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. Thursday, 24 October 2019 .
Self care has been a topic on a lot of people's lips recently what with it recently being World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October. Self care is a topic I always find really interesting because because it's often portrayed on social media as face masks, bath bombs and wearing cute pyjamas. Whilst these are great things to do, in reality there are a lot of other ways we can care for ourselves. If you don't regularly follow me you might not know that I'm actually a mental health nurse, but i'm not coming at this from the point of view as a professional; this is me as a person speaking. Whilst I cannot give specific mental health advice, if you do need support I would recommend checking out Mind, Young Minds, NHS Choices and the Samaritans. This blog post is meant to discuss well-being as a whole, which is something everyone should be aware of.
Getting comfy on the sofa watching YouTube is a big thing for me in terms of self care

Whilst having a nice bath and pampering yourself is definitely a great thing to do and can help to de-stress you after a busy day or week, I often find this idea of mental health quite patronising. Whether or not you have a diagnosed mental health condition, everyone has their own experience of mental health and well-being. We all have "mental health" whether that we "good" or "bad" and everything in between. Self care isn't just something for people who have a mental health diagnosis should be doing, it's something I truly believe everyone should be doing something to take care of their own well-being. The beauty of self care is that is varies from person to person and from situation to situation. If you've had a bad day at work a bubble bath might be enough to make you feel better, but if you've had a bad day on top of having a whole load of other things going on, then we're underestimating the power of our brains if we think that's going to be enough for everyone.

I asked on Instagram what your idea of self care was and received so many incredible (and varied!) results. Thank you so much to everyone that got involved. Here are just a handful of the kind of things people said they practised as self care:
  • Crying 
  • Napping
  • Doing something you enjoy
  • Talking to a loved one about how you feel
  • Taking a "lazy" day 
  • Taking some time away from social media
  • Drinking tea, in your pyjamas, watching TV, Netflix/YouTube
  • Going for a walk/hike/run
  • A G&T and a good book
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life
  • Spending time with family/friends/pets
  • Acknowledging your emotions, nurturing the good ones and finding alternatives for the bad ones
  • Practising gratitude for the good things in your life
  • Not being afraid to seek professional support, both physical and psychological 
  • Saying "no" to things you don't want to do

A hike and a cup of tea, another self care activity for me
As you can probably tell from that extensive (but condensed!) list, I have a lot of incredible people following me on social media. It also just goes to show that there are so many different things you can do to take care of yourself. I'm a firm believer that everyone should take some time, even if it's just once a week, to do something for themselves. Everyone deserves that time. We cannot always live every day in the fast lane or we burn out. We're human after all. 

I am by no means under-estimating the power of a good bath bomb here, but I just wanted to make people aware that there are so many more things we can do to take care of ourselves. The key is finding what works for you and having a tool kit of things you can do when it's needed. In reality no amount of self care is going to be able to treat mental health conditions, however it is important for our general well-being. If you're not looking after yourself then you aren't going to be performing at your best, whether that be in an education sense, work sense or even just generally in life.

What things do you guys do to practice self care?

. Saturday, 12 October 2019 .
Autumn fashion is by far my favourite, I love the colours, jumpers, coats, scarfs. It's all a dream! I'm desperately trying to save money at the moment because i'm hoping to buy a house in 2020, so I've been doing a bit of "window shopping" on ASOS so to speak. I thought I'd share with you my favourite picks for the new season. A few of these things I will definitely be picking up, but a few more will likely just remain as inspo.

