My 2016 Favourites

Can you believe another year has come to an end? Because I can’t. I feel like everytime I blink, a whole 12 months has passed by. Insane. I’ve discovered a lot of things this year, so of course I’m going to do a post dedicated to them and rave about my love for these favourites.

Books

Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

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This is Tanya’s second book release. With the popularity proven with the baking chapter of her first book, ‘Love Tanya’, and major love shown for her baking videos, Tanya released this gorgeous book full of amazing recipes which are not too complicated and caters for her entire audience, both young and old. I tried a few recipes with my mother and I highly enjoyed making her  ‘Sunday Cake’ which was adorable to read about an old tradition. There are other recipes from her friends and family which really makes this book so personal. I can’t wait to try making other treats.

Available from WH Smiths for £11.89

Our World by Little Mix

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To be given the insight of life in one of the world’s biggest girl groups of this decade is really interesting. Keeping it real and not over glorifying the glitz and glam that fame brings, Jesy, Perrie, Leigh-Anne and Jade share a view of the world through their eyes. What’s really worth commending is that the girls don’t shy away from the struggles they face. Though their face on billboards and their music played worldwide, The 2011 X Factor winners are still very much down to Earth and openly discuss struggles they’ve faced that many of their fans can relate to. I highly enjoyed this book and getting to know the girls on a more personal level. Another enjoyable aspect is that they talk to the fans as if they are on the same level, rather than talking down as if they are more superior, which is always highly appreciated by fans.

Available from W H Smith for £7.99

Beauty

LUSH’s Rub Rub Rub Shower scrub

Rub Rub Rub

When my friend, Lily, introduced me to this scrub, I was blown away. More so by the fact that it is an amazing alternative to typical shampoo and conditioner. It washes my hair so well and gives it a lot of volume. If you want gorgeous beach babe hair, this product used in the shower is amazing. I cannot get enough of it!

Available from LUSH  for £8.95

Continue reading “My 2016 Favourites”

Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Life update: Career change, mental health and more

life-update

Hello there,

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual life update and a lot has changed, so I think it’s time we talk about it.

The last life update talked about my new job and how lots of positive things were happening. A few months ago I had a job change and went to writing for United By Pop, who are a fantastic lifestyle and pop culture blog for young adults. Unfortunately, my mental health has been deteriorating and has meant I’ve unfortunately had to leave the site as a lot of my self care means interrupting my time and efforts for the site. I still very much love the site and will always support it. I hope to be able to rejoin in the future when I’m feeling a lot better.

As for my deteriorating mental health, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but my bi-polar is getting more and more intense mood swings and making it difficult to cope with day to day activities. I’ve been trying to try and take control, but it’s been a fair few months now and so a trip to the doctors is on the cards. Since writing is something I like to use to escape on a good day and talking is proven to be a great way to deal with mental health, I decided to start a blog series called ‘The Anxiety Files’. When I was younger and first diagnosed, talking about mental health was such a taboo and it felt like a cold and lonely world away from ‘the norm’. Fast forward 11 years and everyone is encouraging one another to talk and help one another, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I do love writing, it’s a passion of mine. So to completely wipe it off the cards would be silly. On good days, I can write for hours and it’s like an escape for me, but to commit to a company who needs you on the ball on a regular time set is difficult because right now I literally have to play each day by ear because there’s no telling what will be a good or bad day until the day arrives. It’s stressful, but that’s why I’m so thankful I have a blog – I’m the boss here and I can work around my health needs, which is extremely useful.

Onto good things now – I turned 21 back in September which I spent in Brighton and met my internet friend of four years. Emi is from Arizona, United States, but is currently in Brighton studying for a few months. I’ve always wanted to visit Brighton and didn’t have any birthday plans, so it just happened and it was the best birthday ever. I definitely love the town and would visit again in a heartbeat. Emi also came to Cardiff earlier this month to visit the city and meet with Sarah and I where we had a sleepover in a hotel and vlogged it – it was a lot of fun.

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

Last month my friend, Camryn, was in town for the first time in three years and she invited me to interview her for United By Pop as well as chill on her tour bus and just talk. She was the support act for Fifth Harmony’s 727 Tour in Europe and it was incredible seeing how she’s evolved since she first came onto the scene at the tender age of 11. It was so much fun catching up and having a chat with her band and I really hope she’s back in the UK again soon.

Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus
Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus

There’s not too much else I can think of right now that I haven’t already mentioned in great detail on the blog. I’m looking forward to the Christmas season and writing lots of blog posts while trying very hard to get back on track with things. I hope to be in a better place by Christmas.

I hope you’re all doing great and are enjoying the hype for the festive season!

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

New vlog: Birthday in Brighton

I recently shared with you a post about my birthday weekend. I’ve since uploaded the vlog so you can see everything that went on.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Birthday in Brighton

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Well, it’s finally happened – I turned 21. Not sure how, though, since I still feel 12. But you know, that’s how science and stuff works.

To celebrate the milestone birthday, I went to the sunny seaside town of Brighton with my mother and gran before meeting with some friends who lived close by. One in particular, Emi, is an internet friend of mine who originally lives in Arizona, United States. She’s currently in Brighton for a few months on an international study course. We have known each other for almost four years and when she told me she was going to be there studying for a few months and recommended I came to visit, it made perfect sense to take the celebrations of my birth to the ever popular tourist town. I also have a few friends in England who write for the same website as me, so to meet up with Lizzy, Hannah and Verity and invite them along to party with us was a wise idea.

After the hell of a journey from South Wales to Brighton and a deadly walk to our hotel (we underestimated the distance. A lot.) we arrived at the Holiday Inn, our home for the next 48 hours. Earlier in the week, we called to try and get a twin room rather than a double as my mother has recently had an injury which involves the use of crutches for a short period of time and needs the space. She mentioned it was my big birthday and the upgraded us complimentary to an executive room, which was a present in itself. It meant that I was blessed with a king sized bed for the weekend and my mother and gran had a fairly decent sized place to slumber themselves.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Shortly after check in and dumping our stuff, Emi arrived outside the hotel and I headed downstairs to meet her. We squealed like two little school girls and ran to embrace one another, with other guests laughing and smiling as it was clear we hadn’t seen each other for a while if not at all. To finally meet someone I grew up speaking to online was such a blessing and I can confirm she’s just as an amazing person in person as she is online. Sorry Nev, no Catfish to reel in here!

Moments after we met!
Moments after we met!

Following the meet with Emi, we all headed in a taxi to Churchill Square where we met Lizzy and Hannah before venturing around some shops. Churchill Square shopping center is much more lavish in comparison to St David’s in Cardiff, though for size it’s nowhere near as big. Still, I always enjoy exploring new places when it comes to retail therapy. Shopping done and we hopped into another taxi and finally made it to the place I had been anticipating for months – Brighton Pier.

British cuisine at its finest
British cuisine at its finest

The pier is honestly so pretty and full of the fun fair lifestyle you see in the movies; from different kiosks to attractions, shops and of course, the rides. We headed to Palmers Court for the classic British delicacy of fish and chips. Being from America and only arriving here two weeks ago, Emi had yet to try this well-known meal and so I had to film her reaction for both my vlog and a video to put on Facebook. Needless to say, she very much enjoyed it, even if the fish was too big to finish. I just stuck with a tray of chips, being vegetarian and totally oblivious to the fact that there were onion rings. Had I been aware, I definitely could have demolished some since the long journey had definitely got me feeling hungry.

Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience
Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience

The sky’s gradient became darker as Emi and I wandered the pier and watched all the rides, making notes of the ones we wanted to check out the next day. There were a variety to choose from – ones that spun you around and around, turned you upside down, threw you from side to side and even did a loop-de-loop; we were fascinated by them all and were eager to get a wristband for unlimited access to them all. Before we knew it, day one was done and we said our goodbyes but not before pre-arranging plans for the next day.

The following morning I was awoken from my slumber by my mother who greeted me with a ‘Happy Birthday’ in a sing-song voice, before piling up my cards and presents on the king sized bed I had slept in for the past eight hours, which by the way was such a good night’s sleep. I opened my presents and was thrilled with everything I had; from makeup to jewellery, books and even American chocolate – I was definitely thankful for everything. My gran then woke up and greeted me on my special day before I proceeded to open the presents she had bought me. We then headed downstairs for breakfast to gain fuel for our day ahead of us.

