Going dairy free

No you haven’t stepped into some kind of alternate universe and yes you are on the right blog. Nor is this title click bait to get you questioning my sanity …. I, Laura Grant (still weird to say) am going dairy free!

Today (18/4/17) marks day 15 of going dairy free and I honestly thought my world would have imploded by now but alas I’m still here, surviving without cheese. Who’d have thought it eh!

Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself because you may recall I gave up cheese for 1 month before my wedding but this time is different, this time the aim is forever and it’s all dairy products. If I think about the long game it scares me a little… never being able to order a Domino’s alone fills me with sheer terror. But in all seriousness I couldn’t have picked a better time to go dairy free. Our shops have shelves stocked with so many options, restaurants and food stores are getting on board, we are evolving. This is great for me because it means that I don’t actually miss out on anything.

Okay let’s back track a little, why am I going dairy free? My main reason behind it is for my skin. I’ve read so many articles and watched a million videos all with people saying dairy and acne go hand in hand. Reports of people with beautiful skin after years battling with acne and frankly I want in! I’ve suffered with acne of varying degrees ever since I was about 12 and I am sick of it! I’m so exhausted of feeling rubbish about my skin.

For years people have told me to cut out dairy but I was addicted. This may sound extreme but I honestly think it’s true! Cheese is SO addictive, it’s bloody delicious but it’s not serving me so it’s gone!

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit but I feel pretty secure in my abilities at the moment, in fact I’m actually really enjoying it. I’m the type of person that always needs a project, something to research, to put all my energy into and at the moment this is it. I’m experimenting in the kitchen and it’s got me excited! I love food so to put my energy into better food choices is a great plus.

Another factor that’s got me cutting out dairy is the Kinseology appointment I went for and I will go into more detail on this soon. The lady I saw came to the conclusion that I was intolerant to cows milk, as well as white products like white pasta and bread and advised that I go dairy/gluten free but gave me some exceptions. I can have small amounts of goat/sheep/buffalo products and small amounts of wholegrain.

From researching what I can and cannot eat I have found myself on many occasions in a YouTube deep dive, mainly on the vegan channels. Searching dairy free gives a lot of content but vegan brings up so much more which will obviously be dairy free too. The interesting thing I’ve found from doing this is the change in my thought process towards food and my growing interest in dabbling with veganism. Like I said before, It’s becoming so much easier to be vegan/dairy free/gluten free. Restaurants and shops are recognizing that these are real things that need to be catered for and you aren’t left munching on a boring salad.

I plan to do a post soon on the dairy free/vegan alternatives I’ve found / things I’ve been making but I would love to hear your suggestions. The vegan community is so amazing at sharing useful links and tips and the more I think about eating animal products the more it doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t know why it’s taken so long! Now I’m not saying I am currently and I may never become totally vegan but it’s something I am exploring at the moment. No pressure!

A lot of people have been asking how I feel and has it made a difference but I personally think it’s too early to tell at the moment. I’ve just come out the other side of laryngitis and still suffering an annoying cough, I’ve also just had a pretty crap break out so I’ve got a long way to go yet.

I’m looking forward to finding and possibly creating more content around this and really would love your input 🙂 the best thing I’ve found so far is the hashtag #accidentalyvegan if you haven’t already I recommend you check that out – you will be surprised what’s on it.

Peace and Love xoxo

The Strand – Chelmsford 

In keeping with the whole self care thing I’ve got going on at the moment I decided to go get my hurr did! Usually I leave it approximately 6 months between dye jobs but I wasn’t feeling my hair, it had gone brassier than usual and was so dry… it needed some love.

For the past 5 or so years I have favoured having my hair done at home, partly for ease but let’s get real, it was mainly to save some pennies. In that time I had forgotten just how amazing going to a salon could make you feel!
True I did get some discounts so the price didn’t sting me quite as much but the whole experience just beats getting your hair done at home. Of course we don’t always have this Luxury but once and a while I think we deserve a trip to the salon!

When you’re at home you can see the mess you need to clear up, you’re thinking about the dinner that needs to be cooked, you may even be doing odd jobs while waiting for your hair to develop. BUT if you head to the salon you leave your woes behind, you get to take some real me time and everyone knows hairdressers are basically therapists with hair skills so there’s that too.

 On Thursday last week I had booked a half day from work. I left the office around 12.30 and headed into the bright British sunshine (yep it was one of those rare days where it’s 20degrees in march and you’re wondering whether your legs are in a state worthy of ripping your tights off – mine were not). I had booked this time off to get pampered, I mean who am I? Who books a half day to go to the hairdressers? Well you should cause it was bloomin delightful! Way less stressful than going on a busy weekend too.

