#findthehappy – Week 5

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 5 – Monday 4th May 2015 – Sunday 10th May 2015
 
Happy #1: On Friday I bought some French Fancies to work as a treat. I forgot how good they were. 
We did end up getting into a huge debate about whether or not the yellow ones are lemon flavoured. What do you think? The packet suggests they are not flavoured but I am convinced the yellow ones taste ..well.. yellow! I think a blind taste test is in order.. I will need to get more! 
 

Happy #2: Friday night was girls night, some of my best girl friends came over to my flat where we drank too much gin, sang very loudly and out of tune to Proud Mary. We danced and generally had a very silly, glorious time of it.

I am pretty sure this probably wasn’t a happy for my neighbours however. Apologies to them.

Happy #3: Friday evenings make up felt like a great success, I purchased a lip brush from Boots on Thursday and gave that ago. I usually have trouble applying lipstick and often end up looking like Miranda Sings but the brush seemed to help. I had some compliments from my friends about it so that was nice. #bighead
Happy #4: Eggy Peppers. My lovely work colleague Jenna has a rather splendid food blog with lots of delicious recipes – she recently did this egg baked peppers which I gave a go during the week. I cooked them for a bit too long but I love the idea! I think with more practise this will be delicious, roasted pepper and rich runny yolk.. om nom nom. She also did the same thing with an avocado… I will also be trying this. Check out Jenna’s blog Raw Rhubarb for more yummy, healthy recipes!
Happy #5: On Sunday we went to Hangleton to see some friends and their beautiful children. Jezz & I, and my flat mate & her boyfriend are going on holiday with them at the end of the month so we sorted out the last few bits and went for a pub lunch at the lovely Hangleton Manor pubI had whitebait for my starter, chicken roast dinner for my main and then Pimms Eton Mess for pudding all washed down with a lovely pear cider.  Somewhat gluttonous but glorious.  I had lots of baby cuddles with the newest addition to their family, lots of giggles, and excited holiday squeaks from all. Not long to go now!! Less that two weeks and we are off to Gatwick :) :) :) Woop woop!
A photo posted by Amy Teresa Elliott (@amynoos) on

Ten things they forgot to tell you about being a grown up.

1. Eating a whole cake to yourself will damned near impossible. But you will do it.
2. Spots will consistently appear on your face and body, not just when you are a teenager.

3. You will never quite be sure if you need to clean your mattress, or how you would go about it if you did. Same with your duvet.
4. Potato smilies will make you just as happy and they did when you were 5.
 5. As will Disney movies.

6. You will feel a genuine sense of achievement when you have cleaned the oven. After 8 months of putting it off.
7. Vegetables will actually be eaten through choice.
8. You will very suddenly realise you are not cool. You will actually start to doubt you ever were.

9. Random hairs will grow from places and you will not be sure how or why.

10. Your pay-check is not actually that much money when you have rent, electricity, water, gas, internet, council tax and gin to buy.

 

What it feels like getting a paycheck as an adult (By Books of Adam for BuzzFeed BFF)
Posted by BuzzFeed BFF on Thursday, 30 April 2015

#findthehappy – Week 4

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 4 – Monday 27th April 2015 – Sunday 3rd May 2015
 
Happy #1: On Tuesday a good friend who is moving back to Brighton from London later this year came down for a visit. Jezz and I headed to the pub to meet him for a drink after work, another friend who is due to become a father for the first time was also there. I haven’t seen either of them for a while so it was really nice to catch up! We did the pub quiz, failed miserably but did have the most obscene ridiculous burger ever. 
 
