Thursday, 15 November 2018

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Don't get me wrong, blogging schedules are great if you can definitely stick to one. I have tried many times to keep to a blogging schedule because I know how great and useful they can be. However, life always comes along and suddenly I've missed three posting days and I'm feeling pretty guilty and useless. Part of my issue is the fact that my attention span and motivation levels rise and fall uncontrollably all the time and, while sometimes I am able to get lots of writing done alongside my degree and work, sometimes I have a massive lack of concentration and attention, and I have to channel whatever I can into university. I originally wanted to write this post to justify myself and to explain why occasionally I can go long periods without posting. However, I now have another reason for writing this. I know quite a few people who have felt like they're failing as bloggers because they fail to keep to their schedule. They beat themselves up over it and feel like they're letting their readers down. I wanted to write this because I want to remind them that they shouldn't be beating themselves up over something they can rarely control. If you need a break, you need a break and the chances are that your readers understand this!

Things come up

For many of us, blogging is not a full-time occupation. We work, we study, and we're trying to balance a million different things at once. Often, we have to prioritise work or studies (or just life in general) over our writing, and it sucks but it happens! Not every week is the same and some weeks it's easier to keep a posting schedule than others. I have just happened to find it difficult for many weeks, maybe months. The constant pressure and stress I am putting myself under to constantly think up new content started to sap the enjoyment out of writing for me. I don't write well under pressure and I need time to generate my ideas. I am in my final year of university and I have a lot going on at the moment. I am trying to piece together my dissertation, hand in assignments on time, prepare for exams, volunteer, and apply for graduate schemes and jobs. It's a lot and I am very tired a lot of the time, so I decided to take as much pressure off myself as I possibly can. If I know that I find it very hard to stick to a schedule, the best I can do is post as often as I can and make sure that my content is up to scratch! It makes writing more special and come more naturally this way!

Sometimes you'll reach a block and that's okay

Sometimes ideas just don't come, and that can be frustrating. It's especially frustrating when you're trying to keep to a blogging schedule. Writer's block is one of the banes of my life and it's so hard to get out of sometimes! What won't get you out of your writer's block is forcing yourself to write. What you need to do is to take some time to gather inspiration and do some good brainstorming from this... amongst other things. It's not the end of the world to miss a posting day, honestly! It is better to take the time to write something truly good than to force yourself to write something you don't particularly enjoy writing. It reflects in your work and can seem off kilter or different to the posts you have written in the right frame of mind.

Quality over quantity

When I was keeping a schedule, I was posting three times a week. It worked for a while but as I started to get busier in my degree I began to notice that I was making lower quality posts just so I would keep my schedule going. Now when I post, I know I am putting out carefully put together content which I have put a lot of work into. My posts are longer and better researched. I feel prouder about the posts I am putting out. I would rather post one great post than three rushed ones.

Would I ever go back to keeping a blogging schedule?

I'm not ruling it out. Blogging schedules are not bad, it's just not sustainable for me right now. Maybe when I have more time to dedicate to writing, or if I get to a point in my mental state where I can keep motivated and focused, I will keep a more consistent schedule. The point of this post wasn't to tell you that I think schedules are a bad idea. Quite the opposite: I would love to be able to keep a good schedule! However, what we need to understand is that they are not always sustainable or healthy to keep!

How do you balance your blogging life and other commitments? x

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

I never thought I would love fitness this much, but here we are! I joined the gym a month ago and I am honestly so proud of myself for pushing myself to go. I have been wanting to join a gym for a couple years now but the idea of working out in front of other people terrified me. I have experienced a lot of anxiety surrounding the way I view my body and my fitness, and I have felt a lot of shame. However, I knew that could only be beaten if I just joined and started working out and working though the fears!

Pushing myself to join

It's kind of like the 'fuck it' philosophy. I had been thinking about joining the gym for forever, but it took one 'fuck it' moment for me to ask a friend where they go and then sign up for my induction. I think that's the best way to do things. There wasn't a massive lead up on the day of me waking up and saying "I'm going to join the gym today", I just did it without thinking too much about it. It worked, I booked my induction for the next morning and told myself that I had to get up and do it.

