I figured I'd round off the year with a selection of my favourite pictures from this years' posts. I've loved my year of blogging, and it's brought me so many opportunities, which is why I'm looking forward to it simply getting bigger and better in 2016. I'm sure all us bloggers around about now are thinking about what we hope will happen for us and our blogs in the coming year, so I thought I'd start a discussion with you all about our dreams.
What do I want? Well, my main goal for this year is to effectively monetize my blog (in boring terms), aka I'd love to be able to go part time, with my blog making up the rest of my monthly paycheck. This would mean I could put more time into blog, pay more attention to my fitness, and spend more time with the little fluffs - Ted the bunny and Hammy & Jeff the dwarf hamsters. Plus, I could take even prettier photos to share with you all in my posts (hello extra daylight hours!)
I would love to work with more brands in the coming year, especially beauty ones. Nourish ME is all about caring for yourself and I really love letting people know about new products that will help you nourish yourself, whether it be mentally or physically.
Finally, at the moment instagram is my most successful social media platform. I'd love to get to 5k followers in the next year (as I'm just over 1k at the moment). My twitter would ideally hit 1000 and my bloglovin and Facebook page at least 500.
Weight gain is often a taboo subject - you can't really go up to someone and ask them how they're feeling about the fact that they've put on a few pounds. But, I want to talk about my own experience over the last few months, and how I've kept myself from falling into a pit of self hatred and despair, as I've done when I've gained a bit of weight in the past.
So, here's what happened really. After I graduated I worked in a pub over summer and joined a gym. Although I was on my feet for at least seven hours five days a week and going to the gym at least once a week I was also eating pub food every day, aka a recipe for disaster. I usually like to cook my own meals, and had been going dairy free, so this obviously had a fairly large impact upon my body (get the pun?).
In October however I got a new job, one behind a desk. At the same time my gym membership ran out and I didn't renew it. I also managed to convince myself that my five minute bike ride to and from work basically was the same as the amount of exercise I was doing at the pub, so I could afford to eat what I wanted (note to self, this is a lie!). Snacking is a major issue at work when I'm sat in front of a computer all day, and there's a vending machine upstairs, and things may have gotten a little out of hand - two chocolate bars every day is not a thing I should be partaking in.
Despite actually getting a new gym membership I was unable to use it for five weeks as our car broke down and we couldn't physically get to the gym. This was incredibly frustrating and I may or may not have used it as an excuse not to bother even exercising at home.
So where did it all come to a head? Well, my clothes stopped fitting. If you've ever tried on a dress that fit a few weeks before and the zip will no longer go all the way up, you probably know the feeling of absolute self-loathing that I did as I stood in tears glaring at the mirror. What's even worse is when clothes that you used to have for your "fat days" when you were feeling super bloated and hadn't been eating right for a couple of weeks stop fitting. I'm currently down to one pair of jeans and zero dresses, and nothing is okay about that. Things got truly awful when I was late to work because I bent down in my work trousers and they just completely split open and I had to go back to the house and get changed. Believe me, explaining to your manager that you were late because of your weight gain is not exactly confidence boosting.
However, I have managed not to let it get me down completely, and here's why:
- I've remembered that perhaps over eating isn't the worst habit I could have fallen into considering how hard a year I've had. Despite the weight gain getting me down I know that it's temporary, and I want to lose it in a healthy rather than drastic way as I've done in the past.
- Buy new clothes. Don't pine after the old ones too much! In the end, trying to squeeze into jeans that simply don't do up at the top, or tops that show off all your lumps and bumps is going to make you unhappy everyday. On the other hand, having a few new pretty clothes is going to boost your confidence when it's at its lowest.
- I've made sure that I don't completely forget to eat healthy foods. I believe that what you eat has a massive effect on your mental state, which is partly why we all find it so hard to pick ourselves out of the weight gain slump. I've started making sure that I have hot honey and lemon water to start my day off right in the mornings, and remember to eat plenty of fruit and at least two vegetables per day. I've only started doing this in the past couple of weeks and the effects on how I felt about myself were astonishing.
- Make an action plan. As soon as I head back up to my house in Leamington after the Christmas period I'm going to start going to the gym again as the car is (finally) fixed, wahoo! Me and my boyfriend are lucky enough to be heading skiing at the beginning of January so I'll be getting a rapid introduction to the notion of exercising every day (Lord, help me!). I'm hoping that after this I'm going to head to the gym twice a week and do a daily yoga session at home. Last year I did Yoga with Adriene's 30 days of yoga twice and the flexibility gains I made were amazing! I'm determined to nail crow by the end of this year, as well as being able to hold a non wobbly plank for a decent amount of time. Dinner, breakfast and lunch are going to be a feature of my life every day, and will enhance my strength and ability to perform longer and better workouts. I'm going to be moving away from cardio and towards weights and full body exercises in the gym
I hope you find this helpful! Do you have any 2016 fitness goals?
I'm not sure how, or why, putting pretty colours on my fingernails has such a massive effect on my self esteem, but as soon as my bare nails are no longer visible, I seem to gain an ounce or two of sass. So, I thought I'd share with you the ones I've been loving in the lead up to Christmas.
