Tuesday, 3 July 2018

PACKING FOR A MINI BREAK ABROAD

I'm off on a little mother-daughter relaxing holiday to Cyprus soon, and although we're only going for 5 days I am so looking forward to getting back in some sun again. I love going on these mini breaks in Europe as it's the perfect amount of time to get a snippet of a country without it costing an arm and leg, and without having to take too much annual leave! I actually really enjoy packing for a holiday, as it gets me excited for the trip ahead and it means I get to have a good look into my summer wardrobe. I've comprised a list of tips that I think may be helpful:


1. Write a list
I absolutely love writing lists! It's a combination of the fact that I enjoy being organised and the satisfaction of ticking things of a list. When I write lists for holidays, I start with what I'm going to take with me in my hand luggage (necessities that would be diabolical to forget) and then the things I have to remember based on the holiday type (ie. if it's hot then bikinis, if it's a lot of walking then trainers, etc) and then everything else. This is also good because when you're re-packing to go home at the end of the holiday you can check off stuff again so that you don't accidentally leave your favourite top under the hotel bed... Additionally, I always like to take multivitamins with me on holidays because you never know what the food is going to be like and plus nobody likes to eat super healthy on holiday, so at least I know that I'll be getting my recommended daily intake even if my diet isn't the best.
2. Check what you have before going holiday shopping
This might be obvious but I think it's important to avoid duplicate buying. There's no point buying more suncream when you already have two half empty bottles from previous holidays. So I pack before I do any last minute holiday shopping, because 9 out of 10 times I don't actually need to buy anything new. This is especially true when it comes to toiletries, years and years ago I used to actually spend money on mini toiletries which seem to be three times the price of the full size product (don't really see how the maths works there...) But now I use the shampoo that I stole from another hotel, the face moisturiser I decanted into a mini pot, a roll on deodorant that's already mini, perfume samples that I seem to never run out of and toothpaste that's almost empty but will definitely last 5 more days.

3. Pick your outfits beforehand
I really feel like this is a necessity when you're trying to pack light and squeeze everything into a cabin sized bag. There's nothing worse than packing some of your favourite fashion pieces, and then getting to your destination and realising none of them look nice together! Because we're only going for 4 nights, I'm packing 4 day outfits and 4 night outfits. My night outfits consist of just dresses and playsuits because they're nice, small and compact. The type of tops I pack are tops that are versatile, just in case I change my mind about my planned outfits.

From left to right:
 Mustard crotchet bralette - New Look
Grey speckled fine knit vest top - H&M
White lace bodycon mini dress - Heart & Bows
Black floral mini dress - New Look
Stone bodycon midi dress - Prettylittlething
Black culotte jumpsuit - New Look
4. Consider getting a pre-paid card
So previously, I used to get all my foreign currency that I thought I might need for a trip whilst still in England, and just hope and pray that I won't have to pay for anything with card. That was until I found Monzo. Nowadays, you're able to pay with visa/mastercard for most things in most countries so now I just get a small amount of foreign currency before I go and then pay for things with Monzo. Monzo is great because it doesn't charge you to use it when you make transactions abroad; the exchange rate is actually really good; everything is done via the app where you can instantly see how much you've spent and can even freeze the card if you lose it; you can upload money onto it via Apple/Android Pay. The only real downside is that you can only make free ATM withdrawals for the first £200 over 30 days and then after that there's a 3% charge. (This isn't an ad, I just really love Monzo - plus the card is hot pink!)

5. Don't overpack and avoid hold luggage (if you can)
Having only hand luggage is very beneficial for a number of reasons: if you just have hand luggage, you don't have to wait for the baggage claim and can be out of the airport within like 15 minutes; you don't have to pay for hold luggage (if it's not included in your flight ticket price); you don't have the risk of your luggage being lost (which happens a lot more than it should); you don't have the risk of your suitcase being broken (which also happens A LOT more than it should...). The only real downside is that you're limited on liquids, however that's not so much of an issue for this holiday as the hotel we're going to is all-inclusive, so it already has many of the toiletries necessary.


