Thursday, 13 August 2015

#TBT My trek America Experience

and 8 reasons I want to be back on the west coast.  

Last year I was lucky, crazy stupid kind of lucky. I won my dream trip to America from the kind people at Trek America. Here are some reasons that going on that trip was the best thing I ever did. 

1. The people. 
It's no fluke that "the people I have met are the wonders of my world" is tattooed onto my ribs. People are special, they make an experience. The people I travelled along the west coast of America with will forever hold a place in my heart. From the Chinese couple to the Scottish sisters, the lone northern girl and even the tour leader herself: this lot are special and travelling with people forms bonds like no other. 

2. I learnt to hike.
I didn't like it, but I did it. Hiking out of the Grand Canyon was the hardest thing I've ever done but finishing those last few steps were the most powerful and inspiring thing ever. And there is absolutely nothing that compares to a shit ton of pizza after a 6 hour hike. Nothing. 

3. Vegas is no joke. 
It broke us all. Getting chucked out of the Bellagio for being too drunk is not clever but it does make for an excellent story. 

4.  I learnt things about myself. 
I think travelling does this to you. You have a lot of reflective time in the van, you chat to people from all over the world and that changes you, always for the better. 

5. San Francisco is epic. 
Probably one of my favourite stops on the tour, San Fran is a magical city. I will return one day to finish what I started. 

6. Camping is amazing. 
I was a little dubious about setting up a tent every night in a different location but by the end our tent building skills were absolutely top notch and we could (and did) do it in the dark with no problems. 

7. The food 
We all put in to a food kitty on the first day and the tour leader bought groceries with that. We made our own breakfast each morning (mmmm blueberry bagels) and prepared our lunch on the go (picnic in Walmart car park anyone?) dinner was a social affair that everyone helped with and there's nothing that bonds a group like the washing up. Occasionally we are out, and experiencing local cuisine was eye opening to say the least. Two words: portion sizes... 

8. The views. 
Honestly, there is absolutely nothing in this world that compares to watching the sun set from the cliffs in San Diego. Equally, watching the sun rise over the mountains, or the clouds pass over the Grand Canyon are things that really stick with you. A helicopter ride over the drop of the canyon, the madness of the Vegas strip, San Francisco from a yacht as the sun sets...absolutely epic memories that even the best camera couldn't capture. 

If you're considering a tour like this one, the only thing I can say is do it. You won't regret it and it has ignited a passion in me for travelling that I never knew I had. Since coming off the trip I've been to Scotland and Denmark to visit my friends, I've booked a flight to the other side of the world on my own and I'm confident in my ability to make friends wherever I end up. It's truly a life changing experience that you can undertake alone, or with a friend. I've genuinely never felt more at home than sitting round a campfire with 2 Danish girls, 2 Scottish girls, a Korean, a Chinese couple, an Australian, a Swiss girl and 3 other Brits, cooking smores and sharing stories. 


When you can't find the heartbeat.

WARNING: sensitive, potentially upsetting topic follows. 

