27 June 2017

Live Love Dream: my 2017 summer scent

Live Love Dream: my 2017 summer scent

Live Love Dream: my 2017 summer scent

Do you ever come across a scent that you just click with? One that you realise is the scent you've been lusting after but haven't found yet? 

I've always thought that I'm 'not a perfume kinda gal'. I never went through the phase of buying celebrity endorsed perfumes as a teen, and I've *shock horror* never owned anything made  by Marc Jacobs. But, I've actually amassed quite a nice little collection of budget scents and body mists that make me feel a whole lot more feminine than I do without them.

A few months ago I had my first dreamy 'must-buy' situation with a perfume. The design was beautiful, the scent was sweet and refreshing, and I had to have it. The packaging reminds me of the minimalist packing of Jo Malone, but at a much much more achievable price for me. In case you haven't guessed, the scent is 'Live Love Dream', and it's made by Aeropostale.

It smells fruity and sweet without being childish, and honestly gives of a waft akin to the one you smell when stepping into a Hollister. After the heat wave last week, I'm even more keen to use fresh scents that keep me feeling like my presence doesn't come with the nasty tangy odour of sweat, and this has been perfect. 

This is definitely my go-to scent for the summer, and it'll be the one that gets popped into my bag when I have a long day ahead. What's your favourite scent at the moment?

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23 June 2017

Key Google Analytics terms explained

Key Google Analytics terms explained

Key Google Analytics terms explained

Google analytics is a pretty scary place. I avoided it for my first year and a bit of blogging because hell no was I trying to work that out. Anyway, a few very helps pins later (seriously, where would we be without Pinterest?!) and I'd pretty much worked out how to use the damn thing. It can be really hard to understand what people are talking about, or what you're seeing on the screen when it comes to GA, so here's a handy little guide of all the important terms you'll need to know. 

20 June 2017

Meet our new baby hamsters!

Meet our new baby hamsters

Is there anything cuter than a squishy little baby hamster munching on something with his little paws though? For real? 

A couple of months ago, my hamster Jeff passed away and I was gutted. I missed him so much, and I genuinely missed having a happy little creature pottering about his home in my office. So, we got two new little additions to the family. They're both very different, and I'm so excited to introduce them.

Meet Sid


Sid is the little furball pictured at the start of this post. He's a Russian Dwarf hamster just like Jeff was. These are a lot smaller than normal Syrian hamsters, and have a distinctive dorsal stripe. That's the strip of dark fur you can see along Sid's back.

I get asked this question every time somebody sees Sid, so yes, he does have red eyes; it's not a trick of the camera. 

We've had him for a month and a half now, so he's almost four months old. He's still very skittish, but is quite happy to be picked up. If you swoop down on him whilst he's in his nest he will give you a good nip. We still very much have to wait until he's ready and waiting to be bribed with a treat or two. At the moment, his favourite is a little bit of kiwi. 

He loves to burrow under the bedding in his cage, and will only pop his head up to munch on a bit of food. Once you've got hold of him, he's very easy to handle, and quite happy to be carried about and stroked. He's still not tame enough to sit still on your hand, and likes to roam, but he doesn't run for the hills! 

Meet Frank

Meet our new baby hamsters

Meet our new baby hamsters

Frank is a whole other kettle of fish. I'm totally not squeezing him in the first picture by the way, I had him in my hand (he's weeny) and he popped his little head out to see what was going on!

Frank is a Roborovski dwarf hamster. They're smaller than Russian ones - he's actually two weeks older than Sid! 

Frank is a LOT harder to handle. As in I've not yet properly held him. And he's escaped eight times. You have to be really careful with these little guys: any tiny gap in their cage, or your hand and they're gone. The first time I tried to hold him I assumed he was like a Russian hamster. He was in his plastic house, so I picked it up, put it next to my hand and expected him to slowly clamber on. Nuh uh. Instead he saw the opportunity for freedom and whizzed right over my hand, into the air and onto the floor. Oh, and yeah, they can jump really far as well. I'm not even going to explain the stress of waking up one morning to find that I'd left a door in the roof of his cage open at night ...

But he is super cute and very loveable. We've got a taming box for him, which is what he's in in the picture above, and he's gradually getting used to the idea of taking bits of food from us. Another perk is that he never bites or nips. He just scarpers instead.

So there we go, there's my two new little babies. They are so cute, and I love them already. I'm doing everything I can to keep them cool in the heat, but it's important to remember that you can't get either breeds wet. They've got a little sand bath in each cage instead! They also can't be housed together, and it's unlikely that we'll ever put them near each other; hamsters can be very defensive, and I'm pretty sure Sid would give Frank a nip or two to protect himself! 

