Saturday, 21 March 2015

MUSIC // THE MARCH PLAYLIST

The basis of this blog post is pretty self explanatory - a playlist of music I've been digging this month. 

The majority of it has been discovered through work - think lots of clubby tunes and house vibes that are just toned down enough to listen to outside of the club when chilling at home (or in my case, at work). The list begins with the upbeat summer tune Miles Away by The Maine, the second single to drop from their soon to be released newest album. Call me biased but I really, really love this song. It signifies a much more mature and happier sound from the band and it's the type of song I can easy see complimenting a big blockbuster hit. Saying that, they've still stayed true to their origins with this song.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Music // The March Playlist; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Music; Playlist; The Maine; Austin Gibbs; Cyril Hahn; Courtney Barnett; Big Beat Paris; Childish Gambino; Digitaria; Shift K3Y; Ed Sheeran; The Bearded Man; RHODES; Rixton

I've also thrown in some shouty girl rocking in the form of Courtney Barnett, a lovely lady my brother, myself and a friend are going to see live next month. The song may sound a little out of place on the playlist otherwise filled with chilled tunes and dance mixes but hey, it's a good one I couldn't miss. Shift K3Y has made another appearance in my latest music taste with a song I really didn't think I'd like but I really, really do.

Finishing up with a slightly corny but romantic song by Rixton and I'd say overall there's a sure mix of different genres of music I've been listening to lately. Of course there was much more I wanted to add and it was very hard narrowing it down to just these twelve but I'm happy with the overall result.



I can't really sum up what these songs mean to me. Miles Away makes me think of summer road trips, whereas Not Into It makes me want to get up and dance. I suppose with us just transitioning into spring though, they both fit well. It's not quite summer yet, but we're finally moving away from winter. The seasons mixing together in a time for some change means a whole range of music taste on display here.

I hope you enjoy and do let me know what you think if you have a listen!


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P.S Check out the Music tag for more playlists and music related posts!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

LIFESTYLE // SIMPLE STEPS TO SORT YOUR SH*T OUT

I've been recovering from a bout of flu and have hated feeling so tired, unwell and basically 'meh'. It's been a fast few months for me - after my long weekend away from Amsterdam I came straight back to work and it wasn't long before myself and the bestie jetted off to Tunisia for what was supposed to be a relaxing week. It wasn't. We enjoyed ourselves and caught the sun but what was supposed to be a sunny break spent sunbathing by the pool instead turned into a bit of a party week - oops. I was straight back at work the next day so barely had the chance to recover. On top of working nine days straight the other week and finally spending the whole of my three day weekend in bed with the flu, it's safe to say everything has gotten on top of me.

I hate feeling unwell and although I actually mostly enjoy having busy weeks at a time with little time to myself (sometimes it's nice to always be doing something), there's something they both have in common and that's letting the rest of your life slip. I'm not on about major things but things that you simply don't have time to stay on top of. For example, making your bed and keeping your room tidy. There's nothing that feels worse than seeing my room is a tip and being too tired to do anything about it. As soon as I started to feel a little better, I started to make some changes (number one having a proper tidy) and was amazed at how better I felt immediately. 

