*Top Tips To Destress Before An Important Event

Thursday, July 18, 2019
Stressful events, whatever they may be, can take their toll on your mental and physical health so it's always best to be well prepared for those events as well as making sure to relax and destress before/after too. I have minor surgery booked for the end of the month which is causing quite a lot of stress (so I'll be using some of these tips soon) but another extremely stressful event is moving house.

Happy Beds conducted a survey of 2,000 people and found out that the average person moves five times in their life and 71% of people have lost a night's sleep over the stress of moving. I personally haven't moved house as an adult but I can imagine that it is an extremely stressful event so hopefully these tips will help anyone who has a stressful event coming up.

Cleaning & Decluttering 
I find organising and decluttering to be extremely calming and it helps to take my mind off anything. I definitely agree with the saying about having a clear space leads to a clear mind as when my home office is messier, I tend to be less productive. Cleaning and decluttering is an essential task before moving home anyway so if you find it calming and depressing, as I do, then it's an ideal task before the move.

Pampering 
Pampering is something everyone enjoys, from using a fun Lush bath bomb to watching Netflix with a face mask on. Pampering might also be a great way of using up some of your pampering products and bath bombs so you don't have to move them all to your new home or apartment. For me, pampering is one of the easiest ways to destress and it means that I can try new products I've been sent or it gives me an excuse to use my heavenly bath bombs and candles.

Reading 
Reading is something I started to get back into in 2017 and since then I've become more and more obsessed. I think my time during college and university when I had to read so many journal articles temporarily ruined my love of reading but now I rarely go a day without reading. Whether it's a fantasy, non-fiction or YA or anything in-between, reading is a fantastic way of escaping real life for a short period of time. Also you could sell some of your books after reading them and put the money towards new homeware or essentials. If you want to know what I'm reading and my ratings, follow me on GoodReads.

Have you moved house? If so, do you have any moving tips or tips to destress? 

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*Using Duck Tape to Decorate Your Home

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Image from Pinterest
If you’re looking for easy craft projects that you can use to decorate your home, you’ll definitely need some patterned tape. Many people are turning to crafts as a way to express their creativity and making your own home décor will be a truly rewarding pastime that will allow you to inject your personality throughout your home. You’re probably wondering how tape can be transferred into an element of your interior design? Below are some ideas…

Wall decals make a great addition to any home interior, especially in a bedroom. For example, if you have a daughter that’s keen on unicorns, you can use a unicorn template to draw the shape on the back of your tape. Cut out the shapes and stick them to the walls in your daughter’s bedroom; she’s sure to love it and the decals will look great with the rest of the unicorn décor she probably has dotted around. What’s more, it’s unlikely that the adhesive will damage the paint work should you wish to peel it off in the future.

You don’t just have to stick duck tape to your walls; it can also be stuck to vases, photo frames and jars, to name but a few. The tape is strong, resilient and super sticky, so it can be used for anything you put your mind to and will last for years to come. It’s just a fantastic way to add a splash of colour to any room and will probably help you save a bit of cash. Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration when it comes to things like decorating your home. If you need some more ideas, you might want to set up a Pinterest account where you’ll find plenty of little creations that you can replicate with your own spin.

Do you have any ideas or upcycling tips using duck tape or washi tape? 

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*Learner Driver Experiences + Insurance

Monday, July 15, 2019
Image from Pinterest
Today's post is all about my experiences of learning to drive, being a learner driver and some of the main points I've experienced as someone who learned to drive fairly recently in the UK. This time of the year reminds me of learning to drive as three years ago during the summer I was learning to drive so I'm always reminded of the anxiety and nervousness that I experienced as a learner driver during the summer months.

Finding An Instructor & First Lesson 
Firstly, before you start looking for an instructor or driving school, you need to pass your theory test which in the UK is a multiple choice test and to be honest, I found it to be incredible easy and I passed first time - if your test is coming up or if you're planning it, don't worry! After you have passed, you'll need to research for the best driving instructor in your area and while online reviews are great, I think that word of mouth and personal reviews are best.

I went to the same instructor as a friend of mine and it turned out to be the best option for me as he was quite firm but fair and if you're in the Greater Manchester area and you'd like my instructor recommendation then email me (heathernixon4@gmail.com). My instructor threw me into the deep end for my first lesson which I wasn't expecting but it took away a lot of my initial nervousness - I drove home on my first lesson!

Top Tips: Personal recommendations for driving instructors are so useful and if you don't like your instructor then don't be worried to switch! Also I would personally recommend a crash course as I had all of my lessons within eight days which I found to be very effective.

