The Hiatus is FINALLY Over.

autumn moments.png
It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted and there have been a large variety of reasons for this, all of which I won’t go into in this post. However, I really have missed blogging, and hope, but cannot promise that I will be back to posting weekly as soon as I can.
I finally finished my dissertation! Over 15,000 words relating to the importance of records. I am now awaiting the results of both my dissertation and my masters course overall, with my graduation taking place in late November. I really, enjoyed my undergraduate graduation so I’m looking forward to this one too and hoping it goes as well as last time. As always I have the typical well of anxiousness regarding not falling when I receive my degree, not embarrassing myself in general and of course being the centre of everyone’s attention – even if it is only for a couple of seconds while you are on the stage. The anxiety level is also risen by the fact I still have no idea of my degree classification. I’m literally praying for a Merit, but considering last year’s class didn’t receive confirmation of their grades until just before graduation, I’m not holding out much hope for getting mine any sooner. But we shall see!
Summer flew by in the blink of an eye, as always, and probably more so considering I was cooped up inside writing for the majority of it! Plus, as usual, we never really got much of a summer anyway, considering you can probably count the amount of warm sunny days on one hand! I do love Autumn though, so I’m not too sad. I enjoy the nights getting darker and spending more time cuddled up on the sofa and lighting candles while watching a film. I’m looking forward to bonfire night and of course getting all dressed up for Halloween! Autumn sees the return of the autumn/winter wardrobe and everyone pulling out their hats, scarfs and gloves ready for the colder weather and little hands gripping onto mugs of hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows of course!) I love going for little strolls holding hands amongst all the fallen leaves and admiring the golden brown and yellow shaded leaves. Autumns not so bad after all!
Thanks for holding out for me!
Zoe (1)

Save

Advertisements

August Goals

HazelDominique.jpg

It may be a little late in the month to be setting goals for August, but I personally think it’s worth setting goals at any time, and if you don’t manage to achieve them in the time you hoped, simply try again the next month. As you all know I’ve been incredibly busy over the last few months (and I still am!) But I thought I would take a short break from dissertation writing to write a goals post for August.

 1. Finish my dissertation and be pleased with it

I know that there is a very good chance that I will get an extension for my dissertation. I had hoped that I could try and blast through it and get it finished by 31 August which is the deadline that has been set for the whole of my course, yet I have had a lot of things going on that have simply prevented me from getting on with it as fast as I had hoped. I just want to finish it and be pleased with it. I hate handing in a piece of work and feeling like I could have done better and that I didn’t work hard enough on it. Although this goal will overlap into September it’s the most important goal I currently have for myself – which is why it came first in this list.

2. No more McDonalds!

Yep, I’m a sucker for fast food. I remember growing up my parents never took me and my sister to any fast food outlet unless it was a complete one off. Either as a treat or just once a blue moon when we happened to be on a long journey. Fast forward to when I went to college in a city centre, and I spent my Tuesday morning break there every single week. My undergraduate university years were spent living 2 minutes from McDonalds which was located next door to my work, so I was a frequent visitor when I couldn’t be bothered to cook! Now, while studying my postgraduate its become a regular thing as well, purely because I never see my boyfriend and when we have 20 minutes spare together its somewhere to go that doesn’t cost a bomb, is in the centre or town and quick. However! This needs to stop. I had a meal yesterday and I found myself taking forever to decide what to have – not because I was spoilt for choice, but because I was struggling to choose what I actually didn’t dislike as much as something else. So that’s it. From today, until the end of August, and hopefully ongoing I’m not eating anymore McDonalds!

3. Cook more meals

Following on from no McDonalds, I think it’s fair to say a few of these goals are related to improving my eating and living a healthier lifestyle. I try and try and I’m sure that this won’t be the last month I list these as my goals! But I want to start cooking more food at home. I like a good frozen pizza as much as anyone else, but I’ve recently been trying to discover healthier ways of eating some of my favourite fatty foods. And I fully intend to share them if I find anything extra good! I’m certainly not going to become some healthy gym bunny who eats nothing but lettuce (as much as I’d like to have the body of a goddess, it’s never going to happen – and chocolate is my life saver.

