Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturdays Playlist & Saturday Playlist Part Two

Well do i have a treat for you! This evening whilst putting together my usual weekend playlist, i found myself torn between two different directions i wanted to go down for the vibe of my playlist. I wanted to reflect what i have been listening to this week, yet this evening i have just been feeling Acid House. oh yeah, I'm into Acid house. You better believe it!

This first playlist is a mash up of tracks i have been listening to this week and music that has kept me sane during a fairly stressful and hot week. Maybe start off with this playlist if you are having a fairly chilled Saturday.

The second playlist is ACID HOUSE BABY... with the odd non-acid house track thrown in, yet keeping with the same sort of vibes. Last weekend a rave took place near where i lived and until late that evening i had no idea that it was going on and already had plans. Had i had known about this particular rave, i would have been there in a shot with my glow in the dark body paint and rave whistle! I own neither but lets just say i would have gone and thrown some shapes down.

ENJOY.






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Monday, 14 July 2014

Running The Race For Life





Last Sunday on the 6th of July i took part in the 10K Race for Life for Cancer Research UK. For the past few years i have wanted to participate in the race, mostly as a fun thing to do with my friends, but this year was the first year that i actually felt like it was something i needed to do.

Whilst i was living in Brighton i became involved with Macmillan by being a volunteer event assistant and one of the members of the project Team Up. I was sad that i had to leave those roles behind when i moved cities a little over a month ago. However i have every intention with becoming involved with Macmillan again in Leicestershire. Before last year i had never really been involved with charities that much; to me they were people on the streets collecting donations and adverts on the television. In October 2013 i decided that i wanted to know more about charities and what their goals were. I began to think more about what a charity was, what they were doing it all for, and most importantly, why that charity is necessary.
Last November whilst on a days training course for a charity calling centre i learnt a thing or two. The number one reason why people do not donate money to charities that telephone there house or approach them on the street is because people find it hard to picture that their few pounds is actually going to make a difference.

Is my £2 a month actually going to beat cancer?

It is the wrong questions that we ask ourselves that plant the doubt. Instead it should be...

Is my £2 a month along with the thousands of other peoples £2 a month actually going to beat cancer?
The answer, i believe, is yes. One day, yes it will.

After i realised this, i became fixated on raising money for a cancer charity and becoming involved with them. Unfortunately, i have to say that i did not just wake up one morning and decide i wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK or become a volunteer for Macmillan. It was due to loosing my cousin Lorraine to breast cancer, being told my granddad Geoff's cancer had become terminal, and most recently discovering my other granddad Derrick has cancer too. In all honesty, on top of feeling pain and sadness, i mostly felt anger. That anger gave me motivation to do something.
I soon became aware of the fact that i am not the only one who have family members that have been/are being affect by cancer. And i am certainly not alone with the fact that i want to fight against cancer and do all that i can to help cancer charities. The fight against cancer is a massive community. It is full of people with different stories and different reasons as to why they want to raise money and awareness, but everyones aim and goal is the same.
They are the reasons why i felt it was important for me to take part in the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK this year.

Up until March this year, i hated running! I have never been a particularly athletic person and running especially was not something i had ever been interested in. Even when i was obsessed with exercise, running was always something i would pass up on. So this year i challenged myself to get into running. I certainly did not want to spend most of the 10K Race for Life in a ball on the floor wheezing for breath after only a mile. I soon realised that you not only have to train your body, but your mind as well. You can run as far as you believe you can. After a few months of light training, i had reached a point where i could see the 10K being doable and not a complete struggle. Of course, i had periods where i was not training as good as i should have been. Birthdays, parties, moving, etc. little things seemed to be getting in the way a lot. A month before the race i had lost my confidence in running. I will admit that if i am worried i cannot do something or think that i am going to fail, then i have a habit of flaking out. Yet, this was the one thing i could not flake out of. The past few weeks i spent going for practice runs a few times in the week, running about 3-4 miles in the mornings. I even took up yoga to give me strength and see if that would help my running. And it did. It made me stronger.

After months of on and off training and talking about running, race day was finally here!! To be honest, the morning of the race i was scared shitless! After going for a quick 2 mile run when i got up to give my muscles a warm up and getting in a panic that i couldn't find my headphones, it was time to go. I was overwhelmed with a nervous/excited feeling on the way there. I was almost hyper, but i wasn't sure if that was due to having bursts of energy as i had eaten two Weetabix and two bananas before we left.
As soon as i saw everyone else in there pink t-shirts with their supporters, all the stalls for donations and face painting, and hearing the music playing from the big speakers, i knew i was about to do something important...and fun! I felt ready. I didn't feel nervous anymore, just determined.

