30 March 2016

My New Favourite Place

If you've been reading my recent blog posts, you'll know that I was struck down with tonsillitis again at the beginning of the month. This then accumulated into a viral Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.

Basically, I've been a very poorly girl and - yes, I admit - I have felt sorry for myself.

In all honesty, I've never been THIS ill THIS frequently in all of my twenty five years. It started back in October when my doctor referred me to A&E after I had breathing problems. It was there that I was told I had a Lower Respiratory Tract Infection which could have turned into pneumonia if it had got any worse.

Following this LRTI, I was struck down with tonsillitis a few days later. I seemed to have recovered for a few weeks and then got a viral chest infection over Christmas. From the end of December to the end of January - I was finally in good health. Then, at the beginning of February, I got tonsillitis again. I took a week off work to recover but - lo and behold - the tonsillitis came back a couple of weeks later (which takes us to the beginning of the month) before turning into a viral URTI.

We can draw the conclusion that my immune system SUCKS! But the good news is that I'm feeling a lot better now.

While I was off sick, I was mostly bed bound. It was only towards the end of that final sick note period that I was up and about on my feet again. I remember popping out to our local farm shop with my family the weekend before I was due to return to work and, even though I was only out for two hours, I was SOOOOOO TIRED.

To build my strength back up in those last few days off, I went for a couple of little walks near my house. It was on one of these walks where I found my new favourite place.

My house is about a 10 minute walk from the village bridge which goes over the River Wharfe. There are some houses that overlook it - one of them even has its own private dock:

(Isn't it just the cutest?!)

There's also some public stone steps hidden around the same area that you can go down and they bring you right alongside the river edge.

On this particular crisp, sunny Sunday morning - I stumbled upon these steps without even knowing about them. It took all of my energy to go down them (I had not yet conquered stairs after being laid up for two weeks) but, BOY, am I glad I did.

What I found at the end was ultimate peace, tranquility and serenity.

Hidden away, surrounded by trees and overlooking the sparkling river in the spring sunshine, I sat down on one of the steps on the river edge and felt like I was the only girl left on this planet.

I was only there for a few minutes but it was so therapeutic to just sit there, alone with my own thoughts, encircled by endless beauty. It was there, in that moment, where I felt like I didn't have a care in the world.

I forgot everything.

I forgot where I was, what had happened to me in my life - I even forgot who I was.

I was just a girl - a tiny, insignificant being on one of the many planets in our colossal universe.

I could have stayed there forever.

This spot, a 10 minute walk from my house, will now be my safe haven.

It's comforting to me that I know exactly where I can go henceforth, if I ever need to put my problems in perspective...

I'm so glad I found it - my new favourite place.

(Do you have a favourite spot where you live? What do you think to mine? Thanks for stopping by! Katie-xo)

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23 March 2016

The Return of the Blondie

This post is the sequel to 'Blondie' which I wrote back in 2013.

I've dyed my hair several different colours in the past but the one that my family always said that suited me the most is (dot, dot, dot)... BLONDE.

I had blonde highlights for a large part of my teenage years (probably from around 13 to when I went red for Uni at 18) and I have found in the past, when experiencing a bad hair day, that I missed my blonde locks a HELLUVA lot.

After being a red head for a year during my first year of Uni, I decided to go over to the dark side and embrace my inner goth with almost black hair (cue all of those Katy Perry comparisons), followed by a random purpley tint, before settling for a dark brown with light brown ends dip-dye look circa 2013.

It wasn't long before I lightened the dip-dye hair up with blonde ends instead of light brown and then, in a moment of temporary insanity, dyed these ends pink because I thought I was a unicorn OBVS (read all about it here). Following this crazy experiment, I asked my then-hairdresser to whack in some honey highlights and - HEY PRESTO - I was an all-over blondie again.

Soon later, I did what a lot of young girls my age do... I got lazy. I stopped having my hair coloured because 1) I couldn't afford it and 2) I started to work full time - and who wants to sit in a chair for hours on end making mindless small talk at the weekend when you've got a boyfriend to please, a flat to clean and errands to run?! NO SIR, not me.

