10 December 2017

Giving back during the festive season

Giving back during the festive season
Christmas is a time for giving. Whether this comes from a religious viewpoint, a traditional one, a moral one or just a gut instinct, we all know that Christmas is about sharing and loving and being kind. Today I'm chatting about ways to give back this year, and I hope it inspires you to do a little something too, and spread joy to those around you.

9 December 2017

Affordable independent stores to shop at this Christmas

Affordable independent stores to shop at this Christmas

Affordable independent stores to shop at this Christmas

Affordable independent stores to shop at this Christmas

Affordable independent stores to shop at this Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time (IMO), and it's the perfect season to think about your actions a little bit more carefully. So many people do so much more giving at Christmas and I honestly love seeing it and doing it. One of the ways that I love giving back is to shop small. 

7 December 2017

Hosting Christmas for the first time - what do I need?

Hosting Christmas for the first time - what do I need?

Hosting Christmas is hella stressful, there's no way around it. But, when I did it for the first time last year I absolutely ADORED IT. Just some background info on this - I'm big into Christmas, so begrudging any level of effort involved really isn't my thang. 

6 December 2017

November favourites and life update

November favourites and life update

November favourites and life update

November favourites and life update

November favourites and life update
November absolutely whizzed by didn't it?! I've been putting of writing this for a few days because the start of December has been a little tough on my mental health. BUT, I'm feeling a lot more 'me' today and ready to actually get stuff done, ya know?

So, November, you treated me pretty well. I saw my favourite musician (a guy called Ron Pope just FYI) in the whole world play in a tiny gig in Manchester. There were probably only 100 people at the gig, so we were really up close and he was just as incredible live as he is on record. The dream. I also passed my three month review at my new(ish) job, and I feel so happy and relieved. 

Now on to the favourites. This month is a little short on them because I've not been trying out *too* much new stuff as Christmas approaches. 

First up is my only beauty piece, and it's the 'Crisp Morning Air' foaming hand wash from Bath and Body Works. This is pretty much the nicest thing I've ever smelt. According to the label, it smells of pine, juniper and pear. But for someone who hates the fake smell of pine - it just reminds me of public toilets ya know? - this must have a lot of the latter two in to overpower it. It also contains honey, so it's been super nourishing for my eczema-prone hands. 

I've been trying to improve my home with a few little touches over the past couple of months. I really started to think that everything was a little too bare, so naturally my first stop was B&M because my GOD there are some absolute homeware bargains in there. Our squirrel doorstop (similar here) has been perfect for Autumn decor and it has made my life ten times easier when I'm trying to wrestle my way past our bedroom door that naturally swings shut. I also picked up some extra candles, which I've chatted about in a lot of detail here because they are the perfect Bath and Body Works candle dupes. The spiced pomegranate cider one is such a perfect blend of winter spice scents and I've been burning it on my desk pretty much daily all month. 

My last product favourite is one that makes me feel hella elderly but it's genuinely fab. I picked up a lavender and white tea Pecksniff's linen spray from HomeSense (making it a genuine bargain at £3.99) at the end of October and it has revolutionised my life. You spray it on your bedding and towels after washing them before putting them away and it stops them from getting that musty airing cupboard or linen drawer odour. Lavender makes me feel super relaxed, so spraying this on my bedding is a really nice touch for when I put on fresh sheets, mmmm.

Finally, let's chat books and TV to round things off. I re-read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in November and it was just as good as I remembered it. There were so many little things that I'd missed when reading it as a kid and oh my god the ending made me sadder than it ever has done before. I've also been watching a buttload of 'Suits' this month. It's sassy and funny and I've had so many 'he/she did NOT just do that' moments. I love it.

I've also filmed my November favourites over on my Youtube channel if you fancy a peek:



What were your November favourites?

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3 December 2017

3 bloggers whose content I've been loving this month

3 bloggers whose content I've been loving this month
I'm all about spreading the love, and that just gets even more intense in December. So lets kick start the (almost) beginning of the month with sharing the blog love. This month, all three ladies on my radar are women I haven't been following for very long, but who I keep going back to so that I can catch up on all their fab posts. 

1 December 2017

How to help a friend with an eating disorder *TW*

How to help a friend with an eating disorder

I've spent a long time deciding whether 'how to' really fits this post, because it's not some kind of guide or manual or step-by-step instruction. I considered 'ways to' or 'helping', but none of them really fit the idea I had in mind. Now that ramble is over, I'm going to say that obviously I'm not a medical professional, so take everything in this post with a pinch of salt and all that jazz.

