Sunday, 16 August 2015

Life Lately

Long time, no catch up! To say life has been hectic in the last couple of weeks is an understatement, from back-to-back festivals, to birthday celebrations, everything has been put on hold for a three week party! But I'm back to posting twice-weekly now - so keep an eye out for a new post this coming Wednesday!

First things first - my birthday! As I was in a field in deepest Dorset on my actual birthday, my family, friends and I pretty much celebrated a birthday week. The weekend before being the main event, with a cocktails night in (see Mojito above) and a riskay v-neck playsuit number from Motel (found half price on ASOS...) for a night on the town on the Saturday, followed by an obligatory lazy Sunday nursing a hefty hangover, of course!

And after two weeks in a tent, a (very small) handful of showers, numerous train/coach journeys, I have spent some of the last 14 days volunteering at both Camp Bestival and Boardmasters festivals. I will write a full blog post on my experience very soon, as my final festival, Reading & Leeds, is yet to come, but I worked several shifts with Oxfam and it was a lot of fun! And I can't wait to print my memories with the Polagram app, as I did for my birthday celebrations (see above) - perfect for displaying in my university room in September!

As mentioned earlier, a new post will be up here on the blog on Wednesday (festival related, obvs) so if you're heading to Beautiful Days/V Fest/Reading/Leeds/Bestival in the next few weeks, I'm here to help! 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Quit Your Job

Don't be intimidated by the title of this post, I just thought that I would take the rare opportunity to write a post about something personal and life changing for me.

Recently, I handed my notice in at my 2-year strong part-time job, and this weekend, I waved my goodbyes to my first second job.

There was no other reason for leaving the role other than my voluntary work over the summer booking my weekends up and starting at university in September, but nevertheless the move was emotional, but I am confident in moving forward in doing what I really want to do.

It was lovely to see my way through college with cash in my pocket (with some more thanks to my second job in my third year), getting a taste for the work environment and cementing my goals and aims for my future, i.e working hard wherever I work, just as the women, my former colleagues, showed me for almost 2 years.

So going back to the title - this isn't a blog post to convince you to pack in your 9-5 and travel the world, because well ain't nobody got cash for that! 

But it's more of a paraphrase - be happy, and always take steps (big or small) every day to earn happiness. Because you deserve it. And sometimes stepping back can make you realise what you have learned, and what you are/have been grateful for.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Money-Saving Tips

Whether your saving money to start or invest in something new, in my case, funding Freshers week and flat furnishings for university, or looking to save on your summer plans, here a few of my tried and tested tips when it comes to saving more and spending less.

Save on your summer plans
Day out? Use dayrider tickets using your local bus company - you'll be surprised how far you can travel for a reasonable price. I can travel from my hometown to Oxford (50 miles away) and back for less than £3 with my student card - bargain! If your destinations a bit further, consider investing in a 16-25 railcard, they cost £30 for a year of 1/3 off train tickets, and it pays itself back quite quickly; I saved the price of the card on just one pair of my train tickets for my festivals this year!

Sell, sell, sell!
I don't know about you, but I own a lot of crap. So what with moving into a room a fraction of the size of mine in a couple of months I am taking the opportunity to sell a few unwanted things this summer. My favourite app for this is Depop; when ebay met Instagram and had a app baby, therefore quick and easy platform to pop my unwanted clothes and small gifts and things up for sale. And what's more is that it charges less than Ebay! Pretty and practical...

Count your pennies
How many times do you justify a purchase with a phrase like 'well at least it was cheap' or 'it's only £2!'. In my case the answer would be too many! Try cutting back on small expenditure eg: small treats, things by the checkout in Primark and decor and you'll be surprised how much that could save you!

Get a job! 
This seems like the most obvious one, and possibly the hardest to achieve! But my tip is to think outside the box. If you've already handed your CV to 826457 places and had no reply (I feel your pain!) then think of ways you can employ yourself! Neighbours have had a new baby? Offer to babysit, they'll appreciate a night out and babysitting always pays well! Rainy week last week? Ask your parents or family members if you can clean their car, windows, front of house. 

Team Internet
Not only are online auctions great places to earn cash, but there are many other ways you can make money on the web! Online surveys are the easiest way; for most sites you complete market research questionnaires and earn points, which can be redeemed as cash or vouchers. Here are one and two of my favourite sites - they can take a while to begin earning (Toluna requires you to earn £35 worth of points before you can make a PayPal transaction) but vouchers are often redeemable earlier. Have a lot of spare time over the summer? Start a blog or YouTube channel! You may not earn straight away, but brands may begin to contact you offering freebies and small cash rewards for sponsored posts.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

July's Read

My reading schedule used to stretch to just one or two issues of Elle a month, but in the last couple of months I have rekindled my love for picking up a paperback and gettimg stuck into a story. Plus a good book goes great with a good cup of tea...

