16 August 2017

Caring for Coloured Hair

I’ve been dying my hair crazy colours for a little while now, and by a little while I actually mean over 15 years.  One of the oldest posts on my blog chronicles the various stages of my hair colour journey.  I’ve had every, and I mean every colour going, and this was long before the days where brightly coloured hair was fashionable and the dyes available in high street shops.  I spent a fortune importing colours from the US that could only be bought online, I was (and still am) a hair colour addict!

It seems to surprise people when they find out my natural hair colour is a really dark almost black brown.  At least I think so, it has been a long time after all!  Getting it light enough to make it bright blue, purple or pink takes hard work and a lot of bleach, sometimes too much!  At first I was sensible, I would go to the hairdressers and let them change my hair and choose more subtle shades that only needed my hair to be lightened:
Then I started full head bleaching, only getting it done when I was home from uni and topping up the colour in between.  After uni I got a job which meant I couldn’t go home much, and my desire for brighter and more unusual colours just grew.  I grabbed an at home bleach kit and just set to it, and it worked!
It worked so well and got my colours were so bright that I was truly obsessed!  I was always ordering new colours online and I wasn’t just touching up my roots, oh no, I was bleaching my full head every month and throwing another colour on top, I loved it!  Then my hair became so porous from the dye it stopped taking the dye at all, it just rinsed out completely.  Then the inevitable happened…

...my hair fell out…

Now this is doing to sound dramatic but my hair honestly would come out at the slightest touch, washing my hair meant spending 15 minutes pulling the loose strands out.  I was living with two other long haired girls who dyed their locks too, so needless to say our shower was constantly blocked.  I had a patch of hair near my left parting that completely snapped off, leaving the remaining hair there to stick out like I’d been electrocuted.  In fact even now this section of hair only reaches my chin even after 6 years.  I was convinced my hair couldn’t grow longer than touching my shoulders as this was the length it was stuck at, despite years of trying to grow it. I somehow missed the fact that my hair had the texture of chewing gum and would snap with every brush.  It left a mark on my now-boyfriend Harry when before we were together he ran my pony tail through his hand lightly and was rewarded with a handful of hair!  Somewhere between him apologising profusely and me pleading ‘it’s fine,that’s just what my hair does” I started to realise I had maybe gone too far.  
I’d love to say that’s the reason I stopped bleaching my hair but the real reason is one I mentioned earlier, my hair just wouldn’t take colour anymore.  I knew my hair was in a bad way but when it can’t even soak in any of the dye there really was no point continuing.  I decided the only thing to do was leave my hair blonde and just touch up the roots as there was no way I was growing bleach blonde hair out to black/brown underneath till it was all grown out!
Bearing in mind I hadn’t chosen blonde as a hair colour, this was just the colour my hair was left with when my bright dyes had washed out, so it wasn’t a nicely toned blonde, it was a weird, yellow blonde, not my best look.  Although the worst parts had to be chopped off, I tried a lot of things to rescue what was left, and after years of trial and error I have found the best things to rescue dyed locks.  Now my hair is healthy and I know a lot more about how to keep my hair in top condition while still giving in to my need for colour, here's a few tips I’ve learnt over the years:
Go Natural
Switching to natural hair products made the biggest difference to stopping my hair deteriorating any further.  Parabens and sulfates are packed into most shampoos and conditioners because they make the hair feel smoother without actually helping your hair.  Think of it as a plastic coating, it feel smooth from the outside but it isn’t helping the hair itself at all on the inside. In fact it’s actually harming it.  When I first started the hunt for paraben and sulfate free hair products the only place on the high street you could find them was The Body Shop, but as more people are now aware of the harm of these products more brands are doing natural hair lines.  They do take some getting use to, the shampoo doesn't really lather up as you will be used to and the conditioners tend to have the consistency of a thick moisturiser but you get used to it.  Try a few brands and see what works for you.

Hair masks save the day!
Forget using one as an occasional treat, I used a hair mask every time I washed my hair and I would leave it on as long as possible.  Sleep with them in if you can.  Don’t think this means you can skip the conditioner either, you need to condition as usual after your mask, and just like the shampoos and conditioners it’s worth going for something that is paraben and sulfate free

Avoid washing your hair
Wash you hair as little as possible.  I know some people won’t believe me but it’s true that you need to wash you hair less and less the more time you give between washes, your scalp gets used to it and will produce less oil.  Add an extra few days onto your wash routine and your hair will adapt.  Plus it makes your colour last longer, bonus!  See how far you can push it, these days I tend to only wash my hair once every week to week and a half.  

