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2016.  What a messed up year.  We lost so many greats- Bowie, Wood, even Wogan.  It was also the year of Brexit and all that came with that, oh and of course not to mention Trump.

On a personal level 2016 was the year of heartbreak, frustration, and incredibly poor timing. Even Brad and Angelina didn’t make it…

The year started out happy, promising and with a man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with.  Somehow along the way that all turned to shit and I went from practically killing myself on a horse to one of the worst years as a family since Mum died.

I remember last year writing a post about how I wasn’t going to make any new year’s resolutions and I’m kinda glad I did- failing at impossible goals was the last thing I needed in 2016.  Let’s face it- we all promise ourselves in December that next year will be ‘our year’, we’ll climb a mountain, or live entirely off green vegetables.  Nothing like the cold reality of disappointment when you realise it’s not your year, you can’t even climb the stairs without tripping up, and McDonalds know you so well they offer your ‘usual’ as soon as you walk in…

Of course we all go into a new year with the best intentions but if I’m totally honest 2016 for me, and many of my chums, was a pretty turbulent year filled with inopportune events. This included my horrendous riding accident in February, the day before I was going on a course I’d been waiting AGES to get a place on, work frustrations and just generally terribly poor timing on a number of things.  I even found an amazing personal trainer and after only a few sessions she told me she’s off to a new job.  Sucks.  To be fair we’ll stay mates but she’s a bloody beast in the gym and I’m going to miss her and that peachy butt sooo much!

This year I think the only resolution I want to make (and it’s not really a resolution) is to continue exercising as much as I can.  Exercise is an escape. It provides time to get lost in your thoughts, or just lose your thoughts to pushing yourself, and you feel so good afterwards it’s a no brainer for me.   I think to be honest this is more a continuation of a lifestyle than a resolution and if you look at something like that it’s not something you’ll easily break.

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Gemma to the power of two = double trouble…

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to be in another country for New Year’s Eve, and this year is no exception.  I’m dashing off for Christmas too this time- today I’m flying to Australia for almost four weeks armed with a year’s supply of freelance savings, a couple of new bikinis and my oldest friend in the world.

I’ve known Gemma since she was born (just under a year after me) and her Mum was BFF’s with mine. We grew up together and had the cutest childhood.  I think one of the reasons we’re such close friends is we’ve got that much dirt on each other it would be lethal not to stay that way!  This girl has been through SO much this year and come out stronger and happier than ever and I’m so proud of her and everything she does.  I am privileged to have so many good friends in my life- they are, after all, the family we choose.  She’s more of a sister to me, and what this girl doesn’t know about me isn’t worth knowing.  This year we’ve got each other through what we now refer to as  ‘Black Sunday’, ‘dark August’ and all the other utter rubbish times this year- from not being able to walk, to ALL the boy dramas, and from work issues to family chaos.

You know when you have that friend that you don’t even need to say anything to and you know exactly what the other person is thinking.  This is Gemma.  We just get each other.

 

Heartbreak was everywhere this year.  Couples that I literally thought would be together for the long haul seemed to fall apart left, right and centre.  I started the year with a man I genuinely thought I’d be with until I was grey and seriously wrinkly; it’s crazy how so much can change.  Not just within a year but within a matter of hours!  Maybe my Disney- fuelled childhood provided me with unrealistic expectations of love and romance, and a fairy tale ending is purely that- fictional.  Gin and Prosecco profits will definitely be on the rise thanks to me and my pals…

To anyone I hurt or upset in 2016 I am truly sorry.  To anyone who hurt me- I hope you are too.  What a fucking roller coaster.

It’s not just been a year of heartbreak in terms of relationships but also in terms of my family situation too.  It’s so bloody fragile and it rips me to pieces on a daily basis.  I think when things are good in a family you take it for granted.  I would do anything to have my normal family life back but right now that seems like a distant dream, maybe an impossible reality.  I literally cannot wait to get away from it all and discover new places I’ve never been and run straight into the sea.  It’s a big world out there- adventure is waiting…

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    ‘All I’m after is a lifetime of laughter’  

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that you have to surround yourself with people that lift you up.  Equally you have to lift your friends up too.  I’ve been pretty slack with a couple of friends this year and that’s something that definitely needs to change.  It’s ok to expect your friends to be there when you’re down but I also need them to know they can rely on me too.  It’s so important.

In a year when hate and anger won votes and elections it’s easy to focus on the negative but there’s actually a whole heap of things to be positive about and I have so much to be grateful for!

I just want to smile my way through 2017. Laughing is my favourite things in the world and if you are surrounded by people that can make you laugh so hard it hurts, well then life is just SO much more enjoyable.

