Reviewing our JORD wood watch: will it convince us to rejoin the watch-wearing crew once more?

When our JORD watch arrived in the post, Em had already left for uni, which meant it was I (Laur) who got to check it out first. We'd selected our favourite watch on the website, and I was excited to look (and feel) the real thing.
Our watch made its debut on our Instagram account
Em and I aren't religious watch-wearers; watches have always been more of a fashion statement, and I doubt we've managed to keep one on for longer than a month between us (ignoring the pre-phone ages where a watch was more of a necessity, in order to stare down the minutes as they ticked away the last school lesson of the day- ah the good days). But would our new arrival change this?

When I opened the box, I was deeply impressed by the totally unique and almost luxurious design of the packaging. It felt truly like I'd received a gift, examining the carved wooden box, before sliding off the lid and discovering the watch nestled comfortably around a JORD embellished pillow. 

The packaging (apologies for the lighting, my laptop likes to ruin it)
And the watch itself is even more unique- how often do you get to wear something made from natural wood from around the world? 

The excitement didn't wear off, and I wore the watch all day, taking every opportunity to show it off to strangers (as well as glancing at it every now and then from all angles). The only thing I would say is that it was a little loose on my wrist, but that was perhaps my fault as I was told to measure my wrist beforehand and mustn't have been too precise doing that. 

The watch is light, unobstructive, matches most of my outfits with its natural wood colour, and is the perfect statement fashion accessory for the autumn season. I think it would make a brilliant gift because of its luxury packaging that truly makes you feel like some sort of millionaire to be in possession of it! 

Unfortunately, it wasn't long before Em wanted to get her hands on what I had casually started calling MY watch, and it was a sad moment when I had to part with it last week and she shipped it back off to Derby with her, where I keep noticing it gleaming on her wrist on every tagged photo of her on Facebook. I've already made a plan to kidnap it back into my possession.

Beautiful from all angles

So has JORD convinced Em and I to join the watch-wearing crew once more? I would say so. For the week or so I had it, the watch was barely off my wrist. Gone are the days where wearing a watch was sort of uncool, and just a practical necessity. JORD watches are the definition of cool. Just like it became the trend to own an iPhone, I can soon see the trend of owning a JORD watch sweeping the UK.

If you'd like to receive a huuuuge discount on your very own JORD wood watch, you're in luck- there's a competition going on right now that offers the prize of a $75 voucher towards one of the beauties. Simply follow the link below, select your favourite watch and enter.
The watch has a full-on luxury feel

You can also find the link in our Instagram bio, if you'd prefer to follow it from there. Good luck everyone! 

Until next time,

Laur x Wood Watches by JORD

My holiday to Kos- Laur's holidiary

Laura: Hello lovelies! I've finally had time to sit down and finish off editing my holidiary so I can post it on the blog for you all, woo! The vid I made from my holiday will also be up on Instagram soon so be sure to keep a look out for that. Enjoy reading what I've been up to!

Sunday, September 11th, 8:30pm:
So, we've made it- we're finally on the beautiful island of Kos! For those of you who don't know, Kos is an island just off mainland Greece, and is one of the smaller Greek islands (it only takes an hour and a half to drive from one end to the other along the only main road- wow!) We took a transfer bus to the hotel, and there were gasps and 'oohs' as we emerged into the long driveway and the reception and entrance hall came into view, like a glistening star amongst the darkness.
Our room is gorgeous. The entire hotel is all greys and whites and sharp corners with wooden walkways and pristine waterfalls. Our room is much of the same theme, with not one but 2 double beds (there's only 2 of us!) and a beautiful marble bathroom and a balcony that gave us a panoramic view of the sea. As far as first impressions go, Pelagos Suites Hotel and Spa has probably given me the best start-of-holiday feeling I could have asked for.

The hotel entrance

The beautiful sea view from our balcony

Tuseday, 9pm:

Yesterday and today were all about getting to know our hotel and surroundings a bit more. Brad and I walked across the road to the beach that we could view from our room, and discovered after a scratched knee, split hand and cut big toe that, pretty as the beach was, it wasn't so fun to walk on barefoot thanks to all the jagged rocks. It was much nicer to observe it from a distance, where the glittering turquoise sea against the pearly white sand and blue skies could be appreciated without the pain! We also checked out our hotel's swimming pools- there were four in total, but the standout two were the main pool (which boasted a row of huge, white, four poster bed-type loungers that were suspended over the pool) and the pool next to our room, which had the 'adults only' vibe with its frothing jaccuzi and bar, where you could sample drinks from bar stools submerged under the water.

