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Life and lists

Life and lists

Money saving weekend activities to do in the lead up to Christmas

November 20, 2015

If you, like me, have an awful habit of spending money on yourself because you constantly think you deserve a treat (but we do right?) then now is the time to STOP and start saving for Christmas. Your loved ones will thank me.

Here are some money saving weekend activities to stop you spending money, whether it’s that contour kit you don’t need or a night out you know you should say no to before the festivities begin.

Get cooking
Who wants to be out on a freezing cold November Saturday night anyway? Stick The X Factor on or some other crappy TV of your choice and dig out an old recipe book. I would personally opt for mac and cheese with a bottle or two of Malbec and I love this recipe by Jamie Oliver. This is the perfect evening in with a few pals, a bf/gf or even on your own. Comfy, cosy and full tums all round.

money saving weekend activities

Go to the gym
Think of it like this – if you already pay for a gym membership, you might as well use it when you’re trying to save money because it won’t cost you any extra! Ideal! Why not head to the pool for a Friday night swim (you wild thing). You’ll feel dreamy after a couple of lengths. Or if you’re hardcore, hit up one of those scary classes I like to avoid in favour of yoga. Your bod will be in the greatest shape for that Christmas party dress. A Wit Wooo.

Walk dogs
If you have dogs, take them up to the nearest forest and spend hours strolling. They will love you for it and that fresh air will really sort you out after a working week. If you don’t have dogs, offer to take your neighbours and they might even pop a fiver in your pocket as a thanks.  Naw.

money saving weekend activities

Blog
If you work full time and blog, you’ll know how difficult it can be to find time to find time to really get stuck into your blog. Getting in from work and being tired or having plans can mean your blog gets left behind 🙁 You have to be really organised to ensure you have regular posts planned and lined up (something I’m trying to do more of!) Cold winter weekends are the perfect time to snuggle up and get writing or get out and get some pictures taken. Plus it’s fun, win, win!

Pamper yourself
What better way to save money than by spending a whole day just making yourself feel great? Give yourself a fresh tan, do your nails (I’ve been loving Sally Hansen miracle gel for a long lasting mani) and put on a face mask then maybe it would be nice to do something that evening (I mean a wine bar would be fine wouldn’t it?) which doesn’t involve spending loads on dinner and transport.

money saving weekend activities

Teach yourself
Whether you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, play the piano or do the splits, you can through the wonders of YouTube. There are tutorials for everything on there from make up looks to rearranging your room to make it look better, now that’s a fun Saturday activity! If you’re really trying to save money, this is something you can spend ages on so you won’t get bored and end up online shopping (guilty).

I hope this post has given you some ideas for money saving weekend activities and your friends and family appreciate their extra super Christmas pressies this year!

What are your favourite money saving activities for cold winter weekends? Let me know in the comments below xx

Life and lists

29 simple things that create instant happiness

November 18, 2015

When the world gets too much, go back to basics. Remember the simple things that create instant happiness, like a warming glass of wine or that video of a bulldog skateboarding.

