Monday, 23 January 2017

Rites Of Passage Since I Left Home

Since I left home - I've hit some major rites of passage. Of course some of these were like staying out and not being back at my mum and dad's for a month, or my room finally being taken over with shit and the ironing board so my mum can finally have the junk room she's seemingly alway wanted - but mostly, there were tiny things I've been through that made me think, "oh shit, I've actually moved out". Living here is one of my favourite things, waking up with Katy will never get old, I love waking up with a tiny dog in our room - but there are also times I've had a slight meltdown about the fact I don't live with my mum and dad anymore, and these have quickly become rites of passage since I left home, at least in my head.

1: Being Ill
Nothing makes you realise just how final moving out is than when you're sick, curled up in bed and crying for your mum. Now, my mum lives approximately 20 minutes down the road, so realistically I could have gone to her home when this was happening to me, however, being ill without her there to bring me presents, stroke my hair and tuck me into bed was definitely one of the first rites of passage when it came to moving out. Surely if I can handle a poorly tummy without my mum there to snuggle me back, I can definitely handle most other things; you know, like eating broccoli and remembering to take my vitamins and whatnot.

2: Running Out Of Money
There's nothing I can quite compare to running out of money when you've moved out. You want to be a grown up, you want to prove that you can do it - but running out of money when you first move out has definitely got to be one of my rites of passage. Sheer panic, deciding whether you're going to ring your mum, crying and living on eight quid for a solid three weeks is definitely something that makes moving out feel a lot more realistic. Definitely a rite of passage for me was when I ended up paying off £300 of overdraft fees.

3: The First Time I Ran Out Of Clothes
Not all clothes, I can always find a spare set of leggings or jeans, especially as I live with another girl, but the first time I really realised how much my mum used to do with me was when we ran out of nearly all of our knickers. This was a rite of passage for me; and I can happily say that Katy and I still regularly forget to do enough washing at least once a month. 

Those are the rites of passage I've been through since I left home, but I'd love to know if you share them, or if you've had some of your own!

Sammy xo.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Merci Handy Hand Sanitizers

Katy and I have this weird thing about nice smelling hand sanitizers - meaning that we have huge collections full of Bath and Bodyworks, Carex and Primark options; and we use them surprisingly often. I find it a good option to alcohol gel my hands before starting skincare or makeup to ensure I'm spreading as little bacteria all over my face as possible. Similarly, Katy and I often both use them before we eat in University if we've been in lectures and whatnot, and also before we put hand cream on (which seems a bit weird to me know I'm saying it). But, the point of all this was simply to say when Merci Handy offered to send me out some of their hand sanitizers to try, I was all over it and eagerly awaited the arrival of the parcel.

We had seen this brand in Sephora in Krakow, and so I already new that the packaging was adorable - the bottles are similar in shape to the old school Bath and Bodyworks bottles (the angled, rectangular type bottle as opposed to the smaller, more circular bottle that they use now) and they have really cute, almost retro type logos and labels that all correspond to the colour of the product inside, as well as the name of the product (cherry is red, black vanilla is black etc. etc. etc.) which is a nice little addition that makes the scent I'm looking for easy to find even when I haven't got my glasses on.

Now let's get onto the scents - because it's worth noting that I'd say that this is where they seem to fall short. There's seven scents overall, and I can't speak for all of them because I've only been testing three - but I will be speaking about Flower Power, Cherie Cherry and Black Vanilla; and none have really massively taken my breath away - except for the fact that they all seem to smell overwhelmingly of alcohol which literally has taken my breath away on a number of occasions. My main thing about the scent is that I'm used to the Strawberry Lace of Carex, or the Vanilla Sugar of Bath and Bodyworks - distinctive smells that you can put a name on even if you're applying them in the dark, and Merci Handy just doesn't have that.

They smell nice and they sink in fast, but Cherie Cherry and Flower Power both smell, in my opinion, like old fashioned soap - clean, and fresh, but not overly flowery or fruity as you'd imagine; Black Vanilla does smell more like vanilla than the others smell like their respective intended scents, but it's not like cake batter on your hands by any means, more like the leftover smell if you washed your hands using a vanilla hand soap three hours ago and have been touching things since then (get your minds out of the gutter, there).

Now these aren't going to disappoint for €3 per bottle (prices may vary in Sephora, but I'm gone from the Merci Handy website), they're nice little products, but don't think for a minute you're going to meet the most amazing smelling hand sanitizers of your life (much more pleasant once they're settled than the actual plain alcohol ones, though, so that's worth noting).

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, 20 January 2017

Our Travel Plans For 2017

More than our wedding, or moving out together (both of which are still fairly close to the top of our agenda, don't get me wrong), the thing that Katy and I wanted to do most this year was travel. We debated so many places, we've looked at deal after deal and in the end the only thing that stuck out was that we both shared the same want to travel to places fewer people go to; we wanted to experience the world; not just from costas and resorts, but from walking through towns, taking trains into other countries, trying different food and going to as many places that we can before we have to get our shit (and money) together, and be real adults.

