Monday, 20 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: PRELOVED BLOGGERS EVENT MANCHESTER













This weekend I headed to Ziferblat for the first time for the Preloved Blogger's event in Manchester, hosted by the lovely Terri from Hello, Terri Lowe. I was a little bit nervous but a lot excited, especially with signing up to the event quite last minute due to a space cropping up. I couldn't believe how gorgeous the weather in Manchester was this weekend, and so I donned a very Spring appropriate outfit, which wasn't all black for a change(!), and headed into town.

Upon arrival, the staff at Ziferblat told me to make myself at home while I waited for the event to start - I was early as usual! I'd be wanting to go to Ziferblat for such a long time purely because I loved the idea: you pay for the time you spend there, not how much you eat or drink. The large open plan room was filled with an assortment of tables and chairs, ranging from comfy couches to wooden dining table chairs. There were lots of games and books at your disposal, and of course a huge range of cakes, cookies, coffees and tea. I was surprised to see that the Ziferblat kitchen looked like an actual kitchen in somebody's house! It was so laid back; people were just helping themselves to mugs from the cupboards and making themselves a brew. They even had decaf tea so that was a huge thumbs up from me.

Once the other bloggers started to arrive, we made our way into a seperate room that was solely for us bloggers. There was a table with lots of goodies on top, like cupcakes, goody bags, exciting Look Fantastic boxes and a couple of crafty items that hinted at what we'd be doing during the afternoon. After the Preloved team introduced themselves and we all had a bit of a 'hello' chat, we dove in to the first craft of the day: a DIY body scrub.

I'd been wanting to create my own body scrub for a while, especially with it having only three ingredients, so I was super happy to be doing so. We mixed coffee, brown sugar and coconut oil together, which after a bit of hard work and coconut manipulation, turned into a thick grainy paste. It smelt quite nice too and I can't wait to use it! We then moved on to creating some Pinterest-esque keys, through using a selection of nail polishes and ribbons to decorate them. I'm rubbish at most crafty things, so my key wasn't the prettiest of them all, but I had fun making a mess anyway!

I really enjoyed the fact that this event was so laid back and relaxed, instead of some events that have a super rigid structure and you feel like you can't really settle down and have a chat. It was lovely to be able to talk to the other bloggers and have a laugh while cracking on with the DIYs, while munching on the gorgeous cupcakes too! Thank you to Terri and the Preloved team for letting me come along so last minute and for organising such a lovely event with some really generous goodies. This wasn't my first event with Prelovedread about that one hereand I hope it's not my last! If you haven't heard of Preloved (where have you been?!), they are an online site where you can list and sell items for free, and definitely find a bargain or two. A little like Gumtree, but better and more attractive. You should definitely check them out!

Friday, 17 April 2015

FASHION: STRIPES AND TRENCH COATS




Trench coat - eBay, Shirt - Warehouse, Jeans - Warehouse, Fedora - Primark, Boots - Boohoo, Sunglasses - Primark

I hope you were ready for the most over exposed pictures ever, but I didn't want to waste them... Anyway, with the weather getting a little better over the past few weeks, I thought I should get this post up while it's still slightly acceptable to wear all black, a fedora and long trench coat. 

This was my go to outfit this last month. I've been loving the trench coat; I never thought such a long coat would suit my 5"3 frame, but with heeled boots I don't think it looks too bad! The striped shirt is an absolute fave of mine from Warehouse, and I've been loving teaming the fedora with lots of different styles to add a bit of edge and to pull the outfit together.

I'll be sad to put the trench away over Summer, but glad of the warmer weather I hope we get, and I'll be on the look out for a more warm weather appropriate jacket!


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: 10 TIPS FOR HELPING ANXIETY




I think I've only briefly mentioned my anxiety on here before, and I'm not going to go too in depth with it today; I'll save that for another post! But more and more frequently I'm seeing people talking about anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Whether that stems from people feeling like it's more acceptable to admit to nowadays (which I find both sad and infuriating at the same time, but again, that's another post), or because the stresses of modern day life have a bigger impact recently. Whatever the cause, the solution is not always easy nor the same for everybody else. And while I am not claiming that "I know the cure for anxiety!" because a: I'm not a doctor and b: I'm not even sure that there is a 'cure' as such, I've accumulated a couple of tips over the past year or so as to how to ease those feelings of anxiety. What works for me might not work for you, and I am not trying to sound patronising with any of these tips, but I'm hoping that you can take something away from this post to help you feel more relaxed. Grab a cuppa, this could be a long one.