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My beautiful BFF Becky and I at the festival of dreams…

So here’s to 2017- let’s hope it’s better for all involved! You never know who you’ll meet on that spur-of-the-moment night out, or what’s waiting for you just around the corner, and don’t forget- Prince Charming comes in many different guises…Exciting times indeed!

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, supported me and helped in any little way.  I love you all and I wish you all a Merry messy Christmas and a Bonza New Year!  I’ll see you on the other side.  Now where’s my passport…

 

Jem xx

 

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Having a blog can be really fun at Christmas- all the gift guides, new products, festive posts and excitingly this year the East Midlands Bloggers Christmas Calendar Swap.

If you live in the East Midlands and you blog/create/write then you really should be a part of East Midlands Bloggers.  You can join in on Facebook here.

This year I took part in Jay and Jess’s Christmas Calendar Swap where you’re paired with another blogger from your region and create an advent box to send them full of little gifts to open in December.   It’s such a fun idea- the box had to include 25 presents with everything costing between £15-£30 in total and everything had to fit inside a shoe box.

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I was paired up with the lovely Kirsty from Derby.  You can check out her lifestyle, beauty and books blog here.

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At first I thought it would be easy but it’s actually quite a challenge to find 25 different gifts.  I read up on Kirsty’s blog to find out a bit more about her and then cracked on with the fun part- shopping.  I have a feeling we’ve probably bought each other similar things, as we’re both very much into our products and cute things! It was good fun hunting around lots of different shops to find enough items for the box, and I wanted to make sure there was plenty of variety in there too.  From a colouring book to beauty products, chocolate treats to stationary.   The swap is also a great way to get to know another bloggers in your area and it’s always nice to discover new blogs and posts to read.  Everyone in the East Midlands Group is super supportive and there’s always social events and topics of discussion on their Facebook page.  It’s a great way to meet other likeminded bloggers and connect with people with similar interests as you.

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I was so excited when mine arrived and it’s been fun every day having a little present to open.  I’m going on holiday next week so I might have to save the rest until I come back- surely it’s bad luck to open them all before I go.  Tempting though…

Can’t believe it’s only two weekends until Christmas!  Happy shopping…

Jem xx

The John Lewis Christmas advert has hit our screens, which means one thing- it’s now perfectly acceptable to get excited about Christmas!

I’m going to be having a very different Christmas this year so I’m trying to be a bit more organised with my shopping. By ‘trying’ I mean looking at stuff online, mentally buying it, and then having a mad panic when I realise it’s a week until Christmas and I’ve done no shopping!

I always look online for gift guides- lots of influencers get sent really cool stuff so youtube and blogs are great places for a bit of festive inspo, especially for things you wouldn’t necessarily see while you’re out and about. I do love a good Christmas shop with chums but shopping in a city gets kinda stressful at this time of year.  Besides why gets stuck in the crowds when you can nail all your shopping online snuggled next to a fire with a large Gin in your hand?!

If you have sensitive skin and want to drop some mahoosive hints, or you’re looking for present inspo then I hope this helps- of course Elemis and Caudalie had to feature in my suggestions, and there’s items for all budgets.  Alongside skincare don’t forget all the good stuff- and by that I mean chocolate!

All items are linked below.

If you do go out and about I’d recommend shopping with a rucksack- leaves your hands free for a mulled wine… Good luck out there!

Jem xx

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Khiels seasons treatings £30 http://bit.ly/2fFDR6v

Yumbles Rawr chocolate £9.95 http://bit.ly/2fUoNXq

Best Face Forward, Sensitive Skin set, £39.90, Elemis http://bit.ly/2eNnfMo

Holiday Skincare Cracker, £10, Nuxe http://bit.ly/2g10ztI

Vine Body Gift Set, £22, Caudalie http://bit.ly/2fhdnva

Winter Icon Orange and Clove Hot Cloth Cleanser, £22.75, Liz Earle http://bit.ly/2fFicga

Deliciously Ella Cookbook, £9, Amazon http://amzn.to/2emmj36

Ren Stop Being So Sensitive, £34 http://bit.ly/2eNGWn8

Merry Moos selection box, £3.99, Real Foods http://bit.ly/2fFQNcj

Relief Repair Replenish Cream, £14.95, Bria Organics http://bit.ly/2fFUjnb

 

 

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Sensitive skin is a pain in the derriere- especially when your skin reacts quicker than Peggy Mitchell in a bar brawl to pretty much anything new you put on it.  Finding good quality products, which not only remove makeup but also leave your skin feeling fresh and damage-free, is a constant struggle.

