Saturday, 16 September 2017

Should we blog for us or for you?


This question is something that often pops in to my head when I think of my own YouTube journey, but also when I dissect the paths of others. I find my mind often goes to this query whenever an opportunity comes my way and I’m going through the internal though process of whether it would be right to accept it. I wanted to put it out to you guys today, just to see if you share my confusion. 

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Monday, 11 September 2017

Fashion: WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FROM?


I haven't been doing a huge amount of fashion content over the last year or so because if I'm honest I haven't had the money to be going shopping willy-nilly, plus filming lookbooks is pretty tricky/impossible for me as a tired lone-wolf without an available and willing blog/YouTube husband. Instead I've been spending money on art equipment, Osteopath appointments, train tickets and study fees. The only times I have shopped this year has been for an occasion that calls for a new outfit, like a wedding or premiere, or if I've had a really poop day and I've allowed myself to treat myself to something affordable in the sales. 

Anyway, that doesn't mean I can't share the few bits I've gotten over the last 9 months or so, just in case any of you like the look of them and would like to style them up yourselves. 
For the first time ever I've used these special links that you see a lot of bloggers use. This is brand new to me so I don't know whether I've done it right, so please tell me if they don't work. Also I'd love to hear your feedback about how you feel about affiliate links on blogs, Instagram or/and YouTube.
Is there a platform you prefer them on to others? Does it put you off my content? 
Let me know! 

Mazza Menswear


 We were shopping in the mens department of H & M to try and find Si a preppy summer blazer to wear on a stag-do he was due to attend in Jersey, one which would involve trips to the races and days on swanky boats. I of course got distracted by a selection of music tee's a few metres away from the suiting and ended up treating myself to this Marilyn Manson tee, figuring it would be a great garb for Bloodstock which I was due to go to courtesy of Kraken Rum.



Living Trellis 

I got this floral body because I wanted some coverage on my arms but still wanted to be cool (in both ways). I wore a sports bra underneath, but you could team with a pretty bralet or a strappy top....or nothing if you're on a mission to free the nipple.


I wore it on a night out in London when attending the screening on Annabelle Creation. At Premiere's you can go all out fancy, but at screenings you want to look like you've made a bit more effort than normal, without being too dressy.


I also wore when I was in Germany for Haldern Festival and teamed with my favourite grungy mustard cardie. 

This is sold out but a similar style by same brand can be found here - http://rstyle.me/n/cr82gcccv6p

The Perfect Denim Jacket

One of those wardrobe pieces that is hard to perfect, and becomes on of your long lasting shopping missions. This summer I finally found my ideal denim in the form of this black (although it's more charcoal grey) denim jacket from New Look and it was only £24. I love how it is slightly boyfriend/retro in fit, and gives any outfit an instant effortless feel.

I wore it at Bloodstock, V Fest and Reading, as well as the Heavy Awards (pictured below). I also wore it when sitting down to be interviewed on a live Facebook stream by Style Counsel. 


New Look Black Denim Jacket.



Silver Boots (similar from Pull and Bear at ASOS) 



V Fest Fashion


I'm not too concerned with looking current or on-trend, and in most of my at home vlogs you'll see me veer more towards comfort than style, but when I'm working with a brand to make a video I want my look to have a bit more impact (so they think I've made an effort and in case they share it). I got a bee in my bonnet about wearing orange, so when I found this orange Metallica tee I was particularly chuffed with myself, although it's probably a bit ironice to wear it to V Fest. These snazzy trousers proved to be very popular when I posted a picture of my outfit on Instagram, and fortunately they're still available to buy for those that messaged me querying where I got them from. A bargain at £15 too!


Pretty Little Things Brown Leopard Print Paperbag Waist Skinny Trousers.  


