Current Music Favourites- Winter 2016

I recently signed up to Apple Music and I have no idea why I didn't before! For £4.99 a month (student price), I can access all the music I desire, for a one off listen or to download to my music library. As a big music lover, I spend so much on singles and albums that I realised I would have spent probably £20-30 this month if I'd have downloaded all that I wanted to download, which I wasn't prepared to do. Thankfully, it dawned on me to look into the Apple Music Subscription and I'm so happy I did. It's enabled me to listen to everything I want to and have yet to search for something and not be able to access it. I realise this sounds like an advertisement or a sponsorship (I wish!) but it is simply my thoughts on the subscriptions and why I highly recommend it to you, especially if you can get the student price (through UniDays).

Since purchasing Apple Music, I've been enjoying a lot of great singles and albums, so I thought it might be nice to share my favourites with you for you to possibly discover new music or to inspire you to add to your Christmas list or your list of gift ideas for someone else.
Illuminate by Shawn Mendes- I've mentioned this in a favourites already but I've enjoyed listening to Shawn's new album ever since it was released. My favourites include Hold On, Patience and Lights On but I love all of the tracks on the album as is the same with all of Shawn's music
Soldier by George Shelley- I look forward to Sunday's, knowing there will be a new track by George Shelley to listen to and watch. 360 was good but not my favourite song whereas Soldier, I've listened to a lot and really enjoy. The lyrics are beautiful and he sounds really raw (in a good way) which makes the track unique. The two singles so far have been in a different direction and style to what I expected but I enjoy them all the same.
Glory Days by Little Mix- After the release of Shoutout To My Ex, I had high expectations for the Glory Days album and it did not disappoint. Another album full of amazing tracks that makes picking a favourite very difficult however, the few I find myself craving a listen to most and absolutely adore are Power, FU and Touch (acoustic).
Unfinished Business by Nathan Sykes- Famous is such a great song to belt out and give your all so that's been my favourite track off the album to listen to. However, there are some other brilliant songs as well such as Burn Me Down and Money but I'm looking forward to giving it a proper listen next week when I'm not in uni as much.
Back From The Edge by James Arthur- James always produces some great songs with quite deep, sometimes dark and emotional lyrics, which I really enjoy listening to. On this album, I'm particularly fond of Safe Inside.
On Purpose by Sabrina Carpenter- I have Daniela Pires to thank for this one as she mentioned it in a recent video and I've listened to it so many times since. As far as I'm aware, I've never listened to Sabrina's music before but after enjoying this track, I'll no doubt be listening to more in the future.
When You Love Someone by James TW- This is such a sweet and beautiful song lyrically and vocally.
Ain't Giving Up by Craig David- I'm not a huge fan of Craig David normally but I have really enjoyed listening to this song, which reminds me a lot of nineties or noughties music and I'm not entirely sure why but I love it!
I've also really loved the following singles, all of which are great to singalong to whether they're upbeat or a much slower track...
  • So Good by Louisa Johnson
  • Rockabye by Clean Bandit
  • All Night by The Vamps and Matoma
  • Alarm by Anne-Marie
  • Truthfully by DNCE
  • Heathens by Twenty One Pilots
  • Sucker For Pain by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Ty Dolla Sign and Logic 
What music have you been enjoying recently? I'm always interested in discovering new music. I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did and want to read more, you can follow my social media links in the top right-hand corner to see when I next upload. Thanks for reading this post.

Love, Steph x
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Thank You

I wanted to dedicate today's post to saying thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, as a new reader or as a returning one. I thoroughly enjoy blogging and always try to make time for it whenever I can, despite demanding uni work or commitments elsewhere. I hit 30,000 reads yesterday, which may not seem that many to everyone but for me, it blows my mind and makes me incredibly happy. The past month or so, my readership seems to have boomed and I'm getting double, triple the views I was getting previously and I'm not entirely sure why but thank you, because it puts a huge smile on my face!

I also just want to give a forewarning and apology in advance as I've had a busy couple of weeks at university and have a very busy week next week. As I'm also away this weekend, I won't have much chance to write new content for next week. If I do find time, I'll make sure I get an upload sorted but the weekend is an important family one and therefore, I don't want to be worrying about getting posts done. However, at the end of next week, it will officially be December and so you can probably expect plenty of festive content on here and/or my YouTube channel from then! My flat and I put up our Christmas decorations today, so I am in full festival mood now... it looks so cute!

I have also decided to change my YouTube upload day to a Thursday so that it differs from my blog upload days which are Wednesday and Saturday, so from this week onwards (until further notice), my upload day will be a Thursday.

