Thursday, 8 June 2017

B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz

B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz
I think I am getting to that age now, where I need to take better care of my skin and adapt a skincare routine, to my skin type and my age. Seeing as I am nearly 28 this year after all. I have never heard of a Hyaluronic Acid Facial in spray form before, but only in serums, which I do have plenty of in my skincare collection. I got pretty excited when I had the chance to try one out for myself, to see how the spray would fare against the serums - I am more of a liquid/cream formula type of gal when it comes to skincare, but when it is something I have not tried before, I thought I would give it a go.

I found that adding this to my skincare routine, helped my skin stay moisturised throughout the day, as it can be used alone or on top of your makeup as a top up and it leaves the skin looking dewy and moisturised throughout the day. When I had applied this before makeup, it felt as though my skin was a lot firmer and smooth. It feels quite wet when added to the skin, but the skin soons soaks up the mist and takes in all of it's hydrating goodness.

The Hyaluronic Acid Spritz is said to be super hydrating and plumps up fine lines, which when I had used it over a couple of weeks, I noticed that the fine lines I would see around my eyes and my smile lines had fainted. Although I do not have very visible lines, being only 27 years old, I could notice that they they weren't very visible myself. What I like about it most is that it is a vegan and cruelty free product, so you can get the hydration and smoothed out skin, without it being tested on animals!

As well as combining it with my skincare routine, I also used this as a top up over my makeup. As having combination skin, my skin can get quite dry and sometimes patches will show on my makeup where certain parts were a lot drier than most. I would spray this over my face and it would minimise the dry patches, give me a dewy complexion and it left me feeling fresh throughout the day.

You can buy B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz from Superdrug for £3.95.

*Disclaimer: This post contains a PR Sample. However, all opinions, words and photographs are my own.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Why Slimming World Works For Me

Slimming World Slimming World
TW: I will be talking about changes in how I eat, my healthy eating, how I treat food, weightloss, body image and the way I think about food / healthy living.

I am not one that would normally buy into the diet fads that are going around these days, there are too many that feed off of the diet culture and for me, this does not sit right with me at all. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and it's as though they feed off the insecurity of others. Most of the time they are restricting you of the food that you need and for me, this is far too drastic. If people do want to lose weight, they should be able to do this both safely and healthily and anything that promotes a quick fix or fast weight loss, is a definite no go. No one should feel shamed into losing weight and it puts this idea into their heads that they have to lose weight to look perfect, when in reality it's the diet culture that that make people feel the need to feel like the way they do.

I have always struggled with my weight since I was in Primary School, ever since having my tonsils and adanoids removed, I started eating more and I ended up having a really unhealthy relationship with food. I ended up gaining a lot of weight and as a result, I got bullied heavily. I pretty much got the standard jibes, such as 'greedy pig' or 'fatty', 'chubby', etc. Yes, children were as cruel 18+ years ago, as much as they can be now! But after I left Primary School, I ended up fluctuating in weight (not due to diet fad reasons). I lost quite a bit of weight after starting High School and then I ended up piling it all back on again. I couldn't just maintain a weight, I think my type of body is just so easy to cling onto the calories of the food I have eaten.

The reason I decided to join Slimming World (which I first joined 8 years ago when I was in Uni) was because I didn't like the way I looked and really wanted to do something about it. A Uni friend of mine introduced me to the group, so I went along to see what it was like, what it was all about and how it would help me achieve my goals. What I liked personally, is that they would only let you join, if you had half a stone or over to lose, anything less than this and you weren't a candidate for Slimming World; they are all about leading a healthy lifestyle. I was quite an insecure person back then, so anything that would help, was good to me.

Now, for the majority of my life, I have always been an insecure person and never really liked the way I looked. But now, I have become a lot more confident than what I used to be and I do try to be a bit more body positive. As I have said above, every body is a great body and everyone should embrace the body that they are in because at the end of the day, you only get one body and you need to take care of it as best as you can. I am quite a lethargic person and I do suffer with fatigue quite a lot and a lot of that is down to the way I eat and lacking in certain vitamins, such as Vitamin D3.