Being a midwife is 99% the best job in the world. On a regular day I deliver wriggly, wet, naked babies into a brand new world. There will be three people in a room, and then all of a sudden there will be four living, breathing, dreaming beings and it's like magic. You deal with the stress and the pressure and the responsibility because nothing in this world compares to watching a family evolve, watching a woman realise her full potential, being a witness to a baby's first breath. If I take time to think about what I actually do, it blows my mind. And that is because I'm passionate about women and childbirth and pregnancy, like all midwives are. We don't do it for the glamour, or the money- It's the most amazing thing and I'm privileged to be a part of it. However it's not always happy endings. And those moments are the moments I go home and never stop thinking about. 
The panic on the phone is barely disguised in her voice. "I haven't felt my baby move" she says "not for a few days now. Not properly" come in right away I say, keeping my voice upbeat and even. Come in, bring your notes and we'll check you over. I look at my colleague, "no movements" I say. The prayer we both say is silent and personal but I can see it in her eyes, and she in mine. Please don't let today be the day. 
When the woman buzzes in, I go to meet her personally at the door. Take her notes, give her a smile. Squeeze her arm. She's been crying but she's dried her tears. She's at the hospital now, it'll be ok. She's come alone, didn't want to worry anyone. Drove herself here, probably a bit too fast. I move her to a side room, the monitor's all set up. Usually I'd chat, do some observations and paperwork before listening in but neither of us can wait. She lays down and presents me with her perfect bump. I put my cold hands on her abdomen and it is at that point that I know, in my gut, this is not ok. My face remains passive as I perform the usual checks. I move the transducer to where I know I should get a thumping heart. Nothing. The silence is deafening. I don't fill it with my usual "this baby's hiding from me" or some other pleasantry. She knows. She always knew. She looks at me, scared. "Do I panic yet?" She half jokes. Is someone coming to meet you, I ask. She says her husband is on his way. Good. I don't want her to be alone for this. I move the monitor about, praying i'm wrong, knowing I'm not. Another midwife comes in, she sees my face and takes the monitor from me. She has a turn at fruitlessly moving it over and around. "I'll get a scan" I say, in my best calm voice. The husband arrives, white with panic. I show him in and close the door behind me. "I'm going to get someone to scan you" I say. Begging her to understand with my eyes, so I don't have to say it. "We can't find baby's heartbeat so it's the best way to know what's going on" the comprehension in their eyes is sharp and frightening. They grip tightly to each other, not daring to voice their thoughts out loud. I nip off, find a doctor that can prove me wrong. Please prove me wrong. They come right away, drop everything to be with me, this family. 
We stand in the dark scan room, focused on the screen. I lean against a wall, cross my fingers behind my back. I'm not qualified to make the diagnosis but I know what's coming. "I'm so sorry, there's no heart beat. Your baby has died" 
In the hours that follow, I don't cry. I save that until I'm home. I am the epitome "swan-like" calm and professional on the surface, paddling like mad to stay afloat underneath. I give myself to this family, to cry on, to blame, to ask questions. I am honest and sensitive and gentle. I leave the hospital in a daze. I pass pregnant women on my way out and I want to urge them "enjoy your baby before she's here. Talk to her. Watch her closely. Trust yourself" I get home and kick my shoes off. I don't even notice the ache in my feet or my back tonight. I run a bath and get in, it's then that the tears come. That poor fucking family. It's so unfair. 
We don't know why. It's possible we never will. Shit things happen, that's not good enough but it's all I have. I go to work the next day with a smile on my face, but I never ever stop thinking of that family. That baby. That mother and father who have so much unknown territory to cross now. A taboo subject, a bomb gone off in their lives that they don't know how to deal with. It touches so many people, when a baby dies. I know I'm not the only member of staff to have gone home and cried that night. We love these women, these babies, they're our vocation. We feel their loss deeply. We learn, move on and heal but we never, ever forget. 

UPDATE: I saw her, in the street. Smiling, with her hands on a tiny blooming baby bump. It filled my heart with joy. I approached her hesitantly, unsure if she'd want to see my face again, to be reminded. We locked eyes and she pulled me into the biggest hug. "I wasn't sure you'd remember me" she said. "Of course." I replied "A midwife never forgets" 

I wrote this post for me, as a reflection on my job. It is not based on a specific event, or case, or patient. It is an amalgamation of my experiences. I hope it hasn't upset you but I desperately want to break the taboo round this subject. Raise awareness. If you're pregnant, or know somebody that is, and they say their baby isn't moving as much- call a midwife. We want to know about any change in the baby's movements, whatever time of night or day. Trust yourself. These things happen and there is very little anyone can do to prevent them, but monitoring your baby's movements and acting on your instincts gives you your best chance. 


Monday, 10 August 2015

#NRWsummer bloggers event

On Sunday I did something I never thought I'd have the confidence to do, and I walked into a pub I'd never been to, to a group of people I'd never met. It was the Norwich Bloggers #NRWSummer event and I couldn't miss out! Being a socially anxious person, I nearly bailed several times but I'm so, so glad I didn't! There was yoga, a social media workshop, fabulous live music and lots of chatting about blogs with some lovely girls. I had an amazing day and I am so so grateful to Justine, Courteney and Hannah for working their socks off and putting on a fab event. And the goody bags are amazing, I'm still working my way through mine but each product has been a total winner so far! Filled with old favourites and new brands alike I can't wait to get properly stuck in! Such a generous bag, the girls did good! 

It was lovely to meet so many like minded girls, and one in particular I really clicked with was Louise. She's a stylist at, and when a stylist tells you she likes your dress it brightens up your whole day, amiright? 

We were joined by Matt the lovely social media mogul who talked us through the do's and don'ts of the all important social media platforms. It was great to listen to someone in the know and actually have a face to face conversation about the important things I.e when's best to post and how much is too much! It made me realise I definitely need to up my social media game. 

The afternoon was rounded off perfectly for me (I had to leave a little early) by the gorgeous and supremely talented Hannah doing a live set on her adorable little ukulele. Honestly, I've already mentally booked this girl for my imaginary future wedding. What a babe. 

I really hope I can attend some future events organised by the Norwich Bloggers. It made me super proud to be part of our lovely community, and made me love my fine city even more. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015 personalised phone case

*GoCustomized were kind enough to send me this phone case for free in return for a review. This does not effect my opinions or what is written in the review*

When got in touch with me and offered me a personalised phone case to review it couldn't have been better timing. My iPhone six was currently going around naked as my Victoria's Secret Pink phone case was sillcone and had stretched and got on my nerves because it stopped me easily sliding my phone into the pocket of my uniform or my jeans (unecessary info there, enjoy...) I was so excited to review a lovely new case and it took me an age to decide what photo to put on it!