Things that create instant happiness

  1. Pizza – Homemade or a takeaway, sometimes you just need to sack the quinoa off for a super scrumptious pizza which will make your heart happy.
  2. Discovering old songs by McFly, The Script, Stacie Orrico, JoJo and MANY more on an old Spotify playlist – Nostalgic tingles all round!
  3. That old, very good friend who pops up when you need them…– And you hadn’t even realised how much you’d missed them.
  4. That person who runs after you to hand you your phone because you left it in Costa – Yes this happened to me this week. Enjoy your well deserved good karma you honest angel.
  5. When something so specific happens to change a bad day and you’re sure someone is looking down on you.
  6. Being so embarrassingly silly with someone you literally can’t breathe and don’t care that you look like a fool in public.
  7. That ridiculously priced item you’ve been lusting after is reduced, thus making it no longer ridiculously priced and totally acceptable to buy – Kate Spade notebook, you are mine, welcome to your new home.
  8. Yoga will pretty much always, instantly calm you and take your mind somewhere else – *Books up classes for the next 12 years*
  9. Meeting a brand new human who you just click with – There are people like me and maybe I won’t be a lone wolf forever #friends 🙂
  10. Finding a really great blog/Youtube channel and indulging in alllll of the contentHannah Gale, I’m looking at you.
  11. A random, unexpected day off – It doesn’t really happen when you’re an adult but just remembering those days is enough to warm the soul.
  12. When someone compliments you and you realise they must think you’re preeeetty cool – E.g. When they associate you with a brand like Reiss or The White Company #winner
  13. Designer outlet villages – A current season Karen Millen dress for £85 reduced from £180? OH GO ON THEN.
  14. Christmas drinks – Salted caramel cappuccino’s all Winter erry Winter.
  15. Wanting a Bobbi Brown lipstick in a specific colour, refraining from spending £25 on something you’ll probably lose, then finding the exact same colour for a fraction of the cost in KIKO.
  16. The warmest, cutest, fluffiest jumper and it’s only £10 in the H&M sale – Winter, I’m ready for you.
  17. Remember THIS Do ya? Do ya?!
  18. When you’ve been really healthy all day and you just want a hearty, warming dinner so you make the executive decision to have sausage and mash for dinner with veggies and gravy – You really do deserve it.
  19. A stranger being SO thankful because you let them out/picked something up for them/helped them in some way – It was no big deal but naww you cute.
  20. Getting so lost in an amazing book that you totally forget what year it is/that you have to be up at 6am.
  21. Thinking you’re old but still being the youngest person on your team at work…
  22. But also still being old enough to be taken seriously, you successful, independent gal.
  23. When getting your winged eyeliner absolutely on point becomes quite a regular thing – Is this what it feels like to really make it!?
  24. Your nail varnish hasn’t chipped in almost a week and it’s not even gel.
  25. Achieving something you’ve been practicing like that yoga pose or another 10 minutes of running and not even feeling exhausted by it.
  26. Discovering your new favourite snack is only 93kcals – All your snacking woes are gone thanks to Propercorn.
  27. Getting home to an extra needy but very happy dog who won’t leave you alone – Annoying to some, heaven to others and they might just want feeding but you do not mind being used.
  28. Everyone you love being all together in one place doing something really fun – probably getting drunk on a Sunday even though you know you’ll have a headache for work on Monday. Living in the moment, soz.
  29. Recognising your life’s achievements – Looking back and realising/admitting to yourself how cool something you did was.

It’s the little things!

things that create instant happiness

things that create instant happiness

things that create instant happiness

Are these things that create instant happiness for you? If not, let me know what does in the comments below!

Life and lists

Turning 23 and being very lucky

November 2, 2015

Hello and a happy Monday.

As I write happy Monday I’m actually having a very sleepy, grumpy Monday. Mainly because I had a weekend full of birthday celebrations and I’m sooo tired/sad my birthday is over.

Anyway, on Friday I turned 23 and I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure I was ok with turning 23. I knowww, it’s not actually old but it’s the oldest sounding age I’ve ever been so it was quite scary for me… until it happened and I had the best fricking day/weekend everrrr but I’ll go into that next.

I started my day by opening a box from my boyfriend which contained a great big, green, cooking apple… what an awesome way to tell me that we are in fact going to NYC in March next year… best surprise EVER! I was also thoroughly spoilt by my loved ones with pressies including a new dressing table for my room (it’s real pretty, will put up a pic at some point), a PIZZA OVEN yes, you read that right and other girly things like shoes/clothes/perfume. So before my day had even started I was totally ok with being 23. Yipppeeee.

We went to Cote Brassarie for breakfast which included mimosas, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and bloody mary’s… perfection.

turning 23

Coat & shoes: New Look

The plan was then to head to London for more surprises which I wasn’t allowed to know about…

We arrived in London after having a cheeky vodka and orange on the train from the very nice trolley lady where I was lead through Shoreditch to the CHEEKY Parlour where even more birthday dreams came true. We ALL got manicures and by all I mean boyfriend and dad included (brother had to pop off to do an interview and was gutted he didn’t get his nails done). Of course our manicures came with copious amounts of Prosecco because what else would you sip on while having your nails done on your birthday?

turning 23

turning 23

turning 23

NEXT we headed to Shoreditch house for a wine or 12 then onto the Duck & Waffle for dinner, at which point mum and I decided to switch from wine to water (see drunken selfie below).

