October Goals

Hi guys!

I am a day late but never mind! Here are my goals for October! It’s properly Autumn now and I am loving the beautiful colours, the chilly mornings and the many pumpkin spice lattes that I have consumed.

First of all, a bit of a chatty introduction on what this month holds for me. I have a new job as a Rental Manager and I start Monday 8th October. I’m really nervous because it’s so new, it’s more responsibility and more of a challenge, but at the same time I am so exciting. It’s difficult because I really love the team I work with, but it’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m sure I’ll have a good team at my new job. It’s longer hours so I am a bit worried about having time for my blog so I might designate certain days where I can write to ensure I carry on as writing is my one true passion in life. As a result, a lot of my goals for this month relate to the fact that I’ll have a new job. Please wish me all the luck in the world as I start a new chapter! Now, without further ado, on with the blog.

Blog Goals:

So I read 2 out of 3 of my goals for September. As I said in my September Goals post which you can read here, my goals were to reach 400 followers on my blog by October 1st, 800 followers on Twitter and 600 on Instagram. I only failed the former so I was quite pleased. I’ve well superseded the social media goals, but I was 40 followers under my blog follower goals. I’m still so over the moon to have 360 followers as I never expected anyone to even read my blog let alone follow it, as I started blogging for my love of writing, and I’m so shocked at how well my social media is doing, so thank you to all of you! My blog goals for October are:

  • Blog – 450
  • Twitter- 1200
  • Instagram – 850

I’m aiming high with Twitter as that medium is my most successful. I’m aiming reasonably lower with Instagram and my blog to try and avoid disappointment but I think they are decent goals anyway. Please do follow me on here if you like my content, as well as my Twitter and my Instagram!

Personal Goals:

So of course, this month is going to be scary and stressful and new with starting my new job, so I think practising a bit of self-care is most important. Here are my goals:

  • To have a relaxing hot bubble bath once a week. I’m guilty of never allowing myself time to chill out. I’m always doing something whether it’s work, volunteering with Brownies, seeing friends and family, writing, household chores etc and I feel like I really need to relax once in a whole. I’m always having daily quick showers bit I think at least one day a week I should have a nice hot bubble bath with a bath bomb, relaxing music, maybe a glass of red wine or green tea, just to relax myself. I know self care is more than having a bath but it is a start.
  • Remembering to always carry out my skin routine, morning and night. I’m also guilty of just taking my makeup off with a wipe or Micellar water and having a quick cleanse. I need to ensure I do more than this, exfoliate, moisturise, use more face masks etc. If anyone know of any great cruelty free skincare products please let me know in the comments!
  • Be positive. When changes happen in life, you should embrace them. I’m worried about my new job as anyone would be, you hope that you will be an asset to a new company and that everything will go smoothly. I’m sure it will, and I’ll give you all an update after my first week. Positivity is always key!
  • Enjoy October! I’m not doing Blogtober as I wouldn’t have chance to write every day, but I’m super excited to write some really Autumnal posts! I have some exciting ideas so i cannot wait to get writing. What a beautiful month.

What are your goals for October? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

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The Deddington Arms Hotel and Resturant Review

Hey guys!

So this evening I visited a resturant that I haven’t been to before, and I just had to write a quick review of it!

The Deddington Arms Hotel and Restaurant is in Deddington, Oxfordshire (a few miles south of Banbury) and as you can tell by it’s title, is a hotel and a resturant. I can’t give you any information on the hotel side of things as I’ve never stayed there (I live like ten minutes away) but as for the restaurant I can say that it is absolutely amazing.

Credit: Google Images/ Tripadvisor ‘photo provided by Deddington Arms Management’

The staff were very friendly, welcome and attentitive which was clear as soon as we walked in. The dining area is beautifully laid out and very light and fresh.

For a starter we shared some artisan breads with oil, balsamic and hummus which was absolutely gorgeous.

