LIFESTYLE/ Ways to get into sleepy mode

I sleep really badly. When people say they sleep like a baby and they mean well, I sleep like an actual baby – waking up regularly, wriggling around and getting upset with mysel that I can’t nod back off. We’re always being told by experts that we need to get ‘enough’ sleep to be able to function effectively, and about 90% of the time I don’t!

I’ve tried various things to get a more restful night’s sleep that have helped to improve this over the years, so I’m sharing the top 5 things I now use regularly that work for me.

1. A relaxing shower. Palmolive Milk and Honey shower gel

Having lived in homes and areas for the past decade that have had very low water pressure, iffy temperature control and dry old facilities, I have learnt that this step is definitely not to be underestimated! A lovely hot shower (as warm as you’re comfortable with) is physically very soothing on your skin and muscles, so adding in a product that has a relaxing and calming smell on your skin for the rest of the evening really helps me to wind down. I’ve used this Milk and Honey shower gel for years, it’s historically been the one I’ve taken on holiday with me for the precise reason that I find the smell relaxing. I now alternate between this and Imperial Leather Marshmallow – the scent is is very subtle and uplifting; it’s described on the bottle as ‘comforting’ which I most definitely agree with.

2. Sleepy body lotion, Lush

I’ve heard mixed reports in this since buying it; like any product it will work well for some people and not for others, however I’ve found I respond pretty well to this when used with other things on this list. I bought this without having heard about it’s cult following in summer last year – it was simply an impulse purchase because I adored the combination of the lavender and cocoa scents. I don’t have a set way in which I use this; sometimes I put it all over, other times I just use a little on my pulse points.

3. Comfortable clean PJs

Again, it may sound really obvious to suggest this, having great nightwear is as high priority as having any other kind of staple/go-to item in my opinion. What people find comfortable to wear in bed is vastly different and very much a personal choice but I would say the top things to consider across the board would be:

– Temperature. What sort of heating conditions are in the room you sleep in? If it’s a warm room or you have a really thick duvet, you may prefer to have lighter sleepwear. If you have a fan on/window open/ there’s no regular heating, you may something thicker is going to keep you toaster, and therefore asleep for longer. I personally like to have a mixture of items to suit all temperatures so have sleep t-shirts and full length PJs in my wardrobe.

– Fabric. What fabrics do you like the feel of and find nice to wear for long periods of time? I like jersey as it moves and washes well and feels soft against my skin which relaxes me more.

– Style. What features do you need to ensure your sleep isn’t interrupted? For me, if I’m wearing PJs I can’t stand it when the leg ride up in the night, so I usually opt for a more fitted style (e.g. Leggings) so that they stay put. I also like patterns that are a little more quirky and and fun, I’m partial to a slogan or print.

4. Pukka Night Time tea

Most people find having a cup of something warm a pretty relaxing thing anyway, but a herbal tea can really ramp up the effects of this. I’ve noticed quite a few launch over the past few months too so there are plenty of brands and blends to choose from to find the one that may suit you best. Anything containing camomile as a base ingredient is usually a winner I find. Little tip – have this at least an hour before you go to bed, you don’t want to be woken up needing to pee!

5. DVD

I struggle with complete silence a lot of the time and going to sleep is no exception. I like to have s little bit of background noise to drown out, I can’t explain it very well but it kind of helps me concentrate on going to sleep. If this is something you’re going to try, I’d recommend putting something on that you’ve watched hundreds of times before so that you don’t feel like you have to concentrate and can passively listen to. For me this is a comedy DVD – I’ve watched many of mine so often I know what’s coming up, and they’re about as long it takes for me to drift off so that hubby can switch it off without me complaining I’m still awake.

I hope that by sharing some of the things I use you will be able to have a good or better night’s sleep in future. It’s by no means a perfect science and there will still be times where nothing will work sadly, but these certainly improve the quality and/or quantity of evening rest I get.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


COMEDY/ Jason Manford: Muddle Class (January 2018)

My first ever comedy post!

