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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 In Review & 2016 Goals


2015 was a pretty crappy year for me. I hate to be negative, but honestly it was. From the start of the year until May, my Dad was unwell and I spent a lot of time worrying about him, 'taking care' of him (this didn't involve a lot, but I did stay home), and visiting him in hospital. On May 9th, he passed away and I lost the person who had been there for me for as long as I can remember. You don't completely realise it until it happens, but moving on from somebody close to you dying is a really hard thing to do. I also didn't have the best time at uni and felt that I'd made no friends and achieved nothing but mediocre work and disappointing grades. 

Needless to say, my blog suffered. When I first began this blog, I was posting every day and just enjoying it. I had no idea what I was doing but it was fun. With everything happening in my life outside of my blog, I just didn't care about my blog anymore. Or, I did care, but I just didn't want to post or read other posts or anything. It could've been the end of beckyisobel *ominous music plays*...


BUT! Hip hip, hooray! I met my housemate, Kate, who brought life back into me. What a gal. It's nice to have somebody who shows that they care about you, which I didn't feel I had until Kate. I also made some other friends at university who I plan to live with in the future.

So I've been going out more, enjoying myself more, actually attending lectures, and actually doing work and studying to become a Graphic Designer, which is my ultimate life goal *dances*. Not only that, but I've been working on getting my blog back to its former glory.


I attended some blogger meetups (here and here) and made friends with some bloggers in person for the first time, which was great. I really hope to see all of the bloggers I met there again in the near future! Hopefully 2016 will bring me more occasions to meet bloggers. 

I also dyed my hair blonde because life's too short not to dye your hair. Almost every single person I know told me not to do it and has since told me they hate it, but I love it. It's still unfinished, so hopefully there will be more hair posts in 2016! Dying my hair blonde was actually a big thing for me & it was something I've always wanted to do so I'm very glad I did it, even if all of my hair falls out at some point in life.

So, yes, 2015 has been pretty awful and disappointing for me, but things are improving for the most part, and I don't think 2016 could get any worse, so I guess that's a positive! I hope to make lots of new friends in 2016, and start an internship somewhere in the world!

Aside from personal goals, I have blog goals which I am determined to try my best to fulfill. I won't be too disappointed if I don't, but I'll be disappointed if I don't at least try!

So here they are:

1. Reach 5,000 Instagram followers
2. Reach 1,000 Youtube subscribers
3. Actually post videos on Youtube and don't delete them
4. Reach 8,000 Twitter followers
5. Post more about food, feminism, and lifestyle
6. Host at least 3 giveaways
7. Say yes to more blogger events
8. Offer advertising on my blog
9. Improve my photography
10. Post about my artwork



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Icycl Vodka Fruit Icepops


I'm a big fan of vodka. It's pretty my go to when I'm planning on drinking. Admittedly, I hate the taste and if I drink it straight I'm probably going to throw up, but it does its job. If there's a way to make it taste good, then I am absolutely all for it. Usually I'll just whack in a bit of lemonade (still tastes crap, but better) but I've tried it in jelly form, and with various other mixers. Jelly is sort of exciting but then you realise you're spending half of your time trying to lick the remains from the bottom of a shot glass, or trying to get it out in the first place, and it's more effort than it's worth. I'm pretty sure it's also considered tacky but I'm not one to be held down by the chains of society.

I think that frozen alcohol has become a bit of a thing lately. It was in the Summer anyway. Maybe that was just me, but I've seen little vodka icepops like these emerging in supermarkets. They're like little slush puppies that get you drunk. What more could you want out of life? These particular ones are from Icycl*. 


The ones I've had before have tasted crap, honestly, so I had little hope for these little icepops. But, lo and behold, they were FANTABULOUS. One flavour was anyway. Apple was NOT my thing and went down the sink (sorry), and the lemon and lime one was good, but as somebody who avoids yellow and green skittles, it wasn't my favourite. The blackcurrant, however, was everything to me. It tasted like an ice lolly with a bit of a tang. I couldn't taste any vodka at all, which is what you want when it comes to vodka, right? YES, ICYCL!

The great thing about these is that you can freeze and refreeze them and they'll still be just as good. I had mine around the recent Christmasy days and they were certainly enjoyable, especially when followed by lots of Prosecco and whatever else came after that... Admittedly, they weren't exactly what I fancied when I'd just come inside from the cold outside (it's actually not even that cold lately... would like to thank humans for Global Warming) but in the Summer (assuming it ever gets hot in this country again) they would be IDEAL for barbecues, parties, or any occasion which would involve alcohol. To be honest though, all year round for me because I rarely step foot outside and it's reasonably warm inside if I whack the fire on. Again, the chains of society will not hold me down *shakes fist*.


