Blogging Through Fresh Eyes

Ever since I left school I have never fully settled on one thing that I was passionate about; I’ve tried quite a few courses, I’ve worked in a variety of different jobs and I’ve experimented with hobbies. The only thing that I consistently return to is blogging which is why I currently feel like I’m greeting an old friend. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Aymie and I appreciate you checking out my first post on here. For those of you that do… welcome to the new site!

So here’s a fun fact, I almost called this post “2018 – The Year of F**k It”

There is a context behind that rather flippant almost-title, this year I decided to quit university and pursue my own happiness rather than that of others. It was approximately a year ago that I figured out that the course was not for me and like many students, I did nothing about it out of fear over what people would think. After Christmas I evaluated the risks and the benefits for leaving and I was shocked by the lack of reasons I had to stay. I was spending 5 hours per night on reading and I still wasn’t getting the content at the same level as my classmates, I was feeling drained and I was having panic attacks before most of my seminars. I had to be selfish. I just wasn’t myself and I lost all ambition, I was desperate to just find that part of me that I lost when I decided to go to university.

So I did it. I withdrew from the course and packed up to live with my parents until I’m firmly back on my feet. At this point in time, I don’t regret my decision at all and I’m incredibly excited to get back into what I love doing the most. I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it, 2018 is going to be one of my toughest trials but at the end of the day I can genuinely say that I’m looking forward to facing the challenges that I’m sure to face over the course of this year. I’d love to know how other people in the same boat are getting on if you have a moment to spare! When I was doing my research I noticed a startling lack of positive advice for people that left university without a degree. Let’s drop the stigma and support the right to follow dreams instead.

Holiday Chats: Body Confidence

 

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On the run up to our holidays, as women we all dread digging out our bikinis and for this reason we start the year off with good intentions; gym memberships, juicing, diets… Blah, blah, blah! When the time comes and we’re ready to jet off to a sunny destination, are we really ready? The short answer? No. As a social media fiend I see many fantastic holiday shots from celeb accounts; Perrie Edwards, Lily James, Lucy Hale to name a few! I’m sure men go through similar issues too but I can only personally talk about how I feel about it. It leads to a lot of overthinking and I end up drawing comparisons that don’t really apply to me anyway. I follow a lot of nutrition accounts on Instagram and the main message that keeps cropping up is about that seemingly unattainable ‘beach body’ that so many of us strive towards.

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This time around I struggled a lot with my self image and I spent quite a lot of time looking at my legs and stomach in the mirror. I know, the secret to a ‘bikini body’ SHOULD be just to wear a bikini and be confident in your own skin but when you have a lot of insecurities it’s easier said than done. I went on a diet about 3 or 4 months prior to my holiday to Tenerife and I lost around 4 stone. However, I still don’t feel like I’ve reached the goals that I set myself before going away. I think because I put this pressure on myself it made my doubly self conscious of my stomach and my thighs, my ‘problem areas’. To try and push myself out of my comfort zone (sat in the hotel room preferably wearing a baggy jumper), I decided to post a bikini pic on social media to take away the pressure I put on myself. That way it was already out there and I had nothing to be ashamed about, I definitely think it’s something that helped me out.

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Thanks for reading this post about body confidence and my own struggles with my self image, I’m working on getting better with it but it’s a slow process; I’d love to talk to some of you about your thoughts and experiences if any of you want to talk to someone about it. I feel like it’s the perfect time to discuss this topic as we’re now well into the summer holidays and I want to try to create a space that’s more open and friendly about mental health and confidence.

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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How do I even begin to describe Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine? Furthermore, how do I begin to describe Eleanor Oliphant as a character? I feel like the book itself was more complex than I anticipated. I chose this book because the good people of Instagram recommended it to me but also because I saw it in quite a few flatlays. I just wanted a book to read on holiday but I wasn’t quite sure on the genre or anything like that so I bought it without reading any of the reviews or summaries so I could make my own mind up. During the first 3 or 4 chapters, admittedly, I was still dubious as to where the story was heading and I was quite unsure about my choice. As I read on, the way that the lead protagonist, Eleanor’s character became increasingly more complex and layered. Her personality, if I’m being quite honest, was something I had very little patience for in the beginning.