So, in two weeks time; we go to Riga in Latvia. Want to know what Riga is famous for? Absolutely no clue whatsoever; there are tons of museums, art galleries and churches and we are going to go and visit them all. We've decided that we're not making solid plans this time around - we aren't making and itinerary; we're taking it as it comes, seeing as much as we can, travelling through cities and finding whatever we can find; touristy or otherwise. It'll be cold, we've got our walking shoes ready for the sheer amount of miles we're going to cover; and I'm excited to be travelling like this, to be stumbling upon things we love instead of planning it to the very last minute like we might have done in the past (partly to curb my anxiety, admittedly).

Latvia is already booked - and then when I get paid this month; Slovakia will be too. Slovakia is a big trip for me, one that I'm so excited to book - but also one that includes taking a train to another country altogether for a night to visit Vienna, something that I wouldn't have been able to do this time last year. Slovakia will mean taking trains from one country to another, with a language barrier featuring two languages I can't speak well at all; but I'm ready to try it, ready to get Duolingo on the case to cover the basics - ready to push myself to my limits.

The Summer brings Sofia in Bulgaria and an actual beach holiday together for the first time ever; then the Autumn brings Romania, then December brings an annual trip to Poland - though this year we won't be visiting Krakow; we're branching out and visiting a different city in the beautiful country to see what else there is for us to fall in love with. Travelling marks a new start for me; both in my relationship with Katy and realising what is most important to us right now as a pairing, but also individually - this marks a huge step in my recovery; a step I wouldn't have been able to take this year. I'm no longer scared of seeing the world, I'm absolutely terrified I might not see every piece of it; in one way or another.

If you have any travel plans this year I'd love to hear about them!

Sammy xo.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

DHC Pore Cleansing Oil

Now, before you start this review; this isn't the much hyped about Deep Cleansing Oil that is so beloved on YouTube, but rather it's older, arguably better, sister; DHC's Pore Cleansing Oil. I don't get on with the Deep Cleansing Oil, it's just a little much for my skin and I feel as though it clogs my pores in a really uncomfortable way, however, this is a whole different ball game. I've always thought that cleanser was cleanser, and to have a holy grail cleanser seemed a little ridiculous, but I just might have to eat my words, because DHC has stolen my heart.

Let's talk about the first revolutionary part of this product; it's an oil with a pump. You might think that this seem ridiculous, but if so I can only assume that you're not the kind of person who's tried to use an oil from a "tip upside bottle" and got it on every surface within a 6cm radius. This pump is a definite bonus when it comes to the product; I always get the right amount of product right into the palm of my hand, and there's none of that slippery hands, trying to get a lid back on a bottle scenario that I've come to hate so much. This ode to a pump has gotten a little out of hand, hasn't it? I can probably move onto something else now, really.

Now let's talk about the oil itself - which, Katy rightfully pointed out the first time that we used it, is almost like a gel in it's consistency. I know that with this being a Pore Cleansing Oil I should have realised that it wouldn't be greasy, but I just wasn't expecting it to leave my skin as matte as it does. This melts down makeup, cleans all of the gunk out of my skin and generally does seem to leave it feeling better, cleaner, and a lot less shiny and greasy than before I start. It's the best kind of oil for me personally - in that it isn't like an oil at all when it comes to the bad parts of an oil.

Now this stuff isn't cheap at £25, but it really isn't going to break the bank either and so, if you're looking for a good cleanser and you have oily skin like mine, this might just be worth shelling out the extra dollar on. All in all, I have found DHC to be worth the money that you pay on it, but I am willing to concede that if you have dry skin then this might be a little too drying, but for a deep cleanse then this could definitely be the one. £25 is definitely more than worth it for what this does for my skin - and I really would recommend it, especially to those with oily skin.

If you've ever tried an oil that did really good things for your skin - I'd love to hear what it is!

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Succession Anxiety

When I was in therapy, one of the first things that they told me was that I needed to be realistic, that I was never going to completely rid myself of anxiety and that, no matter how hard I tried not to, I was always going to dip and relapse when things got particularly hard for me. This was something that seemed a lot more ideal in theory than in practise - I saw recovery as a time when I was no longer having daily panic attacks and struggling to get out of the house, and it was, but I didn't realise that recovery from Generalised Anxiety Disorder would bring a whole new sense of anxiety; Succession Anxiety.

My recovery came with a need to prove how well I was doing. The more people complimented my steps forward, the more it felt like I had to keep pushing forward, I had to keep taking that next step, I had to go above and beyond to prove that I was 'better' now, suddenly I was okay, able to cope with whatever life threw at me. I took on University, then I moved out, upped my blog posts, started a YouTube channel and then, finally, got a job - all within the space of a few months, and it was like proving to myself and everybody around me that I'm okay, I'm fine and coping, I can do adult things and live my life without anxiety tying me down every move.

