Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Favourites // September 2016







The end of the month means that it's time for me to share my favourites on here - here we go with September's!

September seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye - it was a blur of work to be honest! In addition to working on my portfolio I decided to start doing some journal based learning - it was more difficult than I thought to get back into reading journal articles again! But then again I was trying to do this in the early hours of the mornings on my night shifts so that might have been a contributing factor! I booked the last week of the month off work and it has been really nice to just relax and completely switch off from work for an extended period of time (although I'm definitely guilty of checking my work emails every day!)! On my week off I took Nam & G (my grandparents) to Birmingham for a shopping trip - it was so cute to see G going on a train, he hasn't been on a train since he was in the army about 40 years ago! Also, I've started to play the piano again! I've been playing the piano from when I was about six but lost my love for it about eight years ago, it's a skill and hobby I'd begun to miss lately so I've started to play again - jeez am I rusty! Pieces that early teenage me could play with my eyes shut now require actual thought and concentration! It has amazed me though how my fingers knew how to play the pieces but my brain was struggling to read the music - crazy how different actions are more easily remembered than others!

Anyway, enough of me chatting on, here are my extremely random collection of faves from last month:

ASOS CACTUS PRINT PJ SET // I fell for these pjs as soon as I saw them Rosie the Londoner wear some on her trip to Morocco and I just *needed* them in my life! I was perusing the asos website (as I do on a daily basis because I'm stalking their 'new in' section because I'm on the hunt for my winter coat for this year!) and saw that they were back in stock in my size - it was fate! I just think they're so cute and fun! 

STAND N STUFF SOFT TACOS // I'm not a very good cook (massive understatement) - I have been known to burn pasta (who can't cook pasta?!)! But whenever I want Mexican for dinner Mum makes me cook it - she's not that great at following a recipe, she's more of a throw stuff together type of cook! - I bought this kit because it was the one on offer and it's life-changing. I know that's bold statement for a Mexican dinner but it just makes eating tacos so much easier - meaning I don't end up with taco crumbs all over me and having to eat the contents of my taco from my plate with a fork - fail! They're my new fave Mexican for dinner dish!

JO MALONE ROOM SPRAY // I bought this for mum last Christmas and I've become a little bit obsessed with it - it makes everywhere smell so bloody good! It's fresh and clean and the scent really lasts for hours - I hate it when a room spray disappears practically as soon as you spray it! It's a luxury but it's so enjoyable! Plus it means we can enjoy the Jo Malone scent experience without burning one of their candles - so it might even work out a little bit cheaper! Although, how liberal I am with it, it might not!

URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER FOUNDATION // The Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation has been my fave for years now - I just find that it's the only foundation that matches my skin tone perfectly. So when I saw that they'd brought out a new foundation I had to have it - I ordered it before I'd even read/watched any reviews online! This foundation is right up my street - it's long wearing but doesn't look cake-y on the skin, it feels light and easy to wear and of course the shade is spot on! New fave foundation for sure. 

PAPER PRINCESS - ERIN WATT // I wasn't sure to expect with this book - the story sounded quite interesting - and it's based in a Southern mansion, I was sold by that alone! To be honest I'm not sure what it was about this book that had me obsessed, as soon as I'd finished it I bought the second novel because I was desperate to know what happened to the characters! Plus who doesn't love a tale of forbidden love, it's a classic plot!

JOULES COAST RAIN COAT // Yep, I know - another one! After I fell in love with my yellow raincoat this summer I knew I couldn't pass up this gorgeous colour when I saw that it was on sale! It seems I've developed a bit of a thing for fun raincoats - I just can't get enough!

So that was everything I've been loving in June! If you want to see what I got up to during the month via the medium of instagram pics, then check out this post!

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Blood Cancer Awareness Month



I don't often bring my work life onto the blog, when I do it's usually just a passing comment when I round up my month and share what I got up to. And it's even more rare that I put up a post when it's not Wednesday or Sunday. But I really wanted to share this campaign with you, with as many people as I can, with everyone.

