Yes To Tomatoes: The solution to acne prone skin?

Yes To Clear Skin products

Having acne has always been a big part of my life if I am not trying the latest craze to ban the blemishes, I am constantly judging myself in the mirror. At 23, I am the happiest I've ever been with my skin. Well, for as long as I can remember anyway. The breakouts are a lot less frequent than they've ever been too. Back in 2015, Em Ford from My Pale Skin created a video called 'You Look Disgusting' which was centred around the comments she gets online from posting bare-faced, and I hugely related to Em, as I know what it is like to get these comments, especially at school and throughout my teenage years. But it such a great movement which she has started and I hope this continues for a long time to come.

2018 is the year I truly focused on my skincare routine. As in previous years, I'd use a bit of micellar water, to remove my makeup, spot cream and a moisturiser when I remembered to. I've tried a variety of different routines this year, but so far have found Yes To, to be my favourite. There are so many reasons as to why I favour Yes To over some of the other skincare I've tried. One of the main reasons is because they have full collections of items for each skin concern. I often feel like people with acne have to avoid most products because of what is contained in them. Whereas Yes To for Tomatoes (their acne and blemish range) loves to break the rules.  

The pricing is super affordable for Yes To since I have been testing out the range, I've been to re-purchase some of the items including the 2-step nose kit, which I have now used 3 times because I love it so much! Recently Sainsbury's have started to stock some of the range, I know right?! Exciting. So it makes it a lot easier to buy their products, for the ones which are not yet available, Boots is my go to. The nose kit is one of my favourite products they offer as the nose strips really do what they say on the tin and it's so satisfying to feel how amazing your skin feels after using it. The micellar water in the range is in an amazing bottle which is fab for being able to get out the right amount of the product, so less waste and a lot less mess. I have to admit I am not keen on the smell of the micellar water, but then again from what I know, none of them smell great.

2-step nose pore kit Yes To.

The masks in this range are to die for, with so many different varieties on offer it's hard to pick my favourite from them all. I love to use the detox SnapMASK stick, as it's great for easy application, quick drying and you get a lot of uses out of it. I also love the sleeping mask which I have purchased a couple of times, as they are easy again to apply and you just leave them overnight. It doesn't leave any residue behind either, which I was pretty impressed with. The final products I tried out were the face wipes, and although, I am, not a huge face wipe user, they are great to remove the excess makeup off your face before doing a full cleanse. 

Overall, from a brand, I have only seen in the states and on Instagram, I am pleasantly surprised. As someone who suffers from acne, I did find the routine to be of benefit to me. I found the most effective products to be the 2-step nose kit and the tomato micellar water, as I quickly noticed a huge improvement after using these products. The prices of the products are reasonable and if you're interested in my skin journey even further, there will be an Instagram post to follow this.  

Yes To Tomtatoes Range

Have you ever used any Yes To products?

*This post is in collaboration with Yes To, but all thoughts are my own as always and I am so happy that people are breaking the stigma of acne and skin conditions it rocks. 

Relocating, Reminiscing and The Rows.

Chesire is one of my favourite places in the UK and one day I would love to move there. I currently live in Stafford and apart from a few shops and since 2016, a Nandos there really isn't anything to do. The West Midlands doesn't have a huge amount of things to do on a good day, and I can't help but wish I lived somewhere with more things to do. I could never move into a large city like Birmingham or Manchester (despite wanting to move to Manchester many of times, to be near some amazing places). I've always loved the idea of moving somewhere like Chesire. I'd love to one day buy my own house and a place like Chesire sounds like a place of dreams. When looking at an infographic created by Laurus Homes, it made me realise how much more there is to do in towns such as Chester and after looking at housing prices in Chesire made me realise there is next to no difference between Stafford and Chesire (specifically Chester) and there is so much more to do!

I have visited Chesire Oaks a few times in the last few years and it is one of my favourite places to shop in the UK, who isn't down for discounted goodies from Whittards and Dr Martens which a huge discount on them, amirite?  As there are so many outlet stores as well, as a huge retail park backing on to it, with bowling and mini golf too. As well as Chesire Oaks, Chester has some pretty amazing places to shop and some extremely beautiful buildings. Including 'The Rows' which nobody actually knows why the buildings were in this way. It is also the oldest shopping facade in England which I think is pretty cool. As a blogger, it seems like a great place to live/ visit for all of the amazing locations to visit, and things to see.

