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    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    On Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend an event at LUSH Arndale, and oh it was a fab night! I’ve been to a LUSH party before, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the event. It definitely surpassed expectations!

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    Is that not the messiest Comforter Bubble Bar you’ve ever seen? I tried. I tried.

    I don’t do well in these kind of situations. I’m not very outgoing at all, so yeah I was kind of nervous! I met up with Rachael before and we both headed to the LUSH store really not knowing what it was going to be like! As always though, the staff were super friendly and definitely eased my nerves a little!

    When the time came, we were all given a goodie bag and an invite with a number written on the back. We were to be split into three groups, and mine headed into the greenhouse first to make our own products!

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    Did you know that the LUSH Arndale store is the only one to have a greenhouse?! How amazing is that? Alex was our first host and he was so, so lovely. I think he was more excited than us! We started off by making the comforter bubble bar. We had two bowls – one full of pink stuff, one full of white stuff. It surprised me actually because it was a really soft mixture. Let me tell you, making a comforter is not easy. How do they get those swirls?! It is a mystery. Well, Alex tried to help us but I think we all failed miserably to be honest!

    Then we made the Ickle Baby Bot nad it’s I’ve never tried. I’m not really a fan of lavender, so have always moved away from that scent. I discovered though that lavender is good for your skin so I think I’ll be trying to incorporate it a little more… My skin is awful at the moment!

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    One we’d made those we headed to the hair styling section where we were shown how to use their Henna blocks and a few different styling products. I’ve never tried any of the styling products so it was interesting to see what each one does. If I’m being honest I just wasn’t really aware they did so many! I was able to take a sample of Mr Dandy’s Hair Candy. Made from banana it’s really sticky (and does absolutely stink of banana at first) and holds fly away really well as I’ve discovered! We were also shown how to do a few things with the knot-wraps, making a rose with our very own Christmassy one!

    Last but not least, we headed over to make up and were talked through a full face of make up. Did you know that only three stores have the LUSH make up? Manchester Arndale, Oxford St and one in Hong Kong. How amazing is that?! They had some really lovely pieces, especially the highlighters! I’m not a huge make up junkie but you know, I learnt a lot!

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    We also had some lovely little treats in the form of chocolate covered shortcake and vegan chocolate cupcakes, thanks to one of the staff, Colin. I didn’t try the biscuits but the cupcakes were to die for! So, so tasty!

    Each group made different things, so at the end they gave a few of the left over things away as well. I managed to grab an Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser and the Butterbear. First time I’ve tried the cleanser and I have to say I was impressed afterwards!

    LUSH Arndale Beauty School Event // #9 of Blogmas ’16

    All in all, a fab event and thanks to LUSH Arndale for inviting me!


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    What To Do When Your Planner Isn’t Working For You // #8 of Blogmas ’16

    I have a confession. I haven’t touched my Filofax in over a month. I mean, really I haven’t properly used it for a good couple of months now. My weeks kept getting left half done, without even the dates written in…

    What To Do When Your Planner Isn't Working For You // #8 of Blogmas ’16

    It’s an odd one really. I’ve had so many things to note down recently. I work two jobs, and with one of them my hours change weekly. I had been writing my hours down in my planner, but then I wouldn’t go back to it. Instead, I’d pull up the email with our rota on and look there. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at remembering all my shifts. Don’t ask how, I don’t know.

    Anyway the point is, my lovely Filofax has been sat at my desk all lonely because I haven’t been opening it. I kind of miss it. Sometimes we put a lot of effort into keeping a planner and it just becomes a chore. Anyone felt this?

    Why Is My Planner Not Working?

    I have realised three things. For one, it was because I never opened it up. Simple but true. It sat closed on my desk and was just forgotten about. Two, I stopped taking it to work. I have actually been using a filofax, but it’s more as a notebook. I use it for my web content job to take notes. I didn’t want to take both, so the planner became unused. Three, time. I just didn’t set aside any time each week, or each day, to look at what was coming up.

    The below is how I left my planner. The dates are from October, but I hadn’t written the month in, nor did I have enough paper printed to complete the other side of the week. Sad times.

    What To Do When Your Planner Isn't Working For You // #8 of Blogmas ’16

    How Can I Make My Planner Work?

    I’ve sort of come to a conclusion whilst writing this up from my draft, and I think I now know why it isn’t working. It’s because I have been so busy. I’m working two jobs, attempting to keep fit and trying to keep up a social life. I thought I was busy when I was in university, but really I had all the time in the world. It was easy to waste a couple of hours writing in a planner. Now, it’s the last thing on my mind if I’m being honest. I do want to change that though.