Also a plus is that these things are made from natural fruit juices! None of that creepy stuff which is highly questionable and concerning. They're also easy to slide out of the packet. You know when you're a kid and you spend ages warming an ice lolly because it's too frozen to come out? That doesn't happen with these. Your hands do get cold if you hold them for too long though... obviously. Get a pair of gloves on that!

Kind of can't believe I've devoted an entire blog post to alcohol. *bows down to alcohol* My Mum did suggest I become an alcohol blogger so that we could get sent wine for her to drink. Not sure I'm gonna do that... If you do want to get your hands on some slushy ice lolly vodkay thingys, go to Icycl's website, and have a little gander at all of the stuff they've got on there. I hear new flavours are coming soon.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALMOST 2016. I don't want 2016. I want 2001. I want to be 6.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

La Redoute Blogger Christmas Party


Well, Blogmas failed! My Grandma got sick so I had to visit her. I'm sure that this year keeps on bringing bad things to me? Still, I'm going to try to at least post more frequently than usual because CHRISTMAS.

Oh the day of the Leeds Xmas Blogger Meet, La Redoute also held a blogger party in the evening, which I was lucky enough to go to! I'm so glad that I did because I met so many great people. 


It was an evening of cocktails, clothes, and food, as well as a lot of chatting to people I'd only ever seen through a screen. There were a lot of clothes around for us to try on and be photographed in. Here's a few of the shots of me.


Top: Urban Outfitters. Skirt: La Redoute. Shoes: Topshop.



Bodysuit: La Redoute. Skirt: H&M. Shoes: Topshop.



You should check out Jordan and Danielle's blogs - Jordan is in the photoshoot picture with me and Danielle's the one I'm chatting to. Both lovely girls with beautiful blogs! Also be sure to look at La Redoute who hosted a great party & showed us their beautiful clothes! They were also kind enough to give us all a goodie bag and send us an item of clothing - I went for the bodysuit I'm pictured in.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Vegetarian Christmassy Dinner with Sprouts & Pineapple!


Christmas time is my favourite time! I'LL SAY IT A THOUSAND TIMES. I said time too many times. Help.

Yesterday I did a spot of cooking. It was v exciting. I whacked out a brand spankin new recipe and decided I'd give it a whirl and hope I didn't poison anybody. I must admit that the results were quite spectacular and I absolutely HAVE to share it with you so that you can all try out this festive feast.

Nigella has thrown her food knowledge into a magazine so that I can enjoy a wonderful meal. What a woman. It's a stir-fried rice dish with sprouts, coriander, coconut, ginger and pineapple, among other ingredients. Basically, you wouldn't expect it to taste as amazing as it does, and you'd sort of expect some crazy mix of flavours. BOY WAS I WRONG. It was incred. I thought it'd make a great dish for those of you who aren't a huge fan of the traditional Christmas dinner, or just want a meal to set you up for Christmas but without just doing the classic turkey or whatever else.


This recipe serves 2-4 people.

You will need:

250g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 spring onions, trimmed
150g fresh pineapple cubes
3cm piece (15g) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons cold-pressed coconut oil
250g cooked and cooled brown rice
250g beansprouts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander



Method:

1. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts and the spring onions, and mix the two together.

2. Cut the pineapples into 1cm dice and put in a bowl. Add the ginger and dried chilli flakes and stir to mix.

3. Over a vigorous heat, melt the coconut oil in a wok (or similar). Toss in the sprouts and spring onions and stir-fry for about 3 minutes (the sprouts will scorch in places).

4. Add the rice and mix quickly, then add the beansprouts and the pineapple mix (and any juice that has collected) and stir-fry for a minute or so before adding the soy sauce, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander. Stir-fry for another minute or until it's hot.

5. Transfer to hot bowls and sprinkle the remaining coriander on top.


It's such a delicious recipe. It tastes very coconuty and coriandery, and has a crunch from the beansprouts, and the texture of the pineapple adds a sort of 'meaty' element. I always like to have something which reminds me of meat if I'm having a vegetarian dish, since I think meat adds a nice texture. 

You could probably add meat if you wanted, but I think it's good to eat less meat. The meat industry is very bad for the environment as well as very bad for the poor animals. I'm not sure if I'd ever completely give up meat, but reducing my in-take is definitely something I'm trying to do. Meat actually isn't too good for your health in some ways, such as the fact it builds up the body's immunity to penicillin, which is used to treat a variety of things, and being immune to it is a very bad thing.


