Comfort Zones

Comfort zones can be perfectly good places to stay, to feel comfortable, to enjoy yourself without too many worries and to know your own limitations. However, every now and again, it's great to push out of those zones and enjoy whatever is thrown at you either as a one time thing or to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. As this post goes live, I'm doing something so far out of my comfort zone, I can hardly see the line.

I am currently interrailing around Europe (travelling by train), exploring so many new places and trying a load of activities I wouldn't normally be doing. However, as I'm writing this, the nerves are rivalling the feeling of excitement. The not knowing what's around the corner, the train journeys that I'm not familiar with, the living out of a backpack... it all builds up in my head, intensifying the worries. Although, the chance to see so many places, the potential to meet people doing a similar thing, the thrills from the activities we've got planned and the memories we'll have will make it all worth it (I hope), not to mention the fact it will no doubt help me grow as a person.
That's the funny thing about comfort zones, a lot of the time, the things we long to do, the bucket list tasks, they're all a stretch out of our comfort zones and yet we manage to give it a go and often have an amazing experience as a result. Having that courage to push yourself however big or small is amazing and one that only you can truly recognise is as big a step as it is. To those around you, it can look like a breeze, like you're not afraid and will just crack on and do it... or it can seem like an incredible feat that takes a specific person to achieve. Either way, there's nothing quite like the feeling you have within yourself when you look back on what you've done, as you cross it off the list and hold that memory close to you. It's exciting... it makes it all worthwhile.
So if you have something you've been wanting to do but keep putting off or are hesitant to try, this is your reminder that it will be worth it... why not get planning it today?

I'd love to know something you've done that's out of your comfort zone and/or something you've really wanted to do, let me know in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did and want to see more, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner to see when I next upload. Thank you for reading this post.

Love, Steph x

P.S. If you want to know what I'm taking on my travels, you can check out my latest YouTube video here.

Dybrow Kit by Eylure

I introduce to you, my new holy grail product, the ultimate eyebrow friend...the Dybrow kit by Eylure.

If like me, you know the struggles of light coloured hair, barely-there eyebrows and the difficulty of finding a well-matched eyebrow product, I may just have the solution for you. After appreciating the results of eyebrow tinting done professionally, I thought I'd found my answer however, despite making it clear I wanted a light brown colour, it was slightly too dark for my taste and for my hair initially. Therefore, I was keen to try this product out to see if it would achieve better results and save me money.

Using a product like this was very intimidating and scary in case something went wrong and I was stuck with black eyebrows for a few weeks but fortunately, the instructions are very easy to follow. Once you've mixed the appropriate amount of colouring, you use a cream/vaseline to cover the skin around your eyebrows to avoid dying elsewhere and then use the spoole to brush the dye onto your hairs.
The instructions clearly state not to leave the product on for more than 5 minutes and recommend 2-3 minutes on each eyebrow so it's important to stick to this on first use. However, I found it needed a fair while longer to get to the colour I wanted and so I tend to leave it on for 10-15 minutes. This is worth bearing in mind if it doesn't turn out as you hope initially but if you have sensitive skin or any other mild reaction to dyes first of all, maybe it's not the product for you and second of all, if you do wish to use it, it may be best to follow the time restrictions and as it mentions in the instructions, you can repeat the process for a darker look.

The product can last up to 6 weeks however, I find it best to do monthly although, this will vary from person to person. I love that when I use this kit, I can use it instead of filling my brows in or only have to use a very minimal amount of brow product within my makeup look.
For someone who has always had barely-there eyebrows, this product has had such a positive result, favourable to tinting elsewhere and a much cheaper option. So of course, I have to recommend it.

Have you tried this kit if so, what did you think? I hope this review was both helpful and enjoyable. If you did enjoy this post and want to see more, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner to see when I next upload. Thank you for reading this post.

Love, Steph x

5 Netflix Shows You Need To Watch

With Summer holidays well under way, it's the perfect time to binge watch some of those series you've been hearing all about but haven't had the time to start. There are so many shows I have saved in 'my list' ready to watch as soon as time allows but there have also been a few I've watched recently or am currently watching that you could be missing out on!
Reign- I am not one for period dramas normally and never expected to enjoy this TV show but after great reviews and recommendations, I had to give it a try. It hooked me very early on and I'd spend the day thinking about watching the show in the evening! There are so many great characters and storylines to get invested in that you can't help but want to watch more and more. It definitely has a major focus on history and emphasises the period drama style but for anyone like myself, it's still worth watching for the general plots and drama involved that massively distracts from the genre and makes me want to watch many more of its sort. There are so many lovable and love-to-hate characters that it's difficult not to get hooked.