    Whilst doing Blogmas, I’ve realised that I waste far too much time online doing nothing productive. In December so far, I’ve hardly wasted any time online because the time I have spent on my laptop I’ve been writing blog posts! I mean I did waste a good three hours searching for a Christmas party outfit the other day, but we’re pretending that didn’t happen.

    The main things that I need to do include making sure it’s always visible and taking time out to actually look at it. I bought a book holder last year for this exact reason, but never used it. Time to get it back out and keep my planner opened on the right page so I can always see the week at a glance.

    As for taking time out, the plan is to try and take some time out to have a bit of ‘me’ time at least once a week. I get my work rota on a Monday evening so either then or on the Tuesday evening I aim to grab the planner, write down all my shifts and add in anything I want to do around that.

    Future Planning Plans

    I’m going to give my planner a little revamp when I’ve got time. I want to change the diary up a little to include space for fitness on my weekly so I’ll do another post on my planner’s contents for 2017. If I get to February and the planner still isn’t working, then I think it’ll be time to stick it back on the shelf! I feel like I just need that one last attempt at keeping it all up to date. I do love planning and writing lists after all.

    Anyone else struggling to keep a planner?


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    Blogmas

    Christmas Markets // #7 of Blogmas ’16

    The Manchester Christmas Markets come round every year, and even though it’s the exact same every year, I can’t help but visit them. More than once. It just feels so Christmassy!

    Christmas Markets // #7 of Blogmas ’16

    If you’ve never been, the majority of the market stalls are at Albert Square, but you can also find them dotted around Manchester, including St Ann’s Square, King Street, the Corn Exchange, Market Street, and more!

    This year I’ve been twice already, and it’s only the 7th December! The first time I went with my mum and auntie. We just had a quick walk round and each bought some of the ginger and cinnamon biscuits. They’re in the far corner of Albert Square – near to the big Santa. Definitely recommend! We didn’t stay long as it was super cold and we had a reservation at The Red Hot World Buffet to get to… Important stuff, I know.

    Christmas Markets // #7 of Blogmas ’16

    The second time I went with the girls from work, and we had a nice couple of hours walking round all the stalls. The first thing we did is find some food. I’d been working in the morning and had gone straight to Manchester so I was absolutely starving by the time we got there. Most went for the pork roll, but I went to a pizza stall and chose a simple margherita slice. It was so tasty, and I just wanted more of it.

    The one thing I was really looking forward to though was the Dutch Pancakes. I mean, just look at all that chocolate! They weren’t warm like I’d imagined, but they were still tasty. I wanted more of these too, but I also wanted to try the Amaretto Hot Chocolate. That did not disappoint. I’ve never tried a hot chocolate with alcohol in it so I was scared I wouldn’t like it, but then amaretto is like my one true love so you know, it had to be done. And it was good.

    Christmas Markets // #7 of Blogmas ’16

    I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to walk around again. I don’t really need to. As I said above, nothing changes from year to year really but it’s just one of those things that, if you live local, it has to be done. Plus it’s a great place to get some cute Christmas photos! So many wooden huts, pretty decorations and fairy lights about. A bloggers dream!

    Christmas Markets // #7 of Blogmas ’16

    Have you been?


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    Current TBR List // #6 of Blogmas ’16

    Remember me saying I wanted to hit at least 40 books this year? Yeah well at this point in time that’s definitely unlikely. Still, I have some books that I want to finish and re-read so these are the chosen ones…

    Current TBR List // #6 of Blogmas ’16

    If I get through these, I may attempt to read one or two more books. It just all depends really. With me driving now I have a lot less commuting time on public transport and that’s the main place I read! I know I’m on my laptop or tablet far too much at home, so really I need to try work on getting away from that and reading instead. Especially at night time! Maybe that’s something I can work on this month…

    Three Bedrooms, One Corpse – Charlaine Harris

    A murder mystery… Very Christmassy right? No? I received the first three in this series from the lovely Imogen after winning her giveaway. I’d never read any of Harris’ books and I’ve really been enjoying these ones! This is the third and I’m about a quarter of the way into it at the moment. It’s quite a small book so really it shouldn’t take me long to finish.

    My True Love Gave To Me – Stephanie Perkins (and more!)

    I first read this in 2014 (My True Love Gave to Me Review Here!) but I re-read my favourite stories last Christmas and I just want to do the same again this year. Favourites include Midnights, Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me, It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown and What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth!