The view was out of this world and the glass lift on the way up was bloody terrifying. Food was delish and we had a lovely meal.

turning 23

turning 23

Dress: Minnie’s Boutique Bag: DKNY

turning 23

The day ended with everyone asleep in a taxi home, waheeey!

turning 23

The next part of my birthday was a Halloween party, we had punch with eyeballs in and fingers in rolls. YUM.

turning 23

Make up by Natalie Webb at Elements in Bishop’s Stortford

Now do you get why I’m sad it’s Monday and it’s all over?! At least turning 23 wasn’t as scary as I’d first imagined, I think the absolute ball I had made up for my old age.

Tonight will consist of me using my new pizza oven to make a wondrous Monday night dinner. Hip hip hooray!

Life and lists

Poll: What do you love reading about most?

September 21, 2015

Well helloooo, and happy Monday.

Now I’m blogging much more regularly (2 times a week actually, FYI, thank ya very much), I thought it was important to get some feedback from you guys and find out what you love reading about most and what you want to see more of.

Of course you can always contact me or Tweet me or give a pigeon a message to pass onto me (probably less effective) but I thought a poll was quite a fun way to find out before I start thinking up some (hopefully) super blog posts for the next few weeks.

It would be greaaaatly appreciated if you would like to answer my poll, you can also let me know in the comments below what you think.

Next blog post is coming on Thursday so keep an eye out for it…

Thank you in advance and I hope your Monday is short and sweet!

Life and lists

Things to do when you’re going screenless

September 14, 2015

Am I the only one who gets sick of having a screen in front of my face all the time? Sitting in front of a computer all day, then scrolling through my phone, then sitting in front of the tele, it can sometimes make you feel like you’re not really here in the real world and that is a weird old feeling. Constant screen-time can make your eyes go funny, give you terrible posture and also cause headaches.

I think this is one of the reasons I refuse to use a kindle because books might be the only thing left you can get stuck into which isn’t a screen!

Anyway, if you’re trying to get some more downtime from the screens of the world, take a little read of the things I like to do where screens are NOT involved. (PS I know you’re probably looking at a screen now, if you’re interested in offline blog posts then let me know…totally joking…sort of).

  1. Go to a book shop
    Book shops are one of my favourite places in the world. They’re peaceful but not awkward, smell great and just make me feel all warm and lovely. (If you’ve been in one with me you’ll know we’re not leaving before about 2 hours have passed.) A book shop is the perfect place to be screenless, take your time having a mooch of the books, choose one or 4 then go for a quiet coffee somewhere and have a read (even bloody better if said book shop has a coffee shop inside it).
  2. Go to a stationary shop
    Ohhhh all the pens and diaries. I love stationary shops as much as I love book shops and you can get some pretty pretty stuff almost everywhere at the moment. Start planning your super organised life with pinterest-worthy diaries and planners, it will make you feel fantastic about yourself. I love to visit… Paperchase, if you know of a big M&S their stationary is to. die. for. also you don’t need me to tell you that John Lewis have some yummy stationary too.
  3. Colouring
    With all this hype about adult colouring books (they are actually totally beautiful btw) they’re the perfect chilled, screenless activity and absolutely not just for children. It’s been proven to help with anxiety and stress and relieve tension, who doesn’t want to pretend to be 4 years old whilst getting a bit creative with colouring pens?!
  4. Yoga/Pilates
    I sometimes find when I’ve been couped up at my desk all week my body gets really fidgety and irritated, if that makes sense? I noticed it a lot when I hadn’t exercised for ages, I just felt so tense I was actually itching to get back into some sort of gym class. I’m a lazy girl at heart and I’m not a huge fan of high intensity cardio so I tend to stick to body weight classes and ones where I can stretch and unwind, and even though every single muscle in my body aches the next day, there’s no better feeling.
  5. Date night
    If there’s a screen in sight on date night, you’re not doing it right (definitely didn’t mean for that to rhyme). Ok, unless you want to watch a film with your love, that’s fine but I’m talking about phones at dinner, just don’t. Enjoy the food, enjoy each other’s company and forget about the virtual world of social media and emails. Even if ‘date night’ is with your best pal and not a love interest, don’t be antisocial and rude!
  6. Get outside
    Ignore the weather (unless it’s absolutely tipping it down), get outside and don’t spend the whole time on your phone. Take the dog on a nice scenic walk, do some exercise outside and breathe in the fresh air or explore somewhere new. Having no screens will mean you’ll take in your surroundings more and notice things you wouldn’t normally if you were staring down at what’s app!