Boohoo Metallica Lily License Metallica Slogan Bright Tee



Your Wild Side Suits You

Being able to grab everyone you want to talk to on the red carpet is notoriously difficult. Usually I'm doing red carpet interviews for my channel, so aside from being disappointed if I don't get someone I wanted to get, it's never been a problem. However when you've been hired by someone (yes! I got paid), and given a list of people you HAVE to get some soundbites off, the pressure is on. So even though I wouldn't be visible in the final edit of the highlights reel I thought that my chances of getting people's attention may be increased by some sort of loud or out-there outfit. After trawling ASOS for a while I came across this suit. I ummed and ahhh'ed wondering whether it was too Bette Lynch to get away with, but in the end thought sod it, its only fashion! Although it was way out of my comfort zone I definitely enjoyed a night of being a bit more outlandish with my style - I'm sure for many this is tame.
 


Missguided Leopard Print Blazer (from ASOS)


Missguided Leopard Print Cigarette Trouser


Pastel Romance 

If always had a bit of an obsession with pastels, so when I saw this ruffled beauty for sale on the website I knew I had to get it for my friend Mark's wedding. I only got to wear it once this summer, but I can't wait to wear it again next summer hopefully somewhere like Italy where I can wear it to a dinner situated with a view of a majestic lake. One can dream... It's a tad shorter than I tend to wear but because it's not too booby I was willing to put up with that, and teaming it with flats made it feel more within my comfort zone which tends to be in the unsexy area of dressing. 




Grey Dylan Vintahe Floral Ruffle Wrap Dress. Now only £9!!


 The Perfect Slip

This slip dress has got so much wear over the last few months. It's pretty and girly in that 90's way on sunny days, but can be given more wearability when layered over a tee or long sleeve. In the winter I may even try polo necks underneath and wear it with thick tights and boots. I love the patchwork element of it too, it makes it a tad more interesting than the average floral slip. 
An added bonus for those that suffer from bloating, the trapeze fit makes it an ideal option to cover, the print making it impossible to detect the lumps and bumps you'd rather not show.  


With Amber and Jade Pinkett Smith at the screening of Girls Trip

 
Nobody's Child Eleanor Black Mix Print Swing Slip Dress


Maxium Impact
Another item I have only worn once due to lack of reason/weather to wear it a second time. This is the maxi I wore to my brothers wedding. It was supercomfortable and great value for money. I have seen a few celebs in it too, I think it's popular because of it's lovely but unusual colour-way and nature inspired print, but also because of its lovely feminine drop shoulder details.



ASOS Cold Shoulder floral Maxi Dress


Happy Shopping everyone!!


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Is switching off possible?



I won’t go in to the why’s and what’s in this post as I’m going to tackle that in a future post, but last week it was completely necessary for me to step back from my phone and social media. It was wasn’t a case of just wanting to elevate some stress, or done in an effort to implement effective time management, this was a act of saving a life, my life. 

I decided I’d have a few day (or whatever was required) where I wouldn’t post on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and I’d abandon WhatsApp, Text and Facebook messaging too. I pinned a message on Twitter saying I was peacing-out for a while, I changed my WhatsApp status to ‘Taking a break’ and informed one of my friends in my busiest WhatsApp group that I was taking a break so she could let others know if they were wondering why I was absent from the conversation. 

Soon I found out that these steps weren’t enough.

While I’ve managed not to post on any social media for five days I’ve not managed to remove the the whole routine of checking that has become a staple of my and most of our days. So I realised part of the switching off process if about breaking the habit. Even though this was something I wanted to do, and fully my choice, my hand kept going to grab the phone - to check for messages or to start a scroll action of some type. I managed to stop myself, but as we know all to well it only takes a couple of seconds to see a message, comment, image or tweet that can make your mood take a download spiral. It also only take a second to see DMs, texts and email numbers increase to a stress inducing amount. It’s in those moments you start focusing on the fact that  taking time out will mean that the moment you switch back on again will inevitably be even more stressful due to the backlog. 

The most disappointing realisation from allowing myself just 5 days away is that some people wouldn’t allow it, or didn’t seem to think it was acceptable that I have it. From looking over messages, there was some from strangers who watch my videos who were making me feel bad for not replying to their messages straight away suggesting I was ‘too busy for them now”. There were the work clients who felt the need to email me on the weekend instructing me to send over invoices or reply to their emails asap. Then there were friends who sent message after message badgering me for a reply for something they needed help with, despite my status of being away. And it wasn’t a case of them checking to see if I was okay, it was them merely concerned with not getting the reply they needed. 

