What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | April 21

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | April 21

My time spent on Netflix hasn’t been quite as much this month because I bought Disney+ after much deliberation, so I’ve been spending a lot of time re-watching old school Disney Channel and thoroughly enjoying. I have ticked a few things off my list and a few things I’m very excited to talk about.

The Bold Type

My favourite. From the moment I read the synopsis, I knew if executed properly then it would be so up my street. The Bold Type follows three twenty something girls working at Scarlet magazine, a women’s magazine in NYC (think Cosmopolitan). The show navigates their career, love lives and is underpinned by the love, respect they have for each other and their friendship. From the clothes, to the events, to the glam, it’s all very sexy and It’s the ultimate ‘I wish this was my life’ show. It brought me so much comfort whilst thoroughly entertaining me. Working for a magazine as a writer is my ultimate dream, so I was living vicariously throughout the four seasons and enjoyed every minute of it.

Operation Varsity Blues The College Admission Scandal

I’d heard about this scandal when it hit the headlines because a few big name actors were involved, and subsequently sentenced to jail time because of it but I didn’t pay too much attention to what had happened. I put this on as background and before I knew it, I couldn’t tear my eyes from it. It was so interesting to see how it actually happened, how it was facilitated and the amount of money people have at their disposal. It was crazy but I’m so glad there was a form of justice served for the crimes committed. If you have a spare few hours, it’s well worth a watch.

Run

A thriller which follows Chloe, a young disabled girl who’s care is solely at the hands of her mother. Things are on track, she’s hopeful to go to college when she uncovers something that makes her question everything. It’s an hour and a half, which is my ideal length for a film. I really enjoyed this, gripping but not too jumpy and it had a few really good twists and turns. I’m not normally into thrillers, but it was trending no.1 and, having read a similar book with a similar plot in the past, I had an idea of how this one would go and I was right. I would recommend it and if you’re not into thrillers, watch it during the day and you’ll be fine.

Tales of the City

A ten-part series based on the novels by Armistead Maupin, the story begins with Mary Ann returning to San Fransico after leaving her daughter, and ex husband behind to pursue a career. The series focuses on the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, which is an apartment building and follows their lives. Think colourful Rent-esk characters but in modern day. Sometimes I was really interested in this, and other’s less so. There was some good storylines but I was a bit bored in places. Glad I watched it to the end, but probably wouldn’t watch another series.

The Crown

I mentioned this in last month’s post but I hadn’t finished it and this month I’ve watched the third and fourth season. I really enjoyed the last two seasons, probably more so than the first two (which I still really liked) because it was familiar storylines. The acting is outstanding, the characterisation is uncanny and it’s incredibly entertaining. I loved it, would absolutely recommend you give it a watch if you’ve not already… but you do need to concentrate, it’s not background watching.

That is my Netflix picks for this month, I can’t believe we’re now at the end of April already! I really hope you enjoyed reading, please let me know if you’ve watched any of the above or are now going to add them to your watch list. If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below.

Quick, Easy and Healthy Lunch Ideas

Quick, Easy and Healthy Lunch Ideas

When you’re busy, quick, healthy and filling lunches can be so difficult and sometimes half of the problem isn’t lack of time, but lack of inspiration. Since I’m been working from home, I eat differently than I did when I was in the office. Rather than not eating until lunchtime, I now eat around 10.30 and then have my lunch around 2, but I eat lighter. It’s so easy to just turn to toast, particularly if I’m busy, but I then get tired in the afternoon so these quick, health lunch ideas are staples in my weekly lunch routines.

Speedy Tomato Soup

Serves 2

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tin of White Beans (Butter, Cannellini, whatever you have in the cupboard)
2 Spring Onions (finely chopped)
Basil Leaves
Tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper & Seasoning of your choice (I recommend Paprika, Oregano, Nutmeg, Garlic and Chilli Flakes, but it it is to suit your tastes)
Optional:Cooked Chicken or Chorizo

Blend all ingredients with a stick blender until smooth. Warm over a medium heat until piping hot, check the seasoning and add more if required. You can serve with extra Basil, Chicken or Chorizo and a slice of sourdough. The quantities above will make two portions and you can store it in the fridge overnight.

