Friday, 17 November 2017

Lessons in Love



L O V E - that four letter word that means oh-so much.

I've always been a hopeless romantic. From falling for the happy endings of Disney films as a child to swooning over the love stories in the Young Adult books I was usually ensconced in as a tween, love has forever been at the forefront of my mind. I always believed that there was such a thing as true love (despite a period of declaring that all boys were gross and that I would rather die than get married - we all went through that phase, right?!) and I still do, to this day. But, I also think there are lots of different types of romantic love, too.

When I was the ripe old age of fifteen, I fell in love for the very first time. It was that scary, all-consuming, Romeo and Juliet, obsessive, dramatic love and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. When you're that age, love is everything. Even if you're probably too young to understand it, you fall down a rabbit hole of smooshy love songs, kissing in the rain, 'I can't bear to be apart from you' love. It's a love that consumes you, like everything does when you're a teenager, and it's almost dangerous in its vivacity. It's the love I read about in those very YA books, and there's something so enticing about how unrelenting it is. For me, though, looking back, I think it was more the romanticised idea of that kind of love that appealed to me, and whilst I'm glad I got a chance to experience it, I'm so incredibly glad it's over with now.

My second experience of love came when I hit 17. This love couldn't have been further from my previous experience with that powerful four-letter word. This time, there was no kissing in the rain, no love songs or drama. This was a forced love - a love I wanted so bad through being scared of being alone. It's a love that went on for four long years - but, looking back, I can't really remember any stand-out moments from that time. I sometimes wonder if I was ever really in love then - it was more like two people being so afraid of being alone that they stayed with each other, and loved each other, despite not actually being in love with one another. It was a type of love that nobody deserves, and so, after four years, I made one of the hardest decisions I've ever made, and walked away from it. It wasn't hard because of the love I felt for the person, as harsh as that sounds, but because I was walking away from the comfort blanket I'd had wrapped around me for so long. I was going it alone again, and that terrified me.

My third, and, hopefully final, experience of love came out of nowhere. It hit me like a lightening bolt from across a crowded dance floor and the butterflies I felt then have stayed with me ever since. This love is so different from the first two - it feels so real. It's so different, in fact, that it almost feels bad even comparing it to the previous two. I'll admit, that first encounter felt like a dream - not just looking back, but on the night itself - as we parted ways I honestly felt like I'd found my soulmate. Now, over five years later, I'm even more sure of that. This love is special because it's not all grand gestures, The Notebook-esque moments and love songs. It's the simple things, like just being together. It's walking around the supermarket together, arguing over which show to watch on Netflix, laughing over the other one's questionable outfit choices. It's knowing that the other person has got your back, no matter what. It's sticking by each other even when times are tough, and coming out the other side stronger than ever. It's real, and that's what makes it so different from those previous experiences.

I honestly believe that everybody deserves to feel true love, and experience it in the best possible way, at least once in their lifetime. I also believe that spending your time settling for anything less simply isn't worth it. If you have that sinking feeling in your stomach that this love isn't the right one for you - get out, no matter how hard that might feel. Free yourself from it so that when your real, true love walks through the door there is nothing standing in your way.

Outfit deets: 
Dress*: Joanie Clothing (it's old but they have some amazing pieces right now!) 
Love balloon*: Party Delights
SHARE:

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Importance of Self-Care



If there's one thing I think we all need to make more time for, it's self-care. In the fast-paced world we're living in, with everyone striving to be successful, busy and constantly achieving, self-care is one thing that always seems to fall by the wayside. Even for those of us who aren't always on-the-go, finding the time to make self-care a priority is still a rare occurrence. Particularly if you struggle with mental health, which is often when self-care goes well and truly out of the window, I think it's so imperative to force yourself to take time to unwind and look after yourself.

I'm definitely guilty of neglecting my self-care. I might spend my weekend watching Netflix, which I'm sure for some people would be classed as self-care, but for me it isn't. I'll become so ensconced in what I'm watching that I'll forget to look after myself. I'll forget to have a healthy lunch, forget to step outside and breathe in the fresh air and when the evening comes, forget to do my skincare properly. Sometimes, we need to sacrifice the things we enjoy doing to practise self-care, as odd as that might sound.

As this week is Self Care Week, I thought I'd put a little list together to give you some inspiration on the ways you can practise self-care on a daily basis...

