Sunday, 29 May 2016

FESTIVAL HYGIENE - THE INS AND OUTS.....

I've done a thorough video on my YouTube channel about the ins and outs of festival hygiene, but for those that find the sound of my voice annoying I thought I'd repeat it in text form.

Included in this post will be the obvious and straightforward products for the average festival camper, but there will also be some more obscure or innovative ideas, and measures that can be taken for those a bit more conscious about hygiene and cleanliness.

I know a lot of people that haven't attended festivals because of their rigid levels of hygiene, and it seems such a shame to miss out on so much fun as well as the fantastic live music of course, so I wanted to include a few more ideas that might may the prospect of attending less grim.

Your Lady Parts

I'm going to have to be a bit indelicate during this section of the post - but it's important that you look after your hidden areas as well as the parts that are have out and about. A ladies 'area' can get sweaty at the best of times, add a summer's day, a festival moshpit, or a day walking around a field, and you have a superb formula for a very hot mess downstairs.  

Don't worry though, there are things that can reduce the aftermath of a sweaty foof. There are of course Feminine sprays, but while they improve the scent and general feel of your personal garden, they are still generally just masking the issue. I'd reccommend bringing a feminine wash or wipe that will go some way in removing the initial issue and the build up of whatever has accumulated over the few days. It's not uncommon to have to drip dry as the loo's often run out of tissues, and we all have our standard lady juices that will run whenever they fancy, and the tent does nothing to air or improve the conditions of a festival worn vagina. All I'm saying is, it needs looking after during your weekend.

I guess getting fruity comines under hygiene. Firstly, I would not reccommend anyone getting down and dirty at a festival, because without being too crass, that is exactly what it will be....dirty - and not in a good way. I'm not going to go into full on mum rant mode but please be careful if you are drinking at a festival, please make sure you aren't on your own, and try and have your wits about you. Whatever your plans for the festival do make sure you have some condoms with you - better to be safe than sorry.

If you are due to my on during your weekend (I usually am annoyingly) or you like to always be prepared, you can get vey compact tampons like these ones from Moxie which won't take up too much room.

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

BIFFY CLYRO LIVE ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE, HEADROW HOUSE, LEEDS



I don't post too many news based bits on here, but sometimes something is so cool, and so worth blogging about you that you just have to share it.
I am lucky enough to have seen Biffy live a few times now (including their Relentless gig at the Troxy, where I was in the photo pit) and I can't enthuse enough about their shows. If you want sweat, passion, vitriol and a sound that is both ragged and electric, while still being tight (not an easy thing to acheive) then they should be your go-to guys. 


Opposites is still in regular rotation in the car, but I'm very ready and eager to hear their new material at Reading Festival. Although I don't think I am free to attend the gig I'm about to fill you in on, I didn't want you guys to miss out on the opportunity.....
So this week Reading & Leeds Festivals announced an exclusive acoustic performance from 2016 headliners Biffy Clyro to take place at Headrow House, Leeds, on Wednesday 1 June.

Performing at Reading & Leeds festivals for the 10th time this year, the phenomenal rise and success of Biffy Clyro sets to continue. With their highly anticipated seventh studio album Ellipsis on the way, Reading & Leeds will kick off the summer by bringing a special acoustic set from Biffy Clyro to Leeds’ Headrow House.

All Reading & Leeds ticket holders will be able to enter a ballot for the chance to win tickets to this exclusive performance. All successful ballot entrants will receive a confirmation email, with a link through to ticket collection, from 8:30am Friday 27 May. A transaction fee of £3.50 will be payable for each ticket. All proceeds will be matched by Leeds Festival and donated to local charity, Martin House.

Biffy Clyro are one of five headliners for this year’s Reading & Leeds Festivals alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Disclosure and Fall Out Boy. They head up a sensational Bank Holiday Weekend also including performances from Jack Ü, The 1975, Imagine Dragons, Boy Better Know, Nas, Chvrches, The Vaccines, HAIM, A$AP Rocky, Good Charlotte, Fetty Wap, Twenty One Pilots, Eagles Of Death Metal and many more. 
Let's flashback to when I was young and chatting to the guys on the Kerrang! Award red carpet...



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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

COLLECTION DELUXE LIP LACQUER REVIEWED


The postman delivered some more affordable drugstore beauty in the form of two Collection Lip Lacquers from the DELUXE range. I had been highly impressed with the lipsticks, so I was excited to see if the brand's winning trend would continue.


