31 May 2018

My Dream Writing Space

Last month I talked about my tips for blogging on the go when you have a busy lifestyle and want to fit your blog into your life without feeling like you are losing all of your free time.

Today I wanted to talk about my dream writing space.  The one that I would create at home for days off, those weekends, those times when you get the urge (and the time) to write all day and want a comfortable area to do so.

First and foremost, what I want is comfort.  The perfect writing day for me does not necessarily start with getting up, getting dressed and sitting down to my laptop.  It can also, and preferably, start with a large cup of coffee in bed, my notebook and a pencil (no pens in bed thank you) and my thoughts as they start to collect.

I carry a notebook around with me most days and like to jot down any ideas for blog posts or writing pieces that come to mind, whether it be for this blog or other spaces.  I note the main idea at the top of a page and then during the week, fill in any additional comments to by way of bullet points.  These short notes are what start my day in bed with my coffee.

When it comes to getting more serious about my day, I move on to my laptop and my tablet.  At the moment I work from our dining room table which is not particularly convenient for me.  I recently came across a gorgeous desk from Lionshome which would fit the bill perfectly and would work with my current decor.

I don't like too much clutter on my work space when I am blogging.  Just my notebook with my ideas in, my tablet for research and of course my laptop.  I don't like to have too many windows open on my laptop as I find it too distracting so that is why I also have my tablet for researching points.  Ah, the 21st century world eh?

Other things on my checklist for the perfect blogging space include lots of natural light and fresh air from an open window and some sort of music on low, either on the other side of the room or the room next door.  Background noise is important but nothing too loud, like heavy metal or drum and bass!

The beauty of running a blog is that most of your tools and equipment can be packed away at the end of the day or at a moment's notice if needed.  Your laptop and tablet etc can be put away in a drawer and your desk space or table space utilized for other purposes.  

I think one of the most important things about your home is that it should work for you, on multiple levels.  This is particularly important if you have a family and have a jam packed filed life but is equally salient if you have a small home and need to use rooms for a variety of purposes.

What is your dream blogging space?

*Post in collaboration with Lionshome

29 May 2018

Tax Freedom Day

Did you know that today is Tax Freedom Day?

Tax Freedom Day was a term originally coined in 1948 in the US as being the number of days the average worker would have to work to pay off his/her taxes.  This year, calculated by the Adam Smith Institute in the UK; that day is today, three days later than last year.

HM Revenue & Customs are due to collect £724.9 billion this year which is roughly 34.3% of the national income.  The burden of tax on families in the UK is now the highest in over 20 years.  The last time the tax burden was higher as a proportion of the GDP was when Harold Wilson was in power to give you some perspective (1969/70).

All the public services that we have such as the NHS, welfare and education have to be paid for of course, either by way of taxation, or by borrowing; which in turn imposes further taxing on the next generations.  But is the way we current tax people a fair system?  Are the poor suffering whilst the rich remain unaffected?

As a single, solvent woman with little debt and no children, the taxation system does not affect me adversely.  Indeed, the raise in the tax threshold each year actually benefits me.   I am not rich, I am not poor, but the system benefits me in a similar way that it does not adversely affect the rich.

So why do I care?  Because it is precisely because the changes in tax, tax reforms and cuts in benefits do not affect me that I should.  The Government does not listen to the poor.  If the people who are not affected do not speak up, who will?  Not the rich.  They in large do not care.

Disabled people are committing suicide and dying under the current level of cuts.  The two child limit on benefits is set to push another 250,000 children into poverty by 2020.  The number of people visiting food banks has risen to an all time record with over 1.3 million people receiving emergency food supplies.

Talk Tax is a great service which also provides those hard to reach HMRC contact numbers to get the information that you need, help required and just as importantly, where to raise any issues that you may have.

There are resources, charities and sites set up precisely for the reason of helping people under the current tax and benefit reforms.  It is just a shame that in this day and age, as one of the richest countries in the world, that we need them in the first place.

23 May 2018

Goa - Not Just A Beach Holiday

I don't know quite why, but whenever I think of my perfect beach destination, somewhere perfect with pink sunsets and unspoiled beaches, my thoughts always turn to Goa; despite never having (yet) visited.  

