Tuesday, 20 June 2017

How to Beat Post-Holiday Blues

how to deal with post-vacation blues

Ah Summertime; a time when the masses descend on far-flung places in search for a week or two in paradise. But like all good things, a holiday must come to an end and sometimes that return isn't so wonderful. Welcome to post-holiday blues; that awful transition period from traveling to normal life, where everything feels a bit less magical back home.

Yep, think a never-ending inbox, lack of motivation on Monday morning and extreme disdain for anyone who dares mention an airport. Oh I have been there many times. Every time I've come back from a Trek America trip, it's taken my weeks to adjust back into my routine. Thankfully, the more I travel, the more I get used to coming home and learn how to make this whole ordeal a little bit easier.

With all that said, here are a few tips I've learned to make coming home from a vacation slightly more pleasant:

1. Have something to look forward to

If you take one thing away from this post, make it this. Before you go away, make plans to do something when you get back. The problem with coming home is usually to do with not having anything new to be excited about, but if you have something fun organized you'll quickly see you can have as much fun at home as you did away. Well, nearly. Personally, I'd try and arrange it for a week or two after your back so you can get over any jet lag. This is also when the blues are at it's worst so it will work a treat at bringing you out of your slump. 

2. Start planning the next adventure

Can't beat them? Join them! So you've only just stepped foot back on home soil? Well, that doesn't stop you planning the next adventure. Like I said, holiday blues is partly down to a lack of excitement, but nothing gets me giddy like the prospect of a new trip; whether that be real or fictional. Even if you haven't got the time or money to head off just yet, there's no harm in window shopping right? As long as you keep location browsing to a healthy amount and avoid any jealousy, you should be filled with holiday inspo for your next travel opportunity. 

3. Don't delay returning back to normality

Easier said than done when your instincts tell you to stay in your happy place for as long as possible, but sadly you're just delaying the inevitable and making the process much harder. It's nice to have one or two days off work when you return from a trip, but if you use the time to prolong your holiday and avoid real life, it's going to be a bumpy transition. Unfortunately, you have to face that e-mail inbox sometime, and the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you will feel better. Trust me, things like this don't go away on their own, and tackling it head on will make you feel more settled.

4. Remember the good times

Doesn't work for everyone, but I really think sorting through all my little mementos and travel photos helps me adjust back to normality. Sort through those photos, scrapbook the leaflets and ticket stubs, do whatever creative stuff you want, but don't let everything gather dust. It's super easy to put this off when you have lots of real-life obligations, but taking a day out and remind yourself of little moments from your trip can help your blues no end. 

5. Practice some Mindfulness

So you've had some much-needed R & R on a tropical beach and now face rush hour in the pouring rain. Anyone would feel a bit down, but being mindful could help you make the best of the situation. I don't know about you, but I always get really motivated on holiday and using this motivation when your back home can get you through this re-adjustment period.  Use your new relaxed state to give that new project 100%, come up with some new ideas or get ahead of any jobs you have. Whatever it is, changing your mindset can make a huge difference to your post-holiday blues. 

6. Love Yourself

Ok, so admittedly you may have just shown yourself some love on holiday, taking some 'me time' on a beach; but treating yourself once you're at home can never do any harm. I make a point of pampering myself every night during my first week back at work, just to make the transition a little easier. I think it's so easy to get caught up in all those jobs that seem to have mounted up, but giving yourself some time to relax to will stop you feeling overwhelmed and prolonging travel blues for longer.

7. Keep the good habits

Just because you've returned back home, doesn't mean you can't keep a bit of your trip in your routine. For me, this usually means not being so dependant on my phone, and grabbing more opportunities. I always feel so much more relaxed when I'm not constantly looking at my e-mails or Twitter feed on holiday, so carrying this on once I'm back home can help keep the holiday feeling going.  The reason why you felt so good on holiday is usually down to a change, and there's no reason why other changes once your back at home can't have a similar effect. Worth a try right?

