Thursday, 14 September 2017

Why summer coming to an end is bitter sweet, and my plans for autumn.

I absolutely love this transitional time of year, where the last of the summer sunsets cling on before dark, windy autumnal nights set in. The mornings feel cool and crisp and slowly, but surely, the leaves are starting to turn yellow, orange and brown and are floating from their branches to the floor. It's a truly beautiful season, and though spring always signifies new beginnings, I always see the onset of autumn as a fresh start.

This summer has been a crazy one. I've had some absolutely fantastic times - graduating, holidaying in Lanzarote and Center Parcs, and having lots of summer fun with friends have been real highlights - but I've also struggled with some personal goings on, and sadly had to miss out on my annual leave and a girly holiday as I somehow managed to contract mumps. I've pushed myself to the brink and back again, but I did manage to squeeze in some wonderful days out around the coast, and attended some amazing concerts and festivals too. 

I'm now seriously looking forward to autumn and what it has in store for me. I've already got some amazing events planned and am hoping to jet off to sunnier climates in October when I have some time off from work. Team that with Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night and the build up to Christmas, and it looks set to be a really busy few months! Here's what I want to achieve in the rest of 2017...

LOOK AFTER MYSELF MORE

I have this weird obsession with being busy, and sometimes it can really take over my life. I am always on the go. I have to have plans. I hate sitting around and not doing anything. But this means that sometimes I take things too far, and contracting mumps meant I had to stop and reevaluate. I've seriously been burning the candles at both ends. Weekly nights out, a hectic work schedule that has me driving all over the country, and late nights followed by early mornings have taken their toll. 

I've been feeling absolutely exhausted this past month or so, so now I am determined to put my health first. Early nights, lots of sleep, and a whole load of fruit, veggies and water is the way forward. The good thing about the onset of autumn means cosy nights in are aplenty, so I'm looking forward to snuggling up and getting my teeth stuck into all the new TV dramas gracing our screens. While I bloody love getting glammed up for a night out, there's no nicer feeling than waking up completely refreshed on a Sunday morning!

WORK ON MY CAREER

My previous post discusses all the things I've been up to since I completed my MA this time last year, and I'm honestly so proud of how far I've come. Interning in London, being nominated for a journo award, graduating with a distinction and bagging myself an amazing job at the BBC - it's been incredible!

Now though, it's time to start striving for the next big thing. I absolutely love my current role, but I am keen to utilise more of my journalistic and researching skills. This week I'm working on an attachment on the News Online desk which is an amazing opportunity, and it's been great to dip my toes into other areas of the company, particularly as journalism is something I'm so passionate about.

GET BACK INTO HEALTHY EATING

I've actually got the support of my friends on this one, which always makes things easier, but I am determined to eat healthily over the next few months. Working in television means food is always readily available. On shoots we have plates filled with snacks for our contributors, and that means I'm always gobbling up some sweeties or chocs when I never used to eat them at all. I have started to see improvements in my body, after working hard in the gym and being mindful of my diet, so now I am determined to keep this up by eliminating sweet treats and making healthier choices. I always feel so much better and far more confident when I'm eating well and training hard, and I think it will help with keeping my health on track too. 

MAKE MORE MEMORIES

I do feel like I get stuck into a bit of a routine sometimes - all work and no play. I know that it's important to relax and regenerate, but I'm really excited with the events I have coming up over the next few months. It will be so nice to make up for the times I missed out on over the summer.

KEEP ON BLOGGING

I'm so excited to get some autumn/winter content underway. This time of year provides so many perfect opportunities for blogging and it feels so nice to be back into it, albeit a little sporadically. I want to get on track with a weekly posting schedule and want to continue experimenting with new outfit looks and sharing new content.

Lots of love. xoxo

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Lifestyle | A year on... What I've been up to since completing university.

I'm honestly amazed at how quickly the past year has gone. August last year was spent writing up and finalising my thesis in order to complete my Masters in Journalism, and it can only be described as a month of hell, if I'm honest. I only left my kitchen table to go to the gym and sleep, often starting work at 8am and being physically dragged upstairs by my mother past midnight to rest. It was totally worth it though, as I graduated with a distinction last month, was nominated for a PPA Journalism Award and landed myself a job with the BBC earlier this year. It's been a pretty incredible 12 months. 

INTERNING IN LONDON

If anyone had said two years ago that I'd end up living and working/interning in London upon graduating I would have quite honestly chuckled in their face. The thought of moving away from my small hometown in West Wales terrified me, but whilst studying for my Masters I met and worked alongside such inspiring people that I was itching to try my hand at working in The Big Smoke for myself. And I did it. 

I interned at Grazia in April, before moving to intern at Stylist and Elle in October/November and finally landing myself my first paid job working as a video assistant for Superdrug Loves and Dare Magazine in November, assisting in the running of their YouTube and social media channels. It was a very overwhelming time. I lived out of a hostel from October to the end of January, which was incredibly lonely and so expensive - I even spent my 23rd birthday there - but I soon found myself bossing London life and completely falling in love with the city. 

