Saturday

7 Activities to Try in Aruba

We've already established why you should visit Aruba, but what should you do when you get there? I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to try a huge host of varied activities, and I've chosen my seven favourites to create a list of must-do adventures. As I've said before, this happy island really gave me a sense of empowerment, so I tried a lot of things that I never would have considered before. It's amazing how much you can achieve when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone! 


Tuesday

Twenty Things I Learned in my Twenties

Tomorrow, I turn 30... and I cannot wait. Looking back over the past ten years, I can see the growth and evolution I've made as a person and I feel ready to start a whole new chapter. In June 2008, I was a first-year teaching student, in a two-month strong relationship with some guy called Rich, and I was making the most of university life. I had a lot of fun but I was unsure of myself, a little timid and a lot insecure. Now I finally feel like I've found my feet and it's got me reflecting on the lessons I've learned throughout my twenties.



Monday

Five Reasons to Visit Aruba

At the end of May, I was lucky enough to spend a week on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, invited to encounter its beautiful beaches and renowned friendliness for myself. If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me talking about this gorgeous country a lot lately. It was just such a wonderful experience that I couldn't help but share it, and now I want to give five reasons why you should also visit Aruba.

Five reasons to visit Aruba

Sunday

Nails // DND Shimmer Sky

Over the past few weeks, I've had bright pink nails, bright yellow nails, coral nails... With so many bright colours lately, I felt like going back to something a little more muted, and settled on Shimmer Sky by DND.

DND Shimmer Sky swatch

Friday

72 Hours in Lisbon (Solo)

A very long time ago, I visited Lisbon with my grandparents. My only strong memory was looking down at the trippy black & white floor, so I really wanted to revisit the Portuguese capital as an adult (and hopefully remember more than just the ground). As luck would have it, the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted by Lisbon and, as I'd already promised myself I'd attend, I managed to tick both goals off at once. My Eurovision experience was great (read all about it here), but I gave myself an extra day either side so I could explore the city too. My third solo adventure was quite the experience!

Travelling solo as a woman in Lisbon

Tuesday

May Reading Round Up

With a total of almost 30 hours spent on planes in May, I thought I would get a lot of reading done. Unfortunately, flying makes me sleepy at the best of times, and my brain decides that reading is the perfect way to fall asleep when I'm in the air, so I actually didn't get much done at all. In fact, I think I would have read more if I'd been at home the whole month. Oh, well!

Stack of books


Monday

OOTD // Fun House with TruffleShuffle

What an absolute dream Fun House was! Running home from school on a Friday afternoon so you could admire Pat Sharp's mullet and dream that you were a cute cheerleading twin shaking pom poms. Or, of course, that you had the opportunity to race those go karts. The ultimate goal. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to enter the Fun House myself but, over 20 years later, I can finally throw on that yellow t-shirt (we can all agree Team Yellow was the best, right?) thanks to TruffleShuffle. Better yet, you can join me- or be my Red Team rival- with your own top, using the discount code at the bottom of this post. 

Fun House top TruffleShuffle

Fun House top: TruffleShuffle
Skirt: New Look
Leggings: Evans
Shoes: Converse

Friday

June Wishlist

It's my birthday month!! I'm turning 30 in less than two weeks and I'm honestly so excited. My twenties definitely felt like a time for experimentation and making mistakes, but from my 29th birthday until now, this has been the absolute best year of my life. I feel like I've truly brought this chapter of my life to a close and now I can move on, looking ahead to an even brighter future. With this bright future theme in mind, I'm planning a silver-and-gold look for my party (I'm having a party, for Christ's sake! I'm a whole new person!) and thought it would be cute to carry along in this vein for my June wishlist. Sequins at the ready!

June gold and silver wishlist
Silver trousers (also in plus size) // Gold bikini top and bottoms // Silver trainers
Rose gold bag // Silver mini skirt // Gold sequin dress
Silver glitter heels // Olivia Burton rose gold watch // Silver fringe bag
I can't wait to show you my outfit! Raise a glass to me turning thirty ;)

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Wednesday

OOTD // Miffy with TruffleShuffle

Fun fact: When I was 15, I wanted a Miffy tattoo. I'm not going to lie, part of me still thinks that would be really cool. I absolutely love the little Dutch bunny and I cannot resist any Miffy-branded products. Luckily for me, TruffleShuffle has a whole bunch of them, including this super cute Miffy raglan baseball t-shirt. Isn't it gorgeous! If you want your own Miffy top (or bag, or mug, or door stop...), keep reading, because I have a 15% discount code at the end! 

