Things I Do To De-Stress

Sunday, 26 February 2017

- Prioritise my to do list.
- Drink a lot of tea.
- Or alternatively hot chocolate. My favourite is currently a chocolate orange hot chocolate made with almond milk and topped with marshmallows for that extra bit of self-indulgence. 
- Take a walk by myself.
- Phone my grandmother. 
- Clean/tidy my surroundings.
- Listen to some fun, upbeat music. Dance around the room.
- Do the fastest 3 things on my to-do list because this makes me feel motivated.
- Go for a shower and change my bed sheets so I feel fresh and ready to face whatever bothers me.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Light a candle.
- Turn off my phone.
- Swim.

What Does It Mean To Be A Unique Blogger?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

When I started my blog, 5 years ago, the blogging community was growing. And it still is. But now it's much, much bigger. Trying to get your own blog noticed can feel like being stuck in the middle of a massive crowd. And I guess the only way to stand out is to be original, to not be like the others. But can a blog really be 100% original?


My Favourite Instagram Accounts

Sunday, 19 February 2017
Instagram. Love it or hate it, it's almost an essential part of blogging these days. As fun as it is, it can be too easy to get swept up in all the number counting and stat obsessing that comes alongside trying to grow and brand another social media channel. I'm trying to take it back to the basics with my Instagram account again and make it more fun and reflective of my day to day life. I'm not a fan of pristine all white feeds and even if they're popular, they just aren't me. What I like are feeds that are unique, full of colour and let a personality shine through. I thought I'd write this post so that I could share some of my favourite Instagrammers in the hope that you find a new favourite and to remind myself what it is that I love about the accounts that I follow (someone remind me to have a clear out).

Shawna is an Edinburgh based Instagrammer and posts beautiful photographs of the city. It's nice to see something that's familiar pop up on my feed every now and again! I know that I'll really appreciate her photographs when I move to America in June as it will be a little reminder of home.


Treat Yo Self Book Haul

Wednesday, 15 February 2017
After Christmas and my birthday, I had a few vouchers burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to make a pretty big book haul to fill up my to-be-read pile and get myself excited to read lots of new books. These are a mixture of some books I've wanted to read for a while and some ones that I saw and bought on impulse. And of course being a #superfamousbookbloggers (that hashtag will catch on) I have to blog about it. I'll be reviewing these over the next few months in my monthly reading wrap-ups so consider this to be a sneak peak.

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax - This book has been floating around the blogosphere and I was really interested as I certainly am very frazzled at the moment. It talks about how stress is a human invention and gives some tips on how to get rid of it. At the moment, I'll take what I can get. I also recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Giving a Fuck so I guess you could say I'm on a self-help book streak.


Recipe: Roasted Veggie Couscous

Sunday, 12 February 2017
Starting university with minimal cooking skills was a pretty daunting reality. A few years on, I consider myself to a be a pretty decent cook. However, I won't turn down the opportunity to learn some new skills. Recently the Co-op has joined up the guys from the YouTube channel Sorted Food to create the Now Cook It website. Which teaches basic cooking techniques and also provides a wide selection of recipes to put them to the test.

I cracked out the roasted vegetable couscous that was absolutely delicious. The recipe serves two as a meal but we shared it as a side as part of a larger meal. I was cooking for my family who generally like to scoff at my cooking ability but everyone was really impressed with how it turned out and my gran even took the leftovers home with her for lunch the next day. This dish struck me as being particularly student-y as it's meat free (cheap) and also works really well cold so would make for a great packed lunch. The Co-op also offer a student discount if you have an NUS card so take advantage of it! 

Living More Ethically

Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Almost 4 years ago I vowed on this blog to go cruelty-free. I wanted to stop using beauty products that are tested on animals. I'm not saying that I don't slip up upon occasion but I feel like I have succeeded with this goal. But that was years ago and I feel I've gotten a bit complacent about the choices that I make. Can I really consider myself to be cruelty-free if I buy jeans for exactly that are made through sweatshops? Or am I really helping the world if I throw away rubbish that could be recycled? I've set myself some resolutions of things that I'd like to do to live more ethically. These aren't new years resolutions. These are rest of life resolutions. And generally, talking about it publically on the internet holds me accountable to it. So tell me off if you need to!

Look into whether the tea that I am drinking is Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Over the last year, I've really gotten into drinking tea (it would appear I am now finally living up to the British stereotype. Which poses a new question of ethics for me, where is my tea coming from. So I'm aiming to only try and buy tea that's Fairtrade or rainforest alliance certified as these are tags that I can trust. This means the tea that I buy for my home but also asking serving staff in cafes if it isn't stated on the menu. 


Taking Some 'Me Time'

Sunday, 5 February 2017
2016 was a particularly stressful year for me. And after a while, it was beginning to get me down because it felt like I wasn't really getting free time and when I was I felt too tired/burned out to do things that I really wanted to do. I've bee trying to practice some 'me time' (I don't know what else to call it - self care?) and set aside at least an hour every day to just spend some time by myself doing something that calms me down. Even if it's just turning my phone off and getting into bed an hour early. Before, I think I was a little too obsessed with the idea of being productive and ticking things off my to do list to the point that it began to impact my happiness. I've been trying to work out some things to help me unwind and I've discovered these are my favourites.

Read a book - As a nerd, there's nothing that I love more than taking some time to myself and sitting down with a good book. If I'm looking to relax or de-stress then I'm likely to go for something that's an easy read. A chick lit like the Time Traveller's Wife or an old childhood favourite like Harry Potter or a Lemony Snicket novel. I know it's summer time now but I think that when the weather is a bit colder then snuggling up with a blanket and a book before I go to bed whilst it's raining is one of life's greatest pleasures. Even if I only get 20-30 minutes of reading done it makes such a difference to my day. I try to read before I go to bed and I find that I sleep better on the nights when I read before bed. Alternately, some of my friends bought me a beautiful journal that prompts you to write down things that you are greatful for every day. I'm trying to stick to it daily and it's such a lovely reminder. 


January Reading Wrap Up

Wednesday, 1 February 2017
First reading wrap up of 2017! Wonderful to think I've completed 3 full years of reading wrap ups now!
Whilst it may not look like much from the photos, I managed to get an awful lot of reading done this month. However, most of it was on my Kindle so I don't really have a lot to show for it. 

I've read some excellent books this month and even gotten through a few that have been on my Kindle for months. I really seem to go through phases with using it. This year I've set my GoodReads challenge at 52 again and so far I am totally smashing it. If you'd like to join me on there you can add me as a friend here

The Next Together by Lauren James - This is a time travel love story kinda deal. Katherine and Matthew keep meeting each other throughout history, fall in love and then are separated through disaster. I heard another blogger talking about this and what really drew me in is that the characters are science students. It was really refreshing to see scientists represented as normal people - so often in the media the socially awkward stereotypes are rife! I really enjoyed this book and ended up giving it 5/5 stars.