I was super nervous going into my induction. I had spent too long thinking about going to the gym and then overthinking about all the things that could go wrong. What if people see how unfit I am? What if I fall on the treadmill? What if I break a machine? What if someone finds it funny how little I can lift? But I went to my induction, at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, because I had it booked in so I had to go! The trainer was lovely and informative and I was actually the only one who had turned up to the induction so I got to have a go on almost everything with the guidance of the trainer. By the end of the induction, I felt so much more confident about my choice to join the gym! I felt like I knew the basics and I knew how to use most of the machines with proper form. That was all it took for me to feel fine about going to the gym and working out around others.

Why am I going to the gym?

I've been fine with my appearance lately, and I have worked on my confidence a great deal, so why have I finally decided to join the gym? Surprisingly, it isn't because I want to lose weight and slim down. I just want to feel healthier and stronger! I start every workout with a session of cardio because I have been so sluggish and I have felt so fed up about feeling tired and out of energy all the time. It feels good to get the blood pumping and work up a bit of a sweat! I then move on to weight machines, my favourite part of the gym! I have already seen such a difference in my ability to lift and I am always building up the weight and trying to lift heavier!

How I feel after a month

I am already stronger and fitter! I still hate cardio (like, a lot) but I have surprised myself with how I still push myself to do it! I can be very inconsistent and unmotivated with these things so I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping it up! I have begun to vary my weight workouts a lot more and I have been trying different machines and weight levels. I can see muscle tone in my legs that wasn't there before and my arms are looking a lot more firm and fit!

How I want to progress

Cardio is something I really want to focus on going forward. I want to learn to love cardio, or just to like it even a little. I think I'm going to mix it up rather than getting on the treadmill and then switching to stair-master. I may incorporate rowing machines or even bikes into the mix and see if I find that more enjoyable! I do want to have a session with a personal trainer to check my form and see if I can do anything differently, and I would also like to maybe try out a few classes. Since weight machines are something I enjoy, I may move on to free weights. That part of the gym isn't somewhere I have explored much (since it's always packed and everyone seems to know what they are doing), but I do think it is something I would enjoy!

Do you have any recommendations of apps or workouts which could help me to enjoy cardio? I am all ears! x


Thursday, 1 November 2018


Note Taking

I always start my studying by making my notes and printing them out. I go through lecture slides to see if I left anything out on my notes and then I lay them out for ease of reading and print them out. I make all my notes on Google Drive so that I can pull them up on my laptop, phone or on a uni computer so I can refer back to them whenever I am studying. I like to print my notes since it makes them really easy to annotate while I am studying, and it's just so easy to work from a paper copy when I am also using them to plan essays or make revision materials. Nice notes are a great bit of groundwork for your studying!

Flashcards

Flashcards, both physical and digital, are excellent study resources! I tend to mix it up and make both paper flashcards and digital flashcards on Quizlet so that I always have as many revision resource options as possible. Creating flashcards means that you always have bitesize notes to hand when you quickly need to refresh your memory on a concept or topic. As a psychology student, I have always found flashcards incredibly helpful when learning different theories or studies. Quizlet makes it fun and easy to test yourself on your flashcards and the app means that you can take this method of studying anywhere! I always use the app on the bus or when I'm waiting for a shift to start, just while I have a free few minutes to kill.


Video Content & Podcasts

I am super lucky due to the fact that all my classes are podcasted, meaning I can revisit everything that my lecturers have said so that I don't miss out on any snippets of information! I go through lecture podcasts with my printed notes to hand, so that I can add anything the lecturer has said but hasn't put up on the slides. I also play the podcasts in the background whilst I'm doing chores and not studying so that I'm constantly reviewing information. I play these podcasts at 1.5x speed so that I can review each of them at least a couple of times before the exams.

Other video content may be available to accompany your classes. Crash Course pretty much got me through my A-Levels, especially my biology modules which were incredibly information heavy! I have also had course textbooks with accompanying videos on YouTube, like THIS cognitive neuroscience textbook. If you are having a hard time grasping a particular concept or topic, search for it on YouTube and see how someone else explains it! Sometimes, you just need a different explanation of a concept in order to understand it!

Mind Maps

A lot of my studying involves finding different ways to go back through my notes and review all the information I need to know. Cutting down the info into bitesize chunks for flashcards and (especially) mind maps pushes me to select the most important information from my notes, making sure I consolidate this info further while also reviewing my notes as a whole. Mindmaps are a good visual resource and I keep mine in their own separate notebooks per module, so I always have them to hand. When working through practice questions, pulling up a mind map means that you are being prompted only by keywords and headings rather than all the information you need to answer the questions, meaning that you need to push yourself harder to remember! They're really useful tools for your revision kit!


