Lifestyle

Home Renovation… Part One!!!

So as I mentioned in my New Years blog, me and my boyfriend, Marcus, have finally purchased our own house!! After a gruelling and painfully drawn out six months, where at times we thought it was all going to fall through and we were never going to get there, on the 5th April, we FINALLY got the keys (see below for the cheesy obligatory ‘we-are-about-to-enter-our-home-for-the-first-time’ snap!!).

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As I mentioned previously, this is definitely a project home. The décor is rather dated, and as soon as we walked in, we could both see the potential that the house could have – from knocking walls down, building new rooms and reconstructing the garden, we couldn’t wait to get our hands dirty and start working on it – which we have been doing for the last 10 days! I booked the week off work, which also happened to fall on the Easter weekend (so an extra 2 bank holiday days off – bonus!) meant I was able to fully get invested in working on the house. Now whilst it may not be the most relaxing time off I’ve ever had, and certainly not glamorous (no lounging around by a pool drinking wine, unfortunately) it has actually been a fantastic stress reliever, and knowing that this house is all ours and the hard work we have been putting into it, makes it all worth it.

As a bonus, it’s also a great workout – carting bucketfuls of rubble to and from the skip on a daily basis, stripping wallpaper and hammering out skirting boards meant I didn’t feel the need to hit the gym so much as I knew I was doing a lot of physical labour – and I certainly felt this every morning, waking up with a new part of my body aching!!! I’m also certain I’ve developed an even more unhealthy addiction to caffeine, and there is no way I’m ever going to get every bit of dust that has lodged itself in my hair out, nor am I ever again going to have nice nails!!

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We’ve also had some great help from family members, and as you’ll see from the pictures, also two little mischief makers named Merlin and Oscar who manage to get themselves into the majority of pictures!!!

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So this is what we’ve been getting up to for the last ten days – and whilst I’m under no illusions this isn’t going to take a hell of a lot longer (after all, it takes days to rip everything out, however I know it will take four times as long to get it exactly how we want it!!) I can’t wait to go through the next phase of starting to pick out our furniture, colour schemes and general décor. Head over to my Pinterest if you’d like to see my ideas evolving, and I’ll be updating you with another blog post soon to show you how we are getting on!!

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Health, Lifestyle

2016.. A Review

So what can I say about the year 2016… well, I would say that it hasn’t gone quite as swimmingly as I’d have hoped.. as I’m sure most of you’ll agree, and from what I’ve seen from some of the fantastically thought out meme’s that have been circling the internet, 2016 hasn’t exactly been the best year all round. We’ve lost many well-known influencers of our time, and after many political surprises, it has been an odd year, and myself, like most people are quite glad to see the back of it. However, even though there have been some peaks and troughs this year, I still thought as an end to the year, and to begin 2017, it would be quite nice to do a review of what has gone well, what maybe hasn’t gone quite so well, and what I’ve learnt along the way.

First of all, I thought I would look at the New Year’s Resolutions that I set for myself at the beginning of this year, and see how well I managed to keep them…

Eat clean and experiment with my cooking so I can enjoy healthy and delicious meals

I’ve been really good this year with experimenting with my cooking – not necessarily trying out wild and outrageous foods that I would never normally eat, but more so that I’ve been creating meals from scratch, with some exciting new recipes. One big influencer of this for me, has been Madeleine Shaw. She has such a positive outlook on food, and how it not only affects your physical body, but also how your diet can affect you mentally. I really struggle with anxiety, and one thing that has helped me with keeping this under control is focusing on eating well and keeping my body nourished. I’m sure you’ll have seen in some of my previous blog posts as well as my Instagram feed, the different recipes I have been trying out and experimenting with.

