Sunday, 31 December 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

It's that time again where we all get a bit reflective as the year draws to a close, and rightly so! What better time to look back at your achievements to see how far you've come, and your "not so great" moments so you can learn from them and then lock them away in a box in your mind marked DO NOT TOUCH!

For me, I can happily say that 2017 has been my best year yet. Hands down. No competition. 

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017



You are right in thinking that going backpacking was why 2017 was so special for me. Packing your belongings into a backpack and jetting off halfway around the world when you've never travelled further than Europe before is definitely an experience hard to beat. 

It's pretty scary, knowing you are leaving everything you are familiar and comfortable with behind to step on a plane taking you to a completely new (and very far away) country. 

It's really hard to put down into words how amazing this trip really was. 

From hiking around mountains in New Zealand to facing my fear of water and learning to snorkel, and from riding around on the back of a moped in Vietnam to walking with elephants in Thailand, each day was filled with new experiences and people that have turned into wonderful memories.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to travel to these awe-inspiring countries and experience new cultures and religions and could honestly spend hours and hours writing about every single amazing thing that happened. Even it takes me a good few years to get through all the posts and videos I want to create about this trip, I promise you will hear everything. 


Even though I've lost some people I was really close to over the past few years (more on that a little later), 2017 has been the year of gaining new friendships. There have been some acquaintances that I've known for a while that I can now call close friends, that I may have never gotten close to if it hadn't have been for losing old friendships. 

I also rekindled some old friendships with people I thought I would never speak to again! This was something I definitely didn't see coming, but it came just when I needed it. 

While I feel like I've lost some friends this year, I also feel like I've gained a handful in return, and ending 2017 I know I have a group of wonderful, genuine, loyal group around me.


After taking a 5-month sabbatical while travelling, I came back home ready to get back into blogging. It definitely took me a while, but this past month especially I've been creating content I'm super proud of with some amazing brands. 

I've been receiving products from brands that I thought would never work with me in a million years, but I can now proudly say I've worked with the likes of Kat Von D, Next, Bioderma and (very soon) Too Faced! 

I was also given my first press tickets to a West End show, which was an absolute dream come true for me! Keep an eye out for my little write-up of Five Guys Named Moe coming next week...


When I received the email congratulating me on becoming Next's Blogger of the Month a couple of weeks ago, I was left speechless for a good couple of minutes. To think that Next, a brand I have loved for a long time, thought that my content was good enough to be their blogger of the month was something I couldn't wrap my head around!

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017



I never thought that when I returned home from backpacking that I would have learnt as much as I did. Here are a couple of things that stood out to me.

Even though I was travelling as part of a couple, I was also very alone in the fact that I had to grow up a lot and learn to become completely independent. I had to make sure we were both healthy, fed and safe for 5 months. We obviously had a huge support network at home that was a phone call away when things did go wrong, but they were all thousands of miles away. We had to learn to handle things in the moment on our own, make decisions and think more with our heads than our hearts. 

I also became more confident in my mind and body. I let a lot of inhibitions melt away, and any nagging anxieties practically disappeared to the point where I could go to breakfast by myself, talk to strangers, make new friends, and make decisions all while sporting a bikini or elephant pants with no makeup on. 

I let go of a lot of things that had been holding me back, as I knew that 99% of the people I would meet, I would never see again. Having this always in the back of my mind definitely allowed me to do and experience more than if I'd been self-conscious.  

I learnt to be kind and compassionate to others. Not everyone that we met on our travels was always nice, but I soon learnt that even politely declining someone trying to sell you something on the street instead of yelling at them to go away meant a lot. Some of the people we met relied on tourism to keep their families fed, and a couple of pounds that you spent buying something from them would feed their family for a week. 

I became more respectful of this beautiful world, and how we can so easily destroy it if we're not careful. Visiting animal sanctuaries and national parks really opened our eyes to how humans can both help and hinder species and habitats, and how some places are exploiting nature to make money off of tourism while other places are actually making a difference in wildlife conservation.


This isn't a joke, I'm sorry to say.

After drowning both my cameras in the first week of being in New Zealand, you can imagine I was pretty distraught! I don't come from a wealthy family so these two cameras were items I had saved and saved for a long time and had been so careful with over the years. 

You can imagine how gutted I was when they became completely unusable within the space of a second. If you want to hear more about what happened, feel free to take a little watch of this video from our first week in NZ.

After getting my replacement cameras I have been so careful with them, keeping them in their cases at all times, but that hasn't stopped me from dropping my phone down the toilet. 

Again, I wish this was a joke. 

The moral of the story is: don't keep your phone in your back pocket and forget about it. Also keep any tech at least 3 metres away from any liquids.