After doing extensive research for my Summer holiday, one of the destinations I looked at was Goa and it turns out, Goa has so much more to offer as a destination than just perfect beaches.  Whether you want a lazy beach holiday, something action packed with sports, a party time or want to check out the culture, there is something for everyone.

If you are looking to get a great tan and have a relaxing time, check out the beautiful beaches, particularly Mandrem, Baga and Cavelossem.

For something more action packed, why not check out the Devil's Canyon or Goan Caves?  You could also check out the spice plantation and say hello to the elephants or perhaps visit the butterfly conservatory in Ponda.

If you are looking to see some wildlife as well as checking out the beautiful scenery of Goa, why not go to Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary or the Mollem National Park which are home to sloths, panthers, fairy bluebirds, barking deer and many other species.

If you are looking for some fun times, the nightlife in Goa is amazing.  Check out Tito's Road in Baga Beach for big name DJs and commercial style music or perhaps Anjuna Beach if you are looking for partying right on the beach and the Psy Trance experience.  Don't forget about the not to be missed Arpora which has the infamous nightclub in the sky.

There is so much more to Goa than meets the eye.  

Holiday Gems is a brilliant budget holiday website that offers fantastic deals, whatever time of year.  The best time to visit Goa is between November to March so have a look on the site for a great deal and get booking!

This post is in collaboration with Holiday Gems.

8 May 2018

The Problem With High Street Fashion

Does high fashion have a plus size problem?

These days, the facts and figures that surround the plus size market are commonplace but to get our point across we’ll hit you with some anyway.

In 2016, the plus size fashion industry was worth around $21.4 billion – this represented a growth of around 6% in the number of women above a size 14. Despite this, 37% of plus size women continue to wear men’s clothing to workout, and a staggering 65% agree that their size is still ignored by the fashion industry.

Inclusivity doesn’t necessarily mean equality

It’s no secret that more and more brands are adding to their collections with plus size clothing but this type of inclusivity doesn’t necessarilymean that there’s total equality quite just yet.

Plus size models such as Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence may be spending more time in the public spotlight, but major fashion houses are still failing to diversify the models that they put down the runway. For years, designers have been criticised for their promotion of ‘unattainable figures’. At first, it was models so thin that they cast light on eating disorders, and then young, pubescent teens.

Luxury brands are the trendsetters so if industry change is on the horizon, even the world’s biggest designers will need to be on board. As soon as fashion houses start to introduce plus sizes into their ranges, there’s no doubt that it will begin to trickle down into the mass market.

Of course, there are some luxury brands that cater to plus sizes - Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano have both proven to be pioneers. However, a lot of retailers either fail to stock extended sizes or fail to promote their plus sizes enough. 

Certain issues still need to be discussed

Plus size women may be moving ever closer toward complete social acceptance, but there continues to be a number of issues surrounding the industry that need to be addressed. Take the idea of swimsuits, for example. A quick Google search of ‘plus size swimwear’ may bring up plenty of retro high-waisted two pieces but how many low-rise bikinis are on offer?

It’s often a rarity of options for plus size ladies who are taller or shorter than the average. Heading to the ‘curve’ section of a brand will often mean you need to improvise when it comes to your height. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that fashion schools fail to teach budding designers how to cut and drape for any model that’s any bigger than the typical 4-6. 

Another issue is that high-street retailers that do stock plus size clothing will slip up on their visual merchandising, choosing to almost banish their extended sizes to a corner of the store away from their ‘regular’ range. When you arrive there, you’ll probably see no more than a few rails with a basic assortment of trends leaving you feeling left out and deflated. The same goes for shopping online, although sites such as Ashleigh Plus Size make it easier for the curvier ladies out there to find outfits that aren’t only the right size, but right on trend.

*Collaborative piece

Giving Your Bathroom A Spa Feel

Life is lived at such a fast pace today. When you get home from work, it is important to be able to relax and unwind. If we could afford it, we would treat ourselves to endless spa trips. But there is no need to do this. Instead, why not make your bathroom your own personal home spa? By creating a luxurious and relaxing bathroom space, you have the perfect place to unwind when you get home from a difficult and stressful day at work. It does not have to cost a lot of money to do this either. Read on to discover some of the best suggestions for turning your bathroom into the perfect spa.