Chester also has an amazing zoo, which I have been to multiple times with over 21,000 animals within. It is a great place to go as a family and what I've noticed about Chesire is there is a whole lot of things to do as a family. Including visiting Chester park, many museums some of which are free. There are also things to do such as visit flip out, one of the escape rooms or the River Dee! 

Although my plans to move Chesire won't be something that is achievable in the next few years, it is a place I see in my future and I hope to one day move there. For now, it looks like a visit is on the horizon. I would love some recommendations of where to stay and the places I must visit during my stay. 

*This is a collaborative post 

Tips and tricks for a bedroom makeover with (next to) no effort.

If you follow my Twitter, some of you may know I've recently moved house (last week), and getting everything in order can be a pain, however, new house usually means new homewares. As I know I have quite a big student following, I decided it would be cool to share with you some new bits I picked up which I am in love with, as well as some of my own hacks to transform your university accommodation with next to no effort.  

Shelves and drawers: 
Not all accommodation will allow shelves which is annoying as they're a great way to store things and they usually look great too. I spend the majority of my life using plastic drawers for just about anything for the ease of them. They're usually quite compact so fit anywhere and can be purchased for around £10. When I do have shelves, I love to put cute items on them such as ornaments or books. Currently, I am using a bookcase to store all of my books, as well as my perfumes and trinkets which I think looks cute. 

Dependant on whether you are going to be in halls or a student house, the variations of the room can make a huge difference. But I have previously lived in a student house and it was pretty easy to make it homely. I am in love with fairy lights and put them all over the room as they're cheap, easy to put up and usually battery powered and last for ages. 

If you follow my Instagram you'll know I am obsessed with duvet covers and buy them all of the time. I think they might a huge difference to a room and love to change them up with the season. I think the brighter duvets are great for bringing some extra colour into your room as most student accommodation has magnolia walls and they can be a *little* boring. The bedding pictured above is from Dunelm and is awesome as it is reversible so you can mix and match what side you have it on. Asda also always have fabulous duvet covers in their stores and these are also reversible.     

The walls:
Now, this can be the tricky one dependant on the rules of where you live, I know my landlord was always chill with what we put up. I think for those who aren't allowed to hang up frames or mirrors, I'd recommend going down the poster route. You can get great posters and they always fill up some of the boring wall space. For those who have fewer limitations, I'd recommend a mirror on the wall, to me having a mirror on the wall makes the room feel bigger and it's always great to do your makeup in. I also found this adorable clock notice board from Dunelm which I think works well in your room or if you're living in a shared house it would make an amazing addition to your front room as you can write down notes about meals or chores etc, and it also has a clock on it which of course is always handy and 4 clips which could allow you to hang up pics of who is in the house. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments where your favourite place to get homeware from is! 

University, the unknown and what to do when you can't cope.

It's now been over a year since I finished university which feels like such a long time ago in some aspects and like it was yesterday in others, yesterday, I was invited along to speak on BBC Radio 5 live about mental health awareness whilst at university from the perspective as someone who has made it through university (by some miracle) whilst having a mental illness in tow. The experience of the radio was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed having that verbal platform, I also decided it would be great to share my experiences on my blog as there is so much more which needs to be spoken about and as you've probably guessed from my blog and my huge section on mental health, it's something I am passionate about. I have previously touched on my experiences on What Uni and decided it would be great to expand on this on my blog too. Let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments below your experiences around mental health and university. 

The pressures of going to university: 
University can be a difficult experience for anyone who goes, whether you're the most outgoing person around or the quietest. The picture painted for most of us around university is one of the best times of your life, no parents, a ton of alcohol and parties, making new friends and for most of us love interests too. Oh and that *small thing* of work, lectures and learning new things. I went to university on a whim, which is definitely not something I'd recommend, during college, I felt like I was talked into going to university, it was never something that massively interested me, as I didn't know the career path I wanted to go down. I remember when everyone was at college, applying to UCAS and choosing the universities they wanted to go to, I felt like I wasn't ready to go or if I was going to go at all. Although we are all considered adults at 18, I don't feel like many of us are in the right place to make the decision of what our future could hold and for £27,000+, it is a pretty important decision to make. I was told to apply by my tutors and then if I didn't go then all I'd lose is the application fee for that university. So I did. I applied to the local university as at this point the idea of moving away and living with strangers was not something I could deal with. 

