Saturday, 17 December 2016

2016 Has Changed Me

When I think about life and what it can throw at you, it amazes me how much it can change. Change me as a person. Change my outlook. Change the way I live my life. Up and down, round and round, side to side, the rollercoaster of life truly hits me, day in day out. This year has definitely been a rollercoaster of events. From starting the year in a relationship which I thought would end up being long term, to then the middle of the year when everything seemed to just fall apart. Going from being in a relationship to being single very quickly, to my mental health then plummeting to the ground. I can safely say that the end of this year has been everything I could ever want. 
I started speaking to Rich back in August/September. We spoke everyday. I can't even remember some of our conversations but they would go on for hours and hours. Then in October I decided to take the plunge and meet him in real life (we met on Twitter... pfft who needs Tinder)! When I was walking out of my door towards his car I can remember feeling slightly nervous (purely because all I had ever been taught was to not meet anyone from the internet) but as soon as he said hello to me, I felt instantly comfortable and knew that I could just be me around him. Talking about sex, food, films, poops, anything that came to mind. It's no different to how we talk now! After going on a couple of dates he decided to pop the question... we've now been together for just over 2 months and spend every day and night together! We've even lived together for a week by ourselves and we managed to keep the house in one piece and two cats alive! 
I can honestly say that I have never felt this happy and content with life! Yes, I still have the anxieties of life and depression but Rich makes my days a whole lot brighter! Not forgetting my amazing supportive family and my bestest friends Nicole and Katie. I now have a part time 'job' writing online content for a company, I'm getting nearer to the end of my second year of uni and I may have a potential placement in place! Everything is falling into place.... 
The rollercoaster is slowing down and it's a lot more bearable! 

This year has been a year of love, lust, work, sadness, depression and now endless amounts of happiness. I can honestly say 2016 has changed me as a person but I am happy with the person I have become! 

Here's to my first Christmas without being single, to a Happy New Year and to another rollercoaster in 2017! 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Alternative Christmas Gifts for Your Boyfriend This Year || Guest Post*

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, well almost. I must sound like a record on repeat but, how did that happen so fast? I have only just gotten over the trauma of buying my boyfriend a birthday present and now I’m faced with the ordeal of Christmas. Not to be a negative Nancy but it can be a real struggle continuously nailing the innovative, creative and ‘oh my goodness I did not expect that’ present. You must agree or else why would you be here?  
Truth is, in the first two years of my relationship I would have said I was winning on the gift giving side of things. I do believe I let the success of my gifting go to my head though and now I am certainly feeling the effects as I struggle to piece together a great Christmas present idea. Fear not though, to be pro-active about the situation I’ve put together a selection some small gifts for boyfriend ideas and no, FIFA 17 is not included because I’d struggle to count the amount of times I have seen my partner since that was released, just saying.  
Cheese, Wine and all things fine
I am a huge fan of experiences, something you can both enjoy is surely a far more memorable present? Having heard no complaints so far I am continuing with this theme. Last year I treated my boyfriend to a cheese and wine evening, it was hands down my favourite cheese experience to date, he seconds that. Can you think of anything better than six large glasses of delicious wine and a cheese to match each, no, no you cannot. I highly recommend this as an alternative Christmas gift idea, what better way to spend a dark winters evening than over fine wine and even better, lots of cheese.
Beer Glorious Beer
I’m not suggesting that all males are beer obsessed, I do know serval cider drinkers myself, but let’s face it the odds are in beers favour. The craft beer industry has boomed over the last two years; no pub trip is complete without one. These new Ales come fit with trendy artwork making them next level cool, it’s impossible not to feel pretty special with one in hand. The pricing of them certainly helps with that too. Get your partner a craft beer subscription and he will have Ale delivered to his door regularly, and buying in bulk comes at very little cost to you. Amazing.
Sushi King
Clearly I know that a way to a man’s heart is certainly through his belly. To complete my top alternative Christmas gift ideas for your boyfriend this year I recommend doing a Sushi making experience. Similar to the craft beer trend, Sushi is bigger than ever, whether you’re grabbing it for a light lunch or gorging on date night - we love it. So why not know how to make it? It’s a little snazzier than just a meal out and it’s interactive, getting you both involved in a new experience. 
I hope these suggestions help you in your quest to find the perfect gift. Even if they simply trigger another genius idea, I shall consider my work here done. Of course it’s important to get some smaller more stocking filler style gifts too, Christmas isn’t Christmas without something a little tacky to unwrap, it’s tradition and I’m not one for messing with that!
 *Disclaimer*: This is a guest post written for my blog however, I have given full permission and would not publish something I do not agree with. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

