Hello 2020!

Happy New Year lovely readers! I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season and have enjoyed the first days of January so far.

I had a quiet Christmas which I don’t mind as the day feels peaceful and relaxing. I don’t have a big immediate family so there’s nowhere to travel and there aren’t people to visit but my brother came to stay with mum and I for a week. On Christmas Day we all had a nice meal and I spent the afternoon watching a documentary about Michael Hutchence – I find music documentaries fascinating and this one was poignant and touching. The next day I went shopping and picked up everything on my list. Shops weren’t as busy as I expected either which was a nice surprise. As I have been working through the Christmas/New Year period I’m hoping to take some leave at the end of January around my birthday and have a break then.

I’m coming in to 2020 excited about blogging. I’ve got a few post ideas up my sleeve and I’m going to adopt a similar posting style to last year, posting and writing when I’m in the mood and inspiration strikes. Looking back over the most popular posts from 2019 the clear winners are haul posts and monthly favourites. There won’t be any major changes to the blog overall and I’m enjoying a more relaxed approach.

I’m not sure what 2020 will bring but there’s something refreshing about that and being able to let things happen as they come and be in the moment. I’m hoping this will be the year I get back into a better exercise routine, it’s something I’ve been trying to do for months but things keep cropping up. I’m excited that I’ll be seeing my favourite band, Steps, live in May as I never dreamed that would happen and it still feels surreal at the moment. Slowly I’m becoming more assertive and learning to stand up for myself and look after my needs without feeling guilty and worrying I’m putting other people out. Sure we all want to be liked and respected but constantly pleasing others is detrimental to yourself. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of and don’t be afraid to speak up and let your thoughts be heard. That doesn’t mean being defensive and being nasty towards others, it’s about knowing your worth. I’ve realised that when it comes to dating and I’m not going to be with just anyone. There’s nothing wrong with having a standard and I’d rather wait for something meaningful than be with someone for the sake of having someone. I’ve always been independent and I need a man that can handle that and doesn’t question why I do or like certain things – you should be accepted for who you are. Work hard, don’t settle and persistence and determination will pay off.

I wish everyone a fabulous year and I look forward to interacting with you in the comments and online!


Let me know what you’re excited for in 2020 and if you have any goals you’d like to achieve.

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Yearly Highlights + Signing Off For 2019

Usually towards the end of each month I round up my favourite things but in December there hasn’t been anything new that I’ve come across that I haven’t talked about before. In lieu of December Favourites I’ve rounded up my favourite products of 2019. I will also be sharing some  highlights from the year. This is my final post for 2019 as I want to give myself a break from posting between Christmas and the New Year. Thank you to everyone for taking time to read and comment and for showing support. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope you have the best day with your loved ones!

Base

1. Trying higher end foundations from YSL and MAC – 2019 is the year I stepped up my foundation game and ventured away from the drugstore options slightly. I got a sample of MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid Foundation which applied beautifully each time I used it and made me start looking into other high end foundations. After finishing the MAC sample I purchased a bottle of YSL’s Le Teint Touche Éclat in B10 Porcelain and it is such a perfect colour match for me. A little goes a long way with this foundation and like the MAC foundation it applies and sits beautifully on the skin. I have still got a couple of drugstore foundations in my collection and once I’ve used those up I can see myself heading more towards bases that are slightly more expensive but perform better. It takes me so long to finish a foundation that I’d rather it be one that I really like.

2. Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light – I heard The Anna Edit talk about this product numerous times and I’d been curious to give contouring a go so I bit the bullet and purchased it. I wanted one shade that suited my skintone rather than purchasing a palette where most of the shades would sit untouched. This product is lovely to work with, the powder is soft and easy to blend and I don’t need to use much at all. I tend to use this over bronzer on days I want more definition.

Eyes

3. xoBeauty Heaps of Sweets Palette – This palette is a relatively new addition to my makeup collection. The layout and the number of different colour combinations excites me and makes me want to experiment with the palette. The pigmentation, formula and the combination of matte and shimmer shades is great and since the palette arrived I have not put it away, it’s sitting on top of my dresser within easy reach. Palettes like this that can be used for wearable everyday looks but also contain fun pops of colour are so versatile.

4. Zoella x Colourpop Group Hug Supernova Shadow Bundle – If I had to pick my favourite brand for 2019 it would be Colourpop! I hadn’t tried anything from Colourpop before and I remember asking on Instagram for product suggestions and someone mentioned that they didn’t like the Supernova Shadows. I didn’t purchase the Group Hug bundle in my first order but I am glad I picked it up in a subsequent order. The bundle contains the shades OG and Bellini and both are packed full of shimmer and glittery goodness. The pigmentation is stunning, especially Bellini, and they apply so smoothly and last all day. They are what I thought the Stila minis I have would be like but 100x better. Unfortunately this set has now been discontinued.