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Blood cancer is so much more than just leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma also make up the three overarching groups of blood cancer but there are over 100 different types of blood cancer. Blood cancer can affect anyone at any age and any lifestyle, but it's the most common cancer in children and young adults. Blood cancer the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, 14 000 people every year lose their battle with blood cancer - that's 38 people every day (and more than breast cancer and prostate cancer). Blood cancer is is the fifth most common cancer, 38 000 people are diagnosed every year - that's one person every 14 minutes. These statistics baffle me, blood cancer is touches so many people's lives but people are so under-informed about it. I suppose it doesn't help that the symptoms of blood cancer are so generic - tiredness, fever, infection - all things that could be passed off as just a cold. 

As a biomedical scientist in haematology, blood cancer is something that I see on a daily basis, whether it be issuing blood products for blood cancer patients when I'm in Blood Transfusion or when I'm looking down the microscope at a blood film from a GP patient and see blast cells (immature white blood cells that shouldn't be in the peripheral blood) indicating that this patient could potentially be about to be diagnosed with leukaemia. So obviously, Blood Cancer Awareness Month is something that's very close to me and something I feel really strongly about. 

There's one story in particular that has made me want to sit down and write this post. Noah's. When I started working in the lab everyone said that there would be patients who I'd remember forever, Noah will definitely be one of them. I was working the Sunday shift when Noah was admitted to A&E and he suddenly, tragically passed away whilst there. He was only four years old. Noah was the son of one of our Haematology consultants and a group of my colleagues from Haematology are trekking up Snowdon in memory of Noah and to raise money for Bloodwise in his name. It's a long shot but if anyone would like to donate then here's the link.

If you'd like some information on blood cancer then here's the link to Bloodwise's information page, they've got a really comprehensive information section on understanding blood cancers. If you want to read more about their campaign for Blood Cancer Awareness Month then here's the link for that too.

I'm going to leave this post here, with this quote I saw on the Bloodwise website "life is a gift to be used wisely and lived fiercely" and their #bloodcancerawarenessmonth infographic.


*information, statistics and info-graphic taken from Bloodwise.org.uk - this post is in no way affiliated with the charity - I just want to try to help raise awareness about blood cancer via writing this post


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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Insta-Lately // September 2016


It's time to share my past month through the medium of my instagram feed - if you fancy following along then my insta is @belsmay13 :)


Every day has to start with some caffeine, especially a Saturday! Plus how instagrammable is this mug?!



I've been raving about this candle collection (that I've been hoarding for far too long!) all over social media - I just can't get enough!


We realised that there's a slush puppy machine at work - this was the best Friday lunchtime treat! Although, we did go back into the lab in a bit of a sugar coma - can't say I regret it!  


Going to Nandos is awesome, but getting Nandos takeout and bringing it home to eat in bed - that's just life changing!


I bought some new bedding from George with then triggered off this post because I fell in love with practically everything in this free A/W collection magazine that came with my bedding order! 


Mum, Nam and I went on an impromptu shopping trip and I ended up accidentally purchasing *another* Joules raincoat - I just can't get enough of my yellow one, it really brightens up a rainy day, so as always - if you love something buy it in multiple colours, right?!


I had a bit of a face mask moment the other week - I'm pretty rubbish at using masks (literally I use one once every couple of months!) but I was just in the mood to give my skin a bit of a treat - the air conditioning at work plays havoc with my skin! I liked using both masks, my skin felt really nice and look a lot healthier and cleaner right after I'd use them, but I'm not sure about the long lasting effects... 


It was mum's birthday this month so of course I had to treat her to some of her favourite flowers - which of course I had to borrow to photograph for this month's 'currently' post!


I shared some copper cutlery in my George homeware post and I just couldn't get them out of my head - so I caved and bought some (but these were from B&M of all places, because the George ones weren't dishwasher safe - boo!)! They've made me happier that any cutlery set should have tbh!


I mentioned my new bedding earlier - it's this jersey set from George and I'm in love! I can't cope with how soft and comfy and cosy it is! It's like the a huge snuggly sweatshirt to sleep in!
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So that was September! These months are really flying by now - I can't believe how we're practically in the last quarter of the year already!