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to start including comedy gig reviews as part of my regular aesthetic – comedy is a huge part of my life and I go to a lot of shows every year, so it makes sense that I would include on my blog alongside other things I’m passionate about. I had a few of these planned throughout 2018, so I hope that you enjoy reading them and that it inspires you to go along and see some of the people featured (for that reason, I will try my best to minimise ‘spoiler content.

I’ve seen Mr Manford live a couple of times previously and have enjoyed his performances – with some comedians I’ve liked on TV in the past I’ve been left disappointed when they’ve not quite lived up to my expectations in the flesh.

Jason visited Hull City Hall on the 2nd night of his 180 date Muddle Class tour, so I saw his new material hot off the press. The performance lasted around two hours and there was a short interval in the middle – a lot of big name comedians have support acts, however Jason is quite open that he doesn’t because he’s a “tight arse” and won’t pay for somebody to do something he can do himself! It makes the ticket price better value for money as you’re seeing more of who you’ve booked to enjoy for the evening.

He knows his audience well and covers a variety of subjects in his very Northern, observational style of humour – in the first half this included the education system (he has 5 children), political correctness gone mad and the point at which you realise you may be overweight (highlighted with an anecdote about getting lodged in water slide).

The second half was just as good and really appealed to my life in particular – inconsiderate/ hypocritical drivers (I do a fairly long commute to work each day and I cannot tell you how annoying – and scary – it is when drivers coming towards you or right up behind with lights so bright that you can’t see anything). The ‘Jeff from speed awareness’ section was particularly funny.

Jason also discussed the name of the tour, Muddle Class, and what it means – the daily struggle between the class you were brought up in and the classes you seem to toggle between as an adult and, more amusingly, what happens when your kids are living in a different class to the one you grew up with.

He ended the show with an insight into being a father of lots of children in a “modern situation”. It’s not one too many people can relate to but his advice was this – once you pass three, forget about having a normal or decent car!

Verdict

Did I laugh out loud? Yes – A LOT (though I should point out that I find a lot of things funny that I don’t necessarily laugh out loud to, so this wouldn’t have been a deal breaker)

Would I buy the DVD of this tour? Yes. Jason’s brand of comedy remains funny, relevant and easy listening.

Will I go and see him live again? Yes. His material is still fresh and enjoyable (which I think it probably helped by not touring every single year and pursuing other things – he’s recently made an album and has performed in the west end)

I hope you enjoyed reading about something a bit different, I have more planned throughout the year in between my usually fashion with a bit of food/beauty/lifestyle thrown in.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FAHION/ My NTA’s best dressed (2018)

Awards season is my fave for celeb outfit spotting! And last night’s #NATawards provided lots of talking points for the looks that people chose to wear. Here, I’m sharing my favourite 5 outfits from the red carpet (in no particular order):

1. Toff

The jungle queen looked like a beautiful princess – the blush pink colour works really well with her skin tone and hair colour, and the style has the right amount of sexy with the strapless bustier whilst remaining demure and girly in the flowing skirt and ruffle detail. Great call on no jewellery and the half up do to keep the dress front and centre, and the length means that she could’ve changed into a sneaky pair of flats to party the nigt away and nobody would know!

2. Rochelle Humes

I usually do enjoy Roch’s style so it’s no surprise that I’m pashing on her – she is a total glamazon! This purple shade is totally popping for al, he right reasons, and I adore that the gladiator-style heels are the main accessory of the look as they add an extra dimension. Her hair looks beautiful in its natural glory (I’m fairly sure she has embraced her natural curls to show her eldest daughter that they are beautiful and should be embraced, agreed) and is a great co toast from the sleek silhouette of the dress.

