36 Words of wisdom, wonderings and randomness.

Happy birthday to someone I have known my whole life – frenemy, fashion eclectic (and by eclectic I mean ‘swings between too glam to give a damn’ or ‘how many days have you not washed your hair and worn those leggings for gurl?) and THE best card DJ you would ever have the pleasure of riding with.

Me!

I’ve written down 36 thoughts below, one for each year. There’s nothing more profound than that I’m afraid, but I hope you are enjoyed and amused by at least a few of them!

1. Bridget Jones had it right on the money – whether my dress size says I’m a 10 or a 14, I will always be just a little bit fat.

2. A walk goes a long way to clear your head.

3. Diets do not work. At my lower moments I have hoped and prayed they would, but they don’t. If you go on a diet you have to come off one sometime. To prove it, last year I tried one of the latest weight loss fads, Boom Bod, click the hyperlink to see what happened.

4. Get me on karaoke to Iggy Azalea’s Fancy and I will crush it.

5. Victoria Beckham didn’t start her uber popular fashion brand until she was 34 after a whole other career, so there’s still a chance I could become some kind of mogul yet.

6. I happily fall asleep listening to something ‘murder-ey’ – Snapped: Killer Couples or Deadly Women are my faves.

7. 9 months is pretty much the maximum I can have a hair style/colour before I must change it immediately…then pining for my old look immediately.

8. In this life you’re one of two things: good at selfies, or not good at selfies.

9. I have the same eyebrow lady as Scary Spice (I wonder if she has a pre-appointment pink lemonade like I do?).

10. Some flaws are easier to embrace than others – it turns out what I thought were freckle clusters that came out in the sun are actually a skin condition called Melasma, but I think it’s cute so I don’t actively seek to cover it up.

11. Travel the world, but don’t forget what’s right on your doorstep – get to know the culture and beauty of your own country.

12. Only follow people on Instagram that make you happy or positively inspire you.

13. You can go to Benidorm an experience cool rooftop bars, instagrammable spots and fabulous steak. Trust me I’ve been there and done it!

14. Kusadasi is beautiful and very affordable part of Turkey to visit, but boy do most of the locals seem to despise British holidaymakers…

15. An Aperol Spritz becomes an extra lil’ something when you sub the soda water for fresh orange juice. Aperol Mimosa – you’re welcome.

16. Sunsets are one nature’s most beautiful occurrences, but so are sunrises. Plus, you don’t have to share them with as many people.

17. Why is it called hot chocolate if it’s frozen…is THAT the Serendipity??

18. If you’re in New York City and want to visit Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, the address is 66 Perry Street in Greenwich Village. It’s a small road just off Bleacker Street, and NYC cabbies have nooooo idea where it is when you ask them to take you there.

19. Strategically placed glitter can cover up sunburn a treat…but can literally take days to remove from your body. Even even when you think it’s all gone…bam, there’s a fleck on your right boob.

20. Not everybody will have the same beliefs or make the life choices as you; one size doesn’t fit all in this life and nor should it have to. You don’t have to understand why others do what they do, but you do have to accept it.

21. I am not Boiler Man.

22. For anyone who questions my driving ability – earlier this year I transported 16 cups of hot coffee from Costa along a very busy road and did not spill a drop (here’s a photo of my friend Rachel who was here to witness this crowning moment).

23. The first time I slept in a tent (well, yurt) as an adult, I woke up surrounded by heavy snow.

24. Meeting Santa is blooming brilliant, even if you don’t have kids.

25. I make a really nice paella.

26. I recently found out that I use the same Smashbox colour correcting primer as a well-known former football manager.

27. There’s a cult phenomenon in Hull called a ‘Shit on the grass’. It’s a shot available in the Old Town called the Manchester Arms, and if you’re ever in the city (or a local that has never partaken) you should stop by and check it out!