Avoid all heat
I know it’s obvious and as a girl with thick hair that can take up to 6 hours to air dry I feel the pain, I really do, but avoiding using hair dryers, electric curlers and straighteners really does make a difference.  Invest in heat-free alternatives for curling hair, they take longer but your hair will thank you and it’s not 00’s anymore so it’s fine not to have flat ironed hair.

Protect, protect, protect
If you do use heat on your hair use a heat protector, in fact use two!  Use as much as you can to protect your hair, that heat is a killer!  

Never brush wet hair
If your hair has been over bleached this is when it will be at it’s most chewing-gum like and while it is oddly fascinating to see how far your hair will stretch, it is not a good thing for hair health.  Your hair will break much more and it’s petty painful trying to drag a brush through wet, gunky locks.  

Use Hair oils
Let me tell you, argan oil coming onto the market a few years ago was the saviour of my hair!  I use more then advised as my hair soaks it up scarily fast (my hair was seriously thirsty) but start of sparingly and see what your hair needs.  I tend to use it only on the ends and mid lengths of my hair as this is what will be the most damaged and I don’t like an oily scalp.  It will make your hair look better and be more healthy, it’s amazing!  Moroccan oil works similarly, I’ve tried both and had similar results but for some reason i’m more drawn towards argan oil.  Don’t be fooled by the products ‘infused’ with the oil and go straight for the real thing, you can usually find it in the black hair section of a store much cheaper than the general hair section.

Use vegan dyes
Some hair dyes are much gentler on your hair then others, so if like me you can’t stop your dye addiction, go in for these.  Henna is the ultimate gentle dye but it’s not for me, I like my hairs bright an artificial!  These days there are a lot of vegan dyes on the market, a favourite of mine is Manic Panic that do amazing dyes in every colour possible.

If you are going to lighten your hair, get it done professionally
Despite many, many temptations I have managed to avoid reaching for the home bleach kit and will always wait to visit my hairdresser, no matter how bad my roots get.  Find a hairdresser you trust, take their advice, don’t risk it.  

Truth be told the only reason my hair is currently orange is it’s one of the brightest colours my hairdresser can lighten my hair to without using bleach and that’s why I’ve stuck with it for so long.  Recently adding pink to the ends of course because old habits dye hard (get it!)

Here are just a few products I’ve come to swear by:
  • Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser 
  • Rockin Rollers 
  • Hair Xpertise Argan OIl
  • Treseme Heat Protection Spray
  • L'Oreal Paris Hair Expertise EverPure Intense Mask

Of course it’s not always possible to save your hair, if you are worried about hair loss, why not check out the FUE hair transplant cost to see if that’s a viable option is for you.  All is not lost.

What is your hair care must have?
*Post contains sponsored like

14 August 2017

Insta walks: Primrose Hill and Regents Park

Sundays are the perfect days for cracking open my a walking book, spending time with my other half learning some London history and getting some quality Instagram material.  The first of these walks we did was in South Kensington, this time we decided to head to North London to explore Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park.  I thought I’d take you along with me so you can recreate this walk and grab some insta-snaps of your own, I've included a map at the end of the post so you don't miss the best spots!  
Arrive at Chalk Farm tube station and start to make your way towards Primrose Hill, taking in some of the gorgeous colourful backdrops along the way!  The bridge between Bridge Approach and Regent’s Park Road (two very aptly named streets) is one of the first things you will come across and it makes the perfect backdrop for a quick fashion pic.  There are different designs on each side of the bridge but with it’s colourful, geometric design this one was my favorite.  