4. Once a fortnight, not once a week!

Oliver and I eat out quite a bit. It’s mainly a way of getting to see each other and spend time together and as I don’t drink and Oliver very rarely drinks we don’t really get out much! Neither of us go to clubs and pubs, so eating out is our thing. However, since moving in together we have begun eating out once a week, if not more! Oliver’s dad also visits quite frequently and takes us out for a meal – which we love! But we need to stop going out so much. No matter where you eat out, the chances are you could make pretty much the same thing much healthier at home. I wanted to say once a month but I think for now, once a fortnight will be the goal!

 5. Switch banks!

In the last week I have received two emails from two different banking providers who have stated that due to the Bank of England Base Rate has recently falling they have had to revaluate the amount of interest they are currently offering. I’m well aware that this is due to Brexit (but let’s not go there) so the aim is now to get switching – and I advise you to too! I’m guessing these are just the first banks to start reducing their interest rate, so look out for changes to your own bank and get switching as soon as you hear about the rates dropping. You want to make your money work as much as possible for you so ensure you shop around for the best rates available. I’m hopefully going to look at switching over the next couple of days, so will edit this post with the accounts I go for.

Have you set any goals recently? What did you decide to try and achieve?

Zoe (1)

Update

zldblog.jpg

Yes I know, I’ve not posted in over two months and I’m annoyed at myself! However, I’m genuinely just having to take a break right now as I do not physically have the time to post anything. I know my blog was only started this year, so really I shouldn’t need to take a break, but this month coincides with the deadline for my Master’s degree dissertation so unfortunately that is having to take priority in everything (despite currently only having 2000 of 15000 words written!) The last few months have been really hard. My full time job has pretty much taken over my life as I am on the train for 6:30am every morning and do not normally get back until 6:30pm! My routine when I get home has pretty much just become; meal, talking to my boyfriend and bed for 9:30pm! What has my life become? So obviously I’m trying to squeeze in any possible time I have to write my dissertation. I’m also not only working full time in one job, but also part time in another which means I only get one day off a week, which is usually spent in bed catching up on much, much needed sleep!!

As you can tell, everything’s a bit hectic right now, so there is very little time for anything. I am hoping to get back in the swing of things and post once a week again once this horrible devil of a dissertation is submitted and over with! There is a possibility that I may get an extension for it, so I probably won’t be posting regularly again and consistently until the end of September. I thank everyone who has sent me messages asking if everything is okay and asking if I am continuing with the blog – because I am! After only a very short time I’ve managed to gain quite a few followers and readers (as well as establish a good relationship with a few brands) so I am greatly thankful for this and hope you can all stick with me until I have the time to get back into blogging – because I really am missing it!

I hope to post all the things that I had intended to do when I have the time, as I had a few products sent to try out and review, so I want to ensure they get posted as soon as I have the chance. If I do have any time to post anything I will do so, but they will just be a bonus because I’m currently doubtful about that!

Anyway thank you for all your support, visits to my blog and kind messages. I cannot wait to get back into the blogging game as soon as possible!

Zoe (1)

 

Coming Soon on Zldblog…

I know it currently feels like I have disappeared off the radar, but working 6 days a week and having to get up at 6am for 5 of those is starting to take its toll and therefore 9pm bed times have taken over, leaving me with very little time to blog! However, I will do so as much as possible, maybe just not quite a frequently as I would like.

I have a few exciting things coming up though over the next month. I’m currently trialing a new nail care regime from Boots that is currently very much in the testing stages, which is great fun… and I’ll let you into a secret – I LOVE IT!

I’ve also been invited to take part in a trial of some new tights being made by Scholl which should be arriving next week, so thats something else I cannot wait to share my opinions on.

I’m booked in for my first ever experience of eye brow threading next month too, so I will be sure to share that experience in a post.

I also have a backlog of a few other things I hope to get around to as soon as possible including reviews of some of the lovely gifts I got for my birthday!

Zoe (1)

Review: Sanitary Owl

Review- Sanitary Owl.jpg

After trying a couple of other period subscription boxes (read my review on PinkParcel HERE and Ms Flow HERE) over the last few months I decided to give Sanitary Owl a go. It’s a much more basic, down to earth subscription box, that as standard hits your door mat every month.

