How Traveling Changed Me…

Three years ago I was stuck in a dead-end job that was giving me terrible anxiety and was so stressful I didn’t want to get up in the morning. Not only that but I was so painfully shy I wouldn’t talk to people who I didn’t know and to add to that I had absolutely zero confidence. So I was in desperate need for a change and big one.

When I was 16 and in college, someone came in and told us about a program called AuPair in America. I knew I liked the sound of the program from that day and I went home that day and told my parents I wanted to go to America. 16 was too young for me to go and I knew that. So I waited a few years got a job I hated , which actually turned out to help when I was applying for the AuPair program (at least it turned out to be good for something) and just carried on with my everyday life.  I wanted and needed a way out from the normal and now I had just turned 21 and it seemed like the perfect time to follow my dream of going to America.

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In September 2014 I packed my bags and moved over 3000 miles away from home in England to my new home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There is no way I can deny how nervous I was  and a lot of people  I knew including family, friends and work colleagues thought I wouldn’t actually go or even stick it out. With so many people doubting me I was determined that I was going prove them all wrong.

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And prove them wrong I certainly did. I ended up staying in Philadelphia for 2 years until my visa expired, and my visa expiring was the only reason I came back to England. While I was there I made some the best friends I will ever have, traveled to so many different states and cities, had lots of fun adventures and my confidence grew so much that I will talk to anyone and everyone now so much so that I am traveling to Bali by myself, to go on an Island hopping trip with people I’ve never met. I certainly did catch the travel bug while I was away and now I’m constantly dreaming of new place to go and explore.

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Traveling gave me what I always wanted but thought I would never have, which was to have confidence. Traveling and moving to a new country has changed me in ways I never thought it would. I know it sounds cheesy but I truly did find myself on my adventures! If you where thinking about getting out of your comfort zone and going travelling I would definitely recommend it, it was the best thing I have ever done!

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September Favourites…

It is really starting to feel like autumn now, the days are getting cooler and the nights are getting colder. When I’ve been getting up at 5:30 am to go to work it has been pitch black and still felt like the middle of the night. I am actually looking forward to the colder weather the get cosy in big hoodies and fluffy socks. And the colder weather means my obsession with coats can continue again and I can buy more coats I really don’t need.

With it being the end of the month again I have compiled a list of my favourite things for September.

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1. Watermelon Slices

These where one of the new healthy snacks that I tried a couple of weeks ago and out of all the things I tried the watermelon slices have defiantly become one of my favourite things lately. I always take fruit to work to have as a snack on my breaks and I have enjoyed taking watermelon as something different to the usual apple and tangerine.

2. Chai Tea Lattes

Normally I’m not really a fan of hot drinks except maybe a nice hot chocolate with whipped cream every now and again. But recently I decided to try a Chai Tea Latte because I had heard they where really nice. I was instantly in love with them! They are the perfect drink for the colder weather that’s coming, and I think they taste just like autumn. I am so obsessed with theses lately, I’m craving them all the time! I am becoming a regular at Starbucks and Costa these days.

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3. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

I have been using this every day now for over a month to remove my make up. I usually use a makeup wipe first then I put some of this on a cotton pad and wipe it over my face and it is amazing how much makeup  is still left on my face even after using a makeup wipe. My face feels so fresh and clean after using it. Now I can not, not use it or my face just doesn’t feel properly clean.

4. Sleek ‘Matte Me’ Lipstick

This is a lipstick that I bought earlier in the month because I felt like I needed a lip colour change and this is the one I choose to give a try . I also bought a ‘Matte Me Metallic’ in ‘Roman Copper’ too. Since I have bought it I’ve been wearing this lip colour, which is ‘Birthday Suit’, almost everyday. It is becoming the shade I reach for quite a lot now. I have recently reviewed this lipstick on the blog so if you want you can read the full review of what I thought of this lipstick here.