Moving towards Primrose Hill you will pass Gloucester Avenue with it’s pretty colourful houses that you will see at the top of this post.  I’m a total sucker for pastel homes. From here head up Regent’s Park Road passing a multitude of independent and quirky insta-worthy shops and cafes along the way.
Reaching Primrose Hill make sure you pick up an ice cream from one of the ice cream vans (I went for a bubblegum ice lolly because I’m a child at heart!) before heading up the hill to enjoy your treat!  Thankfully the hill isn’t too taxing and you will be thanked with one of the best views of London you can find throughout the city.  It’s always busy right at the top of the hill, especially if it’s sunny, but there’s plenty of space for everyone.  You can see such a great panorama of London from here, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for The BT Tower, The Shard, London Zoo, the London Eye and loads more.  There are information boards around the top of the hill if you want to get more information on the history of the area.  This was actually my first visit to Primrose Hill but I’ve actually been back a few times since and it’s a great place to bring visitors.
From here pass over canal to Regents Park, there are some gorgeous canal boats stationed here that are definitely photo worthy and a really interesting looking Chinese Restaurant floating on the water.  
Entering the park you’ll pass the zoo where if you are lucky you might see some of the bigger animals over the foliage, before heading deeper into the park.  The walk from here will take you all through this gorgeous park, where are various statues, monuments and an amazing lake that are well worth checking out and are chock-full of history.  Highlights include the boating lake, gorgeous mansions both inside and around the park and bandstand which has it’s own tragic history, being the site of an IRA bombing in the 80’s.  Regent’s Park is a huge undertaking with tons to see and do so I’ve shown you the route I took in the Google map below but if you want to learn more check out the Regent’s Park website.
Leaving the park and crossing into Chester Place you’ll walk onto the charming and quite stunning entrance to Chester Terrace.  This quiet and beautifully neat road is a private street that is almost breath-taking in it’s simplicity.  It’s not a big street but it is totally quaint and perfectly formed.  Here you’ll see some perfect doors for Instagram, we all know how much Instagram loves doors!  Personally I am obsessed with the sign above the street, just look at that blue!

From here you can end your work by heading towards Regent’s Park station or stopping at one of the many pubs and restaurants nearby for a drink.

I’ve made a map for you if you want to follow this walk and re-create it:

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11 August 2017

Staying Safe in the Office

A couple of years ago I made a huge career change.  I switched from a very physical, straight talking, working all hours of the day career which I loved to enter a new 9-5 office based career in a sector I knew little about.  I went from being a self employed lighting technician working in theatres across the country, to working in book publishing.  I went from running up and down ladders at 3am, programming lighting desks and rigging electrical equipment, to working regular hours in an office as I started a new life in book publishing.  I adore books and this was the inspiration behind my new choice of career, but I really knew little about the actual publishing industry and even less about the realities of working in an office.

Working in an office environment was a real culture shock for me, I wasn’t aware of the complex social and professional etiquette working in an office entails, never mind the safety aspects.  Working in a manual job meant you were alway aware of safety and looked out for yourself and each other as potential dangers were never too far away.  I’ve witnessed some pretty bad accidents.  Working in an office it’s really easy to get complacent, and before you know if you could have an injury much worse than a papercut.  

Thankfully I soon picked up all the aspects of what my new job entailed, including adapting to office life.  However my first office lacked natural light, which caused problems for myself and many of my colleagues.  The rooms had no windows and strip lighting, a horrible combination leading to headaches and eyestrain, especially as I was often working in three computer screens at once.  My eyesight deteriorated quickly in that job and I am sure this is no coincidence, thankfully my current office has large central windows, helping not just physically but mentally too!  

If you work in an office make sure you are aware of what is around you and if there’s something you aren't happy with, inform your managers.  Most offices have departments set up to help with these issues and will find all kinds of equipment to make your time in the office as safe and comfortable as possible.  Recently I’ve been thinking about how I could encourage myself focus at home when working on blog posts and I think setting up a home office could be a big step towards helping me do this.  I will definitely make sure natural light it’s pretty high on my ‘must have’ list when I create it!  Want to learn more about safety in the office?  Check out this funky interactive graphic from Accident Advice Helpline.

How do you stay safe day to day?
*This post contains a sponsored link, all words and opinions are my own.

9 August 2017

Abandoned in Disney World? A Travel Story


Last year I headed to Disney World with a couple of friends, one of the main things I wanted to check out was the Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party, a Halloween party that runs across several dates during the Halloween period in The Magic Kingdom park. Read my guide if you want to learn more. Our original planned night of attending was cancelled because of a huge storm so when we rearranged it I ended up attending on different night to my friends.  Now I'm no stranger to solo travel so I didn't mind exploring on my own.  I had a great night at the park and headed out at the end happy with my evening.  
When I got to the queue for the bus to head back to our resort I had just missed a bus, but Disney Transport is notoriously reliable and I knew there'd be one in 15 minutes, I wasn't worried.  It was around half midnight so I pulled out my book (I was dressed as Belle after all) and relaxed.  Over half an hour later I started to wonder what was going on, busses are coming for other resorts but I'm the only one in the queue for Old Key West and it had now passed 1am.  A cast member comes along, sees me looking lost and tells me not to worry, that a bus should be around soon and leaves.  Another half hour passes at at 1.30am I start to feel really nervous, I know it's Disney but I was a woman on my own in a different country with no one around, I was tired and increasingly uncomfortable.  A cast member came by again, told me they recognised my panicked look and again, told me not to worry.  

