Al Fresco Dining 

THAT HEATWAVE THOUGH 

Seriously, when did the UK become such a tropical destination, except with less cocktails on the beach and more responsibilities!? The sunshine is always great on holiday isn’t it but when your dressed in work attire on the sweat box that is the commuter train it’s not quite the same.

That’s why we have to make the absolute most of the evenings and weekends while this gift of potential bronzing time is bestowed upon us!

In our old flat we had ZERO outside space to enjoy, yes we are literally 2 minutes from the local park but sometimes you just want to nip in and out of your humble abode for the little things you forgot, or if your drink supplies start running low, or you sweat through your outfit… such a ball ache to traipse back from the park. Which is why I’m bloody delighted that we now have a roof terrace!!

Oooooh I hear you say, how fancy are we! I mean in reality it’s a concrete platform a few metres off the ground with an old bench and some washing lines BUT ITS OUR CONCRETE PLATFORM DAMMIT! (Well us and 5 other flats but that is neither here nor there.)

The weekend just gone was an absolute scorcher so I invited my pal round for some brunch on the terrace! I’d been sent a voucher from Homesense a little while a go and had bought some amazing al fresco dining bits! I’ve been waiting for so long to have a sunny day (where someone other than just me was available) so I could enjoy all the pieces I’d bought and finally, that time had arrived! I was more than a little excited.

So me and my friend Jenna hit up Lidl for some food and mimosa ingredients and set about making something delicious. Setting up on that old rickety bench filled me with pure joy! The table cloth I’d found looked like summer had thrown up all over it and just screamed happiness. Jenna made the most delicious salad and I (against better judgement) organised a plate of cold meats which basically became sweaty bacon in the early afternoon rays. We filled our cute plastic wine glasses with mimosa, donned our flamingo plates with good food and listening to songs from our teens while revelling in the fact that my we now live a short distance from each other (I have my best friend back, wooo!)


I burnt my back, we had to throw the meats away and the floor was so hot you could barely stand on it but it was the best! It really makes so much difference when you put that bit of extra effort in, it felt so much more like an occasion rather than a random Saturday morning which was great.

You guys all know how much I love Homesense and I basically spent double the amount of the voucher I was given (including a new rose gold mirror for my hallway), but it was so worth it! I mean I loved it all but my favourite bits were probably the table cloth (which is water resistant!!! So handy for a clumsy clown like me) AND the flamingo bucket! So obsessed with that bad boy! We filled it with ice and water and it kept our Prosecco at the perfect temperature.

I highly recommend getting outside while you still can and doing some alfresco dining! Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, tea…. any or all of the above (just make sure you put your sun cream on first!) Jon and I either eat on the sofa or in bed so it’s such a novelty for me to set a proper table up and it really made it special.

As I’m sure you’re probably aware Homesense doesn’t have its stock on the website cause it changes so much but I’ll detail what I got and how much it was just so you have an idea on what you can get:

Bowl – £2.49

Salad tongs – £1.99

Plates – £7.99 for 6

Glasses – £1.99 each

Table Cloth – £12.99

Bucket – £9.99

The round hummus dish was a gift I believe came from Sainsbury’s. The pineapple is from IWOOT and the carafe used here for orange juice was also a gift.

I cannot wait to set this all up again soon! Please stay sunshine!!!

What are your favourite pieces here? And do you get involved in alfresco dining?? If so tag me in some pics of your set up over on insta! (@lifebylaura91)

Peace and love xoxo

WhatsApp Girl Gang 

Almost everyone is in a WhatsApp group, heck I bet you’re in multiple! Whilst they can get a little time consuming with you’re phone threatening to explode if it buzzes one more time, it’s so worth it!

I’m sure there’s many WhatsApp groups out there that are full of bitchy comments and hate. Put a group of girls together in a secret cove of opinion and you’ve basically recreated the mean girls burn book BUT they don’t have to be that way! And I’m thankful to say that mine is not.

After a little meet up in London a while back, a beautiful thing was born; the WhatsApp group of all WhatsApp groups. A bunch of likeminded gals from different walks of life coming together to celebrate and support one and other. Some of these girls I’ve never even met but I now consider them friends! The positivity and encouragement that shines through is just the best. We come to each other with the things we can’t tell anyone else and there’s absolutely no judgement, just reassurance and advice.

3ad7d6e8b984285572bb5c6a66fa8e1d

It’s so important to create safe spaces like this in your life; be that with friends, family or a bunch of strangers. Discuss you’re woes and learn that you are not alone. Bring your fears and learn that you are not overreacting. Bring your positivity and learn how much it can help someone else.

Women supporting women is a beautiful thing! And I bet there are tonnes more WhatsApp groups out there doing just that! Find your girl gang and get a group formed, you won’t regret it!

Big shout out to these absolute QUEENS – go check them out and spread some love:

Vix Meldrew – Vix

vix

Vix is a straight talking, hilarious, girlboss who writes about sex, relationships and dating. She is fast becoming recognised by all sorts of exciting people and totally deserves it all. She’s also one of the loveliest gals you will meet.

A penny for them – Penny

penny

Penny is a pet obsessed, fellow Essex girl who spreads positivity like confetti and gives the best advice (like seriously, I don’t know how I’ve survived without this little voice of reason!) Her blog is just fab, writing about life in Essex/London. So glad we’ve finally met up after all this time!

