Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Feed Your Inner Good @ Wagamama!

This month, two of my favourite things in life (Japanese food and talking about mental health) came together and I couldn't be happier. I visited Wagamama in Princesshay, Exeter a couple of weeks ago to talk about their current collaboration with the charity Mind - and of course a lot of delicious food was devoured in the process.

As a Psychology graduate and also now a Psychology PhD student, mental health is something I am and have always been interested in, and I'm aware that Mind are a fantastic charity that provide invaluable resources and advice to so many people across the UK. 

Wagamama are donating 25p from every one of their Positive juices that they sell up until 6th March - AND they're delicious! The juice is made up of pineapple, lime, spinach, apple and cucumber and is super refreshing. All the ingredients are great to cleanse the body, as well as the mind.

Wagamama are also promoting mindfulness and its benefits for improving mental health. Their paper placemats are the perfect canvas for some mindful colouring while you wait for your food. They are also supporting mindful eating - the act of being in the present and taking in and appreciating every single mouthful. 

During my visit, I tried the grilled duck donburi along with numerous delicious side dishes - my favourite side had to be the ebi katsu: gorgeous crispy fried prawns with a chilli sauce. The duck was also beautiful. I wanted to try something different from my usual ramen noodles and I was recommended the donburi, which was a great choice!

I'll definitely be visiting Wagamama again soon and picking up a Positive juice to support Mind and the amazing things they do... and hopefully you will too!
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Monday, 15 January 2018

The Best Of: Soap & Glory

Happy New Year! We're well and truly gliding into 2018 now, and what better way to celebrate than with a roundup of my favourite products from Soap & Glory. You can find S&G in Boots in the UK and they're particularly popular around Christmas with their fab range of gift sets each year. This blog post was inspired by my giveaway win from Chloe's Youtube channel - you can check her out here (and believe me you should)! I won her 3k subscribers giveaway which consisted of a gorgeous set of Soap & Glory products. I also received a few bits for Christmas so I am well and truly stocked up for the new year! 

I've been using Soap & Glory products for at least the last three or four years, and 2016 was the year I also discovered their makeup range. So in this post I'm going to be including some products that I really love and also some products I'm excited to try out. 

1. Hand Food - £5.50

This is a Soap & Glory classic. It has their Original Pink signature scent and has a luxurious thick texture which leave your hands feeling beautifully hydrated and moisturised. It can be bought in a  full size tube but I also love their travel size option which is perfect for popping into a handbag. 

2. Sugar Crush Body Wash - £6.50

This was the first product I ever tried from S&G and the reason for my continued loyalty to the brand. Although the scent isn't my favourite anymore, I still really enjoy its sweet citrus tones and in-shower moisturising qualities. A full bottle lasts me for months, making it very good value for money. 

3. The Righteous Butter - £2.50 - £10.00

You will rarely find me without one of these in my handbag. For me, this is their stand-out hero product and I'm sure many people will agree! Just like Hand Food, it has their Original Pink scent.  I love using The Righteous Butter all over my body after a shower but particularly on areas that get very dry during this time of year, like my elbows and hands. 

4. Archery Brow Pencil - £8.50

I discovered this product just over a year ago thanks to The Tab who did an interview with me - P.S. if you want to read the interview, just click through to this link. I reviewed the Archery brow pencil as part of the interview and absolutely fell in love with it. A brow pencil has always been my brow product of choice and this one just ticks every single box. I wrote a full review of Archery, so feel free to click here for more thoughts and info.

5. Crazy Sexy Kohl/Smoulder Kohl - £5.50

I believe this was a limited edition kohl liner but they have a similar looking one called Smoulder Kohl - hopefully the formula isn't too different! I don't wear kohl liner on a day-to-day basis, but if I do decide to wear it (usually on a night out) I tend to reach for Soap & Glory. Their kohl liners are soft and glide on effortlessly - just what I look for in a pencil eyeliner!

