Forest and shore Hallelujah hair oil | review

My love of hair oil is ongoing, that’s for sure!

Prefacing this post by saying I was sent this to review, so I didn’t track this item down myself. That being said, let me tell you what I thought about it!

I was approached by the company to review this Hallelujah hair oil which is certified organic Coconut oil for treatment and protection. It boasts to ‘moisturise and repair dry damaged hair’ as well as promote growth.

I can’t say anything about the growth just yet as I’ve only been using it for two weeks but my hair certainly feels better.

I have mostly been using coconut water on my hair, which is amazing but it’s more of a serum than an oil.

This product is veery oily, which is cool but definitely not going to be great for people with already oily hair.

From my point of view, as someone who doesn’t get greasy hair (mostly because of all the bleach!) I have been able to use this on my dry hair as a mask – type treatment as well as on wet hair before I blow dry. Both uses are really working out for me! My hair definitely feels healthier!

I feel like I should talk about the smell, though.

To me the smell reminds me of garlic bread, or a really fancy loaf of bread because there is, amongst other things, rosemary oil in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of rosemary but it reminds me of food and there’s nothing I can do about it. It was a little bit off putting at first but now I used to it I kind of crave the smell? Maybe that’s weird…

The packaging is delightful, and the dropper is a long one curved at the end, which means you will be able to get oil out, even when it’s almost all gone (straight droppers annoy me so much!). Of course, it will take a while to get to that stage. The bottle is 100ml, which is a decent size for oil, but you only really need 2-5 drops so the stuff will last a long time. I’ve used it almost every day for the last two weeks and it still looks full.

It retails on amazon for £15.99, and I think that’s a fair price. When this eventually runs out I’ll get some more!

I’ll be doing an overhaul of my face oils and stuff soon as I have some other items to share… Stay tuned.

Sam

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Propagating Succulents | part one

I’ve been working on writing this post for a while! I often share pictures of my Succulents and cactus pals on Instagram – like every self respecting blogger! It was only when one of my Succulents got way too big for its boots that I thought I’d take a gamble and try to propagate the damn thing.

First off, let me say I didn’t dive into this without research and the website I found the most useful is this one – there are much better examples of this everywhere else online with much better pictures but I’m not going to NOT share my own experiences just because someone else did a better job!

So let me tell you about my mother succulent. She was big and, too be honest, I’m not sure what ‘type’ she is because I’m too lazy to actually look that up but she had outgrown her pot and had started to grow along my window ledge like a vine. Who knew they did that? I did take pictures of it which I’ve sadly lost but it really happened, I swear.

Instead of repotting, which I was going to do, I figured it would be healthier to trim the whole thing and try to start from scratch so… Let’s get into it!

This is the top of the mother plant. She’s a real beauty and such a trooper! I basically took a pair of sharp scissors and nipped her off the long stalk that was creeping across the counter top – so much of her energy was going into growing away from her roots that the leaves at the base were wrinkling and dying. A good sign she needed help!

What I did was wiggle about 20 healthy looking leaves away from the stalk so I was left with only this ‘head’… I’d suggest looking at that site I’ve linked to to see the best way to do that! It’s not hard, though!

Once I had a good bunch of leaves, and the head, I laid them out (with some Dino help) and left them to dry.

The aim of this game is to let the ends of the leaves callous over so they are similar to human scabs. That’s gross. Ok, what I mean is the ends should dry out and seal closed before anything else. I think this took about a month… I also flipped them over every now and then just so they dried evenly.

Eventually they heal up and little tongues of growth appear. I did had a great set of pictures for this stage but, again, lost them? It’s not like I’ve been planning this post since August or anything.

Once they get to this stage, where little sprouts appear you get to buy some Succulent/cactus soil (usually available from any garden centre because it’s kind of a popular hobby these days) and lay these bad boys on top.

Again, I’d point you to the link from the start of this post for how often to spray them with water because now they’re ready to be fed! You don’t plant them at this point because the roots need to appear first… Except the head of the plant. Because it is already big and strong I planted it immediately and it’s still going strong.