For anyone who isn't sure about the route to take, after college/sixth form it can be extremely difficult to decide as it one of the first times in your life you have to make that choice yourself, but it is important to remember that if you decide you no longer want to be a part of the course which you've joined you can drop out within 1st year and then go on to start a new course and get full funding for the three years. Which is something I wish I had done as I knew from the early days the course is not something I wanted to carry on doing. 

Change, so much change:
I remember the first few weeks of my lectures were absolutely awful as I struggle to take the information in, let alone write it down as I was convinced my stomach might rumble (like really loud) or that I might not be able to get a seat despite there always being way more seats than people. It feels somewhat like going back to school as you're in a whole new place, on your own and you don't know how to feel. Then comes the workload and for me that felt like it was never-ending, you'd get work for each of your modules and were told you needed to put like 40 hours study in at home a week which in reality isn't really possible and to top it all off, making new friends involves having somewhat of a social life. Of course, with that much change, the majority of us are going to feel floored by that, but it is important to remember that other people will feel the same as you and you can talk to people about it. I often found myself taking to the internet mainly Twitter to talk about my anxiety around university and I found a lot of other people related to how I felt.

I'm struggling: 
Whether it is you or a friend who is struggling, there are platforms of support out there for them. I know a lot of university students don't reach out to their parents for fear of feeling like a failure. Others struggle to reach out to their friends due to what they're seeing on social media and for me, that was a huge part of the FOMO I was feeling, as all of my other friends were meeting new friends, partying and I struggled to keep my head above water. Most universities offer counselling on site to help those struggling and in the last few years, the support keeps getting bigger and better. There shouldn't be any stigma in needing to reach out for further support, no matter who you reach out to. I ended up needing to be signed off university for a while, which meant I needed a sick note from my doctor which is when my university became aware of my struggles and told me all about what they offer on site. I was assigned a note taker for those times in lectures when I wasn't able to cope with coming in or when I was struggling to take focus. I remember feeling really embarrsed when the note taker would hand me my notes as from the outside I look and act 'fine'. Before my sick note, I wasn't really aware of my university offering these services, so it is important to speak to your lecturers to find out what is available for you.

This is not your fault:
It's easier than said done to believe in situations of crisis that you are not to blame. But the same as any illness physical or mental you cannot help it. I remember thinking how pathetic I am, surrounded by a room of people who are doing the exact same thing as me, but yet again I am the one struggling to come to lectures, not being able to make friends and finding it hard to comprehend the 40 hours of work I am due to do after this. But now I am starting to understand these situations aren't my fault and can't be helped. Whatever course you are studying, in whatever town or city or even country you are allowed to feel overwhelmed and shouldn't feel guilty for doing so.

P.s. If you don't feel like you can talk to anyone around you in real life, remember there are people you can call to talk through your feelings such as Samaritans who are free to call  and you can reach them on 116 123
 and they're open 365 days a year 24/7 and are happy to talk through just about anything you're struggling with, as someone who has used them previously, it is great to be able to talk about your feelings with someone who doesn't know you and can offer an ear. Mind also offers a lot of amazing services, including resources if you're in crisis. Finally, if you or someone around you is feeling distressed it is worth ringing 111, who can offer you the best advice and services that may be needed. 

I am thinking of creating a series of posts around mental illness/health and university and I would love to know if this is something you'd enjoy, let me know in the comments and I hope you found this post somewhat useful. 

5 ways to be more productive!

I can be one of the most productive people around and also one of the least, this is something I feel like most of us can relate to. I absolutely suck at being productive when I am tired (most days of the week) and I am able to get the focus and the drive after a good nights sleep or copious amounts of caffeine. Once I am in the swing of being productive I am at my best, but it is obvious when I am struggling as keeping focus seems like one of the most difficult tasks in the world. Today I thought I'd share with you the few tips I've learnt that actually work for me when I am lacking that motivation and drive to get up and do things. So hopefully you enjoy this post and let me know in the comments what gives you the motivation to be more productive! 