Happy #2: This week saw pay day and therefore a wee Primark shop was in order. I picked up a few tops for my holiday at the end of the month, a skirt (reduced to £3… HURRAH) some cute tote bags and some socks. I apparently cant leave Primark without socks that are cute.
Happy #3: Friday was the 1st of May and marked 6 months ago that I quit smoking. I posted about it here. Quite proud.
Happy #4: A colleague that I work with retired this week, (that is not the happy, she will be hugely missed) and on Friday my work colleagues and I went out. We went for a lovely Greek meal, I had halloumi to start and swordfish as my main, it was delicious! After we went to the pub and had a few drinks. I forgot to take photos of anything exciting here… too busy eating and drinking!
However in the morning there were some dogs painted on the road… so here is a picture of them instead…
Happy #5: This weekend Jezz and I were able to attend the Foodies Festival on Hove lawns, courtesy of a colleague who gave me some tickets for entry. We met up with some friends there and essentially spend the majority of the day eating and drinking. We shared pork belly sandwich, spring rolls, tempura prawns, chicken satay, LOTS of churros and a hog roast sandwich. Washed down with a pint of cider, pint of beer and a over-priced glass of spritz. We had a lovely time, however I can’t help but feel that if I had paid for the tickets I would have been very annoying. The face value of the tickets was around £13… once in there you had to pay for everything, or everyone was trying to sell you something. Dishes were between £4 and £9, drinks around £5 for a pint. Considering the entry cost I was surprised there wasn’t more to do. However, we didn’t pay to get in so it was fine and we were happy to spend a bit of money on some food. We rounded off with one more drink in the pub, all very much over-fed and sleepy by 5pm. Rock and roll.

6 Months Smoke Free!

I have never been one to be told what to do. 
So when the Department of Health launched their “Stoptober” campaign last year I was like;
“TO HELL WITH YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME”
So I quit in November 1st.
It hasn’t always been easy, but I am so glad I am finally free of the smoggy jacket that had enveloped me for the past *gasp* 13 years. Horrendous.
I had been thinking about quitting for a quite a while, more and more I was finding the smell and taste unpleasant and was feeling more and more grossed out by myself. I was finally convinced, encouraged by a couple of my friends who had recently quit using an e-cigarette. I searched the internet (bit of a mind field when it comes to these) and settled upon this kit from UK ECIG STORE which seemed to have good recommendations, was affordable and purple. (Yes, the purple pretty much sold it…)
It has been so helpful. I used it as a replacement to start with for the first few weeks, using it as I would have smoked. After a month or so decided to try and stop using it so much. Now I just have it with me when I am having a drink, which as most ex-smokers will tell you is the toughest time! 
 
From the start I used the lowest level of nicotine. As I have used it so little, the bottles of liquid have lasted me an age! I think I will get some without any nicotine for when I have a drink once the ones I currently have eventually run out, I am sure that now it is just more of the action rather than nicotine. 
But yes, so far so good, and no regrets. Only that I started smoking in the first place. 
But yes, today marks 6 months I have been smoke free. Here are some of my statistics from the QuitNow app I have been using. Scary!
 You can get the app here on Android  and on iTunes , it doesn’t cost a penny for the basic version which was fine for me! :)
If you are thinking of quitting do take advantage of all the help there is out there, Stoptober released a pack which I applied for (just didn’t crack open until November like the free-spirited-will-not-be-controlled person I am *snort*) and Smokefree run all year round so check their website out . Go and see your GP, many surgeries offer stop-smoking clinics and will really help you to quit.
So yes, today I am feeling quite proud of myself. Long may the non-smoking continue!

Everything 5 Pounds Haul

I am a huge fan of Everything 5 Pounds, don’t get me wrong it can be hugely hit or miss, I have bought some absolute horrors on there. I think most of the items must be end of the line or unwanted stock. Some items appear to have come from high street stores like Primark and H&M, and even River Island. Regardless, I love a bargain and there are some great items on there for the incredible price tag of £5!
I had a little splurge on there last week, in an attempt to make myself feel better while dosed up to my eyeballs on Lemsip. Here are the goods I received. I am really pleased with most of the items this time!
Please excuse the not-so-great photos, I am in desperate need of a better set up/camera.
This is the only item I am not that pleased with. For some reason they cut the “Atmosphere” label out (to the trained eye – Primark!), which is fine, but it looks like the did so with an old blunt pair of kiddie scissors. It is also very very sheer, and will need a top underneath it, and riddled with static. I am not sure I am going to get along with it. I think it is quite different from the image on their website on this occasion.
Frill Hem Pattern Tunic Dress