Beth Eve – Beth 

betheve

Beth is a yellow loving cat mum and absolute babe who has recently launched a new blog including a weekly “things that made me happy” post! She is just amaze, so supportive and witty but also has fab industry knowledge that she lets us pick her brain about.

What she did – Beth 

beth

Beth’s make up looks give me all the heart eye emojis! I particularly love her insta page but she also has a great blog and a YouTube channel. Wishing this gal didn’t live so far so she could come see us more! A funny, caring, lovely addition to our group.

Almost Amazingly Grace – Grace 

grace

Grace is an absolute superstar. If you know her and have seen what she’s been through you will appreciate the effort it takes for her to just be, let alone run a blog! Her positivity, courage and optimism is something to be admired! Grace is also a bookworm babe and her blog reflects this.

Tape Parade – Laila 

laila

Laila represents everything I wish I could be; a green, ethical, vegan, who knows so much about politics and how to get shit done! I wouldn’t have been half as informed about the recent election if it wasn’t for Laila! Her blog has so much advice about going green and being vegan but aside from this Laila is also a musician who is soon to be featured on our TV screens.

The Olive Fox – Beth & Suzy 

fox

This is an amazing online magazine run by Beth (BethEve above) and Suzy. This online space accepts articles from outside sources and is filled with people sharing their amazing stories. Get in contact with them if you have something you want to share!

We’re all busy people and a WhatsApp group may not be for you but please ensure you make some girl time in your life! Build each other up and celebrate being bad ass women… It’s great for the soul!

Peace and love xoxo

Picking suppliers for your Wedding

Picking who to supply you with the things you need for your wedding is not an easy task! Recommendations come in thick and fast and it’s tough to know who is right for you.

Personally I wanted to use people we knew as much as possible. Not only to support them and their business but also to ensure that we were surrounded by people we had some sort of relationship with and who we trusted rather than random faceless companies.

Flowers

img_5424

Luckily my friend Emily’s mum is an amazing florist. It’s something she does as a hobby in her garage but god is she amazing! I absolutely LOVED the flowers at our wedding and so many people commented on them. It was also great to be able to contact the actual person doing them and to have a more personable experience. We had an initial meeting about what we wanted and how much we needed. Me and Elaine then set up a secret pinterest board to share ideas with each other (SO handy!).

Elaine came to the wedding venue the morning of the big day and helped set them all up, she then hand delivered the bouquets to the cottage we were staying at AND came back to the venue the next day to collect them all back up (we used a lot of her vases etc).

If you want to check our her work take a look at her instagram here: Florema

Photographer

img_5454

I really liked having a friend do our photo’s because I instantly felt more relaxed which means we got better snaps. Everyone commented on how great Stacey was and we got all the pictures we wanted in a really reasonable amount of time.

I asked Stacey after how it worked being both a guest and the photographer and she said it was absolutely fine so if that’s a worry of yours maybe discuss it with the person you have in mind before hand so they can decide what works best for them.

Being a friend, Stacey also knew the kind of things I was into (having spoken about it for so long) but we also had a secret pinterest board going on for different poses and looks. Seriously pinterest is your best friend.

If you want to check Stacey our her info is here: Stacey Wills Photography. Unfortunately she no longer does weddings (I was actually her last).

Videographer

I wasn’t sure about having a video at first but in the end it was a no brainer. It seemed like the perfect way to capture our special day forever in a way that a picture just couldn’t.

My nephew George did the video for us and you can check his YouTube channel out here: Departed Media

Stationary

img_2238-1

A friend from work put me in touch with her sister who does illustrations and graphic design and I’m so glad she did. I sent her a few ideas, told her what information to include and let her get creative! After the disaster of trying to make my own engagement party invites this was the stress free option I needed. Chloe was amazing and was totally willing to make any changes we wanted although I was happy for her to take the lead on the design.

You can find her here: Chloe Whiffin

DJ

img_5112

Working in bars and nightclubs for a number of years you get to know a fair few DJs so I basically put out a facebook status calling all DJs and went with the best offer haha Dave was amazing, you may have heard him at work if you ever visit Barista in Chelmsford. The dance floor was filled all evening and there was a great mix of songs. Again we were in contact before hand to specify the type of music we wanted, confirm our first dance song and give any requests.

Hire Dave here: IfyouneedaDJ

Singer

I’ve wrote about this before but I found our singer at a local event in Chelmsford and loved her vibe! Just a girl and her guitar putting her twist on well known songs as well as singing ones she wrote herself. As soon as she had stopped playing I asked if she would sing at my wedding and lucky for me she said yes. She came along with her boyfriend and played for a couple of hours, everyone was in awe at how beautiful her voice was and it created exactly the right atmosphere. Cat and her boyfriend even stayed after for some food and a drink which was really lovely.

Cat’s instagram: Le Chat Music

Food

img_5832img_5833

Wanting a large quantity of food for a large amount of people in a relaxed setting, it only seemed right to have a hog roast. Luckily a guy at works dad could do just that for us. Everyone loved the food and there was more than enough to go around, I only had a small plate and I’m a bit gutted I didn’t eat more (Jon didn’t have any!)

They came in, set up and cleared away so seamlessly, it was perfect.

Cake

img_4985-1

My step sisters made our cake as we weren’t having anything fancy. If like me you’re after a naked cake, I’m almost certain you will know someone who can knock one of those up for you. So simple yet so effective.