5. Colourpop Sol Palette – This is one of my favourite eyeshadow palettes in my collection and every time I use it I’m never disappointed, there’s not one bad shade. The warm, orange tones work really well with my hair and complexion and this palette is surprisingly versatile. If I had to pick one palette to travel with it would be between this and The Remix Palette from Shaaanxo and BH Cosmetics. One of the best nine pans Colourpop do in my opinion!

6. Colourpop Super Shock Shadows – One of the Colourpop products recommended to me were the Super Shock Shadows. This product is what the brand first started off with and having a creamy, highly pigmented texture with no fall out it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Across the four Colourpop orders I placed this year I purchased eight shades in total. My top picks are Slave2Pink (neon pink glitter loaded up with blue), Bouncy (cool toned bronze with gold and violet duo chrome), Nillionaire (bronze with pink and gold ultra-glitter), Dare (shockingly neon purple with hot pink and violet glitter) and I Heart This (taupe with silver ultra-glitter).

Lips

7. Revolution Jewel Collection Lip Toppers – These sheer, non-sticky glosses are packed with stunning shimmer to switch up your favourite lipstick. I have two out of three shades; Fortune (iced silver shimmer) and Exquisite (duo chrome sheer pink with cool silver shimmer). They can be worn alone or layered over lipstick for a high shine finish and colour shifting duo chrome effect. Fortune is my favourite!

8. L’Oreal – Bois De Rose Lipstick – A work colleague gave me this lipstick and the colour reminds me a lot of Syrup by MAC which I completely finished a couple of months ago. Bois De Rose has more of a rosy tone whereas Syrup has more of a purple-berry tone. The formula of this shade is lovely and creamy and it is such a lovely colour for everyday wear.

Accessories

9. YSL Black Opium – The 7.5ml perfume sample of Black Opium did not last me long at all, it’s finished already! I instantly fell in love with the scent and in the near future I definitely want to pick up a full sized bottle. The combination of warm, sweet vanilla and coffee with a hint of spice is extremely sexy.

10. Daniel Wellington Petite Melrose Watch – I purchased this watch last year and whilst it was an investment piece I love wearing it! My wrists are tiny (which I have a weird fascination with) and Daniel Wellington watches accommodate that. When you order from Daniel Wellington you can customise your watch by choosing the size of the dial, the colour of the dial and the colour of the strap. I chose the Petite Melrose in rose gold with a white 28mm dial. The watch goes with everything and looks dainty and elegant.

Top 5 personal highlights from 2019:

1. A personalised signed album from Claire Richards – Claire Richards has one of my favourite voices in the music business and she released her solo album in February 2019. Through Claire’s website fans could pre-order personalised signed copies of her album.

2. Securing tickets to So Pop 2020 – Speaking of Claire, Steps were announced as one of the acts for the So Pop 2020 series of concerts alongside The Pussycat Dolls, Jesse McCartney, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and others. It hasn’t properly hit me yet that I’ll be able to say I’ve seen my favourite band in concert even if they aren’t the headline act – 10 year old Chanelle never thought this would happen.

3. Finding a denim jacket – I knew that when I purchased my denim jacket from Pagani it is one of those timeless pieces that goes with everything. I often pair it with leggings for simple, casual outfits when I’m not sure what to wear and it’s a great layering piece that can be dressed up and dressed down.

4. Purchasing new perfumes – Halfway through the year I purchased a couple of new perfumes and I’m really pleased with all the scents in my collection at the moment. Girly, vanilla based scents are my favourite and you can’t go wrong with Juicy Couture in my opinion. The fragrances next on my list to buy are Viva la Juicy Rosé and a full size of Black Opium.

5. Being more social – I am by no means a social butterfly but I have been on my fair share of dates, attended a few quiz nights and been out to dinner with work friends this year.

December’s Spotify Playlist:


I hope you are able to look back on 2019 and the decade with fond memories. If 2019 didn’t go the way you planned I hope 2020 will treat you better and bring plenty of happiness ❤

I will still be reading posts and commenting but this is me officially signing off – see you in 2020!

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Favourite Instagram Accounts #2

A couple of months ago I shared a handful of accounts that are some of my favourites to follow on Instagram and I’m back with another installment! Currently I follow around 700 accounts so there’s not just a select few that are my favourites. I’m always looking for new accounts to follow so feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments and I’ll check them out.

