Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How Do We Travel So Much?

If there's one question that Katy and I seem to get asked at least once a day lately, it's how on earth do we travel so much? I mean, it's actually "how are you affording it?" but that doesn't really make sense as a standalone question and so I opted for the more all-encompassing, and much more click worthy title of; how do we travel so much? There was a lot of time during our relationship where Katy and I simply couldn't afford to travel, we could barely afford to live away from home, and we definitely couldn't afford to go to America (like we are next year). So, what changed that made us suddenly able to afford multiple holidays a year?

This isn't about to get all philosophical - but in basic terms, what changed was us as people. In the time that we were apart we learnt what mattered to us, we had cancelled our lease on what was set to be our joint flat, and about a month into living with Katy's parents we decided that living together in our own space was a secondary dream for us, and so was our wedding; because our primary dream suddenly became clear; we wanted to travel. We wanted to take the chance to travel when we were paying minimal rent, when we could come home to food in the fridge, and people to look at our photographs, and the fire already lit. Before we created our own life together, our own world, we wanted to explore the one that was already out there.

So, we started working out how we could afford to do it. It started with jobs, then extras hours, then freelance on top of that. Then came the cull; we couldn't spend as much as we were spending on makeup, or fast food, or taxis - we had to learn to live basically so that our travelling was anything but. Essentially; we made a decision. We made a decision that travelling was a priority to us; it was more important to us right now than saving for a wedding, or paying rent on a flat, or having our own dog, or having pizza twice a week, or getting taxis when we could walk or get buses.

We learn to use the system so we could afford it; £1000 Thomas Cook all-inclusive packages are still out of our budget if we want to pay upfront (and we do), and so we became all too familiar with Air BnB and cheap flights from Skyscanner and Norwegian airways - we quickly realised that it wouldn't be pools and panoramic views, but with a little bit of determination and searching it definitely could be tiny apartments in perfect locations. We learned that whilst we might not be going to capitals, we could explore beautiful cities and see things our friends might never see - and it's amazing, and magical, and exactly what I wanted from my travelling experience.

What I learned about travelling when we work minimum wage jobs and freelance sporadically is you have to make it your priority, and you have to be willing to dig for offers; but more than anything, you have to be flexible. It'll be worth every penny, trust me.

Sammy xo.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Magnitone Barefaced

I'm lazy. Not like won't get out of bed in the morning type lazy (although I am that too) but in the context of this blog, I'm 'definitely-not-going-to-wash-my-face-when-I-could-use-these-make-up-wipes-right-here' type lazy. I love washing my face, I like how it feels when it's done and it's just so satisfying and life-affirming when you know that you've been together enough to at least wash your face with something more than cotton wool and a micellar pad this morning. Call me fickle (in fact seriously do, I made my blog around that as a trait), but having a gadget or something pretty to help me feel more inspired when it comes to washing my face each morning definitely helps; and luckily for me, the Magnitone Barefaced is both.

When Magnitone sent me a Barefaced Brush (they sent me some other goodies too, but we are testing them to the max and so the review for those will be with you in a while) I thought it was a little gimmicky. Cute? Sure, it was pastel pink and came with it's own adorable pouch, but worth the money? Well, I wasn't so sure. These adorable little face brushes come with a not so adorable £70 price tag - and that's a whole lot for something that I didn't think I was going to get much use of, and so I took to trying this at least once a day so I could get into a routine with it and let you know whether or not this was truly worth the money, if you used it to it's full potential.

I tried using this each morning, with my normal cleansing routine every night to take my make up off, and I don't have sensitive skin, but this really did seem to be a little much for my skin, and after a few days it seemed to be really itchy and irritated whenever anything came into contact with it. It wasn't such a big deal, but something to bear in mind - however, once I took this down to just using it every other day, it seemed much better. To be fair to this, I'm willing to retract my initial thoughts and statement about it seeming like a gimmick, because unlike other brushes in the past that I've used, I'm tempted to say that this facial brush works.

I think that at first my doubt stemmed from the fact that this doesn't seem to move much; it definitely isn't a facial brush that alarmingly spins around with bristles that seem to dance in strange directions. Instead, this is a slightly moving brush head that feels as though it's barely moving at all on your skin, but don't be fooled - there's a lot of power behind such a powerful movement, and my face does feel really clean, and almost exfoliated by the time I'm finished. You really don't need to do this once a day in my opinion, every other day is more than enough.

Beautiful, effective and a really pretty colour - it seems like Magnitone has outdone itself with the Barefaced brush. If you've tried a Magnitone, I'd love to hear your opinions!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Overwhelmed, Money Troubles, An Update.

I'll be honest with you guys, I'm overwhelmed. It feels strange to sit here and type in this box, I feel as though it's been months since I've done this, not weeks - as I'm doing it, my mind is half here, and half somewhere totally different, thinking about the task that I have to do next. It's been a long time since my brain has been fully occupied, since it's had more than one job to do, since it's had to think, process, develop ideas, keep in a certain head frame. It's been a while since I've done a job outside of my blog, outside of events, writing for companies and trying out makeup.