While almost essential to making it in the journalism industry, interning can sometimes be really demeaning. I spent a lot of my time sat in beauty and fashion cupboards, sorting through piles and piles of clothes and beauty products, for under £12 a day. However, I did meet some wonderful people and got to attend some fantastic beauty and fashion events in some of London's hottest venues. 

The highlight of my time working in London though, had to be working at The River Group and finding out our company had won the rights to continue publishing and creating Superdrug's media content. We were all whisked off to Claridge's for an evening of finger sandwiches and bottomless prosecco, and I can honestly say the girls I worked with there were some of the loveliest people I've met. I even got to meet Pixiwoo whilst filming YouTube content and appeared in a video or two myself!

LANDING A JOB AT THE BBC

While working as a video assistant for Superdrug I also freelanced at BBC Wales, as a runner for their programme BBC Young Dancer. My time there, combined with the skills I learned while working in video, made me realise that I would love to work in television. I'd had experience behind the camera before and had loved it, and there were also loads of opportunities in Cardiff and Wales. I loved the buzz of London, but was getting increasingly homesick and the thought of moving there permanently made me feel a little queasy. I applied for a permanent runner position at the BBC in the last week of my work at Superdrug, and then moved home with absolutely no job plans or any idea what life had in store for me. 

I was actually on holiday in Edinburgh with Dan when I had an e-mail saying I'd been offered an interview for the position. I spent the next week preparing solidly and within three days of the interview, I found out I'd been successful. I was absolutely ecstatic. It meant I could move back to Cardiff, would be close to family and friends, and I had a permanent job from which I could develop and progress in the future.

I've now been working in my current role for over six months, have been extended and am due to start a placement on the news desk this Monday. I've met a bunch of people who I can honestly say have become some of my very best friends, I've travelled up and down the country in a little white van to film at various locations hoots, and (for the most part) I've not stopped laughing. I only hope to progress within the company from here, and make more of my career goals come true.

MOVING INTO MY OWN FLAT IN CARDIFF

Within a week of landing a job at the BBC I secured myself the most beautiful flat in the heart of Cardiff. I spent three weeks scouting through every homeware shop in the land in order to buy completely matching kitchen decor and utensils (even down to a flowery mop and bucket!), and finally moved into the little space of my own in March.

It honestly was one of my proudest moments, and finally having the financial stability to support myself after years of working in shitty retail jobs and being helped by my parents while studying was amazing. It's made those four years spent living in stinky student houses, and even more so the four months spent living out of a pokey hostel room, a distance memory. I walk through the door of my flat to be greeted by the scent of fresh washing or vanilla candles, and I love nothing more than snuggling down in front of the TV for the evening on my gorgeous grey sofa after a piping hot shower. Finally, I feel like I've made it.

WHAT'S TO COME THIS NEXT YEAR?

I'm really excited to see what's in store for me over the next 12 months. The main goal for me now is to (hopefully) move up a work grading, and to start saving to get myself onto the property. While I adore my flat, it is pretty expensive and I'd rather be investing in own place than filling someone else's pocket. I'm also really determined to start looking after myself a little better. Constantly being on the road, darting from place to place and filling out my social life in between, has meant I've been rather poorly over the last few weeks. So, this next 12 months is all about investing in myself and my future.

Lots of love. xoxo

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review | Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Kiss Edition EDT.

Anyone else look forward to picking up some bits up in duty free at the airport almost as much as they look forward to jetting off to an exotic destination? I absolutely love nosing around the shops in the departure lounge before catching my flight, and my recent trip to Lanzarote was no exception. This time I picked up this beautifully packaged perfume by Marc Jacobs, and it's safe to say I love it. 

I particularly like choosing a new perfume to wear whilst on holiday, because then whenever I wear it I am reminded of the amazing time I had. (Vera Wang's Princess Night EDT, for instance, always takes me back to drinking pints - yes, PINTS - of Jager and Red Bull whilst getting ready to go out in Magaluf. Oh, to be a young and foolish 18-year-old again!) It's funny how a fragrance brings back so many memories. I also opted to choose the Daisy Dream Kiss Edition EDT because it looks just as good as it smells, and works perfectly with the decor in my bedroom. Perfume bottles make the perfect little trinkets for adding a little colour and personality to your interior. 

This particular fragrance is a little more fruity than the original Daisy perfume, with blackcurrant, pink grapefruit and pineapple top notes. It's then mixed with more floral heart notes of white freesia, jasmine petals and tart raspberry, which I feel give it that likening to the original Daisy scent, as well as cedar wood, skin musk and ambrox bottom notes, to soften the sweetness. Overall, it's light, feminine and the perfect summer fragrance. 

It also has great lasting power, which is something that I always hope for when choosing a new fragrance. I hate when you spritz it in the morning and the scent just wears off or starts to go all sickly smelling as the day goes on, especially as perfumes can be so freaking expensive. The Daisy Dream Kiss Edition EDT keeps its scent brilliantly, and as you don't have to continually top it up throughout the day it's sure to last through the end of the summer months and beyond. 

What is your favourite summer fragrance? 
Lots of love. xoxo

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Ten places you must visit in West Wales.