Past Paper Questions

I used to shy away from past papers and revision quizzes because they would make me lose confidence in what I had learned. I mean, how can I possibly take practice exams if I don't feel like I've revised enough for the actual exams? However, over time I realised that while past papers would make me feel unprepared for the exams, this was a good thing because it would light a fire in my belly and push me to work even harder. Plus, occasionally in exams, a question comes up which I have already worked on in a practice paper and I end up breezing through it since I remember how I answered and marked it in the past paper.

How do you study for your exams? I am always looking to try new revision methods! x

You can check out the rest of my student life posts HERE! You can check out my studyblr HERE! x



Wednesday, 24 October 2018


Yes, as in Bridget Jones, iconic character and spinster! My mum calls me Bridget for a large number of reasons, mostly funny ones. Do I like this nickname? Yes, because no matter how awkward or hopeless Bridget Jones can be, she is always endearing and likeable.

My love life

From funny messaging experiences on Tinder to lost romances, my love life has pretty much been all over the place in the past year. This time last year, I had been single pretty much forever and I used to complain about this to my mum almost constantly. "You're such a Bridget, Jess." However, in the past year I have had one relationship and a long string of dating experiences. Some wonderful and some not so much. I have experienced being stood up, being ghosted, and falling for someone who didn't feel the same about me. Pretty up and down if you ask me. It's all a part of life, though!

That one scene where Bridget decides to give up dating and focus on her career

You know the one. Where she throws away her books with titles such as 'What Men Want' and packs her shelf with personal development books. She decides to get fit and get the job she really wants. I read a lot of personal development books and I get into fitness kicks three or four times a year. Also, when she decides to take shots of vodka and listen to Chaka Khan instead of getting upset about a gross cheating guy (eff you Daniel Cleaver), I felt that in my soul.

In love with Colin Firth

I mean, he's just perfect, isn't he? I have a real Mr Darcy complex, I swear!

Awkward and unintentionally funny

Bridget always seems to get herself into the most awkward situations. Those who cringe easily can find the films pretty hard to watch, and would probably find it hard to witness my day-to-day life, to be honest. I embarrass myself pretty much on the daily. Always got funny stories for my pals though! For example, my friend was staying in my room once and as I was falling asleep, I loudly muttered: "I just f*cking love mozzarella". I tend to do that a lot though, talk while I'm half asleep. Once I half woke up crying and saying "please don't send me back to McDonald's". I also fall up the stairs a lot, always have and probably always will. As a child, I constantly had scrapes on my nose from falling up the stairs.


'Bridgets'

Shapewear. I both love it and hate it. My mum and I call shapewear pants 'Bridgets' or 'Bridget Joneses'. If I have a big event or wedding coming up, catch me in the lingerie section of Primark picking some Bridget Joneses!

Well, it is one of my fave films!

Bridget Jones's Diary literally never fails to cheer me up. If I'm ill, I'm putting it on. Going through a breakup? Get it on! Wine drunk? Bridget Jones is being put on! It's just such a fun film and I could watch it a thousand times and still laugh! I can quote it word for word too so if there's ever a Bridget pub quiz, catch me there winning!


While Bridget isn't the nickname my mum calls me most (honeybee is the most frequent and most adorable one), it's one that has stuck for a long time! My mum is honestly my favourite person on this earth and I'm so glad that we have such a laugh together! Bridget Jones is just one film we like to quote and reference in our conversations, but it is definitely the most relatable one!

Which film characters do you relate to the most?x


Friday, 19 October 2018


What's the best way to get into the spooky spirit of the best month of the year? How about some spooky reads? I love a good scary/dark book and I have accumulated some favourites over the years! I figured I would share these with you, along with the blurb, a quick review and my favourite quote from each book!

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge. With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks, For inside her new home lies a mysterious wooden figure - a Silent Companion - that bears an unsettling resemblance to Elsie herself...

I hadn't read a full novel for quite a while when I picked this up, and I didn't put it down until the early hours when I had finished it. It's super atmospheric and gothic, and definitely a concept different to any other spooky novel I've read before. Wooden figures? How could they possibly be scary? It's definitely not your typical ghost story! You need to read this, it's superb! Its ending was insanely clever too and definitely shocked me!