I went for the iPhone 6 full wrap hard case and I chose one of my favourite photos from California that I'd taken. Making your own phone case is such a novelty and it was a real fun experience! do a whole range of different cases for different devices and this definitely won't be the last thing I order from them as I'm so so happy with the finished product! It was so easy to do, I just uploaded my photo straight from Instagram, made sure I was happy with the design and voila! I could've added words but I love the simplicity of my photo and actually it's a photo that speaks volumes to me so I don't need extra quotes on top. 

It came so quickly considering it's a personalised product and, to my surprise, it has a matte effect. I was expecting it to be shiny and I'm so happy it's not because it's a really lovely finish!  
For £19.95 I don't think it's bad at all, I've paid a lot more than that for phone cases half the quality. I can already tell this case won't scratch easily and it will protect my phone if I should drop it (touch wood goddamit!!) Having had this case for a couple of weeks now I can confirm that it does, infact protect the shit out my phone! I'm the clumsiest person around and my phone suffers a lot for that, but this case has really stood up against that, I'm so impressed!!
The only thing about the whole process that I have to say negatively is that I could not get the site to work properly on my mobile. However, I'm assured this is being sorted and actually it was simple to do on my laptop too I'm just an on the go type of person! 

What would you put on a personalised case? 


Tuesday, 30 June 2015


The recent tragedies that have befallen both our small community of bloggers and the larger worldwide community alike has really put into perspective for me the importance of being positive. It's so easy to get up every morning and moan about being at work or having to do something you don't really want to do, but imagine the pain of those who will never hear those qualms from their loved ones ever again. Imagine having that pleasure of being grumpy just because snatched from you in a moment of senseless terror. I can't imagine how they must feel and the recent events in the world (I refuse to give the group responsible or their heinous actions more of my words than absolutely necessary) have shaken me to the core. 
So this is a plea, in dedication to all those heartlessly, senselessly, brutally murdered in Tunisia and to everyone suffering elsewhere unnecessarily be it because of illness, loss or any other reason. Be more positive. Perform random acts of kindness for a stranger. Send your best friend that check up text, call your mum, tell your friends and family you love them. Go out of your way to make someone day. Join me in a strive to banish negativity from this world by not feeding it with fear, discrimination and speculation but by squashing it with love, hope and kindness. Don't let them win, don't live your life in fear, don't dishonour those lost and those suffering with the memory of loss by succumbing to the terror of terrorism. 
Be grateful. I am trying to be more grateful for both the big and the small things. Instead of worrying about what to wear or saving my money, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have those plans, to have a choice of clothing. I'm grateful for the luxury of fresh sheets and shaved legs, the smell of cut grass and barbecues, the ache in my feet after a long day of work. I think it really is time we took stock of our lives and voiced our gratitude for the small things. 

What are you grateful for? What kind things have you done recently? Spread the love gorgeous people. Because there is no higher power, nothing that triumphs evil more than simple love. 


Saturday, 27 June 2015


Bit of a different post today. I say that, it's not really but just thought I'd warn you. These waffly, heartfelt posts are my favourite to write but aren't that well received in the blog. As much as I enjoy writing reviews and taking photos, sometimes I just want to write for me, you know? So I apologise if you're totally sick of my emotional outbreaks but today I'm feeling waffly. Brace yourself. 
Like anything in life, healing after an emotional event takes time and if I had a pound for every person that told me that I'd be a very rich lady. If you've got a headache or a banging hangover the only thing you can do is wait for it to pass. Yeah, you can dose yourself up and feel sorry for yourself to pass the timep but the only thing that will genuinely cure you is patience. The cliche "time is a great healer" is a saying I hate. As the most impatient person in the world I want things to happen like, yesterday. And that is such a frustrating attitude when you're waiting to heal. Because you get angry with yourself for not getting there fast enough and you do all the wrong things to speed the process up. I feel like I'm coming to a point where the healing in my life is taking effect. It's such a bloody lovely feeling. I feel strong and capable and in control again. I still have bad days, of course I do. Things had gone far beyond just "the breakup" and I had allowed all my insecurities and doubts to manifest into a big ugly anxious and depressive cloud that hovered over me constantly. Occasionally that cloud still comes over and ruins my days but I feel secure in the knowledge that it will pass. With time. And I'm becoming totally okay with learning to wait because I'm discovering so much about myself. Im so capable of this. I could've punched people who told me "it will be okay again one day" and I can't count the amount of times I just screamed obscenities in my head at those well meaning people. It's true though. I will be okay again one day. And right now I'm feeling closer to one day than ever. 
I feel inspired. There's so many women in my life who're kicking ass on the regular. Not even life changing, earth shattering ass. Just your everyday, turn up and own it kind of ladies who inspire me and show me there are so many ways to be okay. 