Why don’t you turn your phone off I hear you say? Well yes, I’ve let my battery drain down to nothing numerous times over the last few days, and left it in my room in times where I’d usually have it in my pocket, or lit up in my hand. This is something I find hard, but not just because of an addiction to social media or because of my workaholic tendencies. This goes a bit deeper. When I was at uni, putting my phone on silent overnight on my then boyfriends advice, I missed a call from a friend in need who had gotten herself in trouble, a call that could that could have been our final conversation. So what if you’ve put yourself in the position of expected accessibility - someone that is relied on to be there for others. Does that mean that you give away the luxury of being able to switch off when you need it?


I’ve started to think the only way I can get close to the concept of switching off is when I’m on holiday, but most importantly in a destination with no 3/4G or wifi. When it’s something taken out of my hands, I at least won’t feel the pressures/guilt of not being there for people, or not being ‘on-it’ professionally, as much I would if I had a choice in the matter. Even then I know the thoughts will go to what I might be missing out on because I haven’t checked my emails, which friend or stranger I might be letting down because I’ve missed their call or message, or what fun adventure I will inadvertently opt out of because I’ve missed the WhatsApp group hype. 

So what have I learned from the last 5 days. Well, I think it’s clear that I have a lot of work to do on myself in terms of managing my thoughts which hopefully my ongoing studies in Mindfulness will help - I clearly need to stop the pattern of guilt and worry that occurs whenever I take the foot off the tech/work accelerator. Knowing how I felt about the messages I read when I finally decided to check my phone properly, I will really think about how I message, or don’t message, others when they don’t reply in their normal speedy fashion, or if it feels they’ve been a bit absent from their normal methods of communication and content. 

I also need to make changes moving forward to stop these things repeating when I need to step back again. I think they key is not ever fully stepping back in, to the extent I was ‘in’ before at least. The big problem is I’m now aware what happens when I do attempt to take a break, and that will undoubtedly inform my feelings of apprehension next time I try to do it. 

Anyway, I think I’m going to exit some WhatsApp groups that although might be fun at times are probably adding stress, even if I don’t realise it. I’m unfortunately going to have to have less personal connections with subscribers and readers too, because while some add some fabulous interactions to my life, others add unwarranted and needless stress and pressure. In fact I think my whole work life will have to change considerably. 

This last week I felt like something inside me has been extinguished and I don’t know if I want to continue any of this anymore. The more I spend with people who aren’t on social media, or in industries related to media, the more I recognise how detrimental to your mental health they are. I know I’ve had these wobbles before but this one put me and my life at real risk, and is any kind of success or job satisfaction worth that? I don’t the answer to that yet….

So I don’t know how present I’ll be anywhere online, I have a few things unpublished, already contracted or edited that will go up, but over the next few weeks I have some important thinking to do. 


I just want to reiterate…

If someone hasn’t replied straight away, give them reasonable time to reply, and if they don’t, try not to bombard them, I can’t tell you how much stress that can create. 

If their online behaviour seems out of the ordinary, maybe check what their statuses are or their most recent updates have been. If something feels off, check in with them just so they know you care. 

If you are an avid watcher/reader of a Blogger/YouTuber please don’t rely on them to maintain your own mental health or happiness, or put them on such a pedestal that you make them you only go-to for advice. Please be realistic and fair in terms of your expectations of that person.They have a life away from work (or at least would like one) and they don’t know everything - they’re human, flaws, life stress and all. 

The internet isn’t real life. It’s a snapshot, it’s a highlights, or now with relatable content, even a low light reel. There are secret agendas and motives. Don’t seek all your value or strength from it. Spend more time nurturing yourself and your in real life relationships that you know to be true. 

Ask yourself honestly whether you truly need to be ‘online’ as much as you and whether certain platform are particularly responsible for effecting your mood. Ask yourself if there is a way to make things easier - turn off notifications, only check it a certain amount of times a day, turning off your phone in the evenings etc. 