Now I won’t lie, I haven’t been completely on the band wagon with eating clean and healthy all the time. I have definitely drank far too much alcohol this year. Usually, I will eat clean during the week, and on the weekend is my allotted time to have a few well-deserved drinks and a few naughty snacks. However, this year I have found myself on several occasions having a mid-week tipple, which has inevitably led to bad food choices, such as morning bacon rolls to make my day at work more bearable, as well as heavy carbs such as pizza and pasta etc. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing I’m treating myself because I do think that you need a break, and when you really feel like you need the garlic bread, you should damn well have that garlic bread! But for me, I know that I feel at my best when I’ve been sticking to a clean diet, and this keeps me on track. I have also noticed that my biggest anxiety flare ups have been when I’ve had a heavy weekend in terms of alcohol and bad food. The bad food choices have also led to weight gain, bad skin and generally feeling a bit down in the dumps, so I know that in order for me to feel good again, feel positive and in control, I need to get my diet back on track.

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Catch up with friends at least once a month

Now this one, I have done much better than I thought I would!! I have made the time to catch up with friends, and whether that’s just going for a coffee on my lunch break with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, right through to spending a weekend away with my old uni friends, I’m really pleased with how well I’ve done here. This one was really important to me, especially as the majority of my really close friends lives quite far away, so I wanted to ensure I made a conscious effort to see this through, and I’m proud to say I have and I definitely feel better for it.

Get more sleep

Now I may have slightly over committed here…!! As someone who loves sleep, I definitely think I have taken this one to a whole new level!! During the week, I used to stay up until gone 11pm, and wake up in the morning feeling groggy and lacking energy. This year, I do think I have been much more sensible, and am generally in bed by 10pm at the very latest. Other than this, my weekends are absolutely my favourite time to get some well-earned sleep in – I allow myself at least one day on a weekend where I lie in for as long as I possibly can – as well as a few mid-afternoon naps sneaking in there!

Don’t take things too seriously (I’m a serial worrier)

Now this one, I haven’t completed to its full potential. Unfortunately, due to the fact I am quite a sensitive person, an over thinker and a serial worrier, I knew this one was going to be tough, as this is pretty much ingrained in me – however, I think this is more of a long term resolution that will take time to achieve, and I need to put certain measures in place in order for me to do this, such as making more time for myself and practising mindfulness. So I don’t necessarily see this one as a failure – but more of a working progress for me to actively build upon.

What else have I achieved this year? 

Other than looking at my resolutions and how well (or not so well) I did at keeping them, I thought it would also be nice to actually look at some of the key things that I have accomplished this year that weren’t necessarily in my resolutions.

Finished my CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing

This has been an absolutely gruelling two years. Whilst my friends were out partying, and colleagues were heading down to the pub for some after work drinks, I was cooped up in an office tuning into some webinars and burying my head in a text book. Whilst everyone was chilling out on the weekend doing fun things and relaxing, I was heading into the office to hammer out my latest assignment. Whilst the world was sleeping in on a Sunday, I was up at dawn with my laptop, with only caffeine to get me through. I sacrificed the majority of my free time for this, and I’m so glad that after all my hard work, I achieved this, with merit, at the end of it. It sent my anxiety through the roof, and at times I thought about packing it all in as I simply didn’t feel it was worth it, but I’m so glad I stuck it out and now have a great qualification to help further my development for the long term.

My sister got married

This was one of the most wonderful days to date, as I watched my sister marry my now brother-in-law. It was the first time in for as long as I can remember that my whole family spent the entire day together, and it was such a lovely occasion.

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We bought at house!!

After a year of searching, going from house to house on the weekends and evenings, me and my boyfriend have finally found our own house that will be completely all ours. I feel like this is jinxing it slightly as it hasn’t completely gone through yet, but I’m far too excited not to tell you all about it. As someone who is a lover of interiors, home-ware, and real ‘project homes’, as is my boyfriend, we both really wanted a house that we could completely strip back to the bare structure and rebuild so it was our perfect home, exactly how we want it. For so long it didn’t seem this would be able to happen, as all of the houses we saw were either far too expensive, or the wrong location, wrong size etc. We’d just about given up on finding this, until one evening we just decided to go and see a house, that we didn’t even think we’d like. We both absolutely fell in love with it, and we have finally got that dream home (almost!!). So I cannot wait to get the keys and focus on building this up, so you can look forward to some blog posts and pictures on this as it progresses next year!

