Sunday, 28 August 2016

Degustabox // August 2016

This is only my second month of recieving the Degustabox, but I'm loving it - this month if was full of savoury bits and bobs, as well as alcohol, and I was so excited to delve in when I got home from work and found it in the living room.

First up I spotted the Willy Chase's Fit Popcorn which is Apple Cider Vinegar flavoured - definitely an acquired taste, and not one for me. They do, however, do a Salted Honey version and the packaging has bees on it, so I'll be picking that up ASAP. There was also some Rakusen's Snackers, which were much more promising - both plain, but one packet are gluten free. Perfect with hummus and such like, as well as being relatively healthy. I liked these ones.

I've never seen my mum as excited as when I pulled out the jar of Geeta's Mango Chutney - she's a regular maker of coronation chicken, and this is one of the ingredients; she's already buzzing for the next buffet she attends so she can use it! Also from the same brand there's Tikka and Rogan Josh curry paste, which look easy to use so I'm sure someone will have me making them a curry soon...

Normally, I'm a Pot Noodle kinda gal - but the Aromatic Thai Noodles and Moroccan Cous Cous from NutriPot look so interesting. They seem to be a healthy alternative to the student-coveted tubs, and they're the kind of thing that would be handy if you work in an office or don't have much time to grab a proper lunch. I'll keep you updated on how good they taste!

A bit more miscellaneous now; Sweet & Sticky Barbecue Sauce/Marinade from Tabasco which is my new love - I'm a massive fan of BBQ sauce as it is, and this is one of the best. I don't eat olives, so the Chilli & Oregano Oloves are going straight to my mum, who loves them (weirdo) because she goes to Greece so often that she's developed a taste for them.

I've grouped these two together because they both scream *BREAKFAST* to me - the Clipper Lime & Ginger Green Tea and the Dorset Cereals Raspberry & Blackcurrent Bircher Mix. I'm not a tea-drinker, so this will be donated to my bestie, but I can't wait to tuck into the cereal before work, mixed with some fat free yoghurt. I love the adorable measuring spoon, too.

Last but not least: beverages. I rolled my eyes when I saw the Fentimans Sparkling Lime and Jasmine drink, because they sent me LOADS when they launched it and I hated it, so I had bottles of it dotted around my uni house for months. I'm not a beer drinker (more of a cider gal) but this Mahou was fine as beer goes - my dad drank most of it, though. I absolutely loved the Get More Multivitamins Sparkling Lemon & Lime - like sprite, but less gassy and more healthy. Spot on.

All in all, Degustabox was a mixed bag (or box) for me this month. Then again, I'm a fussy eater and none of it went to waste, so that's a good sign!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Things I wish I'd known before I went to uni...

As y'all know, I've been to uni - been there, done that, got several t-shirts. And I loved it. I studied Journalism and Creative Writing at Chester University, and it was the best three years of my life. It was also terrible, in parts, and that's okay. Here's some things I wish I'd known...

Don't take your entire DVD collection because really, you'll not watch them. Movie nights tend to happen (or at least, they did for me) via a laptop - and a HDMI cable if you're lucky enough to have a telly. I did have a telly, but it got nicked. Long story, scary story, keep your doors locked.

Grab every opportunity with both hands; I think this one goes without saying, but make the most of your time. Three years may seem like a long time but in reality it will fly by and soon you won't remember being that little fresher turning up with a door stop and packet of biscuits. Everything you can do, within reason, do it. Join clubs and societies, go to parties, help out with things. At uni, there are so many skills to learn (both academic and not) and so many ways to build your CV - you can leave with so much more than a degree, and I think you'd be a fool not to.

Take double the amount of cutlery that you think you'll need. For some reason, it goes missing - or if you buy the cheap stuff like me, it'll break mid way through eating an Aldi lasagne. Also, shop around; there's likely to be a smaller, and thus cheaper, supermarket around. I went to Aldi for most of my shopping, because it was fairly close and even though both Asda and Tesco were on the same road, why would you go there when you can get everything much cheaper next door? Wouldn't recommend their carrot and coriander soup, though, so for home comforts I think it's fair to treat yourself to Heinz.