1. Elle (Account: missjanebeauty)

Elle is also from New Zealand and I don’t remember how I came across her feed but it is incredibly beautiful! The majority of her posts are makeup flatlays but she does also share empties with mini reviews of each product and FOTD posts. Her feed is #goals!

2. Apartment Edit (Account: theapartmentedit)

The Apartment Edit is the home account of Sam Chapman (Real Techniques) and her boyfriend Ryan. I find with some home accounts they look too staged and the same as each other but this apartment is quirky and has colour and is not just white on white with chrome or gold accents. Sam’s cat Jojo also features in some pictures and Jojo even has his own Instagram account @cattojojo which I also follow.

3. Polished and Inspired (Account: polishedandinspired)

I love to follow makeup and beauty Instagram accounts and support my fellow bloggers. Polished and Inspired also has a blog by the same name – click *HERE* to visit – and is a Canadian beauty enthusiast. Her Instagram captions are thought provoking and informative and her blog posts are well written and well thought out.

4. Nadine (Account: nadine_blewett)

Nadine is one of my oldest blogging friends and such a beautiful soul that I have grown very close to over my blogging journey. Nadine is so supportive and kind and a genuinely lovely girl inside and out. We’re always there when the other needs a chat and is having a rough day or to leave sweet comments on each others pictures. If you love fashion and cute dogs, hit that follow button, you’ll find both of those in abundance from Nadine.

5. Katie (Account: katesvanityblog)

Katie is like the older (hope you don’t mind me saying that), American version of Nadine. Katie is another blogging friend that I have known for years and is one of the kindest, gentlest souls around. Katie is a fellow makeup lover and also posts cute pictures of herself and her boyfriend Ron as well as pictures of her cat Allie.

6. Taylor (Account: taylorjanelifestyle)

I wish I was as stylish and looked as good as this girl! Her accent is so cute and her stories are very entertaining. Usually on a Wednesday, Taylor will post ‘The Wednesday Wishlist Edit’ on her stories and followers pick whether or not they like each item. Sometimes it will be fashion, sometimes it will be homewares and it’s unique and a bit of fun, I don’t follow other accounts that do that. Taylor also has a blog which you can find linked in her Instagram bio.

7. Sophie (Account: sophielaurablog)

Look at all those gorgeous warm tones! Sophie is a beauty and lifestyle blogger from The UK and her photography is seriously stunning. There is often a mini story behind Sophie’s pictures and she is able to fit so much into her images without the image looking cluttered. Sophie is also an avid reader so I particularly enjoy her bookish posts and seeing what she enjoyed. Her stories are an extension of her feed and I love flicking through those too.


Let me know which Instagram accounts are your favourite to follow in the comments!

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What’s In My Bag?

This is such a classic post and I haven’t actually done one of these on my blog before. I did something similar in a post for a fellow blogger years ago and I thought it would be fun to throw it back and share what I keep in my bag. I am a minimalist when it comes to my handbag, I don’t like to carry more than I need and I’m not a fan of big, oversized bags because I don’t have much to carry.

I have had my current bag for around three years and I often nickname it my Mary Poppins bag, it can fit my lunch when I go to work, a book and all the daily essentials. My bag is shaped like a doctor’s bag and is made from soft black material. It features two short handles and came with a longer strap which I can attach if I want to wear the bag cross body. The bag has a zip closure and features three internal pockets. Attached to the outside is a light pink pom pom keychain. I remember how hard it was trying to find the perfect pom pom that was the right colour, shape and texture. A lot of pom poms weren’t soft and fluffy and looked matted.

Let’s dive in!

The Essentials:

1. Wallet – I have had my wallet longer than my bag and the yellow colour has gathered a few compliments over the years. The wallet is by a brand called Bluebird and the unique colour is what drew me to it in the shop. There are of plenty card slots, the pocket to keep notes in is roomy and there is a zipped section for coins. I keep coins in a separate little purse which most of the time I don’t actually keep in my bag.

2. Phone – At the start of 2019 I purchased a new phone, an iPhone 6S + in Space Grey. I previously had an iPhone 5S in Space Grey. The bigger screen didn’t take me long to adjust to at all, the camera quality is better and having more storage space is greatly appreciated.

3. House key – I keep my house key on this adorable pug key chain.

4. Pen – I don’t keep my favourite or fanciest pen in my bag in case it gets lost.

Beauty:

5. Compact – In case I need to reapply my lipstick and there’s not a mirror around I keep this gold one from kikki.K with me.

6. Lipstick – I don’t keep one particular lipstick in my bag, I tend to place the one I’m wearing on my lips that day in my bag and swap it out the following day. The lipstick that happened to be in my bag at the time of the photos is Nam Jai by xoBeauty.