Travelled to new places 

Another way my anxiety affects me is when I travel. It has caused me to not enjoy my holidays sometimes. It’s incredibly frustrating because I do really love the idea of exploring new places, and I don’t want to miss out, so I’ve been trying to overcome this by travelling to as many places as possible in the hope I will get used to it!! This year has been a good year of doing this, through several mini breaks I’ve managed to fit in with friends, family and my boyfriend. These included a romantic trip to Paris, which I blogged about earlier this year, a couple of great holidays to Portugal which has become my new favourite relaxing holiday destination, as well as a long weekend in Dublin and some lovely day trips to the likes of big cities such as Birmingham and London. I want to continue to do this next year, and one of the first things I have booked is Glastonbury, which I am SO excited for!! Now don’t get me wrong – it has still been quite tough for me visiting these places, and not every moment has been wonderful as my anxiety seems to catch me out of the blue at the worst of times, but it is something I am working on, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through these moments, and coming out the other side feeling just a little better every time.

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Looking ahead…

As I said at the beginning of this year, I don’t want to set myself up for a fall, or encroach silly resolutions onto myself that I know I won’t be able to keep. I’d rather set some general resolutions, which aren’t so strict and that I can look at them in a positive way and be excited about, rather than be filled with dread at the thought that I’m going to have to give something up. So here are the general goals/resolutions I have set myself for this year:

Blog at least once a month

Blogging is something that I have found I really really enjoy doing. I love creating my own content, on areas that interest me, using my own photos and completely finding my own platform and outlet to be creative. I haven’t been great this year at keeping up regularly with my blog, and I really need to ensure that this year I MAKE the time to sit down, plan my blogs and find time to write them too. Too many times, I’ve been in bed about to go to sleep and have a sudden idea, and so I don’t forget it, quickly sit up for 20 minutes and write a rough draft, or I’m out and about and think of an idea, but then I busy myself with something else and completely forget it. I really need to put some time aside to develop these ideas, and ensure I keep up with my blog as much as I can.

Budget better

Now this year I managed to completely clear my overdraft from my university days, which I was so so happy about. It completely lifted a weight off my shoulders, as I knew that I was debt free in terms of my general day to day bank account. However, I made the rash mistake of applying for a credit card – my reasoning behind it was for any unplanned emergencies where I needed to pay for something, or if I was booking a holiday that I could pay off over a couple of months. This seemed relatively sensible at the time, however I’ve ended up using it for everything, so I’m pretty much in the same position I was in at the beginning of the year!! So in 2017, I plan to budget much more effectively in order to pay this off, and get that worry off my shoulders.

Make more time for myself

This is something I really need to do more of. I need to look after myself a lot more than I am currently doing, and set aside time to completely relax and chill out – whether that’s taking a relaxing bath to reflect on the day, attending a yoga class to relax myself and bring about positive energy, getting myself lost in a book – this is about taking my own time to be calm, self-reflect and ensure that I am feeling as relaxed and positive as I can be, and wind down in the best way possible. Again, this is something that should help to keep my anxiety under control, and I know from experience this has worked previously, so I am really looking forward to spending more time looking after me.

Start and end the day with a positive thought (write it down!)

I started this at the beginning of this year, and actually this really did help. Even if it was just 2 minutes of sitting there and reflecting on my day, thinking about what I was grateful for, really made me feel much better. It helped clear my mind about everything bad that may have happened that day as it helped to focus my mind on the good, so I really want to ensure that I practice this again. It really does only take 2 minutes to do, so I have no excuse not to stick to it!!!

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So there you have it – my year in review, and what I hope to achieve for 2017. I’d love to know your thoughts, and any resolutions you might have also.

