Wednesday, 9 March 2016

How To Get A Better Night's Sleep | Tips + Tricks.

Hello, Lovelies! I mentioned in my recent post on getting out of a slump that getting a good night's sleep works wonders for boosting your motivation, and basically making your head seem clearer. My grandma, who was always right, used to always say that everything looked better after a good sleep and a cupper. And, I can't say I disagree with her! Here are some little tips and tricks I've found that have helped me improve my sleeping. 

1. Start small. Don't go into it thinking you'll go to bed at 9 if normally you're still binge watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix at 3am. You're not going to go to sleep anywhere near 9, which will just make you think about how you're not sleeping, which will in turn make you less likely to sleep, and you'll probably end up still being awake long after you'd normally be sleeping. I found that aiming to be asleep half an hour before I normally would worked for me. Once that's your routine, then aim for another half an hour until you're where you want to be. 
2. Turn. Off. The. Phone. And, the tele for that matter. Yep, and the laptop too! Try putting your phone on airplane mode about an hour before you want to lie down so you won't be distracted by any notifications (give it to someone else if you don't use it for your alarm!), turn off the tele and the laptop and do something outside of technology. Do some light yoga, meditate, read a book, anything that won't stimulate you too much, so when you're ready to head to bed you're ready to sleep. 
3. Leave the bed to sleeping. This is one I'm still working on, but I'm sure a lot of us watch tele in bed, do work, blog, write essays and countless other things (minds out of the gutter, please!). If you leave the bed to just sleeping, your mind will associate it with sleeping and not anything else, and you'll be much more likely to nod off. 

So, those are my top 3 tips for getting a better night's sleep. I promise, they do work. For me, at least. This is still something I'm working on, so if you've got any other tips please tell me. Every little helps! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Friday, 4 March 2016

Apple Chips | Healthy, Easy Snacks!

Hello Lovelies! I'm a snacker. I like to snack. I'd be perfectly happy just grazing through the day instead of eating actual meals. So, I've recently been on the look out for things I can snack on that are as healthy as possible. You may or may not know that over the past few weeks I've been really trying to eat a plant based, clean diet. I've been eating 'clean' for quite some time, but I've recently made the decision to eat plant based where I can. So, adding that into the mix I've found the tastiest, easiest plant based snack: apple chips! 

The first time I made these, I tried them and knew I was in love. So, I gave some to my sister and my mum, and the entire pot was gone before we knew it! They're only 2 ingredients, and although they don't necessarily take minutes, they take about 5/10 minutes to prepare (depending on how you cut your apples, more on that in a second!) and then you bung them in the oven and leave them there while you get on with your day. I personally batch make these over the weekend and then I've got enough to last the full week. 

What You Need: 
2 baking trays, lined
2 Apples (1 per baking tray), thinly sliced. 
thats it!

What You Do:
Preheat oven to 100c
1. Cut the apples thinly (about the thickness of a regular crisp for reference). I have got no knife skills at all and I managed to cut them super thinly, but you can use a mandoline slicer if you want to (I find a cerated knife works much better)
2. Place them on a lined baking tray, making sure they don't overlap but are close together. I find 1 apple fills 1 baking tray, and I bake them 2 trays at a time, but that's up to you.
3. Sprinkle one side with cinnamon, and put in the oven.
4. After 1 hour, flip them over and leave for another hour.
5. Once they're out, leave them to cool and really crisp up for about 30 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container. 

I find these last about 5 days to a week in an airtight container, as long as you keep them in a cool, dark area. 

What are your favourite snacks? Have you tried these?

Much love, Maxine xo
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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

How To Get Out Of A Slump | Regain Your Motivation!

Hello lovelies! I was inspired to write this post recently when I was asked this question and I wasn't sure what to say. I've spoken before about my own battles with mental health, and with depression comes a definitely lack in motivation to do anything. A lack of enjoyment in activities that are usually full of joy, and a lack of motivation to even wake up and get out of bed, never mind begin these activities. I'm in no way claiming that these with 'fix' anything as serious as depression, but these are some little tips and tricks I've picked up that can help kick start that motivation to do something. However big or small. 

1. Start small! Things can often seem overwhelming, so break up the task into smaller parts, and if you need to and can do, split them over a few days. If you need to clean your room because it looks like a bomb's hit, start by picking up the washing, then sorting it, then taking any dishes back to the kitchen etc. It's much less daunting to do little tasks than one huge task, and I find I actually feel more motivated because I'm ticking off a ton of to-do's, rather than working for a what seems like ages and still having nothing to tick off. 

