So… it’s been a little while

So, it’s been a little while and I haven’t written a blog post in months and to be honest I’ve not really had the motivation. I’ve not had anything to say, and I’ve not had the time or energy to sit down and write.

As I’ve mentioned on my blog before I suffer from anxiety and depression and sometimes that can knock me off my feet completely! In the run-up to Christmas I was starting to run on empty mentally and my main goal was to keep head above water and enjoy the Christmas break, it was amazing and I relaxed with family and friends. During the break I promised myself that 2018 was going to be my year, I was going to conquer the next 12 months and improve every aspect of my life! Unfortunately, it been a tougher start to the year than I imagined and 2018 hasn’t kicked off with the force I wanted it to – my anxiety has come back in a dark and nasty way, leaving me powerless and a little bit of a mess – as I get older I find it more difficult to talk about my anxiety as I know some people will never understand and I know it will never go away. I’m not ashamed I have a mental illness, but from time to time I do feel a little pathetic and down on myself.

Firstly, I’m writing this post as a little bit of therapy, to admit to myself how I’ve been feeling and to stop brushing it under the rug as January blues or a couple of down days. Secondly, to hold myself accountable i’ve let things fall by the waste side, like seeing my family, posting on my blog and generally being positive. Thirdly, I want to be honest with my readers (if I have any left) because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

I am determined to turn this year around and not let January be the preview of 2018, so one of my goals is to keep my blog up and running! Not for the views, or the comments (although they do mean a lot), but instead, because I love writing for I was so proud of my blog last year. This year won’t be perfect and I’ll doubt I’ll be positive 24/7 but I really want to try to improve it. I’m working on some amazing blogs for this year and I can’t wait to share them with you and to make this year one to never forget.

If anyone reading this is struggling, please remember you’re not alone, people out there do understand where you’re coming from and are willing to listen. It’s OK not to be OK but it’s not OK to give up on yourself – just give yourself some time to heal and take care of yourself.

 

Sarah

x

HAIRCARE HEROES

When I was younger I use to have the most beautiful shiny thick long hair, but as I’ve got older and I’ve bleached it, dyed it, cut it and caused it a lot of damage it’s started to show the signs of wear and tear! So I decided it was time to invest some well needed time and research into making sure it got the TLC it deserved. Luckily, as fate would have it I’ve recently been sent some amazing products by a number of different companies to test and review which makes a happy Sarah and even happier hair.

I’ve tried to break down the products I tried into categories in the best way possible but as this is 2017 a lot of the products cross over into other categories, but I’ve tried to cover as many points as possible! Here is my round up and thoughts for these haircare heroes!

CLEANSE

Pantene Pro V has been a brand that I’ve used for years, my mum used to buy it when I was younger and I’ve used it off and on since forever! I like to think of Pantene as I brand I trust, an old friend which I can always rely on. Pantene is now launching a new collection which includes Micellar water within the products to cleanse and nourish hair – I know we’re all use to micellar water to remove make-up and cleanse skin, but apparently it’s a jack of all trades. These products have been created to help combat the issues that daily life throws at hair such as pollution… and as I live in Manchester there is definitely a lot of that.

I love these new products, they leave my hair feeling extra luxe, soft and shiny! Unlike traditional deep cleaning products, this formula lifts and captures impurities from the surface of the hair whilst maintaining the essential nutrients it needs, meaning the hair is left clean and strong. As some-one who washes their hair a few times a week, I worry I am stripping my hair of all its natural oils, but this product aims to remove styling residue, excess oils and unwanted minerals without over-cleansing and lifting nutrients that the hair actually needs.

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PROTECTS & REPAIR

I’ll admit it, I’m really bad for protecting my hair against heat – I use a hairdryer, straightener, curler and have my hair colour, therefore my hair has faced its fair share of heat so I’m always on the look out for amazing products which are quick and easy to use. The team from Andrew Collinge sent me this amazing hair moisturiser which is a great hair styling product to use for heat protection and shine and contains Argan Oils to hydrate, smooth and detangle the hair. I love using this before styling my hair as it calms down any frizziness and leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny but doesn’t leave it feeling heavy or greasy with product. New heat protection product found – check!

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Envy Dual Fix 12 is a professional salon treatment that helps repair all hair types. Containing a perfect balance of silk proteins and keratin amino acids to target damaged areas and attract moisture to give long lasting results. 12 incredible benefits for smoother, glossier hair that’s easier to manage. This hair repair treatment is pretty much miracle in a bottle so get the instant WOW factor and get great hair in minutes. It leaves my hair feeling revived and much healthier – you can use it on dry or wet hair, I personally prefer using it on wet hair but the results are good either way – I just like to treat my hair while it’s wet for some reason – probably because I can pamper myself a little more.