I headed to the strand in Chelmsford for my treatments. The girls in there are SO lovely, from start to finish I really felt looked after. I’d gone in a few days earlier for a patch test and consultation and left feeling really positive. On this particular day I was looked after by Danielle, I was taken upstairs to the colour studio where my bleach was applied. I had a great chat with Danielle and she made me feel really comfortable, I think this is so important cause not only are you trusting these people with your hair, if your like me and have tones of it you will also be spending a fair few hours with them so it’s critical you get along. Luckily this was not an issue as Danielle was a complete babe. Whilst my bleach was developing I was given a glass of wine, some mini cheddars and a few mags to read (all included in the price). This certainly doesn’t happen when you get your hair done at home but would be a great touch, note to mobile stylists/beauty therapists…. bring wine and snacks! 😉 I should also note here that my scalp is a bit hit and miss with bleach, it can be unbearably itchy and it’s previously scabbed but I didn’t have any problems with this bleach – if you don’t get your hair bleached you just won’t understand the pure delight at finding one that doesn’t make you want to rip your head off!

Once my bleach was ready it was back downstairs to the sinks. Getting your hair washed by a hairdresser has to be up there with one of the best things in the world right? 1. You don’t have to wash your hair now and 2. That head massage though! Also totally beats having your hair washed over the bath! I believe I also had a treatment put on here but I’m not 100% sure (either way my hair felt bloody fantastic at the end) then for the toner, this was all done at the sink, washed off and to the chair we went.

Originally I had decided to have quite a big chop, I’d had the tiniest of trims in July last year and prior to that god knows when it was cut last so I felt like my hair needed it. But I couldn’t do it! Firstly I don’t think I could pull off the shorter hair my toned 15 year old frame could and secondly long blonde summary flower crown hair is a bit of me! I’ll deal with the sweat fest and the festival braids just won’t be as good with short hair… have I convinced you enough?! I sure convinced myself 🙂 


I absolutely loved the cut, my hair looks so much fresher without having too much off! I also really liked the colour but had a feeling the roots where a bit off, I put it down to the lighting in the salon and headed home with a big ole smile on my face!

Although the next day i still felt like my roots weren’t quite right, I mean it wasn’t totally obvious to someone who wasn’t me but I could see it so I messaged the salon for advice. They booked me straight back in for the next Tuesday and the lovely jade put an extra helping of toner on my roots. Basically the toner wasn’t left on quite long enough but now it’s great! I mean there are still parts of my hair that are slightly different colours but I reckon this will only get rectified by a full re-bleach which could jeopardise the quality of my hair. I’m also really impressed with how the whole thing was handled by The Strand AND I got to have 2 trips to the salon and an extra hair wash so it’s not all bad… in fact it saved me a job!

Now I have lovely fresh new hair and a really hard decision to make when it comes to getting it done next time, can I splash out on the better experience?! Lets hope so!

Peace and love xoxo

*** Please see disclaimer

Feeling focussed 

I don’t know what on earth has happened to me or how long it will last but I seem to have been injected with some crazy motivation!

This morning I got up WHEN MY ALARM WENT OFF, this is absolutely unheard of. My usual morning routine consists of me getting up half hour before I need to leave, flapping about like a stressed out pigeon and basically running to the station leaving my shins in tatters.

Today was different. Today I glided out of bed, got dressed, washed my face and brushed my teeth then sat and did a 10 minute guided meditation using the headspace app – WHO AM I?!

I feel like this may have stemmed from my weekend in Manchester, where I visited my pal Millie (and went to see Craig David – yes my internal 8 year old was bloody loving life!) Mills are her bf are SO organised with their food prepping and shopping lists and overnight oat breakfasts as well as living hectic lives of work volunteering and exercise. Seeing them go about and discuss this routine sparked something inside of my like YES! I can do this, in fact I have done this in the past and life is just way more smooth and lovely.

I got home on Monday evening had a bath (to wash off 4 hours of travelling) and headed straight to Tesco for a big ole food shop. I had already decided, after discussions with my acupuncturist, that I wanted to cut down on cheese and dairy in general, so I catered my food shop around finding alternatives and planning meals in my head.

Due to a hospital appointment I worked from home on Tuesday which couldn’t have been more perfect. Not only did this help my mental state allowing me to avoid yet more travel after enduring the trip from Manchester to home (which was unpleasant due to delays and me feeling sick the entire way) but it also gave me time to food prep (I basically roasted everything so it wasn’t difficult).

This morning I woke up and I had already decided what I was going to wear, 1 stress down. My breakfast and lunch was prepared for the day. I did my guided meditation which gave me time to just chill and check in with myself and then I could get ready at a reasonable pace. I also managed to fit in my new fave water concoction (superberry powder, ground ginger and fresh lemon shaken, not stirred), put the washing up away AND curl my hair.

Being organised and productive with my morning really makes me feel like I can go out and nail the day! Checking in with myself through meditation also allows me to fully wake up and be alert. It also helps when the sun is shining giving you that instant positivity.

The last couple of days I have also tried to be technology free just before bed. I picked up a copy of Women’s Health with my shopping on Monday and have been reading that in the evening (although I’ve finished it now.) As well as this I’m trying not to scroll through social media as soon as I wake up and instead wait till I’m on the train to work.