2. Do something for 5 minutes. This is one of my favourite ones. Using the same example, if you need to tidy/clean, just think "I'll do some of it while the ad break is on", and you'll often find that you keep going. It's often that initial not wanting to start that puts you off, but once you've got started you'll be more likely to just keep doing it. And, even if you don't, you've got 5 minutes of work done and that's still better than nothing! 

3. Get someone else involved! Not only will this sometimes half the task, but you'll be less likely to let that person down than yourself. Even if they can't help you with the task load in itself (say it's just going out and getting fresh air, someone won't half that 'workload'), but you'll be much more likley to do it if you'll be letting someone other than yourself down. It will also, more than likely, be more fun, which will make the task seem much easier.

4. Don't beat yourself up for not doing it! This is the most important one, but often the hardest. If you haven't done as much as you wanted to, or any of it at all, it's very easy to beat yourself up about it. But, in the long run it's actually just going to make the thing seem much bigger than it is, and it's going to put a negative light on it that will put you off doing it. Try to accept the fact that other things happened that day that meant you couldn't do it, and try again as soon as you can. 

5. Keep your insides healthy. Get a good nights sleep, drink your water, eat enough (and healthily!). This actually makes a massive difference, my sleep hygiene has always been shocking. I sleep very little sometimes and all day the the rest of the time, and I have a very poor quality of sleep. It could be as simple as just shutting off technology for an hour or so before bed, going to bed earlier, and adding in things like more activity through the day and/or meditation (these all work for me), but if you're still struggling it might be worth seeing a doctor. And, we've all heard it a million times over, but drinking your 2l of water and eating a bit healthier are all massive impactors on your mood. 

I hope these have helped, and if you've got anything else to add please leave your tips and tricks below!

Much love, Maxine xo
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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Everyday Face On A Budget | Affordable Picks

Hello, Lovelies. When I first started blogging, way back when I was 18 and knew nothing (not that that's changed!), it was because I was on a tight budget and I wanted to share my love of "affordable" products. I've always stood by the fact that 9 times out of 10, you don't have to spend a load of money to get good quality. If you're a bit skint, there's a load of products out there for you! So, here's my everyday face makeup on a budget. 

Firstly, the current favourite in the beauty world, Nivea Post Shave Balm, £5.29. I read that this was such a great primer, so I had to get my hands on it. Although in all honesty I can't say this keeps my makeup on any longer, it does make it go on a little bit better, which is always a good thing! 

Next, the biggest surprise for me lately, I Heart Makeup I Am Flawless Foundation, £1.99. For such a cheap price I didn't expect much, but I was wrong! This gives a medium coverage, but lives up to its claim to be super buildable. I can build this up to a full coverage fairly easily, and it doesn't look cakey at all. One thing I will say is this can be quite shiny, and even I powder my full face with this, which is something I don't normally do. 

How could I have a drugstore/affordable makeup post without mentioning the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, £4.19? I get this in the palest shade, and it acts as a great under eye concealer and general highlighting concealer, and gives a pretty full coverage, which is exactly what I'm after! 

After concealer, I'll powder with the MUA Skin Define Hydro Powder, £3. As far as I can see this only comes in one shade, which is super pale/almost white. This is the only powder I've found that isn't super orange on my ridiculously pale face, so if you're pale like me definitely give this a try! 

For eyes, I'll line them with this MUA eyeliner in Snow White, £1. This really opens my eyes up, which is always a good thing. I've mentioned before I always get good results for mascara, so I feel a bit iffy recommending one but if you're interested in what I'm using, it's this Essence Lash princess one, £3. 

For lips, my recent favourite lip duo, the Essence Lip Liner in In The Nude £1 and the Makeup Revolution Ultra Velour Lip Lacquer in Move Your Mouth Forever, £3. I'm back in my nude lip phase, and I'm loving these two together. 

On to eyebrows, I've been loving this little duo from Freedom makeup, £3. I got mine in powder Blonde, and I've been loving it. I mix the shades together for the main parts of my brows, and use the darker shade alone for the tail. I can imagine this lasting me forever, I've been using it on a pretty much daily basis for months and I've barely made a dent in it. Amazing value!

Finally, for contouring and highlighting I've been loving this Makeup Revolution Sculpt & Contour kit, £3.50. I actually got this a shade darker than I meant to, and for months have been meaning to pick this up in my shade but I haven't. The contour is a bit dark, but honestly as long as I use a super light hand it works really well. I am in love with the highlighter, though. It's such a beautiful peachy shade, and it's so smooth and blends amazingly. I'd happily buy this again just for the highlighter! 

I hope you enjoyed! What affordable makeup products have you been loving lately? Tell me below, I might be on a spending ban right now but I won't be soon! 

Maxine, xo 
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