Fortunately, I was lucky and my highlights grew out to create this natural ombre effect with my real hair colour (which is brown).

I kept this look for the year I was travelling and then some, before deciding I would like to go lighter all over in late 2015 and be a good and proper blondie again.

At first I thought I'd like to keep the ombre effect to consist of dark brown roots with the colour gradient gradually increasing to blonde on the ends (a la Lauren Conrad):

However, this time around, I decided to have highlights further up so the whole look feels a lot lighter. I took inspiration from a certain Miss Khloe Kardashian. After reading her book and watching her family's TV show, I've become a big fan of Khloe and her entire look. Her hair, in particular, always seems to be ON FLEEK:

(Image Source: Glamour Magazine Online)

This is still technically ombre with the natural hair colour showing at the roots. I liked this idea because it means that the roots are less noticeable when they grow out.

This was the final result:

Hair Cut and Colour - Westrow, Wetherby

I'm really pleased with the colour - I may even ask to go a little lighter next time! Either way, the Blondie is here to stay and I couldn't be happier.

(Do you like my new hair colour? How many times have you dyed your hair in the past? Thanks for reading! Katie-xo)


16 March 2016

Being Binky OOTN

If you're an avid social media/reality TV star fan (which some MAY say that I am), you'll know that Binky Felstead from Made Chelsea and Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore have both produced clothing ranges for In The Style UK. These clothing ranges are a few seasons in now and are always splashed across both of their Twitter and Insta accounts through shameless self-promo.

There's a wine-coloured 70's style beauty from Binky's 'Luxe Bohemia' AW15 range that I recently spotted when I saw Miss Felstead herself sporting it with thigh high boots on one wintry night back in February. GURL, YA GOT STYLE.

I loved the way that it tied up at the front in a lovely criss-cross, sat nicely mid-thigh and was floaty enough to be reppin' the perfect swing dress. I just knew right then and there it had to be mine. 

The catch?! It was ALL OF THE MONEY. Well, no... That's a lie. But it was £26.99 which I think is quite pricey for your average run-of-the-mill high street dress. However, I've just noticed it is now in the sale so quick - RUN, LADIES and you can snap it up before it's too late.

I wore this dress on a recent night out (in between getting tonsillitis twice - FUN - read all about it here) with my black thigh highs to replicate Binky's super cute yet super sophisticated hippy look.

Binky Wine Cheesecloth Swing Dress - In The Style UK (here)
Black Thigh High Boots - ASOS
Black Cami Top - Matalan

Unfortunately, I wasn't quite brave enough to show my cleavage like Binks (my boobs aren't that big) so I went for the black cami underneath but teamed it with plenty of sass in the form of my black leather jacket and over the shoulder box bag.

Black Leather Jacket - Vintage
Over The Shoulder Box Bag - H&M

Then I attempted to add to the cool 70's vibe with wavy Farrah Fawcett-style hair and disco glam make up. This, in my mind, equals Saturday Night Fever personified.

It was such a fun look to wear and I will definitely wear this dress again soon - perhaps during the day with a floppy fedora and fringed ankle boots as it's such a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down.

(What do you think, do you like my dress? Would you buy from In The Style UK? Apologies for the crappy phone photos and thanks for reading! Katie-xo)


9 March 2016

March Matalan Haul

I have to admit: I'm a massive Matalan fan.

I never used to have a Matalan close by all through my school life in Wakefield, all through my uni life in Nottingham and even all through my working life in Milton Keynes.

But, PRAISE THE LORD, now that I'm back up North in Wetherby - I have access to a Matalan that is a 20 minute drive away at St James Retail Park near Knaresborough. (#winning)

In the past year that I have lived here, I have visited said Matalan a good handful of times... and always, without fail, walk out with at least a couple of new purchases.

I recently went yet again and ended up coming out with seventy quid's worth of stuff. (Sorry, bank account!) It does just prove that it never fails to disappoint!

I love that you can get trend-driven, decent quality pieces for a good price. The homeware is also LUSH.