28. I once met Chubby Brown (unfortunately on purpose, but not by choice) and he said “testicles” to me.

29. I have also read Chubby Brown’s first autobiography (on purpose) which I quite enjoyed.

30. There’s ALWAYS something good about the place you live (well, I’d say a solid 95% of the time in exceptional circumstances. Find it and be proud! I love that the city I’m from is quirky and filled with street art galleries, comedy and music. Also, don’t let anybody talk smack about your home town unless they have the genuine insight to back it up.

31. Sometimes you’re weird because your are family are weird and they made you. You didn’t stand a chance.

32. Look up. Look around. Do it often.

33. The Dunelm Teddy Bear range is cosy AF, I’d recommend investing in some immediately if not sooner.

34. If we could all truly see the things that others thought were awesome about us for ourselves, the world could be…I don’t know how to finish this because we probably never will, but just imagine.

35. I’m the exact age I’m meant to be . It’s only myself that gives a shit what that number is, and only me that can stop myself feeling oldAF (if anyone has any tips to achieve this, please do comment below!).

36. I am so proud, thrilled and excited to be a co-founder and member of the HEY Bloggers community. I’m glad to say I count many of the people I have met on this journey so far as friends and all round lovely people. Thank you xx

let me know which number was your fave! Thanks for reading,

J xx


The art of not giving a fuck

I did think about putting a couple of ** in the title, but then thought “why? The whole point is NOT to give a crap right?

Throughout all of this, however, I’ve learned that unfortunately, you can’t always alter your mind perception (at least not fully, 100% of the time) and that you have to seek out another way to cope so that you can get up and leave the house every day.

And for me, the answer was given to me by the good folks who wrote Book of Mormon: turn it off.

Turn it off. Push the feelings of feeling like utter crap to one side, put my fingers in my ears singing “lalalalala I can’t hear you”, utter state of denial. This may not sound healthy, but it’s what I do.

Think of it as being a model or actress. In front of the camera, they become someone else, another character, and get the results they needed. So that’s sometimes what I feel I need to do. Beyonce has Sasha Fierce, Stefanie Germanotta has Lady Gaga, and I have Princess J-Bar*.

* I don’t actually refer to myself as Princess J-Bar; I once joked to the Mr that this would be my rap name so refer to that when I’m trying to be funny.

Swimsuit, Next / Rose gold sunglasses, ASOS / Black sunglasses Dorothy Perkins / Biker jacket, ASOS / Dress, Dorothy Perkins

So now you know. You may not agree with it, and that’s fine, but you may also think “I could totally try that” and it may just be the thing that gets you out of the house and back in the game.

Whatever you think, cheers for reading my ramblings!

J xx


5 Things that have helped keep me sane in testing times

The past few weeks have been a wee quiet again from me on the blog posting and social media front, but for different reasons than before. I have plenty that I want to write, snap and post, unfortunately the universe has made other plans for me that just aren’t quite as positive.*

I’ve had some family illness that has been very difficult to deal with, in turn my own health (a little bit physical, a little bit mental) has been a bit fragile which disintegrated further. This meant that I wasn’t able to be the best person I could be at work, at home or anywhere for that matter, so I made the difficult decision to withdraw from everything for a few days to see if I could regain some semblance of control. I’ve never been massively open about any kind of health struggles I’ve suffered over the years; as much as its OK to talk about things in modern society, I simply don’t want to a solid 95% of the time.

Anyway…I’ve been trying really hard to have some quiet time to help become a bit stronger for myself and those around me, so I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been doing in the hope that it may help one or two people that happen to read this.

Ru Paul’ s Drag Race

A lot of people can’t believe that I have never ever watched this show before now!

I know a lot of people that love it, but the main reason I first watched it was because it came up as a recommendation on my Netflix profile (and since I mainly watch crime/murder stuff, I have no idea why) on a Bank Holiday Sunday home alone and thought, why not?

I started at the very beginning and am now at the end of season 2, I’ve managed to avoid too many spoilers so blissfully watching as everyone else has, and will keep plodding on until I’m fully caught up.

Fresh flowers

A simple but good ‘un, I’m not quite at Elton John capacity but I’m buying them for as many places as I can, and house plants too! I’m becoming slightly disillusion with the blogger fave, peonies (sorry) as they’re dying far too quickly, but I’m loving coral-pink carnations and brightly coloured roses for my lounge and kitchen window sills.

