Visiting The New Julia’s House Charity Shop in Creekmoor, Poole, Dorset. *

Last Tuesday, I was kindly invited by Sarah from Julia’s House to attend an exclusive blogger’s evening at their newly refurbished store in Creekmoor, Poole. Not only was I excited because this was my first proper blogger event invite, one with other, actual bloggers present (yay!) but Julia’s House is a well known charity foundation in my area and naturally I was so thrilled to be personally invited by them. Oh and also because I am a massive charity shop fan. I’m always on the hunt for a good bargain. I’m like the personification of a magpie for these sorts of things.

Speaking of being a massive charity shop fan. I became a literal massive charity shop fan. The Creekmoor site is one of the biggest charity shops on the south coast. Facts on toast from here on out.

So when Mum and I arrived,  we were greeted by one of the staff members, taken through the store, eyeing up stuff as we went (on the evening we were lucky enough to be given 20% off of everything we purchased. So if you can hold on until the end to see all of my new goodies I promise it’ll be worth it!) and were lead out to a meeting room, waiting with all the other bloggers. Sarah, led a short talk explaining to us all about their story, what they do and showed us a video of one of their parents of a Julia’s House child and their experience.

For those of you reading this who aren’t based in the South West of England you might not be fully aware of what Julia’s House is, what they’re about and the work they do. Prior to Tuesday evening, my knowledge wasn’t hugely extensive on all the exact ins and outs either to be honest. I knew they were a children’s hospice and had a lot of charity shops in my local area but that was about it.

So, Julia’s House was created from an idea a paediatric nurse named Julia Perks had. As she worked in the healthcare industry and with very poorly children, she noticed there was something still missing. She dreamed of creating a space or support network for the families who are struggling with caring for a life-limited child. Somewhere, where the child can receive the care and support they need as well as it being a place where the whole family can go or can turn to and feel like they’ve also got a lifeline. In a devastating turn of events, Julia sadly died from cancer and never got to see her dream become a reality. Her friend, Mike Wise, and a small group of dedicated supporters to kindly took the reigns of her brilliant idea and through their tireless efforts and fundraising they got the charity off the ground, employing their first two community nurses; who’d offer families some respite by visiting directly at their homes. Now, one of the first community nurses is still working within Julia’s House and is the Director of Care!

They’ve got a hospice in Poole, Dorset and another one in Devizes, Wiltshire which provides either day or overnight care to the poorly little ones and gives the affected families a chance to have some time out for themselves, to catch up on day to day things or spend with their other children whilst knowing their child is in a safe, home away from home environment. That’s one of the brilliant things I took away from this evening is that Julia’s House don’t just care about the affected child they care for the entire family. Offering and providing experiences such as shopping or spa trips for tired Mums, motor racing day trips to Thruxton for weary Dads, week long residential trips for the siblings to get to know other children/teenagers in a very similar position and giving them a good chance to get away from it all and all their worries. They cover all grounds, making sure no one is left behind and have launched something called Great Mates. A social get together for all the aunties, uncles, nannys, grandads, grans, grandpas, family friends and basically anyone who’s closely involved with the care of a Julia’s House child.

Considering only 5% of Julia’s House is government funded it really humbled me to think, firstly, just how lucky I am to be who I am. I’ve never struggled and I don’t know where the children, the families, the friends, the nurses and the staff get their strength and resilience from to wear a brave face, smile and carry on each day. How do people just learn to cope when they’re told the worst? Secondly it really brought it home to me, just how charities like this must really rely on their fundraisers, their donations, their sponsors, patrons and the customers in each of their charity shops.

So now you’re as clued up on everything Julia’s House as I am; let’s get onto the topic of the new Creekmoor store I visited. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to be expecting. I’d seen a few pictures on twitter and heard raving reviews about it but like all these things you always want to make your mind up for yourself. Upon arrival, I was instantly drawn in by their wicked Halloween display. After years of working in retail I know the pain and the pleasures of pulling off an A* dressed window and how it can entice someone into a store. I was told this wasn’t going to be like any other, ordinary charity shop. There was no dingy and damp smell and definitely no moth ball in sight! It truly lived up to the hype of being an Instagrammer’s dream.  From childrenswear, to designer garms, homeware, a cosy library nook and even an exclusive, bridal suite this definitely didn’t feel like any ordinary charity shop. Toto we defo aren’t in Kansas anymore!

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After Sarah had finished her talk with us all we were shown around the shop by the manager, Dave. In this day and age, not only is fashion sustainability something that is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds but the importance of reusing and recycling is too. The team here made sure they put everything to good use that they could possibly and the surplus furniture they didn’t know where to place they fashioned into display cabinets. It’s super quirky and fabulous.

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This is the children’s section with this incredible Doctor Who style tardis changing room for children. This was handmade just for this store, and strangely enough, in a bizarre turn of events it’s not the only one they have in here either! Someone from Wiltshire heard about it and gave it to the store. It’s weird and wonderful and totally sums up this whole store. On the outside it looks like any other Julia’s House shop but once you’re inside it’s so much bigger and better than you’d have envisaged. Oh and not forgetting the fab lady stood in front. That’s Claire and she was on hand as our very own personal stylist for the evening.  She oozed, style, passion and charisma and was the perfect person to be championing the store and also me into buying loads. They were all so passionate about this place, the cause and you could tell they were all so proud of the newly refurbished store. After all, they were the ones that had literally put in all the hard work!

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Never have I seen so many Tardis’s in one place?! The attention to detail to every inch of this store is so inventive.

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To the left of the children’s area was the gorgeous Bridal room. To access it, you have to book an appointment in order to treat yourself to a proper Say Yes to The Dress style experience for a fraction of the cost. As we all gathered inside, I was taken aback by the glitz and glamour and was a little bit shocked to see such beautiful gowns! Not that I was expecting them to be horrible but they all looked lovely. All the gowns were either donated as secondhand or from bridal shops that had closed locally. All the dresses are priced under £300 and as wedding shopping / budgeting goes that’s still a massive bargain!

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It’s a lovely and big secluded area of the shop so you can try on and get a feel of what your style is.