But back to the ‘pups’ (as they’re known). You get to spray them with water and flip them every few days (I’m not sure this was something I read but I did it instinctively and I’ve managed to keep them all alive!), just on top of the soil.

Eventually they grow roots and a new little flower because, surprise, the leaf is merely the cocoon for the new plant!

That’s right, the old leaf isn’t the new plant. It took me a while to realise this and it’s kind of a creepy, fun thing to see. Not only have my little plants grown biiig roots and new heads but the original leaves?

Dying or already dead. When they get to this stage the original leaf can be wiggled free and discarded so the new head can be planted! The above picture kind of shows one of the babies I’ve already popped into the soil and I’m saving photos of the rest for my new post in about a month where they’re all buried or potted.

I’m really pleased with the results of my first foray into propagation. It’s been a slow process – I started this in August – but rewarding! I’m not only going to have a new brood of plants but also going to be able to gift some of them to people which is fun! I really like the idea of trying it with more Succulents to see if the process is the same?!

I’m also excited to see how these little babies fair over the next few months!

Sam

Avoiding Bad Sponsors!

It happens every now and then; I’ll receive an email from a company asking if I’d like to review a product. Most of the time it’s been a successful interaction (see here and here) and I’ve ended up trying some cool products.

Other times… well, I’ll start this off by saying ‘always trust your gut’.

When you’re a low key blogger, like me, you tend to get a jolt of excitement when you get an email from a company. This is what real bloggers do, you think. This is an opportunity I can’t miss out on… except, you can. And you should, if you don’t think it sounds good.

I work on the principal – if I wouldn’t buy it myself I won’t review it. My blog isn’t a stage for selling products because that’s totally what I’m against- buying things just for the sake of it. I am very cautious when it comes to commerce; I only buy things I need or have wanted for a long time because I’m still trying to live/ attain a minimalist lifestyle… more on this later!

So, rather than bite people’s hands off for the ‘opportunity’ (which is what brands want you to do/ think) I’ve been relying on my gut instinct. Is this something I want? Does this sound legit?

Recently I’ve had a few brands contact me to ask me to try their ‘vegan’ products (beauty) and I’ve, after a little bit of back and forth, declined them. I knew, instantly, something was off.

One person emailed me and asked me if I’d like to review a moisturiser. I asked for some details, to which he told me to look up the product name on amazon; no link was sent to me, I had to do the hard work. I was already suspicious but I looked into it and emailed back to ask what the process would be for the review. The guy then asked me for my email address for paypal; he would send me money to buy the product and then I would leave a review… which would be fraudulent, because it would show as a verified purchase review. The company are basically buying reviews and I’ve found most people like to give good reviews for free stuff because they feel they should? So the whole thing was a stinker and I explained to the guy that I wasn’t interested because it wasn’t legit. He was fine with it; obviously plenty of other people did it?

Another request I’ve had is to blog about a brand or product , with no offer for affiliation codes or sending me a physical product to review; basically free PR. I’ve done one, out of all of them, because I enjoyed the brand content but afterwards I felt like a fool – I’d dedicated time and work into a blog post, social media posting and advertising for a brand FOR FREE… it doesn’t sound like a big deal but if they reached out to me and wanted me to work with them it means, in my opinion, they thought I had the right audience for their brand [I’m sure this isn’t 100% true, but work with me, here] but they showed no respect to me as a content creator as they failed to offer to pay me for my time.

I don’t blog to make money but the blogging platform is a media outlet and if I’m sharing media to an audience I deserve to be paid – that sounds bratty but it’s not. I’m a writer. I want to write for a living. People shouldn’t expect anyone to work [which is what a featured blog post is] for free unless it’s a decision made on both sides. I was naive enough not to ask on the last one I did but in the future I’m going to be setting prices for the work I do and if you, a fellow blogger, is ever asked to PR a brand you should, too!

