Mental Health Awareness Day: Being More Open

Mental Health Awareness Day is such an important day, giving people the opportunity to see the support around them and helping towards its de-stigmatisation but these things should not end because the clock strikes midnight. We need to keep helping people struggling, we need work on identifying when someone needs help, we need better health care for mental health, we need to teach school children how to deal with it, learn how to spot the signs and generally raise awareness.

Last week was the first time I saw an advert about mental health and the importance of knowing you aren't alone as well as supporting the idea of looking out for symptoms from those around you. One thing I loved about it even more than it's amazing message was the situation it featured; male footballers. Mental health is such a difficult topic to discuss generally, and often can be even more difficult for men to discuss due to the irrational theory that men have to be strong all the time and to be strong they can't talk about their feelings or mental wellbeing. By having an advert showing the struggle of a male footballer and the help his teammates provide, it helps break down these stereotypes that make discussion difficult.

With mental illness impacting 1 in 4 people every year, it's a horrible thought knowing so many can't or won't feel able to discuss it with those around them or with doctors who can provide the medical support. The fact that physical illnesses are dealt with so much better than mental illnesses, as well as being taken more seriously, creates a massive problem for those that do reach out for support. Finding the right person can be a challenge but it's worth it when you don't find the right person to help you.
The media doesn't help either, constantly describing (white) criminals (also a whole other issue) as 'mentally ill' or 'unstable' creates an image that people with a mental illness are dangerous which, isn't the case... of course some can be and providing support is essential but some people are just guilty of a crime without any relevance to their mental health. If that wasn't the case, we'd have a serious problem given the large number of people affected by mental health!

I must admit, I am a bit of a hypocrite... I think it's so important to talk about mental health and to be honest with those around you, to get the support you need. I try and talk about mental health on my blog or in videos but I don't talk about it a great deal in real life. From an objective point of view, I suppose I do, I often highlight the importance of mental health and its de-stigmatisation but on a personal level, I clam up.

I find it challenging to be open and honest when I'm not feeling so great. I refuse to tell people I'm struggling but I want them to identify it- I know that's ridiculous because I also want to come across as 'put together' and 'in control' so I don't let these things show. I know how to spot my own signs when things aren't quite right but I don't let others know them if I can help it, so why should I then feel worse because someone isn't noticing and isn't trying to help?
My aim is to be more honest, to tell people when I can feel myself struggling before things get worse than they need to. I shy away from words like 'anxious', 'anxiety' and 'depressed' because I hate the overuse when it doesn't seem quite right but as a result, sometimes I probably don't correctly describe a state or emotion. People shouldn't be labelled and shouldn't be identified simply because of their mental illness but sometimes having that confirmation that there is something wrong and is something that can be done to improve can help.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this and although it will take me a while, working on it and prioritising my wellbeing is something I need to constantly work on. I suggest those that share my thoughts, aim to do the same and perhaps with each other's support, we can be more open both in real life and online.

I'd also like everyone reading this to think about their use of terms relating to mental illness and challenge those around you that don't use it in a particularly correct or positive manner. I know I hear the term 'so OCD' used way too often and flippantly which, is something I try to challenge each time.
I hope this was useful to some people and has highlighted the importance of opening up and supporting those around you. I have done a few posts before about mental health but two I suggest reading if you are struggling with mental health or are supporting someone who is, can be found linked below. Feel free to offer advice or have a bit of a discussion in the comments as I think that would be really useful for both myself and others.

An open letter to mental health sufferers
An open letter: supporting someone with a mental illness
Recent reads: books to check out

If you want to see more posts from me, 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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Self Recognition

We're so quick to point out flaws, silly things we've done and cling onto memories of mistakes we've made but how often do you pat yourself on the back and applaud an achievement- big or small? How often do you tell yourself, 'you've done amazing, well done!'? I'm going to guess, it's not as often as it should be! We get so caught up in the strive to improve or to reach our goal that the small steps are often overlooked. I want to dedicate today's post to the things I've done recently that I'm proud of, and I hope it inspires you to do the same!