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It just goes to show not everything you’d see in a charity shop looks like something your great Aunt Ethel would have worn in the early 1900s. These gowns are utterly fabulous and you wouldn’t believe you could get it for such a cheap price in a charity shop?!

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I love the extra little touches dotted around from the classy chandelier in this room and the big glass full of flowers.

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You can see even more dresses and wedding outfits available here too. Whether you’re looking for bridesmaids, or for little lads to look dapper on the big day there’s so much choice.

Similarly, they also did some nice prom style dresses. After speaking to Sarah at the end of the evening I found out that the team at Julia’s House went to one of the nearby schools with loads of Prom dresses and gowns, some drinks and nibbles and the school girls sorted their outfits out in style and for a good cause too. Prom can be such a big deal at school, well everything seems like a big deal at school at least! Everything from the outfit, the makeup, the hair, the vehicle you arrive in is seen by the rest of your year group and it feels like the biggest event in the world at the time. So to be able to get a decent dress much cheaper and much more ethically would have meant a great deal to those school children.

From the bridal room we then moved into my favourite place in any charity shop; the book section. I can’t help but raid the shelves and see what new read I can find and Creekmoor offered an even better alternative to the usual few shelves. A whole library room!

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Complete with this comfy leather sofa and a few chairs dotted about the room; this space just looks ridiculously cosy to settle in and sink your teeth into a new book. As mentioned previously (and I’m sure i’m going to mention it a few more times before this post is out) I love all the tiny details the team have used to tie each room together. The cowhide rug, the rustic makeshift table, the vintage typewriter (not for sale unfortunately for me) could confuse you for being in a vintage store, Urban Outfitters or somewhere similar to that! You could easily wile away your time in just this section alone before perusing the shelves and grabbing an armful of new books. They’re £1 each or two books for £1.50 unless marked otherwise and in my opinion you can never have too many books!

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I really love the ingeniousness of using these surplus to requirement snowboards as  bookshelves. It’s so clever, so good to reuse them for another purpose and it also looks SO cool.  Notice anything peculiar about the wall either??? Well, it’s wooden doors!? Seriously I’m astounded at the creativity that went into organising this site and into making it what it is. It’s beyond clever.

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The vintage typewriter. There were several items like this dotted around the store. It gives the place so much character, adds to the character and I’ve noticed in my local Julia’s House charity shop they have some donated items just for display purposes.

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Coming out of the library nook is the men’s section. The way Dave and the team spoke about it made me realise how some charity shops are actually quite poor when it comes to bits for men. It got me thinking whether it’s a just a slight difference between the shopping habits between men and women. Are men more likely to go into a shop knowing exactly what they want to purchase, buy that specific item and leave whereas women are perhaps more prone to enjoy the general shopping experience and like to browse as they go. Is the Great British high street and fashion retail in general primarily aimed at women more than men. There are endless shops just for women’s fashion compared to how many there are just for men; so is it inevitable that there are going to be more women’s clothes ending up in charity shops and as secondhand items compared to men’s? I feel like I’ve run away with myself on a real tangent there but it’s something you can think about, ponder on and get back to me with your thoughts!

Creekmoor, stocked a big range of men’s clothes, a huge wall of shelving of dvds and games as well as a super impressive, big vinyl record collection.

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Right by the front door is a large area of women’s clothes, shoes and bags. Ranging from designer labels like lovely Hobbs dresses to high street togs from the likes of Zara, Marks & Spencer and Topshop. Everything felt of good quality and

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As you can see, I was quite snap happy this evening. Rows of old fashioned Singer sewing machines adorned the top shelves of the shoes section.

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On the other side of the shop was all of the homewares. They laid it out like it was a proper department store. With a kitchenwares section with electronic items to plates, glasses and other little knick-knacks. A bathroom section almost with an array of different skincare and beauty products all unused and unopened, perfect if you’re on a budget. They used donated wallpaper or off cuts to create the look for each section and each room and I’m really impressed with the thought and attention to detail here. It’s something I’d have never thought of and probably wouldn’t have even realised had it not been brought to my attention. I sound like a broken record but I’m honestly so impressed with all this effort. It helps customers visualise each item when they draw it all together and lowkey makes you want to get more as it all looks so good altogether!!

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I love the quirky furnishings. I can’t wait to deck out my future home with funky little pieces like this. It’ll be like a storybook of random pieces and like Phoebe Buffay did my shopping.

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This section had real Cosy Club / Lounge vibes. It’s eclectic and fun. In my opinion vintage or vintage style pieces like this have so much more life and character about them compared to a simple (Read boring) frame.

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Opposite the till area are these two changing areas.

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five points if you can spot me.

Well done for making it this far! This is probably my personal record for the most pictures used in a blog post. So I do apologize if it’s quite laggy to open and load this blog post but trust me it’ll be so worth it! As I mentioned previously, we got given 20% off of everything we purchased on the night and I picked out some bargains I want to show off to you all.

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I picked up this faux succulent for my room. I redecorated my bedroom back in August going with a really neutral vibe with white walls, keeping the same furniture and generally having a bit of a clear out. I’m using soft furnishings and duvet covers to bring in splashes of colour here and there and also means I can change the theme as I wish. At the moment I’m alternating between a green leafy duvet cover and then a pink and grey floral design. This was only £2 as well?!

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I love little trinkets and quirky pieces and spotted this old fashioned, vintage atomizer nestled in amongst some other homewares. I just thought it was quite pretty and I can’t wait to feel like Sophia Loren spritzing myself with my fancy schmancy new atomiser.

As I was browsing the clothes I proudly proclaimed that I’ve got SOOOOO much black clothing and couldn’t possibly need anymore, that I was finally going to get something with a bit of colour. Flash forward to about 15 minutes later when I spotted this off the shoulder sheer blouse; it slipped right into my basket without even a second thought. I love items like this though, whether you want to dress it up with some skinny, cigarette trousers for a smart casual look or layer it with a mini skirt and tonnes of black kohl eyeliner and some silver jewellery for a cool going out out style.

