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September Favourites

It’s been a long time since I wrote a ‘favourites’ post on my blog so this will be fun; let’s not beat around the bush and just jump straight in!

First and foremost: My Cineworld Unlimited card. The unlimited card costs £17.90 month and this allows you to go and see as many films as you desire, as many times as you want, good right? Especially if you are a cinemagoer (which I am). It usually costs me nearly £10 to go and see a picture – and that’s with a student discount – so if I go and see at least 2 films a month then I’ve got my monies worth.  I got my unlimited card just over 2 weeks ago and I’ve been to the cinema 6 times (and I’m going again tomorrow) so I’m definitely getting the use out of it. The cinema is a marvellous escapism. I like to go after university or after a hectic day just to wind down for a couple of hours. 

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This one sounds a little bit mad but University is next on my September favourite list. University has opened up a whole new world to me and I’m still trying to take it all in; I can’t quite believe I’m studying at the University of Strathclyde – after the horrendous few years I’ve had. It just feels surreal. I’m working hard and I’m appreciating every moment of it. Check out my wee student card(!)

Whilst we are on the topic of University: Another favourite of mine this month has been my Student Planner. This particular planner is ‘The Palgrave Student Planner’ by Stella Cottrell and it’s such a handy piece of stationery to have. I believe it’s available in the likes of Waterstones etc. but I got mine from the John Smith book store for £7 (and I got a free wall calendar, yay!). It has lots of quirky and educational pages and also has lots of spacious useful pages as well as organisational. It’s 110% worth a buy. It’s been keeping me right over the past few weeks. I take it with me to Uni every time.

My next favourite is so me: My cat mug.* Anyone who knows me will know how much of a proud cat momma I am and so I’m delighted with this mug. Not only is it the perfect amount of crazy cat lady but it’s also a really great size of mug and perfect for hot chocolate weather…which is right about now?! It also has a classy gold handle so I feel like a total classy cat momma drinking out of this! You can get this mug here and get 20% off using code CHARLENE20 at checkout. Dog lovers, do not worry, there’s a dog momma one for you too! 

Boohoo – a new favourite of mine. I’ve never really ordered from boohoo before because I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the sizing whenever someone has bought me a gift from them. However, I thought I’d try them out as my UniDays app kept offering me a 25% student discount on their store and that was enough to sway me. So I bought a few things. Irrevocably some of the stuff didn’t fit but the returns were hassle free and didn’t cost me anything so it wasn’t any bother. The gorgeous black corset tee in the picture above was from Boohoo and I wore it on a night out; It was so comfortable and flattering. It can be dressed up or down and I loved it so much that I’ve went and ordered it in white too… (I blame the student discount)!

You guys know how much I adore my baths so let’s finish on a bath product: A bambi bath soak!* Yes, that’s right, I said Bambi! Mad Beauty are renowned for selling top quality Disney luxuries in super cute packaging: I recently featured a minnie mouse face mask on my blog from them which was totally lush! These bath soaks are a great addition to a relaxing bath. You get tons in the box and a little goes a long way. Additionally, I love the idea of them being Bambi, these will make for an excellent stocking filler towards Christmas, if you want to pick them up for someone (or yourself) you can get them here. Isn’t the packaging just adorable?

September has been a busy month, lovelies. I was on holiday, I returned and started University right away, I’ve had to catch up with everything that I fell behind on whilst being on holiday, I’ve had to make time for family and friends (which I still haven’t been doing very well on) and I’ve been trying to organise my room, my belongings and myself, really. It’s been a stressful, busy but productive month and I look forward to what the next month brings. What’s been your favourites this month? Did you see anything you liked in this post?

Until next time

Charlene McElhinney

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Tips for organising your own party

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I recently celebrated my 21st birthday, and threw a party (somewhat last minute) and kind of just winged it as I went along. Here are some of my tips & advice for organising your own party – that I learned through my own nutty experience.

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ASK YOUR FAMILY TO HELP YOU OUT

At the beginning, I was stressing out an awful lot, wondering how on earth I was going to manage to throw a party all on my own. Sometimes you just need to reach out for help (a problem shared is a problem halved and all that jazz). Wether that be financial help or just a helping hand to organise the buffet, or the decorations etc. I gurantee there will be someone in your family who is more than willing to help you out.