I know that a lot of people will already have this book on their to-read list this month, as the film is set to release next month in the UK *squeals*. I've been a fan of John Green's books since before my break from reading, so as I left this book half-read a couple of years ago I thought it would be the perfect time to give it another go. 

Much like John Green's other books, the beginning of the story moved at a slow pace, which in a way I quite like, as it really sets the scene before things get interesting. The plot follows character Q, or Quentin Jacobsen; an American teenager with a few friends, a band, drives his mum's van, and is secretly fascinated by his next-door neighbour, Margo Roth Speigelman, played by the babin' Cara Delevigne in the film, obvs. One night, she knocks on his bedroom window and they spend a night driving around town causing chaos. The next morning, Margo is gone. And Q makes it his job to find her.

This book will make you laugh (out loud), possibly a bit teary, and finishing it in around 3 days, I can confirm that you won't want to put it down. Or for it to finish. Ever.

What is your book of the month? Share your latest reads in the comments or tweet me @deskparties! I'd love to hear your recommendations...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

For Beachin' Hair

Summer is here! And what better way to channel those boho vibes than with multiples braids and wavy locks, right? My hair is naturally wavy, but also very thick, which weigh them down, turning my post-wash bouncy do into a flat, frizzy mess. Here are a few of my favourite products to fight all that summer throws at our hair; from frizz to tangles - come at me, Mother Nature.

With any beauty routine, I start with a clean slate. My standard The Body Shop Banana Shampoo and Conditioner duo (£4 each) works wonders to combat frizz, cleaning and comdiitoning the hair without weighing it down. However recently I've discovered the shampoo and conditioner from John Freida's Beach Blonde range (£7 each), which do all of the above and leave hair even more weightless and bouncy than my TBS go-tos. Perfect for beachy locks.

However after using a clarifying shampoo can sometimes strip away moisture, the same effect salt water has on your hair, so keeping it nourished and conditioned is key. On most days, I add several squirts of OGX's Argan Oil of Morrocco Penetrating Oil (£7), working directly on strengthening and nourishing hair follicles. However after a day at the sea, or the bottled version sans my shampoo, a large scoop of Vita Coco's Coconut Oil (£6), or any solid, natural oil can be used as a deep conditioner to add natural shine and bounce to your do. Alternatively, before you shower, a generous amount of LUSH's H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Mask (£9.75) can be left for 30 minutes before washing off to improve overall hair condition. But warning, this stuff smells rather funky...

For beachin' hair, I keep styling to a minimum, but before blow drying, adding several spritzes of John Freida's Beach Blonde Sea Salt Spray (£7) creates a more defined look for my lacklustre wavy hair. And unlike normal salt sprays, you're left without that crispy feeling when your hair is dry, which is a look you want to avoid. Knotty hair, no thank you.

Heading to any beach destinations this summer? Let me know in the comments or tweet me, I would love to hear your favourite seaside spots! And if there's any room in your suitcase, perhaps...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Postcards From My Hols

Last week my family and I rolled off in our VW campervan (unfortunately not the vintage kind!) and parked up on our pitch near Corfe, in Dorset; our home for 6 days. 

We spent most days at Swanage Beach, but as it was only an hour's bus journey away, my brother and I spent a day in Bournemouth - and having been there plenty of times in the last few years it has fast become one of my favoruite seaside spots. 

Here are a few of my favourite photos from the trip, which most of them you can also find on my instagram @deskparties, which I thought I would share here on my blog too!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

TWP: Long Time, No Talk

Hello, stranger! It's been 3 months since I put up a post in this little corner of the Internet, what with A-Level exams and coursework deadlines my blog had to take a backseat.

Not much has happened since I last updated you, as life tends to slow down when you're swamped down by hundreds of prompt cards and A3 posters, however I have a lot of exciting plans this summer, from festivals to quick getaways, that I can't wait to share, so keep an eye on my blog for bi-weekly posts on Wednesdays and Sunday's at 9am GMT, and almost daily updates on my Instagram and Twitter, both @deskparties. 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday; drink too much coffee, watch too many episodes of your favourite series of Netflix (I'm currently hooked on House of Cards) and add one too many steps to your skincare routine tonight. You deserve it. See you on Wednesday! 

The July Playlist

...and then it was July. Where has the year gone? With spring now far behind us and in the midst of a week long heatwave, this summer is definitely off to a scorching start.

So for all the students and those with booked holiday slots this month, or even people that are making the most of the summer sun on their very few days off, this playlist is for you. Keeping it cool and collected, I've included a lot of soft electronic and folk music , with tracks from the likes of Clean Bandit, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Alt-J, for those carefree, car roof down vibes.

If you have Spotify, or not, you can listen to the full playlist for free below or through this link. But make sure if you are a member of the site to follow my playlist - as I will be adding more tracks throughout the month... where's my Mojito at?

Friday, 3 April 2015

The April Playlist.

