Lifestyle and fashion. Posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5pm.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Headspace: Take 10. What I thought.

Mediation, we've all heard about it but do enough of us do it? The benefits of it are said to be amazing including lowered stress, better concentration and feeling happier. I decided I would test out these ideas by giving meditation a try. Headspace, an app that guides you into the practice offers what they call "Take 10", a 10 day guided meditation course for free. I took it for a whirl. Here's how I found it.

Source: here.
The goals:
  • To lessen my anxiety
  • To feel less stressed
  • To feel happier
  • To test meditation as a coping mechanism to calm me
The reality:

So I went into this whole thing with an open mind and not much expectation. I've done meditation once or twice before but that is literally all, I could never commit. This time round I was ready to take 10 minutes out of my day for 10 days and see what happened. 

I downloaded the app and did everything I was told to do by the man guiding me via voice through the Headspace app. His name was Andy. He was nice. He explained the process of meditation, how it would make me feel and how to get the most out of it. Good info needed for inexperienced meditators like me.

I took each day as it came starting with day 1 which was probably the hardest day. The first few days I was pretty distracted to be fair. I don't know if you're like me but my mind wanders off like no bloody tomorrow. PIZZA. FRIES. DISNEYLAND. PUGS. ZAC EFRON. You name it, I think it. You get where I'm going with this; I think...A LOT. But Andy assured me that if I was thinking a lot during my meditation time not to worry because each day I practice meditation it will lessen. Phew I thought. There was hope for me. But nevertheless the first few days were tricky.

The one thing I wasn't liking about meditation to start off with is how I was giving my mind time to think about my worries. If anything, I wanted to run away from them and not give myself time to think about them. Why in the heck would I want to do that? Are you crazy Andy?! But heck I soldiered on in the hope meditation would calm my fears.

As time went along and we moved onto day 5 I could see I was getting a little less distracted, not enormous amounts let's be realistic, but a little is better than none. I started to appreciate the practice of meditation more and taking time out for as little as 10 minutes a day to clear my mind. It was a good feeling. I did still occasionally get distracted during my zen time thinking about veggie dogs n'all sorts but the time I wasn't thinking about them I was calm. It was great. I was actually feeling calm, for real. This was a big deal as I am the least calm person you'll ever meet. Heck Andy was doing a good job.

In my final few days I realised meditation was really a skill to hone. It wasn't easy just sitting there for 10 minutes everyday trying to think about nothing, it really took patience. I did it though. By the end of the 10 days I enjoyed meditation and looked forward to my Take 10 sessions, it was great. I knew what I was doing towards the end and relied less on Andy's guidance because I knew what to expect and I brushed up on my meditation skills by then.

Remaining thoughts

Headspace was enjoyable and gave me some clarity and calm in my life, but I wouldn't say to a drastic measure. It offered me calm a few minutes out of the 10 minute session and a few minutes after the session, but that was about as far as it went. I think if I were to subscribe to the app and keep practicing meditation it would be more beneficial because I would have practiced how to meditation properly for the full benefit. Overall I found the whole process of meditation and using Headspace good but you need to have patience with the process because the benefits don't come into play overnight.

Have you used Headspace before?

Liam
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Top vegan food to order in Yo Sushi!

Yo Sushi! I can't quite get enough of it. Cheap, quick and tasty and you can order as much as you want without the waiter looking at you funny because you only get little plates. Keep it coming I say! Really good food that is Asian inspired and there's plenty of these restaurants about to dine in. I never really change my order here because what I normally order doesn't get old. You can't say that about many dishes! Here's what I order when I visit Yo Sushi! and what I recommend you try out too.



1. Vegetable gyozas

To start off with why not try the vegetable gyozas? Only a small dish but enough to wet the appetite. The gyozas come as a set of three and are full of flavour like soy and ginger. You're sure to want to get more as it's so tasty and really tastes like what you'd hope good Asian food would taste like. They're always piping hot so if you have the willpower, give it a minute to cool down.




2. Cucumber nori 

Next, try out the cucumber sushi which is a set of 6 small seaweed rolls, sushi rice and small pieces of cucumber. Light and refreshing and great with soy sauce. A little on the sweet side, but not overboard.


3. Vegetable firecracker rice

A personal favourite, the firecracker rice packs a kick sure to give you a foodgasm. No really. Packed with flavour and mild heat, the dish comprises of sticky rice, carrot, spring onion, sesame seeds and more. Moist and fulfilling, the dish is sure to put a smile on your face. Try at least two of these dishes if you want to feel full up.



4. Vegetable yakisoba noodles

To end the dinner date, try out the vegetable noodles, a perfect comfort food. Packed with ginger as well as spring onion, carrot and red pepper. The meal is a party in your mouth. I'd suggest to keep a napkin nearby as it is a little on the oily side though, but totally worth it.



And that's what I highly recommending eating. Who said finding tasty vegan food was hard?! Let me know below what you order at Yo Sushi! when you go. As a massive fan of the food, I'd love to hear.

