A perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one (or yourself!)

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With the most romantic day of the year (Please take this with a pinch of salt!) coming up next Tuesday (February 14th, if you didn’t already know), it’s important to know that the day isn’t just for boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives; it’s also for your friends, for the people around you that you love and most importantly, yourself!

To tie in with Valentine’s Day, I’m very happy to announce that I’m now an affiliate with the lovely Itty Bitty Book Co. who I have spoken about a number of times on the blog now. I talked about their #PositivityTakeover movement and I posted a recent update including the gorgeous city of Rome. I even have their “Book of Strength” and I’ve had that for a few years now and it’s still in perfect condition, so I’m a huge advocate of the company and their ethos.

Itty Bitty have released a Valentine’s Day collection and of course, it’s shining brightly as always so I wanted to share what they had in store for everyone this year.

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We’re going to start with the big one first, naturally! This is jam packed full of goodies for that special someone in your life and/or going all out to treat yourself too!

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We’ll start off with a lovely 6×8 print (that you could even put in one of those lovely box frames after it’s opened! It’ll be the perfect print to stand out in the bedroom or even the bathroom.) If you want to tell someone they’re beautiful but you can’t find the right words, this one will serve you very well.

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Next up is the full set of mini Itty Bitty Books which boost motivation, strength and inspiration. They’re really small so they can fit in your handbag or they can even sit on your bedside table for a reflection of gratitude (and if you add a ten minute meditation to this just before bed, it’s the ideal way to fall asleep straight away. It’s a tried and tested method, trust me!).

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Finally, it’s the ‘Choose Love’ Irish Linen wall hanging which I think would go perfectly in the kitchen. I know I would put mine beside the kettle because that’s where a lot of love goes for me, into a perfect cup of tea!

This bumper set is priced at £40 and postage starts at £3.30 (UK to UK), all you need to get is a cute little bow, you won’t even need to wrap it (but if you do, it’ll be even more of a surprise to the recipient.)

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However, if you’re looking for something a little smaller in size and in price, I introduce the smaller version of the box. It’s £15 and includes the Positivity Itty Bitty Book as well as the gorgeous print listed above.

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If you want to find out more about their Valentine’s Day collection, you can click right here and it’ll take you to their full collection. If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll find them at St. George’s Market most Saturday’s and Sunday’s but if you’re not from Northern Ireland, don’t worry! As I mentioned earlier, they do ship across the world but if you’re from the UK and Europe, you only have a few more days to get your orders in in time.

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Finally, and probably the most important thing I want you to take away from this blog post; it doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend or if you don’t, you’re still loved no matter what. A lot of people (including myself at times) make Valentine’s Day to be the be-all-end-all of romance and you feel like you need to have the perfect day or you’re not in the most wonderful relationship or you’re a failure because you don’t have someone to share this day with. At the end of the day, the most important relationship you have is with yourself so cherish yourself, treat yourself and take care of yourself.

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(*I have used affiliate links throughout this post but this post contains 100% of my own honest opinion and that’s it.)
(All images belong to the Itty Bitty Book Company except the first image which I have downloaded from Pexels.com under the Creative Commons Zero licence.)

(Blogmas Day Seventeen) Top Ten Positive Outcomes of 2016!

So with Blogmas Day Seventeen, it marks the last day of Blogmas for 2016! It’s been a really interesting project to take on over the holiday period especially since everyone (including myself!) has been so busy but it’s been a really nice distraction.

With my last post focusing on what life lessons 2016 taught me, I wanted to end Blogmas on a more positive note so today’s post is the Top Ten Positive Outcomes of 2016 (or the Top Ten Positive Things in 2016, whatever way you want to read it).

10.  I became a vegetarian.

This March, I took part in Meatless March and I haven’t looked back since! For the first half of the year, I was eating pretty much about 90% plant based food (I don’t like to say vegan because I wasn’t 100% of the time) but I’ve slipped back to about 60% now with more additional dairy and eggs. So now I’m a gluten free vegetarian with all the intolerances…

9. I went to so many more music gigs.

Music gigs were a big thing for me this year! I went to see the likes of Fall Out Boy, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Busted and Nickelback, the atmosphere and the high you get from a concert is honestly like nothing else.