3. Olivia Attwood

This dress is a very sexed up version of Toff’s but I still totally dig it. The powder blue (pastels were definitely the vibe for a lot of stars weren’t they?) looks beautiful with Olivia’s tan and hair, and the shape of the dress shows of her figure to perfection. THIS is my gym-spo for today! Really like the Hollywood waves hair tucked behind the ears to pare it back against the look, and the pop of Metallica in the earrings and stilettos is subtle but cool. The only thing I’m not keen on is the clutch bag, I feel like that should have been in the same metallic as the other accessories to tone in nicely.

5. Ruth Langsford

This is the smile of a lady who knows what shape and colour works well for her and is working it! I’m such a fan of an off the shoulder look as it’s just so flattering, and I’m a sucker for matching your lip colour to your outfit. This is exactly the sort of look I would wear to a black tie event, completely timeless.

5. Laura Whitmore

My fashion muse has one again KILLED IT in one of the more alternative looks of the night, I also really liked Suranne Jones’ take on the tuxedo instead of a dress, but The Whitmore will always be my winner. It such an understated but eye catching look all at once – the cleavage flash (I’m getting such 90s vibes from this – who else remembers blazers being worn with a Wonderbra underneath?) flattering trouser length, killer heels, sassy hair and colour pop bag. We are not worthy!

So that’s it for another year, but this has definitely made me excited to see what looks will be gracing the next major UK red carpet, The BRITS.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FASHION/ Fashion Favourites – January 2018

As I’m currently on a spending detox and am therefore only shopping within my current closet, I thought it seemed like a good time to share the items I’ve been wearing the most recently and why I like them:

1. Belted ribbed cardigan, Topshop

Towards the end of last year I became a little bit obsessed with oversized cardigans, as this is one of the easiest colours I have it tends to get worn the most as I can chuck it on over anything. As the winter has been a little milder in my part of the world I’ve found it a really useful alternative to a coat when travelling short distances as it’s really thick and cosy.

2. Mom jeans, ASOS

As well as the black pair I featured throughout my ‘favourite outfits of the past year’ post, I also picked these babies up in blue. They’ve become my unofficial ‘off duty’ jeans as they’re a bit more of a relaxed fit and they can be pared with practically everything else I own for casual day to funky evening wear.

3. Baker boy hat, Topshop

I haven’t had a good hat for ages, and I’ve been wearing this non-stop. It’s been great for still feeling put together when I can’t be bothered to make much of an effort.

4. Sweatshirt, Tee and Cake

I just really wanted a pink jumper for some reason! I’m loving this with my mom jeans and trainers for running around at weekends, I feel very slouchy and cute.

5. Sneakers, Converse

I’ve been reaching for these as my first choice most weekends for the past couple of months, but since I’ve started a job that has a more casual dress code I’ve been wearing them almost every day for work too. They feel pretty secure on my feet while I’m driving as well as hard-wearing whilst I’m generally running around.

6. Red ankle boots, Public Desire

My feet feel so extra in these! The heel is just my ‘happy height’ (about 3ins) so I can be on my feet in them for a while, and they’re an awesome way of adding a colour pop to an outfit.

So far staying clear of the shops seems to be going ok – that said it’s only been a couple of weeks; I have four more to go! I hope you’re all doing well with your own goals if you’ve set them, if not then well done continuing to slay your way through life.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


BEAUTY/ How I keep my hair healthy

At the start of last year my hair was very, VERY mad at me. Apparently it didn’t like being blonde as much as I did! It became horribly dry and frayed, luckily I had the lovely Chelsea and the Cook Hair Anlaby gals to help get it back to a good place. After months of nourishing darker tones, my locks are now very happy (and looking very nice, I must say) with some subtle copper highlights running through the mid section.

Taking good care of my hair is now extra important so that I keep it healthy, so here I’m sharing the top three products I use to achieve this in between salon appointments


Herbal Essence Daily Detox Clean shampoo

I’ve never found a shampoo that’s really fit me before, but this formulation seems to really agree with my hair. I started using it about three months ago and have since noticed that my hair is shinier than it’s ever been when I’ve washed it at home, I’ve had a lot of compliments to this effect too. It’s safe for colour treated hair so doesn’t make it fade or even turn brassy, surprisingly for me.