After a bit of waiting around with my mum and boyfriend, i went off to take part in a warm up for everyone that was running the race. I could barely do the warm up moves properly due to laughing so much! Then before i knew it, they were telling us to go to the start line. I put my playlist i had made for running on shuffle, put my iPhone in my arm band, my headphones in my ears, and gripped my water bottle tight.

3 - 2 - 1 - GO!!!


Before i started the race i had told everyone that i was expecting to complete the 10K in about 1 hour 15/20 minutes. I was trying to be realistic and as per usual was thinking pessimistically about what i could achieve. I stopped a couple of times for water and a breather but surprised myself with my stamina and my determination to keep on running. The track wasn't correctly marked for the distance, so as i went around the track i had no idea how much of the race i had completed. When i realised i was near the end and could see the finish line i was relieved. I had no idea how long i had been running for, but felt if i ran any longer i was sure to get blisters. As i approached the finish line i noticed people had  crowded round to clap the runners that were crossing the finish line. I felt pressure from having people watch me, so even though i was exhausted, i picked up my pace for the last part of the race. I stole a quick glance from the finish line to look up at the time clock. I almost stopped due to my surprise. I had finished the race in 54 minutes. As i slowed to a pace, accepted my medal and made my way through the crowd, all i could think was one thing... "Fuck! I did it. I actually did it!". And then i spotted my mum and of course burst into tears. Yep, i cried. Sobbed in fact. It was then that it dawned on me that subconsciously i didn't think i was going to do it. And the realisation that i had achieved my goal and finally done something that i can be truly proud of, well it was all a bit over whelming.

I am so happy i took part in the Race for Life and proud of myself for exceeding my expectations. Most importantly though i raised money, even more than i had put down as my goal! I would encourage anyone to take part in an event like this, even if you do not personally know anyone who has been affected by cancer. It is just a great feeling to get involved in an event like the Race for Life.

A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me and supported me!

If you would like to raise money or get involved with a cancer charity, i will link some websites below for you to check out!

Peace & Love,
ALEX






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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Friday Playlist

Hello!

My apologises for being awol from my blog this week. I had a busy weekend, which tired  me out for most of this week. I have also been quite reclusive this week and have not wanted to be part of the rest of the world or the internet world. I am feeling better now, so i shall update you on everything that has been going on in my next posts.

Again, my apologises for not posting a playlist last weekend. So to make up for it i have created, what i personally think is a babe of a playlist! The past week i have been craving autumn. I am aware it is summer and i should be making the most of it, but for a self conscious recluse like me, summers not exactly all picnics in a meadow.

Therefore, i have created a playlist of some of the songs that remind me of the season autumn, which allows me to fantasise about golden leaves, sipping hot coffee indoors whilst it rains, and tartan scarfs.

Give the playlist a follow on Spotify. Let me know what you think! You can tell me by my twitter or commenting down below.

ENJOY.


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Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Little Things.








It has been a while since i have updated you on how i have been doing since moving back to Leicestershire. It has almost been a month since i have been back, however it feels like a whole lot longer! For the past few weeks i have been struggling a bit with the transition. If i am honest with myself, i have been in denial that i live actually live in Leicestershire now and not Brighton. During my last couple of weeks in Brighton, i do not think i had really thought about the changes that would happen once we moved back. Obviously i had an idea, yet i never really thought about how i would feel about them. 

For one thing i forgot how depressing the task of finding a new job is. I am aware of how bad unemployment in England is at the moment, particularly for our generation, but to be honest i thought i would have found a job by now. I seem to have gone into this weird unemployment lull, where i do not really know what to do with myself and prefer to shy away from anyone that might ask the dreaded question "Have you found a job yet?". 
In my opinion, having a job is having independence. And since having to give up my job in Brighton and become unemployed again in another city, i feel like my independence is being questioned. Of course, this could be debated as me being inpatient and overly sensitive on the topic. 

The second thing that i have struggled with since moving is seeing my boyfriend less and not having our own place yet. He works pretty hardcore hours so we have gone from having most of our days together to just having the evenings and part of the weekend with each other. Do not get me wrong, i am incredibly proud of how hard he has been working for the past few weeks. What makes me even prouder is that he is doing it to get himself out of the post uni debt and so that we can live our lives together again. He is the hardworking sensible one and i am the rebel to society, irresponsible one. So we balance each other out in a way. But i intend on changing that. Every time he leaves for work at 6:30am i get a twang of guilt run through me. Unemployment makes you feel shame in many ways, particularly if your other half is working his ass off and your not. 

I know i will find a job eventually. And i also know it might not be what i really desire to do, but at the moment i am willing to do just about anything. OPTIMISM IS KEY.  Or so they tell me...