On first impressions I thought Show Off 2 that this was the perfect summer shade. I love to sport corals and pinks with a slight injection of orange during the hotter months, when my skin is slightly  closer to a toffee hue  and my hair bleached by the sun. This shade is a great way of being feminine and girly while packing a punch. It makes me want to rush out and buy a new floral tea dress immediately.

 The bud style applicator makes it extremely easy to apply to the lips, the fattest part covering a large surface area, and the tip allowing you to colour the inside the lines of the cupids bow.


When you first apply it to the lips it feels incredibly thick and gooey. You're reaction to the texture is conflicted. The stickyness doesn't feel great, but the consistency gives you the belief that it will have good staying power. Although I prefer the feeling of a gloss that is more slippery and wet, the formulas do tend to easily smudge and create an uneven colour.


The colour was exactly as I hoped, the perfect pop of girly pink. It was very complimentary to  my skin tone and had the ability to pep up my tired face a bit, which is always a nice bonus! I ate dinner with it on, and there was still a noticeable colour on my lips afterwards, which proves that it's rich and gooey consistency equals longevity.


Next up I tried the second shade named Sparkling Lights which has the most dsitreet of glittery particles within it's berry lacquer.


It's the sort of colour I'd generally veer towards in the winter months, but the subtle shimmer gives it a summery left. This shade also delivers an intense and glossy colour.


I find the longer you wear these lip lacquers the better they feel. As I said before, they start of thick and sticky, but with the heat of your lips they seem to climatise and become much more comfortable to wear.


While these aren't my favourite out of my recent Collection deliveries, there are still many positives about these bargainous lip lacquers. The colours are beautiful and have real impact. The design of the applicator makes achieving a neat lip a lot easier and they lasted well for their price point.
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Interview with Sophie Turner (X-Men Apocalypse)


A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited down to the YouTube Space to interview one of the stars of X-Men Apocalypse. Flame haired Sophie Turner (of Game of Thrones) has taken on the role of Jean Grey, formely portrayed by Famke Janssen. The film focuses on the origins of the Mutants, in this whirlwind of a film you are given an insight into how the evolved in to the Marvel characters you have enjoyed watching over the last few movies, and also how they came to terms with their powers (with different degrees of success). The Film is in cinemas now.

Watch our chat below....

What did you think of the movie?


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Monday, 23 May 2016

OUR DAY IN ALCUDIA OLD TOWN


Hotel commissioned press trips vary greatly from press trips put on by tourists boards or airlines. In the past when sent to a country by a tourist board or UNESCO,  I've generally had a very extensive itinerary, one that would allow me to write an in depth article detailing what the area has to offer and the history behind it. On my recent trip to Alcudia the only task I was given was to review the accommodation, the four star Hotel Astoria Playa. 

However, If I am lucky enough to be sent to another country I want to immerse myself in the area, even if the the comforts of the hotel are at such a luxury level it makes it extremely difficult to tear yourself away. 

After a day of much needed blissed out relaxation by the hotel pools we asked our host for reccommendation of things to see and do in the area. 

The first one we decided to embark on was a visit to the old town of Alcudia. She informed us that it was in walking distance, if you didn't mind a half hour plus walk, and that there would be great views at our final destination courtesy of the city walls. When the weather's nice and the scenery picturesque a walk is actually rather appealing.

After you pass some of the less desirable views of the main strip, like the British pubs and off-puttingly named burger joints, you reach a roundabout. After you turn right you feel like you've escaped that more touristy part of the area, it feels a lot more country-fied...if that's a word. 

During this trip we wanted to get as much content as possible for my blog and channel, and were extremely chuffed with our next discovery. Hidden on the side of the road amongst some overgrown foliage was a rusty old car.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016

DeLuxe Lips by Collection - First Impressions


 Don't get me wrong, I adore a matte lip. I always a feel a tad cooler when sporting grungey nude shade lacking in shine. But oh my word is my love of this 90's trend taking it's toll on my lips. They seem to always feel a bit crusty and flaky these days, and get so dry that when I smile too swiftly it's not uncommon to feel a rip. The things we do for the sake of beauty eh....

This week I've been giving my lips a bit of a break and delivering a bit of moisture to the arid part of my face.  The lippies I've been drenching my lips with this week are from a newly extended range by Collection. 
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NEW BROWS WITH COLLECTION


Dear Beauty Bloggers and 'proper girls', please don't judge me. Until last year I hadn't attended to my brows, or groomed them as part of my daily routine. I guess a mixture of lazy-ness, fear and being completely clueless was holding me back. 

