25 Discoveries in my 25th Year

YAYYYYY BIRTHDAY! I’m a couple of days late, but I just didn’t have time to post this on the actual day! 🎈🎉🎂

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do a ‘___ things I’ve learned in ___ years’ for their birthdays, but I’ve decided to note down 25 discoveries (food, beauty, lifestyle, well-being…) from the last 12 months. Enjoy!

1. ‘It’s Just a Story…’

This is a big one for me, and linked to my post about how Derren Brown’s ‘Miracle’ helped my anxiety. I go into more detail in the post and explain what the phrase means, but just for a quick insight; I struggle with anxiety on occasion, mainly when dealing with new places/experiences, and applying this phrase to stressful situations has allowed me to cope with my anxiety in a different way. The show is on Netflix and I didn’t imagine when I sat down to watch it that it would make me look at life differently, but this simple phrase when worrying about something… it honestly really helps. 

2. Chocolate Wine

YES it’s a thing, but you can only get it in Sainsbury’s! It’s so delicious and yummy, and it’s VERYYYYYYY easy to drink it as you would a glass of juice (definitely try to pace yourself with this one)! Seriously though, give it a go! (FYI it’s in the port section as it’s classed as a fortified product – Ed and I spent AGES trying to find it in the red wine section to start off with)!

3. It’s okay to say no to work

I hate to let anyone down, as I’m sure we all do. But sometimes, when that comes at the detriment of your physical or mental health, you have to say no. I had a situation at the beginning of the year where I’d taken on too much and it was really taking it’s toll. As much as I hated to do it, I said no to a job. But I’m glad I did, because I really don’t know how I’d have coped for the rest of the school year with such intense commitments. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, do what YOU need to do.

4. How To Drive

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I never had the time to learn when I was at school, so I started learning a year after I moved back to Yorkshire, shortly before my 25th birthday. I was extremely nervous ahead of time because I felt old to be learning…everyone my age already seemed to know how to drive, and all other learners were doing so in their school uniforms! But I had the most amazing teacher, who’s calming voice I still hear in my head, and getting my car in December has opened up so many doors for me! As a freelance dance tutor, it really is one of the best things I’ve done.

5. Twitter’s Amazing Blogging Community

I had no idea until the beginning of summer that there even WAS a blogging community on Twitter! But I’ve met some wonderfully supportive and friendly people, and I love to check out their content and see how they’re getting on. Shout out to my lovely blogger gals 😊

6. Dermalogica Skincare

I included this in a post about clearing up my skin, and I have to repeat it because the Clear Start Toner has made a MASSIVE difference. My skin’s finally cleared up (took long enough mind you) and now I wouldn’t be without it!

7. Mushroom Sauce

This was a discovery from a Google search when I wanted to jazz up a chicken breast. It’s easy and yummy and has made it to my recipe book! This is the recipe I used.

8. The ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Soundtrack

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Yes, I know it came out last year, yes I know I’m late to the party, but I don’t care – this soundtrack is gorgeous. The story sends a really important message, and the actual music itself is incredibly special. If you haven’t listened to it, DO. I listen to this at least once a week.

9. Want activewear? Head to Forever21!

Forever 21 was a favourite in our year group at Bird for fancy sports bras, and I’ve shopped their activewear range on occasion for the last 18 months or so (as well as JD Sports, Sports Direct and other branded stores). Now, I tend to head straight for Forever 21, especially for sports bras and leggings. The high waisted leggings DON’T SLIP DOWN, are very flattering and comfy, and I adore the designs too. Most of the time they have a matching sports bra (and who doesn’t feel like they can take on the world when they’re matchy matchy?!), so I’m absolutely in love with this store for my work clothes 💖

10. Multiple planners are a god send

Of course, I’m referring to my wedding! One planner ain’t enough, there’s just not enough room for all the various notes you scribble, questions for meetings, contact information of suppliers, guest list, playlist ideas, not to mention the more fun bits like colour scheme ideas/inspo, guest predictions and memorable dates… I have two but I’m not gonna lie, I’m tempted to get a third!

11. Being on stage with a significant other is THE MOST FUN!

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Ed and I have done our fair share of shows together over the years, but October 2017 was our first with the upgrade from bezzies to a couple. And it was SO much fun! Shoutout to HSAP, we miss you!