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NATURAL PRODUCTS

I’ve never been a massive fan of 2 in 1 products for my hair, in the past, they leave my hair feeling lifeless and a little on the greasy side, however, the 2 in 1 shampoo and condition from Noughty leaves my hair feeling soft and looking shiny! It’s not a product I use everyday but I love popping it in my gym bag for a quick shower after my workout! The team from noughty also sent me the intense leave in condition, this is definitely one of my favourite products – I use heat products a lot such as hair dryer, straighteners and curlers and my hair can often become dry and damaged, therefore any products which can help bring back the shiny, bouncing and full of life hair I use to have I’m in!  One of my favourite things about these product is they are 97% natural meaning they have no sulphates or parabens in them – I’m really excited to keep trying these products and see the difference they make to my hair.

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MOISTURE 

One of my favourite brand Baylis & Harding stock up my wardrobe even more with some fabulous shampoo and conditions to try,

The first products from the Moisture Drench collection, the shampoo & condition are specially formulated shampoo with luxury Moroccan argan oil extract (which smells amazing and leave my hair feeling amazing). It nourishes and hydrates dry or damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother and healthier looking. The shampoo contains argan oil extract which boasts natural antioxidant and it contains pro vitamin B5 to strengthen and nourish. It is paraben free and ph balanced. It contains deep cleansing formulation and comes with natural betaine for moisturising.

I’ve also been using the Nourish & Hydrate shampoo & condition have been amazing on my dry and damaged hair, these products include coconut extract – and as we know is the magic ingredient of 2017! The products also include Vitamin E and essential fatty oils to help repair damaged hair! I love the smell of these products and they leave my hair feeling so soft and smooth – I love using the nourish and hydrate when my hair needs some extra TLC and since they are free from parabens they are much kinder to the hair.

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I’ve known the name Phil Smith for a while, whether I’ve been in a shop or salon, the packaging/nice definitely rang a bell so I knew I was in for a treat with these products! I love the formulation of both the shampoo and condition – because they include coconut water the texture is more liquid than cream, but I love this about them – it leaves the hair feeling more less weight and cleansed. I recently started to love leave in conditions, probably because I can pamper myself while being lazy (win-win). I didn’t feel that these products leave my hair as silky as some of the others, but that be because my hair was sick of being washed! However, my hair was really easy to style after using these products and my curls held all day without having to coat my hair in hairspray – my hair often loses curls quite easily so I was really happy with this. Also, the coconut smell from these products was delicious – always a nice added extra!

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COLOURED HAIR

As I mentioned I’ve coloured my hair for a number of years now, it went from a few highlights to all blonde (big mistake) and now I have a balayage, I love colouring my hair and added blonde into it but dye can be really damaging to your hair. I’ve recently been using Joico K-PAK colour therapy which is an instant shine and repair miracle for colour-treated hair that unlocks the secret to out-of-this-world vibrancy, while providing deep repair and illuminating shine treatment – from the first use my hair felt incredibly soft and hydrated – it helped bring the thickness back to my hair (well the feel of it anyway). It’s the perfect choice for all colour treated hair – from blondes to brunettes, lowlights to highlights.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any haircare heroes which you love and i’ll be sure to try them out.. once I’ve run out of these!

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

Manchester is my home – I work here, I live here, I fell in love for the first time here and I’ve had my heartbroken here and on Monday night my heart was broken again. Manchester Arena, a nostalgic place for many, was attacked which took the lives of 22 people, injured over 50 and left scars on thousands more. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing your city on its knees, especially a city like Manchester – known for its music, its culture, food, comedy and history! It’s honestly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve had the pleasure to live in.

The city has been praised worldwide for pulling together in a time of need, but I don’t think people truly realised how spectacular it has been. From the moment it happened, on and off duty police officers raced to the scene, paramedics and firefighters all put their lives at risk to help the victims. The people of Manchester opened their doors, offered free taxi journeys, suppled tea & coffee, donated blood and thousands of people stood strong at the vigil all to show their support and to mourn the loss of the victims.

As I write this, victim’s names are slowly being release and families are trying to come to terms with the lose of their loved ones – I could never imagine being in their situation, and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. When I first heard the news I was in disbelief and to be quite honest I didn’t cry – I couldn’t cry but the dull ache in my heart has turned in sadness, helplessness, uncertainty and I can help my cry over the lives lost and changed forever. However, I hold hope in my heart and I know Manchester will rise from its knees, lifting up the people who need it most.