If all this tech stuff that is deemed expected and normal as part of your day in 2017 just didn’t sit well, ask yourself if there is another job role that you could still enjoy that doesn’t require you to do it. I’m definitely looking into more things I can do quietly behind the scenes. 


I’m going to continue to peace-out from social media, and my phone, as much as I can for the meantime. You’ll see the odd thing I have or want to post, but my focus needs to be on the not so simple task of keeping going right now. I’ve not switched off but my finger is definitely pressed agains the button. 

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A great Vegan Mask??



Time to introduce you to, or at the least sing the praises of another great Vegan product, this time courtesy of dr.organic. A quick visit to their website will tell you how dedicated they are to creating products that are environmentally friendly, and that as a brand they’re clearly always striving to use organically grown products (and even when its not possible, they source sustainable natural alternatives). Here’s a few other areas where they make an effort to be an ethical and all round fantastically conscious brand. 

Bioactive ingredients
We use certified bioactive extracts to ensure each product is truly functional by nature.
Natural ingredients
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.

No harsh chemicals
We do not use ingredients often criticised for their side effects.We never use parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances.

No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.

No animal testing
Our products are always tested on human volunteers to ensure they are completely safe and effective.No animal tests are ever performed on finished products or raw materials.

No mineral oils
Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petrolium are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used.

No GM ingredients
Genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms are avoided to ensure all formulations are as natural as possible.

Preservatives
Where necessary preservatives are used to guarantee product safety and shelf life. Only the highest grade broad spectrum naturally derived preservatives are used.

So today’s review focuses on dr.organic’s Organic Tea Tree Deep Pore Charcoal Mask (jeez, that’s a mouthful), from their Skin Clear range of products. It’s not a product I picked up in store with intention or whim, but one that was contained in a goody bag from a recent beauty/health press day. This is why it’s so great for PR’s to give samples where possible, because it gives us the opportunity to test out products we may have never stumbled upon ourselves, and then discover ones we genuinely love and can’t wait to share our experience of. 

I have always enjoyed the process of wearing face masks, and my favourites ones have always been the thick muddy types. I don’t get the same out of translucent ones that allow you to see the blemishes through, I relish that my imperfections are hidden and ‘masked’ while the deep pore action is taking place. I also don’t like the ones that stay wet and gloopy even after the recommended time. You may say that I need to get out more, but I think there’s something fun about feeling the products dry and harden on your face.

I know I shouldn’t, but I often leave masks on my face much longer than the advised amount of time (this one states to wash up once it has dried) but this is one of the only ones that hasn’t lead to a breakout because of it, which I think says a lot about the ingredients. Why do I do that? It’s not some weird rebellion in regards to instructions, no it’s to do with out a feel about my reflection. I like that I can pass mirrors and glass and not feel disappointed about what stares back at me. Yes I know it looks like i have something rather unpleasant drying on my face, but that’s preferred to being reminded of the areas of discolouration, active spots, or blemishes of ones recently passed. I can almost kid myself that I have clear skin while I wear them, which is an illusion I enjoy. 

This deep cleansing treatment mask is infused with Willow Bark Extract and Charcoal. This mask is ideal for areas of problem skin such as spots, blemishes and breakouts, which pretty much sums up my whole visage since festival season came to a close. It boasts a proprietary blend of bioactive, natural and organic ingredients including Tea Tree Oil, Grapefruit and Chamomile Extract, this uniquely beneficial mask boasts natural AHAs (Fruit Acids) and Salicylic Acid which can help promote the rate of skin cell renewal. You will have seen Salicylic Acid mentioned in most beauty reviews, because it is this magical ingredient capable of fixing/helping all sorts of skin issues including acne, dandruff, or psoriasis, and is even sued to remove corns, calluses, and warts.


Tea Tree has always been one of my key spot fighting tonics. I have a bottle from Holland and Barrett that I put on those really face consuming spots, the ones that bring a pulse to wherever it’s located, the ones that are so swollen you develop and extra chin or feature to the face. Charcoal is another renowned ingredient, once activated it has the power to draw out bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion and fight acne. Charcoal is not metabolised, adsorbed or absorbed by the body, but it can be used to treat some poisonous bites and disinfect some wounds. Chamomile is known for its calming abilities, it’s an extremely effective remedy for dry and flaky skin and any sort of irritation. What does Willow Bark extract do I hear you cry? Apart from being a non irritant, even at a level of 100%, equivalent to 10% synthetic salicylic acid, it has been found to increase stratum corneum turnover more so than salicylic acid - 24% as opposed to 22%.