They say that some friends will come and go, and this has really resonated with me this year. After experiencing something similar with my childhood best friend last year, I was almost numb to the fact that it started happening again with someone else. 

Luckily, this time I noticed it as soon as it started happening. I have succeeded in making sure I don't get walked on or used by people like I used to, and so when this person started to be rude, distant and throwing accusations my way, I wasn't having any of it. 

I was, however, confused. It came really out of the blue, and for a while, I thought, like before, it was just aimed at me. As soon as I heard she was doing it to another of my friends, I made a decision- give her a chance, and then if it continues to be a one-sided friendship, stop trying. 

That's exactly what I did and after talking things through we tried to make it work. But after reaching out and not hearing anything back for a good couple of months, I've decided to stop trying to please.

I feel great about it. I am sad that this person is no longer in my life, but I know as I said before that I have a great group of friends who are loyal and supportive unconditionally. 

I also lost another friend while I was away, and this quick severance really hurt as I was not even in the same country to face it head-on. After ugly and untrue accusations were made and then swiftly deleted on social media about my family and loved ones, they went on to block and delete as many people as they could. 

Even though their hatred had not been targetted directly at me, and as much as I wanted answers as to why they had said the things they had said about my own family, I returned the favour. I unfollowed. 

Even though I know and have learnt that some people will grow out of friendships gradually, it hurts just as much when someone cut the ties of friendship so severely that you're still asking "...why?" many months later. 

Reflecting on 2017

BAG - NEXT* (similar)

Pictures by Lauren


I really hope 2017 has been an amazing year for you all, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has ever read my blog, liked an Instagram post or watched my Youtube. Your support means more than you all know, big or small, and I look forward to sharing more content with you all in the New Year!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Last-Minute Stocking Fillers

Last-Minute Stocking Fillers

In our heads, by now we would like to have all presents wrapped and under a perfectly decorated tree, with the house clean, and you're plopped on the sofa guzzling mulled wine watching Elf. 

In reality? 

You're frantically running around like a headless chicken trying to buy all your presents on Christmas Eve. Sound familiar?

I've been in both situations over the years, and however much you'd like to be all organised in plenty of time, life get's in the way and next thing you know it's Christmas on Monday and you've done nothing.

Thanks to the wonder of next day delivery, you can rest easy for a little while longer, so if you're clueless about what last-minute stocking fillers to get your friends and family this Christmas, I've come up with a little selection for you to browse through. 

If you're looking for a present for someone specific, be sure to check out my gift guides for:

ghost sweetheart 30ml gift set


Like I mentioned in my friends and sisters gift guide, giving someone a perfume set from their fave brand is an easy way to put a smile on someone's face. You know they're going to like it, and it will keep them stocked up until next year! 

Brands are also starting to add other products to their gift sets aside from shower gel and body lotion, like this Ghost Sweetheart set. This little candle is a great accompaniment to the perfume and will make sure your house is smelling just as lovely as you are. 

bareminerals something to talk apout lip gloss collection


Know a product that your beauty-obsessed pal is desperate to try? Why not get them a little sample collection to play around with! There are so many out there at the moment that include a huge selection of products and colours for every budget. 

For example, the bareMinerals Something To Talk Apout lip gloss collection features 4 mini plumping glosses in (l-r) Golden Glaze, Attention Seeker (which is a brand new shade), Dare Devil and Tantalizer. You can easily pop any of these in your handbag ready for Christmas and New Years parties, and these pigmented long-wearing shades also help make your lips look fuller and plumper ready for all that kissing under the mistletoe...

premier estates wine chilean sauvignon blanc


Need I say more...if all else fails and you're still stumped for ideas, nothing beats a lovely bottle of wine, bubbly or spirit to help keep them merry over the holiday period. 

I'm a huge fan of Premier Estates Wine and recently I've been enjoying their Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, a beautiful dry wine that is deliciously fruity without being too sweet, and is really reasonably priced for a good bottle of wine. This is perfect with fish or chicken, and can we talk about how fab that label is?!




Hopefully this will give you a couple of ideas for those last minute stocking fillers that you're struggling to get! Be sure to check out my other gift guides for more ideas:

Happy present shopping!


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide for the Men Who Are Hard To Buy For

Christmas Gift Guide for the Men Who Are Hard To Buy For

It's crazy to think this is my last group gift guide! There will be one more after this about stocking fillers and last minute presents that will be going up at the end of this week, but this is the final one for a specific category member! It's strange to think that a week ago I was sat surrounded by products trying to figure out how the hell I was going to put this all together.

But I have, and I've loved every minute! I'm also pretty impressed that I've been able to produce 4 blog posts in the space of less than a week when normally I struggle to post once a week at the most. 

