2016 | KTMY

30 December 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017


2016 has been a funny ol' year, that's for sure. Who would've thought that at the beginning of the year how it would have panned out. Brexit, Trump and the amount of idols who we've lost this year has affected every single person in some way or another.

Whilst 2016 has been quite the shit storm, I've actually had some really good things too. From travelling to new places to meeting lots of lovely bloggers there has been quite a few highlights too.

I've been to new places, such as Lindos and Lanzarote, as well as explored more of London, Mallorca and Scotland. I also started the year with a lovely weekend in Newcastle to see my friend where I got to go to a Cat Cafe.
In 2017 I'm hoping that I'll be able to travel more, I have such a travel bug at the moment! Early on in the new year, some of my uni friends and I are hopefully going to Amsterdam and I can't wait to travel with some of my best friends!

2016 also gave me some amazing blogging opportunities working with some great brands such as Comfizz, Woden and Little Black Dress. I've been so lucky to get these opportunities and I hope that in 2017 these opportunities will continue. I absolutely love blogging and I feel so inspired going into the new year to create more content! I already have lots of ideas which I can't wait to write.
2016 also had me stating my YouTube channel, albeit a neglected YouTube channel! However, I got a GoPro style camera for Christmas which I can't wait to use and I'm hopefully going to be doing more vlogs as well as sit down videos. I'm really excited to grow KTMY and see where the next year takes us!

One of my new years resolutions for last year was to see my friends and family more and this is something I really want to carry forward into the new year. I have amazing and supportive friends and family and I love spending time with them :)

I'm feeling incredibly positive about 2017; I feel like I'm going into the year a much more positive and confident person and surrounded by great people.

See ya 2016! 

What have your 2016 highlights been? Let me know in the comments and share some positivity :)



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28 December 2016

What I read in 2016

"You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book" -Dr Seuss

This year I set myself the task of reading 35 books which I have narrowly missed by 3 books! I'm still incredibly pleased that I managed to read 32 books this year and have read a real range of genres and enjoyed just about all of them! 

And this years reading list was...

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
This book was a page turner. If you like creepy mystery type books, then you'll love this! I actually did a full review after I read it which will give you a lot more information but if you liked Girl on the Train, you'll LOVE this book!

How To Love by Katie Cotugno 
This is one of those books which will make you feel all types of emotions. The book splits between the present day and three years ago and is about two people who fell in love and then he left her, alone and pregnant. It's a real heartwarming book!

Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott
I absolutely love this series of books by Rachel Abbott and it's on my 2017 reading list to read all the others in the series. It's another one of those crime thriller books which I absolutely love and is an absolute page turner!

The Aliens Are Coming by Ben Miller
Now this isn't my normal type of book but I really enjoyed it. It's a non fiction book about space and aliens by Ben Miller (yes, the actor/tesco advert man) and it's really interesting. I actually went to see him talk about this book, and got to meet him, and it was such a good experience! If you have any interest in space, this is a really good book to read.

Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
I think this could be my book of the year. I absolutely adored this book and really related to it. It's about a girl who is badly burnt and has to have a face transplant and the book focuses on her feelings about it. It was honestly one of the best books I've ever read! I did a full, in depth review of it so you can get more of my thoughts on the book!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I love Rainbow Rowell! Her style of writing is so enjoyable to read. However, this book wasn't what I expected it to be and I honestly didn't really like it that much. The book is about the book featured in her novel FanGirl and is a bit of a knock off from Harry Potter. I get why she wrote it, for fans of Fangirl who wanted to know more about the book, and I still enjoyed her writing but I couldn't help but draw comparisons to HP and the whole fan shipping of Harry and Draco the whole time I was reading it.

In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Another creepy thriller type book which I couldn't put down!  It involves a hen do with an estranged friend in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a forest...we all know that shit is going to go down in this kind of situation. I loved how the aftermath of the event was mixed with the build up but you didn't know what actually happened till the end, much like the protagonist. Well worth a read if you like suspense books!

Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne 
This is the first book in the Spinster Series (I've since read all three!) and they are possibly one of the first book series where I see the characters and can fully see myself and my friends in them. Am I Normal Yet focuses on Evie who has mental health issues (she has OCD) and is about her and her new two friends starting to understand feminism and starting a feminist group. Whilst they're doing this, Evie has an OCD relapse, but her friends know nothing about it. I really recommend this book to everyone and anyone because it gave me much more understanding of OCD and feminism and is such a good read as well!

How Hard Can Love Be? By Holly Bourne
The second book in the spinster series and focuses on Amber who goes to see her mum who now lives in America. Her mums new partner runs a summer camp and Amber helps out. This is such a good summer read and I can't recommend it enough!

The List by Siobhan Vivian
This book is set in a high school where the first week of the school year, a list is put-up with the prettiest  girl in each year and the ugliest girl in each year. I found this book quite interesting and found the format of it to be really enjoyable to read. Each chapter is from the point of view of one of the girls on the list and shows you how their lives intertwine and how being on the list effects them.

The Missing by CL Taylor
This book is about a boy who goes missing and follows the police and his family trying to find him. If you haven't already guessed it, I love mystery books like this and the suspense which they have!

Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher
Giovanna Fletcher is one of my favourite authors and I was so pleased that she'd written another Billy and Me book because I absolutely adore the characters in it! It's such a warm, mushy, feel good book which I love to read!

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin
I got into this book series when I read the Christmas book last year and when I saw there was more about this little town, I had to read them! The books are set in this little sea side town and this one was about new girl to the town Darcy and the man who keeps himself to himself in the light house, Riley. This is another one of those chick lit books which I love and I really like how there are little mentions to the characters which were featured in the other books set in the town.