Hennessy Gold Cup Invitation || Giveaway*

For everyone that follows my adventures through my blog, you'll know that I get invited to lots of different events and functions. However, I was particularly excited upon receiving an invitation to attend the bet365 Festival's 60th Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury Racecourse. Believed to be the oldest sports sponsorship in the world, Hennessy's continued support of this event in a testament to the tradition and partnership that is clearly valued by both the whisky company and the racecourse. 

Not only is this event known for its deep routed history as part of British culture, but it's also widely regarded as a highlight of the winter social calendar, especially when it comes to showcasing winter fashion trends. With celebrities such as Joan Collins, Stanley Tucci and Carey Mulligan in attendance in recent years, it's clear to see the class and style that this event exudes. To try and blend in I'll be upping my fashion game (let's be real, I have no fashion game to begin with) by wearing this sequin mini dress from Forever 21, any excuse to dress up ;) Rich will also be joining me so you can probably all imagine how excited I am to see him in a suit *smirky face emoji*. 

Not only are we seeing the races, we're also going to be having a cocktail making class which is enough to make any blogger die with excitement...bloggers and their cocktails eh! As well as, a wintery picnic... yes, you're probably thinking the same as me... cream dress, cocktail making and a picnic; this isn't going to go down well haha! 

I am so grateful to be given the chance to go to such a lavish event and be wined and dined! Is this something you like the sound of?! It is... well... 

I've got an exclusive discount code for you, which gets you £5 off of Premier Badge Tickets ... valid until midnight on the 18th November: 

Just enter: FUN16

If you would like the chance to win a pair of tickets, a night in the hotel at the race course called The Lodge, a bottle of Hennessy and a Hennessy picnic for two then enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! GOOD LUCK :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Head over to my Twitter and RT this tweet to be in with the chance of winning 2 tickets to the race day!

You've got to be in it to win it ;) 

*Thank you to ZEAL/Hennessy/Newbury Racecourse for this opportunity. I cannot wait for the day! 

*This post is in collaboration with ZEAL/Hennessy/Newbury Racecourse however, all opinions are 100%my own and have not been influenced by the company. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Some Misconceptions About Uni

When most people think 'Uni', they think; partying, freshers week, lots of holidays, getting drunk, making friends, with the occasional bit of work. 

When I think of 'Uni', I think; Work, Work, Work, presentations, social anxiety, general anxiety, depression, stress, travelling, overwhelming amounts of dates and deadlines, stupid systems. 
If you've been following my uni experience so far, you'll know how much I have struggled. I didn't go to any freshers events, purely because my anxiety was stopping me and honestly, my unis freshers events may as well not exist they are THAT BAD! I do feel like I have missed out on that part and I haven't been able to experience uni in the same way that my friends have, but at the end of the day uni for me is not about getting drunk, it is about getting a degree. I can get drunk for the rest of my life if I really wanted to! 

There are SO many misconceptions about uni and it really pigs me off (Is that even a saying... no?! Well it is now). The elderly, kids, anyone who hasn't actually experienced uni will think that all us students do is party, eat crap, sleep, cause trouble and then do a little bit of work on the side; that's if we can be bothered to move from our beds that are clearly surrounded by endless amounts of pizza boxes and bottles, of course *rolls eyes*. 
I can for one tell you that yes there are students that are like this and honestly, they may as well not go to uni BUT, there are people like me out there who are actually at uni to do their degree and succeed. When I mention on Twitter etc that I need a break, I usually get backlash like "Uni students get loads of time off" "You don't need a break, all you do is get drunk and party" "You have chosen to go to uni, you shouldn't be given breaks".... the endless list goes on. However, this is ALL wrong. Yes, I have chosen to go to uni therefore I'm not entitled to a break but you could say the same about a job; you've chosen to do that job therefore you knew that you wouldn't get loads of breaks. All I'm saying is that WE ALL NEED A BREAK! 