As our hotel was all-inclusive, we enjoyed our meals in the hotel's buffet restaurant. I was expecting typical all-inclusive meals of imported chicken nuggets, chips and plain pasta with basic tomato sauce, and boy was I wrong! The waiters made us feel 5* by leading us to a table at the restaurant (which was indescribably beautiful- see below picture) and taking our drinks orders, and the food was fresh and obviously home cooked, which was a lovely surprise. So far so good!

Our favourite pool in the hotel
The beautiful restaurant (ft Brad)
Wednesday, 7:15pm:
What a day. Today I experienced something I never have before- I rode on the back of a quad bike! Brad hired one out for the day, and after much hesitation, I climbed onto the seat behind him with a YOLO attitude I'd had to fight to muster up, and prepared myself for the most exhilarating road trip of my life.
I never expected to enjoy the feeling so much; the wind in my hair, the rush of the buildings and trees that flew past us. I was worried about the roads feeling unsafe, as Greek drivers tend to drive like maniacs, but was pleasantly surprised at how much of a distance other drivers gave us on the road.
We drove through little country lanes with a constant view of the sea, and passed tiny, sun bleached houses surrounded by crops of all sorts of colourful fruits- banana trees, pepper plants of red and yellow, chili plants and olive trees- and I imagined the families who lived there, and who saw more importance in being a skilled farmer than getting an education. It's crazy how different one person's life can be from another's.
We also drove to a little village called Zia, the highest inhabited village on Kos, which was on the top of a mountain and had an incredible panoramic view of the island and the sea. Here we bought ice creams and admired the view, enjoying the traditional Greek feeling of the village.
Our quad bike took us on one last adventure: to a salt lake in beach town Tigaki. I've never visited a salt lake before, and it was so strange! The ground where the lake had dried up was dry and cracked, and with every step our feet sunk a couple of inches below the surface (my poor flip flops were ruined). Not only that, but the whole surface of the ground was glittering with thousands of grains of salt- hence the name 'salt lake'.
When it came to handing our quad back at the end of the day, I felt super sad to have to part with it. It gave us such an amazing tour of the island that we vowed we'd hire our a quad next year for a week rather than only a day, no matter where our travels took us!

Our quad

The salt lake- so crazy!
Thursday, 9pm:
The waterpark in the middle of the island had been in the back of our minds for a while now, so we visited it via a transfer bus, and arrived mid-morning. The whole place was pretty much deserted, thanks to the timing of our visit (most children had gone back to school a week earlier). This meant we had a free run of all the slides on offer: a rubber ring black hole slide, a mat racer slide, three very steep slides that actually hurt my back a little, a spacebowl slide, a lazy river and three huge swimming pools. We were spoilt for choice! For lunch we had our first pizza of many; it was typical Greek style with stringy cheese and whole tomatoes as opposed to tomato sauce, and for only €2,50 it was delicious and definitely worth the money.
Dinner this night was our absolute favourite of the week so far- the hotel had put on a Mexican night. I plied my plate with fajitas, Mexican rice, chili con carne, spicy chicken, Mexican style pasta and chili potatoes, which left me feeling incredibly sick (but it was totally worth it!) By this night I was beginning to wish I could live the all inclusive life forever, despite the fact that I'd probably put on 5 stone in 5 weeks.
Our Mexican meal- not bad for an all inclusive

Friday, 5pm:
Today saw us up at the super early time of 6:30am to set off on what was most definitely our best trip of the week. We took a coach into Kardemena, a bustling town full of mouthwatering food smells and beautiful town houses, and from there, boarded a boat headed for the island of Nissyros.
Nissyros is a tiny volcanic island inhabited by only several hundreds of people, most of whom live at the highest point of the island, which has magnificent views of the sea and can only be accessed by driving up a single steep, winding road. The island was once far more populated, but after several earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that pretty much demolished all of Nissyros' houses, most people left their homes and moved to one of the safer neighbouring islands.