Think Twice by Sarah Mlynowski
This is the second book about a group of teenagers who can hear peoples thoughts. I found the premise of the book to be really interesting however I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the last book - maybe it's because too much time had passed and I'd forgotten the last book a bit, or maybe I'm a bit to old to read this now but it was still an okay book!

If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
I found this book so enjoyable and original. It's about a girl who moves to a new town to live with her dad because she used to be a boy and was bullied at her old school. I thought this was such an eyeopening book about being transgender and the difficulties it can bring.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
This book had such a plot twist nearer the end and I love books like that! I thought it was going to be a chick lit kinda book BUT I WAS SO WRONG! And has this seemingly perfect life but as you go on through the book, you realise all is not what it seems and something major happened when she was at school. I'm going to eave it at that because I don't want to spoil it for anyone!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson writes such good YA books and I love to read them in the summer when I'm on holiday. This book is about a girl who is a politician's daughter who basically raised herself because her dad was always busy. This book is about her summer which definitely didn't go as she thought it would be; her dad was at home, there was a lot of dog walking and a guy who lasted more than three weeks!

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman
Skye has been sent to a summer camp for troubled teens after her sister dies in an accident however when she gets to camp, she starts receiving texts form her dead sister and the story goes from there! I actually really enjoyed this book and it was one of those ones which you just couldn't figure out.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Another Morgan Matson book which I loved and found incredibly moving. The book is about a family who are going on their last holiday as a family as their dad has terminal cancer so they go to their old lake house which they haven't been to in years. I cried so much at this book and loved how it focused more on family and friend love rather than romantic love (though that's in there too!) and it was so moving.

Get Rich Vlogging by Zoe Griffin
If you're interested in starting a youtube channel then this is the one for you! I found it so helpful in setting up my youtube channel and knowing what to do and what not to. It also gave great advice about equipment and software.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
I had been waiting for this book for so long and was not disappointed. Yes, the story might not have been the best but I love seeing what everyone had been getting up to after the last book had ended and seeing where they'd ended up and the relationships with their children.

What's a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne
The final book in the spinster series and this one is much more focused on feminism.Lottie decided to do a project on calling out everything which is unfair against gender and the book really highlights how much of this stuff is out there in our daily lives and the effects it has on Lottie.

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
This book is about a girl who doesn't speak and the captain of the football team who seemingly has it all but is actually dealing with his father dying. They form an unlikely friendship which is really heartwarming.

Hogwarts and Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling
Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by JK Rowling 
Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by JK Rowling
I'm putting these three short stories together because I can talk about them all at once! I loved getting further insight into the magical world and seeing just how much JK Rowling has thought about this world and the characters, even the more minor ones!

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
This book is about a girl who is diagnosed with Leukaemia and decides to spend her last few months righting wrongs and convinces her best friend Harvey (who is in love with her) to cause mayhem! But then they have to face the consequences of everything which they do.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough 
I was completely blown away buy this book! It takes so many twists and turns and I'm still not 100% sure what happens at the end. Its about a girl who is found in a river and was dead for 13 minutes before they managed to resuscitate her. The story then follows the aftermath and finding out who actually did it. There are some crazy plot twists in here and is definitely a page turner!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by JK Rowling
I loved the book and film and really enjoyed seeing a different element of the magical world! The story is about Newt Scamander who is an english wizard who has gone to New York and bought with him a briefcase full of forbidden magical creatures which get lost around New York.

The Art of Breathing by Dr Danny Penman 
You all know I love a good mindfulness book and this is a really short book on breathing and meditation which I really enjoyed. I wrote a full review on it last month which you can read here.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Carrie's debut novel did not disappoint. I was so excited to read it and loved the premise. The book is about Evie who has just died however to pass over she has to tell her three deepest secrets. This book is really original and heartwarming and a really good read. I loved how the book was split into the three secrets and how you went between the present day and the past. A fantastic debut novel, and I can't wait to read more by Carrie.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Hygge is everywhere and I absolutely adore this book about the danish way of life. Not only is it really informative, it has beautiful pictures! I did a post about the book earlier in the year here.

A Mindfullness Guide For The Frazzled by Ruby Wax
I've just finished reading this book and found it so interesting. I went to see Ruby talk about the book earlier in the year but only just got round to reading it. It's a mix between a factual book about mindfulness, the science behind it and her real life experiences and I think that's what makes the book so interesting. There will be a post about this book early in the new year for you all!

That's what I read this year! Let me know in the comments what you're favourite books of 2016 have been :) 

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21 December 2016

Ostomates guide to surviving Christmas


Christmas is nearly upon us so I thought I would do a little blog post with some tips and tricks for surviving the festive period successfully with your Stoma.

  • Make sure you've ordered enough bags and supplies to get you through Christmas and New Year. If you look like you're running low, ring up your supplier and get some ordered ASAP! I know SecuriCare are really good at doing last minute emergency orders, they've done it for me before, so ring and see what they can do for you!
  • Eat consistently this is something I really struggle with, especially over the festive period. Our routines completely change at this time of the year but don't leave long periods of time without food and save yourself for the big dinner because it can cause a bit of trouble. I did this when we had our flat christmas dinner and I had really bad belly ache afterwards
  • Carrying on with the food theme, some of the richer foods, and brussel sprouts, can cause wind and your bag to ballon. Some ways to help and prevent this is by drinking peppermint tea, yoghurt and eating regularly.
  • Food can cause problems for some ostomates so don't eat things which you know will cause you blockages (I know, this seems like a pretty obvious one!).  I sometimes struggle with raw veg (not all the time as long as I chew well) and I don't like to risk it over the festive season (who wants to be ill at Christmas?!) so some tips would be to cook your veg well, remove skins from potatoes and stay away from whole nuts! 
  • Keep hydrated it's easy when it's so busy and cold to not drink enough water and fluids so try to keep on top of it, especially if you're drinking alcohol! 
So those are few tips to get you through the festive season. The most important thing though is to enjoy christmas and have fun!

