Book Worm (part 1)

14 June 2018

Books for your Summer holiday
I’ve been saving this post for a few weeks whilst I get through a couple of books, as once again, we’ve reached that time of year when everyone is starting to jet off on their spring/summer vacations. I’m not much of a beach holiday girl - I’m all about city breaks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good book 

However, I find it hard to stay focused, so reading can be a little tricky sometimes. I'm trying to get out of the habit of having my phone glued to my right hand in the evenings, giving my thumbs a break from all the scrolling, and stepping away from the Net-a-Porter and Topshop apps in the hope I'll stop spending. 

If I score a right page turner I can read a book in a weekend, and that's exactly what’s been happening recently. I have ploughed through a lot of books since the beginning of the year, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you have a holiday coming up and need some recommendations (there are a lot below)....

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
If you haven’t heard of this book — where have you been? I read this over the space of four days last month, and I couldn’t put it down. It made me cry, and laugh out loud all on the same bus journey to work. 

I didn’t want it to end — honestly, I found it difficult to start a new book after reading this one! It’s a seriously good read, and I know a lot of people have been talking about it, so don’t be put off by the surrounding hype. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I’m going to put my hands up high here, and say I have a slight obsession with Reese Witherspoon! She is one talented lady, and after buying the rights to the book, Big Little Lies, and then turning it into one of the best TV series I’ve ever watched (seriously, if you haven’t watched it yet, go now!) I’ve decided this woman can do no wrong. So, when I saw on her Instagram that she was doing the same with Little Fires Everywhere AND teaming up with the equally talented Kerri Washington, I was straight on Amazon adding the book to my basket.

This book is brilliant, and focuses on motherhood, and the relationships between mother and daughter. I didn’t want it to end, and I can’t wait to see the Television adaptation of this. 

The Boy on The Bridge by M.R. Carey
M.R. Carey’s book, The Girl With All The Gifts was a revelation. It’s the kind of book that’s best read with absolutely no knowledge of what’s going on, because of the way it drops readers into a future world where nothing can be assumed, and every new reveal comes as a surprise. So it’s only natural that the prequel novel, The Boy On The Bridge, can’t build the same sense of engagement and discovery. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed reading this, but I loved The Girl With All The Gifts a lot more. 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
This is a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew, following Kate Battista, a pre-school assistant who still lives at home with her eccentric scientist father and Queen Bee younger sister. Kate’s quiet, uneventful life gets interrupted when the visa of her father’s research assistant runs out and Dr Battista comes up with a creative solution to the problem: Kate should marry Pyotr to save him from being deported.

It’s not the best book I’ve read this year, but it is engaging and very easy to read. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I put off reading When Breath Becomes Air for a long time, because I didn’t think I could handle the heartbreak, as it’s all a little ‘real-life’ for my family and I.

Kalanithi was in his final year of neurosurgical residency when, at 36, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His stunning memoir was published posthumously, and attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living?

I did find I struggled with this - mainly because I felt I could relate in some way to his story, and it made it hard to read at times. His writing is so beautiful and emotive. The final chapter is written by his wife, Lucy as he sadly passed away before he could finish writing. 

That’s it for now! I’m about to crack on with a new book, and I went a bit crazy round the shelves of Waterstones yesterday, so I have a few to get through. I will of course share them on here once I’ve got through all of them! 

Do you have any book recommendations? I may have a few on my shelves to get through, but always love to hear what everyone else is reading — so feel free to send me yours! 

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash

6 June 2018

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Review
Over the last six months, my skincare obsession has rocketed. I’m still very wary of what goes on my skin (as you should be) but, I have been branching out and trying new products, with some good and some bad results. 

One of my skincare products I bought back in February when on a 20-minute binge shop in Sephora, was the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

ExfoliKate Cleanser isn’t your typical cleanser. It’s a little dry and has a very fine, grit-like texture with a very faint green tint (sounds appealing, non?). 

Here’s a little low-down;

Product Ingredients
ExfoliKate cleanser has the super duo of alpha hydroxy acids (Glycolic and Lactic), combined with Pineapple, Pumpkin and Papaya Enzymes, 

No more than pea size amount is needed. Apply it on damp face then massage to create a foam and keep doing that for about 30 seconds. Rinse with water and pat dry. 

When I use it
I usually use it in the morning as a first cleanse, and in the evening as my second cleanse with my trusty Eve Lom Cleansing Balm.

After using it
It leaves my skin feeling so clean and refreshed. My complexion is noticeably even, and I can’t get over how baby soft my skin feels, and all without over-drying — bonus!

I’m on my second travel-sized tube (which I bought a month after the first one!) and, it has become a firm favourite, and part of my daily skincare routine. Over the last few months of consistently using the product, I’ve noticed the little under-skin spots on my the side of my face have visibly reduced — some have gone completely! 

The other good news’s available in the UK! Cult Beauty stock it and Kate Somerville have recently launched a transactional website for us Brits too. So if you can’t get to a Sephora, you’re in luck!

Tips on dealing with Travel Anxiety

1 June 2018

Tips on dealing with Travel Anxiety
As someone who travels a lot for her job, and also has an endless stream of wanderlust, I refuse to let my anxiety stop me from doing what I love most: travelling!

Travel anxiety can come in so many ways. But despite how different your experience may be with it, anyone will know that anxiety when travelling can be exhausting, mentally and physically. 

I’ve always been open about my anxiety — it actually helps me to talk about it, so I thought I’d share my ways of getting through anxiety when I travel. Because of these, I’ve been able to not let anxiety take my lovely adventures away from me. 

Do your research
For me, anxiety creeps in like a super ninja when I start to feel like I’m not in control. So, before I head away on one of my trips, I spend some time researching my destination, just, so I know what to expect. I also like to try to plan a few things to see and do, and the distance from my hotel to these places. I also look at the airport I’m flying into and how long it’s going to roughly take to get from airport to hotel. Having this sort of information stored in my brain really helps me ease my mind. 

Be Preeeeeeeeepared (sang in the voice of scar from The Lion King)
Mentally and physically. If you can acknowledge the fact that you’ll experience some anxiety during your trip, then you should be able to take control over your thoughts, and in turn, be able to feel much calmer quickly. 

Preparing yourself physically — this is where organisation skills come in handy. Keep all your travel documents together — having everything in the same place will help fill the gaps with uncertainty. I always take a carry on with me, and pack a few essentials just in case my checked baggage decides to go on a little adventure of its own. I would highly advise not to have a to do list for the day you travel — get everything sorted the day before. That way you can have a stress-free sleep the night before. 

The Music Sounds Better With You
When it comes to coping with anxiety, I’ve found listening to music really helps. Plugging headphones in, and listening to one of my playlists. For me, I always hit play on the playlist I made for our wedding, as it brings so many happy memories, which can really wash away my negative and stressful thoughts.

Remember to take care of yourself. Travelling and exploring new countries and cities is extremely exciting, but you are stretching your comfort zone. If you start to feel the anxiety creeping in, that’s OK. Just remind yourself you are making new memories and adventures, and you should be proud of yourself.

Please know you are not alone. While it will take some time (and patience), know that you can confront those overwhelming thoughts and continue doing what you love.