We all have those days.  You know the ones where you can't get out of your onesie, off of the sofa and up and doing?  Where before you know it, the day's done and you're still sat there watching your tenth episode of Come Dine With Me for the day.  I've been there.  And if you need a virtual kick up the backside, keep reading for my five steps towards getting stuff done.

Make a list
Because who doesn't love a list?  If you're a visual person, seeing everything written down will help you to focus and ensure nothing gets forgotten. And there's nothing more satisfying than ticking off another job, right?  Just be careful not to use "writing my list of very important jobs to do" as a way of procrastinating...

Prioritise
Too much to do with too little time?  Tell me about it, and this is where prioritising is key.  So all the little jobs need doing, but some will definitely be more important like others.  Phoning up to pay off your credit card?  Definitely.  Rearranging your book shelf?  Not so much.

Incentivise
The child within me just loves a reward at the end of a task, so consider setting up a little treat for completing your jobs.  It can be something as simple as a chocolate bar, or an at-home manicure.  Or for those long-term tasks, how about something a little more exciting?  Now *could* be the time to treat yourself to those Topshop boots you've had your eye on! 

Set time limits
This one harks back to my days of revision.  When I just can't face sitting down at the laptop to work, I always set myself a time limit of an hour or so before taking a break or quitting for the day.  I always find it a lot easier to motivate myself knowing there's a set time that I'll be finished, and inevitably I find myself really getting into it and working on for longer.

Just do it!
Sometimes, you just need to get off your backside and get stuff done.  Stop with the excuses and get moving.  And if that's a little too daunting, start small.  Go and clear out your handbag now.  You never know, you may find yourself energised and ready to tackle more.

How to get stuff done

27.2.15

We all have those days.  You know the ones where you can't get out of your onesie, off of the sofa and up and doing?  Where before you know it, the day's done and you're still sat there watching your tenth episode of Come Dine With Me for the day.  I've been there.  And if you need a virtual kick up the backside, keep reading for my five steps towards getting stuff done.

Make a list
Because who doesn't love a list?  If you're a visual person, seeing everything written down will help you to focus and ensure nothing gets forgotten. And there's nothing more satisfying than ticking off another job, right?  Just be careful not to use "writing my list of very important jobs to do" as a way of procrastinating...

Prioritise
Too much to do with too little time?  Tell me about it, and this is where prioritising is key.  So all the little jobs need doing, but some will definitely be more important like others.  Phoning up to pay off your credit card?  Definitely.  Rearranging your book shelf?  Not so much.

Incentivise
The child within me just loves a reward at the end of a task, so consider setting up a little treat for completing your jobs.  It can be something as simple as a chocolate bar, or an at-home manicure.  Or for those long-term tasks, how about something a little more exciting?  Now *could* be the time to treat yourself to those Topshop boots you've had your eye on! 

Set time limits
This one harks back to my days of revision.  When I just can't face sitting down at the laptop to work, I always set myself a time limit of an hour or so before taking a break or quitting for the day.  I always find it a lot easier to motivate myself knowing there's a set time that I'll be finished, and inevitably I find myself really getting into it and working on for longer.

Just do it!
Sometimes, you just need to get off your backside and get stuff done.  Stop with the excuses and get moving.  And if that's a little too daunting, start small.  Go and clear out your handbag now.  You never know, you may find yourself energised and ready to tackle more.

My spending habits are so much better these days....but that doesn't mean I don't sit back in shock every now and then at all the things I've accumulated!  I tend to spend more money on homewares than clothes or make up (perhaps it's my age...?), so I thought I'd share with you what I've been buying lately.  If you like cacti and rose gold, this one's for you!


Watch it below, or click here to head across and watch it on my YouTube channel.

Video: February Haul

26.2.15


My spending habits are so much better these days....but that doesn't mean I don't sit back in shock every now and then at all the things I've accumulated!  I tend to spend more money on homewares than clothes or make up (perhaps it's my age...?), so I thought I'd share with you what I've been buying lately.  If you like cacti and rose gold, this one's for you!


Watch it below, or click here to head across and watch it on my YouTube channel.