Whenever bloggers tweet asking about where they can escape to in the UK, my response is always West Wales. I live just a stones throw away and am always road tripping down West. With a beautifully rugged coastline, tiny towns and villages filled with pretty little shops, and miles of open wide countryside to explore, it provides the perfect getaway - especially when the sun is shining! 

I tweeted last week saying that I was thinking of sharing some of my favourite, most picturesque places to visit in West Wales and had an unbelievable response. Low and behold, here are the top ten places (in no particular order) that you absolutely must visit if you're in my neck of the woods. 

1. Tenby 

Undoubtedly my favourite place in the world, Tenby is a beautiful seaside town with a bustling harbour, stunning beaches and amazing places to eat and drink, best known for this iconic view of colourful town houses overlooking the sea. I have so many amazing memories of visiting here. It was one of the first places I drove to when I passed my test, I've been here countless times with my boyfriend and family, and it's also where we meet our cousins and family from Canada whenever they're in Wales. There is so much do, whether its relaxing on the beach, nosing around in the shops, or stuffing your face with delicious local produce. You can also take a boat trip across the waves to neighbouring Caldey Island, one of Britain's holy islands, and the sunsets are pretty spectacular. 

2. St David's

My primary school was a church school and every year we would do what can only be described as a pilgrimage to the cathedral at St David's. Buses, filled with crazy school children, would meander along the coast to the teeny tiny city, where we'd congregate in the beautiful cathedral for a special service before eating our packed lunches at the grave yard afterwards. Admittedly, it sounds pretty freaking morbid, but it's a beautiful place and one that I still love visiting to this day. 

3. St Bride's Haven

This is my mum's most favourite place and we visit every August around her birthday so that she can reminisce and remember all of the wonderful times she had here with her grandparents when growing up. As a young girl my mum, her sisters, and my great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, would pack up the car and head to this tiny seaside haven for their holidays. It's a beautifully secluded patch of coastline, with a tiny beach and vast clifftops to explore. There really is nowhere more stunning when the sun is shining.

4. New Quay

West is most definitely best. The Welsh New Quay situated along Cardigan Bay is the ideal place for dolphin spotting. I remember sitting in a café with my grandparents once, and seeing a pod of bottlenose dolphins leaping through the waves. There's always so much going on in New Quay, whether it's a jazz festival, sailing competition or carnival, and there are loads of pretty little spots to sit and watch the world go by.

5. Skrinkle Haven

This is a tiny unspoiled bit of coastline, situated just along the clifftop from Tenby, and boy is it beautiful! Dan and I visited here for the first time last year after being totally impressed by some photographs we saw on Instagram. It's even more breathtaking in real life; we felt like we were on an exotic island lightyears away from civilisation. The cliff on the far Eastern side of the haven is cut in two and is known as Church Doors Cove, making it the perfect place for caving, snorkelling or swimming. In the evening this is also a perfect place to stargaze after watching the sun set over the waves, as there is very little light pollution.  

6. Aberaeron

There's a lot of Aberaeron that I'm yet to explore, but it boasts some fantastic restaurants overlooking a stunning harbour that winds its way through this colourful town to the beach. Dan works down there a lot, so he knows the area better than me, but we usually just sit and watch people crab fishing by the harbour (with an ice cream in hand, obvs).

7. Saundersfoot & Wiseman's Bridge

My perfect Sunday afternoon involves driving to the little beach at Wiseman's Bridge on the Eastern coast of Pembrokeshire with Dan and my dogs in tow. We stroll along the shoreline, through the old railway tunnels and end up in Saundersfoot, before grabbing an ice cream and sitting by the harbour watching the world go by. Saundersfoot has an array of little shops, cafés and pubs to enjoy, as well as a beautiful spa with an outdoor pool overlooking the beach.

8. Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy

This place is seriously incredible. I only discovered it last year while writing up my Masters thesis, and it is really amazing; an absolute must-visit if you're ever in Wales. This little hamlet boasts a stunning breached quarry, the Blue Lagoon, where the water is the most beautiful turquoise and where adrenaline junkies come to catapult themselves off the cliffs into the pool below. Check out Celtic Quest Coasteering if you fancy a try yourself!

9. St Govan's Head, Stackpole

The staggering clifftops of St. Govan's will always have a very special place in my heart. When I was young my nan, grandad and I would come here on a Sunday for a delicious roast at St. Govan's Inn - a traditional pub in neighbouring village Bosherston - before heading to the clifftops for a stroll above sea level, and a climb down to the adorable stone chapel that is carved into the cliffs. Yes, that's right, there's a tiny chapel wedged into the foot of the cliffs, which can be reached by scrambling down a set of rickety stone steps. The perfect place for keen photographers.

10. Barafundle Bay

Last, but certainly not least, is this absolute gem in the Pembrokeshire coastline. Barafundle has been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the whole world, beating the likes of Bondi and Copacabana, and I can totally see why. With golden sands and crystal blue waters, it's no wonder it's often compared to a Caribbean holiday hotspot.

Have you visited West Wales? 
Where's your favourite "staycation"?
Lots of love. xoxo
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