The 2 words that make every woman squirm; ‘smear test’.
Growing up, I dreaded the day I hit 25 because I knew it would mean having a cervical cancer screening or a smear test. You hear so much negativity about how it’s painful or uncomfortable and the amount of woman getting them is at an all time low and to be honest I can’t blame them. The thought of laying on a bed, naked from the waist down having a stranger investigate you is a daunting experience and one that I wanted to put off forever.
In the Uk, you receive a letter inviting you for a screening and once you have had it done, you don’t have to re-do it for another 3 years. I received my letters; yes I had received 2 before I did it; last summer and immediately folded them back up and hid them. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. Fast forward to last Monday and I was on the phone to my GP’s booking an appointment. I don’t know what came over me but I finally plucked up the courage to have it done in the week and I wanted to share my experience because I genuinely do believe there needs to be a bigger conversation about it because they can literally save lives and really aren’t as bad as everyone thinks.
So flashback to Wednesday, I arrived at the doctors and followed the nurse down the corridor into the room. There it all was; the form of questions, the bed, the curtain and the swab. Trust me, if I could have left at that moment I would have. The nurse was so lovely, she sat me down and went through a few questions about my last period and when I received my letter etc. She then explained what was going to happen and took me through the curtain so I could get unchanged and in place.
Sitting with your ankles together and your knees apart is never a good look for anyone but believe me when I say nurses do this every day and they genuinely don’t care what it looks like, they are just there to do their job. I’ll be honest, I am the biggest wuss and have no pain tolerance at all so I was expecting the worst. I’d be lying if I said you couldn’t feel anything but it was about a 1.5/10 and it was more discomfort than pain as you could feel the bristles of the swab but that was it. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was over.
The results usually get sent to your home about 2 weeks later. It’s really that easy. I think I was in the room for about 5/10 minutes and most of that time was spent not being prodded; so please, if you haven’t and are of the right age go and get your smear test done. I felt so proud after and it is there to potentially save your life and stop anything cell changes becoming too nasty.
After an amazing heatwave, the weather here in the UK has taken a turn for the worst as it’s starting to become colder and much more autumnal. I am still desperately trying to hold on to summer and the warmth but I need to accept the inevitable, ‘Winter Is Coming’. To get me in the mood, I have been thinking about all of the cosy nights in and what makes them so perfect.
Films and Netflix
What is any night in without a few films or binge watching Netflix. There have been so many good shows out at the moment, my favourites being Power and Somebody Feed Phil (don’t watch if you are hungry, you’ve been warned) and of course To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. What better way to watch anything than on a new HD televisions from Panasonic
This is self explanatory. Honestly, is there a better feeling than getting out of the bath or shower and putting on a clean pair of pjs? It’s honestly one of my favourite things to do.
Hot Drink and Snacks
The essentials for any night in; snacks and all the hot drinks! Popcorn or something savoury like crisps are usually my go to snacks, but if you’re also like me and have a sweet tooth, a bit of chocolate always goes down a treat too. When it comes to hot drinks, if its getting a bit miserable outside I usually go for a hot chocolate or a cup of tea. As well as being tasty, they also warm you up and make you feel so snug.
A Bubble Bath
Usually, this goes at the start of my night but what is a night in without a bubble bath. I love nothing more than grabbing a Lush bath bomb or bubble bar, a face mask and some candles to really set a relaxing atmosphere. I could sit in the bath for hours as it’s the perfect place to destress and stay calm.
And there you go, my ‘go-to’s for having the perfect night in, whichI probably do at least 3 times a week. What makes up your perfect night in?
**Disclaimer** This is a sponsored post by Panasonic. Read my full disclaimer here
Usually when I post a new blog, I always share it to my social media channels but as soon as it’s been shared once, I typically forget to advertise it again and then wonder why my DA gently drops. This got me thinking about the correlation between posting on social media everyday and the amount of views your blog posts get. Sometimes life gets in the way and it’s heartbreaking that it affects engagement levels and the way our blogs ‘succeed’.
Seeing that I sometimes go for spats of not posting (I’m trying to work on it, promise!), I have been trying to get some kind of content out on my socials and I definitely find that it has been driving views to my blog for the days that I don’t have a post to share.
Instagram can always be a little hit and miss, especially with the ever changing algorithm that makes it impossible for people to engage with your snaps; but it is great for quickly getting something online. I have been obsessed with Instagram stories lately and I use a few apps to change the layout of mine so that they stand out a bit more. I try to post something on there everyday and always make sure that I spread the love with comments and likes. The best thing about instagram is the fact you can add links so that people can click straight through to your blog without having to search for it, definitely something I love because let’s face it, I’m waaaaaay to lazy to be googling. Of course the odd few hashtags always helps too!
Scheduling tweets is definitely something that I need to do more, I always forget and then suddenly remember and go into over-drive of posting a tweet about every blog post and scheduling them for multiple times a day. I do however, find this to be a lifesaver if I am travelling, have a really busy week or when I am feeling a bit down as I don’t have to be clued to my laptop or phone for my content to be shared. It’s great because you can chose the days and times which you can match up to your blog stats to select the best time to post and having something posted on Twitter definitely keeps those views up.
To be completely honest, I don’t care how ‘successful’ my blog is and I try not to get caught up in the number game of how many followers do I have vs how many people am I following. I blog because it’s something I love and am proud of and if people read it and enjoy it, than that is an added bonus but it seems that without continously sharing and updating it, it can get lost in the big blogosphere.