H&M leather belt
I've owned this belt for ages but I've been getting some serious use out of it since Christmas.  The gold detail adds just enough without being OTT bling.  In fact, I'd call this the perfect minimalist belt, and with a jumper or tee resting nonchalantly on top of it, it's my ideal outfit.

Skagen watch
I love the unisex (ok, it's a man's watch but I'm still wearing it!) style of this and it's just enough to smarten up an outfit.  I've recently dabbled in mixing metals, so this watch is perfect for me; I love that I can wear it with either silver or gold, and it'll go perfectly with either.

Office wedge trainers
Another thing in my wardrobe that I've owned for ages, but these are absolute staples.  I'm not sure whether wedge trainers are still *in* (I suspect not!), but these are perfect for making an outfit a little less casual.  They also add the perfect amount of length to my legs without being painful to walk in.  Winning!

Asos cosmic watch
Ok, another watch.  I'm aware I can't wear both at once, but this is perfect for when I want something a little more casual and fun for an outfit.  The simplistic strap makes it unassuming, but up close it's got a really interesting face and is a real conversation starter.

Mango black jumper
You can't go wrong with a basic black jumper, and this silk and cashmere mix one is incredibly soft and comfortable to wear.  It has crossover detail at the back for added interest and goes with just about anything.

UNIQLO jeans
I got sent these back in summer, but they've overtaken Leighs as my favourite jeans.  Maybe it's because I'm carrying a little more weight at the moment, but they have the perfect amount of stretch to make them comfortable to wear.  They're a nice blue wash, and sit at just the right place on my hips to pair with the H&M belt.

And I think we can take it from my picks that I'm really embracing a minimalistic approach to my style lately!  What are your current wardrobe favourites?

Current Wardrobe Favourites

25.2.15

H&M leather belt
I've owned this belt for ages but I've been getting some serious use out of it since Christmas.  The gold detail adds just enough without being OTT bling.  In fact, I'd call this the perfect minimalist belt, and with a jumper or tee resting nonchalantly on top of it, it's my ideal outfit.

Skagen watch
I love the unisex (ok, it's a man's watch but I'm still wearing it!) style of this and it's just enough to smarten up an outfit.  I've recently dabbled in mixing metals, so this watch is perfect for me; I love that I can wear it with either silver or gold, and it'll go perfectly with either.

Office wedge trainers
Another thing in my wardrobe that I've owned for ages, but these are absolute staples.  I'm not sure whether wedge trainers are still *in* (I suspect not!), but these are perfect for making an outfit a little less casual.  They also add the perfect amount of length to my legs without being painful to walk in.  Winning!

Asos cosmic watch
Ok, another watch.  I'm aware I can't wear both at once, but this is perfect for when I want something a little more casual and fun for an outfit.  The simplistic strap makes it unassuming, but up close it's got a really interesting face and is a real conversation starter.

Mango black jumper
You can't go wrong with a basic black jumper, and this silk and cashmere mix one is incredibly soft and comfortable to wear.  It has crossover detail at the back for added interest and goes with just about anything.

UNIQLO jeans
I got sent these back in summer, but they've overtaken Leighs as my favourite jeans.  Maybe it's because I'm carrying a little more weight at the moment, but they have the perfect amount of stretch to make them comfortable to wear.  They're a nice blue wash, and sit at just the right place on my hips to pair with the H&M belt.

And I think we can take it from my picks that I'm really embracing a minimalistic approach to my style lately!  What are your current wardrobe favourites?

The other week I was talking the basics of Invisalign; what it is and how I got started with it.  This post is getting down to the nitty gritty.  The logistics of having Invisaligns and my personal experience.

What's the procedure?
At my initial free consultation, they took x-rays and moulds of my teeth.  Before I signed up to anything I received an animation of how they expected my teeth to move and look at the end of the treatment to make sure I was happy.  Once I'd signed all the paperwork, the moulds were sent away to Invisalign in America to have my retainers made.   Within a few weeks they were back with the dentist and I was ready to go.
Every few months I go back to receive my new retainers, which pop in and are worn continuously for two weeks at a time. I remove them for eating, and can only drink water when they're in.  For the best results they recommend you wear them for at least 21 hours a day, but in all honesty I've become a bit lazy with that and I probably wear them a little less.  I brush them morning and night, at the same time as my teeth, and keep a little wash bag of essentials with me to brush my teeth after eating if I'm out and about.  I've got a little case that comes with me everywhere so that I can take them out if I need to.  

