21 March 2016

Smear Tests - What to expect! #nofeargosmear

2016 became the year I got my first smear test. I received the letter which made me realise I'm not 16 anymore, however much I like to think I am.


I decided I wanted to write a post about this, after seeing some statistics and feeling shocked at the amount of women who DON'T turn up for their smear tests, also known as cervical screening.


Cervical Screening is offered to women aged 25 and over on the NHS in the UK, although many people believe that the age should be lowered. I am currently 24, and my 25th birthday is in July, so bare in mind that you could be offered it slightly earlier than maybe expected. It is to check tfor abnormal cells in the cervix. It isn't necessarily a test for cancer, but to detect abnormal changes in the cervix, which sometimes need to be removed so they cannot become cancerous. My nurse advised me that the cells would also be tested for HPV (human papilloma virus).


I was sent a letter from my doctors surgery asking me to call them to arrange an appointment mid February, and managed to get in for the beginning of March. Initially, I felt nervous and unsure, as I didn't know what to expect. Even though I have given birth and I have the Mirena coil fitted, so should be used to being prodded and probed (sorry not sorry!), it has been almost 4 years since I've been examined 'down there' so it was still scary. Especially since I had no idea about what would be used or anything.

The nurse who dealt with me at my surgery was really lovely, I'd not seen her there before, which did make me feel a little more nervous, but she made me feel very comfortable. She checked over my details and medical history, explained the procedure and talked me through the tools/instruments that would be used. She prepared the bed and asked me to go behind the curtain to change and to let her know when I was ready.

The first thing she did was use an instrument called a speculum, which is basically like a vice for opening you up so she can see in there. I remember a few years ago these where literally like big metal scary industrial instruments but now they are small, clear plastic things, much less scary and much less invading! She used plenty of lubricant so it wasn't uncomfortable at all.
Once that was in, and the nurse could see my cervix, she checked my Mirena Coil for me, and then used what looked like a very small paintbrush to collect some cells from my cervix and that was it. Done!


It literally took 2 minutes IF THAT, and yes I cringed, yes I had to squeeze my eyes closed, I'm not going to lie to you. But it didn't hurt and that 2 minutes of cringing is so worth living for years and being able to see my son grow up!

So if anyone is due their first smear, and is having doubts, feeling scared or thinking of not going, I hope this post changes your mind.

That 2 minutes of your life could be the difference between you getting the correct treatment if necessary to be able to live a long and healthy life. The likeliness is, your results will come back as normal, but if they don't, at least you can get help and treatment as early as possible. 
<center> Thanks for reading, and please spread the word by sharing on twitter with #NoFearGoSmear and encourage your female friends and family to get swabbed.
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20 March 2016

My Eye shadow Palette Collection with swatches (photo heavy)

I'm back, hurray! After a mad busy week, then discovering Pretty Little Liars on Netflix (no spoilers please, i'm only on series 1!) and Twining's salted caramel green tea, it's safe to say my blog has been well and truly neglected!

But I'm back today, I spent the weekend sorting all these photos so I could share my Eye shadow palette collection with you! 

Before we start, this is not a braggy post, it was requested on Twitter & all products were bought by myself (or gifted from family!) with my own money that I work bloody hard for :)

So enough writing, and more photos!

photos, pics, make up revolution, lipstick, superdrug
Makeup Revolution I am Sexy

make up revolution, superdrug, review, pics, photos
Makeup Revolution I Heart Sin
superdrug, pics, photos, eye shadow
Makeup Revolution Beach & Surf
superdrug, pics, photos, make up, eye shadow
MUA Elysium 
pics, swatches, make up revolution, eye shadow, superdrug
Makeup Revolution Mermaids V Unicorns
make up academy, swatches, pics, photos, superdrug, eye shadow
MUA Glitterball
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MUA Going for Gold
make up academy, photos, pics, superdrug, eye shadow
MUA Immaculate collection swatches

make up academy, review, photos, pics, superdrug, eye shadow
MUA Immaculate collection palette
make up academy, review, photos, pics, superdrug
MUA Luxe Paradise
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MUA Starry Night 
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MUA Winer Forest Matte collection
make up, eye shadows, ud, UD, debenhams
Urban Decay 15th Anniversary limited edition palette (2011)
ud, debenhams, naked, nude
Urban Decay Naked
UD, debenhams, naked, nude
Urban Decay Naked 2
eye shadow, debenhams, ud, review
Urban Decay Naked 3
ud, smoky, nudes, eye shadow, debenhams, new
Urban Decay Naked Smoky

So that's all of my eye shadow palettes! I do have a few eye shadow quads and single Eye shadows but I just wanted to stick with the larger palettes for this post.


