Thursday, 25 September 2014

What I'm Listening To - Paolo Nutini

Music is one of the best things in the world and it's almost impossible for me to fall asleep without listening to music beforehand. I am in love with Paolo Nutini's music (and Paolo himself - such a beautiful face and a wonderfully sultry voice...) and his song Better Man is one of my favourites. 
Back when I had freedom, before my university lecturers decided it would be a good idea to set me an insurmountable 43512 pieces of work which has ultimately left me unavailable for activities for the next 27 years, I spent a good part of an afternoon watching interviews with Paolo on YouTube. I can confirm he's ridiculously and effortlessly cool. Probably the coolest. Cooler than me I'd say and that takes a lot to beat. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Praise for Palmer's!

Cocoa Butter Formula products are like angels in disguise AND they smell so good.  I use these products daily - particularly the 24 hour moisturising cream, and so I cannot recommend these products enough! 
Pictured below is the Cocoa Body Butter. Its scent is a lot stronger than the usual cocoa products and I use this mainly on my legs. I like to think it has prolonged my holiday tan because I'm finding it very difficult to come to terms with the fact I no longer resemble someone who looks like they've recently been abroad! 
The original solid formula (which I have almost finished) is my all time favourite - however, it's my duvet cover's worst enemy. Warning: this is very greasy! It starts off as a solid formula (hence its name) and when it comes into contact with the heat from your palms, it becomes an oily liquid. This is the perfect product if your skin is need of an intense moisturiser and is the perfect after-tanning product. I took two of these pots on holiday with me and finished them both!
The Skin Therapy Oil is the priciest of them all, costing around £10 but I can assure you it's worth it! What lured me towards this product is the fact that it's suitable for the face and I love how fancy it sounds (it contains something called cetesomate-e complex, sounds pretty science-ey if you ask me, and anything that involves scientificy ingredients must mean it's going to make my skin a million times younger...maybe).

Palmer's also do an Olive Butter Formula and a Shea Butter Formula. I have used the Olive creams so if the cocoa scent is a bit too much, the Olive aroma is lighter and fresher!
To visit the UK's Palmer's Cocoa Buttery website, click here

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Top 5 Regrets via earthweareone

A nurse working in palliative care cared for patients throughout the final weeks of their lives and recorded, via a blog, her patients' biggest regrets. I read this and thought it was very powerful so I thought I'd share it!

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Words are not my own. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Bisque your way to skin brightness!

Anyone who knows me well, knows that coconut is one of my favourite flavours so, combining two amazing things - soup and coconuts, here is a recipe for a soup, or 'bisque' made with butternut squash with an overpowering coconut flavour. 

Butternut squash bisque with coconut cream is easy to make however it isn't a speedy process so be warned! 

You will need:
  • 1 tin of coconut milk/cream 
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or a crushed cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion
  • herbs - flat leaf parsley and chives for garnish
  • olive oil
  • a pint of vegetable stock
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 Cut the butternut squash in half and season with salt, olive oil and cinnamon. We used a cinnamon stick and crushed it over the squash, but cinnamon powder will work too! Leave the butternut squash baking in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. 

Butternut squash is full of vitamin A which is vital for healthy, glowing skin! Dice the onion into small pieces and place into a cooking pot with some olive oil, but do not start heating the onion yet. Once the vegetable is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. 

 Begin to sauté the diced onions on a low heat for 5 minutes and whilst the onion cooks, chop the butternut squash into squares and once this has been done, place all of the squash, and the coconut milk, into the pot with the diced onions. 

 After the coconut milk has been added and has slightly thickened, add the vegetable stock (a little at a time depending on the consistency you desire) and simmer the entirety of the mix for 15 minutes. 
 Purée the thick mixture until it becomes smooth and add any herbs you wish to influence the overall taste. Add any remaining coconut cream to add detail and garnish with chives!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Shorts Shots

I'm not 100% sure why I'm dedicating an entire blog post to several images of various pairs of shorts I own. I took a photo of my new lace white shorts from Chic Wish (because I am in LOVE) and realised I couldn't just upload one photo ('s a post with one photo of some shorts with no explanation...sounds rubbish) so I decided to take plenty to make things a little more interesting! Firstly, I hadn't heard of the website Chic Wish until I stumbled across a link and was slightly apprehensive about purchasing them considering the sellers are based in China; postage costs and time worried me slightly and I had visions of them not arriving! But, with £1 postage, an amazing price at just £19 - with a 15% discount for first time Chic Wish buyers and a quick-ish delivery time - I had no desire to delay the order! 