Health & Miscellaneous:

7. Ibuprofen – Normal paracetamol are not as effective when it comes to relieving headaches for me so I always carry ibuprofen instead. I get migraines occasionally and paracetamol don’t touch the sides. Most of my other headaches are stress/tension related and ibuprofen helps a great deal.

8. Asthma reliever – I have had asthma since I was a child and I always carry my blue reliever. Usually I only suffer from asthma if I have a cold but being exposed to cold air in the evenings or feeling panicked could also trigger a breathless spell. It pays to carry an inhaler at all times.

9. Feminine products (not pictured) – No one wants to be caught short!

10. Staff ID card – I wear this when I’m at work and when I’m not it sits in my bag. It’s good as a form of ID if I have to collect a parcel as it has my full name and a photo on it.


What’s the number one essential you keep in your bag?

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Tips For Staying Safe On Tinder

Hi, my name’s Chanelle and I use Tinder. People will make jokes about others who use it and yes at one point I was embarrassed to admit I use it for that reason but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve put myself out there and would like to meet someone new.

Honestly, I’ve never gone into using Tinder with expectations and whether or not a friendship or relationship comes from it, I don’t mind either way. I use it simply because the world has become so digital. As well as potentially looking to meet someone day to day, it’s not doing any harm looking online too.

I’ve talked briefly before about not wanting to use Tinder for casual hookups (there are people who do use it for that, which is fine – I’m not going to shame somebody for wanting a bit of fun) but I’m the type of girl who prefers to be exclusive and focus on giving my all to one person. I also think using the app makes me feel more confident and I’m not afraid to message guys first and initiate conversation. Dating is surprisingly one thing that I don’t stress about a lot, I’ve got quite a relaxed attitude towards it. The dates I’ve been on have never ended with animosity or made me feel like I was in danger – they just haven’t worked out and that’s okay.

I’m lucky that the dates I have been on have always made me feel safe and I don’t associate negative feelings with meeting a guy for the first time. There are horror stories out there, not everyone is trustworthy and things do go wrong but if you take precautions to keep yourself safe the positive experiences outweigh the negative ones. I like to think I’m a sensible girl and I make logical decisions. I wanted to impart some of my Tinder dating wisdom to ensure other people like me who are looking to meet someone genuine do stay safe.

TIps:

Tip #1: Don’t Meet Straight Away (I.E. the day of the first message)

You’ll know by having a few conversations with a person over the course of a week or two whether you do actually want to meet them. You’re able to ask questions and gauge their responses and if they disappear for days on end or different things they say don’t add up you haven’t rushed into meeting them. If someone really wants to meet you they won’t mind waiting until you’re both ready.

Tip #2: Don’t Reveal Personal details on your profile

I don’t share the location of where I work or any links to social media on my Tinder profile. If I’m messaging someone and they ask what I do for work I will say but it relates to Tip #1, you’re able to gauge the conversation and decide who you let know where you work. Workplaces are an obvious location for stalking to start and for people you haven’t matched with to be able to see that information makes you more readily available to them.

There is an option to link your Instagram account so Tinder can show recent photos but I don’t want my pictures getting taken and I don’t want everyone to follow me on Instagram. Instagram usernames aren’t included on Tinder profiles and if I’m talking to someone, we get along and Instagram comes up as a topic, I can decide whether to give it out or not.

Tip #3: Always Let Someone KNOW if YOU Plan To MEET up With a Tinder Match

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE I want you to take from this post! Every date I have ever been on my mum has known about. It doesn’t have to be a parent but telling a friend, family member or a co-worker where you’re going ensures if anything goes wrong they have an idea where you are or where you’ve been.

Tip #4: Meet In a Public Place

I don’t like to meet someone for the first time in a secluded area or a quiet part of town where no one is around. Usually I will be the one to suggest where to meet and generally always pick somewhere to eat where there’s guaranteed to be other people and witnesses around. I haven’t had to do this but if you’re in a cafe or restaurant and you do feel unsafe you can make an excuse to head up to the counter and let a staff member know what’s going on. You could even arrange with a friend before the date to casually ‘bump into them’ where you’re meeting so they know you’re okay and help you get out of the situation if you don’t feel right about it.

Tip #5: Arrange Your Own Transportation

I have been offered to be picked up on dates before but I have never accepted for the simple fact of getting into a car with a stranger. If you make your own way there via bus or driving yourself and the date doesn’t turn up you know the person’s intentions weren’t true and you are still safe and you can turn around and go home. I have let a few dates drop me home as I’ve spent a couple of hours with them to know I don’t feel uneasy in their presence. My mum always offers to pick me up or tells me to call her if I need anything and I know I can rely on her.

