Posts tagged Personal
I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety lately for various reasons, so to remind myself of the good things I have going on, I’ve decided to take part in a tag that I’ve seen doing the rounds lately – 50 Things That Make Me Happy. Making this list has actually helped me feel a bit better and shift my focus away from the negative, so I tag anyone who’s been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately!
So in no particular order, here are my 50 things…
1. My fiancé, Charles.
2. My pet rats, past and present.
3. Cooking, and trying out and inventing new recipes.
4. Spending time with my family.
5. Seeing my friends.
6. Going to gigs. I love that feeling of being in the same air space as my musical heroes, and hearing them sing my favourite songs live.
7. Taking photographs. Whether it’s a snapshot for Instagram, or a shoot with my DSLR, photography is a definite passion of mine.
8. Being outdoors. I try to get out as much as possible as it makes me far happier than being cooped up inside all day.
9. Theme Parks. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get from a massive rollercoaster!
10. Eating out at my favourite restaurants.
11. Being appreciated at work. It’s always nice to hear some good feedback, either from a manager, a colleague, or a student.
12. Running for charity. I try to complete an event every year. This year I’m doing the Race for Life.
13. That feeling of buying and wearing new shoes and clothes.
14. Glastonbury. The town, not the festival. It’s a beautiful place.
15. Dublin. Another of my favourite places.
16. Watching wildlife. Squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, everything. I especially have a thing for birds. My mum likens me to Bill Oddie…
17. Volunteering. I recently did some volunteering at the local wildlife hospital and I loved it.
18. Chocolate, cake, puddings, pastries, ice cream. All the sweet food.
19. Chilling with my favourite TV shows.
20. Mine and Charles’ takeaway and movie nights.
21. Getting home from work.
22. A good cup of tea.
23. Coca Cola from a cold glass bottle, especially on a hot day.
24. Finding a bargain. It makes getting something new feel that little bit sweeter!
25. Going to carboot sales. See above.
26. Books. The way they look, the way they feel, the way the smell, the stories within them.
27. Watching Grav3yardgirl videos.
28. Listening to my favourite music. In particular, Kate Bush, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo and Mike Oldfield take me to my happy place these days.
29. Fireworks. And bonfires. And Bonfire Night in general.
30. Halloween. It’s one of the best days of the year.
31. Going to the cinema.
32. Writing. Blogging, scribbling in my journal before bed, jotting down stories. Love it all.
33. Saving money for a house. I smile every time I see my savings account balance go up.
34. Weekend breakfasts. They usually consist of pain au chocolat, croissants, fruit toast, or something like that. Yum.
35. Storms. Thunder and lightning reminds me that I’m part of something big and powerful, and it’s amazing.
36. Walking and hiking.
37. Geocaching. It’s been a while since I last did any but it’s a lot of fun.
38. My mum’s cats.
39. Boxing Day. I like it more than Christmas Day and Boxing Day lunch is one of the best meals of the year.
40. My birthday.
41. Family and friends’ birthdays.
43. Foot and back rubs.
44. New Walk Museum in Leicester. It’s been one of my favourite places to go since I was a kid.
46. People showing that they care, with a gesture, a question, a smile etc.
47. Getting a good night’s sleep. They’re rare, but damn do I appreciate it when I get one.
48. Winning things. Competitions, games of Monopoly. S’all good.
49. Swimming in the sea.
50. Camping. Feeling the grass on my feet, the fresh smell of dew in the morning, watching the sun set, cooking breakfast on a camping stove. God I love it.
What are 50 things that make you happy?
Yesterday was a very special day for me, as I went to see Kate Bush perform live – something I never thought I’d have the chance to do. I’ve been listening to Kate Bush’s music for as long as I can remember. At the age of three I would put on my mum’s Kate Bush records and dance around to them, and her music has always provided comfort to me during tough times, but also so much happiness. But considering that her first and last tour occurred eleven years before I was even born, and knowing her reservations about touring, I never even dreamed I’d get to hear her music live. So when it was announced earlier this year that she’d be doing a 22-date run at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, I couldn’t quite believe it, but I was incredibly excited. Luckily for me, I’ve been a member of Kate’s mailing list for years, which meant I received an access code to the fan ticket presale, and as soon as they went on sale I snapped up four tickets as quickly as I could. When the tickets eventually went on general sale they completely sold out in less than fifteen minutes, leaving many people disappointed, so I feel so lucky to have got them.
