MUA: A cheaper alternative

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Make up is expensive as hell. Sometimes I wonder why I spend so much money on it and so much time doing it... but then the results are just great.

Like everyone out there, I don't HAVE to wear makeup, I enjoy wearing make up... As much of a financial nightmare and pain in the arse it can be sometimes.

Recently I have ran out of not only my favourite foundation but also my favourite powder. Unfortunately it is a little too close to pay day for me to justify spending around £50 to replace these things (although I know they will last me at least a year) so I thought I'd try something else, at least until payday.

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Sad times...
I know a lot of people have been raving about MUA, all I have ever tried from them is lipstick and as I have found my favourite products, I'm a little precious about them and I'm a bit wary of anything new. BUT when foundation is only £2 odd... it's definitely worth a go, right?

I went for the Matte Perfect liquid foundation (fair) and a translucent powder as I am a pale person and I always struggle to find things to suit my skin tone. Annoyingly, I found their 'fair' a little too dark but with a serious amount of blending I think i managed to make it work.

The liquid foundation claims to do this whole shine control thing that 'lasts all day', but to be perfectly honest, I found that didn't happen and I had to re-powder my face frequently to keep the shine at bay.

Awkward selfie time!

However, the foundation was a nice consistency and didn't feel too heavy on my face. Although the shine was a problem, the foundation itself definitely stayed put and I don't have a single fault with the powder. Then again, you can't really go wrong with a translucent powder, can you?

In short, you get excellent value for money when you get MUA products and they are certainly to a higher standard in comparison to other products I have tried. However, I'm not really a convert and other than the odd lipstick (which are really good), I'll still be getting my cosmetics from my trusty Benefit.

Have you ever tried MUA products? Let me know what you think in the comments

Barcelona 2015

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I have been to Barcelona many times and it's definitely one of my favourite cities in the world (after London, obviously).

I have just got back home after a weekend away for my boyfriend's birthday and am already missing it. It's bloody cold here especially compared to 22 degree heat in October where I could happily walk around without a jacket. At the time of writing I am making one of my favourite winter warmers (Cottage Pie) just to get the cold 'out of my bones'.

Considering I'm not exactly a stranger to Barcelona and the friends we were with also go regularly, we didn't do the whole tourist thing this time. We planned on visiting the Sagrada Famillia, as I always go and see the progress made everytime I'm over there, but then we forgot. We spent most of our time there exploring the Gothic Quarter, which is my favourite part of Barcelona, eating ALL the food and drinking ALL the booze.

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We stayed right on La Rambla in the Royal Ramblas hotel (which was lovely). I know La Rambla is essentially Tourist Central and I know a lot of people don't really like it but it was such a convenient location that we knew it wouldn't take us long to get anywhere.

On the first night I got to experience my first Tapas. That's right, the number of times I have been to spain and I have never had Tapas...

Tapas then became a regular feature over our weekend away as well as the best steak I have ever had when we went out for my boyfriend's birthday dinner. I just can't get over how much I ate.

One of my favourite things was a tuna salad which sounds really simple but it's all different over there and tasted wonderful. I made the mistake of ordering one for myself because I thought it would be a nice starter, turns out it would have worked as a meal. When my main meal arrived I realised I had made a terrible mistake and was defeated. Too. Much. Food.

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With knife for scale... It was bigger than my face
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Still had space for coffee though...
It was rather difficult to get pictures of the rest of the food, especially since I was away with non-bloggers!

When I wasn't eating or exploring, I was mostly drinking. Mostly sangria. As we were exploring the Gothic Quarter we came across a place called Penny Banger that looked very unassuming from the outside but was wonderful inside. The walls were covered in beautiful yet obscure artwork, the Sangria was the best I had over the weekend and there was a puppy who kept coming over to visit. If you're ever in Barcelona and need a good drink, you should definitely go there.

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Not entirely sure what's happening here...
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A fishbowl of alcohol

If you have never been to Barcelona, you need to go. As you can tell from this post, not only is it a beautiful place with stunning architecture EVERYWHERE. It's full of amazing finds that you just stumble upon. The food is amazing as well as bigger than your face, and you're never far from a bar.

