February Lifestyle Favorites

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Hello Everyone! How was your February? Mine was nice and productive. I decided on a slightly new direction career wise with my blogging and finally got myself a blog button/logo (do you like it?) I fell in love as soon as I saw the design. I wanted it to be something happy and calming, which is how I want you to feel after reading my blog : ) Here are some of my other lifestyle loves for the month:

Lush Montalbano Shampoo Bar 
I'm a big fan of these bars, I love that there's no packaging and they're so easy for travel. I needed to buy a new one so I decided to try something new. The scent of this one sold me straight away. It has Sicilian Lemon Oil as one of the main ingredients and makes it smell like sherbert lemons. I can't resist citric scents! With olives and rosemary as well, it does a great job on my hair and leaves it feeling so lovely and fresh again.

Lush Roses All The Way Soap
How beautiful is this!? When I saw it in the shop I grabbed one immediately because it was so pretty. I'm not usually a big fan of rose scents but this one isn't too over-powering and I find it really calming. It's one of those Sunday morning soaps to get you feeling relaxed for the day. And with coconut oil as one of the main ingredients, it makes your skin feel great too!

Body Shop Mango Whip 
 I actually bought this ages ago, but stopped using it after a while for some reason. I recently started showering at the gym and I needed a moisturizer to take with me and this one is perfect. I love the consistency of these, they're not too thick or thin and it leaves your skin super soft. I'm also obsessed with anything mango, so this puts me in such a good mood when I use it : )

Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer "Cocoa Glow"
One downside to running outside so much is that I now have a tan line that follows the sports tops I wear and cuts off at my ankles...it's so bad guys! It also means that moisturizing is especially important too. I managed to find a solution for both problems, and I'm really happy with this product. I think the best part is that it smells like a coconut dream!

So I've seen a few people at my gym having boxing lessons and it looked like so much fun, and such a good workout too. I wasn't sure at first, but now I'm so glad that I got over my nerves and booked myself a lesson. It was seriously fun and actually really satisfying! The only bad part was sweating so much and I couldn't wipe it off because of the gloves. Gross, but I'm hooked already and went out to buy myself some gloves. It's so important to change up your workouts and this should be a great addition to my routine!

Teen Wolf 
It was about this time last year that I became obsessed with this show and I ended up watching about four seasons in a couple of weeks (one of my life achievements, really.) Season 5 has been out for a little while but it looked so intense that I had to brace myself before jumping back into the supernatural dramas of Beckon Hills. This season is just as dark and twisted with enough mystery to keep me watching more episodes. It's the type of show that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I wouldn't recommend watching it alone at night-time, as I have now learned...

Fuller House
Being a 90s kid I grew up watching Full House and loved it so much. My Mum actually named me after Stephanie from the show because she loved how feisty and tough she was. Even now she's my favorite character! I was pretty excited when they announced a revival and I'm so happy with how it's turned out! Go watch it : )

What did you love in February? 
Steph x.

Confessions of a Gym-Junkie

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hello Everyone!
If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I'm obsessed with anything heath and fitness. In a typical week, I'm at the gym 5 days and I go running another 4 days (I double up on some days.) It's a busy schedule, but I much prefer the days that I've had a work out than if I haven't. I'm so much more energized and ready to get some work done. Skipping the gym is just unthinkable now.

How did I become such a gym-junkie? A few reasons, 1) I got back from a holiday and decided it was time I made my fitness more a priority. 2) I started working with my personal trainer again and it got me excited to work on my programs. And 3) Once I started seeing results, it just became an obsession. I find that once you stick to exercise for a while, you just do it out of habit and you stop considering skipping a work out.

So, here goes. I confess that...

Protein is my best-friend. It's unthinkable to come back from the gym, or a run, and not have protein of some kind. My poor muscles! 

I'm a lot nicer than my resting gym face. Once my headphones go in, I switch to bad-ass mode and there's no stopping me. I promise I'm more like Cinderella than the Hulk. 

I buy gym clothes more often than I buy regular ones. It's a problem, but at least I look good working out!

I plan social events around my gym schedule, rather than the other way around. If you want to hang out when I'm supposed to be gymming, sorry, but there's no way I'm missing leg day. Maybe that's why no one wants to hang out with me anymore...

People who don't re-rack their 40kg weights are my arch nemesis. I'm not super-girl (yet) so put them back yourself, dude!

If someone is in an area I need I will just use the treadmill or the Wattbike until they have moved. Of course, this can make my workout 20 minutes longer than what it needs to be...I'm just too stubborn to do another routine.

I have never checked myself out in the mirror so much in my life. Yes, a lot of the time it's so that I can make sure my form is right, but sometimes after I do squats or hip thrusts I'm like "Did it work?"