8. I was a bridesmaid for the first time at my Dad’s wedding.

My Dad got married in July and it was the first time I had ever been to a wedding, never mind be a bridesmaid. I loved my dress and the day itself was gorgeous!

7. I cooked and baked more!

Deliciously Ella was my big inspiration for cooking and baking this year. Knowing that everything that was going into my food was clean and healthy made me feel so happier!

6. I turned 25!

I’m a quarter of a century old now and I’m excited! I feel like this year has been my half way mid-life crisis (This year would make so much more sense if it was!). I wrote a whole blog post on my birthday; it was honestly one of the most perfect days and I was treated like a princess, I’m very very grateful for that moment and that part of my life this year.

5. I went on holiday on my own for the first time to Rome.

At the start of December, I booked myself a long weekend trip to Rome on my own. I spoke about it briefly in my Life Update post but it was a new experience for me to be completely on my own in a different country, different culture and to take some time for myself.

4. I went on my first adult holiday to Finland and Russia.

Going to Finland and Russia was my first ever adult holiday and it was such a fun experience! I went with my ex-boyfriend and I’m so happy for those memories because it opened my eyes up to a new part of the world, a new culture, new foods and a new found respect for travelling.

3. I secured my first house.

Again, I spoke about this briefly on my Life Update post but I found out I have my first little house to rent a few days before I went to Rome. I’m really really excited to have my own place, to spend time with myself and create my own routine, as well as embracing this new found independence.

2. I’ve met some lovely people.

The people in my life over the past year have had a huge influence on me. Whether that’s the start and end of relationships and friendships, new work friends or those that I talk to online, I’m so appreciative of everyone that have been a part of my life this year; I continued to learn from each of them.

1. I started taking care of myself.

And finally, the most important one that I should have started doing a long time ago, taking care of myself and putting myself first sometimes. I go with my gut more now, I don’t always put everyone else’s plans above mine, I do what I can and that is more than enough. As long as you try your best and you’re being the best you can, no one can ask for more.

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Thank you so much to each and every person who took two minutes out of their day to read this post or any of my other Blogmas posts. I am so grateful to have had this platform to talk on and share a part of my life on this year, it has been a huge helping hand for me. So thank you!

 

(Blogmas Day Sixteen) 8 Life Lessons 2016 Taught Me

Welcome to Blogmas Day Sixteen! There’s just one more Blogmas post left now!

So today’s post is Part Two of my 2016 series. If you’ve missed Part One, you’ll find it right here and that was Blogmas Day Fifteen. This post focuses on life lessons I learned this year, and I’m going to be completely honest, this is my most personal post to date on the blog. It’s very open and honest, and you might see it as a negative post but most of my life lessons I learned from the year, came from negatives experiences. That’s just the way it worked out.

Sometimes life is shit.

Yep, there I said it and let’s be honest, we all think it. Life is truly shit sometimes. People will drag you and make you feel like shit. Everything will become too much at times and you won’t know what to do. You’ll want to just crawl into bed sometimes, not talk to a single person and just sleep. You have to be your own positive influence in the end and teach yourself how to find the balance between letting yourself be upset and picking yourself up again. I understand that for everyone that is completely different and is a lot easier said than done.

People make mistakes. You are human.

Ever done something you regret? Ever done something you wish you could take back? Ever done something that you still makes you upset and want to block it out of your memory for good? Congratulations, you’re a human being! Learn from your mistakes, understand why you made them or why they happened, but never allow your mistakes to be held over you like you’re the only one to ever have made them.

Your past does not define you.

I have a past. You have a past. Your next door neighbour has a past. Your boyfriend or girlfriend has a past. We all do, and again, that is totally okay. Regret your past or embrace it, that’s up to you but at the end of the day, you have to move on from it. If you’re ashamed, you have to tell yourself that you aren’t that person you used to be; you’ve changed, you’re working every day to become a better person and that’s better than doing nothing about it at all.

Therapy was the best investment I have ever made.