Failing 
I failed my first practical driving test with six minors which wasn't too bad and thankfully I didn't feel upset about it as I knew that passing first time round isn't very common. Out of my family and friends who can drive, only my dad passed on his first test so I think remembering that helped me feel less upset and disappointed. Also, I failed because I drove down a side street I shouldn't have but the sign was partly obscured by trees so I felt as though it wasn't fully my fault...excuses, excuses.

Top Tips: Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be the best driver imaginable and don't think that you NEED to pass first time round as it isn't very common to pass on your first try.

Insurance & Practicing
After failing my test I started the process of looking for another test which took SO much longer than I thought it would so I ended up buying four months of learner driver insurance while I was waiting for the right time slot to come up for myself and my instructor. I was lucky enough to be able to practice for months in my dads little Renault Clio (which was the perfect learner driver car) and I think that the experience of practicing with learner insurance definitely helped me to become a better driver and more confident in my abilities.

Top Tips: Practicing with learner driver insurance is a fantastic way of becoming more confident, practicing the necessary manoeuvres and thankfully it isn't very expensive. Unlike other forms of insurance, learner driver insurance is quite flexible in terms of the time frame which is ideal if you are practicing while waiting for a test slot to come up, as I was.

Can you drive? If so, do you have any learner driver tips? 

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Review: Make My Blinds

Sunday, July 14, 2019
Over there past year we've been upgrading and renovating our home, from both bathrooms and the kitchen to painting and reupholstering worn out furniture, we have also been updating our old decor most of which has been around for quite a number of years so I was very excited to work with Make My Blinds. You know when you're old because you get excited about new homeware...

*Make My Blinds - Kerry Pearl River Vertical Blackout Blinds (£51.29)
I was very kindly sent my choice of blind from the lovely people over at Make My Blinds which offers such an incredible range of blinds for any room, any style and any size. The style of blinds varies from roman blinds, vertical, blackout, wooden, aluminium and patterned to roller, Venetian, skylight blinds and many more. As there is so much choice, they also offer free samples of many of their blinds.
I chose the *Kerry Pearl River Vertical Blackout Blind which I wanted for the living room as the blind we have there already is about ten years old so it is time to replace it. I also wanted to change that blind as it doesn't fully match out current decor which we changed last year. The grey and silver tones in the new blind match perfectly with our decor and colour scheme which is based about greys and neutral tones.

I was a little worried that the colour would be a little too dark as colours online may differ very slightly to how it will look in your home; however, I didn't need to worry as the shade isn't too dark at all and the images online gave a very accurate depiction of the shade. I am impressed with the shade range for the blinds on offer as there's pretty much every shade you could want, including a variety of neutrals.
The main selling point for me about this blind in particular was the blackout aspect which is something we have with few of our other blinds and it is quite dramatic the difference they can make. The blackout feature is very effective and it is ideal for the very hot and sunny days we've been having recently in the UK as have when the blinds are closed they tend to make the room a little cooler. We're all very impressed with the blackout feature as well as the colour and quality of the blind.

In terms of the fitting, we did it ourselves and it was fairly quick and easy with only a couple of hiccups along the way but I think that most people would be able to fit them without too much effort or time. It also came packaged well and while there was a problem with the blind initially, the problem was sorted out my Make My Blinds very quickly so I cannot recommend them enough!

Have you heard of Make My Blinds? What do you think of their range? 

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*Great Places To Find Fashion Inspiration

Friday, July 12, 2019
Image from Pinterest
The alarm goes off early in the morning, and you slowly roll out of bed. As you shuffle over to your wardrobe that familiar panic washes over you - Knowing that you have nothing to wear. There’s nothing worse than having no fashion inspiration. Although you probably have plenty of clothes in your bedroom, that is useless when you have no idea how to style them. The good news is that you’re far from alone. With that in mind, here are six great places to find fashion inspiration.

Celebrities
Celebrities pay thousands every year for a stylist to choose their clothes. The only ones that don’t are those that already have a pretty good fashion sense. This means that simply looking up their outfits online gives you expert advice, without having to pay the huge fee. Whether they’re strutting down the catwalk or casually heading to the store, you’re sure to find an idea or two.

Magazines
The huge fashion spreads in magazines like ELLE, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue are there for a reason. Rather than just reading the articles in these mags, you should take a pair of scissors and clip out any looks that you like. You might not have the funds to purchase the exact products, but there’s no reason why you can’t recreate the look with clothes found on the high street.

Lookbooks
In the most basic definitions, an online lookbook is a collection of pictures existing to promote a product line. To you, however, it can be a huge source of inspiration. Depending on the sites you visit, you can find outfit options for every body type, style, and country out there. You will have thousands of photographs to look at, which means that there is sure to be outfits that you like.

Blogs
To be able to write so much about fashion, you must have a pretty good fashion sense. This is why style bloggers can be so helpful to you. What separates this source of inspiration from others, however, if that style bloggers are real people. They don’t often have a makeup team or airbrushing to make them look perfect, so the images that you see are much more realistic.