I used to see Slimming World as a diet and not as a 'healthy lifestyle change', as that is what it is. It is not a crash diet where you can get a quick fix in losing weight. It is a lifestyle change, you are eating all the same foods, but in a completely different way. It makes you think about food a lot differently but very positively at the same time. Slimming World is all about healthy eating, positive body image and filling power. It is a way of being able to think about food positively, knowing that what you are eating is basically the same of what you would have eaten before, just using healthier ingredients that are a lot better for you - you can even still eat crisps, chocolate, sweets, cake etc too! It is just everything in moderation.

I have signed up to a 12 week healthy living plan with Slimming World and I have purchased their 12 week countdown diary, where I can document my food in take. This helped me with eating a lot more fruit and vegetables than I would have done previously, than going straight for the convenience and junk foods than I would have done previously. It has helped me drink a lot more water and now I think of food in a more healthier way and it stops me from obsessing over what is good for me and what is not. An upside is, cooking everything from scratch too!

My main goal for this is to be healthier within myself, although the first main goal was to lose weight, the focus is now primarily on how I feel within myself, to build up energy, to stop feeling so slugging and to create myself in a positive light, rather than a negative one. I still have my cheat days and I still have my days where I go off track, but I don't beat myself  up about it. I'm only human at the end of the day and cravings are only human reaction.

What do you think to the Slimming World healthy lifestyle?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

My Cervical Smear Experience

Cervical Screening, the two words that most near 25 year olds will be scared of. Mostly because they are unsure of what happens during the process, are worried about what it is going to be like and it mainly boils down to whether or not it is painful. Everyone has a different experience during their smear, not everyone's is going to be the same. But, don't always believe the horror stories! Sometimes these are just complete hearsay and most of the time are irrelevant and hinder people into booking in with their doctor or nurse.

Let's get one thing straight, a Cervical Screening (or a smear) is a painless procedure, but a mildly uncomfortable one at that. It lasts for a few seconds and you are in and out of the door within minutes. Obviously, if you are one of those who are unsure of the process, will not know this, but you are really not in the room for longer than deemed necessary. The nurse will also go through the whole procedure with you, to make you feel a lot comfortable through the process and you will know what they are doing, to make you feel more relaxed.

It has been 3 years now since I was invited for my very first cervical screening, I would have only been 24 years old as they would normally send the letters out 6 months before your 25th birthday. I had never been for a cervical screening before, so I really didn't know what to expect at first. I had seen other consultants previously and had been checked down there before, so I weren't frightened about a nurse having a look down there. It was the word 'smear' that predominantly made me feel worried. I knew it wouldn't hurt, but I think it was the initial thought of 'what if'. But for others who may have not been checked down there before or not know what is entailed in a cervical screening, this may make them feel anxious about what will happen and some don't even make it to their important which can be very detrimental to their health. If you receive a letter, you should make an appointment straight away.

I had my smear test done at the doctors which was so quick and painless. This is what so many people are afraid off, that the test will hurt and take a while to do, which is not the case at all. A small speculum is inserted inside of you, which will feel a little uncomfortable if you have not experienced this before. It is then opened to get a better look at the cervix, a little brush is then inserted inside (which is soft) is used to take around the cervix to collect cell samples, which will then tickle a little. If you are relaxed, the procedure will take seconds to do and then you are on your way. The test results normally take around 2 weeks to come back and then you are sent a letter through the post with your results.

After 2 weeks, I had received my letter and I was quite worried to open them up, as I didn't know what they would say. Obviously, I was hoping for a normal result, as would everyone. As I opened the letter, it had told my results had come back abnormal and I had stage 1 pre-cancerous cells (low dyskariosis). I literally sobbed my heart out over the letter as I didn't know what was going on. It said in the leaflet after my smear that this doesn't necessarily mean you have cancer, but it is worth having a look with a colposcopy to take a closer look at what is going on inside of me. Colposcopy: a procedure to find out whether there are abnormal cells on or in a woman's cervix or vagina'. So, it was time for my colposcopy appointment and prior to this, I was told what was going to happen in my letter and leaflets that were sent to me too. They would need to look inside me again, but it was not an invasive procedure. They would need to magnify the cervix and a liquid is put onto the cervix to highlight the abnormal cells. Although I was quite worried, I was very intrigued at the same time and I could not take my eyes off the monitor. I was told that they would need to take biopsies from me which are like very quick pinches. I was told to cough and then they would quickly take the samples, which was very quick and painless!