 

Really pleased with this. It is a really lovely forest green, I haven’t tried it on yet but feels like a good quality item that can be dressed up or down with accessories. It’s probably going to be a little too short to wear without leggings. I am fine with this though, I usually find I am much more comfortable wearing leggings!
Open Front Linen Blend Blazer
I have been after a blazer for ages, they just seem to really smarten up any outfit they are teamed with. Also they are great for the warmer days when you don’t want to take a coat out but want something lightweight to cover you. Really pleased with this item, it is a very soft relaxed material but it looks quite smart. I think it was definitely help to add a bit more of a grown up look desperately needed in my wardrobe…. clearly demonstrated by this next item.
I am over the moon with this!! It is the best thing ever. It’s fluffy, it has a huge hood, it has ears, it has bobbles, it has holes in the sleeves for your thumbs, it was £5. I am never taking it off. Ever.
Silky Feel Open Front Cardigan
This is a bit of a cross between a kimono and a blazer, it is a bit more of a lighter blue than it has come out in my photo but is perfect for the summer.
My tips for getting the most out of their website
Stick to the first few pages, their new stock is usually put on the first few pages and the further back you go the less likely they are to have it in your size.
Don’t hang around too much, items sell out super quick, I have seen items go out of stock as soon as I have gone to add them to my basket!
It is a bit like shopping in TK Maxx, be prepared to rummage, and if you find something you like hang onto it! :)
Keep an eye on the postage too, it is charged per item so it can soon rack up. 5 items of clothing this time cost me £5.15.

#findthehappy – Week 3

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 3 – Monday 20th April 2015 – Sunday 26th April 2015
 
Happy #1: My new cleanser! I have been dying to try the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and I treated myself to the 4-piece starter kit which arrived this week and it is just brilliant. Stupidly expensive but brilliant. Yesterday I posted my April favourites, this certainly made the list!
Happy #2: My parents recently returned from another holiday in Portugal where they have been building a holiday home (check out my Dad’s blog here). They have lots of orange and lemon trees. They gave me a huge bag of oranges which I juiced. They made the most delicious orange juice!
Happy #3: I have been dying to try the coral coloured nail varnish I received in this months Birchbox. I was not disappointed, I love it! I think it’s going to be great for the summer.

Happy #4: Rainbow Unicorn Cats as my phone wallpaper. What more can I say? I would probably wallpaper my house in this if I could….

Happy #5: Super super lazy weekend with the boy. As I have been riddled with a very serious case of the man-flu a lazy weekend was in order. Literally have worn my jimjams and been at one with a blanket and the sofa. Glorious. I watched Wreck it Ralph, Third Rock from the Sun (bloody love Netflix) played GTA V, drank numerous cups of tea and ate bacon rolls.  We also watched Big Hero 6, what a marvellous film that is! Bliss.