When I was a teenager in the nineties and all my friends were getting those really stripy highlight and pulling their hair back into a really tight ponytails, wearing Kappa tracksuits, or massive jeans that soaked in all the rain water, my parents were adament on keeping me young. They weren't concerned with allowing me to keep up with the current trends, or ticking off certain teenage benchmarks just because my classmates were.  I wasn't allowed to dye my hair, shave my legs and I was only allowed to get a bra at the last moment possible (when it started to be uncomfortable to do P.E).  At this time my classmates were taking plucking to the extreme, and leaving strips of hair no wider that a couple of mm above their eyes, which were weighed down in clumpy mascara. 

I chose my battles (the length of my school skirt being the main one) and I wasn't overly fussed about plucking. I have always been very fair, so it wasn't like my uni-brow was hugely visible, and the natural shape of my brow isn't actually too bad. I do remember someone once pointing out the whisps inbetween my brows though, because they happened to catch the light one summer's day.  I ran home and used a bic to shave it off. I definitely wouldn't reccommed this, but luckily I avoided any disasters or injuries.
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Friday, 20 May 2016

ALL BLEACHED OUT

Happy Friday guys. This isn't going to be as wordy as my usual posts as I've got a splitting headache, one of those intense ones that pulsates behind the eyes. Plus, this week has been too full on for me frail body to handle quite frankly, and I need to switch off from everything for an evening.

I was due to have a much needed day at home to work and catch up on my 26,000 unread emails yesterday, but my friend and in-demand colourist extraordinaire Loren had some rare spare time to do my hair, so I ended up in Berwick Street at the Soho branch of Bleach London. 

When it comes to bleaching my hair I have been fairly conservative since a disastrous dip dye which lead to my hair breaking off and leaving me with half the hair I had prior. 

But since I went denim with Adam Reed I feel more confident about being daring with my hair, and after numerous occasions in the hot seat with Loren I completely trust that she'll deliver what I'm looking for. So yesterday I decided I'd give her the instruction to UP the bleach, and turn me in to a full on bright golden blonde for Summer.


 I thought I'd talk about the specifics of what I had done yesterday, just in case anyone else fancies the sort of same look for our hotter (sometimes) months. 

I'll be honest I only get my hair dyed if I am getting it done complimentary for review purposes, or if  my pal Loren is available - who kindly gives me a lovely friend discount. I can't really afford such luxuries, nor do I have the time to have regular visits to freshen. Due to my very sporadic visits I always ask for a look that will still look good even with a few months of root regrowth. This means I never go for a block colour, because that will create a really harsh line of natural hair when it starts coming through...if you go for strips, highlights or balayage it looks a lot more natural...more like holiday sun-bleached hair that's grown out a bit.  I also kind of like the idea that people may think I'm one fo those free spirited travelling types that is constantly exploring the globe....


So till yesterday I had always had a half headd of highlights, that we would then tone at the end. I would always ask for the strands that frame my face to be a bit ligher as I find that lifts my complexion nicely and gives the illusion that the whole head of hair is lighter than it is. 

The only problem with going for a half head was that when I'd wear my hair half up, half down, you'd see my dark blonde/mousy hair underneath and hardly any of the lightest blonde would be visible. 

To rectify this I asked Loren if we colour the underneath sections. Rather than foil the underneath parts like she does with the top layers, she backcombed then rubbed the bleach on the majority of the length just leaving a few inches their original/natural blonde. With bleach on her gloves hand and my hair looking like a nest she used a sort of crunching technique.....at this point your hair sort of resembles Vermicilli noodles.


As I said before, I've always opted for a more natural blonde look, a dye job that was almost so subtle that no one even noticed I'd got my hair done, unless I made a point of posting it on social media and mentioning it very clearly. In a way that's a good thing because it means that it's been done very well, and that the colour didn't scream fake, but sometimes you want a bit of that POW factor. On this occasion I wanted a look that would be so noticeable I wouldn't have to drop hints to Si for hours in the hope it might get a mention or compliment.....and I achieved it.


He even said 'woah' when he saw it, which was the desired response....well, as long as it was a 'Woah, that looks great', rather than a 'Woah, what have you done.'  

When Loren was drying it and the true colour became apparent the positive effects were instantaneous. I looked younger and fresher, and incredibly summer ready. I hadn't realised how much the lack of oomph in my blonde was effecting my looks. Why didn't I do this sooner, god dammit!?