Obligatory Holiday Selfie
Have you ever been to Barcelona?

Red, white and gold: My new favourite outfit

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In September my friend turned 27 and we celebrated by drinking all the booze at Bourne and Hollingsworth. Afterwards, we did that whole outfit picture thing. While drunk. It was brilliant.

Instead of buying new clothes, I've been trying to attempt to save money (not working) by wearing old clothes and finding new ways to style them (is working). I decided to brave the fact that I was going to eat a lot of messy food and wear white. I rarely wear white because I am a messy eater and it almost always ends in disaster and a bright orange stain somewhere. But, #YOLO (yeah, I did that).

I picked up this dress from a vintage market in Dalston about two years ago and I have probably worn it twice. Not only because of the messiness but also because do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a pair of pants that can't be seen under a white chiffon dress? It's bloody hard.

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So I didn't look too much like a bride, I chose to pair it with my red Floozy bag and the gold shoes I bought from Debenhams for my friend's wedding in August. And I love it.

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Taking outfit pictures while drunk is amazing, even more so when you're an awkward camera person like me and you're being 'directed' by a fellow blogger who's so effortlessly flawless and good at this kind of thing... I'm looking at you Little Miss Katy! I'm sure she got annoyed with me towards the end.

Some of the results are hilarious, she told me to walk... #AWKWARDFACE!

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And I have absolutely no idea what was happening here or why I am pretty much on the floor WEARING A WHITE DRESS

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I can't even...

Thank you Katy for taking all the pictures, I'm sorry if I was a pain in the arse.

How do you think I did styling a white dress?

Bottomless Bellinis and Birthday Fun

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Bottomless brunch flat-lay courtesy of Charley.

So my best friend is now 27. I know she's not really all that bothered about it but she's 27 before me so I can smile a little on the inside. I don't have long to go now and soon I will be joining her *sigh*.

To celebrate the birthday of one of the best people in the whole world, Charlie, Distracted booked us all a table at Bourne and Hollingsworth for their alcohol filled bottomless brunch WEEKS IN ADVANCE. Such a good idea. It's a known fact to me now that any day/evening/ night out with Charlie, Distracted is going to be brilliant., she always seems to know about some of the best places to go whether it's just for a quick pint or a full blown meal. She is essentially my go-to person for food in London. Like an encyclopedia for beer and cake.

She has spoken to me about bottomless brunches before and we have both been wanting to go to one together for a while, what better opportunity than her birthday? A time for the girls (and Ben) to all get together and celebrate everything Charlie. While drunk. Quite drunk.

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Thanks again Charley
With the bottomless brunch at Bourne and Hollingsworth, you are essentially given all the scrambled eggs with your choice of toppings, I went with bacon, mushrooms and salmon, plus your choice of either bottomless Bellinis or Bloody Marys. Personally, I think bBoody Marys taste like cold alcoholic soup and I'm not alone so we went for Bellinis. Hence the title.

Bottomless brunch with Bellinis cost £16 with the additional price of your food. Considering the standard price of a cocktail in London can be around £9, I'm pretty OK with this. Although it may seem expensive when you put the two together, I feel you get your money's worth. There was so much food I couldn't eat it all (see picture above) and I most definitely drank more than £16 worth of booze. #Standard.

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All the booze meant Charley ended up taking a picture of me in the sink/bath. Thank God you can't see my pants

What I was most impressed about was how the service was good but also how they went above and beyond for a member of our party who didn't drink alcohol. They didn't want her to miss out so made some virgin cocktails for her that were still bottomless when usually any other drink wouldn't be. Good staff. Impressed.

We left a very merry, full bunch of people and the usual amount of ridiculously happy pictures were taken as well as all of us doing the Riff Off from Pitch Perfect on the way to the pub... as you do. We're cool, I swear!

Just to give you an insight of just how good our day was here's my new favourite picture ever that I have ruthlessly stolen from Little Miss Katy and have even made it my profile picture on Facebook. That's serious friendship right there. I love these girls so much and we just look too damn happy it's unreal.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday Charlie and I hope we weren't too embarrassing...