A photo posted by Amy Teresa Elliott (@amynoos) on

April Favourites

Here are some of the things that I have been loving this month!
At Christmas my flat mate rushed to me, little pot in hand squealing with glee.
“Look at this, look at this” she beamed jabbing her chipped nail varnished finger at me, “My mum found this, it bloody changes everything!”
It has.
This concept has literally revolutionized my life. I have introduced it to my mum, and now I am introducing it to you. This stuff is amazing. The concept is simple, in this tub is a sponge soaked in nail varnish remover, the sponge has a small hole in the middle that you put your varnished finger nail in, twisty-twist and remove and as if by magic…. done! Why has no one come up with this sooner!? It is so much quicker and easier then the ol’ pad and bottle routine. (Although, I do have to say that glitter nail varnish still needs a pan scourer and a litre of remover to get off…)
I notice now that many shops are on the bandwagon, doing cheaper more affordable ones than the somewhat hefty price-tagged Bourjois (£4.99 in Boots) I picked one up in Primark last week for £1!!! I haven’t cracked that open yet but I will let you know how it goes. But yes, get it in your life.
I have some some absolute gems of products via Birchbox. The Beauty Protector range is one of them, in particular their leave-in conditioner. It is not very cheap, but not crazy expensive (£14) this stuff lasts ages. I bought a bottle around 4 months ago and it is still going strong, I did pick up a spare recently in preparation so I am stocked for a while yet. It is just lovely, it has a beautiful delicious candy floss smell. I am not usually a fan of sweet smelling beauty products but this is LUSH. After washing hair, spray all over, brush through and style hair as normal. My hair feels silky smooth and soft.
I would like to say I found this myself, but to be honest the thought of bacon popcorn would have probably made me turn my nose up. I am not a huge fan of bacon crisps and envisioned a similar over-powering fake bacon smoky, sickly orange mess over delicate puffed corn…. however this stuff is just delightful! Firstly it tastes a bit like sweet popcorn, then you get the bacon – sounds a bit weird I know, but it is good. If you like bacon and maple syrup you need this in your life. Delicious.
I used to find it a little difficult getting off to sleep at bedtime, sometimes my brain just wont switch off. Lavender is a well know relaxing scent for helping you get off to sleep, so a little while ago when a friend was struggling with getting to sleep I bought her one of these. At the time they were on offer so I bought myself one and since then I have used it on a regular basis. I have tried a couple of others in the interim that are more pure lavender oil based but there is something about this one from boots that I just love. It comes in a lovely metal can with a pump spray. It is a mixture of different essential oils designed to help you relax and get off to sleep. I just spritz my pillow and a couple of lucky sprays around my bed before getting in and snuggle up in the relaxing scented sheets. Give it a go if you are having some trouble sleeping, or if you just like lavender.
Beauty Blogger Lily Pebbles reviewed these and I was immediately drawn to them for some reason. I was in the market for a new blush, and picked this up in Superdrug to give it a go. I love it. It has multi-tonal pigments which blend with your skin tone to give a natural appearance. I use a medium sized blusher brush to apply to my cheeks. With a gentle sweep, it gives a lovely gentle glow and shimmer. It can also be built up easily for a more blushed look. It seems very easy to use without looking too much like a painted doll. The multi-tonal blend also means you can use it a little for contouring, so sometimes I like to just do a gentle sweep across my forehead and down the centre of my face (just be sure to be careful with the amount on your brush – unless you are going for a bright pink face look!)  There is something weirdly satisfying about the packaging also, the tub has a good solid structure and clicks nicely when it’s closed. Probably a bit weird I like that.
House – All seasons available on Netflix
Jezz loved this show. I watched the final series with him when it aired back in 2012 but had not watched any others. I was browsing Netflix back in January and found they have all of them on there! I started, very slowly, watching them and had managed to get about a third of the way through by March when Jezz expressed an interest to watch them again, so we picked up where I had left off. I am now obsessed. We are currently on season 6. One weekend all we did was watch House, and by the end of it I had lost my tiny mind and was diagnosing myself with all-sorts every time I did something odd or my arm hurt… hahaha. I am also experiencing the strange side effect of finding Hugh Laurie attractive….
I have been dying to try the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. I have seen numerous beauty bloggers rave about it and it sounded amazing. I was put off trying it due to its HUGELY hefty price tag. The 200ml tub is £49. I think this is an obscene amount to spend on a beauty product. However, Groupon have been running a deal with FeelUnique where for £15 you get £25 to spend on their website. So I treated myself to their 4-piece starter kit. It comes with a 50ml tub of the Moringa Cleansing Balm, a cleansing cloth, 15ml tube of Amazing Face Age Support Cream and a wash bag for £23. The wash bag was a bit of a let down, it looks and feels quite cheap, but the other items more than make up for it.
I can see why everyone has been raving about this. The balm has a lovely citrussy smell to it, and leaves your skin super smooth and silky. You take a small amount in the palm of your hand with a little warm water and mix to create a cream. Massage this all over your face and neck, then to remove use the cleansing cloth soaked in warm water to wipe away. After using my skin felt so clean and refreshed. My make up came off with such ease. I am afraid I am hooked. I think the tub will last a while as you only need a small amount for each use but I am not sure I can bring myself to spend £49 on the big tub.
What have you been loving this month? Please leave a comment below, I am always eager to try new things!