I was told I would need treatment before the results of the biopsies had come back, it looked as though the abnormal cells had progressed and would not go without treatment. The treatment that I had is called a LLETZ - large loop excision of the transformation zone: this is where a hot wire would be used to remove the abnormal cells from my cervix. I was numbed before the procedure was done, although it wasn't quick, I did not feel a thing apart from feeling a little uncomfortable. What they removed was about 10 pence wide and 5 pence deep, to make sure all the abnormal cells were removed. This would also need to be sent off to the lab, just to make sure anything else hadn't spread further.

After my LLETZ procedure, a letter had come through confirming that the biopsies that were taken were actually Stage 2 pre-cancerous cells (moderate dysplasia). I was worried again at this point, although I knew that the abnormal cells don't necessarily mean cancer, but it made me worried for the results of my operation that I had done. So it was all a waiting game really, to see what would come back from that. The downside to the LLETZ procedure is that you are leaking fluid for a few weeks, as they put a solution on your cervix to help you heal properly and it comes out black, you also have a dull ache which makes you feel like you're on your period. You are also not to have sex for 6-8 weeks and advised not to swim in pools as well. The upside is... well being abnormal cell free!

A few weeks had passed and my letter eventually arrived from my LLETZ procedure and the results showed that actually I had Stage 3 precancerous cells and if I had left it any longer, this MAY have turned into cancer. Luckily for me it didn't get that far and managed to catch it early before it was too late. The main reason for my abnormal cells is because I contracted HPV - human papillomavirus: is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives and some may be repeatedly infected. This is in no way an STI, it does not do anything to your body apart from hightening your risk of cervical cancer. So it is important for you to turn up to your smear tests!

I had to have another check up 3 months down the line to make sure the abnormal cells had not returned and these came back all clear, thankfully! But I was called in for another smear 6 months after that. This was in the form of a smear again, so it only took a couple of weeks for my results to come back, to let me know if they are negative or positive. I eventually got the ALL CLEAR!

Some facts about cervical screenings and cancer: -
  • Every day in the UK 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer
  • 3 women lose their lives from the disease every day
  • Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35
  • 75% of cervical cancers are prevented by cervical screening (smear tests) 
  • However 1 in 4 women do not attend this potentially life-saving test 
  • Almost half a million young women aged 25-29 did not attend cervical screening last year.
If you receive your invitation to a cervical screening, please make an appointment as soon as you get your letter. It could potentially save your life and it only takes seconds to get one done. I am so glad I went to mine as soon as I did or didn't ignore the letter altogether because it could have been a different story!

*Images used: free publication via https://www.jostrust.org.uk/

Monday, 24 April 2017

My Wanderlust Wishlist #1


I'm sure everyone knows by now that I went to New York twice last year and it was probably the best time of my life. I had never been to the states before and I have always wanted to go there. First time was for four days and the next time was for a week and to be quite honest, I would have happily stayed there for longer. I definitely could not live there full time because of how busy it is, but it is one of those places that is worth a decent lengthy stay. New York is probably one of the reasons why I want to be able to see the wider picture and be able to explore more of the world.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice sunny holiday to be able to do absolutely nothing, relax and enjoy the scenery. But, even then I like to get out, walk around and be able to see the sights. I like the kind of holidays where you can go on excursions and perhaps learn something about the country that you are in. There is only so much sun that you can enjoy, as I am not the type of person who can just sit around sun tanning, as I get bored very easily! But let's get into the places that I would love to visit and why!

Australia.
Australia is a beautiful place that is definitely at the top of my list! I have always wanted to travel to Australia, especially the outback to be able to visit all the animals, go on Safari and tour the country! There are so many locations in Australia to visit, that I would need at least a month to be able to enjoy it properly and take advantage of how large of a country it actually is. One of the main things that I would love to do is feed Joeys and visit the set of Neighbours and perhaps Home and Away (yes, I do love those soaps).