Jane The Virgin- With season three now available on Netflix, it's the perfect time to binge watch the show. Like nothing else, the dramedy is engaging, exciting and lovable despite the features that would normally make you cringe! The narrator certainly helps to make the show stand out, adding humour in the best moments. It's a show that doesn't require your full attention to grasp what's going on, despite all the twists and turns in the storyline, as the narrator and method of storytelling helps to ease this.
How To Get Away With Murder- If you love a good mystery/drama/crime thriller, this is a great show for you. It was difficult for me to stop watching and had me very grateful for the automatically play next episode feature that allowed me to hardly move throughout it all! I love the way it tells the story, revealing a little more each episode, feeding it in throughout the plot and rewinding or fast forwarding to provide the details of the story. It does take a bit more concentration to fully get what's going on but it's worth the invested time. I love shows that surprise and shock me and this is one of those!

Chasing Cameron- A very different genre, this show follows Cameron Dallas on his tour and general life. I've watched his YouTube videos before but never been a huge fan however, this show changed my perception of him a lot, making my respect for him increase massively. It shows the less glamorous aspects of his fame and the situations he has to deal with with the responsibility he has. I had never considered how much of a role he played in Magcon and I feel like this show really opens yourself up to that and shows how much can be hidden or unexpected. This is definitely a good show for lighthearted watching and can be watched as a background show or one having your full attention.
American Horror Story- If you love a good horror, you're probably very familiar with this show but I had to put it in this post anyway as it's such a good watch. Each series follows a new storyline, setting and group of characters, so you don't have to watch every series in order (although I couldn't bring myself to do that)! I don't know anyone who agrees on their favourite series, which suggests to me that there's something for everyone! Some series are scarier than others, although this probably depends on your personal fears anyway which, is just something to bear in mind if you don't think one is very scary. I love the way each series is done and the creativity gone into it, particularly into the introductory sequence.

I'm sure there are plenty more binge-worthy TV shows, so if you want to see a part two, let me know or if you've got any recommendations, I'd love to hear them. I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did you can follow my social media links in the top right hand corner to see when I next upload. Thanks for reading.

Love, Steph x

Holiday Reads ft. Wilde Like Me

After making a big deal about coming back to blogging, you’d think it’d have lasted longer than two posts, and at the time I had every intention of it doing so. However, I’ve been away the last couple of weeks and after being reassured by the mention of wifi, looked forward to creating and uploading whilst on holiday, what I didn’t take into account was the rubbish quality that would barely let me open a web page let alone save and publish a post. 

Nevertheless, it did give me time to enjoy the surroundings, enjoy relaxing in the sun, swimming and not doing too much with my day. It also enabled me to rekindle my love of reading and power through more books than I thought possible in 2 weeks (my average is probably about 3/4 but I managed a grand total of 7- what!?!). I’m always a huge book lover but life sometimes gets in the way and I only manage reading a chapter before falling asleep, or can’t motivate myself to start knowing the lack of free time I have available. So, arguably one of my favourite things about holidays, is being able to sit on a sun lounger intermittently reading and swimming!

With this in mind, there are a few books I recommend, both for those venturing off on holiday (lucky you), and for those back home in need of a new book.

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Any regular readers may be familiar with my love of Louise, as a blogger, a YouTuber, a comedic character and now even more so, an author. Having loved ‘Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter’ and the love poured into that book, I was looking forward to giving her new novel a read. Despite Louise’s rebrand which enables her to cover more adult topics, part of me expected the novel to fit more into the former image, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it filled with more serious, real and mature subjects.

Following the struggles and highs of single mum, Robin Wilde, it’s hard not to love the characters and even harder not to relate on some level… despite the significant differences between myself and the main character! Whilst Robin got on my nerves at times, I soon fell back in love with her as I understood her intentions, her insecurities and where they came from… relating them to my own.

One scene, in particular, angered me, inwardly yelling at Robin to walk away, to shout back and to ignore the comments but putting myself in that position, I can’t imagine I’d do anything different and I would certainly have had a similar reaction afterwards, like it or not. Although this point seems like the ultimate low for Robin, her journey out of it and realisations afterwards, help readers see their own way out and motivate themselves to follow suit.