I mean it’s been one day so I’m totally getting ahead of myself here but I love this feeling! Please let me keep this motivation universe! I promise I’ll do good things in return. I’m hoping that if I can keep getting up on time and possibly even slightly earlier (I know I’m pushing it here) that I may even be able to fit in a morning yoga sesh!

Pray for my motivation guys and let me know if you have any tips on keeping this up 🙂

Peace and Love xoxo

Skincare routine (for acne)

 Following from yesterday’s post I thought I would go a little more in depth into my skincare routine at the moment. I’m in no way saying that this is perfect and I’m not a skincare expert but I think you will agree from my “before and after” pictures that in less than a week it seems to have made a big difference!

My “before” picture was taken last Friday morning and the “after” or should we say first progress picture was taken this morning. I will mention however that I took them in different rooms of the flat so the first picture is in natural lighting and the second is in my bathroom which has no windows. This wasn’t done on purpose, I thought I had taken the first lot in the bathroom then didn’t realise till I’d put make up on so this will have to do for now… you get the gist!

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As you can see my face looks a lot less angry and there are less actual spots than before. The scab on my left cheek would also not be there if I hadn’t picked my face 😦 it’s a terrible habit I really need to learn to control!

So what have I been doing?? Food wise I haven’t actually been amazing, I went out drinking on Friday, had pizza two days in a row and Saturday I ate so much chocolate and sweets I thought I might be sick but I guess if I now switch up my diet too the results will be two fold so that’ll be interesting.

Skincare wise my nightly routine goes a little like this:

I use the Clinique wash the day away oil cleanser to start.

Now a lot of people with acne prone skin are scared to use oil cleansers but they are actually super beneficial. Firstly they cut through your make up so much better than a regular cleanser making it more likely to get it all off. I literally just rub a couple of pumps of this into my face including my eye area then use a hot flannel to wash it all off.

The reason it is good to use an oil cleanser is because oil dissolves oil. Using this will ensure  you remove the bad oil and bacteria clogging the pores in your face and replace that with healthy oils which will balance and moisturise your skin.

The next thing I use is the Cerave hydrating cleaner.

To apply this I squirt 5 small blobs on my cheeks, forehead, nose and chin and buff it in with this brush:

The reason this cleanser is so beneficial is because it contains hyaluronic acid. Now most people again would not think to put acid on their face especially as I keep telling people it’s made of hydrochloric acid which you 100% should not put on your face haha!

Hyaluronic acid has amazing moisture replenishing properties. Just 1 gram can hold up to 6 litres of water!! I’ve just read this and it has literally blown my mind!! Not only this but it can also help to revitalise the skins outer layers and all in all give you a more youthful, hydrated look. Heading into my late 20’s this is a big tick from me – need to focus on keeping that youthful glow.

Next up is the Paula’s Choice skin perfecting liquid exfoliator.

I was actually gifted most of this skincare from my brothers girlfriend like a year or so ago. She had spoken to a friend about my skin and they had recommended these products. They told her that this bad boy was the most important step!

Sometimes exfoliators can be so harsh on our skin, all that salt and sand and god knows what literally rubbing layers off. My skin does not appreciate this, it’s really sensitive and can be painful at the best of times let alone when I’m rubbing sand into it. This liquid exfoliator works in a different way due to it’s main ingredient salicylic acid. Rather than the rough removal of skin that your traditional exfoliator has, salicylic acid gently removes any excess skin revealing a healthy layer underneath. This is particularly helpful if, like me, you tend to get dry crusty patches (I know, how attractive!) You can see from the packaging the other benefits involved but aside from this it can also reduce redness and inflammation (another massive plus for me).

To apply this I just pop a bit onto my finger tips and rub it in to make sure I get the most out of the product. I’ve also started to apply a small amount of this with a cotton pad in the morning.

According to the articles I’ve read, salicylic acid isn’t for all skin types and may cause irritation so maybe try a sample before you purchase anything. It work fine on my sensitive skin though.

Then onto my favourite part of t he routine, the hydrating lotion!

You literally need like 2 tiny drops of this, I rub it into my face with my fingers and I cannot explain to you how hydrating it feels! This again contains hyaluronic acid which you read about above. But it honestly makes the 1gram containing 6 Litres of water so believable.

Aside from the nightly regime I have also added 2 face masks into my weekly routine and apply each just once a week, usually whilst relaxing in the bath to make it feel like a proper pamper sesh.

First up is Mask of Magnaminty by Lush.

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I love this face mask! Not only does it smell incredible it causes zero irritation which you can get with some face masks. It’s also longer lasting than a lot of the fresh masks from lush.

In terms of how it helps your skin, peppermint oil is known for it’s antiseptic properties meaning that it’ll fight bacteria. It’s is also soothing, reducing inflammation and can act as a decongestant.