Sorry this post was such a short one, I mainly wanted to take the time to thank you as it makes me so happy knowing people take the time to read my content and therefore, hopefully, enjoy it! Thank you.

Love, Steph x
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Cheese and Tomato Galette: Student Friendly Recipes

I am back with another recipe as part of my 'Student Friendly Recipe' series, all of which are vegetarian but can be adapted to meet the requirements or wishes of the reader.

This is a recipe that I absolutely love, it looks a lot more impressive and difficult to make than it is and doesn't take a particularly long time. I had something similar in a hotel towards the end of Summer and wanted to recreate it myself with a few changes to makes it more appealing to my taste buds. Like my other recipes, you can take this as a base and can swap, remove or add ingredients as you please.

Ingredients
Puff Pastry (ready rolled is the easiest but whatever you like)
Mushrooms
Salt
Pepper
Mozerella (or a cheese of your choice)
Cherry Tomatoes
Rocket
Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions
1. Cut a circle of your chosen size out of your puff pastry (I used a circular container to get the shape and size). You may need to roll it out first if you just buy a block or if you make your own, but if you make your own, I'm not sure why you need to be reading this recipe as you're clearly way more advanced in the kitchen than I am.
2. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately ten minutes, 220 degrees celsius/ gas mark 7.
3. Whilst the pastry is cooking, slice your tomatoes, cheese and mushrooms.
4. Cook the mushrooms with salt and pepper seasoning either by placing in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes or by grilling or frying on the hob.
5. Remove the pastry from the oven and place the cheese and mushroom in the centre of the pastry.
6. Put the pastry back into the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden.
7. Remove the galette from the oven and serve on a plate with the sliced tomatoes on top (or you could cook these with the cheese if you would prefer cooked tomatoes), a serving of rocket and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top.

I really love this recipe and would like to do things like this more in the future whereby I try something different at a restaurant and if I like it, have a go at creating my own version. Let me know if you've ever made anything similar or recreated a meal you've had in a restaurant and how it went. If you enjoyed this post and want to see more from me in the future, 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
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A Perfect Night In

As we all know, I'm not one for clubbing or partying so I love to spend an evening in watching a movie, reading a book or just having a bit of me time. That's why when I saw Leesa's new project, I was inspired to create a blog post on this topic.  As someone who prefers a night in, I feel as though my tips could come in handy.

1. Ensure you have a selection of snacks to enjoy. Whilst I'm sure we'd all love to be surrounded by various chocolate delights, it's probably wise to have a range of healthy, or at least not unhealthy, snacks to hand. I find the urge to snack to be particularly strong whilst I'm watching a film or tv show so I like to have a number of delicious but healthy(er) snacks available. Some of my personal favourites include popcorn; you can experiment with flavours or stick to the ones available in the shops, fruit (frozen or otherwise), nuts or plain yoghurt. Of course, if you want to treat yourself to some other, less healthy snacks, that's totally fine.
2. Fairylights are a must for any successful cosy night in. There's just something warming about twinkling lights strung across the wall. They make any room seem more inviting. Candles also achieve the same effect as well as emitting a heavenly scent to add to the overall pleasantness of the evening.

3. You need to have some comfortable pyjamas or loungewear to spend the evening chilling in. Christmas patterned are a great choice at this time of year; they get you into the festive spirit and make you feel all warm and cosy.

4. A face mask (homemade or shop bought) is a brilliant way to get yourself into the relaxed mood ready for a chilled night in. You can pamper yourself, treat your skin and feel as though you're spending some much needed time, looking after yourself.

5. After washing off your face mask, it's always nice to kick start the evening in with a bubble bath. Using your favourite bath products, put you in a great mood and ready to make the most of the evening. With so many different bath products available, you're bound to find something you'll like.

6. No night in is complete without a good movie or tv show. Whether it's a new season of How To Get Away With Murder or a good old rom-com, they're great for making an evening enjoyable! Personally, it depends on my mood as to what sort of film or tv show I fancy watching.
7. Alternatively (or additionally), you can curl up in bed with a good book and escape into a new world. It's such a nice way to spend the evening! I recently finished The Girl On The Train which I recommend (if you haven't had enough recommendations for it) and I'm currently reading After The Crash by Michel Bussi, which I really like so far but I'll update you once I've finished as I'm still quite early on in the book.

8. Don't forget a nice, soft blanket to snuggle down under if you're on the sofa or you can keep cosy and warm in bed, whichever takes your fancy!