Do they hurt?
A little.  I'd read reviews online where people were really overexaggerating on the pain front....it's not that bad.  A few of my retainers have felt a little scratchy and unfinished around the edges, but now I file any rough parts before I put them in to avoid cutting my mouth.  In terms of the actual pain of my teeth moving, it's more like discomfort.  My teeth feel tender and it can be a little unpleasant to eat for the first few days, but after that it's fine.  I tend to put a set in at night so that my teeth have done a fair bit of adjusting while I'm asleep and unaware of the dull ache.

Are they really invisible?
As invisible as they can be!  The bottom left photo shows the Invisaligns in, whilst the top right is my teeth without them.  I work in a school where children can get right up in my face and I've only had two children and one adult realise I'm wearing them....all of whom were standing incredibly close!  With regards to speaking, I can hear the difference but no-one else has said anything.  At times it can mean I have a slight lisp, and if I'm tired or under the weather I find my speech suffers as I concentrate less on speaking properly.

How long will it all take?
They predicted 18 months at my initial consultation, but when I found out I'd be given 23 sets of retainers I was hopeful that I'd be done within a year.  At my last appointment I was expecting to pick up my last two, however I was given another 15 sets.  At first I was disappointed, but my dentist assured me it was just him being a perfectionist to give me the best result.  And I guess that's why he's a diamond provider!  I'm not paying any extra for this, and I'm happy to wait a little longer to have the best smile I can possibly get.

Would I recommend Invisaligns?
Without a doubt, yes!  I've got a few friends who bit the bullet and signed up after they saw how well I was getting on.  It's a big financial commitment, but so worth it.  I'm not even finished with my treatment and I can't believe how good my smile looks.

I think that's covered everything for now!  My next appointment will be in September, where hopefully my teeth will be perfect and I'll be able to get started with whitening.  I'm a little nervous about that, so I'll be back with a final post to show of the results and summarise the whole experience.

My Invisalign journey, part 2

23.2.15


The other week I was talking the basics of Invisalign; what it is and how I got started with it.  This post is getting down to the nitty gritty.  The logistics of having Invisaligns and my personal experience.

What's the procedure?
At my initial free consultation, they took x-rays and moulds of my teeth.  Before I signed up to anything I received an animation of how they expected my teeth to move and look at the end of the treatment to make sure I was happy.  Once I'd signed all the paperwork, the moulds were sent away to Invisalign in America to have my retainers made.   Within a few weeks they were back with the dentist and I was ready to go.
Every few months I go back to receive my new retainers, which pop in and are worn continuously for two weeks at a time. I remove them for eating, and can only drink water when they're in.  For the best results they recommend you wear them for at least 21 hours a day, but in all honesty I've become a bit lazy with that and I probably wear them a little less.  I brush them morning and night, at the same time as my teeth, and keep a little wash bag of essentials with me to brush my teeth after eating if I'm out and about.  I've got a little case that comes with me everywhere so that I can take them out if I need to.  

Do they hurt?
A little.  I'd read reviews online where people were really overexaggerating on the pain front....it's not that bad.  A few of my retainers have felt a little scratchy and unfinished around the edges, but now I file any rough parts before I put them in to avoid cutting my mouth.  In terms of the actual pain of my teeth moving, it's more like discomfort.  My teeth feel tender and it can be a little unpleasant to eat for the first few days, but after that it's fine.  I tend to put a set in at night so that my teeth have done a fair bit of adjusting while I'm asleep and unaware of the dull ache.

Are they really invisible?
As invisible as they can be!  The bottom left photo shows the Invisaligns in, whilst the top right is my teeth without them.  I work in a school where children can get right up in my face and I've only had two children and one adult realise I'm wearing them....all of whom were standing incredibly close!  With regards to speaking, I can hear the difference but no-one else has said anything.  At times it can mean I have a slight lisp, and if I'm tired or under the weather I find my speech suffers as I concentrate less on speaking properly.