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Lifestyle

Getting into the festive season..

As the Christmas season is now upon us, the festivities and general traditions surrounding Christmas have started to begin; The chill in the air, the festive frost filtering through the fields, beautiful lights and decorations that line the streets, the bustle of Christmas shoppers, the smell of cinnamon and fresh mince pies, the grand opening of the Christmas markets, and most of all, generally people are starting to seem much jollier. There is an excited thrill in the air that surrounds Christmas, and this is what makes Christmas so magical.

Now this year, for various reasons, I haven’t been as high in spirits for Christmas – which is extremely unlike me. Ever since I was a child, I was always the annoying child bugging my Mum to get the Christmas tree as soon as Halloween was over, and picking up a Christmas accessory, however tacky every time we went shopping. I love everything about it – even now, I’m usually the first with tinsel draped all over my desk at work (much to the dismay of colleagues when it’s not even December yet) and the first purchase of the long-awaited Christmas sandwich from the supermarket. Now as Christmas only comes round once a year, I decided I really needed to snap myself out of this scroogy mood, and do as much as I could to ensure I fully embraced the festive season.

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Present buying

Now I know this might sound a bit cliché, but one of my favourite things truly about Christmas, is buying gifts for other people. I love putting a lot of thought into my gifts, and carefully choosing gifts which I know (or I hope I know!) people will absolutely love. I love physically going Christmas shopping also, as opposed to doing everything online – in previous years I have done the majority of my shopping online, and whilst this is the much easier option, and sometimes definitely the least stressful, I love nothing more than walking around the shops and fully embracing the festivities. One of my favourite places to shop for gifts is department stores– purely due to the fact they tend to deck out their entire stores with stunning Christmas decorations and play Christmas music much to my delight!

Present Wrapping

Now what comes after buying presents for your loved ones… wrapping them!! I’m the sort of person who actively seeks out beautifully colour co-ordinated wrapping paper and ribbons. I thoroughly enjoy wrapping, and making my gifts look irresistible to open. I think this comes from watching all the Christmas movies as a child, such as Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone, where under their Christmas tree were always the most beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts. One retail store which did some beautiful pre-wrapped Christmas gifts this year, was Lush Cosmetics. They had an entire Christmas gift section, with some absolutely beautifully pre-wrapped Christmas gift boxes, which I absolutely love. Needless to say, even though I love doing my own wrapping, I simply could not resist purchasing one of these, A – because Lush Cosmetics was a perfect gift for somebody, and also I just could not resist how meticulously wrapped it was.

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Christmas Markets

Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more, than a good old Christmas market. The smell of hot cinnamon pretzels and mulled wine, along with seeing all of the sweet little market stalls housing gorgeous homemade wreaths and intricate decorations. I don’t tend to go to these markets with the plan to make any purchases, but they are just perfect for having a mooch around and really getting yourself into the Christmas spirit. There is always such a buzzing atmosphere and everyone is generally in a pleasant and festive mood. I love nothing more than have a sit down in the outdoor seating area at the market with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, watching all of the happy shoppers bustling along and taking in the sweet scents and surroundings that the market brings.

Christmas Music

And by Christmas music, I mean cracking out the Michael Buble CD and singing at the top of my lungs in the car! Different types of music can trigger such strong moods and emotions within you, and Christmas music for me just brings out pure happiness and excitement as the festive season approaches. Even hearing the introductory tones of Home Alone 2, or the Holiday straight away brings the excitement of Christmas, and all of those different childhood memories that music can trigger –it brings back memories of my childhood, such as Christmas morning as I used to come dashing down the stairs and bursting into the living room, to see a pile of presents from Santa and hearing the Christmas music blasting out.

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Christmas Movies

Every year, I do my own ‘advent calendar’ of Christmas movies – I aim to watch at least one Christmas movie every single day of December for the lead up to Christmas, in order to feel as festive as possible. This year’s started with the Santa Claus Movie, whilst snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea! Again, these bring back such wonderful childhood memories of watching these movies all throughout my life at Christmas, and there is nothing better than a feel good festive movie.