It's okay not to be having the time of your life. Or, like me, to be having the time of your life while simultaneously suffering from depression. It's okay not to be okay, as cliché as that is. You'll build support systems, and there is always help there - just reach out and take it, as scary as that might be. Your university will have counsellors, and pastoral support, and most lecturers are actually really nice/cool/friendly people. Talk to someone.

Most importantly, have fun and study hard. Pull all nighters in the library with your best friend, wear silly costumes on a night out with your sports team, make your housemates a roast dinner. Read everything, take as many notes as you can, and hang on in there.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Carex X Love Hearts

If there's one thing that's a necessity in any house, it's soap. Unfortunately, soap is pretty boring. But when Carex asked me to come to the launch of their new Love Hearts soap from the Fun Edition range, I decided to pop along - and I was pleasantly surprised.

The launch was at Mr Simms in Liverpool, which is a gorgeous (yet overpriced) sweet shop - the perfect place to launch a soap that literally smells like the sweetest of sweets. Love Hearts are something I remember always buying at 'tuck shops' and an ex-girlfriend once made me a love letter almost entirely from Love Hearts sweets, so I know the smell quite well. The soap has the exact same scent, even down to the almost......fizzyness. Ya get me?

The soap itself is pretty much everything you could want in a soap; it's moisturising so it keeps skin soft whilst killing 99.9% of bacteria. Importantly (to me at least) it's dermatologically tested which means it's not going to dissolve your hands or anything. I think the good thing about the Fun Edition soaps is that kids are more likely to use it, and get into a habit of using it, because it doesn't smell like the flowers on your nan's dining room table.

Carex Love Hearts soap retails for £1.80 from Tesco and is well worth picking up for the smell alone!

This post was written in collaboration with Carex, but all views are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Current Speedy Skincare Routine - Summer 2016

Summer 2016 seems to be the season of work for me - I'm doing day after day at my job, which is good because pay day is looking sweet, but bad because blogging has been put on the back burner a bit. But anyway, I've been trying to fit a social life in alongside and that means a lot of late nights, which means waking up with very little time to spare before I head to work of a morning. So my skincare is a little rushed these days... But I'm doing my best!

I start with a micellar water; I've been loving the Avéne Micellar Lotion (which isn't actually a lotion) because it feels refreshing and doesn't irritate my skin, though it does leave it clean and fresh. Job done, I move onto the Hebridean Marine Toner from Ishga - it's in a spray form, so I literally just spray and go. Easy peasy.

Next up is serum - I've been using the L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum as I find it sinks in really fast (are you sensing a speed theme here?!) plus it feels nice which is a bonus. Last but not least I reach for a day cream, something that disappears quickly but hydrates all day. At the moment, that's Derma V10's Multi Radiance Cream, which is just your bog standard moisturiser but in the best possible way.

This was just a quick post to show you the four steps to my skincare routine when I need to get ready in a total of around 17 minutes in the morning - what products are you reaching for on the daily this summer?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

National Honey Bee Day

It's no secret that I love bees - they're just my favourite buzzy things, and I find it fascinating to sit in the garden when the sun is shining, watching them pop from plant to plant. I did a day-long beekeeping course, I have a bee tattoo and a bunch of other bee paraphenalia.

I don't know when my love affair with bees started - but I know this: they're important. Without bees, we'd lose crops. Without crops, the food chain would slowly start to fall apart. Even if we weren't (in the majority) meat eaters, we'd struggle because vegetable accessibility would decline rapidly. Evolution has made it so that bees are the ones who pollinate the crops; if they went, it would take years upon years to fill the gap with other insects, evolving to take up a job they've never had to do before. And not to alarm you, but bees are dying. We don't have as many flowers and meadows any more; we use pesticides, and climate change is a big thing.

So what can we do? If you have space, and time, become a bee keeper. Okay, so that's not a viable option for most people but there's still things we can all do. Eat (and buy!) more honey - demand it, show that we still need bees. And for the love of all things buzzy, plant more flowers. We have a garden full of 'em: lavender, sunflowers, poppies and honeysuckle are all rich in pollen. Plus they look pretty. You can also buy from brands who use bee by-products to make beauty products; for example, Bee Good are an amazing skincare brand who make products using British bees and also donate to bee conservation charities.

Another company who love bees as much as me are White Stuff; they were kind enough to send me this beautiful scarf and the cutest socks so I can wear them with pride today, National Honey Bee Day. Thanks, guys!