War Horse on stage

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I was first introduced to Michael Morpurgo when I was in primary school and we read a book called Why the Whales Came. It's a book that has always stayed with me and lead to my love for Narwhals. I was a little late to the game when it came to War Horse and only read it after I had seen the film which is very unlike me. I remember not only breaking down in the cinema while watching it but also having an emotional breakdown on the tube while I, a grown woman, was reading a children's book. I got a lot of funny looks that day.

Michael Morpurgo has a talent to introduce young-ish children to rather grown up concepts. Delving into the ins and outs of the First and Second World War but still bringing in an element of fantasy and hope to help the reader not only respect the situation and time period but also to know the world isn't always bad. Smal children risking their safety along with the village to save beached whales despite bombings across the country and a teenager going to the trenches to find his horse.

I've heard so many wonderful things about the play and have wanted to see it for years now. Last week my boyfriend finally took me to see it to celebrate our two year anniversary and it was just as wonderful as I expected.

I remember years ago my Grampy told me Northern Lights was on stage and all the Deamons were puppets and I didn't understand how it would work. Apparently it is a thing and it does work. There were times during the show when I genuinely forgot the horses weren't real as they had the movements and sounds down to a tee.

As you can expect, just like when I went to see To Kill a Mockingbird, I spent pretty much the whole of the second half in floods of tears. As we were sitting in the front row, we saw they had also made mini trenches with bits of the horse puppets, boots and what looked like a body at the front of the stage which somehow made it feel more real. I know it wasn't but I'm sure you know whay I mean.

Also, Gary cried too. So there.

A simple set made the whole show more moving and also meant you could focus more on the cast (brilliant cast too) rather than too many props and scene changes. Being in the front row also meant we could see every emotion no matter how small.

All in all, it was absolutely wonderful despite being emotionally traumatic. I'm so happy I got to see it at last especially as it's now in its last run and will be ending early next year. Grab tickets while you still can 

Tacos, Burritos and Bloggers

This was one of those experiences that I flat out couldn't say 'no' to. A bunch of my favourite bloggers and I were invited to do our bit for not only the environment but also for Tortilla, who brough the beach to London for one night only. We were tasked with simply drinking as many coronas as we could to help them make more of their chandeleirs for new branch opening across the UK. Obviously this wasn't an endorsement to binge drink but hey, we were doing out bit for the planet. RECYCLE PEOPLE.

I have never been one to turn down mexican food since Charlie, Distracted first introduced me to it via her Wahaca cookbook and burritos are my favourite lunchtime thang... when I feel like all the carbs. As a reward for us helping them drink all the beer, Tortilla made sure we were well fed throughout the evening. Some might say 'eating is cheating' but when mexican food is so readily available, those people need to reasses their priorities. While stuffing our faces we were constantly entertained by Bloody Hell Brennan insisting on eating the spicest stuff (much to the amusement of one of the waiters) and were surpised with Margaritas.

All in all, Tortilla put on an amazing evening of food, booze and frivolity that could have only been made better by some of my favourite people in the world.

From left to right:
Erica, Charley, Vikki. Katie, Charlie and the other Katie in the middle

We all went home with very full bellies and smiles plastered to our faces. Thank you Tortilla for giving us a much needed amazing evening. We love you.

Bugsy Malone at the Lyric Theatre

Image source

"Everybody loves that man, Bugsy Malone..."

Earlier this week, I told you all about my family adventures in London. One of the reasons this happened was because my brother and I bought the family tickets to go at see Bugsy Malone at the Lyric for my mum's birthday. Not only because it's had five star reviews all over the joint but also because it's something my brother and I have grown up with and whenever I watch it with my mum, we always sing along to all the songs.

The Lyric Theatre has undergone a massive redevelopment, starting in 2004 with the final phase being unveiled earlier in 2015, and Bugsy Malone is one of the first plays to grace the 120 year old stage in a bloody long time.