Anyway, moving on from the depressing part of the post. I want to tell you about my day yesterday! After how i have been feeling recently, it was the perfect pick me up that i needed. I am still getting used to Market Harborough/Leicester again and to be honest, i have been mainly focusing on the negatives. Yes i have become one of those annoying people that go around saying "Well it's not as good as Brighton". Sometimes i am not even aware that i am saying it.
However, i am starting to cherish the little places i have found and now love! As you all know, i adore the Cook Shop cafe in Market Harborough, which does fucking good coffee! (Excuse my language, but sometimes there is no other way to describe something). Yesterday whilst in town with a friend after going to my new fav cafe, we stumbled upon a small Italian Deli. My favourite food is Italian. It just get my taste buds going and hands down i will choose italian food over everything else every single time. Pasta is the food of Olympus! Just saying... 
As you can imagine when i saw the Italian Deli, i just had to go in. I was drawn to it like a bee to a flower! I think my heart must have stopped when i laid eyes on all the different pasta, cured meets, cheeses, pastries, etc, that they had on display. Like i said in my recent post about how to survive in a new city, it really is the little things that keep you going, and this Italian Deli was my little thing! I immediately pictured myself and my boyfriend browsing the food and buying different things to eat at home. I felt excitement, which is not really an emotion i have felt much since being back in Leicestershire. It really is all about exploring your new environment and finding places that you love and makes your move feel worth while. 

What have i learned this week? 
Be more optimistic. Do not always blame yourself. And find the little things. 


ALEX
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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

My June Favourites | Non-Beauty Edition.

This month amongst discovering many brilliant beauty products, i have also stumbled upon many other gems that did not fit into the beauty category. Therefore, instead of doing one big massive "JUNE FAVOURITES" post that would go on and on for years, i have spilt june into two posts! Cleaver, i know! If you haven't seen my June Beauty Favourites post yet and fancy giving it a read, then i will link it at the bottom of this post!

In this post i am going to feature random things that i have been loving this month! Such as recent clothes purchases, music, drink, etc, etc. You may have seen me raving about them on twitter, or seen pictures posted of them on my Instagram! In which case you may have an idea of what i am about to show and talk about!

So, lets get down and dirty!...with my non-beauty June favourites!


1. My Favourite Fashion Retail Purchases of June. 





This month i really wanted to get some key items for my S/S14 wardrobe. Since i moved from Brighton and having a few weeks of unorganised clothes, then getting to grips with Leicester's shopping scene, i will be honest and admit that i have had many mornings looking in my wardrobe and being clueless as to what i am going to wear that day. Shamefully, i am one of those people that let not feeling good about myself in clothes really bother me. So i set a goal to buy not a few items that would be versatile to the rest of my wardrobe and that i would get a lot of wear out of. And as you can see, that is exactly what i did. 


The first item is the most softest and comfortable cardigan from Topshop. England Summer weather does not always translate as sunny and hot, so i wanted a cardigan so that i could keep warm but also show off any nice tops i might wear underneath. I love this cardigan as it has such a pretty light pink/nude/peach colour, which is perfect if you want to slightly move away from wearing white all the time but do not want to go out of your style comfort zone. 
Recently i have been pairing this with navy/black jeans, pretty tops and loafers/pointed toe slingbacks. I can also wear this cardigan in the autumn/winter which i am so looking forward too! Personally, i prefer A/W fashion to S/S...so BRING ON AUTUMN!! My apologises to all you Summer lovers out there. 


Next up is another great find in Topshop. Like i said, i am not a fan of a lot of high streets S/S14 products at the moment, so i have found shopping rather difficult. However, i discovered if i look hard enough then i can find hidden gems such as the cut-out gingham shell top featured above. This is pretty much my perfect summer top. I love every single thing about it... from the shape/style, the colour, the gingham pattern, and finally the little cut-outs that leave a little bit to the imagination. *wink, wink*. It is more suited to the warmer days for obvious reasons, yet i have still been wearing it a lot and just pair a cardigan (mainly the one i just spoke about) with it. 


One thing you should know about the next item is that we have a slight human to jumper love affair going on. Since i purchased this Jumper from Zara, i kid you not, i think i wore it pretty much every day for about 6 days. I know, i am a tramp. But i was a rather stylish tramp. 
Anything navy and white i will pretty much love straight away. Add stripes, dots, or pretty much any pattern to the mix and i am at the till buying it before you can say "How much?". The shape of this jumper is perfect if you prefer not to wear tight fitting clothes around your stomach. Personally, i tend to bloat after eating meals (it can even be a salad and i'll bloat! I should really see a doctor...) so this jumper is perfect for me and to be honest i like the look of baggy clothes anyway. In my opinion this jumper is a classic looking item that i recon would have been worn decades ago. So if you are into that type of style, then pop off to Zara and hook yourself up with this classic and beautiful jumper. 


