Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 31st August 2014

In my life this week…

Center Parcs

This Monday I headed off to Suffolk with my family. We had booked to go for a little holiday to Elveden Center Parcs. We actually went to the same place last year, and loved it so much we decided to go back. It was so lovely to get away for a few days and spend time with my extended family (various partners also came along). Life hasn’t been particularly easy recently, and this was a chance to have a change of scene and get away from reality a bit. We consumed numerous cocktails, went bowling, played Crazy Golf and chilled out in the hot tub. The holiday went way too quickly (isn’t it always the way?!) and we were heading back home before we knew it. We’re already thinking of booking to go to a different Center Parcs next summer!


While we were away at Center Parcs, a few of us booked to go to the Aqua Sana Spa for various treatments. My brothers and their girlfriends had couples treatments, while I chose an Elemis Detox Massage, which is said to help boost circulation, lymphatic drainage and digestion. At home I have a traditional Swedish massage every six weeks, so I wanted to try something a little different, which this definitely was! I wouldn’t say it was your typical relaxing massage, as it’s not really designed to relax you. But I certainly felt invigorated after, and the facial made my skin feel so soft and zingy!

Image found through Google

Home Sweet Home

As lovely as it was to get away for a few days, I felt myself feeling ready to get back to my own bed and routine. I’m definitely one for feeling comfortable in my routine, and I sometimes struggle when things change, so I found myself feeling a bit anxious on holiday. I also really missed our dogs and cats, so it was lovely to get back to see them. Jaffa and Alfie had struggled to settle without us, whereas Xena and Freddie had been lapping up the extra attention! I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the summer holidays and I’m meant to be starting college on Tuesday. Seriously, where has the time gone?!

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Maizy Cat Litter*

You’ve probably seen the post title and are thinking ‘What on earth is she talking about cat litter for?!’ Well, let me tell you! It’s not really the usual topic for my blog, but when Pets Corner contacted me and asked if I’d like to feature a new cat litter on my blog, I must say I was intrigued. I would call myself a lifestyle blogger, and a big part of my life revolves around my gorgeous kitty cats, Jaffa and Xena. Being house cats, they obviously spend their time indoors, which means their litter trays are pretty important! I therefore thought that a new cat litter would be a good thing for me to try. Plus I know a lot of you have cats as pets, so I hope this might be a useful post for you too!

This litter is called Maizy because it’s made from 100% Natural Puffed Sweetcorn. As it is so natural, it actually means that rather than having to throw it in the bin once it’s been used, you can actually just flush it away! Imagine all the bin space you will save and how great it is for the environment.

The granules are referred to as little sponges and are meant to be extra absorbent, which is always good for house cats as the last thing you want is smelly cat litter. I can definitely vouch for this – it does seem to clump together quickly and absorb any nasty odours. The only slight complaint we had was that, because the granules are so fine they do tend to fly all over the place when the cat starts digging. But apart from that we had no complaints about this.

We filled up our litter trays to the 6cm they recommend on the packet and let Jaffa and Xena test it out for a couple of weeks. They seemed to take to the new litter straight away, which is always a good thing, especially considering how fussy Jaffa is when it comes to pretty much everything. He’s definitely an old cat set in his ways – he likes routine and doesn’t cope well with change so I was a little worried he might not like a change in litter. It obviously shows how great this litter is then, that he took to it straight away without any problems. He’s very much enjoyed digging in it, even when he didn’t need to use it!

As I said, cat litter isn’t my usual topic of conversation for my blog, but with my cats being such a big part of my life (I mean, even my blog is named after Jaffa!) I thought it would be a very fitting post. I would definitely recommend trying this litter out if you have a litter tray for your cats. My favourite part is the fact that it’s biodegradable – I’m all for saving the environment, but it also makes it so much easier when you can simply flush it away!

Price wise it is also really reasonable, at £9.99 for 12 Litres and £17.99 for 24 Litres. It is definitely going to last us a fair while, so you won’t have to ne buying it too often, especially if you only have the one cat. Pets Corner sells pretty much everything you could possibly need. Whether you’ve got a cat, dog, bird, guinea pig or if you just like to look after the wildlife in your back garden – there really is something for everyone. They offer free 24-hour delivery for orders over £45 (which I can imagine is pretty easy to spend because they sell so many useful products!) or you can click and collect in a store near you.

I hope this post has been of some interest to you and if you don’t have a cat, I’d still recommend checking out the website for any other pets you may have!

Do you have a cat that uses a litter tray? Will you be trying out this Maizy cat litter or have you found the perfect one already?

*This product was sent to me to review but the opinions are all my own

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Itty Bitty Book Company*

I’ve been so excited to do this post but have been keeping things quiet until I knew exactly what was happening. But now I know, I can introduce you to my first ever blog sponsor – Itty Bitty Book Company! I am beyond excited to be working with them on my blog and can’t actually believe someone wants to sponsor my little blog! I remember when I first came across them on Instagram – I knew immediately that I wanted to work with them, as their products are so darn cute!

This week I was lucky enough to receive all three of their Itty Bitty Books – the books of Strength, Positivity and Motivation, which are actually very timely for me at the moment because I’ve been finding things very difficult with my depression. These books really are fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because they’re sponsoring me!