So those are my top tips for dealing with post-vacation blues. I think the main thing to remember is that everyone always feels sad after coming home from an amazing trip, but by making a few small changes, you can get back to your routine easy.

How go you deal with post-holiday blues? Let me know in the comments below

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Lottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow Highlighter

Lottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow HighlighterLottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow Highlighter
When I first saw Rainbow highlighters, I thought they were amazing. Super novelty, but amazing. I mean what is makeup if it doesn't let you put a prism on your face? And there is no getting past how beautiful the product looks in the pan. I tried to resist the trend because I have enough highlighters to make War and Peace shine and was doing so well, but then I got an ASOS voucher and gave in. I'm not sorry. 

Lottie London Mermaid Glow

For just under £6 you get a palm-sized compact full of mermaid beautifulness. Packaging wise, it's pretty standard; typical black and clear casing that gives you a sneak preview of the sparkle waiting for you. It's robust enough to not let you smash the product into a million pieces after a single use, but nothing out of the ordinary. But let's face it, you didn't buy this product for the packaging. 

Neatly lined up by color, the product certainly delivers on the Rainbow highlighter front. If this is how Mermaids live, I'm moving in with Ariel. On first inspection some shades have greater sparkle and shine than others but once swatched, all seemed to be equal. The pan is so big that I struggled to find a brush wide enough to get the full rainbow spectrum as a swatch so ended up doing it individually. My only criticism would be the blue tone seems to be more intensely pigmented than the other shades making this a more of a cool-toned highlighter. Once blended, which it does effortlessly, it creates the most stunning ethereal glow, it'll have you singing "Under the Sea" in a heartbeat. Or maybe that's just me

Swatches

Lottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow Highlighter Review Swatches
Lottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow Highlighter Review Swatches
Lottie London Mermaid Glow Rainbow Highlighter Review Swatches
Who doesn't need a bit of mermaid glow in their life?! I'm so glad I gave into Rainbow highlighters, have you tried them out? What's your favorite highlighter? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

5 Life Lessons Learned From My Dog

5 life lessons learned from my dog
For some reason, I don't really talk much about my pet dog on the blog, which is kind of funny, because meet me in person and it's pretty much all I'll talk about. In case you don't know I'm a proud dog parent to a 15-year-old, Bedlington Terrier/ Bichon Frise cross surprise for my 10th birthday, Oliver and I have been inseparable ever since. You learn a lot from owning a dog and not all of it is animal related so I thought I'd share 5 of the many life lessons I've learned from this little dog.

Side note, this post was delayed being published by about a month. Why? Well, in case you hadn't seen my emotional tweets, Oliver has been very very ill. Over a couple of days, we noticed that he had lost his appetite, had no energy and began trembling. He was unable to keep down any food and the vets couldn't work out was wrong. Weirdly, he would seem to recover after a week, but this only lasted a few days before he would deteriorate again. This cycle continued over and over until things got really bad and I thought I was going to loose him. See, Oliver has never been ill and doesn't show pain so when he does show it, you know it's bad. Thankfully, the vets managed to diagnosis acute Pancreatitis, and now, after a lot of treatment, he's back to his old self. Why am I sharing this? Because it was when I thought I was going to lose him, that I realized, that as much as I had given him a good life, he had given me so much more.

Life Lesson #1 - Forgive and Forget

If I can't take my dog a walk at the exact time he wants one, he doesn't spend the next two weeks ignoring me. OK, so my dog actually does sulk, but after an hour of toddler and tiara behavior, he's my BFF (that's best furry friend) again. Now, I've got to admit, when I've been let down, I don't normally brush it off, but I really should. I spend far too much time getting stressed about the past that I let it affect the present. I'm not saying forget what's happened completely, and act like everything's normal, but let go of any grudges and just move on with your life. 