I know you’re meant to alternate what you use every so often but I haven’t used another brand since getting this. I’ve recently bought the Daily Detox volume (pictured) to alternate with which is crimson orange and mint, which seems to be working pretty well so far.

Milkshake Incredible Milk

This brand is used at my salon and smells delicious, so I picked up a bottle of this to kick my home hair routine up a gear when it was really suffering. It’s worked brilliantly – six squirts into the palm to distribute through the lengths before blow drying keeps my hair soft.

Wet Brush lil

Last year I picked up a full sized Wet Brush for home, but this beauty lives in my wash bag so I can use it on the go. It’s perfect for combing product through my hair after I’ve washed it as well as keeping tangles in check, my hair is prone to knotting but has been pretty good since investing in this.

I hope sharing my hair heroes may help if you have any similar problems – I’m recommending these alongside the care I get from regular touch ups, toners and trims at a professional salon, which isn’t always cheap but worth investing in if you have the money to do so.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FASHION/ My favourite outfits of the past year (2017/18)

Since I’m now deep into shopping detox mode (see this post which explains it a little more) I’m focusing on the items I already have in my wardrobe, not the ones that I desperately covet!

I thought this would be a great time to look back at some looks I’ve enjoyed wearing over the past year to remind myself of how my preferences have changed and what I have waiting to be worn again.

January

Jacket, Pretty Little Thing (similar here) / Tee, Pretty Little Thing

I genuinely felt like a human firework in this faux fur jacket – pretty apt, given that I wore it to watch a fireworks display! It was New Years Day 2017 and Hull was celebrating being the City of Culture with the ‘In With A Bang’ display. The rest of the look was a unisex fit Raiders tee and leather look trousers; I decided to keep everything pretty dark to let the coat stand out. I definitely started the year feeling cool .

Coat, Topshop (similar here) / Jumper, Miss Pap / Jeans, Topshop / Boots, Miss Pap

I wore this outfit, or a variation thereof, pretty mist most of January and into February. As I was feeling pretty vulnerable about my expanded shape I zeroed in on a look that I thought looked fairly stylish and for me – a choker jumper with distressed hem, skinny jeans, these Chloe imitation boots and big coat.

Even though I’m feeling a bit better about how I look now I’d still wear this look as it’s really casual and easy to throw on whilst looking on trend.

February

T-shirt dress, Pretty Little Thing (similar here) / Trousers, Next / Heels,  Pretty Little Thing

This outfit may look a little more daring for someone who says they’re not feeling their best, however putting weight on meant my boobs were a bit fuller so I was happy to show them off a bit! However the first time I wore this tee was as a dress (which is how it’s meant to be worn) with OTK boots, but I felt I needed a bit more on to make me feel more confident so added the trousers.

July

Jeans, ASOS / Slides, EGO / Duster coat, Boohoo (similar here)

I decided to jump head first into a trend I’d avoided for AGES – mom jeans – and quickly became obsessed. I find them comfy, flattering around the waist and hide the bits I don’t like of my legs quite as much. These slides were probably my most worn footwear of the summer as they’re so easy to chuck on everything, however they’re probably what I got the most stick for too “are you wearing slippers?” nope, I’m just that sassy people!

August

Top, ASOS / Jeans, ASOS / Mules, Dorothy Perkins (similar here)

I just need to say this again: I went to Carrie Bradshaw’s house!! (In case you’re not familiar, this pic was taken on her street. Proper pinch me moment for this SATC fan girl).

Still sticking with the mom jeans but I tentatively tried a *bit* of a racy top – cropped, ties/open front sections and a little cleavage on show. With the high-waisted bottoms I felt it worked well, however I don’t think it worked quite as well sitting down (loose bits flying everywhere) which was a bit of a shame.