I’m a big fan of using quotes to help motivate myself, so what could be better than having a little book you can pop in your handbag, full of quotes specifically focussed on providing you with either strength, positivity or motivation.

Each book has a nice varied selection of quotes designed to inspire and motivate. These would make fantastic little gifts – either for a birthday or Christmas when you’re just not sure what to get someone, or as just a little ‘Thinking of you’ present for someone who might be having a difficult time. However, you might want to buy two so you can keep one for yourself as well!

You’ll be seeing a lot more of the Itty Bitty Book Company on my blog from now on – you should especially look out for my ‘Quote of the Day’ posts, which will probably be once every couple of weeks and will hopefully provide you with a motivational quote to keep you going over the next couple of weeks. After all, what more could you possibly need to motivate you to get out of bed the next day?!

Have you had any contact with the Itty Bitty Book Company? Or has this little post made you want to check them out?

*This is a sponsored post but all views are my own

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday Spotlight - 24th August 2014

In my life this week…


So, this week my GP rang saying she’d like to see me. I always get a bit worried when this happens but it turned out to be a rather useful appointment. I’m meant to be referred to an EDS Gastro specialist in London, but my GP and consultant are arguing about who it should be to refer me, which is very frustrating. Apart from this though, we made some progress on a couple of other problems I’ve been having. My GP is asking my rheumatologist for some advice on how she should treat my osteopenia (basically I had a bone scan and my bones are thinning too quickly, but because I’m so young for this to be happening my GP is unsure what to do with me!) She is also in contact with a urologist to get some advice on another issue, but the main outcome of the appointment was her referring me to see a cardiologist because she thinks I may have a condition called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Along with my diagnosis of EDS-Hypermobility Type, it would explain a lot of my symptoms, so I’m hoping it will be a positive move forward. There isn’t a cure unfortunately, but at least it would make sense of my symptoms.

New make-up

On Wednesday my Mum and sister took me on a little shopping trip to Reading. We managed to get a wheelchair on and off the train, which made the shopping trip possible for me thankfully. I had a little list of things I’d like to look out for in my head and one of the places I wanted to visit was House of Fraser’s beauty department. First we headed to the Mac counter, where I purchased the beautiful Dazzleglass in Extra Amps. It’s so pink and pretty and it smells of vanilla – I’m in love! After chatting with the lovely people on the Mac counter, we headed over to John Lewis and the Bobbi Brown counter. A lovely lady, who gave me a little make over with some of the products I had wanted to try, served me. I came away with a new colour corrector, concealer and brush – a little more than I’d planned, but it was all so good! I’ve made a video about the concealers actually, so watch out on my YouTube channel for that being uploaded!

The seaside!

I have been desperate to visit the seaside this summer, but finding someone to take me, as well as my health not playing ball, has meant it hasn’t been possible. However, my youngest sister needed to go to Bournemouth beach to do some Geography coursework, and she very kindly said I could tag along if I felt up to it on the day. So, Friday came and the sun was shining. I didn’t feel great but I was determined not to miss out on the opportunity to go. I’m so glad I managed it – the weather was perfect. My Dad wheeled me up and down the promenade and it was gorgeous having the sea air on my face and seeing the colour spectrum of beach huts lined up. We even got ourselves some New Forest homemade ice cream, which was delicious, before heading back home through the New Forest, seeing lots of adorable ponies.

What has grabbed your attention this week? I love hearing about people’s new discoveries and you may end up sharing something that makes it onto my list next week!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Being on Benefits

I’ve been thinking about doing this rather controversial post for a while, but in all honestly I’ve felt a bit scared about doing it. You can’t go a day without reading in the Daily Mail about how awful people are who claim benefits, or about people conning the benefit system. Yes, there are people out there who play the system and wrongly claim benefits, but I wanted to write an article from the other side of the coin because there are plenty of people who actually deserve the benefits they’re applying for.

Image from Google

There is such a stigma surrounding being on benefits, which is such a shame and often makes it very difficult to ask for help when you really need it. People on benefits are labelled as scroungers, lazy and idol, but in reality if you truly need to claim benefits you are likely to be extremely motivated and desperate to get yourself back some independence.

It’s such a shame that there are people out there who give needing benefits a bad name. After all, the reason benefits are available is for people who are too unwell to be able to financially support themselves, or who try working all the hours they can, but still struggle to support their family.

There are people out there who are more than happy to rely on benefits and not bother even thinking about the idea of working. They lie about their ailments to enable them to claim hundreds of pounds worth of benefits, and, in all reality, I have no idea how they do it! For someone who is genuinely unwell, claiming benefits is incredibly difficult. There are numerous forms to fill out, medical evidence to obtain and appeals and interviews to attend. When you’ve got a chronic health condition, claiming benefits is incredibly tiring and frustrating. How people who are not really unwell manage to be entitled to benefits is beyond me, because I know some really unwell people who have to fight tooth and nail to get the financial help they need and deserve.