Monday morning of this week, I got up ready to go to uni, Rich was here ready to take me and BAM, anxiety took over and I had a massive breakdown shall we say. I just could not do it. I couldn't face the day. Doing anything in life with a mental illness alongside that is bloody hard and there are days upon days where I just can't do it. For me, social anxiety is a big thing and in my course you have to do A LOT and I mean a lot of presentations; this is one main thing that I have struggled with. My anxiety eats me up, wears me out, makes me feel so vulnerable that in fact it does effect my work ethic. I could get hours and hours of sleep but I will still wake up in the morning feeling exhausted because, my mind has got 10 million things to think about and hundreds of deadlines to meet. 

I go to uni 3 days a week and on all the other days, no I am not partying, lying around doing nothing with my life. I am in fact spending every single minute of my waking day doing work and even if I'm not doing my work and I am giving myself the break that I desperately need, I spend every second of that 'break' being eaten alive by anxiety/depression and guilt from not doing work. PFffttt what am I even saying, in these 'breaks' I'm getting on with blogging and YouTube to meet all the deadlines I have with companies. 
Ok so back to my original point... yes we do get long summer breaks and christmas breaks but in those 'breaks' we are working to pay off all the debt etc, we are doing work experience/ Internships to gain that experience alongside our degree and we are also planning for the year of uni ahead. Yes I have chosen to go to uni but that does not mean I find it a walk in the park. Yes I know life gets harder and I am not prepared to grow up yet, but let me face my battles one step at a time please. Yes students party and get drunk but there are some out there like me who spend every minute of the day doing their work to get their degree. Yes there are students who spend every day off in bed watching Netflix but there are students like me who spend every day off, catching up on all the work in order to meet the deadlines and succeed. 

I don't know how to conclude this post or where it is even going but all I'm trying to say is; not all students are lazy, party animals who do not care about their degree. Believe it or not, there are students like myself who do not go out and party all the time and who actually get all of their work done. 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Life Changing Product || Shadow Switch*

We've all been there, you want a simple natural look, but then BAM... your eyeshadow brush still has the deep dark remains of the smokey eye you miserably failed at before a night out. You just can't win in the make up world! But, look no further... there is a new and certainly life changing product out there for all your eyeshadow addicts like me. Shadow Switch is the dry brush cleaner that saves you from them unwanted panda eyes!
The lovely people from Beauty Essentials UK sent me this prototype to try before they released the official and final product! I was SO eager to try it out as I have stained and ruined many towels in my time ... oopsie. It is going to be available in Sephora and online when it launches, so keep an eye out :) Below are the images of the final packaging that they've sent me. 
It is essentially a sponge in a little pot which you swirl your brush in to remove the product, in between using different eyeshadows. It is an absolute game changer! It's the perfect travel must have... you essentially only need to take one brush when you are travelling now! I can't imagine my life without this product now; my eyeshadow has never looked so blended and clean! 
  • So you've just applied your first lot of eyeshadow and you want a new colour but don't want to look like you belong in the panda enclosure in a zoo and you're definitely too lazy to find a clean brush... well let's face it, who has time to clean their brushes anyway. 
This swatch is from before I cleaned the brush. I've swatched again after but you can't see it (proves how much of a life saver this product is)!
  • You swirl the brush around the pot until all/the majority of the product has come off of the brush.
  • You then apply your next eyeshadow. 
  • SIMPLE! You can see for yourself how good the results are! 
That is literally it! There is not much too it! Lazy makeup lovers unite *cheers*! 
I am definitely going to be using this until the day I die and for only £5.99, you cannot go wrong!

*Thank you Beauty Essentials for sending this for me to try!
This is a PR sample however, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the brand!

Monday, 3 October 2016

My Dating World: The Lows & Highs

Dating, dating, dating... I haven't had much luck with it! I've only had one proper relationship and the other one, well... let's just not go there! 