I’d never thought of using tinned chopped tomatoes for making soup, but they’re so delicious. This is one I can prepare throughout the morning while I’m making tea/coffee and then just heat it up at lunchtime. The beans should keep you full throughout the afternoon but I’ve added the optional meats for more protein if you like.

Creamy Spinach and Pea Soup

Serves 2

100g Frozen Spinach
200g Frozen Peas
1 Garlic Clove
1 Stock Cube (chicken or vegetable, whichever you prefer)
Salt & Pepper
900ml Boiling Water
6 Basil Leaves (plus extra to serve)
Tbsp of yoghurt (to serve)

Add all the ingredients to a pot, along with 900ml of boiling water. Bring through the boil and then cook over a medium heat for 18 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool for a few minutes and then blitz with a hand blender. Portion it up and then finish with a spoonful of yoghurt (greek, free from, natural, whatever you prefer) and a few basil leaves.

One of my absolute favourites, and so easy to make. It’s full of goodness and the use of frozen veg means you don’t need to worry about having fresh ingredients or any preparation work. Simply throw it into a pot and away you go. If you wanted to take this to the next level, you could add pancetta or cooked chicken for extra flavour and texture.


Egg Wrap

Serves 1

2 eggs
Tbsp of cold water
Salt & Pepper

Filling of your choice – I love salsa and avocado; chicken and tomato; Quorn sausages or carrot and hummus.
The majority of things you would put in a toastie/ sandwich, will work with this.

Whisk the eggs, water and salt/ pepper together and then heat in a pan over a medium heat. Run your spatula around the edges of the egg as it cooks until it comes away easily. Once it’s cooked enough, flip and cook the other side for a minute. Leave to cool slightly and then add your topping. If you’re only looking for a snack, you can cut down to one egg if you have a small pan.

Eggs are a staple in my diet, I must eat them at least five times a week because they fill me up and they’re quick. We don’t eat a lot of bread in my house, so it’s not always in the cupboard so what bread is to others, is what eggs are to me. I love that this is so versatile and works for either breakfast or lunch.

I hope that has given you some inspiration, please leave a comment below if you’re planning to try out any of these recipes. What are your favourite weekday lunches?

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Dairy Free – Pure Heavenly Chocolate Review

Dairy Free – Pure Heavenly Chocolate Review

When I decided to cut dairy from my diet, I had a fair few moments of panic realising I would be saying goodbye to some of my favourite foods – cheese, cake, ice cream but most of all, chocolate. A self-confessed addict, a day doesn’t pass that I don’t have at least a nibble of chocolate. I knew I would be saying goodbye to to my dietary staple, or at least in the sense I knew it, and I made it my mission to find a decent dairy free chocolate.

I scoured the supermarket free-from isles, read lots of blog posts about accidentally dairy free treats (hello, Bournville) and searched the internet, which is where I came across Pure Heavenly. The brand interested me as it was aiming to be a healthier alternative to the sweet stuff with only 2% surgar, and around 128 calories per 30g (a standard Dairy Milk is 45g for comparison). The brand is also 100% vegan, dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, GMO and Palm Oil free. So you might be wondering, what actually is in it? The chocolate is made from cocoa butter, rice cream and sweeteners.

The variety of flavours available really was what piqued my interest. A variety of flavours including salted caramel, banana, strawberry, coconut, mint and orange in the milk chocolate variety. The dark chocolate collection has flavours including coffee, raspberry, cherry, sea salt and ginger. Bars can be bought in 85g or 3g size, they also do selection box style gift packs if you can’t choose or like a bit of variety.

I ordered the Milk Taster Gift Box which cost £12.50 and you get 8 30g bars in the following flavours: Banana, Orange, Silk, Coconut, Mint, Hazelnut, Strawberry and Salted Caramel). The flavours I was most excited by were banana, salted caramel, orange and silk, as the majority of supermarket free-from chocolates I’d tried had a somewhat grainy texture.