(Before reading, pop on headphones and turn up volume)

Sharing music is something new for my blog, but as its the one of the two things that gets me out of bed in the morning (coffee being the second) and always the last thing I do before head meets pillow, (with George Ezra's 'Wanted On Voyage' being my comedown record of choice), it's safe to say it plays a major role in my life, so if so, why not share that here?

April will be a busy month for me, so I'll be tuning in to easy listening tracks and travel-size tracks, keeping me sane on long train journeys and softer sounds to help me kick-start some focused A-Level revision.

My music taste is quite varied, favouring from acoustic to aggressive, head banging rock sounds, you can always expect an eclectic line up as I plan to post my music picks every month from April on-wards. I've also thrown in a couple of tracks from bands on my local scene; something a little different from the top 40 but tunes I have been singing at the top of my voice every morning!

So grab your cup of coffee, get on that bus/train and get working with this playlist, (which you can listen to with this link, or in this post with the player below) And let me know in the comments what your favourite song/album is at the moment - I love discovering new music!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Start-Up Your Studies.

They always say that starting a project is the hardest task, I mean, I am sure that most of us have spent hours, and more often than not, days staring at a blank page or word document, tapping your pen or staring at the cursor blink over and over and over. And I am definitely no stranger to this!

Yep, it's just under 3 months to go, and I have already started revising for the summer exams. You may think I am crazy, and I am, but when it comes to studying for that important test, I believe that getting ahead, before you have time to fall behind, is the key. Because cramming the night before is not the one! So if you find you are struggling to start-up your revision, here are a few ways you can.

Find a workspace. 
I am an organised chaos. My life is run by to do lists, notebook apps, reminders and post-it notes (if you ever have documents to file, I'm the girl to call) but my bedroom is a shit tip. So before I even lay hands on an exercise book, I give my desk and room a good spring clean.

Get your sh*t together. 
I'm sure I'm not the only student that has a substantial store of notes from last year, because, just in case. But now the deadline for exam retakes has passed us by, those notes are finally useless. Clear out old notes, get rid of notebooks that are full to the brim and start making space for new study materials. 

Time (for a) table. 
A revision timetable is a fundamental tool for productive revision, so take the time to draw one up, tap one into your phone calendar or use a timetable website. My favourite is a site I have been using since the beginning of my GCSEs, 5 years ago, so it gets my seal of approval. The key to a good revision plan is to be realistic - I always start by adding slots when I know I can't, or won't study, and build blocks of revision around them. That way you will be more focused, and able to make time for things you enjoy. Because, F.R.I.E.N.D.S can't watch itself, right?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Week In Photos.

For this weekend's post I am bringing you yet another instagram round up, as I think its a good way to update this space on what's been occur'ng with me in the last 7 days. Now I have to confess that a few of these photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, as I am having to play a bit of catch up after my two-week blog break. If you want to see almost-daily updates from me in photo form, follow my instagram @deskparties.

If you read Wednesday's and Friday's posts, you will know that I recently visited one of my best friends at university in Swansea. Although I have visited her there in the past few months, this time I stayed overnight, staying out until almost the crack of dawn, and crashing in her small but cosy student accomodation flat. It was brilliant. Although I definitely felt it the next morning, and learned that sitting in the opposite direction of travel on a 2-hour long train journey with a bad hangover is not the best of combinations...

Fast forward to this week, as the Easter holidays are finally upon us, the next two weeks will see me start some serious prep for the summer exams, so coffee, good music and even more coffee were at the top of my agenda this morning. Keep your eyes peeled for a post on studying going up mid-next-week. You heard it here first.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite thing is to do on a Sunday? Chilling 'till you drop, or playing end-of-the-week catch up? I'll answer my own question and say I definitely the latter!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Post-Party Skin.

I hate hangovers. Sure, they are a great excuse to wear sweats all day and eat all the crap, but after going out last Wednesday? Ain't nobody got time for that on a Thursday. Needless to say that following day I felt a bit worse for wear (slight understatement) so I needed something that was going to make look and feel a little more human...

Enter LUSH; always at my beckoning call for any skin troubles, and this time their BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask answered. 

It's consistency is thick, but it absorbs into the skin rather quickly, which means you can feel the stuff getting to work from the word go. After splashing my face after the mask has completely dried (for around 19 minutes), I could see my skin looked brighter and less, well, 'bleurgh'. I've used this several times since I bought it a week or so ago, and my skin looks cleaner and cleaner every time, and unlike most radiance/deep cleaning masks it's not leaving me with 59676 dry patches. A win-win!

As LUSH's face masks are fresh, they usually last a little less than a month, and I keep mine in the fridge for longer keep, amongst other essentials for those morning after feels. Poached eggs on toast anyone? 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Packing Light For A One-Nighter.

