11   81
36   160
13   145
20   142
16   114
22   125
22   127
13   116

The Comfort Zone Challenge ft. Alys Journals

In the photo: Personalised Yoga Notebook from Papier / Random Notes of Encouragement from Bread&Jam / The Crumpet of Courage Postcard from Paperchase.

I was really excited when Alys from Alys Journals sent me an e-mail to ask if I wanted to do a collab with her. Yes please! I’ve followed Alys since forever, we share a love of travel, photography, journalling, creativity and so much more, plus we are both studying with The Open University. How cool! Her series conversations with anxiety is so relatable and I’m always in awe of her photography skills and inspired by her healthy vegan recipes. We have so much in common, it didn’t take us long to decide on a topic: stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Our challenge for the month of May was to find ways to push ourselves to try new (and scary) things and blog about our experiences. For my challenge, I wanted to improve my confidence, be brave and put myself in unfamiliar situations. As I was already a member of the gym, I decided a good place to start would be booking myself onto fitness classes I had never done before. And in the first week, I signed up to a class had never heard of called “Barre Concept”. Make sure you head over to Alys’ blog to see how she did with the comfort zone challenge too!

Lesson #1: The awkward feeling never really lasts long. 

Booking classes from the comfort of your own home is all good fun until you actually have to go to them. I admit, I was feeling apprehensive about this one, considering all I knew was that Barre Concept is a mix of ballet, Pilates and yoga. To make things even scarier, when I arrived, all the women were in a tiny room, surrounded by bright pink bouncy balls, all chatting and laughing like they had known each other for years. Yikes. I plucked up the courage to go in, found a little spot at the back, stood there awkwardly for what felt like forever (actually 2 minutes), until our teacher came in and the class started. I soon relaxed into it, and naturally I really enjoyed it. Proud comfort zone moment right there.

Lesson #2: The things we worry about don’t actually happen. 

The following week was yoga. Now, I already know a bit about yoga having practiced from the comfort of my own lounge using Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. But this is a comfort zone challenge after all, so I needed to go get out there and find my fellow local yogis. On the day, I was half-tempted to cancel the class, as it was at 12:30 and I was hungry and paranoid about my stomach rumbling in the silence of savasana (the quiet chill out pose at the end). But, I pushed my anxieties to one side, grabbed my mat and forced myself to go. Yes, the class was good, and no, my stomach didn’t unexpectedly rumble. It’s funny what we worry about.

Lesson #3: Embrace the unexpected.

This week I was expecting to try a nice jolly Zumba class, and even though dance moves aren’t my strong point I wasn’t feeling too worried about this one. That was until about five minutes before it was due to start. Outside, I casually asked one of the ladies if this was the right class, in which she replied “Zumba has been cancelled for two weeks, instead it’s a workout called Insanity” Me: “Oh okay, is it hard?” Lady: “Yes, last week people even walked out”.  I could have bottled out there and then but knowing I was doing the comfort zone challenge I felt I needed to go through the door. There were only six of us in the class and it was an high intensity workout (think: squats, push ups, planks, burpees, you name it). But, I sweated through and survived and actually felt super proud of myself afterwards.

Lesson #4: New challenges can re-energize you.

I took a week off trying new classes as my energy was low and I wasn’t feeling particularly courageous. I felt like I was in some kinda slump but couldn’t put my finger on why, so to shake things up again I booked myself onto Zumba Strong. I thought I would ease myself back in gently to the comfort zone challenge with a bit of hip shaking and Latino dance moves. Oh, how wrong was I. Zumba Strong is pretty much a bootcamp in a rock club. It’s almost identical to Insanity if not a bit harder as every move is synced to the beat of the song. It was an insanely tough high intensity workout with an awesome soundtrack. After the workout, I was buzzing and had the most productive day. My energy had returned and I felt ready to push myself again. It’s amazing how leaving your comfort zone can make you feel. 

It’s now the beginning of June and officially my Comfort Zone challenge is over. However, each experience taught me something new and I want to continue developing my confidence, so I guess the Comfort Zone challenge is never really over. I hope you enjoyed reading and make sure you head over to Alys’ blog to see how she did with the comfort zone challenge too!

Have you ever tried a comfort zone challenge? Or have tried Barre Concept, yoga, Insanity or Zumba Strong? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Pink Parcel Review

Being a blogger is full of surprises, you never know which opportunities or products will come your way next. On Tuesday afternoon, I received an e-mail asking if I would like to review a Pink Parcel box and on Wednesday morning it arrived on my doorstep. Speedy service or what! Pink Parcel is a next-gen wellness trend for women when they’re on their period. It is a luxury monthly subscription box which predicts what you might need during ‘that time of the month’, and arrives at your door before you even realise you need it!

Pink Parcel includes a range of femcare products as well as a selection of surprises including tea, chocolate, beauty and lifestyle products. I thought this was a really cool concept and was excited to see what goodies I would get in my box…

When you open the box, there are three smaller boxes labelled ‘for you’, ‘for night’ and ‘for later’ and a cute little pink bag. I opened the ‘for you – a little something to cheer you up’ box first and was found SEVEN amazing treats:

I had tea, snacks and a range of beauty products – this is definitely an instant pick me up! As I have very limited beauty knowledge, I had to use my old friend Mr. Google to tell me a bit more about these products.

