I wrote this blog post for CLMB Official , an amazing initiative that helps young people focus on their careers, life skills, mental health and building their future – check out the rest of their work here.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to write for such an innovative organisation – it’s really early days but it’s already doing great things, and it’s something I wish I had as a school leaver, and even at uni. Let me know what you think!
First things first: I know you won’t want to take advice from me, because you don’t like taking advice from anyone, but just hear me out. Or at least, try and think of these as nuggets of life experience over the last nine years.
You probably don’t realise it now, but in retrospect, I can see that despite the bravery and unwavering self-confidence you had when you were 10, the last couple of years has made you feel less-than. I know that home is difficult, and I’m sorry you feel so angry and sad. I know you feel inadequate, comparing yourself academically to your friends and questioning whether you belong in the same school as such intelligent kids. I want to reassure you that you’re not an imposter. You’re on just the right path for you, and you just have to keep going.
Also, I promise, you’re no way near as ugly as you think you are. That’s all I need to say.
I know you’re “literally in love with” F, I know. It feels like no one understands the entirety and vastness of your feelings, and it seems like he smiles and the whole world lights up. You’ll share a lot of new experiences with him and it’ll help you get over him, in a way. Next year, you’ll meet R and you’ll be in for a rollercoaster ride – it’ll make you grow up quickly. Probably a bit too quickly, but we both know you’re old beyond your years. You’ll learn a lot about yourself too, so don’t write off the experience as completely useless…! Just you wait though, until A comes into your life – it won’t be for a while yet, but you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, in the absolute best way possible. (trust me!)
Mum is just trying to help. I know it seems like all you do is fight, but be nicer to her. She does so much that you never notice or give her credit for. As you grow older you’ll lean on her for a million things, big and small. She may seem overbearing and too strict, but (most of it) is in your best interest, I promise. It’s also a small price to pay for someone as brilliant as her, and for all she does for you. Don’t be so snappy with her – you’ll feel bad about those cutting remarks for a long time.
Your friends are wonderful. Yes, there’s bitchy squabbling sometimes, but there are a couple of girls who are ‘real ones’. Ones you don’t want to let go of. Even though boys seem far more interesting, your friends will get you like no one else does. When you move away to uni, you’ll need the girls more than ever – embrace those friendships and check up on them regularly, they’ll be so grateful for it.
Of course, you’re going to mess things up, fail at things and disappoint people who you love and who love you. But you’ll learn from it and come back stronger, even if it seems impossible at the time. You’re smashing it, trust me.
Oh, and one final thing: Your eyebrows will improve, and you’ll discover the magic of contour… I promise!
I wrote this blog post for CLMB, an amazing initiative that helps young people focus on their careers, life skills, mental health and building their future – check out the rest of their work here! I’m grateful to have written for such an innovative organisation – it’s really early days but it’s already doing great things, and it’s something I wish I had as a school leaver, and even at uni. Let me know what you think!
That’s what I tell myself, through everything from workouts to tough situations in my job, to difficulties in relationships or just a long old commute! Resilience is what gives people the mental strength to cope with stress and hardship. Some people seem naturally resilient, with a perma-positive attitude and endless ways to overcome obstacles in order to achieve their goals. But I think that anyone – even people who don’t believe themselves to be resilient naturally – can build on this skill.
I never really thought I was a ‘resilient’ person until my dad had a brain hemorrhage in 2014. Quick note – luckily, he’s absolutely fine now, he made a great recovery and we’re closer than ever. Yet, when this happened, my world was thrown upside down. I was 18 and on my gap year (sadly nowhere exotic – working in a pub in Kent!) and up until that point, had felt very little in the way of responsibility or life challenges. I suddenly felt like the world had thrust me into a 100mph lane with no seatbelt. I also realised, once I knew my dad was going to be in hospital for a while, that I had a choice. Now, I want to add that I’m fully aware that your mental health isn’t ‘a choice’. If it was, we’d all have half-full glasses and be bouncing-off-the-walls happy all the time! But in this instance I knew I could choose my actions, and how I reacted to the events that transpired. The first choice I had was to let sadness, anger and worry stop me in my tracks. The other choice (and the more difficult one, no doubt) was to feel those feelings, but use them as something to learn from and discover how best to cope.
So how do you work on being a more resilient person? One way you can do this is by allowing yourself to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, and recognising them when they arise. Don’t try and push them away – you’ll learn more about yourself in the process. Embracing change is another one – this can be hard, there’s no doubt about it, but even small things help. I like to write down all the ways something could go right, rather than go wrong. I think letting other people into your life to support you also helps. “No man is an island” as the famous quote goes! Practising self-compassion is a BIG one, and something I’m definitely still working on too. I could write a whole separate blog post on this, but what I will say is that self-kindness is underrated.
COVID has also taught me a bit about resilience. More specifically, in job hunting/workplace/ professional aspects. I was lucky enough to not be furloughed, and in fact, work went completely the other way! I took on two other people’s jobs as well as my own and while it was a learning experience, I will admit I felt completely out of my depth. Imposter syndrome crept in, and I was left questioning whether I was good enough to manage all this new responsibility. But I’ve realised now that the office hasn’t burnt down, our online events are still going on and actually, I’ve not been doing a bad job at all.
I’ve also been job hunting. I know, I know, WHY would you bother in this climate?! I want a new challenge, is the honest (and LinkedIn-appropriate) answer. To tell the truth, I think I have applied to between 250 and 300 jobs since about January. Happily, this week I was offered a new job! I’m over the moon and feel incredibly lucky, of course. But what I’ve learnt after all those applications, all the “unfortunately, you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion” emails, and even being flat out ignored a good number of times, is that you just have to keep going. You can’t give up if it’s something you really want. Sure, take a break for a few days, a week, even two. But you should always get back on the horse, no matter how daunting it might seem.