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Current favourites

I love these sort of posts as I get to see what it is that other people are really rating at the minute. 

My current favourites are a mix of old and new. The Bobbi Brown foundation stick is an old favourite that has resurfaced. With medium coverage and a super blend able texture I love to use this on my no makeup- makeup days just to add an extra flawless look to my skin. 

My Dr.PawPaw beauty balm hasn't left my pocket since it arrived on my doorstep! Read my review here. 

The Chanel Rouge Coco Balm is an old favourite in a new shade. I'm a long time lover of 'boy' and when I saw this gorgeous, slightly pinker more summery offering of 'Intime' I couldn't resist. It's just so pretty to wear and feels so luxurious. Who doesn't love whacking out a Chanel product like its nothing? 

My most recent love is this bourjois Aqua blush. I haven't had a lot of time to play around properly with it yet but, used sparingly with a duo fiber brush it gives the most natural flush of colour and I'm dying to go back and get the nude shade!! 

So these are my current loves. Have you tried any? What are yours? 


Monday, 15 June 2015

Dr.PawPaw beauty balm

*Dr. PawPaw kindly sent me this sample to review, this hasn't affected my opinion of the product or my review :) * 

My name is Abigail and I am a lip bam addict. phew it feels good to get that off my chest. At any one time there will be at least 3 lip balms on my person and I'm obsessed with not having dry lips! Don't tell me I'm alone here?! 

When Dr. PawPaw sent me this magical balm I was overjoyed. I've heard a lot of good stuff about this brand and I've wanted to try it for a while. Not only is it great for lips, it's amazing for dry skin, cuticles and anything else you can think of. It contains Aloe Vera, Olive Oil and fermented Papaya and has such a lovely consistency, but surprisingly no overpowering smell or taste!
As a girl who's tried a lot of lip balms I can verify that this formula is a dream. It's long lasting, glides on smoothly but it isn't glossy or sticky at all, so it'd be great for men who don't like that look too. The benefits of it last for ages unlike some balms that stop working once they've sunk in! My lips feel smooth, soft and hydrated. Honestly, it's true love. 

You can get Dr. PawPaw from Selfridges, urban outfitters and asos. I'm dying to try the other shades so I will definitely be making an order soon! Have you tried Dr. PawPaw? Will you?! 

Monday, 1 June 2015

The best waterproof mascara, ever?

I think mascara is the one makeup product I could not be without. Even when my skin is playing up and my eye bags deserve their own post code, if I've got mascara on I feel a little more alive. Bourjois 1 second volum mascara is my favourite, every time. Effortless length, volume and true blackness at a really decent price and it doesn't take forever to build up to my desired look. This stuff can layer and later and never spider leg and you can even reapply later in the day and it still improves the volume and curl. I love it, I think I'm on my third tube of the normal stuff! 
With my tough mudder fast approaching and training well underway, my thoughts naturally turned to the important factors of the day. What was I going to wear, how was I going to do my hair and my face...what was going to happen there?! I decided on all black (slimming, not see through) a simple Danish plait (looks good when wet) and this mascara. 

I can't even tell you how impressed I am! My lashes stayed black, lengthy and full looking for the 4 hours of slogging through the rain, jumping through muddy creeks and crawling around in the mud. Not one smear, smudge or flake to be found. If you're looking for a waterproof mascara, look no further. I'm going so far as to say it's the holy grail. YES I DID. I went there. This will forever be my number 1 mascara, go check it out and I'll promise you you'll be a convert in no time! 

Side note: this is officially the hardest product to photograph, EVER. 


The new skincare step: facial sprays!

It might just be me, but facial sprays have started popping up in almost every skincare brand at the minute, all promising different results with just a spritz. I've totally bought into the refreshing, almost gimmicky products that are so damn easy to use- here are my favourites. 

Serozinc - probably the most well known and most popular, this is a French pharmacy brand that I cannot get enough of. Championed by Caroline Hirons and aimed at those of us with oily skin, this beauty is cooling to apply and sinks in quickly. I've definitely noticed a reduction of oil, especially in my t-zone and I've made sure I take full advantage of any offers I see- I wouldn't want to run out of this! 

Urban Decay Vitamin B6- this soothing spray is packed with amazing ingredients to calm your skin and aid cell turnover. I've noticed a dramatic change in the texture of my skin after using this for a few weeks and I will definitely be repurchasing when it eventually runs out! 