However, as the book went on I started to really feel for her and I connected with the journey through her depression and mental health, the way it progressed – the good and the bad days. The way that Gail Honeyman tackled this delicate issue is really authentic in the way that it plays out through the story. I love Honeyman’s writing style and find the way that Eleanor’s story was written should be applauded. I think that the character could have been difficult to love but with this style in mind she was turned into a multi-dimensional character with heart-warming qualities. Books that involve mental health tend to miss out on the ‘human element’ of it and lack warmth so this character arch was very much appreciated by me.

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Expanding on my point about the ‘human element’, I mean this in the way that there is a fine line between genuine/warm and cold/clinical portrayals of people with depression. With struggles such as Eleanor’s, the character quirks could have been the latter of the two sides. That being said, Honeyman gave us growth and understanding, a reasoning and a character arch that played through true to real life stories. This book is not my usual scene, to be honest I tend to sway more towards lighter topics or something with a bit of chase to it. However, having read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, I have the utmost respect for the author and her command of the ‘human element’ that really brought the book to life for me.

I hope this post has helped you to decide on whether or not you should read this book or if you have already read it, I would love to know what you thought. I invite you to get in touch through either a comment or my contact page to let me know.

The Perfect Holiday Hair: Beachy Waves

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Disclaimer: This post is not an AD, I just like the products that I’m using right now.

I don’t know about anyone else but on holiday I find that it’s a bit of a pain sorting out my hair every day. Personally, when I go away I prefer to work with my hairs natural texture rather than obsessively straightening or curling it. When your contending with humidity, sweating and general hot weather issues it can be difficult to find a flattering style that works all day anyway. My hair naturally has a bit of a wave to it but you can also achieve beachy waves if you have fine or straight hair too. The staple product for beachy waves is a good texturising spray, I used to always use the Sea Salt spray by Fudge Urban because I loved the smell of it but I’ve found a new favourite product. The Stylista Beach Waves Mist by L’OrĂ©al has taken the baton and ran away with it, whilst it doesn’t smell as nice, I do prefer the end product.

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To get the above look, I like to start with a freshly washed, clean and damp base to enhance any existing waves that naturally fall in my hair. Recently I have been using the TIGI Dumb Blonde shampoo and conditioner to look after my bleached locks. I then lightly towel dry my hair until it no longer drips and brush it through with my Tangle Teaser, though, if you have fine/straight hair you should skip this step as it will smooth out your hair more than necessary for this style. Next, I like to scrunch my hair and lightly spritz the texturising spray from the roots to the ends. I keep scrunching my hair like this every few minutes until it has air dried. Once my hair has dried I like to flip my hair upside down and back again to give it some volume before adding more of the Beach waves spray.

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I shower every day on holiday because I feel like my hair gets a lot of product build up and any chlorine or sea water from swimming doesn’t really help it any. That being said, if you wanted to keep it for longer you could always turn it into a messy bun or use it to give braids a bit of added grip if you prefer your hair out of the way in this heat. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I thought it would be a handy one if you’re looking to give your hair a little extra texture.

ClichĂ©s & CafĂ©dral Durham

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Writing that post about Seaton Carew and ‘Classic British traditions’ recently got me thinking about some of the other things that us Brits are stereotyped to do. The main image that Americans get when they think of English people is the posh afternoon tea scene. Personally, I do love having afternoon tea. Scratch that, I just love tea but it’s in no way a posh thing and I think enjoying a nice cup of tea is something that’s underrated these days. Cake and scones are bonuses but I do adhere to the English tea party clichĂ©, I’m not going clubbing anytime soon and my preferred catch up activity IS finding a cute cafĂ© and chatting over a cup of flavoured tea.

This week I went out to Durham for a much needed catch up with one of my most treasured friends and she suggested CafĂ©dral in the centre of the town. I was down with that because the images on Google looked bright and fresh which is a far cry away from the more ‘hipster’ scene in Durham.

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So it’s a bit of a trek up the cobbled hill and if you’re not able to walk unaided then it’s probably not the best place to visit. However, it is a great cafĂ© to check out if you want to go somewhere that has a friendly and homely atmosphere to it. The best way to describe the decor is shabby chic and the staff are very welcoming, even if you’re not keen on their menu it’s a great place to stop off for a cuppa. You can get soups, paninis, scones, sandwiches and yummy treats like homemade scones and cakes so I don’t think it’s likely to leave that place starving. I would have to say that it’s preferable to the usual Starbucks or Costa stop-off, it’s a nice change and I would love to return in the near future. Another plus is that it’s great value for money, I’m sure plenty of students crush their threshold and I don’t blame them.