I stand there and properly arrange the weight shelf. I don't know how people get it so wrong, but sometimes the differing weights get all mixed up and I just have to put them back properly. Even the 20kg ones.

I have to give myself massages. My running actually makes my toning work difficult because it tenses all my muscles, especially my shoulders. My PT has helped me with my target areas so now before bed I had to use a ball and foam roller to relax.

I will clean up the equipment left by other people. You'd be surprised how messy a bunch of adults can be and I always make a point of putting my own stuff back. I don't want the personal trainers thinking we are all a bunch of toddlers, so anyway I can help out, I will.

You'd think my body would be used to all the work. right? Nope. People who work out regularly are always sore! You're constantly challenging yourself and getting back into a routine, so your body recovers only to get pushed again. But it's the most satisfying kind of pain and without it I would struggle to know if I'm working the right muscles.

I'm guilty of dancing in the showers. I can still hear the music blasting from the gym and I can't help myself!

And there we go! I'm not sure what kind of picture I'm painting of myself, but I hope you found that entertaining and/or relatable! Being a gym-bunny is definitely a lifestyle in itself, and I love it!

Do you have any funny gym/fitness habits?
Steph x.

Baking with Ro: Instagram Brownies

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Hello Everybody!
I'm back with another attempt at a Nerdy Nummies recipe and today it's in honor of my favorite social media platform, Instagram! The lovely Rosanna Pansino gives you the recipe and instructions over on her YouTube channel. I'm a bit obsessed with her Nerdy Nummies series and cookbook, her creations are genius. I promise you that these brownies are super easy to both bake and decorate, as well as tasting amazing.

I doubled this recipe to make sure there were enough to decorate and for my family to enjoy some too. Like most of Ro's recipes, you simply whisk your dry ingredients, add in the wet, and mix until combined. So easy! I love a good one-bowl recipe.

Ro recommends baking these for 20-25 minutes, but mine were ready by about 15 so remember to check on these a bit earlier just in case. How good does that batter look? The best thing about baking is licking the bowl!

I didn't have a square cookie cutter, so I just used a sharp knife to cut a square using an Oreo as my guide for how big it needed to be. I had to use a lot of self-restraint to not eat the rest of the brownies while I decorated...

To decorate the brownies you will need: 
Peanut butter or chocolate icing
A piping bag
Rainbow candy  

I found it easier to prep the Oreos first before icing the brownies. Twist the Oreos to separate the two halves and scrap off the icing in the middle. These are going to be your lenses so prep as many as you will need. 

For the corner square, I took a sharp knife and cut a couple of the halved Oreos into small squares.

For the base color Ro uses peanut butter, but Kiwi brands tend to make it very thick so I opted for making a simple chocolate American butter cream icing instead. It's a great creamy mix that is perfect for this project and is a good alternative if you aren't a peanut butter fan. Whichever you choose to go with pop it into an icing bag and cut off a corner.

Place one of the square Oreos at the top corner of the brownie to use as your icing guideline. Pipe a square of your icing (or PB) leaving a strip at the top.

Using a mini spatula (a butter knife or spoon will do fine if you don't have one) flatten down the icing until it is smooth all over. Don't worry if it's not perfect, mine certainly wasn't!

Carefully place an Oreo half in the center of the icing and put the rainbow candy in the top left-hand corner. And you're done!

My brownies came out a bit darker than Ro's, but I don't think the color matters too much. These were really fun and so simple to make. If you want to show off your baking skills to your friends these would definitely do the trick! They're seriously delicious too.

What do you think? I'm kind of in love with them.
Let me know if you've done any baking recently!
Steph x.

My Healthy Eating Favorites - Heart Disease Awarness

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Hello Everyone!
You guys know I'm all about my vegetables and gym sessions, but I'm here to tell you about one very important reason why I have made this my lifestyle. The lovely people at Bankers Healthcare Group  brought to my attention that it is currently Heart Disease Awareness Month, and since it's quite personal to me I wanted to share some personal reasons as to why living healthy is so important.

I was born with a heart murmur, which is pretty harmless and just makes my heart beat have an odd rhythm. However, when I wasn't doing any exercise and had a bit more weight on than I should have, I started having heart palpitations from time to time. It can be pretty scary and feels like your heart literally wants to jump out of your chest. My Mum, who also has heart murmur, was having the same problem and so the two of us made a few changes for the sake of our health.

The first step towards having a healthy heart is definitely food choices. I love my food, I really do. I've found that once I slowly cut out certain foods and replaced them with cleaner, healthier choices, I stopped having cravings and I don't miss them at all now. My only weakness: Pizza. It's my ideal cheat meal and don't be surprised if I endeavor to finish the whole thing myself, because I will. 