Fave quote: "We are afraid of the things inside us - be they memories, sickness or sinful urges."

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet's circle is not what it seems.

This was a fairly quick read and, since I once again couldn't put the book down, I finished it in just under a day. It's a classic and this is definitely for a reason! It's purely chilling and a horrifying concept! The skilled writing places you straight into Rosemary's shoes and you really feel all the confusion, frustration and horror with her.

Fave quote: “Like so many unhappinesses, this one had begun with silence in the place of honest open talk.” 

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose.

If you think that you don't need to read this because you have seen the brilliant film, you still do! The book differs from the film in many aspects and is definitely worth a read! It is chilling, atmospheric and such a quick read! The setting itself, in a house blocked off from the rest of the world tidally, is isolating and a perfect place for such a chilling ghost story to take place.

Fave quote: "But what was 'real'? At that moment I began to doubt my own reality.” 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil. Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls... But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

This is a book which has stuck with me from my high school English class days. I found it to be the most gripping book we had the opportunity to study and I adored working through the chapters. I have since reread it and found it just as intriguing and dark as the first time I read it years ago! While it is certainly not my favourite on this list, it is a good short story to get you into the mood for Halloween!

Fave quote: “Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was.” 

Night Shift by Stephen King

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

Of course, I'm mentioning Stephen King in this list! How could I not? This is the best horror story anthology I have ever read and perhaps my favourite book on this list. The first time I read it, back when I was a high school teen, I had to put the book down and switch on something a bit more uplifting. It freaked me out, the way Stephen King has a tendency to do. This collection of short stories is not one to read after dark, but is definitely worth a read when you feel up to it!

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

An intriguing combination of fantasy thriller and moral allegory, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the gripping struggle of two opposing personalities — one essentially good, the other evil — for the soul of one man. Its tingling suspense and intelligent and sensitive portrayal of man's dual nature reveals Stevenson as a writer of great skill and originality, whose power to terrify and move us remains, over a century later, undiminished.

Here's another one I read in high school! We were able to pick our own books to read in our library sessions (my favourite part of the week) and this was my first choice! I can't say much about this other than that it is so well crafted that the fact that we pretty much all know the shocking twist of the story does not make it any less enjoyable to read!

Fave quote: “If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also.”

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

Hannibal Lecter is one of literature and films' most iconic villains for a reason! This book introduced Lecter to the world and is a must-read for fans of TV's Hannibal or the film The Silence of the Lambs! Or, better yet, if you're not familiar with the character then give this a read and get introduced to one of the evilest characters ever dreamt up!

Fave quote: "He viewed his own mentality as grotesque but useful, like a chair made of antlers. There was nothing he could do about it.” 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley was eighteen when she started writing Frankenstein. EIGHTEEN! People either love this book or hate it, and I love it. We all know of Frankenstein's monster, and the definitive novel about the creature is so disturbing and dark that it singlehandedly warrants the fame of the iconic creature. Not for the faint-hearted, but definitely one to read!

Fave quote: “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.” 

What is your favourite spooky read?x

Thursday, 11 October 2018


Photo by Melanie Pongratz on Unsplash

It's been a hot minute since I last spoke about music on this blog so I figured I would share some of my favourite playlists at the moment! These are the songs which I've had on loop for the past few weeks and which I tend to listen to at this time of year. I hope that you can pick out some new faves and I would love it if you shared what music you have been listening to lately! I am always on the lookout for a new favourite song!

Hydref

My main autumn playlist! This one is full of all those songs that make me feel good as the nights draw in early and the mornings are dark. I tend to sing along to these songs in the shower first thing in the morning and keep them playing as I get ready to start my day off.


  • You're Right by Morning Bear
  • Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
  • Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks
  • Witchy Woman by Eagles
  • House of the Rising Sun by Lauren O'Connell
  • Spellbound by Siouxie and the Banshees
  • Lavender Moon by Haroula Rose
  • Born To Die by Lana Del Rey
  • Ruins by First Aid Kit
  • Kind of Woman by Stevie Nicks
  • Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac
  • Which Witch by Florence + The Machine
  • Me And The Devil by Soap&Skin
  • We're Alive! by Keith Johns
  • 1000 by Brother
  • Sisters of the Moon by Fleetwood Mac
  • Dark Secret by Matthew Sweet
  • People Are Strange by The Doors
  • Lullaby by The Cure
  • I See Fire by Ed Sheeran
  • Cedar Lane by First Aid Kit
  • Marz by John Grant


Orange Coloured Sky

I'm on an old-timey jazzy kick at the moment! It gives me calm and almost-Christmas vibes. Plus, all these songs are so fun to sing along to and I am sure I have been irritating my flatmate with my wailing along to this playlist! This is, in fact, probably the playlist I have been listening to the most this month!


