30 June 2015

Keeping it Cool | Staple Holiday Outfit

When I headed to Tenerife at the beginning of June and hit the 28 degree temperature I needed a simple outfit to keep my cool on the longest day out of the week. Also, the third picture is what happens when you ask your boyfriend to take an outfit picture not including your socks (and when he thinks he's funny!). Anyway, here are the details:

Top: T K Maxx
Shorts: Asos - on sale here!
Jacket: H&M

What's your holiday staple outfit?

28 June 2015

Life is All About Balance | Turning 21

A few weeks ago I hit the big 21, and had to make up my mind about how to celebrate it on a fairly strict budget as I was heading to Tenerife the following day! I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by my nearest and dearest, and headed for a cheeky breakfast juice at my new favourite eatery in Leamington, Pure and Raw.

We headed for a day trip into Birmingham with my boyfriend where I ate some gourgeous sweet and sour chicken with coconut rice (my favourite oriental dish!) and picked up the final bits and bobs I needed for holiday.

This year has been pretty tough emotionally, and I'm so glad I've managed to get to a state of wellness both physically and psychically by ensuring that I maintain balance in my diet, exercise and routine. Here's to another, even better year!

How did you celebrate your birthday this year?

26 June 2015

My Essentials | Hand Luggage for Flights

I'm not going to lie to you, I am a NIGHTMARE with packing. Not only do I always massively over pack (hello 3 outfits per each day of holiday), but I always always forget something. Although it looks like I massively under-packed my new favourite bag, keeping my essentials to a minimum meant that there was room for me to stuff a jumper in, which proved pretty useful when travelling between the UK climate and that of Tenerife! So, I thought I'd do a little list of what I take on flights in my hand luggage to help those of you who, like me, need to read through something like this in order to remember everything. Here goes:

Your passport
 Pretty obvious yes, but there will always be that person who packs it in their main case and only remembers and check in and then has to trawl through the case to retrieve it. And yes, I'm pretty sure I've been there.

My kindle is pretty much glued to me at all times, and I find it vital for waiting on airports and going on flights. Not only can I read on it, but also jot down important information and even draft a blog post or two! On my recent trip to Tenerife, me and my boyfriend also grabbed a pack of cards to bring for the flight - small enough to slip into your bag, but they can ease the boredom of a long flight a fair amount.

Your purse/wallet
Again, pretty obvious. I like to carry a little bit of cash in both the currency of my home country and where I'm travelling to.

Body care
This holiday I chose to take my peach body mist, which unfortunately The Body Shop seem to have stopped doing (bring it back!), and Vitamin E lip balm, as well as some hand cream from LUSH and hand gel. These were gentle enough for use before and after the flight, and massaging my hands with cream - something I rarely have time for - was a great way to occupy a few minutes of the flight.

What are your hand luggage essentials?

24 June 2015

Fabletics: A Con? | Favourite Gym Wear

When my order from Fabletics first arrived, I wondered why I hadn't heard any other bloggers raving about it - decent gym outfits for £26 don't come easily! It was only when I started to notice that £44 was being taken out of my account near the beginning of each month that I started to get concerned. Quickly doing a google search for "is fabletics a scam?" came up with a truck load of hits, and I instantly thought "well, shit". After doing a bit of research, and having a lengthy conversation with one of the customer service team on the telephone, I came away with the result that no, Fabletics isn't exactly a scam, but you ought to be wary. When you sign up initially to get your cheap gym gear, and agree to be a VIP member, you are actually agreeing to pay £44 a month to get given one "credit" for an outfit. The company gives you up until the 5th of every month to skip that month if you don't wish to purchase anything that month. However, if you simply want to cancel the membership entirely, there is a phone number to do so posted at the bottom of the website.

So, on to the clothes. I'm not going to lie, when these arrived in the post I fell in love. I've never owned a sports bra before, which is pretty shameful in itself, but this one was so comfortable and stylish I now hate the days when I go to the gym and it's still in the wash (damn my student house for not having a tumble dryer!). This and the leggings are made out of similar material. Both are elasticated, yet firm, meaning that they don't go out of shape too easily, but give room for you to make those gainz, or y'know, put on a few pounds during exam season like I did. The top itself I also loved, as it was so light and airy it meant that I didn't overheat quite as much as usual.

All in all, I loved the quality and appearance of the items, especially as you got to choose which colour and pattern you wanted them made of! Although I was greatly perturbed at the fact that Fabletics didn't make it entirely clear that you were going to receive monthly charges, I now have two credits to spend despite cancelling my membership. I would recommend using this company, but just make sure you have your facts straight: get good quality gear and if and when you want to cancel your membership or skip a month make sure you do so.

What have your experiences been with this company?