Liam
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Prezzo: Review

It was in a recent visit that I went to Prezzo to eat out. Full of expectation as the new restaurant opened nearby and ready to eat to my heart's desire. How did it go? Well... *awkward pause*




I always go to new restaurants with an open mind but I always have a level of expectation. I like basic customer service, a clean setting and good relatively inexpensive food. I don't think that's too much to ask. Well on this recent visit to Prezzo (which I've never visited before) I got only one of my expectations fulfilled: the cleanliness. As for everything else, it was an utter disappointment.

Let's start with the food. Off the very limited choice of vegan food, I ordered the bruschetta to start and the courgette pappardelle as a main. The starter to my surprise was anything but bruschetta. I'm a massive fan of bruschetta and if I'm right it's toasted ciabatta with chopped tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. What I got was two pieces of hard toast with some non-cut cherry tomatoes and a limited amount of pesto. Yum...not. It was a real shame as brushetta is one of my favourite starters to eat in a restaurant. This was not off to a good start. As for the main, it was a pasta dish made up of courgette, cherry tomatoes, onion, chilli, garlic and herbs in a pomodoro sauce. Sounds nice, right? Sadly it was not. It tasted like a cheap microwave meal just with a hefty price tag. It was a shame as I was really looking forward to it. It lacked taste and was very sickly and Prezzo overkilled it with far too much courgette. I like courgette as much as the next person, but there's a limit!

The customer service though, you're thinking that must have been good surely. Well I would have told you about the customer service should I have got any. My friend and I were not only greeted with a grumpy face, but we didn't even get a basic hello on arrival from the senior staff worker. This worker seated us, but did not do it with a smile or show any interest in us being there. If anything, it felt like we were an inconvenience. After he seated us he did not come back to check on how we found our food and there was no basic customer service. A real shame.

Overall a pretty poor visit but well done to Prezzo for being so consistent at ignoring my friend and I and having no manners. As for the food, it spoke for itself. A little more effort put into the food and it could have been something really nice. Let's hope in time Prezzo prove us all wrong and give outstanding service and food. Here's to dreaming!

Restaurant rating: 


What do you think of Prezzo?


Liam
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Monday, 15 May 2017

Mental Illness is not a joke

From mugs saying 'obsessive cat disorder' on it to be people describing each other as anorexic, the conversation surrounding mental health has taken a turn for the worst. No wonder people have a fear speaking up about their own mental health issues when this sort of conversation encourages people to stigmatise psychiatric illnesses.

Source: here.
Speaking up about any illness is hard for sure, but the thing about mental illness is that it receives a lot of stigma. Who would want to speak up about their illness when they might face some sort of prejudice like this? But where is this stigma coming from? Well I have one suspicion and it's from society's conversation! You hear it again and again; people using mental illnesses as adjectives and as jokes. Silly really. Something like:

"You're so OCD"
"She's so anorexic"
"You're so bipolar sometimes"
"She's absolutely schizo"
"I'm depressed"
"I'm going to kill myself if...happens"

It's this sort of ignorance that encourages stigmatisation. It's this sort of ignorance that proves how uneducated society really is. It's a shame because I'm sure a lot of people don't mean to cause offence but they really do. Using a mental illness as an adjective to describe something is not okay and needs to end. It dumbs down mental illness as being a joke, maybe even made up.

How? Well you're not acting as if you're OCD, you're just being a little more obsessive than normal. That person isn't annorexic, they're just skinny or don't eat much often. No you're not bipolar, you're happy today and were sad yesterday. And no you certainly aren't depressed, you're just stressed or sad - and that unlike some mental illnesses will pass. 

This conversation dumbs down how serious mental illness really is and is so offensive on so many levels. Making comments like this makes it seem like mental illness is nothing, no big deal, like it's just something silly or dare I say cute in some scenarios like being obsessive (OCD). Someone please explain to me how anything about this issue is cute or silly as I can't quite see it myself.

But it gets worse. Not only is the literal conversation bad but now stores have made it into a profit-driven industry. You can buy merchandise like 'obsessive cat disorder' mugs which are an obvious spinoff of someone diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. Nothing about this is okay. These mugs makes a joke out of an illness which faces so much stigma only to add to it as being nothing more than a personality trait. Let's make it clear that mental illness is not a personality trait, it is an illness. Yes you can't see it but it's real. Your brain is an organ just like any other and can get ill with psychiatric illnesses just like another organ can get ill with something else. Please do some research before you go to describe yourself as OCD or depressed like it's no big deal.

Where does the problem lie? Education. If there was proper education on mental illness in schools and the workplace people would understand mental illness as being a real thing and not a way to describe themselves. And if the education was informative, maybe people would think twice before buying into an industry making money out of joking around about it i.e. the merchandise I mentioned.

It's a shame society has come to this. If you feel the same as me, comment below and join in the conversion because #MentalIllnessIsNotAJoke.

Liam

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

A Gentleman's guide to grooming

Grooming is that one thing we all have to get around to doing as part of our daily or weekly routine. Even though a little tedious, it's got to be done. But what's it take to be a well groomed gentlemen? Well I've learnt a thing or two about this by now since I've developed from a 'no facial hair man' to a...little bit of facial hair man. GOODBYE PUBERTY. So here I am passing on what I know. They say you can tell a lot about a man by how he grooms himself so to look the part let me tell you what you've got to do. It's a simple as 1, 2, 3 and doesn't take very long so let's get started.