And I am okay, I am fine and coping - but this sheer anxiety to succeed has trapped me in a whole different way. I'm always juggling to make sure things get done, working late into the night, swapping pieces of work that can be left out for more important bits. My life is one conveyer belt of "what absolutely has to go out tonight, and what can wait?", and I've now taken on so much that I don't know another way to live other than this permanent position where I feel like I'm running from plate to plate attempting to keep them all spinning.

The sad thing is, I know I'm not the only one out there that's feeling like this; we are made to feel so guilty about our mental illnesses by the people around us and the media alike, that in recovery it seems as though the only options are 100%, or nothing. It's all in or bust. If you don't go the whole way you might as well have not set off at all. But, I've learned the hard way that that isn't the way to look at my life. I might not be where I want to, but I'm a hell of a lot further than where I was when I was a girl crying in bed at the idea of putting makeup on (now I just cry about makeup because I'm too lazy to battle with my eyebrows every morning).

So it's okay to say you're struggling, whether you're recovered or otherwise - it's entirely fine to drop things because you can't handle them. You are doing well enough. You are enough.

Sammy xo.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Mudmasky Recovery Mask Review

I love a good basic name and so Mudmasky ticked that box for me and immediately peaked my attention. I have to say though, this stuff is bizarre; I love a good mud mask, but surely one of the simply pleasures in life is scooping that mud mask out of a jar and slapping it on your face. Admittedly, Mudmasky takes the fun out of that now that it's in a tube, but that means that basically what Mudmasky is, is a number of face masks in one handy tube. Good for the traveller, lazy person, and those of us prone to dropping mud mask all over the bed (not me, of course!).

Now, let's get the elephant in the room (tube?) out of the way, and that's the price - because this tiny tube of supposed miracle will set you back a hefty £61. Now if it works, that's a small price to pay for pore refining, hydrating, anti-aging, brightening and smoothing if it works like it should. Well, not a small price, but probably a "worth it" type price, you understand. This is suitable for all types of skin, however you have to leave it on different amounts of time dependant on your skin type; mine being oily, I left this on for 11 minutes, and did it do miracles? Did I whip it off thinking "wow, that £6.10 face mask was worth it" (assuming you'll get a good ten masks out of one tube given the extortionate price).

Well... No, I really didn't. I left this on until I felt like a weeping angel from Doctor Who, and when I washed it off I mainly thought that my face looked exactly the same, only very, very red. Katy tried this at the same time as me and it didn't really seem to make her face react, but mine was left itchy, shiny and uncomfortable and so, to be honest, since then I haven't really risked using it again, because my skin is finally clearing up and I'm not willing to fuck that up just yet.

So is it worth it? In my humble opinion, no. It's not a bad product, but something in this definitely reacted with my face, and so it's worth saving yourself the £60 if you might have sensitive skin. Sorry Mudmasky, you almost had my heart there, but it's goodbye from me.

EDIT: I have since talked to Mudmasky, who tell me the products are higher quality adding to the price. Also, contrary to the packaging, it should be test patched on all skin, not just sensitive.

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

Monday, 16 January 2017

"When's The Wedding?"

Katy and I getting engaged was the best day of my life (except that day in the future where she finally allows me to get a puppy when we have our own house) but since, it's been met with questions. 'Will you both wear dresses?', 'Will you have a big wedding?' and the golden question of the hour, 'when's the wedding?". Don't get me wrong, I know that it's natural curiosity to want to know - you want to see our cute instagrams of our bouquets and bitch about which bloggers we did and didn't invite to our reception - I get it, but people don't seem to understand that, as excited as I am, the wedding isn't our priority right now.

We're living in Katy's parents house; so above the wedding on our list is our want for our own place. With blogging, working, studying for my undergraduate degree, Katy studying for her masters, us having seperate youtube channels as well as a joint one, and the fact we're still putting on events; even that hasn't topped the list. Being here allows freedom, it allows us more money to play with (a good thing when we're paying a small fortune to get to University every week) and although a flat would be great right now, and it comes above a wedding, our priority isn't that.

Our priority right now is the life we might not have for much longer. It's each other, and travelling (Latvia, Slovakia, Vienna, Bulgaria and Romania this year, if you might be interested) - it's seeing the world together, something that we likely won't have chance to do when I start my law conversion in a few years time, when we're married and Katy is working full time and we're looking into children and puppies. Together, we want to experience life around the world, we want to see cities that we've barely heard of before, and we want to fall in love with other countries (and their escape rooms).

And I mentioned another thing above; I want to do my law conversion. It's been a long time coming for me to try and decide what I'd like to do, but after speaking with Citizen's Advice Bureau as part of my Criminology Degree, I think I want to study family law and work as part of one of their pro-bono law programmes; this likely means that for at least a year, we'll probably live away from Merseyside, or perhaps England, and so this is high on our list of priorities. That makes it sound like we're not interested in a wedding, but that's not true - just we are strong right now, and secure, and so aware that this might be the only period in our lives that we have such flexible amounts of time in order to take long weekends off to go to foreign countries, and we're saving every penny we have for that 'rainy day' instead of our wedding right now.

So when's the wedding? I'll let you know when I do.

Sammy xo.