I started with the Silk and I can confirm it is smooth and silky that other free-from chocolate is just not achieving. It’s quite a mild taste and is sweet, without being too sweet. I was most excited about banana and actually, I was a bit disappointed as I wanted that artificial banana milkshake type flavour but it’s a much more natural banana flavour. My favourites were the salted caramel and orange flavours, I really liked the coconut and hazelnut too because they had flakes on the bottom so it was nice to have some texture.

My taste buds are definitely changing and moving on from the sweet, sugary chocolate to looking for deeper, rich flavours so I’m going to try the dark chocolate taster box next. Sour cherry, sea salt, coffee and ginger sound heavenly!

If you’re looking to cut down on your sugar, or have a diet free from dairy, gluten, wheat or soy, and are looking for a sweet fix, then I’d totally recommend giving Pure Heavenly a try.

Please leave a comment below if you’ve ever tried Pure Heavenly, or if there are any other free from chocolate brands you’d recommend.

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Why I Went Dairy-Free | April 2021

Why I Went Dairy-Free | April 2021

I was always aware of the link between what you put into your body, and your overall health. I knew I shouldn’t eat too much fat or sugar, I knew I should eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables and encorporate a balanced, variety of foods into my diet. I knew I should drink lots of water and limit my caffeine and alcohol, and I knew that If I ate rubbish then I’d feel rubbish. I’ve never been able to get away with a poor diet. Whether it be to maintain a healthy weight, or for energy, my body wouldn’t be long in reminding me that I wasn’t fuelling it properly. Despite feeling hard done to as a child, while my friends would live off beige foods and chocolate where as I could only have those foods in moderation, it meant when I became an adult and had control over my diet, it was a much easier transition. It also gave me an interest in nutrition and the relationship between how you fuel your body and how it affects you.

I was diagnosed with a connective tissue disease in 2019 and while it was a sight of relief, knowing there was something wrong with me for so long but not knowing what, it was a new thing in my life to manage which I felt powerless too because it’s incurable, and unpredictable. As I managed the first two years of my diagnosis, my body got used to the medication and it took me to a point where it was under control and we were as far as we could go in terms of medication. I was still frustrated because I was in a lot of pain at times, fatigued, and felt like I was losing control. I’d thought about a homeopathic route but in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt it was too much money to part with for a Skype call. The other thing I wanted to explore was the effect my diet could have on managing my condition. I’d read stories about how diet modification could improve conditions. Ella, from Deliciously Ella turned to a plant based diet to help with her conditions, and Nic Chapman from Pixiwoo has credited her diet in keeping her MS under control. I had read article after article about various diet options but as I have a sensitivity to dairy, I can eat it but if I eat too much I don’t feel great, I was interested to see if cutting it out completely would improve my health.

I made the decision fairly quickly so going cold turkey, seemed like a set up to fail. I decided for the month of March and up until Easter weekend, I would cut it out as much as possible but have the odd cheat day here and there for Mother’s Day, Easter, occasions. I also didn’t want to hassle anyone else with my dairy free diet while I was still tinkering with it. That would give me a solid fortnight off dairy to learn, settle into a new routine and see if I noticed a benefit.

I studied the free from sections of the supermarket and other than them being (at times) eye-wateringly more expensive, there wasn’t anything I found that I could haven’t have a dairy free alternative, which was assuring. From cheese, milk, yoghurt, chocolate, even condensed milk, there were options. Having a sweet tooth, I was nervous about giving up chocolate and even though I’ve found dairy free alternatives that I like, there is also some ‘accidentally’ dairy free products I’ve found which means I can still eat some of my favourite treats, like Bournville and Bourbon biscuits.