The theatre looks very unassuming from the outside, when we arrived my mum turned to me and said 'ooh, I don't think I have ever been to a mondern theatre in London before' and I had to admit, I couldn't help but feel a tad disappointed. I'm so used to the grandeur of London theatres that the sad, grey exterior made my heart sink a little bit. Inside it's entirely different. The odd mix of modern architecture with the original 1895 theatre nestled deep inside made it truly wonderful.

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Theatre = difficult lighting

Back to the play.

If you haven't seen the Bugsy Malone movie before you really need to. Even if you're not a musical lover like I am, you'll love it because it's funny AF. Full of tongue in cheek jokes that you probably wouldn't have noticed as a child.

Set in prohibition era New York, Bugsy Malone  is the story of part-time gangster Bugsy in the middle of a cross gang power war - with cream pies and splurge guns. Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds, yes it's awesome because of it.

During the days counting down to seeing it, I was a tad worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations and, despite the amazing reviews it had receieved, it would be far from on parr with the film. As I seem to be with these things I was proven wrong.

Bugsy Malone really deserved it's five star reviews. The young cast were so amazing that I always started to question who my favourite was, they didn't tarnish my favourites from the film and I couldn't get over the talent of those kids. Kind of made me question what I have achieved with my life... not really, but you get my point.

One thing I didn't know was that the Lyric Theatre supports young people through drama, helping to take kids off the streets and express themselves through performances rather than getting tangled up in nasty things. Not only does the price of your ticket (actually really cheap) contribute to funding this but there are also collections around the theatre. For this reason alone, I will definitely be returning to the Lyric. You can see where all the money is being used and how happy it makes those kids. By giving such a flawless performance of one of my favourite films, it was worth every penny.

Annoyingly the run of Bugsy Malone has now ended but you can see all the current and upcoming shows on the Lyric website, Tippint the Velvet is actually next on my list.

*Listens to Bugsy Malone soundtrack for the rest of the day*

What plays have you seen recently?

Being a tourist in London

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View of the Tower Bridge FROM A BOAT!
I know I've mentioned it before but I have lived in London for eight years now, very nearly nine! (oh God, I'm aging...) There are times when I take this wonderful city for granted and still haven't explored most of it. Sometimes it's surprising how many things you'll find even if you just take a slightly different way to work, I recently just found out there's a little vintage market near Angel station!

Just like most people who live in London, I get really annoyed by tourists. I hate how they just stop in the street to take pictures of something as mediocre as a post box because it's SLIGHTLY different from at home, how they walk reeeeally slowly then suddently turn around and get really annoyed with you when you end up face-planting their chest. MOST IMPORTANTLY! I hate how they wear huge backpacks on the tube which not only take up the space of a small child (or someone my size) but also get stuck in the tube doors as they rush on at the last minute because, heaven forbid, there isn't another one in three minutes. God, I'm bitter.

Last month Gary and I had our relatives visit from Scotland and we got to be tourists TWICE. I hope I wasn't one of the annoying tourists I have just bitched and moaned about. That would be awkward.

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On both occasions we started off our tourist activities at Westminster Pier, this was particularly important for my mum's boyfriend as he's Scottish and very into his politics, I don't believe he has ever been to Westminster before and he looked so happy. On the other occasion we got on a boat and started boozing as soon as we sat down... so different.

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Drinking wine on a boat!

Both tourist days involved a lot of walking, one from Westminster to Leicester Square with lots of landmark spotting along the way with an oppotunity to get a new family photo taken outside Buckingham Palace.

From left to right:
Emily (brother's girlfriend), ME, Abby (mini step sister), Jarrad (brother), Gary (my boyfriend)

During our adventures across this wonderful city, I got to see and visit a bunch of places that I obviously knew existed but have never been to. I had never been past Downing Street before (THE POLICE HAVE MASSIVE GUNS), never been to the Maritime Museum at Greenwich and I don't think I have been to St James' Park, dude, there are Pelicans.