If you've been keeping your eyes peeled on my Instagram (@deskparties if you want a quick once over) you will know that I recently took a second trip down to Wales, to visit my best friend at university and go on my first university night out. And as I chose to take a third year at college this year, visiting Swansea is not only amazing as I get to see my best girl friend and her housemates, but also for testing the university waters first hand for in six months time.

A night out and staying over called for taking more than a lipstick, my phone and ID; the standard contents of my evening clutch - but I also didn't want to be running around Swansea train station with 474759 bags on my arms. So relied on a few trusty tips that are great to slimline your suitcase for visiting friends, going home for a weekend or a mini break.

Roll, roll, roll your clothes
This is a trick I picked up from my mum. Rolling your clothes into a sausage-the shape saves twice the amount of space in your bag, as it is more compressed than when you fold them. This tip is especially useful for jumpers, as those darn things take up way too much space that it's not even funny. Another thing I always do is to stuff my underwear in any shoes I have packed. Although, try not to forget they are in there before going to put your boots on in the morning...

Decant err'thang
As a self confessed hoarder of all things beauty and skincare, I find it hard to find the space for all the products I use on a daily basis, because let's face it, I'm not the kind of girl who's morning routine consists of a quick mouthwash and a couple of face wipes. And I know I am not alone, so this tip is handy for my fellow beauty hoarders. Not only is decanting incredible for space saving, but it saves you having to purchase all of your favourite products in minature form (so small but so pricey!). I love the travel bottle set from Primark, it costs a couple of pounds and comes with stickers so you don't confuse your cleansers and conditioners. And I can tell you from personal experience, it's not as fun as it sounds.

Bring things that multitask
Three-in-one hair washes, moutrising serums, tinted lip balms. You name it, I've got it. Taking products that do than one job makes your toiletry bag that bit lighter, and saves you time getting ready in the morning, which is particularly useful when you're catching the early train or plane home.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Weekend Post: Mum's The Word

Happy Mothers Day everyone! This week I am spending my Sunday making several cups of tea and ushering boxes of chocolates into my mums hands (no change from the usual, but it counts more on Mother's Day, right?)

Other than that, I surprised her with a few things from LUSH's Mothers Day range, which I thought I would share with you because, I'm going to be honest, I wish I bought some of these things for myself!

First off I picked up the Ultraviolet Bubble Bar; made with violet and jasmine absolutes and ylang ylang oil, this product smells of Parma Violets and I imagine would make the bath water look amazing. Then I popped the Mother Superior Bubble Bar in my basket, which I bought mainly because it looked so darn cute, and I knew it would make mum laugh. It contains mimosa absolute, which I have to be honest, doesn't smell incredible, but the novelty of this bubble bar won mum and me over.

After picking up a few bath things, which i thought would be a lot more relaxing and luxurious, my mum is in fact more of a shower person. But as LUSH lack a good range of shower products other than body wash, I opted for the Yummy Mummy Shower Gel. With notes of orange and geranium I knew this would be a delicate yet refreshing gel perfect for a morning wash. And as mum wakes up ridiculously early to get ready for work, I thought this would do just the trick to wake her up.

And lastly, I grabbed a pot of their Bubblegum Lip Scrub, because, well, their lip scrubs are amazing, and as mum and me have a similar skin type (dry/sensitive-combination) and she too always complains about having dry lips, I thought I could show her what she was missing out on.

Enjoy spending time with your family today, and if unfortunately you don't have a mum or mother figure  to share Mother's Day with, allow yourself the day to treat yourself for staying strong.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Things For 'That Time' Of The Month

'Mother Nature, can you come back another month plz? Ty' 

If you haven't guessed already, it's my time of the month, so I am currently writing this from the sofa whilst spooning a hot water bottle eating all the chocolate in the store cupboards. Not the most glamorous of get-ups, but desperate times... 

Now if you're like me (it's most likely); hormones drive you a little crazy (to say the least!) and the stomach pain is sometimes unbearable and the whole 3-7 day period is just plain uncomfortable, here are a few things you can rely on to make myself feel more human when Mother Nature calls.

Herbal Tea
I love a classic cuppa when I am feeling worse for wear, but herbal teas are brilliant for soothing cramps, and as they are caffeine free they are the best before bed, when the pain is usually the worst. My favourite is Pukka's Womenkind tea; with liquorice root, chamomile and vanilla; first up it smells amazing, and it's sweetness keeps (some of) the cravings at bay, but all of the ingredients are best for relaxing and soothing sore stomachs.

A small bag of emergency supplies 
It's good to keep a small, discrete pouch in your bag, that doesn't scream 'Hey everyone, I'm on my period! So yes, that's why I'm being a moody bitch today'. It's good to avoid that kind of honesty. I use a H&M pouch (they are dead cheap, always in stock in different designs) and in it I keep: some towels and tampons (obviously), paracetamol (for pain relief) a mini The Body Shop Eau De Toilette Spray (for feeling fresh), mint tea bags (to settle my stomach) and hairbands (because there's nothing more annoying than hair getting in my face, especially when I'm just not in the mood). It keeps everything in one place, and stops you from forgetting anything important when you need it the most.