Drinks

We bought our own drinks for the time between the ceremony and reception but hired the bar at our venue for the evening. If you are able to bring your own drinks, make sure you check if glasses are provided as we had to pay extra for those. I think you can hire them from supermarkets for free but this was just an easier option for us, especially as we were going on holiday the next day.

Snapchat Filter

If I did the day again I’m not sure I would bother with the snapchat filter, mainly because the venue was in the middle of nowhere and not everyone could get the signal for it but it is a nice touch!

I used a girl called Katelyn Davis who I think I found on twitter. She designed the filter for us and explained how to upload it onto snapchat. We paid her for the design then you have to pay snapchat to host the filter so if you can design the filter yourself that will save you some money.

Katelyn’s website: http://katelyndavis.com/

If you have any questions about any of the above then leave me a comment and I will try answer the best I can! Obviously everyone is different in what they are looking for from their wedding but I really do recommend looking close to home for your suppliers, it was lovely to have these people involved in our Wedding and it made it the perfect special day we had hoped for.

Peace and Love xoxo

 

 

Medical update – Coming off the pill 

I feel like this isn’t something I should post, like I should be embarrassed, it’s personal and should be kept that way but I preach about the need to show our worst bits as well as our highlight reel in order to help each other and show that we all go through these shit times, so here it is… I’m not okay.

I’ve been pretty stressed out recently and it’s caused me to struggle with my emotions and mental health in a way I’ve not felt in a long time. I have then had a whole host of medical issues which has served to stress me out more and It all just seems to be piling up until one day soon I will fully lose the plot!

Pre warning here, if you’re squeamish or grossed out easily maybe go read something different.

About 4 weeks ago I woke up at 4am with the most intense pain in my left kidney, I was literally rolling around the floor in agony, I kept going to the toilet, I thought I was going to be sick… it was awful! This was a Saturday so the next day I called NHS 111 and went to the out of hours doctor. They decided I had some sort of infection and gave me 3 days of antibiotics.

3 days passed and I was still having pains, although now they were geared more towards my abdomen (again on my left so no appendix worries). I went back to my doctors and the GP thought I might have a twisted ovary so sent me to A&E. I was examined and then admitted to hospital for two days for further scans. They found nothing , which in theory should have been relieving and it was in part, but why was I still in pain if nothing was wrong? I just wanted clarification for how I was feeling. I needed an answer that would stop me stressing. I was sent home with cocodamol and antisickness tablets.

What I’ve failed to mention here is that I was also bleeding this entire time. I thought I was just having a normal period, that was slightly prolonged due to stress but the bleeding started to get extreme. On the third week I was so worried by how much I was loosing (especially considering I was still in pain) that I called my GP again. The oncall doctor spoke to me on the phone but she didn’t seem too worried and gave me an appointment for 2 days time.

That night I was up again at 4am (I’ll spare you the gruesome details) but I was in such a state, I honestly thought I was having a miscarriage or something. I got dressed, all ready to go to A&E but decided instead to call NHS 111 again, they advised that I go to my doctors surgery as soon as it opened which is what I did. I sat in my living room staring dazed at the tv from 4am till 7.30am when I could drive to the surgery. The doctor also considered that I was having a miscarriage but due to the tests I’d had at the hospital this was ruled out. She gave me some tranexamic acid to stop the bleeding and said that because I wasn’t dizzy she wasn’t too worried.

The next day however, I was so dizzy I almost fell over getting on the train, I’d also had spots in front of my eyes the night before and was now getting stabbing pains above my eye telling me that a migraine was coming! I lasted till about 4pm at work till I couldn’t take it anymore and had to go home, I went back to A&E and had blood tests done. As I tend to get anxiety about medical procedures I had a full blown attack when they tried to fit me with a cannula so I was laid on a trolley to calm down before being taken to a ward. I could hear the doctors and nurses talking and they kept saying the words pregnant which filled me with fear because if I was, it wasn’t going well, although I was still sort of reassured by all the tests I’d had previously, hearing medical professionals say it made it more realistic. When I finally got to speak to the doctor she said that they had thought I was having an ectopic pregnancy but this was not the case. To hear this was definitely off the table lifted a weight from my shoulders cause nobody had specifically told me that this definitely wasn’t happening. The doctor went on to explain that all my symptoms were likely caused by the pill I am on (cerelle), she said that it can be a side effect of prolonged use and advised that I stop taking it asap. The doctor I spoke to really reassured me about a lot of things and was so nice that I found the worry start to slip away. It may sound like I totally overreacted and shouldn’t have gone back to the doctors so much but when this is happening to your body, it’s scary and any rational thinking you may usually adopt kind of goes out the window.

I’ve now been off the pill for about 7 days and the bleeding has just stopped (4weeks in total) I feel mentally, physically and emotionally drained! I keep breaking down or feeling like I’m going to burst into tears. I’m getting angry real quick which resulted in me screaming at a potato on Monday. I feel like a shell of myself, like I’m loosing the plot and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I’m not taking care of myself properly, I just want to be in bed all the time and It’s horrible! I want to snap out of it but I feel so exhausted! Yesterday I had more migraine signals and felt utterly miserable. I am feeling a little more positive now but I’m so bipolar at the moment who knows what will happen.

I also feel silly, I feel like I’ve wasted everyone’s time with my “women’s issues”, I’ve had so much time off work, I’ve had so many NHS appointments. I feel guilty for taking up their time and missing out on work but that’s ridiculous! Nobody knows your body better than you and you know when you’re not okay! It’s a terrifying position to be in for all of these things to be happening to you and you having no idea why or whether they’re really bad or not!