In the village was a restaurant with mirror that had been smashed during the war by a flying bullet that had killed one of Nissyros' inhabitants. The mirror remained in exactly the same place, and had been untouched for years, which I found fascinating.
One particular earthquake had caused the volcano, which once stood tall above the island, to cave in on itself, creating in its place a deep crater. We visited the crater in the morning, and were allowed to actually climb down a path to stand inside it- it was huge, and parts of the surface were still bubbling and emitting steam. It also smelt terrible! We were warned that the crater generally smelt like rotten eggs, which was totally correct. We actually had to hold baby wipes to our noses to disguise the smell somewhat. Despite the smell, the experience was still a brilliant one. I've never walked on a volcano before, and now I have some (very smelly) rocks to prove it.
The afternoon was spent exploring the main harbour town of Nissyros. We browsed in the little village shops, and were pleasantly surprised at how cheap everything was. I bought a bottle that had a hand-painted sunset, little shells and sailor-stripe fabric wrapped around it for only 99 cents. Me and Brad also bought and sampled the traditional drink of the island- bitter almond syrup, which you add to hot water just like you do with lemon syrup back home. We became absolutely obsessed with the stuff and ended up bringing a huge bottle back home with us- it tasted just like battenburg cake in liquid form 😍
After an exhausting day, we headed back home feeling a little bit down. Saturday was our last full day in Kos and we didn't want the adventure to end.

The shattered mirror

On top of the huge hill, with a view of the volcano crater below
Saturday, 10pm:
After a much needed lie in, we prepared for the day I'd been most excited for- shopping in Kos town! A 5 minute bus journey took us right into the town centre, with shops only a short walk away. I spent all my money within an hour on souvenirs for myself and others, and somehow managed to get shouted at for trying to find the price inside a bag that turned out to be €100 (the shop assistant told me I'd make it dirty with my hands- how dare she?!) Brad, of course, took reasonably longer, and I was fed up and sweaty, but feeling pleased with all my buys, when we finally decided to head back to the hotel.
As we were totally spent up by this point (I literally had €3,50 left of my spending money), there was nothing left for us to do other than spend the afternoon lazing around by the pool- and I definitely wasn't complaining. We also took a very long walk along the beach, which followed the roadside for as long as we could see, and found everything from pretty rocks and shells to abandoned shoes, pipes, housing tiles and even what looked like a detached octopus tentacle (it was still moving as well, gross).
As we watch the sun set for our last night, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to stay in such a beautiful resort as Pelagos Suites Hotel and island as Kos. There's no way Brad and I will be able to afford a luxury like this 4* hotel again for a long time- the only reason we could this year was due to the lowered prices after refugees invaded the island last summer and saw it fall hugely in popularity.

I can only hope that Kos will not suffer too much from its lack of tourism this year, and that next year all will be back to normal. But for me, it's created some of the best memories I could have asked for, and that's all that matters in my eyes.

Beach walks

The stunning sunset

Em's Uni Diaries

Emma: Hi everyone! First thing's first, welcome to my uni blog! For the past week I have been jotting down my thoughts and feelings regarding my big move to university, including what it's like to move away from home, and how easy/hard I'm finding it to make new friends. Enjoy!

Night 2:
Hello my lovelies! First off, big apologies for not starting my blog off on night one. As it was my first night at uni, I was so focused on making the right impression and I don't think people would have been top impressed if I'd have ran off to my room to write this blog before I'd even got to know everyone properly.
The first day and night were by far the some of the most daunting yet exciting experiences of my life! As I walked into my new accommodation on Saturday 10th September, I was immediately made to feel at ease by a chatty and friendly girl called Lauren who was going to be my neighbour. She was super polite and offered everyone a drink, including my mum and dad, and was so excited to see my Urban Decay Naked Vault (my most prized possession). From the beginning we just clicked instantly, which was so brilliant.
The next person to arrive was a boy called Will. It was at this point that we realised that the uni had put all of us 19 year olds together, instead of mixing us in with the 18 year olds. I think this was a totally great idea, as we've all had the same experiences and, having kind of done the while going out and drinking thing already, we were more interested in nights in getting to know one another. As someone who isn't really a big drinker, this was one of the things that I was most happy about. Will was absolutely lovely, and once the last two flatmates arrived, I knew already that I was going to really enjoy my year in halls with these people.
That first night was pretty great, though it was also the one I struggled with the most. Going to bed knowing that you're not going to be home again with your family and boyfriend back home takes a lot of adjusting to, and I did feel a little lonely. Of course, this whole experience is beyond exciting, and I would definitely recommend moving out from home to go to uni (though it's completely your choice how far away you decide to go), however unless you're a really chilled out person, everyone is bound to feel a bit of loneliness during their first few weeks/months away from uni. For now, it's off to bed for me, but I'll be back tomorrow to let you know how that's gone! Goodnight everyone.