Finally the wondrous Grapefruit. Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C (great for collagen production) but it’s different from other citrus fruits in that it also has lycopene, a known cancer-fighting chemical. Grapefruit also has unique phytochemicals (a.k.a. bioflavanoids) that help promote skin health and general health. The skin consists of collagen which creates keratin, a protein building block found in skin cells. Grapefruit also has a phytochemical known as naringin which reduces toxins in the liver, which results in healthier skin.

Grapefruit extracts in creams can help remedy these pskin conditions such as impetigo, rashes, acne and dandruff.. Dandruff and psoriasis come from inflammation in the skin and this multi talented fruit can alleviate this effectively. Grapefruit extracts alsoincrease the pH of the skin, which may reduce acne.

So if you consider all these ingredients are within this mask in some form, it’s no wonder its great at helping towards clearer skin and visibly reduced pores. Every time I use it my skin feel noticeably smoother, so much so that I ended up stroking it all evening, probably encouraging more acne to show up and defeating the goal entirely. The obvious tightening of the pores also help me look a tad fresher. The most obvious benefit is that it appears to make my skin more matte in finish I guess because it’s removed some of the oil. All in all a big thumbs up for me, and a product I enjoy using a couple times a week on slouchy work from home days. 

While I’m talking about how fabulous this brand is let me tell you about something else they have to offer us. They believe what you put into your body should be as good as what you put into your body, which is why they have created a simple sin diagnostic tool online to help you find your optimum skincare regime. 

The tool asks a few simple multiple choice questions to gather an understanding of your skin type, level of skin ageing, any eye concerns and overall skincare goals. The diagnostic also takes into account the impact of the lifestyle and environment factors on the skin such as stress and pollution.  By the end of the process you will go away with the perfect cleanser, eye product, day cream and night cream best suited to your skin and it’s needs. 

So although this is the only product I’ve used from the Skin Clear range I imagine when used in conjunction with the others it would be even more effective. But if like me you tend to dart between different brands and products rather than opt for one brand systems, I can very much recommend this mask to fill that spot in your regime. 

Have you tried this Mask too? What do you think?

Please recommend any other vegan masks in the comments. 


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Photo Gallery: Marika Hackman at Reading Festival


I'm recovering from a very hectic night at the AIM Awards where I was responsible for interviewing presenters and nominees, and grabbing some tasty soundbites for their official highlights video. Such an honour to be part of an event celebrating our wonderful independent music scene. Sorry to anyone that had to talk to me I felt like I was melting like some fairytale witch under all the photography lamps, and pretty sure I was starting to smell like Greggs. These factors combined with my animal print suit, a risky ensemble which teetered a bit too close to tacky, meant that I was probably an unappealing prospect to the stars wanted to avoid promo duties. 

For someone who loves the conversational aspect of interviewing, there's always an element of frustration doing interviews for a client because you have to stick to a string of questions in-keeping with their personal aims and goals for the video, rather than the questions your desperate to ask the artists or having the freedom to go off in wacky tangents. I have always admired Marika Hackman so I was very pleased to have a few moments chatting with her before she entered the main room full of it's decorated dining tables and flashy lights. If only we had more time to talk about her and her music though, hopefully another time!

Anyway this has given me a good excuse to post a few pictures I snapped very hastily at Reading. I had just arrived on site and was getting my bearings and doing my usual site recce to work out where all the different tents are located. It meant I got to grab snippets of all of the earlier acts on the Friday which are often the ones that became future favourites. 
None of these shots are great, I hadn't had a chance to put the right lens out or sort any settings out at this point, but you guys know I'm not all about showing you just the best, the flawless, the highlights. Whatever the results of my shots, I just wanted an excuse to alert you to another musical artist you may or may not be familiar with.