For mains, we had catch of the day (pollock) with chips and duck breast with fondant potato, roasted onion in a cherry jus. The fish and chips was beautiful, very flavoursome and battered with ‘Hooky’ beer. If you’re familiar with this part of Oxfordshire you’ll know that Hooky is the name of the signature beer of the local Hook Norton Brewery. The chips were delicious, super fluffy in the middle and crispy on the outside; absolutely beautiful. As for the duck, my OH said it was some of the best duck he’d had and that the cherry really works. The presentation of both dishes was brilliant.

For dessert, we had the Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Sorbet and the Honey and Lavender Mouse with candied orange and orange sorbet. The puddings were exquisite, the lavender really does work especially with the sharpness of the orange and white chocolate and raspberry is my favourite flavour combination so we were generally over the moon at these desserts.

As the food was extremely delicious and very well presented you would think that the prices would be extortionate but they were really quite affordable.

I would give this resturant a 10/10 because I could not pick fault at all and I am very happy. If you’re ever in this area I’d definitely recommend visiting, you will not regret it!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

Bodyshop Matte Clay Foundation Review

Hi guys!

I’m back with another foundation review! This time I am talking about the Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation from The Bodyshop. This has been out a little while now but I’ve finally tried it, so I hope that you enjoy this review.

I bought this in the shade ‘014 Railay Beach’ which I think really works for my skin tone as I don’t really have pink or peach undertones and this shade is fairly neutral. Bodyshop have really worked on producing shades for different undertones although I don’t think that the range is very fast and I think that this needs to be expanded.

As for the foundation, the fact that it is matte is of course really good for oily skin. As I have combination skin I do find I have to moisturise well on the dry parts of my face before using this because otherwise it can stick to dry patches. As a result, I don’t think this would work for people with dry skin.

I have found that the staying power is pretty good, I put my makeup on around 7am and don’t get home until 6pm and by then it’s gone a little bit patchy and oxidised slightly but I don’t think it’s overly noticeable despite the foundation being on for 11 hours. I think using a setting spray could prolong the livity of the product.

I wouldn’t say that this foundation is full coverage, however I would say it’s medium and pretty buildable. I find it a little more difficult to blend than other foundations, probably due to the clay, but with a damp sponge blender (I use Real Techniques) it goes on a little easier.

I’d say that this foundation is quite lightweight considering that it contains clay which makes it prefect for everyday use. I also feel that this does make my skin look much clearer.

Overall I would buy this foundation again.

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

Revolution Re-Loaded Velvet Rose Palette Review

Hi everyone!

Today I popped into Superdrug and picked up the Revolution Re-loaded Velvet Rose Palette. I’ve been meaning to get this for a little while and I was not at all disappointed! As usual, Revolution have provided top quality make up for a super affordable price.

The palette consists of 15 shades all together; 5 shimmer and 10 matte shades. These shades consist of a range of mauve, brown and golden shades, which are perfect for Autumn.

Swatches: Bottom Row R-L, Middle Row R-L, Top Row R-L

As you can see, they are really pigmented and gorgeous! They aren’t chalky and you do not have to build them up to get the pigment which is excellent. I especially love the pinkish shimmer shade in the middle. I generally cannot believe that this palette is only £4, and I’m really keen to try the other Re-Loaded palettes! This palette is going to perfect for some really lovely Autumnal looks. I think you could also use this with your Halloween make up look too!

Have you tried this palette? What other palettes would you recommend for an Autumnal vibe? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

I made up my own recipe – Apple Cider Chicken.

Happy Saturday! This evening it was my turn to cook dinner, and for it I made up my own recipe of Apple Cider Chicken. It’s a super sweet and extremely Autumnal dish!

Now before we get started, a small disclaimer. I’m sure there are other recipes of Apple Cider Chicken but I didn’t look it up online or see it in a book, I just made my own version. I thought of what ingredients to include in my experiment in my head and quickly wrote everything down so that I wouldn’t forget it. I’m also certainly not anything close to a chef, so it’s just my bit of fun. Here’s how I did it!