13162071_10157123736675354_2072702219_n.jpg

To get started you select what you want in your box, and you have quite a good selection to choose from. You can have a mix of tampons and a mix of pads or just choose one. You can then select your brand and build up your box with the type of tampons or pads that you would like. I really love this idea because you can choose to have 6 night pads, 6 pads with wings and 6 long pads all in the same box, rather than just getting one type. You get 18 pads as standard, expected to last you for two months, if you do need more you can choose to get the box monthly instead. I chose 12 standard towels and 6 long towels. You also get the choice of adding ‘extras’ which cost a little more including liners, chocolate, cura-heat pads and Ibuprofen. (Clever little idea to already have a supply on their way to you!)

13152777_10157123736805354_2102788935_n.jpg

Something I also really love about Sanitary Owl is that a bit of money from each box purchase goes to charity, something that I think is great for any company to do, but usually it is just the small ones that donate – which is such a shame! But anyway, Sanitary Owl changes their charities regularly, but all support providing sanitary products to women around the UK and abroad. They are currently supporting; ‘St. Mungos Broadway‘: by providing sanitary protection for those taking shelter there, ‘AFRIpads‘: by giving money directly to pay for re-usable pads, and ‘Awareness Through Dance‘: who are given heaps of pads to take out with them for the ladies of Ghana.

There was recently a discount code I found which allowed you to try the product for 99p for your first box rather than the usual £3.99 per box (which even at that is a fantastic price for two months worth of supplies!) – so I decided to give it a go. If you also want to give it a go, use my code SANOWL356312 and get your first box for 99p too! (A great deal when you pay more for that for one packet of towels in most stores).

The parcel is a brown box with the cute little owl logo on the top corner, there is also a little message to remind you to recycle it – something else I really liked. There are cute little owl puns everywhere with ‘flown to you by’ and you also have your own little dedicated owl, in this box mine was named Winston as you can see from one of the photos above.

13140664_10157123736595354_815767967_n.jpg

The inside of the box has everything wrapped up in some lovely white paper with blue feathers on it, sticking to the owl theme throughout, and inside are your supplies! A small little newsletter-like, along with a large canvas bag to keep all your supplies in which is also adourned with the cutest little owl logo.

13187681_10157123736725354_2066130372_n

13152862_10157123736555354_32433537_n

Final Thoughts:

I actually really liked Sanitary Owl. I liked that it is what it says. It’s a way of providing you with your sanitary products each month without needing to go to the shop. It’s cheap, easy and a really decent price. I liked that they don’t try and pull you into a monthly subscription box by the period aspect being part of the selling point and then charging a lot more due to the beauty products included. I like that you know what you are getting, you pay for that and there is no fuss. You can add extras if you want, but it’s not a must. Will I use it again? Yes, I’m pretty sure I will!

What do you think of Sanitary Owl? Are there any other boxes for monthly supplies that you think I should try out? Do you want to try Sanitary Owl? Use this code SANOWL356312 and get your first box for only 99p!! That’s less than you would pay for one pack of towels or tampons – so what’s to lose!?

Zoe (1)

 

The ‘Currently’ Tag

CLIMB HIGH.jpg

I’m having the laziest day ever after working from 6:30am until 10:30pm last night for the election – (I hope you all voted!!) So I feel that along with a lazy day goes a lazy blog post. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers posting this tag at the moment so decided to jump on the bandwagon and do it myself.

  • Listening

I am currently listening to the ‘Download 2016’ playlist that I have made on Spotify to get me and Oliver ready and in the mood for the festival next month. Far too excited already. The song playing right this second is Coming Undone – Korn.

  • Eating

Cadbury Flake. I just found a bag with all the chocolate bars from my Easter eggs is it, so I’m having a great little munch.

  • Drinking

Water, always water! I drink a lot of water to begin with but I’m trying super hard to up my water in take! I read somewhere that a lady did an experiment and drank 3 litres a day in order to improve her skin… not sure I will make it to that much though!

  • Wearing

Don’t judge! Currently dressed like a slob in my boyfriends ‘Family Guy’ t-shirt and my fleecy pj bottoms. My hair is also in a bun on the top of my head and I look god damn sexy.

  • Feeling

Pretty tired after yesterday. I am so not used to getting up so early. Otherwise I am pretty good. I’ve enjoyed having a lazy day.

  • Weather

Dry. It looked sunny this morning but now it just looks cloudy and overcast. It’s pretty warm though which makes a change as I’m usually freezing all day, every day.