My skin is so unpredictable so when I find a skincare routine/products that I love, I usually stick with it for a ridiculously long time; especially now that the weather is warmer and my face needs a little extra tlc.
My current routine is one that I have been using for a few weeks and I feel like it has improved the texture of my skin and it doesn’t look as dull or lifeless as it used too.
First step is to go in with everyones love; micellar water. I honestly can’t remember what I used to do without this little gem in my life; well I do, I used makeup wipes, which just makes me cringe internally. I get a couple of cotton pads and gently wipe away all my make up and then go in with a second round to make sure I get as much off as possible.
The next step is my faaaavourite; cleanser. Now as you all know, because I bang on about it enough, my favourite cleaner is the hot cloth one from Aldi. I love how clean is makes my skin feel and it always surprises me how much make up comes off on the muslin cloth where the micellar water missed it. Some cleansers can be quite harsh for me as I have sensitive skin but I find that hot cloth ones are great as you only need a small amount and they are always full of such natural ingredients.
Once I have removed the cleanser, I then apply a generous layer of toner. If you read my April Favourites post, you will know that I have been loving the Eau Roma Water toner from Lush as it has rose water and lavender in it, which I think is just so soothing on the skin and leaves me feeling so calm and refreshed.
Lastly, the most important step, moisturiser. This is usually where I start having trouble because they either don’t moisturise my face enough and it still looks dry or it’s too heavy and makes me skin look oily and start to break out. The one I have been loving the most is actually from Boots’ own range and it is the cucumber daily moisturiser. I find that the cucumber really soothes my skin and I can always add more if I want more intense hydration which I usually do during the night.
What is you current skincare routine and what products have you been loving?
I can’t believe that it is the end of April; where is this year going? Although, I don’t mind because I have so many exciting plans coming up this summer that I can’t wait for, so I’m happy to speed up time a bit. Also, speaking of summer, I can’t wait for it to get warmer, last week was scorching sun and now it’s rainy and miserable. Anyway, without further ado, here are some of my favourite products that I have been loving throughout April.
1. Gel Nails
I love having gel nails but unfortunately gel nail polish doesn’t really love me. With the brand I was using before, it would really irritate my nails and would make my fingers so sore and itchy, so I bit the bullet and treated myself to some proper CND Shellac polish including; base coat, top coat and a red shade. I only got one to give it ago incase it reacted badly again but it didn’t and I am so happy! There is nothing I love more than having perfectly painted, shiny nails so you can bet that I have raided Amazon for so many new colours.
2. Aldi’s Hot Cloth Cleaner
If you read my last post, you will know that I have been raving about the hot cloth cleanser from Aldi – the perfect Liz Earle dupe; and April has made me love it even more. I have been using it every day since I got it and I have noticed such an improvement in my skin and even the way my make up applies in the mornings. I honestly could sit here all day raving about it but that would be pretty boring to read.
3. Lush’s Eau Roma Water Toner
Toner is usually a step that I forget in my skincare routine but recently I have rediscovered my love for it and in particular the Eau Roma Water from Lush. It has rose water and lavender in it so it is really moisturising and calms my skin which is great, especially when I use it before bed – the lavender also helps me to sleep and stops me getting so anxious. It is a newly added step that I don’t plan on forgetting again.
This is actually a product that I was gifted back at the Makeup Revolution birthday party and it’s now become a staple for everyday of the week. I don’t usually like matte lip products because my lips get really dry but this has been amazing, it doesn’t leave my lips feeling flaky and the colour is so pretty – a dark nude which is perfect for everyday looks but also for nights out if I have a darker eye.
For years I have been a lover of Liz Earle’s staple ‘Cleanse and Polish’ and I find most cleaners, especially hot cloth ones just aren’t the same. Well *drumroll please* I think I’ve found a very strong contender for my new favourite and it comes from Aldi!
Aldi have been very successful with their skin care line; Lacura, providing a range of products from Caviar face creams to charcol mud masks and now, your new best friend, the hot cloth cleanser.
The product itself comes with an extremely generous 200ml of cleanser and a muslin cloth, all for under £5, a complete steal compared to Liz Earle’s £20 price tag.
Usually, I use this after I’ve had a bath or shower and it works an absolute treat. I take all of my makeup off with some micellar water, let the steam of the hot water open all my pores and then apply the cleaner before removing it with the muslin cloth. The best thing about it is, that a little bit goes a very long way so I know I am going to get a lot of use out of it which is the best feeling because honestly, I love it so much, I’m dreading the day it runs out.
It’s so gentle that you can use it everyday and since I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed such a difference in my skin; it’s softer and not as dull looking which is partly due to the muslin cloth being slightly abrasive which gently exfoliates the face and removes any dead skin.
Have you tried the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser? If not, I would definitely recommend getting yourself a bottle because it has become my staple skincare item and I actually look forward to cleansing my skin over night.
Over the New Year, I spent a week in Barcelona with some of my favourite people. I completely fell in love with the city; the beach, the food, the weather, the little-cobbled side streets and of course the sangria!
Obviously being December/January time, I prepared myself for cold, rainy days but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted every morning with blue skies and sun…I actually forgot what sun on my skin felt like. I spent every morning trying to strategically throw some outfits together and I’m here today to share those with you.
Day 1: For the most part; day 1 was spent travelling, doing a food shop for the apartment and having a walk around before dinner. I spent most of the day in jeans and a jumper, which was pretty boring but I did freshen up and change my outfit for the evening.
Also – Massive thank you to my best friends Zoe and Amy for being the best and taking all these photos.