Don't forget to leave your festive survival tips in the comments below! 

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18 December 2016

The Weekly Edit | #8


Merry Christmas Everyone!!

How have we come to the last week before Christmas??? This year has flown by; seriously where has it gone? The next two weeks are going to be filled with a few more Christmas posts, some reflection on 2016 and my 2017 goals so stay tuned for those!

So, lets rewind and see what happened this week...

  • Some of you might have seen this on my Twitter already but last Sunday I dropped my phone down the toilet and it completely died on me :( So I ended up getting a new phone so if you notice a quality difference in my instagram photo's because I now have an iPhone 7 and oh my goodness it's so pretty! 
  • We had a flat Christmas dinner and it was so much fun. We had two of our friends come as well and together we cooked the most beautiful dinner, ate way too much and had a really good laugh. I also got some great presents from my flat mates (they know me way to well!)
  • I had a daddy daughter day on Wednesday because my mum had some meetings in Manchester and my dad came too and we had food and went shopping and it was so much fun! We also managed to get all of my mums Christmas presents which was really good!
  • I finished my last first term of uni which is absolutely crazy! 
  • Me and my mum went for afternoon tea at Augill Castle which was absolutely beautiful 

SO THAT WAS MY WEEK! LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS WHAT YOUR HIGHLIGHTS HAVE BEEN THIS WEEK!

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15 December 2016

#WBChristmas | Last Minute Gift ideas for Her + Giveaway

Grab the mistletoe and get ready to find the perfect gift for that special someone this Christmas!

I've teamed up with Warner Bro's to give you the chance to win this DVD bundle, which is the perfect gift for christmas for the ladies in your life. I always find it hard to find little gifts which I know someone will like, but DVD's are always a safe bet, especially when it's recent films which you never get round to seeing! Warner Bros. has the ultimate selection, whether you’re looking for him, for her, or for festive favourites to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit.

The five films which you can win are;

Me Before You
This is one of my favourite books, and I liked the film, and I'm so excited that one of you has the chance to win this bundle so you can see it! 
How To Be Single
I never got round to seeing this film when it was in the cinema's, and I'm so excited to sit down with my friends and have a girls night watching this because it looks so funny!
The Heart of the Sea
 Who doesn't love watching dramas which have Chris Hemsworth in?? The film is set in 1820 and is about a ship which is sank by a whale of mammoth size and will - the real life moby dick! This will be a great film to watch between Christmas and New Year! 
The Intern
Another funny/heartwarming film which I never got round to seeing but I'm so excited to watch, especially because it has Robert De Nero and Anne Hathaway in! 
The Wizard of Oz
A classic, heartwarming film perfect for watching at christmas - need I say any more?

You can browse all of the #WBchistmas films here!

For your chance to win this DVD bundle, all you have to do is head over to my twitter, follow me and RT the pinned competition tweet! 

Terms & Conditions
Must be 18 or over
UK residents only (sorry!)
Competition starts on 15th December 2015 and ENDS 20th December 


This post includes a press sample
Read my full disclaimer here



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11 December 2016

The Weekly Edit | #7


Happy Sunday Everyone!

This week has been quite a busy week with lots of coursework deadlines coming up and the end of the year approaching. I'm absolutely gutted that I've got behind on my blogmas posts but I'm hoping to get back on track tomorrow with another festive blog post! 

So let's have a look at what's been happening this week...

  • I've been spending a lot  of time on my dissertation this week, trying to get my head around this second chapter and looking at the notes on my first one. I'm determined to get my second chapter done by the end of the year so keep your fingers crossed for me! 
  • I finally got round to watching Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates with my flat mates and it's so damn funny! I'm not going to lie, there isn't a Zac Efron film I don't like but this is up there with one of my favourites!
  • Christmas is coming and my Christmas shopping is complete! I managed to get all my presents bought and wrapped up in an afternoon and I'm so pleased with the presents I've got everyone! 
  • Yesterday I had afternoon tea at the Roundthorn with everyone from Eden Healthy Lifestyle which is my "gym" where I do classes when I'm home. It was so lovely and such a christmassy setting! 

SO THAT WAS MY WEEK! LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS WHAT YOUR HIGHLIGHTS HAVE BEEN THIS WEEK AND I'LL SEE YOU TOMORROW FOR A NEW BLOGMAS POST! 


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8 December 2016

The Christmas Tag | Blogmas #8

What is your favourite Christmas film?

This is a tough one but I think it's The Santa Clause...or maybe Nativity! because those film has me in stitches every time I watch them!

Have you ever had a white christmas?

I don't think I have :( Maybe one day! 

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

At home with my family! We always go to the pub and see friends there and then have our Christmas dinner and watch Christmas in the evening.

What is your favourite Christmas song

I love Micheal Buble's version of All I Want For Christmas. It's such a beautiful version of the song and I think I might prefer it to Mariah's version! I also love Fairytale of New York, it's such a classic! 

