Spring stripes

I've probably mentioned this over and over, but I love spring. We shot these photos at about 7.45pm whilst the sun was starting to set, painting the sky beautiful blues and pinks. Flowers are starting to come to life and I'm not actually freezing my butt off taking outfit pics for once. (Well, not until I took my jacket off...) I always find my mood improves at this time of year, anyone else? I'm pretty content most of the time but as soon as lighter evenings roll in, it makes me such a happy bunny! We took these pics on an evening stroll - I swear Essex/Suffolk never ceases to surprise me with pretty walks, fields and woods that I didn't even know existed. 

I think that's my favourite thing about this time of year - getting back outside again! I turn in to such a hermit over winter. I'm slowly starting to delayer and the chunky knitwear has gone to the back of the wardrobe. To be honest, I always find the transition from winter to spring a tricky one as British weather is so flipping unpredictable - so I always go back to a bomber jacket and cami as my 'safe' option. I stumbled across this cute stripe cami during a food shop in Tesco (I'm very easily distracted) and I'm tempted to go back for the navy version! It has crossover detailing on the back and a slightly oversized fit - perfect for wearing with jeans or tucking in to high waisted denim shorts.

I also picked up this knitted bomber jacket in black and grey (because if it fits, buy it in every colour) and it's the perfect style/texture for this time of year. I always seem to go back to black but it just goes with everything!

Katie x

P.S. Sorry for the picture quality - Blogger seems to lower the quality when I upload them. Any tips, guys and girls?


Body image, Instagram and saying thank you

It's a Thursday evening (hurrah!) and I walk in the door and make a beeline for my laptop. I start typing away because, for once, I have a clear idea about something I want to talk about. I get these lightbulb moments every now and then (not regularly though so don't get used to it!) You see, last night I posted some photos on Instagram of me wearing bikinis from my ASOS swimwear haul. I dithered so much over whether I should post them or not. I guess I'm a bit of a prude (insert granny emoji here) and I didn't know if I wanted to put my body on Instagram for the world to see. Is it too much? Too revealing? I have to say, I'm that girl who's always pulling at the hem of her dress trying to make it longer - but that's probably because being tall means everything looks like a bloomin' mini skirt on me. 

I got them ready to post, saved to draft, deleted and repeated this over and over until my boyfriend said, "Just post them! Who cares what people think." I dithered again, staring at the images. I'm fairly body confident these days because, honestly, I really can't be bothered to sit and worry about it, there are bigger, more important things that need that space in my brain (like what to have for dinner). If I'm honest, I hated my body as a gangly teenager and jumped for joy when I started to fill out (at the slightly more mature age of like 19/20). Another reason I try not to dwell on looks is because spending every day hating what you see in the mirror is such a negative downward spiral, guys and girls. Nothing good ever came out of it. But that said, there's something about baring my body to the whole of Instagram (I'm kidding, not the whole of Instagram thanks to that algorithm!) that I'm still not sure about. Honestly, I don't know how some girls post pics like that every day - kudos to you ladies. 

Whilst I'm fairly happy in my own skin, I felt nervous posting those photos. Because what if people are horrible? What if they're cruel and point out my imperfections? This is social media we're talking about and we all know trolls aren't those creatures that live under bridges (or maybe they are). I pride myself on being a fairly tough cookie and can usually handle whatever is thrown at me, but this is my body we're talking about. Criticise my bed hair, my poor taste in music, my Spongebob pjs or my terrible sense of humour that thrives on sarcasm, that's fine. Maybe because they're out there for everyone to see. Well, apart from the Spongebob pjs. THE SECRET IS OUT! (Truth be told, I bought them not realising they had Spongebob written down the side. I thought they were just a cute polkadot design). 

Luckily, I seem to have the loveliest, most supportive ladies over on Insta and to my surprise received some nice comments. I think that made me squirm even more - half because I was expecting some sort of criticism and half because er, how do you react to that? When someone compliments your dress it's easy to be like, "Good old New Look!" or, "It was such a bargain!" or my favourite, "oh it's SO old I'm surprised it's still in one piece." But that doesn't really work when someone says you have a nice figure ("oh cheers! It was in the sale...") And maybe that's sad, that we don't know how to receive or react to such compliments. I say 'we' in the hope I'm not the only cringingly awkward human being here. Do you say thank you? I personally find that hard to do. Or do you launch in to a spiel about how you're actually so bloated from a bout of IBS that if you stood side on, you'd probably look pregnant. Or how you wish you weren't so out of proportion. Or how it's a good job you cut your legs out because you've had the mother of all allergic reactions to a fake tan (see last post for my tan woes) - although red snakeskin legs could be the new fashion statement I hear!