Financially, one of the greatest helps you could ask for when hosting your own party, is asking close family members (who would usually give you money) to perhaps cover your disco, or part of your buffet, or the decorations, or something like that – just to take a bit of the financial burden away from you. I promise you’ll get lots of pressies from the people attending your party and you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you don’t need to fork out an arm and a leg for your own party in the first place. In my case, mum and dad covered the disco for me, my auntie helped out with the decorations and balloons (helium can be pretty expensive, y’know) and all of these things helped me out tremendously. I also got lots of help from my Auntie Angela to do lots of running around for me, and keeping me right with what I needed, and talking me through everything… I couldn’t have done it without her in the end! Thanks auntie Ang!

WRITE LISTS

Lists, lists, lists! Lists make the world go round. I’m a huge fan of writing lists, regularly, but in this scenario – they were 110% necessary. It’s important to keep a list of names who you think might be attending, who you’ve invited, who is bringing a plus one and all of that palava! You don’t want to go over and you don’t want to go under; plus you’re trying to get an idea of numbers of how many people you’re catering for and seating and everything! It’s important to keep lists in that respect. Additionally, you want to keep a list of things you’ve still to do: Invitations, buffet, get an outfit, book a DJ, find a venue etc. There is a shit-ton to do guys and if you don’t keep a list you could very easily forget something important because your mind is constantly in overdrive! It’s the little things that we often forget: Keep a list, lovelies!

DON’T FEEL PRESSURED INTO INVITING PEOPLE YOU DON’T WANT TO!

This one is important: Please don’t feel pressured into inviting people to your own party that you don’t even want there. I got such a hard time beforehand when I was organising my party because I wasn’t inviting this one but I was inviting that one… and it got the point where I questioned why I was even having a party in the first place? It’s your day. It’s your night. It’s completely and entirely up to you who is there. I actually got blocked and deleted off social media from people who weren’t invited, who weren’t even close to me, and that just shows how petty and ridiculous some people can be. It made me exceptionally anxious and worked-up at the time but now I’m totally over it. And I want to stress to you guys how insignificant these people are to you on such a pivotal day in your life. It’s all about you. You, you, you. Invite whoever you wish. You. Did I mention it’s all about you?

BOOK EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE

Take note of this one, Ladies & Gents: Book everything in advance! I never actually got the night I wanted in the hall I wanted because I didn’t book in advance – so lesson learned(!) You guys don’t want to learn from your own mistakes, learn from mine, and if you’re planning a party – call up early days and get that hall booked! Get that DJ booked! Get that leg, back and crack wax booked while you’re at it…nah I’m just kidding guys; I’m sure you’ll get your wax a week or two before! But everything else, I can’t repeat myself enough: get all of that important stuff booked months and months in advance to secure your special day with your first choice for everything! Don’t feel silly booking up half a year or more in advance – it’s your special day and you have every right to reassure yourself by booking up early.

TRY YOUR OUTIFT ON BEFOREHAND

This isn’t so much a ‘tip’, it’s more advice because it’s something that we don’t often think about. We buy our outfits for big events, usually, in advance. We try them on, it’s all good, everything is coosty and we hang up out of the way and just assume it’s going to look the same on the night. Let me tell you, I had bought an outift, tried it on and was happy with it so I hung it up out of the way. The night before my party I decided to just quickly try it on and see how it looked and… I had lost a bit of weight and the dress didn’t look the same on me! It didn’t sit right, it didn’t look right, I had a meltdown. I was running around like a headless chicken and ended up getting my Auntie Angela (thanks again Auntie Ang) and my boyfriend to alter and fix it for me the night before. I was a total stress-head. So make sure you try your outfits on every week or so to make sure you are still happy with them on! Sounds a bit extreme but I promise if you were in my shoes (or dress, rather) that night you would totally understand.

God, I’ve got so much advice for hosting a party now that I’ve actually been there, done it and worn the T-shirt but I feel like this post is long enough. Do you want a part 2 guys?