There is only one place to begin when it comes to your bathroom, and this is with your shower or bath. You need a shower that is spacious and comes with a massage shower head so that you can have ultimate relaxation. You can find a good selection of luxury showers at affordable prices by visiting Drench. Of course, taking a bath is way more luxurious than having a shower. If you can afford to have a new tub installed in your home, you should look for something that is deep so that you can soak after a hard day in the office. Consider using local bathroom fitters to give you a professional finish.  However, if you cannot afford a new bath, this does not mean that you cannot benefit from luxury. There are many ways to add small luxurious touches to your bathroom that will give you that desired spa feel and offer utter relaxation. A good example of this is by investing in a bathtub tray. This will only set you back a couple of pounds, yet it can completely transform your bath experience. You will have the perfect place for your book and perhaps a glass of wine. This means that you can relax in the bath for hours after a stressful day, ensuring you only need to come out when you are fully stress-free.

Another essential step when creating a spa-like bathroom is to get rid of all of the clutter. If you were to walk into a spa today, you would not see any clutter. This is because clutter makes it difficult to relax. Instead, it actually causes frustration and irritation. This is the last thing you want when you are trying to create a serene environment. Therefore, get rid of all of your bottles and any other products that are lying about. Make sure they are neatly put away in the cupboard. If you have any items that do not have a place, then you should get rid of them. Magazines and shampoo bottles thrown on the bathroom floor is never a good look.

When you visit a spa, it is all about engaging all of the senses. It is not only about how you feel, but it is about what you can smell and the sounds that you can hear. You can take inspiration from this within your own bathroom. Let's begin with scent. You can add relaxing smells to your bathroom, including the likes of vanilla, Mandarin, lavender, or anything else that appeals to you. This will help you to unwind, as the scent will have a relaxing and therapeutic effect on you. The same can be said for music. You can play relaxing sounds, such as sounds of the ocean, to give your bathroom a real spa feel.

Finally, when it comes to creating a luxurious environment in any room it is all about the little finishing touches. For your bathroom, there are lots of little finishing touches that you can add in order to create a more relaxing vibe and give you that added sense of luxury you are looking for. For example, you can invest in a heated towel rail so that you have lovely warm towels whenever you get out of the bath or the shower. Aside from this, you should ensure that you have a fluffy and luxurious rope hanging on the bathroom door as well as a pair of comfortable slippers so that you can wrap up warm whenever you get out of the shower. Other added touches include the likes of a good selection of magazines as well as some high-quality pampering products.

So there you have it; the ultimate guide to creating a spa feel in your bathroom! Follow the tips above and bring relaxation to your home.

Give Someone The Gift Of A Good Time

There is no denying that buying gifts can be difficult. With every year that passes by, birthdays and Christmases become more challenging. However, rather than simply buying people materialistic things, why not purchase them and experience gift instead? There are many reasons why experiences make better gifts, as you will discover in further detail below.

One of the main reasons why you should choose to buy someone an experience rather than a gift is because experiences last a lifetime. A material object may provide delight for a week or two, but an experience offers memories that will be cherished forever. You can give someone something that they can look back at and smile about forever. Not only this, but the excitement that is created in the run-up to the experience is also priceless.

There are also so many amazing experience gifts that you can choose from. If your friend or family member is a sports fan, you could book tickets for them to see their favourite sports teams. A lot of sporting athletes today also host events whereby guests can ask them questions and get to know them, which is another suggestion. For music fans, a concert is an obvious choice. You can also book tickets to festivals, as well as tickets to other attractions throughout the country, including theme parks and such like. This merely scratches the surface. One of the most spectacular gifts you can give someone is a helicopter ride. Pennine Helicopters gives you further information on the different options that are available, and you may be surprised to learn that they are not as expensive as you would think. Other options include paragliding, scuba diving and other adrenaline based activities. Or, why not give someone the opportunity to drive around in a luxury sports car for an hour or two? As you can see, the options are endless, and so you will never run out of ideas.

