23 September 2014

hello autumn

As much as I love summer I can't wait for crisp cold mornings, dark nights where you can see the stars sparkling and drinking endless amounts of hot chocolate. One of my favourite things to do for the beginning of autumn is make my bedroom a lot more cozy, warm and just overall more autumnal looking. One of the ways I do this by adding fairy lights and lots of cushions and throws over my bed.

This year I have the cutest bedding ever, it is from Primark and it is their woodland animal pattern, to me this is the ultimate autumn bedding! The cream throw is from Ikea and the grey throw is also from Primark. 

Another thing I love about this time of year is that it will be Christmas soon, meaning seasonal starbucks drinks, such a typical thing to say! I don't drink coffee or tea so even just adding cinnamon or nutmeg into soy hot chocolates make me feel super festive and cozy.

I recently bought these PJ's from Primark, these don't scream autumn but the style and material do! They are made out of a thick cozy material which will keep you warm through those crisp nights. Primark have loads of patterns in this style of pyjamas, I just got the Disney Thumper style as I love bunnies!

I never feel like burning candles in the summer but now the time has come to get burning! I have recently bought some new scents, my personal favourite being November Rain. I bought a mixture of end of summer and typical autumn scents, I feel like these are a nice mixture for coming into autumn and will all compliment each other well, scent wise. 

I received this book from my cousins boyfriend for my birthday in August, and I literally couldn't be happier with it. It is all about British wildlife with incredible photography, I am really into wildlife photography so this book is very inspirational to me and I just love looking at the amazing beautiful animals that we have in Britain. I definitely think I want to help with wildlife conservation in the future so this book is very helpful for learning about animals that I've never really heard about. This autumn I am going to get out into the country side and explore nature and try to see some animals while practicing my photography skills. Wrapping up warm and getting outdoors taking photos of beautiful scenery then coming back to a lovely hot chocolate, nothing could be better!

20 September 2014

black and white

Cardigan - F&F at Tesco
Top - River Island
Pants - H&M
Bag - New Look
Nail Polish - Models Own 'Polish for Tans' in Beach Bag
Watch - Marc Jacobs

Today I had a day off college and I literally was so relived! I've only been back to college for two days and I'm already feeling like this, I feel like this is going to be a very long year! In our first week back we have already got six assignments and five homework tasks totally unrelated to the assignments! It's crazy, I'm feeling very unorganised and its really stressing me out, this weekend I am going to spend it how I like best, organising folders and all of my assignments which I have to do, I feel like this will really calm me down!

I have been trying to dress 'more trendy' and this is the best I could come up with. I have limited 'smart' clothes in my wardrobe as I usually just go for really comfy clothes as I can't stand feeling uncomfortable. I bought the pants for traveling on the plane for my last holiday and they are literally like pyjamas, so I feel like this outfit is some what on trend with the whole monochrome aspect and patterned pants with out me having to try too hard. I really want to start wearing shorts and skirts and being overal a bit more girly but I just don't know how people do it. I would like to wear shorts with out tights but it's usually too cold for such a thing and if I do wear black tights with them my legs look so short! It's a tough style for me to get right so I'm still working on that. The cami top is one of my absolute favourites, I absolutely love the detailing on the neck line and it goes with everything! I now have found a way to wear crop tops or jumpers with out showing off my midreef, I just put one of these tops on underneath and because they're loose I can wear them! 

16 September 2014

back to reality

academic diary - tesco
to do note pad - h&m
pencil case - h&m

Today is the day I go back to college, I am now in my second year of an Animal Management course. I love this course so much and I am so glad I finally know what I want to do with my life, there is just so much work it is unbelievable! Last year my days consisted of going to college, getting home and doing work until I went to bed, it was that intense! I had no time for anything else, as I am a perfectionist and I am very thorough when it comes to my work every assignment took me a lot longer than it probably needed. Although that did pay off as I got a distinction, so I hope I can be as dedicated this year as I was last year! It is typical of me that I am just getting back into blogging just as I am going back to college, I think it is because I don't want to start the mountains of work again! I have used this last week off as a preparation for my internet world and I have scheduled posts to put up when I am overloaded in work. I am going to be reducing my posts to once a week they will be back ups and if I have time I will be posting more regularly. I was going to stop making youtube videos as I feel uncomfortable when I make them like talking to a camera as I'm so self-conscious, I am not good at makeup/hair/fashion so I really didn't think there was any point in me doing it! Although after much deliberation I decided to just switch up my videos to more lifestyle ones such as vlogs because I really want to do vlogmas again, not that last years were any good, just people seemed to like them! But because they take so much longer than blog posts and I always seem to have technical difficulties, I probably won't be making many of them very often in these next few months.