Ingredients (makes 2 portions):

  • 2 apples. I used cooking apples (not 100% sure what variety as they were picked from my in-law’s tree, but any cooking apples should work).
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 250ml cloudy apple cider. I used Thatchers Haze.
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons tomato puree
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of ginger
  • A pinch of salt
  • A dash of cooking oil. I used olive oil.

Method:

  1. Chop the garlic into small pieces. Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and cook them in a large pan with the oil and garlic until the juices run clear. While the chicken is cooking, peel the apples and chop them up into reasonably small pieces. Steam 1 and 3/4 of the apples. Add the leftover quarter to the chicken.
  2. When the chicken is cooked and apples are steamed, add them to the chicken. I used cooking apples as when I steamed them they went into a sort of paste which is good to thicken up the sauce of this dish. Ordinary apples could work, however they usually keep their shape so it may not have the same effect.
  3. Add the tomato puree. It sounds weird having tomato with apple, but I think that because this is such a sweet dish, the tomato puree (and the garlic) adds a savoury touch which takes a little bit of the sweetness away. You don’t need to add either if you do not wish to.
  4. Add the chicken stock, the honey and the brown sugar, stirring each ingredient in well.
  5. Add the cider slowly, and stir. Bring to boil and allow to simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir again. Leave on a low heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then serve.

I served this with just a side of broccoli and garden peas, which makes this approximately a 500 calorie meal. You could add any carbohydrates you wish though, such as chips, potatoes or rice. My fiancé absolutely loved it so I think it turned out ok! As I say, it’s very sweet so you don’t want a huge portion. The plus side – you get to drink the rest of the bottle of cider!

Let me know what you think of this dish in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Michelle xx

Starting University? Here are my thoughts and tips!

Hi everyone,

So it’s been four years since I started my history degree at Oxford Brookes University, and just over a year since I graduated with my 2:1 with honours. Looking back, there are so many things I enjoyed, so many things I wish I’d done, and so many tips I wish I had been given. If you’re about to start your course, I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope you have the most wonderful few years of your life!

Graduation Day, June 2017. A proud moment!

Five aspects I enjoyed:

1) Meeting some wonderful new friends. Megan, Rachel, Lucy and Lily really made my university experience, and I’m so thankful for these amazing girls💖

2) Learning about parts of history I’d never have learnt about if it were not for my professors. Fascinating facts and interesting viewpoints made the subject so enjoyable. The professors and lecturers have a fountain of knowledge and it’s just wonderful.

3) The feeling of getting a piece of coursework back with a good mark. After disastrous A-Levels and barely scraping through to even get to university in the first place, I was overwhelmed when my first ever piece of coursework came back marked as a First.

4) The fact that I can proudly say that I have a degree! It’s a huge accomplishment and such a wonderful reward after all the hard work in my education.

5) Just being a student! The perks of being a student are awesome. Need a new dress? Student discount girllll. Want to burst out crying? You’re studying for a degree it’s fine, it’s understandable! Not ready to adult? Don’t worry, you’re a student, you have your whole life ahead of you, enjoy being young. I wish I was a student again!

I look awful and exhausted, but here is me just about to finally hand in my dissertation! All that hard work, done!

Five aspects I wish I had done better:

1) I wish I’d been more sociable and gone out more. I’m not a clubbing person or heavy drinker, and I’m quite a socially awkward person, but I do wish I’d pushed myself to really enjoy or just try the so-called “student lifestyle” before I became an adult with a full-time job and a mortgage. I let my anxiety stop me doing a lot, and I wonder if pushing myself to socialise more would have helped me.

2) Not procrastinated. Every student is guilty of this I’m sure, but I wish I’d tried to get work completed earlier, studied harder and not left everything to the last minute and caused myself unnessary stress. Those all-nighters could have been avoided if I’d have just got on with it!

3) Spoken to my professors, lecturers and staff leads more. I felt awkward asking for help when I needed it, which is the worst thing I could have done. I should have communicated when I was struggling.