During the run up to the show the media was buzzing with news about Kate’s first live performance in 35 years, but I managed to avoid hearing much about the show, so it would remain a big surprise, and after weeks of building excitement, the day I got to see Kate Bush finally came around! I won’t say much about the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it was so much more than just a concert. Obviously there was music, but there was also a theme, spectacular theatre, film and props. It was magical, and the mood in the room was really positive and infectiously happy. Kate’s voice is still just as melodic and soul-touching as it always was, and she’s incredibly beautiful in every way. She’s a born performer and her stage presence is quite something, and the best part was that she clearly enjoyed every second of the show just as much as the audience did. I feel so privileged to have been in the same room as Kate Bush and to have heard some of my favourite songs performed live. It was honestly one of the best moments of my life and I’ll never forget it.
Turn on the TV, scroll through social media, or open any magazine or newspaper on any given day, and you’re almost guaranteed to find a negative statement about how someone looks. Bodies and appearances are being shamed left, right and centre, and quite frankly I’m sick of it. Too fat, too thin, too hairy, not enough hair, too much make up, not enough make up, bad fashion sense etc etc. Basically, the media tries to sell us a completely unattainable and contradictory standard of “perfection”, and trying to achieve this impossible look just leads to unhappiness and low self-esteem. So, when Penny of Lillies and Love launched her #bodyUNashamed project, I knew I had to take part.
Penny’s project is simple, and aims to promote positivity and body confidence in all of us, whilst trying to put an end to body shaming and bullying, and it starts with bloggers like myself. Everyone taking part has been paired with another blogger, and must highlight three things about that person that are great, before highlighting three things about themselves that they love. I’ve been paired with Jan Ennis of StayHappyBeaut, and as soon as I saw her Twitter feed I knew it would be easy to find three great things about her.
1. Jan’s bio states that she is “obsessed with the value of a positive mindset”, and encourages us all to “stay happy stay beautiful”. Such infectious positivity is a really wonderful thing to have, and is perfect for this project as it promotes happiness and confidence, which can be difficult to achieve when we’re constantly being bombarded with negativity. Well done Jan for being such a positive person, and for advocating positivity in the rest of us!
2. Jan also has really pretty eyes! They look so striking and kind in her Twitter profile picture, and her eye make up also looks fab.
3. Her hair is gorgeous. The colour, the length, the style, the way it falls – it just suits her so much, and she knows how to dress to make the most of it. I wish I could get mine to look so nice!
A few years ago, I would have struggled to find three things about myself that I love, but over the past few years, particularly since starting this blog, my self-confidence has grown, and I’m now really content with myself. So here are my three things…
1. I really like my eyes. They’re bright blue and a nice shape, and people always tell me they’re very expressive. They’re definitely my favourite thing about my face.
2. I’ve always been the “tall one” – at school I was taller than my friends and I’m one of the tallest people in my family, and it bothered me for years. I always felt like I looked the odd one out and hated all the “wow you’re tall!” comments I’d get, but recently I’ve been embracing my height. So what if I’m 5’10″? If I want to wear heels, I’ll wear heels! Admittedly I still have issues finding trousers and jeans to fit my 36″ inside leg, but at least I have the advantage of being able to see over everyone’s heads at the cinema/concerts/crowds!
3. I’m also quite proud of my current level of fitness. A few years ago I was slightly overweight, which in itself wasn’t a problem, but it was affecting my health. I have mild asthma, but it was made a lot worse by my excess weight, and I got out of breath very quickly. I worked hard to improve my diet and lifestyle, and have since lost weight, which has led to me becoming a lot healthier. My asthma is now pretty much non-existent, and I can do so much more than I used to be able to.
If you want to join in with Penny’s #bodyUNashamed project, then please do! Compliment people whenever you can. Smile at people in the street. Call people out for body shaming others. Make a stand to the media for doing the same. And most importantly, be proud of who you are! Everyone is unique and that’s what makes us beautiful, so recognise your positive attributes and show them to the world!