When looking at myself in the mirror when having the consultation with Loren at the beginning I could see how dull my hair had become and how it was draining the colour from my face. Loren always has very bright warm blonde hair and the comparison between us was glaringly and devestatingly obvious. That side by side visual was the push I had needed to take the bleachy plunge.


For many of us salon sacredy cats Olaplex has made going for far more manageable a prospect. With this product you very rarely hear of any dye disaster and you don't have the fear that you're hair is going to be ravaged by the bleach. If you've grown your hair for as long as I have, the fear of bleach enduced breakages is pretty big. My hair felt better after bleaching and Loren's confident I shouldn't see deterioration as long as I do some intensive masks and conditioning.


In the past Loren has always tones my hair, but we have come to realise my hair has a tendancy to go ashy and a tad dull, so this time we decided the embrace the golden/yellow tones, as we agreed that my face benefits from the warmth.


So I think that's about everything. I'm going to go and take my mascara off and bury my head in a pillow now. Have a fab weekend you lovely lot.

X

P.S Here's an awful outtake photo from when I said to Loren that I didn't want to take any more pictures in public because I was feeling like an absolute goon!


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Thursday, 19 May 2016

REVIEW: L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Collection


I've always looked longingly (enviously if I'm honest) at those dark haired beauties. They can look so effortlessly glamorous because whatever their chosen ensemble their hair always shines. If there dark hair blessings didn't feel unfair enough to us blondes, they also have the option to leave their hair at least a couple more days longer than us before the grease shows to an off-putting level. It doesn't help that I always seem to go out with guys who lust after brown haired sirens. But let's not delve into my habit of choosing men that would rather be with someone else....

There are definite plus points to being blonde. The right tone can really lift and freshen a face. I'm actually at the age where I'm searching for that shade that will inject some much needed youth. It also looks incredibly carefree and summery when teamed with tanned skin and summer garb. Also, if you're one to neglect washing for a length of time many would deem unsanitary, then talcum powder and dry shampoos really work well with lighter locks.  While immersed in this paragraph dedicated to convincing me that blonde is better, let's not forget that grey/white hairs are a lot less visible in blonde hair. 

Even when I've loved my blonde hair, the length, the cut, and the colour, I've never been thrilled with it's level of shine. It's perfectly qualified for creating beachy salty hair, or grungy lived-in looks, but it's rarely noted for being glossy and polished.

  
When these Mythic Oil products arrived last week, I hoped they might offer a solution and put to bed the myth/fact that blondes cant showcase shiny hair, like those blessed brunettes.


In this post I'll be talking about the Mythic Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, the Masque I'll save for a future blog.

The first thing I notice when I start to use that shampoo is that lathers to a pleasing degree, which means you'll get a fair few washes per bottle. It is translucent and has an aroma you associate with products that heal and relax. The orange tinge of the bottle makes you believe you are putting molten amber or honey on your hair which makes it feel like a positive and luxurious experience. Containing Osmanthus (I have no idea either) and Ginger Oil the shampoo promises to nourish and encourage vitality.

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Sunday, 15 May 2016

PLAYING FOR KEEPS WITH ALEXA AND MARKS AND SPENCER


The final (for now) in my trio of Alexa x Marks and Spencer purchases, and perhaps my favourtie. 
What I love the most is that it's a playsuit, but one that can fool you in to thinking it's a dress. I find some playsuit's ride up and give you the dreaded you know what, but this was is cut in a way it doesn't give you a chafing frontal wedgie.
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Saturday, 14 May 2016

ARCHIVE BY ALEXA: THE PERFECT DAY DRESS


That rare fashion speciman. A dress you feel cool in, that your mum still likes. Given that I still live with my mum at an age where I should be properly 'adulting' (I hate that word) I find myself still amending how I dress to avoid 'the look.' This scanning of my ensembles started when I was a teenager and trying to keep up with what my classmates were experimenting with. I'd imitate the trends cultivated at school, in my own makeshift or most cost effective way of course, and head downstairs to wait for the verdict. Mum would no censor her opinion and it would often leave with no choice but to changes into a new more traditional outfit before leaving the house.
Mum didn't understand why my jeans had to be wide enough to fit two more legs in and why they needed to have the ability to soak up muddles. She also didn't understand why I had chosen to wear colours that made me look like I was in the midst of an horrendous virus.
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Friday, 13 May 2016

My Tips Towards Happiness


I won't pretend that I have it all figured out. You'll see from the regularity of slightly morose tweets that I definitely haven't nailed a consistently joyful life. That said, I think I am long in tooth enough to know what does help me increase the percentage of happiness. It's normal and probably healthy to have times of sadness, and periods of our lives where happiness takes an inadvertent back seat. Sad, traumatic and stressful things happen in all our lives, and reflection and reaction to these times allow us to gain some perspective on our lives at a whole. 