Christmas Decorations

I need to ensure the environment around me is as Christmassy as possible, in order for me to feel fully  festive, and what better way to do that than making the house as Christmassy as possible. Every year, I always aim to have my house decorated on the evening of the 30th November, so that as soon as I wake up on the 1st December, I can begin to embrace Christmas as fully as possible!! One of my favourite things is finding new Christmassy accessories to decorate my home with every year. One thing I absolutely adore is candles. I love the scent that fills your home, and how cosy they can make a room – this year I have a beautiful Christmas Yankee Candle, that has the scent of sweet apple and Cinnamon. I love the fact that it’s really long lasting, and when I return home from work I can still smell the scent from the previous day. And of course, what better to have than an honorary Santa in the house?! I picked this up from John Lewis, and it’s the perfect addition to go next to my Christmas tree.

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So these are the things that really do get me feeling excited and happy about the festive season, and I’d love to hear what gets you feeling festive.

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Beauty, Lifestyle

Destressing after a busy week…. Time to hit the Twilight Spa

If I have a busy and stressful week, whether that’s to do with work, studying or anything else that may have cropped up, I hate entering my weekend with that stress still weighing heavily upon my shoulders. I like to thoroughly enjoy my weekends, making them as stress-free and care-free as possible. The weekend is my ‘me time’… To truly relax and rejuvenate, so when Sunday night comes around, I feel recharged and ready to take on whatever the week ahead has in store for me.

Now for most of us, when 5pm hits on Friday, we have that exhilarating feeling that now, we are free, and the weekend has begun. We can leave work with a spring in our step and start to celebrate this next two days of bliss. For me, I used to destress by going to the pub after work, enjoying a few drinks with my work colleagues which inevitably led to dinner, more drinks and then stumbling into bed at around 12am. Now whilst at the time, I thought I was letting my hair down and destressing, in the morning it was an entirely different story. I wake up feeling groggy, a bit heavy-headed and with absolutely no energy. I’d waste the best part of my Saturday in bed, watching trash tv and sipping on a cup of coffee. The stresses of that previous week are still playing on my mind, and I don’t feel like I’m truly relaxed and ready to go. Now don’t get me wrong, to some this would be the ideal way to spend a Saturday. But for me, as quite a generally anxious and stressed person, This isn’t the best way for me to leave the week behind. This is something I only discovered recently, when I started to truly try to take care of myself , so I started to try to make some changes to the way I destress after a busy week, so that I could really enjoy my weekends. This week, I found myself lucky enough to be heading to a spa evening with one of my best friends, and to me this was absolutely the perfect way to spend my Friday night.

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As we entered the spa, we were greeted by a friendly therapist who sat us both down in the dining area, with a glorious cup of tea and handed us our complimentary robes and towels, with a list of treatments for us to enjoy. We had both pre-booked a relaxing body scrub, and I was SO looking forward to it!! We had an hour until our treatments, so we chose to relax for half an hour in the outdoor jacuzzi. I couldn’t help but feel the sense of glee that this is how I was spending my evening.

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We then took a slow walk up to the treatment area, where I was greeted by my lovely therapist for evening, and the indulged in a 30 minute glorious body scrub. This is the moment where I could truly let my mind switch off, focus on my breathing and surroundings, and truly begin to relax.

I then made my way to the relaxation room, where I was offered some refreshing cucumber and mint water, reclined on the most comfortable seats, and treated myself to a catch up on the latest edition of Elle magazine. I relaxed here for about half an hour until my friend came out from her treatment, and we then made our way to the main dining area, where we sat with yet more refreshing cucumber water and relaxed even further.