Tip #6: You Don’t Have To Give Out Your Phone Number

This relates to Tip #2 – if you don’t feel comfortable giving someone your phone number, don’t! If someone tries to question you, be honest and upfront and explain you only give out your number to close friends and family members. If someone wants to keep talking and getting to know you, it won’t matter and they won’t make you feel guilty. In time you can decide to change your mind.


I hope you found this post interesting! There are plenty of other safety tips out there like carrying a whistle or pepper spray or downloading an app that tracks the location of your phone so friends and family can see where you are. The ones I talked about are personally things I do and I would love to know if you have any tips of your own – leave them in the comments!

Happy dating!

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Favourite Instagram Accounts #1

Instagram is my favourite social media platform and I kind of see it as an extension of my blog. I post about makeup, I’m fond of sharing a selfie or two (I’m more confident than I used to be) and occasionally I share feelings and general life stuff. I don’t have a theme for my account and I post what I want when I want, I let my feed take on an organic feel. I don’t have a strict upload schedule but I do try to share images a few times a week.

I wanted to share the love and talk about some of my favourite accounts to follow. There’s nothing to say I won’t do another one of these posts in the future so please don’t be offended if you don’t feature this time! ❤

1. Rachael (Account: helplesswhilstdrying)

Rachael’s blog is one of my absolute favourites and her Instagram is no different! She posts a mixture including flatlays, makeup looks, fashion, and snaps of her two dogs. On her stories Rachael also shares hauls and more about her life. Rachael’s reviews and opinions are honest and she is one of those bloggers whose judgement I trust. She shows a very real side of life and what goes on behind the scenes. On top of all of this, Rachael is  such a lovely, supportive blogger and I always look forward to seeing her pictures and watching her stories.

2. Chloe (Account: chloeburfordx)

Chloe’s account isn’t one I have followed for as long as some of the others in this post but that doesn’t make it any less aesthetically pleasing. Chloe is a gorgeous girl and I love the soft, dainty undercurrent that runs through her feed and her images of cute cafes and flowers. Her outdoorsy travel images further remind me how quaint and beautiful England is and make me want to visit even more.

3. Pretty City London (Account: prettycitylondon)

I started following Pretty City London after hearing Fleur De Force mention it. The account does what it says on the tin and you’ll find of plenty of pretty pictures taken in and around London. Flowers, buildings and cafes feature a lot and this account reminds me of Chloe’s above; a beautiful, girly feed.

4. Melanie Murphy (Account: melaniiemurphy)

I’ve followed Melanie for a little while now and if you’re looking to follow someone who tells it like it is, has a kick ass attitude and is down to earth, Melanie is your gal! Melanie is an author and content creator and her videos are not your usual YouTube videos, she talks a lot about sexuality and relationships and topics she’s passionate about. Melanie also mentions her partner Thomas a lot and they make such an adorable couple!

5. Valentine (Account: its_not_snyx)

I’m not a big lover of themed accounts but I do follow a handful. Valentine is from France and sticks to a predominately pink theme but her photography is so beautiful. Sure props pop up more than once but she rotates them round and changes the layout so it’s not like you’re seeing the same thing every third picture. Her pictures are crisp and fresh.

6. Neko & Miki (Account: neko_and_miki)

This is the account I have followed most recently out of all the ones mentioned here. Cute cat pictures make me melt and I was convinced to click the follow button as Miki is a Birman which is the same breed as Halo. Miki is a lilac point and is a lot lighter than Halo (Halo is a seal point) but Birmans are known for being clever and cheeky and they are super adorable!

7. Dannii (Account: abeautifulthing2015)

Dannii is one of my closest blogging friends and I have followed her for years! She is gorgeous inside and out and always has me envious of her days out and gypsy lifestyle (meant as a compliment). She’s always traveling around and finding somewhere new to go or eat out. Dannii posts a little of everything and always leaves sweets comments on my photos. I know I can count on her if I need a friend.


Let me know which Instagram accounts are your favourite to follow in the comments!

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Chatty March Update

The first quarter of 2019 is almost over. I wanted to do a catch up post and check in with you all and update you on how things have been going. I figured the easiest way is to divide the post into categories and write a few points under each. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Work

  • I started my admin job in November 2018 and I’m four months in now. I am definitely a lot busier than I was before but I am starting to finetune my routine and get to grips with everything. I have been tired lately but I put that down to a combination of working hard, starting a new job right before summer and this summer being so warm. I am here for the cooler weather!
  • I’ve got my first proper lot of time off since October coming up in April around Easter which I’m excited for. I plan on taking it easy, catching up on my Goodreads target and going through my wardrobe and clearing out clothes I don’t wear.