Here's just a few things I've realised have a positive impact on my life, and have the ability to turn those frowns upside down. Do let me know what works for you in the comments section...

Sort Out Unfinished Business

I don’t think this alone will lead to a happiness, but not having these burdens will alleviate a lot of stress and will no longer detract from your potential happiness. Not all situations can be sorted out in the traditional sense. You may need counselling to get to a place where you can find closure on the issue even though you can’t completely fix/change the situation. There’s been a few disagreements, or things I have or haven’t said, that have played a part in my troubled sleep over the years. Where possible I’ve tried to sort those relationships out or messaged the person to clear the issue up. It doesn’t always go to plan, but in doing so you fill eased by the knowledge you’ve done all you could, and presented yourself in a way you can live with. Sometimes it’s a case of things you haven’t done that leaves you troubled. Write them down on a bit of paper so they’re not wurring around your head, and tackle them when you can. Ticking off that list will be very satisfying. 

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Surround yourself with radiators not drains. In the last few years I’ve stepped away from, or gratefully lost, a few people that were having a hugely negative effect on my life. One was extremely harmful and effected my life in a such a way that everyday involves coping with the aftermath. Others have been those types of friends that are constantly putting you in awkward situations, are difficult or high maintenance, or extremely demanding of your time and patience. In short, those ‘friendships’ where the balance is completely off, and you find them take take taking and you getting little joy out of the situation. There’s also those people in your life who subtly or not so subtly make you feel worse about yourself. Via snide comments or manipulation they make you feel less than, or question the person you are and the way you want to live. 
I can’t tell you how much good people and good relationships can impact your life. Those people that congratulate you on your little/big achievements, and that give you that boost when they can tell you need it. For me it’s the ones that are understanding of my situation. The friends that don’t get huffy with me because I’m a bit off the radar at times. The ones that totally understand that my health and work means that I can’t be as sociable as I’d like to be. The ones that know I want to be a better friend, and that I love them in spite of the gap between each rendez voux or catch up over Whatsapp. These people want you to succeed and will be your cheerleaders through fails as well as successes. 

Be Kind

Hopefully the majority of you reading this are innately kind, and acting with a friendly and sympathetic heart without even thinking about it. If you think the stress of and grind of daily life has taken effect on your ability to express you kindness, you may have to be a bit more conscious about it. The good thing about it, is that it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Send a friend a message/tweet out of the blue to just say something nice or tell them that you love them. Write a kind comment under a strangers photos on Instagram. I personally love telling strangers in shops how great they look when they try something on and I see them looking doubting in the mirror. Those little boosts make such a difference to a day - I know I feel pretty chuffed when someone runs over to ask where I got my dress from for instance. I went through a period of doing random token gifting where I’d leave little gifts at peoples work or outside the house and I loved the thrill of doing that. If you know someone is struggling in some way, little gestures that let them know you are here to help go a long way. 


Acceptance

I’ve spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and asking questions about what I’ve done to deserve certain frustrating aspects of my life. This attitude and mindset will get you nowhere. Beyonce was right. Sometimes life gives you lemons, so just go and make that yummy lemonade (She said it in a way cooler way than I ever could and with much better hair). You can’t stop all bad things from happening, but the way you deal or react to them will govern how much it takes a hold on your potential for happiness. Rather than giving up because things haven’t gone to plan, be open to adapting to this new avenue or path and making the most of the situation you find yourself in. My career hasn’t gone how I hoped it would, but I have found some joy in experimenting and trying the things I never knew I’d enjoy or flourish in doing. I know you’ve heard it before, but sometimes bad accidents and unfortunate events can set you on a very rewarding path. 
I've also accepted my looks as I got older. I'm never going to be a huge fan of my knobbly knees, wide hips, increasingly deflating chest and pocked skin, but I work with what I got and acknowledge that fact that it functions enough to live my life to an extent many would be grateful. The aspects of my looks I'm not able to accept or that notably hinder my happiness levels.. I am taking measures to try and change or improve them. 

I’ll touch on this more later…but being accepting of others will make the atmosphere you live in more loving and peaceful too. 