Spot treatments 
The biggest burden of that time of the month are the spots that populate my face, and in places I never get them. However I recently discovered a few LUSH products that actually make a difference; Grease Lightning Spot Treatment, Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Fask and Tea Tree Toning Water to name a few. The products from the Good Things range, which is available in Boots, are also amazing for busting blemishes, or, if you have the budget for it, the Origins Super Spot Remover is all kinds of awesome.

Oil based skincare
Although I get spotty when I'm on my period and by logic, oil based products would in fact, make the breakouts worse, but using said spot treatments can be very drying on the skin, and already being a girl with dry skin, this means hydrating products such as oil cleansers and treatments are high on my agenda. For that I will refer to my post featuring my favourite things for dry skin spells. During 'that time' it's good to keep hydrated on the outside too, so keep large bottles of water and herbal tea nearby. Your skin will thank you for it.

Chocolate (for the cravings!)
I think this one goes without saying, but with low magnesium levels and tendencies to act like a total bitch, chocolate seems to solve a good portion of problems I have on my period. In fact, anything containing chocolate will do - usually I favour a double chocolate digestive or three but whatever you want. You're mind is telling you no, but your body is telling you yes - no, I'm not suggesting to give some Bump and Grind, but to listen to your cravings for those few days of the month. You deserve it. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

This Week On Instagram #3

Happy Sunday!  Looking back at this week - it's been a long one, and a bit stressful too, so there was a significant lack of photos on my feed.

I have been quite anxious this week, I wish I could pinpoint why but nevertheless there were points this week where I had to take a step back, especially with social media - I love writing and photographing for my blog, but I have been trying harder to avoid the bits that make me feel this way, including (mainly social media). However this was only one reason I was feeling this way, so I did take some time away from the Internet and more time reading and relaxing. 

I visited my new favourite coffee house again this week; whiche I wrote about in this weekend's post, which went live this morning. I decided to treat myself to a few things on Friday, including my first issue of Vogue - which made me feel like instantly cooler and older, until I realised in the same transaction I had picked quite the substantial amount of Comic Relief merchandise. Not quite a grown woman yet. And how could I forget the Lindt dark chocolate bar (salted caramel - the bomb) as first it was on offer, and I am trying to cut and limit dairy in my diet, so a win-win purchase all round. 

Sorry this has been a boring one, but it's quite the typical week for me. However I do have a few exciting things lined up in the next few days, so I am sure next weeks update will be a lot more exciting. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

This Week On Instagram #2

Happy Monday! I thought I would do my second edition of this post today since it's the start of a new week, so what better way to wish in the new college term (yay?) than to look back at my half term? I'll be uploading a post like this every Monday from now on, but be sure to follow my Instagram @deskparties for regular updates...

This week has consisted of more work than play, however there's been no shortage of lie ins and no-makeup days. So most days I have slapped on my five-product face and using dry shampoo like it's going out of fashion. I mean, this might be a bit tmi, but I may of gone five days without washing my locks...I know...

More excitingly on Friday I treated my mum to a visit to a new coffeehouse that's in town; Baila Coffee and Vinyl; a cute cafe tucked into the centre of town, with awesome interior and even more awesome coffee. I've written about it ready for the next weekend post, so keep your eyes peeled for that this Sunday. Spoiler alert: they make the best brownies ever. In-house *drools*

So this week is back to college but I am sure I will take a few snaps and get up to a few things in the meantime...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Weekend Post: Taking Time

I'm not going to lie; I've had a pretty bad week. I've been working more than usual, as well as keeping up with college projects and revision, so sleep has been pretty limited. What's more is that I got rejected by a guy I've liked for a good few months. It could be worse, but come this weekend and I. Am. So. Tired. In both the literal and figurative senses.

So if you are mending a broken heart, stressed out to the max, or just feeling under the weather, here are a few ways that I like to take some time out today, that can hopefully inspire you to do the same. Because that's what Sunday's are for, right?

Get a make-under
Slap off the makeup, tie your hair back and let your skin breathe. Yes, those sunglasses might be necessary to hide hideous eye bags and/or any breakouts, but your skin will thank you for it. And it's a physical reminder that today is for you, and you only. 

Switch it off 
Work email notifications? No thanks. Apologetic texts from said ex-boyfriend/ex-crush? A-bye-bye. Remove any negative or stressful energy by removing yourself from the negative or stressful situation. However if the feelings still haunt you, engage yourself in something creative. Even if it's composing an angry poem or even email. As long as it rhymes, right?