29 November 2017

Weekly pamper routine for Winter months

Weekly pamper routine for Winter months

Weekly pamper routine for Winter months

Weekly pamper routine for Winter months

Weekly pamper routine for Winter months

Winter pretty much sucks for our skin. From wind chapping, to endless dry patches re-surfacing, our skin really battles through the next few months. So, I'm going to be upping my pamper routine to help out both with this and with the fact that winter months are a little tougher mental health-wise. It's such a key part of self-care for me; taking care of my body reminds me that I'm worth spending time on, and gives me some much-needed confidence boosts.

26 November 2017

Dealing with *that* Sunday night feeling

Dealing with *that* Sunday night feeling

We've all felt this at some point haven't we? The utter dread in the pit of your stomach when you realise that the weekend is coming to a close and Monday is starting again. It's horrible, and it always seems especially tricky at this time of year. The evening seems to absolutely whizz by when it starts to get dark at 4pm and it just leaves the day feeling so damn short.

25 November 2017

How to get experience within the publishing industry

How to get experience within the publishing industry

The publishing industry is a tough one to crack (though what industry isn't when you're a millenial ... I mean?!?!). When I first told everyone about wanting to get into publishing, so many people told me to give up the dream, because it wasn't going to happen. But guess what, I worked my butt off for years and I finally got my dream job.

Getting experience is so hard, so I thought I'd chat about all the things that both myself and friends working their way into the industry have done to give us a little boost to finally secure that full time graduate work. 

One thing that I really wish I'd done earlier is work out exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go into publishing for ages, but I didn't realise what a wide variety of jobs there are in the industry: from editing, to marketing, to illustrating, there's so much to choose from. I've always been more intrigued by the editorial side of things, and that's what I've pursued. But, what I also didn't realise is that it really matters what you get your experience in. If all of your experience is with adult non-fiction publishing, for example, it's very hard to transfer into kids' fiction. This is where things get really tough. I always thought as long as I got editorial experience, that I'd be sorted, but it's not the case. All of my experience is in academic publishing, so that's where I've ended up, and I'm loving it now I'm here, but for a while I was so distraught that I didn't end up in any kind of fiction publishing.

So, let's actually get onto what you're all here for. Experience. It's there, and it's possible, but it can be hard, especially when nepotism doesn't work in your favour (I mean, c'mon, why couldn't I have had a cousin in Penguin??). First up, join the SYP. They advertise a whole load of jobs going in the industry and hold regular conferences to talk about getting into publishing and changes that are going on at the moment. You have to buy a membership, but it's worth it in my opinion to see all the jobs in one place, and be able to gain some important contacts. 

Next up, start hunting. I started searching at my uni itself. Get involved with a school newspaper: there's marketing, different editorial sectors to get into, sub editing, and photography too. It's a good way to show that you really want to get into publishing, it's not *too* time consuming, and you can try out a few different things to see what you really enjoy. I wrote for mine too to start building up a writing portfolio, which can help show that you're capable if you want to get into the editorial side of things.

Look at university societies, get on board with their marketing/editorial needs and get some experience that way. There are also usually a few job fairs a year. Go to these, chat to any publishers present in person, and get an idea of what they want from applicants.

Next up: search local. Look at local publishers/newspapers in your home and/or university town. Enquire about any internship or shadowing positions. They're likely to be unpaid, but if you do this early on, whilst you're still at uni, it's a good chance to spend a few weeks getting involved in the industry. I hate the idea of unpaid internships or summer positions as much as anybody, but sometimes it's what you've got to do to get your foot in the door.

Then: go global. Hear me out on this. Get freelancing. Search on twitter for jobs you can do at home, or in your local area. I found the job that the majority of my experience came from on Twitter, and I honestly would not be where I am without it. There are so many fab accounts that post/retweet jobs and publishing events going on. A few of my faves have to be: @jobsinbooks,  @pubjobsuk and @publishingjobs. There are so many accounts out there, and some of the bigger publishing houses like Penguin and Hachette have whole accounts dedicated to their careers sector. There are a whole other ways to find freelance publishing jobs, but Twitter is definitely a good start.

Finally, talk to careers advisors at your uni, or head to a recruitment branch. Talk about what you want to do and find out what you need, or what you can do to get there. With a good amount of experience behind you, it can and will happen, but it takes a while. I feel like I totally lucked out on some of my experience, but I really did work hard at securing it, and I hope chatting about some of the ways I did is helpful.

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24 November 2017

3 products to help treat scarring *TW: self harm*

Products to help treat scarring *TW: self harm*

Products to help treat scarring *TW: self harm*

Scars are a weird one aren't they? No matter how you got it, it tells some kind of story, even if it's just a simple one. Some scars bother me and some scars don't, and I think that's the way it's always going to be. 

21 November 2017

What is it really like to work in a Wetherspoons?

What is it really like to work in a Wetherspoons?

What is it really like to work in a Wetherspoons?