There is nothing that beats how you feel when you eat clean and know that you're doing your best to fuel yourself for the day. I think the best way to be consistent is to find healthy ingredients that you love and incorporate them into your daily diet.

Here are some of my favorites I have everyday:

The thought of breakfast is definitely something that never fails to get me out of bed in the morning. Considering I used to hate porridge as a kid, I have been having it for breakfast most mornings for about a year. It's the oats that keep you feeling full and stop you doing a bit of late-morning snacking. They're great for your heart and help control your blood sugar levels too. I can't start my morning right without them now.

I always feel like this is cheating because they taste so good, but I still have them every morning on top of my porridge. Not only do they reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your blood pressure, they also boost your memory (great if you're studying, or have terrible short-term memory like me.) I once bought a punnet of these and took them to the movies with me as a snack. It was one of the best ideas I have ever had!

Chia Seeds
I mix about a teaspoon of these into my morning porridge and it always helps to get me ready for the gym. These beauties are great for energy and if you soak them in juice they make for a great hydration drink before a long run (tried and tested!)

I could live off of these, I really could. To go with my porridge and blueberries, I also have a chopped banana on top for extra protein and energy. I also love freezing a few pieces and adding them to my post-gym smoothie to make it nice and cold. They always keep me full throughout the day, which is great for a busy lifestyle. 

I always make sure I have a couple cans of tuna (in spring water) ready to go for my lunches. It's packed with protein and omega-3 to keep you full and your brain working throughout the day. It's great to put in a pita bread or on top of a salad for a healthier lunch.

You would have struggled to get me to eat this as a kid, seeing as I hated leafy greens with a passion. Nowadays I can't get enough of it! We usually buy a big bag of baby spinach to keep us going for the week. I always add it to salads and my smoothies for all the benefits without really tasting much of it (mix it with some fruit and you'll never even know it's there.)

This definitely isn't for everyone, but I've grown to love the taste of it. A while back I finished a running event feeling really dehydrated and started getting a terrible headache. After quick search, I discovered that celery is a natural form of electrolytes, so I chucked it in a smoothie and felt better almost immediately. It's another super-food to help take care of your heart as it prevents high blood pressure, lowers inflammation, and can even help fight infections.

Coconut Water
Now this one I can't ever drink on it's own, but it's a staple for my smoothies that I have everyday. It has so many benefits, especially for hydration. It also gives you energy, balances your blood sugar, and is great for weight-loss. I work an afternoon shift so this gives me a great boost to get me through the rest of my day.

For someone who runs/works out regularly, I need my foods to give me energy and this little super-grain is brilliant for it. I've made a habit of cooking half a cup of it at the start of every week and having a couple tablespoons with my lunch or dinner to keep me going. 

I know, I know, I hated it once too. But once I learned how to cook it properly with the right ingredients, tofu quickly became one of my diet staples. I'm also a vegetarian (although I still eat fish for some reason) so I need other forms of protein. Marinating it in some sesame oil, soy sauce and and sweet chili, then grilling it until brown is my ultimate way to eat it.

Green Tea 
I always settle down at night to read blog posts or a book with a cup of tea, so I always have green tea stocked in my cupboard. With all of it's antioxidants I know I'm helping my body get rid of any bad stuff that I may have eaten throughout the day. Plus it just really helps me to relax and get into sleep mode. 

Dark Chocolate
Anyone else get to 9pm every night and get the biggest craving for chocolate? Every. Single. Night. But I have a solution to these cravings that is actually good for you. Dark chocolate (70 % cocoa solids) is another fighter of heart disease, helps you study, and lowers stress levels. I have just a couple pieces at night time or after lunch and I'm good!

 The more time I invest in living a healthy lifestyle, the more I grow to love it. When our lives get busy it's so easy to reach for food that's "convenient" rather than something at holds nutritional value for you. When we eat healthy and stay active, our body will reward us. Your heart will love you for it too!

What are some of your healthy favorites?
Steph x. 

Lost In A Book Tag

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Hello Everyone! 
One of my favorite bloggers Aisling posted this tag on her blog and you know me, I can never stop talking about books! I've been a bookworm since I was a kid and I love reading about the habits of other readers. Make sure you go check Aisling's answers too, they're pretty good!

Do you have a certain place at home for reading? 
I almost always read on my bed since it's the most comfortable place in the house. I prop my big pillows up and usually have a cup of coffee next to me, it's blissful.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Bookmarks! I love the ones that Book Depository send with every purchase, so I always end up using one of those. If I've bought a book whilst traveling, I will quite often use my plane ticket as my bookmark. They're quite fun to find later on!