I wasn't very photogenic at that time of day...
I wasn’t very photogenic at that time of day…

Filled up on breakfast, we flagged down another taxi and headed back to Churchill Square where we met Emi and trekked to The Lanes, where we visited the ice cream parlour, Boho Gelatos – a place where British YouTube couple, Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes had recommended to their viewers – and tried some homemade ice cream. Honestly, it was the best ice cream I had ever tasted. The flavours were so pungent and didn’t taste artificial in the slightest. I highly recommend visiting there if you’re ever in Brighton.

Boho Gellato - home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)
Boho Gelato – home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)

Ice cream devoured and we found ourselves at Choccywoccydoodah – the famous chocolate shop in Brighton who then ventured out to London. If you aren’t aware of this place, it’s so well known for its chocolate art that it has its own TV show. They cater for the stars, politicians – you name it, they’ve probably served them. It was here my mother had ordered my birthday cake as we are both fans of the show, so it was pretty exciting to be able to go there. Of course, we had to have a nosey around and though it’s an incredible place, it’s a very small store with many tourists waiting to visit, so it was a very tight squeeze. For someone who doesn’t like small places, it was slightly scary but the fantastic edible art distracted me from the small defined space.

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The highly popular chocolatiers
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One of the many amazing cakes
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Literal edible art

Souvenirs bought and cake picked up, it was time for yet another taxi journey, this time heading to Talk of Tea where we would be devouring sandwiches, drinking cups of tea and celebrating with cake. It was at this point that Hannah and Verity joined us for the afternoon tea and everyone became acquainted with one another, before the big (and embarrassing) moment where a candle was lit and ‘Happy Birthday’ was sung to me. It was an awkward 20 seconds for me before making a wish and blowing out the candle, but it was soon over.

This photo literally does not do the cake justice
This photo literally does not do the cake justice

After the tea, my friends and I decided to head back to the pier where we went on rides. I was intrigued to try the haunted house ride and though not great with jump scares, Emi was a trooper and accompanied on the ride. Our screams could be heard from inside of the ride – hers full of fear and mine full of amusement. It got to the point where I found it so funny that I was in silence laughing and almost incapable of breathing. The kind of laugh that makes your sides feel they’re about to split. We all decided to take a turn on the bumper cars and that’s where we found out why Emi has her license and I do not. I absolutely suck at driving dodgem cars, so I dread to think what I’d be like at the real thing!

 

 

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With Verity, Hannah and Emi

 

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

From time on the rides to time in the arcades, we did a bit of everything that tourists do before saying our goodbyes to Hannah and Verity who needed to get home. Emi and I walked back to the hotel to meet once again with my family before heading to the i360 – a brand new attraction known as a vertical cable car, taking you over 450 feet into the air and giving you an incredible 360 view of Brighton. After a short period of waiting, we headed into the viewing deck along with many other visitors and were hoisted up into the air and above all buildings. The views were magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful. There was a bar on board and Emi and I decided to treat ourselves to a (very expensive) glass of champagne, only to find out it was a taste to my disliking. Oh well, you’re only 21 once, right?

The i360 - it's taller than you'd think
The i360 – it’s taller than you’d think

 

Brighton from above
Brighton from above

 

Cheers!
Cheers!

Following our time on the i360, Emi and I quickly caught a bus back to her place for her to give me the present she had bought me (a fall scented candle from Bath and Body Works in America) which she had previously forgot to bring with her, then headed back to the hotel for a meal in the hotel’s restaurant – Stock Burger – which was delicious. By the time we had finished eating, the night was getting old and knowing we didn’t have much time left together, Emi and I headed back to my room where we sat out on the balcony and did what we do best – talked. Having known each other for four years, we’d definitely been through a lot together, even though our friendship being solely based on our online presence. We talked about the past, the present and things we plan to do in the future. It was so nice to be able to have some time with her and do what we normally do but face to face, rather than behind a keyboard and a million miles between us.

A heart to heart on the balcony
A heart to heart on the balcony

The day was done and we said our goodbyes, giving each other a big hug and promising to meet up again soon, with Emi agreeing to visit Wales before heading back to Arizona at the end of the year.

And just like that, my time in Brighton had come to an end. I tucked myself into the king sized bed and listened to music before falling asleep, trying my best to get as much shut-eye possible before the long and tiring journey that followed the next day.
This was without a doubt the best birthday ever and an amazing way to kick off my time as a 21-year-old. I’d like to thank everyone who spent the weekend with me and everyone who sent me well wishes – it was the best time and a weekend away I had needed for so long. Here’s to 21!

 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.