However, a perfect night in doesn't have to be alone, you can invite some friends over, get yourself some matching pyjamas and enjoy a night in together. Depending on the tone of the evening, you could make yourself and your guests some warming winter beverages or maybe have yourselves a cocktail evening, experimenting with recipes... that's always fun and you could end up with an incredible new recipe to keep going back to. If you are spending the evening with others, it might be a nice idea to bring out a game- it always gets people laughing and makes an evening fun and friendly.

There are plenty of other ways you can spend a night in and it all depends on your mood and what you feel in need of, but those are some of my favourite things to do. If you want to read more about Leesa's mattresses, you can find The Sweet Home's review here. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, if you did and you want to see more posts from me, 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
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Boutique Of Molly Review: 'Renee'

I did it again, I made another purchase at Boutique Of Molly. Only this time, I opted for a top. Before I get into it, I just want to apologise for the photo background/overall quality- things weren't on my side and I had limited time to get them done due to university and being away for that and then the time I did have today, was dark and rainy so I had to attempt to take them inside with my photography lights.

I really loved the look of the 'Renee' top (£26.95) when I saw it on the site and when it came, it wasn't exactly as I'd imagined it to look but I loved it all the same. In my opinion, it looks more gold on the website than it looks in real life, as it is actually slightly darker with hints of khaki, but it is as shimmery and pretty as the photos online suggest.

I adore the peplum style which makes it quite a flattering shape without the ruffles or pleats that are typically associated with a peplum top. Furthermore, the loose fit makes it ideal for evenings out, particularly if you're going for a meal as it leaves room for expansion!

The open back was slightly more open than I had first anticipated and it did slightly show my bra strap but it was nothing too out there and simply added to the pretty, unique style of the back of the top. I also think the height at which the openness begins, depends on the size of the top and your body shape as I'm quite broad so it probably starts higher up on me than someone a bit smaller.

The fabric has a nice shine to it, which goes really nicely with the sparkly material, whilst preventing it from becoming irritating through itchiness. It also makes it an ideal top to have for the Christmas season as it's so easy to wear but looks amazing nonetheless.
I love the high neck and how it contrasts with the sleeveless design, to give it an Autumnal or Wintery feel whilst keeping you nice and cool when inside at an event or wherever you may be. I am not a long sleeve person a lot of the time so this was perfect for me.

I was surprised by its ability to be worn with leggings without revealing too much (my jeans were in the wash and the rest of my stuff was at uni so I was very thankful about this). It comes down low enough at the front to cover that side of things but also covers enough of the back, despite the open design, to cover everything you need it to there as well, whilst still looking lovely.

I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of wear out of this top. If you like the look and sound of it, you can find it here. Boutique Of Molly have plenty of other pieces that will be great for the party season so if you're in need of a new outfit, I recommend having a browse on their website. Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it. If you did and 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.

Love, Steph x

P.S. Just to let you know, I also uploaded an extra YouTube video yesterday- a collab with Cally so you can watch that here if you fancy it. I really enjoyed filming, editing and watching it back so hopefully, you like the outcome.

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Shocked and Disgusted: American Election 2016

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I had a post planned to go up today but after recent shocking and unfathomable events, it seemed more topical and needed for me to put my anger and hurt into words as best as I can.

For anyone who hasn't heard- not sure how- America just elected Donald Trump to be their next president. To put this into other words, a thieving, conning businessman was just elected to run America, after saying offensive things to the majority of the population and making claims of plans to isolate and remove a lot of citizens from the country. Good job!

I'd actually like to change that sentence as I don't believe America elected Trump, SOME Americans elected Trump and unfortunately that SOME were too large in number and too successful. Yes a democracy represents what the people want in theory and people are never all going to agree but I don't believe it represents everyone, which is why I acknowledge that only SOME Americans are at fault.

I realise America had two pretty crap choices for Presidency this year and a lot of people supported neither and simply went for what they saw as the lesser of two evils. Be that the case, I struggle to see how anybody could be worse than a man wanting to build a wall to separate Mexico and make the Mexicans pay for it; a man who made comments about sexual assault and had numerous claims made against him, which he claimed were all lies (yes, everybody made it up!) and that some were too ugly to sexually assault; a man who insulted prisoners of war, belittling them and removing their hero title because they were captured; a man who wants to ban all Muslims; a man who more than likely, hasn't paid tax and; a man who isolated and offended a large number of other groups of people!

For me, this is a mirror image of what happened in Germany when Hitler was elected... there are so many similarities between the two men that I can't help but fear for the future of America and the future of the world as a whole. I did an article on this a few days ago, so if you want to read more into that, you can do so here.