I have been going to therapy for just over a year now and it truly is the best investment I have ever made. Everyone’s experience is different but mine was life changing and eye opening; I learned more about myself than I ever thought I could. I learn in every single session and I bring that experience into my every day life. Therapy was there for me when I was having the greatest days riding on Cloud Nine and it was also there when I felt like I couldn’t cope. I owe so much to this year to my counsellor and how she has helped me through the good and bad times.

Crying does not mean you are weak.

One of the most important lessons I learnt in therapy is that crying does not mean you are weak; crying is your body telling you have something to let out and let go. You build up so much emotion and so much tension, where else is it meant to go? It’s natural to cry, don’t be ashamed of it.

Heartbreak is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I went through a break up this year, not something that I decided to share a lot on social media. It broke me into a million pieces, it was really really hard. Now don’t get me wrong, I used to be engaged to a guy I was with for six years so this wasn’t my first relationship (It was only my second) but this relationship was nothing like my previous one. Nothing can prepare you for the heartache (pre and post break-up), the constant stream of tears, the flowing stream of thoughts of blaming yourself and the what if’s, absolutely nothing can prepare you. It’s hard, it sucks (I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone) but you learn more about yourself than ever before after it.

Friendship is so important.

My friendship group this year became rock solid for me in the past six months and I am beyond grateful for everyone who has been there for me. I gained a new best friend, Leonie has become my rock, she’s the best ❤ (and thank you for reading my blog Leonie!), Toni and Andrew have listened to my stories over and over again along with lots of tea, Caoimhe was there to comfort me with nights to Pizza Express and a tearful night over Indian food and finally Eoin, who I missed so much and I’m so glad to have back in my life again. Never ever underestimate your friends and how much of a positive influence friends can have on your life, in the good and the bad times.

You will be okay.

No matter what you’re going through, you will be okay. If you miss your bus, if you go through a break up, if you have a horrible day at work, if you feel like you can’t cope with what life throws at you, you will be okay. When you’re going through something at the time, you don’t believe it. You think that you’ll feel this forever and that it will never go away, trust me, it really really does become better.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, it was quite a big one for me and despite how it looks, my year wasn’t all bad, but at times I definitely felt like it had completely defeated me.

(Blogmas Day Fifteen) 8 Surprisingly Interesting Things 2016 Taught Me

It’s Blogmas Day Fifteen! So as I explained at the beginning of December, I’ll be blogging until the end of December with Blogmas, rather than just until Christmas Day.

Today’s post is 8 Surprisingly Interesting Things 2016 Taught Me and this is Part One of Two. Part Two will be the 8 Life Lessons 2016 Taught Me and that one will be more serious because this year really has been such a massive year, mentally and emotionally for me, and I wanted to address what I really have learned.

 I was missing out when I chose not to listen to Lady Gaga.

For years I refused to listen to Lady Gaga for no actual reason, I have no good plain reason why I wouldn’t listen to her. My friend Leonie then told me how amazing she was (and that I needed to listen to her) and I listened to her latest album, bought it about a week later and now I’m making my way through her back catalogue every morning on my way to work.

Musicals are wonderful.

Leonie gave me my first experience of musicals and I can’t believe I was so against them before (Again, what’s with the pre-judgement?). I had only really seen the hype and annoyance around High School Musical and I just wrote all musicals off because of one film. It was wonderful though; I really respect the actors who can sing, dance AND act in front of a live audience, it’s memorising to watch.

Vegan cheesecake is the best cheesecake.

Being gluten free, you think that you’ll never have a cheesecake again. Thankfully there’s a plant based cafe in Belfast who make the best vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free cheesecakes and I believe they are quite literally a slice of heaven.

Being by yourself gets easier.

Date yourself. Treat yourself. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Take yourself out for a cup of tea once a week, give yourself a manicure, let yourself read a book for a few hours, watch a dozen episodes of Friends in one go. Be by yourself and embrace it.

5. There’s nothing better than making your own dinner from scratch.

Using Deliciously Ella’s cookbook for the majority of the year, it’s an amazing feeling knowing exactly what has went into your dinner that night, you feel this sense of accomplishment making it yourself and you feel better after it too.