Thanks for reading and I hope this post has helped a little somebody out there who is just as stressed as I was last month!

Until next time

Charlene McElhinney

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Am I even a blogger?

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Am I even a blogger?

This post has been brewing for quite some time now; I keep asking myself if I am actually worthy of the title ‘blogger’. I scroll down my social media feed day in and day out and see a plethora of individuals knocking the ball right out of the park and absolutely smashing it and I sit at the other end of my screen wishing that was me.

Wishing I could up my photography game. Wishing I had a schedule and regularly stuck to it. Wishing I could religiously schedule tweets and posts without just going through phases. Wishing my content was original, unique, exciting, more ‘bloggery’. My blog is like an online journal – I don’t have a niche – I don’t write about anything in particular. One day, I’ll be writing a book review (or attempting to) and the next day I’m talking about getting my lady region waxed. One day I’m writing about my life and what I’ve been up to and the next I’m talking about my non-existent life and what I’m not up to. I don’t know. I sometimes just wish I had a niche. I write about my mind and my battle with Depression and Anxiety sometimes. Does that make me a Mental Health blogger? I write about going to the gym from time to time. Does that make me a fitness blogger? What am I and where do I fit in?

I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. It sucks. It’s disheartening. I’m constantly seeing bloggers excelling and being nominated for awards front, left and centre and don’t get me wrong, I revel in the success of others, and I’m genuinely happy to see my fellow blogger buddies getting the recognition they deserve but I just feel like a spare part.

Why am I not getting any recognition? Why do I never seem to progress or go anywhere? When will I fit in? When will I grow? Am I just overthinking?

My mind is buzzing with so many ideas; I just never see them through. I let myself down. And then I bring myself down. It’s a vicious circle and when will I ever escape it?

I love the blogging community. I don’t actually know where I’d be without it now that I’m a part of it. I just wish I was a more pivotal part of it.

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5 Things to make more time for:

Life has been hectic lately and there are things that have been taking a backseat in my life that actually make a significant difference to my mental health and wellbeing – so it’s time to start making more time for these things:

 

TAKING OUTIFT PHOTOS

 

I always say that I need to make more time to take outfit photos and I never actually see it through; I went through a phase for about 2 weeks where I religiously took outfit photos for Instagram and it worked wonders for my confidence and my content too. So it’s something that I really want to make more time for. Additionally, I want to take more outfit photos so that I can step out of my comfort zone. I believe that I can start wearing clothes that are a bit ‘out there’ in photos, firstly, and then in time I’ll gain the confidence to start wearing them out and about. I desperately want to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to fashion, I hold myself back so much, when I see clothes I want to wear but I don’t think I’ll suit them or I worry people will judge me… it’s sad. That’s a whole other blog post in itself (watch this space) but hopefully taking outfit photos more frequently will be a big step in the right direction.

 

APPLYING FACE MASKS

 

Applying a face mask whilst you chill in your bedroom, or relax in a bath, can really help you wind down. Self care plays a pivotal part in your mindset and wellbeing; I often forget this. I’ve found that taking 15 minutes to just relax with a face mask on, and listen to some soft music, can really uplift your mood and help you destress. Sometimes, I put off doing face masks because I can’t be bothered with the hassle of scrubbing the residue of a mud mask off or getting it all in my hair etc. However(!) not all masks need to be messy! I recently tried out MadBeauty’s Minnie Mouse mask* and it was so clean and easy – not to mention fun (my cat was a bit unsure of it though). You simply open the packet, adjust it on to your face, and chill out for the whole of 15 minutes… (and take selfies). This one consisted of rose water and ingredients to make your skin glow afterwards, with no scrubbing or mess required! It doesn’t always need to be a mammoth task when you want to take some time out to pamper yourself.