Long walks on… well, to anywhere

This top tip has been in my back pocket for years now – I started doing this as uni; I would do a 2 mile walk (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but at the time I didn’t really do any other exercise) to the shops and back first thing to blow off the cobwebs and set me up for the day. These days I also try to incorporate some social time time with the gals (we have a regular Sunday walking club, and we stop for Costa half way round) and quality time with the Mr where we can just chat about our days or other random stuff like decorating ideas for the house.

If anybody local to me ever fancies a walk and chat (coffee doesn’t have to be involved but I would recommend) holler at me.

Dom & Ink Free To Be Me

To be honest it’s Dominic himself that’s the selling point – he’s the loveliest guy who fights so hard for all people to be accepted, and aims to show people the power of how awesome they are through the power of his words and amazing illustrations. If you head to his Instagram stories, he has some fabulous inspirational wallpapers as well as his regular ‘Digital Hugs with Dom’.

The HEY Bloggers community

All of these things have been super helpful, but I have saved the best for last. Helping to establish HEY has been one of the best things I ever did. It’s not only a great community to be part of if you live in Hull and East Yorkshire as a blogger or creative but it’s also a place I have found friends, encouragement, passion a inspiration. If any of you are reading this – I hope you realise how important you have been, are and will continue to be.

If you’ve stuck this post out until the end, thank you for reading.

J xx

*if you want to stop reading this post here, I completely understand. If you’re going through hard times yourself, or you’re working hard to avoid scenarios that may make you feel bad then please do put down your device and do something that makes you feel good xx


Five things that bloggers no longer do

Today marks five years since I decided to start (and stick to writing) my blog. Five years of making friends, challenging myself to be creative with style and discovering lots of different things. Five whole years!!

To make this milestone there’s no giveaway (sorry) no cute photo shoot with a cake or balloons (not that I didn’t want to, I just wasn’t organised enough) and no imparting of wisdom of how to do anything amazing in the blogging world (how I wish I had this wisdom to use). Nope. Instead, I’ve written five differences I’ve noticed since I first streaked claim on a little patch of the internet. I wonder who else remembers and has noticed some of these… (I’ve also peppered a few more throwback blog post pics throughout, enjoy)

1. Bloggers no longer….simply write about an outfit – why they like it, how they styled it , what it’s like to wear etc

My first ever blog post was literally me sharing 2 very ad-hoc photos of what I’d worn the weekend before. It certainly wouldn’t cut the mustard now!

Even with a lot of fashion bloggers and featuring styled outfits, the content of the post is usually something that feels a bit profound, imparting wisdom or an opinion on a key topic. The fashion is just kind of there to break up that chat a bit. That’s probably ended up being so due to the rise of the micro influencers in Instagram (not to mention Instagram Stories and IGTV) and YouTubers, which are much easier outlets to share this kinda stuff on, but I sometimes worry that I don’t have the opinions or the wisdom to keep up with this developing trend.

2. Bloggers no longer…title their posts with something profound or cute

I’ll give you examples using some of my previous post titles – Mono-magic, Peachy, Hot weather cold shoulder, summertime sadness, snug as a fashionista in a blanket cape.

As a marketeer, I’m a huge advocate of something quirky and maybe verging on a bit click-baity, so I still think there’s a place to do something along these lines. However, if you’re calling a spade a spade then people will come and read because they have a more explicit idea of what to expect.

3. Bloggers no longer…have whimsical blog names

I include myself in this one! My blog was called ‘Curious Alice Loves…’ for the first three years, I changed its for a few reasons but the main was because PR messages kept coming to me starting “Hey Alice, how are you?” (That’s very sloppy on the PR’s part for not ready the bio, or e-mail address correctly). I know quite a few people who gave their blog a more quirky name when they first started but then evolved/re-branded down the line to being ‘just them’ (does anyone remember Sarah Ashcroft’s That Pommie Girl?. I admire those who have kept hold of their original name and have a kind of ‘gal behind the blog’ approach as that’s the identity they’ve built, like the fabulous Dorkface.