1. Exfoliate

I can't emphasise how important it is to exfoliate your facial skin prior to shaving or trimming. It does wonders for cleaning your hairs up as it creates a nicer slate to shave and trim on. According to Gilette, if you don't exfoliate, old skin cells, oil and dirt might be matting down facial hair and blocking your razors path. Yikes.

I use Cup O'Coffee exfoliater by Lush Cosmetics.

2. Trim/Shave

This one is a bit obvious but you're going to need a tool to do the deed with. Duh. Invest in a good quality razor or trimmer to get the best experience possible. It might cost a few bob, but it's a jolly good investment.

I use the Philips QT4000/13 trimmer for trimming and Gilette razors for a full shave.

3. Coconut oil/moisturiser

All this grooming isn't the easiest on skin so to keep your money maker in check, post shave you need something to rehydrate your skin with since it loses moisture during shaves and trims.

  • Trim: You've heard it again and again, coconut oil is glorious. It has so many uses and there's always someone talking about its benefits. It's especially great for grooming in that it softens and hydrates facial hair. Perfect for post trim to keep your beard sparkling. Massage into the follicles and prepare to be amazed.
  • Shave: Probably more important to hydrate than trimming after a shave as shaving strips away moisture and leaves skin feeling dry and dehydrated. Grab yourself a non oily moisturiser, something like Enzymion from Lush Cosmetics which is what I use post shave.
4. Tea tree

To end the grooming affair, dab or spray on some tea tree water onto where you shaved or groomed. This is to prevent any outbreaks in the skin. Happens to the best of us when we shave; spots just come out in full force. So to prevent this, the antibacterial elements in tea tree will stop spots in their tracks.

What's your grooming routine like?

Liam
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Night Time Music Playlist

Music is great, right? There's something for everyone. Music that makes you laugh; music that makes you cry; music that makes you dance and even music that helps you to chill out and even fall asleep. The latter applies best to me as I use music mostly to help me chill out, wind down and fall asleep to. Of course I love a cheeky boogie to music too though. But for the purpose of this post I'm going to give you my favourite songs to chill out and also fall asleep too. Maybe you'll find something you like or maybe you'll recognise some of these.

1. Skinny Love by Bon Iver



2. Holocene by Bon Iver



3. Candles by Daughter



4. Youth by Daughter



5. To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra



6. Angels by The xx



7. Hey Now by London Grammar



8. Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow



9. Naked as we came by Iron & Wine



10. Me by The 1975


A massive shoutout to Spotify for having such a wide diverse of music on offer. If it wasn't for me purchasing a subscription with them I wouldn't have come across some of these songs or found a passion for music. Kudos to them for helping me wind down.

Most of the songs I've listed are by mostly indie or alternative artists, but I've always found non-mainstream music artists to know a thing or two about the art of chilling out. Yes they often offer other music genres too but they always have a song or two in an album that makes you want to grab a cup of tea and curl up in bed to it. Am I right?

The artists I've listed are mainly modern and all apart from one or two are fairly well known which goes to show that you can still make great music no matter how famous you get. And as for the less well known artists like Iron & Wine and James Vincent McMorrow they both do a good job as independent music creators. Here's to great music!

What's your favourite songs to wind down to? Let me know below!

Liam
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Featuring blue.

Another day, another outfit to wear. Following a Primark haul I found a complete outfit that was perfect for a warm day in the land of Swansea. It was blue, bold and light and something I don't normally wear but like other fashion enthusiasts I like to experiment. Take a look below.




The shirt I wore was very light and short sleeved and let me show off my guns aka what my momma gave me. It featured a pelican and plant design on a blue background. With this I wore a pair of skinny light blue jeans and blue slip on shoes. Sensing a theme? Blue was the look I was going for. It's not my typical look as I normally like blue to be one of many colours in an outfit, not the only colour but the different varieties of blue worked well. The shirt pattern also added a bit of sparkle and who doesn't like sparkle?! Not me.



I wore this as a casual spring outfit and can't really see it as being anything more than that. It's suited for beach walks, shopping and a lunch date, but not really evening or formal wear but add some black skinny jeans and a pair of boots and maybe it could be.


Showing off some ankle in this outfit...cheeky.

 What I wore:
  • Shirt - Primark, £7
  • Jeans - Primark, £10
  • Shoes - Primark - £12
Total cost: £29
What do you think of this outfit?

Liam
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Top 5 binge worthy TV shows on Netflix

Netflix: everyone's guilty pleasure. If you're happy, you watch it. If you're sad, you watch it. Maybe you're bored, maybe you're excited, whatever you're feeling Netflix has something to suit your mood and preferred genre. It's great, isn't it? A cheap subscription with lots of binge worthy TV that keeps you coming back. I personally L - O - V - E Netflix with all my heart, I even have it on in the background as I type this blog post right now #addicted. If you love it as much as me, read on as I tell you the top 5 binge-worthy TV shows to watch on it right now.