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We were then invited to dinner at the spa’s restaurant, so we got ready and made our way across the courtyard. As we walked in, we were greeted by the smell and heat of a roaring fire, candlelit tables and a warm, comforting yet buzzing atmosphere – straight away falling into the comfort of the dining chairs, we sat down and ordered a delicious dinner. We treated ourselves to some delicious haddock fish cakes (pictured below!!) with sautéed spinach and poached egg, followed by some mango and passion fruit sorbet decorated with rich berries. We devoured our delicious dinner, then relaxed for half an hour, soaking up our surroundings and truly enjoying our evening.

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I arrived home at 10pm, feeling completely relaxed, fell into bed in a blissful 8 hour sleep, and woke up this morning completely refreshed, relaxed and ready to start my weekend.

That’s my way to destress after a busy week, and for me this is sheer bliss. I’d love to hear how all of you end your working week, and enter your weekends stress-free.

 

 

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Lifestyle

When In Paris… 

Now if you’ve been following me on Instagram or Snapchat, you will have seen that I’ve been spending the last week exploring the wonders of Paris!! So I thought this week, I will share with you my experiences, my recommendations and also, my top tips if you’re ever to make the journey (which I strongly recommend!!)

Accommodation

We were lucky enough to stay in a lovely hotel right in the centre of Paris, where we were in the centre of all the buzz and able to walk to most places. Even on a budget, it is possible to find a reasonably priced hotel right in the centre of everything, so I would certainly recommend doing this if you can. From the moment we stepped into our hotel, we felt like we were on a movie set- now this, of course was the theme of our hotel- each floor had a theme of a famous movie director, and each hotel room had a theme of a particular movie, which was pretty incredible. Ours was rocky balboa, much to my boyfriends delight! When we enter the hotel, were greeted by two very friendly and welcoming receptionists, who were pleased to accommodate our every request, and give us their best recommendations- as newbies to the area, we knew the great tourist attractions that we wanted to attend, however we had no idea where to eat, what the best way to get to certain places were, and where the best views would be.

Places to eat

Now as you walk along the boulevards of Paris, there are endless places to stop and eat, drink and have a socialise- so many in fact, it’s hard to know which to choose from. One slightly awkward experience was going into what claimed to be a ‘Thai restaurant’, however nothing on the menu seemed to actually reflect any form of Thai food, so we made a swift exit once the waiter turned his back!! We soon realised the best thing to do would be to ask the locals. We became friendly with the reception team at our hotel who gave us their very best tips on where to eat, and where would not rip us off (after all this is a huge tourist attraction and businesses can really capitalise on this). Our hotel recommended a traditional French restaurant called Le Mesturet. We entered the restaurant and it was packed- always a good sign. Even though we hadn’t booked, the waiting staff sat us down in the waiting area with some complimentary snacks whilst we waited for a table, which took only ten minutes. Once we were sat down, we had the waiters full attention, and shortly realising we were English tourists (we stood out like a beacon), he talked us through the menu for our ease. Now as you can see from the photos, they aren’t shy with their portion sizes, and this was truly value for money, so I would definitely recommend getting some tips from the locals if you are unsure on where to go.

Getting around 

You have multiple choices for getting around, including walking, the metro and taxis. Personally, I love to sightsee, and I believe the only way to do that is by walking as much as you can, to see and soak up as much of the French culture as possible. On day two, I convinced my boyfriend how lovely it would be to walk (in the rain I must add!) from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, which took a good hour.. We saw some wonderful sights along the river, walked through some beautiful Parisian streets and the Louvre gardens which were idyllic and picturesque. The only downside was once we arrived… unfortunately they’d closed it for the day, so I had to do some extreme grovelling!!

The metro, again is another great way around- it’s quick and easy, and also very cheap if you’re on a budget. You do just have to be careful for pickpockets and beggars on this form of transport- at times I did feel quite uncomfortable, so I would always definitely choose walking over the metro, if I am able to. Taxi, again is another form of great transport. It is however, quite a luxury – the price can be extremely high, especially when the traffic is bad which in Paris, can be very similar to London. So my advice is to buy some good trainers (if anything it’s the perfect excuse to make a purchase!!) and walk as much as you can, so you truly get to experience the beautiful Paris.