Women are made to feel so guilty and ashamed of what happens with their bodies and not only is it not fair, it’s not healthy! We aren’t properly informed of what goes on, nor are we really told about all the possible side effects of the drugs that are thrust upon us at such a young age. I’ve been taking a contraceptive pill of some kind for 10 years and my body has clearly decided it’s had enough! I’ve been pumping extra hormones round my body for almost half my life. No wonder I’m having a complete meltdown!

I’m currently waiting for a gynaecology appointment to discuss further options so I will keep you updated on how I get on. I’m heading towards the coil and would love to hear if any of you have had experience with the hormonal/non-hormonal one or can point me to any blogs about other people’s experiences!

I’ve decided to share this not for attention or for sympathy but because I’ve been trying to find some blogs about what’s happening to me and I couldn’t really find anything so I’m hoping this may help someone else in the future. If you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them, you can leave a comment or drop me a message on any of my social media/email.

I can’t say I’ll have any answers but you can have comfort in the fact that you’re not alone!

I also want to say a massive thank you to the NHS staff that have been helping me, be that doctors I’ve seen, nurses who looked after me in hospital or the NHS111 staff on the phone at 4am who were just so lovely! They really are some of the most hard working under appreciated people and I take my hat off to them all. You guys are doing an amazing job!

Peace and love xoxo

*quick note that I wrote this yesterday and I think just writing it all down has helped me quite a lot. Writing for me is a bit like therapy. I’m starting to feel a little better and hope that it continues that way. Still being threatened with a migraine and having random pains but fingers crossed this starts to ease off.

Mimosa Beauty opening event 

Last Thursday I attended the opening event for Mimosa Beauty Salon in Chelmsford. It was the rainiest spring day and I arrived closely resembling a soggy footed hobbit. The pro to this however was that this salon has opened 2 minutes from my flat so I didn’t have to go out of my way and I could speed walk home to a hot bath afterwards.

I was greeted with a glass of prosecco and instantly my mind drifted from my cold damp tootsies to the salon in front of me. The reception area is a decent size but on this day it was filled with people, all coming to show their support.

I was given a tour by a lovely lady called Lauren who is one of the beauty therapists there. My initial thoughts were how nice the place was decorated, very neutral light colours and the treatment rooms are a great size! So often you go to a salon and it can be a little claustrophobic with the amount of stuff in the room but these have a big airy feel while somehow also being cosy and homely – I don’t know how they did that but if you go you will know what I mean!

The building is three stories and comprised of 5 treatment rooms if my memory is correct, one of which is not currently occupied. I couldn’t imagine having to run up and down the stairs all day although it would probably be a blessing in disguise for me haha but its perfect for keeping the clients away from the hustle and bustle of the reception area – no phones ringing, no people chatting, just that lovely relaxing music. The rooms are also soundproofed to make doubly sure you are fully relaxed. There is definitely more of a spa vibe going on just minus the Jacuzzi.

From what I gathered at the event Jennie, the owner and founder of the company was originally a one woman band and has now been able to expand her award winning salon to a larger place with additional staff. Jenny also prides herself and the salon on being eco-friendly. I’ve mentioned before how I feel about small independent business’ and community so it really is lovely to see a business with such great ethics thrive in my hometown.

One of the first things I noticed when I walked into Mimosa Beauty was the bookshelves, I’m a sucker for a perfectly arranged shelf and these were pretty #goals. Portraying not only the awards won by the salon and some products on offer but also some positive quotes and actual books! I have been told that it is part of their mission to be eco-friendly which has driven them to provide sustainable books rather than magazines which go out of date and need to be thrown away/repurchased. This sounds absolutely perfect to me, especially as someone who tends to steer clear of magazines anyway. I mean what would you rather flick through when waiting for your appointment – articles telling you that you need to lose weight and dress different or Good Night stories for Rebel Girls? I know which one I would pick! I have also been so tempted to buy this book myself so will definitely be having a little nose when I book a treatment in!

I never used to spend much time or money on pampering myself but as I get older the need for self care becomes more and more important to me. Whilst I tend to get a lot of stuff done at home to save money I have been branching out more recently (as you will have seen from my trip to the strand to get my hair done.) Also with the salon being so close it really would be rude not to go!

One of the great things for me (aside from Mimosa Beauty being round the corner) is that they have 3 late night openings in a week. I’ve been told that they can even serve you up a night time tea – I’m just wondering if it’s socially acceptable to turn up in my pyjama’s!? If I run really fast nobody will even see me right?

I’m looking forward to trying the salon out at some point and will be sure to update you guys when I do! Also before I go, I really need to mention the goody bag I was given (that I was also not expecting!) It was one of the most lovely gift bags I have received, it just felt really personal. I will insert a picture here but I have to mention a couple of things. Firstly the thank you card which was hidden in an envelope titled “Hello Beautiful” I mean guys!!! Flattery gets you everywhere! This was coupled with a positive quote, a mini air purifying plant, a little bag of lavender and some night time tea. Self care heaven!

There’s been a bit of a theme in my blog recently, pushing the “please be kind to everyone” message and “you don’t know what people are dealing with and how you can effect them” whilst these posts may have been based on more negative issues this is the total flip side. Whether someone “needs” it or not, being called beautiful randomly or being given a positive quote that speaks to you can really brighten your day. We shouldn’t just spread the love to those in need, sometimes those random acts of kindness are the best ones. Also can we just take a second to appreciate that the quote I got given was “be kind whenever possible, it’s always possible”.