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Lastly I picked up this hefty and totally random selection of books. I love reading as you may have already guessed by now! But something I’m really proud of is that my taste in the genre of books I read is fluid and always changing. I’m really keen to broaden my mind as and when I can. As much as I love reading a light hearted chick lit novel I also really enjoy reading social psychology books and things that make me really think. I picked up Single, White Female by John Lutz; the book the film is based on. I love books that you can’t put down until the very end and I definitely think this book will be just like that. I got The Circle by Dave Eggers which I picked up after a skim read of the blurb. The Circle is about a company (called The Circle obvs) that runs the internet and now basically runs everything. The main character starts working for them and slowly but surely notices a sinister truth about this place. Sounds interesting, right!

Next up is Big Bones by Laura Dockrill which is all about the day to day trials and tribulations of a young fat girl. It sounds fun and honest and as someone who was also the young fat girl I’m so glad to see she’s not the laughing stock, the cliche butt of the joke because she’s a larger person. I got Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland. I know I’m a bit late the party with this one but it was £1 and I like nice to read chick lit which I’ve heard this is.

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Like I say, my reading history is eclectic and random as anything, my next purchase was Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures With Extremists. Jon talks about his experiences of meeting different extremists around the world and discovered the one thing they all have in common. Probably not an ideal book to reading on the train or in Costa to avoid funny looks. I got Worth Dying For by Tim Marshall which is all about trying to understand the histories, the power and politics of the symbols that people rally around, the symbols that unite us and also divide us. Aaaaaand last but by no means not least; I got Tequila Mockingbird combining my two favourite things, alcohol and literary based puns. This book contains a glorious collection of all the best tipples and I can’t wait to put this book to good use. Y’know for research purposes obvs…I’m doing this for you guys.

I’m so glad I said yes to going along to this fabulous event I got loads of great new bits, learnt loads about this wonderful foundation and feel like the money I spent that evening will have inevitably helped even just a tiny bit. If you’re local to the area I’d really recommend popping in if you’re near to Poole or Bournemouth. This really isn’t like any old charity shop you’d find on your local high street.

Or simply, if you can take anything away from this blog post I implore you to have a root through your local charity shops. Not only will you be giving back to those who need it most, it’s more sustainable than buying brand new clothes or homewares and most of the time you really wouldn’t even know it’s from a charity shop! Plus it’s much cheaper way of shopping plus you never know what might take your fancy!

*I got invited to this blogger event in exchange for writing a blog post / review about it. Even though it was an invited experience all my thoughts, feelings and opinions remain authentic, true to me and genuine.

Hello Autumn!

Hello Blog Readers. Bet you didn’t think this little treacle would be flinging herself into your inbox again did ya?! But here I am waving a cyber hello to each and everyone of you reading this.

As we slip slide into the darker months of the year, it’s like the blogger in me is waking up from her hibernation ready and raring to go. I don’t know what goes on in my brain running up to June or July time but it’s just like my blogging appetite just seizes up and I revert to a child and just think sod it, I’m off on my Summer holidays I’ll see you in September! So I’m sorry about that; I  feel bad that I have been so inactive over the last few months. Actually all year come to think of it, I’ve been pretty off colour to be quite honest! But I’m hoping, praying I might have finally got my mojo back. I’m also hoping that I can stick to that because I’ve said it in numerous posts beforehand and well if you had a pound for everytime I’ve proclaimed that exact phrase you’d have enough to buy the rights and the domain to this blog and actually post on it yourselves.

 

I feel like the queen of blog post clickbait I’m forever whooping and wailing about all these posts I’m about to drop but they never come to fruition (truth be told they are still there, gathering dust in my draft folder) but I’m hoping, I must have said this about one hundred times now but they’ll be going live sooner rather than later.

So let’s have a little catch up beforehand shall we? Lemme tell you about all the things you’ll be expecting to see from this space in the coming weeks and months and all the things I want to be ranting and raving about. I went on a little Stay-cation  with my family in the middle of September to Devon and Dartmoor which was lovely and tranquil providing the perfect getaway from all the mundane day to day things you get from being at home. I’ve spoken openly about how much I want to explore a lot more of the UK and this provided the perfect opportunity for that as well as eating out plenty too. Expect a lengthy post or two about everything I got up to coming up soon.

Excitingly, I went to my first proper blogger’s event this week (yay!) and I was equal parts excited, intrigued as I was a little bit anxious and nervous. Through blogging, I’ve been lucky enough to have received some fab products all in the name of a gifted asterisk and my humble thoughts, been invited to some incredible places and also forged some wonderful friendships with both bloggers and PR representatives alike. But there was something niggling away at the back of my mind about this particular event; which with hindsight I really regret because I had such a wonderful time. I was super conscious about whether I’d be a massive ball of anxious sweat the whole evening if I agreed. When I was a manager (in a previous job role, which feels like a previous life to me now. I really do feel like I’m the reincarnation of Mr Benn sometimes) and going to regional meetings I’d always be up the night before anxious and worrying about it even though I knew every single person in that room and knew exactly what was going to happen and what pub we’d be going to after… and what drunk train we’d be getting home for that matter.  You wouldn’t believe the types who work in health! I’ve somehow run off on a tangent there, but the more I was overthinking it the more I was putting myself off. I had a superb time, I learnt loads, felt so grateful I was invited and more importantly I learnt the value of leaping outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes there’s really no harm by just saying yes. Unless it’s to drugs. Then really do say a hard no.

By doing this, it’s made me fall head over heels in love with my blog all over again. Making me want to write, to put in the effort and to explore all the different avenues I can go with this. I want to change my tack and where I want to go. I want to write about things that matter to me, things that I want to say not just because I feel like I have to. Off topic slightly but I deleted my Instagram app off of my phone and Ipad in April this year. Mainly because I ran out of storage and it was either Insta or Twitter and I use Twitter to keep in contact with real life people so like that I gave Mr.’Gram the boot. For that time I didn’t feel like I was missing out, if anything I felt much better in myself. It wasn’t being rammed down my throat how chubby I felt compared to everyone else on my feed, that I don’t holiday enough or I’m not living my best life enough. It felt great to switch off from the cyber world and switch back into the real world. I’ve recently joined Instagram again and I’m finding it so much more freeing. I’m posting for me, the here and now and the unairbrushed, honest version.