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

10 Things I Love About Autumn



Autumn starts tomorrow (according to Google) and to be honest I'm still in denial about it. I'm not ready to leave the summer, the light nights, the hot weather behind. Everyone else seems to be so into autumn - come September first everyone was breaking out their knitwear and hunting down their first PSL of the year but it takes me a little longer to come around to the idea of autumn - dark mornings, grey skies and a chill in the air. 

So now that I'm ready to embrace the change of season (okay, so maybe not as far as embrace but definitely not in complete denial about summer being over at least!) I thought I'd write a post similar to this one I wrote when I was experiencing the January Blues - to hopefully put me into a positive mindset looking forward to Autumn:

THE CHANGING OF THE SEASON

I'm really struggling with how best to describe this one - but it's that stunning beauty that you can see round every corner at this time of year; when the leaves start to change into those crisp orange/reds and crunch beneath your steps, when the golden sunlight dapples through the branches as they start to become bare. If you ask me Autumn is like the golden hour of the seasons - as the days start to get shorter everything seems to want to soak up those last drops of sunshine at the end of each day and just looks stunning, almost magical. Honestly, just taking Little Prin (my dog fyi) for a walk in the late afternoon leaves me speechless at the beauty around us.

THE RETURN OF GOOD TV

TV is always so rubbish in the summer - not that I mind really, I'd much rather spend time outside enjoying the glorious warm weather in the summer to be bothered about watching the telly. But the return of good TV shows, every ad break being filled with trailers for shows that make you say "ooh that looks good" and pencilling in tv shows all over your planner (just to keep track of them all!) means that autumn really is here. Whether it be old favourites that have returned for another series, or new shows that you want to get into watching - autumn is the time for using the tv to ignore the fact that it's getting dark ridiculously early (the exclamations over the time when it gets dark is a nightly occurrence in our house!).

COMFORT FOOD

Autumn is all about steaming bowls of soup, mountains of mashed potatoes, overflowing bowls of pasta - as soon as there's a chill in the air gimme all the comfort food please! Sorry salads but I won't be craving you again until next summer!

A FRESH START

I think this stems from all those years of school starting as soon as September rolls around - it's almost like a little refresh button for your year - time to take stock of your life, make changes and just sort things out. Plus back to school season means buying stationery to see you through the next year and everyone feels like their life is more together when you have pretty organization aids!

HOME DECOR

One of the things that we like to do when autumn rolls around is to take a leaf out of our American friends book and decorate for the autumnal season. I think it really helps to make closing the door on summer a little bit more sweet - autumn can sometimes seem a little dull, with the nights closing in sooner and no Christmas lights to brighten things up we find that adding some pumpkins, leaves and acorns around our living room and dining room and an autumnal wreath on the front door just helps us to embrace the autumn a little more!

AUTUMN FASHION

I find it so easy to get dressed in the autumn - jeans, boots, flannel shirt with a scarf and jumper maybe if it's particularly chilly. Autumn always makes me dress a bit more preppy - throwing on a blazer and riding boots just makes me feel so put together and very 'me' - I love it!

COZY NIGHTS/afternoons/days/all the time

My happy place in the autumn is snuggled up on the sofa, under a soft fleecy blanket, with a candle burning in the background (preferably something musky and manly smelling - Flannel from B&BW is just perfect for this!), sipping on a cup of tea and reading a good book. I'm a sucker for cozy bedtimes too - brushed cotton sheets are my obsession and a matching set of flannel pjs make for the best way to beat the cold nights in the autumn! Any time of the day in autumn is perfect for snuggling up and getting cozy - it's practically encouraged!

AUTUMN ACTIVITIES

Every autumn I start off with all the good intentions of ticking of my autumn bucket list; I want to go apple picking, visit a pumpkin patch, go for a stomp through the fallen leaves. I want to celebrate Thanksgiving, go to a bonfire, carve pumpkins. Somehow it never all gets done, I never seem to manage it - but the draw of doing all these things comes back every year, I think it'd really help to combat the inevitable SAD that starts around this time of year to have fun autumn activities to help you embrace the goodbye to summer. This year we have a definite plan to go to a pumpkin patch, so that's a start - right?!