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop at a chapter?
I absolutely HAVE to stop at a chapter. It's one of those compulsive actions I can't help but do. It's made me late for things before, but it was worth it for the satisfaction of finishing the chapter.

Do you eat or drink whist reading? 
Eating can be a bit tricky to do at the same time (I learnt that mistake early) so I avoid that where I can. I always have a drink with me while I read, though. Coffee during the day, tea at night time, and I always have water on hand too.

E-Reader or real book?
While I am not against e-readers, there is nothing that can compare to holding a real book and flicking through the pages. Even on holiday I will lug around five books in my bag instead of buying an e-reader. They don't do it for me.

Music or TV while reading? 
No way, I have my door shut off from any noise whatsoever. I can read easily enough in a crowded place if I have to, but TV in particular can be too loud and obnoxious for me to concentrate.

One book at a time or several at once?
Just one. I find that if I take on more than one book at once it takes me so long to get through them and I don't enjoy it as much. I like getting engrossed in the one story and then getting excited about what I can read next.

Reading at home or everywhere?
Anywhere and everywhere for me. I'm the type of girl who will carry a book in her bag just in case there's an opportunity to get a bit of reading done. I prefer doing it at home, but I can switch off my brain fairly well if I'm out.

Read aloud or silently in your head? 
In my head like a regular person...

Fiction or non-fiction? 
Fiction has my heart, not gonna lie. It really is the majority of what I read, since there's just nothing like getting lost in a story and it's characters. On the other hand, I do love history and learning so I enjoy reading books non-fiction every so often. I've also recently got into reading autobiographies, which is something I never thought I would do. 

Do you read ahead or skip pages? 
Yes, I can't help it! I'm super impatient, so if I think a character might die I will flick ahead to check whether they do or not. I NEED TO KNOW! I don't do well with surprises, OK? I only skip pages if I have read the book before and can't be bother with a certain perspective.

Break the spine or keep a book like new? 
I find it impossible to keep books looking new, especially when I leave one on the bed and my dog decides to come along and sleep on it, and I come back to find a bent cover. Every. Single. Time. But I really don't care about perfect books, I want mine to look like they've been read and loved. I buy paperbacks just so that it's easier to bend the spine while I read. Sorry if that makes anyone cringe!

Do you write in your books? 
...sometimes. Please don't hate me! It just when I want to remember a quote, so I will underline a few sentences. I promise I don't do it that often.

Favorite book? 
I don't think I can ever just pick one! But I think the book that has had the biggest impact on me is The Diary of Anne Frank. I read it as a teenager and it just helped me to make sense of a few things. I could honestly give you a list of about twenty runner-up books that I've loved just as much!

Well, that was full of bookworm confessions for you! A big thank you to Aisling for posting the tag. Go check out her blog, it's one of my favorites! 

Let me know what some of your answers are or if you do the tag too!
Steph x. 

My Weekend Makeup

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Hello Everybody!
Saturday is always my favorite day of the week for a number of reasons, but one of my favorite parts is when I get to take my time to do my makeup properly and really enjoy the process. It always puts me in the best mood and I feel great going out for coffee or doing some shopping. I have a bad habit of just doing a really basic sweep of makeup during the week, so weekends always mean that I get to spend time picking different products in my stash to have fun with.

I can't bring myself to skip this step anymore and it always stops me from worrying about my makeup fading. It's like makeup insurance! I've been using the E.L.F Tone Adjusting Face Primer and I find it works really well. It absorbs quickly and is budget-friendly.

I've gone back to using the Maybelline Fit Me foundation which was a love of mine in 2015. I always do a light coat of this and it's enough to give me great coverage and a nice matte finish. I don't think I've ever fallen in love with a foundation so quickly like I did with this one. 

Just for those under-eyes that will forever bug me. I picked up the Rimmel Match Perfection concealer in Hawaii last year and find it really easy to use. The coverage could be a bit better, but I still enjoy using it. 

During the week I usually just flick a bit of Gimme Brow on to save time, but since I have more time at the weekend I get out my Benefit Brow Zings kit. I absolutely love this compact and it honestly makes such a difference to how I look.

I sure you guys have heard me talking about this one a few times now, but it has been one of the best investments to my makeup bag. I use the Benefit Hello Flawless powder in "Honey" and it is amazing at giving you a naturally finish. The coverage is amazing and it's lasted me months already; definitely repurchasing this one.

The Naked 3 palette is definitely my favorite out of the trio and it has the kind of shades I like to wear all the time. The one I reach for most is called "Nooner" which is a dark rose color. I paired it with another color called "Factory" which is about three shades darker, and the beauty of this palette is that all of the shades go together perfectly.