Face mask number 2 and this is a new addition, so far I have used it only once! However, I’ve heard great things and decided to give it a try. This is the Kiehl’s rare earth deep pore cleansing mask.

The mask is said to minimise pores as well as drawing out the oil, dirt and toxins that clogs them. The main ingredient’s in this are Amazonian White Clay, Bentonite and Aloe Vera.

Benetonite clay is known for its tightening, acne clearing and impurity absorbing benefits. It’s a great mask for those who suffer with oily skin due to it’s absorbing feature, however it also attracts toxins out of your face like a magnet.

Amazonian white clay helps to purify and detoxify the skin as well as absorbing bacteria, oil and toxins.

Aloe Vera is all about soothing and calming your face.

As I mentioned I have only used this mask once and it was a tiny bit tingly when I first put it on but this went within seconds and I saw no adverse effects.

So I do the above routine nightly, get my face masks in once a week, now it’s time to explain the morning routine.

I like to get a cotton pad and soak it with plain water to wash my face in the mornings. I then dab on a little of the Paula’s Choice exfoliator. From reading the back of this I found that if you use it in the day you should apply some form of SPF to your face – whatever the weather. I have also heard a lot of people say that this is the secret to an ever youthful look.

Although my foundation actually contains SPF and would probably suffice I decided to be extra protected and am currently testing this Kiehl’s ultra light daily UV defence which is SPF50! it is an oil free moisturising lotion and I agree that it definitely feels ultra light. I am also trialling the Kiehl’s micro blur skin perfector as a primer which is said to diminish pores and refine skin texture. So far no complaints for this either but I feel it’s not been long enough to fully comment on either of these.

In terms of my daily make up, I wouldn’t say that this was particularly beneficial to my skin at the moment but I am looking to switch this up in the coming months (when I can afford it haha).

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So there we have it, a pretty lengthy and in depth look at my skincare but I hope this has given you some food for thought. I’m not saying everyone needs to go an adopt such a routine but given the state of my skin lately I have found this to really help. I think once my skin has calmed down a lot more and I try some different diet choices I may be able to amend this but for now – if It’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Please let me know if you use any of these products and have your own opinions of them. Also bare with me if you believe I have got any of the information wrong – you can direct your angst at Google cause this is a learning process for me too. I will also look to replace my “after pictures” with some in better lighting 🙂

Peace and Love xoxo

N.B. So I tried to take some pics in natural lighting and you can’t really see much difference but I can definitely feel one! Previously half my face was swollen and they are now back to normal and it just feels way less raised and itchy.

Self care – all about balance 

I feel like I’m in a whirlwind of emotions over my body at the moment. One minute I’m like screw it and eating all the chocolate and sweets, next I’m shame eating kale. It’s the most frustrating thing.

I know society is brainwashing me into feeling this way but I also know that when I’m healthy and fit and toned I feel SO much better in myself. I mean I can still look in the mirror now and be like damn girl but I just ran up the stairs to catch my train and thought I might die! My ankle issues are creeping back, I’ve got problems with my wrists and my skin has flared up.

I really want need to take some time this year to just focus on me. I focussed on the wedding, I focussed on buying a flat…. now Laura needs some brain space.

I’ve been getting my nails done (by Liv who is an actual star!), I’ve had a facial, I’m getting my hair done more regularly. I know to some people this is the norm but I get super lazy when it comes to taking care of myself and that needs to change.

I’m taking some proper time in the evenings to care for my skin and as well as this nightly routine, Ive introduced two face masks to use once a week (I love doing a face mask in the bath, it turns the most mundane task into a little pamper sesh). I’m also considering trialing a more mineral foundation but they never give me enough coverage so I think I’ll have to pair this with a liquid concealer. I’m going to attempt to make some more healthy choices for what I’m putting into my body as well as onto my body AND I’m getting back into that gym routine! Going to the gym just makes me feel so much better and actually gives me way more energy! I’ve also got a few alternative therapies booked in to help various things and I will document how they go once I’m done.

I’m not 100% sure what this post is about aside from a little update and a brain dump for me to release these thoughts. But I suppose it’s also to show that everyone gets complacent with the self care and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. You just get back on that wagon when you’re good and ready! Sometimes we need a big blow out to just eat what we want, do what we want and to not worry about the consequences… it’s all about balance!

Speaking of which, if you don’t know already I have launched a new instagram page, inspired by the amazing writer that is Sophie Kinsella. Sophie released a book earlier this year called my not so perfect life and on the back of this started an instagram page with the same name to document all those not so perfect moments in life which rarely get shared on the glittering highlight reel that is social media. I’ve decided to jump on the back of this and start my own page called @notsoperfectlifebyLaura (see what I did there! Got to keep on brand haha). I’m documenting my out takes, my not so perfect, fml, fail moments and if this makes just one person feel less alone, less silly, more worthy then I will be one happy lady!

So how are you guys doing now it’s ALMOST APRIL!!!! What on earth!?

Peace and love xoxo

Turning 26!