Dr Botanicals – Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil (15 ml): From Dr Botanicals: This Moroccan Rose infused Facial oil is packed full of minerals and vitamins, all working together to rejuvenate, renew and protect skin. Rich in antioxidants and moisturising properties to keep your skin protected and hydrated when it needs it most. It contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Almond Oil. It’s vegan certified, contains only natural products and Dr Botanicals products are never tested on animals. This one product retails at £29.90 and considering the Pink Parcel monthly subscription only costs £12.99 including P&P, you are seriously getting your moneys worth and more!  I started using this product last night and wow, it smells absolutely gorgeous. 

Balance Me Hyaluronic Plumping Mist (5 ml)From Balance Me: Hyacare 50 is derived from a probiotic and boasts anti-oxidant properties which penetrate deeply into all layers of the skin, leaving it looking and feeling plumped and calm. Chamomile water provides immediate relief for sensitive and hormonal skin, calming redness and irritation, whilst pineapple fruit extract brightens skin and balances oily or dry complexions. This is the perfect handbag companion when you are on your period, it is so refreshing and soothing. This travel sized bottle retails at £6.00.

Optiat Pick Me Up Coffee Scrub (10 ml): From Optiat: A blend of used Arabica coffee grounds and lemongrass essential oils, our Lemongrass Lifter refreshes you after working up a sweat. The coffee grounds act as a natural exfoliator, whilst the caffeine stimulates blood flow, effective against cellulite and stretch marks. The shea butter base hydrates and moisturises the skin post-scrub! The product is 99% natural, vegan and cruelty-free. I love that this product is encouraging you to keep fit and healthy and use after a workout.

Whittard English Rose TeaAccording to Whittard: this is a black tea imbued with subtle floral flavours and scattered with rose petals. Deliciously delicate and seductively sweet, a single sip brings to mind rolling hills, church bells and country gardens: perfect for a picnic on the village green. Sounds just like my cup of tea! There is nothing more comforting than a cuppa when it’s that time of the month (or any time of the month for that matter). I’ve never tried this flavour tea before, so it is awesome the Pink Parcel has included an unusual flavour to sample.

Ape Coconut Snacks – These bites are brand new and only contain 5 natural ingredients: Coconut, Coconut Nectar, Tapioca Starch, Cocoa Powder & Rock Salt. They are vegan and gluten free so make the perfect healthy snack to be enjoyed with your English Rose tea. I had never heard of this brand before, but after sampling the snacks I will definitely be keeping my eye out for these in the future. They do a range of different flavours but I think Pink Parcel made the right choice in picking the chocolate version!

Puckr Up Lip Plumper (1.2 ml): From Puckr up: This long lasting, light weight lip plumper can be used alone for a naturally full lipped look or under your favourite colour for a high impact pout, all without a fuss. Infused with VBE it’s designed increases blood flow to the lips for fuller lips that last for hours! As a self-confessed amateur when it comes to beauty, I over-enthusiastically sampled this last night and woah, it felt like I had fell face first into a pile of stinging nettles for a few minutes. I failed to read the instructions that said start with a low dose and increase it based on your own comfort level. Next time I will be a bit more careful as I found out the hard way that a little goes a long way!

Jelly Pong Pong The Super Matte: From Jelly Pong Pong: A beautiful intention to rejuvenate and moisturize the skin at once sealed within this simple yet effective lipstick with a super matte finish. Thanks to the Cucumber and Dragon Fruit’s enormous skin conditioning superpower, your lips remain silky smooth and lusciously hydrated throughout the day. This product is vegan, has no mineral oil, no parabens, no phthalates and is hypoallergenic. It retails at $22 which is £16.55. I gotta say I absolutely love the packaging – it’s so bright and eye catching.

Already these products come to over £35 and you get a range of cool samples to try too. Considering a monthly subscription of a Pink Parcel costs £12.99 including P&P I think this is a real bargain. 

In the other two mini boxes are a range of femcare products. Once you sign up, you can choose from tampons, pads, or a mix of both. All products are from trusted femcare brands: Tampax, Bodyform, Lil-lets, Always and Kotex. I was impressed with the amount I received (18 pads in three different varieties and 12 tampons. It comes with a cute pink cotton bag to keep your sanitary items discreet and easy to find in your handbag.

If you would like to order a box you can choose from 4 different membership options: monthly, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. Click here for more information. You can cancel anytime and the only strings attached are on the tampons (ha ha ha… I just thought of that one all by myself, how funny I am).

Overall, I am really happy with this months box. I love that each product has been specially hand picked so only the best quality items are included. All the beauty products are vegan, natural and cruelty free. The snacks are natural and gluten free and overall this box also promotes a healthy lifestyle. It’s such a nice way to cheer yourself up and have something to look forward to every month. For more information check out Pink Parcel’s website. 