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Playing dress up at the Maritime Museum
One of my favourite things to do wherever I go is spot and chuckle at interesting graffiti, here are two classics from the South Bank and Greenwich

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Moment of pure genius on a public toilet door

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Another moment of pure genius in another public toilet
Despite all my typical Londoner complaining, being a tourist in London is actually loads of fun. There's obviously so much more I need to see and do but I'm pretty sure it's impossible to do it all. BUT I CAN TRY.

Do you have any favourite places in London I should see?

Doing something that frightens you

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Everyone has that one thing that they will never get over and feel like they will always be held back in some way. This is obviously something emotional, there's absolutely no physical barrier stopping you from doing anything (unless you want to get into Buckingham Palace and sit on the throne, you might get shot for that) but if you've convinced yourself you can't do something, then you probably never will.

I don't have a maths GCSE.

There we go, I said it.

It's something I have been so ashamed of that even my best friend didn't know. The idea of having to do any difficult maths that Excel can't do for me makes breathing difficult and I feel like crying. Because I don't have a certificate saying I can do a thing just makes me feel that I will never be able to do that thing and therefore I stop trying. If I need anything calculated, I'll more often than not just ask my boyfriend.

A few months ago I decided to do something that Gary has said is 'brave' and signed up to do a course to finally get this weight lifted off my shoulders, get rid of that goblin that mocks me every day. And it's terrifying. Numbers shouldn't be frightening, they're just little squiggles on a piece of paper, right? To me they're worse than spiders and I fucking hate spiders.

Now, some people might think about the basic elements of my job and how I use data to formulate a strategy BUT I CAN DO THAT! It's actually relatively easy even for someone who's so terrified of numbers, I mean it's not like working out the area of a triangle (a skill I have never needed in my life) or knowing ALL the prime numbers.

Not only do numbers scare me, they also confuse me. Give me a phone number? Unless you put it in a pattern I know, I will put the numbers the wrong way round. Times tables? The only one I honestly know comfortably is my seven times table purely because I watched A Little Princess a lot as a child - that Lavinia was a right bitch.

I can also tell you what 13 x 379 is but that's only because of Matilda... it's 4927 if you need to know.

With these, I can only do them because of a set pattern, like how I know Iambic Pentameter or remembering the lines to a song because you know the beat. I feel like maths doesn't have a clear system, everything is different and even though there are correct answers, there are too many different ways of getting to them and I get very lost even thinking about it. Maybe it's just me.

Over the past few weeks there have been tantrums and general upset. Only the other day I broke down into tears because I couldn't understand why I had to flip a fraction upside down. WHAT IS THE REASON?? WHERE'S THE PATTERN?? Rachel Riley makes it look so easy...


Maybe not...

HOWEVER! As much as it terrifies me and how I spent years living off excuses and reasons why I can't do maths. I am doing it now. I'm not exactly enjoying it but I am doing it. Like ripping off a plaster in a way or getting a tattoo... you know you'll go through pain but there will be something wonderful at the end of it. Eventually I will know for a fact that I can do something, I won't be too frightened to try and maybe I'll be able to do the numbers section on Countdown without having to pause the TV and counting out loud. 

Have you ever done something that truly frightens you?

What I wore to one of my best friends' wedding

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Personalised spoon with my favourite tea as a wedding favour

Oh 2015, the year of weddings!

I've been to quite a few weddings over the past two years but this time it was the first of MY friends to get married. One of my oldest friends in fact.

It seems that I have now reached that age where I am going to all the weddings and that they're the only opportunity for me to get dressed up these days. So much so that I pretty much avoided shopping for it because everything I even thought about it, I went into a mild panic. I mean, there are rules about wedding outfits and I'm always paranoid about breaking one of them. I know it would never happen but that's just how my silly little brain works.

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In the end, it was all organised at the very last minute courtesy of the internet. The day I finally bought them all I had spent ages sending various links to my bestie. I couldn't even decide on a colour, let alone a style!

I finally got everything sorted, the dress is from House of Fraser and my gold shoes and clutch (a colour I never go for because I'm so pale) came from the wonderful Debenhams.

I think the dress might be a little too tight but overall I love the look, the shoes in particular. I love them so much that I'm keeping them separate from my other shoes because I'm scared all the glitter will get knocked off!