Have you got any pets? What are they?

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19 June 2017

Does having a mental health problem mean I need to help others?

Does having a mental health problem mean I need to help others?

Does having a mental health problem mean I need to help others?

This is a conundrum that I've struggled with for years. I've gone through periods of spending all my energy trying to help others with similar issues to what I've struggled with, and then periods of avoiding the same situation with a barge pole. Ultimately, I've finally come to the realisation that either is totally okay, as long as it is what you want to do, and it doesn't impact your own mental health.

In my first year of university I was at the lowest point in my life. Add into that equation starting to drink alcohol for the first time, living with people I'd never met before, who knew nothing about my past, and having to balance academic work on top of things, and things weren't looking good. It was tough, but I had a best friend who looked after me through everything that was changing. The problem was, I wasn't looking after her too. We both suffered with incredibly similar mental health problems, but lived far away from each other; contact was almost always through social media or our phones in some way. 

My poor mental health took over, and if I'm completely honest, it made me a selfish bitch. I stopped replying to some messages from this girl who was just trying to look after me because I wanted to go out drinking, and find solace flirting on the dancefloor after a lot of drinks. If anyone knows me, they'll know that that's not really 'me'. I'm someone who's much happier curled up with a book in a snuggly nest of blankets. My mental illness had taken over, and suddenly I didn't really know who I was anymore.

One day, I was truly struggling, and she wasn't at the other end of the phone for me. It was a position I'd put her in time and time again, but she'd never done it to me. I was angry and upset and confused and took it all out on her. It was wrong, and it ultimately cost me the best friendship I've ever made, and the ensuing fights had me crying for months. For years afterwards I'd dream (as in in my sleep at night) that we'd get back in contact with each other, and things would get back to how they used to be. Obviously that never happened.

What I should have realised at the time, and what I failed to realise, is that we were both suffering, and it shouldn't have been an expectation to be hand-held every day. Our mental health problems didn't mean we were responsible for each other. And that's what I didn't get. I thought she'd let me down, but she never really did.

For eons after that, I rarely spoke up about my mental illness, and didn't, or even couldn't become close friends with someone who had suffered with similar problems as me. I was trying to recover from self-harm, and it took so much mental energy that I didn't have any leftover to spare for anyone else. Anyone who got in contact with me online was honestly left with a message saying that I couldn't help them. It was harsh, but it was true. I'd put myself first in order to recover, and I wasn't going to jeapordise that for the sake of a stranger, or even someone I knew.

What I'm trying to say here, is that if you're going through a similar period you are under no obligation whatsoever to help others. It's not your job to help people because you've suffered with the same mental illness, and it should not be expected of you. There are trained professionals that are there to help people (you can always talk to the Samaritans) and it's okay to say no. It's not something to feel guilty about, or agonise over (I know I have).

If you want to help people, or talk about your experiences then that's great as well. You should feel as though you can cover the topic, especially if you blog. It's cathartic, and can often be much more helpful for you too to let it all out.

All in all, what I'm trying to say is you do you. Having a mental illness does not mean you have to be a therapist to the internet.

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17 June 2017

10 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste

10 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste

Recycling is a topic that I genuinely feel very passionate about. I was that housemate at uni that took empty pizza boxes out of the waste bin, and recycled them, and that then passive-aggressively messaged the house group about it. Priorities and all that. It really makes me angry to see people not recycling when they could be, but what frustrates me more than anything is to see how much waste my household still produces. So, here's some of the methods that I've been using over the last few months to cut down specifically on plastic waste, and instead reuse or recycle whenever possible:

14 June 2017

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever (okay, I'm biased)

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever

The best spaghetti bolognese recipe ever

Spaghetti bolognese is one of the first dishes I ever made for myself. It kinda got me through uni, with a little help from Dolmio of course. But for years it was my backup dinner; a really simple thing that I could fling together with zero effort and I didn't really enjoy but found bearable because it was easy. 

12 June 2017

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

The Summer 2017 Box of Lame. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
There's nothing I love more than the excitement of a new Box of Lame being released by That Lame Company. I'm always on the website making sure I get my hands on it as soon as it goes on sale, and I've managed to buy every one they've brought out over the last year. Winning. 

10 June 2017

25 things I want to do before turning 25: one year on

25 things I want to do before turning 25: one year on. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

25 things I want to do before turning 25: one year on. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
Around this time last year, I wrote down 25 things I wanted to do over the coming three years, as I turned 22. I'd just moved out of my last student home, and it really felt like the beginning of adulthood. I've had some of the goals in the back of my mind over the last year; some I've been actively working towards, some have just slotted into place, and quite honestly, some are things that I'm not sure I class as any kind of priority any more. 