So whatever is going on in your life - whether you're too busy at work to concentrate on the other parts of life, or you simply don't know where to start - here are some simple steps I've found that have helped me to really feel like I have my shit together.
  • Keeping my room tidy and making my bed. It's so nice to come home some evenings and see my bed all neat and made up. It might sound a little geeky but it makes me feel much more forward to sleep, especially if I've recently put on new bed sheets. In fact, I end up feeling tempted to switch off all technology, climb into bed with a good book and get an early night in this case - which is always a good thing.
  • Sorting out my wardrobe. I'm constantly buying new clothes, like, more so than the average person being that I work in a shop, so when I have more than one day off in a row, I like to spend some time sorting out my wardrobe. I take out what I don't wear anymore and put it aside to sell (therefore earning back the money I've just spent buying new clothes) and divide my wardrobe up into different sections - work wear, evening wear (classy and nights out), day dresses, skirts and shorts, tops and others (band merch, old signed tops from uni pub crawls etc - this section is very colourful!). It saves a lot of the time in the mornings when deciding what I want to wear.
  • Writing nearly everything down in one of my many notebooks. I found a really cute notebook which is the perfect size for my handbag and use it for almost everything - to do lists, blog post ideas, my work rota, random notes etc. It's with me at all times and makes life a lot easier because I have it all in one place. Beforehand, I'd have 'reminders' everywhere - my work rota on my phone (or just a photo of it), notes jotted down on random post it notes, events in a calender for example. I still have a mini year planner notebook in my bag too but noting important dates in my notebook also reminds me that I actually need to book them off work or make further plans for them like booking train tickets or whatever.
Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Lifestyle // Simple steps to sort your sh*t out; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online
  • Investing my money further. At 25 years old, I decided it was maybe time to make a start on some savings and after getting a tax rebate a few weeks back, I thought this was the perfect way to start it all off. So I invested it all into some premium bonds which would a) stop me spending it like I would seeing it in my bank account and b) put me in the running for winning some more money. Eventually it'll be going towards a car but until then, I'd much rather keep it somewhere safe and have the chance to earn more from it. It's also a good idea to set up a direct debit to save some money each month too, which is my next plan. If it comes out by direct debit each payday, I'll barely notice the difference.
  • Set up direct debits for things like phone bills, rent etc so you don't have to worry about paying things off every month...
  • ...and likewise cancel the ones you don't need or use like unnecessary subscription boxes, gym memberships when you don't even go and more. Saying that, I have just signed up for the gym again but I have cancelled other things I no longer use.
  • Becoming more sociable with traditions among friends. Some weeks I feel super sociable and want to do all sorts and others I just want to be by myself or find myself too skint to do much. As of late, I've tried to keep up with our weekly tradition of rock and roll bingo at the local on a Sunday night. Even if I'm not feeling up to it, it guarantees me seeing all my friends at least once a week and having a laugh. This is actually really beneficial for people who are kind of introvert like I can sometimes be or aren't big on huge social situations. Making a weekly tradition can be a huge step just getting out of the house and having a bit of fun at least one evening a week.
  • Playlists. Oh my god playlists. I feel like I have a playlist for everything I do, from taking the bus to work, writing, working out or trying to fall asleep. Okay so I haven't yet organized these properly, but there are playlists that are valid in my head. And I'm sure they'll be even more beneficial when I do sort them all out properly in Spotify and that.
  • Training my brain everyday! Whether it's an addictive attempt at a tough level on Candycrush, practicing French on one of my iPhone Apps, or doing sodoku, I think it's important to train your brain or at least try and learn something new every day.
  • Speaking of iPhones, I sorted out all my apps into folders today and felt like my whole entire life was re-organized just by this one simple little step.
So there you have it - ten simple steps that can make a huge difference in your life. Obviously some are easier then others (the iPhone one can be done in minutes whereas saving your money can take much longer) but it's the attempt that counts. Even if you don't put hundreds of pounds aside every single paycheck, maybe even just putting £50 a month into some premium bonds will immediately feel like you're much more on top of your money and making a bit of a future for yourself by putting it aside.

When there's never enough hours in the day to stay on top of everything or you sometimes find yourself just drifting through life without giving much care to the boring stuff, doing one or two of these simple tips can make all the difference.

Do you have any tips that help you stay on top of everything in your life? Please share, I'd love to hear them!

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Monday, 9 March 2015

BOOK REVIEW // AGE, SEX, LOCATION BY MELISSA PIMENTEL

I asked for some book vouchers for Christmas as in the last year or so I've really gotten back into reading. I've always been a book worm but haven't always had the time since leaving uni, what with working and writing and the like. I've found it easier to manage my time now and often put my laptop aside on an evening now and instead pick up a book to read before I go to sleep (my life is so exciting!). Me and a friend recently went on a last minute holiday to Tunisia, so I used my vouchers to pick up a couple of books to take for me for light reading on the beach or by the pool. As it goes, I only had time to just about read one of those books and that book was Age, Sex, Location.