I cook a lot so found it pretty easy come mealtimes, but I did do a stock take and was surprised at some of the ready made foods that contain dairy like tinned soups and even some chicken sausages. I swapped cows milk for oat milk, switched cheese for free-from cheese which is coconut based and surprisingly delicious, I started blending cashews to make creamy sauces and swapped ice cream for soya based products. Dairy provides lots of vital nutrients so to supplement this, I made sure I was eating a vast range of veggies, I added more nuts, seeds and pulses to meals and nutritional yeast. I also take Vitamin D supplements so switched to Vitamin D + Calcium and now take a multi B vitamin daily and that seems to be working well so far.

Within the first week, I definitely felt better within myself which was a real positive and I didn’t find the dietary change difficult. My joint pain is definitely calmed down which is a huge benefit (although I’m pretty sure the dairy free has a lot to do with it, these conditions are unpredictable so I can’t say for sure that’s what it is). I’m not crippled with fatigue right now, but I haven’t been since Christmas so I haven’t noticed any direct impact, I suppose I’m moving more so should feel more tired, but I still feel pretty good.

After an indulgent Easter, I now have no interest in dairy products so feel like I’m in a good position to give it a real go and see if it makes a difference to my life. I am slightly worried about eating out, many foods contain hidden dairy so don’t want to eat it unknowingly, but I don’t have an allergy so I’m not as worried about cross contamination as someone with an allergy should be. Time will tell how I get on, but if it’s going to improve my quality of life, then I’m willing to try anything.

I plan to post a lot more dairy free content including things I’ve learned, accidentally dairy free treats and recipes so if you’re interested in that, or have any tips then please leave a comment below.

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Spring Home Decor Pieces Under £35

Spring Home Decor Pieces Under £35

We’ve all been spending much more time in our home spaces in the last twelve months but the same scene day in, day out can get a bit repetitive, plus since I’ve not been accessorising my wardrobe, I’ve been focusing on on accessorising my space with the seasons. I like a neutral, grey palette where I can bring in colours with the seasons and easily match out accessorise. I always like to make sure I’m getting bang for my buck, so here is some of my favourite spring homeware pieces, all £35 and under.

Nothing says brighter days are coming like the first glimpse of sunshine, this Hey Sunshine cushion from George at Asda is £8. I love the neutral background with the big, bold colours on it. It’s fun, has a mix of textures which makes it interesting. This will brighten up any space.

They don’t say April showers for nothing and there’s nothing more appealing than snuggling under a blanket on a rainy day. This Flower Super Soft Throw is light yet soft and the pattern is so spring like for only £6. Drape over your bed or at the end of your sofa for a pop of colour.

Sainsbury’s planter game is strong this season. What’s not to love about a faux Cactus in a bright, quirky Blooming Marvellous pot? From Habitat, this will set you back £6 and will liven up any space. If you’re looking for something bigger this Stay Wild Slogan Planter, for £15, is a statement. If you’re looking for something more colourful, this Home Novelty Paint Planter is £11and will liven up your space.

If I want quirky, or colourful, one of my favourite spots is Oliver Bonas who have unique yet stylish pieces all year round. If you’re spring cleaning, and organising your wardrobe this month, why not treat yourself to this bright Green Fabric Wardrobe Hanging Storage. At £35, it’s an investment but not only is it practical if you’re tight on storage, it’s also incredibly colourful and makes me happy just looking at it.

When accessorising a space, I am a big fan of a trinket dish, not only do they look great but they are useful and easily swapped out if you need a refresh. This Gold & Glass Star Trinket Dish from Oliver Bonas is perfect for your coffee or side table. For just £16, fill with flowers, decorative Easter eggs, your keys and even sweeties.

Nothing makes you ready for spring like an injection of greenery into your space. If you want low maintenance, faux flowers are a great way to create that spring bloom look. Primark has introduced faux single flowers into their homeware collection and they are a steal compared to other stores. Averaging £1.50 per stem, some of my favourites are the Dahlia, Eucalyptus and the Mimosa. They also have this Garland With White Flower for £5, which I think would look great wrapped around a mirror.