Amsterdam.
I would love to visit Amsterdam, mainly to be able to visit Ann Franks house, as this is something I have always wanted to do. Ever since watching A Fault In Our Stars, it has made me want to go even more, even with all the stairs! The sex museum is something I would also like to do, as it is the kind of person I am. Not only is it interesting, but I think I would find it quite humorous too, for obvious reasons. I also think it has the lovely scenery being able to rent a bicycle and bike around as you wish, to be able to take it all in.

Florida.
Ever since visiting Disneyland Paris. I have always wanted to visit it's extremely larger counterpart in Orlando. I visited Paris when I was 11 years old, so for me wanting to visit now says it all. But then again, I have already got a holiday booked for 2 weeks in September and I am already counting down the days to go. So much to go out to see and lots of adventures to take. I love Disney and I absolutely love the states! So I am glad I am going to be able to eventually tick this one off my bucket list!

Poland.
Auschwitz has always been a place I have wanted to visit, historically. Although, as sad as it is, it fascinates me but for educational purposes and to pay my respects to those who lost their lives during this period. I have read a lot about it and I have seen plenty of images, but I want to be able to experience it for myself just so I can get a tiny glimpse of what it would have been like and be able to learn more about the Holocaust.

Japan.
I know it is not your typical sun, sea, sand and sangria type holiday but I feel like it is one of those places you definitely need to visit at least once. I want to go and take in all the culture, especially all of the delicious foods they have to offer. I'm sure I would be able to veganise at least something over there. It is such a beautiful country and I would to love to someday be able to tick it from my list.

These are just a handful of places I want to be able to eventually travel to and be able to say that I have been there and experienced the different cultures. As there is so many, I have decided that I am going to do a Wanderlust Wishlist every now and again. So I can share the different places I would love to travel to and hopefully someone can recommend some to me!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Planning Tips When Travelling

As some of you may know (or if you're new to my blog), I went to the USA last year to visit the beautiful city of New York, which will have been my second time going. I have never really travelled far before and most, if not all of my holidays have been within Europe, with the exception of Turkey. My longest flight I have taken in my life has been between 4/5 hours, so anything above that is out of my comfort zone as I am not used to flying for so long. So the trip to New York is anything between 6.5 hours to 8 hours, depending on take off and tail winds. If you have strong tail winds, you're lucky and will get their earlier than expected!

I travelled with Delta airlines, as I had travelled with Delta before and their customer service is literally next to none. American air stewards and stewardesses are literally the most polite people I have come across in terms of customer service, they made me feel so comfortable, welcome and made the flight enjoyable. With the flight being long haul I was offered meals and constant flow of drinks of my choosing. I did have a few cheeky wines, I won't lie.

When it comes to planning what to take with you on holiday and when travelling is pretty much straight forward if you are going on a beach holiday; sunglasses, swimming costumes, suncream and after sun cream and you're pretty much set to go! But when you're travelling to a city with the suitcase allowance being 33kg, there is so much you can take, but you don't want to try and take too much in case you go over your limit, so I was super careful when I first went. I found it helped writing lists of what to take, so you could tick off as you go and make sure you don't forget anything when you go.

The essentials to take:
Passport, you will definitely need this before getting into any country! If you're visiting anywhere like the USA or the like, you will need to make sure you have the correct documents which give you permission to land into the country, without these. you will not be able to enter the country. I got an Esta for the trip and they last for 2 years, so if you plan on going again in the next 2 years, you will not have to fill another one in. Make sure you have the correct Visa's and double check documents before you travel. You will also have to print out your flight details, these are always a must before checking in and they will give you a print out of your boarding ticket, unless you can print these out yourself. They will also give you a card on the plane to fill out, which you will only need to fill in once if you're a new traveller.

What clothes do you need to take with you?
Firstly, before you start chucking clothes into your suitcase, you will need to check what the weather is like in the country that you are visiting. Most people who book a holiday abroad will more than likely be travelling for the sun, sea, sand and sangria. But, if you're travelling to a city, the weather isn't always going to be the same all week. As for me, it was sunny, windy and rainy, so you need to make sure you're packing the right clothes for the week and taking plenty for changes too. You're more than likely going to get a larger allowance than what you would have for a short haul flight, so take advantage of the space. But you need to make sure you weigh your cases before you go as you can get charged extra for going over your allowance.

