Blogmas 2017 Day 4: Real VS Fake- The Christmas Tree Debate!

So, something that I hear about year after year is the great Christmas tree debate. Hence, I have decided to compile a list of the pros and cons of each to give you a little idea!

Real

Pros

  • Smell bloody amazing
  • You get to get an imperfect one which is really cute
  • They look better (in my opinion!)
  • Picking them from a farm is a fun day out! (Think pumpkin picking but in November)
  • You get to get a new one every year-  change it up!

Cons

  • They drop needles EVERYWHERE
  • They don’t last as long
  • If you’ve got a pet/small child, the needles can be dangerous to them
  • You have to pick it pretty early to get a good one

Fake

Pros

  • No need to buy another one every year!
  • They stay perfect (if you package them right that is)
  • Less mess
  • Can become quite a sentimental decoration
  • Can go up as early as you like!

Cons

  • It just doesn’t have the amazing Christmas tree smell
  • Some of them can look very cheap and tacky (soz)
  • Sometimes their branches stick out at weird angles due to improper storage
  • They make your hands itch when you put them up!

So there we go. Tell me, do you have a real or fake Christmas tree? Why? We’ve gone for a real one at home this year, and it looks gorgeous! I haven’t actually seen it in person yet though, but when I do I shall take some pics! I look forward to reading your comments!

Love,

H x

Advertisements

Blogmas 2017 Day 3: My New Holy Grail: Essentialle Skin Care Review*

So, a few weeks ago I got a super exciting invite to an event in London to celebrate the launch of Essentialle skin care. Unfortunately, I had uni that day, and I definitely don’t live close enough to London to pop down for a spot of brekkie, so I had to decline. However, their lovely team were nice enough to send me some ‘samples’ instead! I say ‘samples’, because they actually sent me TWO full-sized products, which was very bloody generous of them indeed!

Anyway, contextual information covered, I’ll actually begin my review now…

The Brand

Essentialle were a brand that appealed to me from the get-go because of their company’s moral values. They are completely cruelty free, have a great purity about their products (using only natural and organic ingredients), and they also ship for free world wide, which is pretty incredible!
The Trial

So, like I said, I was sent two full-sized products to try. These were the ‘Revival Nectar’ nourishing face oil, and the ‘Remedy Multi-Active’ re-balancing face oil. Now, I’ll be honest, never in my life have I used a face oil. I have combination to dry skin, and using an oil has always seemed a little alien to me as I couldn’t understand how it would help my skin, rather than break me out. So Essentialle, you’ve definitely taken my face-oil virginity.

I decided to trial the ‘Revival Nectar’ which claims to have restorative qualities, for renewal of dry and lack-lustre skin. Like I said above, I have combination to dry skin, so this seemed like the best fit for me. Zack (my fiancé) trialled the ‘Remedy Multi-Active’ oil for me, as this claims to be for oily, problem skin. We’ve both been using these products daily after our normal skin care routines, in order to give them a fair test.


The Packaging

The products arrived in an adorable package (I’m a sucker for good packaging) and the first thing I noticed was that they were both in glass bottles. This really took me by surprise, I’m not sure why, but I actually really like this. As these products retail within the region of £62-£70, this packaging definitely added to the luxurious feel of a definite luxury skin care brand.

First Impressions

For the ‘Revival Nectar’, my first impressions were definitely the amazing smell of the product. It genuinely smells like the inside of a lush shop, and it gives me great enjoyment to slather it all over my face. I also liked taking the time to work and massage the product properly into my face. This is something that I am not used to doing, but I found it really relaxing and it was really nice to take a little time out of my daily routine just to focus on massaging my face. The product absorbed quickly, and Zack commented that my face smelt nice when I got into bed, WIN.

For the ‘Remedy Multi-Active‘ oil, Zack followed me in massaging it into his skin. He also dabbed it on his problem areas, as advised by the instructions on the bottle. We both remarked that it had a nice scent, although we did prefer the ‘Revival Nectar’ scent. Zack didn’t enjoy the feeling of the oil on his face at first, but it quickly absorbed and off to sleep we went.