As an American citizen right now, I would feel deeply saddened and scared about my future and the future of the country. I wouldn't know which claims to believe and therefore which to worry about happening. There are so many individuals and groups targetted by Trump that it's hard not to be scared about their future as an American citizen and as an individual who realises the huge support the atrocious beliefs many seem to share. If one man saying offensive and damaging things can rise to power with support behind him, it gives racism, sexism, homophobia etc the false belief that these things are acceptable to say and act on, which they aren't! It can't help but cause a cultural divide which is the opposite of what we need in today's society.
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Trump claiming that all Muslims are bad and should be banned from the country will do nothing to help the situation. It simply divides the country and causes the religious group to feel and be victimised. In a situation such as the one fighting so-called 'ISIS', everybody needs to stay united. By blaming the whole religion for one group of extremists, it only causes more problems and more divide. In doing so, it makes it easier to understand why people might turn to another source for a sense of community and unity, whether or not it's achieved when they get there. Encouraging people to blame a whole group can do nothing to help and can only increase their susceptibility of radicalisation. I don't mean that to say I believe all Muslims are susceptible to radicalisation, I believe isolating a group of people will encourage some individuals to turn to alternative sources for validation and that's the same in any religion or culture, I am merely relating it to this particular extremist group as that's the area Trump focused on when making the preposterous statements.

I realise that the president doesn't have all the power to make and enforce decisions but he has a lot and a dangerous man such as himself, should not have access to so much power in my opinion.

The idea that Trump had enough support to get into power genuinely brought me to tears this morning. I could do nothing but sit there in bewilderment and anger as the tears rolled down my cheeks. So although there is so much more I could pick up on, I will stop here and leave you with one last message...

I am sorry for anyone feeling alone, offended or victimised by the decision. I hope enough people realise the problems and stupidity in his claims (although he did get voted in so I don't have a great deal of faith in that anymore). I hope you realise your value and don't start doubting the equality that SHOULD exist among all races, genders, sexualities, jobs etc. I'll be thinking of you.

Love, Steph x
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October Favourites 2016

How did October fly by so quickly? I now have another year to wait for my favourite month to come back around! A lot changed throughout the month and although things didn't always go to plan, some great moments were had and some great new things were discovered!

Fashion & Beauty

L'Oreal Infallible Contour Kit and Primark Face Blending Brush- I have been loving using this product a lot throughout October. When I first purchased it, I couldn't understand how to get it to blend nicely and why it would just disappear or look like a streak of mud on my face however, using it with the face blending brush from Primark, it has worked wonders. It's a nice formula to apply with the brush and blends into the areas I want it to so that it doesn't look too harsh or nonexistent.
Primark Coats- I have two coats from Primark that I have lived in the past month: my camel parka and my light pink crombie coat. I feel as though the parka makes an ideal, everyday autumn/winter coat for its warmth, comfort and style. Although the crombie coat does all of these things as well, it's not as easy to wear with everything however, it does look lovely on. I wasn't entirely sure at first but I have fallen in love with it and despite feeling like a Chanel (you can decide if that's a good or bad thing) when I wear it, I love the way it completes an outfit and looks pretty and sophisticated.
The Body Shop Sakura Shower Gel- Since moving into my uni flat, I have used this shower gel twice a day, every day! My parents bought it for me with a collection of items when I moved and it smells so darn good that I can't resist using it all the time! The scent reminds me of Watermelon Jolly Ranchers, which I love the smell and taste of, so it's probably no surprise that I love the shower gel too.

Entertainment

Louise Live- I uploaded a whole blog post dedicated to the Louise Live DVD and more specifically, what I love about it. So rather than repeating myself, you can have a read of the full post here.
The Big Bang Theory- With new episodes every week at the moment, of course, this show had to appear in my favourites. I enjoy watching both old and new episodes but there's something great about having completely new episodes of a TV show to watch and so far, this series is making me laugh a lot, possibly even more than previous ones.
The Gabbie Show 'Cringiest Tinder F*ckboy'- Gabbie tells some brilliant stories in very comedic ways and her video roasting the 'cringiest tinder f*ckboy' is a great one... she explains it all in a humorous way but actually, the way she dealt with the situation and the things highlighted in the video are both important and amazing. After uploading this video, the story clearly didn't end and she recently uploaded a new video, interviewing said guy. I love the way she keeps herself together and well presented but takes no rubbish and is blunt with her questions. I did feel bad for him before remembering what he said (and not as a one off) and as I realised he never actually apologised and simply contradicted himself and made excuses. On top of this, she uploaded a vlog of the day she met him to her second channel, which was also an interesting and entertaining watch and summed up the story nicely. I really recommend watching all three of these videos to see the full story as it's both interesting and entertaining. Plus, Gabbie always cracks me up.
Hunted- You may remember, me featuring this programme in my favourites last year as I find it really entertaining and interesting to see how people react to being hunted and how hunters actually hunt the people down. I get really involved in the show and find it really tense towards the end of the series when there are only a few people left and the hunters do everything they can to catch them. I absolutely adored the last episode of season two as it was tense and exciting in the best ways possible. If you've never seen it, I really recommend giving it a watch on 4od.
Mrs. Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children- This film is an unusual one; it appears to be for a young audience but it's got a rating of 12 and has humour and eeriness for a slightly older one. I personally enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and although areas of it were a bit confusing, it was a lovely film to watch and I really liked the concept of the story.
Shout Out To My Ex- You're probably all familiar with this incredible tune from Little Mix. They absolutely smashed their performance of it on X Factor and both the track and the music video are extremely addictive and entertaining. I can't help but sing and dance along when I hear it.
Week With Runa- I had my friend Runa come and stay with me for a week, splitting time between home and uni. It was lovely to see her again after so long and I had a lot of fun spending time with her even if we couldn't do a great deal due to uni commitments.