I thought it was about time I wrote a little post about why I haven’t been blogging as regularly lately. As you may or may not know, in January I graduated from university with a Master’s degree, and since then I have spent MONTHS applying for jobs and attending interviews, whilst at the same time also working at my old job. As I’m sure you can imagine, that took up quite a lot of my time, leaving very little room for planning and writing blog posts. However, yesterday, after my eleventh interview of the year, I was finally offered a full-time job that I think I’m going to love. The job will start in September and involves working with and supporting university students, and I’m really looking forward to it. Now that that area of my life is getting some structure again, I hope that means I will be able to add regular blogging back into my routine, so expect to see more from me in the not too distant future! I already have quite a few posts planned, featuring lots of fashion and food, so check back soon for those.
I’ve also just got back from a little trip away with my fiancé. We can’t really afford big foreign holidays at the minute, but we both love nature and walking and suchlike, so we decided to go to Malvern for a while so we could go walking in the hills. We both had a brilliant time and spent hours and hours hiking, which was incredibly tiring but also relaxing! Whilst we were there we stayed in a gorgeous little private house called Uplands, which was cheaper than a B&B or hotel, but a thousand times nicer. We’ll definitely be going back, and I highly recommend it to any couples who like their own space when they’re away!
Here are just a few photos from our trip…
This week, Monday 19th May until Sunday 25th May, is National Vegetarian Week. All around the country individuals, companies, educational establishments, and communities are taking the challenge to go vegetarian, and in the process are having fun discovering new foods, and learning how to adapt their everyday favourites into easy vegetarian alternatives. As a vegetarian myself, National Vegetarian Week is something that I completely advocate, and I hope some of you will be taking the challenge too!
I stopped eating meat, poultry, and food containing gelatine thirteen years ago when I was eleven years old, and a year later, aged twelve, I stopped eating fish. The thought of mass animal slaughter sickened me, and I just couldn’t bring myself to support it anymore, so I made the decision to go veggie. Luckily I didn’t find the transition too difficult, as my mum was very supportive, and to be honest I’d never liked meat anyway, so I didn’t (and still don’t) miss it at all. In fact, I disliked meat so much that I was a fairly fussy eater as a child, and becoming vegetarian actually broadened my horizons and encouraged me to try new foods, and ultimately improved my health.
Since then I haven’t looked back, and I now spend my days experimenting with new foods and recipe ideas. I use a lot of Quorn products in my cooking, and will often make traditional meat dishes with Quorn instead of meat, so I never feel like my options are limited. Halloumi cheese is also an excellent ingredient to use if you want a meaty texture, and is especially great in the summer when grilled or barbecued. Being vegetarian helps me save money too, as meat alternatives and soya products tend to be cheaper than meat, and you can get quite a few meals out of one packet/bag. A definite positive when you’re on a tight budget!
As those who follow me on Instagram will know, I post a lot of images of my vegetarian creations, so I thought I’d share a few with you, just in case you’re taking the veggie challenge and want a bit of inspiration.
Aubgergine, Potato and Chickpea Curry (Vegan) / Sunday Roast / Quorn Moussaka / Grilled Halloumi with Mint and Coriander Cous Cous, and Tomato and Chickpea Salad / Courgette, Sundried Tomato and Mozzarella Creamy Pasta Bake / Jerk Quorn Chicken with Rice and Peas / Homemade Tomato, Basil and Olive Pizza with Salad / Christmas Dinner / Tempura Vegetables with Noodles and Sweet Chilli Dip
If you’re interested in getting involved with National Vegetarian Week, you can visit the official website here, where you can find out more, and download useful literature to help with your quest. You can also check out what local vegetarian events there are in your area. I’ll personally be visiting one of my favourite vegetarian cafés, who are offering a free dessert with every main course!
Also, keep an eye out later this week for another installment of my Vegetarian Eateries posts! In the mean time, you can check out Vegetarian Leicester: Lunch, for ideas of where to get a yummy vegetarian lunch in Leicester.
Will you be taking part in National Vegetarian Week? How are you doing so far? I’d love to hear your stories!
You may have noticed that my blog hasn’t been as busy as usual over the last few weeks and months. That’s because I have been locked away in a room since June with a pile of books and my laptop, researching, writing and editing my postgraduate dissertation. I have been studying for a Master’s degree in Modern Literature since October 2011, and tomorrow I will be handing in a 20,000 word dissertation which signals the end of my time at university! Obviously I’m relieved that the dissertation is done and dusted, but I’m also sad that, after nineteen years in education, it has now come to an end. Having said that, I’m really looking forward to graduating and being able to think about the future. I’m hoping to find a graduate job as soon as possible so I can start saving up for a house, and of course I’m going to be dedicating a lot more time and effort to blogging, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of me!