What is it really like to work in a Wetherspoons?

I'm gonna kick start this by saying that I genuinely loved the time I spent working in a Wetherspoons. Everything is going to be a lil bit tongue-in-cheek in this post, and there's no malice intended behind my words. Also, it's not a weird Kopparberg spon, I just figured this post would be a fab excuse to buy one of my favourite ciders 'for the blog', ya know?

So, working at Wetherspoons was my first job post-uni, aka my first job as a degree holder. I'd never worked in a pub or restaurant before and honestly thought I'd hate the whole thing. But I loved it. It was hella stressful, and filled with long hours, but it was so sociable and relatively responsibility-free that I found it a (mostly) enjoyable experience.

Let's get to the nitty gritty of it. It's not as easy as it looks. They don't just let you loose serving alcohol all day when you start; you have to go for an all day training course before you do anything, and continue to do online training whilst you work there. Compared to a whole lot of other pubs you could work in, Wetherspoons are surprisingly strict. Just putting it out there, but a Spoonie knows what they're talking about when it comes to products. 

In case of a random inspection (which happens weekly), you have to know how to perfectly serve every single drink available, which glass it needs to go in, how much ice you need, etc etc. You even need to have things perfect down to the bottle facing the customer. It makes you disciplined and ensures that you know exactly what you're doing, so make sure you respect your server. 

Knowing what you're doing makes it even MORE frustrating when you get the customer that yells 'can you even pour a pint'. Because yes, you can. There's a whole bunch of things that can go wrong when you're pouring that are pretty uncontrollable, and sometimes a bad pint is unavoidable. But heckling isn't. Just don't do it. You're never going to get served a shoddy pint so just stahp. 

Before I worked there, I would never have thought this, but Wetherspoons pubs are hella clean in comparison to a LOT of other places. The close down routine at night is tough, takes forever, and makes you lose a bit of your soul each day. BUT, it's thorough. And this goes for the kitchens as well as bars. 

Yes, you start to question your decision to work there when you're well on your way to a twelve hour shift and you've just broken another glass because who doesn't get sloppy when you're tired? But a cheeky bit of takeout on your way home kinda solves all those problems.

I always thought that you'd face the real alcoholics as the day started to wind down, but that's definitely not the case. It's the men that come in every morning and wait at the bar until the clock ticks over to nine so that you can serve them their pint. This was the only part of the job that I really found upsetting, because drinking a pint of Rattler at 9am is not okay, and neither is insisting that your pint gets poured at 8:59 so you can hand over your money and start drinking at exactly 9. 

I learnt a whole lot whilst working there, but the scariest thing was that there's a special kind of 'sick sand' that exists in the world. It soaks up the liquid in sick, turning everything into lumpy sand so that you can sweep it up. We didn't have to use it very often, but the couple of times that we did were bad, sad days. The second worst thing I learnt was definitely that working in a pub on a hangover is never okay. Especially when someone orders a round of sambuca at 2pm and you have to pour the shots out. Not. Alright.

There's so much involved in being a Spoonie, and I honestly think everyone should have to give it a go to understand how unacceptable your behaviour can be, and why you should give someone that's clearly working hard to help you a break. From the 80 year old that asked me to wipe his bottom (of his glass) every day, to the guy that threw a pint of beer all over my manager at midday, there's always a strange one in the crowd, but there are some absolute gems of regular customers, that I really was sad to leave.

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19 November 2017

Dealing with weight gain part nine: getting a desk job

Dealing with weight gain part nine: getting a desk job

Dealing with weight gain part nine: getting a desk job
In all honesty, when I initially decided I'd write this a few months back, I hoped that I'd be writing all about how good things have been for my weight gain, and how I felt a lot better about myself. But things have taken a different turn to my idealised version of events, and today I'm talking about the reality of things.

18 November 2017

How do I know what the right university subject for me is?

How do I know what the right university subject for me is?
Sometimes it feels like forever since I left uni, and sometimes it feels like just last week that I was moving into halls for the first time. University is such a massive change in your life, and it's terrifying to make all the decisions you need to: where to go, what to do, how to do it. 

17 November 2017

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

NEW LUSH Naked Winter skincare products*

Winter really feels as though it's here now. It's less than 5 weeks until Christmas (and guess who hasn't really started their Christmas shopping? *raises hand*), morning frosts are becoming more regular and holy poop on a scoop I am living for steamy showers and hot baths. 

