Monday, 26 December 2016

2016 Was...

January: Ringing in 2016 standing on Copacabana beach with about 2 million people. Coming back to Wales and cutting off my hair into a bob. Also going to speak with a journalist at Wales Online about my self harm recovery which was then published online and in the newspaper. Lots of tears as the messages come pouring in.

February: Going for muddy runs in preparation for running my first ever race. Time also spent seeing City & Colour live and focusing on spending quality time alone. Spend Valentine's Day with Fiona because who needs a boy?

March: Turning 25 and spending the Easter weekend in a cold and wet Dublin with Fiona but still having the best time ever. Spending a lot of time with friends eating in my flat or trying the new restaurants that open up. The daffodils bloom again. Signing up to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in October.

April: Enjoying spring days with friends. Going for coffees in the sun, or taking a drive down to Barry Beach. Trying to eat less of the white carbs but failing miserably. So early gym mornings to keep focused on the half marathon.

May: Flying over to Barcelona for Fiona's 25th birthday. Eating too much cheese and drinking too much red wine after days of sightseeing. Still eating out too much but making new friends through blogging events so what's the harm? Enjoying the lazy spring bank holidays and the later nights.

June: All birthdays seem to fall in June. Mum comes over for her birthday weekend, we eat lots, laugh lots and see her favourite singer in concert. We also go to Bristol. I get to meet Jon Snow and end up on the news.  Wales end up doing surprisingly well in the Euros 2016 and the Brexit vote happens. BeyoncĂ© plays in Cardiff and slays. A boy and I start texting.

July: Wales beat Belgium in the football but break Welsh hearts in the semi final. Jade gets a brand new job and moves to London so we have a big pizza party to give her the best send off. It's not a goodbye though. I celebrate my 5th year of being self harm free and my best friend from Australia visits. I meet John Doe, the boy I've been texting, and we go on dates.

August: Lots of prosecco gets drunk, Fiona and I go and see Years and Years in Bute Park. I get my copper IUD fitted and blog about it (but not until October because I'm an awful blogger). I fall off the exercise wagon and end up eating more than I do exercise. I visit Jade in London for the August bank holiday, we drink too much and laugh until our bellies ache. I get ghosted by John Doe, bruised pride but heart intact. 

September: The half marathon fear sets in. Less than a month to go. Jade comes back to Cardiff for her birthday and we have a fun night out in Swansea and drink too much again. Cardiff celebrates 100 years of Roald Dahl and my little brother comes to stay for a weekend. He's my unofficial running coach and lets me carb load before taking me for a 15km run. Fiona also gets a brand new job in London and we have Japanese food for her leaving do. I decide to stop dating.

October: I run the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2 hours 50. It's the hardest thing I've ever done but also the best thing I've ever done. Rosie's family treat me to brunch after and for four days I can't walk properly. I spend two weeks with my family in Brazil, making it out there in time for my dad's 59th birthday. When I come back to Cardiff the heating goes on and the leaves are brown.

November: November is a hard month for me. I don't feel like doing anything and feel lonely, but being around people is exhausting. I stop running and just about make it to the gym a handful of times. Netflix and by myself in an endless pity party but it's okay because soon it will be December.

December: Rio de Janeiro in winter is my saviour. It's hot, I can see the sea from our living room and I am with my family. We eat healthy and sometimes argue but that's what family is. I'm reading books, having naps and just enjoying a slower pace. I have big plans for 2017. The last two months of the year haven't ended how I wanted them to so I need this time to readjust and focus on what I want for the future.

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering 'it will be happier'...” ― Alfred Tennyson

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Don't Wanna Feel Blue Anymore

Coat: New Look Scarf: H&M Boots: Topshop Bag: Vintage | Inspired by Marina

Okay so I have to admit that for all of November I was in a massive slump.

Something about November was beyond exhausting for me. I've been feeling lonely but then the thought of socialising and being around other people was exhausting. I felt so lonely in my empty flat but I didn't have the energy to want to be around other people. I'd lost any desire to go running, which after all the work I put into my half marathon was a real shame. 

I get into these kinds of slump at least once a year but they've never lasted as long as this slump.

Maybe it's because 2016 has been so bloody awful that now that we're so close to the end our exhaustion levels are high.

The things that are keeping my thoughts in perspective is that at the end of the day I've got a pretty sweet deal. A week ago I got some heartbreaking news that put all of my own stupid bullshit into perspective.

I have a flat that I can call my own, I have friends that make me belly laugh and a job that lets let me feed my obsessive need to collect a new pair of boots on a weekly basis. To top it all off I also get to escape the country to warm and sunny Brazil for two weeks to spend the festive period with my family.

I know that I should just 'snap out' of my blue mood but sometimes it feels like crawling out a hole that you dug yourself. But there we have it, because my life really could be much much worse.

At the end of the day we endure much more than we think we can.

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Winter Thirst

Something happens when you're in your mid-twenties and it feels like it's life changing. The light bulb goes on and you think "finally, I'm adulting."

It happened to me when I realised that I'd bought a spare bottle of makeup remover and kept it behind the one I was using. It meant a deep sigh of relief when I'd finished the old bottle midway through removing my makeup. I now also hoard toilet roll so I never run out. Getting into an 'adult' routine is so satisfying, and something my mother would be proud of.

One of the harder 'adult' routines I struggled to get in to was a skin care routine. It sounds so simple but it's genuinely life changing once you get into the swing of all things skincare. 
I never gave much thought really to what I was putting on my face in terms of really taking care of it. I made sure that my products contained some SPF, made sure to always wear suncream when I was out in the sun and that I had a moisturiser to hand. That was about it. I dabbled with exfoliator and toner but never really got the hang of it.