going screenless

I hope you’ve found these little things interesting and useful for next time you’re planning on going screenless!

 

Life and lists

How to make September your best month yet

September 1, 2015

I may not be at school or uni anymore but I still seem to see September as a month for new beginnings and creating a fresh start.

Maybe it’s the Indian summer turn the weather always seems to take (doesn’t seem likely this year does it?) or maybe it’s just the fact that it’s been associated with a new ‘year’ everytime I’ve had to head back to school or uni over the years.

Adult life, especially if, like me, you’re new at it, can be tiring and hard. No matter how motivated you were in January, you may have slipped a few notches now we’re in the 9th month of the year (I know, right). That’s not to say though, that you can’t make some changes to make the last quarter of the year even more productive and motivating than the first was.

Here’s how to make september your best month yet. (You got this.)

See an old friend
That old pal who you’ve probably seen about once since the start of the year, find out how they are and catch up. Sometimes the best friends you have are the ones you don’t see all the time and that’s ok, just don’t forget about them!

Write it down
With the world becoming more digital by the day, everyone’s writing things down on their phones and iPads. I personally feel physically writing things down is much more definite and I’m more likely to refer back to it and remember it, meaning it generally makes me more organised. Make lists of the things you want to achieve before the end of the year and the things you want to do. Motivate your life even more with a trip to Paperchase because dreamy stationary is going to make anyone an organised goddess.

Plan something exciting
You might’ve been on your summer holiday for the year but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan something exciting to look forward to. Whether it’s a weekend somewhere or even just a day trip to a different city, having something planned and to look forward to in the coming months just makes life that bit more exciting. Check out Airbnb for some amazing apartments to rent if it’s not already one of your go-to sites for short break accommodation!

Look forward
No matter what’s gone on throughout the year, maybe you didn’t get that job you wanted or you went through a break up, try to look forward into Autumn with a fresh outlook.
Spend the next few months doing things for you and making yourself happy. Don’t feel defeated, there’s always a chance to turn things around and not being so hard on yourself is a good place to start.

Do what YOU want to do
We’re a generation that can pretty much do whatever we want and if not, we can bloody well give it a go. Now’s a good time to be thinking about the types of changes you want to make to your daily life. If you’ve always wanted to make YouTube videos then go and do it, if you want to write a novel then get started, if you hate your job and you don’t know why you’re staying there then get out and don’t give up. Just because we’re heading towards the end of the year don’t get lazy and think you’ll do things differently next year, now is the time!

Have an Autumn-clean
This one is great because it gives you an excuse to go shopping, so there’s that. Sort out ALL your clothes, I mean ALL of them. Summer ones you just didn’t get round to wearing, winter ones you put away in the spring and you know you won’t want to wear this A/W, shoes, bags, jewellery that’s just cluttering up your space just get rid of it. Sell it on Depop or eBay or send it to a charity shop. Having a clear out will clear your head for the rest of the year and make you and your wardrobes feel as fresh as a daisy. You then have permission to head to the shops and indulge in some knitwear and cute winter skirts/shirts to tide you over for the chilly months ahead.

Do you have any September routines which have stuck over the years? Let me know what you thought of this blog post and what you’d like to see more of in the comments below.

