Managing Your Time

The struggle is real, as many of us know. Blogging for a lot of people is a hobby - some of us want it to progress and eventually be our full time job and some of us just enjoy having an online space to share thoughts and experiences. Like many bloggers out there, I have a full time job, a YouTube channel AND an Etsy shop which I pour my heart and soul into. Sometimes it can all get too much and the logical thing to do is let something give, but what do you do when you love it all so much that you're slightly addicted to the fun, the communities and have a creative passion? I threw together some of my best tips which I hope help some of you.

1. Breathe
This sounds silly, but it's a very good place to start. Take five, have a cuppa tea or whatever floats your boat and just clear some space in your head. Sometimes I find all my thoughts thrown together make them hard to understand so I imagine myself untangling them and tackling one at a time.

2. Make lists
Lists are something I feel aren't used enough today but I find writing things down to be one of the most useful things I can possibly do to help feel organised. Plan your day and once you've got really good at this and feel comfortable, you could try planning your entire week. Diaries are also brilliant and I like many forget mine exists or can't be doing with it taking up space in my bag, but I sure as hell feel better when I have it on me.

3. Make the most of weekends & days off
This time is so incredibly valuable to content creators of all kinds and if you don't manage your time wisely, you end up loosing a good opportunity to get some quality photographs or decent video footage. I always write down what I want to take photos of and prepare my props and backgrounds the night before. That way, even if you fancy a lie in on your day off, you're not going to be wasting time fannying around looking for your camera or whatever it is you're taking pictures of when you decide to get out of bed. And for gods sake, put your batteries on charge before you go to sleep! This is the sort of thing that used to catch me out all the time. Also, invest in a large memory card or two. Bulk shooting also works a treat - get all of your photos taken when you can and that way they're all ready for when you're writing your blog posts.

4. Little and often
Sometimes I find I have a few blog posts in the making all at once and every evening I'll add a bit more to the one I feel the most in the mood for. Not that I don't want to write the posts, but sometimes things flow much nicer when you're in different moods. Some weeks I also have loads of ideas and then others none at all so I try not to get too ahead of myself and post all my content really close together. Instead I like to keep a week to view pad on my desk so I can organise my week and keep a day or two in between each post.

5. Plan ahead and capture
This is a great one for posts like monthly favourites and I always find myself recognising when something is an immediate first instinct is to add it to my notepad for that month's favourites list. I don't think I've ever got right to the end of a month and panic written a favourites post. Mine are something that I keep adding to from literally the first week of every month. It takes the pressure away and you also feel like you're collecting things to rave about!

6. Don't be hard on yourself
It's very easy to start beating yourself up if you feel you haven't created enough content in one week or even a month for your audience and you know what? That's okay. Be your own boss of your own platform, whether that is YouTube or blogging; you're in control. Plus a viewer who gets nasty if you don't post on certain days or whatever is a viewer not worth having. Genuine lovers of your content will be happy to wait and will respect you if you need to take time away from your platforms to focus on other things. Remember the reason you started blogging or making videos? It's because you enjoyed it! Hold onto that.

These are just a few of the things I practice to keep myself on track and make the most of the time I have in between my job and spending time with family and friends. I think without them I'd start to feel overwhelmed and incredibly drained so they definitely help me along the way.

Thanks for reading!

The Body Shop Face Mask Review

I've had a bad day you guys. Filled with anxiety and panic and when I eventually got home, I was so thankful to be in my own safe space and seeing a little parcel waiting for me containing this little jar of goodness from The Body Shop. This is the Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask* and it literally couldn't have arrived at a better time - I soon popped it open to try along with a well earned coffee and a biscuit.

This product looks super posh and the jar is glass which I always think makes something that bit more special. There is also a protective plastic seal on the inside to stop the mask getting all inside the lid and it came presented in a little box (which unfortunately got a bit squashed in the post!) I used a makeup brush to apply this all over my face and I found this much easier than using my fingers because it's a lot less messy and easier to keep it away from your eyes and mouth. The mask itself smells incredibly fresh and there are flakes of green tea leaves and tea tree oil to really give your skin a proper treat. The charcoal is from the Himalayan Foothills and is great for drawing out excess oils and impurities. I also fully appreciate that this mask is 100% vegan.