I find with all palettes, regardless of brand or price, there are always good colours and bad colours, whether it be pigmentation or texture, usually I find one gem and one dud at least. Either way, I do love my palettes and yes I do have quite a few but i'll always have space for more haha. They are my babies, especially my UD ones. 


Have you seen any palettes here you'd like to try? Which are your favourites?

Let me know in the comments below!



28 February 2016

#Paperhaul Monthly Box | February 2016

Hello again!


Today I'm here to talk about something  I only recently discovered when browsing through my twitter feed. #Paperhaul!





#Paperhaul is a monthly subscription box from Crafty Creatives, containing high quality stationery items in coordinating designs. Each box contain a variety of goodies ranging from Postcards to Washi tape. You can find the list of what a box will typically contain here.
I was lucky enough to be sent this months box for review purposes and I'm so glad because I've found something that I would genuinely look forward to every month. 

I've always felt a bit sceptical about monthly boxes. Paying x amount and not knowing what you could get and the worry of being sent something you don't like, when you could have bought something you would actually use with the money.
This box is not like that though. You know that you are going to be sent items that are useful to you. 
Whether you are a stationary hoarder collector like me or you love sending people notes, thank you cards and letters, this box will brighten up your month.




This months box features designs by Dorkface who blogs over at www.dorkface.com.

The box contains

  • 1 Square Greeting card with Envelope 



  • 3 Mini notecards with envelopes



  • 2 Postcards


  •  1 Roll of Washi tape



  • 1 Notebook



  • 3 Gift tags


Hopefully you can see from my photos just how beautiful these items are! You get so much for the price (£10 plus p&p). All the items are printed on high quality, thick card. The washi tape is easy to tear and sticks well. Even the envelopes are strong an sturdy, none of that flimsy see through rubbish. You can really tell a lot of effort has been taken to provide the best prints and materials.

There's not one item in this box I would not use. I am just gutted I didn't find out about this box sooner after looking at the past boxes. There have been some really wonderful designs including this one and I really don't want to miss out on any in the future!

The box is the perfect letterbox size, so you will never have to run to the post office to pick it up. Everything is packaged really well, even the little piece of rope that ties the items together can be saved (if you're a crafty one like me who has to save every piece of rope, ribbon and string I come across).

I love the fact that all the designs are coordinating and themed each month instead of getting loads of random mismatched bits and pieces.

I'm not sure if I will ever send these out to my friends/family, because I'm much too selfish and want them all for myself! The notebook has gone straight in my handbag and will be used for any blogging ideas that pop into my head when I'm out and about.

If you are a stationery lover and are looking for something different I would highly suggest subscribing. Even if you just give it a go for one month, you can cancel at any time so there's no risk involved if you decide you no longer want to get it. Also for every #paperhaul box sold, they donate 10p to Post Pals, a charity which helps you send cards, letters, emails and small gifts to sick children & their siblings to brighten their day. Perhaps you could even send one of the postcards from your box to a sick child and make their day.

I really hope you enjoyed this review/haul and let me know which monthly subscription boxes you recommend in the comments below!

26 February 2016

February 2016 Favourites

It's Fridayyyyy! *does a little dance*

Hope you have all had a fantastic week, and have been putting my Weekday Hacks into action!

I know it's not quite the end of February, but it's close enough, and 3 days are not going to change my thoughts on what I've been loving!

The first thing I'm loving is painting my nails! They have grown out loads this month and I've been making a concious effort to keep them looking beautiful. Here are some of the colours I've worn this month -
Review, color club, dragonfruit, fondant, guava, green berry, amathyst, foil me once
Top left - Colour Club Polish in 'Foil me once'
Top right - Lighter colour is Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polish in 'Green Berry'. Darker colour is Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polish in 'Guava'
Bottom left - Barry M nail paint in 'Amethyst'
Bottom right -  Lilac colour is Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polish in 'Fondant', Pink colour is Barry M  Gelly Hi Shine polish in 'Dragonfruit'


Now, like a lot of people in the beauty world, my go to eyeshadow palettes are my Urban Decay naked ones. They have the perfect combination of neautral shades for a suttle eye look for the office. But this past month, they have been pushed to the side and been repaced by a £6.00! eyeshadow palette! Yup, you heard that right, this little beauty, the MUA elysium palette has taken over my morning makeup routine. I absolutley love the matte shades and the pigment is amazing.


review, favourites, eyeshadow, bargain, superdrug
MUA Elysium Palette

I've been really enjoying been out and about lately. Even though it's still really chilly outside, the sun has started to shine and it's made a big difference to my mood. I've been walking a lot more and just generally enjoyed been outside and taking in the fresh air. Here is a lovely picture I took of sunny Leeds for you all :)


Leeds, yorkshire, sunshine, west yorkshire, love

I think that's about it for this month! I would love to know what your February favourites are! Please let me know in the comments! Or if you have posted one on your blog please leave me a link!