  • Wanting

Oliver to finish work and come home. I’m looking forward to an evening of good food, watching a film and snuggling up on the sofa.

  • Needing

The above! Yes I am super needy when I am tired and I just want him to hurry up!

  • Thinking

Of all the thing’s that I really should have done today and that I need to get done before I start my new job on Monday – as after that I’m going to have very little time to do anything!

  • Enjoying

Singing along to my playlist and getting excited for Download! I’ve also been chatting to a few of my High School friends who I haven’t seen since they went to the festival a couple of years ago so I am so excited to spend the weekend with them

Feel free to post your links so I can have a read of what you are all currently doing! I will be posting my review of ‘Sanitary Owl’ tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that! Enjoy your weekend lovelies.

Zoe.jpg

My Stay @ Stobo Castle

foodies' appendix (6).jpg

For my birthday this year Oliver and I decided to get away and do something a little bit more exciting. I love visiting spas and usually go once or twice a year with my best friend or my mum, but this was Oliver’s first spa experience and I certainly think it was a great introduction to spa breaks! I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Scotland so when I began searching at the end of last year I just searched for the top 10 spas in Scotland. Stobo Castle was on of the top and the list and as I have a huge fascination with castles *history geek* there was no question about where I wanted to go. I had personally never heard of it before but as soon as I mentioned to people that I would be spending my birthday at Stobo Castle I was met with ‘oooh’ or ‘its amazing’ and one friend said it was the best spa she had ever visited – so obviously I was incredibly excited!

A neither me or Oliver drive it was quite a journey to make using public transport! We caught the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh (£7.50 single each with a railcard, around 1 hour journey time) and then took the X62 bus from Edinburgh bus station to Peebles Post Office (£5.20 single, just over an hour journey time). It was incredibly beautiful journey through lots of lovely little countryside areas and we were lucky enough to have beautiful weather. We then got a taxi from the taxi rank just a step away from where to bus dropped us off to Stobo Castle (£15.00, 20 minute journey time).

13072060_10157071136740354_64559505_o

We arrived at around 1:30pm, knowing that our room would not be ready until around 3:00pm, so we checked in and left our luggage at the desk for the porters to take to our room when it was ready. The staff on the front desk were lovely and showed us around the spa areas so we knew where everything was and said we would be able to go to our room in about 45 minutes. As the weather was so beautiful we decided to take a little walk around the castle grounds and explore the Japanese Water Gardens which are a complete must if the weather is nice! We spent almost an hour wandering around the gardens and the front of the castle grounds exploring.

13052567_10157071140450354_849733198_o

13090767_10157071120865354_926308037_o.jpg

We headed back to the front desk and the room was ready, we were directed where to go and made our way to the room. We were staying in Castle Lodge which is a short walk from the castle, and just across the car park. It isn’t part of the castle which was a little shame, and not as pretty from the outside, but the room itself was lovely. A lovely comfy, large bed and a nice bathroom with complimentary toiletries (Molton Brown), tea and coffee making facilities, biscuits and 2 bottles of water. The cost of our stay was £129.00pp (‘Revitalising Break’) and included dinner the evening of our stay, breakfast and lunch the following day and the use of all spa facilities from 3pm on the day of arrival until 12pm on the day of departure.

13036451_10157071136410354_1713704442_o

In the wardrobe hung 2 lovely white robes with the ‘Stobo Castle’ logo and 2 pairs of spa slippers. We couldn’t wait to get into the pool so got changed straight away and wandered over to the spa area. My only criticism here is that you have to walk straight across the car park to the spa area, there is no separate path for people coming and going in their robes. Everyone is doing the same thing walking to and from the spa in their robes and slippers, but not everyone would be comfortable with this and it would be nice to have a little separate pathway that doesn’t go straight through the car park. Also we were very lucky as the weather was beautiful but if it was cold and rainy I doubt people would be wanting to walk from Castle Lodge to the spa in their robes (note: you can always go in clothes and get changed at the spa).