Guys I’m 26! It’s happened, I’m officially the wrong side of 25 but do you know what, I literally couldn’t feel better right now!

I feel so happy, so settled, so on track with my life and I had the best birthday I’ve had for ages. Unfortunately the last couple of years Jon and I have had terrible news around our birthdays and last year I had the worst spa experience of my life (read about that here if you want).

So this year I didn’t plan anything big I was just going to have a nice, quiet, splendid little birthday.

Well that didn’t happen! I mean it was nice and splendid but by no means quiet!
My birthday was on Wednesday but I managed to spread it across an entire week of food and booze and it was just perfect.

Monday saw me having some work drinks to celebrate our renewal period, not technically birthday related but indulgent none the less. Tuesday, I had pizza express lunch with some work pals which was supposed to be accompanied by that free bottle of prosecco they give you for your day of birth but we were way too hungover for that so carb overload it was!

Then it all got mega exciting because this girl booked the rest of the week off! I mean if you can’t randomly book time off for your birthday when can you?!

26 years prior to Wednesday I escaped the womb and to celebrate I went shopping with my mum where I obviously bought things from new look because I have an actual obsession with that shop and honestly need to go to some kind of support group! If you feel the same please hit this girl up…. we need each other! Once we were all shopped out we headed to Bourgee for afternoon tea. I LOVED it here, the decor is a bit of me! Navy and copper goals! As well as an Art Deco waterfall wall as you enter, I mean bravo to bourgee for bringing this classy place to Chelmsford. The food was also delicious which is a plus. We had “afternoon tea on the lawn” which luckily was not outside (cause it was raining) but served on a tray covered in fake grass… genius. My favourite parts were the sausage roll and lobster cheese thing (technical term.) we coupled this with the cloudy lemonade of dreams and finished off with a ginger and lemon tea. I actually got an offer for this on groupon which meant all of that (aside from the tea) was £15 for the 2 of us! What a bargain!

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After lunch we headed back to mine so mum could fake tan my back… cause that’s what mums are for right?! I then donned my new pink body from new look and almost squealed at how bloody cute it is! Deffo my new fave thing. And if I wasn’t full enough, it was time for dinner with Jon :).

We headed to Zizzi’s and actually had a glorious dinner! I had the special to start – pesto and cheese garlic bread (yep you heard right!) and for mains I had the duck with mash lentils and veg and oh my life it was SO tasty!!!! I actually ordered the lasagne which they didn’t have but I’m totally glad they didn’t now. Accompanying our dinner with a bottle of white we had a fab date night, chatting, laughing and of course … people watching (my favourite past time.) As the night was still young we stopped off at Baroosh for some cocktails before stumbling back to our new home happy as Larry.

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We actually stayed up past midnight (I know how rock&roll!) which means we saw in Jon’s birthday drinking prosecco/whiskey in bed and watching Aladdin!

For Jon’s birthday, more food and drink was on the cards including a lush dinner at Bills Restaurant (where I consumed pate on toast, a cheese and bacon burger with chips,a side of mac and cheese….and half a steak – I’m not even ashamed, I’m so impressed!) followed by drinks in the pub to watch Spurs lose which usually I’d be pretty nonchalant about but I put a bet on and they were right in saying it matters more when there’s money on it! So close but yet so far!


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Friday came around (and still no hangover, so unlike me!) I’d drunkenly text some of my pals the night before to see if they fancied watching a live band at the fleece to which they replied yes, so this is what we did. That is after jons mum came and graced us with a dominos pizza (can you smell the heart attack I should be having by now?) filled up on cheese and carbs I headed out to the pub with the girls for “a few quite drinks” which included 2 bottles of prosecco, multiple rum and gingers and a sprinkling of shots. BUT I had a bloody brilliant night, the band was called the hits and I totally recommend you see them next time they grace Chelmsford. I danced, I sang, I lost my voice and I loved it!

Saturday I awoke not feeling fresh as a daisy BUT feeling a lot better than expected. I jumped in a long bath and headed to pick up my bestie who was sporting a fabulous hangover herself. And what better way to cure this than with a bottomless prosecco lunch? (I know I should be dead right now.) we went to The New London in Chelmsford which is not far from me and oh my the food was amazing! Some brilliant choices were made last week food wise and this is 100% one of them. Such a cute little restaurant with clean fresh decor. Lots of windows so it was nice and bright. We both had salmon Arancini balls and I had the sausage and mash which was SO needed! Along with the free flowing bubbles we perked right up, although became slightly delirious, a little loud and inappropriately giggly. We were also joined midway through by a few of the other girls and we continued to drink, chat and laugh for a few hours. Jenna and I then headed back to mine with snacks and champagne to watch magic mike XXL in bed and I have no regrets!

Sunday was spent in my pyjamas, and consisted of an afternoon nap and a dinner exploding with vegetables in an attempt to counteract the rest of the week!