22 February 2016

Making a bucket list!

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I recently made the last minute decision to take my 4 year old son Ollie to Disneyland Paris for the first time this coming December! I am so excited that we will be visiting such an amazing place at my favourite time of year, Christmas! December is also Ollie's birthday month so it will be an amazing birthday treat for him.

Anyway! Since making this quick on the spot decision and realising how excited I am about going, it really inspired me to make a list of all the things I want to do with my life!

This will be the 1st time I've left the UK in 12 years, so as you can tell, I'm not one for venturing out of my comfort zone. My life mostly consists of being a Mummy, working in an office and sleeping, so it's about time I took myself out of my routine and made an actual list of all the things I want to do before the stairway to the skies opens up to me.

I love seeing other bucket lists so I hope you enjoy reading mine and if you haven't done one already I really hope this inspires you to do so. I plan on constantly updating this list. When I have completed something or thought of something else I want to add, it will be put straight on here (or that's the plan anyway!)




So here goes -


  • Visit Disneyland Paris (obvs!)
  • Pass my Theory and Practical driving tests
  • Buy my first car
  • Hold a Tarantula in hope of curing my fear of huge spiders
  • Go to Build A Bear with Ollie
  • Take Ollie to Peppa Pig World
  • Visit America
  • Buy a house
  • Get back down to a size 10!
  • Visit a Christmas Market in another country
  • Have afternoon tea at Creams in Leeds
  • Own my first MAC lipstick (I know!)
  • Go to a Festival
  • Have a spa day
  • Visit Legoland for me Ollie 

What is on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!



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Weekday Hacks - How to make it through the working week!

I am writing this on Sunday evening. The worst time of the week for anyone in the same position as me who does the Monday-Friday working week. Instead of feeling down about it, tonight I am feeling quite inspired & optimistic for the week ahead. 

I was sat thinking of all the little things I am looking forward to in the hours, days and weeks to come and the things I do that make the working week that little bit easier. Obviously, me being the sharing person I am, decided I would come on here and share my tips & tricks with you all, in the hope that even if you only use one of them, your life is a bit more enjoyable :)


Food


I LOVE food! It's there for me when I'm happy, sad, angry, excited.... you get the picture (I'm an emotional eater OK?!). Anyhow... I find I look forward to the week so much more if I know I have healthy, nutritious & delicious food in the house. 

Having your favourite healthy breakfast ready and waiting for when you get up in the morning will make getting out of bed that little bit easier. Make sure it's filling enough to get you through the morning. Choose your favourite healthy cereal, prepare some fruit the night before and top with yoghurt or pick a lovely looking wholemeal bread for toasting.

If you cook a roast on Sundays, buy a bigger cut of meat than you would normally get, so you can use the leftovers for lunches during the week. If you are a vegetarian, you can prepare extra veggies for using throughout the week. You are stood chopping, preparing and cooking them anyway so you may as well do a few more and save yourself stress on a Monday morning! Extra stuffing is a good one for leftovers too!

Leftover meat and vegetables can be stuffed into a pitta, rolled in a wrap or stacked in a multi seeded bun with a little bit of your favourite sauce/dressing (I would suggest taking this in a small Tupperware pot to avoid soggy sarnies! Alternatively, you could take along with a portion of microwavable rice or a jacket potato if you have access to a microwave at work. 
I promise you by making a conscious effort to do a little bit of preparing on a Sunday if you have chance it will make a difference.




Have Plans!


I'm usually one for living life as it comes, or basically just watching the time fly past while I've still done nothing, so this year I've made the effort to actually plan things for the future and it's gave me so much more hope and makes me realise that I have things worth working for, rather than feeling like I'm just working to pay the bills.
It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive! A few low cost ideas are
  • Plan a night for a few friends/family to come around and play board games or video games and have pizza
  • Have a cooking night with the family - look around the kitchen together and see what ingredients you can put together!
  • Do a £5 challenge - Set a date to go to the local 2nd hand shop and find a film you haven't seen before, a board game you've never played or if you're spending the night alone a good book to read (you will probably even have spare for a bar of your fave chocolate ;) ). You will be amazed what you can pick up for less than a fiver when you look. It's also a great one for kids to help them understand money. You could even go into a supermarket and see what ingredients you can put together to make a family meal for £5!
  • Meet a friend in a local cafe for a drink and a good catch up away from distractions at home
  • If you're a parent, arrange a babysitter and just have a night being you! Hot bath, takeaway and trashy TV! You could even take yourself to the local pub for one or 2 drinks and a change of scenery to make the most of the "freedom"!
If you do happen to have spare money (what's that you ask!?), here are some more ideas
  • Book a holiday! I know it's an obvious one, but book a holiday to somewhere you have never been before. Get a countdown app on your phone and every day is a little bit more exciting!
  • Arrange a pamper day - There are so many websites now that allow you to book cheap pamper treatments, Treatwell is a great site for finding low cost beauty treatments in your area. You can book a spa day, a package of a few different treatments or just get one treatment! Try something new or choose something relaxing like a facial or massage, you will really thank yourself
  • Plan a fun day out. Whether you like Animals, Harry Potter, Lego or crazy rollercoasters, there are attractions & museums all over the country so you are bound to find something you like!
  • A night in a hotel with the other half is always a good one ;) make it a nice surprise for them too


Keep it clean!