The main message for this post is that it’s easy to think every opportunity is a good one – if you blog about a brand you think you’re getting something from it. Maybe you are and your audience grows because of the affiliation, however, I do think that being paid for your time is a right! Let me know what you think – are you a blogger? Do you do affiliate/sponsored posts for free?

Sam

Yoga Wish List

True to my new year goals I’ve been doing yoga every day (mostly thanks to Yoga with Adriene’s True Yoga 30 day plan). Go me, right?

I’m actually bursting with energy at the moment and I’m pretty sure getting back into the swing of yoga is a big reason. Of course, you can do yoga with just yo’ body and the floor; you don’t need a fancy mat, yoga pants or any extras… that being said, here is a list of my yoga wish list [which includes things I don’t have and things I have and love, all links from here on in will be *affiliate links):

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This Inner Living Yoga Mat is amazing! I have 3 mats at home and none of them are good, or even really yoga mats. One of them is a big mat I got which is supposed to go under my treadmill (not sure why, but it sure is soft!), one of them is a cheap exercise mat (and so it’s not full size at all) and the other was an emergency purpose and I can hardly use it because my hands and feet slip when I go into downward dog (or virtually any other pose) and it makes me sad. I have been wanting to invest in a proper mat for a while and this one is… well, look at it!

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I seriously love this mat from LoveAndCuts on Etsy, too. Decision, decision.

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This Yoga Wheel is a delight – I actually own it because my mum saw it on my amazon wish list and bought it for me for Christmas! Yoga wheels help you with all sorts of poses but I specifically want to stretch out my spine and become more flexible for back bends. I’ve used it a few times and it’s SO good at supporting your back and stretching it out. Recommended.

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Another product I actually have but would like another pair of… yoga/dance socks from CloudberryFactory on Etsy. I got these years ago and wore them to yoga a lot (when I went to public classes) as well as ballet class, when I used to go. People always admired them because they. are. delightful! I get cold feet and sometimes taking socks off to do yoga is shiver inducing. These are cozy and you can still grip the mat… if you have one your feet don’t slide around on!

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I love yoga pants so much. I have an expensive pair from Sweaty Betty [which I love] but I’d kind of like a few different pairs just so I don’t have to keep washing them! I found AnesidoraArt on Etsy and fell in love with every pair of yoga pants they stock. The designs and colours are beautiful!

 

Do you shop for yoga stuff as obsessively as I do? I have wish lists going on all the websites I shop on, just waiting for my brain to make a decision on which things to actually pick!

 

Sam

 

 

*Affiliate links will generate income for me (a very small amount) if you click on them and purchase something from the site. You don’t get charged anything and it doesn’t store your info!

ASMR…

ASMR (1)

If you clicked on this blog post because you already knew what this was – Hi!

For everyone else this weird initialism might conjure one of two thoughts. The first; this sounds familiar, or the second; What?

I have to be honest; the only reason I stumbled onto this subculture [I’d call it Internet Subculture but I’m sure it predates the internet, it just didn’t have a name] is because I spend way too much time on Youtube and, for a while, W Magazine posted videos of celebrities ‘doing’ ASMR.

So, what is it? I’m going to be boring and give you the Wiki definition:

“…a term used for an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine….signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterised by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin”. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.”

Source.

To try to put that into ‘normal’ words; do you ever get that nice shiver down your spine when someone tickles your neck, plays with your hair, or speaks to you in a soft voice? How about when you listen to rain? Or is there another sound that gives you goosebumps? [I’m talking weird stuff like crinkly paper or that dull scratch of someone using a nail file…]

That, in effect, is ASMR. Kind of like an audible way of mindful relaxation. I’d liken it to meditation, for sure.

The reason I’m even writing this blog post is because I don’t feel it. That’s not to say I’ve never felt it because I know I have – my trigger is a little strange and it’s usually when someone is helping me with something in a gentle, caring way [I don’t know why?!] – but I have started watching videos for ASMR and listening to a variety of tracks on Spotify to chase down that feeling of relaxation just for fun. Like an odd treasure hunt which is becoming a little bit obsessive. I can almost feel it listening to some videos/tracks, but have yet to reach full on tingle stage.