The Morning After

Ok, this is going to sound ridiculous because it was way too early to judge at this point, but my skin actually looked incredible. I didn’t notice until I sat down to apply my makeup, but I was genuinely taken aback by my skin. It looked more glowy and healthy than I ever remember, and it actually resembled my skin before I had even begun to use make-up, the change was that different. Although the Remedy Nectar is not for problem skin as such, all of my break outs had also cleared up. I don’t know whether this was because of the product, or if this just happened to happen over night just as I had started using this product, but I was very impressed and I wondered how I had ever gotten by without it!

Zack had a completely different experience with the ‘Remedy Multi-Active’ however, and found that it had caused quite a few break outs. However, he admitted himself that we couldn’t judge the products after one application, and noted that sometimes products have to draw out impurities before they can actually improve your skin.

4 Week Review

So, now we get to right now. We have both been using these products daily for 4 weeks now, and here are our final thoughts.

I absolutely love the Remedy Nectar! I genuinely don’t know how I ever lived without it, it’s for sure my new holy grail that I shall be recommending to everyone. It makes my skin look so much clearer and brighter, I just love it!

Zack didn’t get on with the Remedy Multi-Active. However, his skin is used to quite harsh formulas as he uses alooooot of skin care products, so I think this product just isn’t right for him. But, I have been using small amounts of this and dabbing it on my problem areas. It seems to be working pretty well for me, so I can’t personally fault it!

So, there we have it! Quite a mixed review. Thanks so much to Essentialle for sending the products over for this review, I am officially a fan girl of your brand!

Have you ever heard of essentialle skin care? Which product would you like to try? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Love,

H x

*Products gifted in exchange for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Blogmas 2017 Day 2: My December Calendar

DSC_3348.JPG

Happy December!

For day 2 of blogmas, I thought it would be fun to let you know what I’m doing in December, and when! So I’ve entitled this post my December calendar, as I’m going to be letting you know what exciting things I have coming up this December!

1st- On the first of December, blogmas begins! I am very excited for this because I took a little blog break in November, but I am back!

6th- I’m off to Birmingham with Abbey today, for the FFS Christmas event 🙌🏻. I will have a full post allll about this soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

9th- Today we are going to Lincoln Christmas Market, and I am very excited! This is something that we do every year, and it always makes me feel so festive!

15th-  Ahhh, the day I’ve been waiting for! Today I finish university for Christmas break, and I’m heading to Zack’s for a few days until he finishes!

16th- Today Zack finishes work, so we can finally head home for the holidays, driving home for Christmas must be played!

22nd- A busy day today! I’m having my nails done, which I am excited about because I only have them done once a year! And then tonight we are going to a drive in cinema to watch Home Alone. Festive or what?!

23rd- Today we are going to be baking gingerbread, brownies and sugar cookies! We used to do it all on Christmas Eve, but it got a little too much so we do these things today instead.

24th- Christmas Eve! We bake cakes galore today, watch out for the pics of them that I’m certain I’ll upload on Insta! Then later we will watch a film, probably the grinch if I get my way, and we may have a Bailey’s hot chocolate or two…

25th- Busy busy busy! Having a split family at Christmas can be a little exhausting, so we spend the day bouncing from parent to parent! It’s nice to see everyone though!

26th- Today is like Christmas Day part 2 for us as we have another Christmas dinner with my dad’s family! Followed by a family night with silly games and fun!

27th- Annnnndddddd relax! It’s my last proper day off, before back to the uni work tomorrow…

31st- New Years Eve! Zack and I aren’t the biggest party people, so we don’t have plans as such. But, we may go out, or we may spend it with our family!

What are your plans for December? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

H x

Blogmas 2017 Day 1: How To Make The Perfect Hot Chocolate!