Ever since I saw Hailee Steinfeld's makeup look in her music video for Love Myself, I have been obsessed with having more smokey shades with my eyes. As usual, I use a pencil liner for a base on my upper eyelid and half of the bottom, and then use liquid liner (I have the Australis one) on top. I really love the way it looks, especially since I wear glasses and my eyes need more definition than normal.

Still loving the Benefit They're Real mascara! It took me a little while to really like using this one, but now it's a regular part of my makeup routine. It gives your lashes great definition and is always the best finishing touch to my eyes. 

I tried a new combo on this particular day: Nars Satin Lip Pencil ( I think the shade is "Rikugien"? It was a Sephora freebie anyway) and my favorite Tanya Burr lip gloss in "Lunch Date." I've been having a lot of fun finding different combinations for this nude gloss and this is probably one of my favorites so far.

 And here are the only decent selfies I could take (sorry guys, haven't quite got my beauty blogger photography feet yet.) It's a simple look, but that's my favorite kind. Bold eyes, nude lips, and flawless skin are my only makeup needs for a Saturday out.

What are your makeup must-haves for the weekend? 
Steph x.

Weekly Snaps Diary #7

Sunday, 14 February 2016

One of the phone cases I bought on a late night Aliexpress session arrived! I'm in love with it. Cue lots of bathroom selfies...

I finished Crown of Midnight this week and it was So. Damn. Good. I highly recommend this series.

It has me hooked again, guys. I can't stop watching Teen Wolf! Season 5 is so gritty and I love it. 

Here's my current photography set up: white card on my bed, which is beside a nice big window. If you see any flat lays on Instagram, this is how I do it : )

A little fitness update for you! Things are going super-well at the moment, the biggest thing being that I've dropped from 65kgs to 60kgs (woohoo!) I'm not going crazy, just using the My Fitness Pal app to track my kilojules and stop my late night snacking habit. I can also plank for two minutes!

I shouted myself two new books today! My local store had buy one, get one half price, so I made straight for the fiction section. I thought since it's Valentine's day on Sunday I would treat myself.

My beloved Under Armor trainers have now reached the end of their running ability, so I had to hunt for the perfect replacement. I went back to Nike since their Zoom Structure models are amazing for running, I love the design too.

This totally happened. Ben Brown a.k.a one of my favorite YouTubers and biggest inspirations in life, liked my tweet that I tagged him in. How cool is that?

We went off to see Deadpool on Saturday night and it was so freaking good! It was hilarious and Ryan Reynolds was on point with everything. It's so refreshing to get a unconventional superhero. I highly recommend you go watch it!

Sunday morning isn't complete without blueberry pancakes! Oh and puppy cuddles.

Loving my new running shorts from Cotton On Body. I think the coolest part is that they match my tattoo! It's been so hot here lately that I'm now living in my running shorts, but I love it.

Yet another Sunday night curry. I have to say that Indian is one of my favorite comfort foods of all time. I spent some time organizing blog stuff and put on a chick-flick to finish off a great week.

Some unexpected gems happened this week! I also hit 700 followers on Twitter and 250 lovely people following my blog, so thank you to everyone! You are amazing <3

How was your week? Let me know in the comments!
Steph x.

5 Ways to Have Happy Mental Health

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Hello Everyone!
I hope the new year is treating you well so far. I myself, am incredibly happy and excited that it's  finally 2016. Last year was a bit of a roller-coaster for me, and judging by social media 2015 wasn't kind to any of us. With a new job and a hovering existential-crisis I had to learn to take better care of my mental health and learn how to deal with new situations. I spent a lot of my time learning to listen to what my mind was trying to tell me, as well as dealing with anxiety issues like never before. 

No one's mental health is perfect and it's something that needs to be talked about more regularly. We all have bad days and thoughts that plague us, it's what makes us human after all. A lot of us are over-thinkers too, which never helps.

I thought I would share with you how I keep my mental health in check and be as happy as I can. I'm not expert, but it's what works for me, and can hopefully be of help to you guys too.

To stay happy I...

Question my own thinking 
My mind tends to be a bit scattered sometimes and I stop myself from doing something because of a really silly reason. I've learned to ask myself "What's the worst that can happen?" or "Do you really care what a stranger thinks?" and it really does help in an anxious situation. I've also learned to simply ask someone a question instead of being too shy to say anything. I promise it's never as scary as it seems.

Plan essential me-time everyday
Being introverted, this is really important for me. I find it very draining to be around other people for even a few hours. If I can have time to just put my headphones on and browse the internet by myself, I'm one happy girl. It's all about recharging yourself for the next day; you could do yoga, watch TV, go to the gym, or have a bath. Make sure there's a time in your day just for you.