Think forward
Sundays are first and foremost for relaxing, but a useful way to spend the latter of the day - one F.R.I.E.N.D.S marathon and several one-bite brownies later - is to plan for the week ahead. I usually aallocate daily tasks, but weekly goals are good, too. Try not too think too big: make doable goals. I find planning the reward for completing it quite useful too, who wouldn't want an excuse to treat themselves to something they love? For me? This time next week I aim to be sporting a new red lipstick while scoffing a bag of mini eggs. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Budget Buy: Wash And Blow Dry In A Bottle

Dry shampoo; a lazy girls best friend. Going for more than three days without a shampoo session is a regular occurrence for me lately, so I always rely on a can of the dry stuff to refresh those roots and go. But the bane of my life? That dry, white residue that sits in your scalp, and won't budge no matter how  long you try to brush through it, it still stays put - hello, dandruff look-a-like.

So when my local Superdrug finally started stocking Colab's Dry Shampoos, I didn't hesitate picking a couple up. It struck my attention mainly because it's designed by Ruth Crilly; a total blogger babe, however it's sheer invisible formula was something that was worth a shot. And it works.

I picked up the London fragrance: scented with bergamot, musk and magnolia so with the mix of floral and musky notes it leaves your hair smelling warm, clean and fresh. I find the best way to apply any dry shampoo is to take my hair section by section and then spraying a few inches away from my face, onto my scalp. And the first time I picked up my can of Colab it came to my surprise to see no white patches! As I brushed it through my hair, I could definitely see the product absorbing all grease and oil and it left my hair looking somewhat presentable. 

I also grabbed the Extreme Volume edition in the same fragrance, and I find this worked well after washing and blow drying for a back combed effect, without the tangled hair mess teasing leaves you with. So at £3.49 a can (£4.49 each for the extreme volume range) for perfect third day hair every time, and reducing my frequency of bad hair days, I think this is definitely my best budget buy for quite some time...

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Waiting For The University Offers

So I wrote an advice post in Novermber describing my struggle of writing a personal statement - so I thought it would make sense and be quite suitable, as I have now received all five of my offers (eep!), to give a few worlds of advice for tackling the next step in the application process: waiting for your results.

Limit your UCAS intake
Coming from personal experience, I know how easy it to obsessively check your UCAS track page to see if somehow a university has contacted you two minutes after you last looked. Typically they will send you an email if your status on any of your applications has changed, so try to relax and just check your emails once a day, like you would in the pre-UCAS days. 

They haven't forgotten you
'How have four of the universities replied and I'm still waiting for my 5th, a month later? Have they forgotten me?'. Again, this happened to me a few weeks ago, and although the choice was at the bottom of my preference list, the chance of getting all 5 offers, something I had been longing to see on my track page for weeks, was something I didn't want to risk losing. I'm lucky to have received all of my offers quite early, however bear in mind the final deadline for universities to get back to you is May 7th; three months from now. Some universities just take longer than others: be it having a smaller admissions team, or being a much larger centre, either way it will just take a little more time for some, so don't worry too much. 

Stay positive
Lastly, the most cliche tip - keep your head up. If you get rejected, if the univeristy has asked for grades you think you can't achieve, or you haven't received your first offer yet - just stay positive. Things happen for the best (most of the time, at least) and hurdles and falls will only make you stronger. If you are really struggling with the stress, I recommend copious cups of tea and as much chocolate as you require. It works best for these types of situations...

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Five-Product Face

If you are a fellow student, full time business women or a go-getter, and if you are anything like me; a girl with far too much makeup to her name, you will know the struggle to find a routine for slapping on your face, without wasting half an hour in front of the mirror that most days, you just don't have. Enter the five product face - which gives me bright enough skin, and enough coverage, as well as making me look somewhat put together.

Starting with a speedy layer of foundation; I recently tweeted for any suggestions for foundations for very pale skin, as my Bourjois Healthy Mix in Light Vanilla is too dark on me at the moment, several of you suggested Rimmel's Wake Me Up in Light Porcelain. It's the perfect colour match and it does what it says on the tin. I actually look as if I have slept when I slap this on. Then I quickly follow with my honorary 6th product (if I don't have time I'll pop some of the foundation under my eyes) the Wake Me Up Concealer if I've had a particularly rough night.

Next I add shape and some warmth to my face with Soap and Glory's Solar Powder: the perfect bronzer-meets-contour shade that ensures if you don't have time for both, this product is the one to turn to.

After quickly chiseling some cheekbones it's time for the eyes. Somedays I will only have time for a few lashings of mascara; currently I am trialling and testing Benefits new Rollerlash Mascara that is free in this months issue of ELLE magazine; sticky lipglosses and rubbery fake lashes as magazine supplements are now a thing of history. So far, so good with this product - the wand is very flexible and seperates, defines and blackens your eyelashes very effectively. 

However most days, my mascara will follow a very thick, very long winged line of Collection's Fast Stroke Liner. Applies easily, intensely black and doesn't budge - and you know it won't budge even if it's been a really long day at the office, or series of lectures. Trust me, I've put this stuff to the test.