4) Taken the opportunity to use Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. In my third year I could have filled in my form and had unlimited access to the Bodleian Library, an opportunity that I let slip. Always take every single chance that you are given!

5) Worked less. I worked hard throughout university, often working at least 30 hours a week alongside my full-time degree. Needs must to have been able to afford to live, and to have been able to save, as I didn’t have any other financial support. I managed to get a mortgage with my fiancé within months of coming out of university which was amazing and meant we got the perfect house at the best time, but I do think it meant that my studying slipped a bit, especially with my dissertation.

An ordinary day in the life of me, studying for and writing up a paper in the library

My Five Top Tips:

1) Study! Sound obvious, but make it your top priority. You probably won’t get the opportunity again. Be organised, don’t leave everything to the last minute, and always try your best. The rewards outweigh everything.

2) Read! Read all of your course materials and then some. I didn’t, and I feel that with some areas I struggled because I didn’t always have a profound understanding of the topics. Anything to help!

3) Make the most of your student discount. I barely used mine because I always forgot about it, and I miss it now. I could have saved a fortune!

4) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! At the risk of repeating what I have written above, talk to your professors and lecturers and staff leaders! They are there to help you and better you, and they will always assist you in any way possible.

5) Embrace it. Make the most of your time and university, studying a subject you love, spending time with your amazing friends, laughing and loving life. Your degree, and those 3+ years, will go by in a heartbeat. Make the most of it! Whenever you think that you can’t do it, that you’re going to fail or that you’re wasting your time, please remember that you are doing great and it will all be worth it in the end!

Are you starting university? If so, what uni are you going to and what are you studying? Or have you been/are you still attending uni and are there any tips you would give to freshers? Let me know in the comments below!😘

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

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Superdrug Extracts Grapefruit & Papaya Shampoo & Conditioner

Happy Thursday!

Today I want to review Superdrug’s own brand Grapefruit & Papaya shampoo and conditioner. I’ve just used it on my hair for about the fourth or fifth time and I have to say that I am impressed.

In a world where everything is always changing, there has been one constant in my life for a few years now, and that is the Aussie Volume Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s absolutely amazing, but has one flaw, it isn’t cruelty-free (Its a Proctor & Gamble product sadly). I made a pact with myself over the summer that I would no longer buy from brands that are not cruelty-free, which sadly meant hanging up, or squeezing out, my Aussie hair care for good. I told myself that I wouldn’t waste any products that I already had, and would use whatever I had left, but would only replace such items with a cruelty-free alternative. Check out my post about this here.

All of Superdrug’s own brand products are cruelty-free, and have the internationally recognised bunny symbol on, so you can rest assured that you can trust the own brand items.

Let me start by saying that the shampoo and conditioner smell absolutely divine, during and after use. Many shampoos and conditioners smell great when washing, but the scent does not remain afterwards, or so I find. This scent subtly lingers in the hair for at least a day, so that’s pretty good in my humble opinion!

This particular addition is for fine hair, to give it a bit of a lift and volumise the strands. I definitely think it does this, and my hair currently feels lovely and ‘floaty’. My hair looks shiny, nourished and feels extremely soft! You don’t need a lot of product, and even though I have rather long hair, I’ve barely used any product because there is so much included in the 400ml bottles.

These retail at only £1.99 which is excellent, however they are currently on offer on the Superdrug website for only 95p! What a bargain! You can get your hands on the shampoo here and the conditioner here.

There are also other scents available, such as Aloe Vera & Mango, Coconut & Almond and Raspberry & Macadamia, so I’m looking forward to trying them all!

Overall I’m very pleased with these products and would certainly purchase them again. I would say that it doesn’t really lather very well which may or may not be a good thing, as I’m by no means a hair expert, but I do love the lathering feeling of shampoo as it personally makes me feel like my hair is being more throughly cleaned. I don’t think it’s quite as good as Aussie but to me it’s better to be cruelty-free! Apart from this, I am happy!

Have you ever used this shampoo or conditioner and if so, what did you think? What cruelty free hair products do you like? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle x

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