5. ‘Whats A Girl Gotta Do?’ – Holly Bourne

 The first book from this trilogy featured in my August favourites last month and I had wanted to read the next two books from the trilogy, which I did and this is the third book and probably my favourite from the three. The trilogy follows three friends and this book follows Lottie on her mission to start a feminist revolution. This a great book about the importance of feminism and how sexism is such a big part of daily life. If you want to read the full review that I wrote on this book, and the second book from the trilogy, which is called ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ you can check out the post here.

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You can read last months favourites post here. And tell me about your September favourites in the comments below or on twitter. Leave your links so I can check them out!

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Books I Read In August…

Last month one of the books I read was the the first book of the ‘Am I Normal Yet?‘ trilogy written by Holly Bourne. I really enjoyed reading it, I fell in love with the three main characters Evie, Amber and Lottie. Since I enjoyed the first book so much I really wanted to read the next two books in the trilogy. They are ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ and ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’.

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  1. ‘How Hard Can Love Be?- Holly Bourne

The second book in the trilogy is ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’. This book follows Amber as she travels to America to meet up with her estranged mother and work in the holiday camp her mother and her partner run. Amber’s mum moved to California with her new boyfriend and left Amber behind in England. Amber plans to spend the summer with her in California and hopes that they can reconnect again. While working at the summer camp, Amber meets prom king Kyle and she can’t help but start to fall for him but she knows that this is a situation destined to fail.
Reading this book made me miss traveling in America, with Amber going on a road trip all I wanted to do after I finished reading was to go back and do it all over again.

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     2. ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do? – Holly Bourne

The third book in the trilogy is ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’. This book follows the last of the three friends Lottie and her journey in in starting a feminist revolution. Lottie is growing tired of all the sexism she experiences in her everyday life and with the help of her friends and the Spinster Club she plans to start a feminist revolution called the #Vagilante. She films and uploads her campaign against sexism and she starts to gain quite an online following! But what reaction will she get from the public and from other college students and her teachers?
I really enjoyed reading this book and it highlighted a lot of sexism that is occurring everyday that you might not even notice. Since reading this book I have noticed the small things. It has inspired me to pay more attention to sexism and try to point it out to family and friends.

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If you have read this book trilogy let me know what you thought of them in the comments or on twitter because I have loved reading them!

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Candy Kabob’s…

I have always had a sweet tooth, ever since I was a small child. My only memory of one of my granddads was when I would go to his house when I was about 3 years old, he would turn the football over to the kids channel and he would give me flumps (which are like marshmallows), to eat while I watched the TV. He passed away shortly after I turned 3 so that is my only memory of him and still to this day whenever I think about flumps I think about him. So I’ve literally had a sweet tooth since I was a baby and it’s never really gone away.

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These candy kabobs will satisfy any one with a sweet tooth and they are actually quite fun to make. They are perfect for a movie nights, family/kids parties, baby showers, weddings, DIY gifts, valentines presents, the possibilities are endless! I can’t think of an occasion where you wouldn’t want candy kabobs. They are great too because you can personalise them if you are making them for a specific person with all their favourite candy, provided you can get it on the kabob stick.

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As I said you can buy any sweets that you like, just keep in mind you have to get it onto the kabob stick so things like chocolate, hard-boiled sweets and anything to small won’t work. I was in TK Maxx (as usual) and I was at the till and I saw a tub with really brightly coloured marshmallows in so I bought that which was about £2.99. Then I headed over to ASDA and bought the 5 for £1 kids sweets and got a couple of different things which I thought would work, like laces, pick and mix, gummy worms etc. Lastly I bought drumsticks squashies in bubblegum flavour.

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Then I went home and started to put together the kabobs. This was the fun part, putting them together. I liked coming up with different combinations of sweets. I would say though to be careful when actually putting the sweets on the sticks because some of them can be quite tough and I did stab myself with the stick a couple of times. So just be cautious if you are letting children help you assemble the kabobs.

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Let me know if you make these in the comments below or on Twitter because I would love to see pictures of yours!!