Well enter Kiehl's. Drumroll please.

In winter my skin likes to kick up a fuss and doesn't do what it normally does in the warmer months. The heating and the weather get to it. Teamed with the hormonal changes that us ladies go through, I'd really had enough of it this year.

But then a few weeks ago I went to a Kiehl's event, had my skin tested and had products recommended especially for me which were then used on my face as part of a facial.

The facial really changed my life, my skin was GLOWING for days after and now I have this whole skincare routine nailed. Adult points achieved! My skin was even tested for hydration levels during the facial, my results were shocking so I'm trying to chug as much water as I can.

At Kiehl's the consultants will ask you before the consultation what your 'skin aims' are. My dream is to have a clear and glowing complexion. Whilst I know a lot of that is also down to diet (sigh), I know now that the right products can set me up nicely.

I was recommended the Hydro-Plumpling Re Texturising Concentrate (no photo included in this post because I'm a poor excuse of a blogger) and I was told to use it after cleansing my face. I've been using the concentrate before I moisturise as it's designed to really help target early fine lines, and it helps the skin to soak up all that moisturiser and get through the skin's barrier. This really works wonders for me and my skin just soaks this up.

I wrap things up in the morning by using the famous Ultra Facial Moisturiser and two drops of the Daily Reviving Concentrate. Yes, you've read that right - oil. I wasn't convinced about putting oil on my face in the day but this stuff is the bee's knees. It goes on really nicely and doesn't feel sticky. It also acts as an amazing primer and keeps my make up looking fresher than ever before. I have the tiny sample version of this, and once it runs out I will have a little sob before purchasing the full size.

In the evening I use the Midnight Recovery Concentrate instead. The lavender tones in those are perfect for bed time and really helps relax you. Again my skin just loves this stuff and soaks it up like a sponge. I've noticed it's worked on sorting out the redness that my skin can get in winter and it feels really luxurious.  The price might put you off but you only need two to three drops of this to go a long way, so the bottle will last you a long time.  

Full disclosure because I realise this post almost sounds too good to be true.  The event I went to was ticketed but the cost of the ticket was redeemable on products. We also received a very generous 20% off and received a few samples but I purchased the products with my own money.

I really like the branding of the Kiehl's products. There's no messing about with fancy unnecessary packaging. All of their packaging can be recycled sustainably if you drop it into their shop. 

Skincare isn't a one size fits all, having someone do a mini consultation with you is very helpful. These are free in store and let you achieve your skin care dreams. Kiehl's also do an amazing 21 day test, where if you buy a product and don't love it when you use it you can come back and return it. The amazing staff will then help find you something that does work.

Winter is all fun and that but it can get you and your skin down. So finally feeling really committed to a skincare that works for me, has got me feeling so much better.

Do you have any more Kiehl's tips to pass on to me? If so please do!

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Nina Eats - Cosy Club Cardiff

So winter is here at last. Whilst there are some people focusing on their Christmas diets (what even are these??), I'm working tirelessly on my winter insulation. 

There's something about this time of year that seems to make eating all of the comfort food within your reach perfectly acceptable. I'm not one for glitzy party dresses, bring on the knitwear and onesies. So when my friend Steph and I were invited to test out the new Cosy Club winter menu who were we to resist?

Cosy Club is beautifully located at the top of The Hayes, in the heart of St David's Shopping which makes it perfect for people watching from a safe distance. 

The decor is as the name would suggest - rather cosy. You easily feel like you could while many an hour away here. The staff are very attentive and make sure you've got everything you need in order to get settled in.

Part of their newly adapted winter menu includes some rather tasty new additions to their tapas menus. Steph and me demolished the goat's cheese and spinach croquettes that came with a nice and tangy tomato tapenade. The garlic mushrooms also went down a treat as did the pulled chicken with chorizo and crispy potatoes.

Previously when I've had tapas at the 'Loungers Group' I've found the tapas to be a little beige and flavourless but it seems they've got the hang of these now.

For mains I overshot how hungry we were going to be and insisted we also order cheesy garlic bread. This really wasn't necessary but there are some things that just seem to hit the spot and cheesy garlic bread just is one of those things.

Steph went with a delicious looking buttermilk chicken with chips and a side of coleslaw. I can confirm having tried some that the chicken was cooked perfectly and not dry, which is so easily done and can ruin a meal.

My eyes were bigger than my stomach (for once) and I ordered the mac and cheese with maple glazed bacon. I peaked during the tapas starters where I couldn't resist the bread with police oil and balsamic vinegar, so I'm not going to lie I struggled to get through this. But it was everything you want mac and cheese to be - crispy topping, nicely cooked pasta and flavoursome cheese. Definitely the perfect winter warmer.

All washed down with some cocktails (the cherry Bakewell cocktail comes highly recommended), Steph and me rolled home to pass out in front of The Apprentice. Because that's what winter is all about, good food and then lying on the couch to nap it off.

Cosy Club do lots of events, some evenings they have live music and they also show the rugby which is very important if you live in Wales (whether you want to watch or whether you just need to know when to avoid town). If you want a place with a beautiful view, value for money and a nice atmosphere then look no further. If you need even more tempting, they do delicious breakfasts too.

They also let you book you Christmas shindig with them so have a look if you're the one stuck organising the party this year.

I'm sure I'll be back before I know it!

NB: I was invited to eat at Cosy Club by St. David's but all opinions and thoughts are my own

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