16 August 2016

Real World

"This life is what you make it. No matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soulmate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe

I've been on a pretty long hiatus from the digital world, probably the longest time I haven't blogged and been that involved with social media. I wanted to tell you a little about why I've been away because I know some of you have questions and I feel like I can finally tell you without getting upset whilst writing - even though this will still be a hard post to put out there. But as my readers, most of you who come back to this blog weekly and have known me for years, I feel like I need to share with you not just the peachy moments in life - but also what happens in the real world. Because there's no point painting a perfect picture when life is not perfect - that's a fact.

For the last couple of months I have been in a dark hole that my mind has made thanks to contributions from the outside world. I didn't help matters when I decided to take on the world on my own and soon found out that I simply cannot wrap my hands around the Earth and take control of everything. I overworked myself, I stressed myself out to the point where that stress soon enough turned itself into something darker and totally overwhelming, so I just had to let go and focus on my health and my life. I've spent days not being able to even get myself out of bed, I lost interest in everything including the things I loved doing most. I just wanted to lay in bed, in silence, and watch the world go by. I didn't even want to be rescued. 

It didn't help that for the 6 months I have been living alone, so it was easy to shut myself away from the world. I felt like I was on the wrong path to doing what I want to do in life, I didn't feel like my personal life was going well and I just lost the love I had for me.
To add to the already deep dark hole I was in, a couple of weeks ago my world came crashing down when I was faced with issues in my personal life, and my house flooded. On top of everything - my fucking house flooded the night my world came crashing down. If you cannot see the hilarity in this tragedy, well I guess maybe it's just me on my own! 

But, I'm not one to back down easily or ever give up so that night when shit hit the fan, I got ridiculously drunk, poured my heart out to my best friends and decided to stop being the victim. I've managed to hold up the 'fort' for such a long time on my own that I sure as hell wasn't going to give up now. I took some time off from everything, I drilled down to the problems that were making me feel this way and decided to eliminate them. I made a plan, and I gave myself time to action that plan - I won't fix myself overnight, but I feel a hell of a lot better already. 

I wanted to share this with you as I know I'm not the only person who is going through something like this, and I feel like mental health issues need to be spoken about more, because ultimately your mental health impacts your physical health and wellbeing. 

If you're feeling similar to this, I can share some ideas of how I'm pulling myself back into a happier, healthier place: 

- Surround yourself with positive people who care about you. I cannot thank my family and friends for the patience and time they have given me these past few weeks - all I had around me were people who genuinely cared about me and wanted me to get better.

- Spend time thinking about what is making you feel ill: is it your job, your relationship, your own expectations? Whatever it is, figure it out and make a plan to tackle it. Change your job, break away from toxic relationships (whether they're romantic or platonic), set yourself realistic goals. You won't feel better unless you find a way to stop the cycle that is making you ill.

- Give yourself a break. Just pack a bag, get in your car and have an adventure for a day. Eat ice cream by the beach, go on a hike in the mountains, do something that chills you out - away from people and social media. 

- Get professional help. There's nothing wrong or shameful about going to see a professional who will help you get better because sometimes we need to grab onto a hand that will pull us up to the surface. 

- Say FUCK IT to the world. Honestly, fuck it. Fuck every single little thing that had the audacity to pull you down. The moment you stop giving a fuck (kind of where I'm at now) and enjoy your life, you'll see things slowly start to fall into place. I'm a strong believer in 'what will be - will be' and I'm now learning the art of giving zero fucks about every insignificant thing that goes wrong.

I'm coming back guys - bear with me just that teeny bit longer if you can. I have already got some awesome content to bring you and I'm working on a rebrand (AHHHH!!!!) but I just wanted you to know I haven't disappeared and I'm not about to stop blogging, I just needed a little rehab time.

What is your one fail safe tip to help make you feel better when you're down? Share in the comments below! 



3 August 2016

In The Kitchen: Cuttlefish Salad

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

What you'll need (serves 2):
  • 1 medium cuttlefish
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 3 spring onions
  • Salad leaves
  • Wasabi paste
  • Soy sauce
  • Tesco tempura batter mix
  • Ponzu dipping sauce
  • 1 lime

I was in Tesco the other day when I stumbled upon the reduced section from the fish monger. Now, I know how people feel about reduced fish and seafood however I can tell you that it’s absolutely fine and actually usually has one extra day for Best Before. I picked up some lemon sole fillets when I saw that there was a cuttlefish on offer and I have seen cuttlefish on their fishmonger iced table before which got me very intrigued. I thought cuttlefish was just a very aesthetically unpleasant fish but it’s not – it’s actually a cephalopod which is the same family as octopus and squid. Bonus! I love them. I always thought they were very rare and very expensive but actually if you know where to look for them, you’ll get them for a bargain.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