Here's what I bought this time around:

Black and Red Paisley Print Dress - £16
Floral Print Tunic - £11 (SALE)
Long Patchwork Print Blue Shirt - £16

1) Black and red paisley print dress - I am having a bit of a 'bohemian chic' moment where I just like to put on floaty dresses and a floppy fedora and pretend that I'm Vanessa Hudgens even though I'm NOWHERE NEAR as fit. This dress caught my eye because I thought I could easily dress it up for a night out or dress it down for a casual day outing during the upcoming Spring months.

2) Floral print tunic - I spotted this tunic and instantly fell in love. I'm a sucker for a good floral anyway, but I could instantly picture myself wearing this with blue jeans and sandals for when the weather gets a bit warmer. I'm not sure if you can see in the photo, but it also ties up at the front from the chest to the neck in a criss cross way which I thought was quite cool and quirky.

3) Long patchwork print blue shirt - I'd never owned a shirt that goes past the knee before. As soon as I saw this little number, I knew I had to have it. It's sheer and it's pretty and I could just imagine myself wearing it with stompy boots and a top knot pretending I'm a badass. I will definitely need to wear a long black cami tunic underneath it though 'cos DAYUM GIRL, that shit is see through.

Peach Workout Bra - £4 (SALE)
'Run To Paradise' White Crop Top - £1.25 (SALE)
Paint Splattered Print Active Shorts - £1.25 (SALE)

4) Peach workout bra, 'Run To Paradise' white crop top and paint splattered print active shorts - There was a section of Matalan dedicated to discounted workout gear this time around. My sister and I are avid Zumba fans at the moment, partaking in it at least once a week, and we simply had to make the most of these bargains and purchase some pieces for our next class. I can wear these pieces together, or I can wear them separately, but either way I WILL wear them and I WILL enjoy them.

Purple Travel Locks - £5
Foldaway Leopard Print Backpack - £6

5) Purple travel locks and foldaway leopard print backpack - I'd like to think that, at some point in the future, I will travel again. Bearing this in mind, I thought it would only be right to invest in these babies as soon as I saw them. The last time I travelled, my ex and I used cheap, normal locks which broke and I borrowed my ex's Mum's foldaway backpack that I had to give back. Now I have some fancy, complicated locks and my own sexy leopard print backpack so PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT :)!

Gold 'K' Dangly Earrings - £3
Gold Jewelled Hoops - £1 (SALE)
Gold Cuff Earrings With Silver Jewels - £4

6) Gold 'K' dangly earrings, gold jewelled hoops, gold cuff earrings with silver jewels - I decided that I needed a bit of bling in my ears to go with my festival-like clothing purchases so I just had to snap these 3x badboys up.

Finally - I also bought my friend's birthday present but there ain't NO WAY I'm putting that on here when she hasn't even opened it yet.

I'm actually dreading the next time I go in Matalan because that'll be another seventy quid down...

HA just kidding, bae, we'll probs be reunited like next week or the week after.

(Do you like my purchases? What is your fave? Let me know below! Lots of love, Katie-xo)

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2 March 2016

10 Things I've Learned Since Being Struck Down By Illness

At the beginning of February, I managed to acquire a nasty bout of tonsillitis. After a distressing trip to the doctor, 7 days of bed rest and a 10 day course of antibiotics - I had fully covered. Or so I thought. 

However, it's almost three weeks later  and the tonsillitis has returned. I have had yet another distressing trip to the doctor, been giving a 10 day course of a different antibiotic and now I am currently bed bound once again. 

This time around, I have also been battling with a temperature so high that I feel like I could burst into flames any minute (might be slightly exaggerating there but you know, when you're ill, sometimes it feels like the end of the world). 

As I haven't been able to do much in the past couple of days but lie here in bed and suffer (until the meds kick in), it's allowed plenty of time for thinking.

Having two severe throat infections in the space of one month has taught me a lot, so I thought it would be only right to share these lessons on my blog because, you know, sharing is caring:

1) A healthy body = a healthy mind.

Yes, that old chestnut.