Night 3: So night 3 is proving to be the easiest of all the nights so far. It's amazing how quickly homesickness goes away and you begin to relax and enjoy yourself! I think it also helps that today has been totally awesome. For the last two nights, I was a little anxious about my course and what my course mates were going to be like. For me, it's so important to have people that I get on with (after all, these are the people I'm gonna be spending the next 3 years with!) In fact, in my opinion, having nice course mates is a lot more important than having nice flat mates. So you can imagine how nervous I was this morning as I made my way to my classroom! At first, things didn't get off to a great start. After meeting up with a couple of my course mates who live in the same accommodation as me, we went to search for our lecture room with the room number we had been given. It was only after lots of walking round and asking a lot of unanswered questions that we found out that it didn't exist and there had been a misprint! Cue loads of trips up and down NINE flights of stairs. I completely feel like I have done one hundred squats after today. However, on finding the right room, I immediately began to feel at ease. To start with, both the lecturers and the lecture itself were totally AMAZING. Finding out that you're going to be vlogging for the next week with your classmates is literally a dream come true. For those of you who know that me and Laur are in the middle of creating a YouTube account, you'll totally get how happy I was to find that I would be learning tips and tricks on vlogging for a whole week! This includes lighting, sound and editing, so I'm beyond excited. Another reason why today was so absolutely brilliant was that I met all of my course mates- and they're some of the nicest people going! I know that it's difficult to judge people on the first few days, but I really feel like I am going to get on with everyone and have a great time. As I mentioned previously, I attended another uni last year before dropping out, and honestly never got this feeling back then! In regards to feeling lonely, I'm definitely feeling a lot better tonight than I was yesterday. I had my first brief Skype call with my boyfriend Ryan, and we've arranged for him to come and visit me this Saturday and stay the night. For now, it's only gonna be one night a week, until I feel settled in. Although I know I am incredibly lucky to have Ryan here for me, I know just how important it is to make plenty of friends at uni, and I don't want anything to get in the way of that! I'm amazed that after only 3 days of being here, I already feel like I am settling in. I am honestly feeling so blessed and lucky. Not only have a been given the most amazing flat mates but my course mates seem pretty awesome too. Roll on the rest of the week!

Night 4:
Hey guys, so today has probably been my most boring day so far, sorry to disappoint. As it's the only day this week that I don't have to be at uni, I planned to catch a train back home and go for a doctors appointment. However that didn't work out as I ended up missing my train! It is so, so hot here today- I feel like we're in the middle of some crazy September heatwave, and that never happens in England! So picture me rushing for my train this morning, all sweaty and flustered - not a good look. Suddenly coming to terms with the fact that I was going to miss my train and all my sweaty efforts had gone to waste was quite a painful realisation, however I turned and walked back to my room with as much dignity as I could manage.
So, after a somewhat eventful morning, I spent the rest of the day in my room (the flatmates are all at lectures today) trying to refrain from dying in this extreme heat. There was me trying to be organised, being prepared for winter and packing hundreds of jumpers - and now I could do with a crop top or two!
I've mostly spent the day doing what I would like to call 'research' into this vlogging thing that me and Laur are going to be taking up. My absolute favourite vlogger at the minute is Shaanxo, she just keeps it so real and that's what me and Laur are all about. Besides, her make up skills are out of this world!
I can't wait for Laur to come back from her hol and then we can start up on YouTube together! I finally feel like I am prepared enough to take this on.
That's all for today! I'm totally becoming nervous about seeing all my course mates again; I'm preying they're as nice as the last time I met them. As usual, I'll keep all you guys updated about what happens tomorrow in the post below!