If you would like to check the salon out their website is: http://www.mimosabeauty.co.uk/ which includes all of their contact details and social media links.

Peace and Love xoxo

13 Reasons Why || mental health 

2017_13reasonswhy_getty_1000x635-920x584

Omg so many emotions! And yes I know I’m totally late to the game here but there’s a reason for that… I was boycotting. I had read some articles saying that the programme was filmed in bad taste, that the producers had sought advice from suicide charities and then gone against that advice, that it was potentially damaging to someone’s life if they were feeling vulnerable and none of this sat right with me. But everyone and their family dog had watched it and was discussing it and how could I truly form an opinion on something I hadn’t seen? So out of pure curiosity for “research purposes” I delved in head first.

Yep, I binged watched the series in about 3 days (not consecutively, although close). When I first started watching the programme I wasn’t keen but as it went on I was more and more gripped. So let’s get on with what your all here for, the opinion.

Firstly I wanted to point out that the programme is actually rated 18 and yes it is readily accessible on Netflix but technically it shouldn’t be watched by anyone younger than that. Despite this it does feel like it’s aimed at a younger audience, maybe it’s just because it’s set in high school and consists of mainly teenagers but I couldn’t help but feel that was the real target audience.

13 reasons why portrayed some harrowing but actually really important messages! I just did a post on acne anxiety and tried to show that the littlest comments really can effect someone which is a theme that runs through the programme. Bullying is no game, whether your intending to bully or not, whether you think it will be a big deal or not, you will never truly know how your words and actions will effect someone else. Hannah shows that it doesn’t have to be one big event that ruins your life, it can be a build up of “the little things” and I put this in quote marks because what seems little to you may be huge to someone else. This opened my eyes even further to how I interact with other people, be that friends and family, strangers or even people I don’t particularly get on with. I would never want anything I’ve said or done to put someone in such a bad space and this is why we really need to be kind to one and other.

On the flip side I totally get what the other reviews were saying in that mental health isn’t really addressed but I can also kind of see why. The scenes are from the view of the teens involved and it’s highly likely that this is not something they would address. The final episode where Hannah seek help actually puts forward a big message that mental health is not always taken seriously.

Even though you are shouting at you’re screen for someone to notice Hannah’s pain and suffering, in day to day life, if you were there and only seeing certain parts of the story, would you notice? Like Hannah says, the scary thing is these feelings can look like nothing to the outside! There is no heightened emotions spilling out, she felt numb. So how is it possible to notice this? I’ve had previous conversations with people who lost friends to suicide and none of them had any idea there was something wrong.

I also think that while the programme itself didn’t really bring up mental health it definitely started a conversation about it and that’s amazing! It has bought a lot of taboo subjects into the mainstream in an easily accessible powerful way and the fact that people have opinions on it is important to how we move forward as a society. We need debate to make change!

Again while this isn’t aimed at kids I hope that it will be watched by their parents. We need to instil kindness and good values into the next generation so that this kind of thing stops. School can be awful, kids can be mean, and at a stage in your life where everything feels like the end of the world and your hormones and emotions are all over the place this is so dangerous! We need to be more aware of how these kids are feeling, there needs to be support and trust.

The scene where Hannah is trying to get help is so frustrating but I bet this happens more than we would care to think about. It is so easy to dismiss a teenagers feelings as overly dramatic because in reality what teenager doesn’t over think and over exaggerate everything (I still do this now!) It’s a difficult position to be in when having to make that decision on whether they truly need help or just having a bad day. Chances are, the ones who truly need help wont be saying anything, so what do we do? I don’t know how to change things but I know things need to change. We need to put an emphasis on mental health not just at school but throughout life. Life can be stressful at any stage and it can be so hard on your body in a range of forms arising from a range of triggers. Stress of being bullied, from your studies, from your family life, from your job. I honestly feel like it isn’t taken that seriously but as someone who suffers badly when stressed let me tell you, it is serious!

Personally I think counselling is an amazing tool, just to have someone listen, take you seriously, not judge and make you feel like you’re less alone is so powerful. I would like to see onsite counsellors in schools and work places so this is readily available and encouraged. Counselling should not be taboo and I think that anyone can benefit from just hashing their thoughts out with a totally subjective person.  To get access to this kind of help at the moment a doctor has to deem you “suitable” and you will be put on a long waiting list. Either that or you will have to fork out for it privately. Why not just make it a part of life?

I think the only way to move forward is to bring “taboo” subjects even further into mainstream. We all know these things go on so there is no excuse to brush them under the carpet anymore. In 2017 people should not be feeling ashamed or embarrassed for who they are, how they feel or what has happened to them. We need less victim blaming and dancing around the subject and more action. There needs to be better steps in place.

There will be so many opinions around the programme and the subjects it touches on and this post is just one of those. Watching this programme made me feel so many emotions but above all it made me want to be a better person and to help make a change.

I’d love to hear your opinions on 13 Reasons Why!