Not only this, but an experience is something that you can enjoy with the person in question. This will give you more of a social connection. And, of course, you will get to benefit from the money you have spent as well. Moreover, there is no denying that there is greater value derived from experiences as a whole. We all get tired of gifts but we value memories. Items may come in and out of fashion, but the thrill and happiness you get from an experience is something that will never fade.

As you can see, there was nothing better than giving someone the gift of a good time. If one of your friends or family members has a birthday coming up soon and you are trying to figure out what to give to them, make sure you consider an experience gift. This is bound to impress and it is the sort of gift that will not invite any competition because no one else will have thought to do something similar.

How to Get a Confidence Boost

It’s so easy to feel down about yourself these days. We live in a society that puts certain things in the spotlight and decides what’s beautiful and what’s not. Not only that, but we also live in this social media age where everyone shares everything. All it takes is a scroll down your Instagram timeline, and you’ll see plenty of models in bikinis with perfectly sculpted bodies, living their best lives. If you don’t look like that, then it can easily get you down, and you start to feel very low in confidence.

But, you can also feel a lack of confidence because of things not related to your looks as well. Sometimes, you have a bad day at work where you might make one tiny mistake, and it haunts your mind for days on end. You fall into a slump and start to feel like you’re not good enough; your confidence takes a massive hit.

The longer you carry on with low-confidence and self-esteem issues, the worse they become. It’ll get to the point where your mind is so negative that you end up forgetting to properly love yourself. So, keeping that in mind, here are a few simple ideas that will help give you a much-needed confidence boost, instantly!

Exercise For 30 Minutes

While some self-confidence issues are linked to other things, it’s fair to say that most of them are related to body image. Especially if, like I said earlier, you’re going on social media and seeing all the slim and trim women in their bikinis and tight summer outfits. The natural reaction to this is to just feel bad about the way you look compared to them, and your confidence dies.

However, you can do one simple thing to make yourself feel a little bit better right away. All you have to do is exercise for thirty minutes. Half an hour of intense exercise is all you need to give yourself a massive confidence boost. Exercise releases endorphins, which is a hormone in your body that’s proven to help you feel more happy and positive. Everyone always feels better after exercising, and you can too! If you really want to give yourself a massive confidence boost, then keep exercising for 3-4 days per week. There’s nothing worse for your body and confidence than just sitting around doing nothing - so be active!

Try A New Hairstyle

A lot of the time, you can give yourself a proper confidence boost by just changing the way your hair looks. Hairstyles come in and out of fashion, and there are loads to choose from depending on what suits you. What’s more, hairstyles are probably the easiest thing you can change about yourself. If you have self-confidence issues because you’ve got bad skin or a big nose, then you can’t really change either of those things in an instant. However, you can change your hair to give yourself a brand new look that makes you feel more self-confident when you look in the mirror.

My advice is to try a look that you’ve never attempted before; do something completely different to what you’re used to. This can help you see yourself in an entirely new light, and make you feel more love for your appearance. There are lots of trendy styles out there right now, but a couple of my favourites are crimped hair, short hair, and braids. Crimped hair is when you use a hair crimper to give your hair a really pretty zigzag pattern that looks wavy. It’s in-fashion right now, which makes it the perfect idea. Short hair is obviously very striking, particularly if you’re used to having long hair. Again, it can help you see yourself in a completely new way. Braids are just very pretty, and you can experiment with different styles as well. Changing the way your hair looks is such an excellent way of bringing out your natural beauty and helping you feel more confident.

Improve Your Posture
Have you ever caught sight of yourself in the mirror when you’re feeling down? If you have, then you’ll undoubtedly see a hunched over figure staring back at you. The more depressed you feel, the more rounded over your posture becomes. We have a tendency to just fall forward when we’re down - it’s almost like we give up and just let our bodies round forwards, so we become hunched and slumped over.