P.S How much do you want her t-shirt??






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Monday, 4 September 2017

S.A.D AND FEARING AUTUMN




The recent bank holiday Monday, the day I came back from Reading Festival, we were all greeted with a glorious last surge of summer sun. So despite feeling like a dried up raison who wanted to hibernate to recover under the cover for the next week to return to metaphorical grape form, I said to Si that we must get out and bask in it. So we put on summery outfits, in my case an off shoulder print dress from Light In The Box that I hadn’t managed to wear yet due to a lack of holiday, and not being free to enjoy the few sunny days we’ve had in the UK. I’m never too comfortable wearing dresses that show off my d├ęcolletage, so I find cold-shoulder pieces the perfect solution - I think bare shoulders are just as sexy as displayed chest with less risk of a nipple reveal. This dress was only £10.55, and the site is full of similar bargains, but just please be mindful of custom charges that will come with an order from the UK. I love the bell sleeves and the print, it’s got real hippy bohemian vibes which is a vibe I’ve always been drawn to. 

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

PHOTO GALLERY: ARCHITECTS AT READING FESTIVAL



Here's a bunch of photos I took from the crowd of Architects during their set on Sunday at Reading Festival. All taken with my little Lumix GM1. Sorry there's such a huge amount, my hard drive is being a bit sketchy at the moment, so I just wanted to have the insurance that the bulk are safely living on my blog, should it choose to pack up again! 
So who's bought tickets to their huge show at Ally Pally? 

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY: DEAP VALLEY AT READING FESTIVAL


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Reading Festival 2017 - My Weekend


I’m writing this at 6am in my too-low-a-tog sleeping bag, in a prison cell like university hall room, on the final day of Reading Festival. There’s a niggling and relentless buzzing in my legs, I’ve got a hormonal break-out, and I’m feeling anxious about heading back to site (and all those people,) but even with all that considered, this will go down as one of the best weekends of the summer. It always does. 

As I said in my Reading look-back piece, it has become a staple fixture for almost half of my life on earth, so it’s no wonder it holds such a pivotal position in the calendar. Weirdly it’s become a bit of a landmark weekend for me too, one which makes me look back on what I’ve achieved in the last 12 months, even more so than new years eve. Mentally I always say to myself ‘by the next Reading I want to have done ‘insert some sort of achievement’ and I want ****** to have changed. Sadly another Reading has come (and nearly gone) and prior to it’s arrival I realised that I’ve not managed to tick off anything from the list of mental goals I had, and pretty much nothing has improved (in terms of career, financial position, the industry as a whole). In light of this I decided to do Reading very differently this year, realising that working your ass off isn’t actually recognised by the industry and doesn’t lead to any tangible reward, and that it actually just means you miss out on so many of the aspects that make a festival weekend freakin’ awesome. 

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

MY ODE TO READING FESTIVAL: OUR RELATIONSHIP


I have made a point of not working out exactly how many Reading Festivals I have been a part of because I’m sure the exact number will only serve to make me feel even more ancient than I already do. Let’s just say it’s around the 15 mark. On the whole these sorts of realisations fill me with a horrible sense of doom and despair. However in this case I can positively say that my rather depressing number of years on this planet has meant I’ve been able to be present at Reading during some unimaginably awesome line ups, some life-changing live performances, as well as life altering personal epiphanies and hilarious calamities.  

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL WITH KRAKEN RUM


What a whirlwind of weekend I’ve had. I’m pretty sure I’m just a husk right now. I flew from a festival in Germany, with just enough time to wash and pack (although not very well, it would turn out) and then hop in the car and head to my very first Bloodstock festival

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Friday, 4 August 2017

Holidaying at Home


I know with the abundance of picture-perfect holiday posts on Instagram it feels likeh EVERYONE is able, or in the financial position to go on holiday (and regularly). But I promise you it’s not the case. I’m not sure me saying you’re not the only one at home is helping you that much, the extreme feeling of wanderlust or the mere yearning to escape your life for a bit probably overwhelms rational of the nature, but I just wanted to remind you that what you’re seeing online isn’t REAL LIFE. We don’t know what sacrifice or efforts they had to put in to be able to go on the holiday, we have no ideal if the trip was as idyllic as the images portray, we don’t know what aspects of life they neglect in order to be able to travel. Of course there are some simply jammy people or those that come from money, but please don't feel less-than if you aren’t currently in a position/situation that allows you to take time out or afford trips away. 



