Sunday, 21 January 2018

What's In My Bag?

Today I thought I would share the contents of my bag with you as let's face it, everyone has that little bit of curiosity for what people carry around with them on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is different; where one person may carry a hair brush around with them, another may not and where one person may carry a book or kindle in their bag, another may not. I find it very interesting when my friends or family pull something out of their bags that I don't carry in mine and I'm sure it isn't just me haha.
This is the handbag that I currently use every day. I have MANY more stored in various areas of my room but this one seems to be the one that I have stuck with for the past year or so. 
I bought it in Primark a long time ago to use for work as it was a nice size and just plain black as it was just for going to and from work during the week. It has a simple design with one zip that leads to a large inside compartment and then a small zipped pocket on the inside. The two zips on the outside which you can see in the photo are just for decoration, but a nice simple touch to the bag I think. 
I do want to treat myself to a more high end handbag though, as I don't really put work things in there anymore as I no longer wear a hat or hairnet etc. I would like a more classy bag that I can use every day and also take out to London or on other days out with me. However, for now this is my bag; one that has lasted me a very long time and has definitely served me well. 
I have been known to keep a lot of rubbish in my bags, so a few weeks ago I had a huge clear out and now only keep the essentials in there. Obviously depending on what I am doing each day the contents may change, however these are the main things: 
As I have a blog and a YouTube channel, I am always coming up with new ideas and have to jot them down before I forget them. I also have a lot of appointments and important days to remember so a diary is a must for me to carry around in my bag. My diary of choice is the Boxclever Press Life Book, which I did a blog post on last week if you want to check it out: Life Book Post.
I always like to have a pen on me as they always come in handy, especially if you carry around a diary like me. So I keep my mini moustache pencil case in my bag with a few different pens as you never know when you will need a red biro or sharpie haha. I like to be prepared. 
Hand Cream
My hands get so dry in winter so I keep hand cream with me so that I can give them the moisture that they need on those cold days. The one that I am using at the moment is the Avon Care gentle aloe vera cream. It really helps to heal my hands before they get too dry and start peeling. I have quite a lot of hand cream at home including one from the Body Shop and Zoella's winter wonder hand, but I won't use them until I finish this one. 
Card Holder
I used to have to carry around a huge purse just to be able to hold all the cards that I have collected over the years and still be able to close; Tesco, Superdrug, Body Shop, Nandos and many more. I didn't really like the purse but it was the only one I could find at the time, so I purchased a card holder from Card Genie. It is very secure and protects against anyone who tries to get your information which is what made me go for it. I chose the gold one as I thought it looked prettier than the other colours haha. It is a nice size so it fits in your pocket if you need to take it out with you and has quite a few slots so all of your cards should fit in nicely, as mine do. I just think it is so handy which is why it is always in my bag.
As I bought the card holder I thought it was time to get myself a new purse, one that I like and that isn't so bulky. I chose this one from New Look as it is a nice size and I like the style. I only carry a bit of cash on me for emergencies and for parking etc so this is the perfect purse for me to have on me every day.
Unfortunately my eyes aren't as good as they once were so I have to wear glasses at certain times such as driving or in the cinema. I keep them in my bag for when I need them as I never know when that will be.
Shopping Bag
Much to Keiron's dismay, I carry a shopping bag with me that has a blue and white flowery pattern on. Keiron thinks it looks like a "Granny's" shopping bag but I think it is handy to have with you when you go to the supermarket and get a bit more than what you thought you were going to get. I bought it in WH Smith for like £3 which I thought was quite good.
Always Sanitary Towel Tin
These things are so handy as you can always carry a pad on you in case you or someone else gets caught out, plus they disguise them pretty well I think haha. I don't remember where I got this one from as I have had it for ages but I know you can get one like it in Superdrug and I am sure they are sold online.
These kind of speak for themselves I think. Tissues are handy at various times as I am sure you can all imagine, which is why I always carry a pack in my bag.
I always like to make sure that I look alright haha. So if I think that I have accidentally smudged my lipstick or eyeliner, my mirror comes in handy. This one was bought as a gift so I'm not sure where it was from or how much it was, but it is an all silver clamshell shaped mirror with Keep Calm You Look Great on it.
If I am using public transport or I'm getting some work done and want to listen to music then my earphones are always good to have on me. I don't like in-ear ones as they just fall out and headphones are too big and bulky to have in my bag every day so I use these phillips over ear ones which are perfect for me, plus they are good quality too.
Headphone Splitter
I bought this for £1.50 in Primark a few months ago as my Dad had one and it came in handy when we were going on holiday and me and my Brother wanted to watch a movie or listen to the same movie. It is a good idea as multiple people can listen to the same thing with separate headphones. I just keep this in my bag so that I know where it is and I don't forget to bring it away with me haha.