  • Orange Coloured Sky by Nat King Cole
  • We'll Meet Again by The Ink Spots
  • Someone To Watch Over Me by Ella Fitzgerald
  • Dream A Little Dream of Me by Doris Day
  • Way Back Home by Bob Crosby & The Bob Cats
  • Maybe by The Ink Spots
  • Blue Moon by Frank Sinatra
  • Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow by Nat King Cole
  • Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra
  • A Kiss To Build A Dream On by Louis Armstrong
  • Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall by Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots
  • La vie en rose by Louis Armstrong
  • I've Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Cheek To Cheek by Ella Fitzgerald
  • Crazy He Calls Me by Billie Holiday
  • Bidin' My Time by Julie London


Spook

This is the Halloween playlist I listen to every October! It's full of songs from films I watch every October and generally songs with a spooky theme! I dig this playlist out all year round but it just feels right listening to it in October!


  • People Are Strange by The Doors
  • Lullaby by The Cure
  • Bang Bang - My Baby Shot Me Down by Nancy Sinatra
  • Red Right Hand by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  • Cry Little Sister by G Tom Mac
  • It Will Come Back by Hozier
  • Sympathy For The Devil by The Rolling Stones
  • Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • I Put A Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  • The Boogie Monster by Gnarls Barkley
  • (Don't Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
  • Over At The Frankenstein Place from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac
  • Superstition by Stevie Wonder
  • (Ghost) Riders In The Sky by Johnny Cash
  • I Never Told You What I Do For A Living by My Chemical Romance
  • Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
  • The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen
  • Thriller by Michael Jackson
  • This Is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Marilyn Manson

What have you been listening to this month?x

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


Autumn is well and truly underway and I am thriving! Not only have I been loving the chilly weather and reason to wrap up warm, but I have also been loving the changing leaves and early evenings! Autumn is truly the best season of the year! Since I'm loving writing these conversational posts lately, I figured I would chat about all the best things about autumn!

Atmosphere and colours

The LEAVES! As soon as the first leaf turns orange I feel so excited and anticipatory about the coming change of seasons! I grew up living near a patch of woods and those autumn walks were everything to me! I love the colours all around during autumn, and the fallen leaves making even the dingiest paths look lovely! The weather may be cold but the colours are warm and inviting! I feel like there is a buzz in the air in Autumn. It's no longer summer and everyone has gone back to their daily grind, not quite tired of it yet! This is especially evident on the campus of my university! Everybody is making the most of being back and settling into another academic year!

Clothes

Autumn is peak fashion time for me! I am at my most stylish and confident at this time of year! The jackets and scarves are layered without being overbearing, and I can hide my bad hair days with a beret or beanie. Life is good. I've been wearing all those autumnal warm colours and loving all the purchases I have made lately, especially from New Look! Photoshoots are also incredibly lovely in autumn since the backdrop of the leaves is always exceedingly beautiful!

Dress: New Look, top: New Look, tights and socks: Primark, coat: Primark, boots: Dr Martens

 Makeup

The weather is finally chilly enough for me to not feel like I'm going to sweat off all my foundation by midday and I love it! I have never been a lover of wearing foundation. I feel like most foundations make my face even greasier than it always is, and I can just never find a shade that perfectly fits my pale face! However, this month I have started using the new Revolution Conceal and Define Foundation and it has really been a game changer for me! I wear makeup almost every day, I feel super confident and I actually enjoy getting ready in the mornings!


Let's talk about incorporating those autumnal colours into your makeup looks! Any other time of the year, I use my Naked 3 palette nonstop, but in autumn I gravitate back to more rusty coloured eyeshadows! They are so flattering and make me feel so confident when I step out of the flat! Plus, every time I wear a brown-ish lipstick I feel like Dana Scully from the X-Files. 


Weather

I hate warm weather with a burning passion (pardon the pun). I despise being all hot and sweaty, it just makes me feel disgusting! What I do like is cold weather where I can wrap up warm and keep cosy! Rainy days are the greatest, too! Whether I'm out and about under an umbrella or indoors looking out at the rain, I love it! It relaxes me so much!