4. Bloggers no longer…write “PR friendly” in their bio

Never understood this one, never did it myself. I mean, what blogger isn’t?!?

5. Bloggers no longer…engage with each other’s posts in the comments section

This one is the key – everyone used to leave comments directly on a blog post, but I honestly can’t recall the last time I had any of mine. I don’t know whether this just means that people are reading things quickly and can’t be bothered to log in to leave one, whether they’re just looking at pictures or whether they don’t feel they have anything of value to say, but I do find this a real shame. Let’s all make sure we encourage and engage with each other, the hustle is hard!

So, for this post and any others you’ve read over the years, thanks for joining me. I really appreciate it.

J xx


“I liked it before it was cool” – 3 things from my repping past that are now ridiculously on trend

Over the almost 5 years I’ve been rambling away on the internet, I’ve dropped in to the conversation once or twice that I used to be a holiday rep. For 3 years of late teens/early twenties I called the Balearic Islands home and made some insane memories – most of them good, a few of them sober, all of them I was reminded of this week when I was added in to a closed Facebook group ‘Stories of a Holiday Rep’. Insert horrifically cringe pics of me back in the day, taken on a disposable camera

It was this part of my past that inspired this post – things I took for granted and felt a bit naff back then appear to be all the rage right now. On one hand I’m like “WTF?” On the other, I feel like I can totally own the fact that I discovered all of these things in their more underground cult status before they blew up. I hope you enjoy this throwback journey with me!

1. Gin

As the UK’s love for gin has increased I have been adamant that I’m not a fan, but then I remembered the Xoriguer (pronounced zor-rig-er) gin distillery.

You see; for the first year of my repping career it was my job to take holidaymakers here every week and help them to sample about 32 different flavours of the stuff as well as a local gin cocktail (the recipe for which I will be sharing in a future blog post). Yup, that’s right; back in the summer of 2003 I was well up in this trend before it was a twinkle in the hipster’s eyes!

Annoyingly, this brand is nigh on impossible to get hold of in the UK and outside of the Balearic Islands, to be honest there are barely any Spanish guns that are widely available, however if you do happen to hit this part of the world for a holiday I would encourage you to pay the distillery a visit…and maybe bring me back a sample or two.

2. Avarcas (Menorcan sandals)

Of all the items I may have predicted would become a high street trend for summer footwear, this would soooo not have been it! Back in the day myself and ,t repping buddies used to mercilessly mock these babies, and all of the locals (men, women and children) wore them so they were around all the time.

By the end of our first season, a couple of us had bought a pair (usually under the influence) to wear ironically, and over the years we grew quite fond of these funny lil’ sandals.

If you’re going to invest in a pair of these, my tip would be to spend a teeny bit ore and get a real deal version made in Menorca as they’re going to last you for years and years – they upper section is made of leather which is super comfy and the soles are fashioned out of car tires which give amazing grip and mean you can walk for miles without them wearing out.

If you’re holidaying in mainland Spain or the Balearic Islands you can pick these up in a local shoe shop and get the real experience, if not you can buy them online easily from the official Avarca stores here or here.

3. Aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

Often listed as a side sauce in gastropubs and Uber cool restaurants these days, I remember this delicious condiment as part of a grab and go lunch from the local supermercado.

You may be like “garlic mayo, and…?” BUT – Menorca was its birthplace. Mayonnaise is pronounced mar-hon-ays-ah in Spanish, because in originated from the capital Mahon. In Menoquian (a version of Catalan, the proper traditional Spanish language) they even call Mahon Maò, pronounced Mayo, so it’s pretty entrenched in the local culture!

The Aioli pictured is the traditional version sold in Menorca – its best served alongside a lovely crusty baguette; rip of a junk of bread and dunk gratuitously in to the tub! It’s extremely strong tasting but soooooo damn good.