In my downtime, I’ve been relaxing by binge watching a new series or listening to a podcast. I adore Chris and Rosie Ramsey’s podcast Shagged, Married, Annoyed and it genuinely makes me howl laughing. They’re such a funny pair and I love their relationship. You can’t help but smile when listening to this. Which can often lead to some funny looks when in the public domain. I listen to this when I’m walking my dog and wonder if people catch me grinning and chuckling away like a mad woman.  Similarly, I really like the Off Menu podcast with James Acaster and Ed Gamble. As you can tell I love the simple discussion of food, introduce these two funny lads and a different celebrity each Wednesday and you’ve got yourself a party. It’s really interesting sometimes hearing about the heartwarming reasons why a certain dish or foodie item has become someone’s favourite. Whether it’s your mum’s cracking roast potatoes, the warming cup of tea your dad makes you when coming home to from a bad day or something exotic from far and wide it’s so interesting to hear the stories behind each person’s dream meal. It’s like Desert Island Discs for those who think with their bellies. Also why it’s not called Dessert Island Dish is beyond me.

What have I been watching I hear you ask???? Well I’m super glad that The Good Place is back with it’s fourth and final season. It’s one of my favourite shows to grace the small screen and I love the creativity, the weirdness and the ease of watching of this show. I’m going to be a little bit sad when it comes to an end but I think it’ll be at the right time and it won’t be like one of those shows that keeps getting dragged out and gradually gets worse and worse ’til it reaches its bitter end *How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory I’m looking at you*. I binge watched all of Unbelievable over a weekend and it’s a really thought provoking watch. It contains some quite heavy themes about sexual assault and rape so if you’re sensitive to viewing those types of things it can be quite triggering. I don’t want to give too much of the storyline and the plot away but I was moved by the kick-ass female casting of this show, the stark portrayals of assault and the horrible realities of what it’s actually like. It’s raw and heartbreaking.

Since the last time we spoke I’ve been to the cinema twice, groundbreaking information coming straight to ya. Expect this as a breaking news headline imminently. In the days of streaming services, a gazillion different choices of channels and shows on Sky, endless creative content to watch on Youtube, for me, going to the cinema and actually seeing a new release is quite a big deal. In June or July time, I went to see Danny Boyle’s summer feelgood flick Yesterday and am still happily listening to the soundtrack now. I love The Beatles and I love that this film put a sprinkling of a modern twist on so many of their classic and much loved songs. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon watch. More recently, however I went to go see It Chapter Two in the cinema with a friend. We saw the first film together, scared ourselves half to death in the circus clown maze at Thorpe Park’s Fright Night shortly after and then promised we’d see the second one together as well. The evening was a mixture of emotions, my car overheated on the way to the cinema, but then we made up for it by gorging on a totaaaaally vegan bbq chicken pizza which was glorious. I’ve been vegetarian for coming up to two years and I’m really noticing the places that have GREAT options or so-so food options. I was so overjoyed to see they did different things aside from a margherita pizza or a mushroom risotto.

On the flipside from our delightful supper, It Chapter Two was about 100 times scarier than the first and everything I read about and more. I’m not sure if I can really, officially count me watching it however, as I had my fingers in my ears for about two thirds of the film and was thinking about what playlist to listen to on the way home and not the big scary clown on screen! Jokes aside though, cinematically it was excellent. The casting for the grown up Losers Club was spot on making the story evolution so natural, believable and perfect. Plus Pennywise was just as frightening as ever. Real talk though, if I lived in Derry, my first words to my parents would be take me to the estate agents I want to move please, please, please. Naturally, it doesn’t go into as much detail as it does in the books (find me a movie that does though) It’s nearly three hours long but so worth it as it really ties everything from the entire franchise so well together.

Soooo I think that’s it from me for now?! I feel like I’ve just spoke at you for about 20 minutes, which is essentially what blogging is when you think about it. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me round here. I feel like I say that every few weeks but I’m not going to punish myself if that’s not the case and I’m sure you’re not going to either cos you’re a right lovely bunch. Happy FRIDAY though everyone. I can’t wait to hear/read about what you’re all up to. I’m trying to catch up with my WordPress Reader!

All the love,

Abbie x

PMD Clean Review! *

This post has been a long time in the making for one reason or another but I’m so glad to say this post is FINALLY live!

I love anything beauty or skincare related and I thought it’s high time I started sharing this passion more often on here. I have a makeup, lotion and potion collection in my bathroom that could rival the size of a small Boots store and I really just can’t help myself when it comes to purchasing new body butters or facial oils at the moment.

I’m a bit fussy when it comes to the products I use on myself. I have quite sensitive skin and suffer with bouts of dermatitis/psoriasis from time to time. So far this year I’ve had such a terrible flare up across my face and into my hairline and scalp which I won’t lie has been absolutely horrendous. So for this reason I like to make sure any products I use won’t irritate my skin and I also like to make sure they’re cruelty free as well.

I’m thrilled to say I was gifted an item from the skincare brand PMD Beauty this year. I forged a lovely friendship with Harlen, the PR aficionado and all round total babe (She got me into You on Netflix and I got hooked INSTANTLY). She kindly arranged for me to be gifted me the PMD Clean back in February of this year (I did say this post was a long time in the making) for me to try out and review.

I’ve always seen a lot of beauty bloggers raving about similar devices in the past, and they’ve always been something I’ve been intrigued into introducing into my skincare routines but was unsure about which one to go for, how much to realistically spend and whether it would be suitable for my problematic skin. After reading the spec about this product I had high hopes as it seemed like it could be right up my alley.

So first off I’m going to give you a little background info about this product, my first impressions on opening it and then I’ll move into my thoughts and feelings on using it in my routine. You ready?

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The PMD Clean uses something called Sonic Glow Technology enabling it to vibrate over 7,000 times per minute. This enables it to get deep into the skin, to really break down and remove any dirt or impurities that have been trapped, leaving you with a beautifully clean and vibrant looking skin.

The brush is made of a waterproof silicone so it’s super hygienic, odour resistant so even if you’re using strongly scented products; no smells or residue will be left behind. It’s hypoallergenic so it’s perfect for a whole range of skin types, even me with my fussy, sensitive skin. 