I honestly had the most amazing birthday, surrounded by great people, doing my favourite things! 25, whilst the birthday wasn’t great was actually such a massive year for me and one I will remember forever. But now, we have nothing to save for, we have no commitments, we just have time, time for each other, time for our loved ones, time to have fun! I’m so excited for what this year has in store…. do me proud 26! I know you can 🙂

Peace and love xoxo

Goldsmiths Jewellers…

Saturday the 11th could not have felt more grown up for me, I started my day going to a bank appointment with my husband to talk about insurances for the flat we just bought…. LIKE WHAT!? Husband, mortgage, insurance – I still can’t get my head around this adult Laura that seems to have surfaced from nowhere.

But once all the seriousness was over it was time for something a little different, more enjoyable, a little me time. I was recently contacted by the PR company who work for Goldsmiths jewellers to go check out their new store and pick out some pieces. Firstly, this is all very exciting ’cause I now get to spend a Saturday picking shiny new jewels for myself and secondly, Goldsmiths is part of the Bond St complex which is fast becoming one of my favourite places in Chelmsford so getting to hang around there is A-ok with me.

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Goldsmiths used to be situated on the high street in a narrow, dark store which to be perfectly honest, wasn’t all that inviting. Now however, being on the Bond St complex has done wonders for their image and a new open, minimal, light store is exactly the right look for them!

There’s plenty of staff on hand ready to help you out and take you on a personalised shopping trip to find what’s right for you. I had a meeting set up with a lady called Kimberly who was SO lovely! She first asked me if I would like a drink, for which they have an array and of course I chose a wine ’cause hello it’s Saturday! I then took a seat at one of the many desks they have dotted around and waited for Kimberly to come back.

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We started off chatting about some of the jewellery I own and what I like. I assume they would usually talk about budget here too but as they had kindly gifted me a voucher they already knew mine. We then had a little walk around the store to see if anything caught me eye. Once Kimberly had got an idea of my taste I went and sat back at the desk while she pulled some pieces for me. If you’ve ever had a personal shopper, it’s basically like that but for jewellery!

I honestly felt like one of those ladies who brunches with the girls then spends her afternoon picking out gifts for herself, sipping on fizzy wine without a care in the world! This my friends is a fantastic feeling and I highly recommend you give it a go – fake it till you make it and all that.

So after going through what Kimberly had bought over, nothing was really jumping out at me. Goldsmiths, as a company, host SO MANY different brands and to be able to have all of them on site they would literally need to be in a warehouse. So as this particular store didn’t have many of the “fashion” pieces that I was more geared towards our appointment took an alternative route. This however was not a problem because each desk is set up with an iPad and you’re able to scroll through their website and order items you would like to try.

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So after much deliberation I have ordered a small selection of items and await a call telling me they have arrived. I loved that this was available because I didn’t feel pressured to spend my voucher then and there and I could take some time to decide what I really wanted.

 Kimberly made the whole process so great, she was a really nice down to earth girl. There is nothing worse than pushy sales people, trust me I have been forced to be that person at a previous job and I hated it so much but I didn’t feel like that at Goldsmiths at all. We had such a lovely chat too, it basically felt like I was catching up with a friend while shopping! I think she definitely made the appointment for me, I love meeting new people and getting to know them and I just felt really relaxed in her company.

So if you’re looking to splash out on some new jewellery definitely check out Goldsmiths in Chelmsford. You can either grab a member of staff when you go in or book an appointment in advance. I recommend booking an appointment just because it feels more special. It’s also a great thing to do if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone as they will be able to get a feel for what they like and make suggestions to help you.

Kimberly was really knowledgeable about the different styles and collections and provided some interesting insights; like apparently my engagement ring is a trilogy ring and the three stones represent the past, present and future, I had no idea about this and I absolutely love that concept! She also made me aware of the different services they have available for example, free jewellery cleaning and also if you purchase a ring from them and it needs to be re-covered, they will do this the first time for free no matter when that is needed. This attention to detail speaks volumes.

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I will check back in with you guys when I have chosen my items so you can be nosey 🙂 Let me know if you end up having an appointment at Goldsmiths cause I would love to see what you get!

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Peace and love xoxo

*Please see disclaimer

Finding Home…

As you will probably know from my Homesense post, Jon and I bought a flat. We are officially full fledged grown ups and after living in said flat for 2 weeks now, I could not be happier!

The first time I viewed the flat it just felt like home, I could see us living there. I could see the potential it had and I already started planning in my head what could go where.

I’ve always loved interiors, even as a kid. I used to have this program on my PC where I would design different rooms in my imaginary home. Me and my step sister would also play this game where we had a budget and would have to kit out our homes using the argos catalogue – i know right, you’re jealous of how cool I was hahaha!

I moved out when I was about 19 and starting living in a house share which was fully furnished. Jon and I then moved into a flat together which again was a fully furnished place. This made sense to us at the time because we didn’t have the money to do it up ourselves but after a while I started to hate the old tattered furniture more and more.