Being resilient, especially in a professional context, could open doors you never thought you’d see. It can offer opportunities that, had you given up and decided not to bother, you’d miss out on. Yet, by just carrying on, you’ll always have the potential to experience new and exciting things that come up in life. Resilience matters because it gives you the skills and mental strength to not only cope with, but recover from challenges. It’s something that will pick you up when you’re feeling your lowest, and allow you to learn from your experiences.
So, try to keep going. Even if you have to slow right down, that’s okay! Just don’t give up.
So, another month has gone by and we’re over half way through the year 🤯 In January I made the usual resolutions that I always fall back on – drink more water! Lose some weight! Read more! And while I have upped the litres and shed some fat, I haven’t picked up as many books as I’d like and my goals have definitely changed. (Unsurprising considering what’s gone on this year!) I know we’re 11 days into August already, but I’ve got a few goals I want to accomplish, or at least make a start on, by the end of the month!
1. Carry on toning up – I’m making some slow but steady progress with my PT – it’s a whole different way of thinking than I’m used to, I may do a post about it at some point, but he’s seriously changed my whole mindset on health and fitness. It’s mad how I never saw anything beyond hours on the treadmill as the only way to get fit. Training with weights is something I could never see myself doing, but here we are! Still not too keen on going back to the gym though, ngl…
2. Run 20km in August – this is literally nothing, but I’m now weight training 4x a week so I have to be so careful of my knees (several injuries over the years that I’ve needed to see a physio about but never had the time/money/inclination to do so 🤡) I used to run about 4x a week and would do 5ks each time, but since an injury in July that seemed really difficult to come back from, I literally haven’t run at all. I’ve obviously been going for walks every day but there’s just something different about the buzz you get from running, I can’t explain it.
3. Look for a new job – I know it’s probably the WORST time to be looking, but the COVID pandemic and being in lockdown has given me a real chance to think about what I need from my career, what I value and what I want to dedicate 40hrs of my life a week to. I’ve redesigned my CV and I have to say, it looks sick. I want a role where I can grow within a team and have a manager who guides me and shares their knowledge and expertise. I just know I have so much more to give.
4. Read more – I have loads of books that I keep meaning to read (or finish – sorry Hillary Clinton 😬) but I keep not doing it. I want to dedicate an couple of hours at the weekend to being screen free and actually getting my head down and reading a book. I literally cannot take my hands off my damn phone, which is something I want to change (looking at your, 9 hours of screen time a day!!!) The last book I read was Romesh Ranganathan’s autobiography which was SO funny, but I think the next one I’ll go for is Becoming by Michelle Obama.
5. Do more “extra-curricular” stuff – I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I really miss learning. Uni was so great for a myriad of reasons but I will admit I got such a buzz from learning new stuff. I love getting stuck into a challenge (only ones that are actually doable, LOL) but there are SO many free courses out there. I really want to take advantage and add as much as I can to my CV. I know nothing beats experience but I’ve got a lot more free time now and it feels silly to waste it.
I’d love to hear about some of your goals for the rest of the month, or year! Or how lockdown has changed your mindset and what you want to do in the future.
Whilst we’ve been in lockdown I’ve saved so much money compared to normal. I know exactly why this is: 1, my lack of a monthly season ticket, and 2, my lack of daily trips to co-op/sainsbury’s/Pret for snacks or coconut milk chai lattes 😬 (if you haven’t, TRY IT. The addition of coconut is a GAME CHANGER). This has been really good for my spending habits and has shown me that I end up doing a lot of “boredom buying”, so hopefully I can keep it to an occasional treat rather than an every-day thing. (Not the season ticket. That’s the last thing I’d describe as a treat!)
Anyway, I’d been on the hunt for a few bits makeup and skincare wise, and I happened to see on Revolution’s instagram that they had just bought out a three pack of hand sanitisers at 75% alcohol! I cannot believe I just typed that sentence out, and what’s more, I can’t believe I’m impressed and excited by the prospect of a high alcohol hand sanitiser 😳. I proceeded to head onto the Revolution website and add them to my basket. I thought I’d just have a quick browse, and, to quote Captain Holt: “Oh Damn”. A few clicks later and I was away… so here it is, a little Revolution haul for you guys!
*Disclaimer: I only got this order the other day so I’ve only tested these products quickly, not tried them properly!
**Disclaimer #2: I couldn’t find an “oh damn” Captain Holt gif so you get what you get… lol.
Revolution Skincare Hand Sanitisers: Lemongrass and 3pk Ocean, Lavender & Coconut
So, what we came for. These hand sanitisers have a nice light smell to them in terms of the actual fragrance, but OMG the alcohol smell is STRONG. So strong, it even reminded me of nights out at uni… 🥴 shots anyone? BUT I think for value for money, they’re really good – one is in my work bag, one is in my other bag and the other two are just laying around the house, but I think one will be making its way into A’s car sooner rather than later…
Revolution Pink Clay Detoxifying Mask
I have heard so many good things about this mask! I think it’ll be really good for when I’m about to be on and my skin kicks off and throws its toys out the pram. The pink clay draws out impurities and absorbs oil, but it also contains seaweed extract which helps to moisturise the parts of your skin that need it! I love the idea that it only targets the problematic areas and won’t dry my skin out completely. I feel like it will also help with brightening my skin as it has a tendency to look a bit dull sometimes (thanks, excess oil).