One year on, I've decided to look back to remind myself of all the things I've achieved, and what I want to be working towards over the next couple of years. Here's what's changed:

7 June 2017

Rimmel summer gel nail polishes*

Rimmel summer gel nail polishes*. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Rimmel summer gel nail polishes*. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Rimmel summer gel nail polishes*. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
2017 has been the year of new beauty discoveries for me. They're things everyone else has already found it seems, but that I've held back from doing for years. First I gave getting my brows threaded a go: FYI it hurts more than waxing at the time, but hurts for less time and lasts for longer. Then, I tried shellac. And I fell in love. I felt feminine and in control and confident. But my nails? They didn't enjoy it so much. After six weeks straight with shellac on (in 2 different shades), my nails were a mess. Brittle, thin, grey. Despite wanting to get shellac done again immediately, I needed to listen to my body and take a break. 

6 June 2017

May favourites + life update

May favourites + life update 2017. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

May favourites + life update 2017. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

May favourites + life update 2017. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

May favourites + life update 2017. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Goodbye May and hello June! I know this is a little late going up, but I turned 23 on Sunday and I've had a few days off to celebrate my birthday, eeek. May was a bit of a scorcher here in the UK, but the weather doesn't quite seem to have made up its mind as always. We've had some incredible hot days, and some really overcast ones, but sadly one thing has stuck around: the humidity (my poor hair). May's been a month of job hunting for me, with my first interviews in almost a year. I'm really proud of how I performed in the ones I've had so far, and I'm really hoping that I'll have secured a new position by the end of June. 

2 June 2017

7 Unmissable things to do on a holiday in Orlando, Florida

Top 7 things to do in Orlando, Florida. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 7 things to do in Orlando, Florida. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 7 things to do in Orlando, Florida. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 7 things to do in Orlando, Florida. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 7 things to do in Orlando, Florida. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
This is one of the last Florida-related posts I'm doing, I PROMISE guys. It was just such an incredible holiday filled with so many amazing adventures that I can't stop banging on about it. Anyhow, now that I've spoken about things in a little more detail in various posts, I think it's time I made a summary of the things that I think are unmissable if you travel to Orlando.

1.) The Disney parks. Duh. Orlando is Disney central, and if you avoid anything Disney, then you're doing it wrong IMO. Head to all four parks, eat all the over-priced Disney snacks (I'm a firm believer in paying that bit extra if it looks cool), spot all the hidden Mickeys around the parks, but most of all, bathe in the experience. It genuinely feels like a magical place. 

2.) Visit the Florida mall. It has a Sephora, a Taco Bell and an M & Ms world in it. Need I say more?

3.) Go on a swamp air boat tour and spy some gators. This was such a terrifying and exhilarating day. The tour was fast, fun and the sights over lake Kissimmee were incredible.

4.) Universal Studios. Ever competing with Disney (but not quite managing to equal them), Universal Studios is a little more 'adult'. It's less kitsch, has bigger rides, and lets you explore your inner sci-fi enthusiast. It's also the home of Harry Potter world, which is a reason to go in itself. 

5.) Go to Mannys. This was recommended to me time and time again because it's where all the locals go to eat. The decor is incredible, and it's the one place that I was determined to have a meal at.

6.) Have a day trip to Ellenton mall and St Pete's beach. As the Ellenton mall is a bit further out from tourist-filled Orlando, there are some real bargains on offer. I'm talking a Kate Spade outlet with deals so good I could weep. It's also on the way to St Pete's beach, which was sandy, peaceful and a great place to relax after a long day of shopping.

7.) Visit a gun range. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea: it wasn't something that I wanted to do because I thought it'd be fun. It's something I wanted to do to experience what it was like. It was terrifying and horrifying and something I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

Have you been to Orlando, or live there? What would you recommend?

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31 May 2017

High end vs high street makeup dupes look

High end vs high street makeup dupes look. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

High end vs high street makeup dupes look. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

High end vs high street makeup dupes look. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

We all love a good dupe, don't we? I recently created a look on my Youtube channel that had me using high end makeup on one side of my face, and high street products on the other. I used the same products for my base on both side (No 7 foundation, concealer, blusher and Urban Decay eye shadow), and switched up my eyeliner, mascara, brow product and lipstick. In the above picture, the left hand side of my face as you look at it is the high street version, and the right side is the high end one.

