Get set for an adventure | Travel essentials

Following on from my recent "How to Look Better" post, I'm trying to actively support local and independent retailers. I also set myself a goal of travelling more this year, so when I discovered these great outerwear brands, I was inspired to plan another wee adventure. 

Featuring : Bowndling, a British and Italian brand specializing in outerwear and adventurewear. They have a selection of essential, minimalist pieces, specifically designed for our changeable British weather. Fernweh, a independent Scottish brand sold on Etsy, that provides hand-crafted accessories for outdoor activities like hill walking, hiking, and rock climbing. And, American Eagle Outfitters, an  American casual wear brand that's passionate about environmental sustainability and community development. They make great, affordable clothing for men and women that capture the free-spirited essence of outdoor American living.

Here's a few items that I think would be perfect additions for a little adventure holiday. I even sprinkled in a few of my own travel photos for good measure.

Lightweight Coat
Dry Parka

Knitted Hat
Fernweh SIONNACH Luxury Merino/Alpaca hand knit hat

Classic Plaid Shirt
Peach AEO Plaid Western Button Down Shirt

Fleece Sweater
Merino Fleece Bomber

Knitted Scarf
Fernweh SLATE Chunky Knit Scarf

Casual Tank Top
Dusty Olive AEO Soft & Sexy Favorite Tank

Waterproof Panel Leggings

Wax Cotton BagFernweh  Medium Wax Cotton Rock Climbing Chalk Bag (Tan Brown)

Effortless Maxi
Black AEO Split Strap Maxi Dress

I highly recommend checking out the brands, they're definitely ones to keep an eye on.
Let me know what you think, what are your adventure essentials?

Have an wonderful week.

Lighten up

Seeing as it's a new year, I fancied a bit of a change. So, after weeks of looking at Pinterest pictures, I decided to try to lighten my hair. My hair was quite dark, and previously red, so I knew that bleaching it might be a bit of a issue. To be on the safe side, I decided to try a balayage technique to give my hair natural and subtle looking highlights, which would be less dramatic than ombre. 
Was aiming for something like this.
GREAT HAIR LIVES AT RAMIREZ|TRAN SALON IN BEVERLY HILLS. Cut/Style: Anh Co Tran. Appointment inquiries please call Ramirez|Tran Salon in Beverly Hills: 310.724.8167Mid Length Hair Inspiration |
Ended up closer to this.
Ombre Bob Haircut: Wavy Hairstyles for Short Hair 2015BEAUTIFULLY BRUNETTE   SOFT UNDERCUT
I bought the Bleach London Balayage Hair Kit - Beach Lights, and the deep conditioner. Scott helped me on the first attempt, sectioning hair and applying the bleach, but I was so worried about damaging my hair, I didn't keep the bleach on for the longest time the box suggested, which resulted in only a small amount of lift, and a dark ginger result. Which was fine, and I kept it for about a week, but it wasn't the final look I was going for, so I tried again.

The second time round I tried the L'Oreal Preference Wild Ombre Kit, but I picked up the wrong kind. I bought the No.3 Blond to Dark Blond, when really I should have bought the No.1 Light Brown to Dark Brown, but oh well. I used the board from the Balayage kit and tried to apply the same technique. I got a lot more lift the second time round, but again, didn't want to leave the bleach on too long, and ended up with an all over bright orange. I tried toning it but it wasn't light enough for the toner to have any kind of effect. I've had orange hair before, and I actually think it can look quite cool, but it's not what I was looking for. I really didn't want to bleach my hair for a third time in a week, so I decided to try to fix the orangeness by dying over it.

I didn't want to loose too much of the lightness, seeing as I had worked to hard to get it, but I knew a blond wouldn't cover the orange, so I picked a light brown and hoped for the best. The colour I ended up settling on was L'Oreal Prodigy 7.0 Almond "natural dark blonde". 

It darkened my hair quite a bit, but also thankfully covered the orange. There's still a bit of a ginger hue to it, but I can deal with that. As a very freckly person, I'm convinced I was meant to be ginger anyway. So, here's the final result, a subtle light brown balayage. I might try to put some real blonde through it in the spring/summer but I want to let my hair heal a bit first. I'm pretty happy with how it is now. 

Let me know what you think, and give me any tips you have for passing the ginger stage and achieving actual blonde (maybe I'm just destined to be ginger, who knows.)
Hope you have an amazing week.

How to look better | My 2015 challenge.


Unlike the title suggests, it's not about your physical appearance, but how you can improve your perception and your life. Basically, it's 5 ways to examine and improve yourself.

I saw this tag up on Shameless Maya's youtube channel, and it really made me think. It's a great tag, and it's kind of given me a mental kick up the butt, to challenge myself to look 'better' at my life. I know it's February, and the whole 'new year' thing is passed, but it's never too late to re-evaluate.