So, that is everything that I currently keep in my bag. As I said, the contents change quite a lot so I am sure I will be doing another post in the future to update it. Hope you have had a lovely weekend!

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Boxclever Press Life Books

If you are like me and always have something going on or always have an idea in your head that you need to jot down, then you should arm yourself with a diary or yearly planner. 
Whether it is an evening with friends, a doctors appointment or a blog post that I want to write on a specific day, I always have to write it down somewhere in case I forget it. I would say I have a memory of a gold fish but apparently it has been proven that they actually have quite good memories haha. 
I have gone through quite a few different planners over the years but never really found one that I stuck with and actually used properly until I went into WH Smith one day and found the Boxclever Press Life Book. They were called Organised Mum when I bought my first planner of their's back in 2016 but now they have rebranded. 
The books are A5 sized so not too big and bulky but also not so small that you can't actually fit everything in (however they do stock pocket sized diaries as well). They are ring bound which I personally love and the front and back covers are hard back which protects the pages from the often awful British weather. 
I just think they are so useful for everything that I need to plan and remember. The good thing about this brand is they don't change it every year. The one thing I hate is when I find something I like and then it is changed and I have to find something similar somewhere else. Whereas with these planners the only things that really change are the style, colours and fonts; all of which I can deal with. 
As you can see, this planner caters for everyone's needs as there is a general weekly planner, a daily planner with spaces on the sides for shopping lists and notes etc and even a monthly planner in grid form which is what I use the most for planning holidays, remembering birthdays/events/appointments and even planning blog posts. I found it very hard trying to find a planner that had everything like this one; or even finding one with a grid layout at all! 
At the end of each monthly grid planner there are pages like the ones above which include a budgeting page, incomings and outgoings page and to-do lists and notes pages! I find them very useful when planning for days out or little shopping sprees to ensure I have the money to be able to do so. I also love the notes sections as this is where I write down all of those random thoughts I mentioned before haha and the to-do list speaks for itself really. 
At the back of the planner there are two extra little bits. One being an address book and the other being sticker pages. I have to say, I don't really use address books as I normally keep all of that information in my phone, however I am sure it is a useful tool for some people. I also never really used the stickers until this year, however so far they are proving to be quite helpful. There are so many different ones from 'Birthday' to 'MOT' and because they are quite bright, they stick out on the page which means that there is no excuse for me to forget something! I have already used most of the 'Going on holiday' ones and identified everyone's birthdays for the year haha. 
One of the other things that I love about this planner is it's big focus on Christmas at the back. From shopping lists to present ideas and budgeting, Christmas is so easy to plan out and get sorted instead of relying on mental notes and hoping that you haven't forgotten something important. As the years go on, I know I will be using these pages more and more as I will have to think about food and drink as well as everyone's presents! 

So, if you haven't found your perfect planner yet and you are worrying as it is already mid January, then I hope I have inspired you. This post hasn't been sponsored, it is just my honest opinion on a product that I personally love and want to share with others! Now I am going to crack on with planning more blog posts for the year haha.

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

2017 In Reflection

I cannot believe it has almost been a year since I last uploaded a blog post...that is definitely not going to be the case for 2018! So I have a lot to get through to catch you all up as 2017 was a bit of a crazy year; and not always the good kind either.

The year got off to a great start as me and Keiron went to Amsterdam in February for the first time (well my first time anyway haha). I won't get into too much detail as I actually did a blog post on our time there which ended up being the first and last one I wrote all year. So if you do want to read a bit more about it then click here: Five Days In Amsterdam
We both had an amazing time and I have actually organised for us to go there again for his birthday this February which I absolutely cannot wait for! Although it was absolutely freezing and on one of the days there was a storm and I had to wrestle a bit with my umbrella, there are so many amazing memories that we created and it will be interesting to see what will happen this time around! 