If you're going anywhere that requires a lot of travel and walking, make sure to take a few comfy shoes, as this will keep your feet from getting any blisters and I learned this the hard way, when I had to cover my feet in plasters. Also, make sure to take both warm clothes, cold clothes and a couple of jackets so you are able to adjust to the weather, as it can change very quickly. It was very hot when I went, but then it absolutely tipped it down with rain one of the days, after it had been sunny for most of the day. I got absolutely drenched.

How much money should you take and how?
This all depends on how long you are planning to go for. For me, $1000 dollars for a weeks stay, which was on a pre-paid card, as this made it easier to take, rather than carrying cold hard cash around. So this was $500 for each person, which gives you $71 dollars a day for food, drink and anything else you want to buy whilst you are there. You do not have to limit yourself, but try not to overspend else you'll find yourself without any money really quickly. I'd recommend just taking a bit more if you're planning on doing any excursions, trips or going out anywhere fancy to eat, just to treat yourself! Personally, if you want to treat yourself, I would take that little bit extra!

Extras to take with you that will help:
Cooling spray is a must have when I go away, I get grumpy if I'm too hot and I have an allergy to the sun, so I will come out in a rash and will get very itchy, so I find it helps to cool myself down during the day so it doesn't bother me too much. I will also take anti-histamines just in case! This will help with any allergies that you do have and will keep the rashes, sneezes, runny eyes/nose at bay. Taking suncream is a definite yes, this will help you from burning in the hot days and will protect you from the harmful UV rays. You will need to buy international plugs for the US or whichever country you will be travelling to, as you will find you won't be able to use any of the power supplies or charge any of your electric goods, so be make sure to get one! A travel pillow is fantastic for long haul flights, as you'll find sleeping on the plane is helpful, especially with the time difference, it will keep you comfy and stop you from getting stiff neck when you wake up.

Other stuff that you may or may not have to take:
Makeup, depending on whether or not you plan on wearing any. You can take anything you like, just make sure you take a good primer and setting spray for the warm days, I suggest a tinted moisturiser, so it isn't too heavy on your face. Hairbrush, hair straighteners, (hotels will normally supply a hairdryer), toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup wipes, skincare... anything you feel that is necessary to take with you.

P.S only 5 months until I go to Florida!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Vegan Four Bean and Vegetable Chilli

Vegan Four Bean and Vegetable Chilli There is nothing that I love more than homemade cooking, I love cooking from scratch and using fresh ingredients. I like taking the time to prep the ingredients and creating a hearty, delicious and filling meal. I try to be as healthy as I can where possible, as I am on a journey to become a healthier me, so I try to use less processed food. It is all about carbs (don't be scared of them), protein, vegetables and healthy fats! This is an absolutely meat-free dish, seeing as I am vegan, there will always be no-meat dishes on my blog and I will always find a meat free alternative, as they taste just as good and in my opinion, are a lot better for you in terms of protein content.

I decided that I was going to make a bean and vegetable chilli recipe. I usually make this using meat-free mince, but I wanted to bulk up my meal using fresh vegetables and pulses that I had spare in my cupboard. As we all know, some fresh produce does not keep for too long, so you have to try and use it up and I find this easiest when I am bulk cooking my meals throughout the week, such as stews and soups; winter warmer favourites! This time round, I fancied something plant-based with a bit of a kick and using an ingredient I didn't think to use in this recipe before.

Ingredients.
Low calorie cooking spray.
2/3 carrots, finely chopped.
1 bell pepper of any colour, finely chopped.
1 large onion, finely chopped.
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
1 tin of mixed beans (mine was a three bean mix).
1 tin of kidney beans.
400g of chopped tomatoes or passata.
200ml of vegetable stock.
1 tsp of dried mixed herbs.
1 tsp of ground cumin.
1 tsp of ground cinnamon.
1 tsp of chilli powder.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cooked white or brown rice.