Allow myself to have a bad day
Despite what all the inspiration posts on Pinterest tell us, we don't have to be happy every single day. It's great if you are, but I don't put pressure on myself to be perfect and up-beat 365 days a year. If I've had an experience that has set off my anxiety or my hormones are turning me into the Hulk, I just do everything to stay afloat that day and start again tomorrow. Bad days happen, we all have them, so just eat some chocolate and wake up the next day with a positive attitude.

Do something everyday that makes me happy
Because that's what life should be about! Sometimes it's the small things like wearing my favorite lipstick, finding new blogs, or watching The Sacconejoly's on YouTube. When I was working full-time, starting up my blog made my life so much better because it became my creative outlet. Working on it a little everyday made me feel productive and happy. It made the work days worth it (kinda. Not really.) Find your happy things that set your soul on fire and do them everyday!

Take care of my body
I can't stress enough how much your mental health is linked to the state of your body. We all know how amazing it is when we've had enough sleep, eaten good foods, and had lots of water. When you respect your body, it will reward you. Exercise is another essential for me, it has taught me to be tougher with myself and that there are no excuses to be had. I have honestly never been happier, and I owe a lot of it to how I treat my body now. This is the most important step for me and it has taught me more than I ever thought it could.

So those are the five things I do regularly to stay happy. I think 2015 was either going to make me or break me, and realizing how important my mental health is really made all the difference.

How do you guys take care of your mental health? 
Steph x.

Making the Most of Flaws

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Hello Everyone! 
It's going to be a bit of a rambly/personal one today, so get yourselves strapped in. I think we can all agree that our flaws are the hardest part of learning to love ourselves. They're like built-in challenges that everyone receives (and I mean EVERYONE, no one is perfect.) They can be hard to ignore around other people, but that doesn't mean that we can't use our flaws to our advantage.

One thing I want to make clear, is that flaws don't have to be a negative thing. Personally, once I accepted mine they were so much easier to deal with, and they're just a part of who I am now. I think it's really important to view these personality traits as something that can empower you, rather than tear you down. Now, get prepared because I am going to reveal my greatest flaws to you and how I make the most of them:

This particular trait drives my family nuts. It comes in two different forms, the first being that I have this insane fear of missing out and I have to go and do it ASAP. The second is my fear of wasting time, which makes finding car parks at a busy mall pretty impossible. I usually have to talk myself out of it with logic, or simply letting go of those things I can't control.

How I make the most of it: It means I can enjoy being spontaneous! I don't mind making quick decisions either, which can make handling a workplace easier. It also means that I'm a passionate person who gets really excited for things to come. I think this is a big part of being a fangirl!

This is actually one of my most dominant personality traits and it seems to be getting stronger with age. If anyone is pushy with me, every instinct tells me to either push back or flat out refuse to do what they tell me. I'm not kidding when I say that I would rival Katniss Everdeen for not budging on things.

How I make the most of it: The funny thing is, it's actually one of my favorite things about my personality. Being stubborn means that I don't let people walk all over me by saying yes to everything. It also means that when I really want something I don't give up in it. Even when people tell me I can't do it, I'm the type of girl who will say "Just watch me." There's a certain amount of bravery and confidence that come with being stubborn, and I'm really grateful for it. 

This is by far the hardest flaw to deal with. It's obviously the trait that has the biggest impact on my life. I've always been that shy kid that didn't want to speak up in class and even now going to an unfamiliar social event or talking to new people is terrifying. I know I don't have it as bad as a lot of others, but it's still something I deal with everyday.

How I make the most of it: My anxiety has actually taught me a lot about myself and I've seen it more as my own personal challenge than something that will always hold me back. It's not something I will ever apologize for and it's made me be picky about who I hang around with. I've learned not to make time for people who make me feel bad for my emotions.

Now it's your turn! I want you to think about the things in your personality that might be holding you back and how you can turn them around to benefit you everyday. I truly believe that there's a silver lining in everything and you shouldn't have to punish yourself for the things you can't change.

Loving yourself means accepting every part of who you are. None of us are perfect, but for me that keeps life pretty interesting.

What's a flaw that you love most?
Steph x.

Things That Make Me Feel Confident

Monday, 8 February 2016

Hello Everyone!

I think we have all had times where we have felt our best and it's like being the person you want to be 24/7. Unfortunately, confidence comes and goes. I've grown pretty confident in the past few years, but there are still days where I'm just not feeling it. It happens, we are human after all!