One more thing that almost made the list…canary yellow leather jackets. This one is more of an I joke with my fellow rep friends but, if anyone reading this does happen to have visited a a leather company called Modas in Menorca, then you may get why this one will forever remain funny to me.

That’s pretty much it – having a little trip down memory lane whilst proving that I was some kind of cool visionary (or at least let me feel like I was for five minutes)

Thanks for reading,

J xx


LIFESTYLE / 5 Things for 2019, update #1

As this update is coming about 6 weeks later than I had planned, I should probably address the fact that it’s also my first blog post in about 2 months. The reason? Simply, I had a major content block – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create/write about, I didn’t want to half arse by putting posts out I wasn’t into (as I’ve done in the last during these lulls) so thought it was better to just not bother. I’m now feeling more ready, prepared and excited to get back on it, so I’m starting by sharing my first update on my goals for 2019

1. Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

So far, so good. I’ve found this one a bit easier than I thought I would. Whenever I’ve been getting dressed in the morning or planning to go somewhere I’ve made sure I have a good hard look through my wardrobe…and my ironing basket (because we all know that’s where most of the clothes live) aaaaaaaannnnnd what I’ve come to fondly refer to as my ‘bed-drobe’ (double bed in the spare room, surely the perks of being a home owner) to see what I realistically had to wear. Once I got over the whole “it’s ok to be seen re-wearing outfits in current society” and “I don’t go out lots and lots, so I really don’t need to buy something new every time” I realised I have perfectly nice clothes and I just need to put them on.

I will say that over the last few weeks whilst being in my funk I have ‘tried’ to do some clothes and beauty shopping but it’s been a bit of a fail and most of the stuff has ended up going back.

The biggest test for me was the launch of the Urban Decay Naked Reloaded palette – with the last few drops I’ve literally grabbed them as soon as they’ve gone on sale, but I’m holding strong on this as I just don’t need it…well, at the moment.

2. Get a home bar

Almost done can you believe! There’s a bar option within our actual house (a full blog post coming about this as soon as I can) and we have a physical bar top in one of our outhouses but haven’t stocked or styled it yet. So it’s definitely going, but not quite there.

3. Un-join the gym and get outside

I can definitely put a big fat tick against this one too, ya girl is on a roll here!

I’ve been going for long walks at least once per week and shorter walks another once or twice, and it’s been great for so many reasons. My physical and mental health have both improved from getting fresh air, and it’s been a great opportunity to catch up with friends and be a bit more sociable. I would NEVER have been that sociable in a gym scenario, even if I’ve gone to a class with someone.

So far I’m feeling that this was the best goal I set for myself for the year.

4. Get out of the house more

Yes, weeeeelllllll… I can’t say for definite that I’m fully on with this, however I’ve made steps from where I was before so things are happening but perhaps slower than I would have liked then to. What can I say; the temptation of a Saturday afternoon nap sometimes has more of a pull for me! Haha. I have been doing at least a little something each weekend towards this overall goal – going out for walks with friends and adding in a coffee stop has been one, making an effort to go and see family, popping to look round the shops, go see a film or out for lunch have been others. I’ll be honest and say some of those times I’ve found it quite hard to get going as I just haven’t wanted to move from the couch, but once momentum is going I’ve felt better for it which is making things a bit easier each time.

5. Drinks out, drinks in

I think this one is OK? My only aim was to not drink aimlessly and think about things a bit more, which I think I’ve been achieving.

I’ve only had 3 real points where I’ve had alcohol so far this year – 1 for Valentines day which was unexpected, another on a nice day in March when I suggested to the Mr that we head out for some laid back day drinks (bloody love chilled afternoons like that) and we shared a bottle of prosecco and mojitos. That’s the sort of thing I wanted to avoid doing on the regular however I’m not being hard on myself for it as Im not likely to be doing it all the time and it went a long way to having quality time and relaxation which is important to me.

The final time was on holiday; again another key test as everybody else was very much in ‘I’m on holiday, let’s drink from lunchtime’ mode, but I simply just had two or 3 when I felt like it, only had something I really wanted and mixed plenty of water breaks in for good measure.