Kayleigh from Very Berry Cosmo was lovely enough to invite me to the book launch of First Dates: The Art Of Love By Fred Sirieix and of course I was VERY excited! I am a massive fan of the programme and Fred himself (I mean look at him, what is not to like?!). The event was so good; free alcohol (YES), canap├ęs, celebs and I was greeted by Fred himself on arrival and handed a rose! I was definitely out of my comfort zone haha... one minute I'm scoffing my face in McDonalds, next minute I'm overlooking the most stunning view of London in Galvin At Windows sipping cocktails with celebs... what is my life?! *pinch me* 
This book has got everything: Dating tips and tricks, advice from Fred and all the gossip from the dates on First Dates... proper juicy stuff! I haven't read the book properly yet, but what I have read so far has made me realise all the things I have been doing wrong, which maybe explains why I am single! So what I have decided to do in this post is go through all of the main chapter topics and see where I am going wrong in the dating world... you can see into my dating profile, you nosey buggers ;) 

Chapter 1: Hopes and Dreams

Fred says: "Keep an open mind and an open heart" 

This can be applied to pretty much everything! I don't think this is where I have gone wrong in dating in the past. I am the most open minded person you will meet. I have been brought up in a family that is very open minded. I can speak to my parents about anything and everything. Sex and relationships especially are not a taboo subject in my family; we are all very open (to some extent)... so no topic is a taboo to me... I could talk for hours about anything with someone.

Chapter 2: Ready Steady Date

Fred says: "Don't try to rush love or hold on to something that is not real" 

Ok now this is one thing in particular that I have struggled with in these past few months. My last relationship is basically the perfect example of this quote! I met my ex at the beginning of this year; I didn't plan on meeting him, it just happened (which I sometimes think is better... it's always a bit more special when you're not actually looking for anything and then one day it randomly comes of out of nowhere). But after a month or so of meeting, we then became a couple. I was really happy in this relationship, I hope that he was happy and didn't regret anything; but obviously we did rush things and he wasn't ready and it became evident that we were not the ones for each other... it's crap, but that's the dating world I suppose! 

Chapter 3: Arrival

Fred says: "If your date doesn't realise you're acting in an awkward way because of nerves, it can leave them thinking you're not interested."

When I went on my first proper date, I was a bag of nerves but also excited. It was the fear of the unknown. As soon as we got in the car, I said how nervous I was and he said he was too. This made it so much easier because we both knew we were in the same boat! The rest of the date wasn't awkward in the slightest and the date flowed... it was definitely the best date I've ever had (not that I've had many). 

Chapter 4: Breaking The Ice

Fred says: "As long as you have a sexy attitude you can be incredibly attractive- no matter how you look."

I definitely do not think I'm the most attractive woman on this earth but I'm hoping one day, someone finds me attractive enough to want to go on a date with me. Over text, Twitter, Snapchat, you name it, I can be really flirty. I am a naturally flirty person, which I am yet to conclude whether this is a good or bad thing. However, in real life I find it a bit harder to be naturally flirty (unless I've had a few drinks); once I get to know the person and I become more comfortable, I can be flirty. I 100% need to work on my flirting in real life and not just rely on the trusty smirky face emoji and a seductive gif... we are all guilty of that haha!

Chapter 5: Building the Bond

Fred says: "If you don't have a good heart how can you feel love?"

I like to think I have a very good heart! All I want to do is help people and make them happy; when I feel like I have failed to do that, whether that's in a friendship or a relationship, I am quite hard on myself. I sometimes think my heart is too big; I fully invest myself in someone and maybe scare them off a bit. I know I do it. I can be very full on and I do need to learn not to be so fully invested right away. I hope to learn from my mistakes and hopefully when/if I ever get into another relationship, I will be less full on and not scare them off. Ever seen the film 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days'? Well... I'm borderline on that sometimes. 
Chapter 6: Show and Tell

Fred says: "First dates should be about laughter and lightness, and later dates are for sharing more."

THIS is exactly where I go wrong. Remember me saying that I am an open book?! Well, I can reveal too much information about myself from the get go, leaving my date feeling overwhelmed (probably scared) and in a way they lose the chance to find out more about you. I am definitely going to have to build more of a wall (Yes, if you have watched Celebs Go Dating on channel 4, you'll know about these walls, or eggs in baskets haha). I will need to play harder to get the next time I date!