    Relativity – Antonia Hayes*

    This is one that’s due out for publication in January, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive an early copy! I’m taking part in a blog tour so my review of this will be live in the third week of Jan 2017! It sounds like a really interesting story, and right up my street so I can’t wait to get into it!

    What are you reading lately?


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    The Christmas Tree Is Up! // #5 of Blogmas ’16

    Dayyyy 5! We put our Christmas tree up on the 3rd (which actually felt late because we usually manage to get it up for the 1st!) and as always it was a family affair. One of the few times my brother leaves his bedroom to spend time with us haha…

    The Christmas Tree Is Up! // #5 of Blogmas ’16

    Every year I want it to look pretty, for everything to match, to stick to a theme. Every year that does not happen. I mean honestly we do actually need to buy new decorations and I only realise when we do get the tree out to put it up. Our lights are pretty terrible and we didn’t have enough matching tinsel. That’s just become our tree now though… When I move out, just wait. My tree will look fab.

    As always, I’ve made a little video of us decorating the tree. I decided to do it a little differently and go for timelapse style with a photo taken every 30 seconds, so it obviously didn’t catch every moment. It did manage to catch me banging my head on the shelf though. What are the odds? See if you can spot it…

    Charlie also had to get involved, obviously. She’s grown bored of the actual tree itself and just loves jumping into all the boxes that we have. She fell asleep in one and stayed in there for well over an hour! And yes, that is my brother wearing antlers and a tinsel scarf. Don’t ask. We didn’t.

    The Christmas Tree Is Up! // #5 of Blogmas ’16

    When does your tree go up?


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    Christmas Memories // #4 of Blogmas ’16

    My favourite thing about Christmas time is that you just get to probably have time off with family. We’re all 20+ in my family so each person is working full time, my sister doesn’t live with us any more and we just don’t really spend that much time together as a five. Christmas is just always a good laugh.

    Christmas Memories // #4 of Blogmas '16

    If I’m being honest, I don’t have that many memories that really stand out because everything just blends into one. I’m one of those who can remember the house phone number of someone I used to hang around with in high school, but not the important things. Anyway, here are some of my favourites that I can remember!

    A Stupid Art Set

    Okay this is one of the most hilarious memories I have, ever. I don’t even know if it will be funny to anyone else, but basically it’s something my brother said when he was younger. We were opening presents on Christmas morning and he unwrapped an art set. Sounding really excited, he shouted ‘I got a stupid art set!!’ and well, we were all a little confused because he seemed super happy. Turns out it was called a ‘Studio Art Set’ and he just couldn’t read properly…

    Charlie and the Christmas Tree

    Anyone who has cats will know that they like to get in everything. Everything. Charlie loved the tree. She’d be underneath it, she’d be inside it, climbing up at high as she could. One year she brought the whole thing down and well, I don’t think she’s ever gone back in! Now Charlie will just attempt to get in any box she sees as we’re pulling out the decorations. This year she sat in the biggest box and half a good hours sleep in there. Cats eh?

    Christmas Memories // #4 of Blogmas '16

    Early Rises

    I think we were pretty good at this (though my parents may remember differently…) but I think we generally got up between 7/8am? Maybe? At the older ages any way… One year though, my brother and I were both in the same bedroom and I remember us waking up and getting excited about there being stockings stuffed with presents at the end of the bed. Of course we tore through them and then I opened up a new watch. The time read 3am. I think I had a quick sneak downstairs to check the living room clock to confirm that it was the correct time. Back to sleep it was then…

    Being in Paris Around Christmas Time

    In my first year of university I had the chance to go to Paris for a photography convention. It was late November, so not quite Christmas but everything was decorated! It was such a fun few days and I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit up and glittering every so often with the Christmas lights. We also got the chance to experience Paris Christmas Markets!

    Christmas Memories // #4 of Blogmas '16

    Visiting Lapland

    Easily the best thing I remember. One year I won a poetry competition on the radio. Yes, my poem won. No, I can’t remember it. I was in year 5 I think, and my teacher had told the class about it and had us each enter. Anyway, I was the lucky one who won a trip to Lapland and it was amazing. We caught an early flight in the morning, had the full day there and then flew home late the same night. We were each given a big snow suit and spent the day walking around in thick snow, going down ice slides, eating food and drinking warm juice and getting sleigh rides from reindeers and huskies! Oh, we also met Santa. Obviously.

    What are your favourite memories?