A Letter to my Teenage Self

Dear Amy,
I am not sure why I am writing this, because I am pretty sure you won’t listen to a word I say because you know best. However you are 13, and you don’t. You are going to get some things wrong. I don’t want to stop you getting all of those things wrong, because getting things wrong is how you learn not to do them again. It’s how you learn how to do things right. It’s little things like that that make me, me now and not you then. I guess I am writing this now, to just remind you of a few things, in an attempt that you don’t fret so much, don’t waste too much time on silly things.
Don’t waste your time on people that make you feel bad about yourself. Those girls that tell you, you are not pretty enough for a boyfriend are not your friends. Those girls who lie to other girls about being in your company are not your friends. Those girls who call you names are not your friends. Don’t waste time trying to get them to like you, do not lower yourself to their level and do the same thing to other girls. Girls can be bitches, don’t be one of those girls.
Remember that no matter who you are at secondary school, they will find something wrong with you. For you it will be the fact you have red hair, that right now, you hate. Your mum keeps telling you that women pay hundreds of pounds to get their hair that way…. she isn’t wrong. Plus, red heads don’t go grey as quickly, just remember that when they are calling you names. You will come to love it, and people will find you attractive because of it. Promise. Remember everyone is being picked on for something, just remember that it doesn’t affect you as a person, the fact they are calling you “ginge” doesn’t mean you are a terrible person, in fact, it makes them the terrible person. They are probably trying to detract from the fact that they unhappy with something about themselves. So shrug it off. It doesn’t mean anything to you.
Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with. If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, leave it. Don’t be forced into a situation just to follow the crowd. You are better than that, following the masses has never really been you, and will never be you. Standing up for yourself and finding your own voice is a much more respectable trait then being another face in the crowd.
Appreciate the fact you can eat whatever you want right now. It won’t always be that way. Eat as many doughnuts as possible.
Keep writing. You will stop and wish you hadn’t. Keep singing. You’re not any good but it makes you happy. Keep dancing like an idiot, anybody trying to look cool dancing looks like a fool, not you having the absolute time of your life…throw those shapes.
Bras from Primark are a waste of time. Save your money.
Wear your retainer. You will be annoyed that you didn’t.
Grow out your fringe. The photos will come back to haunt you when 29 year old you will post them on the Internet for all to see….
Don’t smoke. It is a stupid habit. It will cost you a small fortune, and you will stink. You will regret starting. You will no doubt start anyway, but it sucks, and your parents WILL know… even if they don’t say anything until you are in your twenties.
Your Mum knows more then she lets on.
Boys are not everything. Having a boyfriend does not make you valuable or worthy or any better off then you are now. Appreciate your own company.
Someone will tell you in a few years “Never regret the things you have done, regret the things you didn’t do”. Remember this. You don’t know if you don’t try. Be brave. Do your best.
Remember, you are alright. You are more than alright, you are good. Be you and things will work out okay.
Love
Amy (29 years old)

Birchbox – Who? What? When? Where? How?

I thought we would have a little chat about Birchbox for those who don’t know what I am on about and for those who do, a little more information!
I initially subscribed to Birchbox with the first attempt of this blog in 2014 with the aim of doing an “unboxing” with each months box. However, I found that I wasn’t hugely interested in writing about each item, some items I would save and not use straight away to judge properly and as you know..the blog fell to the wayside. However the Birchboxes did not, they continued to come and my addiction to beauty products was fueled further.
So what is Birchbox? Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that sends you 4-5 sample beauty products each month. Some months as a treat there is a full size item! I have had quite a few nail varnishes, and my most favourite item of all… a beautyblender!!
These babies cost £26! (A ludicrous amount to spend on a make up sponge if you ask me, however I do love it and desperately need a new one – just cant bring myself to pay that much!)
I have received mascaras, primers, face washes, shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, snacks, oils…. I could go on.
Each box also comes with some tips, an explanation of your products and when you go to their website you can fill in surveys about your thoughts on the products and the box itself.
Birchbox Reward Points – This is what has kept me subscribing with Birchbox and not trying another service at the moment! For each box you pay for you get 12 points, for each survey you complete you get 5 points. For each £1 you spend in their online store you receive 1 point.
For every 100 points collected you get £10 to spend in their online store! I love this, since I have become completely hooked on a couple of products I save up my points to get about £20 at a time, and treat myself to some beauty products I usually wouldn’t spend that on.
Anyway, this all sounds a bit like a hard sale, but its not. I just love to get things in the post, and I really enjoy getting my Birchbox each month. Each box cost £10.00 plus £2.95 delivery, but you can subscribe for cheaper if you pay for more boxes at a time.
If you are interested in receiving Birchboxes each month please click here and get 50 points added to your account to get you started!