Peace and Love xoxo

Acne anxiety 

The bank holiday at the end of April was a tough one for me, I was so down, I had no motivation and everything just felt rubbish. This was partly out of boredom as I had no money to do anything but was also thanks in a large part to the state of my skin. Having suffered with acne since the age of about 12 I am well and truly done with it! I’m starting to lose my patience and it’s getting to me more and more. Nobody wants adult acne. As a kid I always dreamt of the day where I would grow up and out of the condition but this just hasn’t happened yet.

img_2188

Even if I’d had money that weekend I highly doubt I would have left the flat. I had an overwhelming desire to hide away. I didn’t want anyone to see the reality of my bare face and putting make up on would have been painful and itchy. I hadn’t had a break out like this in such a long time and for things to be getting worse after having given up my favourite thing in the world (cheese), I just couldn’t cope.

At one point Jon asked me to go to Tesco and the request filled me with dread, I was so self conscious but in the end I got over myself and agreed. I can go to the shop, it’s really not that difficult, this is your body own it! However once I actually got to Tesco my brain went into overdrive, I swear everyone was staring at me. I text jon, trying to stop myself from having a mental breakdown in the middle of the bread aisle and he said not to be silly and that nobody was looking at me. I didn’t really believe him but I knew I had to finish the shopping. I even helped a guy find some dairy free chocolate and started to feel a bit better considering he didn’t recoil at my face.

Then I got to the till and it all went to shit from there. The woman cashier took one look at me and exclaimed: “OMG you poor thing! What’s happened to your face”.  Aaand there it is! I knew it! I knew people were looking at me, I knew I was disgusting. I just wanted to run out of the shop! It took all my strength to keep my cool and carry on getting my shopping. I informed her that nothing had “happened”, this was just my face. She then proceeded to ask if I’d had a reaction to something to which I replied no it’s been this way since I was 12 and fell silent. She did not take this as a hint that I was about to break down and carried on telling me about a gross lump she had on her back which reacted to something she put on it and how it had spread. She told me how embarrassing it was so she knows how I felt. The woman clearly didn’t have the first idea how I felt! If she truly knew, there is no way she would have said any of these things to me! As soon as I walked out of the shop I burst into tears! I practically ran to the car and just broke down.

The sad thing is, this is not the first time something like this had happened. Another time I was in new look and the woman behind the counter said “I used to have really bad skin too and I used this, you should try it” – nothing had prompted this conversation, I hadn’t mentioned my skin, I was merely paying for my new clothes. I was also wearing make up at the time so the comments hit me harder. I have this ridiculous theory that my make up can transform me into the person on my Instagram, that filtered babe without a flaw. Clearly I was wrong and now had to pull myself back together before reaching the office, more self conscious that ever that everyone I work with is secretly grossed out by my face.

It has become apparent that people just don’t understand what they’re saying, they aren’t trying to be mean or nasty, in fact they think they’re being helpful or sympathetic. But if I had a birth mark on my face or a big scar, would you comment on that? It’s also never happened if I’m with someone else which is interesting.

The quote “everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind always” could not ring more true here. They don’t know the struggle it can take me to even leave the house and how much they had set me back.

The reason I’m sharing this story is 2 fold, this is not a woe is my post.

Firstly, if you’re the kind of person who makes these comments to people thinking you’re being helpful, please only do so if they have asked for it, you cannot know the damage you’re doing. I never forget the occasions where strangers have made remarks to me (the stories above are by no means an exhaustive list) and it makes me feel more and more anxious about leaving the house on bad skin days, there are times it’s been so bad I’ve wanted to call in sick to work cause I can’t bare the thought of people seeing me!

Getting into an acne anxiety slump really ruins everything, I spent that entire bank holiday weekend in bed and got absolutely nothing done. I’m an emotional eater so I consumed a stupid amount of sugar which only served to make it worse and to add the icing on the cake my skin is effected by stress so the more stressed I get about it the worse it gets, which stresses me out! What a babe right!?

The second reason I’m sharing this is for those who are going through the same thing, to know that you aren’t alone in these thoughts or these experiences! I’ve been dealing with this for years and it’s still tough! I’m getting better at it but there are still days which cripple me in self doubt. I’m now using my @notsoperfectlifebylaura instagram to document my skin issues in the hope that it might help others. I’ve had so many amazing comments from people saying how “brave” I am for sharing these pictures but please know that this is not always the case. I worry so much that I will get a nasty comment and it’ll tip me over into a depressed like state but if they can help just one person it’ll be worth it! But so far the support has been overwhelming, the fact that people have taken time out of their day to show they’re concern or share their own story is just beautiful. You will never know what it means to me.

I’m going through stages where my skin is getting better and then falls back. It’s so amazing what a difference it makes on my life and my mood when my skin is good. This will seem ridiculous to people who aren’t going through the same thing and it even seems silly to me but that’s the thing, our brains often contradict themselves and play nasty mental tricks on us – We just have to stay strong!

There are a couple of new things I’m trying and I’m really pinning all my hopes into this working! I’ve been so slack with my diet and regime over the last week or so as I haven’t been feeling myself but I hope I can get back on track now. I previously did a post about my skin care routine and the products I use but I’m attempting to strip that right back and put as little on my face as possible! It’s all a learning curve and I will put as much information as I can on here.

Please let me know if there’s anything you would like to ask, I promise I won’t be offended ’cause I’m ready for it! It’s the shock of random people in the streets calling me out on my flaws that knocks me for six.

Also if you’re interested in following my skin journey please come and say hi on my insta @notsoperfectlifebylaura – my aim over there is to be as raw and real as possible!

Remember, as hard as it may be to believe sometimes – you are beautiful! You are enough! Your skin does not define you!