I was really excited to read this book as it follows newly dumped Lauren taking on various dating guides to understand the rules of dating better and realize where she's been going wrong. This particular story line intrigued me because many a times I've been in Lauren's shoes, wondering yet again what I've done wrong when something that was going so right suddenly goes in the complete opposite direction. Though I've never gone as far as to actually pick up and follow a dating guide, I've definitely thought about it. By reading this book, I didn't have to!

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Book Review // Age, Sex, Location by Melissa Pimentel; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Book Review; Age, Sex, Location by Melissa Pimentel; Age, Sex, Location; Melissa Pimentel

The blurb reads - 

The last thing twenty-eight-year-old Lauren is looking for is love, so why do the men she's dating assume she's searching for The One?

With men running for the hills, Lauren takes drastic action and turns her love life into an experiment, vowing to follow the advice of a different dating guide every month.

From releasing her inner siren to swearing off sex completely, Lauren will follow The Rules and play The Game, all with the help of her disapproving best friend Cathryn and her newly loved-up housemate Lucy.

But as she searches for the holy grail of no-strings sex minus the heartache, Lauren soon realizes that dating is more complicated than just swiping right - and that the things you run from tend to always catch up with you...

I thought this story was really refreshing and modern in that, for a start, Lauren wasn't looking to find the one or looking to be saved and live happily ever after. All she ever wants is a bit of fun and she isn't ashamed of that, although it was interesting to see that considering that's what most men want anyway, they still didn't stick around when getting that!

It was quite interesting that Lauren tried various dating guides - classic ones from 'the old days' and even the ever so famous The Game, written by men to use on women. I also found it quite interesting that she went as far as to experiment a little with her sexuality too and consider the fact that maybe ladies might be the answer for her. Her best friend goes on to fall in love with a man heavily into BSDM - so as you can see, it's very modern and includes themes that aren't so common in most chick lit stories we read.

The character of Lauren was likeable - not amazing, but not terrible either. There wasn't anything particularly special about her that stood out to me, except for the fact that she was willing to turn her love life into a giant experiment and try new things. Her character was quite strong willed and confident though and I suppose with these type of books I'm still used to expecting characters to be ditzy and clumsy.

With so many different male characters too I thought it would be easy to get confused but it wasn't. It was refreshing meeting so many diverse characters and I was guessing up until the very end about who she should end up with (if anyone at all). I also liked that there were a few characters from her past too - the guys she dated for example, one is a constant throughout and that was an interesting concept as it touched on the fact that it's not easy to move on from someone, even when seeing someone new.

There was a few twists and turns in this story, most of which I didn't expect so it was nice to pick up a book and not already have a general idea of how it was all going to unfold like you do with most dating or chick lit books.

The only dislike I had about the book was the ending; it was kind of cliche in my eyes and was quite abrupt too. I would have liked to have seen that story line expanded further or to have had the author to set it up more. It sort of just seemed very out of the blue and like a means to an end just so Lauren ended up with someone and that she didn't end up with an ex.

Overall the book was a lighthearted read perfect for holiday and though it's not a favourite, I would probably read it again if even just to re-read some of the dating rules mentioned!


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P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word - another blog I'm part of. It's a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!

Friday, 6 March 2015

REVIEW // NUTMEG.COM

Up until recently, I've been pretty thoughtless about my money. It goes into my bank. Sometimes I move it into a saving account and earn, like, 3p interest a year, sometimes I move it back of my savings account by the end of the month. Usually I spend all my paycheck and am struggling by the time the next one rolls about.

But since getting an actual full time job I can see myself in for a while and since turning 25, I've been thinking of ways my money can go further. I've wanted to start saving money for a long time now, putting it aside for a rainy day or maybe the future when I eventually want to move out or buy my own car. However a lot of money jargon is simply just gibberish to me and although I kind of generally know what most things mean - different accounts, different ways to invest your money - I don't quite know it well enough to understand it or understand it enough to make a decision.