Rise early

Now, I will openly admit it: I really, really love a lie-in. Sleeping is one of my favourite things ever, and so when the weekend comes around and I get a chance to have an extra-long snooze, I usually do. However, I don't really think it does me or my mood any good at all. I often wake up feeling more tired than I would if I'd got up earlier, and my day ends up being wasted. This being the case, my first tip for self-care has got to be rising early. As hard as it might be (and trust me, I know) getting up earlier (even on the weekend!) can really do wonders for your wellbeing. I love having so much more of the day stretching out in front of me, and there's nothing better than a crisp walk in the autumn air early in the morning when the world around you is still sleeping. Try it - I promise you won't be disappointed.

Exercise

I am the queen of putting off exercise. I will literally come up with any excuse not to - I'm too tired, I have too much to do, the gym will be too busy... the list goes on. The funny thing is, once I've actually completed my workout (and sometimes, would you believe it, during my workout) I feel so good. They say exercise boosts your endorphins and I couldn't agree more - I just need to convince pre-workout me that this is the case! Whether it's taking your dog on an extra-long walk, hitting up the gym or even doing a little at-home workout, moving your body will definitely boost your self-care. 

Get organised 

I think I go into a little meltdown when my surroundings are a mess - I'm moody, stressed-out and rarely productive. This is why I think having an organised, tidy space to live in is so very important when it comes to self-care: you're never going to feel great if you're not happy with the environment you're in! So, I'd suggest giving your home a spring-clean, and look at ways to keep yourself more organised. A tidy house is a tidy mind, after all.

Write it down

If things are getting too much for you, almost as though there are too many tabs open in your head, get out a pen and paper and write it down. This is something I definitely need to do more often - I over-think everything and often have so many different things going on at the same time I feel a little bit all over the place. Writing down how you're feeling can be really, really helpful in helping you straighten things out in your mind. I definitely need to do it more often! 


Step away from social media

Social media... ah, it brings us so much joy and yet causes so much pain too. When it comes to taking time for yourself and really, truly practising self-care, I think it's so important to put your phone away. Aimlessly scrolling through social media doesn't do anyone any favours (read my post on that here) and seeing pictures of Insta-famous girls with their so-called "perfect" lives isn't going to make anyone feel good. So, turn your phone off and relish your time spent away from the online world. It'll make you feel so much better - I promise! 


Treat yourself

Okay, so I don't mean go and do a crazy £100 shopping spree round Primark, but more like taking the time to treat yourself to things when you know you deserve it. If you've been working your arse off at work, why not buy the Topshop bag you've been lusting after for months? If you're feeling tired and run-down and in need of a serious pamper, why not book a spa weekend with the girls? Even treating yourself to a meal out with your other half can work wonders. We need treats to get us by sometimes, and as long as we don't do it so often it loses all meaning, I definitely think it helps our self-care. 


Meditate

So, I'm going to admit that I've only ever done this a couple of times in my life, but it's something I definitely want to try more of. There are tonnes of meditation apps out there to help you 'zone out' and have some serious chill time, which I definitely think we need more of in this 'go, go, go!' world. Headspace is an app I'm going to try and incorporate into my daily routine - it's all about meditation and mindfulness, and I know lots of people swear by it. Do you ever meditate?

Let me know what your tips for self-care are!
SHARE:

Monday, 13 November 2017

Gel Polish at Home: Candy Coat Review


Despite being a beauty blogger and lover of all things makeup, I actually hate painting my nails. This is mainly because I'm impatient, hate waiting for nail polish to dry and when I think it's dry, I'll go to bed, only to find when I wake up the next morning that there are imprints all over my nails. Not cute. I also hate the fact that I go through all the effort of painting/waiting around for my nails, only to find they chip after a couple of days.

After dealing with the farce that is doing my nails for the past 20 or so years, I decided it was time to change things up, save time and give my nails a better, stronger finish with the help of gel polish. I went to the salon a few times to have them done by a professional, then decided I'd buy a lamp and have a go at DIYing them. The only thing was, I couldn't find any decent gel polishes - until Candy Coat came along.