It started to dry pretty quickly and it hardened up evenly across my face. If I looked closely in the mirror, I could see little oily dots where the mask had dried and what I can only assume was oil that had been drawn out. It was pretty cool to see! Once it was set, I left it for around 10 minutes and then it washed off easily with warm water. You can also use circular motions to exfoliate as you remove the mask for an extra smooth finish.

The mask costs £16 for a 75ml jar and if you use a makeup brush to apply the mask, it lasts a hell of a lot longer. I think I could easily get 10 uses out of one jar so there is definitely more product than there looks inside. There are also a few different scents from this range to try including Honey and Rose which sound so beautiful and I cannot wait to get my hands on them. Let me know if you've tried any of these before and what you thought of them - my face is so smooth now and even James has noticed!

Thanks for reading!

*This product was gifted to me by The Body Shop for their #daretomask Instagram campaign*

Moon Cup Update

I'm very pleased to report that since coming off the pill back in January, my periods have returned and so far I've been lucky enough to be fairly on time. Before the contraceptive pill, I wasn't bang on a specific day of the month like some women are, but my body has sprung back to what I would call normal for me and right now I'm going through my third period since binning my last packet of pills.

Shortly after my last cycle, I went off to Fosse Park with my good friend Vik and we once again got onto the subject of periods and products available to help us women out. We sat discussing it over a well earned McDonalds fries and milkshake after one of our legendary Primark rummages and luckily, Boots was just around the corner to go and have an explore. Unfortunately, Superdrug didn't stock any sort of menstrual cups which was a little disappointing but Boots had the Moon Cup available and in both sizes. I went for Size B as I'm under 30 and haven't given birth and it cost me £21.99.

As soon as I got home I was analysing my Moon Cup from every angle, reading the leaflet provided from back to front and then again, and decided that I would give it a go before my cycle started again this month. Like everyone I suppose, I looked at the Moon Cup with both fascination and apprehension; it looks far too big, bizarrely shaped and a little scary. There are a couple of ways you can insert a menstrual cup so be sure to give them a research if you struggle, but I found the pinch and tuck method the easiest whilst also sat on the toilet. I was pleasantly surprised and it certainly put my mind at ease ready to use the cup once I started my next cycle.

Over the past two days, I have been extremely light, to the point where even a panty liner was a little excessive. This morning however, I woke up with those dreaded uncomfortable pains, sore muscles literally everywhere and I knew it had become heavier. To begin with, I wore a sanitary towel for a couple of hours and then decided sod it, I'm popping my Moon Cup in for a trial day. I honestly think if you have the opportunity to try it for the day at home, it will give you some peace of mind regarding leakages and comfort before wearing it out and about. I also thought putting the Moon Cup in would hurt because I get very crampy and sore down there during my cycle but it was unbelievably easy and it was really obvious to me knowing when it was in the right place. 

Usually when I wear tampons, I can't even sit down comfortably and I can feel them there at all points of the day. I've tried different sizes, different brands and whilst some are unbearable, I've found brands like Tampax to be the comfiest as they also provide the applicator and they're just smoother in general. However with the Moon Cup, I can sit as normal, put my legs up to my chest, lie down and walk around without being able to feel the cup. It's not irritated me or contributed towards cramping and so far, I've only had one leak occurrence and that was because I hadn't 'sealed' the Moon Cup properly.

The best thing about wearing the Moon Cup is it's so comfortable and although I have checked it three times today, I have noticed my confidence grow with it, especially when it comes to popping it in and taking it back out. I'm a little grossed out at the emptying of the cup as you just tip it down the toilet but I guess it's just because I'm not used to it! I would highly recommend taking a little packet of baby wipes or some tissues if you wear your cup out and about as although it's easy and with practice becomes second nature, you wouldn't want to be caught off guard at any time during your period.

So far, I'm really enjoying learning more about menstrual cups and I'm really proud of myself for making the decision to transition over to using mine over tampons and pads. It really does open your eyes as to how much waste us women produce just with disposable products alone so it'll definitely make a huge difference to the planet, the more women who give a menstrual cup a go. They're honestly not as scary as they look or sound and I can't wait to start telling my friends about my success so far with using one. You can also read my Moon Cup First Impressions post right here.

Thanks for reading!