So, what else has been happening in my life since we last spoke?

I’ve been holiday

Last week I got back from a family holiday to Lanzarote. It was a week long break (booked by my in-laws to end at the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, extra 4 days off for me) that turned out to be very relaxing and exactly what was called for. I had a great mix of sightseeing, sunbathing, swimming, eating and sleeping (the Mr would probably argue I did too much of the latter!) but I don’t think I’ll be doing any dedicated blog posts about the trip as I haven’t found a content angle that I feel would well. Instead, here are a few pics:

Not gonna lie, I’m petty darn pleased with this update overall! I’m doing well, I’m being realistic and I still have 7 and a bit more months to make a solid difference.

For general day to day updates and more holiday spam, make sure you check in on my social media channels in between blog posts.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


BEAUTY / How I…get high end makeup palette looks for less

So after a brief hiatus (can 3 weeks be classed as brief? The only acceptable answer here is yes btw) I’m back with the next instalment of my little beauty post series. For my first one I focussed on lip products and next up is eyes.

There are so many amazing eyeshadow palettes out there, but for most of the more expensive ones (which I would argue are the ones £40 upwards) there’s more than likely a pretty decent dip that will be significantly cheaper but work pretty much as well.

I’ve picked three high end palettes I’ve lusted after in the past year and have found a drug store alternative for. One thing to remember though – with high end palettes comes more glamorous packaging, you’re very rarely going to get a dupe that comes anywhere close. But, if you can get over that then you could be in for a right treat.

Swap: Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered for I Heart Revolution Rose Gold Chocolate saving £47.01

I’ll admit I was OBSESSED with the look of the Huda palette when I first saw it, but no matter how pretty it looks there was no way in heeeeellllll I was going to fork out FIFTY SIX BLEEDING QUID to have it in my life!

I haven’t fully used both palettes but I have swatched both, own the Rose Gold Chocolate palette and have watched a fair amount of YouTube tutorials using the former to know that what I’d call the ‘stand out’ shades (pinks and shimmers) look pretty darn close to me. For those that don’t match up, like the matte black, it’d be a safe bet to presume you’re likely to have this is a palette you already own so won’t be missing it.

As the shimmers are the star shades here I know this is not a palette I would reach for on the daily (I work in an office attached to a factory, so there’s no need for me to be this extra) it would only be now and again, so I felt that a more modest nine pounds was far more justifiable.

Swap: ABH Norvina for I Heart Revolution Violet Chocolate saving £34.01

The YouTube unboxings of Norvina were just so pretty, the purple shades seemed just a little bit unique and really special. But, was I going to spend forty three pounds to enjoy just a couple of shades? Er, no.

Unlike the above that was recommended to me, I proactively sought this dupe out on the Revolution website being pretty certain it would exist. Again I don’t own Norvina but I have swatched the shades I was most excited by (I have plenty of neutral shades already so it was less important to me how these ones looked) and there is some difference, but not so much that means the same kinds of looks can’t be created. There are an extra couple of purple shades in the dupe palette too, so with a bit of mixing I’m willing to bet you’d be closer to more exactly matching the higher end shades.

Swap: Urban Decay Naked Cherry for Collection Eyes Uncovered in Nude Rose and Matte Nude Rose saving £29.52

This is the only one of the three that I’ve done a personal comparison of, and lemme tell ya that these palettes may be small and light but they be mighty!

For a very long time I used the original Nude Rose palette (the one with shimmers in it) which I mentioned in my everyday makeup post last year. I adored these colours for making my eyes pop every, but I’m a sucker for a good gimmick and Naked Cherry looked sooooo appealing and too good to pass up when it dropped towards the end of last year (I already had Urban Decay Backtalk so I really didn’t need it).

Do I like the high end version? Yes. Is it vastly better than the two cheaper versions? Not at all. Will I continue to use the high end version because I paid a lot of money for it to not just sit on my dressing table? You bet your ass I will!

If you have any other new-ish dupes to recommend please do shout them out.

Thanks for reading,

J xx