SEPT

Life and lists

Make a rainy day a little better by doing these 7 things

August 27, 2015

You know those days where you get out of bed, look out of your window and instantly think ‘Ummm absolutely nooooo to today’. It’s barely light, it’s chucking it down with rain and it’s windy. You just want to crawl right back into bed and sleep until 3pm. But you can’t, you have this thing called a job to go to so, however morbid you feel, you have to push yourself out of the door to work. (Not that you need much pushing with these gailforce winds). Here are some little things you can do to make a rainy day a little better!

1. Make your morning coffee with HOT milk
Pour that milk in your mug and microwave it for a good minute before you add the coffee and the water. This will make it foamy and thick and as close to a Costa as you can get from your house (if you don’t have a coffee machine). It’ll start your day off with a warm hug and it’ll wake you up a bit.

2. Ensure comfort and cosiness at work by….
Wearing a vest under your shirt for an extra layer of warmth AND wearing slippers under your desk. These subtle things are just going to make your day that bit better. I wore slippers all winter at my old job and have recently got a pair at my current job because, shock, my shoes got soaked on my lunchbreak so I couldn’t wear them for the rest of the day. BOO. Plus if your office is anything like mine the temperature is unpredictable so it could be an absolute fridge when you walk in.

3. You have that indulgent lunch
If you want to buy a subway and a cookie for lunch then who’s gonna stop you? If anyone tries, eat them too. I know it’s not ideal to rely on comfort food but you know those days where you just don’t care about the nutritional content? Yeah, this is one of those.

4. Treat yourself to a raincoat
If your treat lunch wasn’t enough, start thinking about buying yourself a super rain coat for future rainy days. If you can afford a Burberry one, by all means spend £1500 on one as they are BEAUTIFUL. But if not, here are a couple of slightly more affordable raincoats/macs that will keep you dry and cute throughout this monsoon.

5. Get home from work, have a bath
Chances are you got caught in the rain at some point today and there’s nothing worse than that dry rain feeling on your hair and skin. Urgh. Rather than showering, take a nice long bubbly bath and thank the lord you’re now in the comfort of your own home.

6. Do something creative but relaxing
Whether it’s writing a blog post, choosing some pictures to get printed, writing something in a pretty notebook or even reading, these things will all make you feel a bit better after a groggy grey day.

7. Promise that after you’ve done all these things you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself
I know this one completely contradicts all the other things (saarrry) but there comes a time throughout the day where you have to laugh at yourself. For example once you’ve had a fight with an umberella in the torentual wind and rain you’ve got to just look at your situation, laugh and hope for a better day tomorrow.

gin card

Life and lists

A little update…

June 15, 2015

Hello!

I feel like I’ve been miles away from the blogging world lately so I thought, it’s Monday night, I should really be at the gym but Legally Blonde 2 is on so… it’s probably time I did a little update post.

Other than the fact that I’m still fairly new to my job, work has been a bit crazy at the moment! There are a few changes happening in the office which means I’ve been busier than ever (and I’m still only in my 8th week!) It’s all good though and everyone’s lovely, plus who wants a job that isn’t busy busy busy?

Continue Reading

Life and lists

11 signs you’re becoming an adult

May 8, 2015

1. You now have more responsibilities than you ever remember having
It’s not as fun as you had anticipated it to be back when you were in year 9. Who let me adult? I can’t adult.

2. Sometimes you don’t actually want an alcoholic drink
You can eat lunch at a restaurant without an accompanying glass of wine. Where have those uni days gone? You’ve changed.

3. You actually sort of enjoy cleaning/tidying and you have no idea why…
Because there’s nothing nicer than coming home to a tidy, dust free room with fresh pink roses on your window sill. Did you turn 65 over night? Possibly.
Continue Reading

Food Life and lists

6 Secrets On How To Beat The Post Christmas Chub!

January 5, 2015

Let’s be honest, when things start feeling Christmassy (hmm around about the 1st December then…) we tend to allow ourselves to indulge a little more than usual. The quality street and reindeer shaped shortbread appear in the office and all of a sudden you aren’t as fussed as you were a month ago about getting that VS model body…

Now January is here and it’s the time to jump back on the healthy eating horse! Here are 6 secrets on how to beat that post xmas chubbba!!