Life Lesson #2 - Don't do things half-hearted 

See the ball. Want the ball. Get the ball. Right, confession to make, my dog has more attitude than Beyonce and sometimes does do things half-hearted. But. When he was a puppy, and if were a normal dog, he would do anything in his power to get it. Oliver sometimes demands to go a walk by just staring at you intently. Ignore him and you face being pawed. Continuously and gradually more intensely until you go and get his lead. Human lesson? Don't let setbacks stop you from achieving something you want. So you didn't get that job? Keep going to interviews. Want to be a blogging superstar? Ignore any trolls. Whatever you do, put your all into it. At least you can then say you tried your best. 

Life Lesson #3 - Life is all about balance

Straight after a long walk, Oliver curls up into the cutest ball of fluff and sleeps. Does he have FOMO about his little park pals, or what I'm getting up to? No, because he's tired and knows that he needs to rest. Same goes for you. It's great that you're grabbing opportunities, but burning the candle at both ends only ends in tears. Listen to your body and make sure you get the work, play and rest balance right.

Life Lesson #4 - It's the little things that count

As much as a Diva he is, nothing makes Oliver's tail wag more than one of my family members coming home. Of course, he loves dog treats, but it still doesn't compete with the welcome he gives you when you come back. With the mountains of dog toys he has, he still prefers people he loves being with him; something we can all learn from. Having the most or best things aren't always the way to happiness. Find what makes you happy and focus on that. 

Life Lesson #5 - You are enough

The biggest life lesson I have learned is that I'm enough. Oliver & I have been through a lot together, from amazing highs to some awful lows. In all that, he has loved me exactly the same, regardless of what's happening. No matter what is going on in the world, he always greets me with a wagging tail at night. So what if I'm having a bad day, he still thinks I'm the best owner ever. So you didn't get a job after attending an interview? Focus on what you can do (which is a lot) and take it from there. It's so easy to get down comparing yourself, but it's important to realize that for everything your not, there's 3 amazing things you are.

So those are my top 5 life lessons I've learned from my dog. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of the basics when life gets a bit cray. Do you have a pet? What have you learned from them? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Golf at a Garden Centre || Jurassic Cove Adventure Golf at Bents

jurassic cove adventure golf at bents garden centre

Surround by palms, next to a lake with a blue sky above me, I would have been well within my rights to assume I was in a holiday resort somewhere. Anywhere else except Glazebury, just outside Warrington in Cheshire. But that's exactly where I was, just off the busy East Lancashire Road, at Bents Garden Centre

Bents has been a go-to for my family ever since I can remember. The have the most amazing home department, an incredible food hall, craft and children's boutiques and even a dog cafe! After popping into the Garden Centre for a few plants to jazz up my garden for Summer, I noticed a bit of construction work outside. After a bit of exploring I found out they were building a mini golf course. 

Now I have to share a secret, I'm crazy golf obsessed. Like seriously! I've done them all over the world, with my favorite course being in Majorca, and kinda consider myself a little bit of a pro (and modest). With a new one opening up right on my doorstep, it would be rude not to try it wouldn't it? So dusting off my golf clubs, I headed on down, ready to get my putt on. 

9-hole mini golf course

Set in the outside section of the main Garden Centre, Jurassic Cove Adventure Golf is a 9-hole mini golf course with an ancient theme. Filled with multiple animatronic and static dinosaurs, including a life-size moving T-Rex, it sticks to its theme perfectly, with even the odd roar being heard. 

Crazy golf is just for kids right? Well let me tell you something, as a group of adults, we have the best time.  Whilst the attraction is very family-friendly, everyone can enjoy hitting a golf ball around a few dinosaurs. It's also not a super easy course, and although it's only 9 holes at the moment, it still took us about 45 minutes to complete it. Oh, and it only took 1 of those minutes before we got slightly competitive. Navigating water, bumps, and corners, I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. 

What's even more exciting is that Bents have plans to expand, with another 9 hole course with a pirate theme due to open Spring 2018. 

Even though I didn't win (it was fixed), I know that we'll be back to Jurassic Cove for a re-match soon. 

