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?