The quickest way to achieve a quick but put together look is to rock a red lip, and recently I have been reaching for NARS' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella - the perfect blue-toned red and the pencil nib acts as a liner and lippy in one. Can you tell I love a good multitasking product. However if I am not feeling the red I am usually using the same pencil product, but in the shade Desansco. It's satin finish feels super soft and natural on the lips, perfect for an off duty look.

Now the makeups done, where's my large soya latte...

Sunday, 8 February 2015

This Week On Instagram

No Weekend Post from me this week, the exciting things I got up to were mistakenly not joined by my DSLR (woops!) However I did take a few quick snaps on my phone, that I uploaded on my Instagram, deskparties, so give me a quick follow for a daily dose...

The last 7 days have consisted of long days in Costa sipping soya lattes whilst ploughing through piles of college work. And commuting on my bicycle was deemed impossible on Tuesday when my hometown saw a layer of snow hit our pavements overnight. So skidding across was avoided by stamping through the White stuff in my new H&M cleated sole brogues.

However the highlight of my week was spending my Friday off (shoutout to my lecturer for setting us a reading week, freeing up my Friday) visiting my best friend at Swansea University. She showed me around campus, I met her hilarious roommates for the first time, who let me in to her flat while she was at a lecture and made me feel very welcome. When she arrived, my arrival was followed by a suprisingly sunny afternoon's walk (Wales, your weather didn't disappoint this time!) along the seafront, followed by catching up on gossip over coffee and cake.

What did you all get up to this week? And what are your plans for the next? I'm back at all my college lectures this week, so along with work I will be busy, busy, busy! Roll on half term!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Keeping The Balance Between Your Studies and Social Life

A post of this sort was bound to feature on my blog sometime soon, and I hope that my experience with working two jobs and going through studies and exam season simultaneously can help to offer you some words of advice (wisdom was a push) for juggling studies with your work or (the more difficult) social life.

Take a day off
As I work and study non-stop from Monday to Saturday, and go out on a Saturday night, I usually write Sundays off and recover from an evident hangover, drink too much coffee, catch up on sleep (and college work) and just take some time for myself. Allowing yourself a day a week (or half a day if your schedule is just that crazy) gives you enough head space to start afresh for a whole new week, but doesn't result in a major backlog of work afterwards. 

Keep socialising short and sweet
Long gone are the days you would sleep over your best friends house 3 days in a row. Now it's hard to even commit to one evening without a conflict of plans. I usually meet with friends on a one-on-one basis, because let's face it, Facebook chats need to begin at least a month in advance to get a large group together. Whether it's a quick coffee, lunch or in my case a lot of the time, piercing date, spending a couple of hours every so often is enough time to catch up without the stress of constantly cancelling plans.

Timetable your social life
If you are an organised freak like me, you may have already begun planning or writing up your revision timetable for your exams. Although this may seem eager, it gives you the chance to steady the studies and make time for friends, hobbies etc. much better than going under house arrest for the 2 weeks prior to exam season. 

Work with friends
Take it from me: a girl whose idea of rebellion is sneaking into another colleges library with a friend to revise, revising my with friends can be, dare I say it, quite fun. Always pick a quiet space; a bedroom, small coffee shop or library, so that distractions are kept to a minimum. I always tend to revise with friends who are taking the same subject/s as me, so we can compare mental and physical notes, because it can be easier than toy think to miss things in class, that your friend may have picked up, and vice versa. Friends are also good to test your knowledge, so get some q cards ready and test each other, It's also a good chance to gossip about your fellow classmates. But you didn't hear that from me...

College comes first
If you're deciding between going out on the town until 3am with your friends, or revising for an upcoming exam, it's logical which one you should choose. College impacts where and if you go to university, or into the job you aspire to, so stay focused and never forget your overall goals to keep you motivated. But in the end it's about finding the balance - never isolate yourself, meeting with friends on your study/college breaks will lift your mood and keep your stress levels lower, however neglecting revision and study time will stress you out to the max, so leave your friends with time to study before your next lesson. Don't sacrifice socialising, just negotiate it.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Weekend Post: A Coffee At Jacob's

One of the best things about Sundays is grabbing or making several coffees, especially if it's the day after a night out. In fact, when it comes to coffee I would consider myself quite the nerd. So as a regular visitor in Bath, I discovered a coffeehouse gem a long time ago, that I talked about on my blog this summer, and I've never gone back.

I got my regular: a soya latte, but as we didn't want to hit rush hour on the way home from a rugby match, I had to take it to go this time. However I love the cosy, small space above the coffee bar; perfect for taking some time to yourself, and to nosy at other people walking along the high street.

But on this occasion, I sipped my soya latte while singing along to the car radio. Needless to say I wasn't unhappy with this alternative. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Things For The Girls With Dry Skin This Winter

If there's one thing that I dislike about the cold weather, it's the havoc it plays on my skin. Combine comfort food, cold weather and my college's heating system; and you have the perfect recipe for dry, irritated skin. However, this year I have been keeping this under some control with a few products that keep flaky skin at bay.