Please note, all the links in the blog post are affiliate links. This means I will make a small commission if you purchase through my link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it really helps me out, so if you do decide to purchase due to my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through my links!
I am a cold person, i'm pretty much always cold! So I love having a gorgeous coat that I can snuggle up in. I used to always just go for a black coat, but in recent years I've loved buying coat that are more of a statement colour. This is something that I actually bought last week (I just had to include it in this blog post anyway though to give it the credit it deserves.) The hood is so huge and snuggly, which is perfect for cold mornings when you want to pretend you're still snuggled up in bed! I bought it in a size up so that there was space for me to wear chunky jumpers underneath; another Autumn/Winter staple. This coat is a little on the pricer side than what I like to pay, however ASOS always have sales on, so I'd suggest keeping it in your saved list and waiting for a sale to pounce. It is definitely great quality though, so well worth the price.
I had been on the hunt for a decent waist belt for a while, so when I found this gorgeous Western style belt I fell in love. One of my favourite things about this is that it's extendable; you can wear it either on your waist or hips depending on how tightly you fasten it. It's also sold in clothing sizes, meaning it's much more likely to actually fit your waist, which is something I often struggle with. My go-to outfit for this season is a chunky jumper, tucked into high-waisted jeans, with a nice belt to break up the outfit and some boots. Safe to say this belt would be perfect for that!
I'm on the hunt for some new black chelsea boots because my last pair have been totally worn into the ground over the last two years and are now totally falling apart. I'm after a classic pair with a decent sole on them so they'll hopefully last me another couple of years! These ones seem to have a little bit of a heel on them which i'm not a massive fan of, but i'm hoping it will help with their durability and keeping my feet dry.
Autumn is all about being super cosy (and to put a boring adult spin on it, I want to avoid putting my heating on for as long as possible, so I'm on the hunt for some comfy/warm clothes to wear around the house.) This co-ord set, which you order separately, is knitted and has a stretchy waist band. Plus, it's also made from a recycled blend of materials. It's made from recycled polyester; plastic bottles and textile waste are processed and melted into new fibres. This means it saves water and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Comfy, affordable and consciously produced - what more could you want?!
If you follow me on any platforms, you'll know that I'm a big lover of ditsy, floral dresses. Usually, you can only really get away with wearing these in the warmer months. But I've finally found my dream Autumn, floral dress! I used to hate wearing green but it has really grown on me recently. I love the girly pattern and the puffy sleeves, but most importantly it will still look cute with a chunky knit cardigan and tights, or maybe with a jumper over the top to shake things up a bit.
I probably own far too many jumpers (although, is there such a thing?!), but in my defence, I certainly don't own one like this. It's quite an unusual grey colour and i'm obsessed with the sleeves. In a practical sense, it might be quite tricky to put a coat or jacket on over the top of this jumper because of the slightly bulkier sleeves, but then would you really want to hide them anyway?!
I'm in love with the look of leather trousers, but most of the ones i've come across before have been super tight fitting. They look great on the model but in reality they're rarely flattering. These trousers look like they'd suit me (and a lot of people I imagine) much better - they're high-waisted, a chunky belt to show off your waist and a slim fit. I love mixing up textures so I think these would look super cool with a chunky knit and then dressed down with some trainers.
Despite literally just saying I love all things girly, I also quite like changing things up and looking a little more grungy at times, particularly in Autumn when darker colours are on trend. I'm not really sure what it is that draws me to this hoody, I love the print, but also the fact that it's more subtle/distressed. The outfit i'm picturing is this hoody, black jeans, blue oversize denim jacket over the top and a beanie. Basically my perfect Autumn/Winter outfit for days when I want to be comfy and warm.
Speaking of being comfy and warm, who wouldn't want a complete abundance of cute jumpers for this time of year?! The colours in this one just totally sold it to me. I would love to wear this as part of an all black outfit, maybe with a mustard coat on if it's really cold to make the colour pop.
Is it that much of a surprise that I've included a mustard jumper in this list? I basically add a new one to my collection every time Autumn rolls around. Mustard is just my favourite colour ever, I love Autumn and I love jumpers. I particularly love the cable knit detailing on this one. I'm a bit confused by the ASOS styling though, surely if it's cold enough for a jumper, you're not exactly going to wear shorts with it are you?!
I can't decide if I love or hate these trousers... so I thought I'd include them in this blog post so you can make your own mind up. When the leopard print trend first came back around I hated it, but it's really started to grow on me recently. However, these trousers might be pushing the boat out a bit even for me. Personally I think wearing it with the matching top is a bit much, i'd be much more likely to wear them with a plain black jumper. I feel like the only way I could truly make my mind up about these trousers is just to order them and see for myself.
My final addition to this list is something else that I think might be a bit love/hate for people, but I certainly love it! I love the colour combination, the style and the fact that the front panel is fleece to keep you super cosy. I also think the huge pocket at the front would be really handy for both keep your hands warm, and carrying a few things if you wanted to nip out of the house without a bag.