Night 9:
Hey guys, can you believe that is has already been NINE days since I started my new adventure at uni! First off I would like so say a huuge sorry, I was meant to be posting every day but I got caught up in everything that was going on around me and completely forgot.
Since my last post, things at uni just keep on getting better. Friday night was the first night I was encouraged into going out to the clubs, which isn't something that I normally do (I'm more of a chilling in pjs watching Netflix kinda girl). So yeah, I went out Friday night with my flatmates and my coursemate George, and oh my god it was such a brilliant night! I expected to want to leave at midnight, but ended up staying out till like 4 in the morning, which for me is such a big achievement. We had the best time and it has made me more willing to go out again in future.
In regards to my course and my new friends, things are going really well in that aspect. Last Thursday went to Bradford Museum on a trip, which was pretty much the most boring place I've ever been to, but it did give us loads of time to chill together and talk. The first induction week absolutely flew by, I'm so lucky to have met such incredible people.
Today as I write this, I am getting prepared for my first proper lecture. It's from 5pm till 9pm, which is a bit of a killer! But hopefully it should go fast and be a fun topic. This will be my last blog post about uni, as me and Laur start our vlogs this Tuesday, aah!
Thanks to everyone who has read all the way through to the end! Stay tuned for exciting things!

Course mate George being all Australian
Leopard make up thanks to a tutorial from Shaaanxo! 

Derby looking pretty in the sun

Drinking games with some of the flat mates

How to enjoy your summer on a budget

Laura: Summer time is without a doubt my favourite season of the year. I
Blue skies make me happy
love the blue skies, the delicious cocktails and barbecued burgers, my summer wardrobe full of floaty, fresh, floral pieces ... The list is endless.

When summer arrives, I awake from hibernation inside my duvet and rejoice at
the fact that I can actually leave the house without having to wear at least six layers to stop myself from becoming an icicle in the cold. I plan, every year, to make my absolute most out of the warm weather while it lasts. 

I'm still a student, so money has been tight for as long as I can remember. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy your summer whilst being on a budget. Here's how I do it:

 1. Search for free events in and around your hometown
Google is your best friend

Most of my summer plans have evolved from internet searches; the web is the best advertising platform out there and there are plenty of free or cheap events just waiting to be discovered. Family fun days, vintage fairs and food festivals are just a few of the many experiences on offer, some of which may only be a few minutes away from where you live.

2. Make money while you have fun
There are plenty of ways to have fun while still making money, and one that
A five pound note can go a long way

absolutely love is selling my unwanted items in a car boot sale. Again, the internet is your friend when it comes to finding out about these sales; you'll most likely discover numerous weekly, monthly and one-off car boots for you to attend. 

It usually costs between £5 and £10 to pitch a place, but if you bring along enough items, prepare to make over ten times that amount by that end of the day! There's something thrilling about selling on your old, unwanted possessions that would have been trashed in the near future to a new home.

 3. Exercise
Exercise is free, and, if you do it right, it can give you a whole array of exciting experiences over the summer. I'm not talking slaving away for hours at the gym; I'm talking getting outside and appreciating how stunning the scenery around you looks in the summer light. 

Get those running shoes on
 Whether this is bike riding through the woods, swimming in a lake or the sea, or hiking in a beautiful destination, there's plenty of fun exercise opportunities to have a go at outside closed doors. 

I live a short drive away from a huge mountain range and climbing the biggest mountain there is not only free of cost but also such a rewarding experience. Making it to the top and admiring the beauty of the view below me can literally take my breath away, and rates as one of my favourite summer activities, even beating things I've paid for.

 4. Keep an eye out for cheap summer deals
If, like me, you enjoy traveling, you probably understand the difficulty of trying to pack the most adventure into your summer at an affordable cost.

You can find cheap deals for holidays abroad
One of the best ways to do this is to look out for cheap deals that are being (often poorly) advertised on travel and holiday websites. 

But how do you find these deals if they're so poorly advertised? I would advise downloading an app that collects the best deals together for you and showcases them all on one feed. 

My all-time favourite app is Wowcher, which links you to websites with the most amazing deals of around 50% off their original asking price, sometimes even more. If you're able to travel sometimes last-minute and have a tight budget to stick to, Wowcher and other similar apps will find you some brilliant opportunities to help you to enjoy your summer. 

 5. Take a road trip
Road trips in themselves are essentially free, other than the cost of fuel, which can be split between the occupiers of the vehicle if necessary. Road tripping is one of my favourite summer activities because it gives you the opportunity to visit new places, witness a refreshing change in scenery, and experience a different way of living. 