1. Once Upon a Time



The cheesiest most dramatic show but a great one that recreates the stories of fairy tale characters. If you're a Disney fanatic, you'll surely love this show as it tells the story of love and good vs evil with characters like Elsa, Snow White and Ariel making an appearance. And let's not forget Captain Hook and Prince Charming who are easy on the eyes who are enough of a reason to tune in.

Watch if you like: Disney films and fairy tales.

2. Sense 8



Sense 8 is a unique show that connects 8 less than ordinary men and women across the globe by making them fight for their lives. This team of 8 uncover new powers that connects each of their minds and skills to each other but a team of different people see these 8 people as high risk. A tense and very fast show. Perfect for anyone with a nerdy side to them.

Watch if you like: Travellers.

3. Grace and Frankie


A lighthearted comedy show that joins two couples in an adventure in America.

Two men, one that dated Grace and the other, Frankie end up divorcing these women for each other as they discover they are in fact gay. This complicated dynamic sees Grace and Frankie try to work out their new relationship with the men but also sees Grace and Frankie come together as partners in crime. A hilarious show best suited for those looking for something easy to watch.

Watch if you like: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and You, Me, Her.

4. 13 Reasons Why





A daring show, one like no other that will have you making 'oo' and 'ah' noises every episode. Very dark, the show sees the aftermath a young girl named Hannah Baker makes after she commits suicide. By leaving tapes for people you see why and who caused Hannah to come to such drastic measures. Not for the faint hearted.

Watch if you like: Riverdale.

5. Riverdale


One for those that don't want to use many brain cells, Riverdale follows a town in their venture to uncover the murder of the town's high school football captain. Full of drama and scenes that make you go "NO WAY" Riverdale will have you gripped from episode 1.

Watch if you like: 90210 and 13 Reasons Why.

What are some of your favourite shows on Netflix right now?

Liam
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Friday, 21 April 2017

Essential Daytime Spring Clothing

Another season, another set of fashion. With Spring just arrived it's time to dust off some of the old clothes we've not worn for the past year and think about new clothes to buy. But what is some spring 2017 staple wear?


An absolute classic, the bomber jacket is a must have for every spring season. Normally worn in autumn but not anymore as designers have made this overwear lighter for the spring and summer season. The bomber jacket can be worn with most outfits seeing as it offers a simple clean cut design and iconic collar and cuffs so is well worth investing in. A 90s favourite, this cool jacket is the ultimate casual wear.

Another timeless piece is the denim jacket which is great for spring as it's naturally light and works well with other denim pieces like jeans which are worn regularly by many of us. Like the bomber it works well as a daytime piece and offers great spring vibes with it's light blue colour, but smartens things up with it's distinctive buttons verse the zip design of a bomber. Definitely a keeper. Team it up with a pair of black skinnies and a shirt for a t-total look. From being worn by James Dean and Bruce Springsteen back in the day to now worn by the rich, poor, famous and working class the jacket suits everyone and offers universal appeal.

In contrast to the jackets, an orange long sleeve shirt is bold and daring but has been a trend of 2017. A great trend indeed, the orange shirt is certainly one to watch out for it's smart casual look. The silhouette is versatile and great for putting you in that great spring mood. Perfect for those summer evening when you have one too many ciders at the pub.

A different trend is stripe clothing. Unlike the orange shirt this trend has stuck around for the past few years and doesn't seem to be going anytime soon. In fact, every year there seems to be more and more stripe and nautical themed clothing appearing. A light stripe jumper is a must have in every man and woman's wardrobe this spring 2017. A little on the casual side in comparison to the orange shirt but nonetheless a dapper choice.

Similarly a camo t shirt is also casual and a great piece to have in the wardrobe. Unlike  the other trends, the camo trend died down over the past few years but seems to be making a comeback. Unlike the other clothing, people won't be able to see you in this (couldn't resist #corny).

Last but not least, a pair of Vans trainers. Who can say no to these? A staple for effortless casual wear. The old school trainers go well with nearly all outfits so you really can't go wrong. Black being the best colour for its versatility.

What do you think are spring staples for the wardrope?

Liam

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Benefits of exercise

The majority of us workout to get a brand spanking new body, right? But when the results take a while to appear it can demotivate us. We want that physique so badly that when it takes too long to come around we just don't want to carry on. Happens to the best of us (I've certainly been there). But what if we saw exercise differently and put less focus on getting a nice sexy aesthetic and more focus on the other benefits exercise offers? It's the perfect way to make carrying on that little bit easier whilst we wait to evolve into Mr and Mrs sexy.

Source: here.

1. Routine
Routine is so important and exercise gives us the perfect dose of it. Starting each day off right with a nice bit of cardio or weight lifting helps to fill the day and keep us busy.

2. Hobby
The gym is a sport and a sport is a hobby. You're no longer that person who has no hobbies, you're a gym goer and you should be proud!

3. Strength Increases
There's nothing more exciting for an ego than knowing you've gotten a little bit stronger. Who cares about how you look when your guns can lift 150lbs?!