I have never had the chance to live out that dream of making somewhere my own. I mean you can try to make a furnished place home, and you do to an extent with pictures etc, but it’s nothing compared to having somewhere that’s entirely your taste!

Now having moved into our own flat Jon and I have been able to discuss furniture, envision colour schemes and buy whatever the hell we want and let me tell you it is SO refreshing! I mean we do have totally different tastes which is awkward but I think because I’m more passionate about it I have taken the lead. Obviously you compromise on stuff and it’s handy because Jon is more bothered about how practical things are where as I want things to look good so together it should be perfect 🙂

If you’re moving I  100% recommend unpacking as soon as possible! Get that place feeling like your home ASAP.  I couldn’t stand being surrounded by boxes and got the majority done in the first couple of days, taking the empty boxes to the tip to give us a nice clear space. We still have a few more bits to sort out but will need to wait till the furniture we’ve ordered arrives cause at the moment, it doesn’t have a home.

But we do! We have found our home in this lovely little flat where we will make lots of brand new and exciting memories! I thought I would be really sad to leave our old flat, it was the first place we had lived together, Jon proposed to me in the living room, I planned our wedding there, so many happy times. But it isn’t till you move somewhere that fills your heart with joy that you realise none of that matters! you still have those memories and you will hold them dear but this is a fresh start and an exciting new chapter.

As I write this I have my laptop propped up on our bay window in the bedroom, watching a squirrel run across the fence of our car park and that to me is perfect. It’s not the most amazing flat in the world, but it’s ours and we love it!

Peace and Love xoxo

Feeling fat…

I am not fat. I am a healthy weight for my height, I work out, I eat reasonably well. I’m like a size 10-12 which is below average.

But a lot of the time I feel fat, which is ridiculous! I know what overweight looks like, I know when someone is unhealthy and I know that’s not me but somewhere deep within my brain is a part that tells me I should look different, that I should be tighter, that the lumps and bumps on my thighs and bum are gross and that I should be ashamed.

We see so many pictures on social media and in magazines, on billboards and in films where the average woman is not portrayed and if they are, they’re under the best lighting, posed, edited to still look amazing. It’s not often we get the bloated, rolls and cellulite side of the story that would make us feel like we are normal and not some kind of gross abnormality.

We are also plied with weight loss programmes and get fit quick ads which gives us such an unhealthy relationship with our weight and how to manage it. We need to be taught about good nutrition and decent exercise plans. It needs to be explained that this takes time and is a lifestyle change NOT a quick fix and the sad thing is, there ARE people out there trying to promote this but they get over shadowed by the quick fixers. It’s only when a person tries and fails at all of these fads that they actually look to do it properly.

I compare myself to everyone, even though I preach the opposite. It’s like there’s some annoying bug in our minds that we can’t get rid of and it’s dangerous! Not only does it make us think terrible things about ourself, it also opens a door for others to say these awful things to us, believing that they’re justified cause it’s been brainwashing them too.

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Body shaming ourselves is one thing but when a stranger basically confirms that to you, it can lead to a downward spiral!

I can be a right judgemental bitch in my head sometimes and I get embarrassed by my thoughts. However, I’d like to think I have the decency and compassion to keep that to myself and I am trying to train my brain to get rid of such thoughts completely.

Now whilst I am promoting self love, self acceptance and no judgement I am also promoting self care. So if a person is overweight they should 100% love themselves and accept who they are but they should also practice self care and be given the tools to make healthy changes to give them a better life. This should be available to everyone, not “here drink some shakes and get thin for a week till you start eating again”. It should be “here, eat these food groups in these portions, make small changes and get long term results!” This works the same for someone who is underweight, don’t just tell them to eat. First work on the mind so they learn to love and accept themselves which will in turn make them want to take care of their body. Then teach them how to maintain a healthy weight the right way.

We all know it works, we all know the bodies we are shown aren’t the norm, we just need to train ourselves to truly believe it, to love and accept ourselves, to want the best and to be the best we can.

This is a bit of a ramble post but it’s something that really effects us these days and with a teenage sister I’d like her to grow up in a world where she is not made to feel crap for not being a lean machine 24/7 because that is not real!

I’ve seen a couple of posts flying around social media recently of fitness people showing their posed photos against they’re real life relaxed photos and I think this is SO IMPORTANT! Of course everyone wants to post they’re best bits but make sure people know this isn’t an all day every day look cause that is unattainable and an unhealthy goal that so many strive for!

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I follow a few fitness people on Instagram and YouTube but my favourite is Heidi Somers (BuffBunny) who I have mentioned before. Whilst her body is definitely #goals she is also really honest and informative. I’ve recently got really into watching Ashy Bines on Snapchat and YouTube too. These women are promoting healthy lifestyles, balance and self acceptance and I am SO on board.

Promote healthy, promote real, love yourself and don’t put your judgements on other people.