Miffy Raglan Baseball Top
Top: TruffleShuffle
Skirt: ASOS
Leggings: Evans
Shoes: Primark (similar here)


Sunday

My Keratin Experience

I was about 15 when I first read about permanent straightening treatments in CosmoGirl. With big, fluffy, unmanageable hair, it seemed like my ultimate dream... and one I'd never achieve. As I got older, I looked more into these treatments and discovered keratin treatments, sometimes known as a Brazilian blow dry. They promise to leave hair straighter, shinier and simpler to control. It still felt like a distant dream, until I started making regular hair appointments for blow drys (and started using the phrase 'my hairdresser' when talking about a specific person). I realised it was a self-imposed block stopping me getting my dream treatment. I wasn't the sort of person who got my hair done, so I stuck to that narrative. As soon as I developed a good relationship with a hairdresser, I realised it wasn't actually a big step to book myself in for the keratin. Now, having just had my second treatment and being blown away by the results, it's time to share my experience.

Keratin Treatment Brazilian Blow Dry Before and After











WHAT IS THE KERATIN TREATMENT?

The most important thing to note here is that, contrary to what CosmoGirl told me, keratin isn't actually permanent straightening. It's not going to keep your hair straight no matter what you do to it. It will still go curly after washing, it will just be quicker and easier to straighten after. At least, that's what I was told when I booked my appointment. In reality, it totally did stay straight after an entire day at a waterpark dunking my head under the water and washing it afterwards, and I nearly cried from disbelief. But more on that later.

Wednesday

My Solo Eurovision Adventure

I bloody love a bit of Eurovision. Every year I watch and think 'how amazing would it be to be there!' Last year I had an epiphany, when I realised there wasn't actually anything stopping me going. So I kept a close eye on the Eurovision site, found out when tickets were released and made sure I was ready, credit card in hand. Unfortunately I missed out on tickets to the grand final, but there were seats available for the first semi final, and I figured that was still part of Eurovision. So last week I found myself sitting alone on a plane to Lisbon, heading towards Europe's biggest party of the year.

Attending Eurovision alone

This being my first Eurovision experience, I wasn't entirely sure of how things would pan out. I had three main questions, and luckily they all resolved themselves perfectly.

Thursday

May Wishlist

May is finally here, and I am so glad to be feeling the sun on my face at last! This is a super exciting month for me, because I have two trips abroad: one to go to Lisbon for the Eurovision semi-finals and one to Aruba! I cannot believe that in just three weeks, I'll be jetting off to the Caribbean! I've used these two trips to inspire my wishlist this month, with blues and yellows inspired by the tiles of Lisbon and Aruba beaches.

May wishlist blue and yellow

Tuesday

101 in 1001 XXXVIII

As I said in my last 101 in 1001 post, the first of this third list, I've made a conscious effort to make sure my goals are realistic. I've set up a little spreadsheet and everything so I can plan when I'm going to achieve them and tick them off when they're completed. This new approach means I've got off to a really great start, with ten in progress, three completed and a further twelve arranged for the next couple of months. I'm determined to get as much done as possible this time! 

#1 Visit 10 new-to-me foreign cities 1/10

Copenhagen Little Mermaid Statue

Back in March, I popped over to Copenhagen for a little solo day trip. It was my first experience of flying somewhere for a day, and my 8 hours in Denmark were the perfect way to visit a new city (and a new country, for that matter) without using up a lot of time and money. I'm already looking into potential cities for my next day trip.



Monday

OOTD // Heartbreaker

I challenge you to read through this post without getting Marina and the Diamonds stuck in your head. Apologies in advance! When I saw this heartbreaker top on ASOS just before Valentine's Day, I had to get my hands on it. I might look sweet and innocent, but I'm definitely capable of breaking a few hearts!

Plus size striped top

Top: ASOS
Skirt: New Look
Leggings: Evans
Boots: ASOS (similar here)
Bag: TruffleShuffle

Wednesday

A Place on the Plane with Saturday Night Takeaway

Remember in 2016 when I went to see Saturday Night Takeaway and I wrote a whole blog post about how it was basically a dream come true? Well, as everybody who follows me on social media will know, that dream only went and got better because my mum only went and won a place on the plane to the series finale in Universal Orlando... and took me with her! I may have gone into full Rylan mode when she called to tell me- screaming and sinking to my knees next to the sofa. I'd like to say I'm joking but I'm not. I really like Ant & Dec, OK? (Well, we all know it turned out to be only Dec but the less said about that the better I guess) I wasn't intending to write about it- I even left my camera at home, so these are going to all be bad phone photos- but as you can probably imagine, it was an absolute dream and I can't resist typing out a few words! Make yourself comfortable because this might be long...

Saturday Night Takeaway Place on the Plane

Monday

OOTD // Actually I Can

Some people would call me stubborn. I prefer to say I'm determined. If I set my sights on something, I'm going to do everything I can to achieve it, regardless of what other people think. It's this attitude which made me need this jumper with a burning passion.