How long will it all take?
They predicted 18 months at my initial consultation, but when I found out I'd be given 23 sets of retainers I was hopeful that I'd be done within a year.  At my last appointment I was expecting to pick up my last two, however I was given another 15 sets.  At first I was disappointed, but my dentist assured me it was just him being a perfectionist to give me the best result.  And I guess that's why he's a diamond provider!  I'm not paying any extra for this, and I'm happy to wait a little longer to have the best smile I can possibly get.

Would I recommend Invisaligns?
Without a doubt, yes!  I've got a few friends who bit the bullet and signed up after they saw how well I was getting on.  It's a big financial commitment, but so worth it.  I'm not even finished with my treatment and I can't believe how good my smile looks.

I think that's covered everything for now!  My next appointment will be in September, where hopefully my teeth will be perfect and I'll be able to get started with whitening.  I'm a little nervous about that, so I'll be back with a final post to show of the results and summarise the whole experience.
Image found via Pinterest

600 Hours of Edward // Craig Lancaster
I work with autistic children, so a book where the main character has Asperger's and OCD was something I could really get on board with.  It was an easy read, if somewhat repetitive; this is the nature of Edward though, and I think the author did a really good job of portraying the typical need for routine that an autistic person likely has.  I'm not sure if this book would be up everybody's street, and it's definitely not a Must Read.  A nice book for when you want something light to read. though.
Rating: 3/5

The Rabbit Back Literature Society // Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
A strange one.  I'm always drawn to books that have books as the subject, and with a blurb promising elements of magic and mystery, this seemed like a winner to me.  It translated well from Finnish, but was a little *too* out there for me at times.  It was a pleasant enough read, but focused too heavily on 'The Game' which was of very little interest, or point, to me.  I think people looking for a similar books to Neil Gaiman's (although perhaps less fantastical) will enjoy this.
Rating: 3/5

The Smart Girl's Guide to Getting What She Wants  // Mary Hartley
I like to think I'm beyond tantrums and am pretty capable of providing myself with what I want, but the idea of being a bit more assertive and confident within myself is definitely appealing.  I skimmed through a few sections of this, but still found it to be an interesting read with many tips and tricks I can apply to real life situations.  A good read for anybody who struggles with self-doubt at times.
Rating: 3/5

Get Your Sh!t Together // Ruth Field
Another book I got when I was on a self-help drive, I thought this would be the sort of thing to give me a kick up the bum and get my life in order.  It was a little too 'quick fix' for me and I lost my way with it.  I appreciated the frank way in which this was written, but Ruth Field has given herself the alter ego of Grit Doctor which actually grated on me a little and started to just annoy me rather than motivate.  I don't think this is a bad book, more that it just wasn't what I was looking for.  I need something to inspire me to make big changes in my life, whereas the parts of this that I read seemed more focused on rearranging the life I already have.  I don't think I'm explaining myself as well as I could with this one....let's just say it wasn't for me!
Rating: 2.5/5
 

Read // 5

18.2.15

Image found via Pinterest

600 Hours of Edward // Craig Lancaster
I work with autistic children, so a book where the main character has Asperger's and OCD was something I could really get on board with.  It was an easy read, if somewhat repetitive; this is the nature of Edward though, and I think the author did a really good job of portraying the typical need for routine that an autistic person likely has.  I'm not sure if this book would be up everybody's street, and it's definitely not a Must Read.  A nice book for when you want something light to read. though.
Rating: 3/5

The Rabbit Back Literature Society // Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
A strange one.  I'm always drawn to books that have books as the subject, and with a blurb promising elements of magic and mystery, this seemed like a winner to me.  It translated well from Finnish, but was a little *too* out there for me at times.  It was a pleasant enough read, but focused too heavily on 'The Game' which was of very little interest, or point, to me.  I think people looking for a similar books to Neil Gaiman's (although perhaps less fantastical) will enjoy this.
Rating: 3/5

The Smart Girl's Guide to Getting What She Wants  // Mary Hartley
I like to think I'm beyond tantrums and am pretty capable of providing myself with what I want, but the idea of being a bit more assertive and confident within myself is definitely appealing.  I skimmed through a few sections of this, but still found it to be an interesting read with many tips and tricks I can apply to real life situations.  A good read for anybody who struggles with self-doubt at times.
Rating: 3/5