The body shop vitamin C spray is a new addition to my collection but I already know it's love. It smells so citrusy and delicious and instantly gives my skin a refreshing pick me up. 

Pixi glow spray is the baby sister of my favourite pixi glow tonic. I usually spritz this on just before my primer and it leaves me with a lovely base for my makeup. It smells divine too! 

I love sprays because they are refreshing to use and negate the need for annoying cotton pads and a full waste basket. They're travel friendly and actually so effective! I like to use them right after cleansing and before my eye cream/serum, both morning and night. 

What do you think of the latest skincare trend? Have you tried any great sprays I need to add to my collection? 

Recent body shop haul!

I've really been loving the Body Shop recently. It seems that not only are they the place for the sweetest smelling body butters and shower gels they're also on point with their skincare at the moment. 
My love affair started last year with their camomile cleansing balm. There is no competition for this and a flannel at removing makeup. I use it as a first cleanse in the evening to get all my makeup off and then follow up with Lush's ultrabland. It's a winning combo. 
Since then they've really been on it with their new releases. Skincare and the classics alike, they've churned them out and they've all been such winners judging by the reviews in the blogging world! 
I finally decided it was time to get involved and last week I scurried down to my local to see what I could get my hands on. 

2 gorgeous smelling shower gels, the much raved about vitamin e serum in oil, and the vitamin c face spray. 
The shower gels smell a-mazing and they're so nice to use they're a bit more expensive than my normal choices but it makes them a bit more luxurious! It's all about the unusual scents and I chose moringa and mojito which are really brightening up my mornings!
I've written about my love for the vitamin C spray in my facial sprays post, it's a beauty and definitely becoming a staple in my skincare routine! Such an simple step to add a real glow to my skin it's a no brainier really. 
The vitamin E serum in oil is so lovely, I use it at night and my skin is so smooth by the morning! Like honestly, baby bum smooth. It's one of Caroline Hirons' recommendations and, once again the queen does good! I really think it's improving the look of my scars and I'm so happy I picked it up. It's definitely a new favourite and a lot cheaper than my usual oil obsessions! Kiehl's and Clarins I'm looking at you...

Have you picked up anything from the body shop recently? What do you think of my picks? 


Spending challenge for June!

I have a serious spending problem, and I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. When speaking to my favourite group of bloggers we all realised that we could definitely be making more effort to use up products and stop making unnecessary purchases. In an attempt to make us more thoughtful about the money we spend on wanted products as opposed to needed we've set ourselves a challenge. Feeling up to joining in? There aren't many rules, a spending ban is pretty self explanatory! But two simple points to remember; 

1. Necessary items ONLY. These should only be things you've run out of or need for an event. However...
2. If you've run out of something and you have similar products half used in your draw ( can't be just me that is guilty of this?!) then you should use those up first!

Let me know if you're thinking of taking part! 


Friday, 29 May 2015

Thoughtful Friday- the future and how I have no idea what I'm doing.

Sometimes I go on a long walk with my headphones in just to think about life, without distractions. I put my phone on aeroplane mode, a relaxing playlist on and I absorb myself in my surroundings. My most recent walk had me thinking about my life and where I'm at. And I thought I'd share it with you incase/in the hope that some of you are feeling the same, or have felt the same and know the struggle!
Being worried about your life when you're 23 seems utterly ridiculous. I'm young, I'm healthy, I've got a great career and travel plans that some can only dream of. I'm lucky. I know that. I've got an amazing family and honestly the most supportive bunch of friends I've ever had. But I'm still a bit...lonely. And it's not something I've ever had to deal with before. This isn't about 'The Breakup' although that does play a massive part in it. This is more about my surroundings and perception of where I "should be" vs. where I actually am. 
I'm at that weird point in my life where, whenever I look around, I see happy couples planning their lives together. It's intrinsic to my job, which is fine. But the thing I'm not used to, or prepared for, is not having many/any single friends. This is not a whinge, or a bitter rant. It's merely an observation. Isn't it funny how a friend 24 hours younger than I am is engaged and moving in with her beau, whereas the biggest commitment I have in my life is my plane ticket to the other side of the world? Don't get me wrong here, I'm over the moon for her and all the other people in my life who are settled and blissfully happy and I'm genuinely excited about my upcoming travels (if not absolutely terrified). It truly gives me joy to see my loved ones so content. It's just weird. And I am okay (most days) about being on my own. I just feel like I'm wrong for not wanting all that right now. I feel like I'm missing out a bit! I'm a bit scared that while our lives veer off in such different paths that I'll get left behind, traversing tinder and the awful dating scene whilst all my friends discuss nurseries, joint bank accounts and the interiors of their beautiful first homes. I had all that in my sights and while everything happens for a reason and I've got new exciting plans to come I'm a little shell shocked at how quickly and dramatically things can change and the whole future you saw for yourself has to be re-written. 
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. I guess I'm just reaching out and asking for someone to reassure me that feeling 23 at 23 is alright. That not knowing what the fuck you're doing or where your life is going is ok. I'm scared that everyone seems to have their future perfectly mapped out and I'm still living month to month, not daring to look past the end of the week let alone planning the next few years. I'm not wishing time away, just wishing for a sign from the universe that everything will work out fine. Because knowing you know nothing is the scariest prospect ever. 