Not only is the book great for highlighting and challenging issues with mental well-being, (although this isn’t explicitly stated in the book… merely my own interpretation, which I think makes it all the better!), it has elements of humour fed in throughout and had me laughing out loud at frequent intervals, which is a difficult skill to achieve through writing.

All in all, it’s a wonderful, real, funny and relatable story, beautifully written with a great selection of characters. I would love to read more about Robin Wilde and where life takes her next!

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

What I would describe as a true holiday book, it's an easy read that can't help but grip you. The main character did get on my nerves quite a lot (this seems to be a common theme in books!) but I loved the story as a whole and the humour fed in throughout. It's a true romcom novel, with a fun story line. Although the ending is fairly predictable (would it be a rom com if it wasn't), it's enjoyable nonetheless and is still a good read.

Don't Tell The Groom by Anna Bell

Another book with a somewhat frustrating main character but I found the story really intriguing and exciting to see how it all pans out. I love the discoveries the main character makes throughout the book and the fact things do start to come together. The hiccup in the relationship is exactly the sort of thing I imagined in a book like this but it didn't stop me enjoying it and was still great to read, especially as a holiday book.

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

I'm so glad I ended up waiting to read this book, as Majorca was the perfect place to enjoy it. The story had me hooked from the go and was a great story in terms of characters and the general plot, which wasn't as predictable as I expected it to be, and once again Kinsella fed humour in nicely. I love the successes of the main character and the way she handles the situations, which made me laugh a great deal. I think the concept of 'not so perfect', particularly in regards to Instagram feeds, is an interesting and somewhat important topic to include in the book and simply made me love it even more.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Not your typical Kinsella book and certainly wasn't the direction I expected the book to take. Whilst the characters in this book wound me up A LOT, I liked the way they were brought to life and how real Sadie felt given the circumstances. I loved the balance between fun and humour and the more serious, emotional subjects. To make me laugh and cry within a short space of time is a true skill and for that reason, I think this book would appeal to a number of people.

So that concludes my recommendations, if you have read or read any of these, let me know your thoughts. If you have any recommendations for me, leave them in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did and you want to see more from me, you can follow my social media in the top right-hand corner to see when I next upload. Thank you for reading this post.

Love, Steph x

'Summer Body' Dread

Isn't it a shame that simple words such as 'summer body', 'bikini body' or even 'heatwave' can cause such dread and anxiety for so many people! A wave of fear and nerves coming over you, forcing you to decide what's better; getting your legs out or melting in the 28 degree heat! Then, once deciding to brave the shorts, you spend the day worrying about what people are thinking; worrying about the size of your thighs or about the marks down your legs. The reality is, none of it actually matters and most people wouldn't think twice about your outfit- in fact, they're more likely to think positively than negatively. Unfortunately, that feeling still doesn't go away! Within a few seconds of seeing a stranger, we forget what they look like anyway so really that should comfort us and make life easier?!

It's so easy to look at the people around you and appreciate their beauty, believing they're either confident in their skin or should be... chances are, they aren't as confident as they come across or have had a struggle to reach that point if they are. We all look at others and admire their beauty so why can't we do it to ourselves!
A day can feel so much better when you walk out, confident in your outfit, but that doesn't mean it's the only time you look awesome! Sometimes the only thing you can do is say 'screw it' and walk out that door with the reassuring thought that you look flippin' incredible, even if you don't believe it at the time! Tell yourself it often enough and you might just start to believe it! Yes, some days will always be harder than others but overall, it might just do you the world of good.

If you see someone else in an outfit that you think looks great... tell them! It might not seem like much at the time but if they're having a crappy day in terms of confidence, it could make all the difference.

One key moment sticks in my mind when I think about this topic... 
Last year, I uploaded a post about a couple of dresses from Boutique Of Molly, one of which, was this red one. That day, I was not feeling confident in any way shape or form and hated taking the pictures feeling that way. I didn't like the pictures that were taken at all but didn't want my own thoughts to stop me from uploading the blog post. After uploading the pictures to my blog and my instagram, I received a number of positive comments, which was probably exactly what I needed. Not only did I ignore the negative inner voice but I also got a great reaction in return. It was such a simple thing for people to do but made such a big difference to my thoughts and feelings about the outfit. And now look... I've used the pictures in another post- take that, insecurities!