Get Your Sh!t Together // Ruth Field
Another book I got when I was on a self-help drive, I thought this would be the sort of thing to give me a kick up the bum and get my life in order.  It was a little too 'quick fix' for me and I lost my way with it.  I appreciated the frank way in which this was written, but Ruth Field has given herself the alter ego of Grit Doctor which actually grated on me a little and started to just annoy me rather than motivate.  I don't think this is a bad book, more that it just wasn't what I was looking for.  I need something to inspire me to make big changes in my life, whereas the parts of this that I read seemed more focused on rearranging the life I already have.  I don't think I'm explaining myself as well as I could with this one....let's just say it wasn't for me!
Rating: 2.5/5
 
Handbags are a guilty pleasure of mine.  I love the weekends, when I can switch them up and really accessorize them to my outfit.  So it was about time I uploaded a video showing you my collection!

Watch it below, or click here to head across to my YouTube channel.
Now tell me, where else should I look for bags on the highstreet?!

Video: My Handbag Collection

17.2.15

Handbags are a guilty pleasure of mine.  I love the weekends, when I can switch them up and really accessorize them to my outfit.  So it was about time I uploaded a video showing you my collection!

Watch it below, or click here to head across to my YouTube channel.
Now tell me, where else should I look for bags on the highstreet?!
Despite it being our anniversary, Nick and I have never been ones to celebrate Valentine's Day.  But this year being our sixth together, we decided to do something a little bit different and spend the day at Woburn Safari Park.  Nick's a real animal lover and I'm down for visiting anywhere that has lemurs.....plus the fact that I've never been to a safari park meant this was the perfect place for us.

The weather was a little dreary but there was still lots to see.  You drive through roughly half of the park, seeing the bigger animals, and then go on foot safari for the rest.  Being able to get close to the animals from the warmth of your own car was a bonus, and I particularly enjoyed the monkey enclosure.  I've recently got a new car so we actually took Nick's van....luckily, because one of them decided to run up the bonnet and sit on the roof!

The foot safari wasn't as good, although getting up close and personal with the lemurs made my day. Nick was a little disappointed to have missed the parrot display, but we managed to see a talk about birds of prey which was really interesting.

All in all, a grand day out!  We've done a few zoos together, and this was one of the best in terms of the price and the experience you're getting.  We'll be going back in the summer to take Ella and Dylan, for sure!

6 years

16.2.15

Despite it being our anniversary, Nick and I have never been ones to celebrate Valentine's Day.  But this year being our sixth together, we decided to do something a little bit different and spend the day at Woburn Safari Park.  Nick's a real animal lover and I'm down for visiting anywhere that has lemurs.....plus the fact that I've never been to a safari park meant this was the perfect place for us.

The weather was a little dreary but there was still lots to see.  You drive through roughly half of the park, seeing the bigger animals, and then go on foot safari for the rest.  Being able to get close to the animals from the warmth of your own car was a bonus, and I particularly enjoyed the monkey enclosure.  I've recently got a new car so we actually took Nick's van....luckily, because one of them decided to run up the bonnet and sit on the roof!

The foot safari wasn't as good, although getting up close and personal with the lemurs made my day. Nick was a little disappointed to have missed the parrot display, but we managed to see a talk about birds of prey which was really interesting.

All in all, a grand day out!  We've done a few zoos together, and this was one of the best in terms of the price and the experience you're getting.  We'll be going back in the summer to take Ella and Dylan, for sure!
I'm a bit late with this one, but this week's video was my January favourites.  It's a mixed bag of make up, skincare, fashion and general life....watch it below or click here to go through to my YouTube channel!

Video: January Favourites

12.2.15

I'm a bit late with this one, but this week's video was my January favourites.  It's a mixed bag of make up, skincare, fashion and general life....watch it below or click here to go through to my YouTube channel!
Today I'm talking teeth.  If you're squeamish, maybe look away now....

At the age of 6 I broke my jaw, and what followed was years of dental work.  I had a crossbite, my top jaw was too small for my bottom jaw and when I was 12, I underwent surgery to remove a back molar and attach a gold chain to one of my teeth that wasn't growing in the right direction in my mouth.  It didn't all quite go to plan, bu fast forward to when I was 17; after years of train tracks, for the first time in my life I finally had a smile to be proud of.