6. Scrub Of Your Life - £7.00

I've tried S&G's Sugar Crush and Smoothie Star Breakfast scrubs, but I'm yet to try this one. Based on the other two, I have high hopes for this one! The other two were quite abrasive scrubs, making them great for prepping legs for shaving or fake tanning. I'm looking forward to giving this one a go too.

7. Face Soap and Clarity - £8.00

I'm yet to try any of Soap & Glory's skincare range, but I've heard lots of great things particularly about this facial wash. Hopefully 2018 will be the year I try out more of S&G's skincare products - their face masks are already on my list. I've tried a lot of Vitamin C products over the years so it'll be interesting to see how I get on with this one too.

8. Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss - £9.00

The last product I'm excited to try is from their Sexy Mother Pucker range. I'm generally not much of a lip gloss wearer, but S&G's lip products are notorious for their lip plumping qualities, so I'm really interested to see if they live up to their name!

Let me know in the comments if you have any favourite Soap & Glory products, or whether this blog post has inspired any future purchases! 
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Friday, 8 December 2017

REVIEW: Energy Hair @ Darts Farm, Topsham

If you're local to Exeter or the surrounding areas, there's no doubt you'll have heard of Darts Farm. It's a beautiful farm shop boasting local produce and so much more. A hidden gem around the back of Darts Farm is its spa & beauty facilities, including the likes of Energy Hair.

I was kindly invited to receive a wash, cut and blow dry with Luke, one of Energy's newest recruits. He finished his training with Sassoon in London earlier this year, and his enthusiasm and talent for hairdressing really showed. He also makes a pretty good cup of tea!

The process began with the hair wash - quite possibly my favourite bit! A relaxing head massage was exactly what I needed after the stressful weekend I'd had at work. The massage chair they provide at the basins definitely helped too! These little touches just go to show how luxurious and relaxing Energy Hair is - it's not just a place to get your seasonal haircut, but somewhere you can unwind and enjoy.

Post-wash, Luke asked how I'd like my hair cut. I wasn't looking for a drastic hair change - just a couple of inches off and some subtle layers cut back in. Luke listened well and did a great job. He cut and blow dried my hair exactly how I like it and I couldn't have been happier with it. It was great to see Nathan, the owner of Energy Hair, checking in on Luke and I during the process. Luke is still learning of course, but it was clear that Nathan had full confidence in Luke's abilities - as did I! The whole staff team seem really friendly and were a joy to be around. 

Overall, I would really recommend Energy Hair at Darts Farm to anyone in the market for a new do or just a touch up. The salon is perfect if you're looking for a luxurious retreat and an hour or so's escape from reality while the team work their magic on your locks. And don't underestimate the talent and abilities of a newly trained hairdresser - Luke did a better job than a lot of more experienced hairdressers I've been to in the past! Definitely worth a visit! For more information, visit http://www.energyhair.com

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

REVIEW: Coffee #1, Princesshay #EatsForTreats

In the heart of Exeter but located in a more secluded area of Princesshay shopping centre, Coffee #1 is the perfect retreat away from the crowds of shoppers on a Saturday afternoon. Princesshay asked me to visit Coffee #1 as part of their summer EATS! campaign, promoting the diverse range of restaurants and eateries situated within the shopping centre. Despite its quiet location, the cafe is still buzzing and clearly a popular hangout. 

After a busy morning of shopping, Tim and I were ready for a mid-afternoon refreshment. I ordered a spice chai latte while Tim opted for a white hot chocolate deluxe. We also both grabbed a maple bacon, eggs benedict and spinach English muffin to keep us going. After ordering, we sat down in the best location (in my opinion!) in the whole cafe - right by the window in the cosiest armchairs. 

The decor is quirky and has a rustic feel, with wooden floors and an impressive exposed brick feature wall. The bookshelf and recycled hessian coffee sack canvases are a nice touch too. The whole atmosphere is very chilled and relaxed, despite it being full of people. It really is perfect for working, reading or just catching up with friends.

As for the taste test, the chai latte was perfectly milky and aromatic, while Tim's white hot chocolate (which I sneaked a sip of) was rich and frothy - perfect if you have a hankering for something sweet. Our English muffins were extremely tasty too and ideal as a late lunch snack. You can't beat bacon really!