Another half hour passes and there is defiantly no one in the bus depot but me, a cast member eventually comes by and tells me that there is nothing they can do, that the person who decides which busses are going to which resort is stationed out of reach.  By now I am almost in tears, even at the happiest place on earth I am tired, scared, and have no idea if I'll be able to get back to my room at all. The monorail and boats that took you to the parking lot finished long ago.  
In the end I was saved by a janitor, who'd seen me get more and more upset.  The next time a bus pulled in for another resort he called out 'come this way princess' and asked me to take his arm as he guided me over.  He explained the situation to the bus driver and asked her if she would make a special trip to drop me off after the the resort she was scheduled to go to.  Thankfully she agreed and after she'd done all her stops, dropped me off at the bus stop nearest my room, a move she certainly wasn't officially permitted to do as they are all strictly monitored and times so I greatly appreciated it. By now it was a while past 3am and all wanted was to safely get into bed.  I can't thank the janitor and bus driver enough for making sure I got home ok, I was very close to having sobbing having been stood there for hours!  I've travelled all over on my own and never thought Disney would end up being one of the places I felt unsafe.  

Do you have any bad experiences from the happiest place on earth?
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4 August 2017

Bloggers' Immersive Movie Night

One of the many things I enjoy about blogging is the amazing event opportunities it gives me, mainly because this is were I getting to meet and hang out with other bloggers.  It's how I met some of my best blogging friends and a great way to meet new people.  So when I was asked to attend a bloggers' immersive movie night and I had to say yes.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you will know I am normally a theatre person rather than film.  Theatre forces me to focus completely, watching films at home I often find myself using the time to get some writing done so I rarely take in a film properly.  I thought the idea of an immersive film experience at home crosses the gap between theatre and passive film watching, maybe this could be the thing to really make me focus in and pay attention to films?
We started our experience arriving at the venue to find the cutest set up and we were greeted by cocktails, the best way to enter a room anywhere right?  After meeting the other bloggers we were given quiz sheets and told there were clues scattered around the room to help us figure them out, and that there would be more surprises in store!  Naturally we fell into groups and after the encouragement of a few more cocktails and the delicious accompaniment of the film themed afternoon tea, we found ourselves getting more and more competitive as we tried to guess them all.
Now the event wasn't held just for the fun of it of course, in this case it was to promote Sony's latest range of TV's, the Sony OLED 4K TV.  Now the TV we currently have in the flat is one my other half bought over 4 years ago and although it does the job it's not exactly state of the art.  I was genuinely taken aback by how good the screen was on the Sony TV, in particular the travel photography looked absolutely stunning!  I'd happily use it just to flip through my travel shots all day they look so good!  Apparently it also has some crazy speakers that make sound actually come through the screen, so you don't need extra speakers.   I don't really understand the technicalities of how this worked but I can confirm it sounded awesome.
Suddenly our attention was grabbed as music pumped in and two incredible aerobatic performers entered the room.  To the sound of three film sound tracks (which it turns out were clues to three of our quiz questions) they performed some crazy stunts that made me wince and stand in awe all at the same time.  These were some truly talented performers!
From there it was back to the quiz, by this point we were getting closer and closer to completing it, with only a couple of questions we were truly stuck on.  It felt like the night might be wending down when suddenly someone burst into the room and announced a murder mystery had began!  We were given a program filled with clues and throughout the remainder of the night scenes were played out that helped us guess who the murderer was, and who was to be murdered, as even that wasn't revealed till the very end of the night!  With the cocktails and Prosecco flowing we got really into it, interrogating the actors on the finer details for their story as clues were revealed.  I had such a laugh doing this, there were times I was almost in tears, and maybe that's why I didn't do so well at the actually murder mystery part, as I got the murder and the motive totally wrong.  Of course I can't reveal who done it but I totally recommend the *** company if you are looking for a quick, fun and totally wild Murder Mystery event.
Despite my lack of investigative skills I still had an Oscar to take home for my efforts, and I didn't even have to make an embarrassing speech to get it!  A huge thanks to Sony and Curry's PC World for inviting me own for the immersive move night in, I really did have a blast!  Why not learn more about How to create an immersive movie night at home here/

Hows your film knowledge?