13036448_10157071130820354_1577662428_o

This is in the ladies toilets… as is the image below…

13054653_10157071130655354_717066906_o

The spa itself is beautiful. There is a gorgeous 25m pool with the most amazing views looking out over the front loan in the middle of the Scottish countryside. Next to the pool there is a large Swedish sauna and a small crystal steam room. There is also a Hydrospa where I much enjoyed spending quite a bit of time. It was like being in a huge bubble bath that also gave you a massage. I could have stayed in there all day and Oliver also loved it. The spa also has a relaxation suite which is wonderful, Oliver and I went in there to simply relax in silence after out long journey and both of us ended up having a 20 minute nap on the comfy loungers and feeling rejuvenated for the rest of our visit. It has lovely peaceful music playing, dimmed lights and it just such a beautiful serene setting. Finally the last of the shared facilities is the large outdoor hot tubs of which there are three. It was so lovely to sit outside admiring the countryside and views while experiencing a beautiful warm and bubbly bath with added massage. It was simply wonderful and one of my favourite facilities at the spa.

13054892_10157071131905354_1372411081_o

13054559_10157071131730354_248674658_o

13063978_10157071131555354_874721988_o

Onto the ladies only facilities. As a couple it was a shame that Oliver and I couldn’t experience these together, but I do understand why there are female only facilities and when I have visited other spas in the past with my best friend or mum I’ve wished there were some facilities for women only. The Ladies Health Suite is were the ladies changing area is also located, with showers, mass amounts of towels and lockers to store your belongings. The women only facilities included; experience showers, aromatic steam room with essential oils, crystal steam room, laconium and ice fountain. Something I really loved about the ladies are was the mirrors and the products that were available to use. The showers had a lovely shampoo, conditioner and body wash all which left my hair and skin feeling lovely – so many places just provide cheap products but this was not the case. There was also an abundance of cotton wool pads to use with the cleanser, toner and moisturisers that were also available to keep your skin in tip top condition. I really liked all the products I used and have even emailed Stobo to find out what they were!

I’m also aware there is an exercise studio and gym and many classes available but neither Oliver or I took part in any of these so I cannot pass comment. There is also a wonderful area where you can get food and drink in the main spa reception area. There is a lot of room to sit down in the comfy chairs and the menu was really good! On our first day Oliver ordered a milkshake (I hate milkshake but this was amazing!) and a carrot cake and I just had water from the machines that are located throughout and a plain scone with cream and jam… I must admit, it was divine!

Although we didn’t opt for any treatments at the spa (I wish we had), we did pay for the Searail Mud experience. We were showed into our little chamber by one of the lovely therapists and she explained how everything worked, we were both handed disposable underwear to put on and enter the steam chamber. She provided us with ice cold water to keep us hydrated and showed us a variety of face masks to use while we covered ourselves in mud! It was a really dark, brown mud but there was no smell (I have done something similar at another spa but that used much more clay like mud). We covered ourselves from head to toe and sat in the little tiled seats and waited for the steam. After around 15 minutes the steam starts to die down and you shower off all the mud in the little chamber. We left feeling silky soft and my skin felt beautiful. I would certainly recommend.

13090804_10157071125870354_1425992968_o.jpg

Food! The food was lovely – and I thoroughly enjoyed every meal I had – so much so that I totally forgot to take any pictures of any of them. There was always a nice choice and Oliver is vegetarian and there was always more than one thing for him to choose too which was great. The meals took place in three lovely dining rooms all beautifully decorated and cosy and the service was top-notch! For the dinner on the night we arrived I had tomato and red pepper soup (divine!) to start, roast chicken and veg for my main and chocolate, marshmallow and coconut terrine for dessert (something I enjoyed so much I also had the following day). Breakfast the following day consisted of both a hot and cold buffet, I had toast, orange juice, tea, sausages, potato cakes and beans. There was a great choice and it was all super yummy. We had lunch after checking out on the day we left and I had orange juice to start, cold buffet for my main (mass amount of choice of meat, fish, salad, veg etc.) and the chocolate terrine again for dessert!

Oliver and I both had a magical time and I will be sure to visit again as I’d really like to take my mum as I am sure she would love it. I could not recommend it enough and it is certainly up there with one of the best spas I have ever visited… Until next time, thank you so much Stobo Castle – it was perfect!

13052653_10157071137240354_861735297_o

Have you been to Stobo Castle? What did you think? Do you have any other really great spa experiences that would be worth a visit? Let me know as I would love to try something new!

Zoe (1).jpg