Now we move on to around March time when everything started to go a bit downhill. The first time that I can remember anything in terms of pain was when I was staying at Keiron's house and I felt little twinges every now and then. I just figured I had slept funny so didn't really think anything of it but as I was about to get ready to go to work it got a million times worse. 
When I say that this was the WORST pain I have ever felt in my life, that is no exaggeration. It honestly felt like someone had taken a sword and driven it through my rib cage and was just twisting it inside of me.....I was in agony; squirming, twisting and moving around trying to find a comfortable position or a little bit of a release from it, but in the end I had to make the first of quite a few trips to A&E. 
I never really knew what eventually made the pain ease up, so I continued to believe that if I found the correct position, that would be my escape from it. I have to admit the positions that I tried did make me seem a tad crazy as I tried lying on the waiting room floor, bending my back over arm rests, lying on the floor with my feet against a get the idea. 
On my last visit to A&E the doctor that saw me came up with his diagnosis which was very different to the muscular spasms and twisted back ideas that the other doctors came up with; stress. When I first heard it I knew there was absolutely no way my brain could conjure up that amount of pain because I was stressed, however after a few chats and research, he actually had me believing it too. 
I'm not sure who came up with the idea to have an internal examination, but thank goodness I did as around a week later I finally had the real answer: a 7cm cyst inside one of my ovaries. By the end of March I had a date for my operation to have it removed before it got any bigger! 

April is when I went to Ireland with my family to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, Nana and Grandad. We had an amazing time, stayed up late talking, singing, watching movies and playing games. 
I came home a day early to celebrate my birthday with Keiron and then my family came home in time for my Nan's birthday the day after. That night, after we finished our birthday dinner my Nan suddenly came down with something which at the time my Mum thought was a stroke. It absolutely came out of the blue and she was rushed to hospital not being able to talk or keep her head up. That ended up being some kind of infection, however we never really did get a straight answer for what caused it. She is all back to normal now though, but what a way to end your birthday! 
It was then time for my trip into hospital for my operation and one month recovery time off of work haha. The first week afterwards was a pain in the backside as it took me around five minutes to get out of bed and when I finally did my shoulders started to get shooting pains because of all the built up CO2 from being on the operating table. However, I am back to normal now too and I hope to never have to suffer from something like that ever again.

The end of April was hands down the worst point of 2017 for me though. Even starting to talk about it now is bringing tears to my eyes. It was when I lost my Grandad. 
It came as a complete shock to everyone. I remember the day my Dad heard the news as I got an unusual text from my mum saying "Are you home yet", which didn't really make sense as she knew I was out that day. I walked through the door after being greeted by a plain-faced and red-eyed brother. The only words he could manage to get out were "Grandad is dying". I couldn't believe my ears. The man who we had stayed up until 4am with; laughing, drinking and dancing with only two weeks earlier was now fighting for his life in a hospital bed in Ireland. I rushed upstairs to my Dad who was already almost packed and on his way out the door to get to the airport and asked what happened as he pulled me into a hug, also plain-faced and red-eyed. He told me that my Grandad had suffered a brain haemorrhage over night and no-one knew how long he had left, so he had booked the first flight out there to get as much time with him as he could. I honestly couldn't believe it. He was very fit for his age, could still drive and handle being drunk and dance and even climb on his roof! I mean, yeah he was over 80 years of age, but you wouldn't believe it if you met him. But about a week later he passed away with most of his family at his side. 
Me, my Mum and Brother then flew over to join my Dad for the funeral. I couldn't bring myself to go in and see him when he was at the house until just before I went to bed. I guess I was just avoiding the reality of it all. 

The end of May started to bring good things back to an appalling year. I left my job at McDonalds for a promotion in Greggs. I knew the change would be good for me and it definitely made me grow as a manager and in general. 
Keiron also took me to this beautiful place in Durdle Door. It is just past Bournemouth (although I accidentally set the Sat Nav to Bournemouth so we had to drive an extra hour to get there haha......woops). It was a lovely day though; the sun was shining and although it was one heck of a walk, it was definitely worth it. A lovely way to spend a day off I think. 