SHORT BUT SWEET

Although winter doesn't officially start until the end of December (thanks again google!) Autumn never lasts the full three months it's supposed to, by the start of November (if we're lucky!) there's more than just a chill in the air - it's full on freezing and the winter coats have got to be brought out! I think that's one of the things I like most about autumn, how fleeting it is - how you feel like you have to make the most of it because you know it won't be around forever, how you want to pack it full of autumnal activities (see above!) to tick everything off your autumn bucket list before time runs out.  

ME TIME

I kinda love autumn for giving me that time to indulge in being a smidge anti-social - just to have a break really. Summer is a whirlwind of barbecues and beer garden sessions (well so I'm reliably informed by my very sociable friends!) and winter brings with it a slew of festive parties to go to, but autumn lets you just be. Sure there's bonfire night and maybe a halloween party if you're lucky, but the rest of the time - people tend to get sucked into the comfort of spending time at home, after all autumn is practically synonymous with spending rainy afternoons curled up on the sofa - which suits introverted me just fine! Sometimes you need that time to recharge and indulge yourself in some 'me time'. 

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Currently // 18-9




It's currently post time again! Let's go...

Eating // a meal that stands out from the last month was when Mum and I tried out the new Italiano range from Domino's - we were so impressed! The pizzas tasted like proper Italian restaurant quality and they came with a tiny bottle of chilli oil and a pot of fresh rocket - definitely the best takeaway pizza we've had!

Drinking // far too much Diet Coke. Again. There's something so thirst quenching and refreshing about ice cold Diet Coke though!

Watching // Friday Night Dinner - thanks to Hannah Gale for suggesting this show - it's so hilarious! Plus I've really been looking forward to Carly's almost daily vlogs - I've read TCP for years and I love how vlogging shows more of Carly's life!

Listening // Ward Thomas' new album - Cartwheels. Still loving country music of course!

Reading // Under the Lights by Abbi Glines - I *love* Abbi Glines books, they're such easy chick lit reads. I really love how each series revolves around a group of friends and each book is centred on a couple in the group - I just can't get enough! Plus they're all set in small Southern towns in the US and we all know how obsessed I am with that!

Planning // what I want to do/get done on my two weeks of annual leave coming up - I can't wait to have some downtime away from work! I'm thinking a shopping trip to Birmingham, potentially a trip to London to visit Aftab and definitely a day dedicated to swapping my spring/summer wardrobe out for my autumn/winter one!

Obsessing // over my new jersey bedding - it's the softest most comfy bedding I've ever had - it's just so snuggly!

Smelling // all of my autumnal candles - I'm resisting starting to burn them again until it's officially autumn (three days to go!) but I went through my candle collection the other day and sorted out the ones I wanted to keep/replace/throw out.

Wearing // my Jadelynn Brooke t-shirts every chance I get - they're just so comfy for running errands (and doing night shifts!) - plus the sayings on the back of them are too cute! My have is 'my mason jar runneth over'!

Wanting // a complete overhaul of my autumn wardrobe - nothing from the last couple of years feels like me or my style anymore. I want to really condense my wardrobe into pieces that can all mix and match together to make putting outfits together super easy.

Feeling // a little bit exhausted with work - my annual leave can't come fast enough! I know I had a week off for my birthday at the end of July but that was packed so full of fun stuff for my Birthday Week that I didn't really have chance to relax! I'm definitely looking forward to having some time to relax and re-charge!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Essie // Maximillian Strausse-Her





This polish has been hiding in my stash ever since Lily Pebbles started raving about it (is that really two years ago? That has flown by!) but I've never gotten round to wearing it! Mum has been wearing it pretty regularly but I only reached for it for the first time this past week, and I love it! I guess that shows just how versatile it is!

I love how subtle the colour is - it's grey with a hint of green and blue (and almost lilac in some lights!) in it. It makes wearing a neutral nail polish for work so much more fun!

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

14 Home Buys I Need From George This A/W



I ordered some new bedding from George last week (this incredible jersey one, aka the softest and most comfy bedding ever!) and when I went to pick it up they gave me their new A/W 2016 booklet, so I had a little flick through and fell in love with at least one thing on near enough every page!