If I’m looking for prints, Etsy is my first port of call and I came across this London Photography Pink Car Bloom Landscape which I absolutely adore. Starting at £15 depending on your size, I love the bright pop of pink. I also love this Rainbow Balloons London Print which is greyscale at the edges and then goes into a multitude of spring colours. I love that these prints take ordinary. The prints in this store take ordinary photographs, things which aren’t necessarily focal points when you think of London, but take a fresh spin on them which makes them really unique.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and its given you some inspiration. Please let me know in the comments below if you have found any great spring accessories for your home space.

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What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | March 21

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | March 21

Since the country has been grounded for the third time, ‘what have you been watching?’ seems to come up in conversation with the limited human interaction we are allowed. Whether you’re bored, need to unwind or just escape for a while, it’s hard to imagine a world when Netflix wasn’t a thing.

Bridgerton

I finally gave in to the hype and watched Bridgeton and for ten episodes, I very much enjoyed it. Think a period drama mixed with Gossip Girl, mixed with porn. There’s a lot of sex in it to the point I though, do these kids ever tire? The Duke, lives up to the hype and I had all kinds of heart eyes watching him in it. The response I’ve seen to Bridgerton so far has been either, meh it was okay, or I’m going as Lady Whistledown for Halloween this year and no in-between. I am very much in-between, it was good and I enjoyed it but it fell short of one of the best things I’ve watched this year.

The Good Place

From the Gossip Girl days, I was a fan of Kristen Bell and The Good Place looked like a quirky comedy with twenty-odd minute episodes, perfect background watching. The premise of the show is Kristen’s character has died and admitted into “the good place”, but it becomes apparent that she’s there by mistake. I really struggled to get into this and it almost touched on sci-fi in places, which lost me even further. I struggled through the first two seasons before giving up with this one.

The Crown

The Crown was one I always intended to watch, but never got round to it. After watching Prince Harry on The Late Late Show with James Corden, he references how the show is fiction, but gives you an idea of the machine behind the British Monarchy so I tuned in. I’m just about to go on to season 3, which I’m super excited for, but the first two seasons takes you through coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the early years of her marriage to The Duke of Edinburgh. It’s fascinating, and my eyes have been opened. It is one you need to concentrate for though.

Mother’s Day

One of my favourite films, ever. I love films where the story has lots of different characters, and their stories end up crossing paths. It show’s the love of mother’s in a variety of formats and addresses death, strained relationships, those who’ve lost children, adoption and more. It’s a really heart warming story and a great watch.

I would love to know if you’ve watched any of the above shows, what did you think? For April, The One, The Bold Type and New Girl are on my list but if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. I have just bought Disney+ so I will be splitting my affections between both Netflix and Disney+, currently re-watching all my favourite childhood shows.

How To Save Money | March 21

How To Save Money | March 21

With many people spending less in the last twelve months due to lack of a social life, commute or just skipping those mid-morning coffee runs, we should all have saved a fortune, right? Some people have been squirrling away their extra cash at the end of the month, other’s financial wellbeing, or priorities have changed significantly, and some have been waking up in the morning purely for their ASOS order (and that’s absolutely fine). If you’re scratching your head as to where all your money has gone at the end of the month and if you want to start saving for a rainy day, or something bigger then here are my tips.

Unsubscribe from mailing lists

Whether you signed up at the checkout, for a discount or can’t even remember doing it. I used to get 20 emails every morning, all cleverly tempting me with things I had no intention to buy until I saw them. Do a check of all the emails you get and assess if you genuinely want to see the content, or whether you’re just scared of missing out on something. Unsubscribe. You can always re-subscribe at a later date and it will reduce any temptation.

Make your savings, bills

If you’re like me, your bills come out on the 1st of the month so come the 2nd, you know how much you have to play with. The mistake a lot of people make is they keep the money in their account and transfer to their savings at the end of the month. This doesn’t work for me because money burns a hole in my pocket if I think it’s disposable. Set up some direct debits for short savings goals (e.g. holiday or new clothes fund) and schedule them to come out at the start of the month. It essentially becomes a bill, but it’s your savings.

Out of sight…

Similar to my last point, I sometimes transfer the majority of my wages into a savings account then transfer money in as I need it. It makes you think twice before spending because you’re going to see your savings go down and down.