What's your favourite item on this list? What are your fashion staples for Autumn/Winter? I would love to chat with you in the comments!

. Saturday, 28 September 2019 .
I'd always wanted to go "glamping," so when I stumbled across Peaks and Pods online whilst browsing the internet at 3am on a night shift, I was sold. I stayed in the cutest little pod, overlooking the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales. The site is based on a working diary farm so there's plenty of local wildlife to keep you company, including chickens who roam amongst the pods. I stayed for two nights and my only complaint is that it wasn't long enough!
Me sat in front of the Glamping pod

When we arrived there was a homemade lemon drizzle cake made using the eggs from the hens on the farm which I just thought was a lovely touch. The pod was cosy yet surprisingly spacious considering how small it looked from the outside. Inside was a double bed, an ensuite bathroom, a small kitchen with all the essentials, a pull out table and chairs and a sofa that also pulls out into a double bed. I chose to stay in 'Corn Bents' which comes with its own private hot tub on the patio and honestly it was just a dream. We also got really lucky with the weather! But quite frankly, even the rain couldn't spoil this place.
Inside the pod
Kitchen in the pod

Where To Eat

Me eating ice cream in 'The Milking Parlour'
Each pod comes with its own mini kitchen, there's also a fire pit on the patio which you could use to make a BBQ. If you don't fancy cooking for yourself I would highly recommend Ruchee - an Indian restaurant in the nearby town of Settle. It is about a 15 minute drive from the glamping site and the food was seriously the best curry I have had in a long time! In the on-site communal area there is also a pizza oven which you can hire out for an evening if you fancy making your own pizzas. We chose to make our own but you could also use the ovens to prepare store bought pizzas if you'd rather. 

If you fancy travelling further ahead, we visited a small town called Kirby Lonsdale. There we ate lunch a place called Crossing Point Cafe - such a cute little place and they make their own tea blends. After lunch we couldn't resist checking out The Milking Parlour; it's an ice cream shop that makes the ice cream from the milk produced at their family diary farm. The milk is made into ice cream the day that it's milked and it was seriously the tastiest ice cream i've ever eaten.  

What To Do

Personally I think the most important thing to do whilst visiting Peaks and Pods is spend as much time as possible in the hot tub! I can't quite explain how incredible it is sitting in the hot tub in the sunshine looking out over the incredible view. I even got up early on my last morning to go for another quick dip because I just couldn't resist. I quite literally felt like royalty. The only downside was actually having to get out! 

You definitely need to make the most of the stunning local countryside too during your visit. We opted for an 8 mile walk around the Stocks Circular Path. Within the pods are several different leaflets detailing different walks you can take of varying lengths and difficulty. 

Another favourite activity of mine was warming myself by the fire. There's a fire pit in the communal area which you can purchase wood for. The fire is right by a field for young cows and watching them wander around the field was so peaceful. 

Would I recommend it?

100%! I cannot emphasise this enough. I will definitely be booking to return in the future as I loved every minute of my stay.
Flowers and watering can outside the pod

View from the pod
The pod at night
A tin with homemade cake in it and some corn to feed the chickens

. Saturday, 18 May 2019 .
"Is that a good idea?" or "Aren't you scared" were definitely the most common questions I was asked when I told people that I was heading to Morocco as a solo female traveller. When I started planning my trip to Morocco, safety was something that I considered but I didn't really give it much more thought than I would any country I visit alone to be honest. But people's reactions made me think twice and I started doing a bit of googling - probably not my brightest idea because I came across numerous articles, newspaper reports and blog posts relating to safety in Morocco, particularly aimed at women. Now I'm not saying having too much information is a bad thing, of course this information should available for people to read and make informed decision about the places they are visiting. However I must admit, had I done this research prior to arranging and booking everything I seriously might have reconsidered. But for better or worse I'm a pretty stubborn person so there was no backing out now. It's safe to say that the vast majority of things I read painted Morocco in a very negative light, which certainly wasn't my overall experience of the country. So I thought I would add my two cents to the picture in the hope of reassuring some people who have also been put off by what they've seen online.
Hassan Tower
I visited Morocco for 10 days in February of 2019, I spent most of my time in Rabat as I was working for a travel company whilst I was out there and this is where they are based. Most people probably aren't familiar with Rabat but it is actually Morocco's capital city! I also visited Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech during my time in Morocco and my experience varied a lot in the different cities.