I really can't fault our visit to Coffee #1 - it topped off a perfect day of browsing round the shops! If you're interested in finding out more about Princesshay's other eateries, follow this link here. Thank you Princesshay and Coffee #1 for the chance to sample the fab food and drink on offer!
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Monday, 14 August 2017

My Five FAVOURITE EVER Lip Products!

Hi all! Today's post is all about one of my favourite things to talk about - lipsticks! I tend to stick to a select few lip products that I love and best of all, most of these are high street bargains. I'd love your recommendations for your favourite lip products in the comments below - I'm always on the lookout to add to my holy grail products. Let's get onto the faves:

1. MAC - Velvet Teddy

This is a stereotypical blogger favourite, but it's a favourite for a reason! For me, Velvet Teddy is the perfect deep nude and goes with pretty much any outfit and any makeup look. This lipstick is the most expensive of the bunch, coming in at £16.50 from most retailers. However, MAC lipsticks are notorious for their creamy texture and lengthy staying power, making this product a staple in my handbag. I received this as a gift for my birthday last year, and it has fast become one of my favourite colours to wear.

2. Rimmel The Only One Matte in Trendsetter

If you're on the market for a MAC Velvet Teddy dupe, Trendsetter by Rimmel is "the only one" for you (please excuse the god-awful pun). I didn't realise until I took these photos how similar the two are! I picked this lipstick from Rimmel earlier this year when they were released because I'd heard a lot about them amongst the beauty blogging community. They were right to be hyped about because the formula and colour of these are beautiful. In terms of a dupe, I'd say the formula of this Rimmel lipstick is slightly dryer than that of MAC's Velvet Teddy but the colour is pretty bang-on. I would say the Rimmel lipstick has a slightly more rosy tint to it, while Velvet Teddy is more brown in its undertone. I'll leave a swatch photo of the two side by side below so you can see what I mean. This lipstick comes in at only £6.99 - less than half the price of MAC. It has a pretty good staying power too and I usually just top it up once during the day.

3. Topshop Lips in Black Widow (left) & Champion (right)

We've gone from one end of the spectrum to the other with these colours! I rarely go for a bold lip, but if I do I'm likely to reach for one of these. The Topshop formulas are brilliant - long-lasting and really opaque, so perfect if you want a pop of colour. They retail for £8 (and don't forget the 10% student discount!) so they're pretty affordable. I think the packaging is lovely too, and it makes that really satisfying magnetic 'click' noise when you put the top back on!

4. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Rome

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are quickly becoming one of my favourite formulas of lip product. The creamy, mousse-like texture makes it comfortable to wear but it actually lasts really well and gives a gorgeous satin finish. I wouldn't say it's completely matte, but in my experiences matte lip products tend to be much more uncomfortable to wear so I'm not mad! This colour is a gorgeous deep pink-toned brown and looks great for a night out.

5. Essence Long Lasting Lip Pencil in A Girl's Dream (left) & Lovely Frappucino (right)

I don't often use lip liners, but these were recommended to me and they're amazing! The twist-up style is so easy to use and the formula is super creamy. It's great for overlining your lips and making them look fuller and plumper. I use Lovely Frappucino with the Rome NYX soft matte lip cream above - it's the perfect combo. AND they retail for just £1.50 at Wilko stores - bargain!

And that's a wrap! I hope these faves might give you a bit of lippy inspiration and maybe my favourites will become your favourites too! If you think I've missed out on any gems, do let me know in the comments below - I'd love to know what you love too!

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Monday, 5 June 2017

AWKWARD STORY TIME! The Father's Day Edition

Father's Day is looming and The Car People are encouraging bloggers to share a memorable car journey they've had with their dad's. I could tell you all about some lovely car journeys I've had with my dad, e.g. when he dropped me off at Uni for the first time, our car journey back from my graduation or our road trip up to Scotland when I was a kid. But one in particular stands out more than others that has a more humorous tone to it, and I definitely think you'll enjoy it more as a reader.