Revolution Pro Brushes: Double ended masking brush, 410 XL Fluffy Powder Brush, 100 Small Pointed Flat Brush, 320 Large Fan Brush
There’s something SO exciting about new makeup brushes. I don’t care how sad that sounds – I love how soft they are fresh out the packet, and these Revolution Pro ones have a really nicely shaped handle for precise application. I’ve seen a few girls on insta use the masking brush and I don’t really like applying masks with my hands so I thought I’d give it a go – I’m usually a sheet mask kinda girl but I’m hoping the detoxifying mask will impress. The powder brush and fan brush will be great for face powder (duhhh) and for the highlighter I’ve bought – I’m obsessed with fan brushes – can you believe, like 4 years ago I was applying highlighter with my FINGERS 💀💀💀 (ugh, the shame). The small brush isn’t as firm as I was hoping it would be, but I’m gonna hold out judgement until I try it – I’m thinking it might be good for concealing the under-eye area, but we’ll see…
Makeup Revolution Reloaded Highlighter in shade “Raise the Bar”
For YEARS, I couldn’t find a decent gold highlighter. They were all silver or pearl or champagne and made me look like a ghost and clashed with my other warm-toned makeup. Clearly, I wasn’t looking in the right place. This shade is my absolute DREAM, as it features bright gold and bronze gold tones, and is super buildable and not too sparkly, so perfect for work when you want to bring that subtle glow, or pop on a couple of extra layers for a night out 🌝🌞
Makeup Revolution Pout Bomb Plumping Gloss in shade “Kiss” 💋
I’m a huge fan of plumping glosses. I think it’s because I’m too scared to commit to fillers. My all-time, not yet beaten favourite is Too-Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme – but at £22 a tube I have to ration it for when I really want to use it! I spotted this one and it was only a fiver, so I thought I’d give it a go. It feels really nice and buttery rather than sticky when applied, and tastes kind of minty. It also looks like it would last a while too. These sorts of “your lips but better” shades are my favourite – unpopular opinion but I’m not a huge fan of a bright lip on myself – I think it looks like I’m 8 and tried to raid my mum’s makeup bag, unsuccessfully.
XX Revolution Quick FiXX Mattifying Setting Spray
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a setting spray for AGES, but when I was wearing makeup every day I didn’t bother getting one because I was so good at not touching my face and as it was winter, my skin felt a little less oily (I mean, by the end of the day, not so much, but what can you do 🤷🏽♀️). Now, I touch my face every 5 seconds (with clean hands ofc) and summer means oil + sweat. #NICE. There were loads of different setting sprays online, but I read tons of reviews and this one came out on top. People said that it came out like a fine mist, which is a winner for me, cause no one wants a weird tiny jet of product on one small area of your face. I also liked the look of it because this new range, XX Revolution, combines skincare ingredients with high-end makeup products. For another blog post I might do a GRWM where I’ll use the spray and see how well it works.
I 💖 Revolution Pure Gold Eau De Parfum
Am I saving the best til last? Potentially. This perfume, OMG. It smells INSANELY GOOD. All the reviews said it was a dupe for Lady Millions (honestly, not quite sure whether this is true because I can’t remember the smell of Lady Millions – I’m a Michael Kors Glam Jasmine girl myself) but it’s so warm and floral. It would work so well for an evening perfume but honestly, I like it enough to wear it in the day too. It’s also SO long-lasting, but at £12 you can afford to top up freely if you need to. Also, obsessed with the packaging – anything gold gets my vote. 🤩
So there we are! That’s my product haul – I can’t wait to try them and if I do a GRWM and step-by-step picture instructions I’ll let you know how they are. If you have any questions, please comment and I’ll do my best to answer!
It’s been a weird time, these last few months. I know many people have written a post about this and the things they’re grateful for, but it’s recently dawned on me (okay, not THAT recently, I’ve known I do this for ages…) that I’m always looking for the next thing. The next job, the next trip or holiday, the next nice outfit, the next meal (lol). I’m all for looking to the future rather than being stuck in the past, but this often turns into impatience and unhappiness with my current situation (even if it isn’t that bad!). COVID-19 has forced me to remind myself of everything I do have, and why I’m pretty damn lucky to have it. That being said, I thought I’d write about what I’ve been especially grateful for while I’ve been stuck at home like the rest of the world.
1: Having more time for myself ⏳
That magical couple of hours in the morning and the evening has appeared and made my life a million times better! That time is in fact the time I would usually spend commuting into London Waterloo, which is about an hour by the time I get into work, and that’s if the train is actually on time! (“On time…?” I hear Southeastern Rail ask. “What’s that??”) Anyway, now I spend that time having a morning walk and getting in the majority of my 10k steps 👣 and having some thinking time. If I’m not walking, I’m running or doing a workout. Moving my body in the morning really suits me as it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something super early on in the day!
In the evenings, when I finish work at 5, I don’t have to brave the train for the long journey home. Instead, I can get into comfies, make a cup of tea and play some Animal Crossing. This has REALLY helped my mindset. I’m able to just play for the sake of playing, and enjoy my simple little fake life in my town without being anxious about the virus/ other people/ work/ money/ life etc. I am so grateful to have this time to go through my thoughts and switch off from the real world and into a one filled with cute animal neighbours.
2: Green Space! 🌳🌱🌿
HUGE shout out to Danson Park for this one. Now, anyone that knows me will know that if I’m not by the sea I’m not satisfied, it’s my spiritual home and where I feel most calm and most “me”. (That’s Cancerians for you!). HOWEVER, Danson Park is a gorgeous park that’s perfect for a walk or a run. Living in Zone 5, it’s not London enough to be near Richmond Park or any of the huge ones like that, but also not Kentish enough to have the rolling hills or coastline that the Garden of England has. When we moved here and discovered the park was only a 5/10 min walk away, I was honestly overjoyed. Even just inside the park, the air feels cleaner and the grass stretches for what seems like miles so everyone can socially distance easily.
Although we’re allowed to have unlimited exercise now, my one daily exercise session became the thing I looked forward to the most. It became so key to keep my mental health in check (my boyfriend will tell you I go STIR CRAZY if I stay inside all day, like, proper cabin fever) and I found myself really thinking about life and how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep. I noticed things I had never focused on before, made a point of stopping and looking at the different types of wildlife in the lake and the range of trees that the park has to offer. That makes me sound about 80 but I absolutely love nature, and this has just made me appreciate it even more.