Despite never quite shivering my timbers I’m still finding myself listening to waves/rainfall/thunder ASMR tracks a lot – which I’d always recommend anyway – but, I don’t know, if you want to see if this affects you here are a few videos I like for the fun and relaxing elements. Who knows, they might trigger your senses!

I’ll also make a playlist on Spotify if anyone is interested in subscribing to it!

I appreciate this post is a little ‘unusual’ but meh. I’m a little unusual, so… until next time!

Sam

Blogger Roll Call – part 4

It’s been a while since I did a little blogger roll call. I’ve done a few in the past (here is my last one) and it’s basically just my way of saying ‘Hey, check out this cool blogger’.

This time the people I’m sharing are a mix between new bloggers and really well established ones that I, in my infinite dumbness, have somehow missed?!

Check them out and, as always, if you have a blog you like or you’re a blogger – hit me up in the comments!

All That is She

Dom is a lifestyle blogger, mother and all around internet mogul. I only discovered her recently because of the posts she does on Instagram with her two daughters. They are VERY creative and fun and she really shows the best of what Instagram can do for you. I’m still a new reader so I’m not 100% sure whether she’ll fit into my go-to blogs for reading [Hey! Just being honest…!] but at the moment I’m really enjoying her content.

The Culture Bean

Gina travels and reviews stage plays and the like. She enjoys culture and shares such cool things I really enjoy her content. She is living in Manchester and so I find it really helpful to see the shows she reviews, despite not having been to any in a while [bad Sam!], and she also takes really nice pictures!

A Small Wardrobe

A blog all about minimalism – which I’m still working on in my own life. There are posts about wardrobe, home decor, mental health, travel… the list goes on. It’s all very accessible and just easy reading if you like the subject matter!

Xanthe Berkeley

Xanthe is a videography, photographer, story-telling extraordinaire. She runs courses on film making and photography and has a fantastic eye for detail and colour. Each little snippet of video she releases [#minimondaymovies] are so stylish I sometimes watch them a few times in a row…

The Zombie Said

Steph is a cruelty free, lifestyle, general interest blogger and whilst I’m a new reader I’m really enjoying her casual, diary-style, format which is quite like my own [she’s way cooler, though, fo real]. She also takes really cool photos. I’m basically a photo-coveter.

 

Enjoy,

 

Sam

 

 

2018 Goals!

Yes! It’s time for the annual goal setting blog post! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, granted, but I love setting myself challenges. I feel like this year I’ve gone a bit overboard so I’m going to throw a load at the wall and see what sticks. You know… like pasta!

These are in no particular order because I can’t be bothered re-ordering them! Sorry in advance if they seem all over the place!

THE GOALS:

Read at least 30 books – Last year I read a few books but nothing like my normal amount so this year I’m pledging to read 30 books. I’ve done 50 in a year before so 30 should be ok… right? I’m also going to be adding them to an ongoing list HERE so please keep up with me!

Write two screen plays – I have a hobby of coming up with movie ideas. I write them all down, naturally, and then never get around to actually working on them. I want to write two screenplays this year, or at least work on the treatments for them. Screenplay writing is something I’ve loved doing in the past so I want to make time for it this year. 

Finish edits on two stories I’ve been working on – Always writing! I want to finish up two full length novels this year. I’m half way through both of them so… hoping I keep up with it. 

Keeping looking for an agent – I don’t take knock-backs badly; an agent will be mine at some point!! 

Self publish Etta 2 – Almost there!! 

Yoga – I’m starting the year with 30 days of yoga, which I do every year. I’m not going to hold myself to doing yoga EVERY DAY but I’m going to try to remember it makes me feel better so… fingers crossed I don’t flake. I have a cool new yoga toy so yay!