Some of you may know that for the last year or so, I've really struggled with money. I'm not talking about the idea that I've not been able to go out with my mates because I'm on my last tenner a week before payday, I'm talking about the fact that I got turned down for credit cards, I was in so much debt that my debit cards were blocked, I was out of money, out of luck and I couldn't get a job for shit. For the last year, I have been in a constant cycle of sleepless nights, trying to work out how I'm paying to get to uni the next day, and never being able to buy anything that I like because I simply don't have the money; whether the item was £1 or £900.

I've had to buy myself out of some seriously big overdraft charges this year, I've had to take £1400 out of an overdraft; and I'm only now starting to get into the swing of my job trying to pay this off and pay for the life that we want to have; I'm freelancing, working on overtime, working all the time - still trying to keep up with university, a social life. I'm nearly at the point where I've paid off my debts and I'm learning to save better, budget better, work harder, and more, for the things that I want, that I want for Katy and I. I'm overwhelmed, and I'm trying - but I still haven't managed to find that balance between work, play, and the ability to afford life.

I've neglected Little Fickle - and though it's not the end of the world - it certainly seems like a physical manifestation of what I've let slip in my life in the last few weeks. I love Little Fickle, I built it up from the ground to where it is now; which is at least the height of a curb. I've let my relationships slip, I've not slept enough - I've been overwhelmed trying to dig myself out of a hole that I've been in for over a year now, but I'm getting there. I think. I'm trying.

So that's where I've been - bear with me, if any of your care that I've been away, and I'm trying my best to get back into a routine.

Sammy xo.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Wow London Fidget Spinner

I'm just about the worst person when it comes to fidgeting - I like to sit, tap, flick and drum; pretty much anything annoying to pass the time. This can get annoying; mostly when I make an annoying noise or incessantly jiggle the bed (in a non-positive way, you understand) - and so when Wow London let me try out one of their fidget spinners, I was all about this idea; something that was especially made for fidgeting, and wasn't going to wind my fiance up to the extent that I sometimes think she might break up with me purely because of how annoying I can be? Count me in.

These are, in essence, a metal mechanism that twists in the middle, you hold it and spin the pegs around and that's essentially it. Sounds pointless, but realistically this really works as a device to get my anxiety out when I'm feeling really stressed and I don't really know what to do with myself. Mine is bright green, and they also sent me some caps for it (these are extra, and I believe that they cost £1 on top of the original fidget spinner which costs £8.50, or at least in the style I have) - but we'll get onto the caps later.

It took me a while to get to grips with this, I seemed to constantly get it caught on my fingers, it seems to be slow and catch a little - but since using it a few times a day, I've found that really all I think this needed was for it loosen up, because now it's generally much smoother and doesn't catch as much. I find, personally, that although the caps look better, it doesn't seem to spin as effectively when the caps are on; but that's just a preference thing, and in the end, it's only an extra £1 so it's not exactly going to have broken the bank if you decide that you don't like them.

Wow London are a small husband and wife team, but the effort that goes into their products is abundantly clear, and the prices still remain low for some really good quality products. I love my fidget spinner, but for now I'm mostly looking at what I can buy next (I've got my eye on the Bulbasaur Planter personally, but everything that they sell is pretty cool to be honest). All in all - the fidget spinner is something special, but it's the actual company that had me sold.

If you've tried a fidget spinner or anything similar, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

I Have Felt

(TW: SH/Suicide)

The last year has been a whirlwind of feelings; I feel like on this blog I have felt every single type of emotion possibly; I started a miserable, unhappy, broken girl - and I've ended up something different; realised my own strength. This is a post to reflect; a post written nearly a year clean of self harm, a post written over a year from my near suicide attempt, 6 months since leaving therapy, a fiance to a beautiful woman I never saw being in my life anymore. This is about feelings, the last year, and a whole lot of change.

I have felt broken - lost, worthless, unfixable. I have felt as though my life is going absolutely nowhere, there is no point in continuing. I have felt as though I have nothing to offer the world, as though I am nothing more than dust in the universe, I have felt like I deserved the worst things that happened to me, the things that I did to myself. I have felt as though this world would be better off without me, as though I was nothing but a burden and a weight on those around me. I have felt a hundred things that I don't feel anymore; I know what it's like to feel as though I am a gift to the world, as though the people around me are lucky to have me, I know the things I did to myself to survive don't define me, things that happened to me were far from my fault. I have realised what it's like to feel worthy of the life that I've created.

I have felt alone; I have felt as though I will never go out of my house again, never laugh with my friends again, I have felt as though it would be me and top ten scariest on YouTube from now until forever. I have felt as though I had no future, there was no way that somebody would ever love me, I would never have children, or a house, or pets. I have felt alone in a way that I don't feel anymore; I know what it's like to fall asleep next to the person I love the most wearing my engagement ring and planning for our future house and children. I know what it's like to laugh with my friends, to reach out to them when I need help, to know I'm never alone no matter how much it can feel like I am sometimes.