Maybelline's Dr Rescue has provided me with the perfect base and top layer. It keeps my nail paint from chipping way more than just letting it be does (I'm slightly ham-fisted so it usually disintegrates in about an hour!)
Deep reds, glitter and dark shades have been my go-to this entire season, and the Barry M Black Pistachio Gelly Hi-Shine has been top of the list. Not only is it super glossy, but it is a deliciously festive shade, and I think it would look amazing with some deep red dots on it.
The reds I've fallen in love with this season include Revlon's new Colorstay gel envy in Queen of Hearts. This was the deepest red I've used. Alongside this, my Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Paint the Town, with a hint of Daring Graffiti on top.
Finally, for all the purple fans out there, I loved Maybelline's Deep in Violet nail lacquer, especially for evening events I've been headed to!
A visit to a sparkling, heavenly scented LUSH store is a must for me in the run up to Christmas, and I got in just in the nick of time before they started selling out of my favourite bits and pieces (I mean, imagine a Christmas without Snow Fairy?!). So, I thought I'd share with you what I managed to pick up from their Christmass range, as well as grabbing a few old favourites! 'll be posting about some of the things in more detail in the near future, so keep an eye out!
Face and Hair Care
Cranberry Festive Face Mask. Me and the bestie tried this out a few weeks ago and fell a little bit in love with it, so I dedicated an entire post to its review here
Don't Look at Me Face Mask. This one is bright blue and smells really citrus-y. I've used it a couple of times so far and it makes my skin feel SO soft.
Kinky Hot Oil Treatment. I've yet to use this, but I'm saving it for a day out where I want to make my naturally wavy hair a little more curly and controlled.
H'Suan Wen Sua Treatment. This was a re-buy of possibly my favourite LUSH product EVER (a title which is very hard to come buy considering a few of my all-time favourite beauty products come from here). I usually leave this hair mask in overnight to allow it to fully soak in, and it makes my hair ever so soft, glossy and manageable. It even help keep my locks relatively split-end free after six months of growing it to almost waist-length without cutting it. If I could only buy one hair treatment in the world it would definitely be this one.
Karma Komba Shampoo. This smells amazing and makes my hair feel super fresh.
Bath Time Fun
Frozen Bath Bomb. This made my bath smell deliciously citrus-y and turned it a deep deep blue. Part of me felt like I was bathing in the Blue Lagoon and it was super relaxing.
Snow Angel Bath Melt. This one is Christmas in a product. Not only is it smothered in glitter (which seems to shed EVERYWHERE whenever I pick it up), but it also smells like marzipan.
Milky Bath Bubble Bar. This Christmassy product not only turns your bath milky white, but smells like oranges and contains softening shea butter. This is going to make a little gift for someone special so I haven't attempted it yet.
Peeping Santa Bubble Bar. This little one has to be the cutest in the LUSH Christmas range, and I can't wait to see how he turns out when used.
Candy Mountain Bubble Bar. This pink vanilla bar is perfect for any super girly-girl and will be heading into somebody's pile of presents very soon (once I get round to all of my wrapping!)
Snow Fairy Shower Gel. LUSH's most popular Christmas goodie. This super pretty shower gel leaves you smelling like candyfloss and I've been saving my little pot for months now so that I could use it over Christmas.
Salt and Peppermint Bark Scrub. This has been one of my absolute favourites! I literally smell like a candy cane when I step out of the shower and I find the scrub stimulating but not scratchy.
Golden Handshake Hot Hand Mask. I had a mini pamper session last night with this one and it totally worked some miracles. Ever since I worked at a pub over summer I've been suffering from very localised dry patches on a couple of fingers, which can get very sore and itchy (to the extent that they've even bled!). After using this I could no longer feel the patches, so let's hope this stays this way for at least a few more days!
Old Father Time Soap. This has been keeping my hands smelling fresh and feeling soft for the past few weeks. I only wish it was a little prettier than plain old brown after you've used it a few times!
Santa Baby Lip Tint. This I was a little disappointed in. it may have been pot luck, but mine was very dry and as I have dry lips naturally I found it very hard to apply without soaking all of the moisture out!
What beauty goodies have you picked up last minute?
The past year has been a little turmoil-filled for me to say the least. From graduating uni and becoming a graduate in a menial bar job (oh the joys of Wetherspoons), to the separation of my parents, as well as everything in between, my emotions have been put to the test. So, putting on quite a number of pounds this season has been a bit of the straw that has broken this camel's back, so to speak. I'm going to speak a little bit more about how I'm dealing with weight gain in a later blog post, but I wanted to share a recipe that has been making this girly's winter a little more bearable.
So, here's my blues busting minty orange juice recipe:
4 (organic) oranges
1 sprig of mint
Juice the two ingredients and add some crushed ice if you want a really refreshing beverage.
What's your favourite drink to drive away the blues (and yes, wine does count!)