Blog revamp – I am designing a new blog layout kind of thing… I’ll hopefully be unveiling this month. If not… at least by the end of the year! Chortle. 

Photography – I hate how lazy I’ve become with photography. Phones do not take good pictures. I know this. Yet that’s basically all I do these days. My parents got me Lightroom for my Mac for Christmas and I’m excited to take big pictures, with good quality, and play around with them. 

Music – I’ve not played my guitar in a few months so… eek. Just need to practice more so I shall!

Freelance copy writing – I’m signed up to a few freelance websites but I never go looking for work because money stuff baffles me and makes my head hurt. I need to get over that, though, so… freelancing it is! I want this year to be the start of making secondary income from fun stuff. 

Road Trips – Now my boyfriend won’t be working weekends we can actually GO to places and just drive to fun places to wander around. I’m mostly just looking forward to going to the coast more. 

Make time for friends – I’m awful at keeping in touch with people so I’m going to keep trying to keep in touch with people this year… If you’re reading this and I haven’t spoken to you in a while I’m sorry. I’m a butt. 

Etsy Shop – It will happen. It will. 

Book stall business plan – I have a common dream; open an indie bookstore. Because that involves business acumen I want to start small and open a book stall at a local market we have. I’m currently sorting out the technicalities so I might be able to do this by the end of the year.

Take long walks/hikes every weekend- I want to take Juno on more doggy adventures and I want to be outside more and get more exercise so… hiking every weekend sounds like a fun plan. Just got to get me some grown up walking shoes because converse do not a walking shoe make!

Keep on top of cleaning – I love cleaning the kitchen, which is good because it’s always a mess. I recently decided to wash everything after I use it. Mostly. So I want to keep doing this for as long as I can because it’s so much easier, y’know?

Play more games – Both board games and computer games. Forever.

 

I also have a little fun side project which should be on the blog soon and some other little bits and pieces going on which will trickle over here but… they’re not goals, so much as just work stuff!

So, what do you think? Too many? Probably but what’s life if not the place you get to set unrealistic expectations for yourself and then eat all the chocolate when it goes wrong? Exactly!

Sam

2017 goals // a review 

It’s new year’s eve. How? Why? I’m not a new year’s celebrator but I do enjoy the fact that it’s kind of a globally accepted day to self – review and set intentions. People often say ‘it’s just another day, nothing actually resets etc’, but when we acknowledge a change in years and time what’s more real and beneficial than a day where we all agree to let negative vibes go and start fresh? The hippy in me loves that so many people inadvertently celebrate such a witchy/spooky tradition!

Speaking of witchy – found this book in the book shop recently and… Well, it’s going on my list!

Enough of all that, though. Let’s talk about the main event! My 2017 goals and how I got on with them!

Draw and sell pictures on etsy – I chickened out. I have stock but I got worried no one would like /buy anything I made so didn’t do it. Annoyed at myself but it’s an ongoing life goal to get over my creative fears. 

Keep looking for an agent – I submitted my first novel to 5 more agents this year and got a few rejections. I have a feeling no one has taken to it so I’ll submit to more next month. It’s an ongoing battle but I’m fighting. 

Write and publish etta wrote it, sent it to beta reader… And now it’s kind of stuck in limbo. If you want to be a Beta reader let me know ; it’s YA so you’ll have to enjoy the genre and I need feedback soon so you’d have to commit to do it. 

Yoga I found my yoga flow again. I’ve not been on the mat for 2 weeks again because of how busy I’ve been and how tired but January brings another 30 days of yoga which I’m turning into 60 days. 

Bike I got out on my bike twice. Which I’d consider a semi success as it’s something I’m scared of but less scared of now. When the evenings and mornings get lighter I’m going to go out more. 

Keep looking for a new job I nailed this one. Got a new job and started in June. 

Spend more time with friends – I spent more time with friends, for sure, but I still need to try to do this more. I’m at a bit of an impasse with this which I’ll delve into another time! 