Peace and love xoxo

Homesense event #chelmsfordloves

Big exciting news ahoy!!! Soooooooo me and Jon have bought a flat! That’s right we are officially grown ups, marriage and a mortgage – who’d have thunk it.

I’m going to talk more about the whole buying a property saga another time but spoiler alert: most stressful thing ever. I’ve only just lost the twitch in my eye (not even joking.)

Today’s post however, is all about the glorious shop that is Homesense * hallelujah * all the lord praising emoji’s here. Obviously with our exciting news, an invitation to spend the evening at Homesense could not have come at a better time and my home wear senses were well and truly tingling on the walk to Riverside Retail Park last Thursday.

I love home wear, I love interiors, I love the amount of Pinterest boards I have dedicated to this, so you can imagine how excited I am after living in a fully furnished property for 3 years with the oldest most tired furniture ever.

Now my Homesense purchases probably won’t blow you away but I didn’t want to make any big life decisions, like what laundry basket we should have, without Jon present (mainly cause he recently called me selfish for designing our entire flat in my mind and not consulting him on anything – oops). But let me tell you, the things I did get actually excite me SO much… it will soon become clear that I’m almost the wrong side of 25!

For those of you who have never been to Homesense, firstly – have you been living under a rock?! And secondly, it’s basically the TK MAXX home section but on a bigger scale… in fact that’s exactly what it is. There’s so much variety from rugs to actual furniture to trinkets to food. You could literally kit out most of a house with this stuff! And like TK MAXX home it’s all at a discounted rate, I mean some stuff is still a little pricey but it’s a bargain compared to its RRP.

I know you’re all dying to see what I got so here it goes…

The Plate Rack
This is actually what I went searching for as soon as I got in the shop. I am sick of my favourite plate being at the bottom of the pile and having to crash about trying to get at it. Now all of that is in the past as you can grab whatever plate you want with ease – I sound like some weird tv commercial here but trust me it’s a life changer and cost like £5. It even got me doing the washing up as soon as I walked back into the flat cause I wanted to use it asap!

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The Wine Rack
I picked this up a couple of times and put it back but I couldn’t get it out my head so I made a last minute dash to grab it before I headed to the till. I mean come on, it’s a copper wine rack – what blogger can go through life without one of these? The only thing that’s slightly annoying is that it has to lay on its side and I kind of wish it was a stand up one but I’ll get over it cause it’s beautiful. Who would have thought that some shaped copper would bring so much joy?! I also have dreams of a zoella style bar cart (if I can find a cart I like that doesn’t cost the earth) and this would go on the bottom tray perfectly 🙂

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The Mattress Cover
Me and Jon have been sleeping on a crappy old second hand bed for 3 years now. God knows who has graced that mattress before us but in a fully furnished home you cannot get rid of anything (it’s terribly frustrating.) On Tuesday we headed to Dreams and made our first purchase for the flat – a new bed!!!!! It arrives next Thursday and we are BUZZING! So because beds are bloody expensive I decided to get this mattress cover (which is cheaper than the one they tried to sell me in Dreams – also Dreams is basically next door to Homesense so top tip shop around). It’s hypo-allergenic, waterproof, machine washable… all the things you want it to be to keep that mattress fresh.

Epsom Salts and Lavender Candle
Another thing we’ve done without for 3 years is a bath. No we aren’t smelly little cretins, we had a shower silly.

Getting home from work on a Friday night I literally pine for a long relaxing bath. I go to lush and lust after the bath bombs. Now my friends, now I get to join in on all the bath time fun and I know I’ve said I’m excited like a gazillion times in this post but guess what THIS GIRLS EXCITED!

To mark the occasion I treated myself to a little bag of Epsom salts (there was a huge bag in there for £9.99 which is great but it was heavy so I went for the little one for like £3) and a lavender candle which I plan to use for relaxing evening baths to wind down. I was actually gifted a bag of Epsom salts from Westlab at the #bigbloggerexpo and I left it at my mums (cause she has a bath) and planned to test them out there BUT she used them all before I got a chance lol classic mum! So I have repurchased. I’ve heard great things including its properties for debloat and muscle relaxing (great for after the gym) so I look forward to my first Epsom bath. They can also be used in moon rituals if you’re into that.

So yeah these are my super grown up purchases 🙂 look at me being all practical and stuff. I literally cannot wait to move (on Monday!!!) and I will definitely be hitting up Homesense again, although next time I will take Jon and be like LOOK AT ALL THIS COOL STUFF LET’S GET IT ALL! It’s like a one stop shop for your home needs which I love, ain’t nobody got time for 5 different stores.

Please tell me you love Homesense as much as me so we can be pals, talk about home wear together and share our ever growing interior Pinterest boards!

Homesense very kindly gifted me a voucher for the evening however, I obviously spent more cause it’s me! If you’re a Chelmsfordian like myself get your bums to Riverside Retail Park – you won’t regret it (although your bank balance might haha.)

Peace and love xoxo

*Please see Disclaimer