Monday, 7 March 2016

USA Road Trip - The Route and The Planning

I mentioned the fact that my boyfriend and I are going on a 3 week road trip around Las Vegas and California in this post a couple of months ago. We sketched out a rough idea of locations to visit ages ago and then finally booked our flights more recently. And then sat back basically feeling like we'd done most of the hard work. Not so much.

We've now finally put the time in to sketch out an actual route so we can book any accommodation that has to be sorted in advance, for fear of otherwise having to sleep in our car. We're not planning on booking rooms in advance for every stop, but the places which are busy or will be very expensive if left to the last minute we're going to book now and have as a framework for our trip. So we'll have a little more freedom with the other locations to play it by ear when we're there.

So without further ado, here is where we will be for 3 weeks in May:

Las Vegas --> Grand Canyon --> Red Rock Canyon/Hoover Dam --> Death Valley -->
Yosemite --> San Francisco --> West Coast/Big Sur --> Los Angeles

We're not planning to pick up our car until we leave Las Vegas and then we'll drop it off again in SF whilst we're there, ready to pick up another car to take down the coast.

We obviously have some specific things we want to do in each location, like visiting Alcatraz and cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge in SF, and spending time in Disneyland and Universal Studios in LA, but I'll save those details for the post-trip posts I think.

As it stands, we have booked a hotel for Yosemite (who knew that basically EVERYWHERE would already be booked 5 months in advance) and I have my finger hovering over the 'book room' button for the Luxor in Vegas.

So so excited for the whole thing! Next I think I'll need to turn my attentions to my holiday wardrobe. Because you know I've already been buying things specifically because 'they'll be great for the holiday'. May need to streamline that slightly, especially as our luggage will be coming everywhere with us!

Saturday, 5 March 2016


Things have been a little quiet around here recently. And things have been pretty sombre in real life too.

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen me post a photo of my little Jack Russell Meg recently, marking her passing. All the kind comments I received were very much appreciated, so thank you for those.

Meggy very sadly passed away last week, at the grand old age of 16, and has left us all completely heartbroken in her absence. Having had her since she was 8 weeks old, I've had Meg in my life for more than two thirds of it, and have looked after her very closely for the last few years in her old age. Needless to say, she has left a very large doggy-shaped hole in my heart.

Despite her old age, her death came really unexpectedly and the week has just felt very numb ever since. We have 2 other dogs so the house has not been completely silent but everything just feels so strange.

There are so many fellow animal lovers in the blogging community and anyone who has lost a pet will know that it's one of the most heart-breaking things. You're losing a family member, and one that relied on you to keep them safe. Animals just have a way of getting into your heart.

It didn't feel right not the mark the passing of my little furry best friend on here, but things are getting better and hopefully life will look a little brighter soon.

Sweet dreams Meggy. I hope you're off causing terrier mischief.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

6 Things To Do When You're Feeling Down

I've been feeling a bit down in the dumps this week, which led to me thinking about the various things I do to try to cheer myself up when I'm feeling like this. Some of these things are probably obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder. You can never have too many little self-care tips in your arsenal.

1. A hot shower: I do all of my best thinking in the here and, for me, often nothing beats a long hot shower. No one is going to disturb you, there's nothing else to distract you, and sometimes it just feels cathartic. You can give yourself a good pep talk too. A bath isn't the same for me, because then you just sit and over-think. It's got to be the shower. And some lovely smelling products don't hurt either :)

2. Doggies (or any pets): It is impossible to feel down when you are playing with a dog. Fact. They are so fluffy and happy and full of bounce that you just can't. And they crave attention and give unconditional love, so they really do pep you up when you're feeling crap about yourself. If you don't have a dog then a hamster or the suchlike will do.

3. Fake tan: I know this is really superficial but sometimes when I am feeling rubbish, particularly if it's feeling rubbish about myself rather than life's turns and twists, making myself a little bit more bronze just gives me a little spring in my step. It's nice to take some time to pamper yourself and I always think everything looks better with a tan.

4. Laugh with pals: Genuine laughter really is medicine for the soul and good friends can always cheer you up. Getting the girls together for a catch up is bound to lift your spirits and remind you that not everything is shit. Some things yes, but not everything.

5. Exercise: Especially outdoors exercise, like a walk or a run. A crisp bright day is preferable but optional. Getting outside always helps me to clear my head and blow away the cobwebs. And if you do manage to swap the wellies for Nikes and head out on a run you'll be left feeling that bit fitter and just a little bit smug.

6. An early night: Sometimes all that there is to be done is draw a line under the day, take yourself off to bed early, snuggle up under your duvet and pretend nothing else exists. The morning usually brings brighter things and a lighter mood.

So that's my little tip list. Let me know what other things you usually do to pull yourself out of a slump or a bad mood. 

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Beauty Haul

Beauty haul? About time.

(I've gone for the Instagram pic, not just the worst quality photo ever. Let's see how that goes).

I had a lovely day off from work yesterday so decided to take myself for a potter around the shops. It was glorious. Nice and quiet because, ya know, January and everyone's still eeking out that early pay packet.

It was a very successful trip actually and, having sorted out some overdue boring bank stuff, I gave myself a little pat on the back for saving so diligently that I erm, decided to spend. Counter-intuitive? A little.

I bought some clothes in Zara and Oasis, some of which I have already rotated into my wardrobe today. And most of them were sale bargains so I'm smug as well as happy. Clothes don't blog well for me though so errr, you'll just have to take my word for it that they're nice.