ANY excuse to show off my Mexican tan which is slowly, sadly and surely fading... 

I bought these monochrome shorts from Accessorize and they are possibly the comfiest shorts I've ever bought! Best bit is, they are extra stretchy around the waistband so I successfully shoved as much guacamole, tortillas, salsa sauce and anything else I could find at the tables in the all inclusive dining room at the hotel, with no trouble whatsoever. These shorts are perfect if you've got an 'all you can eat' approach to life, like me...

Yellow is my favourite colour and has been since I was young so when I saw these shorts in Zara, I literally jumped for joy and made a run for the checkout. 

I had been looking for a pair of cream crochet shorts for a while and scrolling through the New Look website I managed to find a cheap pair that are excellent quality! I was so excited when I found these and regret not buying the black pair. TIP - If you see something you like, always buy it. Buy it in as many colours as you wish. The pain of missing out on beautiful clothing certainly outweighs the pain of having no money. 

The next pair are from Topshop and were pretty expensive (no regrets). They aren't the most comfy to wear but when they look as pretty as they do, does it really matter? No pain no gain.

These pink pretties are from Asos - I'm not a big fan of pink but loved the bow detail. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Arriiiiiiiba! Mexico!

Buenos días mis amigos! I'm writing this with salty hair, sandy toes and super sunkissed skin. We arrived on the beautiful Carribean coast of Mexico on the 20th of August and despite the fact it has only been a few days into the holiday, the resort has exceeded all expectations. I was going to publish individual posts but instead, I'll write as the holiday progresses and upload the post once I'm home! 
The white sand beaches are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and considering a beach is my favourite place to be at, I can safely say that this Mexican beach has beaten every other beach I have ever been to! Caribbean beaches are the most amazing beaches EVER and I am so grateful that I've been lucky enough to have visited such a wonderful resort in Riviera Maya. However, the one thing I was not thankful for was the 10 hour flight journey...ten whole hours. I'm not a fan of flying but Mexico was worth the torture.
Despite the humidity and the heat, there was always a breeze - most notably at the beach, and here....
About a 10 minute drive from the hotel itself was an area called the Hacienda. Here, there were many market stalls selling bracelets, necklaces, scarves and bags. I almost bought a Mexican sombrero but you'd be surprised how big they are so I decided against it. Maybe next time!
After a tiny struggle to actually get into the hammock, it was actually very comfortable!
Mum and I found a coconut that had fallen from a tree and kindly asked (using loads of hand gestures to illustrate what we meant) a gardener to cut the top off so we could drink the coconut water found inside. You had to act quickly if you found a fallen coconut because the wild coati species had the same desire we had - to drink the water! We eventually found one that hadn't been opened and were so excited! 
Coatis are the cutest animals and bear a resemblance to badgers - but are part of the raccoon family. The animals are native to America. 
We were lucky enough to experience an entire week of sunshine and hot weather, but half way through the holiday, in typical Mexican style, we witnessed a thunderstorm! The thunder was so loud and the lightening was strikingly bright but we ran through the downpour with blue towels around us and it was one of the coolest experiences! 
A Mexican sunrise across the beach was amazing - we awoke at 6am and walked down to the beach in preparation to witness it and it was definitely worth the early morning! It didn't even require much effort to get out of bed so early because I found myself waking up early each morning anyway; jet lag may have had something to do with it, thanks to the 6 hour time difference with England.
I leave you with five Mexican men in the best outfits I have EVER seen.

Mexico was one of the best holidays and I would urge anyone to go, and I can confirm that a Mexican person's favourite answer to almost everything and anything is '...tequlia?' thank you José, not at 7.30 in the morning!