3: My health 💖
Finally, and arguably most importantly, I’ve been grateful for my health. Touch wood, I have a brilliant immune system and barely ever get sick or suffer from anything. When I was still going into work, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of catching the virus. My hands were cracked and dry from using so much hand sanitiser and I felt like I was exhausted all the time from being on high alert all the time. I am mildly asthmatic which was obviously a worry as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, but I’ve been really careful with my health and wearing a mask where I can, so I feel a little calmer now.
This situation though, has allowed me to take a pause and reflect on what I’m grateful for. I, like many other young women (and men!) dislike my body. I could write a list as long as my arm about the things I’d change (lose weight!!1! Get lipo!!! Be taller!) but this has really made me think I should be more appreciative of what my body does for me. It protects me from illness, allows me to get out of bed every day, to walk, run and lift weights, and just doesn’t give up on me, even when I say some pretty savage things to it. I will never “LOVE” my body, but I think I have come closer to accepting what I’ve got and working on becoming the best version of myself. Lockdown has helped me put everything into perspective – I’m pretty gutted that I’ve put on weight since lockdown, BUT if the worst thing that happens to me in this period is that I put on a few lbs, life is really not that bad.
In a nutshell, I’m grateful that myself and my loved ones have got through this difficult time so far. I’m fully aware others haven’t been so lucky. So many have lost loved ones and had to face furlough and redundancy, but we all know we will see an end to this. It will take a while, and the world will be different. But I hope in the ‘new normal’ people will choose to value and keep the things that truly serve them in their lives.
I’ve been having a real writer’s block for the past few weeks. I’ve been desperate to write but just had no inspo whatsoever – I think one of the subconscious effects of this lockdown is that my brain power is seriously diminished. Anyway, I really wanted to write, so I started thinking about what I truly enjoy and could talk about for ages. Makeup? That post is coming. Politics? Too many people write about that already 👀. Food? YES. Sorted.
I LOVE food. Seriously. I am such a foodie in every sense of the word – a lot of people say that, but if I had to plan my dream day, it would revolve around food and not much else LOL. I particularly love snacking – if it was morally acceptable and I didn’t have my boyfriend to feed, I’d probably just snack here and there all day. (I would also be the size of a house cause ya gal doesn’t know when to stop sometimes 🌝)
So I decided to get together a list of a few of my favourite healthy snacks. Well, they’re healthy-ish – not lacking entirely in nutrition, but also not celery-juice levels of virtuous. It’s also important to note that I have a really sweet tooth (much to the disappointment of my dentist – sorry, Neil) so if you’re not a fan of sweet stuff, this prob isn’t the post for you. Soz.
Snack #1) PBBT (a.k.a Peanut Butter + Banana on Toast)
So this is probably the snack that could be most easily passed off as a meal… if you ate enough of it, which I could. For me, the bread should be *decent*, so, not a flimsy piece of sad white bread (white bread has its place, don’t get me wrong – hello jam sandwiches – but it’s not here). Ideally, sourdough goes well #basic or a nice slice of seeded bread works cause the seeds go all toasted and lovely. I highly recommend Hovis Seed Sensations, if you’re wondering!
Now for the nut butter, my favourite part. I should say now, I don’t put butter on my toast as I’m using nut butter, but hey, if you wanna double butter-up, you do you! I love peanut butter more than many, many things – I could eat it out the jar with a spoon, the same with almond butter. I’m yet to try cashew butter or hazelnut butter but looking forward to that, whenever it comes! So usually I use peanut butter, either smooth or crunchy, cause I just feel like it melts a little bit nicer that almond butter. I love Pip+Nut Maple Peanut Butter, but Meridian also deserves a special shout out for their Rich Roast Peanut butter 🤤.
Finally, Banana time! I know some people like it mashed on toast (each to their own 🤭) but I love using just slices of banana, or banana coins as I recently discovered they were called! It’s got to be ripe (obvs) but not too ripe so it’s mushy when you cut it. I assemble exactly like the photo below, and top mine with some cinnamon.
There isn’t a single time of the day where I wouldn’t eat yogurt. I love it all – greek, natural, fruity, chocolatey (if you can count the Cadbury buttons desserts as yogurts 😈). I’ve gone through phases with yogurt (a sentence I never thought I’d type tbh). I used to love Muller Light – namely banana and custard, or vanilla with dark choc sprinkles. I don’t mind these but now I find them too thin and a bit too fake-sweet tasting.
When I lived in France for a year, they used to have these yogurts called ‘Danio’ and they were massive pots, really thick yogurt with a layer of fruit compote at the bottom – they were really high in protein too, so an extra win. I can’t find them in the UK, which is gutting. The closest I’ve got (which are faves now) are Liberté yogurts, particularly the honey ones. I also like Light & Free but only the Vanilla, Peach and Cherry flavours.
The reason I love yogurts is cause they’re so versatile – you can add fruit, granola, honey, protein powder even! You can use it as a topping for baked oats, pancakes or even add it to cakes and puddings. It’s also a nice lil something you can have before dinner if you’re feeling really hungry, but won’t fill you up and make you feel sluggish. My favourite way is to have it on it’s own, or with some granola which is prob one of my favourite foods ever (even though it doesn’t feature on this list 🤔).
Snack #3) Fibre One slices: Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Cinnamon Danish
Okay, so these are a bit “slimming world” but honestly, for a low calorie snack I LOVE them. They’re so good if you need something sweet in the afternoon with a cup of tea – they feel way more substantial than a biscuit and come individually wrapped so you don’t go eating the whole box in one go.