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One side of the brush head is covered in small, soft bristles perfect for cleansing, massaging and exfoliating. The eagle-eyed of you may have noticed that there’s a small section of bristles which are a little bigger than the rest; excellent to use on the difficult areas like the chin, jawline and around the nose. The reverse side of this is used for the anti aging massage feature. It has four little grooves making it perfect creams and serums to be absorbed into the skin.  

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This device has four different settings in total.  Setting one is a slower constant vibration and setting two is a faster constant vibration. These two are perfect for when you are using the bristly side of the device when you are cleansing your skin. Setting three is a gentle pulsing sensation whereas setting four is a much faster pulsing sensation.

So how do you use it?

All of that sounds great doesn’t it? But is it as good as it says it is? The PMD recommended way of using this product is by removing any makeup off of your face, wetting the skin and gently applying your cleanser. Following that, rinse the PMD Clean under some warm water and in a circular motion running the PMD Clean across your whole face using either setting one or two. I stuck with the first setting as it was slower, much more gentle and gave me a better ability to have control.

The beauty of applying things or using this product for instance in a circular motion is that it enables the product to sink into the skin quicker, it stimulates lymphatic circulation which basically helps to bring blood to the surface and clears toxins a whole lot faster as well so gives you that fresh, bright appearance.

The skin around your eyes is extra delicate so try to be as gentle as possible here and just gently pat or press any creams into the skin.

Once you’ve fully cleansed your face, simply rinse both your face and the PMD Clean with water and pat dry with a towel. Or leave the device to air dry if you’re like me and don’t want little towel fibres stuck in the bristles.

When it comes to using the reverse side (the massager side) I followed a similar technique to the one seen above. Applying a serum or a night cream into my skin and gently massaging using the slower setting. With prolonged use this feature can help with anti aging by lifting, firming and toning the skin as well as increasing collagen production.

 

My experience using this:

I wasn’t sure if this was genuinely going to have much of an impact on my daily skin routine to be quite honest. It sounded amazing, if anything it sounded too good to be true. I know as someone who’s probably spent more money than I care to think about into the beauty industry how many products I’ve bought on the basis of a good write up on their page so needless to say I was a little sceptical. I persisted however and did genuinely notice a difference in my skin.

It felt smoother, softer and like it had a bit of life about it for a change! During the winter months it looked quite dull and lacklustre and I’m so glad I’ve introduced this product into my normal regime as I now feel confident again to not bother with makeup if I’m leaving the house.

I’ve noticed less breakouts than before but I still get the odd one or two hormonal spots around that time of the month. I’ve even been using this device when I’m using face packs or sheet masks so it really seeps into my skin.

Pros of the PMD Clean:

  • It’s very hygienic and easy to clean.
  • Completely waterproof so if you want to save time you can even use this in the shower.
  • It’s easy to use and you can quickly see great results from it. I certainly noticed a difference in my overall skin health and felt like it did what it said on the tin so to speak!
  • It uses AA batteries so you don’t need to worry about trailing a cord or charging it up. Plus it comes with one battery included as well!
  • It’s lightweight, ergonomic design is nice to hold, easy to carry and will slip into a makeup bag without taking up a lot of room.
  • Comes in a selection of aesthetic colours. I literally couldn’t choose between this navy colour or a warm red berry shade.

Cons of the PMD Clean:

  • You’ll have to keep purchasing batteries for this.
  • Unlike some similar devices, this one doesn’t have interchangeable brush heads.
  • Personally I find the settings with the quicker speeds a little too fast, to the point where they are uncomfortable on the skin. But they can’t please literally everyone!
  • Considering there are more and more of these products emerging onto the market, this one is £89 so it might be out of price range for some people. I really enjoyed this product and can’t imagine my skincare routine without this in it but unfortunately I can’t give a less biased response as this is genuinely the first one of it’s kind I’ve tried.

Once again, thank you so much to Harlen and the lovely people from PMD Beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with this device and my skin certainly did as well! If this is a product you’re still unsure on but would like to know more, I’ve found their website to be super helpful and informative packed with plenty of Q&A’s. If you want to research more I’ll link their website just here. Similarly, if this type of device is something that interests you, they’ve actually launched the PMD Clean Pro to follow this.

The PMD Clean Pro has a flatter base so can stand up on it’s own; you can just imagine it nestled amongst your favourites in your bathroom cabinet. It also features an Active Warmth facial massager on the back whilst the PMD Clean Pro on the right hand side also features this but made with Rose Quartz. 

*This post contains a gifted item but all the thoughts, feelings and opinions stated throughout are completely genuine, honest and my own*

 

Pub Supper Box Review with UOpen*

Subscription boxes over the last few years have really had a giant surge of popularity; what’s there not to like about receiving a mystery parcel in the post once a month from yours truly?! With an abundance of different types available these days so whether you want to spoil a loved one with a fun gift or just treat yourself to a little something.

Recently I was contacted by a company called UOpen and they offer the biggest range of subscription boxes you could imagine. With such a wide variety of boxes they offer something for literally everyone and anyone. So whether you’re a fishing fanatic, crazy about cocktails or curious about crafting; the guys and gals at UOpen have got you covered.

UOpen offered me the chance of receiving one of their subscription boxes as a gift and I jumped at the chance quicker than you can say two for one on all cocktails for the rest of the night for people called Abbie. Staying in is the new going out; especially if you’re a billy no mates like me, so I picked the Pub Supper Subscription box to try out.  I wanted the pleasures of going out to my local pub (without the extortionate prices, sticky floors and fighting; and not just for a table) but all from the glorious comfort of my own home and sat on my sofa watching boxsets in my jammies. 

pub supper box

I love going to a pub. There’s far more enjoyment for me in a nice, cosy, old man pub with cheap pints and board games aplenty than in a packed out club or bar. If you sympathise with me here or maybe just know someone who’s a pub fanatic; this box might just be right up their alley.

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It costs £19.95 for a monthly payment per box in which you’ll receive roughly between 8-10 premium pub snack goodies. So it’s not just your bog standard soggy peanuts and a tiny packet of scampi fries round here. The box I received had a plethora of delights inside, the majority of which I can say I’ve never tried before. Unfortunately for me there were quite a lot of meat based items but as I was sharing this experience and all the contents with my family, they sampled all the things I could not.