Stop Comparing yourself to Others

Perhaps the hardest thing to stop with today’s emphasis on social media, but one that is integral in carving your very on unique and happy journey. Firstly we have no way of knowing how and to what extent everyone is editing their life before posting it online, what you believe to be aspirational, 'goals' or flawless may not be all that it seems. Secondly we’ve all got different events., stresses, difficulties, talents, strengths, weaknesses, logistics all shaping the flow or speed of our progress and evolution, so trying to keep up with anyone else doesn’t really make any sense at all. You can only do your best given your current situation. That may mean your best isn’t very good at all, but at that moment in time outside influences mean that it’s hard to achieve to the best of your ability. You may have the same end goal as someone but the way you want to approach is may be extremely different. Do you thing, your way, and good things will happen. It may not be as quick as you like, but you’ll at least be comforted knowing you stuck to your guns. Surely it’s better to have your own special story too. No imitations here…


Living in the present

A lot of us are living in our heads, so distracted by events of the past that we forget to embrace the present and the possibilities of the future. I’ve always tended to dwell, and it’s a particularly hard habit to curb, but the effects of doing so are life changing. If you think rationally about it, it doesn’t make sense to constantly go over and over what’s already taken place. Do learn from these experiences and work out how they can be useful in shaping your future. But you also don’t want to be so absorbed in what’s already happened that you completely miss the joy and drama of the now. Open your eyes, heart and mind, and embrace the person you are now and the things in your life in that moment. Only then can you shape your future and decide the best way to get there.  


Travel

I know a lot of friends will be nodding their head vigorously at this one ( Holly, Zoe and Charlotte in particular). Whether it’s the exploration and discovery of new environments and cultures (and the people you meet while doing so), a change in climate, or simply the escape from your every day live - travel seems to instill a great amount of joy into peoples lives. As the popular phrase goes….a trip is the only thing you can buy than can enrich your life…or something of that ilk. For me it’s a combination of factors I think. I am generally a much happier person when the sun is out, so I am already going to be a substantial amount perkier when located in a brighter location. The sun also gifts me with more energy so I am able to live life a bit fuller - which is drastically different to the life I live at home in our dingy climate. 
As an artist I am natural observer. I love to people watch and to truly absorb my surrounding.

The other fantastic after effect of traveling is that it can have a profound effect on how you perceive your life back home - sometimes you’ll realise just how great you have it, sometimes you’ll have an epiphany about the things that need to be changed. Travel can also leave you invigorated and raring to get back into your work….perhaps the things you’ve seen will have sparked inspiration. I could go on for pages about the positive effects of travel but you get the gist….

Get Outside

We all have the hermit days (weeks or months) where we don't want or feel able to step outside the safety of home. Whether it’s bad acne, anxiety, or fatigue that’s preventing you, please try to step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Aside from fresh air and an injection of VIT D, changing your situation and the scenery around you can make sure a difference to your state of mind. I find a good walk leads to clarity of thought. Surrounding yourself with incredible views or nature also reminds you that the world is a pretty amazing place. I’m not sure I personally ever do enough to encourage the release of those positive chemicals that fitness and exercise release, but of course that’s another possible benefit. 


Positive Thinking

When I was incredibly depressed I found everyone telling me to be positive extremely aggravating. After all if it was that easy we’d all being doing it, and all be feeling great. But in hindsight I just wasn’t trying hard enough. Last year I went to a introduction to mindfulness where I was told about the importance of recognising these negative thoughts, but being able to say ‘not right now’ to them. When you feel that nag of guilt, shame, stress, frustration, doubt creep in it’s almost like saying ‘Oh I see you there, but I don’t have time for you right now’. The more often you do this the easier it is to stop them in their tracks. I am slowly but surely getting better at this, but it’s an ongoing process. 

When I’ve had a life slip or feeling down I really try and channel that energy into something that will increase my mood. For instance I did a bad interview this week and was feeling crap about the missed opportunity (she was v high profile). So rather than go to my room and curl up in a huff I decided to film a video and write a blog post, and ended the day feeling that I’d be very productive. On this new high I was then able to say ‘well it was good experience, and I’ll be better at it next time.’ 

Also, think about the advice you give to your friends when they're down and apply it to you! 
I’m not saying you’re not allowed to feel sad about something, sometimes having a good cry or venting via a rant is useful to unleash some tension. I’m talking about moving forward and having the ability to learn from it and not waste your energy on dwelling on what’s been done. 

I have also created a inspiration mood board. I’ve got pictures of people and things I find inspiring, as well as the goals I want to achieve in the next few years. When I’m in a rut I refer to it  and it helps me pull myself together and to get going on my ‘to do’ list. 

