Tips for moving into your first home. AD


Moving into your own home is one of the most stressful but rewarding things you can do, whether you're renting or buying your own home it's about making sure you are prepared for what is ahead. Moving out as a student is completely different to your own home, as most things are provided by your landlord and rent is usually covered by your student loan and for the shortfall, usually, there is someone in your family who can help out with that. But you have your own house and job it can a lot harder to deal with all of the bills, maintaining of your house and even things like decorating, can be a hefty task and it all adds up. Today I have compiled a list of my top tips for living in your own home, and hopefully, these help you whether you are renting or have just bought your own house. 

Upcycle furniture:
I am currently obsessed with the idea of upcycling, and sometimes it really is as simple as some new paint and sanding. You can use your old furniture and give it a whole new lease of life. Purchase some items from a charity shop, or look on sites such as Freecycle or local Facebook groups where you can usually get items local and cheap too. This board on Pinterest is full of ideas and always gives me a huge surge of inspiration!



Save emergency funds: 
I am the worst for this and when something bad does happen I am completely unprepared and it usually does come at the worst time. If you can afford to pay it back, it's worth getting a payday loan (most of us have been there) with cashlady.co.uk even with a less than perfect credit rating you can apply. With payday loans, it is important to remember only borrow what you can afford to pay back and if you really need it. Interest rates on short-term loans are typically much higher than mainstream finance options (such as bank loans or credit cards). It's worth trying to put aside a bit each month in a savings account, but if you're anything like me, it's not always possible.

Have contacts:
It's the worst when an emergency happens and you have no idea where to turn. It's worth getting contacts for out of hours emergency services such as a locksmith (we've all somehow locked ourselves out at some point right?) also gas and electric. It's always handy to know who to call when we end up in a situation where you feel stranded. Luckily for me the times in the past when I have been locked out I've had my landlord on hand to rescue me. 



Stay on good terms with your neighbours:
I have watched too many episodes of the nightmare neighbour next door to want to be in that situation with anyone, let alone the person you live next door to. I've had a conflict with my neighbours before with them putting their rubbish in our bins, which was a nightmare but luckily it didn't escalate to that level. It's always good to say hi to them when you see them and make small talk as you never know when you might them and visa versa. 

What are your top tips for moving into your first house? 

*This post is in collaboration with Cashlady.co.uk

Wanderlust: UK Edition. AD

When telling people you are going on holiday and when they ask where and you reply a location in England they always seem a little disappointed for you. Giving you the pitying look of, could you not afford to go abroad this year? But what most people don't look for is those hidden gems and what you can do in the places you visit. Despite the lack of good weather, the UK has some pretty cool places to visit. As someone with anxiety, I do have a fear of the unknown a lot of the time, and it is hard enough to get me to explore somewhere new in the UK, let alone another country. I did say 2018 would be my year of travel, yet somehow I've only visited Manchester and that was three months ago. However, with Will and I's anniversary coming up we've decided to take a trip somewhere, but are still clueless where to visit, so I took to Twitter to ask for some opinions on where to go, as well as doing some research and I decided to share my top 3 destinations of where I want to visit and hopefully make them all a reality by the end of the year! 



Liverpool:
I have previously visited Liverpool I have explored the shopping scene as Liverpool ONE has to be one of the best shopping experiences in the UK. After reading the extensive guide of things to do in Liverpool created by Liverpool ONE (https://www.liverpool-one.com/visit-liverpool/) I knew where I wanted to eat and drink, as well as some of the shops and nightlife I needed to check out whilst in Liverpool. There is so much more I wanted to explore in previous trips and didn't have the time to do so. When looking into hotels and things to do in Liverpool I read about the hop-on-hop-off tours and found them at a discounted rate through Groupon (£15 for 2 people) and as someone who has not been in years, I think it will be the best way to locate key attractions. With Liverpool having one of the most impressive selections of museums in Europe I was drawn to wanting to visit the following museums: 

*British Music Experience
*The Museum of Liverpool
*The Beatles Story


Nottingham:
When tweeting about where to visit in the UK for cute cafes and things to do a lot of you (most of you) told me to go visit Nottingham, due to it not being too far to where we live, we decided to take a look into it. I was keen to find out more about the nightlife of Nottingham as this seems to be where it is going off. I found some cool bars such as the BoilerMaker after my experience in the Manchester Washhouse, I'd love to visit another secret bar as well as 400 rabbits (where the decor looks amazing!) and Happy Dough Lucky, sounds totally up my street as a huge pizza fiend. 