So, pretty similar to Maya's list, here are the things that I believe need to be looked at better. 

1.Look at what you eat

I'm not saying everyone has to be a raw-foodist-vegan, I'm certainly not. If I want a cake i'll eat a cake, thanks. However, more and more I'm realising that what you put into your body really does affect your overall well being, and that of the planet. I don't eat meat, or drink milk or cream (I still eat fish, eggs, and hard cheese though.) That's a diet that has taken me years to perfect. I used to eat everything, then I tried eating basically nothing but veg (not even fruit). I've been vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, sugar free; you name it, I've been it. After much experimentation, I've finally struck upon a diet that suits me and keeps me healthy. (Tbh, in a perfect world, I'd be totally vegan but my body just can't cope, so to my mother's, boyfriend's, and doctor's advice, I'm not.) Basically, my advice is to eat what you are morally and physically comfortable with. Have an banana, have a brownie, have both, I probably am.

However, something I'd like to work on more is where I source my food. As much as I can, I buy organic, but a lot of the time (for convenience) I'm still shopping at M&S or Tesco. Tesco in particular is somewhere I'd like to frequent less. If you take a real, honest look at the food your buying - where it's coming from, what's in it, and who's making a profit from it - I think you, like me, would be appalled. Why do I support huge corporations who put poison in their products and rob hard-working people of a fair wage when I can buy from small, independent groceries who support local and overseas farmers selling fresh, organic produce? I'm lazy, that's why. So that's the first thing I gotta look at. 

2. Look at what you wear

This kind of follows on from the last point. This is not about shaming anyone's fashion choices. Again, wear whatever you're comfortable in. I protect a persons right to wear what they want. This is again about where you buy clothes way more than it is about what you actually wear. This is something I've gotten kind of lazy with too. Even though I try to post and wear ethical clothing for the blog, I'm just as bad as anyone else for buying a bunch of stuff I don't need in the high-street or online sales. I don't wear leather, at all, ever, or fur of any kind, or wools and cashmere's that aren't ethically sourced. Adopting this habit has been both good and bad. Good, because I feel better about what I wear, and generally things are less expensive when they're not 'real' leather or animal fabrics. It's been bad in the sense that it's narrowed my choices significantly. However, it's also good in the sense that it's challenged me to look at what makes up my clothes. Are the fabrics cruelty free, sustainable, fair trade? It's also introduced me to a lot of great new brands and online stores I never used to know about.

On top of the animal cruelty, you have to think about human welfare too. Sweatshops are the dirty secret fast fashion wants us to forget about, but there are hundreds of thousands of people working every day in horrific conditions, literally dying, and earning next to no money, so that we can buy new 'fashionable' clothes every season. I'm not shaming anyone for shopping, I love to shop, I love to buy and wear new clothes, but if you take a minute to think about the literal blood, sweat and tears that has gone into making those rails and rails for high-street clothing, it really makes you think twice before spending your money at a company where the profits only go to the people at the top. Instead, I'm challenging myself to demand better human and animal welfare from fashion companies, and support the few great ethical fashion brands that are out there. 

3. Look at how you think

This is on a more personal level. I've let myself get into a really negative mindset over the past wee while, and it's one of the most detrimental things you can do. It ruins your own self-esteem, your relationships, and your motivation. If you let it go unchecked, it seeps into every aspect of your life and brings it down. You start to believe the bad things you think about yourself and others, and it can erode your happiness. Examine how you think about yourself and others. Watch your mind at work. Whenever a negative thought pops into your head, catch it, question it, throw it away. Don't get me wrong, critique can be useful and is necessary for improvement, but I bet that 99% of those negative thoughts are useless hatred, and not constructive criticisms. If so, throw it away. Replace it with positive thoughts. Literally drown out the negativity. Put positive quotes on your mirrors, or daily reminders on your phone. Delete nasty friends from facebook. Stop reading cruel celeb magazines. Instead, listen to inspirational audiobooks, watch a funny movie, draw, or go for a walk and appreciate your surroundings.

Challenge yourself to say 5-10 good things about yourself everyday. Physical, intellectual, and emotional things. Change it up each day so you're not saying the same old stuff. Challenge yourself to go 1 day without criticizing yourself. Then go 1 day without  criticizing anyone else. Then make it a week, then a month. The more you cut out negativity, the less it will poison your life. I know it can be hard, especially if it is deeply embedded in your mind. If it's a mental health issue, then seek help. Go to the doctor. If you're finding yourself in a dark mental place, call a friend or family member. You don't need to talk about what's bothering you, but it's always good to talk, even if it's just about what you watched on TV. If you can't talk, protect yourself in another way. Get into bed with a book or watch something on Netflix until the darkness lightens up a little. Take steps to make your mind a happier place to be.