Well, you can improve your confidence by doing the opposite of this and sitting/standing up nice and straight. Improve your daily posture, and you’ll instantly feel much better about yourself. Try it right now and see what I mean. If you sit with your back nice and straight, shoulders set backwards, and your chest out, then you exude confidence. Other people see you as being more confident than you might actually be. It’s simple; carry yourself with a positive posture, and you’ll feel more positive about yourself. Now, when you catch a look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll see a completely different person.

Remind Yourself That You’re Loved

Everyone reading this is loved by someone. Even if you’re single, you’re still loved by family and friends. When you’re not feeling confident, it’s easy to get dark thoughts in your head that keep telling you you’re the worst and you’re not good enough for anyone. This is especially tough for people that are single and maybe struggle to find a partner for whatever reason. Or, if you go on a date but it doesn’t work out; you immediately get that complete lack of confidence.

It’s so important that you remind yourself that you’re loved. Talk to the people you surround yourself with; your family, friends, or maybe even your partner if you have one. Let them know how you’re feeling, and they’ll respond like any good person should - by telling you all the good things about yourself. Sometimes, all it takes is a hug from a loved one to make you feel so much better about yourself. It reminds you that there are people who care about you and love you deeply. This gives you such a mental boost that helps with your confidence.

Do Something You’re Good At
What’s the main underlying theme associated with a lack of confidence? It’s this feeling that you’re not good enough in some way, shape, or form. You might not think you look good enough compared to others, or you may feel less talented than some people. Either way, you just don’t think you have any strengths, and it gets you down.

So, the last thing you can do to give yourself an instant confidence boost is to do things you’re good at. No matter what you may think, everyone is good at something. The beauty of this world is that people display talents in many different ways. Maybe you’re a keen musician, or perhaps you’re really good at writing? Regardless, do whatever it is that you’re best at, and it will make you feel more confident. You get into a positive mindset when you’re doing something and are aware that you’re doing it well!

All these ideas are great for giving you a serious confidence boost when you need it the most. Remember what I said near the beginning of this post; the longer you let your confidence issues manifest, the worse they become. So, by having these ideas to give you an instant boost, you ensure that you’re not always stuck in a negative mindset, and can feel more confident!

*Collaborative piece

4 May 2018

Traveling Stateside: American States For The Bucket List

Heading to the USA may seem like one of those trips that would be bucket list worth, wouldn’t you agree? With so many states and destinations to choose from, you could spend your whole traveling life visiting every inch of it. However, there are some destinations in the US that are worth adding to your bucket list and should certainly be high on the priority list for your future holidays. For different reasons I might add. So I thought I would share with you five of them now to get you inspired.


Maybe Florida is one to add to your bucket list and I can tell you that there are many reasons as to why you should have it on there. Not only do you have the fabulous Orlando, filled with some of the best theme parks in all of the world, but you also some of the best beaches around. Miami beach, Fort Lauderdale and The florida Keys will have you escaping your real life and relaxing into that beach vibe in no time at all.


Maybe California is the one, the sunshine state and the place where not only do youa have the home of some of the studies for the top filmes we see at the cinema, but you also have cities like San Francisco and the indi vibe that Santa Cruz can offer. Staying in places like the Hotel Paradox means you are closer to the action of this fabulous location. California has something for everyone, and many people consider a road trip of this state to take it all in.

New York

The state of New York has many hidden gems, but one of the most iconic places happens to be New York City. You can walk down the sidewalks of Manhattan pretending you are a star in the latest Sex and the city release, you can shop until your heart's content in some of the most iconic stores, or just take in some of the best views around on top of the empire state building.


There is one thing for it when it comes to Nevada, and that is the adult sin city of Las Vegas. It happens to be on many bucket lists already, but as it might not be in yours, I thought I would include it in this list anyway. Seeing the sights and sounds of the lights and grandeur that is the Las Vegas strip, betting a bit of money on the roulette or slot machines, or just enjoying cocktails around the pool or taking in one of the famous residency shows. It really is a fun holiday to have.


Finally, we have the state of Texas and it really has a lot to offer in terms of a vacation. The musical capital of Austin has some of the best live music around, but there are also places such as Houston and Dallas that you can take in as well. Finally, if you like the chance to just sit and relax then you can people watch in the multicultural area of San Antonio.

I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next trip away.