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Bumble & Bumble surf infusion.

Unpopular opinion: I hate salt spray for your hair. I've used so many different types and I just found the made my hair look unwashed and unmanageable. Despite this, I still long for that gently tousled, just got out of the sea, too cool to care effortless look! I'd almost given up searching for that wonder product...until now. 

Bumble & Bumble have released their new surf infusion spray, and it's a beaut.  This mix of their signature salt spray and tropical oils left my hair tousled but feeling good. No clumpy, crispy, unmanageable birds nests here! I loved it and have used it pretty much with every wash since I bought it. Once you've shaken the bottle to mix the components, the spray gives a really even coverage, over the hair that is effective but still light. Not only is it great for spraying on wet hair and allowing to dry naturally for a laid back, bed head look, it's also great for spritzing on dry hair to refresh a look and to use on freshly washed hair to make styling a little bit easier!! 

A multitude of uses that make the £21.50 price tag totally worth it. I can definitely see this little blue treasure becoming a summer staple. 

I've been really impressed by this offering from Bumble and Bumble and I'm so keen to try more! Is there anything you'd suggest I have to put on my hair care wish list from them? 


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sunday Lovin'

Here's a list of posts I''ve absolutely adored this week...

Tea Party Beauty's excellent post on google analytics! So helpful for such a novice blogger like me. I love this blog, so helpful and accessible and a great mixture of posts- there's something for everyone, I love it!

Grace & Braver's post on the upside down dutch braid (which I've tried to master and have yet not succeeded) She is truly beautiful, check out her instagram while you're checking out her'll give you serious face envy!

Lovecloth's beautiful post on this amazing Cath Kidston dress. Come payday that's going straight in my wardrobe! This girl is always perfectly turned out and takes such beautiful photos! Blog goals.

Eloise's post on the REN skincare has got my mouth watering. NOTHING I love more than good skincare and these suggestions went straight into my basket on this gorgeous girl's recommendations! Eloise runs a gorgeous blog and is so passionate about all things natural and clean, such helpful advice and I'm trying really hard to change my life to be healthier thanks to her inspiration :)

I felt this week went pretty well in terms of my goals that I outlined in this post. It's nice to look back and feel I achieved something! We're one week closer to my tough mudder and I'm really starting to feel the nerves now! I went running a lot this week and found my route much easier than usual...looking forward to stepping it up next week.
I'm feeling proud of my blog at present, I hope you're enjoying reading as much as I'm enjoying writing at the minute! Hopefully I can continue to write posts and get photos up regularly as I'm loving seeing my little blog grow. I invested in some interesting wallpaper snippets and cacti for my photo backgrounds so now i feel like a proper blogger and I'm actually looking forward to taking some photos!

Hope you all have a smashing Sunday. I'm planning to spend the day chilling out on the sofa with netflix and my duvet, followed by a short run and a long hot bath with the #bbloggers chat. Is it ok to be on Twitter whilst naked? Question of the week! Answers on a postcard....


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

My travel plans!

I've always wanted to travel, I'm not really happy staying in once place too long and the lure of seeing the world and experiencing things is so appealing to me, it's always been on my radar for when I'm "grown up". It took one break up and a loss in my life to spur me on; if not now, when? So, on New Years Eve I plucked up the courage to walk into a travel agents and get out the words; "book me a one way flight please"

Dramatic? yep! but that's me all over. And I'd come to a point where I was sick of sitting and waiting, watching while others travelled the world and had the time of their lives, sick of wondering when it would be my turn. My recent travels to America had given me such itchy feet, I could barely wait to get going again.

I booked with STA travel which is a well known travel company, specialising in 'gap year' type trips and adventures rather than your standard holidays. They were super helpful and supportive; all their staff have done their fair share of travelling so they had such good advice on where to stay, what I needed to do and what I could probably leave out. They've got a trip for every budget, every amount of time and every continent. It's really just a matter of when and where!