Do you open any present on Christmas eve?

No, definitely not! Anyways, how would I have any presents because Santa's not been yet! 

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

I love getting to watch It's A Wonderful Life with my mum and going to the chocolate shop on Christmas Eve to go and get our Christmas Day chocolates! We don't have that many traditions in the lead up to Christmas but I'm definitely looking forward to putting the tree up! I also love going to my brother's house on the Sunday before Christmas to have a mini family christmas and we go out for lunch at their village christmas meal and sing carols round the christmas tree! It always feels so festive!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

It's got to be real! We had a fake one one year but it wasn't the same. It doesn't have that same smell, which is a must! 

What's your all time favourite Christmas food?

It's got to be pigs in blankets! I love them so much!

Which do you prefer? Giving or receiving gifts?

This is really tough because I love getting presents but I also love choosing what to buy people and wrapping them up all nicely. I CAN'T CHOOSE!!!

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

I love been at home on Christmas, it would feel wrong to be somewhere else! But if I had to go anywhere else, it would either be New York or DisneyLand because I love Disney at Christmas! 

What's on top of your tree?

Either a golden star or the peg fairy I made when I was in nursery! 

What's your favourite tree decoration?

I have this silver bell with my name on and the year I left nursery on which I absolutely love! 

What's the best part about Christmas?

I feel like I should say spending time with family which, don't get me wrong, is lovely but I love getting to eat lots of food and watching festive tv and films! 

What's your favourite Christmas Tradition? 

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7 December 2016

Christmas Scents | Blogmas #7


Christmas candles have become my new favourite obsession! 

There's something about candles burning on a cold December evening with a festive film on drinking hot chocolate. Maybe it's the whole hygge feel of it - it's so heart warming. There are a certain few scents which make me feel extra festive, most of which are now in candle form!

Frankincense  & Myrrh 

I have this in candle and room spray form from M&S and it is honestly one of the most christmassy scents ever - it's like christmas personified. What I love most about it is that it's not too sweet and sickly, it's got a much more subtle smell to it. 

Mandarin, Clove & Cinnamon

This is what our house smells of at Christmas and I think that's why I love it so much! It's from M&S and what I really like about this is the mandarin in it; oranges have such a festive smell about them and mixed with the cinnamon makes it so Christmassy! 

Gingerbread

Freshly baked gingerbread is one of my favourite scents and I adore the Zoella body spray (which I actually use as a room spray from time to time). It's got such a warm and homey feel about it which I just adore! 

Spiced Cinnamon

Cinnamon is such a winter smell and the spiced cinnamon candles from Primark are lovely and give the room such a festive feel. 

Mulled Wine

This isn't a candle, it's just the smell of the drink! I love the taste and the smell of mulled wine and the smell is so warming. It always reminds me of Christmas markets because this is what they always smell of! 

What's your favourite festive scent? 

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6 December 2016

Favourite Festive Films | Blogmas #6



Cold December nights and weekends are made for watching festive films! 

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite films to watch at this magical time of the year! 

Elf
I absolutely adore this film; it never fails to leave me feeling festive and I feel like I relate to buddy the elf probably a bit more than I should! 
Arthur Christmas
I'm actually watching this as I write this and it's so festive and funny and heartwarming 
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
I love watching this film, it reminds me of watching it when I was younger and still do now. It's so beautifully filmed and filled with a magical wonder
The Santa Clause 
I think this has to be my favourite film! It really captures the magic of christmas 
Nativity (1,2 & 3)
These film never fails to make me laugh it's the perfect mix of heat warming storylines with a wicked sense of humour and a dash of nostalgia to the days of Primary School plays.
Love Actually
Who doesn't love Love Actually! With a great cast and sorry line it's an instant feel good film with plenty of laugh out loud moments! Plus, who doesn't love Hugh Grants dance in it? 
It's A Wonderful Life
It's family tradition to watch this on chistmas eve!  It's such a classic, feel good film filled with nostalgia and the gif above is probably my favourite quote from this film, if not my favourite film quote of all time - every time a bell rings an angel gets it's wings
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Any excuse to watch Harry Potter right? I love the Christmas scene in this film and there's something about the nostalgia about this film which makes it such a good film to watch at this time of year
Frozen
I'll take any excuse to sing the Frozen soundtrack at the top of my lungs and Christmas is a perfect time to do that! 
A Christmas Carol
This is such a beautiful film telling a classic Christmas tale and it definitely puts me in the Christmas mood!

What's your favourite Christmas film? 

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5 December 2016

Manchester Christmas Markets | Blogmas #5


One of my favourite things about Christmas is the Christmas markets!

They always feel and smell so festive and I love all the different types of stalls which are there. I got some lovely presents last year for my mum and I've definitely got my eye on a few things to buy for people this year too! 

If you read yesterdays Weekly Edit you'll have seen that on Saturday I went round the markets because my family came to see me and it was so lovely to walk around; even if it was super busy!



I think my favourite thing about the Christmas markets has to be the food and drinks! There is nothing better than the hot chocolates you can get in there - especially the ones where you stir in the chocolate to the milk! And who can forget the pancakes too, I absolutely adore the pancakes!


What is your favourite thing about the christmas markets?

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4 December 2016

The Weekly Edit | #6



Happy Sunday Chums and a happy December too - I can't believe we're in the last month of 2016!

If you haven't noticed, Blogmas has started and there is going to be daily, festive themed posts for you all! I'm really enjoying writing these posts and getting in the christmas mood! This week has also been Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week and I feel so bad because I was going to do a new YouTube video every day for the week but it was just too much on top of blogmas and uni work. I'm going to try my hardest to film and edit a new video for you before the week is up though so watch this space! 