I've been wanting to gradually update our house a bit, to add a bit of my style to the house and George is seriously killing it this autumn/winter with their homeware - so I thought I'd share some of my fave bits and bobs that caught my eye


Untitled #12


How cute it all this grey/copper? - I love it! Plus how adorable is the dining set - and don't even get me started on the rose gold cutlery - I just can't deal! And those cushions! Who'd ever thought I'd get excited over a set of dining table set?! Don't you think that the side tables look a smidge Oliver Bonas-y? Ugh, I just love everything!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Confessions of a Stationery Addict



I confess, I'm a stationery addict...

1. I will hoard pretty notebooks without any intention of writing in them - because that would ruin their pretty-ness, obviously!

2. If gold is a colour choice then I will choose that one - paperclips, push pins, desk accessories...

3. There's a stash of sticky notes (of varying shapes, colours, sizes, slogans, cute-ness) hidden in one of my stationery drawers

4. I have specific special pens that make my handwriting looks amazing - woe betide you if you decide to borrow one of those special pen!

5. I'll have a to-do list pad for any eventuality - packing, grocery shopping, weekly to do list, month to do list, blog ideas, blog post writing - some may say it's a little excessive!

6.I'm too scared to tot up the amount I spend on etsy stickers (yes stickers at age 23!) each month to stickerate my planner to make it look pretty

7. I have a variety of brands of coloured pens that *must* be kept separated and organized by pen-type 

8. I stockpile washi tape like it's going out of fashion but never use it - they're just too cute!

9. I desperately want to start a bullet journal (I've got the Leuchtturm notebook and a ton of Staedtler pens) but the thought of it not turning out as pretty as everyone else's gives me serious stress 

10. I'm not in school anymore but I still manage to dedicate some time at the end of summer to shop for new stationery supplies, and also when January comes around, and also in June for exam season of course

11. A pack of new sharpies organised in rainbow order just brings me peace

12. I've always got a selection of blank cards 'in stock' in case the need to write some snail mail strikes me

13. The thought of using an digital planning system gives me weak palpitations - I'm *very* attached to me paper Erin Condren Life Planner!

14. Talking of my ECLP, it takes me from when the new designs are released in June from when I order next years planner in November to decide what combination I'm going to go for: do I go crazy and change to the horizontal layout? Would the hourly layout help me to organize my time better? Neutral or coloured? And don't even get me started on coil colour and interchangeable cover choices!

15. Any new project I undertake (hello specialist portfolio!) cannot be started until I've bought a new folder, dividers, page markers and of course a new notebook to dedicate to it!

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Please tell me I'm not the only stationery addict out there?!
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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Yankee Candle - Barbershop Collection




Currently I'm sat in my room, snuggled up under a blanket trying to write a post for today - I've been brainstorming post ideas for a while and to be honest I've lost count of how many posts I've started but given up on about half an hour later. 

I've lit a candle in the alcove of my room just before I sat down and now the room is filled with such a delicious scent that it has sparked the inspiration for this post - an opportunity to wax (sorry!) lyrical over this new candle collection that has become my new favourite!

I tend to always gravitate towards sort of clean and fresh scents with a hint of a musky and masculine undertone - anything sickly sweet just doesn't interest me. Think Flannel from Bath & Body Works or Wood Sage & Sea Salt from Jo Malone - they're the time of scents that float my boat. So the new Barbershop Collection from Yankee Candle is right up my street.

I've been hoarding four candle from this collection for a while now - just taking the lids off and having an eye-roll, "mmmm" inducing sniff every so often - like a guilty pleasure - they are just too delicious to burn but I've finally taken the plunge, and oh I'm so glad!

Aftershave // "a evocative mix of juniper and patchouli" - aka the scent of a hot man who has spent the day in a wood

Hot Towel // "a combination of sea salt breeze and white woods " - aka the scent of a hot man who's just come back from a walk on the beach

Barbershop // " a sophisticated mix of eucalyptus, lavender and amber" - aka the scent of a hot man who's been at a spa 

Chrome // "Notes of cardamom, incense and cedar wood create a coolly polished, contemporary scent" - aka the scent of the most delicious smelling man ever - I have no words, I just can't do the smell of this candle justice - let's just say, if I met this man I would be seduced by his aftershave alone!


Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to daydream about a delicious man, preferably in some sort of lumberjack-esque checked shirt coming in and sweeping me off my feet...


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