You could road trip to a city and spend a day sightseeing, or drive to your
Find yourself a beach (Photo- Woolacombe Bay, Devon)
nearest beach and relax under the summer sun. If you bring yourself a packed lunch, you don't even need to pay for food (although the occasional cheeky ice cream won't hurt anyone), making this a summer activity you can enjoy again and again.

There you have it- my top tips to enjoy your summer on a budget. If anyone has any tips of their own to add, please feel free to post them in the comment section below! 

Laura x

Things to cheer you up when you're having a bad day

Emma: The reality of being human is that we get to experience more emotional ups and downs than we would on a roller coaster. When we are at the top of the tracks after a long uphill struggle, when everything is going right in life, we feel on top of the world! But when the brakes are released and the carriage goes hurtling downwards, it's nice to have a helping hand when things get tough. For this reason, me and Laur have decided to write a few quick tips on how to make the best out of a bad situation.

A genuine picture of us both looking sad

As I'm sitting here writing this, I can fully sympathise with every one of you girls and guys out there who are reading this and feeling pretty poo, as that is my general mood tonight! 

After a day which should have been great (hello, shopping) turned into a not so great day (hello, arguments with the boyfriend) my stressed out brain got ticking, as it usually does, with thoughts of how I can turn these feelings into a blog post. And what better than a post that I can look back on during future bad days for guidance on how to turn that frown upside down. 

1) Do something you enjoy, or are good at

For me, this tip is of mega importance and one which I haven't seen floating around the internet much. One of the best ways to cheer yourself up is to engage yourself in whatever hobby makes you the happiest. This could be painting, dancing, photography, or like me and Laur; writing! The idea is that doing something that you're good at will ultimately make you feel better about yourself, which is a huge mood booster. 

2) Relaxxzzzzz

Read and repeat these steps:

Take off your clothes. Put on your warmest, most fluffiest pair of pyjamas (who cares if it's baking hot outside- snowman pyjamas are most definitely allowed) 

Turn off your phone, laptop, and anything else that connects you to the outside world. 

Stick the tv on to your favourite channel.  Lay back, and relax. 

Sometimes, a duvet is all you need to feel better
Sometimes, connections to the outside world, such as through Facebook, can increase our stress levels. For example, imagine that you're having a terrible day. Your sister wakes you up at 5 in the morning and you can't get back to sleep, then you go to school before quickly realising that yesterday's homework hasn't been done and your teacher is going to go c-r-a-z-y. 

Your brand new bag- which was also super expensive- then decides to break on you, and you have to spend the remainder of your school day carrying everything round in a supermarket bag. 

By the time you get home, you're done with the day and ready for bed already. But when you sign in to Facebook, it's only to see that Becky from your school (rich, clever, looks like a princess and is dating the guy you fancy) has aced her mock exams, and 20 of your friends have jetted off on tropical holidays. 

Now, not only do you feel terrible about your day, but you feel even worse knowing that there are people out there who just seem to get all the luck. So on that note, social media is a big no-no. 

3) Eat, eat eat

My all-time favourite chocolates in one box- just what I need
Now before anyone goes crazy at me, I'm not encouraging binge eating here or anything like that! However, as it has been scientifically proven that lack of food in the body can make us feel angry, stressed and in a low mood, it's only right that I include this tip in our post (you know, for scientific purposes, ahem). So, girls and boys, it's time to grab your ice cream spoons and tuck in to a nice big tub of Ben and Jerry's.

That's not to say me and Laur aren't fans of healthy snacking foods too. Our blog post on our top 5 healthy snacking foods is coming soon!

Laura: When Em asked me to contribute to this post, I jumped at the chance of doing so because, despite being a professional moper, I've also had enough practice cheering myself up over the years to know what works best in putting a smile back on my face. All of the points Em has mentioned work a treat for me, as well as a few more of my own that never fail to make me forget about my bad day.

4.) Retail therapy

I wish this was money in my purse... instead it's evidence of my shopping habit
There's not much that can beat the excitement of scouring the shops for the latest beauties to get your hands on. I'm guilty of embarking on my fair few shopping trips because I've 'been feeling a bit down' or I 'need to treat myself' and I'm not even sorry. Admiring my new purchases at the end of the trip is a totally great distraction from anything that's bothering you.