Coffee

Making the switch from iced coffee to hot coffee is magical! There's nothing quite like being out in the cold and sipping on a hot drink. The way it warms you inside is just the best feeling! I have been sipping those cappuccinos, and the occasional PSL, like my life depends on it. I should really cut down on my caffeine consumption considering how dependent I am on it, but it's just so good! 

What are your fave things about autumn?x


Friday, 5 October 2018


One thing that sucks about being an introvert is that I don't particularly enjoy nights out. One of the times this sucks most is Halloween, because I love celebrating Halloween but it always seems like most of the events around the celebration are nights out. I'm a massive lover of a good night in, all cosy and comfy. Just being at a crowded club or party makes me very anxious and it prevents me from properly enjoying my time. Here are a few ideas for a fun night in, either alone or with friends, to celebrate Halloween in all its glory!

Cosy Film Night

I've already made a post about this, which you can read HERE, but I'll recap it now. Cosy film nights are amazing and a great way to wind down after a long day. Put on your comfiest clothes, get a hot drink, maybe order some food and pick a film! The aforementioned blog post has loads of spooky film recommendations for your cosy film night. I'm planning on watching A Nightmare on Elm Street and all the Scream movies in the leadup to Halloween whenever I have the time.

Spooky Board Games

Film nights are pretty standard so why not mix things up a bit? If you have a handful of friends who aren't planning a big night out for Halloween, you could always get together for a bit of tabletop gaming! HERE is a list of some spooky board game suggestions I found on tabletopgaming.com (I especially want to try Eldritch Horror and Mysterium. If storytelling is more your game, Hollow Woods is a great storytelling card game which I picked up from Waterstones a few months ago. Each card has an image that connects to all the other cards to form a long woodland path, and you have to make up a story as you move from card to card.


Dress Up With Pets

If you have a pet, I envy you! My lovely dog lady Tilly is back home in Wales with my family and I miss her so much all the time. One great way to spend Halloween is to dress your pet up in a Halloween costume and have a good old photo shoot with them. You'll be awwing and laughing the whole evening away and it's a great way to spend some quality time with your best pal! For bonus fun, dress up in a matching costume and join in on the photoshoot fun!

Group Costume With Theme-Fitting Film

If you have a group of like-minded friends who you want to spend the evening in with for a movie night, how about setting up a costume theme with an accompanying theme. It adds an extra level of fun to the whole film night idea! For example, you could all get glammed up in some Rocky Horror Picture Show outfits and have a singalong, or dress up as your fave movie vampire and have a good vampire film marathon!

Baking/Cooking Night

Arguably the most chilled out night in you could have, either alone or with friends, is a good baking or cooking session! You could pick a recipe from my veggie autumn cooking post HERE and have a good hearty meal, or you could check out THESE Halloween themed bakes for a fun themed baking night! The best part, you get to eat the treats you make!

A Good Old Magical Bath

Honestly, this may be the idea I'm most drawn to since I've been so tired and achey lately! Baths are always magical but a Halloween bath? Even better! Get out the candles, throw in a themed bath bomb, set up a movie and just sink into the warm waters! You will feel so good afterwards! I've picked up Lord of Misrule from Lush and I'm so excited to use it in the coming days! I love their seasonal bath bombs and their Halloween collection is fabulous!

How will you be spending your Halloween?x


Thursday, 4 October 2018


All around the year, there is so much to get up to in Manchester. In October, there are so many events you can attend and plenty of activities to keep you occupied throughout the month! I have summed up all the best things to do in Manchester over October, focusing on that autumn feel, and I hope that you can get some plans out of this post. Just researching for this post has filled my calendar with lots of things I want to attend and take part in!

