll slowly, soak up this beauty and see if you can spot any lil sea mammals in the pictures of Porth Dyniewaid (or Angel Bay, donned by the locals) at the end of our trip! They were sooo hard to find.

arriva trains in sunshine

chips by the sea

On the first night in Colwyn we got some chips, as you do by the seaside and headed down to the beach. It's not been super warm for August but there was little wind and only a couple of passing clouds which made for the most incredible sunset.

We made a b-line for the quietest part of the beach like the hermit crabs we are and watched as the sun set behind the hills. Every now and then a train would go past at just the right angle to reflect the golden light, like a big, rumbling glow worm.

walking on beach alone

girl eating chips

girl eating chips on seafront

In case you were wondering, I enjoyed my chips v much.

Colwyn Bay Seafront

Colwyn Bay Seafront

Sunset at Colwyn

girl in front of sunset, wales

We slept at Alex's Grandad's that night, who literally lives in the middle of nowhere with no wi-fi and not even a bar of phone signal which I gotta admit, was actually so lovely.

Disconnecting guilt-free was something neither of us had experienced in a while. His Grandad lives in a big barn conversion complete with wooden beams and thick walls, away from light and noise pollution and well... any type of pollution. My asthmatic lungs could've jumped with joy.

When night fell, we headed up to the surrounding fields, home to old cars, cows, sheep and a large barn, marvelling at the stars for a long time. A few days later the sat nav would tell us that we were at 900ft above sea level which is pretty high for a house, I think.

How beautiful is this garden?

House with flowers in front

High up field with a view

High up field with a view

A week before this trip, Alex had spotted a tent in Argos for just under £20. I cracked up because he was so eager to get his hands on it and we had no plans to go to a festival (though I wish we'd got to go to Leeds festival again) or anywhere we'd need a tent, so I was pretty insistent that we didn't need it, but I caved.

So glad I did- the carrying it home from work in the pouring rain in my lil' arms, was worth it as we slept so soundly at his friend's leaving party the next night.

So we headed through Abergele, up the longest driveway ever to an awesome ranch-looking house on another beautiful hill and pitched our tent. A whole herd of cows came over to watch us pitch our tent which was hilarious. My favourite was a black cow with a huge bogey, who kept mooing when I looked over.

I didn't get a lot of pictures this night but let's just say there was a lot of whisky, an insanely good vegan BBQ and far too much axe swinging.

camping inside tent

Cute white cow behind tree

Campfire

View from the hilltop

Out of tent door view

Two nights already down and work the next day, we packed up once we woke up and relaxed with some friends (new and old) before heading back into Colwyn Bay for some of the most beautiful scenery yet.

We spent some time with Alex's family which was soooo nice and they took us to Porth Dyniewaid (Angel Bay). It was prettttty windy on top of that cliff though not as bad as my coastal hometown, and all I could see was beautiful shore and sea for miles. Literally miles and miles and miles.

See if you can spot any seals in these pictures! There was a ball floating in the water which they'd been playing with, popping up everywhere haha.

Blue water and coast cliffs

Welsh coastline

Looking out to sea, wales

We devoured Chinese food and then I had to get a train home alone which sucked, leaving was the worst thing ever. Alex stayed behind with his family for a few extra days. The journey home was made much better by some of my current favourite podcasts and I slept super well for two nights after, catching up on rest!

Have you ever been to Wales? Where's your favourite spot in the UK?


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10 September 2017

What to Look For When Viewing Places to Rent

plants on windowsill

In 2015 I moved into a place that on first viewing, seemed amazing. High ceilings, double beds, furnished, with a living room and a room we donned 'the snug', for its small yet cosy size. This house actually turned out to be one of the worst I've lived in, purely because when viewing it I did NOT know what to look for.

When looking for a place to rent it's often hard to see past the decoration, especially if it's ugh, 'oh-so Pinterest worthy'. It's easy to see yourself living somewhere when the walls are that perfect shade, or the bed frame is one you'd totally buy for yourself had you the money.

When renting you should always keep your peepers peeled for things that might catch bother you if you were to move in!

Subtle smells:

This is a weird one so bare with me. Not every house is going to smell amazing but as I said before, if the place you're viewing smells like someone hung some wet clothes inside on a hot day, that's a red flag. Look for mildew, damp parts on the ceiling or bad paint jobs where mould has been covered up. A lot of landlords will not deal with the problem head on and try to paint over it. This means it comes back!