4. Fitness Level
No more seeing those walks up the stairs as Mt Everest. All this exercise means you're fit enough to tackle what the world gives you and climb each step with ease. Phew.

5. Physical Health
We all know it; exercising is good for us and in so many ways. It helps to prevent cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis and much more! Working out is a natural and free way to look after your body.

6. Mental Health
Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins. That's exactly what exercise gives us. It fills you up with happy hormones and makes you shine a little brighter. That's what I'm talking about!

7. Energy
Who needs that drink of coffee in the morning when you can get a natural energy boost and high from exercise? We all struggle to stay awake at times but luckily exercise has got your back.

8. Sleep
Sure exercise helps to keep you awake but it also helps send you to sleep. Getting to sleep when you have an overactive mind is a struggle, that is unless you exercise regularly then it's a piece of cake.

If you struggle to stay consistent at exercise because you're not seeing results, remember what else exercise does for you. Now put those guns up because you're a rock star!

What does exercise do for you?

Liam
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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Las Iguanas: Vegan food

Ahhh Las Iguanas Swansea, the place I go to so often that they know my name and my order when I arrive. Yes really. They have even called me that "lovely vegan boy" because I'm there so often! I am a true regular so you can guess that I highly recommend going there if you're thinking about it and can handle the spice. But say you do go, what are you going to order? Well sit back and put on your seat belt as I tell you what my favourite vegan food is to order in Las Iguanas that you'll end up enjoying too.






I like to start off with a cheeky dish of Holy Guacamole, usually to share (sadly) but this could be a dish for one if you don't like sharing, like me! It comes with corn tortilla chips, guacamole, red onions, chopped tomatoes and parsley. Mix all this together before dipping your chips in and you're in for a treat. That's a promise! It's very flavourful and super creamy. I've never had guacamole so creamy before. You get the perfect portion size to satisfy your hunger whilst you wait in suspense for the main.

As for the main, I recommend ordering the veggie chilli, made vegan, along with vegan refried beans and tortilla wraps. Why so much? Well if you haven't worked it out already, it's to make mini enchiladas, not just to be greedy. Sadly Las Iguanas only do vegetarian enchiladas and not vegan ones, so to make up for it add the rice, chilli and beans into the four wraps and it's like you're having the vegetarian enchiladas. Perfecto!

The chilli is made with butternut squash and chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce and comes with spring onion rice. The portion size is fairly generous so you're going to leave with one full belly. The wraps and refried beans equally taste just as good and compliment the chilli dish very well. I advocate not eating much before this meal because it is a serious dose of carbocide that is going to fill you right up. This is my favourite meal to order. There is a ridiculous amount of flavour and you get so much for your money. I spend roughly around £10/£12 each time. Plus the staff are always so friendly. A massive shout-out for the Las Iguanas team in Swansea for always being so hospitable, so friendly and always knowing who I am! They create a great atmosphere whilst serving great food. Well done Guys!

What's your favourite dish at Las Iguanas?

Restaurant rating: 

Liam
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Monday, 10 April 2017

Springtime clearout: No more hoarding

It's that time of year when we look to do some spring cleaning and throw out the things we've hung onto for far too long. For those of us that hoard, it's not the easiest task to do. Heck it's a sensitive subject. In this post, I look at why we need to stop hoarding and what I'm throwing out as part of my spring clear out in association with Satsuma Loans.


If like me you hang onto items then you know the struggle of giving them up. It becomes so easy to keep things that have built up over the years even though they might not be used or utilised in any way. Even with this being the case, sometimes giving them up doesn't seem like an option. These items might have significant meaning or they may have value, maybe even have a memory or they may not mean anything at all. This makes things difficult, but if you're holding onto items and not taking advantage of them, even looking at them, then what is the point? I'm no doctor, but if this sounds like you then you might be suffering with a hoarding disease. I self diagnosed myself with this condition earlier this week and I want to do something about it. I want to stop hoarding, what about you?

But how do you do it? Well ask yourself these simple questions:
  • Have I used this item in the last 6 months?
  • Is this item in a good condition?
  • Do I plan to use this item in the next week?
  • Do I like this item enough to let it take up space?

If you answer no to any of these questions, chances are you don't need that item. And chances are you don't really want it. In that case, find the willpower in you, grab a bin bag and put it in there to throwout or give to charity. You'll find it liberating and heck who doesn't want to feel liberated? I'm not saying it's easy because hoarding is part of who some of us are, but it has to be done *insert sad emoji*.

Let's be realistic now. That piece of clothing you might wear you probably won't so don't let that 'maybe' rule your life. That book or old school textbook you've convinced yourself to read - well you haven't read it since school so what makes you think you will now? Those birthday cards you've saved over the years are nothing more than pieces of card taking up space and you're never going to read them again. And that souvenir...well you see where I'm going with this. They're unnecessary items.