So, lets have a look at what happened this week...

  • I went to my favourite all you can eat chinese buffet with one of my friends and it was so good! I haven't been there in ages and I'd forgotten how good it was!
  • I went to my first ever law society event where the speaker was the President of the Employment Tribunal, Judge Brian Doyle. It was so interesting (and I'm not even that into employment law!). I've got a whole new perspective and a new plan for what I'm going to do next year once I graduate (there will be a blog post on this early next year!)
  • I'm feeling so productive and positive about blogging! I fell into such a blogging rut in November and really struggled to come up with blog posts and produce content however this week I've felt so on it and so creative and I'm so happy that I've got my blogging mojo back! 
  • I went out on Friday Night (I know, shock!) with some friends to this really cool bar, Menagerie, and we had such a good night! We felt completely out of place (there were actual celebrities there) but we danced and laughed and didn't have a care in the world and it was so much fun! It was also a very instagrammable place (it's where the photo of todays post was taken!)
  • My family came to Manchester yesterday and we went round the Christmas markets! It was so festive and nice to be able to spend time with my mum and dad, brother, sister-in-law and niece and nephew!

So that was my week! Let me know in the comments what your highlights have been this week and I'll see you tomorrow for a new blogmas post! 

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3 December 2016

The Emperor & The Nightingale At Theatre By The Lake | Blogmas #3


Last Saturday I headed to see Theatre By The Lakes Christmas production which is The Emperor & The Nightingale. The play is set in ancient China about an Emperor who wants everything, including things he can’t have and a beautiful Nightingale who teaches him how to open his heart and love.
This adaptation has to be one of the best I have seen of this production; it added real humour to the play which had the audience laughing throughout.

The use of puppetry for the Nightingale really brought the performance to life and the detail in the bird left you forgetting that it wasn’t real and you forgot that there was someone controlling it as it felt so lifelike. Amy Gardyne, who voiced and controlled the Nightingale, gave a beautiful performance when singing the nightingale song. 

The charter of Li-Si, played by Joel Sams, was the villain of the story and gave a panto villan performance whilst still being in keeping with the production. He had audience members young and old booing and jeering and left us all in hysterics. He really brought the character to life and gave an unforgettable performance.

The characters of Xiao and Wu, played by Sally Cheng and Martin Sarreal, played the main two protagonists and the pair had great rapport between them. Cheng gave a brilliant performance and came over as natural and captured the innocence of the character well. 

There has to be a mention of the lighting effects used throughout the production. The theatre was filled with Chinese lanterns which gave such an atmosphere and made you feel a part of the set. The lighting in each scene really captured the mood of the scene which really added something extra.
The music throughout the performance added another dimension to the story and brought the whole tale to life. Whilst only a small cast, they were all involved musically either singing or playing instruments, and it was a great and imaginative way to move the narrative along. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this performance and even though it wasn't a christmas tale, it was an excellent story and had a magical quality about it!



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2 December 2016

Festive Hot Chocolate | Blogmas #2


Hot chocolate season is upon us! 

One of my favourite drinks to have at this time of year (apart from mulled wine!) is hot chocolate and  I love all of the different variations in all of the coffee shops right now so I thought I would show you my festive twist for an at home hot chocolate! 

Ingredients 
  • 2 tsp drinking chocolate drops
  • milk
  • half an orange
  • cinnamon 
  • whipped cream
  • mini marshmallows 
Method
  • heat milk in a pan & add the 2 tsp of chocolate drops. I've used dark drinking chocolate drops which I got from Tobermory Chocolate Shop when I was on holiday there but I'm pretty sure you can get them anywhere!
  • Squeeze in half an orange, a sprinkle of cinnamon & a pinch of cornflower. Mix it together and bring the milk to the boil, stirring till all the chocolates melted
  • Add the squirty cream, sprinkle some cinnamon, grate some orange and add some marshmallows

And voila! You have a festive hot chocolate :) 

Not only does this taste delicious, it also smells amazing and festive. Leave your favourite festive drinks in the comments below :) 
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1 December 2016

A Festive Playlist | Blogmas #1


The Christmas countdown has officially begun and Blogmas has started! To celebrate the festive period, I'm taking part in Blogmas which means a new festive post everyday this month! And to get us all in the festive spirit, I'm sharing with you a festive playlist!

I LOVE Christmas and Christmas music and I'm so excited that I can have all my festive playlists 24/7! I thought I'd share with you all 10 of my favourite Christmas songs (ft a lot of Michael Buble) to get you feeling festive! 

1. Sleigh Ride by Pentatonix
2. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble
3. All I Want For Christmas Is You  by Michael Buble
4. Baby It's Cold Outside  by Michael Buble & India Menzel 
5. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
6. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard
7. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
8. Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) by The Darkness
9. Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson
10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Glee Cast


I know that All I Want For Christmas is on the playlist twice but I love both versions so much and it felt wrong not to have Mariah's version on the playlist as well; I mean is it even a Christmas playlist if she isn't on there? 

How I managed to only choose 1 glee song, I'm not so sure! I used to get so excited when their Christmas albums came out because they did some great arrangements and produced some of my favourite versions of some songs! 

I absolutely adore Pentatonix and their arrangement of Sleigh Ride is so festive and original - I was so obsessed with this last year so I had to put it on this years playlist! 

What songs are an absolute must on your festive playlist?