I definitely experienced harassment during my time in Morocco; some of which was just due to being a tourist in a foreign country, but some was much more directly aimed at me because I was a woman on my own. However I was taking steps to reduce this as much as possible, which is what I'd suggest you do.
  • Walk with purpose. If you look lost and confused, people will use this to try and talk you into things that you otherwise you wouldn't agree to. I'd suggest looking at the map and familiarise yourself with the next few roads you need to take, then put it away while you're actually walking. When you've reached as far as you can go, stop out of the way to look at the map again before setting off. If you look lost people will offer to guide you. Some of these people may just innocently want to help, others may expect payment in return, so it's best just to avoid anyone offering you directions full stop. I have also heard of people being led to a completely different place under the guise of helping them find their way in order to rob them among other ulterior motives. So my advice would be to avoid accepting directions from people all together and make sure you're very firm with your 'no' otherwise they'll likely continue to pursue you. 
  • Dress conservatively, particularly young women. My usual attitude is that everyone should be free to wear whatever they want, however in a conservative/religious country such as Morocco it's worth noting that what you wear will greatly impact your experience. I understand that when you're in a hot country, you want to wear less clothing to keep cool and catch the sun, but just be wary that if you're wearing less clothing you're going to attract more attention from local men. I would recommend wearing clothing that covers you from shoulder to knees. I primarily wore either culottes or midi skirts with a high neck t-shirt. 
  • Have a bit of a resting bitch face. This isn't something that comes natural to me as I'm generally quite a smiley person! But unfortunately looking approachable isn't something that will work in your favour in many places in Morocco. 
  • If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, or you don't want to have a conversation with them, then it's best to totally blank them. If you engage them in any kind of conversation they're going to see it as you being interested in them. It feels incredibly rude but if you start a conversation, men in particular will not leave you alone. 
  • As with everywhere, keep your money and your valuables close to you, and don't flaunt them. Certain parts of Morocco, particularly in Marrakech, have very high theft rates against tourists. The Moroccan officials are trying their best to reduce this as they want to encourage the tourism industry, but it's worth doing everything you can to be cautious too. 
Camel ride in the desert outside Marrakech

Generally the best experience I had in terms of safety/little harassment was in Rabat, but the worst was definitely Marrakech. Rabat isn't as popular with tourists as other cities, despite being the capital. In fact most people don't even seem to realise that it is the capital! Rabat is quite a modern city in many respects; the public transport is quite good, there's lots of multicultural food options and it is quite clean. In fact in some parts of the city you could easily mistake yourself for being in Paris! Morocco gained independence from France in 1956 but there are certainly a lot of French influence still present. Whilst I received a few comments off men in the street, it was generally very harmless and after I ignored them they dropped it. In more touristy areas such as Casablanca, Fez and Marrakech, people tended to be a bit more persistent. 

My worst, and only hands on experience, of harassment happened in Marrakech. I was walking in the medina, looking for the Musee de Mouassine which is down some small narrow streets off a main street. A group of teenagers, primarily boys, were hanging around down one of these narrow streets. I very nearly didn't walk down there but I wanted to go to the museum and wasn't about to be put off by a group of kids. Whilst walking down there a few of them shouted things like 'hello'/'how are you' but nothing major. I smiled and kept on walking. After I'd walked past them they came up behind me; one of them put their arm round my shoulder and grabbed at my breast and two more (I think) grabbed/slapped at bum. It all happened really quickly. I shouted at them to get away/get off and pushed away the boy who's arm was round my shoulder. It made me angry and uncomfortable but I wasn't about to let it ruin my day. In fact I was actually vlogging that day and didn't mention it at all in the video, simply because I hadn't really processed it yet so didn't know what to say. In hindsight the reason it made me so angry is because it says a lot about how a country raises its young men that these boys thought this behaviour was acceptable. However I also know there are a lot of young men in the UK who behave in a way that I don't think is acceptable and would never raise a child of mine to behave like. 