Peace and love xoxo

Bar Cart of Dreams

I’m sure you’ve seen this bar cart trend EVERYWHERE at the moment, Zoella has a particularly beautiful one, so with absolute interiors envy I decided that our flat would not be complete without a cart of our own!

Commence frantic internet search mode and total dismay at how bloody expensive they are. Seriously who has like £200 to spend on the bar cart alone without even getting anything to put on it – not me!

My best friend became my savior in this search and urged me to try Gumtree. Within a day I had found the perfect cart and got said friend to pick it up from Croydon for me.

This beauty cost me all of £20! I KNOW RIGHT! I’ve been asked so many times if it’s from Oliver Bonas and I cannot lie to you, I feel pretty damn smug about it.

I forgot to take a picture of the original cause I was so excited to get my hands on it as soon as it was dropped off but the “tray” parts were originally wood. A couple of years ago I had bought some marble contact paper to use for blog photos which was absolutely perfect for covering the wood which really wasn’t doing it for me.

Now to decorate!! 🙂

Obviously there’s alcohol on there and tbh these are just bottles of what we have at the time there’s no real science behind it or aesthetic motive.

Then onto my absolute faves! The pineapples and the bottle opener. I am literally in love with these!!! At the moment we have a large gold pineapple and a smaller copper pineapple but I think we need the smaller silver pineapple to make it a set right? OR another copper one? Let me know what you think but there has to be 3 cause them the rules. The pineapples are from an online store called Iwantoneofthose, the smaller one was a house warming gift and I bought the bigger one myself. I have drank out of both of these and have never felt so cool. I’ve been told they can also be used as cocktail shakers but I am yet to give this a go.

 

The bottle opener was such an extravagant purchase, especially with shipping BUT GUYS….. LOOK AT IT! It’s a rose quartz, gold foil bottle opener, I mean do you need anything more in life? Every bottle you open will be filled with positive, loving energy and that my friends… well that is priceless (have I justified it yet?!). This little ray of sunshine was from Anthrapology and I really recommend buying in store rather than online so it doesn’t seem too costly. (Although it looks like its now sold out in the UK, the link I’ve used is to the US site.)

Soooo how cute are these little cactus glassses!!!! These were a house warming present from my best friend and they could not be more perfect for the bar cart. She went on my pinterest to get inspo for my presents – WHAT A BABE!!!! but yeah, these are from Oliver Bonas and they make me happy.

I feel like you need a plant on your bar cart! A little greenery to be like hey I’m cool and arty (not someone trying to disguise a drinking problem with pretty stuff.) Because I don’t yet trust myself with real plants this is a fake sprig from New Look. I got 2 but it didn’t look right so one is in our bedroom.

Okay, next shelf. We have a mini fridge in the spare room stocked with cans of drink and this just shows the selection of what we have so you can decide before you go grab yourself a cold one. There are also some spare glasses under there, most of which are Jon’s whiskey glasses but there’s also 2 Kilner jug glasses which I love!

And last but not least, the wine shelf. You may recognise this copper wine rack from my Homesense post and I’m so psyched that it fits perfectly on here. Funnily enough, wine doesn’t seem to spend much time on there till it’s whisked into the fridge and into our mouths – oops!

So there it is, my pride and joy! One of my absolute favorite things in the whole flat (apart from Jon and Lola of course buy I mean, it comes close!) There’s still a couple more things I want to add on including another pineapple but mainly this: cocktail jigger/spoon set from Oliver Bonas – all the heart eye emoji’s here!

Let me know if you have something similar at home, I’d love to see it! 🙂

Peace and love xoxo

Wedding Dress Shopping.

I know most of you guys are just like me… nosy as hell! So now the wedding is over (and our year anniversary is scarily creeping closer every week) I thought I’d share with you the wedding dresses that didn’t quite make the cut!

Little disclaimer here first, I do not have the energy to edit these pictures also my mum took a lot of these and her photography skills leave much to be desired (soz mum) so you’re getting this raw and real.

I also did a post about this previously but it was really difficult to write without giving anything away. You can see that here and I’ve gone into more detail on where the dresses are from etc.

On my first wedding dress trip I found THE ONE! Nothing could ever compare to this and I felt AMAZING wearing it. Unfortunately the price was well out of my league so I had to leave that one in my memories. Looking back now I am so glad I didn’t go for this dress because we had a summer wedding and I would have died of heat stroke but if we ever decide to renew our vows and have a winter one, this dress needs to be involved!

IMG_6706IMG_6705IMG_6707

I can’t actually look at this dress for too long without wanting to cry with longing so let’s move on QUICKLY!

This next dress is the style I thought I wanted and while I do think this is lovely my mum was like, it hides the body you’ve worked so hard for, and I agreed! I think this is the style of dress that people expected me to get. Princess vibes galore!

IMG_6689

This is a bit of a jazzy number and more of a vintage look but again did nothing for my body. I liked the idea of sleeves and this one would probably have been LESS hot but still too much!

IMG_6676IMG_6685

I like this one but the blingy part just wasn’t for me, I’d also want that to be more on my waist rather than under my boobs.

IMG_6694IMG_6700

Not really a fan of this one, it didn’t feel weddingy enough if that makes sense, like you could probably wear this to a fancy ball.

IMG_6696IMG_6697

I think we can all agree that I resemble the girl that covers the toilet roll in this haha! I would like to point out though that they tell you to try one of every style just so you know for sure what you like.