The chocolate brownie one is rich, not too sweet and tastes super realistic – it has a really decent brownie texture and the photo definitely doesn’t do it justice. I love one (or two) of these warmed up after dinner, as they feel like a real luxury dessert but without a lot of the calories, which, if you’re trying to watch what you eat, is a really good option! The cinnamon danish flavour comes a close second – it’s really moist again and the little cinnamon chips are so good. I’ve not tried it warm, but cold it genuinely tastes like a cinnamon danish, and as you’ll know from my previous MyProtein post, I love ANYTHING cinnamon.
These are also great to take to work/out and about if you know you’re going to need a snack at some point (cause let’s face it, who doesn’t?) 🍪
I thought I’d better include something savoury, just cause… you know, I’ve got a mature pallet etc etc… are snacks even a ‘mature’ thing anyway? 🤷🏽♀️ who cares. Anyway, these are so banging to make on a Sunday evening when you haven’t really got anything in, but want something warm and crunchy and satisfying to see you through for a few hours. These work even better when you’ve got guac or sour cream or salsa to dip them in, but if you’re a weirdo like me who loves dry foods, they’re lush on their own too.
I like to use mini soft tortilla wraps as they make good sized crisps, and the large ones are too big for me. I cut them into six with scissors (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it) and then brush them with a very thin coating of olive oil. I made the mistake when I first tried them of DOUSING them in oil 🤢 and they almost burnt. Not good. I’d put them in the oven for around 7-10 minutes at just under 200℃, but defo keep an eye! Mine tend to look like the ones in the picture below, but maybe a little more golden for that extra crunch 😋
What can I even say about Soreen. I rate it SO MUCH. It’s like a cake but healthy!? Some people might say it’s kind of granny food (or baby food?) But for me, it’s a great snack. It’s not too sweet and is so filling, even if you just have a couple of slices.
My personal fave is the OG Soreen. We get the pre-sliced one for ease of portioning, but they’re all good. My boyfriend has his with butter which is banging, but I just have mine plain. I also LOVE the banana lunchbox loaves – yeah, I know they’re meant for small children, and admittedly they’re so small and I could probably eat all 5 in one go, but they’re individually wrapped and like a little portion of banana bread with almost caramel bits in. Another of my faves that I can barely ever find 💔💔💔 is the fruity 5 loaf. I discovered that delight in a Tesco meal deal and never looked back. It tastes like a super moist fruit cake and I love it.
Soreen is genuinely SUCH a decent snack. It’s apparently really good toasted as well but honestly, mine never makes it that far tbh. I’m a big fan of stuff that’s good for you, but tastes just on the decadent side of things – I think soreen fits this perfectly!
So, that concludes a list of a few of my favourite healthy-ish snacks! I hope you enjoyed reading about it – I love writing about food so I might do a few more of these types of posts in the future. I’m always on the lookout for new snacks I’ve not tried, so if you find any you think I might like, comment below!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I love reading about/watching other people’s hauls from shops! Usually it’s a ridiculous amount of stuff but I just have a real fascination with what other people buy (especially if it’s food or makeup 🌝). The other week I ordered a few bits from MyProtein (more on this later).
For anyone that doesn’t know, MyProtein is a site that sells loads of types of protein (obvs), as well as protein snacks, workout gear and vitamins and supplements. There’s a couple of reasons I use MP rather than Gymshark or any of the others. The first one is that there’s ALWAYS a decent discount on, and multiple discounts work on one order, which, as anyone who online shops regularly (i.e. 99% of the population) knows is SUCH a rarity 🙌🙌🙌. The other reason is product quality – ALL the stuff I’ve tried from there has been so good, whether it be clothes or food, I’ve never had any complaints.
So why am I suddenly on this protein hype? I’ve actually invested in an online coach/PT who’s given me some workouts and nutrition goals to hit, and he wants me to eat a LOAD more protein. While this isn’t a new concept to me, my mindset is still firmly in the “MEAT/CHEESE IS TOO EXPENSIVE” camp, and I’m slowly trying to work my way out of it. (I know there are veggie/vegan alternatives but ya boi isn’t a fan of tofu and s*** 😬)
Anyway, onto the haul!
Impact Whey Protein Samples
I know very little about protein (should probs read up now that I’m paying an arm and a leg for a PT) and to be honest, had no idea what I should be taking or what flavours I’d like, so buying some samples seemed a good way to get more of an idea about what works for me.
I decided to pick a few that I thought sounded decent and had good reviews, and I loved the idea that the 25g was already weighed out ready for me to just add to porridge or mix with some greek yogurt (serious game changer – it goes like a mousse, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it 😍).
The flavours I chose were: Cinnamon Danish, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel. I’ll review them each individually below, but I’ve since gone on to order the Cinnamon Danish and Choc Brownie ones again, so… I’ll let that speak for itself!
So I tried this one after I tried the Cinnamon Danish, and thought nothing would match up – but EFF ME, it was so damn good. It tasted really chocolate-y and almost cake-like, but not in too much of an artificial way – it mixed really well with my oats and gave a real richness and luxury to the texture when mixed with almond milk. Would highly recommend for a solid flavour, no surprises, you know what you’re getting. My next plan for this is to try it with baked oats as I think it would go SO brownie-like then.
I am such a fan of cinnamon danish/cinnamon buns. Anything cinnamon-y tbh. It’s sweet and spiced and if you get a soft one, where the middle bit is the best bit, you’ve won the day (and don’t even go there with cream cheese icing, I could eat a vat of it). So when I saw this protein, I knew I had to snap it up. And true to form, MyProtein delivers and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s such a nice, realistic flavour and it’s not too sweet. It goes really well in porridge and baked oats, and I think it would make a banging shake as well (though I don’t tend to make those, I don’t like drinking my food…)
Okay, to reiterate my earlier point, I’ve never been disappointed by any of MP’s products. However, this salted caramel one is the only one that I’ve not been mega impressed by. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice flavour which is more-ish and pretty realistic, but it didn’t make me go 🤤 like the others did. I have to say, this one did go nicely with greek yog and I feel like it would pep up a shake, no doubts. Would probably only get this one again if the others weren’t available.