Blogging/Social Media

  • At the start of year I mentioned I would be blogging less. I have still been keeping active by commenting on other people’s posts and reading blogs and I’m finding one post a week is working at the moment. It’s enough to keep me inspired without feeling pressured to churn out content.
  • Instagram is my favourite social media and it’s where I’m the most me. I was thinking about my habits recently and how I tend to use the platform. I post a few pictures a week and I tend to gravitate more towards posting on my feed than uploading to my stories. I use stories for quick in the moment pictures I can still look back on as well as polls and sharing any thoughts I want to get out.
  • In my bullet journal I am tracking my Instagram followers to see how much they increase throughout 2019. I don’t have a goal or get obsessed with numbers but I’m curious to see the change.

Beauty

  • My lipstick ban is going well, I haven’t been tempted to buy any new shades at all and it’s surprisingly easy. I am enjoying using what I’ve already got.
  • The makeup low buy is also going well. This year I have bought a MAC pigment in Melon, some eyeshadows from Colourpop, a Zoeva makeup brush and Kevyn Aucoin’s Sculpting Powder in Light – I’ve been wanting to try contouring for a while now and know this powder is well loved.

Personal

  • I’m not feeling great with the way I look lately, I don’t know whether it’s the heat making me feel sluggish or having more of a sit down job but I feel the heaviest I have in a while. I nearly always take my own lunch to work instead of buying it but I’m not walking around as much as I was.
  • I stopped taking the contraceptive pill in December 2018. I have been keeping notes over the past few months and seeing if there are any noticeable changes in case I decide to write a post about my experience taking it and coming off. I’m not adverse to going back on the pill in future and I stopped taking it because I’m single, not for health reasons.
  • I have been in a pretty good place so far in 2019. I have a mood tracker in my bullet journal and the amount of days I’ve had that have been difficult or I’ve felt nervous/anxious, sad or angry have been outweighed by good days. I still write down one positive thing about each day and keep monthly gratitude pages in my journal as well.

Exercise/Diet

  • I want to take the stairs more at work if I don’t have anything to carry instead of using the lift. 90% of the time I walk down the stairs but going up is harder. Over time it will get easier and be beneficial.
  • I aim to use the exercycle to cycle 10km three times a week and I would like to get back into yoga. Yoga always makes me feel calm and is good exercise that doesn’t make you sweat but you can see the benefits if you keep up with it. I will try and aim to do yoga once at the weekend in addition to the cycling.
  • Beginning April 1st I want to consume less sugary treats. Over summer I had more sugary drinks than usual and I want to cut them out too.

2019 Goals Progress

  • The lipstick ban is going well.
  • I haven’t made any recipes from my cookbooks but I have made a list of ones I’d be interested in making – maybe I’ll get to one during my time off.
  • I am a few books behind on my Goodreads goal but it’s still doable.
  • I have only driven once this year and my goal is to drive at least twice a month. I’m still finding it hard to feel comfortable and pick things up.

Thank you for reading – I hope you are all keeping well! Let me know you’re doing and how you’re finding 2019!

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Story Time: My Recent Dating Experience

If sharing something makes me uncomfortable momentarily but is able to help another person I consider that a good result. I see my readers as friends and I like to treat you that way and keep you informed.


Over the past 10 months I have dabbled with dating; I’ve been on four dates with four different guys in that time, all with varying degrees of success. I take dating seriously and one of the most important factors is feeling comfortable around someone. I have always been an anxious person – though not always when it comes to dating – and the past year has magnified that. I do know my own mind and the kind of thing I’m looking for but I can also be laid back and I’m not judgmental. I find I don’t actually get nervous about dates until the day right before I meet the person and once the initial small talk is over I’m fine.

I have a somewhat relaxed attitude to dating, if a guy doesn’t like me for me I can’t change that and I don’t get too worked up and upset if it doesn’t work out surprisingly. My last date however left me disappointed in a strange way. First, a little bit of a backstory. We matched on Tinder in early February and by the time we met we had already been messaging for a couple of weeks. We messaged frequently throughout this time and there were certainly quite a few points it got more in depth than “Hey, how’s your day going?” This guy wasn’t arrogant or self centered, could hold a good conversation, take and make jokes and genuinely seemed interested to learn about me and I them. I am an open book and will talk about nearly everything, I’m not afraid to be honest and I will say if I feel a conversation is heading down a road I’m unsure of or I feel uncomfortable. We talked about break ups, shared a ton of personal thoughts and followed each other on social media.