That didn't last long, though.  It's only in recent years that I started to notice my teeth moving, but looking back at photos I can see that even at the age of 18 they weren't as good as they had been.

So around this time last year, after various pipe dreams I decided to take serious steps to fix my smile and get Invisaligns.  And while it's not quite perfect yet, I'm at a halfway point and thought I'd share my experiences with you.  To break this information down, I've used a mixture of questions I've been asked alongside those that were running through my head when I started doing my research.  Today's post covers the basics, and there'll be a follow-up post later this week, with more specifics of my personal experience of Invisalign.

What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a system of clear retainers, designed to be discreet and virtually undetectable in the mouth.  There are various companies offering a similar service, this was just the one that I knew most about.

How do you decide where to get it done?
I used the Invisalign website to search for a provider.  They've got a really useful page where you just put in your postcode and it brings up all the dentists in the area that are qualified in Invisalign.  That's another factor, too - how qualified the dentist is.  The results are ranked according to how experienced they are, and luckily for me there was a diamond provider nearby.

How much does it cost?
This depends on the treatment you're receiving.  After meeting the team at the practice, I knew that they were the ones I'd be going with so I didn't really shop around.  When I signed up, they were offering treatments at set prices of either £3100 or £1800 depending on how much work needed to be done.  I fell into the £3100 bracket, but got a £500 discount and was able to sign up for interest-free finance.  It is expensive.  But I've got quite an animated face and my teeth are always on show.  My smile is important to me and I was beginning to feel really self-conscious about the way it was looking.  It's hard, but for me the price is worth it.

What does that cover?
Included in the price is retainers plus teeth shaping and whitening at the end.  I'll need to buy retainers at the end to wear at night, but this isn't part of my payment plan.  In all honesty, that's the one bugbear - you can't really do Invisalign without being prepared to wear a retainer for the rest of your life, and it's a little annoying that this isn't included in the original price.

That's the starting point for Invisalign - if you want to know the more practical details of my experience, check back on Friday for part 2!

My Invisalign journey, part 1

9.2.15

Today I'm talking teeth.  If you're squeamish, maybe look away now....

At the age of 6 I broke my jaw, and what followed was years of dental work.  I had a crossbite, my top jaw was too small for my bottom jaw and when I was 12, I underwent surgery to remove a back molar and attach a gold chain to one of my teeth that wasn't growing in the right direction in my mouth.  It didn't all quite go to plan, bu fast forward to when I was 17; after years of train tracks, for the first time in my life I finally had a smile to be proud of.

That didn't last long, though.  It's only in recent years that I started to notice my teeth moving, but looking back at photos I can see that even at the age of 18 they weren't as good as they had been.

So around this time last year, after various pipe dreams I decided to take serious steps to fix my smile and get Invisaligns.  And while it's not quite perfect yet, I'm at a halfway point and thought I'd share my experiences with you.  To break this information down, I've used a mixture of questions I've been asked alongside those that were running through my head when I started doing my research.  Today's post covers the basics, and there'll be a follow-up post later this week, with more specifics of my personal experience of Invisalign.

What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a system of clear retainers, designed to be discreet and virtually undetectable in the mouth.  There are various companies offering a similar service, this was just the one that I knew most about.

How do you decide where to get it done?
I used the Invisalign website to search for a provider.  They've got a really useful page where you just put in your postcode and it brings up all the dentists in the area that are qualified in Invisalign.  That's another factor, too - how qualified the dentist is.  The results are ranked according to how experienced they are, and luckily for me there was a diamond provider nearby.

How much does it cost?
This depends on the treatment you're receiving.  After meeting the team at the practice, I knew that they were the ones I'd be going with so I didn't really shop around.  When I signed up, they were offering treatments at set prices of either £3100 or £1800 depending on how much work needed to be done.  I fell into the £3100 bracket, but got a £500 discount and was able to sign up for interest-free finance.  It is expensive.  But I've got quite an animated face and my teeth are always on show.  My smile is important to me and I was beginning to feel really self-conscious about the way it was looking.  It's hard, but for me the price is worth it.