That's where Nutmeg comes in and for someone who knows little to nothing about what to do with her finances, this site is pretty damn helpful. It's a super easy way to start investing your money and what's even better it's all easy to understand and is completely upfront. It's a really easy way to evaluate what you want to do with any savings you have - especially if it's all just sitting in a bank account and you're thinking it's about time you start doing something with it.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Review // Nutmeg.com; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Nutmeg; Nutmeg.com
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The website itself is very easy to use and navigate, making the overview of your savings always upfront and easy to understand. On top of that, I really love that it's aimed at just your average person - you don't have to be a financial expert or someone who is really rich to use this website! Even someone like me who doesn't have the foggiest clue about most financial things could understand it clearly.

It's definitely daunting when you get to the age where you realize you can't always splurge all your spare cash on last minute weekends away and things like that. I mean sure, you can still do it now and then, but it's definitely tough when you get to the point of wanting to do something more with your money.

Nutmeg makes this a whole lot easier though and is definitely one of the first options you should consider when you get to this stage in your life!

*Post published in conjunction with Nutmeg.com

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

FASHION // POPULAR STYLES THIS SPRING

Lately, it's been almost impossible to ignore the trends that are ever so popular this spring. Working in a clothes store, I see the trends as they fill up the shelves, as they sell out and as customers rock them when they enter the store. This spring, we're moving away from the pastel colours and instead bold and bright is making a comeback; as are floral prints which are becoming popular once more.

One of the biggest current and upcoming trends is ripped/distressed denim. At H&M, were going big on denim right now by offering a variety of different styles and fits - our aim is for every customer to find their 'perfect' pair of jeans. One of the most popular styles at the moment is ripped denim. It doesn't matter how distressed it is - hell you can even do it yourself with an old pair of jeans - as long as it has that vintage/tethered look. You could go with the super stylish and chic look and pick up a pair with just one rip on each knee - think black skinny fit jeans - or go all out and pick a pair with rips up and down the legs, thread loose and a low waist fit. Distressed jeans may scream 90s fashion but there was a reason it was always so popular and that's because no matter how you style them, ripped denim always gives any outfit a bit of an edge.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Fashion // Popular styles this Spring; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Ripped Jeans; Distressed Denim; Boohoo.com; H&M; Topshop;
L - R Boohoo.com, £25.00, H&M, £20,00, Topshop, £45.00
Tassels and fringed tops are still huge, from oversized kimonos to cropped tops. This is a fashion that was particularly popular last summer and immediately gives off those festival vibes. However - you don't need to be partying it up at a music festival to pull off this trend, especially as we've surrendered the bright and bold prints for more dark, toned down colours this year. Mixing trendy cuts with versatile colours has given the fringe and tassles a new lease of life to create a more edgier vibe.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Fashion // Popular styles this Spring; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Tassles; Fringe; H&M; River Island; Select
H&M, £12.99, Miss Selfridge, £65.00, Select, £10.00,
Long length kimonos and shirt dresses are also favoured right now - it's all about the length this spring, which, as an added bonus, means you can also use this as an excuse to get much more creative with your footwear. Lots of shops are stocking patterned dark colours - making the items easy to mix and match with a variety of different looks - but soon we'll also see bold prints popping up too. The great thing about shirt dresses is that they're just that bit more stylish then laid back regular length kimonos and are terribly versatile. Match together a plain white vest top and skinny fit jeans before pulling on a maxi length kimono or shirt to instantly give your outfit the edge it needs.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Fashion // Popular styles this Spring; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Long length kimonos; shirt dresses; New Look, H&M; ASOS; Spring Trends; Spring Summer 2015
 New Look, £22.99, H&M, £14.99, ASOS.com, £50.00 
These are three of the biggest trends this spring and although there are more on the horizon, I couldn't pick a more suitable mixture to help transition from winter into summer. This fashion is perfect for this in between season with light floaty kimonos, festival vibe tassles and distressed jeans. All trends that are super stylish and look perfect for summer, but are also pretty warm too!

What do you think of this springs trends? Will you be rocking any of these looks yourself? Let me know!

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