 

HAIR REPAIR MASKS

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Another kind of mask I need to start using more frequently is hair repair masks! Since I’ve went blonde my hair has been a bit dry and let’s just say: not as healthy as it used to be. Hair repair masks aren’t the loveliest thing in the world. You can leave them in overnight but I tend not to do this, I hate the greasy feeling of it in your hair, I want it to be a quick & easy process if I’m going to do one. What I tend to do, is lather my hair in it whilst I’m in a bath, shove it up out the way and just let it do it’s thing. Meanwhile, I’ll watch a Coronation Street episode (or two) whilst I let it soak in and work its magic and I’m so absorbed in my corrie that I barely notice the greasiness. Then you just wash it out in the shower and honestly your hair feels so pampered and revitalized afterwards. I am going to try and do this at least once a week, or once every 2 weeks. It makes such a difference. I bought this one from TK maxx for £4.99 and it’ll last me a good while so I think it was a decent price!

 

HITTING THE GYM

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The gym and I have a love/hate relationship at the moment. I’ve just recently came back from a 2 week holiday in Spain, where I ate junk every single day and didn’t work out once, and now that I’m home and I’ve just started University – I’m finding it really difficult to get back in to a fitness routine. It happens. However, the other day, at roughly 8pm I forced myself to go: I was there for the whole of 30 minutes and all I did was cardio but honestly? I felt amazing afterwards. Amazing. I know it’s something that makes a massive impact on my mental health and mindset so I really, really, really need to make more time for it.

 

MAKING TIME FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS

Since returning from my holiday, I’ve barely seen any friends or family. I’ve not been to see my Gran yet and I’m desperate to go and see her but I’ve just been snowed under. Things have been hectic. I’ve not seen many of my friends, and if I have, it’s just been very brief. So it’s definitely something I need to make more time for. Sometimes life gets in the way. It happens. But there’s no excuse. I need to make more time for my people.

There are other things that I need to make time for, but right now I don’t have the time to write about them, how ironic! What do you need to make more time for? Could you relate to any of my priorities? Let me know in the comments below! 

Until next time,

Charlene McElhinney

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Items marked with a * were gifted to me in exchange for a mention on my blog – all opinions & content are my own.

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Trinket Sea 

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Before I jetted off on holiday in August I received some goodies from Trinket Sea and I’ve been meaning to share them with you for quite some time now because not only are they fabulous: they are so me! (You’ll see what I mean when I get to the last item on this post)!

Trinket Sea are an online jewellery store that specialize in trendy, affodable, jewellery. They offer free shipping worldwide and also offer wholesale options for buyers! I was fortunate enough to have a budget to spend on their site, in exchange for a review, so here’s what I received and here’s what I thought!

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Firstly, I picked out this layered charmed drop necklace because these are totally in right now and I’ve seen so many people rocking these lately. Admittedly, I haven’t actually worn this yet as I’m having bother untangling it and getting it to sit right – it’s quite a complicated piece but looks amazing on so I really need to get my head around it and sort it out so I can wear it with a nice open V-neck tee! If anyone has any tips or tricks to untangling a necklace or how to wear this style of necklace then please comment below and help a girl out(!)

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Next up, I received this matching pearl necklace & earring gift set. I didn’t actually pick this set, I had picked something else but because they didn’t have it in stock, they had emailed me to let me know they would send me out a surprise instead. I was actually really pleased with this set, it’s very sophisticated and classy, and totally compliments a LBD! It’s not something I would normally pick so I’m really glad I was sent it! For costume jewellery, it looks very luxurious and yet it only costs $18.99 for the set!

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My FAVOURITE item, and the one I’m so excited to write about, is this bumble bee ring ! Everything about it is perfect, perfect, perfect. I could bang on about this ring all day because it’s just me down to a tee! If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or you follow me on social media, you’ll know I created the #beechat (@CBeechat) community on twitter and actively host twitter chats from the account twice a week, promote bloggers’ content and organise letter writing amongst bloggers and writers from the account too! Anything bee related has my heart for this reason! When I saw this ring, I had to have it, it had my name all over it. It prices at $6.49 which is astounding! It looks much more expensive than that! Another thing I love about it, is that it’s adjustable. I love rings that just adjust to the shape of your finger! The picture below shows it off better! 

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Trinket Sea were a pleasure to collaborate with; they’re a friendly brand with good communication which always makes working with a brand much more enjoyable and easy! I loved their site, and their goods, and would definitely order from them in the future and work with them again!