DSC_3184.JPGHello, and welcome back to Blogmas! If you didn’t know, Blogmas is basically where bloggers post every day in December leading up to Christmas! I did it last year, which you can read HERE, and I said I wasn’t going to do it again this year because it’s a lot of work. But, Zack read last years and convinced me to do it again, so here I am!

Anyway, I’m starting the next 25 days with the perfect hot chocolate recipe. Credit to Zack’s mum for this, as her hot chocolates are unreeeeeeal. I thought this would be a good place to start because, well, who doesn’t love a good hot chocolate to warm them up in December?

Ok, so let’s go…

Ingredients:

Hot Chocolate Powder (I use Cadburys)

Brown Sugar

Squirty Cream

Marshmallows (I use these vegan/vegetarian ones)

2 Segments Chocolate Orange (optional)

Milk

Hot Water

DSC_3181.JPG

Step 1

In a cute (Christmas themed optional) mug, add 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate powder and one teaspoon of brown sugar. Add a small amount of milk, and combine into a paste.

Step 2

Add more milk until the mug is 1/2 full.

Step 3 Continue reading “Blogmas 2017 Day 1: How To Make The Perfect Hot Chocolate!”

Am I Brave Enough To Be A Blogger?

This is something that I have never explicitly thought about, but I guess has always been there. If you’ve been following me since I started, you’ll know that I first started this blog anonymously under ‘H’. I didn’t post any personal details about myself, nor any pictures of myself, nor even my name. I wanted that protection at first because, even though I didn’t write personal posts, blogging still made me feel vulnerable.

But, slowly I got more and more confident. I started writing much more personal posts about mental health, I started to upload pictures of myself, and I even (finally) revealed my name recently. Each of these things in turn I have found incredibly nerve-wracking, but I’ve always been greeted with positive responses.

Until recently.

So, a tweet of mine happened to get pretty popular, and I got many lovely messages. However, I also got some really shitty ones. I’m not even going to say what they said, but some of them were incredibly nasty, and incredibly hurtful.

And, all of a sudden I panicked. I mean, through blogging I obviously know that I am putting myself out there, but it’s easy to forget just how much I actually share sometimes. Comments about my appearance I find particularly distressing, as they don’t leave my head for days, no matter how much I want them to. But, if I was going to continue to blog, (presumably) this is only going to get worse, right?

I don’t know. I freaked out. And I cried, hard.

And, it just begged the question for me, am I brave enough to be a blogger?

I mean, things like this are major triggers for me. Without going into too much detail, I’ve had terrible experiences with people insulting my appearance in the past, and now I am very affected by such things. Am I a snowflake? Hell yes I am, and I own it.

But, it’s easy to freak out in situations like this, and to forget how far I have already come. I’ve already dealt with little things like this and got over it. I’ve had a few little tiffs in the blogging community, and I’ve survived, I am okay. Did it leave me having a shitty MH night? Yes. But from it I learned that I am stronger.

A lot of people told me to ignore the comments, and referred to them as trolls. I understand why, and I’d maybe even give out this information myself to a friend in a similar situation, but the fact of the matter is that that is simply easier said than done. I can’t ignore such things because they hurt me, and that’s that.

Will I grow a thicker skin because of blogging eventually? Absoluteeeely. I already have, and I can definitely see my confidence continuing to grow. But, surely these type of comments knock everyone off balance from time to time? I mean, no one likes to read bad things about themselves!

So yeah, this is just a post of my thoughts and where I’m at as regards to blogging. I really do want to be even more open on here, but this does make me feel slightly vulnerable, and I won’t be able to do so until my confidence grows again.

Thanks for reading this little rant.

Love,

H x

P.S. Please just be nice to people. It’s much easier.

Anxiety Update: When It All Got Bad Again

Trigger warning: Mentions of mental health digression

Hello!

If you read my last anxiety update, you’ll know that I was actually having a pretty good time. I liked how positive my last update was, and I was in two minds about writing this post for that exact reason, because I didn’t want to put a downer on it. But, I know so many of you like my anxiety updates and I always receive the nicest messages when I post them, so I thought why not post where I am truthfully at right now? After all, there is no straight road to recovery when it comes to mental health.