Method.
  1. Prep your food by finely chopping all of your fresh ingredients into finely chopped chunks.
  2. Make sure that you have drained all your mixed beans before putting them into the chilli, as this will make it extra starchy.
  3. Spray a large frying pan or pot (I used a cooking pot for my chilli) with low calorie cooking spay and place over a medium heat.
  4. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots and pepper (I chose green) and stir-fry your vegetables for 2 - 3 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Throw in your dried herbs, ground cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to cook gently for 10 - 12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Stir in the mixed beans and cook through for 2 - 3 minutes or until the food is piping hot throughout.
  8. Season well with salt and peppe to taste.
  9. Serve with cooked rice and then tuck in!
*This recipe is suitable for freezing!

I adapted this recipe from Slimming World, as not all of their recipes are vegan friendly, but I do like to get creative and put a twist on their recipes for myself. So to say that this recipe is absolutely speedy, great for an SP day if eaten without rice and no syns whatsoever. 100% healthy, guilt free and very filling. You can even go up for seconds, without feeling like you've eaten too much (if you're a big foodie like me).

The ingredient I never though to use in a chilli before is Cinnamon, it definitely ups the chilli game by massive amounts. It is not too overpowering and it definitely gives this recipe the spicy kick that it needs. I have made chill con carnes in the past and they never tasted as good as this recipe, so cinnamon is definitely an ingredient you need to add to your store cupboard staples!

What are some of your favourite healthy or Slimming World style dishes to make?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Late To Start New Years Resolutions?

New Years Resolutions and Future Goals and Aims New Years Resolutions and Future Goals and Aims Well it is definitely safe to say that 2017 is well underway and it does not seem like 5 minutes ago that everyone was celebrating Christmas with their loved ones or bringing in the New Year partying or having a nice cosy quiet night in with food and a bottle of wine (or whichever beverage people chose to drink that night). I know it is very cliché to say 'New Year, new me', but, I feel as though 2017 is going to be the year where great things happen. I've been saying to people at work that I feel like I have a positive omen over me and I can genuinely say that I am the happiest I have been in a long time and I hope that it does not change anytime soon.

We are now in February and I feel as though the start of this year has been really steady. Although I have a lot of plans coming up this year (including Orlando Florida), this year seems to want to take it's sweet time moving forward. I feel like we have been in January for almost forever and I'm quite excited for it to be a new month. I have started this year with a bang, I'm nearly already a third way through my first module of University, it has been nearly 6 months since I started working as a Digital CSA for Argos, I am now out of serious debt, I have moved out of my family home and I can honestly say I have met the love of my life too.

There are a few things I would like to do this year & I don't think it is too late to ever start!

Living unapologetically
I am not going to live life with any regrets (easier said than done, if you suffer with anxiety like myself), but I am quite tired of saying sorry for stupid things or being made to feel like I have to say sorry, like I have done something bad, when I haven't. From now on, I will only say sorry if I need to and ignore the times I don't. It is about time I stopped caring about what people think and just focus on myself as a priority.

Healthy eating
This is one of those topics that can be seen as a taboo subject because of body-shaming and losing weight is seen in a bad light, which isn't the case at all for me. For as long as I've known, I have always been fat and I have always been the bigger friend. I have always hated how I looked in the mirror and at times I do cry about the way I look. It affects me both emotionally and physically, but I don't often show my emotions towards this. Healthy eating and losing weight has always been on the agenda for 2017 and I have 38lbs to go until I reach my target and my goal is for September.

Being consistent
I do not want to be half arsed anymore and want to push myself. If and when I do say I am going to do something, that I should just do it and not procrastinate as much as I do. I need a lot more motivation and I need that drive inside me that is willing to push me to my limit, which can be applied to everyday life and that could be just getting out of bed in the morning!

Self care
It is definitely okay sometimes to be selfish when it comes to yourself. It is not bad to be able to focus on you and not have to worry about anyone else, because it can become quite exhausting and stressful especially when you have enough on your plate at the time. I do not want to get to the point where I don't care at all and I will always provide support where needed, but I want to invest more time in myself without excluding everyone else in the process, if that makes any sense?

Balance
I have missed blogging a hell of a lot and I have missed being able to manage all my social medias and interact with others in regards to blog content and in general. Now that I work full time, have a boyfriend, share a house with my bestfriend, owning two pets, doing University and throwing a blog and social media into the mix can seem like a massive nightmare. I want to be able to create a healthy balance between them all, even if it does feel there is not enough hours in the day or enough days in the week!