Do things in 'bursts': 
Decide how many minutes you can do something for which is manageable, for example, 10 minutes of cleaning at a time. You set a timer, do 10 minutes, then take a little break, e.g. have a quick check of your phone and then do another 10 until the task is done. You can obviously do this in longer or shorter bursts dependant on the task. I feel like it motivates me as it allows me the time to do what I need to do but I am also up against the clock to stay focussed and keep going. 

Get more sleep:
For me, this is one of the hardest things to do. It's not as simple as I can just fall asleep, most nights I can be awake for 5 hours after I've actually gone to 'bed'  before I can fall asleep. I was recently sent some Benenox to review and I was a little sceptical about what the results would be. I know a lot of products on the market offer similar benefits and in the past, I haven't found them that useful. On first taste, I wasn't a huge fan of it as it doesn't taste great (imo) but after a few days of taking it before bed, I started to notice the difference, I was waking up feeling more recharged than nights when I had similar amounts of sleep, but felt exhausted in the morning still. The product is £12.49 for a bottle of 135ml which is a little on the expensive side, but as I felt a significant improvement on my sleep, I would buy again for sure.

Make a to-do list (a reasonably sized one): 
I am forever making huge lists of things I want to do, and then never actually following through on them. I get around 3/4 things done and then I feel low on energy and effort and give up and then feel guilty for not getting the rest done. Making a smaller list and crossing things off gives you the ultimate feeling of achievement. 

Find when you're most productive: 
I am absolutely awful at being productive in the mornings, and I can't keep concentration until a few hours after I've been awake. I always notice I am my most productive around 7pm, which is a good thing as Will is too, and it means we are both ready to get stuff done. I wish I could be more productive at 'normal' times. Once you have the time locked down, it's always best to get going at that time, rather than force yourself in the day. 

Get the tunes playing:
I am a music fan and I have so many playlists that consist of completely random things, but I know which ones I love to work with as they're so much more upbeat and can feature anything from Shania Twain to Eminem. Oh, and you have to add a few tunes like Blue [Da Ba Dee] and Lovefool.

Let me know in the comments what your ultimate go-to productivity hacks are.

Love, money and a load of bunnies!

Money is such a taboo subject, it always has been and probably always will be. To some extent, I understand not going around and telling everyone your bank balance but at the same time, it feels like something we should keep to ourselves. My work friends and I are forever sharing about how poor we are, especially just after payday, when the 'treat yourself' mantra goes a little far. But what about talking about the finances with us closest to us? Only 26% of women are comfortable with sharing details of their finances within the first 3 months of a relationship, versus a whopping 45% of men. As a 23-year-old with an *almost* full-time job, and doing a lot of freelance work on the side it is often hard for me to actually determine a monthly income as this varies so much. But with my freelance work, I am happy to share figures of posts and how much I actually earn from blogging with those who want to know. 

When Will and I met, he was a student and I was just leaving my part-time job to start a fulltime one. Will was pretty open about his lack of funds as most students are, forever waiting for that loan to come in. It was always a huge amount of treats when loan day came around and then the treats came from me when he was running low on money and it worked for us. Learning about the career that someone does early on can be helpful to gauge a money figure if this is something you feel is important within a relationship, especially in the future, e.g. if you are wanting to buy a house, this information may come in handy.  

I know a lot of people do tell the occasional lie of a purchase that they've made due to the guilt they feel after a purchase away from their partner. Will and I have our own money and this makes it easier for me to work out what is mine and what I am ok to spend on the things I want. A joint account is something we have discussed getting at some point in the near future for bills and other shared finances to come out of and then for us to keep our own accounts for normal day to day stuff. I found out that 40% of women would not have a joint savings account with their partner because they do not trust them enough, compared to 11% of men. 

Which shocked me a little as I assumed it was a *fairly normal* thing to do when you live together. Will and I have four bunnies which eat up a lot of our funds as we can't help but treat them to stuff, and they also eat through a lot of hay and food, as well as the veterinary bills, plus they have an adorable cage each. Having a joint account would make things like this easier as we can both add money in for the vet's bills and we wouldn't have to transfer money back and forth to each other. Ferratum created an awesome infographic about the true extent of love and money which I found a great read and have popped part of it below, to view the whole thing you can visit their site here.