I'm pretty much the Queen of the sweet tooth (and my dentist sadly knows this, whoops). As someone who tries to limit her dairy intake, with a partner with nut allergies, I know how frustrating it can be to make yummy food, especially when baking, that fits with your needs. But Delicious Alchemy* answered my prayers, providing me with eons of reasons to procrastibake and fill my kitchen with the scent of warm baked goods. Delicious Alchemy sell products that are not only gluten free, but also dairy AND nut free, which is something I've rarely encountered in the past. I'm forever scouring the 'free from' section in my local supermarket in a vain attempt to find something that fits into all of these categories AND doesn't look like cardboard, but honestly, I've always been out of luck in that department.
Despite considering myself a bit of a baking Queen, sometimes my produce ends up a bit ... haphazard (to say the least!). So thankfully Delicious Alchemy's baking packs are super easy to use, and you can whip up a miracle in no time. When I was a kid I used to spend ages ogling the cupcake making kits in stores, pleading for that little extra bit of sugar, and I'm so excited to see *slightly* healthier versions of all the things I wanted to give a go on the shelves!
Delicious Alchemy were kind enough to send me a whole variety of goodies to give a go, so i got cracking straight away and created havoc all over my kitchen (the mess is part of the fun, right?). The chocolate brownies* were my firm favourite of all the things I received. Although the recipe for this wasn't vegan, you can swap the eggs for flax seed eggs to make it so. I had a favourite brownie recipe that I used to make all the time a couple of years ago, which I lost one day and have spent hours scouring the internet to find ever since with no luck. These brownies taste exactly like them but without the post-dairy eating bloating! I wasn't the only one who fell in love with these either - my housemates had wolfed the whole lot down by time I came home from work that day!
Next on the favourites list was definitely the gluten free porridge*, which has become my staple on a cold morning - topped with some blueberries and honey of course! If you've read my vegan pear and raspberry oatmeal recipe, you'll know how much I've been loving porridge oats recently. They're really great for providing you with slow release energy throughout the day, plus there's just something inherently comforting about them.
I also got to give their oaty cookie mix* a whirl. These were a little too dry for my taste, but they were a lot of fun to make and the raw mixture was absolutely heavenly (I mean, I totally don't try before I bake, psssht). I found once they hardened after baking they were a little too crisp for me and became stale quite quickly. I guess that mostly means all the more reason to snap them up quick!
What are your go-to gluten free brands?
*Although this was a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
A couple of weeks ago I made my first ever Youtube video, eeeeek! This was incredibly nerve-wracking: I've never imagined myself in front of a camera, and I've got no experience in the world of video editing. However, I thought I'd share with you all my first attempt at it, and hope that we can start to connect via vlogging as well as blogging!
This is my quintessential makeup look for this season, and I always seem to end up coming back to it for informal events.
Me and the boyfriend were lucky enough to celebrate our third year together at the Hunstanton seal sanctuary last month visiting rescued seal pups. This sanctuary takes in both adult seals and seal pups from UK coasts which have been wounded in some way or another, either by other creatures, or unfortunately by physical or environmental human impact.
So, we did something to help them out, and adopted one of the rescued seal pups, a little lady called Feast. When Feast was first brought in she was seriously underweight, and needed a lot of TLC, and that's exactly what she's getting from the guys in Hunstanton. We had such a great day seeing Feast happily playing with the other seal pups, and I was overjoyed to realise that as part of our adoption of Feast we would get to return to see him released back into the wild, to make new friends and finally be back where he ought to be.
The best part of this day was realising that we could do something positive with our love, and improve another life. So, this Christmas I've decided to engage with charity, giving away 1/3 of my clothes and books, rather than selling them as originally planned. What are you guys doing this Christmas to help others?
Most of us know that honey has been used for eons as an antibacterial agent and ingredient in cooking, yet we often overlook its potential to aid our health. And so, we either neglect to use it or use cheap pasteurised honey, which unfortunately has had many of its positive active agents killed off by the process of pasteurization.
So, I teamed up with Hilltop Honey to give you guys some ideas about what you can use your raw organic honey to create. So, here are my favourite honey filled snacks:
- Honey and banana topped rice cakes
- Honey topped smoothies
- Homemade jam, sweetened with honey
- Blueberry and honey topped porridge
Now, I was fortunate enough to try out Hilltop Honey's lime wildflower honey, which had such a deliciously unique flavour that I loved using it in all of my recipes.
Hilltop Honey actually offers another lovely service, in that you can adopt a bee for simply £10. you get to name the bee, receive a certificate and get updates on the progress of Hilltop Honey's bees for a year. I naturally had to name mine Barry after the hero of the Bee Movie (something that always tugs on my heart strings).
Anyway, back to why I always love having honey in the house: hair masks. I have fairly long and very thick hair that can be quite unruly, so I try to treat it in some way on a weekly basis. One of my favourite deep treatments is to make a hair mask with honey, olive oil and egg. This softens your hair, moisturises it, encourages root growth and gives it a lovely shine. I try to avoid smothering my hair in chemicals as much as possible, so i find this a great natural alternative to a mask from a sachet or bottle.