I read something a while ago that said our generation is the worst for receiving compliments. We either shrug them off or turn them back in to a negative. Which I think is pretty true. Basically, we're not very good at smiling, nodding and saying thank you - and keeping the insecure 'BUT LOOK AT MY STOMACH AND I HAVE NO BOOBS' comments to ourselves. Maybe it's because if we just say thank you, does that mean people will think we're arrogant? Will people think we have zero insecurities? I guess this is a message to say, ladies (and gents!) let's have some confidence in ourselves. We get one shot at this life, don't let the majority of it be spent picking out your faults and wallowing in self-pity because someone has a six pack and you don't. Ain't nobody got time for that! Be proud of who you are (I really need to take some of my own advice here...) we all have flaws and imperfections, but most of the time we are the only people who can see them in ourselves.

Oh, and if like me you have no boobs and some IBS bloating, natural lighting and stretchy waistbands are your friends. And squish your elbows together - that'll help with the boobs - or lack of. (Kidding). 

Katie x

P.S. Just finished writing this to realise it's 7pm, I'm still sat in my coat and I'm yet to make dinner. Sigh.

P.P.S. I've attempted to make dinner and threw half my cooked salmon on the floor...and half in the cutlery drawer. I think I used up all my brain power on writing this post! 


Top tips for fake tan allergic reactions

So last week I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I had the mother of all allergic reactions to a gradual tanning moisturiser and spent most of the week feeling incredibly itchy and looking like I had run through a field of stinging nettles, being stung by a thousand wasps and sunburnt all at the same time. I was so itchy I couldn't sit still - I'm sure my colleagues thought there was something wrong with me! (I would add some photos for you but it really wasn't a pretty sight). I don't have the most sensitive skin on the planet - I usually get heat rash in hot climates (oh the joys) but in terms of products, I usually get along with most skincare products okay. As someone who doesn't really dabble with fake tan/gradual tanners I probably should've tested the product first, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! 

Here are my top tips for dealing with an allergic reaction or skin rash from fake tan products:

Disclaimer: Please seek medical assistance if you think it is needed, if your symptoms are worsening or if your reaction is severe. I'm not a doctor so I can't diagnose your skin reaction or guarantee that what I've recommended will work for you. Allergic reactions can be serious peeps, so please go seek medical help if you need it. More info on allergic reactions and symptoms can be found on the NHS website.

1. Clean that product off! I woke up in the morning with a bright red itchy and sore rash across my legs, so I jumped in the shower and gently cleaned my skin. Use lukewarm water and a gentle soap - something fragrance-free that won't add to the irritation. I used a soap and a shower gel by Simple which are designed for sensitive skin. Gently pat dry. 

2. Get on the antihistamines. I take them daily for hay fever anyway, but there are plenty available from supermarkets and drugstores. Make sure you can take them (and that you're not allergic to any of the ingredients) and stick to the recommended dose! These should help keep your allergic reaction under control, but as stated above, go and seek medical advice if you're concerned. Google is no substitute for a real doctor, guys and girls.

3. Invest in some calamine lotion. I'll be honest, it smells bloody awful, it's very drying and it will leave you with a white/pink tinge to your skin (pastels are on trend, right?) but it is so soothing. I bought a bottle from Boots and used after showering or bathing and just rubbed it over the affected area. It dries slightly white and streaky (it's a strong look!) but I noticed an immediate difference. If you're conscious of looking a strange colour, put it on at night and wash off in the morning. I used this for a week and while it did a great job of soothing, I did notice my skin got awfully dry so just a word of warning!

4. Pure aloe vera gel. Not your usual cream aftersun lotions. This stuff was an absolute Godsend! I got in to a routine of showering in the evening, applying calamine lotion, showering in the morning and applying aloe vera. It's very soothing and it really helps with the itching, plus it won't leave you a strange colour like the calamine lotion!

5. Let your skin breathe! At every chance I got, I changed in to shorts to let my legs breathe. Jeans, trousers and tight-fitting clothes all made the itching and irritation worse, so get those limbs out in the open air.

6. Change your sheets! If you slept in your tan overnight, make sure you change and wash anything that it came in to contact with e.g. sheets, pyjamas, sweatpants etc. You don't want to risk there being any residue of the product on there that could cause even more irritation for your skin. 