Each of us is different and we find confidence in different ways. Personally, I love anything that makes me feel like a bit of a bad-ass and sets me apart from being average. For me, it always starts with taking care of my body, then wearing my favorite outfit with makeup to go with it. There is nothing like a little black dress to make the boys do a double-take (true story!)

Here are the things that make me feel confident:  

Working out/running to feel strong

Blogging (of course!)

Wearing a fab outfit 

Walking with my headphones in and tunes blasting

When I don't compare myself to anyone else 

Wearing makeup (bad, but true) 

Acknowledging everything I have achieved 

Wearing a leather jacket  

Getting tattoos (and rocking them)

Participating in blogger chats 

Wearing red lipstick 

Eating the right foods 

Accepting my flaws

Wearing my favorite necklace

Listening to girl-bands 

Doing squats at the gym 

Attacking a to-do list 

Striking up a conversation with someone 

Pulling off a crop top 

Wearing a little black dress (the tighter, the better) 

Being around people who are as motivated as me 

A touch of lip gloss

Being inspired by other bloggers and YouTubers

We all need a boost of confidence sometimes, especially on bad days. Make a list yourself, then aim to do them more often! Sometimes just a touch of lipstick or some productivity during your day can work wonders. Confidence reminds us of how awesome we can be, and it makes us feel pretty great about who we are. 

What makes you feel confident?
Steph x. 

Love Myself Tag

Sunday, 7 February 2016

 Hello Everyone and welcome to day one of #LoveMyselfWeek!
Every day this week I will be posting about the topic of self-love and how we can all improve on it in 2016. It's one of the most important lessons in life, and a very necessary one too. Trust me, you have no idea how amazing life can be when you love who you are. 

I think we all find it a bit hard to talk about ourselves and what we like best about our personalities. I know it's easier to just put yourself down, but who wants to live like that? Not me, and you shouldn't either.
I created this tag so that everyone could shout the awesome things about themselves that they love, and to help us all be proud of who we are.

The only rule: no negativity!

Write five things you love about yourself 
1. My passion for things.
2. I can rock a pair of glasses.
3. My olive skin.
4. I've never needed everyone to like me.
5. I ain't no push-over, mate. 

A moment that made yourself proud
It's probably a tie between graduating university and finishing my first half-marathon.

Favorite song that gives you confidence
Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld. I belted it out all through 2015 and it's a gym favorite to keep me going. 

The color that suits you best
I wear a lot of black, so I will probably go with that. Although I feel like I can pull off most colors, even yellow!

Favorite personality trait
I'd have to say my independence. I'm really self-motivated and 100% my own cheerleader. I learned early not to rely on others and it's served me very well.

I feel most beautiful when I...
am standing in front of the mirror, half naked, checking out my workout results. Fitness has given me a lot of confidence and appreciation for my body.

Favorite way to treat yo' self
Coffee, always coffee. But only from my favorite cafe, which is conveniently placed next to my gym. They make amazing raw caramel slice too...

Something I'm good at (no matter how small) 
I've always been able to mimic drawings perfectly. Like, if you give me a drawing I can copy it to be exactly the same. My best attempt was Van Gough's A Starry Night. 

Which awesome fictional character is most like you?
I'm gonna have to go with Katniss from The Hunger Games. Both of us are VERY stubborn, don't make friends very well, love to rebel from authority, and aren't really cat people. I spent ages not liking her as a character, until I realized it's because we are just too alike! Not sure I could win the Hunger Games, though.

What defines your personal style?
My Clark Kent glasses, tattoos, and killer curves (I cringed a bit writing that last one, but hey! I love them.)

Now it's your turn!
I tag everyone to do this Q and A, even if you just answer the questions to yourself. I want to learn more about you awesome people : ) 
Steph x.

My Journal Obsession

Thursday, 4 February 2016

You know how we all those compulsive buying habits when it comes to certain things? I can't resist buying new journals and it became apparent to me lately that it's getting a little excessive. I know a lot of bloggers have this problem too, so I know you'll be able to relate!

So, I actually counted all of the journals I own (all using/used/new) and there are twenty four of them. Most of which I have bought in the last year. Who needs that many journals?! Apparently me.
I usually have at least three different notebooks on my desk with me while I'm blogging. I buy most of my journals through Typo, because I love their designs and the A5 size is perfect to sit of my desk.

Here are the main journals I use:

Fitness Journal
This is a new project that I have started since the new year to keep track of how I'm doing at the gym. I'm basically writing down notes through each month, like what weights I'm using, how long I can plank, and any tips my trainer has given me when I'm working out. It's motivating me to keep working hard and see how much I can improve through the year. 

One Line A Day
I think these became a big thing after a few YouTubers started using them. It's a five year journal, where you just write a sentence a day. Then you can look back the next year and see what you did that day a year ago. I started it at the beginning of 2015 so I already get to see what it was like for me last year, which I'm loving!