Ahhhh, where to start.

So, things were good. I felt settled in my new house, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and made friends on my course, and I was very happy. And then life twisted a little, and it went a little down hill.

Two major things happened:

  1. We started having some issues within the house. This made me feel unsafe, and hence, brought on a string of anxiety attacks.
  2. Zack found out that he’s being sent away for 6 months.

And my world got a little cloudier again. Both of these events happened at around the same time, and at first I thought I was ok. I tried to be positive about Zack going away (even though I didn’t feel it) and tried to make light of the situation, I also tried to joke about the house situation. However, I could feel my anxiety bubbling under the surface. That’s how it actually felt, like my stomach was bubbling, and I tried really really hard to keep it all in.

Until last week.

Last week I broke. I’d been feeling my anxiety coming on and getting stronger for weeks and weeks and I’d been trying to ignore it, but I broke eventually. And I felt defeated because I had had such a good run for a few months, and I’d tricked myself into thinking that my life could be like this, and that I could just ignore my mental health/

 

Today I took the day off of university. I had to, I was too exhausted. Does anyone else get that horrible exhaustion from anxiety where all you can do is stare at the ceiling? You’re too tired to even sleep? Yeah, that. So I had to take the day off.

I spent the day blogging, reading and recovering. I ate carbs, watched YouTube videos and was kind to myself. I hate taking days off for mental health purposes, but sometimes they are just necessary. If I’d have tried to push myself today, it would’ve just got progressively worse. So, instead I’ve taken a day out to rest and recoup, and tomorrow I’ll (hopefully) be back to myself, and I’ll feel so much better for it.

Rest is necessary, be kind to yourself.

Love,

H x

 

As ever, I am happy to discuss my own mental health experiences with anyone over on my social channels (Instagram and twitter). I am no expert on this topic, but I can be honest and speak from personal experience. If you require support please visit this web page from Time To Change, where further support is detailed. 

Small Business Gift Guide!

I’ve really tried to change up my gift guides this Christmas, and this one is one that I’ve been looking forward to a lot! As a blogger, many of my friends/people I follow on the internet own small businesses. Now, I’ll be honest, I am the first to admit that I don’t shop at small businesses as much as I should. But sometimes it’s a little difficult to remember all of the small businesses out there. This post is not an exhaustive list of all of the small businesses to ever exists (that would be a REALLY long blog post!) but it is a list of a few small businesses that I know of and love, as well as a few new ones!

Dandelion and Bloom

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.44.59

Who doesn’t love a flower crown?! This business makes all of the crowns uniquely by hand, and they are SO pretty! Definitely have these in mind for gifts for a few people I know…

Pastel Elixir

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.52.57Ellis’ products are just so beautiful, she is very talented for sure! I mean, look at those little gift tags, does it get any cuter than that?! Plus, they’re £2 for a pack of 5!!

Kiss Air Candles

screen-shot-2017-11-17-at-10-41-00.png

Ahhhh, who doesn’t love candles? Kiss Air Candles is a small business that’s definitely on the rise! These ones look amazing, and I’m sure they smell great too! They also ship worldwide, so that’s incredible, and they sell personalised candles; how amazing?!

Dork Face Shop

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.56.25

I’ve bought a few things from Jemma’s shop, and I can honestly say that they are so beautiful, and so colourful! They definitely brighten up my day. Why not give the gift of a gorgeous illustration this Christmas?!

Annelies’ Arbonne

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 11.02.45

I’ve been friends with Annelies for quite a while now, as we met through blogging. She’s recently joined Arbonne, who sell a range of cruelty free cosmetics! Their makeup looks absolutely beautiful, and their products would be the perfect gift for a luxury skin care lover!

DalescraftPyrography

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 11.18.10

I almost cried when I saw these sleighs, how beautiful are they?! This is the work of the wonderful Gemma’s  dad and they would certainly make a very special and unique gift!