I have felt sad, and anxious, and like my illnesses define me - and I still do sometimes; but I have learned so much in the last year. I have learned that my brain function differently, I have learned that I will always feel too deeply, react differently; I will likely need to take anti-depressants on and off throughout my life, I will always have bouts of anxiety no matter how well I learn to control it. I don't feel that this defines me anymore; I am funny, and strong, and I have a voice I use for important things - all of this defines me more than my illnesses.

So that's the past year; I have felt a lot of things that I don't anymore, and hopefully that goes on.

Sammy xo.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lulu Guinness Tangle Teezer

I have hair so long and so thick that it would make Rapunzel jealous. Okay, not so much - but it is a lot of hair to be tackling on a daily basis and so anything that makes it a little easier to manage is gratefully accepted in my books. Katy and I have both used Tangle Teezers since we got them from HQHearts for Valentine's last year and I thought mine was doing a pretty good job; but when I was offered a new Compact Styler, I jumped at the chance and was surprised to see just how much a new Tangle Teezer had to offer beyond what my old, tattered one could a year down the line.

We need to start with the fact that Tangle Teezer have a lot more to offer in terms of designs than when I received my original pink brush - and so this time I opted for the Lulu Guinness Vertical Lipstick Print Compact Styler (although this is a pound or so more expensive at £13.50 unless I'm mistaken). This is a really pretty geometric print on the top, with a soft pink underneath where the bristles are and, like all the compact stylers, comes with a cap to keep the bristles in check. The first thing that I did notice, and as someone that brushes her hair in the shower this is a really good thing, the newer compact styler I have doesn't seem to take water on inside the casing, something that really frustrated me about my older one, and so it seems like some design flaws may have been hammered out along the course of the last year or so.

I think it's worth saying that if there's one thing that this has made clear to me, it's that I need to change my hairbrush more often than I am. I always pull the hair out of my hairbrush and clean it, but since getting a new Tangle Teezer with no bend bristles, it's clear that it's not just about hygiene, but also about how well the brush works - especially when it comes to bristles as fragile and easy to manipulate as the Tangle Teezer. Once again though, this definitely seems like a design flaw that's starting to be hammered out in comparison to my older offering; with the bristles seemingly managing to handle much more before bending or becoming more flush with the bottom of the brush.

All in all - it seems like Tangle Teezer are only going from strength to strength and, as good as the first offering I had off them was, they're hammering out the little design flaws to make the Tangle Teezer the ultimate brush. I opted for the detangling option, but now I'm looking into whether I should try and get myself one of the finishing brushes or one of the blow-styling brushes in order to see how they hold up compared to the counterparts I've already tried (don't even get me started on the Star Wars themes, because I'm kicking myself for already now having a new one and not being able to justify buying a stormtrooper one!)

If you've tried the blow-styling or finishing brushes, please let me know what they're like, because I definitely want to see if they're worth buying!

Sammy xo.
Contains PR samples/items gifted to me by companies however all opinions are my own - please view my disclaimer for more information.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

MyMallBox Updated Review

It's no real secret that I got a package from America delivered by MyMallBox last year, and I raved about them from then until now; in my blog post, on my twitter, to anyone that wanted a third party shipping company. Recently though, I went back with them to have another package delivered, and I had a very different experience than I did with my original blog post. This isn't a big change in heart because I paid for this delivery and the shipping was paid for me last time, it's just that I want to make sure I'm always up to date with the companies I promote, and this one may not be as amazing as I thought it was last year when I first used it.

I pretty much used MyMallBox purely to get Bath and Bodyworks shipped here, although there were also some other bits that I had already stored at my MyMallBox address such as cereal and cookies which I added to my parcel. The first thing we need to talk about is the biggest thing that's changed my mind on using the service; and that's the huge jump in price. MyMallBox, when I used it the previous time, had a sort of economy option that meant that you would wait longer, but your delivery would be much less expensive than the top option; this is something that has been stopped by the site, seemingly without telling people that this is no longer an option. I used my original email address again this time, and I wasn't made aware of this change via email or otherwise, and I've read on Twitter that this is the case with a lot of people.

Similarly, last time I had items shipped from America I used it to get hand sanitizers from Bath and Bodyworks, something that I know other bloggers did too - however this time, these were removed from my package and seemingly destroyed; they have seemingly been named as hazardous materials by the company - and although this is fair enough; they were happily sent to me when doing a review post last time even though my entire package was repackaged. I'm reluctant to say that MyMallBox allowed them to be shipped last time in order for a positive review; but looking at bloggers posts and seeing that this time they've been taken out, this sadly does look like the case.

I'm not saying that MyMallBox is a bad company - I used them this time despite the changes, and I'll no doubt use them again; the products always come in a great condition and, in fairness, I paid £42 for shipping to get my parcel within 48 hours and with no extra customs charge. Without a doubt, they're a good company - but many changes have happened seemingly without making customers aware, which is both frustrating and means that a lot of items now can't be shipped that were previously put in blog posts clearly saying they had been shipped.

Like I said, not bashing the company, just popping an update up in case you were considering using them - just be aware that there are now things that they used to ship and now won't, and there are now difference in costs that are only really clear when you get through to actually shipping your items. They're worth using, just be aware of the changes.

Sammy xo