Despite this one experience, my overall time in Morocco was a very positive one and I would definitely return if the opportunity presented itself. As a woman I would recommend you do everything you can to keep yourself safe, but don't let stories you've heard put you off a trip here. 

If you have ever thought about travelling solo but aren't sure about it, check out a previous post I wrote about why I think you should travel solo. 

Have you visited Morocco? Is it somewhere you'd like to visit? Let me know in the comments! 

. Friday, 10 May 2019 .
 If you've been following me for a while, you'll likely have heard me talk about Beauty Pie before. They're a member's buying club whereby you pay £10 a month membership fee and then are able to purchase their luxury, high-end quality beauty products at cost price. One of the things I love about this site (besides the ridiculously good value of course) is that they give you a price breakdown for each product, so you can see exactly how much each element of the product costs to add up to final cost-price that you pay. They also compare this to the "typical price" that you would pay for the exact same item if you picked it up off the shelves of any other shop.

This post is not sponsored and I paid for all the items myself. I just placed a pretty large order recently (whoops!) so thought I would show you what I picked up. My order is a combination of some old faithfuls and some of their newer releases! I'll be sure to include the member's price and the typical price of each item so you can see the ridiculous discount you can get as a member!

Redcurrant and Fig Scented Candle

Member's Price = £16.64, RRP = £40. I am a big lover of candles, I always have been. Since moving into my own flat I can finally burn them to my heart's content. Prior to this I was living in either student accommodation or with my parents, neither of which allowed me to burn candles. So since moving out my candle collection has grown significantly! I am a big lover of berry scents - hence how this one ended up in my basket. It is described on their website as "energetic and zesty berries with bergamot and amber, over fig flowers, plums and musk." Beauty Pie actually released their candles a few months ago, but I wasn't quick enough to grab them first time round as they went out of stock very quickly. Luckily they recently came back into stock and I managed to nab two.

Pomegranate and Baies Rose Scented Candle

Member's Price = £14.64, RRP = £40. As I already mentioned, I couldn't narrow down my candle choice to just one so I ended up with two in my basket. Although quite frankly there were a few more I had my eye on. This one is described as a "sexy, sybaritic red fruit with a hazy halo of baies rose, artemisia cinnamon, clove, cashmere wood and patchouli." Another great thing about the candles is that they come in beautiful boxes that make them perfect for gifting, not that I have any intention of sharing mine!

Shimmerbar in the shade "Bikini"

Member's Price = £9.22, RRP = £32. The Shimmerbar is a cross between a highlighter and a bronzer, it's a hybrid that I didn't know I needed until it was in my life, and now I can't get enough of it! Perfect now that the warmer weather is upon us so you can get that sun kissed look, without the skin damage.

One Palette Wonder  

Members Price = £6.23, RRP = £35. This product is exactly what it says on the tin; it's pretty much everything you could need for a gorgeous makeup look in one palette. If you follow me, you'll know I love to travel. So when I saw this I just knew that it had to be mine because I couldn't think of a more perfect palette to take with me on adventures. This plus some SPF, a BB cream, mascara and i'm good to go! This reminds me a lot of a limited edition palette that Charlotte Tilbury sold last year. I very nearly picked it up but I think it retailed for around £70 and I just couldn't justify spending that at the time as I was a student. That why I just knew I needed to pick up this palette when I saw it arrive on the Beauty Pie website. Plus I already own quite a few of the Beauty Pie powder products and have always been impressed with them so it was just a no-brainer.

Left to Right: Love Berry, Pin Up, Cowboy Nude, In The Nude / / /


Member's Price = Less than £4 (each shade is slightly different), RRP = £20. Do I own too many lipsticks? Probably. Do I care? No! I've tried out quite a few of the Beauty Pie lipsticks and loved them all, so decided to add a few more to my collection. Plus repurchase an old faithful which I'd used up entirely! Love Berry is a pinky-toned berry shade in a satin finish, I love that it's a little bit purple but is more wearable because of how pinky it is. Pin Up is a satin finish classic red, every girl needs a good red in their collection but I didn't have one, so I thought it was about time I added one. Cowboy Nude is a matte that I've repurchased twice now, it's my perfect nude and I get so many compliments on it. In The Nude is a satin finish mid-tone brown, it's a little bit out of my comfort zone but I actually really like it on, especially with a brown smoky eye.