To prove that I'm not all 'talk', let me share with you what I'm giving up:
  • A large mason jar that I said I'd make cocktails in that has stayed on my kitchen counter gathering dust for the past year
  • Old school textbooks from over 7 years ago that I promised myself that I would read them but have been nothing more than decorations next to my bed
  • A quirky trolley and dustbin stationary holder that have held nothing more than dust
  • An electric plasma ball and fibre optic lamp that I said I'd put on every single night but instead both have stayed in their box for far too long
  • Vases; cuddly toys; postcards; souvenirs and more

See, if I can do it so can you! Believe in yourself and be a better you. I know, I know how inspirational of me. I feel like the Martin Luther King of hoarding #ChangeWillCome. But really, hoarding is a dangerous path that takes you into a land of junk. Sounds crowded, right? Correct. Imagine how much stuff you'll have if you don't quit these bad habits now. Not pretty. But imagine how refreshed and cleansed you'll feel by letting go of all these things. I know I'm going to feel better when I take my things to charity.




 Here's to spring clear-out of 2017! Let me know how you get on.

What items have you hoarded that you're going to get rid of this spring?

Liam

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Things to love about Spring

Oh Spring, the time when everyone frantically throws on their shorts and flip flops at the slightest bit of sunshine, warm or not. Oh is that just in Wales? Spring is great though, right? A new season is always exciting as it brings with it new possibilities and adventure, but what is it exactly that's so great about it?


1. More people
Spring means more people are out and about and more people means more people watching. We all love to do it, in fact people watching is my favourite pastime so thanks to Spring I can enjoy doing it even more and so can you.

2. Plants
If you're a plant enthusiast, Spring is the perfect season to make you happy. The plants start to come into bloom and become oh so colourful. It's the perfect time to embrace mother nature and admire its beauty.

3. Cheeky drinks
Spring and summer, also known as the liver damaging seasons are the time when everyone comes together to enjoy some drinks. If you like a drink and nobody would blame you if you do, you know Spring is the perfect time to feed the alcohol demon inside of you. Cheeky.

4. Days out
With spring being such a sunny and warm season, there's more opportunity to do things. No more staying in the house and complaining about the weather being bad. Spring is the time to enjoy life a little more and get busy outside and venture to new places!

5. Friends
Also known as the 'no more excuses' season, Spring is the time when friends are more up for socialising and having fun unlike other seasons. They're less likely to make up excuses to not do things and are more likely to see you. Bonus.

6. Eye candy 
Don't tell me you weren't thinking it! Spring invites people to show a little more flesh and show off what their momma gave them and I think I speak for everyone when I say no complaints here!

7. It's warm
A favourite for many of us, Spring is when the temperature changes. No more shivering in the house as winter has gone bye bye, time to enjoy some warmth.

What do you love about spring?

Liam
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Friday, 7 April 2017

A day with OCD

Hi Liam,

Source: here.
It's time to leave the bed, well almost. I know you want to leave now but it's only 8.06 and you know you can't leave until 8.10, we've been through this. Ignore your hunger, you can eat soon. In the meantime, let's plan your day: eat at 8.10, shower at 8.40, leave the house at 9.15, lunch with friend at 12, get back home at 3, blog at 3.15, cook at 5.15 and sleep at 9. Anything else? No okay, you can leave the bed now. Make sure to wash your hands first, PROPERLY. I want under those nails done; the palms; wrists; in between fingers; back of hands, the whole lot and a good 30 seconds on this. I'm being easy on you, we used to do this for much longer until you were sore so be grateful.

Now get a bowl from the cupboard for your cereal and wash it plus the spoon from the draw. Same drill, wash the sides, the top and the back until I'm happy. Yes they've been washed already but I have standards and you can't be too careful about all that bacteria. Good thing we have the antibacterial washing up liquid. Heck maybe you should wash your hands again since we're speaking about bacteria. All done? Let's have a shower then. You know what I'm going to say to do, scrub every inch of that body! I don't care how long it takes. Maybe exfoliate your skin too as it is so uneven I don't like it. Scrub it until your red and sore because then I know for sure you've scrubbed properly.

Okay it's time to leave the house so put on your shoes. No you did it wrong, start again. And again... Liam you know what I want; a straight lace, no folds or twists, come on you're driving me crazy. That's better, okay let's leave the house before it turns to 9.16 because you know how I hate the number 6. Right lock the door. Now double check you've locked it. And again. Are you sure you've locked it? Go back again. Maybe you didn't, really slam the handle down this time to make sure it's locked. And again. Okay one more time. Maybe a second time. Third time. Okay it's locked. Now we're outside make sure to jump over the road markings and drains because you know how much they scare me. Oh and that big crack there! Phew. You might die if you step on them so as much of an idiot you look like jumping over them I'm saving your life really. You're welcome.

Oh it's time to meet your friend. Where is she? Oh there she is, let's walk with her. No not there, walk on the outside of the pavement. Why? Well if you're on the inside of the pavement you might push her into the road and kill her. Don't call me dramatic, you might do it. You hear about people doing things like this all the time so I can't trust you to be on the inside of the pavement. Okay maybe pick up the pace as it's almost lunch time and I want to make it for 12. I'm getting anxious that we won't make it. Oh there's the restaurant, never mind. That was cutting it fine. Now let's find a good seat. I like that one, go get it. Yeah I like this. Wait is that a mark on the table? Let's get this cleaned asap and straighten that cutlery Liam. No straighter than that. That's better.  Wow it's busy in here, let's count everyone that's around. 1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 15, 20. Wait why did you just look at that woman? Don't tell me it was nothing. They say rapists look at women. Maybe you're a rapist. Yes you are. You sicken me. Don't tell me you're not I watch the news, I know what they look like. They look like you. Let's go home, I can't be dealing with this.