I think the amount of money you earn and the difference between you and your partner can cause friction as from past experience you feel guilty when they have to pay for everything for you as it leaves you feeling like you owe them something. Money is a subject I am happy to talk openly about, and I'd love to know your thoughts on this situation in the comments and whether money has ever had a negative impact on your relationship. 

*Collaborative post 

Will Reviews: Mo Bro's Grooming Kit.

Hi guys, I thought I'd try something new on the blog today, which is handing over the reins (my computer keyboard) to Will for him to review a beard kit he's been loving. Will is looking to create a blog himself and I thought this may help with building his confidence to take the leap to create his own blog! Hopefully, you enjoy this post and let me know in the comments if you'd like to read more of Will's reviews.  

Hi I am Will, and I am Olivia's boyfriend and a novice beard enthusiast and I decided it would be fun to review my new Mo Bros' Grooming Kit on Dungarees & Donuts. I hope you enjoy and speak soon! 

I've had a beard for over a year now, and I don't like to look back on my clean shaven days anymore. I like to think back to the episode of 'The Office' where Andy goes travelling and returns with a messy, overgrown beard. When he returns to his job and shaves, he regrets it, saying his beard was his 'Security blanket' and that's strange how I feel about mine now.

The thing is, I spent about 2 years not knowing how I could care for my beard. I'd just grow it out, shave my face, and repeat. It was really inconvenient for me. Recently, I purchased a beard trimmer and that's helped me a little more to maintain my beard for a year, but I recently discovered products for beards and it's changed everything for me. I saw the Mo Bro's on Dragon's Den not too long ago and liked the sound of their product, I noticed all three of them had different types of facial hair which I thought was interesting. I was given the opportunity to try their product and here's my experience with it. The Mo Bro's make a beard grooming kit, and I can't recommend it enough - it's got all the basics a man needs to help clean up his beard. Messy, unkempt beards aren't the only beard problems a man might face, there's also itchiness and embarrassment when eating. The kit also comes in a tin which I think is pretty cool, since there's a lot of different little pieces you can store everything together. It's very compact so if you were travelling it would be great.

The scent of this grooming kit is called 'Winter Spice' and it smells exactly how you'd expect, I'd say it reminds me of a Christmas scented candle. It smells very natural, it makes me think of walks through a snowy forest. The scent of the wax and balm isn't too overpowering - you can still smell it, but it's not too strong which I think is great. I'd describe the scent as being 'masculine'. The beard balm is one of the best I've used, it's not too moist which means it has a good hold of my beard. Balms I've used before leave too much of a shine in your beard, this one does that too, but it's more subtle and gives more of a natural look instead. Although I don't rock handlebars on my moustache, for someone who does I think this wax could be the best part of this grooming kit because it has a really strong hold, which makes it really stand out in the market of beard products. 

Don't be put off by the size of the pots, 15ml is more than enough product. I've found myself in the past using too much beard balm and leaving my beard looking unusually shiny, so this kit has helped to teach me how much product I should use.

The wooden comb is something I've wanted for a while but never got around to buying, I'd usually use a cheap 99p plastic one which would hurt my face. The wooden comb doesn't hurt my face and the best part is beard balm or oil doesn't stick to it, making it perfect to reuse. It's nicer to hold than a cheap plastic comb and actually makes combing your beard a better experience. 

The most annoying part of having a beard for me is my moustache. When the hair grows longer and it touches my upper lip it's the most frustrating thing ever! If I eat, sometimes food might get caught in it and I won't notice until I look in the mirror or somebody points it out. My beard trimmer helps to neaten that up, but I can't really do a good job with it. Since I've used the scissors in the Mo Bro's grooming kit, it's really helped me to neaten up my moustache and stop those hairs from getting too long and annoying. Not only is it great for maintaining moustache hair, they are also great for cutting any longer, wiry beard hairs that appear.

I do genuinely recommend this product to any man wanting to try and experience new beard products. It currently has a retail price of £25 which isn't bad considering what you get in the kit, you get all the essential products and the user experience is really good. Everythings straightforward and the products aren't confusing so you'll be able to tell what does what. The kit includes a tin and bag so you can store away the products safely and hygienically, so there is no need to worry about damaging or getting the products dirty.