Brighton: 
As my uncle lives in Brighton I have visited several times and I am hoping to again this year after not visiting for a few years. Brighton has some of the cutest cafes around and the laines are so pretty and interesting to explore and I think I gained a stone just from looking into their bakeries. Brighton also has a lovely peer where you can grab a fish and chips or go in the arcades (my fave thing to do by the seaside!!) In Brighton, you can find anything from quirky cafes and shops like Choccywoccydoodah who doesn't want to see cool things made out of chocolate. My favourite store in Brighton is this is not a butchers shop and I will be gutted if this is no longer there. As this is full of the quirky stuff that you deffo do not need in your life, but it still needs to be in your life. I also explored a variety of other shops and fell into many adorable stores such as Sass and Belle

I am a huge fan of all three of these destinations and just whilst googling the best things to do in these places it has made my wanderlust for the UK grow even bigger. There are so many more places I'd love to visit and I will definitely be creating a part two of this post. 


Where in the UK do you want to visit most? 

*Collaborative Post 


My HX Hair Transformation


For last few years my hair has gone on a bit of a journey, which I have endured by myself (and a helping hand on occasion, thanks Will you're the best) but like most people who aren't trained to do hair it doesn't often turn out how I want. In the last 4 years, I've gone from having dip dye to going all out, I went from pink to orange to blue, to green, then to a darker blue, then purple to a black and then to my mix of colours we are calling a failure. My mum offered to pay for me to have my hair done properly, as she isn't the biggest fan (understatement) of my DIY hair jobs. 

So with that, I headed to HX hair which is in Rugeley about 20 minutes from where I live. My hair was taken care of by the lovely Mel, and I was very worried about what she was going to make of my mess of a hair. Don't get me wrong, she was a little like wtf have you done, but luckily for me, she was more than happy to experiment with my hair. As my hair was already an array of colours I decided it would be best to trust her opinion and let her go with what she thought would work. When walking into the salon I was overwhelmed with how amazing the layout was, with spray paint on the walls and chairs, mirrors with TVs in them and some sick artwork on the wall. Honestly looks awesome! 


I first had my hair bleached, which I have to say I was worried about after the copious amounts of times I have bleached my own hair, with no idea what strength to use. Now my hair came out in some super sexy shades *note sarcasm* in a range of yellow, orange and peach, followed by a weird brown and then blue at the ends (the blue always comes back to haunt you, don't do it!) after the blue came the fun part, applying an array of beautiful colours starting with pink then purple followed by blue and green vibes, which creates total mermaid vibes. After about 30 minutes, it was time for the dye to come off and I was excited but at the same time nervous in case I looked somewhat like the previous stage, luckily for me, my hair looked AMAZING.

I was in awe that my hair finally looked how I've been trying to get it. For the fringe trim, treatment and hair colour cost only £70, which I think is a pretty good deal as it was well worth it. With that, we left the salon and I decided to find somewhere to take photos, I would be a little dubious doing this in my town, however being a different town and having bomb ass hair and my new Sashay Away shirt from Truffle Shuffle and is so comfy plus who doesn't love a bit of Ru Paul in their lives, and despite it being very windy we managed to get a few shots I didn't completely hate which is a first and now I've seen them on the computer I am feeling confident with them and hope you guys like them too!



 *Thank you, Mel and the girls at HX Hair for doing such a great job with my hair and keeping me entertained the whole time I was there! P.s. this is not sponsored in any way, I am just so happy with it, I had to shout about it!

HX Hair: 47 Albion StreetRUGELEYStaffordshireWS15 2BY.