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Not gonna lie, I expected this to taste like Reese’s (not sure why tbh). It didn’t, BUT it was really good. The flavour was light, not too chocolate-y or nutty, but it was SO good in greek yogurt and I think if you used this with your oats and topped it up with some peanut butter, you’d be on the way to a real decent peanut butter flavour. I’ve ordered another one of these to try in oats but I think it would go in anything really. If you like nut butter, you’re onto a winner.
Flavdrops: Butter Biscuit, Cheesecake and Toffee
I’ve seen a million people rave about these on insta and I finally took the plunge and gave them a go. Usually everyone recommends the vanilla one to start off, but they only had a huge one and I didn’t want to waste any money in case I didn’t like it, so I pushed the boat out and threw myself into the world of artificial flavours and sweetners.
My favourite flavour out of the three I ordered is probably the Cheesecake. I know it’s the colour of chilli oil (😮) but it tastes AMAZING. So realistic. It prob helps that my favourite dessert is cheesecake, but I highly recommend it in yog and baked oats as it adds a distinct flavour which is super moreish IMO.
Butter biscuit comes a close second and reminds me of European biscuits? It tastes almost toasted (and buttery)… I know that’s a crap description but if anyone’s had French LU biscuits, you’ll know what I mean. Another unpopular opinion (my posts seem to feature a lot of those!) but the Toffee is a bit meh.
Like, it’s toffee, sure, but I felt like I wanted it to be a little bit richer and deeper-flavoured… maybe I just didn’t put enough in…? I think when I do my next MP order, I’ll try to get a small vanilla and maybe a peanut butter one, if they do it.
Sugar-free Maple Syrup
This is another one that I’ve seen everyone try but never got around to ordering. I love the idea of it and think it would be banging on pancakes or waffles, but I’ve only tried a little bit on a teaspoon just for a quick taster so I could write this post (LOL) It’s a bit thinner than normal maple syrup, but it’s a decent flavour. You can tell obviously that it’s not the real deal, but for low sugar and low calories it’s definitely worth it. Like I say, with other stuff you’d get a nice hit of the maple flavour and I feel like the bottle will last me ages which is a win!
MyVegan Carb Crusher Protein Bar: Choc Sea Salt
I’m not vegan, but I try to eat more plant-based when and where I can (read: if it’s convenient for me lol). I also LOVE salted chocolate. To me it feels like a more subtle salted caramel (ew, who do I think I am, Jay Rayner??) but anyway, when I saw this as a sample bar, I thought I should give it a go. I think they do this as a non-vegan flavour too, but I couldn’t find a sample. It was SO soft – when protein bars are really hard and chewy it’s such an appetite killer. This one had such a good balance of chocolate and salt (the type that makes you just want to keep eating – looking at you, dark chocolate digestives) and the layer of sauce is an added bonus. Defo recommend, and I think it would be SO good warmed up… I might try in my next order, watch this space!
Filled Protein Cookie: Double Chocolate and Salted Caramel
Last but not least: This bad boy. Bloody hell this was insane. I saw one of the girls I follow on insta warm this up for 10/15secs in the microwave and I thought, yeah, go on, let’s give it a go. It was SO worth it. The cookie itself is really soft, rich and chocolate-y, more like a brownie I would say. Then the middle is filled with a salted caramel sauce which isn’t too sweet and again, makes you want to keep eating. This was so satisfying and really sorted my sweet cravings. I’m VERY tempted to order a box and keep them when I need a treat/ a chocolate hit.
If you’ve got this far, well done and thank you! I’m hoping these will help me get some more protein into my diet and I love writing about stuff like this – I could go on about food for PAGES, I swear. It’s also inspired me to create another post on my favourite snacks, so look out for that soon!
It probably comes at no surprise that I’m a HUGE fan of all things #wellness and self-care. I mean, what 23 year old woman isn’t? Pre-lockdown, this list would have included things like “get your nails done!” or “buy a (overpriced) green juice” and whilst I love these things to de-stress, treat myself and chill out, we can’t do them at the moment 😭. (I am thanking past-Em for deciding NOT to get acrylics before lockdown though, not gonna lie.) Here are just a few things that tend to help me when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed or just need to show myself some love.
Move your body! 🤸♀️
This can be literally anything. Put on your fave bad b*tch song and dance to it (I have to be in a very specific mood for this one though lol). Have a walk with a podcast (make sure it’s your daily, state-mandated one hour mind) or go for a run and get your sweat on (same rules apply!). If you like them, do a HIIT workout or just do a few starjumps/ some jogging on the spot.
I ALWAYS feel so much better for moving, even if I’m feeling low and like I really CBA with the world and his dog. If the higher intensity stuff isn’t your thing, try a yoga session on youtube or some meditation, or do some stretches. I don’t know about anyone else, but working from home means I am S.T.I.F.F.