4. Look at your own health and fitness

I've never been big into exercise. In high school I went once a week to the gym, but that's mostly because we went to the sauna afterward, and I love to relax. When I moved away from home I started going to a yoga class once a week to combat my anxiety. This one weekly class helped me so much I started to see the benefit in moving your body a little. It gets your blood pumping and your energy moving. It gets out your aches and pains and makes you feel more energetic. Last year I stopped going for months because I was too busy (and my sad/anxious brain was getting the better of me), and I really noticed the effects. This year I've challenged myself to get back into yoga, even if I can't make it to the class. I'm challenging myself to exercise every day, even if it's only 5 minutes, because I want to get stronger, and that aint going to happen sitting on my butt. 

Set yourself a goal and work towards it in a reasonable timeframe. I say reasonable because I don't expect to be The Rock after 2 weeks of working out, not that being The Rock is my goal. In fact, I doubt I could ever be The Rock. I don't want to push my body too hard, and I don't want to force changes too quickly. All I'm aiming for is progress. I have three month goals, and a yearly goal. I'd like to, by the end of the year, be able to do Crow Pose. I have very weak arms and little core strength, so it's going to be a challenge for me. However, hopefully by improving my upper body strength day by day, with yoga and exercise, I will build up the strength it takes to hold Crow. By improving my yoga practice, I improve my anxiety. I improve my strength, balance, flexibility and peace of mind. Challenge yourself to improve your health/fitness in one way, whether it be touching your toes, or running for 10 minutes. 

5. Look at how you spend your time

If I'm not at work or college, I'm probably, definitely, at home on my laptop. It's my time to relax, but it's probably not the best use of my free time. When I think back over the last year at how many days I spent sat at my laptop, it's pretty shocking. Like, think if your life was a movie, how many scenes would consist of you sitting in front of your TV or computer? Who would want to watch that film?
It's time I started investing more of my time in myself, If you want to run your own business one day, start making steps towards that goal now. Watch TED talks, take night classes, read business books. If you want to meet new people, go out and speak to someone. Don't sit in your house all alone waiting for life to happen to you. Okay, you don't have to go out if you don't want to. I'm perfectly satisfied not going out, but spending 12 plus hours a day watching Netflix, for 6 days straight is kind of pathetic. I don't want to look back at my early twenties and consider them wasted years. I want to do all the things now, that I might not have the time to do when I'm older.

So, do something good for yourself, now. Arrange to meet an old friend for lunch. Visit a local museum or gallery. Volunteer, spend your time giving back and helping others. Do something that will positively benefit and enrich your life. If your long-term goals need financial backing, then spend your current time working and saving money, but know that it's not forever. Some days there feels like there's not enough hours to get everything done. Other days feel like they take forever. If you find yourself with time to spare, invest that time in something good.

And that's it. Congrats to anyone who made it to the end of this wall of words.
Share your thoughts or add some advice. I tag you to do this too.

Hope you're all having a lovely day.

The Edinburgh Casting Studio

At a blogging event last summer I had the pleasure of meeting Luis and Poppy, of Edingburgh Casting Studio. The did a demonstration on life casting and showed us some of their recent casts.

Late last year I decided to create a documentary series as part of my degree, and desperately wanted to make a doc about their amazing business. I shyly emailed them and was pleasantly surprised when Luis emailed back saying they would love to get involved. 

So, I spent a day in their Edinburgh studio, filming and chatting with them as they made a beautiful life cast. I made a few mistakes when filming so the final doc didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped but the video is at the bottom of the post if you want to check it out.

Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio
Edinburgh Casting Studio

A life cast sculpture makes a wonderful, personal, and long-lasting gift so I highly recommend checking them out. They're super friendly and professional, and it's always good to support local and independent artists.

Have a brilliant week.

My 21st Birthday

I have not been very good at regularly updating my blog so far this year, sorry about that. I had to take a bit of a blog hiatus this month, but I've got a few good posts lined up so it won't be long till i'm back into the swing of things. 

You many or may not know that it was my 21st birthday this month (woohoo). For my birthday, my mum and I took a trip to Paris. There was a lot of trouble in the city while we were there, which was pretty scary, but it made it more of an adventure, and a holiday we'll never forget. It was still nice to spend time with my mum.

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We couldn't get out and about as much as we'd have liked because a lot of the roads and transport were shut down due to the incidents. However, we still managed to do all the touristy things we'd wanted to do, and enjoy some authentic Parisian food and culture like we'd planned.

It was the first time I had been on a plane since I was a kid, and there was lots of turbulence. Me and my mum are both pretty anxious people, we're worriers, but we faced a lot of our fears on this trip, and I'm really glad we did it in the end.

Check out the rest of the post for more pictures.
I hope you've all had a good start to the year
If you've got any holidays planned, let me know, I'd love to hear about them

Have a great rest of the month.

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