This particular car journey happened just over six years ago when we went to pick up our dog Alfie for the first time. He was a 2-month old puppy at the time and we had all fallen in love as soon as we set our eyes on him. A cross between a collie and a King Charles spaniel, he was bouncy and playful with a little squashed nose and a white stripe running down between his eyes. All four of us made the journey to pick him up - myself, my dad, my mum and my brother - and we were excited to get him home.

We had the car all set up for him, with a large dog cage and blankets in the boot of our people carrier for him to cosy down in and enjoy the ride home. It wasn't long before we realised this was not going to be an enjoyable experience for him at all as he squealed and cried the whole way home. We were only about half an hour away from our house, but the high pitched crying made it seem like a lifetime! Although we were taking him back to our loving home, in Alfie's eyes we were merely taking him away from his mother and brothers and sisters and he was not having any of it. He would stop crying for a split second and we would all sigh in relief, only for him to begin all over again just seconds later. 

Despite the constant whining from the back of the car, we thought "at least he hasn't had a little doggy accident this whole journey" - he was after all only 2 months old and not toilet trained yet. Those were our famous last words. We live in a small cul de sac of about eight houses and as we turned into our little road, Alfie decided this was the perfect time to poop. I guess we should count ourselves lucky that he didn't do it earlier because we would've had to put up with the smell the whole way home, but the timing couldn't have been more comical. Six years on, Alfie now loves car journeys (especially to the beach) and hasn't pooped in the car since. 

So I want to say thanks Dad for this particularly memorable car journey - even if it was memorable for all the wrong reasons! I'd love to hear your funny car journey stories with your Dad in the comments below! You can check out other bloggers' memorable car journeys with their Dad's over at The Car People here!

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

What They Don't Tell You Before You Graduate

Hello! Long time no post! I've been feeling a little demotivated recently with my blog, partly because of what I wanted to talk about today. I graduated with a 2:1 in Psychology from Cardiff University last summer. Having spent four years at Uni, one of which I spent on an unpaid placement in London, I thought finding a job related to Psychology would be easy. How wrong I was! I want to talk to you about what I've learnt since graduating, how I've found searching for a job and post-Uni life in general. I'm currently working in retail which is fine and gets me by but of course it's not related to my degree. I've applied for jobs, had interviews, had rejections, and even never heard back from some applications. It's tough but I guarantee you're not alone!

1. Experience is KEY. Whilst at Uni, I can't stress enough how important and useful gaining any relevant experience can be. I volunteered through my Uni's SU volunteering facilities and I also worked for a relevant student charity during my studies. Everyone who graduates from University will have a degree. Not everyone will have additional work experience. It'll help you to stand out from other graduates and will give employers the impression you're a motivated person. 

2. Living back with your parents is okay! It's not something I particularly wanted to do having lived independently for four years but it's meant that I can save on rent/bill costs (I pay my parents rent but nowhere near as much as I would if I lived elsewhere) and focus on saving up to live comfortably once I move out.

3. Keep an open mind. Don't expect too much too quickly (like I did)! You might find that you'll need experience in less desirable positions before progressing onto what you really want to do. Again, in this case, work experience really is key! Despite having a degree under your belt, the phrase "you have to work your way up" still applies. 

4. Make the most of your Uni's career services. Most (if not all) Universities offer this service and it can be really useful. I used them when I was applying for placements and I honestly don't think I would have got the placement I wanted without them. They helped with my CV, cover letter and interview skills. I think the mock interview was the most valuable thing as it's what I struggle with the most. These kind of services are a lot harder to come by once you've graduated - and you'll struggle to get them for free too!

5. Take into consideration the physical and mental transition from Uni into work. This is something I discovered when I started my work placement. Whilst Uni (for me as a Psychology student) involved fewer hours in lectures and seminars, and more hours in the library doing independent studying which also involved later nights and later starts. Getting into a work routine was difficult for the first few weeks and it can be physically and mentally draining for a while. It's definitely something you get used to though. 

Do you have any thoughts about post-Uni life? I'd love to know what you think and if you've had any different (or similar) experiences to me!

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