Places to visit

Now there are too many beautiful places that we visited for me to name on here, but there are a couple that stood out for me. First of all, was the Notre Dame. It was completely free entry, and absolutely breathtaking inside. As you can see from the pictures, the whole place was completely majestic and there’s so much history there. I love even the smell of old buildings, you can feel the history coming alive inside.

Another place I absolutely loved was the louvre. I never really knew what to expect, as I hadn’t actually done much research on it- being quite naive, I knew the Mona Lisa was there but that’s about it!! And truly there was so much more to see- some incredible pieces from some incredible eras – my personal favourites being the African, Georgian Era and the Egyptian history. I’ve placed a few of my favourite pieces below for you to see here too. This place truly blew me away with the amount of art and history contained within it.

And last but never least, is the iconic Eiffel Tower. Now unfortunately for us, it started to rain just as we began our tour, but it didn’t spoil the true beauty and history that surrounded us. We had a friendly tour guide who introduced some history behind the Eiffel Tower, who then left us to our own devices whilst we were there to explore by ourselves. We bravely chose to take the lift to the very top floor (eek!) which was quite scary as I’m not the best person to be around when it comes to heights. But the views were truly breathtaking, to see the entirety of Paris at this level, literally watching the city continue its day.


So there you have it- my glorious experiences over a three day trip to the city of love. And what a wondrous place it was.

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Health, Lifestyle

What a beautiful day to be outside… Beer garden, anyone? 

That right there, is the one sentence that absolutely cripples me, and my clean living lifestyle. Days like today, where it’s such a gorgeous day, are a rarity in the UK, so as a proud member of the British public, we all don our sandals and shorts and embrace the glorious sunshine. Weather like this, I truly believe brings the positivity out of the grumpiest of people. On a day like this, I wake up feeling happy and positive, soaking up the gorgeous surroundings. Going out for my morning run in this weather is a delight- there is still a slight frost and chill in the air, but the sun is just starting to rise and I feel like the morning is waking up with me, on its own terms. I can truly take advantage of the fresh morning air and the stunning surroundings at this time, and again this is another thing I love about running in the mornings- it’s extremely refreshing and rejuvenating, and I feel like I’ve had my share of the gorgeous outdoors, before entering an air conditioned office for the hours of 9-5.

This is the season where I enjoy ice cold beverages and summer salads, and being outdoors, so really it’s the perfect weather to complement my clean living lifestyle, which I thoroughly enjoy. However – there is one sentence, one suggestion, and one question that cripples all of my good intentions- “what a beautiful day to be outside – beer garden, anyone?”

This weather, although beautiful, mood-lifting and heart-warming, makes me crave a cold glass of rose in the sun, socialising with friends. Now, we all know how high and dangerous the sugar content of alcohol can be (I choose to remain oblivious when it suits me, I won’t lie to you) and how it can ruin that clean lifestyle a lot of us are trying to live.

Now one of my biggest downfalls is the minute I have a lovely glass of my favourite summer beverage, all willpower goes out the window and I find myself tucking into a glorious portion of nachos, thinking “oh I’ll be okay tomorrow”.

How very wrong I am. I suffer the consequences when I wake up with a dull head, a horrid heavy feeling in my stomach and craving a bacon sandwich, and to me, there is no worse feeling. I absolutely love waking up feeling fresh with a clear head, ready and raring to put my trainers on and tackle the day ahead, and this groggy feeling completely gazzumps any plans I may have previously had.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m all for relaxing, letting my hair down and if I really want that refreshing glass of rose, I’m going to have it if it’s the last thing I do!! But I do need to remind myself how I feel afterwards, the after effects the next day, and the repercussions of this questionable habit.