What does that cover?
Included in the price is retainers plus teeth shaping and whitening at the end.  I'll need to buy retainers at the end to wear at night, but this isn't part of my payment plan.  In all honesty, that's the one bugbear - you can't really do Invisalign without being prepared to wear a retainer for the rest of your life, and it's a little annoying that this isn't included in the original price.

That's the starting point for Invisalign - if you want to know the more practical details of my experience, check back on Friday for part 2!
I'm fast becoming a big fan of drugstore make up, so thought it was time I filmed a video letting you know some of my favourite things to buy there.  If you're just getting started in make up this could be a good one for you to watch to get an idea of what's worth buying.  And whilst we're on the subject, is there anything you'd recommend?

You can watch the video here, or click this link to go and watch it on YouTube. 

Video: Things to buy from the drugstore

5.2.15

I'm fast becoming a big fan of drugstore make up, so thought it was time I filmed a video letting you know some of my favourite things to buy there.  If you're just getting started in make up this could be a good one for you to watch to get an idea of what's worth buying.  And whilst we're on the subject, is there anything you'd recommend?

You can watch the video here, or click this link to go and watch it on YouTube. 
The idea of an assertive woman conjures up mages of a dragon in a dress.  Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, that's what I'm thinking.  I'm much more "shut up and put up" school of thinking, and tend to keep quiet for fear of causing conflict or upsetting people.

But do you know what?  That doesn't help anybody.  In the past year or so I've found myself worn out and feeling ground down by the constant people pleasing.  Being assertive doesn't have to mean being a bitch, but it does mean being a bit more selfish.  I've done a fair bit of reading on the topic, so if like me you want to be able to get your point across more and do things for you, you may find this helpful.

Don't let yourself get guilt-tripped
I live in a perpetual state of guilt, and it's not. necessary.  Guilt should be saved for serious crimes, not something as small as cancelling on a friend.  My aim is to remember that 'letting someone down' isn't a personal thing, it's just circumstance.  Maybe I can't afford it, or don't want to go somewhere.  There's no need for guilt because it doesn't diminish the friendship in any way, sometimes these things just happen.

Honesty is the best policy
Following on from that first point...I'm not a liar by any means, and can't understand how some people can tell whoppers on a daily basis.  At the most, I'll find myself telling white lies to let people down gently when I don't want to say no, and acually this is a little self-centred and insulting to that person.  They most likely can handle the facts without you sugar-coating things. And let's not mention the guilt brought on by being untruthful!  Be upfront and you'll breed a much healthier relationship.

Take responsibility for how you feel
It's so easy to say that so-and-so's made you feel a certain way.  Angry, sad, put upon, frustrated....whatever.  Start taking responsibility and owning how you feel.  Don't give that power away.  Man up and be aware that you allow yourself to feel a certain way.  There may be extraneous influences, but ultimately any feeling is a state of mind that you are capable of creating.

Utilise body language
Now it's time for some practical skills.  We all know that folded arms present a person as guarded and closed off, so try having open palms facing upwards as a gesture of sincerity, or facing down for authority.  Bringing one hand down in a chopping motion really helps to hammer home your point.  And don't forget your tone of voice.  Going up at the end of every sentence will make you sound unsure and as if you're seeking approval.  If you want to appear neutral, use a level tone of voice or try a downwards inflection to speak with authority and put a close to any tricky discussions. 

Take your time
I'm a person who likes to fill silences and often rushes into things.  Following a request with a pause gives you time to think.  Ask for further details before making a decision, and don't be scared to say that you need time to mull it over.

Just say no
Inevitably, there are situations where the answer has to be no.  It doesn't have to be rude or thoughtless though; there are lots of ways to let people down gently.  "I'll have to pass...", "Not this time..." or "I can see that _______, but ______" are all ways that you can decline politely.

I think assertiveness is a really under-mentioned skill that some people naturally have whilst others may need to work on.  Practice makes perfect though, and I'm hoping that I can apply these skills to become a happier, sassier me!

How to be more assertive

4.2.15

The idea of an assertive woman conjures up mages of a dragon in a dress.  Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, that's what I'm thinking.  I'm much more "shut up and put up" school of thinking, and tend to keep quiet for fear of causing conflict or upsetting people.