12. How FAB Etsy is

I really had no idea until I started using it last Christmas! I’ve bought so much from there now, it’s my go to for gift ideas and I love browsing all the wedding related stuff to get inspiration too! I’m going to be dedicating a couple of blog posts to my Etsy experience, so keep an eye out!

13. ‘Unforgotten’ (ITV)

The most gripping TV series I’ve watched since Broadchurch series 3. If you haven’t already, get yourself on the ITV Hub and catch up on the last 3 series, because this is such a JUICY drama. And I love murder mysteries so this is right up my street! Ed and I totally binge watched this and cannot WAIT for the next series, because the story lines and performances and just outstanding.

14. How you fuel your body has a massive impact on the way it runs

Potentially an obvious one? We all know that if we spend our lives eating takeaways, we’re going to feel more sluggish and crappy than if we’re eating a more ‘clean’ diet (I put that in inverted commas because I’m not suggesting I eat like a rabbit AT ALL, but now, I’m making everything from scratch so I know exactly what’s in my food). We haven’t necessarily been on a ‘diet’, but recently we’ve re-educated ourselves about what we’re putting into our bodies. Before now, it was very carb heavy – to my mind, active jobs like ours required carbs to fuel us through. Whilst this isn’t necessarily wrong, having spent a lot of my life eating bread and pasta and NOW concentrating on fueling my body with higher portions of protein/veggies/natural snacks – my body feels SO MUCH better for it! I have more energy, I feel less sluggish – and I didn’t realise I was feeling sluggish in the first place! It was a life changing discovery.

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15. Rebuilding burnt bridges lifts a weight you didn’t even know was there

So I recently re-kindled with my old high school bezzie. There’s no need to get into the ‘break up’ or any of that miserable business, because the main thing is, it’s all in the past. It was the one thing that really made me sad when I’d look back at it, or imagined what life might be like were she still one of my gals…but I didn’t realise there was a weight there…not until it was lifted! Lots of love has been happening this year and this just finished it off nicely 😊

16. Continuing to learn at work

Vague, but I genuinely learn more every time I’m in the Studio (whichever Studio that may be)! It really is one of those things where you learn on the job – I know I’m probably a VERY different teacher now to how I was 2 years ago when I’d only just started. I’m very lucky to be able to teach a wide range of students/styles/abilities/locations, and am loving being able to learn from some incredible creatives/collegues.

17. I didn’t know what stress was until we bought a house

I have no idea why I ever thought I was stressed before now. Having experienced the stress and rubbish that goes with buying a house, I will never complain about being stressed again! It’s such an important thing hanging over you for so long, something that you have NO control over… I don’t think we can comprehend until we actually go through it, how intense the entire process is. It’s been a rubbish experience regardless of the stress (I’m not going into it though), and can’t wait till we’re actually moved in! We got the keys a week ago and finally, we had a reason to SMILE about the house – it had been fairly miserable up to that point 😂

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18. I’m actually quite good at cooking!

I started my cooking life 7 years ago when I moved down to London, and it’s safe to say that it’s been a longggggg learning experience – Jacket Potatoes and Chicken Kievs were my go to for the first year or so 😂 As with anything, it just takes practice, but it’s only in the last couple of months that I’ve realised that I can cook up some mean dishes!

19. I’m shocking at baking

Total opposite of the above. I’ll give it a go, especially when I’m making Ed’s birthday cake or my rent’s anniversary cake – but I’m absolutely awful. I cheat and use the Betty Crocker mixes, but I’m still rubbish 😂

20. Flowers in the home make me happy

I don’t know if it’s the freshness or the colour or what – but it lifts my mood 😊

21. Cherry J Rum

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Ed made the discovery in So Bar a few months back, and it’s BEAUTIFUL. You know cherry haribo? Imagine that flavour mixed with coke and ice 😍 You can buy it on Amazon, and if you’re in the mood for that kind of drink, BUY IT!