Now, how do I get past this, do you ask? I know it sounds silly but, as long as I have a beverage of some sort in my hand, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. A cool glass of lime and soda provides me with a satisfying refreshment, as well as not feeling like I’m missing out on socialising. I arrive home at a sociable hour, resist the cravings of greasy food, and I don’t wake up feeling up feeling groggy and moody. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I won’t every drink socially again. But what I am saying is, you don’t always have to feel like you need to join in the bad habits to have a great time socialising with friends, and compromising your own wellness journey whilst you’re at it.

Now that’s one of the ways I choose to avoid those tempting yet unhealthy scenarios, and I’d love to hear yours.

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Lifestyle

Five Ways To Have A Really Great Week

So, let’s start this post with the fantastic feeling that right now, we are in the midst of bank holiday Monday. So right now, every other Monday, we would have all come home, feeling tired from our first day of work. So, let us celebrate with this extra glorious day …. Happy Monday!!!!

Now for the downfalls – for the majority of us, tomorrow is work. Yes, we may have had a fantastic weekend, regardless of whether that consisted of us going out and about, being extremely productive to make sure we made the most of our extra day, or on the other hand, chilling on the sofa and watching reruns of the kardashians (guilty). Whatever you’ve done this weekend, it’s been a great long weekend.

But now the week ahead is looming, and for the majority of us, that Sunday feeling is creeping up. So, here are my ways to ensure you have a really great start to the week, and remain positive about the week ahead;

FOOD PREP
Now for me, I love clean eating and nourishing my body with clean and natural foods. There is nothing worse for me than waking up in the morning and realising I’ve done nothing to prepare. So, why should it be such an effort to prep my food for the week ahead? I spent my Sunday baking Madeleine Shaw’s Coconut & Apricot granola. This took me about 25 minutes, from prep, to cooking time, to being completely ready to eat, so there’s breakfast sorted.

For lunch, I like to have some seasoned chicken or salmon, with lots of veg. I like to know everything I eat is feeding my body with clean and nourishing ingredients. Again, this does not take a lot to prepare.So take 10 minutes to season your meat/fish and throw it in the oven for 30 minutes- and whilst you’re at it, put some frozen veg in the fridge over night ready for tomorrow. It’s a lazy girl’s guide to healthy eating, but as long as you’re nourishing your body, who cares how you do it?

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ORGANISE MY OUTFITS FOR THE WEEK
Now, one thing I love, is to feel great in everything I wear. One of my favourite TV shows is Suits, and one of the reasons is because they all dress so impeccably, and I truly believe that if you feel like you look fabulous, that confidence exudes out of you.

So I like to not only plan my outfits, but ensure I prepare each day’s look. I love to get them ready, side by side, Monday to Friday so I know as soon as I wake up, I’m ready for the day ahead.

WORKOUT
During the working week, my favourite workout time is first thing in the morning, before I get ready for work. As soon as I hit the pavement in my running shoes, it allows me to take in my surroundings, inhale the fresh morning air and be with my own thoughts. I finish my morning run feeling satisfied, ready and raring to go for the day ahead.

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PAMPER YOURSELF
Taking care of yourself is so important. So for me, a good evening pamper is an absolute must. Whether this is a soothing facial, a relaxing manicure or just taking a moment to read a chapter of my favourite book, I like to do something so that when I wake up on Monday morning, I feel ready for the week ahead and feel like I’ve given time to take care of myself.

WRITE DOWN ONE POSITIVE THING EVERY DAY
Now I know this sounds cheesy, but one of my New Years resolutions was to write down one positive thing every morning and every evening. And for me, this has really helped me start and end my day feeling thankful and positive. This morning’s positive thought, like I’m sure most of you felt the same, was “I’m so thankful that we have an extra day to relax and recharge ready for the week ahead.” Personally, if I write it down I feel like I’m giving myself some ‘me time’ so I can self-reflect and take care of myself.

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So there you have it- my top five ways to have a really great start to the week. I’d love to hear yours.

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