I hadn't heard of Candy Coat until recently, but as soon as I landed on their website and social media I was in love. They're everything I love in a brand - super girly and fun, with a similar vibe to the likes of Skinny Dip London and Spectrum Collections. They were generous enough to send me over a big bundle of nail goodies, including gel polishes and some incredible glitters, and even the box my bits came in was covered in unicorns, rainbows, bows and glitter hearts.

As soon as I started using these polishes I fell in love. They are so easy to apply and super pigmented - even really pale colours (like the lilac pictured above) go on super opaque in just two coats. The colour range they have on the website is insane too - they have every shade you could ever want, as well as metallic shades, holographic shades and glitters. To use the loose glitters you literally grab some of their Sticky Sugar Glaze, cure it and then dab your chosen glitter on over the top. The purple holographic glitter they sent me is absolutely insane (you can take a peek at it on my nails over on my Instagram here) and was so quick and easy to do. At around £8 a pop (holographic and some glitter shades are a bit more money) I think they are amazing and I will most definitely be placing an order for some autumnal shades, as well as some of their accessories (they do incredible rainbow tools as well as every kind of nail brush you'd ever need!)

Do you do your own gel nails? Let me know if you've tried Candy Coat before!
SHARE:

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Four Thrillers to Sink Your Teeth into This Halloween


Happy Halloween! If, like me, you're planning on having a spooky evening in, curled up on the sofa with treats, then this post is for you. Whilst the majority of Halloween fans might be heading to parties or out on the town in costume, when it comes to Halloween my favourite thing to do is carve my pumpkin, and snuggle down with either a spooky film or something equally as scary to read.

As I've been completely obsessed with reading thrillers lately, it made sense to do a little run-down of my favourites on the scariest day of the year. There's just something about the thrill (pardon the pun) of reading thrillers that has me choosing them over any other book these days! Here are some I've been reading lately (all of which are available on Kindle, if you fancy a read asap) and what I thought to them...

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant 
Paul Morris, the lead protagonist in this story, is a bit of a compulsive liar and within the first few pages I'd already taken a total disliking to him. It tells the story of how he lies his way into his new girlfriend Alice's life, and goes away with her and her friends to a villa on a Greek island. Alice is seemingly obsessed with the disappearance of Jasmine, a teenager who vanished from the island a year previously, which is the main focus of the novel and when things start to get really interesting.

I really enjoyed this book and it definitely had me guessing, but I would say it's a bit of a slow-burner and not quite as gripping as the other books included in this round-up. It's definitely still worth a read though!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Okay, so this is quite possibly the best thriller I've ever read. I picked it up on a whim when I was in the supermarket, and boy am I glad I did. Throughout the book we see things from Louise and Adele's points of view. Adele is beautiful, charming and elegant - although seemingly slightly unhinged, as she befriends Louise once she finds out she is sleeping with her husband, David. The two bond over their shared experiences with night terrors, and as we learn of Adele's past in a mental institution, things start to take a sinister turn.

This book will have you gripped the whole way through and is full to the brim with twists and turns, constantly leaving you guessing. It's unsettling, full of suspense and honestly the ending is like nothing I've ever read. You NEED to read this book.

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land 
Annie's mother is a serial killer. After years of experiencing her abuse and witnessing countless murders of innocent children, Annie hands her into the police. Given a new name and a whole new life, Annie becomes Milly, and moves in with a foster family in London. But, as the trial of her mother looms, will her ties to her ever really be severed?

'Good Me Bad Me' is unnerving, suspenseful and brilliant. I couldn't put it down and never expected the ending. Another must-read for thriller fans.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
I'd seen loads of bloggers raving about this book on social media so couldn't resist joining in the fun! The book begins as Anne and her husband Marco are enjoying a dinner party at their neighbours' house, which happens to be next door to theirs. Their host, Cynthia, had insisted that no children were allowed at the party, and so Anne and Marco had left their baby daughter at home, checking on her intermittently throughout the night. When they go home and find her missing, however, their world begins to fall apart. But who could have taken her?

This was another total page-turner and one that had just enough twists and turns. Whilst I did somewhat guess the ending, it still kept me entertained and is perhaps the most 'real' of all the other books I've mentioned.

Have you read any of these? Let me know your favourite thrillers in the comments, and also what you'll be getting up to this Halloween!
SHARE:
All images and content © Hannah Vickers 2010- unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE BY pipdig