So that concludes my October Favourites, I hope you've enjoyed reading this post. If you did and 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. Let me know what you've been loving this month in the comments below. Thanks for reading this post.

Love, Steph x
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Louise Live DVD Review

I recently purchased Louise Live and although my expectations were high, the DVD soared past them, leaving me no choice but to rave about the show in a blog post.

I really wanted to go and see Louise Live but unfortunately, I was abroad when the tickets went on sale and was unable to connect to the ticket site, meaning luck wasn't on my side and I couldn't get tickets as they had gone by the time I got home and could try again (the same thing happened with Dan and Phil except I had no wifi at all so couldn't even try urghhhh)! Therefore, you can probably imagine how happy I was to hear that Louise was going to film her London show for a DVD.

They say laughter is the best medicine, and I'd happily take a dose of Louise Live every time I'm run down or unwell. Curled up in bed, having an early night after a few days of illness, the DVD was a nice little treat to enjoy. It had me in fits of laughter 80% of the time and in tears the other 20%, as she presented her section on Body Confidence. The section highlights to everyone how common feelings of low self-confidence or even disgust in one's appearance actually are, which is both reassuring and heartbreaking. It really puts things into perspective when you see a room full of beautiful people, all raising their hand as a sign that they hate something or somethings about their body and have at some point in the past year, looked in a mirror and thought they looked disgusting. It saddens me hugely to see just how many people feel crap about themselves and have something as insignificant as the appearance of their stomach or the size of their legs, play such a key role in their happiness and how they view themselves. As I write this, I realise that I have used the third person a lot but the reality is, I too share the same thoughts as I'm sure many of you reading this do too and that fact sucks even more. I try as hard as I can to be an advocate for body confidence and self-love but realistically, I'm no better at it than the majority of people, even though I know it isn't worth it. As Louise shows in the DVD, we're so cruel to ourselves but would never say or even think the same things about another person in the street. The way that she handles and discusses the topic is amazing and something that I think everyone needs to watch so if you only get the DVD for this section, it's worth the money! (Although the rest is equally as amazing in other ways).

Moving on from the ramble about body confidence, (which I could discuss in a lot more detail but I'll save that for another time) the rest of the DVD is full of hilarious anecdotes and jokes. I love Louise's sense of humour and find the way she tells her stories to be brilliant. I also love her quick wit when talking to members of the audience, which just adds extra humour and entertainment to the show. Personally, I adore the whole show but my favourite moments are the bin wars, her reaction to the Noah's Ark comment and the RelationTips section, although many other moments made me laugh a heck of a lot too! I'm sure it will be a DVD I come back to time and time again. I am also determined to get tickets to any future shows she may do, if she does anymore (please do some more Louise!), although maybe a few rows back to try and avoid audience participation.
Overall, I think the DVD is brilliant and hilarious for anyone, whether you're an avid watcher of Louise's videos or you've never come across her before. Although, I think it suits an older audience a bit better, so if she were to do another one in the future, I think she could explore it further by putting a higher age restriction on it. If you're interested in purchasing the DVD,  you can do so here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, 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. I also uploaded a 'What I Got For My Birthday' video today, so you can find that video here if you're interested. Sorry that I missed uploads last week, I had a busy week with university and when I wasn't at uni, I wanted to make the most of the time I had with Runa, who I get to see once or twice a year at most.

Thank you for reading this post. Let me know what you thought of Louise Live if you've seen it either live or on DVD like myself.

Love, Steph x
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