November

Coat, Topshop (similar here) / T-shirt, Topshop / Jeans, Topshop / Mules, Dorothy Perkins (similar here) / Sunnies, Noughts and Kisses

I started to take baby steps to building my confidence back  with and chose this outfit for my first OOTD shoot in months. Ironically; every item was already in my wardrobe (I’d only usually shoot something new before as I worried I wouldn’t be ‘accessible’ or relevant enough for people to care) so working with what I have is something I’m clearly capable of doing! I liked mixing the stripes and leopard print to be a bit more interesting, the dark tones tied them together really nicely.

Jacket, Pretty Little Thing / Jeans, Topshop / Boots, Public Desire / Hat, Topshop

This was the month I decided to embrace some seventies styling and realised that it made me feel more confident as well as on trend. The flared jeans balance out my legs, and the hat covered a bit of a bad hair day (as it has done frequently since). I think this is a look I’ll be wearing for a while yet!

December


Jacket, Topshop (similar here) / Top, Topshop / Jeans, Topshop / Boots, Public Desire / Beret, Topshop

This was a spur of the moment outfit thrown together for a Christmas Eve Eve trip out with the Mr. I liked the ruffle trouser trend over the summer but never got round to buying any. Then I saw these babies – they’re part of my favourite Jamie range, AND they were described as ‘mermaid hem’. SOLD! Teamed with my still fave go-to, the funnel neck and my Kate Moss coat (I’m pretty sure this is her exact one too) I felt very like myself but with s bit of a twist. To mix it up even more I added a beret which adored (and successfully covered another dodgy hair escapade).

Ending the year with a decent look has bolstered my confidence for 2018, fingers crossed I can keep the momentum going!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


FOOD/ My top #HullFoodie hangouts (Season 1, 2018)


Food will ALWAYS remain one of my life’s passions – for me it’s a great way to be sociable and gain enjoyment from life.

For those of you that live in the Hull area or fancy coming up for a visit, I’m sharing some of my favourite places to go throughout 2018 – there’ll be a post every quarter featuring different places, so by the end of it you should have a directory of great recommendations!

Hitchcock’s

An “oldy but goody” this is a cult institution of our fair city! Based inside a converted house just off High Street with shabby-style decor, this is a vegetarian restaurant that packs a punch. Don’t let the lack of meat put you off – I promise you will not miss it!

Each evening is a different themed cuisine, which is chosen by the first table to make a booking for that date. A sharing starter will be served to the table, followed by a buffet main course and dessert (desserts are usually the same on any evening). This comes in at around £20 per person and includes after dinner tea/coffee. They also allow you to bring your own alcohol for a small corkage fee.

My best advice: pace yourself. They serve food kind of late (starters coming out towards 9pm) so make sure you have a late afternoon snack. Oh, and don’t make plans to go out drinking afterwards; you won’t make it that far.

El Toro

A few tapas joints have popped up in the city over the past couple of years, however I think this one is the best in terms of quality and value for money. The location down Newland Avenue also makes it great to enjoy some really cool bars before if afterwards.

There’s a very decent selection of dishes on the menu that are really nicely presented, as well as being pretty big in size. This place is ideal to enjoy either enjoy a light meal during the day or as part of a night out, or something more heavy is this is the main event.

Nibble

This place is small but mighty – if you’re in the marina/ Humber Street area and want a good place to go for brekkie or lunch, come here.

They can make pretty much make any kind of sandwhich in most breaded forms; they’re definitely not the cheapest but they are yummy. During colder months they also offer delicious home made soups which are a nice alternative. If you’re eating in there’s some great weekly specials to choose from and they regularly take requests from customers, including me! The picture above is a special burger they created at my suggestion, which became one of their most highly requested specials of 2017.