My friend quoted Mr Rogers and reminded me to ‘look for the helpers’ and that is what we have to do! Tragedy has struck Manchester but so has love. Paula Robinson rescued 50 children after the attack and took them to a local hotel for safety, a homeless man by the name of Stephen Jones raced to help the victims without hesitation and the Manchester Evening News along with the people of Manchester have raised over 1 million pounds to help the victims.

Manchester needs to make a promise now, a promise to those 22 people who we’ve lost, who are not just a number or a statistic but apart of our family – whether we knew them personally or not. We’ll never forget this attack but we need to ensure the kindness and hopefulness in our community continues for years to come.

Stay strong our kid!

x

WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?

The definition of Self Care is:

The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

Why is self-care important?

Whether you’re some-one who suffers with an illness (physical or mental) or not self care is really important. All of us are constantly on the go with our social lives, work, families and other commitments and from time to time it can all become a bit much. As some-one with a full-time job, a blog, a social life, a boyfriend and family who like to see me (for some strange reason), and a mental health issue I think it’s really important that I give myself a break from time-to-time. I know the above paragraph makes it seem like i’m throwing myself a pity party but i’m definitely not! I know there are people out there who have 10x the amount on their shoulder that I do and it so important to recognise this and check out for a moment or two.

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There are a number of things which I really enjoy doing when I need some self-care, firstly, I love going for a run or a really long walk – nothing makes me happier than plugging in my music and just losing myself for an hour or two – i’m really lucky that my parents live in an area which is close to the countryside! I believe getting out into nature with fresh air and time away from your phone and laptop is really important – it give you time to think, re-evaluate and get a little bit of light exercise which help the endorphins to start pumping.

The second I do when I need some time out is a digital detox! I believe all social media apps from my phone (if I still need to have my phone on me), I close my laptop and forget about the world online. I know this might sound strange or drastic but comparing yourself to the lives on people you see through a filter (mostly Valencia or Ludwig) is not healthy and it’s easy to forget that everything you see has been brighten, tighten and whatever else you can do with editing app these days. So turn off your phone, unplug you computer and give yourself a breather – then you’ll realise that you’re probably smashing it!

Another tip which I find really effective is to mix up your routine once in a while, this doesn’t have to be finding a new job or moving country – it can be really small but  something which will re-stimulate your mind, it can be simple like finding a new way to work, buying a new outfit or going out for some food or a drink afterwork if you normally rush home! As they say variety is the spice of life.

Last, but definitely not least is pampering – it’s important to take pride in your appearance, not for vanity reasons but to re-establish your self worth and how f*cking amazing you are (pardon my language). I love to take long hot baths with essential oils, bubble bath, bath salts and all that fun stuff. Recently I’ve been struggle with my self-worth and I’ve seen a few red flags of my anxiety and depression, so the lovely team at Baylis & Harding sent me a little care kit which included a linen rose and cotton bath and shower creme, linen rose and cotton bath salts (actually incredible), a exfoliating mit, three gorgeous luxury bath soaks, one of which has grapefruit in it and it’s actually heavenly! To top it all off they came in this gorgeous basket which I can store all of my products in! I used some of the products tonight after a run and I literally could feel my stresses melting away, therefore, I thought it would work perfectly for this post. It’s little simple things like this which can make you feel so much better! I find soaking off a long hard week really therapeutic.

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The Nepal diaries part 3

The final part of our journey took us to Pokhara, which is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. The drive was a long one but that was nothing new! I had recently discovered the song Home by Gabrielle Aplin and it was the perfect sound track to my journey! Here I was driving through this beautiful country listening to a song that describe a love of home but the need to be more!

We got to Pokhara without any major hiccups apart from one of the boys leaving his phone of the bus and having to run around to find it! But disaster was averted!

While in Pokhara we stayed in  Peace eye hostel, I really loved the feel on this place, great customer service, great food and good rooms if you’re on a budget! We were also really close to the main strip of bars and restaurants and also the lake!

Our time in Pokhara was a lot more chilled than our time in Chitwan, we took the time to sight see, visit some museums ect. A couple of the group hired out scooters and went on a day trip, I would have loved to do this but as a born klutz I thought I better leave it for another time! We also spent our time eating/ drinking out and mixing with the locals and other tourists! One night we met a bunch of people from America, we got talking and continued drinking which was really nice, it was interesting to hear about other peoples time in Nepal and share tips/ activities!

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The heat in Pokhara was very different to other places we have been; it was more of a dry heat that just burnt down on you constantly! Being the pale and fair one of the group I was the first to get burnt and I obtained the weirdest tan lines in the group! I still have a faint line for one on my leg!