My plans start with a 6 week tour of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, exploring local villages, cuisine and scenery, I'm going to fit in a full moon party and some scuba diving qualifications before boarding a flight to Sydney, Australia. Here I have 3 nights booked in a hostel...and that's it! I'm planning to board the well known Greyhound bus up the East coast, stopping in all the famous places to really experience the back packer style that Australia is so known for. I have a friend in Brisbane whom I'm going to visit and it's in Brisbane that I'm hoping to settle for a time and find a job doing what I love. From there who knows what will happen!? the unknown can often be terrifying and daunting but it will make a good story and hell knows that's what I'm all about.

My journey doesn't begin until the end of the year but I'm already super excited and planning like crazy. I know it will come round fast so I'm lapping up all the travelling posts, packing advice and hostel reviews that I can! If  you've ever been to any of the places I could be going, please let me know what I need to be doing! If you have any travel type posts, leave me links as I'd love to read them!


Monday, 11 May 2015

Motivate Monday; this weeks goals!

I'm going to try out a series on this blog, something I've never done before. I know most people dread Monday's so I want to try and get into the habit of embracing the fresh week and setting goals for the week to come!  

Goal 1: blog more! 
I want to really get going with my blog this week, take photos, schedule posts and promote, promote, promote. 

Goal 2: keep healthy and active. 
My tough mudder race is in less than 3 weeks now so there isn't really time to rest. I already run and eat fairly healthy but it doesn't take much to push me off the wagon so I really need to commit this week and make a serious commitment. 

Goal 3: get rid of the old. 
I've got a lot of clothes and not a lot of space so I really need to start ebaying/depoping all those barely worn dresses! 

Goal 4: keep positive. 
This will be my hardest goal to achieve and one that can't be satisfied in a week. But I'll make small changes to my thoughts and hopefully they'll start to reflect in my days. 

What are your goals for the week? 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Semi- permanent makeup by Polly Vincent. Lips!

Back in January when I had some spare birthday cash and a slightly irresponsible view on life (who am I kidding, that will never change!) I booked in to see the AMAZING Polly Vincent of Enhance to get my eyebrows and lips semi- permanently tattooed onto my face. This sounds super dramatic but it's so not. My reasoning behind it was threefold: 1) why the hell not 2) I'll never have to pencil my eyebrows in again (hallelujah) and 3) I can frolic in the sea whilst travelling (and sweat, nice) without worrying about my eyebrows sliding off. Never what you want!
So, I messaged Polly via her Facebook page and she immediately got back to me with a super helpful reply including pricings, timings and info on the procedure. Basically all the stuff you need to know. Without hesitation I paid my deposit and booked in to see her. 
My first procedure was on my lips. Based in Lowestoft, Suffolk Polly is super easy to find. Her premesis is calm, clean and professional- exactly what you want when choosing someone to poke needles in your face! We sat down and had a good chat about what I wanted. My lips were already very pigmented, but my top lip was much thinner than my fat bottom lip so together we came up with the perfect shade for me and also the perfect shape. Polly is the most friendly and professional person I've ever met. I instantly felt like we'd been friends for years and trusted her implicitly. Polly is Harley Street trained and a total perfectionist so I felt really safe in her hands. 
Once the outline was on my lips and we were both happy, my lips were completely numbed and Polly got to work. It felt like a sharp buzzing on my lips but wasn't unbearable at all. It took much less time than I thought and the end result was...well, see for yourself!


Now this is immediately after the procedure. My lips are visibly swollen here and the colour is super bright. I was reassured that neither of these effects would last long and I skipped off to pout my way home! 
Now, I'm not going to lie to you- the healing of these bad boys ain't a pretty sight and probably the worst part of the whole thing. Think scabby and puffy and weepy. Yum yum! 

Slightly unevenly swollen, a day after. 

Here is a few days after, taken at work. You can see the colour change and the scabs- I told people I'd had an allergic reaction! That's what it looked like and it was pretty hard to hide. If I could have these again I'd definitely do it in a period where I didn't have to go into work!! But after the first couple of days, once the scabs had started to flake (hardest thing of my life trying not to pick them!) it was much easier. Polly had warned me that the colour wouldn't be immediately visible so I almost forgot I'd had them done! I went back for a top-up a few weeks later and then a week or two after that is when I really saw the colour come out.

This is me now with nothing on my lips but lip balm. 

the shape is perfect and the colour is subtle but enough that I don't need to constantly worry about topping up my lipstick. I wake up in the morning and feel half decent. It's a joy! I loved the result so much I booked straight back in to get my eyebrows done. More on that in the next post! What do you think? Would you have semi-permanent makeup done? 

Please be sure to check out Polly's website here! And her Instagram @sincerelypolly 💋


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The breakup.