The Brain Jar

If you like food that’s hearty and comforting (particularly pizza) and cocktails, this is the place for you. It’s a hipster joint located very close to many of the city centre’s main bars that offers delicious food at decent value alongside pretty much any kind of alcohol you’d want. It makes for a really nice low key lunch/dinner spot and somewhere that’s definitely become a firm favourite of mine over the past few months.

I hope you’ve found one or two places to try out from this post, I look forward to sharing more great places over the coming months.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


LIFESTYLE/ Spending detox: the alternative to ‘dry January’

           

After a debauched festive season a lot of people will be giving up alcohol in January in order to “detox and be healthy”. I’m not a regular drinker (though I’m partial to a few cocktails now and again) however I do have another habit that I’m keen to detox from after months of indulging far too much…

Shopping.

            

In store, online, clothes, beauty and household items, I will shop anyhow for anything. Over the past few weeks I’ve come to realise that it may be morphing into an obsession and I need to regain control ASAP.

I’ve decided that for the next six weeks I’m going to go cold turkey and not buy any fashion or beauty items that are not essential. I mean, if all the elastic suddenly breaks on my underwear I’ll have to deal with that; but if it’s frivolous I will not be buying it!

I’m hoping this will allow me to get back some valuable time between work to focus on fun and productive things, as well as save money towards our new home and car. In addition (I appreciate to some of you this may sound superficial, but for me it’s a genuine concern) I’m trying to get back to a slimmer shape so I don’t want to buy any more clothes that may not fit me for too much longer.

I may do a kind of follow up to this post (such as tips for shopping in your own closet) depending on how I do or if I learn anything of value. If you have any tips on this subject please do shout out in the comments section.

Wish me luck!

J xx


LIFESTYLE/ Happy New Year! 5 things for 2018

A very happy New Year to you all! I sincerely hope that 2018 continues to bring you joy and happiness, as well as presents you with some surprises and challenges to bring you even more. To kick off the new year I thought I would share my top five goals for the year ahead – they vary between the general and specific, the superficial and the real, nevertheless they’re all pretty important to me: 

Find a new home 🏡

We sold our house back in September and just haven’t one that’s felt like “home” to us yet, as well as ticked all our boxes (and there aren’t that many to tick, which it makes it more frustrating). However, we are going into the year hopeful that the right house is out there waiting for us.

Smash my new job 💻

I will be starting a new job imminently by the time you read this, eek! I don’t mention work very often on my blog as I’m very keen to keep the two separate, but I’m very excited about this new opportunity. It gives me a chance to progress along my new career path, develop new skills and take on some new challenges, which I’m so down for.

Get back to my happy weight ⚖️

Personal and professional factors have contributed to a rather large weight gain over the past couple of years, which is disappointing given that I slogged my guts out for four years trying to shift it in the first place (and another three years keeping it off). The good thing here is that I’ve done it before so I know I can do it again and feel like my life is turning a much more positive corner to allow change to happen.

Have eyebrows on fleek 💉

I’ve been self conscious about my brows for years now – this is down to my teenage self over plucking as it was the 90s (nobody told you how to do these things right) and they never really recovered. So I’ve taken the leap and decided to get them tattooed; this is a pretty big deal considering that I’m petrified of needles (I usually feel physically sick at the thought of them) but I’m trying to be brave and focus on how much better I will feel when they’re done.

See more of the UK 🇬🇧

I’ve been thinking a lot about my next travel destinations over the past few weeks, and have realised that I’m very poorly travelled around my home country. I’ve decided to change me travel goals and make exploring some UK cities a top priority; this may work well considering that I’ll be making a couple of big purchases this year (a house and a car) so somewhere far flung isn’t that achievable. I still plan to go abroad too but probably somewhere closer to home, still somewhere that I haven’t been before.

So those are my main priorities for the year – I’m sure as things happen towards achieving each goal I will put up som related posts – hopefully this means there’ll be more travel and lifestyle content in 2018, as well as getting back to my number one passion (and the reason I started blogging int he first place) fashion. Hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading,

J xx