Thank God we're home, you've been stressing me today. Let's look in the mirror. You look strange. Why isn't your body proportionate like everyone else's? Your nose shouldn't have that bump. And your right shoulder looks broader than the left. And the skin on your right cheek is redder than on the left. Why is so much of you disproportionate? You're going to give me a panic attack. Okay 10 minutes is enough looking.

Bed time, finally. Now that we're in bed I feel itchy, especially the right knee. Scratch it. Maybe you should scratch your left knee too since you scratched your right knee, just for symmetrical reasons. Obviously. Did you just scratch 3 times? Make it 4, I expect even numbers, Liam. Shall we check out the social media? Let's go through every news feed until we've seen everything already. Sure that's going to take a while but we need to see everything. Every story, every status, every photo, every update.

Okay let's sleep.......................actually I'm bored of sleeping, let's think. Remember that woman you looked at for a whole second earlier? You disgust me, you should be ashamed. Let's think about this until you fall asleep because I'm worried about you. Make sure you get exactly 8 hours sleep tonight though Liam, no more, no less.

Liam
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Skincare Routine

Nailing a skincare routine down can be quite the task when you don't know where to start. Toners, lotions, eye creams, cleansers - the list of products available goes on and on and gets you thinking, what do I really need? Well you're in safe hands with me as I share the top products you need to look after your money maker.


1. Daytime Face wash

You might have guessed this one already so snaps for you. A face wash is a must have for every skin care routine, that is if you want to be clean. Use every morning to get rid of all that excess dirt and oil that builds up oh so regularly #TheStruggle. Make sure to rub in a circular motion and target troublesome areas like your T-Zone.

I use Angels on Bare Skin.

2. Night time Cleanser

Another cleanser? Not necessarily; you could use your daytime face wash as your night time cleanser too, but if you don't want the effort of getting into the shower once again opt for a cleanser to use with some cotton wool pads. It's especially important to clean your face at night as your skin picks up a heck of a lot of dirt from being outside and in different environments all day. What's more, your body will absorb everything on your skin when you sleep at night. That's right; all of that dirt and oil you picked up throughout the day will be absorbed into your pores if you don't clean it off and God knows that's not how you get beautiful skin.

I use 9 to 5.

3. Toner

Toners are great for getting extra dirt off your skin that your cleansers could not get off so are well worth the investment, but they do more than that with many offering a little extra magic like reducing redness or being antibacterial for spot prevention. Spray one directly onto your face and leave to sit for 30 seconds before using a cotton wool pad to wipe it off.

I use Eau Roma Water in the day to reduce redness and Tea Tree Water in the night to prevent spots.

4. Face mask

Face masks are not only great for beautiful skin, but are pretty relaxing too and with so many different ones to choose from you're in for a treat. Choose one that has exfoliating properties to get best results as they remove dead skin cells and smooth out skin. A kaolin one is also best for drawing out impurities and toxins deep under your skin. Use once to twice a week, anymore than that may upset skin.

I use Don't Look at Me.

5. Moisturiser

A skincare routine is not complete without a moisturiser. No matter what your skin type, your skin needs moisture - yes even us oily people. It's best to use one at night as that is when your skin best absorbs products. Make sure to use after you have cleansed your face otherwise it will clog your pores with dirt, not ideal. Use a light amount and target under your eyes too to avoid wrinkles forming.

I use Enzymion.

Here's to better skin. Let me know your top tips for great skin below.

Liam
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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Saying no to gender norms

I can't bite my tongue anymore. I'm saying no to gender. It has gone on for too long and it's just another unnecessary social construction that is really not needed. Why do I disagree with it so much? Because it's damaging. Gender has existed for as long as I can remember and it does more harm than good. To be clear I'm not talking about sex, the biology that defines if we are man or woman. I'm talking about gender the social construction that defines what a man or woman should be.

Pink avocado socks with hearts all over. Yes, worn by me a man.
The problem with gender is that it tries to force people into a category and who really wants that? To be categorised as the same as everyone else, what a boring world that would be. We should be celebrating our differences and enjoy the diversity between each man and each woman. Gender says we should look, act and be a certain way to fit the social construction of man or woman, but if we don't fit into it what does that make us? Where do we belong? Gender in this way is more reclusive than inclusive. Is this not damaging by making people feel less than what they are?

As a man myself I like to think I am no different to my male peers, but according to gender norms I am. I am not fit or muscly. I am not butch. But I am into health and beauty and gardening. So what does this make me? Well obviously not female, but sure as not masculine. But I reject this. I will not allow gender to limit who I am or make me feel any less masculine. This is where I draw the line because labels and categories don't help people, instead they make them feel lost and unsure of how they fit into this world. We're all trying to find our feet in this big'ol place, we don't need gender making things even harder and confusing for us.