3 August 2017

Unmissable London Theatre Shows This Winter for Kids

It wouldn’t be winter without a trip to the theatre. Watching a play or a pantomime is a special treat for kids of all ages. There are some great shows to enjoy this winter, some of them old favourites and others new off the block.

To secure tickets to see a popular London show, you need to book tickets well in advance, as many shows sell out months ahead.

The latest Harry Potter extravaganza, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is sold out almost as soon as tickets are released. However, each Friday at 1 PM, 40 special tickets are released for both parts of the show, at a special price of £40. Visit this page and you can try your luck at buying up to two tickets.
Harry Potter is one of the top London Theatre shows this winter, but unless you are lucky enough to secure “Friday Forty” tickets or last-minute cancellations, you should check out the shows listed below. There are some truly unmissable shows in London this winter, so treat the kids – and yourself! – to a fabulous few hours at the theatre.

The Snowman

The Snowman, based on the much-loved book by Raymond Briggs, is a magical festive favourite for kids and adults. The show is beautifully performed, with stunning musical performances and choreography. There is even real snow!
You can take the kids to see The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre in Portugal Street, City of Westminster. The Snowman is on between 23 November and 31 December. Tickets are available direct from the theatre’s website and cost from £41.10. The show is 1 hour, 50 minutes long with a 20-minute interval in the middle.

The Gruffalo

Children’s favourite, the Gruffalo, is a magical adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Children aged 3 and above will love the tale of intrepid Mouse, as he takes a daring journey through the Wood in search of hazelnuts and tries to avoid becoming supper to a hungry Fox, an eccentric Owl, and a crazy snake.
This sell out show has toured the world, but you can catch it at the Pentland Theatre in London 24-29 November. Tickets are £14 or £11 for concessions. Please note, booster seats are not provided.

School of Rock

If your kids are budding rock superstars, they will love a trip out to the New London Theatre to see School of Rock. Based on the hit movie starring Jack Black, the stage show of School of Rock is tremendous fun. It received rave reviews during a successful run on Broadway, so you’re in for a real treat!
The School of Rock is on twice daily, apart from Tuesdays. Tickets are available online to buy on the theatre’s website from £18.30. The show is not recommended for under-fives.

Matilda

As top London theatre shows go, Matilda is one of the best for kids. Based on Roald Dahl’s classic book, Matilda is an award-winning show about a very talented little girl who is determined to rewrite her destiny. If your kids loved the book and the movie, they will adore the way the original storyline had been given a slight twist!
Matilda the Musical is on at the Cambridge Theatre on Earlham Street in WC2. The show is recommended for kids aged 6-years and above. Tickets are available from £24.50 for matinee and evening performances, every day apart from Mondays.

The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger is a wonderful new musical that received rave reviews when it opened at Southwark Playhouse. The Toxic Avenger is an aspiring scientist who meets an unfortunate fate when he’s thrown into a vat of toxic waste by corrupt officials. He is transformed into The Toxic Avenger, ready to take on the world as a new superhero!

Described as “an intoxicating blast of fun” in a 5-star review in the Daily Telegraph, The Toxic Avenger is enjoying an extended Autumn run at London’s Arts Theatre from 28 September to 3 December. Tickets are available from £21.90. The show is suitable for older kids aged 12+.

If none of the above shows fit the bill, consider taking the kids to see Aladdin, Wicked, Annie, or everyone’s favourite, The Lion King!

What theatre show are your children's desperate to see this Winter?
*This is a collaborative post

21 July 2017

How to Travel Like a Local in Krakow

Back at the start of May I headed to Poland for the first time for a long weekend in Krakow.  Not only did we tour the city itself but we used it as a base to head further afield to explore the Wieliczka Salt Mines and Auschwitz.  As a child my parents would always go for the easiest option and pay for an organised trip rather then look into alternative transport, but I’ve found it can be just as easy, and much cheaper, to do it yourself.  My experience of public transport in Krakow was nothing but great, so I thought I’d share with you how to do it and save your money for those polish Vodkas at the bar!