IMG_6708

Another pretty one but those sleeves just weren’t doing it for me.

IMG_6692IMG_6728

I don’t think I liked this one at the time but looking back I think it’s quite nice. I loved the wrapped material, so flattering!

IMG_6693

So that was just appointment number one! The next dress I tried on was at the wedding show at Olympia.

IMG_6931

I absolutely loved this and almost put a deposit down – thank god I didn’t because this style really isn’t for me now, it’s way less flattering than I thought. BUT on the back of this I decided to go to their store in London to try on some more dresses.

IMG_8332IMG_8331

They didn’t have the dress I’d tried on originally but they had this which is actually a strapless dress with a bolero over the top and all I could think when I put it on was… I look fat! So I came to my senses and got that style out of my head!

IMG_8336IMG_8335

I liked this one alot and I felt like it matched my laid back shabby chic country vibe really well but mum said it was too plain. She also HATED any open backs so she basically tried to put me off any of those haha.

IMG_8337IMG_8338

Something a little different here but I am not a fan of the satin/silk dresses so this was a no for me.

IMG_8340IMG_8341

This was actually another strapless dress with a bolero over the top to give it sleeves. Loved the shape!

So with this appointment over and still no dress it was time to book one more which saw me finding the dress I wore for the big day itself! I actually went back to the first place I looked because they were having a sale.

My actual dress was the first one I tried and I knew that was it, but I’ll start with the other 2 first.

IMG_8815IMG_8816

This is similar to the one I tried on in the first appointment and I picked this up purely cause I couldn’t get over the I WANT SLEEVES thing. I did like this but like I said before, not weddingy enough for me.

IMG_8817IMG_8818

I didn’t actually want to try this one on but the woman in the shop was like I really need to see this dress on someone and I think you would look great in it! I did not love it but her and my mum and the other lady they dragged in to have a look all did. Although I have to say,  looking back on it now I don’t actually think it was that bad.

AND NOW FOR MY DRESS! My baby! This is the first time we got together, before the alterations, before anything.

IMG_8810IMG_8811IMG_8820IMG_8821

It was absolutely perfect and not only did I love it but it fit all my mum’s criteria too 😉 I didn’t want to take it off! I moved some money around, paid up front and that was it, she was mine 🙂

Trying on wedding dresses was SO MUCH FUN! And that pure joy you feel when you find THE ONE is so amazing.

I hope you enjoyed this post and sorry again for the crappy pictures/gormless expression from me in a lot of them – why do I look so awkward!?.

What dress would you have gone for?

Peace and Love xoxo

My Perfect Bath

Having gone 3 years without a bath (we only had a shower in the old flat) I was so excited to get in some relaxing tub times. I thought I would have baths on those days where you just need to soak the stress away but would mainly still be a shower gal.

This could not be further from what’s happened. We’ve lived here for 3 months now and I have only had one shower in that time! My love affair with a nice long bath has grown and grown and I look forward to it so much. For this reason I decided that I needed to share my perfect bath sitch with you all.

So first I run the bath (obviously). Being a stereotypical girl I like that water hot! I mean not so hot that it gives you heart palpitations and leaves you all lobster chic but as close to that as possible. I then add in some Epsom Salts from Westlab which is supposed to help with bloat and achey muscles (I mean I’m not sure if it works or not but I put them in anyway.)

 

Next up, the bath bomb! I don’t use one in every bath because I don’t have the money for this luxury, or enough space in the bathroom to store that many. My all time favorite has to be the butterball/bear. So simple but so effective – it’s not fancy, it doesn’t make your bath change colour but OMG SO SMOOTH! You literally don’t have to moisturise after so for a lazy bum like me this is just bliss! I literally get out the bath and I’m like JON STROKE ME! HOW SMOOTH AM I! It baffles me every time. The one I’ve used here is the “avobath” which also has that moisturising effect but I don’t think it’s as intense as the butterball.

I absolutely love make up but with skin like mine it can get a bit itchy and irritable by the end of the day so getting that off is heaven! I tend to use an oil cleanser to really break through the make up and get it all off. I then like to treat myself to a little face mask. Here I’ve used the Lush “Mask of Magnaminty”. LOVE the smell and it leaves my skin feeling fresh!

On the same wavelength my favorite body wash is original source mint and tea tree – It’s not for everyone, some cant handle the tingle, but I’m a big fan. Again it just leaves me feeling so fresh compared to others.

Most of the time I will watch something while relaxing in the tub. I’ve got a little bath pillow and I just lay there and forget about reality. I will watch YouTube videos or short programs so I don’t end up like a prune and will watch these on either my phone, kindle or laptop depending on whats charged at the time.

Now are you ready for my super glam viewing platform – yep I rest whatever I’m watching on the cats litter box! Don’t judge! This particular time was set up for my phone but it can vary depending on what I’m using. #thatglamlife!

If I’m having an evening bath I like to light the lavender candle and turn the lights off to really wind down. I’m also partial to a peppermint tea night cap and what better time to have this than while relaxing in the bath!? (If this bath is on a Friday evening the peppermint tea is often swapped out for a glass on vino!)

So there we have it, my perfect bath! I think I’m going to have to go run one now cause this post has definitely got me in the mood for a relaxing little dip. Do you guys do any of this or are you not the bath type? I hated baths for so long but I could not live without them now!

Peace and Love xoxo