But before all that, I need a little break, so on Tuesday my partner and I will be heading to Dublin for a few days. Seeing as I spent pretty much all summer cooped up inside, I can’t wait to get out and about doing stuff. We have quite a few things we want to do and see whilst we there, and I’ll be taking my camera, so expect to see a LOT of photos upon my return!
Have a great week everyone,
July’s heat and sun seems to have given way to a much cooler August, so a lot of my summer clothes have taken a back seat and my spring skinny jeans have made a reappearance. Last weekend was particularly rainy, but it’s not quite cold enough for jumpers just yet! As such, I’ve been making compromises, and have invested in a dip hem shirt which is perfect for the recent unsettled weather. The long length and sleeves make it great for those cooler days, but it’s sheer and light so not too warm. I think this is a look that will work well in early Autumn too.
So, here is my go-to outfit for this month’s not-so-summery summer days. I wore it recently to see a band play at a pub, and I’ll be wearing it tonight with comfortable flats for a meal out with my partner.
Dip Hem Shirt, Vest and Skinny Jeans – Primark
Suedette Shoe Boots – New Look
Studded Skull Bag – Everything5Pounds
Handcrafted Silver Bat Skull Necklace – Birthday gift from my Dad (bought from Etsy)
What have you been wearing on these cooler summer days?
As some of you may have noticed, I have been rather elusive on the blog front this week. So firstly, allow me to apologise! I have a lot of exciting blog posts and reviews planned, yet things keep getting in the way, but I hope to be back and blogging properly as of tomorrow.
My absence was mainly caused by one thing in particular – work! All kinds of work. I work at a university, and after three weeks off over Easter I started back on Monday, and needless to say it got very busy, very quickly. On top of that, I have been planning an essay for my postgraduate degree, and of course I have also been researching for my dreaded dissertation! As I’m sure you can imagine, that takes a lot of effort and can cause a lot of stress, and has been taking up a lot of my time. However, amongst all the work, I managed to find the time to be more social than usual this week. I ended up going out for drinks one night, to a pub quiz another and out for a meal and a catch-up with some friends, all within four days.
Perhaps the biggest development comes in the shape of my bedroom. Since starting my blog it has got gradually more and more cluttered with beauty and fashion products, so I decided it would be appropriate to give it a complete overhaul – why I chose this week I’ll never know! I’ve ended up chucking a lot of old clothes away to make room for new stuff, I have brand spanking new storage for all my make up and toiletries (YAY), and my walls are being redecorated with a gorgeous floral print wallpaper. One of the main reasons for this change though is that I have decided to start keeping rats again. I used to have rats when I was younger, but over the past few years I have been sans rodents, and to be honest I missed them! So, when everything is sorted (hopefully next weekend) I will be bringing home two new little girl rats, and I am VERY excited. Expect a photo heavy post when my mission is complete!
There you go – my elusiveness explained, and hopefully that will be the end of it! Keep an eye out for a new review coming tomorrow.
I have something very exciting to share with you today… Bewitchery has been featured on Superdrug’s Look at Me beauty blog!
The article, called ‘Beauty Bloggers We Love: Bewitchery‘, features a little Q&A with myself, including beauty tips and Superdrug product recommendations, as well as a few pictures. Of course, my beloved MUA get a big mention! You can read the feature here.
What do you think of Bewitchery’s feature?
Yesterday was Bewitchery’s first birthday – a whole year since I started blogging about beauty, fashion and lifestyle! When I first started this blog I never thought it would become the success that it has, and what started out as a hobby has become a big part of my everyday life. I would be lost without my little blog now, and looking back over the last year I can really see how my blog has evolved.
I would like to thank every single one of my lovely followers for supporting me and helping me get this far. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am, but I’ve had a lot of fun doing it and I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring. So whether you follow my blog as a WordPress subscriber, via Twitter, Facebook, HelloCotton or Bloglovin’, thank you so much for reading what I have to say, and for commenting on my posts. You all rock! The interest I’ve had from beauty and fashion companies has also been beyond what I ever imagined, so thank you too to those who have asked me to review products and write for them – it’s been a pleasure and will continue to be so!
To celebrate my one year blog birthday, I am hoping to host a giveaway soon for all of my readers, so keep an eye out for that.
Here’s to another exciting year,