Trains

When you land in Krakow you will find the train station attached to the airport, it’s well sign posted and it’s the end of the line so it couldn’t really be easier to jump on and head to the centre of Krakow.  The ticket machines on the platform have English language options and are really easy to use, they are just like the ones in the UK.  The journey to Krakow centre takes around 17 minutes and costs 9PLN (around £1.88).  The trains run frequently, even on a Sunday.  


This same trains stops not only at Krakow Main Station but carries on through to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.  We got off at the main station to drop our bags off at the Airbnb before jumping back on the same route to lead to the salt mines, which cost a further 3PLN (around £0.63) and took around 22 minutes.  All the staff speak English and the main stops are announced in english also.  One thing to note about the trains in Poland is that they are all very punctual unlike ours in the UK.  Krakow Main Station is found within the main shopping centre and is easy to locate, with plenty of cheap food and drink options near by.  The trains were nothing but comfortable and couldn't have been easier, some even have power outlets and aircon.  You can even go straight from the airport to the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the 45 minute journey will still only cost you 12.50PLN (around £2.61).


Buses

Auschwitz is a lot further away from Krakow then the Salt Mines are so this is where you will see a lot of tourists opting for organised trips which often include a guided tour, however it is completely doable on your own.  I’m going to do a separate post on the ins and outs of touring Auschwitz when you're not part of an organised tour group but getting there is really cheap and easy.  


The bus station is around the corner from the train station, once you enter the main hub you will see all bus times displayed and ticket booths, were again all the staff speak English and Polish.  A one way ticket costs 7PLN (around £1.46, seriously!) for the 90 minute journey.  We headed to our numbered stop and again everything ran exactly on time.  I was surprised when the bus pulled up, it doesn't look at all like a normal UK public bus and instead a private mini bus.  It was a really comfortable ride and again we saw some amazing countryside, the time passed really quickly.  In fact there were hardly any stops and it was a really smooth journey.  The bus stop for Auschwitz is right outside the front of the museum so you couldn’t get closer, I think this probably a more pleasant journey then if you were paying for a private tour.  


Krakow itself is totally walkable, so I found no need for transport within the city itself.  Traveling beyond Krakow using public transport is a no brainer to me, every journey we took was cheap, easy, and completely comfortable.  I don’t know how any of it would have been better if booked privately, so go the public route and explore like a local!  

19 July 2017

Weekly Vlogs: June

You might have noticed this vlog update is a little late?  Well I'd love to give you an in depth reason but the truth is I just completely forgot about it!  I blame Pride for destroying my brain last month but it only occurred to be yesterday that I hadn't posted my vlog round up for June, so without further adeu let's get stuck right in:
Summer really felt like it was picking up this week as I was invited to the TwoRuba to check out their new summer coctail menu, saw the fantastic first part of Angels in America at The National Theatre and headed to Soho to check out the Powerpuff Girls Pop Up Shop.



In weeks 6 & 7 I share my George home wear, sleek makeup and hair product haul.  I have a go at making my own cocktail creation at home and head to Somerset to go camping for my first time outside of a festival!
Week 8 of weekly vlogging and I saw the fabulous Lady Bunny on stage at the Soho Theatre and was lucky enough to meet her after, headed to Brgr.Co for a food review and then drove up to Yorkshire where I got a new hair colour, went clubbing, booked a holiday, and headed to a family christening!  Phew!

So that's 2/12 months of weekly vlogging done, it's amazing how you can forget how you've done so much, especially while I had Pride taking over my life.  If you want to check out my videos as they happen don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you never miss a video!

17 July 2017

My Top 10 Must Have Apps

Raise your hand if you couldn’t live without your phone?  I’m certainly with you if can’t, I use it entertain me, to keep me up to date with friends, to inform me about the world and so much more.  For those of us in the blog community your phone feels especially essential, almost as if it’s your right hand.