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Tattoos I Want To Get…

I always thought that I would never get a tattoo. I was always to afraid that getting one was going to hurt so bad but I did want to get one. When I lived in Philadelphia me and my two best friends decided we should get matching tattoos to celebrate our friendship and even though we where going to be living in different corners of the world we would always be connected. This was obviously my first tattoo and the other girls already had at least one. They made me go first so I would’ve chicken out and I wanted to go first so it was over and done with. We had chosen to get the tattoos on the side of our thighs. I actually thought that it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. I guess I thought it was going to be awful but it really wasn’t. The pain levels must have something to do with your own pain threshold because even though I don’t think it hurt, my friends both said it did. I adore our matching tattoos and the symbol has kind of become our friendship thing now.

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I loved that tattoo so much (and still do!), that I started looking for new ideas within a couple of months and was starting to develop quite a list! While I lived in America I did a lot of traveling and I knew I wanted to definitively do more and I already had a plan that as soon as my 2 years in the US where up I was going to go to South Africa to visit one of the afore-mentioned friends. I wanted something that represented traveling, so I decided on an aeroplane. Originally I was going to get this in Miami but we ended up running out of time so when I was in South Africa I made sure I had time.

FWNR0018.jpgI love my aeroplane tattoo so much but there are still loads more that I want to get. These are just some of the ideas I have.

Workout Playlist…

Going to the gym without a workout playlist is no fun at all. Sometimes going to the gym after a long day at work is also not so fun and I’m not going to lie, if it’s been a particularly busy/hard day then I will just skip the gym completely. But if I at least have some good music while I’m at the gym it makes it a little more worthwhile.

If you know me then you will know that I don’t do anything without music on, so I don’t see why going to the gym would be any different?? Occasionally I will listen to a Spotify made playlist, but I find myself skipping a lot of the songs on them. I made my own instead and just update it every now and again or make a new one.

I normally have a mixture of my favourite songs at the moment and some remixes that I like. Then I hit shuffle and off I go.

This is my current Workout Playlist:

Let me know what’s on your workout playlist, or leave me links to your Spotify in the comments below or on twitter.

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Sleek Matte Me Liquid Lipstick…

I have quite a few different liquid lipsticks in various different brands and shades, but I am a creature of habit and tend to stick to the same one because it looks good and I trust it. However I was growing tired of always using the same lipstick so I decided it was time for a change. This resulted in a couple of different trips to Boots, a long time painstakingly deciding which brand and shade to get, then regretting I said I was going to mix it up because I couldn’t choose which one I wanted.

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Eventually I went with the Sleek Matte Me in the shade ‘Birthday Suit’ and the Sleek Matte Me Metallic in the shade ‘Roman Copper’. I have never had a Metallic lip colour before but when I tried it on my hand in the store it was just so pretty I had to get it to see what it looked like on. The ‘Birthday Suit’ shade is like dark dusky pink and more of a colour I would typically choose.The ‘Matte Me’ lipstick costs £4.99 from Boots and comes in 15 different shades. The ‘Matte Me Metallic’ also cost £4.99 from Boots and comes in 3 different shades.

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So far I have worn the ‘Birthday Suit’ shade quite a few times and I have been really liking it. It is more pink than the shade I usually wear, which is a nude/pink shade and I’m liking the change. It doesn’t feel to drying when it’s on which can sometimes happen with Matte Lipsticks, although my lips did feel a bit sticky after a couple of hours, but I had been eating and drinking so that probably contributed. I don’t think there was much transfer though because I was drinking a chai latte and not that much was left on the cup which happens quite a lot with my usual lipstick. The application was smooth and it was evenly applied with one coat. I thought the pigment of the colour was really good, it is very vibrant and you don’t need to coat it on to be able to see it on your lips.