22. ‘The one’ wedding dress is a thing

I HAVE MY WEDDING DRESS AND I’M UTTERLY IN LOVE WITH IT and I genuinely thought this was just a saying. Until I got mine on in the store. And OMG. It’s a wonderful feeling. I DON’T WANT TO WAIT ANOTHER 8 MONTHS TO WEAR IT THOUGH 😂👰🏻

23. It’s okay to rely on people

I’ve always been very happy with my independence, and by extension, relying on just myself. In the last 12 months I’ve realised it’s okay to share your burden with someone else – it actually helps! Even if it’s literally just talking through a problem, it’s amazing how much better you feel. I’m pretty sure that allowing myself to let down that barrier and be weak on occasion has actually helped my mental health. And I am forever grateful to my wonderful fiance for being absolutely incredible, and knowing me better than I know myself.

24. Want a cheap bouquet? Head to M&S!

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It was a couple of days ago when Ed and I had moved out of the flat that we popped down to M&S to get a nice little tea and some bubbles. At the checkout, one of the ladies who worked there (who was sorting out flowers at the end of the conveyor belt at the time) piped up; ‘Do you want some flowers?’ They were £1.60 for the bouquet down from, can you guess? £16. £16! Which is JUST ridiculous. There were a couple of other bouquets that were starting to brown, so I guess it’ll just be luck of the drawer…but now I know! Go at the end of the day right before closing! You’re welcome 😉

25. Don’t be afraid to cut people out of your life

It’s difficult to cut toxic people out of your life, particularly when you have history with them. You keep them as friends on Facebook or follow each other on Instagram: whether that’s because you haven’t got round to doing a social media cleanse, or whether they meant something to you and you’re not sure if you’re ready to end all communication with them. But life’s too short. I’ve got to an age now where if someone doesn’t add or bring anything to my life, or worse, take away from it, why keep them in it? It feels a bit harsh, but d’you know where I’m coming from? It’s only this year that I’ve found the courage to cut those people from my life. I’ve got a new chapter starting, so this is the perfect time to have a clear out.

And there we go, well done if you made it to the end, I wasn’t expecting it to be as long as that – I guess I got carried away with descriptions 🙈 I hope you enjoyed learning about my discoveries, and maybe learned a thing or two along the way! 

Until next time…

Lynette x

August Haul

So I wasn’t sure if doing a haul post was really my kinda ‘thing’, but seeing as I’m making my own rules, and have a few things I really loved this month, I figured I’d just go for it 😊

1. Bullet Journal

If you saw any of my tweets earlier in the week, you’ll know I was getting very excited about the arrival of my first bullet journal. I’d seen bloggers talk about them before and often wondered if I should get myself in on it too (up till now I’d been using the Notes app on my phone and iPad for blog planning). As I started to get more into it (and because I was working less and found some free time to sort it out), I figured I’d invest. AND I’M SO GLAD I DID! I feel so mega organised now with everything blog related, not just planning posts; Stats at a Glance, Category Tracker, a 2 page monthly calendar spread to organise posts properly…I’m getting ON THIS and loving every minute of it! Bought from Amazon for a fiver! (More on the bullet journal another time).

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2. Prism Nail Polish in ‘Soul’

I have no idea how I happened across this as I was scrolling through Etsy, but I did, and it’s one of the best finds! First off, the colour is amazing. I love Rose Gold and before now, I hadn’t found a nail varnish that delivered on good colour when it promised Rose Gold. It’s nice and thin when it goes on, but isn’t weak in colour/coverage, so it goes on smoothly and easily with no streaks, and with 2 coats I’m IN LOVE WITH THE COLOUR! It wasn’t the cheapest nail varnish I’ve bought, but when I saw the product image online, I thought I’d treat myself. And it was so worth it! I will definitely be buying from Prism Polish UK again! I think I’ll be wearing this every day for the foreseeable future, I mean…look at it! 😍

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3. Pretty Little Thing Jumper

So who else went to their wardrobe last weekend to get something warm and snuggly, and realised they’d ditched a lot of their jumpers/winter wardrobe at the end of last year 🙋 Some of the stuff I had last year had been with me since before I went away to train (over 7 years now!) and my winter wardrobe needed a new lease of life. Only problem being, I didn’t replace anything when I’d taken it all to the charity shop. So when I went into the cupboard to choose a jumper (YES, in August, but it was 11 degrees!), I had 3 choices; 2 of which were big and chunky, and designed for snowy kind of temperatures. So I headed online to see if I could get a couple more. 