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30 November 2016

The Art of Breathing & Unguided Meditation


Mindfullness and meditation is everywhere and it's something I really try and do daily, normally by using my Calm app or doing some colouring. Something I've always wanted to try and do is unguided meditation however I've never been really sure where to start...until now.

The Art of Breathing by Danny Penman is a beautiful book with some really useful exercises for starting you on your way to unguided meditation and also teaches you how to breathe. Now, I know what you're thinking, I already know how to breathe but seriously, this has some really good tips and reasons as to why you should think about your breathing and how it can help you in stressful situations.

The book also has some absolutely beautiful illustrations and word art!



The exercises in the book are really easy to follow and makes you really believe that you can do unguided meditation. It gives you really good foundations for mindfulness and is a must for anyone interested in mindfulness!

How do you like to relax and be mindful? Let me know in the comments below :) 


This post includes a press sample
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29 November 2016

Preparing for 2017 with Stick To Stigu


With only one month left of the year, I'm getting ready for the new year by getting my 2017 diary and starting planning! At the beginning of the year, I teamed up with Stick to Stigu to show you their 2016 planner and I loved it so much, I had to get a new one this year. 

This year Stigu have changed their design and I absolutely LOVE their new designs. There's a spiral bound spotty one and this faux leather hardback one which I have. They also have notepads in the same designs which are equally as pretty. 



Something which is different about this years planner is the space at the beginning to put your 2017 mind, body & soul goals which I really love as it fits in with the ethos of the planner!

The ethos of Stick to Stigu - Work Hard, Play Hard, Rest Hard - is such a good one, especially in today's society where we're all so busy and it's weekly tasks which promote these are really inspiring and give you time to reflect.



I'm really pleased that Stick to Stigu have kept their overall design with a week planner on one side and then a space on the other with a mindfulness kind of task and spaces to doodle/write to do lists/notes and what not. You're also able to tear off the corner of each week so from the corners you can tell where you are in the year.

You can buy Stick to Stigu here.

This post includes a press sample 
Read full disclaimer here
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28 November 2016

Tips & tricks for dealing with stoma bag leaks in public


Leaking stoma bags suck. They can make a great day rubbish if you let them and can leave you feeling on edge about leaks happening again.  I used to really struggle with my mucus fiscula leaking on a daily basis and I also had some trouble with my stoma bag in the early days too. There are ways to deal with stoma leaks to help prevent them and to make it easier if it does happen so here are my tips for dealing with stoma bag leaks!

Carry emergency stoma bags with you

I have a little bag in my handbag which has enough supplies in to do a quick bag change if I ave a leak when I'm out. I have actually had to use this before and it really helps put your mind at rest when your out that if something happens, you can deal with it! 

Try to stay calm

This can be easier said than done but try and stay calm and don't get too upset. Just focus on finding some toilets somewhere so you can change it quick and easy. If you can't find any public toilets, you can always go in to a cafe or pub and ask if you can use theirs! If you're with friends you can all just sit down and order drinks but if you're not and just wanted to use their facilities, you could always just ask if you can use them. It may be handy to carry a Can't Wait card (which you can get from Crohn's and Colitis UK and SecuriCare) which explains why you need to use the toilet or get yourself a radar key (also available from SecuriCare) so you can use disabled toilets

Try and find a disabled toilet if you can

If I need to change a bag, I always prefer to use a disabled toilet because you have more space to change your bag and put your supplies and there's a sink in them which makes it way easier! I always feel really awkward going into disabled toilets because I worry that someone will say something to me (because I don't look like there's anything wrong with me) but don't be afraid! I've never had anyone say anything to me luckily and you know yourself that you need to be there. 

Go and talk to your stoma nurse if your leaks are becoming regular

If you're having regular leaks, it could mean that the bags you're using just don't work for you and you need to try a different brand of bags. This was the issue with my stoma bag in the beginning and when I changed the brand of bag, I stopped having issues. It may be because your stoma goes flat to your stomach sometimes and you need a convex bag instead. There are different accessories you can get too which can help keep your bag sticking to your skin so it's worth having a chat with your stoma nurses or, if you're a SecuriCare customer you could also try ringing their helpline. 

There are some of my tips for dealing with the dreaded stoma leaks! Leave your own tips in the comments below because I'd love to hear how you all deal with them. 


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27 November 2016

The Weekly Edit #5


Happy Sunday / last full week of November

Christmas is literally right round the corner and I am so excited for all the festivities to begin! This week has been full of theatre trips which has been very fun and also quite a busy hectic one. I want to start this post by thanking everyone who has taken the time to read my Why I'm Keeping My Stoma Bag post! I've had such amazing feedback from it which was so good, especially because I was so nervous about posting it!

So, on with what went down this week...

  • I finished the first draft of my first chapter of my dissertation this week! I was so excited to hit send on it to my dissertation tutor as I think that this is the one I was going to struggle with writing most. 
  • I had an ultra sound as my doctors thought that my back pain might be something to do with my ovaries but luckily it all looked fine so we're back to the drawing board with what is causing my joint pain! 
  • I went to see comedian Mark Thomas this week and ended up being picked as part of the show which was really fun! If you have a chance to see it, go and see him because it made you think, laugh and reflect. 
  • Much Ado About Nothing is playing at Manchester Opera House and I had the opportunity to go see it and it was one of the best pieces of Shakespeare I've seen! 
  • I also went to see Theatre By The Lake's Christmas production of The Emperor & The Nightingale which was really good! There will be a review up on the blog next week as a part of Blogmas! 