My Top 5 Disney Films

This week I thought it would be fun to share with you my favourite Disney movies and I chose my Top 5 which proved to be rather difficult but I feel I made some pretty good choices! 

Although this isn't technically a film, Fantasia was the one thing I was obsessed with more than anything when I was a child. I watched it that much that my video broke and when I started earning my own money, it was one of the first things I bought for myself on DVD. I just love the way the animation was designed to fit the music, the imagination and stunning story lines. My favourite piece is The Pastoral Symphony which I'm sure many of you will recognise as the part with all the unicorns, fawns, centaurs and pegasus. The scenes from this section of Fantasia are what I imagine when I think of my happy place or when I attempt meditation. I adore all of the pastel colours, so magical!

101 Dalmations
This film is usually my go to if I'm ever ill…don't ask why it just cheers me up big time and I just love snuggling down to watch this with a hot chocolate. Perhaps it's because it's based in the UK and makes me feel at home and it's such a wintery movie which adds to the snuggly feel. It's also all about dogs so what's not to love? Cruella is a real demon along with Jasper and Horrace who are scary as hell yet hilarious and it's such a classic for all ages.

Robin Hood
As someone who was born and partly raised in the heart of Nottingham, Robin Hood will always have a special place in my life. I also cannot be the only person on planet Earth to find Disney's Robin Hood slightly attractive? For a fox I mean, come on - he's lovely! Maid Marian is so beautiful and the scene with Clucky the hen playing badminton tickles me every time. This is such a great watch for all ages and educational as well. Can we also take a moment to appreciate how hilarious Prince John is too? Between him and Sir Hiss, I can't decide which is funnier but they make a brilliant duo and I can't get enough of their priceless comedy.

I remember the first time I saw Tangled and how much I loved it from the very start. I feel this was the start of Disney's new line of princesses - the ones who kicked ass and taught young girls that princess doesn't mean damsel in distress. There is no denying that Rapunzel is everything; clever, hilarious, beautiful, cute, daring and heroic, not to mention they also switched it up a bit with Flynn Rider from your typical Prince Charming! You have to admit, he's an exceedingly attractive Disney male and I fall in love with their relationship every time I watch this movie. Mother Gothel is terrifying, Pascal adorable, there is fantastic music throughout and it's a bloody good story line.

Pocahontas was never a favourite Disney movie as a kid, but it sure did make it's way up there as I got older and understood that everything that is addressed within the film you simply cannot ignore. So many grown up topics are covered and to be honest it's way too grown up and I doubt Disney would get away with making this sort of content today, but it's such a brilliant movie and I feel everyone should watch it at least once. I love seeing John Smith's views of the world and values change once he meets Pocahontas. Miko is one of my all time favourite Disney characters too which is a bonus! I feel so at peace when I find myself submerged in the Pocahontas world and it contains so many life lessons.

Thanks for reading!

A Day Trip To London

James turned 26 this week so I organised a little surprise trip to London for an explore and a bit of shopping. If you've visited my blog before, you may have noticed my grumpy post about having to cancel our trip to Amsterdam due to our boiler breaking (that's being an house-owning-adult for you!) so a trip to London sounded like a fun day out. I left it to James to decide where he wanted to visit and it was no surprise when he chose Camden.

We explored the markets and got lost amongst all of the quirky stalls and interesting people. I got some feathers put in my hair by a rather lovely if not slightly stoned lady who had collected all of her feathers whilst visiting Peru. They look so pretty tied into hair and they're meant to last 3-6 months so we shall see but so far so good and I love them! The only thing I despise about Camden market is some of the food stalls literally throw meat at you and as a vegetarian, there is nothing worse you could possibly do to me. James has lived in Hong Kong (being a quarter Chinese, he has family out there) and he told me it's literally the same as walking through the streets of Hong Kong. Weird and wonderful delicacies all over the place, but having it thrust in my face wasn't what I wanted. It all smells fantastic and any food lover wouldn't have the faintest idea where to start. We stopped off at a little stall that was making fresh Cajun spiced fries absolutely plastered in cheeses and cheese sauce. The lady at the stall even blow-torched the cheese on top to make it melt in and the taste was amazing. 