Talking, Therapy and Trauma


In 2018 we are pushing in the right direction to break the stigma around mental illness, more people are opening up about their own experiences, getting help such as therapy and finally society is coming to terms with the fact that mental illness is, in fact, a genuine illness and not something to fear. With mental health becoming a topic which is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about, it means we are finally able to get the right help we need without feeling like you're a complete mess. I remember from the age of 14 when I was referred to therapy at CAMHS due to a traumatic experience that happened to me, I was reluctant, to be honest with them, I was worried about what other people would think when I had to leave school early for my appointments, to share what was really going on in my head and the constant worry of being sectioned. At that time, I didn't really understand what has to happen to be sectioned. I hated having to leave school during lunch when my friends were having fun and going to some dingy building across town to talk about my feelings. In the end, I decided to tell them I was feeling better and that I was ready to stop coming to therapy, and with that, they agreed I didn't need to come anymore. 

Which maybe wasn't the best idea, but teen me thought it was great!




The older I got, I went to my doctors an adult seeking out alternative therapy such as talking therapy, EMDR and more recently placed under the care of a community mental nurse, as well as my doctor. Despite being older and understanding that in fact it is ok to talk in these sessions and the only way it will get better is to open up, I still clam up. I find it hard to relax and talk about my issues, I often focus on random objects in the room and think more about them then what I am being asked. I am one of those people who struggle to talk to people on a one to one basis, I often feel myself looking down and away when trying to talk about anything, I am still unsure whether this is due to the shame I feel or eye contact just makes me feel awkward. But it's something I've always found near to impossible. 



But throughout my teen and young adult life, I've kept one thing the same, and that's making friends online. I can tell you now, I find it 110% easier to tell my thoughts to friends on the internet, it's also easier to reach out to these people as in most cases you probably won't meet. I was recently advised that you actually get therapy online, which I found pretty amazing, for those people who are too afraid/can't reach out at their doctors or can't afford therapy, we are lucky in the UK to be able to get our therapy for free on the NHS. Although you do have to pay for therapy online, I think it could be a worthwhile investment, especially for someone like me. Sites such as BetterHelp which is available from the comfort of your own bed. Therapy can often be a difficult thing to do, so being in your house surrounded by things that make you happy can be a great relief. 

As for me and therapy, my latest mental health nurse actually left so we are currently on a break, however, I have faith that in the future I will continue to take positive steps to my recovery. 

*This post is in collaboration with Better Help 

My One Year Work-A-Versary

On the 9th of May will mark my one year anniversary of having a full time job, which I can't believe has already come around, it doesn't feel like two minutes ago that I was walking into the office for the first time and being introduced to the team. I was in full panic mode that day and for a few weeks after that, the problem was for me was that I was getting so stressed I was struggling to take anything in, and then getting more stressed. But over the last year of working full time, I've learnt a lot and become a hella lot more confident and I have the people I work with for that. Somehow even with struggling with mental health issues and work draining me from time to time, I am proud of myself for making it this far and I am excited for the future. Today I have decided to share with you my top tips for making it through the working week and taking care of yourself at the same time.



Don't give up:
The first few months of my job were difficult and I did consider giving it up, I was struggling with going from working 12 hours a week to 37, and being someone who struggles with not having town time, it was a lot for me. Along with this I was struggling to reach out and ask questions in case of sounding dumb, it was horrible. I made a friend and he was a very good friend to me, and it helped me with my confidence, but as he was new like me, the managers decided against me asking him, which set me back a little. In the long run though it made me push myself out my comfort zone and ask those people I wouldn't without that crutch. For the first 6 months at work, I had two friends who I struggled to be without. But I kept at it, started talking to more people and getting to know them and I felt amazing, like I was sat in a room with others and talking to them. My two friends have now left and despite feeling a little lonely on some of my shifts I know I am not alone. 


Self Care:
When working in an office it is easy to fall into a rountine of sitting down all day and eating junk food at your desk, I am hugely guilty for this. Sitting at my desk always seems to make me hungrier, I feel like if someone around you is eating it makes it harder to not want to eat what they're eating. I often struggle with sitting down for long periods of time, so I do move around a lot and take regular breaks away from my desk. I found this great infographic of tips for helping you get a healthier work balance. I am lucky as my work offers yoga once a week and a lot of my friends go on walks at lunch, although I am not a huge fan of walking (understatement) I have to admit when I do walk it gives me a boost. 