1. Interrailing- you may be aware that my trip didn't quite go to plan but I'm so proud of the things I did achieve on the trip and the confidence and excitement it gave me for booking new trips. I won't detail all the things I'm proud of regarding this here but I discussed it in this post if you want to hear more.
2. Sorrento- booking a holiday so last minute and having it all run pretty smoothly is a great achievement. I didn't wallow (too much), feeling down about the places I'd missed on the interrail trip, I got a replacement booked and made it happen!
3. Getting the subway- not something I would voluntarily do, I'd rather exhaust all other transport options first but I did it whilst away and even though it made me very uneasy, it was alright! I got on with it, didn't think about what I had to do and just got where I needed to be. It's still not my first choice of transport, nor is it anywhere near the top of the list but, I know I can do it if and when I have to!
4. Doing a full workout in the gym at rush hour- I never used to feel comfortable in the gym at all, let alone when it's crazy busy and thankfully, I've avoided those times and find myself not worrying too much... until the other day when there were people everywhere I looked and all I wanted to do was to disappear and hide. With no music to block people out, my mum and I did a decent workout together and for the most part, I managed to ignore the people around me or at least push them to the back of my mind. That's not something I would have been able to do a few years ago!
5. Balancing aspects of my life- as guilty as I feel about not doing enough of something, be it being at uni, being at home, working... whatever, I've actually started to realise I have a pretty good balance going on. Although I don't have uni to contend with at the moment, generally I manage to balance the aspects and see people as much as I can even if it doesn't always feel that way (please remember this Steph so you don't work yourself up in the future).
6. Running a blog and YouTube channel on top of everything else in life- it may not always seem much of a job but if people can do it as a full time career, there must be a decent amount of work to go into it and there is... a time consuming, sometimes stressful project, especially when life gets busy and uni and work take priority but you know what, I manage to keep it going (even if I miss an upload or two). I may not upload the most frequently or have the biggest following but I do pretty darn well to keep both going to as high a standard as I can at this stage and love the support I get from those around me virtually and physically.
7. Climbing the hill in Budapest on my own- I'm not the most confident person when it comes to heights and although I love the likes of Go Ape and activities with a harness, most heights send my head in a spin (literally; it just doesn't seem to agree with my body). Side note: I do love winter sports despite the fear so maybe I just need adrenalin and a distraction to ease my mind! Whilst I tend to give things a go where possible, sometimes things are very out of my comfort zone and require peer encouragement, so the fact I climbed up the hill (sorry, I have no idea what 'the hill' is called) to see the statue and the view of the city on my own is amazing! A small achievement but deserving of my own recognition.
8. Beating my own gym targets- I love those moments when I lift a heavier weight, do more reps, hold something for longer or beat my time... any of these however small the difference may be, prove to both myself and others what I can do. I like having the opportunity to get competitive with myself (and mum when appropriate) to challenge myself more and give me the motivation to go that bit further. Most recently, I beat my 5km cycle time which I never thought I'd manage (8m38s for anyone wondering and so I can remember for next time!)!
9. Work placement at the Nottingham Post- I learnt so much there and enjoyed experiencing the workroom, shadowing journalists and seeing the things I've learnt come to life. It's also the home of my first shared by-line, which I'm very pleased about.
10. Living a fairly healthy lifestyle- for the most part, I'm fairly active, I eat healthily, I drink a lot of water, I don't drink alcohol much and generally, I look after my health. Of course, I have unhealthy or less healthy things sometimes and don't always stick to a gym routine but I try my best and where possible, I do a lot to look after my body and in turn, look after my health.

I hope this has been a nice positive post and a reminder to give yourself credit where credit's due. Big or small, there are so many achievements to be proud of. I would love to see you create a 'self-recognition' list of your own or at least, leave a comment with something you've done recently that you're proud of. I'd love to spread the positivity and share the positive experience with as many of you as possible! If you do do a post then let me know as I'd love to check it out!