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Durham has never been one of my favourite places, don’t get me wrong… It’s full of charm and it does have it’s good points but I usually prefer the more gritty places for shopping etc. As I was a student in Middlesbrough I usually find it easier to seek out cool places there but I do like to check out different places from time to time. CafĂ©dral is one of the little gems that draws me back towards Durham and I hope to discover more places like this in the near future. The staff there are a credit to the cafĂ©, it’s one of the friendliest cafĂ©’s I’ve been to. I would say that they best way to describe the place is to call it warm, something that franchise coffee shops lack quite a bit these days. I would love to know if you have any other places in mind, the North East is kind of underrated in that way!

5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Flights

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Calling all ladies new to long haul travel, you’ll thank me for this post later! When I went on my first flight over 4 hours I didn’t know any of this so if you’re reading this before hand then you’re way ahead of the curve. 10 hours is a long time to be on a plane so no matter what you do, if you fly economy class like I do then there’s going to be a certain degree of discomfort but with these tips you should at least feel prepared. I’m not going to lie, I am in no way organised and for my last trip away I packed the night before I set off and I was going for a month. Fortunately for me though, I knew exactly what to sort out when I eventually got around to doing it. With this in mind, I have titled this post ‘5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Flights’ as I’m not going to tell you how to decant full size products into travel minis or whatever because not once have I done that and I’ve managed just fine.

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My first travel hack is to keep versatility in mind when you choose your clothes; the perfect travel outfit is essentially gym gear. I would recommend leggings, a sports bra, comfortable underwear, a vest, a hoodie and a scarf. The temperature can range between stiflingly hot to pretty damn cold, airplanes as a rule are generally cool as a result of the cabin pressure and the circulation of the air so it’s always a good idea to layer your outfit when travelling. Additionally, comfy shoes are a must so trainers with a springy sole are ideal for the simple fact that you could be waiting in long queues and on the plane you may need to take them off so easy shoes like that work really well.

Following that train of thought, pack your carry on luggage wisely. Whilst you CAN take a small suitcase on the plane, I wouldn’t advise it as you have to carry it everywhere so anything heavy is a bit of a pain and it may minimise your legroom too if it has to go under the seat in front of you. I like to pack a small backpack; an empty water bottle (there should be a drinking water tap somewhere past security), cereal bars, spare underwear, travel wet wipes, a hairbrush, mini toiletries in a clear ziplock bag and any travel documents required. It’s all you need, anything else is an excess that really isn’t needed. Seriously, you’ll regret it if you take more than that as carry on luggage.

The next thing you need to know is that depending on the airline you can choose your seat before the flight, this is a personal preference thing but really you don’t want to be sat in the middle. If you know you are going to be active a lot during the flight you should go for the aisle seat as it means you can get up and move around without waking other passengers or tripping up. To avoid sitting with children, you should stay away from the front of the plane as that’s where families are usually placed on long haul flights. If you need more leg space, chose a seat on an exit row but be prepared to help out a little if something happens onboard to require an emergency landing.

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As this post is for the travelling ‘lazy girl’, it’s only right that I should add the necessity of a travel pillow. My TOP TIP is to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of getting sleep, a travel pillow is your best bet for making yourself comfortable. Switching up your sleeping pattern a little before your flight can help with this, just by a few hours per day but it does help. This will decrease your chance of getting jetlag and with the aid of the travel pillow, you should be relatively fresh by the time you land. Going back to the last tip, if you plan on sleeping for the majority you are best off choosing the window seat so you can rest your head a little better.

The final hack for long haul travel is to check to see what upgrades are available, you can typically just ask at the check-in desk. I’m fairly sure that most airlines have an air miles service or rather a loyalty system so if you fly long haul regularly, you can make the most of your flight by using your points on future journeys. This means you can enjoy extra legroom, better meals or even better entertainment. Depending on how busy the flight is, it’s sometimes possible to nab a free upgrade but either way, it’s worth asking just incase there is something available.

So those were my 5 Lazy Girl Hacks For Long Haul Travel, I hope you find these useful on your next long distance flight. Let me know if you have any hacks of your own, I’d love to learn more if you know anything else!