So what do you think? Would you try this dish? I think it's quite subtly Christmasy with the sprouts and ginger, and it's something different. It's also very healthy! Thanks, Nigella!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vlogmas: The Top 5 Vlogs to Watch

Little did you know, I am actually doing Blogmas. Well, sort of. I started a few days ago. Yes, I am late to the game, but I was focusing on my work for uni and now that I'm free, I'm able to do LOTS AND LOTS of blog posts! I'm very happy about that because I do love to blog. I've also been watching a lot of Vlogmas, so I thought I'd do a post to share with you who I've been loving, and that you could do the same in the comments because I definitely (don't) need more to watch!



Aspyn & Parker

The first I've been enjoying, is Aspyn & Parker. They're a newly-married couple having their first Christmas together, and it's fun to watch them and their antics. I just get a lot of joy out of watching them. They're American and not part of the usual groups of Youtubers I usually watch, so it's nice to get somethings different. Aspyn also has an amazingly beautiful channel with lots of DIYs, beauty and fashion.

Gabriella Lindley

I've also, of course, been following Gabbie (I never know how to spell her name). She's my favourite youtuber and has been for quite some time. She seems like a very normal girl and she's funny and has an amazing singing voice. OH, and she's getting a boob job in a few days which I'm really excited for? Idk.

Anna Saccone

Another that isn't a surprise, is Anna SacconeJoly. The SacconeJolys have been a favourite of mine since Ingrid Nilsen mentioned them in a favourites video. I'm just so entertained by watching family life. Eduardo is the CUTEST Frozen-obsessed baby ever, and Emilia is at that hilarious toddler age where she's probably a right handful for Anna and Jonathan, but highly amusing for those watching. OH, and it's Anna's videos I'm enjoying, since Jonathan is the main vlogger on the SacconeJolys channel and it's nice to get lots of Anna instead.

Tanya Burr

Tanya Burr has been attracting me a lot lately. I don't know what it is since usually I wouldn't watch ALL of her videos, just the ones which seem the most interesting. Weirdly, I've been learning a lot from her vlogmas videos? Things about reindeers and such. Not that I'm on there for education purposes, I think she's just been doing a lot of fun stuff lately.

Zoe Sugg

And finally, the favourite of so many people out there, is Zoella. She's SO CHRISTMASY it hurts. I mostly just watch to see Alfie opening a present every day (which he hasn't been doing and it's so frustrating) and for 30 minutes of entertainment. Her vlogs seem to be long this year. I don't know what it is about Zoella, but she's just so entertaining. I've also been watching her main channel videos, of course. One a day is CRAZY and I have no idea how she's doing it..

PLEASE leave a comment of your favourite vlogmases since I need more. MORE, MORE, MORE! Pretty please?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Girls Under £15 Christmas Gift Guide


It's December 12th?! How is that even possible? I don't know where time goes these days. I'm getting old. But it's NEARLY CHRISTMAS so I'm very excited. I love Christmas, even if it won't be the same this year without my Dad. So, here's a gift guide for those of you who would like some VERY reasonably priced gifts for friends or family. Everything in the guide is (roughly) £10 so you'll be sorted. Let's go in reverse order of most expensive to least expensive.

1) A Radley Keyring (£15). I think Radley have a sale on at the moment which ends Monday (maybe?) so I'd get in quick. This particular keyring wasn't on sale but I liked it the best so I got it anyway. I think that keyrings are a good idea on a budget because you can get them from good brands and everybody uses keyrings. If Radley isn't their thing, go for a different brand such as Michael Kors, Moschino, or DKNY. Just find out which brand whoever you're purchasing for likes and see if they've got any cute, small items which are in your price range.

2) Cheerz photo prints (£12.95). I have a blog post on these if you want to know more.

3) A Yankee Candle (10.99). Boots have 3 for 2 on gifts at the moment, so that makes Yankee candles better value, but still just as delicious-smelling. They also have some some insanely cute Christmas sets for a range of prices. If you're not sure on what kind of scents whoever you're buying for would like, a gift set is a good one since it has a variety. Yankee candles are quite expensive and pretty amazing so they make good gifts, since people might not want to spend that much on themselves (this is speaking from the point of view as a poor student, mind you).



4) Laura Ashley Soap Dish And Soap (£10). I think that Laura Ashley is a good one for Mums. I know my Mum and Grandma both love Laura Ashley, and I remember going in there a lot as a kid, so I figured something from there would be appreciated. They've got that vintage sort of feel, so anybody who's into vintagey things would surely like something Laura Ashley. Boots have a lot of Laura Ashley gift sets available in the 3 for 2 offer, and they have things like cupcake trays as well as bath sets.

5) Real Techniques expert face brush (£9.99). A Real Techniques brush is one of the best budget gifts you can get a girl who's interested in makeup, in my opinion. I feel like every girl would be happy with one. If you're feeling a bit more fancy, go for the Bold Metals brushes since they're a more recent release and more pricey.