So instead you've got a photo of the beauty bits I bought.
I needed another of my staple La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + and I spied the Serozinc toner next to it. I'm not sure how long Boots have been stocking this for, but last thing I heard it was online stockists only for the UK. I've been wanting to try it for a while so I grabbed two as there was a 3 for 2 offer and nothing else I needed.

I've been sucked in by Maybelline's blanket PR campaign for this new The Falsies Push Up Drama mascara so I bought that too as it was on offer and I am a sucker for mascaras. I normally let mascaras oxidise a bit before I properly use them but the formula seemed quite thick already when I gave it a quick go this morning. I'll reserve my judgement until I've used it properly though and seen if it holds up to it's 'push up' claims, as well as my own smudge-proof needs (# oily lid problems).

Last stop was TKMaxx where I bought this mahoosive bottle of TIGI Catwalk Your Highness shampoo. Never tried it or heard about it before, but the target market of fine, lifeless hair which is prone to static sounded like it was aimed at me. Watch this space. I could have bought the conditioner too, but I'm of the opinion that it doesn't really matter what conditioner you use, unless you have really dry hair. Surely the shampoo is what counts? I may be wrong though, so if you disagree and think I should be matching my conditioners to shampoos then please let me know!

I also bought a Nails Inc gel effect nail polish in the colour 'West End' which is an orangey red. Had it on a day so I can only comment on the fact that I love the colour.

Also, not in the photo or beauty related in the slightest but definitely deserves a mention. I got myself a  rose gold pen from Paperchase. That'll be my little bit of luxury at work on Monday. So a heads up to any fellow stationery lovers! Only £5 too :)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The New Year: Using What I Have

So back in my new year post I explained that I was focusing on a guiding word for 2016, which summed up the sorts of things I want to achieve and what I would like my life to reflect in the coming year. All grand.

Although I want to put more emphasis on the bigger picture in this way this year, there are obviously some more specific things I have in mind for myself too. Most of these simply reinforce my 'bigger picture' idea and slot neatly in, but there is one that I am picking out on this blog so that I can hold myself accountable to it and as a sort of mental note for myself. Plus it's not something serious enough that I will look back on and berate myself for if I haven't made as much progress as I perhaps could have done. Because that is so not the point this year.

Using the things I have.

Sounds so simple, right? But I am such a closet hoarder. I have way too much 'stuff'. Partly caused by being a 26 yr-old cramming their life into a single room in their parents' house. But also caused by the fact that I. Love. 'Stuff'. I'm sure there's probably a psychological reason as to why I feel the need to be surrounded by and acquire more things, particularly when I already have similar versions of those things. But let's not dwell, eh?

I hate clutter and frequently have clear-out and tidying sessions, and yet I still seem to accumulate things that ultimately I do not need. Primarily I am thinking I need to use up beauty/cosmetic/body products. Obviously a love of mine, and therefore I have lots of half used things. Saving things for 'best' comes into this, and is something that makes absolutely no logical sense. Then I have my semi-capsule wardrobe thing going on, which I half did. That needs a re-do. And a stricter one at that. And the let's not even start on the stationery. What can I say, cute notebooks are my thing. Oh an post-its. Let's not forget post-its.

So there we have it. Very little structure or reeeeal point to that post, other than to remind myself to USE THINGS. After all, if I run out of something I truly love or need, I can always buy another. And lord knows I will.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

USA Road Trip - The Introduction

Have I mentioned that this year (2016... It still feels weird saying that!) is the year that Mark and I embark on road trip holiday around the west coast area of the USA? I haven't mentioned that before?! I don't know how, because I'm really bloody excited for it.

So excited that I even have a countdown app on my phone. Now that is commitment.

We have had this holiday in the pipeline for a couple of years now but have had to delay it for various reasons until this year. But we actually have flights booked now, for May 2016. So it's very real.

I'll be posting more as we get nearer to the trip; things like our rough travel route, pack list, logistics etc. But for now I just wanted to share the excitement and also hoover up any tips you might have or recommendations if you've done a similar trip (Think Arizona and California)

3 weeks. 2 states. 1 car. 1 epic playlist. And all the American food you can dream of.

Friday, 1 January 2016

A Word On The New Year

2016. Here we are.

New year blog posts are some of my favourite to read so, despite not really being in the blogging game much in 2015, I couldn't resist putting my two pence in.

People tend to have mixed feelings about new year's day but for me, it's always positive. Not everyone benefits from having a mental 'clean break' in order to make changes, and I get that. But for those who it does give a little nudge to, the new year is the perfect opportunity to think about things in a fresh way.

For 2016 I have chosen, similarly to last year, to select a word which guides want I want to achieve in the coming year, rather than a list of resolutions. Don't get me wrong, I have some oh-so-predictable goals in mind too, but I'm focusing more on the bigger picture this time.

So that word is: "lightness". (Hence the feather pic, get it?)

I want to work on having a lighter approach to life in 2016 in lots of different aspects. 

It's difficult to explain, but when I think of all the things I want to achieve, experience, work towards and be a part of this year, lightness sums up how I want this to be.

I had some great experiences and positive changes in 2015, but in all honesty the last few months weren't the best for me. It could have been worse, sure, but it also could have been much better. I'm hoping to draw a line under and leave it behind in 2015. No, I can't guarantee that nothing negative is going to come my way in 2016. But I can give myself some breathing space and get ready to roll with the punches better-prepared and from a different mindset.

2016 already promises some really fun things and for the first time in a little while I am looking forward to what is to come. And I'm hoping to once again get back into sharing these things with you (I FINALLY have a laptop again, so there should be no stopping me!).

So come on, let's do this.