So that was my week! Let me know in the comments what your weekly highlights are :) 

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26 November 2016

Much Ado About Nothing at Manchester Opera House


At some point in nearly all of our lives, we have studied a Shakespeare play and Much Ado About Nothing was one I studied for GCSE English and I was very excited to come and see the play at Manchester Opera House last night.

The story starts as soldiers come back from war and Benedick and Claudio are reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero and it is the tale of how the two win their brides with comedic twists, turns and the occasional mistaken identity. Much Ado is definitely one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies and this production was by far my favourite production I've seen.

The  role of Beatrice played with the fight of a feminist by Lisa Dillon brings to the fore Shakespeare’s skill and love of creating strong women. Creating this production in the time female emancipation is perfect for getting across the feminist thread throughout this play -
Dillon’s characterisation of this part, takes it into the 21st century - with a marriage of equals the ultimate aim of both male and female. Paired with Benedick, played by Edward Bennett, the two characters play off each other well and most definitely left the audience laughing. There was something ever do modern about their rapport and relationship and I think that the audience really connected with the two characters.

One of the elements of the production I really enjoyed was the use of music throughout the play which added an extra dimension and emphasised moments of hilarity and the more sombre moments and left the audience humming a long as they left the theatre.

I don't think I have ever been to see Shakespeare where the audience has been so engaged with the performance and it was a really refreshing take on a classic piece of theatre. The use of music and the ease at which the actors used the language at the time made it really accessible.

You can catch Much Ado About Nothing at Manchester Opera House until 3rd December 2016

Parts of this review were first published in my review for North West End

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24 November 2016

Why I'm Keeping my Stoma Bag


Some people are shocked when I tell them that I am not going to reverse my stoma and become bagless. I've been told by quite a few people that because I'm a young woman I should try reversing my stoma  however I'm choosing to make my stoma permanent and literally have a bag for life! I've had a few questions as to why I'm keeping him so I thought why not do a blog post on it!

*Discalimer : these are just my own thoughts based off information I've been given by my doctors! I'm just voicing my own opinions and hope to give some support to others going through the same decisions!

Lets start at the beginning with this. I currently have a temporary stoma with the option to either make it permanent and keep my bag or have a j pouch created which involves having an internal bag created. I have to choose one of these options but I've had the time to consider both and whichever I choose will be classed as elective surgery.

I've had a love hate relationship with my stoma but we're mostly on the love side nowadays! It didn't take me too long to get used to it and I have to say, I've gotten so used to having a bag - I have a routine with it and my actual stoma I have no issue with. My mucus fiscula on the other hand, which I'm getting rid off, causes me a few more issues which is why I can't wait to have my stoma reversal! I've been very lucky with my stoma; I was happy with the positioning and apart from two little blockages (due to me trying and failing to eat mushrooms!), I have had no problems with it *touch wood*! I definitely think that because my ostomy surgery was so successful I am definitely more willing to keep the bag.

One of the main reasons I don't really want a j pouch is that initially after surgery you can be going to the toilet up to 20 times a day. I've been there, done that and definitely do not want to go through that again! I've read some stories that people are still going to the toilet 10 times a day and it just gives me flashbacks to not wanting to leave the house during the days of colitis flares.

Another main reason I don't want to have a j pouch is that the pouch might fail and I'll end up with a stoma again and this time my stoma might not be as good as the one I have now. There's also more and more surgery involved and I really don't want that! Because my stoma works really well, I don't want to risk getting a new one which isn't as good. There's also the issue of scare tissue and the more surgery you have, the more scare tissue which can effect you!

Would I like to have a bag free stomach again? Of course I would but the risks of j pouches and my own concerns mean I would way rather have a bag on my tummy. At the end of the day, my stoma not only saved my life but also gave me my life back and having a bag on your stomach isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things (Most of the time!)

Let me know in the comments below you're thoughts on j pouches and stoma bags! I'd love to hear your own stories about choosing one or the other!


Ostomy posts are sponsored by SecuriCare and CliniMed
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20 November 2016

The Weekly Edit | #4


Happy Sunday! 

I know, I know, I missed last weeks weekly edit and I'm so sorry! Last week was one of those weeks where work and life just got in the way. Since starting uni, I've really not been on top of my blogging game but I think I've got into my routine now and I'm ready to fully get back into blogging again! I've got lots of ideas and I've decided that I'm going to be doing Blogmas this year which means that from the 1st to the 25th December, there will be a new post every single day! I'm so excited to do Christmas themed posts as well as what I'm getting up to over the festive period! 

But before the festivities begin, let's rewind to the past week!

  • Gilmore Girls is now a major part of my every day to day. Last week I actually watched a full season which I'm pretty pleased with however there's no way I'm going to be able to get all 7 seasons done before the new specials come out THIS WEEK! 
  • I had an amazing brunch at Gorilla last Sunday and whilst I am absolutely gutted they'd ran out of avocado smash (cry) I did have a lovely eggs benedict so I can't complain too much! 
  • I went to the Law Fair at Manchester Central and found a few firms who I really want to work for so I've started applying for training contracts and been sending my CV off and I feel so productive career wise! 
  • Film and TV nights have become somewhat a tradition in our uni flat (binge watching first dates being a firm favourite!) and we end up in stitches every night and it's so nice knowing I'm surrounded by funny, positive people who really have my back! 
  • I couldn't finish this weekly edit without mentioning the one thing I haven't shut up about all week - FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM CAME OUT!!!! I went to see it on Friday and it is so good! It has that same essence of the Harry Potter films but it was so exciting to hear new stories and be introduced to the american wizarding world. I'm actually going to do a full (hopefully non spoiler) review of the film next week so keep your eyes out! 