Apart from my love of seeing the world and basking in the soothing rays of the sun, I’m desperate to get away with Si because of our living situation. Living with my parents and only really having my bedroom to live out of is difficult to say the least. It’s undeniably unhealthy for a couple to have to exists together in a space that is where they both have to eat, sleep AND work, but at the same time have no privacy or independence because interested ears are always a few metres or less away. Si gets to feel like a proper adult at times and escape through his work travels, but I haven’t had any time away from my parents since August. I'm desperate for some time to myself, or with my boyfriend and be able to enjoy each other in the way normal couples of our age can . 



Before I activate woe-is-me mode I wanted to get myself back to the point of this post, that being that is a holiday really isn’t on the cards for you this year, there are some small ways to give bursts of that holiday feeling. I’m not talking about UK breaks or cheap holidays, because I’m sure there’s many people like me who can’t even consider those options either, this is more about pockets of joy.

If the suns out in the garden and I’m at home, I’ll spray on the suntan lotion I love the smell of, you know that ones that instantly takes you back to chilling on that Kefalonia beach with a can of peach juice. Talking of peach juice, I’ll make sure I get those drinks I associate with holiday in - Lemon Fanta, Sam Pellegrino, Orangina…you know, the usual suspects. 



This is another way to create a holiday vibe. If you’ve finished work and the evening is warm head to a pub with outside seating, I try to find one near water for added holiday points. Buy a bevvy that reminds you of holiday unwinding and people-watching, which would be shandy, mojito or Pimms in my case.


People-watching is one of my all time favourite aspects of holidays. I love seeing how other couples interact and getting the ick when they’re way over-zealous with the PDA’s. I love to observe family dynamics and will admit to getting a bit judgemental when witnessing bad parenting. The whole ‘aww isn’t he funny’ when in fact he’s an absolute brat, particularly gets my goat. Of course, as long as I’ve got my shades on I’m a bit partial to checking out the dad bods too. Yes this activity seems more fun when horizontal and sipping on a delicious drink, but who says that needs to be a holiday-only activity.

It doesn’t take much to get brits scantily clad and horizontal when the sun comes out. Going to one of our many great parks and open spaces will deliver, with locations like Alexandra Palace being a hive of summer fun, with the added bonus of incredible views and access to drinks and food, you can get that holiday vibe in an instance. The bonus of a park is also the addition of dogs, which improves any scenario a million fold in my eyes.

Is the hotel pool or the ocean one of the main things you look forward to and enjoy about a holiday? If the answer is yes, I understand that the leisure full of kids centre doesn’t quite fill that void. Speak to your friends and see if any of them are members of clubs, like Shoreditch House for example. I of course can’t afford membership to places like this, but I know many lucky people who get them through their work. Many have options to invite guests for the day, so it’s worth seeing whether this could allow for a few day’s of sunbathing by the pool in the city sun this summer. Failing that of course there are Lido’s. Some of them getting frighteningly rowdy and busy on the really hot days which can be off-putting but maybe try a few and see if you can find one that will deliver a nice place to cool down without the overcrowding completely killing that holiday vibe.
Of course if you have a few pounds to spare you could order a paddling pool to the garden. It’s nice to keep those ankles cool when things get really muggy - muggy in weather terms not the Love Island way.

Another thing I love about a holiday is getting ready for a night out after a day of lying in the sun feeling a little bit rank. Putting on your make-up having been sweaty and bare faced all day, and attempting to sort out that barnet, which has either turned into wire wool due to the humidity, or a greasy oil slick due to the lotion/sweat combo, is a satisfying process . It also serves to separates the day into two parts part which makes it feel a lot longer, which is what you want on a holiday.
Si and I rarely get dressed up these days, we are well and truly into the routine of getting in our sloggy clothes as quickly and as often as possible. We are definitely at that age where comfort rules over all. However I think ensuring you have a few nights over the summer where you put on an ‘holiday outfit’ and preen in the way you would when you’re away, rather than pull up your joggers and the t-shirt you sleep in, will give you those holiday feels and potentially reignite a spark with your beau. 