Anywayyy since it is back to school time I thought I would share a good tip that I learned last year which I really think helped me gain such a good grade. This will hopefully help you start a new school year off on the right tracks and hopefully maintain a successful and productive year.

Get organised | Probably the most obvious and what everyone says but it really helps and takes some pressure off you when you're organised! I love being organised it comforts me to plan things and have everything in order, this is where a diary and to do list come in handy. My diary for this year is from tesco, it is the cutest thing ever and it is just pretty basic but allows me to write assignments in to remind myself to do them! On my course we have to do course work, and at the beginning of the year we get module books which have all of the assignments you will have to do throughout the year wrote in them, I took them all and organised them into order of when they had to be handed in by. I then would organise my weeks as usually main assignments are handed in on a Friday, and plan what assignments I would do each week to make sure that I never handed one in late, as if they were handed in late you could only get a pass on them even if they were worth more, which was a great encouragement for me! I put all my assignments in a folder from asda in order and just kept going through them until they were all finished, it feels so good when you complete them and your folder is empty! This to do list from h&m is going to be really handy for when I am organising my weeks as I used to just write what I had to do on scrap pieces of paper, and this way it can look a bit more neat, it even has one of my favourite fonts on!

Even if you don't have course work to do and don't have the benefit of knowing what assignments you will be getting you can still plan! I did A Levels before this course and I wish I had known to do this as it would have made life a lot easier. With most A Levels you will be given or need to buy a text book to study from, what I did for one of my subjects (I wasn't as motivated then) was split the book up into exam units, this is usually already done for you like if you are sitting two exams in the first year they will be divided into what content will be in each exam. I then counted up the days until the exam and divided them by how many pages there were that I had to learn, this would then determine how many pages I had to read and study each week and by the time you have to sit your exam you are not overwhelmed with how much you have to learn! I hope that made sense! If I had stuck to this method I am sure I would have done much better than I did in my A Levels!

I hope this has helped some of you in how you can get more organised through out the year and I hope you all have a fab year, good luck!

8 September 2014

autumn clothing essentials

I've created a bit of an autumn essentials list incase you are one of those people like I usually am who finds that they have loads of summer clothes and nothing for autumn, I think these few items will go with anything you already have in your wardrobe and make you feel super autumnal!

These suggestions are all just my own personal tastes and style, by no means feel as if I am suggesting that if you wear anything different to the things I've suggested that you're not 'doing autumn right', because thats definitely not what I am meaning! I am purely just showing you some items I personally think are really nice and might inspire you as to what you want to incorporate into your autumn style.

I think some main autumn essentials are, an autumn coat, leather jacketboots and autumn coloured bottoms/tops.

1 | 2 | 3

When I say autumn coat I am really just referring to the colour, I would associate autumn with deep reds, purples and greens and of course black, I'm obsessed with black at the moment. To get you back into wearing a coat I think for autumn choose a one that is not too thick, as in September time its not really going to be freezing temperatures (at least I hope not!) so having a thin-ish jacket will be a good item to throw on and you can layer up according to the weather so you are not over heating!