28 May 2017

New in | Lingerie that gives me my confidence back

New in | Lingerie that gives me my confidence back. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

New in | Lingerie that gives me my confidence back. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Underwear shopping can be miserable, especially when what's looking back at you in the mirror isn't what you want to see. I've been really struggling with my own body image recently, and I've actually gone back to look over all of the parts of my dealing with weight gain series to remind myself that I can handle this, and I can love myself. It's still tough

I've never been one of those girls who spends every spare penny in Ann Summers, and pops on a lacy thong every morning. I admire them, hell, I'd LOVE to be that comfortable with my own body, but it feels so much more 'me' to pop on a ratty old bra and not try. Because not trying means that I can't be disappointed when I don't feel sexy, right?

My boobs have always been something I'm proud of. They're one part of my body that I genuinely love, and the weight gain hasn't really affected them too much. But not looking in the mirror has. I'd forgotten that I do actually like some parts of my body. I know the whole 'I like my boobs' is a controversial statement because they're often the parts of your body that men comment on, but I love my boobs for me, not because other people like them. 

I don't really have a full-length mirror in my home at the moment, so when I went on holiday and was faced with one I was more than a little horrified at first. My body had expanded and I was shocked. I couldn't face it. And then after a few days, I got used to it: this is my body, and it's not going anywhere

I'm badly in need of some new underwear because of all the reasons above; what's the point in buying sexy bras or pants if you don't think you're attractive, or you hate your body? That's the mindset I had wound up in. I scoured so many shops when I was on holiday last month, and kept just finding bras that were too OTT for what I wanted, and a little out of my budget (I'm looking at you Victoria's Secret), or even just a little too plain. I wanted something that would make me feel sexy, without making me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

And then I came across these bralettes. I tried one on in the fitting rooms (which I never normally do) and I fell totally in love. It was the white one btw. It's the softest, most comfy and most delicately beautiful bra that I've ever worn. Looking in the mirror with it on made me realise that I could be sexy, that I still had it in me, despite what I'd told myself because of the weight gain. I couldn't leave without the matching lace thong

The baby pink bralette isn't quite so comfy on my back, but I love the lace detailing of the back straps. It's a little easier to wear under summer tops than the white one, although I think that the latter could be worn as a crop top for sure. 

Red is always a colour that has suited my skin tone, and symbolised sexiness in my mind. When I spotted this red bralette (similar here) in Aeropostale, I had a vision of how confident it would make me feel, knowing that this was sat under my top. It's so feminine, and so bold for me, and simply makes me feel incredible

It's been a real learning curve recently to remember to embrace my body and discover that I can still love it, but I'm so glad to have started to make my way on this journey.

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25 May 2017

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

5 must-see attractions at Universal Studios, Orlando. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Universal Studios was more epic than I could have ever imagined (or remembered from when I visited as a kid). So, today I'm sharing my 5 favourite attractions from the park that I would 100% not miss out on seeing/doing if I ever returned. It can be really difficult to prioritise your time there, so hopefully this little guide might help.

1.) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This was my favourite ride of the entire park. It was fun, scary, the special effects were incredible and the level of detail they put into the areas that you queued in made it feel quite magical. All of the Harry Potter themed parts of the park were just perfect for any Potterhead, and I've written a whole post on them here.

2.) Jurassic Park River Adventure. This was basically a log flume. But you got to see a whole lot of dinos on the way round, and it was the first log flume I've been on in YEARS. The photo they took as we sped down it was hilarious (who knew my mouth could be so large?! I joke, me and my family all knew it, although my scream was deafening). 

3.) Revenge of the Mummy. This is a must for people who love bigger rides, i.e. rollercoasters. It was by no means the biggest or scariest in the park, but it was the largest that I went on. I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of massive rides, so I can't talk from experience about most of the others. The Mummy ride takes you forwards, backwards, down some drops and even alongside fire. I screamed the entire way, and even yelled 'I DON'T LIKE THIS I WANT TO GET OFF' to my (chuckling) boyfriend, but the adrenaline rush from it was amazing.  

4.) Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was a smaller ride again, but only slightly. We went on a journey with the infamous trio through Gringotts, being chased by dragons and (just about) escaped scot-free.

5.) The Simpsons Ride. This is last, but definitely not least. I LOVE The Simpsons, and the special effects on this ride were incredible. If you're a little faint-hearted, then this may be one for you, as you don't actually move anywhere. You tilt and twist, and the park uses visual effects to make it feel like you're moving, but you're not. Plus, y'know, the Simpsons is fab, and the whole of Springfield in the park had me agape with joy. 

Have you ever been? What would you recommend?

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