In June me and Keiron had a holiday booked for Croatia. I love travelling to new places and I had never been there before, so I was looking forward to getting away and exploring! 
Again, we created so many memories there! I loved the sun, the chats by the sea, the evening trips to the beach bar for drinks, the endless flicking through channels to find programmes in was just a big highlight for me. 
I also loved the food out there. We booked all inclusive so we went to the hotel restaurant almost every meal time for a buffet which always had really nice food. I especially loved breakfast with the pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, biscuits, hot chocolate and juices......yeah I definitely put on a few pounds whilst I was there haha. 
We hired a car for the week as well which was definitely needed to be able to travel around the island as much as we did! Keiron loved it because it was quite a sporty car and I loved it for it's amazing air conditioning haha. We used it basically every day, whether it was to get a bit of shopping, go to the beach or go for a long drive for a day out, so it was worth it and I would highly recommend you to hire a car if you ever decide to visit Croatia. 
I also went away in August with my family to Gran Canaria. I have written a blog post about this island before as it is basically my second home, I walk around there as if I have lived there all my life and I just love it there! My friend Amy also joined us for the second week which was lovely. We all had an amazing time tanning, eating and drinking. You know, the usual holiday stuff haha. 
Again, I won't go into much detail as we basically do the same things every time we go there but I am looking forward to my 2 week holiday there with Keiron this year! I have so much planned in my head that I want to do and show him haha, so excited! 

Moving on to September now. My Mum booked a day out with me to go to Kirstie Allsopp's Handmade Fair. It was a lovely day out where we went to different craft workshops, watched different people on stage either cooking or mixing cocktails (which was quite entertaining) and looking around the hundreds of stalls filled with different crafts including glass baubles and crochet. 
As you can see, I made attempts at cake decorating and brush lettering and I don't think either of them were too bad haha. I do love getting creative and I don't normally get the time to at home so this was really fun and interesting for me and it was also quite entertaining watching my mum try them out too!
Before we left we shared the halloumi tortilla above which was lovely and then headed back to the car before it started to rain. 
I am sure by the picture you know what I am going to mention next.......MY NEW CAR! It is a Nissan Qashqai and I love it so much. I had my eye on this type of car for a long time and because of my new job and steady salary I got one! It is very different to my old car which was a Renault Clio and a lot bigger as well but I got used to the size very quickly which was good. I love the colour too, I didn't want to get black or white; I wanted something a bit more out there so I chose this burgundy one. I also didn't want the new shape as I just prefer this one and I was so happy as this is a discontinued shape and model. It has really good tech such as a sat nav and 360 cameras which are very useful when parking haha! The only annoying thing is my insurance was very high as this is my first year on my own policy so I had to get a black box. I am definitely going to get rid of it this year though because it is driving me mad. 

Getting closer to the end of the year now; in November me and Keiron went to Prague for a few days as we bought a wowcher (this site really comes in handy for little breaks!).
 It was so interesting as we visited a few museums and went to see the Astronomical Clock. We travelled around different towns, went to markets, ate lots of food and went to a few bars. I honestly had such a lovely time there, however I think it is one of those places that I won't visit again as I feel like once you have been there, you have been there; you know? But I do recommend it if you are looking for a nice little city break. 
On one of the days, Keiron took us to this place where there was a maze and look-out tower. Now I have a huge fear of falling and we actually went to the top of the tower pictured above. I was absolutely terrified and at one point couldn't move my legs and had to hold Keiron's hand the rest of the way haha. I thought I was going to have a panic attack but I made it and definitely won't be doing it again. 

The day after we got back, I met up with Amy to go to a spa in Oxford. I have never actually been to a spa before but I had a really nice time! We had massages, laid in the relaxation room on these heated beds which were amazing, then we had lunch as had a little catch up. I felt so ready to go back to work after my holiday and this just topped it all off haha.
December! My favourite time of the year when the Christmas songs start being played on the radio and we decorate the house completely in all things festive. 
On one of our quite rare joint days off me and Keiron went to Southbank in London to visit the Christmas Market down by the river. It was quite a bit smaller this year which was a bit disappointing but we still enjoyed our warm cider outside the Rekorderlig Lodge! 
I also decided that I wanted to make mince pies this time around. So I joined my Nan one evening, made the pastry and created 12 little pies that actually tasted pretty good if I do say so myself! 
We had a lovely Christmas Day filled with laughter, music, food, drink and games. It is my favourite day of the year and everyone had a great time. 