My picks are probably not the most autumnal as you can get but I really love this grey coat from H&M, the benefit of it being grey is that it will go with every outfit and it will transition well into winter! I love how it is so huge, I think it will be super comfy and you will be able to fit jumpers on underneath! I tried the second coat on in New Look and loved how it looked, the photo above doesn't do it justice as I think it looks weird with the drawstrings pulled in at the waist, I prefer it to look more baggy and I definitely wouldn't fasten it all the way to the top. I have been wanting a green coat like this with the faux leather arms since they started to come out a few years ago and I never found a one that I really loved, although this year I think I might have to get this one! This last coat is no where near what I would call an autumn coat but I absolutely love it! I am ok with anything pastel and when I saw this I fell in love! Although I don't think it would suit me as it is just a tad too unstructured for my body shape. This would also transition well into winter as I think pastels look amazing in winter!

1 | 2 | 3

My absolute favourite clothing item of all time is a leather jacket (I buy faux leather) I just think it makes me look so much more smart and maybe even a little bit more 'trendy' and I just overall feel a lot better when I am wearing one. 

I have already purchased my jacket as the one I've had for two years is thoroughly worn out. My old jacket was from Topshop and so is my new one, I love the style of them and I think they suit me the best. Mine has a detachable black faux fur collar which will come in handy for keeping my neck warm in the winter and just adds a little bit more detail to the jacket. My second pick is a gorgeous maroon coloured jacket and I've never seen a leather jacket this colour before, I love the different coloured leather jackets and this one screams autumn! The last jacket I really like because it is just different and monochrome is very trendy at the moment, I just think this will go with anything you wear as black and white are such classics.

1 | 2 | 3

Boots are something I still need to purchase but before I do that I have to sort out my shoe collection, but I've been looking around and I haven't been able to find any that I love. I love the first ones, I think the colour is lovely but I have some white ones from river island which are very much the same so I dont know if I could justify getting these ones although the white ones are not autumnal at all! I love the second pair of H&M boots they are perfect in every way, I really like ankle boots but I always wear skinny jeans and because they are so tight around the ankles they make my thighs look bigger and I can't afford that! These ones aren't as fitted and will just even out my proportions and look soooo good! I think these are my favourite! 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4&5 | 6 | 7 | 8

The last item is just anything else autumn coloured, I love to buy new pairs of jeans at this time of the year because thats pretty much all I wear and dark coloured ones are my favourite! I am trying my best to branch out into wearing shorts or skirts, I absolutely love the look of either shorts or a skirt with tights, long socks and boots I always have wanted to wear it every autumn then I never end up doing it! I don't know how people do it I just feel so weird wearing skirts especially, I feel like they make my legs look even shorter!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please leave your autumn essentials below in the comments!

6 September 2014

henna tattoos

For as long as I can remember I have loved mehndi henna tattoos, I love the patterns and designs I think they look absolutely beautiful. These types of tattoo designs have been coming increasingly popular this summer with celebrities sporting them and the access to ready made henna cones make it much easier to do them at home yourself! Henna tattoos, if you didn't know already, are natural non permanent tattoos which have been used for centuries, it has been practiced in the Middle East, India and Africa, where it is believed to bring good fortune and protect against evil. Henna is made out of the crushed leaves from a henna plant, it is applied to the skin and when it dries and the top layer is removed it leaves deep brown markings on the skin that fade naturally in 1-2 weeks.

My cousin and I got a henna tattoo on holiday but the woman used black henna on us and this is the type which people can have severe allergic reactions to, which I did! Black hennas are usually made with lots of chemicals to deepen the colour and make it last longer. If you are going to purchase some henna paste I would strongly recommend avoiding these types. The ones I got are 100% natural and have no chemicals in them, these are the ones I got. I am not allergic to these ones and I've applied quite a few on various parts of my body so I'm pretty certain these are safe to use.

I have been getting quite a few ideas from Pinterest as to what designs I want to try. I love to choose very detailed designs as I think they look so impressive but am I'm such a perfectionist and need what every design I do to be perfectly proportioned so its a bit trickier to do them on my self! I quite want a real tattoo but as I said I'm such a perfectionist and if it was slightly off proportion or position or anything it would bug me forever, so for the moment I am just experimenting with hennas to see how they would look. 

In the two photos above are designs that I have done, I have done so many on my self but most of them were not up to my standards, but I definitely have gotten better at controlling the henna cone, it just takes practice and you can get so many tattoos out of one cone! You should store your henna cones in the fridge when you're not using them as this will preserve them. I got a set of 6 henna cones and have some in the freezer which will preserve them for months.