Chapter 7: Body Language

Fred says: "When you feel relaxed, your body will tell your date exactly that."

I haven't got much confidence, so it takes time for me to feel more comfortable around people/dates; and when I am comfortable then my body language will change. When I first met my ex's parents I guess I acted more reserved and I was the best behaved Sophie rather than the loud mouth Sophie that swears in every possible sentence. After I met them, my ex said to me "Why did you act like that?"; it made me realise that I do change the way I behave around certain people, but that is just me. I guess I have a 'wall' in that sense; I would like to naturally be confident around people, but that's one thing that I will never change. If people can see past the initial quiet, shy Sophie and they still want to know me more, then I will 100% become more confident and comfortable around them. The people that write me off from the start, do not deserve to get to know the 'real' Sophie.

Chapter 8: Coping With Surprises

Fred says: "The only way we can accept other people is by accepting ourselves." 

With dating, you need to remember that you are two DIFFERENT people... you are going to have different views and opinions on things even though you are a 'couple', it does not mean that you are not compatible, it just means that you're human. You need to accept that you are not going to have 100% the same views and opinions. One person might put their milk in their tea before the water and the other person will put the water in before the milk (the right way ;) ) I don't think I've had a problem with my boyfriends opinions in the past. Yes I didn't agree with some of them but if we all agreed on the same things, then the world would be a boring place!

Chapter 9: Drinking & Dating

Fred says: "Don't be that person who gets completely hammered when their date is sipping sparkling water."

I can definitely say I have not done this on dates. I will have a few drinks on a date but I would never get completely hammered. Trust me, when I am drunk, I am not a pretty sight. I have been dragged out of bars... yes I am that person. So I know my limits. I know I should definitely not be flat out drunk on the first dates. So this isn't why I'm single.

Chapter 10: Time Out

Fred says: "If you need to analyse everything when you're with someone you may be thinking a little too much, or you are not at the right date."

I am a BIG believer of whatever happens, is meant to happen. I always go with my gut feeling. If I am on a date or just texting someone, if my gut feeling is "S*** am I doing the right thing" then I know that they're not the one. I am very independent... I know what I like, don't like... I know my limits, so this is definitely not why I am single haha! I also feel like I do not need a man in my life to define me; I am me, I don't need a boyfriend to be happy!

Chapter 11: Sexual Chemistry

Fred says: "Sex moves to a different level when it feels like there are fireworks going off as soon as you meet each other." 

This may be breaking news to some people but, no I am NOT a virgin. I do not think sex should define a relationship but I do believe that if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work... you all know what I mean by that! There is SO much taboo around sex. To me, it is just a natural thing and we do need to talk about it more and embrace it. It shouldn't matter when you lose your virginity or who it was with, as long as you feel that it is right and you feel comfortable then that is all that matters! I knew when it was right and although I'm no longer with the person I lost virginity to, I do not regret it at all. I didn't feel forced, I was asked by him multiple times if I was sure and I felt completely safe! When you know, you know. 
Chapter 12: Rules of Attraction

Fred says: "There has to be a connection up top for there to be a connection down below."
(This has to be one of my favourite quotes from this book)

I believe that if there isn't that initial attraction and sexual attraction then it just won't work; do you really want to be living the rest of your life with a rubbish sex life. No?! Me either! BUT this also applies to personalities. If one person is really outgoing and the other person is maybe a little more timid then they may clash; although, opposites do sometimes attract! If you are not going to get on in a 'personality way' then you are not going to get on in a sexual way (in more ways than one). You have to be fully compatible sexually and 'mentally' in order to work. I think that is maybe where I have gone wrong in the past. Although, sexually we worked, mentally it may have clashed here and there...but that's ok... it's crap but it's ok. It has taught me a lot of lessons and I believe that my next relationship will be different... in a good way!

Chapter 13: Made in Heaven 

Fred says: "You will never know whether someone is everything you want on the very first date." 