6) Baylis & Harding gift set (£6). I could've sworn this was £8 when I bought it, but apparently I was wrong. I've never actually used Baylis & Harding so I can't tell you what they're like, but they've got a lot of cute sets and they do things for men as well as women. 

7) Yankee Candle Car Jar (£2.49). If she's got a car, she'll want one of these. Well, maybe not, but probably. I know I would appreciate one of these, and I know a lot of people who would as well. And they're only £2.49, so why not? Would be great in the stocking.


8) Tea Light Jar (£0). If you're feeling cutesy and poor, why not make a gift? I made my Mum this tea light holder out of a used pesto jar (I'm all about reusing jars - gotta think about the environment) and some acrylic paint. It was easy and really fun too. It could also be a storage jar, or whatever you want it to be. I feel like everybody appreciates something hand made. And, well, if my Mum doesn't like this then I'm moving out and never returning.

And voila! That's all of the gift ideas I've got for you today. I hope this helped or maybe sparked some inspiration in you. 



Friday, December 11, 2015

Amazing Leeds Christmas Blogger Meet!


Last Saturday I headed out, umbrella mistakenly not in hand, and went to meet up with a whole bunch of bloggers for a Christmasy meetup. I braced the Winter winds, vision impaired by the constant locks of hair lodging themselves into my eye sockets, but, after an hour of walking, I made it! And I'm very glad I did because I met some amazing bloggers there!

We had a few drinks together and chatted. Some bloggers decorated cupcakes but I didn't manage to get to the decorating table (I was basically too lazy to move). There was also a raffle which was very cute and there were some incredddd prizes and I'm so jealous of everyone that won something. It was a great few hours and it made me very happy being surrounded by people who weren't confused by the fact that I actually have a blog.

I wish I had pictures from inside the event but I only brought my little camera which is a pile of poo. If I locate a post with pictures, I'll link it here so you can all have a nose. For now you'll have to make do with pictures of the goodie bags (I always love reading about those the most anyway).



There were some great things in the bag, most of which I have now eaten (I didn't eat the lip balms even though one of them tasted so good). A real highlight for me is this Bee Good Honey & Propolis Cream Cleanser & mini muslin cloth. I tried it and I am IN LOVE. When I run out of the 800 other cleansers I have, I absolutely guarantee I'm buying this because it's my favourite thing I've ever put on my face ever.


I've still got to try most of the things in the bag, but it seems that there were a lot of Bee friendly products which makes me very happy because my housemate is always telling me about how much bees suffer. She's recommended a documentary about Burt (of Burt's Bees) called Burt's Buzz to me, which is all about Burt himself. It makes me sad that animals suffer for our beauty products, and our food, and pretty much everything we do. I'm trying to gradually reduce the amount of things I use which cause harm to animals. Not really sure where to start though (apart from eating less meat, which I have been doing).


All in all, it was a great day, and I absolutely want to do it again soon! After the meetup, I also headed off to a blogger party with La Redoute, so I'll be posting all about that very soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Thank you for stopping by my post as always, please leave me a comment and follow my Social Media (links are in my sidebar)! I love talking to people on Twitter so drop me a tweet or a DM.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Going From Dark Brown To Blonde / Silver


I've been waiting for this moment since I was about 10, or maybe before. But I got my hair bleached! Wooo. So, I wanted white, or like a Lou Teasdale / Lottie Tomlinson sort of colour. Obviously that wasn't going to be possible with one hair appointment, so for now I've got a blonde/blue sort of ombre thing going on.


I'd previously done ombre on myself, hence why the ends are so much lighter. To do that I used the Bleach London balayage kit, followed by the ombre kit, followed by the total bleach, and then the white toner. I might post a review of those kits at some point, as well as some of the Bleach colours since I've tried those as well. My hair previously looked like this - so very dark.

I was considering bleaching my hair myself, and I'd been considering that for years, but I was too scared of having orange hair or blotchy hair or doing something wrong. Also, my friend bleached her hair herself and a big patch fell out which definitely put me off! So I decided to go to the hair dressers after Samantha (a fellow blogger) offered to do it for me.

It was basically 5 hours of washing, and waiting, and brushing. I never go to the hair dressers and I HATE having people touch my hair, or especially brush my hair, so it was a pretty grim experience for me in that respect. But I'm happy with the results so it was worth it!


The blue has pretty much faded to a silver now, which is more the colour I wanted. There's a lot of gold tones in it still so I'm definitely going to bleach it again, probably myself because quite frankly, I am poor. But yay! Blonde hair! I'm so happy.