It then came to December 31st; the last day of 2017 and me and Keiron went to a bar in Battersea with a few friends. We had paid for all-inclusive tickets which meant that we could drink as much as we liked.....including cocktails! So everyone just picked random ones off of the menu to try and it was just such a great night. We got a kebab after and I surprisingly lasted the whole night in my heels which I was quite proud of. A solid way to start a new year I think haha. 
So for me, 2017 had it's ups and definitely had it's downs, but one year and a number of snapchat selfies later, I think I have come out the other side a much stronger, more confident person who is ready to take on whatever 2018 has to throw at her. 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Five Days In Amsterdam

I love travelling, experiencing new things and seeing what the world has to offer, as although I feel a bit anxious - being in a town or city that I don't know - I also feel really relaxed and happy that I am able to get away from everything for a bit and just have fun; as if I am a little kid again. 
With travelling comes memories and my trip to Amsterdam with my boyfriend this week is full of them; some of which I managed to capture on camera and want to document here on my blog. So, if you want to hear about what we got up to on our 5-day break in this beautiful city and what my top tips would be if you are thinking of going there, then carry on reading :)

Let's start with the hotel. It was called Park Hotel and oh my gosh, I have never stayed in such a posh place! I mean, I had to pay 200€ when we checked in for what they called a 'deposit', but with a (really expensive) minibar, a wet room, a bed that you literally sunk into when you laid on it and a little pot with earbuds and shower caps in, I felt like a star from a movie or something haha. I must say, I really made use of the wet room as on the first day I had a shower and - I still don't know how - the water ran through the entire bathroom, under the door and out into the bedroom! It took hours for all of the water to completely dry up and after that I was so scared that it would happen again that I kept checking every 2 minutes whilst in the shower haha. Anyway, the room was amazing and the hotel was quite central to everywhere that we wanted to go which was a plus. 

On the first day we went to the Van Gogh museum which although was a 5 minute walk away, I still managed to make us late. Actually, I made us late to all of the places that we visited haha. So we walked round each floor, looked at the artwork and visited the gift shop to get a fridge magnet (a must), before heading back outside where we grabbed a hotdog and a crepe to satisfy our rumbling stomachs. 
We then headed to a park and nature reserve which was about a 40 minute tram and train ride away. We walked along the paths, took photos and made friends with a number of dogs along the way. It was a lovely peaceful park which I would definitely spend an afternoon at if it wasn't so cold haha. 

On Wednesday we went to a place called Sherlocked which is essentially a room escape game. We had one hour to work out all the clues and get out of the room that we were in, which we didn't manage to do, although we had fun trying. This kind of thing is something I have never tried before and I definitely want to go back and have another go at it! 
It was pouring down with rain the whole day with crazy winds due to storm Doris, so soaking wet clothes and two broken umbrellas later, we got back to the hotel and waited for the weather to settle before going out for dinner. 
The food in Amsterdam is definitely something worth raving about. We tried different restaurants and ate Chinese, Pizza, Pancakes, Hotdogs, Pasta, Ribs and Burgers; all of which were amazing! I definitely recommend Pancake Corner (the satellite sports bar) in Leidseplein. We also tried McDonalds and Burger King products that aren't available in the UK because, why not? 

On Thursday we went to the Anne Frank House because I love History and learning about things that have happened in the past and this experience and learning about what Anne and her family went through was so sad, yet so interesting. The annex that they hid in over the years seemed so tiny and cramped and the stories that we heard from the people that survived the war were so eye-opening. 
Later on in the evening we went to the Ice Bar because again it is something that I have never done before and yet have always wanted to do. So we got our drinks tokens, downed our Sex on the Beach cocktails, put our gloves and jackets on and then went into the -9.4ยบ bar where we took photos and drank from our ice glasses. It was a really good experience and it made the weather outside seem 100x better haha. 

As we had to leave on Friday, we got ready, packed up all of our things and checked out; leaving our bags in the hotel's holding room until we had to go to the airport. We spent the afternoon taking more photos, eating pancakes and hotdogs and picking up souvenirs before heading back to collect our bags to jump on the tram back to the station. 

During the week we also visited the Red Light District because I had heard about it and was obviously intrigued haha. So we went home with many memories, wishing that we could spend another 5 days there. 

Amsterdam is one of those places that you can visit over and over again as there is so much to do there, so I for one will be going back! I also picked up things throughout my time there so I thought that I would share my top 5 tips for anyone who is thinking of visiting :) 

  1. Buy any tickets to museums or canal cruises online in advance. It saves a lot of time (and your feet don't ache from waiting in endless queues).
  2. If you are about to walk on something that looks like a pavement, think twice as it is probably a road in disguise. 
  3. Look out for bikes more than you look out for anything else on the road. They are EVERYWHERE.
  4. Go to Pancake Corner and order a pancake with bacon or bananas or one of the many other choices, then smother it in syrup. You'll thank me later.
  5. Buy a 24/48/72/96 hour travel card depending on how long you are there for. Trust me, it will save you quite a bit! 
So, that was my week, I hope you all enjoyed your's as much as I did! 

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