I’m not suggesting you should spend money and go out for a meal with your glad rags on, that’s just not possible for everyone’s budget, nor do you need to get any fancy ingredients in. Merely changing your normal routine a bit could make the evening feel different, and therefore more special and akin to how mushy you feel on holiday. Perhaps you could eat in a more civilised manner, lay the table rather than eat off your laps. Perhaps you could light a candle or too, and add some smooth tunes in the background, or a Spanish guitar track if you want to be mentally transported away. Maybe you/he could work the gentlemanly moves as if you were out in a restaurant and on a date - pull out the chair, pour her wine, stand up if she goes to the loo.

The other week, even though we were both exhausted, we decided to make the most of the heatwave knowing it was likely to go away very soon (dammit, were we right) and decided to have a bbq. Our first one as a couple of five years no less! We got in the car and drove to our local Argos, managed to find one on deal, grabbed some coal that was on offer at Tesco’s, and checked the reduced aisle for some bargains to cook on the griddle. We already had some veggie burgers and corn on the cobs in our fridge, so it proved to be relatively inexpensive whilst being extremely effective in giving us those summer feels. Nothing like a burnt sausage to make you feel like summer is truly here.

Unfortunately the last couple of weeks the weather has been very inconsistent. It’s hard to allocate a day to summer activities when it glimmers for half hour intervals at a time.



Gandy’s very kindly sent me some goodies this week in the form of a circular towel and some flip flops. I permanently have the Aztec towel draped over one of the kitchen chairs now, so that when I see the sun re-emerge from behind the clouds I can pop on my flip flops, grab the towel and set myself up a little holiday spot in the garden. It’s quite easy to pretend I’m in an exotic location if I squint enough to blind myself to the view of my house, as I have a large palm tree and bamboo in the garden. It’s only when the neighbours kids decide to bounce on their trampoline and peer over that I feel a bit less relaxed. Once again I spray that yummy smelling lotion, spread my bare legs out on the towel and absorb myself in a book for a few minutes, before heading in and getting back to work. If you don’t know about Gandy’s please take time to familiarise either via a previous blog (http://sophieeggleton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/global-galivanting-with-gandys.html) or by reading their story on their website. By making a purchase you are making a difference.




Now finally for my fellow spoonies that find themselves be- bound and not able to even venture to the dining table or garden, it will be admittedly harder to recreate holiday vibes in your bedroom, but there are a few little things that will at the very least  feel pleasant. It’s amazing how scent can effect your mood, relax or invite your imagination to run wild. If there’s a particular location you want to close your eyes and picture, think of a scent that will make that mental journey easier. Whether it’s Moroccan spices of the bustling souks, or the smell of a grapes from your tine at a vine yard in Bordeaux. So whether you fill your room with incense, scented candles, or food this can help to relax or uplift. If there’s someone else there maybe the aroma can arrive via a massage oil. Like I said before play some music befitting of the location your want to put yourself in whether that be laid back Baleiric, indian folk music or Nashville classic country. Perhaps you’d prefer the sounds of the sea, if so there’s plenty of playlists of natural sounds that can be streamed or downloaded. When Si and I want to be cosy and imagine we are in a cosy log cabin snuggling up we find one of those 10hr fireplace video on YouTube that we stream through the TV. We always end up falling asleep to the crackle of the fake embers.

I was a bit worried this post would feel a bit patronising due to the simplistic advice it offers, I know I’m not suggesting anything you’ve probably not thought of or tried before. I guess I just wanted an excuse to reach out to others who haven’t been able (due to time constraints, ill health, or lack of funds to go on holiday this year, or even on a mini break in their own country.

Let’s not let this summer conclude without ensuring we’ve created some snapshots of a new kinda holidays at home.


Aztec Sand Round Towel £75.00
Aztec Sand Flip Flops £24.00

both from @GandysLondon

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