Friday, 16 August 2019

Creative writing | August 2019

It's been a long old time since I posted a poem on my blog, hasn't it? This was my last one, and it went down quite well - but since then I've been a bit stuck. However, I recently set up a creative writing group in my local area with my best friend Holly (you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram if you fancy it) and I've got some of my inspiration back. So I wrote this poem a week or so ago, and I'm really *really* proud of it. I hope you all love it as much as I do!
Photo by Joshua Ness.

Persian Plum

Your hand feels heavy in my own. A fox slinks
into a nearby hedge and lilac sky envelops
the trees that hang low around our 
shoulders, offering their fruits to us.
Peaches smell sweeter before you pick
them, you tell me, even with drops of rain 
on their skin and cells left behind by curious
insects looking for a new home. The breeze
whispers something inaudible and just 
out of reach. 

I wonder if, when night time rolls around
and the lilac gives way to something more
like indigo, you will realise. As the breeze wraps
you in its arms, will you see me as the
peach? Sweeter before you plucked me out 
of my old life, and into one where the stars have
human names and the raindrops are hot 
enough to burn your feelings into your flesh. Will
you ache with the knowledge that I bruise
too easily for you?

As the world wakes up, and the sky blushes with
the effort of it all, will you paint me? The shades
of orange and yellow, the warmth of my 
colours a shock to the system. Will you outline
every hair illuminated by the sunlight that 
tries so hard to melt razor sharp dew
before the children start to roam the streets? Or 
will you simply sink your teeth into 
my flesh, juice running down your chin,
and leave me to rot?


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

North West Blog Gang gives back

Hey hi hello - this is a quick post that won't be relevant to a lot of you, but that I wanted to publish anyway. You may know, I run a networking group called North West Blog Gang for local bloggers and influencers across the North West. If that's you, come and join us HERE!

Anyway, I organise events for group members: menu tastings, in-store experiences, pamper sessions. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time and hard work - I don't get paid to do this, and I do it for the love of the game. I find marketing a fascinating subject, and I love to support local businesses: so if I can bring a bunch of bloggers down to create content and promote your business, then I'm happy to do so. But this isn't really about me.

This is about us, giving back to the local community. When bloggers attend an event, they are usually given something complimentary whether that be food, a makeover, drinks or physical products to take away with them. This *stuff*isn't free: it's provided in exchange for content, so therefore it's transactional - if not in the most traditional sense of the word. But okay, we don't have to exchange physical cash for them. Instead we photograph them, edit the photos, write a blog post, create multiple Instagram stories, promote our blogs, pay for our hosting and our cameras and our travel to the event, pour so much of our time into doing everything that comes alongside having a written blog or big social profile.

And blogging can be materialistic, as I think I've probably touched upon before. So when I got chatting to Danielle from The Breakfast Club, an idea pinged into my head that just made perfect sense. Let's give back. And so, from now on, at all the North West Blog Gang events I organise there will be a donation box. I'll be collecting sanitary products, personal hygiene items like shampoo, soap, toothpaste etc, make up and skincare items that you might just have lying around unopened that have been sent in PR.

Because although we're not exactly getting something for nothing at these events, we're not having to part with money there and then for a 3 course meal, or 8 different cocktails, or a stunning makeover with a bunch of goodies to take home. So the least we can do is give something back to our local community.

I hope that all makes sense. If anyone has any questions, please get in touch with me. My email is and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Testing DIY beauty hacks

I'm 100000% sure none of you will know this, but one of my first EVER blog posts was about a DIY face mask. You can read it here, and laugh about the fact I didn't even add any pictures in. Bit of fun though, isn't it, DIY beauty stuff. I thought I'd revisit the idea and test out some DIY beauty hacks that I found on Google...

title of the blog post on a background of fruit

Mayonnaise Hair Mask

This is one of the easiest ones, because it's literally just mayo. You don't have to mix it with anything, although you can do for extra benefits. I went for the simple mayonnaise hair mask, though, because it's meant to provide moisture especially for frizzy hair - which mine is.

I hate mayo - honestly, I don't eat it and the thought of it makes me gag a bit. But I decided to give the mayonnaise hair mask a go and smothered my damp hair with some from a squeezy bottle we had in the fridge. Then I chucked a shower cap over it and left it for bloody ages while I got some articles written.

my left hand holding a jar of mayonnaise

Then I rinsed it off, and followed up with a nice shampoo. Twice. To get the smell out. But my hair did feel genuinely softer and less frizzy, so I'd say this is a DIY beauty hack that works.

Coconut Oil & Sugar Lip Scrub

I get really chapped lips year-round, and I know you can buy lip scrubs in Lush (and I think Elf do one too) but really, it's so easy to make your own. I just mixed a spoonful of coconut oil with some granulated sugar (and a drop of vanilla essence) et voila. Smushed it onto my lips a bit then wiped it off with a flannel. My lips felt sooooo nice and smooth afterwards - this one is an absolute winner of a DIY beauty hack!

my left hand holding a jar of pure coconut oil

Clear Honey & Turmeric Targeted Spot Treatment

Again, this one is as simple as it sounds. I mixed a teaspoon of clear honey with some turmeric and smothered my cheeks and chin with it, where I had a lot of redness and some whopping big spots. I think I might have used a bit too much honey because the whole thing was just a bit runny/drippy, which made it feel like it was tickling my face. Generally just quite messy.

my left hand holding a jar of honey

I wiped it off about 15 minutes later with a warm damp flannel, and my skin was genuinely less red. The spots seemed much less angry, too, so it's one DIY beauty hack that gets a thumbs up from me.