After Camden, we went to Oxford Street for a bit of shopping, visited Lush, Topshop, Urban Outfitters and a few places James hadn't been to before like Moji. I wore my Vans shoes thinking they'd be the most comfortable but even they weren't stopping my feet from hurting so badly by half way through our day. After a much needed sit down in Starbucks, we decided to venture into Primark. I can't quite believe that I have managed to convert James to actually give Primark the time of day and I came out with a new rucksack because my handbag was destroying my arm and some new exercise gear. 

I feel that the more I visit London, the more I fall in love with it and I also feel more confident using the tube lines and navigating around really does get easier the more you practice. We plan to go back to London later this year, perhaps to visit the Natural History Museum or the National Gallery. I know many of my readers are from the USA so if you ever get a chance to visit London, there is so much to see and do and you certainly will not be disappointed with our capital. 

Oddly enough, I didn't take many photos of our day out but I did manage to get some video footage which I'll link below for you to watch if you wish :)

Thanks for reading!

March Favourites

It's that time again, March has been and gone and now we're welcoming April and with that, Spring! I've been loving a few different bits and pieces over March so I won't keep you any longer, lets take a look!

Pokemon Pyjamas - Primark
March has been all about these pyjamas which I picked up from the huge Primark in Fosse Park (Leicester) and it is quite possibly my favourite store to visit. I believe they were only £8 and the colours are gorgeous, girly and geeky and I flippin love them. I also managed to find the matching pyjama top from the Leicester city centre store and I absolutely love the colours. Pokemon Trainer all the way!

LEGO Dimensions - PS4
Something about me which I haven't really disclosed on my blog is my love for games and I haven't got fully immersed in a game for so long. We bought ourselves a Playstation 4 after much debate as to whether it would ruin our social interaction or not and it's been one of the best buys this year so far. Playing games with someone else is so much fun and if you've not tried LEGO Dimensions, I highly recommend it. You can collect so many different characters, great merchandising by the way LEGO, and we've just got our hands on the Harry Potter set which includes Harry, the flying car, Hogwarts Express and of course Voldemort. There is something about trashing stuff and collecting coins in return that I find really therapeutic...not entirely sure what that says about me but it's such great fun exploring the different worlds and having a laugh with James along the way.

Baking is something I haven't found any time for over the past few months. I used to bake a lot but these days I find it difficult to muster up the energy or motivation. Since it's Easter though, I have found myself getting sucked in by all the cute little Easter chicks, new chocolatey treats that all the confectioners seem to be bringing out and thought I'd get creative. When it comes to cakes like Rocky Road, Tiffin and classic Crispy Cakes, the no bake part excites me a lot and they don't take up much time at all. This Rocky Road is something I threw together in half an hour and it's literally smashed up Rich Tea biscuits, Glacé Cherries, melted dark and milk chocolate, golden syrup and a lob of butter topped with halved mini Creme Eggs and mini Oreo Eggs, both by Cadbury's. I saw the recipe on one of those Facebook videos and tweaked it a bit, replacing marshmallows with the Oreo eggs (as marshmallows aren't vegetarian) and since I couldn't find my scales, just guessed amounts and they turned out beautifully. They went down so well with my family and I even made a second batch for James' birthday because he doesn't enjoy birthday cake! 

The Chainsmokers 
I don't believe I've ever added music or bands to my monthly favourites before and it's also not everyday a song catches my full attention on the radio. Listening to new music, especially in this day and age can be painful if anything. A lot of it all sounds the same and I don't ever feel like I discover something new that I enjoy. Then I heard 'Something Just Like This' and immediately recognised Chris Martins voice, YouTubed Coldplay and found out who the actual song was by. I must have been living under a rock because this band have so many hits and their lyrics really hit home. I've been exploring The Chainsmokers ever since and they're not my usual taste but they definitely have something that I feel really attracted to.

Lush Leicester
Earlier this month, I got invited to Lush's Easter Launch at the Leicester store and once again had such a brilliant time meeting new people, seeing the Lush staff, enjoying learning all about the new Easter products and just being a part of an awesome atmosphere. If you ever get the chance to go to a Lush event, you absolutely must go because it's such a unique experience and so much more personal. 

So there were a few different things I explored throughout March and it was a great month overall. James and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and I enjoyed a well deserved week off work to spend some quality time on my blog, YouTube channel and Etsy shop. 

Thanks for reading!

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