You know it has to happen at some point in your life, you just know. That first, heart shattering, world changing break up. You live in hope and disbelief that it hasn't happened yet. You kid yourself you've got it right first time and you've miraculously avoided all Bridget Jones scenarios. 
Then it hits you like a fucking train. And whether you saw it coming or not it doesn't make the impact any less. You're torn down to a tiny fetus like shadow of your former self. Light hurts and talking is impossible. You're filled with nothing but grief and nausea. If you're lucky you'll have friends that force feed you and drug you so you can sleep. If you're unlucky you'll lie awake at night relieving every tiny detail and wondering how you could've done it differently. How you could've changed his mind. If you're really unlucky you'll do both. You'll have sleeping tablet induced dreams of normality that seem so real, when you wake up and feel it all again you'll be back to square one. It's shit. You'll do this for weeks on end. Go about your normal business, or at least try to. People at work will wonder what on earth has happened; you look ill, you look pale, are you okay? You'll nod and walk away because you physically can't verbalise it. Its too much to comprehend, it doesn't seem real yet. 
You'll reach out and find solace in the weirdest things. If you're a sadist you'll trawl over old texts, photos, his social media. You might try and cut contact together. Neither helps. Neither heals. You're still left alone at night sobbing yourself to the safety of a dreamless sleep for a very few hours. 
It doesn't last though. That emptiness, the numbness, the pain. It begins to fade. Gradually you'll have a few hours where it doesn't cross your mind. Hours will turn into days and soon your grief:normality ratio will turn around. The sun will shine a bit brighter and someone will make you laugh. You'll realise you haven't heard yourself laugh in too long. You'll start to think of life beyond this hole and what it could hold. You'll make plans. Book flights. Book appointments you'd always wanted but never had the balls or inclination to book. You'll join a gym. Eat healthier. Start to feel better.
All it takes is time. I lost count of the amount of times I wished I could fast forward until I felt better. But you need to feel that, need to have your heart smashed into pieces so it forces you to go round finding them. Discarding the bits you actually never thought worked for you and stitching yourself back together. Piece by piece. And you'll be stronger for it. The wounds will heal and the scar tissue will never let you forget but it'll make you stronger. Better. 

Make a sassy playlist and play it loudly. Cry. Scream. Get in the shower for hours so the water runs into your ears and you can't hear yourself think. Lean on your friends, hard. Talk. Or don't. Give yourself time to heal. Avoid Ed Sheeran and Adele. Avoid happy couples. Do things that make you happy. Be selfish. 

You will be okay. It will take a long time. I'm nowhere close to being okay. But I'm closer than I was last week and the week before that. Listen to people's advice but ultimately, do what you have to do. Be careful. Learn to love yourself again. Learn to be happy on your own. It will come. Believe. 


Monday, 4 May 2015

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Gorgeous budget perfumes

I'm pretty particular about my perfumes- I love my Chloe, Chanel and Caroline Herrera. I rarely stray from what I know but, for some reason I picked these two beauties up in New Look recently to have a sniff and instantly had to have them.  

Pure Dusk is a gorgeous musky scent that's floral and feminine and lasts forever. The pretty purple tint and simple, sturdy bottle look great on my dressing table but I don't have any fear chucking it in my bag either. 
Pure Blush is my favourite and the best find smells exactly like Chanel Madamoiselle! I've had to buy a back up as I'm already halfway through my first bottle. New Look do cute purse versions too so you can top up throughout the day (not that you actually need to- the lasting power on these is amazing!) the best thing? The price- at £7.99 each and £2.99 for the purse versions how could you complain?! Next time you're in New Look give these two a test and see what you think! 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Healthy baked asparagus

Oh god, guys this recipe still has my mouth watering a bit!! I first found it on A Beautiful Mess and immediately had to try it! 
It's super simple. 
All you'll need is: asparagus, bread crumbs, 2 eggs, flour, Parmesan cheese, salt/pepper, light mayo, lemon juice (for the sauce). 

It gets messy!

Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees or gas mark 5. 

Chop off all the ends of your asparagus and dip it in the eggs so it's coated. Roll it in the flour, back in the egg, then round in the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Lay it on the baking tray. Repeat until all your asparagus is coated and laid out. Pop it in the oven for about 20 mins. Voila! 
For the sauce mix some light mayo and lemon juice with a sprinkling of salt and pepper until it tastes right to you. Then serve and enjoy. 


Friday, 1 May 2015

Goodbye Tuesdays Girl!

Welcome to Topknots & Treasures! I'm Abigail. You might know me if you've followed me here from my old blog, Tuesdays girl. If you have; thank you! If you're a new reader; welcome! 
So why the change? Basically I had lost the love of blogging as I didn't like my blog anymore. It didn't feel like me. After a huge life upheaval change was in the air and so Topknots & Treasures was born. I'm hoping to make this an online diary full of things, people and places I love. 
I hope you enjoy it my darlings. I'm feeling fired up and ready to blog again! 
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