Don't Judge

I think if you are more accepting of difference you find socialising and living life (with other humans) a lot less stressful. I’m not suggesting you have to agree with everyone, but be open to their opinions. Each to their own is something I live by, and it can be applied frequently. As long as people aren’t being harmful or unkind to others of course. I’d much rather people were being their authentic selves rather than pretending to be something they’re not to appease me. I think if you’ve been through a few things in life you tend to be more understanding of others, and although you may not agree with them you can understand their decision process, particular quandary, or opinion. When friends of mine have made mistakes or had some life hiccups I always make a point of not judging them because life is tricky and it’s impossible to be flawless in your decision making. In being that person that listens rather than judges you can build some really strong and deep bonds, as people will know they can always come to you for comfort and advice. I’m not saying you shouldn’t challenge people or even debate, but don’t be so rigid that you’re closed off to any opinion that wasn’t initially yours. 

Being Open

I’ve known a lot of people who have struggled to form relationships and friendships because they have a very obvious guard up. I totally understand why people do, it’s a self preservation issue. 
Some people are naturally slightly closed off and others have built up this barrier since an event has taught them that opening up can leave them vulnerable or hurt. We adapt during our lives, and change your behaviours according to past events and situations. Unfortunately not all these changes are positive or helpful in creating a happy future. While I think it’s important to have our wits about us, try not to be closed off or guarded to the point of being cold and unapproachable. You could be preventing yourself from allowing the most wonderful people in your life. It will undoubtedly have an effect on your relationships at work too - warmth doesn’t have to equal weakness. Being open about your life can also be extremely beneficial to others too. In sharing your story you can help others come to terms with difficult aspects of their own lives - in turn this will deliver a very rewarding and fuzzy feeling. It really is win win. 



Get Creative

Well I say get creative. What I mean is do more of what you enjoy. Although I do think letting loose creatively can be a great way of zoning out from stresses (we’ve all seen those mindfulness colouring books). Using experiences/emotions and venting through creative activities can also be incredibly cathartic. I get a lot of joy out of taking pictures and feel incredibly relaxed when I find some time to draw (which is never these days).  From watching TV reality shows and seeing people known for one talent finding out they’re an incredible cook or ballroom dancer, shows that we all have untapped talents. In trying new mediums, disciplines and art forms, we could potentially uncover a natural flair or affinity for something which could change our lives immeasurably. The more things we experiment and try, the more possibility of a joyous discovery. 

Make Time for Friends

Sometimes I get so used to working on my own at home, day after day, that the mere thought of socialising becomes terrifying. I worry that I’ve forgotten how to communicate with others that don’t consider writing a comment or pressing post a valid form of interaction. The longer I leave it the worse it gets. On the days where I’m up to date ( as much as you can be with a 24/7 job) and I’d love a chilled night in, I try and force myself out. Once you’re there your realise the uplifting and restorative rewards of time spent with good pals - the sort of pals  you don’t have try with, the kind that will accept you just as you are (whatever that state may be). 

Furry Friends 

Cuddling an animal is one of the most effective and fun forms of therapy in my opinion. I feel instantly uplifted by the presence of my cockapoo pal Rosie. I love that she digs her head into me a little bit harder on those days where I really need it. Her silly-ness and eagerness for belly rubs is always amusing and distracts from anything more stressful on my mind that given day. 

Hope this helps.  Love Soph XX
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Thursday, 12 May 2016

PLANT BASED PAMPERING AT THE CLARINS BEAUTY BAR BRENT CROSS


I had a dauntingly busy day ahead of me yesterday, but I had a rather lovely way to ease myself in to a day of running around to blog meeting and events. You'll know that I spent quite a lot of time at Brent Cross Shopping Centre last year, and enjoyed it's position outside of central London. I feel my shoulders are slightly lower when shopping in places a little further out from the saturated centre - there's definitely a lot less argey bargey.
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Duvet Dining with Gizzi Erskine and TK MAXX



It's Thurday morning and I've been up since 5.30am, good girlfriend duties meaning that I had to escort Simon (my fella) to the airport. Usually it's a struggle to construct an understandable sentence at this ungodly hour, but this morning Si and I managed to not only talk, but to enthuse. That's what a night of great food can do for you.
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Monday, 9 May 2016

PUSHING YOURSELF VS OVER DOING IT


Balance has never been something I've found easy to achieve. My emotions tend to be at the extreme ends of the scale, I'm either being incredibly sociable or a hermit, confident or an insecure mess, darting from being on a strict diet to complete binging. The hardest of all for me to achieve is the work/life balance. I posted about my workaholic nature in a previous post so I won't dwell on that today.
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Saturday, 7 May 2016