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One of the first things that caught my eye was this packet of Brave roasted peas coated in a warm and spicy paprika and chilli flavouring. These little bites were super crunchy and super moreish; a little sprinkling in your hand just was not enough. They feel a lot healthier than snacking on some super salty peanuts so if you’re looking for something a little bit different instead to try to fill that savoury void these would be an excellent choice.

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But if nuts remain a pivotal part of your predrinks, feast your eyes on these Graze mixed nuts. You get chilli & Lime covered cashews and salt sprinkled peanuts and almonds. The chilli on the cashews is a little bit warm so if spice isn’t your thing, maybe stick to the peanuts and almonds. I love that this mix is a little bit different from what you’d usually find in a pub, bar or in the snacks aisle of a supermarket. And the chilli and lime flavours of this go so nicely with something tequila based or a light beer.

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I am not a fan of olives but I’m really glad these were included in my box as some people do actually like these sad salty grapes. Specifically those people being my sister and mum. They’re a popular bar snack and go nicely with most beverages.

 

What’s a party without gossiping over some wine and crisps?! First up was Scrubby’s Sundried Tomato and Basil flavoured hummus chips which I could have eaten a whole lorry load all to myself to be honest. I love hummus and I’ve tried a few different types of hummus crisps before but these ones were next level as they were complete with some top notch italian style flavours. Next was Nando’s very own Peri Peri grooves Spicy Chicken flavour potato crisps. I didn’t eat these (cos veggie) but even before I turned vegetarian I wasn’t a huge fan of chicken crisps but these smelt a whole lot better. More like Nando’s scent with a bit of chicken flavour as well. 

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I’ve had these salt and vinegar mini rice cakes before and they are absolutely gorgeous and I could easily scoff loads. You can get them in the bigger size or normal rice cake size as well which is the ones I’d usually opt for, but having this grab bag gave me more opportunity to shove more in my mouth than you should. These low cal snacks are perfect if you’re choosing to not have crisps but still want the acidic tang that salt and vinegar snacks give you.

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So I don’t want to keep banging the drum to the same tune here BUT I am vegetarian so I didn’t eat these. They’re a bit different as it’s something I didn’t imagine would be included. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m a veggie and don’t mix in the meat eating pub snacking circles so obvs it wouldn’t be something I’d choose for myself.

Last but not least in my pub subscription box were two different bags of pork scratchings. We had the Awfully Posh ones which were chilli and roasted garlic flavoured (fancy!) or the Mr.Porky crispy strips. Now to me this is a original classic for country pub snacks. In my local they have a massive glass barrel on the bar filled to the brim of pork scratchings.

On the whole, I really enjoyed the Pub Subscription box even though some of the items I received weren’t all 100% suited to my tastebuds; it provided a variety of different snacks to please a wide and varied crowd. Not literally obvs they’re not Jesus with their loaves of bread and a couple of fish. I’m sure if this was a service I kept up with ordering each month, there would be a whole host of different sweet or savoury snacks inside that would tickle even the fussiest of tastebuds.

Some people may argue that the price seems a bit steep but I think with these types of things it’s excellent if you’re having friends round for a party or if you are a pub connoisseur and to unwind in the evening in your arm chair with a nice bottle of something (no lambrini huns pls) and to delve deep into your monthly box. If you went to a pub with friends or picked up some new, fancy bits whilst food shopping and bought 8-10 different nibbles and snacks I don’t think you’d get much change out of a £20 either and this is delivered straight to your door in a nice big box too.

If I could change one thing about this I think it would be really nice to include what alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages would pair well with which snack. I think that would be a really nice added touch and tie the whole experience of it so well together. Other than that I really liked it.

With a snazzy subscription box like this in your home or ordered just for a special occasion; There’d certainly be no FOMO going on.

*I received this subscription box from Uopen in exchange for a review. As always my thoughts, feelings, opinions and images remain honest, genuine and my own.*

FEAST BOX: An Asian Meal Subscription Box Review*

I am a certified foodie. I love going to new places, trying different restaurants and new and exciting cuisines; as much as both my purse strings and my waistband allows of course! Since starting this blog I would say my confidence with food (both cooking and eating) has increased massively! I’m always on the lookout for fun things to cook and bake (and share with you all, cos if there’s no picture on the ‘gram did it ever really happen??) especially if it’s pretty easy for me to do as well, it makes it even better!

So when I recently had the opportunity to be gifted a meal for four from Feast Box I naturally jumped at the chance. If you haven’t come across this company yet you won’t be disappointed. It’s a meal subscription service created by the same company that runs the UK’s largest online Asian supermarket, Red Rickshaw.  The idea of Feast Box was born when company founder, Jyoti Patel, wanted to introduce the delicious meals we would usually have when eating out, dining abroad or even from your local takeaway as something that someone with a limited cooking ability but a love of great food can cook easily at home. So someone like me.

This was mine and my family’s first experience with having a meal subscription box service and we were all super impressed with Feast Box. As I said, this was my first go with this type of service so naturally I wasn’t sure too sure what to expect if I’m honest.

Their website is easy to navigate when it comes to ordering your homemade banquet. Each week they refresh the 12 meal choices so whether you’re setting yourself a food budget (it states how much each meal box would be per person) or are a meat eater, a vegetarian or vegan there’s options for everyone. If anything, there were too many options! I’m vegetarian and the rest of my family aren’t so I really wanted to choose something specifically that we all hadn’t tried before and would tickle all of our tastebuds.

I chose a dish called Sunehri Bindi for us all to try. It’s a Pakistani dish which translates to ‘Golden Okra’. It was a deliciously rich, spiced and the okra, if I do say so myself, was cooked to perfection. Sometimes it can have that rubbery, almost gummy taste and texture but I followed the recipe card that came so precisely I didn’t leave room for anything to go wrong. It came with some rotis, lime pickle and a fresh vibrant side salad.