Events

Grimmfest - 4th to 7th @ ODEON Manchester Great Northern

  • Yes, the festivities for Halloween start TODAY! Grimmfest is a festival of horror, sci-fi, extreme fantasy and cult film, and this year is its 10th anniversary! They feature a massive variety of film screenings and invite many of the creators to speak. They also have a series of short films with a focus on female creators. If you're a movie buff and a horror fan, I would definitely check this out!
  • Oktoberfest is back and is definitely one of the big events to add to your calendar! There's a giant tent filled with long tables for you to drink out, and a massive beer garden for the perfect Oktoberfest feel in the centre of Manchester. This is always a big social event and it sounds like this year's event will be even better than the last!
  • If music is more your type of thing, this year's Manchester Folk Festival looks set to be a fantastic event! The lineup looks amazing and all concerts are individually priced so you can pick and choose your perfect music-filled long weekend!
  • This sounds unnerving and terrifying. Hosted in a shipping container, 20 people experience a sonic experience aiming to test the group's psychology and beliefs about superstition. It's a very unique experience and definitely sounds like something I would love to do!
  • Have a look around the city and check out all the iconic building that are going green for the spooky season! Buildings such as the Town Hall are being lit up in a green glow and it's going to be awesome!
  • Not only will some of the city's best buildings be lit up in green for Halloween, but some will also be invaded by large (inflatable) monsters! Have a search around the city and see what you can find!
  • Here's one I've really been looking forward to! Sample some of the best whiskies from all over the world and check out all of the exhibitors who are gathering at Manchester Cathedral to find your new drink of choice.
  • I can't believe I'm going to be at work and miss the highlight of this October! Manchester is going to be filled with dogs in their spookiest Halloween costumes to take part in the show, and the winning dogs will get their very own trophy and treats! Go to this one so I can live through you (and send me lots of dog pics)!


Activities

Making the most of October in Manchester is easy and there are so many things you can do! How about browsing the great selection of plants at Flourish and taking home a few (or a few dozen)! There's something so lovely about shopping at their outdoor shop just off Market Street in the chilly weather.

If you're looking for some great seasonal decorations, have a look around the shops in the Northern Quarter or have a look in Home Sense in the Arndale. I have gone a bit over the top with these lately but they're all so lovely and you can never have too many Halloween decorations! I got my new fave mug at Home Sense and now I want dozens more!


Sheltering from the chilly weather may lead you into some lovely spots in Manchester. Check out some cafes and food spots around the city which you haven't been in before. You never know, you may find a new favourite hangout spot! For me, I popped into Chapter One Books and now I can't get enough of their coffee, cakes and brownies!

For other ideas of how to spend your October, check out my other Blogtober posts!



Surrounding Manchester

One thing I didn't realise until this year is that there are places around Greater Manchester where you can pick your own pumpkins! Wouldn't this be the perfect idea for a day out with friends and family, or even a cute autumnal date? You can check out an article by Manchester Evening News HERE with all the spots you can go to!

Long walks don't stop once Summer is over! Why not wrap up warm and check out some of the best walking spots around? I love a good chilly walk followed by a filling and warming dinner back at home!

Do you have any suggestions which I have missed out? What will you be doing this month?x

Tuesday, 2 October 2018


Photo by Kevin McCutcheon on Unsplash

When the cold weather starts, I begin to miss one thing. My nan's stew! I would spend hours with her in the kitchen doing what I could to help her to prepare her stew, my favourite meal. She puts so much time and care into the dish and I would beg for it as soon as autumn rolls around! Every time I'm on the phone to my mum and she says she went round to nan's for tea and had stew, I still get a pang of jealousy. However, since I've been vegetarian for the past few years now I haven't been able to have that hearty stew. However, there are plenty of lovely hearty meals you can still make as a veggie in autumn. And that's what I'm always craving when the weather gets cold... A warm, filling and hearty homecooked meal. I've collected a list of my fave recipes from past years and a few I want to try this year! Let's get cooking!

Fave Recipes

One of my staple recipes in the colder months is THIS gorgeous vegan lasagne soup by Liv B. It is extremely filling and hearty and is perfect for a quick after-uni/work meal. I make this in bulk as it is perfect the next day as lunch/dinner and it's cheap to make!

THIS one-pot mushroom and potato curry on BBC Good Food is my favourite dish to cook for others! It's super easy to make and I add a can of chickpeas to make it even more filling! You can make it as spicy or mild as you want and the heat makes it lovely and warming!