Tea with milk really is a British thing.

When I went to Italy, they had more black tea or cold tea. I didn’t have a single tea with milk. When people say milk with tea is a British thing, it really is true. They don’t seem to do it a lot in Europe! (In my experience anyway).

I prefer being blonde than red (for now).

Before my Dad’s wedding, I decided to do something different with my hair and go back to my original brunette but add in blonde too. I used to have blonde highlights when I was younger but it didn’t take me too long to dye my hair back to red then. But now, I really love the blonde and brown, it’s like a new lease of life!

Getting up at 5:30am really is incredible.

It sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s not, trust me. There are so many more benefits than negatives. You feel better once your body gets used to it, you get so much more done, you feel like you can concentrate in work better and I personally felt more motivated for the day. You have to make sure you go to bed early the night before! (One of the reasons I haven’t done this in a while!)


Thank you for keeping up with Blogmas so far! Check back on Wednesday for a brand new Blogmapost.

(Blogmas Day Fourteen) SS: Sunday Saves (#34)

Merry Christmas everyone!

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Day, the day we’ve all been stressing about is finally here. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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So even though it’s Christmas Day, I’m still posting a Sunday Saves because I still think a lot of people go online today. All throughout December, my Sunday Saves have had a theme and today’s theme for Blogmas Day Fourteen is Vlogmas! I don’t watch a lot of Vlogmas videos but I do have my favourites so I thought I would name them so if you were waiting around to go to a family gathering or you just wanted to snuggle up in bed after dinner, you would have a few videos to watch to keep you entertained.

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1. Niomi Smart

Niomi is one of my favourite people to watch on YouTube because she’s someone that, if I had a daughter, I would want her to aspire to be like her. She seems like such a lovely person, her lifestyle is healthy and happy, her eating and exercise is somewhere I want to aim to be at and she’s so relatable (as if she couldn’t get any better?)

My recommendations?
What I Eat In A Day At Christmas & Visiting The Children At Hospital.

2. Lily Pebbles

Lily, again, one of my favourite people to watch on YouTube. I love Lily and Anna (The Anna Edit), I love them together and I love them when they’re apart. Lily really cares about her videos and genuinely puts a lot of thought into them and it’s part of the reason why she’s such a great YouTuber.

My recommendations?
The Weirdest Day & Wrapping Christmas Presents.

3. Kalyn Nicholson

I used to watch Kalyn a few years ago but for some reason, I stopped watching. I discovered her again this year and I’m so happy I did. In one of her recent videos, she called 2016 her “transitional year” and I honestly couldn’t agree more, I feel like I can really relate to her by what she’s had happen in her life over the past year. She seems to have a really good work ethic and I love how she incorporates her food, her fitness and her life into her videos. (Kalyn was doing 12 Days of Christmas this year rather than Vlogmas but they fitted in with the Christmas theme so I added her in regardless!)

My recommendations?
16 Things I Learned in 2016 & 6 Tips To Stay Motivated For Winter.

4. Lexi Life

When I first found Katie’s videos, I was only a little tiny bit obsessed with her (but in the most loving way possible!). My boyfriend at the time thought it was really funny that I liked someone so much but Katie really is such a fun, bubbly and cute person, how could you not?

My recommendations?
Cutest Disney Jumper and Early Presents & Christmas Cards and Bloggers Secret Santa.


I haven’t really watched a lot of people’s Vlogmas’ this year but these four girls are who I’ve been catching up with the most this holiday period. Let me know if you watch any of the girls or if you have any other Vlogmas videos you think I should watch.

(Blogmas Day Thirteen) My Favourite Christmas Film!

Welcome to Blogmas Day Thirteen or Christmas Eve Eve!

As I mentioned in my Christmas Bucket List, I would be talking more in depth about my favourite Christmas film, The Santa Clause so that’s what today’s post will be about.

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Whenever I ask people or vice versa, I never hear a lot of people mention The Santa Clause but I don’t know why. I hear about Elf, Miracle on 34th Street  and Die Hard but never my favourite.