Just to let you know, I uploaded a video yesterday all about my moving out experience and the challenge it posed including, my tips and advice for dealing with homesickness/emotional struggles regarding moving out. If you want to hear about that or think it might help you, you can find my YouTube channel here or can watch the video down below!
If you enjoyed this post 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. Thank you for reading this post!

Love, Steph x
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Verona: Boutique of Molly Review

 
A new season is approaching (if you haven't heard that enough yet) and I for one am very excited! With the forthcoming change in season, it seemed appropriate to treat myself to a new bag, especially one that looks perfect for the colder months!
Boutique of Molly recently released 4 new bags, all of which are gorgeous and can be checked out here! The only down side is that it made deciding which to get a difficult task and although I do own a lot of black bags, I don't own any quite like 'Verona' and it just seemed to jump out at me, screaming for me to pick it. Perhaps I'll purchase another when I have some extra cash to splash but for now, I am very happy with this one!
The black box shape design with gold detailing looks edgy but elegant and can successfully jazz up any outfit.

Inside, it has a zipped pocket as well as a slip pocket so you've still got the opportunity to separate items! The clasp on the exterior works by pushing the two circles together to release the clasp (I struggled to work this out myself but I'm sure that was just me being silly and most others can use their common sense to work this out!)
I feel as though this bag along with my boots and a red lip could become my staple, especially as Christmas approaches... yes I did just mention the C word! Big enough to fit your necessities but small enough to take out in an evening, it makes the perfect Autumn/Winter accessory.
If you want to treat yourself to 'Verona' or any other BOM purchase, you can use the code 'STEPH20' to get 20% off.

Let me know what you think of the new BOM bags, especially if you decide to get one! 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
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Things don't always go to plan...

As some of you may be aware, about a month ago I set off on an adventure of a lifetime, one I'd been nervous, terrified and most significantly, excited about. Sadly, things didn't quite go to plan and a week later I found myself on a flight back home. As I mentioned on my twitter, I just wanted to explain a bit about what happened and what I plan/hope to do going forward.

I had planned an interrailing trip with my cousin, starting in Amsterdam, stopping at Vienna, Budapest, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Rijeka, Verona, Lake Garda, Munich and Interlaken before finishing the trip in Paris... a lot to see and do in 3 weeks!

Unfortunately, my cousin hadn't been feeling well on the trip and whilst in Budapest, it was decided the best option was to come home. We played around with other possibilities but under the circumstances, things were proving too difficult to arrange and as our parents were in Budapest that weekend, it seemed sensible to fly back with them.

Fortunately, my best friend was amazing in ensuring I got to go away again, especially as I'd not seen Italy, which was top of my bucket list out of anywhere in the world, and we managed to book a last minute trip to Sorrento. It was the perfect place to go for the Italian streets, authentic food and great culture I had been after and although I missed out on Lake Garda, I am grateful for the area I did see and plan to go back for the rest! I never considered the history of the area as an interest to me but as I heard and saw bits about it, my mind soon changed and I found myself intrigued, wanting to learn more. Not to mention, the food was even more delicious than I'd hoped!

Proud

I'm so proud of the things I did do whilst out there, especially the day I wandered around Budapest and enjoyed seeing all of the sites I wanted to see, without relying on a map or anybody else. There were so many small challenges that I faced that may seem insignificant to some but to me, showed me that I can just get on with things and push myself out of my comfort zone, without too much outward worrying/complaining. Furthermore, I'm so happy I visited Budapest as it's not somewhere I'd have prioritised had I not managed to go, but has now become one of my favourite places and is somewhere I'd recommend to all! I'm disappointed I didn't get to see the other places but am determined to tick them off my list as soon as I can.

Missing Out

I had wanted to prove to myself that I could carry and live out of a backpack for three weeks, it was a fun challenge I'd set myself to make carrying that weight more worthwhile and to show what I could do (as weird as it is, I actually enjoyed it as well!). There are so many other opportunities I would have loved to make the most of, aside from the whole city exploring and train journeys, that some may not consider important but that I am sad to have missed out on- I suppose it just makes me more determined to make them happen another way.