Here are my current faves (OBVS I’m not using them all at the same time, hence why some aren’t in the photo above as I’ve run out, but I do like to switch it up occasionally) but these will definitely be a good starting point if you’re looking for something on a more gentle level.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser- some of the Kiehl’s range I have to be careful with (even ‘natural’ products can react badly with sensitive skin) but this is really creamy and never leaves your skin feeling dry.  Really good for getting rid of all your mascara too… £8.50 Kiehl’s http://bit.ly/2bOcW6I

Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil- This is super luxurious and leaves your skin feeling so soft.  I felt like it’s hard to wash it off but I think this is the point- it doesn’t strip your skin.  Use with a hot cloth… £29.50 Elemis http://bit.ly/2c1UxoR

Elemis Pro Radiance Cleanser- I’m quite new to the Elemis pro-Radiance collection but I bloody love it!  This little beauty gets rid of all the grime but is packed with plant extracts that moisturise dry skin.  It gets rid of all the crap without having to use anything else and lasts AGES too! £30 Elemis http://bit.ly/2bQPmdM

Green People Scent-free Cleanser- If you’ve never tried Green People products then why the hell not?  They’re affordable and amazing quality and great for anyone that reacts to all the chemical crap.  This one is particularly good if you are allergic to lots of perfumed in products. £18 Green People http://bit.ly/29tBg05

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Garnier Sensitive Micellar Water- Yes this was a TOTAL surprise to me.  I normally can’t use anything like this, especially from a drug-store brand.  But this actually does what it says on the tin- perfume free and you don’t need to scrub.  It literally removes EVERYTHING.  This was my staple festival product this year and leaves your face feeling fresh, clean, and definitely not sore- winner and a right bargain! 125ml £1.99, Boots http://bit.ly/2c7FvNu

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Gel- still on that Micellar hype I have used two bottles of this now and it’s fab!  I love La Roche-Posay and when my Dad nips off to his little pad in France I usually put in some sort of French skincare order-I LOVE it, really nice creamy, bubbly texture and doesn’t dry or irritate your skin.  £12 All Beauty http://bit.ly/2bQD8h5

Skincere Cream Cleanser- I first discovered this little Gem when they sent me some to try last year (check out the blog post HERE) and it’s a wonder product for the price.  My always feels clean and toned when I used this; I just wash it off with a hot cloth.  Even when my skin has been really irritated I can still use this bad boy.  Available in all Holland and Barrett stores.  £14.99 Skincere http://bit.ly/2bBns5o

Let me know if you have any good product recommendations!

Jem x

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I know my last couple of posts have been very foodie! Now that I’ve just had my last dermatologist appointment for this year (hopefully…) I think I’ve just been taking a real keen interest in what I’m putting into my body. I’ve also been on a mad fitness mission- there’s nothing like exercise to make you feel better when you’re going through a bit of a rough time. Life is certainly very up and down at the moment.

I’ve been trying to cut out carbs in the morning, however as I’ve been on a few longer runs now that my knee is healing, sometimes I need something a bit more substantial to keep me going. I’ve already posted my overnight oats blog post here, but recently I bought some rice flakes from good old Sainsbury’s and they are LUSH! You can adapt this recipe in SO many ways- use different milk (coconut, almond) or add some regular oats into the mix, any kind of fruit- the variations are endless! I add some yogurt to mine to sweeten it up too.

My favourite milk of choice at the moment is Oatly Organic  and Rice Dream.  You can buy both from most supermarkets.  The Rice Dream milk makes everything taste so creamy- when mixed with the rice flakes it’s a bit rice pudding-ish, which I bloody LOVE!  Pudding for breakfast?  Hell yas!

You’ll need:

  • A jar/ small bowl
  • Rice Flakes- 35g
  • Rice Milk (or any alternative)
  • Dairy-free Coconut yogurt (or any alternative)
  • Raisins
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Dark choc to sprinkle on top- I use Green & Blacks Organic 85%
  • Anything to decorate/add flavour- I used Cacao powder, Linseed and Chia seeds (as always)

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Method:

Add the flakes to the jar, pour enough milk to cover the flakes and almost fill the jar.  Add a heaped tablespoon of yogurt and stir.  Mix in some blueberries and raisins and any other fruit.  Cover and leave over night and that’s it!  The longer you leave it the more the flakes soak up the milk.  Sprinkle on top all the other ingredients to add crunch and flavour and that’s it- SO yummy!  Breakfast is served bitches…

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Why rice flakes?

They are easy to digest, low in fat and sugar and calories, and keep you full for ages!  They’re a lot harder in consistency than oats, they’re a good source of essential minerals and vitamins.  You can also eat them if you are lactose or gluten intolerant.  Boom!

 

Have a great week,

 

Jem xx

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