It's great not to have to rely on other people's comments to make you feel confident or somewhat confident but it certainly helps whilst you're working towards that point as well as giving a boost even if you don't need it as such.

What are your thoughts on body confidence and 'summer bodies', let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more from me, you can follow my social media in the top right-corner. Thanks for reading.

Love, Steph x

Life Update: Finishing First Year

I'm back... 

I know I've not been anywhere near as consistent since starting university and have stopped altogether the past month but things have been a little busy and a lot stressful. With a new project to work on each week, it's not left a great deal of time for other things. Plus, everything else also seems to have happened in May adding to the busyness. However, first year has now officially finished and I'm back to having days to myself, to get back into blogging and writing generally.
One lesson I can definitely say I've learnt this term and the past month has been my stress indicators and hopefully decent ways to deal with said stress, although that hasn't always run smoothly! I've also learnt that I'm not one to step back in order to try and avoid the stress and just half-ass the project. I always think 'if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well' and so even in a group setting, I'm reluctant to take a back seat as I want to ensure something is as high a standard as it can be. As annoying as this can be for others, although I do try to avoid that where possible, it's more annoying for me! I suppose it works out in the end as it tends to pay off most of the time but it's not without struggle.
Another key thing I've discovered, or rather... been reassured about, is my enjoyment and love for creative projects and in particular, magazines. As time-consuming and difficult as it was to create a zine and a magazine in a week without having prior knowledge of the software was one of my favourite parts. I was able to learn as I went along, attempting to create what I had in my head through trial and error and I'm actually pretty happy with the outcome, although it has plenty of room for improvement. It was great to see the pages come to life after hours of work and to write in the specific style for a younger audience that I would love to do again and again, possibly as a career?!

It's definitely been a month of learning a lot and attempting to be as creative as possible but it's also been a fun month. I spent a weekend away for my cousins birthday and had an amazing time with some lovely people, which was a great way to unwind!

As for now, I'm a little sad that first year is over and it'll be odd not seeing people from uni over Summer but I'm excited to be off and to get on with my Summer plans as it'll hopefully be a very exciting one!
I hope you've had a good month and are looking forward to the Summer, whenever that begins for you. Let me know what plans you have! I hope you enjoyed this post and are looking forward to more regular posting again. Thanks for reading this post, if you enjoyed it and want to see more, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner.

Love, Steph x

P.S. If you want to hear about my first year of university, you can watch my video on that below...

Boutique of Molly Review: 'Florence'

What a regular occurrence this has become... anyone would think I loved the brand! ;) I had been eyeing up this gorgeous little bag from Boutique of Molly ever since it was released but held off buying any more accessories as long as I could. However, by the time payday rolled around, I couldn't help but treat myself!

Florence £30 

The colour alone is right up my street and goes with 90% of the things I own... is it obvious I like pink? I adore the way the pale pink compliments the gold chain and detailing, making a beautiful combination.
The envelope style is nothing like any bag I previously owned and makes a gorgeous clutch style accessory. Although it's worth nothing, it does also come with a removable adjustable shoulder/cross body strap if you prefer that, making for versatile use.
As much as I'd love to wear it daily, it's shape and style does limit what I could carry and therefore, isn't ideal for everyday use unless I want the shapes of items to stick out, but for an evening where I need to carry a lot less, it's perfect! With 3 main pockets and the potential for more, as well as 2 smaller slip pockets attached, it's got plenty of opportunities to carry the stuff you need, all in neat, separate compartments... because that's what my bag is always like- not! (As much as I start with the intention of keeping a neat, organised bag, it just never lasts long! If anyone does have this skill nailed, please tell me your secret!)
The faux leather exterior and the suede looking material compliment each other nicely and make the bag stand out even more!
It's no wonder this bag is a bestseller but fortunately, it is currently back in stock, so make sure you get your hands on it soon if you want it! You can use the code 'STEPH20' to get 20% off on this bag or anything else you might fancy on the website. Let me know what you decide to purchase if you do order anything!

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it. If you did and you want to see more from me, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner to see when I next upload and subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch my chat about a variety of topics... at 6pm tonight, I have my second university update (and this one's maybe a little too honest?!).

Love, Steph x
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