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What do you think of my last wedding look of 2015?

Vegetarian BBQ with Quorn and the London BBQ School

London BBQ School

I was a vegetarian for years until I finally caved. During my time as a veggie, I pretty much lived off Quorn. Not just because it made my mum feel better about me losing protein but also because it tastes amazing. This hasn't really changed as when Charlie, Distracted and I lived together, we used to cook with it regularly. Quorn in a chili? AMAZING!

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a barbecue at the London BBQ School hosted by Quorn to show off the versatility of their products, more than just burgers dontcha know! It turns out there are a lot more products than I knew about as the brand has grown so much since I started eating it.

Cooking is one of my favourite things but when we have barbecues, my boyfriend generally does the cooking because he man and man cook meat over fire. This time it was my turn and I got to play with one of the biggest barbecues I have ever seen. Other than just cooking on them we were also taught the fundamentals barbecues and how to do them properly rather than just starting a fire with a piece of paper over some coals with a firelighter...

JUST LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS BEAST! It was more complicated than your standard grill from Argos.


vegetarian bbq

Splitting into teams we had a couple of recipes to choose from and we all got to have a go at each one to make sure there was enough food to go around. We mostly stuck to the Quorn chicken wraps and I could have happily ate my weight in them. There were also burgers and skewers that I'm sure even the most carnivorous person wouldn't be able to resist. The were just too good.

Quorn Skewers

I can't believe how much I ate and I was so surprised to see how much you can really do with what some may consider a 'dull' product. It's really not and it's beyond delicious. I think I might need to introduce Gary to some of these!

If you're also a Quorn lover and want to try these out for yourself (even if you've never had Quorn!) you can find a bunch of wonderful recipes here. It turns out that a very small percentage of their consumers are actually vegetarian so I'm pretty sure you'll be surprised by the sheer deliciousness of it all.

Have you ever tried Quorn?

*I was invited to attend this event for free but if I didn't have fun/enjoy it/love and eat ALL THE FOOD, I wouldn't be telling you about it.

How I cope with stress

I don't know about you guys but it's seems like my life doesn't stop right now. With family visits, events and work as a whole, I feel like I'm in my own little personal whirlwind. It sounds fun, and trust me it is, but there are times when I get home and struggle to relax. Even if it's on my sofa in my PJs. I just keep thinking 'I haven't really had a free weekend since July and the next one isn't until October. SOMEONE HELP ME'.


I have now decided that moaning about it isn't going to make me feel better and have started to work on a few methods I could use to deal with my stress.

1. Angry music playlist

Now, this sounds like something that shouldn't work but it does. This was an idea that was introduced to me by Charlie, Distracted and I can't believe I didn't think of it before. It's like, all my negative energy is sucked out by Trent Reznor screaming (as weird as that sounds) and I end up a little dancing ball of joy instead of a ticking time bomb.

If you're into a weird collection of music for moments like this, here's my playlist!

2. Eat well

A few months ago, I treated myself to a lunch bag in the Paperchase sale. It's very exciting and has an owl on it. This has actually encouraged me to actually take lunch in to work and not just run for a burrito or even Maccy Ds. Having a proper lunch always makes me feel better over the course of the day and I find going home to cook a meal is very therapeutic with the reward of a full belly afterwards. All the win.

3. Play games

This is something I haven't done for a while but since Gary came home with a new XBox One it's all I want to do now. 

4. Read

This is one of my favourite ways to unwind even if it's just for 10 minutes on the tube. One of my favourite things to do in the whole world is to just curl up under a blanket somewhere and read for hours. Generally my go-to for really stressful days would be Harry Potter, there's just something about it that will always make me feel better.

5. Get out of the office

Yes, I like my job but sometimes it just make sense to go out at lunch time. I don't think having lunch at your desk everyday is healthy for anyone's frame of mind, let alone my own, so even just going for a walk around the block or out for a quick coffee always makes me feel better.

6. Breathe, have a cup of tea and wait for all this to blow over

How do you deal with stress?