You don’t have to be an expert to know, but trying to find nice jumpers in the summer holidays, isn’t the easiest task 🙄 I had no luck at any of my usual sites, so I headed to ASOS – and was pleasantly surprised! I got 2 jumpers that were reduced (one from Pretty Little Thing, one from Boohoo), and I’m obsessed with my new colour block jumper! I love a baggy sleeve so this is perfect, and it’s soooo comfy. I’m pretty sure this is going to turn into an autumn staple! Though I’ll be teaming it with jeans, not cycling shorts…

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4. Baylis & Harding Frosted Sprinkles Hand Wash

Baylis & Harding always remind me of my Nan, because I always remember their products being the ones to adorn her bathroom. I don’t always buy, but I always like to have a look and a smell when I’m in Boots. THIS ONE caught my eye (I’m sure you can understand why), and I had to give it a go! It smells absolutely yummy, and we always like to have a ‘fun’ soap in the bathroom – this is replacing the Palmolive soap with the fish in it. This’ll probably change when we move mind you, and I decide I want matching soap dispenser and toothbrush holder…but we’ll see 😂

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5. Meal Planner

I’m not going to talk about it too much, but over the summer, Ed and I have re-educated ourselves about the food that we’re putting into our bodies. I’m cooking everything from scratch, barely any processed foods have touched our lips, and we’re finding healthier alternatives to what we ate before. And to be honest, I’m loving it. I’ve felt a shift in my energy levels and feel better within myself – just because we’re better at fueling our bodies! And because of all of the extra time I’m spending with food, I felt we needed an efficient planner to help stay on top of it…because it’s easy to slip, and before you know it, you’ve had pizza one night, Chinese the next, burger the next, and you wake up the following morning in a disgusting food coma. A body in it’s mid twenties just doesn’t deal as well with that kind of food as it did in it’s teens 😂 (same as alcohol I guess, though I can’t talk from experience because I’m not a big drinker). This only arrived yesterday but I’m excited to start using it!

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6. Missy Empire Jeans

THE FIRST JEANS I’VE OWNED THAT ACTUALLY FIT ME PROPERLY! Jeans are SUCH hard things to get right, and I’ve always had the problem of if they fit by bum and thighs, they’re too big on the waist and too long in the leg (my old trusty pair of jeans that I’ve just thrown away had to be rolled up 3 times to get them to a decent length). So when THESE arrived, fit like a glove on waist, bum, thighs AND were the right length…I couldn’t believe it! Clearly Missy Empire is the place to go for jeans!

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7. Primeval Box Set

I LOVEDDDD Primeval when it came out, so I wanted it to be a permanent fixture in my life! Especially seeing as Series 1 came out so long ago (watching it, you can tell it was before ‘HD ready’ was a thing 😂). It was nowhere on Sky or Netflix, so Box Set Series 1-5 from Amazon it was! I’ve been totally binge watching it with my week off and have NO REGRETS! 🦕🦖

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8. Blush Luxury Candle

Bought from The Melting Pot Candle Company on Etsy, it not only looks nice (#ROSEGOLD!!!) but it smells divine. It came well packaged, the buyer was friendly, and also sent a message to check it had arrived okay and that I was happy with it. It’s been lovely to light on an evening, and there’s loads of gorgeous other designs that they offer, so I’d definitely shop here again!

9. L’Oreal Fine Flowers Milk

I read a blog post recently about an evening skin routine, (and I’m really sorry, I can’t remember who it was so I can’t link you! 😫 If it was you, or you know who it was, please let me know!) and it made me feel guilty about how I take my makeup off. I’ve gone through phases of using cleansers to take off my face, but when I run out, I’ve just fallen back into the habit of using wipes. Which are fine, but not at all as effective, and I know that, but…yeh 🙈 When I saw the review for this, I thought I may as well give it a bash…and thankyou because I’ve fallen in love with it! It gets SO MUCH dirt and makeup off your face you wouldn’t believe (even when I had 2 days makeup free, I used it on an evening and there was STILL muck coming off my face)! It’s soothing, smells gorgeous, and I’ve got Ed using it to take off his stage makeup! No more face wipes in our house!