7. Wait until your allergic reaction has gone down completely before playing around with other skincare products - even if it's just your usual moisturiser or a scented shower gel. Your skin is going to be very sensitive while all of this is going on, so give it some time to heal.

I'll be honest, it's taken nearly a week for my allergic reaction to go down, but I just monitored it and made sure I was okay with the products I was using. I've recently bought another gradual tanner (I know, you'd have thought all of this would have put me off!) and I've patch-tested it on my skin for 24 hours. Lesson learnt, ladies and gents. Luckily, I've had no reaction at all but I now know to do this for all future skincare products! Finally, just to reiterate I am not a medical professional - if you get an allergic reaction and you're worried, please talk to someone in the know about what to do and what you can use - whether that's your local pharmacist, GP or a walk-in centre. 

I'm off to slather myself in some more aloe vera!

Katie x


Spring Florals

What a glorious sunny day! Are we sure this is April? I don't know how long this weather is going to stick around for but I'm more than happy if it wants to stay put for a while. I've spent the afternoon in the garden, painting my nails in the sunshine with my music on. Is there a better way to spend a Sunday?! (Okay, maybe in a pool with a mojito in hand). I've been updating my wardrobe with plenty of spring florals and floaty tops - perfect for this transitional weather. I'm a sucker for a cold shoulder top so I'm glad they're sticking around again for spring (mainly because my wardrobe is full of them!) I often to find a trend that I love and then overdo it to the point where it's all I have in my wardrobe - eek. In my defence, this is the first floral cold shoulder top in my wardrobe!

I absolutely loved shooting these photos in a local woods, it was such a pretty location and so tranquil, BUT hello hay fever hell. As much as I love the warmer weather, I hate that my hay fever has to make a comeback. I sneeze every five seconds and look like Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer for pretty much the whole of spring and summer, and have done since I was a kid. I need to start having some local honey again - I tried it out last year and it actually helped. (Take a look at my top remedies for hay fever!) Do you have any tried and tested hay fever remedies? If so PLEASE send them my way.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend in the sun! What's your favourite trend for spring?

Katie x


Bumble and bumble surf set review

Image of Bumble and bumble surf set

The weather this weekend was absolutely incredible for the start of April; we spent Sunday afternoon sat in our garden soaking up the spring sunshine which was bliss. This spring weather has really got me in the mood for beaches, holidays and messy beach hair, so I was over the moon when I was bought the Bumble and bumble surf set for my birthday! I've had my eye on this brand for ages, having heard good things about their salt spray. To put things in to perspective for you - my hair is a natural mess. A bedhead of waves and fluffiness. Which I fully embrace on holiday, because who has the time/can withstand the heat of straighteners or a curling wand?! But most of time time, I spend my mornings trying to tame it so I don't look like I've just rolled out of bed. 

The first thing I tried was the Bumble and bumble surf spray and I could hardly contain my excitement. I absolutely love it, it enhances natural waves and slightly tames the fluffy state of my hair. It's also not too crispy either, which I've experienced with previous salt sprays. The scent isn't overly perfumed, which is fine by me! I tried it on towel dried hair and left it to air dry (which can usually go either way for me - I either end up with half decent natural waves or resembling a poodle. Luckily the surf spray did a good job of taming my wild mane). If you don't have natural waves, try twisting sections of your hair and spray over them again, or section your hair in to several buns and pin to your head, spraying over them again and allowing to dry. 

Next up, I tried the Bumble and bumble foam wash shampoo and the creme rinse conditioner which did not disappoint! They have a really gentle, fresh scent - nothing overpowering. The shampoo lathers up nicely, which is pretty amazing considering my house has hard water and it's tough work to get anything to lather up! The conditioner is true to its description as it left my hair feeling so soft but it definitely had some texture to it. These products are definitely going to be part of my spring/summer haircare routine - washing my hair twice with the shampoo, using the conditioner on the mid lengths and ends, and then spritzing all over with the surf spray after giving my hair a quick towel dry. 

I also want to have a little rave about how cute these diddy bottles are - they're the perfect size for hand luggage and will definitely be coming with me to Valencia in a few weeks! I now have my eye on some more Bumble and bumble products including the surf infusion spray, texture creme and their Bb.Curl goodies! Has anyone tried them?

Katie x

P.S. Totally should've done a before and after! Der. I'll upload some snaps on here and on Instagram when I next do my hair - or let me know if you'd prefer a tutorial :)