I definitely get envious when I see people showing the memories/photos from their interrailing trip and start to feel a little sorry for myself but mostly I'm happy they had such a great time and have completed such a great adventure. It's definitely something I would recommend doing as it was amazing fun and some of my favourite moments were actually on the trains or other public transport... it's like nothing else you've done before. The things I expected to struggle with or not like, I actually ended up enjoying and finding more manageable than I ever imagined and I'm sure that's the same for others!

Obviously, we were both gutted and wish things had gone differently but I guess somethings aren't meant to be. It would have been amazing to see all the places we had planned to and to do some incredibly exciting things but there's little point dwelling, and every point in striding forwards, planning new trips to make up for it. I may have only done a week of the trip but it has definitely inspired me to want to travel more and to see more places!

I did film the part of the trip I did do, which is on my YouTube channel now so if you want to check that out, you can click here or watch it down below. I also have another part coming out tomorrow at 6pm, so if you don't want to miss that, make sure you subscribe while you're there!
Have you ever been interrailing, if not, would you like to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you enjoyed this post and want to see more from me, you can follow me using the 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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Falling in love with Budapest


I've never quite understood how people can claim to have 'fallen in love' with a city, how a single place can capture a heart and impress someone so much... until I visited Budapest. A place of beauty, history and culture, there's so much to it that it's difficult not to be amazed.
To be able to take myself off and wander around a city for a day, not tiring or wanting to return is something I rarely, if ever, find. To not have any real aim other than to explore and hopefully stumble across the city park and the river made it exciting. To not be constrained by time or another person's wishes and to just freely walk or rest... whichever I fancied, was quite refreshing. Of course, it's great to have someone to explore with, to discuss the sites and to share the experience with but occasionally, it's nice to have that change and Budapest is one of the only places I've felt that way about.

Set in a grid like design, it's easy to navigate and to venture off randomly but still find your way back, map or no map- unfortunately (or fortunately), I was the no map option. The architecture is stunning and makes the simplest of buildings seem so grand and exciting. The park is massive but beautiful and great to walk around; bringing you close to the castle with yet another stunning sight to admire and walk through or to sit and relax by, maybe even with a book in hand- it makes for a peaceful reading setting!
The Danube splitting Buda and Pest is beautiful to walk down or across in the day but even prettier at night with the city lit up and glistening! Whichever side of the city you find yourself on, you're sure to find a gorgeous view and something great to explore. Parliament and the Palace are both very impressive buildings, well worth a visit, simply to admire the beauty and in the Palace's case, to perhaps look around (although I'm yet to try this!).

The bustling night life is great for those who love an evening or night out but there's also plenty for those less keen too. A particular place I recommend is the Rumpus Tiki Bar, which has a fun atmosphere; with reggae remixed music that can't help but make you move, not to mention the most aesthetically pleasing and delicious tasting cocktails- great to go earlier in the evening if you fancy a quieter, more relaxed drink or later on for a bustling and lively experience.

Sziget was my first festival experience and one of the best I could have asked for. It had everything you'd imagine and more: a variety of cuisines, arts to delve into, dance tents, no end of stages, a chillout zone by its own beach, a sports zone, a circus and so much more... it would be hard not to find something you'll love! Even with a day ticket, I got to see and do a lot and can see how people can spend a week at the 'island of freedom'. It's easy to get to with public transport links across the city and well worth the trip!

Known for the thermal baths, it's a custom worth trying whilst you're out there but may be better to go to in the evening for the party, if that's your scene, as in my experience, they tend to get quite crowded in the day, with judging looks following you everywhere and pools that don't seem particularly clean. However, I'm glad I gave it a visit and perhaps someone else might enjoy them more than myself.
All in all, I had an incredible time in Budapest, experiencing so many things in so little time but still only scratching the surface. It's a city I will definitely be returning to and look forward to what the next exploration unveils.

Have you been to Budapest? What were your favourite things about the city?

Love, Steph x
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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'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
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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...
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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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