Lay it bare

Budgeting is boring but it works. Lay it all out to get a clear picture of how you’re spending your money. Create a spreadsheet, categorise and add each individual spend (even if it’s 99p). I only did this for a few months but it allowed me to see where the forgotten transactions had gone, and I’m now more conscious of it.

Give yourself pocket money

I used to see my wages as a target to spend now, I allocate myself money each week that is essentially, disposable. It’s for buying clothes, books, coffee – things I want, but don’t necessarily need. It means I don’t feel guilty for treating myself things, but I’m not frittering away money for no reason.

Look at your outgoings

Do you need Netflix and Amazon Prime? Are you paying anything you didn’t realise you were still paying? Did you auto-renew on your car insurance? Are you paying interest on your credit card when you could get a 0% interest card and transfer the balance? I’m not saying the answer to any of the above will always be yes, but it’s important you’re asking yourself the question.

Educate yourself on savings

Did you know you can get up to £1K of free money from the UK Government every year if saving for retirement or your first home? Do you know your interest rates on your savings account, and where you can check who has the best rates? MoneySavingExpert is a great place to start and I’ve learned so much and spending and saving.

Celebrate saving

There’s still a stigma around people who watch their finances closely are ‘cheap’ or ‘tight’, and lack of knowledge around your finances is a sign of wealth when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t feel guilty about not wasting money. Have conversations about saving with your friends and family, they will understand your priorities and you might even pick up some tips.

I hope some of the above has helped, whether you’re new to savings or just need to re-focus. If you have any thoughts, tips on saving money, or just want to say hello, please leave a comment below.

Ultimate Spring Lockdown Bralettes | March 21

Ultimate Spring Lockdown Bralettes | March 21

In lockdown 3.0, we’ve gone for comfort. My days now consist of cosy loungewear and don’t think I could tell you the last time I wore a proper underwired bra. I’m all in favour of a bralette, which have come a long way since their introduction. What used to be reserved for smaller chested ladies, can now be enjoyed by all bra sizes. With the shops still shut *sigh*, supermarkets and online shops are upping their game so I thought I’d put together some of my favourites.

George at Asda

I love George at Asda for certain things, namely their homeware and I didn’t pay much attention to their underwear because I’m a 32DD, they never had my size. I was in store when a few of these bralette’s caught my eye they are such a bargain.

For £10, you can get this Pink Lace Bralette set which is the bralette and two matching thongs- what a great deal. I love the v-neck cut of the bralette and the strap on the shoulder is great for support. The pink is pretty bright so if that’s not your thing, they also have this available in black. The £10 deal is mix and match, so if you’d rather two bralette’s for your money then you can do that.

For ultimate comfort, this Navy Leopard Non-Wired Bra and Short Set will also set you back £10 for the set. I love the colour, print and the material which is comfortable but fitted.

M&S

There’s not many British people who will think of underwear and not think of Marks and Spencer. The high street brand was with us from our first vests for school, to our first Angel bra and hopefully will be with us for many more stages to come. As someone who was bigger chested from a young age, M&S saw me through when my friends were buying £3 Primark bras and they were one of the first retailers I saw doing DD+ bralettes which were high street prices.

This Lace Trim Non-Wired Bralette Set in Mulberry features the perfect mix of comfort and style. Trimmed with navy, this set is incredibly comfortable but feels indulgent at the same time. The perfect weekend set. It will set you back £15.50 but both the Brazilian knickers and bralette are available in respective deals, so there is money to be saved if you’re buying more than one.

This Non-Wired Full Cup Bralette Set is most beautiful royal blue colour and with a floral lace, it’s the perfect spring number. If you like a high waisted knicker then you will like this set, it’s so feminine, playful and bold. The tight V neck style makes this bralette supportive and perfect for those with a fuller bust. This would be so cute under a loose t-shirt, where you just get a cheeky peek. This is £26 for the set so pricier than the sets above, but there is a lot of detailing in this set.