Make sure you're all caught up with my other gift guides for friends and sisters, grandmas and mother in lawsmums and last minute stocking fillers.

For me, men have always been really hard to buy for. I've grown up surrounded by picky men, which makes buying them gifts for birthdays or Christmas a right nightmare! This has meant though that I've slowly learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to presents. 

Take a scroll down and see if you pick up any gift ideas for those men in your life that are hard to buy for.


One thing that I know is that men love to be comfortable. Doesn't matter what the occasion, if they're not comfortable then they are not happy. Loungewear, in particular, is a great gift to help them feel warm and snug this winter, especially if we get any more snow like we have this week.

next black fleece zip through hoodie

You will obviously have the usual options of loungewear like slippers, pyjamas, and robes, but if you're looking for something a little different, this might be what you're looking for.

This Next fleece hoodie is a great versatile piece that can be worn over PJ's or used to layer when heading outside. It is fleece lined on the inside as well as outside and is one of the softest things I've ever felt. It's basically a furry robe disguised as a hoodie or a teddy bear coat for indoors. Basically a blanket in the shape of clothing. Dreamy.

My dad does a lot of work on the computer, so sitting still in the cold for such a long time isn't the best thing for him, so this hoodie is perfect for when he's working at this time of year.


hotel chocolat a dozen portly penguins chocolate set

I don't need to give this one much explanation; men love chocolate. End of. Well, unless they're allergic to it then maybe this isn't the best choice. 

For those who love chocolate, getting a little quirky set like this one from Hotel Chocolat would put a smile on anyone's face. These little penguins are so cute and taste amazing too. They're also available in the mix and match offer being run where you can buy 3 or more sets for £6 each. If you're looking for some more sets to pick up, check out my mums,  and grandmas and mother in laws gift guides.


Some men are really into their skincare but for those who aren't, a great gift option is bath and body products. As much as they may turn their nose up at skincare, shower gels and aftershaves will always go down a treat as they are things they use already. My boyfriend has actually found products he loves and now uses regularly from Christmas gift sets. 

baylis and harding citrus lime and mint wash bag set

One of the great things about bath and body gift sets is most of the time they will come with a wash bag. Perfect for traveling, showering at the gym or for keeping everything tidy in the bathroom, they don't go unused. 

Baylis and Harding have this great small wash bag set available that comes with a cleansing shower gel and soothing aftershave balm in a vibrant citrus lime and mint scent. They are always spot on with their scents, especially for men, as they normally head towards a lovely mixture of fresh zesty scents with woody undertones like in this set. 


There's my penultimate Christmas gift guide for men! I hope this may have helped you out in some way with sorting out pressies for those picky men. 

Once more, I want to thank the brands who gifted items for all of these gift guides- I was overwhelmed with the support I got while working on them!

Make sure to check out my other gift guides for:

How's everyone's Christmas present shopping going? Can't believe it's less than two weeks away from the big day...

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide For Mums + Giveaway

next mistletoe jumper

Happy Monday everyone! It's been so exciting sharing these gift guides with you, and I hope you've been enjoying them as much as it was to put them together. If you've not caught up with my other gift guides, do take a look! There's one for friends and sisters (with a giveaway too)one for grandmas and mother in lawsone for men who are hard to buy for and one for last minute stocking fillers.

This time, we're focussing on gifts for the main ladies in our lives- our mums. My mum is one of my favourite people to buy for as I love spoiling her rotten after all the things she's done for me.

Normally with mums, you might know their taste pretty well, but sometimes it's quite hard to think of new gift ideas if you've been buying gifts for them for a long time. It can be really easy to end up repeating a gift without even realising.

So here are some Christmas gift ideas for mums that you might want to treat them to, and drumroll please...there's another giveaway! Be sure to enter after you've read this post.

Christmas Gift Guide For Mums


With mums, a great option to buy them is fashion and loungewear. You will probably already know their clothing sizes and taste, so there's no need to be asking sneaky questions or taking a peek at their clothing labels to find out their size. 

next faux fur slider slippers

When it comes to my mum, slippers are a no-brainer! She loves to be comfortable and warm, so I know she'll always be chuffed with something she can wear around the house.

These slippers, in particular, are right up her street. During the summer she loves wearing her Birkenstocks around the house but as soon as the temperature drops they don't really keep her feet warm. 

These furry sliders from Next will solve all her problems with keeping her feet warm, but will still have the arch support like a Birkenstock. 

next mistletoe jumper

What would Christmas be like without the humble Christmas jumper? Be it novelty or sophisticated, festive jumpers always make a great gift choice. 