One of the day we were in Pokhara we decided to hire of three row boats and spend the day on the lake! It was an amazing time, the lake was so quiet and tranquil! As September isn’t a popular time for tourist so the lake was mostly empty! A warning though, being on the lake all day in the constant sun was a little overwhelming after a while! We all decided to jump into the lake and go swimming.. It was a relaxed day and a nice change for the fast paced/ jam-packed days we were use to!

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After getting some lunch at a lake side cafe and spending a lot of time in the sun we decided it was best to head back and freshen up! I loved spending the day on the lake, however I felt I held my self back because how I felt about my body.. being surrounded by 3 beautiful girls was a little to much pressure! Sometimes I do look back on that day and wish I had enjoyed myself a little more.

Once again it was time to pack our bags and head back to Kathmandu in time for flight home! However we decided to travel back in a slightly different manner! We got a mini-bus to a river… somewhere and spent the next couple of hours rapid river rafting! It was honestly one of the most thrilling things I have ever done, there was no certainly that our boat wouldn’t flip or that we would fall into the water (which we did). When the river smooth out we were allowed to jump into the lake and just drift down stream! At one point I realised I was drifting slightly too far from the boat and tried to swim back upstream like a slightly panicking salmon! It was at that moment I realised my gold swimming badge meant nothing!! Once we were back on the boat we reached several rapids which were close in succession.. this was the moment we had all been waiting for! With wide grins on our faces and our heart racing we all paddled in unison to break through!

This way of traveling was slightly expensive but it was definitely worth it, and much cheaper than if you were to do it back home!

The one thing we didn’t realise was that our luxury travel ended there, as we had to get a local bus back to Kathmandu! I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of travel of TV before.. overcrowded buses, bags strapped to the roof and you can forget about leg room! At this point we were all exhausted and we still slightly damp. Our journey would take about 6 hours and it was not pleasant.. morale was definitely low at this point! I tried to sleep on the bus but I had nowhere to place my head and the constant fear of plunging off a cliff made it hard to relax! The driving rule in Nepal are slightly different to what we have back in the UK!

Thankfully we all made it to Kathmandu (bags and all) and after searching for a number of hostels we found one that was cheap, close by and open! Unlike every restaurant!! I’m not sure what is the rule in Nepal but staying open late is definitely not on the OK list! We found a shop to buy some snacks and headed back to the hostel for some much needed sleep!

With our last days in Nepal we shopped around for presents and souvenirs, bartering became one of our favourite things to do and we all try and get the best deals, however one of the girls (Alice) was amazing at it! She was definitely the person to have with you when shopping! After we had finished we return to our hostel to find our Sherpas there waiting for us! It was an amazing surprise and lovely to see them again.. we had become so close over the time we spent with them! The main reason they came was to talk over our travel arrangement for the next day.. back to England and back to reality!

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FROM JAMAICA WITH LOVE

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At the end of September I decided to leave rainy Manchester behind and head to Jamaica on a solo trip! I visited St. Ann’s for a week of sun, sea and adventure,  during my time there I completely fell in love with the place – it was incredibly beautiful and such a vibrant country – I can’t put into words how Jamaica made me fell, freer and more relaxed than I had been in a very long time.

My first stop in Jamaica was the Royal Decameron, A hotel in which all of the rooms where little condos in the grounds, I was lucky enough to stay in a room which over looked the sea and sand.

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This spot of paradise was my home for the week and I couldn’t have been happier, I was surrounded by happy go lucky locals and visitors who were winding down after months of stressful work and everyday living! To watch on as people sipped cocktails and beamed happily was heaven and such a positive atmosphere to be in.

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Breakfast with a view!

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I decided while I was in Jamaica I would visit the Dunns River Waterfall and try my best at climbing up the rocks, the water was freezing cold but quite refreshing under the hot Jamaican sun. Even though I had travelled to this slice of heaven on my own I made lots of new friends and met some lovely people especially on this waterfall trip.

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After spending a wonderful three days in the my first hotel, the hurricane known as Matthew was moving closer to Jamaica, therefore my holiday reps thought best we move hotels (which I was not going to complain about!). I was moved to the Riu hotel about 10mins down the road and it was as gorgeous as the previous hotel!

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Jamaica is truly a magical country and while driving though the streets is was incredible to see people getting on with their everyday lives, unaware of the lazy visitors in their resorts! It felt like I was on another planet, thousands of miles away from my everyday worries and obligations. Jamaica is definitely a country I will visit again and again.

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