Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - For Mums

So by now most of us have already started our Christmas shopping but it is nearly December so it's aloud! The Christmas gift guides I did on my blog last year were by far some of my most popular posts so I couldn't really not do them again this year. I absolutely love putting them together, it's so much fun and it gives me some really great ideas for gifts I can buy my own family too! 

So lets start with Mum's, or any other lovely ladies you may have in your life! They generally know what they want and will tell you but it's always nice to get them a surprise gift too! All the ideas I've included are £35.00 or less so there's something to suit all budgets. The next gift guide will follow soon!

Have you started you're christmas shopping yet? Let me know below!

(Pictures propery of Accessorize,Pictures property of  House Of Fraser Pictures property of Paperchase, Pictures property of The BodyShop, Pictures property of Next)


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Winter Coats Under £50

The chances are that now the weather has started to get colder, you're on the hunt for a new winter coat. Well me too, so I've put together some of the best coats I could find for under £50 which is no mean feat if I'm honest! Most coats are at least £60 or more but thankfully some of the high street shops and even the supermarkets have some great one's for less than £50.

First row L-R: Matalan £45, F&F £39, Matalan £40, Apricot £40

Second row L-R: Matalan £40, New Look £33.50, F&F £48, Primark £35

If you are looking for a really great priced coat this summer then take a look at places you may not have considered before like F&F at Tesco or Matalan. They have a brilliant selection of coats on their websites and the prices are unbelievable! If you ask me, there are some styles of coats which are timeless and you can afford to spend a bit more on whereas if you're after an 'on trend' coat, go for something that costs less as personally I don't think it's worth spending a lot on something you may not want to wear next year.

Where will you guys be buying your winter coats from this year? Let me know below!

picture property of  Apricot, pictures property of F&F, picture property of New Look, pictures property of Matalan, picture property of Primark 


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

5 Things I'm Thankful To My Anxiety Disorder For

image source

This post was originally going to be the story of how I got diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder but a few paragraphs in I deleted everything I had written. The reason? Well if I'm honest it made for a really quite dull and depressing read! I don't know about you but I only tend to read stories that have happy endings and I haven't quite reached my happy ending yet. I'm getting there though, don't you worry!

Instead I've decided to focus on all the positive things I've gained from living with an anxiety disorder. Yep you heard me! Here's 5 things I'm thankful for my anxiety disorder having taught me:

1. Empathy. I've always been quite an empathetic person, some would say 'sensitive', but I've become even more so since having to deal with an anxiety disorder. My anxiety levels can leave me feeling short tempered, angry and antisocial amongst other things. So now when I come across a stranger who's rude, instead of feeling angry at them I think 'Who know's what they're dealing with?' or 'Maybe they've had a bad day' and instantly my anger extinguishes.

2. I'm a pro in nerve-wracking situations! My family and I often joke that I probably cope better during nervous situations than most other people because I've had so much practise at it! For example I passed my driving test first time this year and I think the only reason I passed first time was because I had had practise at dealing with those kind of nerves before.

3. Honesty is the best policy. I used to be one of those people who liked to keep their feelings hidden from everyone around them until I was forced to talk about my feelings to a professional. There's something about pouring your heart and soul out to a complete stranger that feels absolutely incredible! You'd be amazed at just how many people you meet who have their own stories about anxiety or other mental illnesses and just how kind and understanding people can be once you start being honest.

4. The strongest people are fighting a hidden battle. Some would call people with mental illnesses weak, they say to 'just get over it' or 'pull yourself together'. I'd say that people living with mental illnesses are some of the strongest people you'll ever meet. They have lives to get on with, people to see and things to do, all the while fighting daily with an illness they have no control over. If that isn't a sign of strength then I don't know what is!

5. The realisation that nobody is 'normal'! For the best part of two years I berated myself for not being 'normal'. Thankfully I eventually came to the realisation that normal doesn't exist because my interpretation of normal is completely different from everyone else's. Neither is right or wrong, I'm me and you're you and that's ok!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

A Weekend In Italy

Last month I travelled to Italy for a four day stay on the beautiful Lake Maggiore, the second largest of the Italian lakes. It was my first ever visit to Italy and my god was I excited! Ever since I first watched Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday it's been a country I've always longed to visit and I definitely wasn't disappointed!  It has to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! There's just something about it, I think it's a mix of the history, the culture and the language which creates somewhere that's totally enchanting yet doesn't seem quite real.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather during our visit as with it's close proximity to the alps it tends to be a bit hit or miss around this time of the year. Fortunately it was around 23 degrees celsius each day and warm enough to sit outside of the restaurants during the evening. The beautiful clear skies also meant that I got some great shots of the Borromean Islands which are just off the shore between the towns of Verbania and Stresa. 

A short boat ride took us out to each island, Isola Bella, Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori and Isolino di San Giovanni. I think we paid around 10 euros for a boat ride which took us round all the islands giving us an hour to explore on each one. That might not sound like much time but considering it took literally 5-10 mins to casually stroll from one end to the other on each island, believe me it was plenty! There was a gorgeous English style palace on one of the islands that unfortunately was closed off to the public as well as plenty of little stalls selling knick knacks on the rest of the islands and lots of lovely restaurants to have lunch and amazing photo opportunities.

We decided to forgo the busy restaurants and grab some lunch from a little delicatessen to eat on the harbour front. Unfortunately because of the language barrier we ended up with two half loaves of dry bread with a huge chunk of cheese stuck in the middle for our sandwiches! Mental note: learn some basic Italian other than how to say 'Hello' and 'Goodbye' before your next visit!

We stayed in an apartment in Arona which was only about a half hour drive from Milan Malpensa Airport and made a great base to explore that part of Lake Maggiore. A 20 minute drive further north took us to some really beautiful towns with the most incredible views over the lake. I ended up taking  loads of photos everywhere we went but unfortunately because the sun was so bright most of them ended being so over exposed and therefore useless! 

On the last day we decided to go up to the Rocca di Angera, an 11th century castle situated high up on a hill above the town of Angera. It had the most beautiful views but again all of the pictures I took of the castle were too over exposed so you'll just have to google it to see for yourself. We didn't really know anything about the place before we visited, we thought we'd just be able to wonder round inside as well as the grounds of the castle. Turns out it's actually one of the largest dolls museums in Europe! There were dolls everywhere, thousands of them staring out at you from behind the glass and I freaked out big time! I've had a huge fear of dolls for as long as I can remember (except Barbie's obviously!) but a particular memory has stayed with me of a ventriloquists dummy a magician brought along with him to my sixth birthday party. It ended up with me running out of the room and refusing to go back inside thus missing half the party!

It's safe to say we didn't really stick around the castle for long but don't let me put you off, if you don't happen to have a silly fear of dolls like I do then it would be a great place to explore!

I'm already planning a trip back to next year, hopefully to southern Italy. Pompeii especially is one place I've always wanted to visit and the Amalfi Coast looks beautiful too. Have any of you guys visited or maybe live in Italy and have some suggestions on where I should visit next? Let me know below!

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