Have you tried any DIY beauty hacks? Let me know which ones really work!

For my favourite make up removers, CLICK HERE

Friday, 9 August 2019

Five recent reads

So, in July I acquired a lot of books. However, I didn't read a lot of books - so there was no 'recent reads' post in July. Maybe I'll squeeze in two this month. Who knows?! But regardless, here's my five recent reads...

I read Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann and absolutely loved it - it's set in America after the end of world war two, about a pair of cousins drifting apart and growing up but still visiting their childhood holiday home over the years with their own families. A lot of the story takes place at Tiger House; love, mystery, parties, adolescence and a whole lot of drama. I genuinely loved it; the plot was intense but the themes are brilliant and it's such a good read. BUY HERE

My best friend Holly and I realised that we'd never read each other's favourite books so she leant me a copy of Black Dogs by Ian McEwan. At first I couldn't get into it and I was worried I'd hate it and Holly would disown me but in the end, I really enjoyed it. It's told from the perspective of a man who's writing his parents-in-law's memoirs. It follows their journey through early marriage in the aftermath of the Nazi era and their involvement in the Communist party, and how the fall of the Berlin Wall affected so much. The characters are so deeply written, and the scenery so beautifully described, and it's truly a fantastic book. BUY HERE

two books on a wooden paddle, on top of a grey blanket. the books are the weighing of the heart by paul tudor owen and the paper & hearts society by lucy powrie.

I finally read The Paper & Hearts Society* by Lucy Powrie and honestly, I just hope I never ever get to a stage in my life where I don't read YA any more. I absolutely adored this book; the characters are lovely, there's amazing representation, the plot has just the right amount of tension and drama and emotion. It's a beautiful story and I feel SO proud of Lucy, even though I don't know her. Such a massive achievement and if you're a YA fan, I urge you to read this. BUY HERE

The fourth book in today's post is, coincidentally, Four* by Andy Jones. It's about a group of four pals who get themselves into a bit of a pickle, and it follows all of their lives as the situation unfolds. Genuinely, a complete rollercoaster but in a good way. I loved it, and I'd definitely recommend it. BUY HERE

Last but not least is The Weighing of the Heart* by Paul Tudor Owen. It's about an English guy in New York City, an artist with an obsession with Ancient Egyptian art and mythology, and about his life in the art world. Everything is touched by some sort of magic, and I really loved this book. The characters were fascinating, and the plot was tense from beginning to end. Another one I'd wholeheartedly recommend! BUY HERE

Hope you enjoyed catching up on what I've been reading recently - let me know if you have any book recommendations, please!

For more of my recent reads, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

26 hours in Nottingham - day 2

My second day in Nottingham was loads of fun - here's what I got up to! Again, this post is in partnership with Visit Nottingham/Marketing NG, the tourist board. So thanks again for sorting the trip out for me guys, you're the best. Without further ado...

Stonebridge City Farm, Nottingham

In the heart of the city, on the grounds of what was once to be a school, lies Stonebridge City Farm. It's a charity organisation with a café, play area and of course, plenty of farm animals. From pygmy goats to a massive tortoise called Kevin, there's loads of animals there and you can feed them! I'd highly recommend a visit if you're in the area; it's free to visit, but donations are of course welcomed. I absolutely loved it here and it's perfect if you've got kiddos. more info here

iLocked Escape Rooms, Nottingham

If you know me, you'll know I bloody love escape rooms. Like, I've done over 50 of them, in at least 4 different countries. So when I saw an escape room my itinerary I was thrilled! iLocked is a lot more technical than other escape rooms I've done; we did the The Mummy which was soooo hard, but we got out with 2 minutes to spare and we honestly had so much fun doing it, despite how stressful it was... If you're an escape room lover, definitely check these guys out because they're something a bit different and definitely a challenge! more info here

Annie's Burger Shack, Nottingham

Next up it was lunch time, and we were booked in for burgers at Annie's - one of the most popular places in Nottingham. Hoooooo boy. I've never seen portion sizes like it (but Annie is American, so that's kind of a given). I opted for The North Carolina: a burger topped with BBQ pulled pork, red Leicester and crispy fried onions, with a side of curly fries. Absolutely unreal. Annie's also offer all of their burgers as veggie or vegan, which is amazing! We then got to meet Annie and have a tour (the tavern downstairs looks unreal for pint or 6) and she was an absolute dream. more info here

Zero Latency, Nottingham

We had a lovely walk around the city before reaching our final stop, within the intu Victoria Centre - a virtual reality gaming experience at Zero Latency. This didn't sound like my cup of tea, but I'll give anything (most things) a go once so we headed up there and donned heavy rucksacks, goggles with screens, and big headphones. And it was AMAZING. You're in a massive empty room, and on your goggle screen it looks like a video game - you're a character within the game and when you walk, so does your character. There are certain things to collect and you have to walk in strange directions. It's disconcerting but so much fun. I'd recommend it to anyone! more info here

Coming home

On the way back to the station I popped into Flying Tiger at intu, because we don't have one in Liverpool and I always have to make the most of it. I treated myself to a tote bag, some notebooks and some other bits which I showed on my Instagram story (follow me here if you're not already). Then I grabbed my suitcase from the hotel (we'd stored them there for a £1 charity donation) and hot-footed it to the station in an Uber to catch my train.

Exhausted but happy I finally rolled into Liverpool three hours later after the best whirlwind trip to Nottingham. I feel like I did so much, and saw some gorgeous bits of the city. I'll definitely be back!

For day 1 of my trip, CLICK HERE