Catalogues
When looking at fashion magazines, you usually have to try to recreate the expensive looks that are shown. If you flick through high street catalogues instead, you know that the clothes you’re looking at are within your price range. This makes it much easier to purchase an exact outfit. Every time you head to a store, therefore, you should pick up any catalogues that you find.

Movies 
From Oscar winners to period pieces, movies are a wonderful place to find outfit inspiration. Production teams have spent thousands on designing all of the outfits that you see, so you can be sure that they directly reflect the personalities of the characters on screen. TV shows go one step further, giving you new ideas with every single episode that airs. If you’re stuck for fashion inspiration, hopefully, you can find some from one of the sources above.

Where do you think fashion inspiration? 

*Collaborative post (check out my disclaimer for more information) 

*Tips For Your First Cruise Holiday

Thursday, July 11, 2019
It's that time of the year when we're all thinking about the summer holidays we have planned or we're experiencing wanderlust (I'm the latter) so I thought that now would be the ideal time to write about my experience of cruise holidays and some of my general tips which I hope will be useful for individuals going on their first cruise or if you want to plan a cruise in the future.

I've been lucky enough to have been on seven cruises all around Europe, from Russia, Scandinavia and Estonia to the Mediterranean, Baltic and everywhere in-between. My experiences are based on European cruises with European and North American cruise companies as well as cruises involving flights and cruises from UK ports. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

Booking & Planning
Firstly, planning and booking your cruise which can be a bit of a daunting experience, especially if it's your first cruise and the terms are a little confusing. My first tip would be to look at all of the major cruise companies to not only compare prices but to become more familiar with what cruise holidays can offer and to shop for deals.

Cruise holidays are personally some of the very best I've been lucky enough to experience, for so many reasons. For example, you are able to experience so many countries/locations within one holiday, it's a safe and convenient travel option and the excursions offered are always fantastic! In terms of the excursions, they are another aspect of a cruise holiday that you'll have to plan for and sometimes book in advance as certain excursions can sell out before the cruise even begins. Planning your cruise, transportation to the ship or airport and various excursions or packages, all needs to be taken into consideration.

Top Tips: Shop around for the best price (usually within school time), look for last minute deals and be sure to book packages and excursions beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Location, Location, Location
As with any holiday, the location is one of the most important aspects and thankfully with cruise holidays, you're able to visit many locations within one holiday. For example, a couple of years ago, we visited four locations within Norway and a few years ago we were able to visit five or so locations around the Mediterranean. Cruise destinations vary so much, therefore you're bound to find an itinerary that suit you, whether it's a polar regions, European, Caribbean or South American cruises to a North American, Middle Eastern or an Atlantic islands cruise.

Top Tip: Before deciding on the locations, make sure you look through the excursions as sometimes there will be excursions outside of the city or region you are visiting. For example, when I went on a Russian/Scandinavian cruise, one of the excursions for Saint Petersburg was to visit Moscow.

Excursions 
Excursions are some of the best parts of a cruise holiday, even though the ships are always incredible, so it's essential to fully look through the excursions available for each location. There are typically between three to ten excursion options to choose from which vary in terms of the time, location, activities and price. Some of the best excursions I've been on have to be the walking tours (as long as the weather is ok!) and they tend to be some of the cheapest as well. Even if you don't want to pay for an excursion, sometimes you might have to pay for transport into the city, depending on where your ship is located in the port so it's best to put aside a little extra money for additional fees. I would personally always choose to go on an excursion as you are covered if you arrive to the ship late - if you are on your own (rather than with a booked excursion), the ship could leave without you (I have actually seen this happen!).

Top Tips: Save extra money for the best excursions, book in advance and take extras with you on the excursion as well as spending money, a power bank and weather appropriate accessories/clothing. We were caught out in the rain in Finland but our walking tour excursion still went ahead so I'm glad we dressed for the weather and bought umbrellas.

My Favourites Cruises & Cruise Destinations 
There have been so many incredible destinations and cruise experiences over the past ten or so years but I think the best cruise holidays I've been on have to include: waking up to the beautiful Norwegian fjords as well as the sunrise over Mount Vesuvius and entering the magical city of Venice on the ship. Some of my must see locations have to be Venice (Italy), Flam and Olden (Norway), Rome (Italy), Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Ajaccio (Corsica).

I am lucky in that my parents began family cruise holidays for us when I was about 17 so I've been to a far amount of gorgeous European cities and I cannot recommend cruise holidays enough, especially if you are like me and you want to see as many sites as you can and to have the peace of mind of everything you need in one place - a beautiful, state of the art, luxury cruise ship.

Have you been on a cruise holiday? If not, would you in the future? 

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