Fast forward to date day, Saturday February 22nd. I was working my 6th day in a row and I had arranged to come home, get changed and meet this guy after work for dinner – I was looking forward to it. He lives in a different city and traveled to meet me which was admirable. I wasn’t thinking too far ahead and while the distance may have been a hurdle, when we were talking he didn’t make it sound like a problem. He was on time, we sat down and talked before ordering dinner and he was exactly how he had been when we messaged. He told me I looked nice (which I’ve never had on a date before) and I smelled nice and conversation wasn’t awkward. I ran up to the counter to order my dinner and pay before he could do it for me (which he later said was cute) and we both enjoyed our meal. Afterwards we went for a walk around town and had dessert and he invited me back to where he was staying. I’m not going to go into full details but there was some kissing. I didn’t do anything I regret and I didn’t spend the night.

The next morning we messaged each other and made plans before he went home. He picked me up and we went out for breakfast which was nice. We went for another walk, this time a 30 minute track through the Redwoods (a well known location where I live). I started feeling uneasy and nervous, I don’t know why but it wasn’t because of him. I sat down and was exhaling slowly and felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I told him I felt uneasy but not about the panic attack feeling and from then on I became quiet and feel like that’s where I blew the date. After the walk we played mini golf and I didn’t quite feel right through that either but we completed the game. At the end he kissed my forehead and dropped me home. He thanked me for the weekend and said he’d message when he was home safe. I sent him a message when I was through the door apologising for my nerves and said how I’d been feeling then went and had a nap.

I woke up to a message saying he was home and he also said he was tired which was understandable from driving and he hadn’t had the best sleep the previous night. I noticed the change in dialogue, tone and message frequency and prepared myself for what eventually followed two days later. On Tuesday night, February 26th, he sent me a DM on Instagram. He apologised for any pain caused and said I was too shy and too different and he’d only end up hurting me but that I seemed like a “great chick.” I knew it was coming and I don’t know why it was prolonged 48 hours, why couldn’t he have told me in person or said something when he got home that night? If you’re not feeling something there are signs and gut instincts. I asked a few questions and I don’t know how true his answers are or what his intentions were compared to what we talked about when we first messaged, but the two impressions didn’t match up. The previous week he’s telling me he doesn’t half ass things and we’d talked openly about personal topics and now he’s saying he’s not for me. I get personalities may not match in person and distance may have been an issue and if that was it, say – I’m an adult, I can take it. After the messages he unfriended me. Even if things weren’t going to progress and you tell someone you had a good time and they seem like a great person, could you not stay friends in the online sense? I’m not possessive or jealous and that shows more respect rather than feeling like someone’s experiment and as soon as you’re not required, you’re erased. I didn’t develop feelings for this guy but he said all the right things that I can see how I could have. It was definitely one of the better dates I’ve had and I did feel relatively comfortable in his presence.

Part of me feels like I’m making a big deal out of nothing and at least he messaged me and told me what he was thinking. I wasn’t sure whether I should write this post. It’s not a kiss and tell story or meant to hurt the other person involved in any way. I wanted to share and see whether something similar has happened to one of you before and how you dealt with it if it has.

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Claire Richards My Wildest Dreams – Album Review

My Wildest Dreams Quote

Quote from the liner notes inside the album.

For those of you who have read my blog for a while now you probably know that I have a huge passion for music. My passion for music is bigger than my passion for makeup. I am one of those people that always has music playing and has done ever since I was a young girl. I could talk about music and what it means to me all day long but to sum it up, music is my favourite thing in the world. Whenever I listen to it, I’m happy – even if I’m listening to sadder songs.

Each person has a genre or two they gravitate towards as well as certain bands and artists that are their favourites and they never tire of. Personally, I’m very much a pop girl! By pop I don’t always mean chart music and top 40 hits, I mean uptempo songs that make you feel happy and have catchy beats but still have reflective lyrics and a message, e.g. ABBA, Spice Girls and coincidentally the band Claire is from, Steps.

Steps are one of the most successful pop acts to come out of the 90s. To date they have had 14 consecutive top 5 singles in The UK (including two #1’s) and have sold over 20 million records worldwide. In 2011 Steps became the first British boy/girl band to have #1 albums in three consecutive decades (90s, 00s, 2010s). After the release of Tears On the Dancefloor in 2017 and touring the album, Claire decided to go full steam ahead with her own solo effort My Wildest Dreams.