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Above is the absolute feast in a box I received with fresh ingredients, fresh herbs and my favourite bit of all… eco friendly packaging! The boxes are insulated with a product called woolcool which keeps the fresh things fresh and the frozen things…well.. frozen. There was a bit of plastic usage which has been recycled, the spices and herbs either came fresh or in plastic pots which then came in a little fabric drawstring bag (which I’ve kept as a little memento cos i’m a bit of a loser like that) and the majority of it was inside  paper bags too. Big thumbs up on that front!

The recipe instructions were set out in a really easy to follow, step by step guide. It didn’t seem too complicated nor did it seem too patronising. I think for me personally it definitely helped by making sure I had everything on hand at the time so I had prepared all the vegetables and it was within arms reach so as my sister and I were cooking we could quickly just grab something and move onto the the next step.

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I ordered this as a meal for four people and it produced a mammoth amount of curry, a mountain of gorgeous, crisp salad and three toasted roti’s each we really were spoilt and had a lovely feast! The salad was lush and something that I would definitely recreate in the future. When it comes to having curry or similar dishes often I think of having them with some sort of carb whether that’s rice, Bombay potatoes or a naan or flatbread so it was really nice to try an almost lighter option for a change. The salad consisted of finely chopped and diced cucumber, red onion, tomato, coriander and mint leaves. The freshness of this paired perfectly with the subtle spicy heat from the Sunehri Bhindi.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Feastbox, I love that it gave me the opportunity to cook something authentic that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of recreating for myself.

If you fancy skipping the usual takeaway haunt and want to try cooking for yourself, friends, family or want to impress someone on a date with your incredible cooking skills I’d definitely recommend this meal box. I’m not shocked when I read that it was rated #1 recipe box on the market by The Telegraph.

The team behind Feastbox were all so, so helpful from start to finish and I genuinely can’t thank them enough for putting up with me and my terrible technology skillz and mainly for gifting me this lovely box and opportunity. And if that’s not enough they’ve also given me a unique code ABBIE9540 to give you 40% off your first box order!!

*Thank you so much for giving this a read and please do let me know if you try out one of their fab boxes. This opportunity was gifted to me but the thoughts, feelings and opinions throughout are all 100% genuine, honest and mine. The unique code they gifted to me and all of you as well isn’t an affiliate link and I won’t earn anything from it other than the satisfaction of your lovely selves cooking up some tasty scran inspired by yours truly. *

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Hello! With the UK currently basking in the glorious weather and sunshine (blink or you’ll miss it I’m sure) what better time to write up the Sunshine Blogger Award post that Ross from Man Vs Adulthood kindly nominated me for. These style of posts are underrated and are one of my favourites to both read and write. I love doing these posts and if you want to have a little nosey at the other Sunshine Blogger Award post of mine from last year I’ll post a link to it just here! These simple posts are easy to read and easy to write, one of the many reasons I like them as they also help you to get to know the blogger behind the blog, is a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers that have been nominated and also it’s a little bit of fun really isn’t it!? Similarly Ross is one of my favourite bloggers too. I’ve known him for a little while now and he’s always been one of the people I’ve seen who praise and highlight other bloggers, making friends and being so kind and supportive which is what this lovely community is all about!
If you haven’t already, I would totally recommend checking out his blog and his Sunshine Blogger Award post (read it here) He was fab enough to have been nominated twice so have a read of both sets of questions and answers to delve a little deeper into Man Vs Adulthood. 

So the premise of this blog ‘award’ is to nominate those bloggers that you think spread positivity, kindness and are generally just little rays of sunshine. 

The rules are as followed:

  • You must thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog or their original post. 
  • List the rules for this award and a snazzy logo or picture of it in your blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you. 
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set 11 fun questions for them to answer.

Questions from Ross:

  • If you had to pick an actor to play you in a film who would you pick?

Emily Blunt or Olivia Coleman. I think they’re both just great. Or if it wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster and just a channel 5 documentary I’d cast Kim from Eastenders. What a woman. 

  • If you could do anything as a career what would you do?

Mmm I think I’d want to be something like Mr Benn (showing my age with this one aren’t I) and have a new job and new adventure everyday. I have a really short attention span and get bored fairly quickly. I like the idea of being a writer, or a charity worker or even a property developer. It changes everyday for me at the moment I really love the idea of opening up my own pub or bar…Not just so I can go full Peggy Mitchell and scream ‘Gerroutta ma Pub’ at someone. 

  • Is Pineapple allowed on pizza?

Of course. It’s amazing. I’m really no food connoisseur because when I was a child I adored the baked beans pizza. That’s how grim I am. A dollop of mayo on the side as well. Honestly you’d think I was 6 months pregnant with the weirdest cravings with the things I eat. Also I think we should be focusing this pineapple on pizza hatred towards those people who put banana on a pizza instead. I think this is a Swedish thing but if anyone has tried let me know what you thought?!

  • When was the last time you cried?

I actually don’t remember! 

  • Would you rather have all your bills wiped for life, or a Million Pounds right now?

I think I’d rather have all my bills wipes for the rest of my life. I know I’d be reckless if I had one million pounds kindly deposited into my bank account I’d have blown it all on clothes I wouldn’t even be able to send back on Asos and bought a giant yacht. 

  • In the garden, do you prefer decking or patio?

I like grass with a bit of patio.

  • In the nuclear wasteland do you think you’d survive and how long for?

I genuinely think it’s not a question of weeks or days but more of hours or minutes for me. I wouldn’t be very good at all at the survivalist stuff and i’m clumsy. I’ve always thought if I had to run for my life I’d probably die from the running anyway. 

  • It’s been a long day at work, you are chilling on the sofa with no energy and motivation. What is your go to meal?

If  I’m being lazy and going to order a takeaway I’d probably go for a Dominos veggie supreme pizza, big garlic and herb dip and maybe some garlic bread dippers if I feel like being a beached whale for the evening. If I’m going to cook for myself I’d probably have beans on toast or a jacket potato as it’s easy to do and my ultimate comfort foods. 

  • Amazon Echo or Google Home?

I don’t have either but for some reason I’m more swayed towards a Google Home. I don’t know why I feel like I’d trust Google more than I’d trust Amazon or Bing searches. 

  • If you could see ANY band or artist – dead or alive, perform who would it be?