Understand what's going on

I've found that understanding what anxiety actually is and where the anxious feelings come from really help me to reason with myself that actually, I'm ok. For example, anxiety is completely normal. While it's not a nice thing, it's the body's natural response to danger, when you're feeling threatened, under pressure or facing a stressful situation. The panic brings about the "fight or flight" effect: adrenaline is released into your body as your brain is considering whether to stay and see out the event that is making you anxious, or to run away from it. For example, you come across a tiger in a jungle. Your heart speeds up to promote the energy that you may need to "fight off" the situation, but if you're actually just sat on a bus, this feeling can be very uncomfortable - but it's normal. Blood moves away from the digestive system and into your muscles, which is why your stomach might flip or you may feel sick. As the blood moves away from the surface of your skin, which means if you were cut in this situation you would lose less blood, you may experience numbness or claminess. These are only a few ways to understand what's going on, and I know it's easier said than done to remember this is why you're feeling so on edge during a panic attack, beleive me. But, over time it will help you to reason with yourself that you will be ok.

Exercise

This is something my doctor brings up every time I go and see her, and I'm ashamed to say I don't listen to her very well. Taking a walk can really help to clear your mind and put things in perspective, and exercise can help to burn the energy your body creates when feeling anxious. Although it's not something I do religiously, I find that if I do some exercise on a particular day, I feel more refreshed and ready to take on whatever is coming. For example, this weekend just gone I went on two walks with my boyfriend and both during and after I felt calm and happy.

Breathe

Another thing a doctor told me when I first came to understand I had an anxiety disorder, is to pay attention to your breathing and I found this actually helped me. When you feel yourself start to get anxious and your breaths are becoming shorter and faster, look down. Is it your chest moving, or is your stomach moving in and out? Make sure you're breathing from your diaphragm; it should help you to take control of the situation and your breathing before the situation gets any worse. Meditation can also be a huge help, and there are lots of useful apps and websites that can help you along.

Don't run away with your thoughts

It's easy to get carried away when you're feeling anxious and run away with your thoughts, so try to ground yourself in the moment. Whether that's by physically touching what is around you or maybe by counting every red car that goes past if you're on the bus, or saying the name of each object in the room in your head until you feel better, really plant yourself there. It can also be a great distraction technique, but this is only a temporary fix.

"This too shall pass"

As I said above, it's really easy to get carried away and think all sorts of situations up when you're feeling anxious but it's so important to remember: "This too shall pass". It's uncomfortable, upsetting and frustrating but the feelings will pass, and soon, you'll be completely fine.

Try not to avoid situations

Without going into too much detail, the biggest contributor to my anxiety is being in a place that I can't easily just get up and leave without causing a scene or being noticed. Sounds crazy, I know, but that's just what does it for me. For a long time, I did not want to get on a bus, go to a lecture or the cinema. But I found that the longer I tried to avoid the situations I felt more and more anxious about them. So what now? I get two buses every day to work, I go to the cinema with my boyfriend at least once a week (in fact I'm actually just about to buy a member's card as I go that often!) and I do my best not to miss lectures. I feel so much more empowered by the fact that even though I know I might feel anxious, I'm still doing it. It's like a big "EFF YOU ANXIETY! I'm getting on this bus anyway and I'll be fine!"

Come up with a compromise

Following on from the above, although I still do the majority of things that make me anxious, I do them because I've found a compromise. On the bus, I try and sit on the front seats. In the cinema, we book seats for the end of a row. In lectures, I try and sit near the back and near the exit. To anyone not suffering with anxiety these can sound like such petty things, but they actually make all the difference to me. Move me two seats down the row in the cinema sandwiched between a group of people? Chances are I won't be feeling too great. The point is, I've learned how to deal with the feelings, and how I can still do everything I used to, if only with a little compromise.