I completely agree with this. I do not let it be the be all and end all on the first date. I do give them a chance. If your gut feeling on the first date is literally to run a million miles away then yeah, it is pretty obvious that they are not the one. However, there may be a few blips on the first date, but I usually let them slide and get to know the person more. I find that once I get to know the persons personality more, then I 'fall for them'... the physical attraction then follows. I know my type but then at the same time I have dated/spoken to people that are not my type, but if they have an amazing personality, I will fall for them. I am definitely a personality person over a looks person! 

Chapter 14: Made in Hell

Fred says: " You don't want to be the reason why someone shies away from love even more." 

You will have dates that are maybe not Romeo and Juliet level and they will end up being more Titanic; but the most important thing is to let the person down gently. If you are either breaking up with someone or just saying that you don't want to go on another date with them; DO NOT completely shut them down... give them compliments, give them something to work with. I have been rejected and dumped before and believe me, it is the worst feeling. It comes close to grieving a loss (in a way it is). It is a really negative and soul crushing time but if you give them compliments, it gives that little positivity in the negative situation. I am a very honest person and I will say it how it is, but at the same time I do have a heart; I won't completely shut someone down because I know how that feels. But don't let the rejection stop you... every bad thing that happens in life is a lesson learned! I have definitely realised this over the past year! 

Chapter 15: Stood Up

Fred says: "Letting someone down is unkind and it exhibits a lack of respect."

Now, I haven't been stood up in the past but I have been kept waiting and believe me it is not a nice thing. It makes you feel worthless and like you're easy for them to push around and use you. If you are the person that 'stands people up' or leaves them waiting then... well... you are a d***. Be honest! This is definitely not where I am going wrong; I am completely honest and I do not pussy foot around. I say it how it is, other people need to learn this too!

Chapter 16: Just Friends

Fred says: "Make sure the friendship is a mutual one and you haven't confused it with something else." 

As I said before, I am a flirt so sometimes I do give people the wrong impression; but I do not lead them on to the point that they think we are more than friends. I make it fully aware that we are friends and I make fully fully aware that we are on the same page. Anyone who purposely leads someone on to them shut them down is an absolute pig who does not deserve a happy relationship... they are the reason why everyone is scared of dating and love!
Chapter 17: Second Dates

Fred says: "The second date is often more serious because it involves a deeper level of intimacy."

This I swear by! I personally don't like to kiss on the first date... I'm not saying that is a written rule of mine, but that's just what I have gone by so far. If I kiss on the first date and then actually realise that I'm not attracted to them, then I'd feel like I have led them on and I'd have to shut them down. If there is a second date then obviously I can see the relationship going somewhere. My second date with my last boyfriend was more relaxed than the first. It gave us a chance to fully relax and be ourselves. Our second date was at mine, we had Dominos, a few beers and watched some films (I'm easily pleased... pizza and alcohol over diamonds any day)! We were no longer strangers... we were fully comfortable with each other... we had our first kiss and he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I love second dates! There's something about the intimacy and the fact that you've reached past the awkward first dates stage! 

Chapter 18: Back for More

Fred says: "Love is not always a straight and easy road, but every twist and turn will help you get to where you want to be." 

Ok this quote is what I needed to hear (Thank you Fred)! As you all may know, I have been single for 5/6 months now and it hasn't been easy. I have had my heart broken... yes it is so cliche but I really did like him. I do feel like I am getting over him now and I am focussing on me more and making myself happy! Love is not easy and I do need to remember I am only 19. I do not need to be worrying about relationships. I am a strong believer of there being someone for everyone. I may have several more relationships or I may actually meet the person who I am destined to marry... who knows!? 

The moral of all of this is; although dating can be a roller coaster of emotions, you need to just go with it... ride it... yes I went there! Whatever is meant to be, will find the way. 

If you're in the daunting/fun world of dating then you NEED to get this book. It is like the Bible to dating and Fred is the God! AMEN (hopefully... see what I did there ;) ) 

I hope you liked this post... It's a bit different to what I usually do but I really enjoyed writing it!
Let me know in the comments below what your dating experiences have been like... Good or bad... LET ME KNOW ALL THE DIRTY GOSS ;)