1 / 2 / 3
4 / 5 / 6
7 / 8 / 9

Like I said I got my henna cones from a seller on amazon, these are ready made henna in easy to use cones. 

All you do to prepare it is warm the henna cone up in your hand so it is more workable and easy to apply. 

Then you cut a tiny bit off the end of the cone, the less you cut off the thinner the henna will come out, this is good for intricate details. 

Your skin will need to be clean and dry with no lotions on, I use a hand sanitiser to make sure it is fully clean. 

Practice lines on a piece of paper or tissue so you get used to using the cone as, as soon as you apply it to your skin it will stain so you don't really want to be making a mistake. 

Once you have finished your design you will need to let it dry fully so there is a hard layer on top of it, this usually takes about 10-20 minutes depending on how big the design is.

The longer you leave the top layer on the darker the henna will be, but as you move around it is likely that the top layer will start to peel off. To prevent this you can wrap it. To wrap your henna you will need to seal it first, you can use a mix of lemon juice and sugar or apply vaseline over the top of it this will keep it hydrated and intensify the colour of your henna. You can wrap it in tissue paper and then put a sock (depending on the part of your body) or cling film over it, and leave this on over night. In the morning you can then remove the wrap and wash the henna off and you will have a lovely dark henna.

2 September 2014

how, when and why I decided to become a vegetarian

Todays post is going to be a little bit different from my usual ones, this one is as you can probably see by the title, why and how I decided to stop eating meat as some people have requested me to do this.

Disclaimer | This post includes my own personal story on how, when and why I became a vegetarian, I am in no means forcing my views onto anyone else or trying to say my choices are better than others in anyway. I do not look down on those who eat meat I only know one veggie in real life, it's all down to personal choice but I do believe people need to be informed on where their meat comes from and how it is produced, and then they can make an informed decision on whether they would like to change their eating habits or stay the same. 

When | I'm not sure how old I was but at one stage in my life, when I was quite young, I decided that I couldn't eat meat anymore as I thought it was wrong, all I had in my head was that it came from animals and that alone didn't sit right with me. As I was young and no one in my family were vegetarians I had no idea how to do it and quite obviously I couldn't stick with it. Fast forward a few years to approximately 2008, I'm pretty sure this is when I first found out about animal testing, it might have been earlier but I remember going into lush as they had their fighting animal testing campaign displayed on their window. I went in and was shocked that such a thing happened, I immediately signed the petition and from then on was interested in animal rights. In 2012 I was on holiday and found a vegan tumblr blog, I was so interested in everything she posted but at the same time horrified by some of the videos and photos. It was at that moment when I decided to research into it more. The first video I watched was the 'meet your meat' video even just thinking of that video makes me want to vomit and cry my eyes out, it opened my eyes to what really goes on behind closed doors and I knew from then on I couldn't turn a blind eye and continue to be a part of that. From that summer on I kept researching and gradually cut out meat from my diet, I think I officially stopped eating meat in January 2013 (more on that in the how section).

Why | For some people the taste of meat alone is enough to make them not eat meat, but I had ate meat from as long as I could remember and I did like the taste, for me why I stopped eating meat was because of ethical reasons. Whilst researching vegetarianism I came across some horrible undercover footage of factory farming and the way animals are treated in these situations, they honestly horrified me, made me sick with anger towards these disgusting heartless beasts who treat these animals with such little respect and so much cruelty. I wanted to go and murder all those disgusting men for doing such a thing! I felt helpless for these poor animals I kept fantasising over rescuing them. I don't know how anyone who has seen factory farming cruelty videos could still eat meat. Whilst researching one of the more less horrifying videos I watched was this video by Gary Yourofsky. He talks about the health benefits of not eating meat and everything he said totally made sense to me, it just clicked in my brain like "duhh Sophie how didn't you figure this out!" That video was the one to finally help me make the switch. 