Hot water:

Check the taps. Do they all work? Is there hot water? It's okay not to take someone's word for everything, especially when it's their job to sell this house to you. Check that the hot water tap is actually hot. This is sometimes an indication of how good the boiler is, and whether or not you'll be dealing with deathly cold mornings come Winter.

Natural light:

Which way is this house facing? Will you ever see the sun rise or set? Natural light is important to open up a space, elevate mood and over all make your living space less depressing. You can check this on the compass on your phone, as you can't visit at every time of day.

white wooden bathroom

House mates:

If you're moving into a house share, look around the communal areas and notice how they're kept. Is the shower dirty? Is the kitchen clean enough to cook in? Most of your housemates will work full time or be studying at university so won't always have the time to clean. Is this something you can live with?

Storage:

If you're anything like me, you'll have a lot of little plants and books, things that usually live on shelves. Is there room for everything here or do you need to declutter your life a little? Perhaps you need a good old storage haul, or come up with some clever ways of giving your belongings a home.

Utilities:

Does the place have a washing machine or a dryer? Maybe it does both! It's always good to have the option but this isn't make or break. As long as it works. If you'll be living with a lot of people, remember you will have to wait for the washer/dryer so invest in a clotheshorse or somewhere to dry your threads. A dishwasher is SUCH a bonus.

Broken things:

Sometimes, when moving into rented spaces, things are broken from the tenant before. Check how many plug sockets are in your space and if they're all in tact. Take a quick peek at the light and on moving in, take photos of any damages and send them to your landlord so that when it comes to getting your deposit back, you're not blamed for anything that was already there. 

Phone signal and wi-fi: 

In this day and age y'all know how important phone signal is. Check your phone signal, and potentially wi-fi speed if you're a Netflix addict like me. 

Ask about allowances:

Check the smoking, pet and decoration policies that your landlord has. Do you mind living with other people's pets or smoking habits? Are you allowed to decorate your rented space? This kind of thing is important for making a rented place feel like home and will definitely help you come to a decision.

Lastly, don't let the letting agent pressure you! We've all heard 'I have another viewing in 10 minutes', or 'this place is going to go fast'. Remember it's their job to sell you a place, and you have the right to as much time as you need to decide. You can go home and even sleep on it.

Keep your options open and you'll eventually find somewhere that you love.

I hope this has helped you! What have your best/worst experiences been with renting?

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07 September 2017

What's in my Bedside Table

bed side table with bonsai on

We all have that one drawer in the house that's filled with miscellaneous sh*t that we don't need. Mine is usually the top drawer next to my bed, so while organising it I thought it would be cool to show you some of the things I've hoarded (or not, I don't know. Tell me if you liked this!). 

On top of the bedside table is my bonsai tree, currently dealing with a visit from about a million baby greenflies, incense in a sand, gecko shaped holder that Alex's family got for him, eucalyptus oil mixed with coconut oil in what was the lid of a candle and the Tuscany candle I won at the Bloggers Blog Awards last year. This has almost run out but it smells so good that I'm dragging out every last bit haha.

I always keep my water bottle by my bed and my phone is usually never far away either! 

Every morning this is where Alex and I have our coffee or tea in bed so it's usually covered in spills and incense dust. I cleaned it just for this post, spoiling ya- I know.

a broken phone

incense and incense holder

Nag Champa is my FAVOURITE SMELL IN THE WORLD, right next to the Lush Northern Lights range. So you can bet that our room always smells like that, though recently I've been burning 'Earth Angel', which has lots of notes of Frankincense. 

I made Alex this 'instant comfort pocket box' filled with teeny tiny notes of mushy stuff for when he's having a bad day. This is always either on his desk or in the table. Living together as a couple comes with ups and downs but it's amazing 99% of the time. This is for that 1%! Haha.

instant comfort pocket box

On the vibe of comfort, there are some tea bags (cmon, don't act like you've never taken them from a hotel before) which I probably will never use because I don't drink caffeine unless it's in coffee. 

I like to keep some Vitamin C tablets in the bedside table too as if I think I'm getting run down, I can just pop one in my water bottle for an instant fizzy vitamin boost. These ones are from Aldi and do the job well!