Check your diet

What we eat and drink can have a huge influence on our emotional state, with caffeine and alcohol being the biggest offenders. Now, I rarely drink alcohol myself (which is not a big deal as you can read about in this post) and since discovering caffeine is a huge anxiety trigger, I cut that out of my diet too. Because caffeine has a stimulating effect, it can trigger panic attacks and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability. Better to just stick with the decaf I reckon. Read this post for more information on how different foods are linked to stress and anxiety.

Sleep

Now I don't need much persuasion to hit the hay, but disrupted sleep is common in many emotional disorders. It's a viscious cycle, poor sleep = anxiety, anxiety = poor sleep. A study showed that losing only a few hours of sleep can increase feelings of stress, anger, sadness and exhaustion so it's important to try and catch those z's. Read my post on how to get a better night's sleep to get some ideas!

Talk to somebody

Most important, know that you are not alone. More than 1 in 10 people will suffer from anxiety at some point in their life; it's more common than you think. I would really recommend that you speak to your GP or a counsellor if you think you have anxiety. Whether counselling or medication works best for you, there are ways to treat anxiety and if left untreated the condition can become quite serious. Talking to a friend, your family or your partner can help so much you don't understand. At first I felt like everybody thought I was just being dramatic and that it was "a phase" but after sitting down with everybody, letting them know what I was thinking and how I was feeling, the support I get now is unreal. Don't underestimate the power of support.

I hope this post is of some use to you, and that you can take something from it. Anxiety affects each person differently, some more severe than others, and it can be hard to deal with. Like I said, I'm no doctor so if you think you may be suffering with anxiety, speaking to a professional is so important. There are so many different ways you can receive help, and it will make your life so much easier to live.  I might write another post on my anxiety, but that will come at a much later later date. Recently I came across this quote and just wanted to share it with you:


"People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you are fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly." - Elizabeth Gilbert

Monday, 13 April 2015

BEAUTY: BARRY M CHISEL CHEEKS CONTOUR KIT



R-L: Dark Brown (scultp), Medium Brown (bronze) and Light (highlight)

Last weekend I took advantage of Boots' 3 for 2 offer, as usual, and picked up the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit. With having a round face, contouring is a must for me but unfortunately I'm not great it. That's why I love picking up contouring kits; with all the shades you need it's a one stop shop to cheekbones. At only £6.49, it's one of the most affordable contour kits out there and so I couldn't resist picking it up to try it out.

Upon swatching the product, I found that the lightest of the shades used for highlighting was quite sheer and not so pigmented, as you can see in the above photo. I use other highlighters, such as Phee's Glow Highlighter which I recently bought, so I don't think I'll be getting much use out of Barry M's. Then there's shade two, the medium brown which is used to bronze where the sun would naturally hit. My first thought was that it was too pink toned. With being so pale I have to be careful with bronzers, and this isn't a colour I would associate with being bronze. It actually appears more like a blusher to me. Finally, there's the third shade, the dark brown used to sculpt the hollows of the cheeks, blending out to the ears, along the hairline and down the sides of your nose. This is the only shade that I've managed to get any use out of, and even then, it's slightly too dark. With the powder being a cool grey, it does create the effect of shadows on your cheeks but does need blending thoroughly to prevent any harsh lines or looking like you've a bit of dirt caught on your cheek by mistake. However, the positive of this is that it is very pigmented and a little does go a long way.

I like that the palette contains a little "how-to guide" inside the packaging, which is very useful to those who are maybe unsure how to use the palette. It's also the perfect size to carry around with you day to day if your makeup needs touching up. Though, I'd have to say that the highlighter for me isn't great. It's too chalky and sheer, and there are definitely better alternatives for around the same price. I also think Barry M could create this palette in different shades for different skin tones, as of course what colour bronzer might work me might not work for somebody else with a different skin tone. As for the packaging, it does feel quite flimsy and could do with a mirror inside maybe just for ease of application, though the powders are well protected.

I would say that the powders do wear off quite quickly during the day and some of them do need building up quite a bit to begin with to have any colour payoff, and a wider colour selection would be more beneficial. However, for £6.49, it's a great starter contour kit and is a great alternative to something more expensive if you're just starting out. Have you tried the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Conour Kit? What did you think?