 

 

Seaton Carew Is The Epitome Of A Classic Brit Beach

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Twitter is currently stating that a ‘staycation’ is the way to go this summer but where exactly can you go if you don’t want to be packed onto a beach like sardines in a tin? The general definition of a ‘staycation’ is a holiday in the country you reside in, destination in the UK that I find to be wholly underrated is Seaton Carew. I’ve written about how much I love Whitby and York but I spent a lot of my childhood going on caravan holidays across the country, not only that but my family used to be quite spontaneous about where we ended up on a weekend. The long-winded point that I’m making is that I have grown to love charming British seaside towns. I consider Seaton Carew to be a classic Brit beach because it has all of the main features of an ideal resort; amusements, rides, sea front and fresh fish and chips. It’s the kind of place that is timeless, there’s no Dominoes pizza shops or HMV – just good food and traditional attractions.

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From the beach you can see a wind farm so the horizon isn’t perfect and the place itself has a rather industrial feel to it but it really is a charming little resort town. Saying that, the beach itself is clean and the front is certainly family orientated. You can stroll the beach and pop into Larry’s Lanes for a game of bowling or possibly even check out the coin dozers after a generous helping of fish and chips. The general feel is reminiscent of the introduction of leisure activities during the Victorian Era, as such it would be a perfect bank holiday destination. On the mouth of the River Tees, Seaton Carew is a truly Northern town and it has a wealth of history and culture surrounding the place. Well worth a visit if you ask me!

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In my most recent trip to Seaton I went to Matteo’s Italian restaurant for lunch as I wanted something a little less greasy and I have to say, I was impressed. The staff couldn’t do enough to help, they were friendly and engaged with every single customer that came in. There was a delay with the food but we were told why and they explained the process of cooking the chicken so we would understand the reason. When the food finally arrived, it was worth the wait (which wasn’t very long anyway!) and I finished everything on the plate. To finish up we went out to the front to grab an ice cream sundae as seen in the photo above, I chose the Butterscotch one which was yummy – even if it broke my diet a teensy bit, I enjoyed every last scoop and I regret nothing.

I’d love to know if any of you have been there and what you thought about it, personally I love Seaton Carew and I hope people see how great this resort town is. Where do you like to go on your ‘staycations’?

Signing Up For A Nutrition Course

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Since starting a diet this year and actively trying to lose weight I have gained an interest in nutrition and the way that it impacts my body. Naturally I wanted to see if I could learn more so I have signed up for an online course with North Hertfordshire to do a Level 2 course in Nutrition. With this course as a base to build up from, hopefully then I’ll be able to share some of what I learn through my blogging as I enjoy writing about lifestyle and wellness. I’ve also looked up possible further qualifications for if I really enjoy the content, it’s something I’ve looked up before but I’ve never quite gone through with it. The truth is, I buy magazines and skip the stories to read the food inserts and the health pages so I might as well put my interest to good use.

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I officially start the course on Monday and from then I have deadlines and goals to fulfill to stay on with the college, luckily it’s not quite as structured as being at university so I can more or less do it at my own pace. I’m thinking that by knowing a lot more about the way food fuels my body I’ll have a healthier relationship with eating which, if you have read my previous diet post, you’ll know that I’ve had my fair share of struggles as of late. A great part of why people don’t really take an interest in nutrition is because cooking can be time consuming and messy but if you’re a Pinterest/Tumblr/Instagram user you can always find quicker balanced meals to make. My phone is full of recipe screenshots and food ideas so it’s difficult to use that excuse. As I’m writing this post I’m eating my frozen red grapes, a healthy summer treat idea that I found on Pinterest.

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Eating away from the home is the biggest knockback for a lot of people but I’ve found that it’s more than possible to go out and eat something other than just leaves as a ‘healthier option’. Most restaurants have calorie counts on their menus now, though, Wetherspoon’s seems to have cut back on the information they give in theirs. I find that the best thing to do is look for two options of what you WANT to eat and to choose the lesser of two evils. As I’m going on holiday soon I’ll definitely be using this advice because it’s an all inclusive resort in Tenerife and it’s easy to overeat on a holiday like that.

Thanks for reading today’s post, I hope to give you all little updates ASAP as I’m very excited to get on with this nutrition course. If it’s something you would find interesting, please let me know and I’ll get more food orientated posts up. As always, my email address is on my ‘Contact‘ page.