The beauty of having a simple Christmas jumper is that you can wear it out a lot more than a novelty one, as it isn't obviously festive. This mistletoe jumper is another gem from Next, and can easily be dressed up smartly or worn casually with jeans. The details are perfectly dainty, with little pearl mistletoe berries and metallic threading on the cuffs. 


Spoiling your mum leads right on to hair and beauty products. Giving them something that they can use to pamper themselves after a long day is a great gift option, and as always, there are loads of options to choose from. You can either give her something she already uses and loves, or treat her to something new that she might have been wanting to get for a while.

natural world macadamia oil shampoo and conditioner

natural world macadamia oil hair mask and treatment oil

Let's start with haircare- this will obviously depend on what type of hair they have (coloured or natural) with what type of product you buy them. Gifting someone with a full haircare range is a great way for them to find new products they love, like a shampoo and conditioner combo or a nourishing hair serum or mask. 

I love Natural World's products and have been using and working with them for a long time, so with my hand on my heart I can say they are one of my favourite haircare brands. I'm a big fan of their treatment oils in particular, which always leave my hair super soft and healthy. Their Macadamia Oil range features a shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and treatment oil and is also infused with cedarwood, rosemary, lemongrass, orange and ylang-ylang to leave hair nourished and shiny without irritating the scalp. 

tropic whipped body velvet buttermilk

In my opinion, a body butter is probably one of the most luxurious ways of pampering yourself- covering yourself with a super moisturising cream that will leave you so smooth you might slip off your seat makes showers and baths a much more pleasurable experience. 

If you're looking at really treating your mum, then Tropic's Whipped Body Velvet Intensely Rich Buttermelt would be a great option. It is on the more pricey side, but you do get amazing quality for your money with its luxurious mouse like consistency that leaves your skin moisturised and smooth for the whole day. It sinks into the skin easily after warming it with your hands and contains Madagascan vanilla extract, macadamia oil (you can tell I love the stuff), and rarabe butter to help soothe dry skin. 

bioderma gentle beauty essentials kit

Treating someone to products from their favourite skincare brand is a great last minute idea if you're struggling to pick something out for them and there are loads of collections available with travel sized and full-sized products.

After introducing my mum to Bioderma, she has been a fan of their micellar water ever since! This travel-sized set has some holy grail items as well as ones I've never tried before but I'm now in love with! Take the Atoderm shower gel- it soothed the small bits of eczema I had on my skin and left it really smooth. Also, the Hydrabio moisturising cream locks in moisture for a long time and amazingly teaches the skin to moisturise itself again restoring skin’s suppleness, softness and radiance.

baylis and harding midnight fig and pomegranate bath time treats set

As well as getting a main present, I also like to give my mum lots of little stocking fillers in my continued effort to spoil her. Keep a lookout in the shops as well as online, as I normally find little presents like this quite by chance. 

Baylis and Harding always get it spot on with their products and packaging like this Midnight Fig and Pomegranate Bath Time Treats Set. I mean, how adorable is this little roll top bath?!  The gorgeous smelling shower creme and body butter are also great products in their own right.


I'm yet to meet someone who doesn't like candles. You can give them as a stocking filler in the form of tea lights and votives, or as the main gift with three wick candles. Whatever you choose the scent is always key!  

baylis and harding winter spruce and berries candle

Baylis and Harding don't only do beauty, but also the most amazing smelling candles. The Winter Spruce and Berries candle comes beautifully decorated with this embossed jar and Christmas tree decorated lid. 

Most importantly, it smells so good. To put it simply, it's like Christmas in a jar with hints of cinnamon, pine and red berries, and creates a lovely aroma that isn't too overpowering in a room. 


Again, giving chocolate as a gift doesn't have to be boring, especially when they look good. Make sure you pick selections in interesting flavours or in cool packaging, and these will make another great stocking filler for your mum.

hotel chocolat truffle baubles

It was a real struggle not to eat these before I shot them! When I worked with Hotel Chocolat last year, I fell in love with their truffles in their advent calendar, and now they are back in my life in the form of these truffle baubles. 

These filled chocolates come in their three classic types: simple white, dark and milk, and can be used in their mix and match deal where you can buy 3 or more items for £6 each. If you're looking for some more sets to pick out, check out the enchanted trees set in my gift guide for grandmas and mother in laws, and the portly penguins set in my men's guide.


And now for the giveaway! Natural World are giving one of you the chance to win the entire Macadamia Oil haircare range featured in this gift guide! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There's my Christmas gift guide for mums! I do hope you liked it, and if you did be sure to check out my other gift guides for:

As always, many thanks to the brands who gifted items for this guide!

Are any of you in the festive spirit yet? I certainly am after yesterday's snowfall...

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