How | Now onto the less sad side of things, how I made the switch. At first it wasn't so easy, I remember I was in Frankie and Benny's with my cousin for breakfast and I was deciding on what to get and knew I should be getting a vegetarian breakfast, but I kept thinking how tasty their 'the works' breakfast was, that time my greed over came me and I got 'the works' breakfast. Afterwords I felt so bad and so guilty knowing what probably happened to that poor pig just so I could be greedy. It took me a few months gradually cutting out different meat products from my diet, if I went out for a meal I would choose the vegetarian option or just something with out meat. What held me back for a while was the thought that I could no longer eat at Nandos, I couldn't let go of Nandos chicken wraps, but when I tried the veggie wraps I was hooked, they are so much more tasty than the chicken! I knew I could do it if I still had the option of eating piri chips! I would say it took me a total of two to three months to totally cut out meat from my diet. I didn't tell my parents at first, I just wanted to make sure I could stick with it and know for sure that I wanted to do it with out them saying anything. After a few months they noticed and were totally fine with it. Now if we eat out they go out of their way to make sure I am able to get something that I like and if not we won't eat there. 
If you are thinking about cutting meat out of your diet then I recommend doing it gradually and if you make a mistake and eat meat don't just give up, if you truly want to do it just start again. There are so many vegetarian options and alternatives you're not going to go hungry! 

Other Animal Rights | As some of you may know for a long time now I have been cruelty free, that meaning I do not intentionally buy products that were tested on animals. I say intentionally as some companies say they don't test on animals when they really do so it is hard to really know who's telling the truth, but usually products that are labelled vegan are cruelty free. I recently have found the Beagle Freedom Projects 'cruelty cutter' app, which is an app that lets you scan barcodes of products and it will tell you if they test on animals or not which has really helped me when in stores as to what products to buy. Along with not agreeing with animal testing, I don't agree with animals being used for human entertainment, such as bull fighting, hunting, zoos (depends) and definitely not circuses. I learn a lot from PETA and other animal rights groups such as FARMAnimal Aid and Animal Equality. I am not sure what else to include in this section apart from that I no longer buy leather, fur (I've never bought fur) or wool.

Veganism | When I first started thinking about not eating meat I was in my head saying 'yes I am going to be vegan' but for me, going straight to being vegan was very hard! I was a fussy eater to begin with and I didn't eat any vegetables or anything very 'out there', if that makes any sense. So I was just a vegetarian for a year until I got used to it, last January I was dead set on trying to be vegan because I wanted to loose weight and I still knew in my head how much I disagreed with eating dairy and eggs, but I still am not fully vegan. I definitely don't eat as much dairy and eggs as I did for the first year, as my tastebuds have changed, I now eat a lot more vegetables and what I would call unusual foods. Where I live it is extremely rare to be able to get vegan options in restaurants and I eat out quite a lot with my family so it has been hard for me to be fully vegan, I eat fully vegan in the house but sometimes have to give in to pizza bases and pasta that is made with eggs. Many of you may be thinking theres no point in being vegan but if you research dairy and egg production you will be very shocked, in some cases it is worse than meat production. 

My Inspiration | For me it is important to have some people who inspire me and to look up to, a major inspiration of mine is Alicia Silverstone, you will probably know her as Cher Horowitz from the movie Clueless. She is vegan and I just love everything about her, she has raised her child as a vegan and he has apparently never been ill! I have recently purchased her book 'The Kind Diet' and it is all about her transformation and gives you loads of amazing recipe ideas and explains all kinds of nutritional questions you may have.

Another inspiration of mine is actually my bunnies, I love them so much it hurts me, they are my babies and I realise they are no different to any other animal, cows, pigs, chickens, they all feel pain and emotions and it makes me sad to think how spoilt and loved my bunnies are and there are millions of animals out there in so much pain and sadness I wish I could rescue them all! I hope to one day own an animal sanctuary, that would be my absolute dream. I heard about this fly zapper thing that electrocutes flies and that even made me feel sorry for the flies, as much as I don't like insects I always make my dad just release spiders rather than kill them! That may give you an indication as to how much I care about all living things.