P.S. I'm trying to explore more local places because it's super easy to forget all the amazing things in your own back garden. From now on, expect a mix of near and far. 

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Miss Dior Fragrance Guide

miss dior fragrance review
miss dior fragrance review

When someone says the words luxury or high-end to me, the first things that pop into my mind are Dior and Chanel. Obvious rivals, both fashion houses oozes glamour and sophistication in every collection they release. It's pretty unsurprising then that both have cemented their place in the beauty industry, and in particular the fragrance sector. I mean, what is more alluring than a beautiful scent?

Whilst both brands have their iconic fragrances, one that has always appealed to me is Dior's Miss Dior. For me, this line seems to combined fun, modern branding with a classic scent and is just much more relevant to my life right now.

By the way, if you need any help decoding fragrance terminology, have a look at my handy fragrance 101 guide

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet

As the name suggests, this Eau De Toilette fragrance fits neatly into the floral family. But if floral fancies aren't your thing, fear not because this is a fragrance with a twist. A top note combination of Orange and Citruses keep the middle notes of rose and peony fresh and light whilst base notes of musk and patchouli give it enough body for it to be a standout. Now I'm not a floral lover, but I have to admit, this one is lovely. Soft and girly, the whole concoction has a bit of a romantic feel to it. 

Miss Dior Le Parfum

Remember when I was saying each designer has their icons, well this is one of Dior's. Created way back in 1947, it's said that Christian Dior treasured this fragrance for years before finally releasing it on the market. Again, essentially a floral fragrance, Dior has somehow managed to make a warming scent thanks to base notes of patchouli and amber. Mixed with middle notes of Turkish rose, Bulgarian rose and Mandarin orange, it's somewhat sweet, but refrains from being too sugary. I also feel like I can smell some vanilla but whether that's the vanilla enthusiast in me wishing it were so. 

In comparison to Blooming Bouquet, this is a much warmer fragrance, with the Parfum formulation giving way to a stronger scent which is able to last all day. 

Miss Dior Eau De Parfum

Now I know what you're thinking; "but Jess, you've already reviewed Miss Dior". Well yes I have, but this iconic scent happens to come in all three formulations so I thought a bit of a comparison would be helpful. So as I said, this is the exact same scent as above, but in an Eau De Perfum format. Slightly less warming, I actual think this version has a stronger floral component to it. It's also a little bit longer wearing than Blooming Bouquet, but not as long as the Miss Dior Le Perfum version. 

Miss Dior Eau De Toilette

Last but not least, the Eau De Toilette version; the cheapest formulation out of the three. Much lighter than the Le Perfume and Eau De Perfum versions, this is the best one to opt for if you're not looking for a statement scent. More of a fresh fragrance, this wears the quickest. It's super well balanced between floral and fruity, with none of the warmth of the Le Perfum version present. 

So who knew that different versions of the same fragrance would vary so much? Personally I prefer Miss Dior Le Perfum out of all 4 mentioned, but that's just me. Which one grabs you're attention? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo
J
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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Summer Update

summer 2017 update
I say it in every update, but time seriously is flying by. It still amazes me that I've already been across the pond to USA and Canada and completed two-thirds of my Master's degree. If I thought the last three months were tough, the next three are going to be even harder. Apart from celebrating my birthday (4th July FYI ;)), I've got a lot on my plate over Summer but hopefully, all my hard work will be worth it when Autumn comes around. 

Before I begin talking about all the things I have going on in the next couple of months, I just want to mention two things that have really had an impact on me over the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, I would just like to send my love, thoughts, and prayers to anyone affected by the horrendous attack in Manchester. Nothing I could ever write will ever be enough to truly convey how I feel. Whilst I've talked about the attack a lot on Twitter, I want to take a moment to address the event here. Having friends directly involved in the incident, I felt incredibly lucky that everyone I knew and myself was safe. Although I keep up with World Affairs and sadly see pictures of devastation daily, there is nothing like it happening right on your own doorstep to really show you the realness of it all. A born and bred Mancunian, I am extremely proud of how my city has shown solidarity and supported each other. The work done by the emergency services and those acts of kindness by strangers really illustrated the friendly, caring community I live in. Tony Walsh's poem, This Is The Place, is the best thing I have seen to show people why Manchester is special. This city is magical and I will forever be a proud worker bee.