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Friday, 10 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP

 

Over the past few months I've been really struggling to get a full, good night's sleep. Whether it's because of my Restless Leg Syndrome, my anxiety or just because my mind won't stop ticking it's very annoying and frankly, exhausting. Because of this I've done my fair share of researching ways to sleep better and I've come up with a few ways to cope myself so I decided to compile all the info together for any fellow bad sleepers to hopefully help you too.


Wind down

Prepare yourelf for sleep a few hours before by winding down. Take a bath, do some gentle exercise, read a book or make simple preperations for the next day. Whatever relaxes you and makes you feel ready for bed, do it.

Block out the sunlight

I've found that interference, especially light from outside, can really affect the way I sleep. Whether it's from a street light, another house or the sun early in the morning, it can be really disrupting. For me, an eyemask has been so so helpful. It blocks out the light and means that you stay in darkness until your alarm goes off in the morning. I know that some people can't sleep with something on their face, so getting some blackout curtains can be a great investment.

Switch off before bedtime

A tip you probably hear all the time, and one I didn't bother with up until recently, but one that is really important. I know how easy it is to say "I'll just check Instagram one more time..." and then end up on your friend's, cousin's, boyfriend's cat's instagram 45 weeks down their profile without realising how much time you've spent on there. But trust me, getting off your phone, laptop or tablet around an hour before you go to sleep is so beneficial to helping your mind switch off. Take the time to read a book, do some yoga or meditation, spend some time with your thought or listen to soft music.

Set a routine

Consistency is key: going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day will help your mind and body to recognise when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up. Ensure you're getting around seven hours of sleep, and if you want to change your routine make small adjustments of around 15 minutes either way.

Make a comfortable space

A comfy bed with enough room to move around in is another really helpful way to get a good night's sleep. Temperature is also really important; a slightly cool room with good ventilation is the optimum atmosphere for a good sleep.

Reserve your bed for one purpose

I know how tempting it is to lounge in bed during the day, either to finish work, watch Netflix or just to chill out, but, this can be really damaging to your sleeping routine. Using your bed only for sleep will send your body a powerful message: bed = sleep.

Cutting down and cutting out

Reducing the amount of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine you take can really help you to settle down and drift off easier. Similarly, try not to eat any big meals late on in the evening as digestion can cause you to stay awake longer.

Take care of yourself

To help you get a good night's sleep, taking care of yourself is so important. Exercise and healthy eating is good not only for your health, but your mental state too. Similarly, tiring yourself out with exercise makes for a deep sleep!


I know how frustrating getting no sleep can be and if it's becoming seriously harmful to your life I'd advise looking into getting some help. I hope these are tips are of some use to you, please share any of your own in the comments!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: DIET DOODLE DIARY AND GIVEAWAY











I feel like every year, for the past at least six or seven years, I have vowed to 'get fit' and 'lose weight'. Now while I'm not overweight or obese, I'm definitely not fit. Recently I've been feeling super sluggish, tired and just generally unhealthy and I've definitley put some weight on over the last couple of years. I feel like now is the time to finally pull myself together and make some changes for the better (please ignore the last 33435 times I have said that on here... I mean it this time, promise!) If you're happy and healthy in your body, you don't have to change for anyone. I've decided to make these changes for myself, to make myself happy.

Enter the Diet Doodle Diary. I remember seeing this on Instagram briefly a few months ago but I never really looked into it, until I came across it in a bookstore this Easter weekend. As soon as I saw it's cutesy cover, I was hooked. I am all about cute stationery, so you better believe I was not putting this book down for nobody.

The Diet Doodle Diary is essentially just that; it's a place for you to record your journey to becoming fit and healthy, with the helpful addition of illustrations and quotes. Is it just me, or when something looks nice are you more inclined to complete it? Anyway, throughout the Diet Doodle Diary you can record your weight and measurements, track your meals and workouts and even complete the little exercises like drawing favourite outfits from your wardrobe and the healthy contents of your fridge. Alongside these interactive features, there are also lots of little quotes and helpful snippets of information to help you along and keep you motivated. 