What was your favourite item from the photos? Have you heard of Trinket Sea before?

Charlene McElhinney

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Induction week at University

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I have officially completed my induction week at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow where I will be studying Creative Writing, Journalism, English & Law. I can’t quite believe I’m actually writing this, doing this, living this!

When I look back at myself two years ago, I would never have seen myself in the position I am in right now. I worked damn hard last year at college, not knowing where I was planning to go from there, but stuck in nonetheless and achieved great results! And I just so happened to bag myself a place in the University of Strathclyde. I still need to pinch myself when I think of myself as a University Student.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. And this week has just been a taster as to what’s coming. It’s been filled with campus tours, ice-breakers, tutorials & guest speaker lectures; (the kind of thing that every one endures at some point in education). It’s been highly propitious as it’s given me the opportunity to explore the campus and familiarize myself with the buildings I’ll be studying in so it’s definitely not been a waste of a time. 

I just wanted to write a blog post about my attending the induction for my University course as I’ve not been sharing much personal posts with you all lately – I haven’t been sharing much with you at all, in general, lately. Life’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. I’m just trying to find my feet again. I want to share my University journey with you all and perhaps give you all tips & advice when I start to discover things and settle in myself. I want to keep writing blog posts as regularly as possible – and not fall away from it just because I’m overwhelmed with Uni work. My blog is my safe space, my safe haven, there are no rules and regulations here. I can talk openly and freely and I must always remember this. 

My anxiety has been sky high this week. Being independent about your education is a very daunting thing. University is a wake up call. It’s a whole different kettle of fish from college and school, that’s for sure. You must be entirely responsible for everything that you do and learn over the next 4 years (I’m saying this already and I’m only a week in). It’s a completely new enviroment, you are constantly being faced with new faces with every room that you walk in to, it’s scary. It’s terrifying. It’s anxiety-triggering. But it won’t be forever. Soon it’ll be second nature to me (I hope), soon I’ll be settled in and hopefully I’ll have made some friends. Soon I’ll feel at home.

I can’t wait to share my journey with you all. It’s such a huge lifestyle change for me and I can’t wait to embrace it, even though it’s going to be very challenging and nerve-racking. I wholeheartedly believe that this is going to be good for me. This is going to be the making of me.

Charlene McElhinney

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An Update. 06/09/17

I’m currently sitting at a table in a service station reflecting on how wonderful and fun-packed a month August has been: Between celebrating my 21st birthday (on at least three separate occasions) and jetting off to a villa with my boyfriend for a 2 week holiday in Benalmadena, Spain – I’ve just been so carefree and happy-go-lucky and not gave a second thought to ‘reality’. Everything has took a back seat: my blog, social media, collaborations & deadlines, university, messages, emails… anything serious, mundane and important has been pushed to the back of my mind. I know that’s bad; but it’s how it’s been. I’ve tried to just have a little bit of a detox, away from life, away from everything. But being back home has hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve got so much to catch up on and I can’t seem to bring myself to get anything done. I don’t know where to begin. 

My holiday was fantastic. I never realised how much I needed it until I was there, living it, taking it all in. I crawled right out of my comfort zone and pushed myself to do things I’d never done before. We did so much: theme parks, water parks, safari’s, zoos, butterfly parks, cable car rides, markets, long walks, exploring, eating out here there and everywhere… I can’t believe I did all that. Me. I’ve never done so much in my life. In the space of 2 weeks I went on sooooooo many adventures that will stay with me forever. And ever. 

I feel terrible for abandoning my blog. I have lots of exciting collaborations to write up featuring brands whom I’ve worked with, lots of updates to tell you all about in my life, posts about my 21st birthday that I told you guys I’d write – I need to get my head down and start writing. I just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to even turn my laptop on; hence why I’m writing this post from my mobile phone in a coffee shop.

I will get there again. I will get my head back in the game. I just need to give myself time and let it happen naturally. I just wanted to write this very brief post to let you all know what’s been happening with me. I’m so sorry I’ve been so distant. I hope to be bounce back soon. 

Lots of love. Always.

Charlene McElhinney