Reading Journal: My Bibliofile 
This combines my love of writing with my love of books. It's bliss! You can writes notes about the books you have read, which I love reading back later on. Also, there are sections to write in your favorite quotes and future books to read. I got in from Book Depository if you're interested. 

List Journal
One of my first posts was about different lists that I keep to stay organized, and this is the journal I keep them all in. I write everything from blog post ideas to my packing list for my holiday. I love keeping them all in one journal and going back to them later when I'm stuck for ideas or I've forgotten something. Always thinkin' ahead! 

Travel Journals
These are a necessity for me when I travel because I never want to forget a thing. When I went to America in 2014 I took a journal with me from kikki.K that my friend gave to me on my 21st birthday. The set up in their journals is amazing because they have the normal writing sections, pages for photos, prompts to write about a certain day, and a folder in the back to keep stray tickets etc that you might want to stick in later. I took my Instax camera with me and put together pages as I went. It was a lot of fun to have a project to help me unwind each day. I have a new journal ready to go for my adventure this year! 

Recipe Journal
This is where I write the recipes I want to try, as well as documenting ones I make up myself. I find it really useful to have a notebook handy when I'm doing recipes for my blog so that I can write any tips or tricks I learn along the way. I'd love to make a family recipe book at some point, so this will come in handy for sure!

Blog Journal
One of the most important journals of all! While most of the time I just go onto blogger and start writing a draft, I do start a lot of my early ideas in this journal. I also plan my blog photos in here too, since I've made it a habit to take my photos in bulk. My blog wouldn't be where it is without this little book!

 Looking back, I think the only way I can justify my journal obsession is the fact that I'm quite an organized and sentimental person. We all have our joys, and I personally blame Typo for making journals with such cool covers.

What about you guys? Are you a journal hoarder too?
Let me know what your compulsive buys are in the comments! 
Steph x.

January Book Wrap-Up

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hello Everybody!
Now, I know I usually set myself a reading challenge every month, but I really wasn't feeling like it this January, so I thought I would just read whatever I wanted instead. It worked out really well! I became a bit obsessed with reading again, so much so that I swapped my evening internet time to read more. I managed to get through five books, which I was really happy with. Three of them were re-reads but I couldn't help it! They were just so good the first time.

Anyway, here are the books I read:

The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
You guys have heard me ramble on about how much I love this series, so I won't bore you with my fangirl antics. One of the things I really wanted to do in 2016 was to read this entire series again before the forth and last book comes out in March. The story has so many details that I knew I would forget, so I wanted to go back and remember everything. I just can't seem to tear myself away from this series yet, it's just so good!

Ignite Me, Tahereh Mafi
I forgot how amazing these books were. Seriously, why has it taken me so long to pick up this last book in the series? If you're unfamiliar with these books, it follows Juliette who's touch can kill you. Set in a dystopian world, she has to learn to fight back (along with some pretty awesome characters) when the Reestablishment plans to use her as a weapon. These books are so addictive and exciting that I can never put them down. I read this in about 3 days, although I could have done it in two (and I'm normally a slow reader.) There's some really great character developments in this one, which finally settles some reservations from the last book.

The Body Finder, Kimberly Denting  
This was one of my favorite books from 2015 and I had a sudden urge to read it again. I'm not usually into the murder-mystery type of book, but this one is so addictive. The details in this book are brilliant and make the scenes really quite vivid. I think we all deserve to have someone like Jay in our lives too! It was worth reading again just for him.

Uglies, Scott Westerfield 
I had very mixed feelings about this book, to be honest. It's set in a future city where at the age of sixteen you are given surgery to be turned "pretty" so that everyone is equal in appearance. It took me about 50 pages to really get into the story and for a while I really enjoyed where it was going. It was exciting and the author highlighted a lot of issues that really made me think about society. I found myself torn between the two main characters, Tally and Shay, and their perspectives were really interesting. The second half of the book is where I was let down, as it felt a bit rushed and things became a bit unbelievable, especially the romance. Overall, there were parts I liked and parts I didn't.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
I know, I know, I read this in December too. But I found myself in a bit of a reading slump that I wanted to get myself out of, and I knew this book would do the trick. I was right! It was actually really fun reading this back again because I could pick up on a few things that I didn't notice the first time. It's like going through everything with Cath as her friend and you pick up on character's behavior when she doesn't. I love this book even more now.

Five books isn't a bad way to start the year! I've had a couple new ones arrive from Book Depository, so February should be a good month too.

What books did you guys read in January? I'd love some recommendations! 
Steph x.