Love and Light

18 June 2015

Get the Glow | The Body Shop's Vitamin C Microdermabrasion

The Body Shop is always pretty high on my list of favourite brands, and when my sister slipped this sample into my Easter pressies bundle I knew I was in for a treat. The Body Shop's new Vitamin C collection is all about boosting your skin's radiance, and the Vitamin C Microdermabrasion is no different, claiming to:  
remove dead skin cells
leave skin feeling soft and smooth
give skin a brighter look
improve skin texture and tone

As you can see from the difference between my before and after pictures, one use did make my skin seem a lot brighter. It's the first product in a while that I've felt making my pores seem that bit less visible. Plus, due to the tiny granules in it, it really exfoliates your skin and leaves it feeling super soft. My least favourite aspect? The scent. I'm not the greatest lover of citrus fragrances and this range from the body shop has an albeit subtle orange one.

Have you tried any of the range? 

Love and Light

16 June 2015

5 Must-Dos | Holidaying in Los Cristianos, Tenerife

Last week I had the opportunity to go on the holiday of a lifetime, and me and my boyfriend headed to Los Cristianos for our second ever holiday together (n'awww). So, I thought I'd prepare a quick low down on what I think were must-dos for anyone heading to southern coastal Tenerife.

Heralded as one of the best water parks in the world, this is definitely a necessity for anyone heading to the area. Although the tickets aren't exactly cheap, the free bus you can get from a variety of places in South Tenerife means that there aren't too many additional costs.

This was perhaps my favourite thing I did all week. I mean, I got to touch a lemur, and what's better than that?! This is a fairly small place, so takes about half a day to do, leaving you with the rest of the day to catch some rays by the beach or at the pool.

3.) Beach day!
Despite both of us being pasty white folk and having to slap on the factor 50 (damn you Irish heritage!), a beach day is a must for keeping on top of a holiday budget. A pair of sun beds and a parasol cost between 9 and 12 euros for the day, and it gives you the chance to get all that Vitamin D. Personally, I like taking my kindle down to the beach with me to really lose myself in a story and completely relax.

4.) Try some tapas
Trying different / new food is one of my favourite things to do on holiday, and tapas is high on my list of favourite styles. As a truly indecisive person I love the choice it gives you, meaning you can try new things without spending a lot of money on a dish you might not even like!

This is pretty much a jungle zoo in south Tenerife. I loved the atmosphere there - it was pretty much a maze and there were endless amounts of rope bridges and different routes for you to take around the park to make the day more interesting. I would definitely recommend this as a place to take kids - as I was wandering around I could see that child Steph would have loved trekking around this place seeking adventure!

Have you been to Tenerife? What would you recommend?

Steph x

13 June 2015

End of Exams Celebrations | Fine Wining and Dining at The White Horse

Over the past almost year (eeek!) that I've had this blog you've been following my ups and downs through the stress that was the final year of my degree. Now, however, I'm free forever from academia, and to celebrate finishing my final exam I headed to a beautiful local pub in Leamington Spa called The White Horse. If any of you watch Russell Howard's comedy - which I LOVE - you might know that this is his favourite pub to visit in Leamington, his hometown. So, you know, as well as great food and reasonably priced drinks, you might be in with the chance of bumping into someone famous.

As I was celebrating my post-exams happiness, I splashed out a bit in terms of both alcohol and deviating from clean eating. I tend to follow an 8020 lifestyle, although during the stress of finals the clean 80 and 'dirty' 20 may have reversed, whoops. So, I ended up with the blackcurrant curd eton mess and battered hake, both of which tasted as amazing as they looked! 

If you're ever in the area I would greatly recommend popping in. Plus, if you're in the mood for a quick drink, then their elderflower fizz (prosecco + elderflower cordial) is the tastiest little glass of something sweet I've had in ages!

What's your favourite pub destination this summer?

Steph x

7 June 2015

My Experience | Raw Till 4 Week One

So much food inspo right? I've you've been keeping up with my instagram (@steph_nourishmindandbody) over the past few weeks, you will have noticed that I attempted and succeeded in doing raw till 4 for a fortnight. If you haven't heard of raw till 4, it's a lifestyle by which you only eat raw vegan foods until 4pm, usually in the form of mono meals (i.e. six mangoes, an entire melon, 8 peaches, etc.). Then in the evening you carb up and continue to avoid processed foods. Again, mono meals can be used here. The most popular dinner mono meal is a massive bowl of potatoes - and believe me, after a day of only eating raw fruits and vegetables, this is definitely an appealing choice!

The first few days for me were the best, and I think I might do it for three days once a month from now on to reset my system. I started raw till 4 a week before my first final exam, and it completely cleared the general sleepy fuzziness in my head up. I felt completely energised and as if I could take on the world.

However, since trying raw till 4, I've realised it is not the best idea for me. By time 4pm rolled around I had spent so long fantasising about cooked food all day that I ended up craving takeaways and ready meals - not something I want to eat on a regular basis. Plus, after a few days I felt as though I was really lacking in energy by time it got to about half four, and felt too lethargic to cook anything decent for myself. SO, I've taken on board what I've learnt and switched things around a little in an attempt to detox: I make a massive smoothie in the morning, and save half for dinner. I have my main meal at lunch time, which keeps me energised all afternoon!

Have you tried raw till 4? What did you think?

Love and Light