So that was my week! Let me know in the comments what your weekly highlights are :) 

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11 November 2016

Why finding the perfect work spot is so important


Having the perfect place to go and do work is so important whatever your job is whether it be a freelancer, blogger, student or if you work from home some days. Whilst I absolutely love my room at uni now I really struggle to do work there, especially essays and coursework. I end up talking to my flatmates too much and sitting in the kitchen doing nothing productive.  I always like to be in a nice environment when I do my blogging too - I always find myself more productive if where I am has a creative vibe.

I can't work in the university library; I always feel like there's too much pressure to actually do work so you end up not doing any and being paranoid that I'm being too noisy (even if I'm on my own! I worry I type too noisily!).

For me, I love being in coffee shops; whether it be Starbucks, Costa, Nero or cute little independent places. So long as they have wifi and don't mid me sitting there for hours (drinking copious amounts of decaf coffee) then I'll be there. My current favourite place to work is HOME in Manchester which is a theatre, cinema, cafe, restaurant place and I just love the atmosphere (plus it's so instagrammable which is always a bonus).

Finding a place where you feel comfortable doing work and are productive is so important because it means you can enjoy what you're doing and make it feel less like a chore, especially if you're in a pretty place and have a good cup of coffee! It also means you can do your work more effectively and finish quicker and get on with what you actually want to do whether that be going shopping or watching another episode of the Gilmore Girls (I'm so hooked on this show!)

Sometimes the action of actually leaving the house, getting some fresh air and being in a clutter free, new environment can do you so much good, clear your head and help you be prepared for the next piece of work.

What do you look for in your work environment? Let me know in the comments below :)  

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7 November 2016

Five Days on the Isle of Mull


Last week I went with my family to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, a little island of the coast in Scotland. I haven't been here in about 10 years and I was so excited to go back and explore the island a bit. It's the first time we've been out of season and even though we had a few wet days, we also had some beautiful sunny days and whilst there was quite a lot of things closed, there was still plenty of things for us to see and do!


On our way to Oben to get the ferry, we stopped off at this really cute little artisan cafe in a converted church. We had a little tea break here and me and Arthur posed for some autumnal themed photos because that's what we do! I had the most gorgeous soup whilst we were here too - I'd love to go back and try their cake selection because it looked amazing!


We stayed in the town of Tobermory and yes, it may seem familiar to you, it's where they filmed Balamory! I used to love coming here when I was little and going to all the different houses and whilst I didn't do that this time, it was still nice to see all the coloured houses!



One day we went to Iona, a tiny island off right next to Mull and it turned out to be an absolute gorgeous day and the sea was so blue! It was a little rainy when we got to the ferry but it cleared up quickly and we got to see a fantastic rainbow, so it was a win win situation really! 



Arthur's slowly getting used to going on boats but he wasn't so sure about going on deck! He's been so good this week - it's her to believe a year ago he couldn't go in the car for 10 minutes without being car sick and now he doesn't have a problem! 



The views on Iona were absolutely breathtaking and it genuinely looked like a summers day, not the 1st November! Whilst there was hardly anything open on the island, it was definitely worth a visit and I'd love to go back there when things were open and spend some more time there. The views were so stunning!


Is it even a trip to Scotland if you don't see a highland cow and take a picture?



We took a trip to Calgary Beach and it was Arthur's first trip to the beach and he absolutely loved it. Whilst it was a very windy and cold day, it was such a good trip. We took some frisbees with us and he ran and ran!



As you can see, he's absolutely loving life in that photo - he ended up being covered in sand from rolling about. However, he wasn't so keen on the sea and we had to stop him drinking it! 


We stopped off at the Calgary Arts Farm for a cup of tea and slice of cake and there was some lovely pieces of art in there too!


One of my favourite places to go in Tobermory was the chocolate shop where I experienced the Death by drinking chocolate hot chocolate which was one of the most amazing drinks I've ever had! 




The last day of our holiday, we had a little walk around Tobermory and I had a little shop in  the Isle of Mull Soap Co and picked up a few amazing smelling candles. There was also the distillery however we didn't get round to going in but we've been before so it wasn't too bad! 

That was my little trip to Mull! Let me know in the comments below where you want to travel to next :) 


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6 November 2016

The Weekly Edit | #3


Ciamar a tha thu? 

I'm back from Scotland so I thought it would be only right to start the post with some Gaelic. If you haven't been following me on instagram, you might not know that this week I've been in Scotland, more specifically Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and yes, that is where they filmed the best kids tv show, Balamory.

I'm actually going to be doing a full post on my trip to Tobermory which will be going up next week so I thought for my weekly edit instead of doing a run down of what I've done and where I've been I would just do a sort of catch up post and a bit of a ramble - so bear with me people!

If you read last weeks weekly edit, you'll know how stressed I was about all the work I had. Well I'm happy to tell you all I got it all done AND I HANDED MY DISSERTATION PROPOSAL IN!! Even though it's only a small step in the whole dissertation process, I am very happy with it!

As November is here, it also means CHRISTMAS! Okay, so I know it isn't technically the festive season till December but I like to get into the spirit of things early. I've had Michael Buble's Christmas album on and I'm planning my big Christmas shopping day which is my most favourite day! I've also started thinking about what my new years resolutions are going to be, but they're not going to be on the blog till next month!

So there's a little update! Stay tuned for my Mull photo diary next week and The Weekly Edit will be back to normal next week!
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