GLOBAL GALIVANTING WITH GANDY'S

I think the reason I have had such a love affair with vintage clothes is that I love a story. I like to imagine what the person who wore the clothes before me may have done in them, what they may have seen or experienced. I don't mind if they are a bit rough around the edges because it proves they have been truly lived in and enjoyed.  I also like the idea that I can carry on the life of those clothes and give them a new and different lease.
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Friday, 6 May 2016

WHEN AN OLD BANGER MEETS AN OLD BANGER


I've always been a bit old before my time....a 'young fogey' if you will. Although now it would be a 'not so young fogey'. As a teen I'd opt for phrases like Gordon Bennett instead of the swear words my far cooler friends were using. I have also always been a bit frail on my limbs and partial to a good nap. With my obvious suitability when it comes to getting old you'd think I'd be fine with the passing of the years and the moving into new age brackets. In fact the opposite is true.
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REVIEW: HOTEL ASTORIA PLAYA - MALLORCA

 
Si and I had been feeling a bit down about the fact we probably wouldn't be able to have a sun drenched holiday together this year (due to his touring commitments over the Summer), when this incredible opportunity to visit Mallorca and review the Hotel Astoria Playa came in via the superstars in Blogging Gals. We only had a days notice, so had a frenzied 24 hours sorting travel insurance, airport parking an rearranging work commitments we'd booked for the week ahead. The mania was well and truly worth it, as you'll see from the review ahead....
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

ARCHIVE BY ALEXA CHUNG FOR M&S - RETRO RELAXING


 Yes, I've jumped on the band wagon. Like most of the bloggers on my social feeds I felt I must get a piece of the Archive by Alexa Chung Collection. I was slightly late to the party so I was able to guage via instagram what appeared to me the must have item from the collection. The high neck victorian style frill shirt seemed to be the standout star, so I decided that would not be the item for me - despite my initial lusting. I wanted to go for an item I knew I'd get wear out of but hadn't already been styled to death via outfits posts and #wiwt hashtags.
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SHARE CLOTHES ON HOLIDAY = SAVE MONEY


 We didn't think we'd get a summer holiday this year. The combination of lack of funds and Simon being away for the majority of the summer at Warped Tour meant that the likelihood of us basking in the sun together by a glistening pool was about as slim as our wallets. 

Then something miraculous happened...a last minute trip to Mallorca. We were invited to stay for 4 nights at the Astoria Playa hotel, the flights being the only thing we'd need to sort out ourselves. 
A cracking deal I know, but even the cheapest of cheap flights is still quite a lot for us right now. 
So when looking for our flight out we were not only looking for the most cost effective flights, but any ways we could cut costs elsewhere. 

You know what it's like when you buy a flight from RyanAir. It looks like a steal then you end up having to fork out for all the extras...sitting together, in-flight food, and luggage. 
Knowing that we always bring more than we need on our holidays we decided one way we could save some money was to only pay for one checked luggage.

So with this in mind how could we ensure we had enough cool clothing options but not be over the 15kg weight limit of the cheapest checked bag option. 

Okay so this benefits us girls a bit more....I don't think Si is going to be wearing many of my crop tops or summer dresses, but he's not opposed to sharing outerwear and shirts.
 
Things you can share...

Flannels/shirts are handy as an extra layer of warmth but also to cover shoulders should you start to feel the burn. As an oversized 90's grunge aesthetic is the rage right now, girls will look super cool in their boyfriends shirts (although not all men's shirts will be bigger of course, I'm generalising here). 

Hoodies/jumpers. If you are on a summer holiday you tend to bring a jumper or hoodie just in case the worst happens and the weather decides to hav

Toiletries: Okay some of us have specific products we just HAVE to use, like that cleanser that suits are specific skin issues for example. However, most toiletries could be shared between you and your holiday buddy.

Suntan Lotion, Aftersun and Insect repellent. Okay so you MUST have sure you have a high enough factor-  so if you're super pale and your vacation partner is dark skinned you may need to have your own...that said we should all be opting for fairly high spfs. 

Sunglasses. Both of you love to have a classic retro style as well as modern mirrored ones. If you are not too fussed about whether they suit the shape of your face then share your sunnies and take turns.

Do you both need to bring your Laptop with you? If you are only bringing one to just check up on emails but you aren't likely to be doing a considerable amount of work then you can probably share one, which also means less cables and potentially less adapters. 

Let me know if this helped you! 

x


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