New Look Actually I Can jumper

Jumper: New Look (similar here)
Skirt: New Look
Leggings: Evans
Boots: ASOS (similar here)

Thursday

Solo day trip to Copenhagen

Around Christmastime, I was idly browsing Skyscanner, as you do, and noticed that the cheapest flights were £15 return journeys to Copenhagen. Curiosity got the better of me, so I clicked for details and discovered these were for two flights on the same day- one flying out of Stansted at 9am and returning from Copenhagen at 11pm. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do and booked them on a whim. I wasn't entirely sure if this was a genius idea or the stupidest thing ever, but I was looking forward to finding out. 

Copenhagen day trip

Monday

101 in 1001 XXXVII

My first 101 in 1001 recap since I started my new goals! I worked really hard to make my new goals realistic so I'm feeling pretty optimistic about getting at least 75% completed. I've got off to a very good start!

#30 See 15 shows

De Profundis Vaudeville Theatre

1/15 I adore Oscar Wilde, so I was thrilled to see the Vaudeville Theatre are staging their Oscar Wilde season- an entire year celebrating his work. Right at the end of December, I saw A Woman of No Importance, but that was before these 1001 days began. Just after New Year, I went to see Simon Callow in the one-man production of De Profundis: the letter Wilde wrote to his lover while incarcerated in Reading Gaol. It was incredibly powerful and I was struck by Callow's use of his hands to add to his performance (I wondered if this is a classic thespian thing as Alan Rickman- love of my life- always acted with his hands too). Currently showing is Lady Windermere's Fan until April so I really must make time to go and see it. 

OOTD // Marks & Spencer Curve Collection

You can't go wrong with a bit of Marks & Spencer. If you're looking for classics, it can't be beaten, although they also stock some really cute things on the more exuberant side. Now they've stepped up their game with the introduction of their brand new Curve collection- a plus-size range especially designed for sizes 16 to 32.

Marks & Spencer Curve Collection

Wrap top: Marks & Spencer
Cropped trousers: Similar here
Embroidered flats: Marks & Spencer

Sunday

Review // Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

I've been blogging for a long ol' time now and for the past few years, Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara has been getting a lot of love. I'd been strictly a Benefit mascara kinda girl for a long time but when my last bottle of They're Real ran out, I decided to see if Better Than Sex was worth the hype. Spoiler alert: It is.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Review

Friday

OOTD // Miffy Christmas Jumper

OK, last Christmas post, I promise. It's just that this jumper is so cute and I can't wait a whole year to post it at a more socially-acceptable time. My blog, my rules. 

Miffy Christmas Jumper

Jumper: Truffle Shuffle
Skirt: New Look
Tights: ASOS (similar here)
Boots: ASOS (similar here)

Wednesday

My first experience giving blood

I don't like to boast, but I have a high pain threshold and I'm not afraid of needles. It would be a shame to waste those skills. For ages, I've been saying I'll give blood but have never got round to it. When writing my 101 in 1001 conclusion post, I decided to transfer my uncompleted goal onto the new list, and then figured there's no time like the present. Visiting the Give Blood website, I registered and noticed there was a donation session taking place half a mile from my house in two days time. Before I could give myself a chance to procrastinate, I booked that appointment. I'm so very glad I did because it was a great experience and I'm already looking forward to my next session!

Giving Donating Blood UK

Monday

OOTD // Black Milk Wrapped Up Skirt

Ever since I bought my first piece of Black Milk Clothing way back in 2013 (see terrible photos here), I've absolutely loved the brand. I was really looking forward to their Christmas 2017 collection but there was only one piece I liked- the Wrapped Up Pocket Skater Skirt. At least that made my decision easier, I guess! 

Black Milk Wrapped Up Pocket Skater Skirt

Sunday

Review // Lush Daddy-O .Shampoo

I'd stayed clear of Lush Daddy-O Shampoo since the packaging specifically mentions grey and blonde hair which obviously I do not have. However, I absolutely love the scent of violets so eventually decided to give it a go, figuring that while it's great for blonde hair, it's not like brunettes can't use it.

Lush Daddy-O Shampoo Review

Tuesday

101 in 1001 Review

By coincidence, my second 101 in 1001 ended on December 31st, meaning I get to start the new year with a brand new challenge. Crazy to think I've been blogging for over 2000 days. In fact, this week was my sixth blog anniversary! When I finished my first set, I wrote a massive review post covering every single goal and whether I achieved it. It was a long ol' post but it was very well received so I'm going to do it again. Strap yourselves in!

Above the clouds

Monday

OOTD // Gold Sequin Dress

It wouldn't be the festive season without some sparkle, amiright? I actually bought this dress last Christmas and I've had absolutely no use for it until now. It's made for Christmas parties but since I had none of those to go to, I figured I'd just chuck it on for no specific reason in a look I'm calling: Chubby Disco Pigeon.

Plus size gold sequin dress

Dress: ASOS (similar here)
Tights: ASOS
Shoes: Peacocks (similar here)

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