But who's to blame? I say the media. As good as this industry can be, it's a money making machine and gender generates profit. Credit to the media, this social construction has made them a very wealthy sector as it's a genius idea, but ethical? No. It preys on our fears of feeling less of a man or woman if we don't buy that 'pen for females' or 'bedding for men'. Silly really, but we all have our pride of owning who we are so we submit to this construction in the hope of finding some gratification. Pink for women, blue for men, perfume for women, cars for men, we've heard it all before. But what if we went against these norms, well, we'd find equality. We would buy things we actually want to buy. We'd do things we actually want to do. We'd forget our pride and enjoy life a little bit more because does fitting into gender really make us happy?

Let me paint you a picture. I once saw a mother tell off her son for picking up 'girly' looking glasses and he cried. I also saw another woman tell off her daughter for buying a blue book instead of a pink book, again the child cried. What if we let children and adults do what they want? They would be happier because those things they want they could have instead of listening to gender which limits them. And surely they'd be more confident as they wouldn't be thinking is this appropriate for my sex to buy, they would just do it and not feel less of themself for going against the norm. Sort of nice, isn't it? Doing what you want, not being tied down and owning who you are.

We can change this. We just need to reject it. Allow your boy to buy a pink pen, allow your girl to buy an army doll, treat yourself to those 'manly' looking shoes if you're a woman and treat yourself to that girly looking sweater if you're a man. Forget the terms masculine and feminine because you are you and nobody can define you. Sure if we were all the same it would be easy to use these terms but none of us are so let's stop being anchored down and pushed about. Own who you are.

What do you think of gender?

Liam
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Top 5 tips to bring back your calm

This life thing isn't always the easiest, sometimes it can get you feeling down, anxious or just not feeling right. When that happens you need to know ways to cope with it and make yourself feel a little better. I've put together some coping strategies that have helped me that can help you too.



1. The 7 - 5 - 6 rules

This is one of the best tools I have found to calm down the body and slow down thoughts. To start, breathe in deeply and slowly for 7 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out slowly for 6 seconds and hold for a further 5 seconds. Whilst doing this, focus on how inhaling fills up and expands the chest and how exhaling does the opposite and expands up the stomach. Really focus on what it's doing to your upper body and mind. Repeat as many times as necessary, it usually works best after two minutes.

Best for: anxiety

2. Body scan and sense awareness

This technique is especially great for grounding. It works best when eye's are closed. Start by noticing how you feel in yourself, that is emotionally and mentally - not questioning it, just noticing it. Then work from head to toe on how you physically feel e.g. sore, restless etc. Notice every part, from eyes to ears, mouth to toes. After this focus on your senses to bring yourself back into the present. Work on each sense besides vision for around 30 seconds to a minute and focus on what you can hear, taste, feel and smell.

Best for: anxiety, low mood, sleep problems and grounding

3. Rationalise - Irrationalise

For this one, you need to personify your rational and irrational mind. Don't tell yourself how you're feeling is silly, instead listen to what your irrational mind is thinking and feeling. Allow it to speak. Then put this into perspective using your rational mind and question things e.g. will that realistically happen?

It will almost feel like having a productive conversation with yourself.

Best for: conflicting thoughts and anxiety

4. Ecotherapy

It's time to embrace the hippie within you by being one with nature. The green outdoors are perfect for when you're feeling down. Not only is the colour green said to enhance creativity, but can also calm and lift moods so go ahead and find a patch of green to have some down time in.

Best for: low mood

5. Journal

For when all you need is to vent out how your feel know that a journal will always be there to listen. You can say anything you want and nobody will see it unless you want them to. Sometimes all you need is a safe place to say how you feel.

Best for: low mood

What tips do you have for bringing back your calm?

Liam
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Monday, 27 March 2017

// Stripes //

Yesterday was the perfect day to go outside and shoot some outfit photos in the sun so I decided to work a black based stripe outfit for the special occasion. New to stripes, I was excited to work them as soon as possible as I never seem to wear this design, but yesterday I lost my stripe cherry.
Stripey giraffe socks well coordinated with my striper t shirt.
I love wearing stripes because they're so daring and eye catching. They standout as the centrepiece of any outfit by making a great focal point which is a great thing for all fashionistas. A new addition to my wardrope and possibly my favourite t shirt design.


This grunge look was fun to wear.
Even though I was aiming to wear a casual outfit yesterday the stripes seemed to smarten up the whole outfit which I was quite impressed by. Having said that, I think black and white alone can smarten up any outfit too. I could have smartened up even more by wearing chelsea boots or Doc Martens but as I said I was aiming to go casual.

If you look closely, there is a pocket on the left side of the t shirt which is an added bonus. 
This combination of clothing made a great look. Although not key spring colours, the choice of a long stipe t-shirt with black skinny jeans teamed up with all black old school Vans worked really well. It was a comfortable look perfect for a stroll in the park and any other casual event from a drink in the pub to casual restaurant wear.


 What I wore:
  • Long t shirt - H&M, £20
  • Jeans - Primark, £10 
  • Shoes - Vans, £40
Total cost: £70

Are you a fan of stripes?

Liam
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