My last M&S pick is this Satin & Lace Non-Padded Bralette Set which is from the Autograph range. It’s £28 for the set which comes with a bralette and high-leg knicker. The mixture of satin and lace gives this a luxurious look and is pretty but flirty, perfect if you’re looking to dress up a little with your underwear. This is a bright blue colour which looks like it has a hint of turquoise running through. While silk and lace might make you wince, it looks really comfortable and has a really flattering finish at the hips.

Gilly Hicks

Since the trauma of never being able to fit into a Hollister triangle bikini/ bra’s as a teenager, Gilly Hicks has come a long way in the last ten years. When it first came to the UK Hollister was viewed as a brand reserved for a certain type of person but I would consider the brand to be both diverse and inclusive. They offers a variety of bralette styles for different preferences and body shapes. I loved this Seamless Reversible Bralette. For £19, you’re getting two in one and while I think I’d wear mostly the first style, the second is very cute. I love the seamless material as it just moulds to your curves. If black isn’t your colour, they have this in green and white also.

Nothing says spring like a pastel colour, and this lemon Crochet Lace Longline Bralette will put a smile on your face when you see it in your drawer. I love the banding round the ribcage and love the fact that it’s longline. Setting you back £19, this is so floral, fresh and pretty but the straps are quite thin, so maybe not the best for larger busted ladies.

Everyday Facial SPF | February 21

Everyday Facial SPF | February 21

The sun came out this weekend, you could’ve taken your jacket off from the first time since September and it was a welcome reminder for all that brighter days are coming – hopefully figuratively and literally. If you’re in to skincare and frequently use acid products, you may be familiar with pink face that comes with reminder that you forgot your SPF. You should wear at least SPF 30 on your face, everyday from April to September and particularly if you’re using acid products (niacinamide, retinol to name a few) they make your skin much more sensitive to the sun so if you go out unprotected, even for a short time with a weak sun, you could do yourself damage.

I learned about facial SPF from Caroline Hirons and she has a really helpful guide which you can find here. I haven’t found one that I love yet, so I’ve tried a new brand every year but before we go into the SPF products, a few main points:

  • SPF degrades every year, so you can’t use last years. Keep this in mind when you’re purchasing as the big size is often better value, but still a waste if you won’t use it all.
  • Don’t buy fancy moisturisers with SPF as the SPF is so over powering, you’re most likely not going to get the benefit of the products other than the SPF, it’s better to use separate products.
  • SPF that goes on last will always be more effective than ones that sit under your make-up but you need to make the call about when you apply SPF based on your exposure and climate e.g. I would put it on under make-up if going to work all day, but if I’m out in the sun for a significant period then I’d put it on last.
  • You can’t add SPF up so if you have SPF15 in your moisturiser and SPF15 in your foundation, you’re not wearing SPF30, you’re only wearing the highest SPF of the products you’ve put on so SPF15 in this example.

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF50 Face Cream – £18 for 40ml or £22 for 60ml

In terms of protection, this checks a lot of boxes – SPF 50, PA ++++, anti pollution and 24 hour moisture makes this the perfect city SPF. It’s lightweight and suitable for sensitive skin. My skin took to this pretty well and I would probably re-purchase. I don’t love it because I’m still aware it’s sun cream and it’s got an element of greasiness but it’s not terrible. I did see they brought out a mist in this range, but I wasn’t quick enough to buy it so I might give it another go this year. This is a crowd pleaser and normally sells out pretty quick from about Easter, so I’d snap this one up if you want it.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Day Lotion SPF30 – £16 for 50ml

As I couldn’t get said spray last year, I opted for this one instead and it was probably my least favourite I’ve ever tried. This has a milky texture rather than cream but it just smells of being on holiday and getting body suncream lathered on your face as a child (not in a good way). I found this irritated my eyes and was greasy on my skin. This might be better for someone with drier skin but I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t finish, nor would I repurchase.