15 November 2017

5 ways to make some extra money at University

5 ways to make some extra money at University

Uni is tough, and being super low on income makes it that bit harder. Yes, there are some students that have a good deal of money, and I had friends at uni that had more spare income then than I do now #notbitter. But, for most, things can get a little dire, especially towards the end of term. Here's a few things that I tried out that *might* help to make things easier, especially with Christmas on its way:

1.) Become a student ambassador. If your uni offers this, it's such a fab thing to get into. It looks good on your CV for post-uni if you didn't really join any societies, it pays, and the hours are short and relatively easy. You get to sign up to shifts that suit your skills, so you avoid the 'normal' job issue of having to work whilst you've got massive deadlines looming. I LOVED my time as a student ambassador: I met some fab people and I got to chat to new students about all the things they were nervous/excited for about coming to a new place to live.

2.) Help out with research. This is a bit of a niche one, but it's so easy to get into. You sign up to your university system for research students to get participants in their studies, and then can choose studies to attend. The pay on this really varies, but you can earn a nice bit of money. Plus, it's always nice to help someone else out.

3.) Become a tutor. This is another thing that feels nice to give back on. I *think* I worked through My Tutor. There are a few sites that make it easy to find tutor work through, and your university careers advisors should be able to let you know which is best for you. I chose the subjects and age ranges I wanted to teach, and you can set a fee according to your skill set. You can also set aside times for tutoring that are convenient to you. 

4.) Do some online surveys. It's pretty hard to earn good money on this, but if you really get into it, and spend a decent amount of time doing it, then it's definitely possible.

5.) Get a part time job. Yes, this is the most obvious one on the list, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Try for a job on campus if you don't want to stray too far away from where you're studying. 

I hope this was helpful! These are some of the things I did whilst I was studying to get a little extra income in and thankfully they worked.

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12 November 2017

Winter Lounge Wear Wishlist 2017

Winter Lounge Wear Wishlist 2017

Winter Lounge Wear Wishlist 2017

Winter Lounge Wear Wishlist 2017

Winter Lounge Wear Wishlist 2017

I've done one of these posts every year for the last two years, and really wanted to bring it back this time too. I love loungewear. It makes up a concerning percentage of the clothing that I actually wear, and this just gets more intense as Winter hits. I love being cosy and snuggly and scouring ASOS for all the novelty Christmas clothing they have, so this post is basically what I live for. 

11 November 2017

My idea of the perfect cosy night in (AD)

The perfect cosy night in (AD)
I'm sure it'll come as no shock to hear that I'm 100% more of a 'staying in in my joggers with a takeout' than a 'dancing the night away' kinda girl. I still like the latter on occasion, but if I had a choice? I'd almost always go with snuggling up indoors

10 November 2017

Exploring my creativity with 'The Line'*

Exploring my creativity with 'The Line'*


Exploring my creativity with 'The Line'*

Exploring my creativity with 'The Line'*

Exploring my creativity with 'The Line'*

If there was one thing I would love to be, it's more artistically creative. I love creating things with my words, but ask me to do it with images and I suck. This isn't a fishing for compliments post, just FYI, it's more of a 'let's get the facts straight first' kinda post. 

I really feel as though exploring my creativity in a whole range of mediums could really help me overall. I always feel hella inspired after doing some mindfulness colouring, or taking some blog photos that I'm really into, but I need that extra nudge in the right direction.

In the past, I've dabbled in a 'Wreck This Journal', which I found fab because it prompted you. It gave you an idea that you could run with. I mostly went with a slow wander, but I could imagine some super artsy people making incredible things on each page.

So, when Penguin asked if I wanted to try 'The Line'* I practically screamed because 1.) Omg Penguin got in touch because of my weeny little blog?! and 2.) 'The Line' sounded incredible. It's made by the same woman who made the 'Wreck This Journal', but with this one you need way fewer supplies. A pencil should get you through. As I don't own too many any art supplies, I had found that I was a little limited in what I could do with my 'Wreck This Journal', so this was a welcome change.

I have to say, I'm hooked. I do a page a day when I get home from work to help me wind down. It gives me a chance to focus on something small and move away from the stress of the day. Each page seems to get more and more intense (I'm almost a quarter of the way through now), and I love how it forces you to engage with the book and with the line you're creating. 

I keep pushing myself to think outside the box when it comes to this daily routine, and not make the simplest line drawing I can. I honestly think this is improving my creativity in so many other ways. I'm starting to explore new ways to take blog photos, and how to delve into my writing. I can't wait to see what else the book has in store for me on future pages!

*An item in this post was given to me for the purpose of a review, but all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own*

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8 November 2017

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

October favourites and life update

November's finally here: the evenings are getting darker, the air is getting nippier and the 'C' word is starting to crop up more and more often. 

October was quite an exciting month for me. Me and my boyfriend celebrated our five year anniversary (HOW has it been half a decade?!) by heading to the new Wagamamas in our town for a date night. I've never been to Wagas before but now I've fully got the bug and want to go there all the damn time.