The things that keep me going are how much better I feel not eating meat, and even more that I've really limited my dairy intake, I just feel so much healthier even when I eat vegan burgers and things that aren't as healthy I still don't feel disgusting afterwards! Vegan diets have also cured peoples illnesses and diseases, people on a vegan diet are less likely to develop cancers, heart disease or diabetes! One more thing is that meat production is so bad for the environment, a new documentary called 'Cowspiracy' is coming out soon which explains how bad it is.

Questions A few people on instagram asked me some questions to include in this post, so here they are.

hey__ellie - Is there any meat you miss?

The only thing I kind of miss would be pepperoni pizza but I don't miss meat now, at the beginning I did but thats because I hadn't done enough research on how to nourish my body in the right way.  

amaya_maria_ - Can you please clarify for me what the exact differences are between a vegetarian and a vegan?

I know of five veggie type diets (there are probably more but these are what I've heard of)
1 - Pescetarian - This is someone who avoids eating meat and animal flesh but still consumes fish and may or may not consume dairy and eggs
2 - Vegetarian - This is someone who avoids eating meat, animal flesh and fish but still consumes dairy such as milk and cheese, and eggs 
3 - Vegan - This is someone who avoids eating all forms of animal products, they will not eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs or honey. Vegans also most commonly do not wear any animal flesh such as leather or fur and do not use products tested on animals. I have been trying to become fully vegan since the beginning but I have been struggling due to my current lifestyle, which is no excuse but more on that later
4 - Raw Vegan - This is the same as vegans but who will not cook their food which sounds weird but it is probably the most healthy and natural diet you can have (rawvana)
5 - Fruitatarian - Someone who only eats fruit. This is relatively new to me but I was introduced to it since finding Freelee The Banana Girl's youtube channel I am obsessed with incorporating more fruit into my diet

I know you didn't ask for all of those but I thought it would be interesting for you haha!

idkpoppyy - if you have children when you're older would you encourage them to become vegetarian or let them make their own choice?
I would raise them on a vegetarian/vegan diet (what ever I was at the time) until they were old enough to make their own decision. I wouldn't cook them meals that included meat, I hope to never have meat in my kitchen (when I have my own house) and it would be an absolute dream to have a vegan boyfriend but I totally wouldn't force my diet choices onto him if he didn't want to be vegan, if that makes sense?

megan_bangall - how do you still keep a strong health/get all the nutrients?

There is no nutrient you can get from animals that you can't get from plants, I am not missing any vitamins or minerals by not eating meat. Where do you think the animals get their nutrients from? Plants! 

allexandrapenny - what are your favourite veggie/vegan goodies?

I could live off falafel wraps and hummus! I love bananas, kale chips, tofu, nakd bars, and Amy's Kitchens vegan rice mac and cheeze, oh my god its delicious! Although this may sound strange since its Nandos but their veggie wraps I could eat all day everyday, they're my all time favourite veggie food and sweet potato!! I can't live with out it!

Thinking of going veg? | I really hope this post has helped you understand vegetarians and veganism a little bit more and maybe inspired you to cut out meat from your diet. If you are thinking about trying it I would say the main tips are to take it as slow as you feel comfortable with, eating meat is a habit and it takes approx 21 days to break habits so keep at it and see how much better you feel! Try out some meat replacing products such as Quorn, their frozen sausages and chicken fillets are lovely! This is a really good video to watch if you're just starting out! (although I don't agree with her saying not to eat much fruit, I agree with Freelee about fruit intake)

Below are a list of my inspirations and what helped me through the transition and are still helping me to this day which I highly recommend checking out,

Freelee the banana girl - the main person who helps me everyday make better food choices!
Vegan starter kit - great for beginners
Instagramers such as - @brusselsvegan @roadtoeverywhere @eatwithapurpose @thehealthypursuit @veganistic @rawintentions @_rachelbutler 

As with anything new research is key so get googling! I'm so sorry this post is so long but if you have made it to the end well done! I just wanted to include everything I could think of to help you as much as possible! Again if you do have any more questions please ask away and I will try my best to reply! I am also thinking of doing a blog post in the future about how to make some of my favourite meals so if that is something you are interested in let me know.

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