It's ok to take a step back:
For me this involved having to take some time off sick as advised by my doctor and then readjust how many days I would be working. We decided it would be better if I only worked 4 days instead of 5, and suddenly it felt like a weight had been lifted. I am the kind of person who needs a recovery day in between doing things, so this gave me the chance to do that and become the person I felt like I was before, it also gave me motivation back with blogging which is always a bonus!


*What are your tips for a healthier work life? 


*Sponsored post

TK Maxx Haul + Tips for Bagging a Bargain.

Taking things back to basics today with a haul, back in 'the day' when blogging was all about the makeup bargains that you had picked up and photograph them on the equivalent of a potato (I am being serious, look at one of my old hauls here) whereas now the haul is a little more classy, with lush photos taken and they actually look professional for the most part which is so cool to see how far some people have come, as well as to see some amazing photography made by fellow creators. With me, I am all about the colour and fun shots, I will never be the best photographer, but I am happy to give it ago! So back to the point at hand, I recently did a small haul in TK Maxx and picked up 5 items for £20 which is pretty good going IMO. I decided to share this with you as I was super excited by some of the items I was able to pick up, I swear every time I go into TK Maxx it gets better. So today I decided to share my haul with you, as well as a few tips for finding the best deals in TK Maxx.



Tip 1:
With TK Maxx, I have heard they've previously been in trouble for making up an RRP to make the discount sound better when the product was never even sold anywhere but TK Maxx, however, I believe they've now fixed this issue and if it was not sold anywhere previously, it will not have an RRP. It's always worth Googling items found in TK Maxx to find out how much of a deal you are really getting, as it can be misleading.  

Steve Madden Metallic Purse £3.00
I am instantly drawn to metallic stuff recently, and by this, I mean like a magpie attracted to anything silver. I went to look at this purse as it looks like something I'd buy, picked up and decided I needed to have it, and I was expecting around the £15-20 mark, to look and find it was only £3.00, which is a pretty good find. 

EOS balm £3.99
The EOS balm became one of my favourite items when I was visiting the states after I was introduced to them by Ami back in 2014, every time I visited I would make sure I picked up a huge stash of them so they didn't run out back in the UK. However, in recent months it appears that Boots have started to sell them for a hefty £6.50, and I find it hard to part with that much money for a lip balm. But when in TK Maxx I found a range of flavours for £3.99, which is still on the pricer side of a lip balm, but I swear these things do not run out? 




Tip 2:
Do not browse TK Maxx sections you do not need items from, I am the worst for it. I cannot just go in for a look in TK Maxx, I go through the whole store looking for items I may need, and shock horror I actually never use any of the items I pick up. When I am looking for homeware I will try to avoid the beauty and hair section as they always have tempting deals and I have next to zero willpower.  

Unicorn Nail Kit £4.99
I am not going to lie, no matter what was inside I was going to purchase it, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find an adorable nail kit, perfect for storing in your bag and has just about everything you may need in a nail kit, including two pairs of clippers. It also has tweezers in which will come in handy I am sure. 




Nails Inc Nail Varnish £2.99
A few months ago I purchased a Nails Inc gift set with two fabulous shades and wondered why I'd never tried the brand before, although they're on the pricier side I would definitely say they're worth it. I picked up a beautiful polish with little pink flowers within, however, it didn't really stay all, so for this one, I wouldn't be repurchasing but it may have just been the shade of polish. 

Melted Lipstick from Too Faced £4.99
Every time I go in TK Maxx I am always lusting after their melted lip stains and they have a pretty good range for the summertime, I've never bought one due to the copious amounts of liquid lipstick I already own, but seen as I was doing a haul, I decided it was worth treating myself to one. For £4.99 any Too Faced item to me is a bargain at that price. 

*What is your favourite thing you've ever picked up from TK Maxx? 

Welcome to the world of online dating in 2018!

In twenty eighteen meeting your other half online is more normal than ever, the days where you had to make up some awkward story about where you supposedly met are slowly becoming a thing of the past, the number of excuses myself alone have used varies from meeting at university, in a bar and even through a friend the list of reasons could go on forever. For some reason to me I feel like people judge those who met online, but it is becoming more normal by the day, I often feel like it is an assumed stereotype of online dating that a lot of it is only about the one night stands and people not actually looking for love, but online like with most things in life you never really know what an intention of a person is and with online dating the fear of the unknown becomes the elephant in the room for most people. 