It’s been my tradition for quite a few years now to watch The Santa Clause on Christmas Eve with a hot chocolate but now I just have a cup of tea with it. For anyone that hasn’t seen it, I’ll leave the trailer below.

The story of The Santa Clause focuses on Scott Calvin, a divorced Dad who doesn’t have the best relationship with his ex-wife but he gets to spend Christmas Eve with his son, Charlie. After a stressful night with Charlie with their dinner burning, they settle down to a Christmas bed time story but some time later, they hear a bang and a clatter on the roof. As Scott and Charlie make their way outside, they see Santa fall from the roof and lay in the front garden. Despite Scott’s wishes, Charlie races up to the sleigh to see the reindeer and you could say that’s when their adventure begins.

Everyone knows what happens when you put on Santa’s suit, right? Everyone knows that it’s now your duty to deliver presents and be Santa, right? Well Scott didn’t know this and when they arrive at the North Pole, he gets a shocking surprise.

I’ll not spoil the film for anyone that hasn’t seen it but if you haven’t, it’s one you should definitely add to your Christmas film list.

So why is it one of my favourites?

Well first of all, it stars one of my favourite people, Tim Allen. I believe he is one of those people that everyone knows even if you don’t recognise him by face. He starred in the family sitcom, “Home Improvement” back in the 90’s (and I’m actually getting the box set for Christmas! I’m so excited!). In the UK, it aired on Channel 4 and then moved to the Disney Channel and in the United States, it was broadcast on ABC.

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If you didn’t watch that (but if you haven’t, you really should!) then I’m almost sure you’ve watched Toy Story, right? Well, say hello to the voice of Buzz Lightyear!

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Tim Allen is one of my favourite actors, I love watching interviews with him on YouTube because I just find him so interesting. I have his autobiography that I read a few years ago and it’s really inspiring to see someone who had a rough time when he was younger to have built himself up now to be a success. It also just adds more proof that everyone makes mistakes, we aren’t perfect but we can build ourselves up to be even stronger when we reflect back.

I love it because it’s a cosy film. I don’t think I’ve ever described a film as “cosy” but it’s one where you just feel at home with. It will make you laugh and it’ll make you cry. A feel good film you could say too. I don’t think you can really make family films like this anymore, mainly because those films are animations and there doesn’t seem to be the urge to produce these types of films anymore, which is a shame. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though, films like The Santa Clause and Jingle All The Way will continue to be loved by families and be passed down generation by generation because they still have the ability to relate to families, young and old.

There are another two sequels after The Santa Clause that are good (don’t get me wrong, they are!)  but the original is still my favourite.

So that was my favourite Christmas film! I can’t wait to cosy up in the house tomorrow night, with some candles lit, a big cup of tea and just taking some time for myself. If you’ve seen this film or if you haven’t, let me know and I hope you do get around to watching it this holiday period.

(Blogmas Day Twelve) Favourite Nail Polishes of 2016

Happy Blogmas Day Twelve! For someone who is so obsessed with having her nails painted all the time (and also may have about 200 bottles) I don’t understand how I don’t talk about nail polish more on the blog.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that every time I paint my nails, I make a “Nail of the Day” post. I’ve been doing that for a few years now and I can’t see myself stopping any time soon. It’s quick, it’s easy and it helps me keep record of what I’ve been wearing. So for Blogmas Day Twelve, I decided to choose my favourite nail polishes I’ve wore this year and share them today!


1. (OPI) Sorry I’m Fizzy Today.
2. (Nails Inc) Stafford Street.
3. (OPI) The Berry Thought of You
(Nails Inc) Snowflake Effect.
4. (Nails Inc) Villiers Street.
(Nails Inc) Ascot.
(Essie) Blanc.
5. (Chanel) Rouge Noir.
6.(OPI) Look At My Bow.
7.(OPI) Coca-Cola Red.
8.(Barry M) Prickly Pear.
9.(OPI) Sleigh Ride For Two.

If you want a more in depth look of all my Nail of the Day posts, head over to my Instagram and if you have any nail polishes you think I should try (A girl can never have too many!), please let me know!