A few other faves I'm taking:
Black bikini top - H&M
Black arizona birkenstocks - Office/Schuh
Blue denim high waist shorts - H&M
White cross strap sliders - New Look
Black scallop high waist bikini bottoms - H&M
Do you have any fun trips planned for the upcoming months?

Friday, 15 June 2018

MY HAPPY PLACE (feat. a tiny bit of DIY)



My bedroom at my family home is my absolute happy place and I really like to make it feel like that. I thought I'd share with you a few snippets of it.

My shelf:
I like to have my favourite books on display on my shelf above my desk, these include Me Before You and After You by Jojo Moyes and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I've just bought (secondhand, save the planet and all that) The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes and Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon that I plan to read whilst I'm on holiday in July.
My current perfumes sit beside my books - I like to collect all the Beyonce perfumes since they're such an easy fragrance to wear everyday and super affordable, plus I am Beyonce enthusiast so it'd be rude not to. My absolute favourite everyday fragrance (which isn't pictured) is Lancome La Vie Est Belle, it lasts all day and has become somewhat my signature scent. I'm excited to try out my newest scent, Michael Kors Wonderlust, once the Lancome runs out.

My dresser:
These faux white roses are actually a new addition to my room, they are souvenir from one of my close friends weddings where I was a bridesmaid, so they are very sentimental for me. I bought the tall glass container (on the right) from Primark to hold by cotton pads. The glass jar that I use to hold my cotton buds was a little bit of DIY that utilises an old jar that used to house blue raspberry bon bons. I washed out the jar and removed the labels, and tied this string around the top to make it look a little more pretty - I originally wanted to leave the lid off but my mum helpfully reminded me of all the dust that would land in the jar without it, so I kept the lid (mother's wise words).


(Blogger killed the photo quality, sorry)
My wall:
Above my bed sits two prints from Desenio, which I love for how simple they are and also the colour scheme of them fits well with the rest of my room - I put them in these frameless picture frames. In the middle of those two prints, I wanted to put a quote but thought long and hard about what quote was my favourite and ended up with 'whatever is going to happen will happen, whether you worry or not'. I really like this quote because I can be a bit of a worrier from time to time and sometimes give way too much attention to things that I'm unable to change, so it's a suitable quote. Underneath the prints is another tiny bit of DIY. I bought this twine string and mini wooden pegs from Amazon (I think) and hung some of my scenic holiday snaps (incl. Portugal, Disneyland, Budapest, Paris, Mexico, Vienna), which I think looks really cute. I'm actually considering putting another row of photos underneath. 
On that small section of windowsill you can see, is my succulent which I really need to re-home into a bigger pot and my delicious Yankee Candle in Summer Scoop that my brother got for me last Christmas.



My table:
Over this past year or so, I've really become a plant and flower lover. I love having the pop of colour and they're beneficial to have around you, so it's a win-win really! A succulent plant can help cleanse the air you breathe by removing toxins. Every birthday or celebration, I'm like 'yesssss flowers please'. I'm really looking forward to building my plant collection, I think a monstera deliciosa (aka a cheese plant) is next on my list.

Where's your happy place?



Monday, 11 June 2018

THE PERFECT NUDE

RIMMEL 60 Seconds Super Shine in 500 Caramel Cupcake || superdrug | amazon

Everyone loves a nude, and for me I love it on my nails. Although, it can be difficult to find the perfect one - some are too pink, some too brown, some too purple, however I think I've found the one (am I talking about a nail polish or the love of my life, it's hard to tell...). Within hours of seeing this on my nails, my mum went out and bought the same one!

On a day to day basis, I'm not actually allowed to have my fingernails painted for hygiene/infection control reasons as I work in a medical environment. However, seeing as I don't have work for 6 weeks I'm going to make sure that I have my nails painted for the entirety of those 44 days.

The polish itself is amazing, the brush is the perfect width for quick and easy application. Once on, it really doesn't chip easily and is long lasting - it lasts on my toes for weeks and weeks.


What's your favourite colour to wear on your nails in summer?


Saturday, 9 June 2018

WEBSITES I USE TO EARN MONEY ONLINE/'FREE' STUFF

When I started university back in 2013, I wanted a way to earn a little bit of extra cash on the side because I knew I wouldn't have enough time to get a job. As well as doing occasional computer studies and experiments whilst at university that would pay up to about £20/hour, I used a number of different survey/study websites that pay out in cash or gift cards, and I thought I'd share them with you.