My Wildest Dreams was released on February 1st 2019 and debuted at #9 on The UK albums chart. From start to finish the project took around three years between finding songs, writing songs and recording them. It wasn’t until the latter half of 2018 that Claire announced news of her solo album and began releasing her own music. Claire is known for her powerful vocals and has often been called the voice of Steps. Her musical influences include Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston and these influences are evident in Claire’s delivery and tone. Certain voices make you feel something and give you goosebumps and Claire’s is one of those. She is part of the reason I want to sing and a line from track two on the album sums it up beautifully, “I wanna live so my heart can learn to sing.”

Without further ado, let’s get into the review!

Hardcore Steps fans won’t be disappointed but if this is not completely like a Steps album. There are your standard uptempo pop songs that follow the pattern of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle 8, chorus in the form of On My Own, 7 Billion and Shame On You. These songs all have a great message behind them as well as being highlights that you’ll be singing to in no time!

One guarantee with a voice like Claire’s is that there will be big ballads, it’s a no brainer and she does them so well. Claire especially shines on Ruins and Don’t Leave Me In This Love Alone (written by Diane Warren). My favourite vocal run on the album comes from End Before We Start at the end of the second chorus. (Listen *HERE*).

Singles may not always be a listener’s favourite on an album and that is the case here. Title track, My Wildest Dreams is one of my personal highlights and it sums up the whole experience for Claire. She never expected she would get to make this album but she has been in the music business for over 20 years and has more than earned her stripes. There’s even a line in Brave (another of my favourites) which reflects this, “I’m a fighter, I’m a tiger”. Claire co-wrote Brave with her children in mind and it’s a gorgeous song full of raw emotion.

Albums also usually have tracks which grow on a listener the more they hear them, These Wings and Liar fall into this category for me. These Wings makes me want to sing along and have my diva moment and Liar showcases a beautiful depth to Claire’s voice. I find the lyrics poignant and relatable to a situation I was going through last year.

Overall, this is a beautiful album and one you can tell Claire is proud to call her own and has put her heart and soul into. The songs suit Claire’s muscality and she’s playing to her strengths. She has been true to herself whilst living her dream of recording a solo album. Each song has a story and I will be listening to this album and these stories for years to come. Standout Tracks: On My Own, 7 Billion, Brave, Shame On You, Ruins and My Wildest Dreams.

You can listen to Claire’s music on YouTube and Spotify. My Wildest Dreams is out now if you want to buy a copy!


This style of post is different to what I usually share but I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you think of the review!

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Gratitude: December 2018

I almost can’t believe how quickly 2018 is ending. I remember at the end of 2017 I was looking forward to the new year and very quickly (five days into January 2018 in fact) that all changed. Age 23 will be memorable (not always for good reasons) but I am ending the year in a positive mindset. I go into 2019 with the hope it will be ok and I won’t be tested so much. December has very much been the month to tie up loose ends and wind down after the year that has been.

Here’s what made me smile:

December 1: The food at the work Christmas dinner was amazing!

December 2: Spent the afternoon at a quiz with a few work colleagues.

December 3: Bookshops make me happy.

December 4: Mum bought apple turnovers from the supermarket.

December 5: Wore Patina by Stila and got complimented.

December 6: I did the daily banking at work for the first time by myself!

December 7: Garlic bread in the style of a Vienna loaf.

December 8: Sang along to The Saturdays on a Saturday 😛

December 9: Mowed the lawns. Good job done but it was a mission!

December 10: Bought a new conditioner from Schwarzkopf to try, my OGX one is almost empty.

December 11: Dropped my gift in the box at work for Secret Santa.

December 12: Chocolate sponge cake as part of a work morning tea.

December 13: Got my little car fixed, luckily it was something minor.

December 14: My watch and cuff set from Daniel Wellington arrived – it is perfect!

December 15: Did a makeup run through for the Shania Twain concert and went into town.

December 16: Chill day catching up on YouTube videos and painted my nails.

December 17: Last Monday at work for 2018.

December 18: Went to the Shania Twain concert and had her touch my hand as she made her way onstage.

December 19: Halo was pleased to see us when we got home.

December 20: Took some leftover hot chips to work for lunch.

December 21: The staff Christmas breakfast was a success! We also got to wear non-uniform clothes and I put tinsel in my plait to be festive.

December 22: Loved the orange-bronze eye makeup I tried.

December 23: Nice temperature, not too hot.

December 24: Wore my Shania Twain jumper.

December 25: Bullet journalled and listened to Ariana Grande after Christmas day lunch.

December 26: Restful afternoon nap.

December 27: Icecream after work.

December 28: My signed copy of The Anna Edit’s book, An Edited Life, arrived.

December 29: Morning Vanilla Latte in one of my kikki.K cups.

December 30: Potato chips and dip.

December 31: Last day of 2018, bring on 2019!


What were you grateful for in December?

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