There are so many I’d love to see. I wish I could go back in time and see the hysteria for people the The Beatles or Elvis but I think I’d have loved to have seen Amy Winehouse perform live. I was and still am such a huge fan of her music and was so sad to hear of her passing. 

  • If you could have ANY superpower what would it be and why?

I used to think it would be something like telepathy or reading minds but I’m anxious enough as it is I don’t want to hear what people are really thinking about I’d be a nervous wreck! Maybe something nice like I’d be able to heal people or eat whatever I’d like and never put on any weight.

My questions:

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  2. The strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  3. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
  4. What is your favourite smell?
  5. What would be your dream meal? Including starters, main course, dessert and drinks?
  6. Who are your five dream dinner guests?
  7. What film/book could you watch/read again and again and not get bored of it?
  8. Do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal?
  9. If money and time weren’t a problem what skill would you like to learn?
  10. Are you a morning or a night person?
  11. Where would be your dream holiday destination?

My Nominees:

Mira

Casey 

Gillian 

Jess

Nicole

Anais

Niamh

Victoria

Alex

Kamilah

Tiffany

I’ve chosen a little selection of some of my favourite bloggers and I can’t wait to read their posts! 

My Spring Bucket List!

Hi there! It’s been a while hasn’t it?! I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA; I’m hoping to refill my little blog with loads of new bits of chitter chatter and writing over the coming weeks so watch this space! I’ve got loads of ideas and half written little ditties saved in my drafts that I just haven’t got round to posting so expect a flurry of new stuff soon!

I’ve had little to no mojo to blog for ages and I think it might be finally be back (yay) which I’m super excited about. Browsing through my usual, favourite blogs to read I may have taken this idea from Gillian’s post I read in the week (have a read of it it’s just here she and her blog are just lovely I would totally recommend having a little gander over there!) But I do love doing these types of posts. Once I’ve done it and written it up I feel so much more inclined to actually follow it all through almost like I’m now formally bound in a written contract to you all. No pressure eh Ab.

But here it is…My Spring Bucket List. I hope it may inspire you to do one too, or maybe even try and do some of these things for yourself as well!

Spring Bucketlist

Spring Clean- Nothing says Spring has Sprung like doing a complete Marie Kondo on everything you own and decluttering your space. I am in desperate need of re-organising my bedroom, getting rid of any clutter I just don’t need. I’m not saying I’m a hoarder but what if I need this *insert item of clothing I haven’t worn in years but ya never know if I might get invited to a costume party and need a leopard print cowboy hat…ahem*.

Spend less time online-  Over the next few months I want to be able to spend less time surrounded by technology. As one of my mini missions I want to be able to switch off a bit better before I go to bed as well so I’m planning to have at least 30 minutes of no phone or computer and try and read before I get my full 8 hours (lol if I’m lucky).

Exercise more- I want to find my fitness specialty and feel a bit happier and more confident within myself and with my body image before the warmer weather hits.

Splash more colour into my wardrobe- Once I’ve finished with my spring cleaning and my decluttering and have lost a bit of my winter wobble I can reclutter my decluttered wardrobe and hopefully inject a bit more fun and colour into it. I’m a sucker for wearing things that are either dark colours or all black errrthang and that’s fine and fail safe for me but I want to experiment a bit more and maybe splash out from my black clothes to more Springlike shades.

Go on nature walks- This sounds like the type of thing you’d encourage a group of pre schoolers to do and I’m not about to go and do leaf drawings and hug a tree but there’s a lot of pretty walks and areas near where I live that once Spring has fully burst through Nature it’ll look so pretty.

Visit different parts of the UK I’ve not been to before- I hope this one may stretch out throughout the most-part of 2019 not just for Spring but I’ve said for a while now I hope to visit and road trip parts of the UK I’ve never visited before. There’s so many places throughout these Isles I’d love to go to and some of them aren’t even really that far away from where I live. I have a car and a railcard and even though train prices can be a bit extortionate I want to be able to tick them off my bucket list soon. Oh and actually try the regional foods I’m obsessed with but try them from the locals. Welsh cakes I’m looking at you here…

Go on a fun day trip-  A few of my friends and I actually had a conversation just the other day about going to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Experience and perhaps a zoo trip too. I really want to be able to be in the position where I can plan lots of fun trips and have loads to look forward to this year.

Bake some exciting Easter treats-  I mean this one might be a bit more topical right now but I want to take full advantage of my sweet tooth and make and bake (oh and share on here and my socials) some chocolatey snacks. I want to try new things and as much as I love a creme egg brownie as much as the rest of Instagram I want to sweep my foodie brain and see what me and my creativity can come up with.

Visit a local food market or food fair- If you’ve followed me for a little while on here you may remember a post about the Frome Independent Market. Have a little refresh of said post just herrrreeeee! It happens on the first Sunday of each Month and I either want to go back and see what’s on offer or even traipse to a new one and see what delights we can feast on.

Aim to get halfway through my Goodreads Book Challenge-  I love reading and like mentioned above, I want to spend less time on my phone and more time actually doing things and in the present moment. I set myself a challenge to read 25 books this year. Roughly 2 books a month I thought it sounded doable. I’m on 5 so far which I’m quite happy with considering! But I’ve been slacking a bit and where I could have switched off from and picked up one of growing TBR pile instead of doing my billionth Buzzfeed quiz of the evening.

Drink more water- This one is just so important really isn’t it?! I am ashamed to say I’m not amazing at drinking water rather reaching for a soft drink or a cup of tea. Flavoured water is a start, having a glass or a bottle within arms reach is another step along the drink-more-water path well you get the gist.

Try to keep on top of my blogging and get into a routine- I am sure I’ll be preaching this until the end of time but I really want to get into a good headspace and have set posting days on here. I once said it would be Wednesdays and Sundays but LOL that never happened. Either way I need to sort out the half written when drunk state of my drafted posts. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to know your thoughts! Would you rather a set day or days of posts? Is it nicer as a random surprise email to say ‘Hiya I’ve posted?’. Similarly I’d love to know your thoughts on things you’d like to see being spoken about or blogged about?

 

Have you got anything you’d like to do or achieve this Spring? I’d love to know! HAPPY SUNDAY!