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The metallic shade is quite daring for me and I’m not going to lie I haven’t actually worn it outside the house yet, mostly because I’m a bit scared. I do think it would be great for a night out, so maybe next time I have a night out planned I might give it a try. The ‘Roman Copper’ is such a pretty colour, it has a beautiful shimmer and shine. I have worn it in the house to get used to a shade which is completely new to me and something I would never usually wear. But since I’ve tried it in the house I think it’s growing on me, and I am starting to like it. As with the ‘Matte Me’ you only need to use one coat to get enough coverage. I did find it a little sticky but there was only a little transfer to things like straws which is good.

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Overall I think I prefer the ‘Matte Me’ because it is a lip colour that you can wear on a daily basis and I personally would get more use out of the Matte colours as opposed to the Metallic shades. If I was to buy another I would try ‘Shabby Chic’ or ‘Bittersweet’ which are just Matte shades.

Let me know if you have tried these lipstick and what you thought in the comments below or over on twitter. What shades should I try next? Check out the post I wrote on the Sleek Highlighting Palette here.

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Trying Healthy Snacks… Again…

I have previously done a blog post where I had tried some healthy snacks before (which you can read about here). I actually still buy all of the things I bought last time and I’ve tried them in some of the other flavours they sell. They have become some of my favourite snacks.

Since I enjoyed trying those healthy snacks I thought I should try some different ones and who knows maybe I will find a new favourite.

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The first thing I tried was watermelon slices. I never used to like watermelon but I saw it in a small packet and thought I would get a pack to try. I actually really enjoyed it, I’ve been taking it to work to have with my lunch a lot. Watermelon is low in calories and fat. It is also a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C.

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The second thing is ‘Nákd – Posh Bits’ in cocoa raspberry flavour. I think these are the most delicious things I’ve ever tried! They are honestly so good, I could easily eat the whole packet in one sitting. They also sell them in cocoa mandarin and cocoa sea salt. I haven’t tried them yet but if they are anything like the cocoa raspberry then they are sure to be very tasty. They are 100% natural raw fruit & nut bits. They have no added sugar, are gluten free, 1 of your 5 a day and are vegan.

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The next are ‘Beond Bars’ I had never heard of ‘Beond Bars’ before until I saw them in Aldi. I have tried these in two flavours, the acai berry and raw choc. The raw choc bars are vegan, paleo, gluten free, soya free and non GM. They are so tasty, you can really taste the chocolate. So they are perfect for when you are craving a chocolate bar but are trying to be good. I googled them and they have other flavours I want to try like cinnamon apple and the baobab pineapple.

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The fourth thing I tried is ‘Urban Fruit Brilliant Banana’. Last time I tried the perfect pineapple and I loved it. I actually don’t like bananas. Although I haven’t actually eaten one since I was a child but still its the flavour and texture I don’t like. But when I go Bali in October I want to try a ‘Pisang Goreng’ which is a fried banana, so before I go I’m trying to make myself like banana and this seemed like a great place to start. They are vegan, gluten-free and basically just baked banana so I decided to give them a try.

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Lastly is two different flavour ‘Perk!er Quinoa Bars’. The first flavour is Goji and Cranberry, which is high in fibre, a source of protein, source of vitamin E, 100% vegan, gluten, wheat, and dairy free. The second flavour is Coconut and Chia which has the same qualities as the other, just switch out vitamin E for Omega 3. I didn’t like the Goji and Cranberry one, I don’t know if it was the cranberry’s or the goji berries I can taste but I just don’t like it. The coconut one however was really tasty and I wasn’t expecting to like it because  coconut is not my favourite flavour but its actually quite nice.

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I would actually love some vegan snack ideas that don’t contain nuts, we have a strict no nut policy in work which means I can’t take most of these, so some ‘no nut’ ideas would be great! If you have any let me know in the comments below or on twitter.

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August Favourites…

August has just completely flown by, it’s gone way to quick again. I feel like I don’t even remember the start of the month. August was a busy month for me, I’ve had so much paperwork to do a my work so it’s been quite stressful, maybe thats why the whole month has gone so fast.

But because it is the end of the month I have gathered some of the things I have been loving this month. I have tried to include a variety of things so this month we have two make up products, a youtube channel, a book and music.