Lastly, on the fashion retail part of this post are the Topshop nude pointed toe slingbacks. I have to say, i feel a lot more lady-like when i wear these shoes. As you might know, recently i have been loving the colour nude. Whether it is for clothes, my nails, shoes, etc, it is my go to colour for this season. I can get away with wearing these shoes with just about any outfit i want. I used to think slingbacks are a pain in the ass and always fall off the backs of your feet, however, i have gotten on well with these and they stay on my feet good and proper! They really are good if i want to take a casual outfit and make it a little bit more smart/stylish. 



2. St Eval Candle Company in "Spring Flower". 


Do you find yourself constantly drawn to candle displays? Is your house filled with more candles than you can count? Then you need to go to C.A. Candle Anonymous...

I am kidding of course... However, i do have a serious addiction to candles. I love them! I think candles can make any room look and feel better and they always put me in a good mood. My mum brought me this candle recently as a small gift for organising her 50th birthday party (I will put the link for the post at the end of this post if you are interested in reading it!) and i adore it. The thing i like the most about this candle is the pot. The pattern that goes around it is beautiful and it is suited for indoors and outdoors, so it can go wherever you feel like putting it. Personally, i have chosen to put this candle in my bedroom, but i do have bigger plans for it when me and my boyfriend move into a flat of our own.  The candle is called "Spring Flower' so as you can imagine it has a really pleasant floral scent which i think is perfect for my future kitchen. 
You cannot beat a good candle people, you just can't! 



3. Yoga Studios App For Iphone. 




 This month i have been in training for a 10K run i am doing for the Race For Life and also trying to get a semi ok bikini body. I am going to do a big blog post on my participance in the Race For Life and how i trained for it soon, but to give you a snippet of that right now i am letting you in a part of my training secret. 
Yes you guessed right! I have been doing Yoga! I have always wanted to put yoga in my workout routine but at the moment going to classes just isn't suitable to my lifestyle right now. I only want to start going to classes when i can fully commit. So for the present time i have been using the Yoga Studio app for iPhone. This is pretty much perfect for anyone who wants to start doing yoga but is not sure when they will have the time to do it. It allows you to either pick out ready made yoga class videos from their collection or you can custom your own classes. I have downloaded a few beginners class videos that are tailored for strength, balance, and runners.  They also have classes that have different durations of time, which is ideal if you can only fit in 15 minutes of yoga. The videos are really clear, visual, and relaxing. I am sure there are quite a few yoga apps for the iPhone but i really like this one and would highly recommend it! 



4. Iced Green Tea.


Recently i have been making homemade iced green tea! Tooting my own horn here, but it is so delicious and i cannot get enough of it right now. It is the perfect drink for a hot summers day and for straight after a workout or during if you want to keep your caffeine levels up. Obviously you can make this caffeine free as well, all you have to do is make sure you buy caffeine free green tea. 

So my recipe for iced green tea is as followed:

Start off like you would when you make a normal cup of green tea. However this time add 2-3 bags of tree tea to your cup. Add the boiling water and let your tea stew for at least 5 minutes. When you have a cup full of dark, strong green tea, take out your tea bags and allow to cool. 
When your concentrated green tea has cooled down, pour into a jug and make the rest of the jug up with cold water. That is your basic iced green tea. It is up to you if you want to add anything from this point on. Personally, i like to add half the juice of a lemon and some sliced lemon, a little bit of mint, a few strawberries. If it is still a little bitter then i will then add a teaspoon of honey. After you have added what you want to your green tea, put it into the fridge to get chilled. Then when you fancy some, get a glass, add a few ice cubes and pour over your homemade iced green tea.

Tip: Make the iced green tea in the evening. This will allow it to chill in the fridge over night, giving you chilled iced green tea for the next morning!



5. Lana Del Rey. Ultraviolence Album. 



If you listen to my weekend playlists then you will have a good idea of what i have been listening to this month. I have listened to a lot of different albums recently and after a good old think, i have come to the conclusion that my favourite new album out this month has to be Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence.  I get that she is a fairly controversial artist due to the content of her songs, particular in this new album, however, i love it and really admire her. I have always liked Lana Del Rey as i think her voice is similar to that of female artists in the 1950's, which is one of my favourite styles of singing. In this album she has really captured the old fashioned ways and made them her own. 
I am not a music critic and neither have i studied music, so i cannot really pick the album apart and give a good technical review of it. If like me you like fairly chilled out music with a great vocalist, then you will most likely enjoy her album Ultraviolence. 



That is all for my June Favourites Non-Beauty Edition! I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. I really like writing monthly favourites as it just gives me an excuse to reacquaint myself with what i have been loving that month. Please do let me know what you think by either commenting down below or getting in touch with me on Twitter. I would also like to hear what your June favourites are and what you would recommend, as i am constantly on the look out for new things to try/wear/listen to/eat & drink!! 


Peace & Love,
ALEX



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