#findthehappy – Week 2

FIND THE HAPPY – Week 2 – Monday 13th April 2015 – Sunday 19th April 2015


See last weeks blog post for an explanation of #findthehappy


Happy #1: The sun shone this week. My new ray-ban sunglasses were on my face a lot and this made me happy. Palmeira Square, just outside where I work looked so beautiful this week with the lovely flowers.
Happy #2: I had literally the most super awesome bubbly bath with lush karma bubble bar and Himalayan bath salts. Set up the tablet on the sink so I could watch YouTube videos, and had a cup of tea in my favourite mug. Just wonderful.
Happy #3: April’s Birchbox arrived. Delivery was a little late this month, and communication from them needed some prompting but once I had heard from them it came pretty quickly, (perhaps I was being a little impatient!) The box was good this month. It included another Korres body milk which I am addicted too. This one was bergamot pear and smells soooo yummy. I am a bit obsessed with the citrus one (I am now on my third! Unheard of!) but might have to get this one too. It also had a full size coral nail varnish which I am looking forward to trying. I will probably do another post about Birchbox, for those who don’t know what I am blathering on about, you will no doubt see me mention it on occasion.
Happy #4: Saturday was my Grandmothers 81st birthday. We all gathered at my Aunties house for the most EPIC roast dinner ever, there were 3 legs of lamb… (I will add there were 14 people!) It was delicious and it was really lovely to spend time with my family. Jezz was very happy because there was Banoffee Pie(pronounced Banno-fey in comic style), his favourite for pudding. Nom. 
I have had this stuck in my head for the past week. I am dragging you down with me…
Happy #5: Skiing. Well I am not sure if this is a happy or not, yet. But it was a nice day and something I will definitely look back on so it’s going down! 

I had my very first ski lesson on Sunday! 

I was terrified. It seems the older I am getting the more terrified of things I am getting. It went okay. I fell over 3 times in my 3-hour lesson. About 2-hours in I wanted to cry and give up, falling down was quite a knock, especially when it involved a terrifying conveyor belt lift. It was quite fun going down when you got it right, but I did feel a bit like my lesson was a bit rushed and I really didn’t grasp the concepts fully. Just when I started to get the hang of something we would move on. There were 10 people in my class, right at the maximum so I think this is probably why we were a little pressed for time. 

I am very much in 2-minds about it now. I didn’t hugely enjoy it, but I didn’t fully hate it. I was terrified and psyched myself out a bit I think. I want to like skiing, but I am not sure I do yet. I need to have a think and look at the lessons and how I am going to play it. I would be tempted to take the first 2 lessons again. I certainly do not think I am going to be ready for a ski holiday any time soon. 

Aside from all this, it was a really nice day. Jezz and I got up super early and drove to pick up our friend (who is quite an experienced snow boarder) from his house in London. We stopped and had a breakfast wrap from McDonald’s (mmm naughty) then continued up to SnoZone in Milton Keynes. I had my lesson while the boys did their thing. They carried on a couple of hours after me and I had a little wander around the few shops they have there (might have purchased some pricey Roxy tops in the sale) and then sat with a cappuccino watching all the skiers. Once they were done we headed back to London and had Chinese, dropped off our friend and then came back to Brighton. Shower and bed. Exhausted! Skiing is hard work.
 
 
A photo posted by Amy Teresa Elliott (@amynoos) on

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