Skype I did this! I just wanted to get Skype on my list to keep in touch with my sister who is going back to Australia today. We’ve decided to Skype more going forward but I also want to use it to keep in touch with friends more next year. 

A book a week from the library yes! I did this for a while and the stopped because I had so much writing to do! Still, I consider this achievement unlocked! 

Get back into running every now and then yes again! Trained to run 10k. Ran 10k once and decided I hated it. It’s too long a time for me to be doing one thing. I’m going back to running short distances. I don’t care about time and distance at all! 

Take more breaks nah! I mean I took some time off, for sure, but I didn’t go anywhere really. Next year I have a few more things planned because my Bf is finally ditching weekend working which means we can actually do stuff together now, which we’ve never been able to do! 

Finish the office I got closer to sorting the office out and then… We took a step back. I have plans, though. I mean, I have a Computer now so that’s good! 

Make blog connections yes!! Made a few good blogging friends and all is good! 

‘Brand’ symmetry yes again! All social media names reflect the blog, which makes my brain happy! 


I’m not bummed I didn’t hit them all – I made steps towards them all and that’s damn good in my book! I love setting goals and whilst my personal goals might not interest many I’m happy I keep track of them here! 

Happy new year my friends, catch you on the flip side. 

Sam

Favourite Posts of 2017

It’s coming to the end of the year and, whilst you can bet your bottom dollar I will be doing a goals recap VERY soon, as well as setting new goals for 2018, I saw a few of my fave bloggers go over their favourite posts for 2017 and I thought it was a damn cute idea.

I took a week or two off this month just to try to let myself enjoy time off without any distractions. I’ve done well; I have no clue of the day, date, or time. Success, then!

I’m just sipping on some mulled wine, listening to a piano easy listening playlist on Spotify – I invite you to do the same and take a trip down memory lane with me.

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Snail Mail Updates

I loved this post because I love writing letters and, this year, I wrote a good handful of letters to friends both new and old. I’m open to becoming pen pals with almost anyone so hit me up if you wanna correspond!

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Fast Fashion vs Sustainable Fashion

This is a topic I am very passionate about; sustainable fashion is my jam and if anyone is ever looking for a way to lessen their impact on the world I’d recommend reading up on it!

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Outfit of the day [basic Sam] & note to self

I’ve always felt like I couldn’t do these kinds of posts because I’m not fashionable in any way, however, I decided to just go for it this year and I’ve posted a few to a great reception. This was my first and so, will forever be memorable.

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Harry Potter Studio Tour

I’m jealous of everyone who has been to the Florida Harry Potter world, however, having the Studio Tour so close [a couple of hours on the train ain’t so bad] is a blessing and a curse. I loved it SO much that I need to go again next year and spend all the money.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S Set Tour

Looking back at this I realise I had a great summer! This Friendsfest set tour was everything I didn’t know I needed in my life. I’m going to have to go back to this at some point, too, because… well, I don’t need an excuse. Right?

Love your local libraries!

Another post I’m passionate about. I got back into using my local library this year because they’re important in communities for adults and children, alike and also I read too much and live in a small flat so… I can’t keep buying books. I’m setting myself a new challenge for reading next year so stay tuned!

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Food Shopping/ Saving Money

This was actually a huge milestone for me in my life. I’m not even kidding. I’m not a huge spender and I don’t go out to bars etc. My only outgoings are really on food, of which I like a lot. I realised I was spending too much, though, and finally cracked the whole adulting thing!

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Pink Again!

Everyone sure did enjoy my pictures of newly pink’d hair. To be honest, me too. Pink it my fave colour for my hair and this bright shade really has made me happy. Of course, it won’t be forever but I’m enjoying it for now!

 

And there you have it. I actually had a hard time picking only a few posts because I enjoyed writing quite a lot of them. Ok, all of them. Despite this blog only being small I don’t mind because I write things I enjoy reading so…? Still, big plans for the new year and I hope you stick around/ subscribe to keep up with me!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and impending New Year.

Sam