What's in the white parcel box you say?

opening a white box

nintendo DSi pink home screen

Of course, my Nintendo and it's broken, bashed up 2005 best friend. I've said it before and I'm not ashamed!!! Animal Crossing is my long time love. 

As you might have seen on the blog before, I love to grow herbs and cacti so I keep some plant food in the top drawer for easy access. It's also there as a little reminder to not let them die, though my herbs have suffered so bad with this crazy fickle weather lately. Cryin'.

facial oil flatlay

After I take my make-up off I like to pat a little of this Rio Rosa oil on my skin for it's anti-pollution and antioxidant properties. It smells so relaxing so helps me sleep and keeps my skin hydrated until the morning, when I put a little coconut oil on it. 

Eucalyptus really elevates my mood and helps my breathing so I sometimes mix the two oils.

asthma medication in drawer

Finally, speaking of breathing, I have asthma. Here are just a couple of the inhalers I own (seriously I have probably ten on the go at the moment, not sure how). 

The blue one is a reliever so I always have one at hand in my table, in my bag, in Alex's pocket, wherever I am there is at least two of these. The purple and white ones prevent asthma attacks and the tablets are a steroid for my lungs. As a kid I barely ever used to remember to take these but now, after 21 years, I'm finally in the habit. GO ME !! *cheerleading*

What's the weirdest thing you have in your bedside table? Also let me know if you like this type of post as I've never done a 'what's in my' post before!


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06 September 2017

Tropical Butterfly House, Lancaster | Photo Diary

blue butterfly on arm

When I was a kid, the only things I used to draw were rainbows and butterflies. So original, I know. There's always been something about these little creatures that have drawn me to them, from their symmetry to their beautiful colour and how calming they are to watch! Playing Animal Crossing (which I still do now) I'd go around catching all the butterflies, reading their info cards.

I remember a few times as a child I'd find injured butterflies in the garden which I learned at the Butterfly House usually just means they are old and withered, putting them into open Tuppaware boxes filled with leaves, grass, flowers and bottle caps of water.

Sometimes they'd pick up and take off again much to my bittersweet dismay but getting to stare at them while they recovered was one of my favourite past times.

orange butterfly on leaves

man in plants at butterfly house

I've known about this butterfly house for a such long time but never been to visit! So when I managed to snag a rainy afternoon off work, Alex and I took the train to Lancaster, making the uphill walk from the station to Williamson Park.

I have never seen so much beauty all moving about in one room before! The Butterfly House was basically a large, walled greenhouse. The climate was hot, about 30 degrees and humid but not uncomfortable, so I soon got used to it.

Big blue wings glittered all over the walls, ceiling and pops of orange, yellow and red flew past. One of the creatures had wings that looked like an owl's face when they were open, so awesome.

blue butterfly on leaf

girl touching plants and butterflies

girl in greenhouse

I celebrate Earth Day everyday in my life so let me tell ya, I was in my ELEMENT at this moment.

Huuuuuuge banana leaves (if you look closely you will see teeny, tiny pearl-like butterfly eggs), wild little ferns and fruit was everywhere for the insects to feed on- I have never felt so at home haha.

In the centre of the room was a white gazebo seating area where I rested for a while to just soak up everything happening around me. This is when my favourite butterfly (the crazy, bright blue one) landed on my flower tattoos. Over, the, moon.

white and green stripy plant

close up of black butterfly

butterfly on banana leaf

butterfly eating fruit

I think next time I visit, because I'm totally coming here again, I'll bring my sketchbook and some watercolours. Being someone who draws a lot of inspiration from nature I was gutted that I didn't bring even my good camera let alone some art supplies, so sorry for the quality of these pictures! 

butterfly on hand and eyes

big banana leaves

If you're local to the area or just swinging by, this exotic Butterfly House is definitely worth a visit. Not only do they conserve these beautiful winged creatures here but Williamson Park is also home to the Pendle Witch trial spot, a gorgeous pond / waterfall area and lots of other creepy crawlies. 

After a brief stop in the café for some hot tea, when walking back to the station, we passed a 'witchy' shop where I bought some Eucalyptus essential oil, which has really helped my breathing and smells incredible! 

Definitely put Lancaster on your list of places to visit in the UK.

Are you a bug fan or do they creep you out? Is there anywhere like this near you that I should visit?!


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