But do you know what?  That doesn't help anybody.  In the past year or so I've found myself worn out and feeling ground down by the constant people pleasing.  Being assertive doesn't have to mean being a bitch, but it does mean being a bit more selfish.  I've done a fair bit of reading on the topic, so if like me you want to be able to get your point across more and do things for you, you may find this helpful.

Don't let yourself get guilt-tripped
I live in a perpetual state of guilt, and it's not. necessary.  Guilt should be saved for serious crimes, not something as small as cancelling on a friend.  My aim is to remember that 'letting someone down' isn't a personal thing, it's just circumstance.  Maybe I can't afford it, or don't want to go somewhere.  There's no need for guilt because it doesn't diminish the friendship in any way, sometimes these things just happen.

Honesty is the best policy
Following on from that first point...I'm not a liar by any means, and can't understand how some people can tell whoppers on a daily basis.  At the most, I'll find myself telling white lies to let people down gently when I don't want to say no, and acually this is a little self-centred and insulting to that person.  They most likely can handle the facts without you sugar-coating things. And let's not mention the guilt brought on by being untruthful!  Be upfront and you'll breed a much healthier relationship.

Take responsibility for how you feel
It's so easy to say that so-and-so's made you feel a certain way.  Angry, sad, put upon, frustrated....whatever.  Start taking responsibility and owning how you feel.  Don't give that power away.  Man up and be aware that you allow yourself to feel a certain way.  There may be extraneous influences, but ultimately any feeling is a state of mind that you are capable of creating.

Utilise body language
Now it's time for some practical skills.  We all know that folded arms present a person as guarded and closed off, so try having open palms facing upwards as a gesture of sincerity, or facing down for authority.  Bringing one hand down in a chopping motion really helps to hammer home your point.  And don't forget your tone of voice.  Going up at the end of every sentence will make you sound unsure and as if you're seeking approval.  If you want to appear neutral, use a level tone of voice or try a downwards inflection to speak with authority and put a close to any tricky discussions. 

Take your time
I'm a person who likes to fill silences and often rushes into things.  Following a request with a pause gives you time to think.  Ask for further details before making a decision, and don't be scared to say that you need time to mull it over.

Just say no
Inevitably, there are situations where the answer has to be no.  It doesn't have to be rude or thoughtless though; there are lots of ways to let people down gently.  "I'll have to pass...", "Not this time..." or "I can see that _______, but ______" are all ways that you can decline politely.

I think assertiveness is a really under-mentioned skill that some people naturally have whilst others may need to work on.  Practice makes perfect though, and I'm hoping that I can apply these skills to become a happier, sassier me!
Image found via pinterest

 Do you remember the Memory Maker I set up with my sister in January 2014?  It slipped a little towards the end of the year and we missed a few months, so we decided to kick start it again with some new challenges for 2015.

As a quick overview for anybody who doesn't know, we each put six activities into a jar without telling the other what they are.  Then each month we pull one out and have to do that challenge within the month.  We did some really fun things last year, including ice skating, rock climbing and a bike ride in London, and it was a really nice way to ensure we put time aside to spend together making memories.

And kicking things off this month....a trip to the cinema!  I can't remember the last time I went to the cinema, let alone with Zara, so it'll be fun to go together and see something new.  I'm thinking The Theory of Everything, although I'm not sure it's Zara's kind of film.....any suggestions?

Making more memories

2.2.15

Image found via pinterest

 Do you remember the Memory Maker I set up with my sister in January 2014?  It slipped a little towards the end of the year and we missed a few months, so we decided to kick start it again with some new challenges for 2015.

As a quick overview for anybody who doesn't know, we each put six activities into a jar without telling the other what they are.  Then each month we pull one out and have to do that challenge within the month.  We did some really fun things last year, including ice skating, rock climbing and a bike ride in London, and it was a really nice way to ensure we put time aside to spend together making memories.

And kicking things off this month....a trip to the cinema!  I can't remember the last time I went to the cinema, let alone with Zara, so it'll be fun to go together and see something new.  I'm thinking The Theory of Everything, although I'm not sure it's Zara's kind of film.....any suggestions?

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