What small businesses do you know and love? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add them to this post! This post will continue to be updated, so keep your eyes peeled…

Love,

H x

Work hard? Work Smart! Brain Füd Review!* *INCLUDES DISCOUNT CODE*

2COnDowETmSRdQDkuW6M3Q_thumb_f0a

I didn’t know what to call this post for a really long time. I wanted to be witty and original, but in all truth, I am just bloody shattered. Student life tends to get pretty intense around this time of year, and that, along with anxiety, has left me feeling worn out and drained. I’ve got work to do, but my brain simply cannot focus, and all I want to do is watch Call The Midwife.

Step forward Brain Füd.

Now, this was really funny actually. Brain Füd contacted me back in September about reviewing their products, and I was very excited! However, with everything that’s going on (as detailed above), I just completely forgot that I was supposed to be receiving these samples from them! They arrived when I was having a really bad day, and it made me feel like it was a sign! So yeah, they really lifted my spirits when they first arrived, now let’s get to the review…

GE3uzwVuRwy7JwZQvMw_thumb_eca

Brain Füd claims to be ‘the smarter energy drink’. By this, it means that it’s like an energy drink, but without all the bad bits. The energy comes from a natural ingredient, Guarana, and everything else in the drink is a vitamin, mineral, fruit juice, or water. One bottle contains the equivalent caffeine to an Americano and there’s no artificial flavours or preservatives, and no sugar! PLUS, they’re suitable for vegans! Amazing.

The founder of Brain Füd, Philip, founded the company after struggling with chronic fatigue due to sickle cell. He wanted to create a natural boost, and a helping hand. How inspiring is that?! I’m definitely excited to see where this company goes in the future!

Brain Füd currently stock three flavours of their natural energy drink; Berry & Coconut, Citrus & Mint, and Pineapple & Ginger. They sent me all three to try in exchange for this review, which was absolutely lovely of them! Before I even tried them, I had to note that I loveeeee the design and artwork on the bottles! Plus, the citrus and mint flavour sounded right up my street…

Berry and Coconut

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_ef0

I tried this one first, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ll be honest, I did like it, but the flavour was a bit of a surprise as first as it’s nothing like I’ve ever tasted before. The berry and coconut flavours do compliment each other though, and it was very refreshing indeed! I also had a huge energy boost after I drank this (I was almost asleep before, yet I managed to stay awake for another 7ish hours after drinking).

Citrus and Mint

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_ee3

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS ONE!! My favourite by far!! If you like mojitos, you will LOVE this flavour. Very refreshing and lovely, this could 100% become my new favourite drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pineapple and Ginger

lFcd7rIaT2Gm6%wT3Xre9Q_thumb_f0bThis one is a nice flavour. The pineapple makes it sweet, and the ginger gives it a little kick! This flavour is perfect for those early mornings when you need an extra little boost. Also ginger is great for sore throats and getting over flu, so perfect for the winter months!

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I really liked these drinks, and would 100% recommend them. Their flavours, whilst different, are refreshing and very different from each other! They also did give me an energy boost, and I really like that they’re much more natural than the sugary, caffeinated energy drinks that come to mind when you think of a typical energy drink. These would be perfect to be sold in the Student Union, and I would buy them for sure!

mJyzXcX6TcGGWb5VtSmnYA_thumb_f09

So, there we have it! Brain Füd drinks retail at £18 for 12, which isn’t bad, even for a struggling student (like me lol). But, they’ve also offered a discount of 25% for my readers until 1st December! To redeem it, just enter ‘LifeThroughTSG’ at the checkout HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

H x

 

*Product sent in exchange for review. For more information, see my disclaimer.

Personalised Cakes Through Your Door! Letter Box Cake Review and GIVEAWAY!*

DSC_3623

Hey!!

I apologise for the influx of reviews lately, I am trying to squeeze some exciting content in before LifeThroughTSG gets all festive for blogmas!