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The first thing is the Maybelline Master Ink eyeliner. I wrote a blog post on how much I love this eyeliner which you can read here. I use this everyday and is one of the best eyeliners I’ve used. It’s great quality, lasts all day and is only £5.99 from boots so it won’t break the bank. I am already on my second bottle and will defiantly be buying a third when I run out.

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The second thing is also the second makeup product and is the Maybelline Baby Skin Primer. I have also written a blog post on this too which you can read here. I have been using this for about 2 months now and I really love it. I think it’s a great dupe for the Benefit Porefessional and is less than half the price of it. It only costs £7.99 from boots where as the Benefit version costs £26 from boots. So it is a great alternative for if you can’t afford to spend £26 on a primer, plus the quality of the Baby Skin primer is amazing I love the way it makes my skin feel so soft and gives a pore-less look.

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So thats the make up I’ve been loving now onto the third thing I’ve been loving this month and this time it’s a you-tuber, Cammie Scott. I am obsessed with you tube and I have been for years now and I actually knew about Cammie through Rose and Rosie’s channel but had never watched any of Cammie’s videos before but when she popped up on the recommendations section earlier this month I watched one video of then another and well now I’ve watched them all and now she is my favourite you-tuber at the moment. She makes videos about being part of the LGBT+ community, being vegan, vlogs, make up tutorials and more. You should check out her channel here.

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Fourth on my list this month is a book called ‘Am I normal yet?’ by Holly Bourne. I read this book in July and it was part of my ‘What I read in July’ blog post. I loved this book and really enjoyed reading it. It is about a young girl who has OCD and her life in college, making friends, Lottie and Amber, creating the Spinster club which is about feminism. I feel like I actually learned a lot from this book, I am a feminist myself so I loved seeing it in a book and I learnt about the struggles someone with OCD might have to deal with daily. I am defiantly going to read the next two books in the sequel called ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’  and ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’.

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Lastly the last thing on this months list is the music I’ve been listening too. I am obsessed with Ke$ha’s new album, Rainbow. I have been listening to this on repeat on the way to and from work, all day on the weekends and when I’m writing blog posts, including now! My favourite song has to be ‘Rainbow’ with ‘Learn To Let Go’, ‘Finding You’ ‘Let ‘Em Talk’ and ‘Boogie Feet’ also being favourites.

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So that’s what I have been loving this month, what have you been loving? Let me know in the comments or on twitter so I can check them out!

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Maybelline Baby Skin Primer…

A while ago my local boots didn’t have the primer I wanted so I just decided to try a new one for a change. I’d seen the Maybelline Baby Lips products before and although I’d never used them myself, I had heard that where good. So when I saw that they did a Baby Skin Primer Instant Pore Eraser I picked that one to give a try. And I was so glad that I did because after the first time I used it I immediately loved it! My skin was instantly so soft and smooth.

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It is a clear gel texture, which is really easy to apply and spreads evenly across your face. It says on the tube that it is an ‘Instant Pore Eraser’ and it really does give the appearance that your pores have been erased and leaves you with smooth looking skin. I like this primer because it leaves your skin looking matte and doesn’t leave your skin shinny after you use it because personally I don’t like my skin to look shinny, I much prefer the matte look. My foundation and concealer were very easy to blend after using this product and I think it made the blending process much easier and helped created the matte look I like.

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I have now used two tubes of this primer and I am about to run out of the second tube, which means a trip to boots will be called for soon to pick up another tube. This primer actually kind of reminds me of the Benefit Porefessional which I absolutely love and is one of the best primers I have ever used but at £26 per tube I just can’t justify spending that amount of money on one product when I could get so much more for my money. At just £7.99 it is very affordable and much cheaper than the Benefit version and I feel is just as good quality wise. And has the added bonus that I can buy three of the Maybelline primers for the price of one Benefit primer!

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Let me know what you think of this primer in the comments or on Twitter if you have used it before. Do you think it’s better than the Benefit primer?

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