LUSH's Dream Cream 
Although this is officially a hand and body cream, the shop assistant at my local LUSH assured me that it worked just as well as a facial cream, too. And oh, she was right. As a girl with dry-combination skin, this does wonders on the drier areas of my face (my cheeks and temples), by applying a generous layer of it as a part of my evening routine after cleansing and toning, then it works it's magic as it soaks in overnight. I love to use it for its original use; as a body cream, too. Particularly after a hard workout at the gym, leaving my dehydrated face and body softer and smoother. A win-win product, for sure.

The Body Shop's Argan Solid Oil for Lips
As the usual victim of chapped lips, this year hasn't seen a bump or flake on my lips, and I'm pretty sure it's down to this product. Before bed and after slapping on some lip scrub from LUSH - love the stuff - I apply a thick layer of this unique solid-oil-meets-lip-butter product, and when I wake up, it's still on my lips 8 hours later. What more can I say?

The Body Shop's Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask
The Origins Drink-Up Instensive Face Mask will always be near the top of my wish list, but with a £23 price tag, ain't no student got time for that. However after trying this Body Shop mask that I received free at a members event, I feel we have a dupe on our hands. I have to warn you, it's the weirdest consistency, almost a bit like jelly, but it's cooling effect and wet texture feels amazing on dry skin. I usually leave it on for around an hour, or overnight, if my face is really suffering, and once washed off it leaves you with a bright and glowing complexion.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan 
I was converted to oil cleansers by Loreal's Skin Perfection cleansing oil over a year ago, but recently I this product caught my eye in Boots because a) Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup raves about this on her blog, and anything she mentions is bound to be brilliant, and b) it was on offer. And I can't resist a bargain. The Loreal oil is quite similar in quality and price, but this oil left my face feeling cleaner, without drying out my face, which most oil cleansers can do. And it smells amazing, what more could you want in a cleanser?

Yes to Carrots Face Scrub
Now you are probably thinking that scrubs will only make dry skin worse, but as a big fan of the Yes To products, I was prepared to give their face scrub from their carrot range, suited for dry skin types, a go. With dry-combination skin, I tend to get dry skin away from my t-zone, however in the middle of,the winter, I get patches of dry skin on my nose and chin as well as my cheeks, and this scrub manages to lift these dry patches without causing irritation to my sensitive skin. I usually apply this in the morning, and after that I follow with the Yes To Day Cream; a thick but wearable cream that leaves the best base for makeup. Their face wipes are amazing too, so this range gets a big thumbs up from me. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Weekend Post: Clearing Space

You know the drill. New Years brings opportunities of a fresh start and new goals, but the first few days of January pass before you can blink and you realise you haven't kept to your resolutions even though the year has only just begun. So this Sunday it's time to chuck away the chocolate wrappers and get out of my PJs and sort out my life. Or, maybe just my room to start with anyway. 

Sort through drawers
Toiletries that are past their time, receipts and post-it's that are months old and just any crap floating in the sea of stuff, just get a black bin liner and dump them. Then pile the things you wish to keep somewhere temporary and clean the insides and outsides of your drawers. Today I am doing this for my bigger drawers for toiletries/skincare/haircare and smaller drawers for makeup.

Slim down wardrobe 
For this, I am making three piles of clothes: keep, donate, chuck. It's disgusting how many old clothes are sitting in my wardrobe, so today's the day they go. Also, take the time to rethink your storage. Refold or hang your keep pile, and return any loose clothes or underwear to their correct place. 

Clear the floordrobe
99% of the time, my bedroom floor is part carpet, part a sea of black garments. We've all had a floordrobe at one time, and if now is your time, it's time for it to go. Now for a couple of rounds of washing and a good hoover. Now I've finished with my room, time to light a candle and open all windows for that fresh scent. 

Get sh*t done
Clear space, clear mind. Buy a new diary (possibly the best New Years activity), transfer important dates and appointments you need to remember. Then consider the aspects of your life you want to organise whether it be work, money, univeristy/college/school or blogging, find or buy a notebook for each and start making to do lists. Always try to be one step ahead. Then close the windows, grab a cup of tea and catch up on your reality TV. It's a Sunday necessity. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Slovenia: The Photo Diary

If you saw my latest weekend post; talking all things hot chocolate, you will know me and my family (mum, dad and my brother, Joey) took a week-long trip to a frequent family destination, Slovenia. We stayed in the town of Bled and even after visiting since I was a baby, it is still the same; peaceful but charming. Although we have visited the country countless times, I had not been inside the capital city, Ljubljana (except for the airport, of course), so a day trip was necessary.

The trip was exactly what I needed: fresh air, Christmas cheer, and a bit of peace and quiet. And as I am writing this with my head in the college books again, I wish I was back!