1. There is NO SECRET.
Everyone thinks there is this big secret for losing weight with meal replacements, strange ‘skinny’ teas, etc but these things could potentially be doing more harm than good. The first secret is that there is no secret! If you’ve over indulged over the festive period the only way, and the healthiest way for you to budge a few pounds is to 1. Eat more healthily and 2. Move more. It really is as simple as that, it just depends how motivated you are and how you go about it.

2. Balance
Instead of being really hard on yourself and becoming obsessive about it, ease yourself into it and allow yourself treats when you’ve done well. By treats I don’t mean a whole box of maltesers, try and think of healthy alternatives e.g. a few squares of dark chocolate, home made frozen yoghurt (I will post the recipe for this!) or treat yourself in another way with those new shoes you’ve been eyeing up. If you’ve had someone’s birthday weekend and you’ve overdone it with alcohol and hangover food then know that on Monday you need to go to the gym after work, eat well all week and maybe take it easy next weekend. You can still do the things you love as long as you keep it balanced.

3. Make healthy changes
By making small changes here and there, healthy eating will become much easier and you might find yourself enjoying it! You can start anywhere, begin drinking peppermint or green tea instead of your normal sugar filled cuppa, or even just cut the sugar out of your normal cup! Basically, it doesn’t have to be torture. If you really fancy a curry, make a homemade one with brown rice, if you’re craving a pizza use wholewheat tortilla wraps as the base or make your own cauliflower crust base. If you can’t live without your hot chocolate use cacao and almond milk with added vanilla! There are so many recipe alternatives out there meaning you can still eat the things you love.

4. Eat FOOD not things that aren’t actually food (If that makes sense)
In Cameron Diaz’s ‘Body Book’ she talks a lot about how, what we eat today isn’t actually food, and by that she means that it isn’t ‘whole’, it has been so modified that it isn’t really food anymore. (I highly recommend you read the book btw!) And I guess she’s right. We don’t really know what’s in our takeaways, our ready meals or any other pre-packed foods. So many unnecessary products have been added by the time it reaches our plates that the ingredients list is about 300 things long! Not good. Try to eat foods that are whole, if you can tell that it’s fresh from the ground or the ingredients list is short and you’ve heard of everything on it then it will be way better for you. Also watch out for things which appear to be healthy with LOADS of added sugar. Most of the time if it’s ‘low fat’ they’ve had to make up for the taste of it with sugar so be aware!

5. Find inspiration
Instagram is full of healthy eating and fitness accounts that are the best thing to motivate you, whether it’s with quotes, recipes or videos, if you follow them they will come up on your feed daily and you won’t be able to avoid all things health. There are so many that post healthy recipes and workouts there really is no excuse! A few of my favourites are: simplegreensmoothies, deliciouslyella, madeleine_shaw_, soniatlevfitness, resultswithlucy and coconuts.and.cardio. If you don’t use instagram there are also a lot of online blogs, Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw are my absolute faves for nutritious recipes.

6. Move more
You don’t have to do a whole Victoria’s Secret model workout to move more, you also don’t have to join a gym! Sounds less scary now doesn’t it? If you want to start running but hate it, start by walking, take the dog out more and walk a little quicker then build up into a slow run. It will take you a while to get better but as long as you stick at it there’s no reason why you can’t.
If you hate gyms, a lot of gyms have an excellent range of classes which are done out of the gym in a studio and are more fun and motivating. If you don’t even want to step foot in a gym the nike training app is free and lets you challenge yourself from the comfort of your own home. It has daily workouts which include anything you choose, from circuits, to running, to yoga. If you need more motivation, Results With Lucy gives you the whole package. With different training programmes each one is a different price but there really is a bit of everything. You can also purchase meal plans to save you the stress of writing your own shopping list, and who doesn’t want a body like Lucy Meck…!

See, It’s not as hard as you think. Don’t give in to the money making fads, stick to real, whole foods and get moving and you can have the bod of your dreams as long as you live a healthy balanced life!
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