Anyway, today my blogging dreams came true because….. *drumroll*…..

bakerdays agreed to send me a personalised cake, in exchange for this review!

YES PEOPLE, I got cake in exchange for blogging. BEST. DAY. EVER.

If you follow me on socials, you may know that it was my friend Charlotte’s birthday last week. So, when bakerdays asked if I’d like to try a cake, I thought why not dedicate it to her?! My instructions to the lovely Emma at bakerdays were to make it for Charlotte’s 20th birthday, but that she could be as cheeky as she liked, as she offered to make me a custom design! bakerdays do have a fab range of designs already on their website which you can personalise, but they also have a photo upload option if you’re looking for something really unique. So, let’s see what she came up with….

DSC_3629

Cute, right?! To be honest, I think this cake just sums up our friendship perfectly- haha!

Letterbox cakes really are just that. They’re made specifically to fit through the letter box, so they’re perfect for those last minute occasions when you accidentally forget someone’s birthday (oops). They’re also perfect for long distance friendships/relationships.. not seeing them on their birthday? Send them cake! (I know I’d really appreciate that anyway).

DSC_3651

The cake arrives in this cute little tin, which I am definitely going to keep. I don’t know what I’m going to put in it yet, but I feel like it’s definitely going to come in handy for cake storage!

It also comes with a little birthday pack including a few balloons, some candles and a party tooter- perfect for a little birthday celebration!

DSC_3664

I absolutely just adore this cake from baker days, and it tastes fab too! I’d definitely recommend them if you’re looking to send someone a cake or even just get someone a really nice, personalised cake. As well as the letter box size (£14.99), they also have small party cakes (£27.99), medium cakes (£37.99), and large cakes (£57.99). Flavours range from traditional sponge, to chocolate chip, even to marble cake for any occasion, such as Christmas, holy communion, birthdays, eid, halloween, engagement, new home AND MORE.

And, bakerdays don’t just stop at cakes! They also sell personalised cup cakes, which are really adorable, and they sell personalised balloons. AND they do dairy-free, gluten-free and wheat-free options, how amazing! Essentially, they’re your one-stop-shop for the perfect celebration, for any event!

DSC_3667

Now for the MOST exciting part….

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!

The lovely people over at bakerdays have also agreed to run a giveaway with me. Yes, that’s right, you could win your very own FREE PERSONALISED CAKE! Then, maybe it will be your best day ever! I’m running this giveaway over on my Instagram and twitter, so head to either of those if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning.

RULES:

  • You can enter on both Instagram and twitter, but only once on each platform.
  • You must be following me on the social platform for entry to count.
  • You must be a UK resident.
  • You must reply within 24 hours of me reaching out to you to inform you of your win. If you do not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be drawn.
  • Giveaway begins at 5pm on 22nd November 2017, and ends on 6th December at 5pm.

And that’s the serious bit done! So, if you’d like to win a beautiful, personalised letter box cake, please do enter!

Thanks again to the team at bakerdays, I’m off to eat some more cake now…

Love,

H x

*Product sent in exchange for review. For more information, please see my Disclaimer.

Discount Codes!

Is this a betrayal to my twitter bio? Perhaps. But it’s come to a point where I’ve got a few codes and I’m a bit confused about them myself, so I thought why not put them in a post to refer people to?! Although, I promise, there is not a coconut lane code in sight!

So, yeah, this is a list of the codes that are exclusive to me. Those marked with an asterisk are affiliate codes, meaning I make a small profit each time the code is used. This post is also gonna be regularly updated if some codes expire/ when I get a new code, so yeah, happy shopping!

Brain Fud 25% off with code ‘LifeThroughTSG’ until 1st December!

Secret Scent Box15% off with code ‘LIFETHROUGHTSG15’ *

Friction Free Shaving25% off of your first box with code ‘J2FCO7’ *

Very Vez 10% off with code ‘HAYLEY10’

Uni Days– referral link*

Songfinch 20$ off with code ‘FANSOFTSG’