But why are we ashamed of online dating?  
I feel like it started out as the perception of people who date online couldn't find someone in real life and there are a huge amount of horror stories about people who do date online, meeting some creep (or worse) and it ending really badly, but with technology advancing and people being more aware of the dos and don'ts as well as being aware of the catfish of the internet (cheers Nev and Max), it makes it harder to be someone you're not online. For me the reason I started to online date was due to anxiety, I have never been able to approach someone in person and try to flirt, that's just not me and I would never have the guts, and although to some extent the internet gives me a persona to hide behind, it allows you to talk to someone online before meeting them, which gives you the chance to build up an idea of this person and what they like, making conversation often a lot easier. 

There are so many online dating sites, which one(s) to use? 
I've personally used Tinder, Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid, and met people on all of them. Some people are more decent than others and I feel like primarily Tinder is usually a person taken on face value first, which can be hard for someone like myself who hates taking selfies and struggles with self-confidence, I met my ex-partner of two years on Tinder, he wasn't my usual type, but we had a conversation and he seemed like a genuinely nice person, and although things didn't work out between us due to us being completely different people and wanting different things, it was strange knowing we met through Tinder and our relationship helped me progress as a person and meet my landlord who I still rent from now which I am thankful for. Once this ended I was keen to go back into the world of dating to see what was out there, I was older so I was looking for someone a bit more mature, however, ended up falling into a trap of someone who didn't really care about me at all. The saga went on for months and ended badly for me but that experience did change me, I learnt not to trust people as much, and some people really just are a piece of rubbish. Surprisingly this person was off Plenty Of Fish, this had been a personal dating favourite of mine up until this point. After that experience, I deleted POF and decided to go to OK Cupid, the site that you can match with people based on the way you answer questions, in hope that you have similar views on things, as well as long-term goals. Oh, and whether you like cats or dogs, I mean that's important right?

This was where I met Will, who I have been with almost a year and from the start, things seemed easy, like we already knew each other. Turned out we had been to the same college and studied the same thing and knew the tutors and were now at university doing the same degree with him a year below me, small world right? However, without the enabling of online dating, this wouldn't have happened. 



What are the pros of online dating? 
IMO the pros outweigh the cons by a mile with online dating. Living in a fairly small place where everyone knows each other or at least knows someone who knows that person, it is hard to find someone without any baggage linked to another person you know. Being able to online date gives you the choice to date further afield and living in the middle of a fair few cities it's great to reach out to those people who you wouldn't usually have the chance to meet. It also allows you to be a bit pickier, most people have a bio within their profile and although we all fluff it up a little... there is usually some truth it to, which can help you learn more about that person, plus of course you get to see what they look like before meeting. With online dating, if you didn't meet 'the one' you can jump back online and keep trying to date, and often you end up having interesting conversations with people even if nothing becomes of it. 

And the cons? 
You can meet strange people on the internet as you can anywhere, but with arranging to meet people who you don't know can come with some dangerous risks. It's always worth telling somewhere where you're going and who you are meeting in case of an emergency. I always make sure we meet in a public place in case they turn out to be dodgy, and somewhere I know well so I know the best ways to get home. Another con sadly is you may just not get on, you may think they're attractive but you have nothing in common, or the feelings are one way. But if you don't take risks in life, I guess you won't ever know, right?



As someone who has had the good, the bad and the ugly experiences of online dating I would urge anyone to try it who hasn't yet and is looking to find love, there are so many dating sites out there, and it's totally worth looking into them. You can usually find people who are more matched to you, and this usually is a great start to a relationship. Like most dating experiences, you win some and you lose some but it's often something to look back on and if nothing else to learn from. Most importantly, remember to have fun!

Have you ever dated someone online? 