Recipes I Want To Try

Argentinian-Inspired Veggie Chilli with Chimichurri - Jess Eats and Travels
Afghan-Inspired Vegan Kidney Bean Slow-Cooker Casserole - Jess Eats and Travels
Vegan Shepherds Pie - The Little Blog of Vegan
Quick & Easy Vegan Macaroni Cheese - The Little Blog of Vegan
Quick & Easy Authentic Potato Curry - The Little Blog of Vegan
One Pot Wild Mushroom, Squash and Spinach Pilaf - Easy Peasy Foodie
Tuscan Bean Stew - Easy Peasy Foodie
Baked Potatoes with Spicy Chickpea Stew - Easy Peasy Foodie

Autumnal Bakes

Last year I was all about cooking, and this year I'm all about those autumnal baked goods! I already made THESE maple cookies, which turned out lovely but I definitely made way too many! Note to self: there is such thing as too many cookies. It's sparked my love of baking as a way to relax on an afternoon off, and these are all the bakes I have planned for this October:

Tarte Aux Pommes - All Recipes UK
Pumpkin and Maple Syrup Pie - All Recipes UK
Easy Sugar Cookies - All Recipes UK
Mary Berry's Banana and Chocolate Chip Loaf - BBC Recipes
Vegan Death by Chocolate Cake - Baking With Maggie
All-Time Fudgiest Brownies - Baking With Maggie
Apple and Cinnamon Cake - Easy Peasy Foodie

Recipe Books

I have a few great veggie/vegan cookbooks and I figured I would add what I think of them to this post just in case you are on the lookout for a good cookbook. There's something so lovely about working from a cookbook, rather than from a screen!


The New Vegan by Aine Carlin has been a great help to me as a vegetarian who's trying to steer closer to a vegan diet! Not only is the book filled with great recipes, but she also covers the basics so well! There is a page dedicated to vegan sources of nutrients and lots of info on the vegan lifestyle.

Veggie Comfort Food by Josephine Ashby is a new discovery for me! I keep asking to borrow my flatmate's copy because all the recipes look so hearty and perfect for the chilly weather!

Fast Vegetarian by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbleby is by far my fave cookbook of all time! I wanted it for years until I finally picked it up last year in the sales! The thing about Leon cookbooks is that they are not only full of lovely recipes, they are also full of stories behind the recipes. It gives the book such a lovely personal touch and makes it such a joy to use!

What will you be cooking this autumn?x


Monday, 1 October 2018


Are you ready for an October full of posts? I hope so (and I hope I follow this through)! I'm kicking off this Blogtober by talking about one of my favourite things about the Autumn period and about October, the month of spookiness. A good cosy film night! It's one of the first things that comes into my mind when the leaves begin to fall! The idea of being snug (as a bug in a rug) and cosy with a nice mug of something hot and watching one of the films that make me feel so nostalgic!

Getting Cosy

Let's talk about the fundamentals of getting cosy.

  1. Blankets
  2. Baggy clothing
  3. Warmth
  4. Company (or not)

When it comes to blankets, the more the merrier! If you're chilling on the floor then you can cover the floor with blankets to make it all soft and comfy. If on the sofa, wrap yourself up like a cocoon! Duvets are also a great idea! For optimum comfort, baggy clothes are a must! You don't need layers since you can layer up the blankets, so just wear those PJs or those sweatpants! My fave source of warmth is a hot drink! Coffee is good for getting that energy up for a good marathon, but hot chocolate really warms the soul and winds you down! Pick out your fave mug and get that kettle boiling! Warm hearty food is also such a good shout! Whether you're a solitary being or someone who likes to surround yourself with your favourite people determines whether you need the company to get comfy and cosy. If you're solitary and pushing yourself to interact with others, you won't get to relax properly! It's the same for if you're super social. Don't want to get lonely and distracted by social media for some interaction!

The Films


Halloween Classics - These are your standard spooky feeling films... The ones you may have been watching as a tradition every October whilst waiting for Halloween to roll around!
  • Addams Family
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Halloween
  • The Craft
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Practical Magic
  • A Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Interview With The Vampire
  • The Silence of the Lambs
  • Halloweentown
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street

Romances - Gotta warm the heart sometimes, and these romances sure do that!
  • Notting Hill
  • You've Got Mail
  • Bridget Jones
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • The Holiday (early, I know, but so heartwarming!)
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before
  • Sleepless In Seattle
  • 10 Things I Hate About You

Nostalgia - I don't know why, but as soon as the cold weather hits, all I want to do is get cosy and get nostalgic! Here are a few of my faves for doing this!
  • Harry Potter
  • Lord of the Rings
  • The Lost Boys
  • The Goonies
  • Any old Disney film

Musicals - With friends or all alone, who doesn't love a singalong? 
  • Into The Woods
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Les Miserables
  • Sweeney Todd

How will you be kicking off October?x

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