Simple Protect ‘N’ Glow Radiance Booster SPF30 – £7.99 for 30ml

This was new to the market last year and as a Simple fan, I tried a few products in the range. This also offer pollution control and is an oil that you apply before, or after moisturiser. I always used it before and it made my skin really glowy and healthy looking all day. Definitely not one for oily prone skin, my skin is a bit hot and cold so I couldn’t rely on this to get me through the full summer, but I did really like it and would re-purchase. They do have a moisturiser which I couldn’t get last year so hoping I’ll be able to try that this year.

Products I want to try

The Inkey List SPF30 Daily Sunscreen – £14.99 for 50ml

I like the no-frills approach to the Inkey list and it’s exactly what you need when SPF shopping, as you’re essentially looking for the one thing.

Glossier Invisible Shield – £20 for 30ml

A brand I’ve never tried but always wanted to, so this year I’m absolutely buying this product. It’s supposed to have a serum texture which sounds perfect and I’ve heard great things about it.

My Tips

Assess what you’re paying for, are you paying £30 for a moisturiser with SPF because if so, you can ignore what the moisturiser is supposed to do… you’re paying £30 for SPF30. This took me the longest to get my head around.

Don’t leave it too late. Come April, everyone is looking for it and products sell out, do your research and buy now or know what you’re looking for.

Read the reviews. I don’t think the majority of brands have nailed SPF skincare as of yet so it can be hard to find one that gets on with your skin.

Are there any facial SPF products that you would recommend? Or have you tried any of the above, I’d love to know your experience.

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | February 21

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix | February 21

Since the country has been grounded for the third time, ‘what have you been watching?’ seems to come up in conversation with the limited human interaction we are allowed. Whether you’re bored, need to unwind or just escape for a while, it’s hard to imagine a world when Netflix wasn’t a thing. Last month I posted what I watched in January and in February, I watched some real gems.

I Am Woman

This film tells the story of Helen Reddy, an Australian born singer who moved to America to make it in the music industry but struggled in the misogynistic world until she wrote the unofficial anthem for the women’s movement and inspired females everywhere. While you might not know the name, you will know I Am Woman – even if it’s from Sex and the City 2. It’s a great Sunday afternoon film with some excellent music in it. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Superstore

Five seasons of pure gold. A light hearted sit-com starring America Fererra and Ben Feldman, is centred around superstore, Cloud 9. The characters are real and diverse, the comedy is genius and there’s some heart warming (and wrenching) storylines which makes the show one of my favourites in a while. At twenty five(ish) minutes an episode, it’s an easy watch but I have become obsessed with it. The storylines are fulfilling, it tackles real issues but with comedy littered throughout. Cannot recommend this enough.

Cheat

A four part British drama about a university lecturer, Leah, who accuses a student, Rose, of cheating in her dissertation. Rose’s less than pleased reaction when she fails triggers a chain of events when things get out of hand really quickly. A psychological thriller which has bits that have you on the edge of your seat but without being too intense to enjoy. Overall, I liked it. The story lines are a bit predictable, I generally find these things are. The characters were really well played and there was a good element of tension. I think it was a perfect length for this type of show and it had a really good ending.

Suits

I loved Suits whilst I was at university but I stopped watching after season 7 when I gave up my Netflix temporarily and never got round to finishing it. I had been recommended that I start watching again and I’m so glad I did. I fell back into this like riding a bike. The series changes after season 7 but it looses none of its charm. I would highly recommend this if you’ve not watched, it’s charming, exciting and intense with some of the best characters in television. It also has an incredibly satisfying ending, one of the most satisfying endings to a TV series ever. I loved it that much, I’m most likely going to re-watch from series one.

Ratched

When I told people I was watching this, I was met with a marmite reaction. I knew from ten minutes into the first episode, it was going to be too gory for me. It’s brutal and incredibly close to the bone- not for the faint hearted. I struggled through the majority of this and didn’t find myself focused on it until the last two episodes, which is when I became interested. If the gore isn’t too much for you, you’ll probably love it but if you’re not a fan of gore, you probably wouldn’t like it.

I would love to know if you’ve watched any of the above shows, what did you think? Equally, if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments. Bridgerton and The Good Place are on my list for March.