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    Blogmas, Fitness

    My Winter Trail Running Must-haves // #3 of Blogmas ’16

    Winter running is hard. Not only does it get dark at 4pm, but you’re running in freezing cold temperatures, there’s ice about, your lips are getting chapped and you’ve got that awful decision of whether to layer up so you’re warm to begin with, or start with less layers than you want just because you know you’ll warm up after a mile or so.

    30901968490_7b63e78c15_o

    I’ve never managed to run consistently over winter simply because I’m a huge wimp. I hate the cold. I’ve been sleeping in pyjamas, my dressing gown and a 15 tog duvet! This year I aim to change that, so I’ve been taking a good look at my winter gear. Having fallen out a little with road running (it’s boring when you’ve done so much trail running!) this is stuff I think necessary for when you’re out on the trail. It is for me at least!

    Suitable Running Shoes

    imageFirst on the list, and one of the most important. When trail running in winter, your main nemesis is either really sloggy mud and ankle deep puddles or slippery ice. I’ve done my fifth Park Run and I’ve experienced a range of conditions, including said mud, puddles and ice. I can’t stress enough just how important having a suitable pair of running shoes is.

    Those designed for trail running generally have really grippy soles, and they do feel weird to run on pavement in. They’re bumpy so they can grip properly onto that slippy mud and loose gravel. They’re also a little more hard wearing and supportive.

    I recently bought some new trail shoes as I noticed that mine really didn’t have the grip that I needed when doing my local park run. It’s quite a hilly route and it includes mud/loose gravel and more recently ice.

    On the left is a before/after of my first outing with them! (And below is their second outing – that was a muddy run!) I love a nice clean shoe, but oh it felt so good to see just how muddy they get. I’ve become a lover of getting dirty. The muddy kind.

    A Running Distance/Time Tracker

    Okay so you don’t need this. Not really. You certainly don’t need a fancy and expensive watch. That said, I personally think they’re super useful and help you to keep hitting goals. If you just want to run as a way to take time out, fair enough, but I would say that the majority end up wanting to hit certain times or distances.

    To measure this accurately, you really do need a tracker of sorts. There are plenty of free apps – Strava, Runkeeper, Map My Run etc – so I would definitely get one of those downloaded! All you need is your phone and your location/gps turned on. My go-to when I forget my watch is Runkeeper, just because it was where I started originally. I’ve never tried Strava but I believe it has a good community section!

    Then you have gps watches. I definitely prefer this way of tracking myself, and I’ve been using a Garmin Forerunner 10 for the past 3 or 4 years. I will finally be upgrading this Christmas and it’ll be another Garmin. There are so many different ones out there though, with the other most popular besides Garmin seeming to be TomTom.

    2016-11-19 12.34.09-1

    Winter Running Clothing

    The problem with winter running is that you’re absolutely freezing when you set out, but after 5-10 minutes or so you’ve warmed up and discover that you’re wearing too many layers. I mean, maybe more conditioned runners don’t have this problem but as I said right at the beginning, I’m a wimp. I put on loads of layers because I know I’ll be absolutely freezing at first and I hate it. This image pretty much proves my point. Don’t I look cool? No?
    image
    You can’t really tell, but I’m wearing a long sleeved top, then a short sleeved top and then my thin rain jacket on top. Fortunately, the jacket has removable sleeves so when I did inevitably get too hot during this run I could just unzip the sleeves and let that cold air get to my arms. (You can see in the top photo that I haven’t unzipped yet!)

    So what do I recommend?

    + Something to cover your ears. A lot of people run without, but I just find being out in the cold far more comfortable with a hat or a headband covering my ears.

    + Gloves. Numb fingers from the cold is the absolute worst! I would choose gloves over a long-sleeved top any day!

    + A good base layer. The aim of this kind of clothing is to keep you dry, warm and comfortable and they do this by wicking moisture away from your body. These come in all styles – long-sleeved, short-sleeved, vest, long tights, shorts – so you can just choose whatever suits you.

    + Socks. You can wear any really, but those specially designed for running are just way more comfortable, especially when you’re feet get wet! And they will get wet trail running in winter. Trust me. I only have a couple of pairs of actual running designed socks, so I need to remedy this.

    + Lip balm. Not clothing, but it’s a personal item and well, after the last couple of weeks I’ve realised just how important it is!

    A Sense of Adventure!

    You’ve just got to have fun with it really! My favourite part about trail running is that you never really know what to expect. One day you could be running in the glorious sunshine, the ground is hard beneath you as you run through the trees. The next day it could be pouring down, you’re splashing through puddles, not another soul in sight. You could run the same trail every week, but each time there’ll be something different about it. For me, it’s what makes running fun.

    2016-11-26 09.45.10


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