However, I think this post should come with a little add on: Warning, proceed with caution! Shop at your own risk! Despite shopping trips working wonders in lifting my mood, I must highlight the importance of only shopping when you have money. You're only going to feel worse if you've managed to shop £200 further into your overdraft, even if you momentarily feel happy with your new purchases.  

5.) Exercise

The only trainers I own: these grey ones from New Look. Love!
I can almost hear Em laughing at me now as I write this, because although I was a motivated gym bunny for a period of time last summer, the only exercise I do now (other than a not-so-weekly Saturday morning jog with Brad) is walking up the stairs to my flat. 

However, I'm planning to start back up on some more serious exercise soon- I'm talking squats to get my bum in shape for my holiday- because I know how much of a general mood-lifter it can be. 

If you're having a particularly bad day, I recommend boxercise. Pounding repeatedly on something soft, or even just the air in front of you, is a great way to literally fight off any stress (and feel free to picture your soft pounding item as someone's face).

6.) Pamper yourself

Boots natural collection passionfruit body lotion: current favourite!
When was the last time you gave yourself some me-time? If you can't remember, then this tip especially applies to you. 

There's nothing like a little bit of self-love to make yourself better when you're feeling low. Jump in the bath with a lush bath bomb, give yourself a much-needed pedicure or slap on some scented body lotion and a face mask. Turn on some soothing music and you've got yourself the perfect date with yourself.

It's surprising how much better you will feel after even the smallest of pamper sessions. It's so important to look after your body, and give it the attention it's worth, as a happy body equals a happy mind. Taking the time to relax and focus on yourself is a guaranteed way to lift that mood!

Until next time,

Laura and Emma x

What we're eating- strawberry shortcake cheesecake

Laura: Today’s blog post is inspired, as it so often is, by food. I visited the Kitty CafĂ© in Nottingham on Sunday with my dad when he came up to see me (seriously, the Kitty CafĂ© is as good as it sounds- a place with food and cats mixed into one. What more could you want?) and treated myself to one of their gorgeous cakes.

I’ve been to the Kitty CafĂ© before a few times, and once with Em also, who tried out the most amazing looking strawberry shortbread cheesecake. It looked so good that I vowed to try it next time, which I did do on my visit with my dad.

It. Was. Heaven.

In fact, it tasted so good that I knew immediately I had to find an easier, alternative way to make it to share with you guys on our blog. So here it is- the simple way to make strawberry shortbread cheesecake!

The ingredients you’ll need for this one are 100g butter, 250g digestive biscuits, 600g soft cheese, 100g icing sugar, 250ml pot double cream, strawberry sauce and vanilla essence- you’ll probably find the majority of these items stashed at the back of your cupboard from previous baking sessions, apart from the refrigerated items, of course.

To begin, line a round loose-bottomed tin with baking paper and butter it for good measure.

Next comes the fun part! Empty your digestive biscuits into a bag and bash them around until they’re broken into tiny crumbs. You can do this however you like- you could sit on the bag, play tennis with it, bash your sister with it… or you could just crush the biscuits with a rolling pin.

Melt the butter in a pan on the stove, then transfer the digestive biscuits into a mixing bowl and add the butter, mixing together. Tip them into the prepared tin and flatten them against the base. That’s your base done!

For the filling, mix the icing sugar, soft cheese, cream and a couple of drops of vanilla essence together until the mixture is completely combined. Pour the filling on top of the base and spread evenly over the surface. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

For the topping, it’s time to get creative with your strawberry sauce. Squeeze it onto your cheesecake in whatever pattern you fancy. For the shortbread pieces, I used digestive biscuits as an alternative (helloo, poor student here- have you seen the price of shortbread? I think I’ll stick to Aldi’s digestives), but if you can afford shortbread, feel free to use it! Break it up into pieces and scatter over the sauce.

All that’s left now is to refrigerate your cheesecake overnight, then it’s ready to eat! I tried and tested this recipe myself and even though there were more ingredients than I would have liked to have paid for, it still worked out as cheaper than my £2.85 slice of cheesecake from the Kitty CafĂ© because I had a lot of the ingredients already, and this time I got an entire cheesecake out of it!

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon,

Laura x

How to avoid the dreaded hair cut for as long as possible

Laura: Hey guys, me and Em thought today we'd cover something that's probably a constant source of stress for most of you with long locks- how to keep your hair healthy and beautiful so you don't have to repeatedly make the dreaded trip to the hairdressers.  