Live Like A Pro with Pro Plus. AD


I don't know about you but I struggle to do anything in the morning without my good friend caffeine, usually in the format of a coffee or a red bull. On work days it just has to be done, else it is pretty much impossible for me to motivate myself to move from my bed, let alone stay awake at my desk. When my friend left our company he left his trusty supply of Pro Plus for me as we'd spend our days moaning about how tired we both are and it often in resulted in taking a pro plus tablet (well two to be precise), and it gives you the kick that you really need to get your work done. Pro Plus gives you a caffeine equivalent to a strong cup of coffee and can be purchased for £2.63 from Boots.

Strangely in the same week, I was contacted to by Pro Plus to take part in their 'Live Like A Pro' campaign, where I was given a budget of £28.84 to spend on having the best dinner and drinks (mocktails for me) their aim of the campaign is to show you how you can live life like a pro and being a millennial, managing money takes some pro skills in my opinion. Until I did this experiment I didn't actually think about how much exactly I was spending on going out for dinner and when it came out of my bank and appeared on my statement it was something I wasn't exactly keen to take a look at. 

From being a student and learning about being savvy I hate to spend full price on anything these deals, especially with food as there is usually a discount code somewhere around or even a set meal and with there finally being more than three restaurants in our town we can actually be choosy with where we go, this can often mean going to the place with the best offers on. Also with being a student, you can get amazing offers with sites such as Unidays and Student Beans, which if you're looking for a new outfit to go out in this can be an amazing place to start. Hopefully, you enjoy my top tips for 'Living Like A Pro' and let me know in the comments what your top tips are. 


Pro Tip #1
When finding a deal online such as a set meal, mention it to your waiter as sometimes they will keep this menu aside and only give it when it is asked for. When in Pizza Express we were not automatically given this menu, but when we asked for it they were more than happy to give it to us, even on a weekend. The portion sizes are no different at Pizza Express compared to their normal menu. Frankies and Bennies are one of the only places I've been where they provide you and inform you of the different offers from the start. At the start, for me, it was always worrying they'd be annoyed, but you have seen this offer and if that's what you are here for, you should be able to get it.


We ended up getting 2 courses for £10.95 which is a pretty good deal for an evening meal, although this a set meal, there is usually a few options to choose from in regards to starters and you can pretty much get anything off the main menu, I always get pizza and dough balls so it was a win for me, we decided against dessert as there wasn't anything that took our fancy and decided to get mocktails and dessert after. However, for an extra £3, you could have gotten all three courses. With the drink on top, the total for Pizza Express came to £13.90, which I found pretty impressive for the quality of the food and the service provided. 

Pro Tip #2 
Drinking tap water at the restaurant is a great way to watch your spending, I usually purchase one drink upon arrival and then any I need/want after this is tap water, usually, drinks are more expensive in restaurants especially alcohol. It's worth saving that until you're in Spoons or the equivalent as you get so much more for your money. As I am not a drinker, I do usually go for the soft drinks like Pepsi, and sometimes Mocktails however in some restaurants you are almost paying as much as cocktails for a mocktail if not the same, it's always worth checking out this before purchasing. 



I am not a huge drinker and luckily for me, not all of my friends are either, we are massive foodies and always love getting dessert, there are dessert shops popping up all over the place at the moment and we decided to go to our favourite which is the little dessert shop, it's a little on the pricer side for dessert and mocktails but it's usually a good atmosphere and who can say no to waffles right? For my snow white crepe and a mocktail, the price came to £8.90 which is a pretty good price for both a large drink and a huge dessert. I definitely prefer these kinds of places for catching up as opposed to a pub. However as the night was still young we decided to head to Spoons for a quick drink before heading home, I decided to get myself a Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime cider for £2.99, there are a huge range of deals on in Spoons with 2 for £5 and 3 for £5 which are great for keeping the funds low and still having a good time and with that, I was left with money to spare, which was a pretty big shock to me! £3.05 to be exact, which is pretty impressive that I managed to have so much fun on only £25.79.

What I've Learned: 
From this experience, I've learned that having cash works a lot better for watching what you spend, it's easy to tap your card and not actually think about the money you're spending, I've also discovered it is easy to have a great night out under £30 which when I was set the challenge I was pretty unsure I wasn't going to be able to stick to this, so I took my card along just in case, but I didn't even need to touch it, win. 

What are your top tips for pinching the pennies? 

 *This is a collaboration with Pro Plus, but I really did have a great night out under £30.