Carphone Warehouse have produced the App Map of Great Britain showing the most used apps not just across the whole of Britain, but my region too, and it makes for some fascinating reading.  It goes beyond the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter and shows some of the less obvious apps too that we enjoy, it’s an interesting place to explore.  Inspired by this I thought I’d share with you the apps I find myself clicking on every day:

Fitbit

I was given a Fitbit as a birthday gift just over a year ago and I have to say I love it.  I can track my food and drink when I’m on the mood to do that, but the best part is how much it gets my butt moving when challenging friends!  There’s something so satisfying and a little devious about scheduling a weekend or weekday step challenge when you know you're gonna be on your feet that weekend kicking butt, I didn’t realise I was competitive until I got this app.  I’ve got quite a network of blogger friends
on there too so it’s fun to challenge each other.  


IFFTT

This little app came into my life sometime last year and although I don’t actually open it every day, I don’t know how I lived without it.  Essentially I set it up and haven’t needed to touch it since, yet it does so much for me.  Basically it creates macros for your social media accounts and does things so you don’t have to.  It’s a piece of software that sits in your phone and goes ‘if X happens, then do X’.  To give you an example, one I use is ‘if I post to Instagram, post the image to twitter as a native image’.  That’s how I get my Instagram images to show in my twitter feed without it being just a link, and it does it all for me automatically.  There’s tons of possibilities with this app, you can create your own or use one of the ones already programmed in, it’s a big help and a huge time saver.  


Snapseed

I discovered this app last spring and it’s made the biggest difference to my Instagram account.  I use this to edit all my Instagram photos now and I don’t touch filters.  You can do so much with this and it’s so quick and easy too, it’s actually easier to use and does more than the website I use to edit my blog pics.  I wish they had a desktop version!  It takes a little getting used to at first to find all the features but once you’ve got the hang of it it’s pretty intuitive, I recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their Instagram pics.


Citymapper

I was not in the least bit surprised when looking at the results of the app map to find out this app came out so highly amongst Londoners, it’s a miracle worker!  If you are visiting London or any major city I can’t recommend it enough.  Just put in where you want to go and where you are starting from. your current location and it’ll figure it out all the possible routes for you, including the time of the different journeys and the price.  It knows all the time tables of the Underground, buses and trains and can tell you even which carriage to be in for maximum time saving.  It’s saved me money and time, I wouldn't have explored any where near as much of London without this app, knowing I can find my way home in any situation.  It also has other features like rain safe mode, which will show you routes that avoid getting wet on a rainy day, and the price of an Uber for the journey if you just want to get there quickly and easily.  I used this when I was in NYC too, it’s a must have!


Airbnb

Another travelling app that I’ve taken to this year, I wouldn’t have done most of the travelling I have this year if wasn’t for Airbnb.  Solo travelling was just way too expensive before, now I use the app not only to look for last minute adventures but also to communicate with the place I’m staying when I’m on route.  It’s honestly changed my life for the better.  Use my code www.airbnb.co.uk/c/karissa to get £30 your first stay over £55 (I get £15 credit if you do this which I am most thankful for, more trips for me!).


BookBeat

You might have noticed in my other posts My Five Favourite Places to Listen to Audiobooks and Why I'm giving audiobooks another try that BookBeat has been a recently find of mine.  I love that I have access to books wherever I am with just a click of a button.  Don’t forget you can use my code https://www.bookbeat.com/uk/blogteam to get one month's free trial.


Podcasts

Remember a couple of years ago when Serial came out and the world went podcast crazy?  Well like many that was my first time listening to Podcasts and I’ve never looked back!  I listen to them every day and I’m subscribed to so many, mainly true crime (check out my 5 True Crime Podcasts for Lovers of Serial) and factual podcasts as that’s what interests me the most.  


Gardenscapes

Everyone must have a game on the phone and this one is mine, it’s kind of the same style as Candy Crush but it has a cute story.  It’s kind of dumb, but it’s fun to play and it’s one of those that only has 5 lives at a time which is exactly what I need if I want to get anything done ever!


Spotify

I really don’t think I make it clear enough on my blog just how much music means to me, then maybe on my Why I was never going to be ready for Funeral for a Friend ending post.  I’ve been a pop punk princess ever since I was a pre-teen blasting tunes makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, especially in the Summer.  I’m still too much of a skinflint to upgrade and pay for Spotify but hopefully soon, I love that it has almost every band I like on there, even the most obscure metal and industrial bands.


Fever

Whenever I have a free evening or weekend and just fancy doing something new Fever is a great place to jump on to find out what’s going on in London.  They have tons of deals on here from theatre, to food and drink, to big events.  It’s always worth a look to see what’s happening.  


So that’s my top 10, why not share yours in the comments below?
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