This cuttlefish came whole. I have never tried to prepare my own fish, let alone a cephalopod. I googled instruction and here is how to prepare a cuttlefish in a nutshell:
  1. Remove head, guts, arms and tentacles from the body 
  2. Wash the tube, which will be empty except for a mucous membrane and transparent "pen" 
  3. Pull the skin off the tube and fins 
  4. Remove the ink sac 
  5. Cut the tentacles and arms from the head 
Simples, right? ERRRR try again. Trying to prepare cuttlefish is the messiest, stickiest and slimiest experience ever if you aren’t a pro. The ink went everywhere, even though I’m not squeamish its guts did not make me feel good and the stench made me gag. The good news is I did it and I know how to prep a cephalopod now so if I’m ever stranded on an island with nothing but cuttlefish, I can survive.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

Once I had my prepped cuttlefish, I cut it into rough strips and little tentacles. These take minutes to cook, or hours depending on what you make. From what I learned if you cook them on a high heat for a short time, like stir frying or deep frying, or for a very long time, like in a stew, then the meat will stay soft and won’t be tough or chewy.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

Coat the pieces of cuttlefish in your premade batter mix and get the deep fryer on the go. I actually don’t have a deep fryer so I used a deep pan to fill with vegetable oil and heated it on the stove – kind of dangerous so please be careful if you are going to be doing this!!
The pieces take minutes to cook – mine cooked in about 3-4 minutes and were tender and delicious. Whilst your batches are making, you can prep your salad.
Take the courgette and spiralizer it to make noodles – you will need a spiralizer, alternatively you can make thin strips using a carrot peeler. Plate these up and make a well where you can put your salad mixed with spring onion and chili. By this point your cuttlefish will be ready so place these strips on the top of the salad.
Then, make a dressing of soy sauce, a bit of Ponzu, lime and a little bit of olive oil if you fancy – this can be poured on top of the cuttlefish.

Garnish the dish with chillies and coriander if you like and serve immediately! 

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipeHow to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

I was worried about cooking cuttlefish and eating it too – I’ve had calamari in restaurants but the chefs know what they’re doing! Well I’m happy to say I do to because the salad was delicious and no dodgy stomachs occurred so it’s a success.

The combination of tender cuttlefish, spicy chili and zesty lemon is just a fusion of flavour and perfect for a summer eve dinner. 

1 August 2016

NAOBAY Calming Face Toner Review

NAOBAY Calming Face Toner review, beauty bloggers UK, beauty blog UK

A while ago I wrote a post focussing on organic beauty and the benefits from using organic skincare (you can read the post here). The article featured NAOBAY - an organic brand from Spain which is filtering through to the UK beauty markets.

NAOBAY is a relatively unfamiliar brand for me as I have discovered it recently in one of the Glossyboxes I received last year. It included the NAOBAY Calming Face Toner which I have been using for a little while now - it comes in a 200ml bottle which lasts a long time if used sparingly! But I wanted to find out more about their natural and organic skincare products so I did some digging to find out if the brand is worth the pounds they're asking. 

NAOBAY promises that none of their ingredients are genetically modified, grown with pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge of ionizing radiation. They are also proud to list the below ingredients which have in the past caused damage to human skin, but is not used in their skincare products:

- PetrochemicalsArtificial preservatives
- Artificial colorants/synthetic dyes
- Parabens
- Silicones
- Mineral oils
- Genetic modified ingredients
- Sodium Laureth Sulphates (SLES)
- Formaldehyde
- Dioxins
- Ethoxylated material
- Paraffin / petrolatum
- Isothiazolinones

Phew. That's a pretty long list! Naobay is certified by Ecocert who are an independent organisation which certifies that products are organic, from packaging to ingredients and even the way they are manufactured. The brand is also backed by The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) who are an international non-profit multi-stakeholder organisation established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. 

The NAOBAY Calming Face Toner is a refreshing, citrus scented lotion which provides 4 in 1 care for your skin by cleansing, toning and soothing the skin as well as removing makeup and impurities. The toner is soft and gentle on skin - I have very sensitive skin and this toner has never caused a reaction or blemishes, and we've got Chamomile and Aloe extract to thank for that! I found it ideal for my combined skin tone - applied with a cotton pad, it gently removes excess oils and makeup before I lather up with cleanser in the evening, and is the perfect 'wake me up' product for a quick morning cleanse.


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