It seems trivial to mention the next thing after the scale of the above incident, but another thing that has been on my mind is my dog, Oliver. About a month ago, my dog became seriously ill; he stopped eating, couldn't keep water down, stood looking vacant shivering. This was the first time in his 15 years that he had ever been ill; he's a tough cookie. Of course we took him to the vets, and he seemed to get better after treatment, only to deteriorate a couple days later again. This circle went round three times. We thought it was it, and time to say goodbye. Getting this little fur ball for my 10th Birthday, I was devastated. This dog has been the one constant as I worked through so many things and I really didn't want to see him suffer. Then we had a heatwave and he stopped drinking all together. After staying up all night and syringing water into his mouth the vets kept him in for tests and to put him on an IV drip. I was terrified about getting the results but turns out he has acute Pancreatitis, which is able to be treated. It's now been a few days since he finished treatment and I'm so so happy and relived to say he's back to his normal self. It's been a long hard month, even longer for Oliver, and I can only describe it as an emotional roller coaster.

So yeah, the last month hasn't be the best, but here's what is coming up in my life:

Blogging

Thanks to all of the above, blogging has taken a back seat. Being up 24 hours with Oliver, I wasn't in the mood to blog, and I just didn't feel it was appropriate to talk about bath bombs and boarding passes following the Manchester Arena attack. I needed time to process the events and thought it was best to take some 'me time' rather than produce content I wasn't happy with. But now I'm back and really feel I've found my feet within the blogging community. With the next couple of months a bit manic thanks to a lot of University work, I've got my act together and pre-planned my posts so *fingers crossed* posts will be regular. Speaking of being organised, I'm also sorting my archive out to make sure you guys get the highest quality possible! 

I'm writing this post just as a controversial article has hit the Blogosphere claiming that there is no room for new bloggers. Whilst this article has now been edited, I just want to give my two pieces on it. Yes, there are a lot of bloggers, but that was the case when I started in 2012. Having blogged for 4 years I've seen bloggers come and go, and some bloggers climb to achieve amazing success. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't see this cycle change anytime soon. So blogging is popular? Well that's just more motivation to be the best you can be and gives you more opportunities to connect. 

University

So I actually got my latest results from my Master's assignment today and I currently have a Distinction average! In case you didn't know, last year I made the decision to follow my dreams and make a career change from law to marketing. With no experience in marketing, I thought studying MSc Marketing would help give me a bit of a foundation that I could build upon. I am so so proud of myself for being brave enough to make this move, and really chuffed I am getting good grades. I've even been awarded the Gold Level of the Student Success Award! All this means I can move into the final stage of the Master's degree, and begin the Business Innovation Project. There are quite a few different options you choose, but I'm doing a 3-month placement at a social shopping platform. It's going to be tough working full time, writing my final postgraduate report, blogging and having a life, but I know this isn't forever and will be worth it in the end. 3 months, a 10,000-word report and 20-minute presentation and I'll be all set to start my new career. How exciting?! 

De-cluttering

I've got a confession to make. When I was at my most unhappiest, I believed having things would fix my problems. News flash: it didn't. Now that I'm pretty content with my life, I don't need as much stuff. I don't think I'm ever going to be a minimalist, but a clear out every once in a while won't hurt. I don't think I've had a de-clutter for years, so inspired by my review of 5 of the best spring cleaning books, I'm going to give it ago. Is it going to be easy? No. Is it going to worth it? Oh yes. Pinterest worthy interiors here I come.

So that's my plan for the next three months. What are you up to? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo
J
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