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Finishing with an important one…

10. ‘Conquer from Within’ TShirt

Bought a couple of weeks ago having seen it/the brand/the idea on Instagram. I think it’s such an important message to get out there, and the fact that a clothing company has got on board to produce t-shirts like this to spread awareness is fab (10% of sales go to The Mental Health Foundation too). I adore the phrase and really think they’re words to live by. We must always be kind. #MentalHealthIsTrending. More styles are available at Heartknoxx.

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I hope you enjoyed my little August Haul, if you have any comments, please leave them below…and depending on how well the post does (and how exciting September purchases are), I’ll see you in a month!

Lynette x

The 3 Products That Cleared Up My Skin

I’ve always hated my skin.

I’ve always been prone to spots, and deep pores on my nose, even now in my mid twenties. When I was a teenager I always thought I’d become an adult, and they’d magically disappear (and was quite disappointed when that didn’t happen). But 9 months ago, I happened across the first product I’m going to talk about, that started to change my life (a drastic statement perhaps, but I’m sure anyone else who’s unhappy with their skin can relate to how much it knocks your confidence and/or is an embarrassment).

I really wish that I’d known about these products a few years ago and I’m hoping that by sharing this, I may help someone who feels the same as I used to!

Because here I am, with my skin in the best condition it’s ever been in, and genuinely happy! So I just had to share my miracle products.

No. 1 – Dermalogica Clear Start Toner

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I’d just done a dance gig, and as part of the ‘thankyou’ present, had been given a voucher for Harvey Nics. Now, you don’t have to know me well to guess I’m not a die hard Harvey Nics shopper, so I really wasn’t sure what to do with the voucher I’d been gifted. It was coming up to Christmas and I knew Ed was going to be working away from home, so thought, why not treat myself to some fancy smellies for those long nights in alone (that are a bit pricier and not things I’d ordinarily buy). So I did just that. I bought a yummy smelling shower gel and also – Dermalogica’s Clear Start Toner. And this is what’s changed my life.

Within a couple of weeks of using it, I saw a noticeable difference in the amount of spots I was getting – and it’s the same now. I’m still yet to find a superhero product to prevent or quickly get rid of those big, under the skin spots (that hurt like a mother!) that I get when I’m stressed…but on the whole, my skin has improved MASSIVELY. It’s £17 plus P&P, so is by no means the cheapest treatment out there, but after at least 10 years of hating my skin, trying all the affordable products out there and getting nowhere…I don’t really care. Because you can’t put a price on confidence.

No. 2 – Biore Charcoal Cleanser

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A new purchase that I bought from Amazon. The Clear Start toner had turned into a staple to combat breakouts, but I still hadn’t found a product to minimize my pours. At £3.50 I thought there wasn’t much to lose – and I’m so glad I did, because I’ve fallen in love! It leaves my skin so smooth and it really has helped minimize my pores, particularly on my nose – I can actually SEE a difference! And that’s the first time I’ve ever SEEN a difference when using a blackhead/pore product. It’s also got menthol as one of the ingredients, so it leaves my skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated, and a little bit tingly 😊

No. 3 – Bio Oil

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I’ve mentioned Bio Oil previously in Adult Life Hacks Part I, but I have to say it again. And, as I said then, full credit to Ed for introducing me to it! I’ve been using it on spot scars for a good year or so now, and whilst you don’t see overnight results, it really does help clear up redness. Which, along with the other products I’ve mentioned, has really improved my skin confidence.

Full disclosure, I’ve recently changed my diet a little too, and eliminated processed foods from my life…I’m pretty sure that’s been the cherry on top of the face clearing cake!

Before now, I’d never have left home without makeup on. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t put lashes, lippy and bronzer on just to pop to get some milk, but I would have never been seen dead outdoors without AT LEAST some concealer.

NOW, I can just get up and go! I do still wear makeup most of the time anyway, but feeling I have the OPTION for the first time in my life is amazing. And don’t get me wrong, my skin isn’t perfect, but when the change has been so significant, I HAD to share my experience with these products with you all!

If anyone has any questions about the products or miracle products of their own, please feel free to share below!

Lynette x