Pamper yourself 💅
Yeah, we all know, we’re in “unprecedented” (f***ing crazy) times. It seems way too easy to slip into the habit of not taking care of ourselves as we normally would – we’re not seeing anyone (apart from whoever’s living with us, and they’re probably equally rough…) and our regular self-care routines are out the window. This doesn’t sit right with me! I love taking care of myself, and to me (though this may be a controversial statement) I am ALL for anything that improves my outward appearance (yes, even botox/fillers if it came to it…)
Now, I’m definitely not suggesting anyone tries any DIY cosmetic surgery while we’re bored at home, but why not take some time to try a new sheet mask (these are amazing), exfoliate, moisturise and fake tan (if that’s your thing)? CBA with all these? Give your nails and toes some TLC with a fresh coat of paint while you watch Netflix…
Netflix + chill… Either way 🤪
Whether you live with your significant other or are ridin’ solo (thanks Jason Derulo) there’s a million and one things to watch on Netflix at the moment. Full disclosure, I love complete TRASH on Netflix so my recs may not be to your taste…
I personally would recommend “Hey all you cool cats and kittens” (I don’t even need to say the title), OITNB, What If, Dead To Me (please tell me someone else has watched this?? It is the BOMB), and if you just want something to have on in the background while you stare at your phone (just being real) the Bake-Off episodes are always great and Sugar Rush is another good one. (a little OTT American though; their host is called Hunter 👀)
Cook or bake something 🧁
Even pre-lockdown, I’ve always found baking to be a really calming activity. That probably makes me sound about 85 but I have a sweet tooth so any excuse to have cake/biscuits is fine by me 🐷. My go-to bake is a banana and choc chip loaf (love this one by the absolute QUEEN that is Mary Berry, but I double the recipe as my loaf tin is a 2lb big boi) but I also love making a Victoria Sandwich, and literally anything with chocolate in.
Due to COVID I haven’t been able to get flour for about the last month, and I FINALLY found some on a trip to Asda the other morning, so I think I’ll be baking sooner rather than later. If you prefer to actually *cook* something, Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients book is seriously good – so little washing up and so much flavour! There’s a sweet potato recipe that’s absolutely banging and so easy.
Marie Kondo your LIFE 🧹
Okay, maybe not quite your life, as that would probably be way too stressful… Why not start with your wardrobe? Grab yourself a black bin bag (ready for when the charity shops reopen 😈 ) and go through your (no doubt, I know mine is) vast and varied wardrobe to declutter. I always end up discovering things I’d literally forgotten about and sometimes even getting new outfit inspo. I mean, usually I just charity shop a load of stuff, cause I go off clothes really quickly and I find it cleansing and therapeutic 😇 but the principle is there.
Once you’ve done one wardrobe, I promise you’ll get a bug for it and want to blitz your whole flat! Then, like me, realise that you do actually use all the stuff in your house cause you only moved in last August, only have one bedroom and need all the ‘things’ to make it not feel like a sad rented property… LOL.
So these are my top 5 things to do to destress – I wish I was into painting or sewing or some shit but I have the attention span of a woodlouse and I need to be constantly stimulated at all times like a small puppy 😂 so these things work well for that!
My skin has gone through some weird phases, it has to be said. For as long as I can remember, it’s been oily A.F. I suffered from the usual teenage acne, and each month when that TOTM comes, hormonal acne still rears its painful head. I would say in the last six months to a year, it’s turned more towards combination skin, so finding products that also treat dry patches is still a massive learning curve. (side note – if anyone has any recommendations for combination products, please let me know via insta DMs!)
Despite having graduated nearly a year ago, (almost) every single aspect of my financial mindset is DEFINITELY that of a student. (Apart from makeup and a very specific John Frieda shampoo and conditioner set which they seem to be slowly phasing out… 💔) When it comes to skincare, when I find something that works, I stick with it. I think I just happen to be lucky that they’re all under £10 LOL. (Apart from the spot cream which is 1000000% worth the £16 price tag I promise xoxo)
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
1) Garnier SkinActive PureActive 3 in 1 Clay Wash/Scrub/Mask
Price: £3.69 from Boots
Full disclosure, I wear A LOT of makeup. I’m talking primer, a decent layer of foundation, mattifying powder, contour, blush etc. etc. and that’s just my face.
This Garnier facewash is the ONLY one I’ve found that’s powerful enough to get it all off in one go – It’s a nice creamy texture, and the Zinc extract and the exfoliating beads (made from pumice stone so okay for the environment! 🙌) make my skin feel super clean but not tight. Don’t get me wrong, I love a double cleanse from time to time, but cba on a nightly basis!
I should say I do also use a Liz Earle cloth from the Hot Cloth Cleanser range as that acts as another helping hand in makeup removal.
Bit of a nightmare, since COVID-19 this has been sold out EVERYWHERE. I have no idea how or why, but I’m siphoning my last bit for as long as I can whilst I’m going makeup free while WFH, so that brings me onto my ‘honourable mention’ of the list…
Whilst mourning the lack of Garnier 3-in-1, I came across this facial scrub. I was a bit sceptical as I had flashbacks to 16 year old me, trying every single bloody Neutrogena product under the sun, them not working and then wondering why I couldn’t be as carefree, spot free and happy as the smiling “teens” (👀) in the adverts.
BUT, I looked at the ingredients and for the price, I thought why not? I’m not really wearing makeup that much while WFH (thank god for the ability to turn the camera off on Google Hangouts), but OBVIOUSLY I still want to wash my face, and this seems to be doing the job (touch wood?).
The consistency is a bit thinner and more gel-like than Garnier’s 3-in1, but it’s oil free and the exfoliating beads are also made from cellulose which again, isn’t bad for the environment (I think…). It also smells nice, lightly sort of medicinal, but I don’t think it would do the job with a full face of makeup. (Have you tried Estee Lauder’s Double Wear? That is not coming off for love nor money.)
2) The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
Price: £5.50 from Cult Beauty
I bought this on a whim when I was looking for stuff that was a bit more suitable for combination skin. Another side note – I LOVE Cult beauty for their huge range of brands and their Cult Beauty Edits section! I feel like a proper beauty/skincare nerd but it’s so interesting.
Anyway, back to the cleanser – according to the Cult website, I use this wrong (LOL). You’re supposed to rub the cleanser in your palms to warm it until it melts into an oil, then massage into dry skin and rinse with warm water. I feel really triggered and weird if I apply any kind of cleanser to a dry face (don’t ask me why, I have no idea) so I just ignored those instructions… 🤪
I only use this cleanser after I’ve been for a run or had a workout (whenever my face is sweaty basically…) and I use it on damp skin when I’m in the shower. It goes into a kind of creamy foam which feels really gentle on your skin, but at the same time feels like it’s working hard and doing a decent job. Afterwards my skin feels clean and soft, which I assume is due to the squalane itself.