While I was recovering from tonsillitis the first time around, I wrote this post. I honestly feel like the period I had off work improved not only my health, but my state of mind. Laid in bed all day every day gives you chance to reflect on your life, what position you're in presently and what position you want to be in ultimately. 

I was feeling very broken previously and now my outlook on life has significantly changed and I just want to live every day to the fullest. 

2) You find out who really cares.

When I've messaged 'friends' recently telling them I'm sick, I've found that only a select few have replied and genuinely sound concerned. A couple of them have had no sympathy and there's even been an incident where someone has told me, in all serious, to man up. 

True friends care about your health and wellbeing and will show you during these times of need with their kind words and well wishes.

3) Fluids are everything.

This time around with tonsillitis, it was so painful to even swallow during the first day - so I hardly drank. It was awful. I didn't help myself at all because my throat dried out and became even more painful. 

I realised my mistake and fixed this by drinking a shit ton of water the next day and found that I felt so much better.

This rule applies to any illness: drink lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated and this will make you improve a little more each day.

4) There's only so much daytime TV one can take.

After a while of being laid up, you start to go a little stir crazy. 

You long to have your full health back so you can get up out of bed, move about and carry on living your life like the rest of the world.

Sure, Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, Jeremy Kyle, This Morning and Loose Women are fun to watch and all - but not 5 days in a row. SAVE ME.

5) The most exciting part of your day is bathing.

You haven't been up out of bed in hours (only to go to the toilet) but, as you hobble to the bathroom, pure delight washes over you as you realise that YES I MADE IT TO THE BATHROOM and YES I AM GOING TO BE CLEAN AGAIN. 

6) Having your own personal nurse makes you recover faster...

...whether it's your other half, best friend or a family member.

See, I live with my parents at the moment and my Mum is retired, so I'm very lucky in the sense that there's someone to look after me throughout my sickness.

She will run up and down the stairs bringing me whatever I need, she will be my chef with her own 24 hour cafe and she will remind me when it's time to take my next meds.

That's why having your own personal nurse is AWESOME.

7) Antibiotics take ages to kick in.

Most doctors will spin you the line of 'it'll be about 48 hours before the antibiotics will start working' but, in my opinion, it often takes longer than that.

Both times, I've got to the point where my throat is about to close up, my eyes are watering with pain and thoughts of MY GOD I MIGHT NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE are polluting my brain before the meds have decided to kick in a few days later. 

It's always darkest before the dawn, but bloody hell - I really wish antibiotics would just hurry up and do their business straight away.

8) Staggered painkillers are a god send.

If you've got a really painful infection, you can take 2x paracetamol then 2 hours later take 2x ibuprofen and keep going like that, alternating every 2 hours, until you've completed both dosages for the day.

Paracetamol helps bring the fever down and ibuprofen is anti-inflammatory so targets the source of pain directly.

It really does help.

9) You will be emotionally vulnerable.

You know you're ill when you're crying at an episode of Kardashians because Kim hasn't got the marble tiles that she wants in her new house and OMG LIFE IS SO UNFAIR. 

I always feel on the verge of tears when I'm poorly - like my body is weak and so is my mind. 

I can't argue with anyone, I can't debate, I can't even muster up the energy to have a proper conversation.

Quite frankly, I'm pathetic. But it's the only time I can be pathetic and it's accepted so I will embrace it, thank you very much.

Now, where are my tissues?

10) If you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

Being bed bound for so long really makes you appreciate the 100% health you usually have.

Sometimes we take the little things for granted - like being able to go for a walk, being able to drive and being able to live a full and active life.

If you're severely ill, it stops you from doing anything. You literally have to put your life on hold and ride the illness out.

I felt grateful for my full recovery from the tonsillitis the first time around, but I'm going to feel even more grateful once I'm back to full health this time around. 

Being ill really puts things in perspective and I will never take my health for granted again.

I will listen to my body, I will care for it better and I will not run it into the ground. It's not worth the recurrent sickness.

I'm currently on day 3 of the second episode of tonsillitis and I'm longing to get better soon. 

In the mean time, hello bed rest and hello Jeremy Kyle.

(Thanks for reading! Leave me your comments below. Katie-xo)
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