Little things can have a huge impact on how you feel during the week, you should take any given opportunity to do the tiniest bit of cleaning - clear space = clear head in my opinion!
  • When you get up on Saturday morning, before you head into the kitchen, grab the wash basket and take it with you! While you are waiting for the kettle to boil for your morning coffee or waiting for the toast to pop up, stuff your work clothes into the washer and let it run. Let them dry outside if the weather is good, otherwise stick any items you can in the dryer. Get them ironed and hung up as soon as you can, this way you know you have clean clothes ready for the week
  • Wash the dishes after every meal! You are taking your dirty plate into the kitchen after eating, instead of just sticking it in the sink, wash it along with any cutlery you have used, this way you don't have a big pile of washing up waiting for you at the end of the day and you have more time for relaxing!
  • Find time on a Sunday to vac, sweep & dust. Stick some music on and get it done! It will take you less than half an hour and you will feel so much better waking up to a nice, clean home come Monday morning!
  • Never go to bed with the kitchen messy! There is nothing worse than waking up, heading to get some breakfast and been greeted by the smell of last night's cooking and the sight of the dishes. Make sure the last thing you do before bed is to wash the dishes and wipe the worktops with disinfectant! This will stop any stubborn stains from building up and a much more pleasant place for preparing your breakfast in the morning!
I hope you take some of these suggestions and add them to your working week! If you enjoy reading hack posts, you can see my Beauty Hacks here.

If you enjoyed reading this post please let me know and also what are your ways of keeping the stress at bay through the working week?

I am planning on doing a series relating to food, please let me know if this is something you are interested in seeing.

Have a fabulous week!
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15 February 2016

What turns me away from your blog?





I can't believe it's only been 3 weeks since I started this 
blog?! Not even a full month!It feels like I've been doing this forever and I've met some lovely people in such a small amount of time, so thank you to all the people who do read and leave lovely comments.

Even though I've not been blogging myself for long, I have been reading blogs for many years and I read through loads every single day. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean I'll be coming back to read them all again.
I'm not saying that what is on your blog is wrong, every blogger has the creative freedom to have whatever they like on their blog (as long as it's legal of course!), but it does mean that if it's too hard for me to sit and read with an extra large bar of Galaxy and a cup of tea, I won't be returning.

I think its very important to make your blog easy to read without distractions. After all, when you have spent so much time writing the post for your readers, the last thing you want is for them to be turned away by something silly.

So today I am sharing with you the things that put me off a blog.


Animations

Any kind of animation on your blog post or in your sidebar is going to instantly distract me from the actual post. Instead of reading I just find myself staring at these GIF's and slide shows that seem to be appearing everywhere and hurting my eyes


Font Colour

If you have any kind of bright coloured font I am not even going to try and read your blog. It's hard to read regardless of the colour of your background. It's best to stick with Black and Grey, and if you really want some colour in their, stick with the darkest shade of said colour.


Font type

Although some of the fancier fonts look really beautiful for titles etc, writing your whole blog post in French Script MT is going to make me want to cry, especially if I've been drawn in by the title of the post and it's something I'm interested in reading. It's like finally having the money to by something you really want then getting to the store and it's sold out. Disappointing.


Background

I know that pretty pink flowers, bright coloured balloons and 1 million butterflies are all beautiful things to look at, but the background of your blog is not the best place for them. Keep it simple, then your main focus can be the post you have spent hours writing and publishing. 

No Images

If you're writing about a particular item and you don't display photos of said item I'm probably going to skip past the post. I'm not saying you have to have a £1000 camera and a kitchen full of marble worktops for a perfect photo background, I don't! I also work full time and don't see daylight so can't always take the best quality photographs, but if I really want to get a post up and I know it's going to be weeks until I can take some good quality photos myself, I will just use public domain images or contact brands to see if I can use some of their website photos. Most of the time brands are happy to oblige, because its a win win situation for them. 


Through finding new blogs to read everyday, these are some of the things I find almost instantly turn me away. What do you find puts you off from reading a blog? and do you disagree with any of the above?

Let me know if the comments below!