No one likes getting their hair cut, especially when you're trying to grow it long and the hair dresser tells you, with a sigh of sympathy, that your ends are so damaged that they have no choice but to chop them all off. 

All that hard work, time and effort it took to grow it and now it's got to go? It seems so unfair, and I know first- hand how it feels to be told exactly that, after I went for a much-needed haircut last Christmas and ended up getting my hair cut shorter than it had ever been before.

Before and after- my hair was a little longer (and darker!), but noticeably damaged

It was devastating, and I vowed I'd prevent it from ever happening again by taking far better care of it from then on. So I worked with Em to put together a little hair routine to follow, to keep our hair shiny, and minimize those pesky split ends.

 1. Use conditioner on a daily basis.

Even if you don't shampoo your hair daily, make sure you condition the ends every night to 
Left: me and Em's go-to conditioner, and right: my alternative
smoothen any damage and prevent the hair from fraying.  Me and Em's all-time favourite conditioner is L'Oreal Paris Preference High Shine Conditioner, which comes with the hair dye kits we buy every few months, but it's too expensive for me to buy separately as a student, so my alternative for when that has ran out is Xpel Hair Care Shimmer of Silver conditioner for all blonde hair types. I doubt many of you will have heard of the brand but I advise you not to avoid any hair product just because you've never heard of the brand before and are unsure about trying it. Xpel Shimmer of Silver is actually, from my experience, better than some of the popular, more expensive brands of conditioner I've tried in regards to keeping my hair smooth and silky-soft to touch for hours after applying it. Find the conditioner that works best for your hair, and stick to it.

 2. Cut your split ends

 I know what you're thinking- 'she cuts her split ends? What a waste of time!' But this is something I obsess about to Em on a regular basis. Sitting down and taking the time once a week to cut your split ends really does wonders in delaying the inevitable hair cut. And when you're at the hairdressers, the hairdresser is likely to cut off less hair because you have so few split ends for them to chop away. 

If you don't know what a split end looks like, chances are you don't have them, and this post probably doesn't apply to you. But if you're familiar with them in your hair, and you're serious about growing it, then this tip is one to follow!

Emma: Time to take over! Luckily for me, a lover of long hair, I've never had a hair cut as drastic as Laur's, but there was still a stage in my life a couple of years ago where my hair quality was just terrible, especially at the ends. 

Before and after- my ends were so damaged that half of them had broken off
After finally getting the worst of my hair cut off, I've been so much more careful with it, and there's a couple of things I now absolutely stand by when it comes to hair care:

3. Use coconut oil on your ends every time they feel a little dry 

For any readers with dry and frizzy hair, coconut oil is an absolute godsend when it comes to giving your hair a quick pick-me-up. 

My all-time favourite hair oil
 Me and Laur (who are Queens of dry and frizzy hair) use Garnier Ultimate Blends oil and it's an absolute treat. The texture is smooth and sleek, and the smell is so amazing it can literally transport you from your bedroom into a tropical paradise. 

To use, simply press the pump to squeeze out a tiny bit of oil and rub it between your fingers, before running through the ends of your hair. 

What I quickly learnt is not to go overboard! A bit of oil will go a long way, and too much can make your hair appear greasy. However, the right amount makes your hair look and smell gorgeous all day. In fact, I find that I'm continuously smelling the ends of my hair like some weirdo with a hair fetish whenever I go out wearing the oil. Be warned guys, this stuff is addictive. 

4. Don't use heated hair products often, if at all. 

Now, here comes the obvious point which had me rolling my eyes back when I was a serial GHD straightener addict. I cannot put into words how much my hair has improved now I've stopped using hot products on it every day!

For me, I find there's always an alternative to using heat (unless, of course, you're going on a night out and want to look extra fabulous). If my hair is a mess, I'll pull it into a high bun instead of grabbing the trusty straighteners like I used to do. If I want curls, I'll use rollers or plaits overnight for a perfect volume boost. 

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a miracle method to get the super straight hair that you can achieve with a pair of hair straighteners, however my hair is growing a lot faster and looks healthier than ever.

There you have it: the hair routine the two of us follow to keep our ends looking smooth and shiny. If anyone has any hair tips of their own, please feel free to share them in the comments! 

Until next time,

Emma and Laura x

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