PROLIFIC (no screenouts!)
I only recently started found this website (as in a few days ago) and I've already made £20! This is 100% the best survey website I've come across. It's a website that universities and big companies use to recruit participants for their surveys and studies, so when you apply, you apply to be available as a participant. Once you've been accepted, you wait for the studies to come. On the dashboard, there will be a list of studies available, including how much you will be paid for the study and how long it will approximately take. So if you have lots of free time (like I have recently), you can do studies that are like an hour and a half and get paid £11, or if you're busy then you can do a 10 minute study and still get paid £1.50. After completing the study, you have to wait for your response to be approved by the researcher, which usually takes about a day and then you get paid. You cash out the money you've earned via Paypal once you reach the £5 threshold. If you cash out less than £20, then there will be Paypal fees but if you cash out more than £20 then Prolific will cover the Paypal fees.



This isn't your typical survey website. There are a number of different ways to earn Swagbucks, from doing polls, to filling out surveys, to downloading apps, to watching videos, to simply making your everyday searches! I mainly use it to do surveys as they seem to give the biggest reward, but you can also earn a lot of Swagbucks (SB) by signing up to different websites or by getting cashback on your everyday purchases (some websites you can earn up to 15% cashback) - note that the cashback is given in the form of SB. Once you have earned enough SB you can then redeem rewards from the Swagbucks shop, such as Amazon gift cards, M&S gift cards or you can have a Paypal transfer. To date (in 2 months) I have earned £20 in Amazon gift cards and I only use it for surveys, which I don't do all that often, and I know people that earn have made £100 in a day! Plus they give out more SB when it's a special event/holiday season, for example when it was St Patricks day or at Christmas.


This is the highest paying cashback site there is and you'd be silly not to use it to be honest. Once you have an account, it's really simple. When you're doing your usual online shopping before you checkout and pay, go on the TopCashback website and search to see if the shop you're buying from is currently offering cashback and if they are then you just need to click on the link to the shop website via the TopCashback website and it will track the order you make to then reward you with a certain % cashback. It doesn't cost you anything extra, and you're getting money back on the normal purchases you make!


I've been using this from my first year of being a student, it's a great way for those aged 16 to 30 to earn extra cash by doing interesting surveys. They email out surveys (it averages out to about once a month) and each survey can earn you up to 400 points (equivalent of £4), the screenout rate for most of the surveys is low. They don't pay out until you've reached £25 worth of points and then after that they give you a code to spend on a gift card to use at hundreds of shops/restaurants in-store and online, so you're bound to find somewhere you want to spend your £25 on. To date since 2014 I have earned £98.50 in vouchers, and I only really do it every now and then when I have time. As a bonus, you automatically get £10 worth of points when you sign up, so it really won't be long until you reach the first £25 threshold, and after each £25 they usually give you another free £10 to boost you up again, so you only really have to do £15 worth of surveys each time.



So back in the day, VIPON (used to be AmzTrader/AmzReviews) was amazing! I have got about 50 different things for free or like 90% off from this website through Amazon, and you just used to have to write an honest Amazon review in exchange. Things including kitchen scales, retinol serum, phone cases, vitamin C serum, face brush, body weight scales, teeth whitening kits - the list goes on. But now because Amazon has changed some of its rules, it doesn't allow sellers to give products for free anymore in exchange for a review. So instead there are still lots of discounted products on there however they are not as discounted as they used to be and the range of products isn't quite the same since discounts don't guarantee a review for the sellers anymore. I still do use it though, especially for phone cases, iPhone accessories and screen protectors, as you can usually get those for less than £1. Also Amazon Prime is pretty much a necessity because virtually all the items you get free delivery with Amazon Prime, otherwise you'd have to pay like £3 which would defeat the purpose really.



Are there any websites that you can recommend to earn money/free stuff online?

*Some of the links are referral links. If you do sign up to a website using them, they don't cost you anything extra but I will receive a small amount of commission and I would really appreciate it.*