I'm so excited to delve into the book and start filling it out in the lead up to my Summer holiday, so expect a couple of updates here and there. The best part of this post? I'm giving one of you lucky people the chance to win yourself a copy of the Diet Doodle Diary. Yay! Simply read through the rules at the bottom of the post and complete the Rafflecopter form below to gain entries. Good luck!



RULES:

1. This competition is for UK residents only - sorry! :(
2. Entrants must be over 16 or have parent's permission to provide an address
3. I will check all entries so please no fakes or competition pages please
4. I am not responsible for any loss or damage to the parcel
5. There is no cash alternative to the prize
6. The winners will be emailed within 12 hours of the competition ending. If there is no reply within 48 hours I will pick another

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

FASHION: TRENDS ILLUSTRATED EVENT



Photograph c/o Manchester Arndale


Photograph c/o Manchester Arndale


A couple of weekends ago I was invited to the latest event with Manchester Arndale, Trends Illustrated, in collaboration with the amazing Dom & Ink. You've probably read about Dom a couple of times on amyjanealice, but if not (where have you been?!) you check him out here and here.

Trends Illustrated showcased SS15's top trends of soft 70s, sports luxe, sweet pastels and bold florals, with Dom&Ink designing and illustrating six characters wearing this seasons most fashionale pieces. Any customer who spent £60 or over in the centre during the weekend was able to create their own tee, customised with one of many designs Dom created. From doughnuts, to unicorns, to mermaids to Taylor Swift quotes. You name it, it was there to add to your tee. Manchester Arndale very kindly gave me the opportunity to create my own tee, and after a lot of deliberation, I finally decided on a funky blue acid wash background with a unicorn pattern. Cute, right?

It was amazing to see such a buzz around the city centre that day; the t-shirt printing station was super busy all day and was definitely a hit. A huge thank you to Manchester Arndale for inviting me along to the event, and a huge well done to Dom for being such an amazing person and illustrator!


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

BEAUTY: BARRY M SPEEDY QUICK DRY NAIL PAINT



L-R: Road Rage / In A Heart Beat / Lap Of Honour

While browsing the aisles of my local Boots today, I spotted these beauties sat at the top of the Barry M section. I know some people have a huge penchant for nail polish, and have enormous collections, and while I do wear nail polish it's not always a product I reach for when I'm out shopping, But, I couldn't leave without picking up a couple of the new Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paints.

I have the shades Lap Of Honour, Road Rage and In A Heart Beat. These were my favourite three out of the selection, but there are lots of other pretty pastels too. The first thing I noticed was that it does take a couple of coats for it to look opaque, but because the polish definitely lives up to its name and dries super quickly, applying a few coats only takes minutes. The colours are so beautiful and super easy to apply; it only takes two or three strokes of the brush to cover the nail.

These polishes are perfect for Spring and Summer and I'm sure I'll be heading back to Boots to pick up some more to see me through the warmer months. As I'm sure you already know, Boots are currently running a 3 for 2 offer across their beauty products so I'd get down there quick if you want to get your hands on some of the Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paints; there were only a couple of each shade left today!


Saturday, 4 April 2015

LIFESTYLE: EAT YOUR PHOTO



After recently being in touch with Eat Your Photo, they kindly sent me some super cute cupcakes - with my boyfriend and I's faces on! First of all I want to mention that the cakes arrived in a very sturdy and secure package, which is obviously very important; you don't want squished cakes!

The cupcakes come in a variety of flavours such as chocolate, carrot, lemon, toffee and vanilla. I chose vanilla and do not regret my choice in the slightest, they were absolutely delicious. All the cakes are handmade by the Eat Your Photo professional bakers and confectioners and the taste definitely reflects that. The icing is lovely and thick while the cake itself is sweet and light with a beautiful buttercream finish.

If you don't fancy buying pre made cakes or cupcakes and are a bit of a baker whizz yourself, you can just purchase the icing photographs which I think is a fantastic idea! I love the premise behind Eat Your Photo and I'll definitely be dropping hints to my family just before my 21st birthday later on this year. They're perfect as gifts or for events and can hold any photograph!



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