Precision Eyeliner Marker 

Member's Price = £2.86, RRP = £16. I am a big fan of felt tip liners and yet have never tried the Beauty Pie one surprisingly, so I thought it was about time. I haven't actually applied it to my eyes yet but I've drawn a few lines on the back of my hand and so far i'm impressed! It left a thin, highly pigmented black line - exactly what I'm after! It claims to be smudge-proof so i'm really hoping it lives up to that claim too as there's nothing worst than smudged eyeliner. /  /

Eyeshadow Brushes

Member's Price = £4.51/£3.62/£3.66, RRP = £22/£20/£20. Now this may surprise you all, but brushes are something I'm actually lacking in my makeup collection. Well, I should probably rephrase that, I have a lot of brushes but not necessarily the ones I need! So I decided to pick up these three as the ultimate combination for an eye look; there is an eyeshadow base, crease and smudge brush. Again, I haven't used these yet but the feel soft but firm (if you know what I mean!) and don't shed any hairs.

Five Minute Facial

Member's Price = £8.34, RRP = £60. Now this is an item I have repurchased MULTIPLE times! In fact I even showed it on my blog several times before, once in a skincare favourites post, top picks of Beauty Pie post AND a previous Beauty Pie haul. So if there's one thing you decide to pick up after reading this blog post i'd definitely recommend that you make it this! This bad boy contains both chemical and physical exfoliants so every little bit of your face is left feeling amazing. I like to pop it all over my face for 5-10 minutes like a mask to let the chemical exfoliants work their magic, then rub it into my skin with wet hands in a circular motion to make use of the physical exfoliants before rinsing it all away. Honestly, once you've tried this stuff you won't be able to get enough!

Super Pore-Detox Black Clay Mask

Member's Price = £7.26, RRP = £50. If you're new around here, you might not know that I have very oily skin. However, I certainly mention it a lot so I doubt it will be a surprise to many of you that know me! I used to have a lot of issues with my oily skin creating bad acne but thankfully, that's pretty much under control now. I do still get a lot of blocked pores however. This mask does a great job of drawing all the impurities out of my pores. In fact, once it's dried you can even see the little dots where the gunk has been pulled out! It's a little gross, but very satisfying. Personally I think this and the exfoliant I mentioned before are just an absolute dream team for my oily, acne prone skin.

Apricot Cleansing Balm

Member's Price = £12.24, RRP = £50. I'm really trying to move away from using makeup removing wipes/pads in favour of more sustainable products. I decided to pick up this cleansing balm which is designed to be used with a face cloth; simply rub it into your face and wash away with a cloth. Plus a major selling point for this for me was that it smells of apricot and I LOVE apricot. I also loved the fact that it is nourishing. I have very oily skin but it also gets quite dry, so in the evenings I like to focus on giving it all the moisture I can. So this seemed like the perfect start to my evening routine!

Liquid Lipstick in "Winner" 

Member's Price = £5.46, RRP = £20. I am a big fan of liquid lipsticks, I've tried one of Beauty Pie's before and really loved it so I decided to pick up another shade. This one is a pinky-red. I love it because it's bold but not quite as bold as a full red. Once dried down, these liquid lipsticks have fab staying power!

Superdrops Flash Face Lift 

Member's Price = £9.18 , RRP = £50. Now, I'm only 23, so I don't really think that a face lift is something I need to be worrying about now. However I am a firm believer that the earlier you start a good skincare routine, the better it is for your skin. I would rather be preventing wrinkles and fine lines, than fighting with them once I've already got them. I wouldn't say I have wrinkles but I definitely get a few fine lines around my eyes, mouth and across my forehead. These drops go underneath your usual moisturiser and I'm excited to add another step to my skincare routine which will hopefully keep my skin looking youthful for as long as possible!

Flawless Finish Blending Sponge Duo 

Member's Price = £4.12, RRP = £15. I am a big lover of makeup sponges, however the original 'Beauty Blenders' are quite pricey and a lot of the dupes just don't do anywhere near as good a job. These guys have great reviews on the Beauty Pie website, plus they're a much more affordable price. I think you can tell how great they are by the fact that they've sold out twice since they were launched!

Which of these products would you guys most like to try out?