3) Garnier SkinActive PureActive Matte Control Anti Blemish Face Moisturiser
Price: £7.39 from Boots
As many others that are blessed (cursed?*) with oily skin will know, it is SO HARD to find a moisturiser that doesn’t make your skin feel more oily and cause you to break out in spots.
Another winner from Garnier, this moisturiser is a little bit expensive for the amount you get, but I have to say it’s SO worth it. It’s a small tube but you don’t need loads of product to feel the payoff, and it really does do what it says on the tin. It reduces shine completely (so unheard of in the moisturiser department!) and makes pores appear smaller/more ‘blurred’.
It smells nice and ‘clean’, not too heavily scented and the texture is a cooling gel. It has Airlicium (I have no idea either) and Salicylic Acid (I know and I LOVE) which really helps skin to feel moisturised but not break out. The only note I’d add to this is that it doesn’t work too well under my makeup, so I tend to use it at night as it soaks in pretty quickly.
*Also JK, my oily skin is annoying at times but apparently we’ll show signs of ageing less quickly than others… #win
4) Revolution Skincare Colloidal Silver Serum
Price: £9.95 from beautybay.com
On the home stretch and we’re onto serums now! I’ve loved Revolution ever since they appeared on the makeup scene, and the moment that they broke into the skincare game, I was hooked.
The Colloidal silver serum is the first of two serums on this list, and is described as a blemish defence serum. In other words, I use this when my skin is behaving itself to try and maintain the good skin days!
I find it really helps to condition and smooth my skin, but I think I’m (over)generous with my application as I always go a touch red afterwards! This doesn’t have a scent to it, I’ve not tried it before makeup, only ever before bed, but I think depending on what foundation you use, it might work well…
5) The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum
Price: £5.00 from Cult Beauty
The Ordinary has made another appearance as the fifth and final product that I can’t live without. I love this product because it feels SO full of #goodness.
I apply this when it’s that TOTM or when my skin is playing up for whatever reason. The Zinc regulates oil production and reduces blemish causing bacteria, and with a couple of days’ use, my skin feels calmer and more even. I apply this at night (always) – it does take a while to fully soak in, and sometimes feels a tiny bit sticky, but it’s a v.small price to pay for such a great product.
I cannot get over the PRICE. Living in London, it’s rare you get anything for a fiver, let alone a brilliant skincare product – I highly recommend this if you’re just starting out into the world of serums as it’s pretty easy to apply, has no scent and the bottle lasts for ages.
6) Balance Me Congested Skin Serum
Price: £16.00 from Birchbox
Okay, so this product is waaay more expensive than the rest (sorry) but I couldn’t let it go without a mention. I got it as a Birchbox sample a few years ago and I thought it was incredible.
It works SO well on my hormonal acne (i.e. painful red lumps that never come to a head) – if I’ve applied it in the morning, even by the end of the day my skin has calmed down.
You can apply this all over but I only use it for specific spots themselves. Usually, I’m not convinced at all by “natural” ingredients (chemicals work for a reason, y’know…) but this has gone a long way to changing my mind. It smells AMAZING with woody and floral notes and is super light when you apply it – you barely need any product at all for it to make a difference.
If like me you only plan to use it for lone spots themselves, the price tag is definitely worth it!
So there we have it! My top 6 skincare products on a budget, with an honourable mention to Neutrogena. If you want to know more about any products, just let me know on insta or email me! Soon I’ll do a post on my top 5/6/10/20,000 makeup products because I’m even more obsessed…
Hey, my name is Emily (everyone shortens it to Em), I’m 23 and I’ve wanted to start a blog for the LONGEST time. I’ve been putting it off for ages as I feel like everyone says that at some point, but I’ve been thinking loads about it and I think it would be really good to get my writing up to scratch and show people what I get up to. I’m not a huge fan of introducing myself as I don’t really feel like I have much interesting to shout about, but oh well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So, a bit about me: I live in Bexleyheath, in Greater London with my boyfriend (we’ll call him A for now – he works for the police so I need to be a bit careful about how much info I give out!). I was born in Hackney and then moved when I was 5 to Whitstable, Kent. I’m lucky that (most of the time) I have a good relationship with my family – I’ve got a younger sister who I’m close with, and my mum and dad aren’t together but they’re both my best friends (cringe). We’ve also got Sidney (a Jackapoo) and Coco (a tortoiseshell cat); both my babies, I miss them tons.
Pre-lockdown, my “hobbies” (dunno why but I cringe at calling them hobbies) were going to the gym, running, snacking and scrolling socials. Now, I still run (This morning I actually ran my longest distance ever – proud!) and to replace the gym I got the Nobs Home Guide 1.0. Still snacking and scrolling too, obvs. Alongside this I love my makeup and skincare, I’m constantly on beautybay’s website looking at their new arrivals!
I miss being by the sea SO much, especially as I went to uni in Portsmouth (I studied French with European Studies). Eventually I’d love to go back to Portsmouth and raise a family, it’s a great place to live and there’s so much going on. For now though, London is home and I really like it here too. I moved for work; after I graduated last summer, I got a job as a Communications and Community Manager for a healthtech coworking space – #niche. I might do a blog post about how I got into the industry at some point!
Which brings me nicely to this blog – all the advice I found before starting to write was “find your niche!” but I want to talk about so much: Fitness, skincare, makeup, lifestyle stuff, snacks… so maybe my niche is that I don’t have one… LOL. That might come back to bite me on the ass at some point, but I’m willing to take the risk for now!