Image from Google

Claiming benefits can also be incredibly down heartening for someone who would give anything to be able to financially support themselves.  In my experience I feel constantly guilty for relying on the state, when I would love nothing more to be well enough to work full time and support myself. It can be incredibly degrading having the stigma attached to you and feeling like a second rate citizen for needing some extra help. Yes there are people out there who would quite happily claim all the help they can get, but from my experience, the majority of genuinely ill people I know do everything they can to support themselves as much as possible. They don’t want to claim benefits, but in reality if they don’t they may end up homeless and unable to purchase the basics such as food and electricity.

I spend my life working on trying to build myself up enough to perhaps work part-time, so I can at least feel I am doing something towards supporting myself. But every time I have managed to get to a place where I am working a bit, I have had a massive relapse and ended up in hospital. It’s incredibly demoralising and the last thing you want to think about when you’re that unwell is filling out hundreds of forms and answering confusing questions just to get you a little bit of money to help you get by.

Image from Google

I find it incredibly sad that genuine people are tarred with the same brush as those who cheat the system, because in reality there are so many people out there who are deserving of the financial help they apply for. I expect there are also a lot of people out there who struggle every day to feed themselves and their families because they are too proud or scared of what people will think if they ask for help. Benefits are there to support people who need it, so if you’re struggling financially due to illness or particular situations, or know someone who is, please know that it does not make you any less of a person to ask for some help. It is nothing you should feel ashamed of so do make sure you look into what you might be entitled to.

It can be quite a confusing process, so if you’re unsure of what help you might be able to get, get in contact with your local CAB office for support and advice on getting the correct financial help.

Have you ever needed to claim benefits? How did it make you feel? Or do you believe the stigma that surrounds claiming benefits?

Thursday, 21 August 2014

An interview with IntheFrow

Since I started blogging almost a year ago (where has the time gone?!) I’ve come to really love the blogging community. I’ve found so many amazing blogs to read and so many lovely people to talk to. One of these charming bloggers is Victoria from IntheFrow who very kindly let me interview her for my blog. I’m seriously obsessed with her amazing purple hair and she does fantastic YouTube videos and attention grabbing blog posts. I hope you enjoy getting to know the girl behind the blog a little better.

Hi there Victoria! Would you be able to introduce yourself to my readers please?
 I write for, a beauty, style and lifestyle blog whilst also creating YouTube videos as Inthefrow. I have purple hair and a bit of an obsession with shoes. 

 When did you first start blogging, and what inspired you to start?
 I started in October 2012 after being ridiculously inspired by other bloggers. I didn’t know such a world existed until then.

What is your favourite thing about blogging?
The freedom to write about what you love, plus meeting so many other bloggers and brands is amazing. 

What’s your least favourite thing about blogging?
The negative comments that come with it and the slight bitchiness that you see now and again 

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the blogging world? Anything they should or shouldn’t do?
Don’t try to copy anyone else, do your own thing and make a statement. I can’t stand seeing bloggers that copy others. 

Some people think blogging is all about getting free stuff and exciting experiences, but we know there’s so much more to it than that. What do you get out of blogging?
Its hard work and my days are filled with things to do. I’m pretty exhausted in honesty, as I work full time too. I do love seeing people reading what I have to say though. It makes it all worth it. 

Where did the name of your blog come from?
 It’s from an Alanis Morissette song called Front Row. I just shorted in to be fashion specific and made it Inthefrow :)

Do you ever feel nervous about vlogging? Does it take a lot of self-confidence to put yourself out there?
I did at first I suppose, but not really now. I don’t care what others think, as the majority love what I do when I vlog, so negative opinions do not faze me now. 

How do you deal with negative comments about your blog or videos?
I delete them. It used to upset me, but now its best to glaze over it, delete it and move on. Those people blatantly have nothing better to do with their little lives. 

When you’re not blogging what would we find you doing?
Working. I work as a fashion lecturer at the University of Manchester. Otherwise, I’ll be out in a restaurant with a glass of wine and my Boyfriend.  

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to build up relationships with brands?
I would say that being kind and friendly will get you a long way.  

We’d love to hear a fashion or beauty tip from you – what can you recommend?
A beauty tip would be, never forget to take off your makeup, no matter how intoxicated you are. That’s the biggest no no. And for fashion, wear what you want, when you want... within reason.  

What is your favourite quote?
You Live You Learn 

Do you have a favourite colour, and if so what is it?
Turquoise and peach are my faves 

What are your blogging goals for the next year?
To grow my blog to twice its size (a girl can dream) and to work with more amazing brands and bloggers who I haven’t yet met. 

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I just hope you all enjoy reading my little corner of the web and please come back and say hey really soon :) 

Thank you so much to Victoria for letting me interview her and also for keeping such a great blog. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.

Are you a fan of Victoria’s blog? Who else would you like to see me interview? 

All photos are from IntheFrow blog

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Summer Haul

I love summer! The opportunity to stock up on pretty dresses and skirts, there’s nothing better. I wanted to show you a few of my summer finds for this year and rather than writing loads about them, I thought I’d just treat you to some photos and links. Enjoy!

Blue dress – River Island Sale

What have you been buying this summer? Have you found any good deals in the sales?