Goal focus
I have to remember how far I have come in life and be super proud of myself, because life has been a massive rollercoaster and I'm quit impressed that I have come out from the other side smiling. I have definitely had my boat load of life lessons, but I need to remember to focus on the end goals and what I really want to achieve. I may not have reached my destination yet, but I will get there eventually and I will work hard until I am there.

Do you have anything you are working towards or New Years Resolutions you want to stick to?

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

City Break & Travel Essentials You Need

Travel Essentials
When it comes to travelling or visiting somewhere new, it can be quite daunting especially when you think about all the the items and essentials that you will need to take with you. I, myself always panic, even when I have finished packing and I'll be on the way to the airport! But as long as you pack the important and basics of items, you are good to go. There is no need to overpack to go travelling or take a short city break, as most places such as hotels contain items that you'll more than likely take with you, it is probably best to read up on where you are staying, to be on the safe side.

Most companies these days give you a luggage allowance, so you always have to be mindful of this when choosing what to take with you. When I went to New York with Delta Airlines, their luggage allowance was 23kg which is more than enough, if you're going for a couple of days or even for a week! You also have to take into consideration of what you will be bringing back with you, is there something that you can definitely live without whilst you're out there?

I am going to Orlando, Florida in September of this year and I will be going for 2 weeks and the luggage allowance with Thomas Cook Airlines is 23kg and I have been told that I will only need to take a weeks worth of clothes, as I can buy some when I am out there and probably will end up leaving some behind, depending on what I will be taking of course. There is so much I will want to bring back, so I will more than likely weigh my luggage before hand.

Passport.
A passport is one of those items which is common sense and pretty self-explanitory when travelling (unless you're staying within the UK, etc), you will need this to check in, get on the plane and to get into another country. Without this important document, you shall not be going anwhere. It is definitely the first thing that I pick up when I get organised to go anywhere, I even have my own purse to put in important documents in.

Currency.
It is always essential that you take the countries currency to where you are staying, as the exchange rates can differ, depending on where you will be travelling to. I always find it best to shop around for the best deal, as sometimes the exchange rate there can be a lot less for what you can get it for before you go away.

Travel Insurance / Visas.
Always essential when travelling outside of the UK, as some countries require you to get medical injections before you leave. You are also covered for insurance in case of sickness or injury when you're in another country. Also, it is mandatory in certain places such as America, for you to have a VISA or an ESTA before entering the country, so I would recommed you get these done straight away and they are valid for 2 years!

A Camera.
You will want to capture every moment when you are away. If you are anything like me, then you will be taking photographs of anything and everything. Your memories will last forever and it is great for something to look back on. I love looking at pictures of places I have visited! You could even add the Lumix G 4K Compact System Camera Panasonic to your list of Camera's you need!

Painkillers.
Definitely take a load of over the counter medication with you! For something that would cost about 15p in the shop in the UK, will cost 10x as much in a supermarket in a different country. I found when trying to find painkillers in a pharmacy, that I would be paying nearly £2 for a few tablets. So it is definitely worth taking your own, so you're not stung with the total at the till!

Books / Magazines.
Sometimes the journey to your destination can be quite boring, especially if there is no films playing or you are on a long haul flight. My next flight will be 8 hours long, so I will definitely be taking books and magazines with me. Not only does it burn time, but it also keeps you occupied. Flights or travelling can become quite boring, even when you're not tired and everyone else is asleep around you.

iPod / iPhone.
I have to have music available to me at all times during a flight or journey somewhere. It is my only vice inbetween sleeping, reading or watching a film. Your iPhone can also work out quite handy, as some flights have WiFi, so that is another boredom breaker, although they do charge. You can also use Google Maps on your travels, if you're not quite sure where you are or where you're going, can help you from getting lost.

These are top essentials that I would not forget to take with me when travelling or going on a city break with. Everything else that you would need to take would speak for itself, such as repellent, suncream or swimwear! As for blow dryers and items like that, some hotels will cater for these, which will save you a lot of luggage space for other items. Just remember not to overpack and only take what you NEED!

*Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Panasonic. However, all thoughts, words and photographs are my own.

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