Have you subscribed to Pink Parcel? Is this something you would be interested in? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. You can follow the Pink Parcel on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

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‘My First Time’ 30 Questions Tag

I saw this idea on Em’s blog the other day and really liked it. It got me thinking about my firsts and a quick internet search found me this list of questions, I’ve added a few of my own too. Let’s go!

Here is the ‘My First Time’ 30 Questions Tag.

First app you check when you wake up in the morning?

I always check my e-mails first (I actually have no idea why as nothing exciting ever arrives in the night). Then I check Twitter & Instagram and probably spend way too long on these apps before doing anything remotely productive with my day.

First broken bone?

First (and last, fingers crossed!) was my arm. I broke it at a family theme park when I was about 10. I was coming down a slide and crashed into another kid at the bottom and my arm took the impact. Ouch. I used tell the story that my mum never believed me and sent me to school for days before she eventually took me to the hospital, which apparently wasn’t even slightly true.

First foreign country you ever visited?

I went to Tenerife in 2000 with my mum & sister.

My first make-up item?

I was never really a make-up kinda girl so it was probably some freebie from J-17, Bliss or Sugar (please tell me someone else remembers these magazines?!)

My first ever tape or CD?

My first tape (oh I sound old now) was Thriller by Michael Jackson. My first CD was either Spice Girls or Peter Andre. Yay for the cheesiness!

My first car?

I had a little red Nissan Micra but it’s only purpose was Simba and Zazu’s private taxi for vet appointments. I much prefer walking places so my mum now owns that car.

My first Celebrity crush

Robbie Williams! I was obsessed! I had every single, album, video, magazine clipping, I even made a website for him and my room was covered with hundreds of Robbie posters. I was such a fan girl.

My first cooking experience?

The Girl Guides tried to teach us to make a bonfire and cook sausages but my friend & I ordered a Dominos instead. Our leader was less than impressed and we didn’t last very long in the guides.

My first ever boyfriend/girlfriend?

I was at school and he said I was ‘the fittest girl in Year 10’ which pretty much won me over. We lasted a few months before he cheated on me whilst I was on holiday in Disney Land. Oh the secondary school drama.

My first ever mobile phone?

One of those Nokia house bricks which was only useful for playing Snake.

My first fear?

Dogs. I used to be petrified of dogs after a couple of big Alsatians chased me along the beach when I was younger. I’ve lost the fear over the years but I still cross the road when I see a scary looking one.

My first internet activity?

MSN messenger? Faceparty? Yahoo chat rooms? Napster? I can’t remember which came first but those were the good old days, right?!

My first job?

I worked in McDonalds when I was at college at 16 and was given free food every single shift. It was cool at the time and I thought I was living my best life but I’ve not eaten a McDonalds since.

My first language?

English. I did a bit of French at school but can only remember how to say ‘ est la poubelle’ (Where is the bin?)

First musical instrument?

I played the recorder and used to always annoy everyone with my squeaky rendition of Celine Dions – My Heart Will Go On.

My first pet?

Simba! I got Simba as a kitten in 2013 and 4 weeks later Zazu came along. They are brothers from different fluffy mothers.

My first piercing and when did I get it?

I got my ears pierced when I was at school. When I was 16 I got my tongue done and lip pierced twice. Ya know, rebelling and all that.

My first tattoo?

I don’t have any tattoo’s and don’t think I’ll get any either. I am way too indecisive to know what I want.

My first soft toy?

I had a soft toy clown with long dangley legs and blue hair and I called him Jake. Jake was my favourite. I tried to bin him once but my sister rescued him.

My first thought today?

What day is it?

My first time on a ship?

A ship? I think it’s more likely to be the Isle Of Wight ferry.

The first book I remember reading?

It was probably an Enid Blyton Secret Seven book. Those kids knew how to have epic adventures.

The first concert I ever attended?

I saw New Found Glory back in 2002 at Southampton Guildhall. I keep all my gig tickets as I am sentimental like that.

The first film I remember seeing?

I remember always watching Home Alone every Christmas growing up. I still love that film.

The first person I talked to today?

I spoke to my mum on the phone.

The first text I sent today?

I text Shaun to say good morning.

The first thing I do every morning?

Feed the cats. They won’t let me do anything until they have had their breakfasts.

The first thing I do when I get home?

Put on my comfy clothes. If I am wearing my jeans I don’t feel like I’m in total relaxation mode so I live in yoga leggings or shorts around the house.

The first time you ever got drunk?

My friend and I discovered my dad’s beer stash when we were supposed to be doing last minute revision for our Biology GCSE. We decided to have one to settle our pre-exam nerves. Of course, being teenagers we drank it all and went to the exam drunk. Sensible, right. However, I passed it and I still, to this day, have no idea how I managed it.

When did you go to your first party?

My sister and I used to have birthday disco’s every year with party bags and everything. I wish we still did that, those discos were the coolest.

I hope you enjoyed reading these! Feel free to copy and paste these questions if you want to answer them on your blog. Link me in the comments to your posts, I’d love to read your responses. Have fun!

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Phone Case Giveaway with Cover My Bits

If you follow the lovely Lauren (Bournemouth Girl) on Twitter, you may have already heard of Cover My Bits. Lauren hosted an exciting giveaway not so long ago for a chance to win one of their fab cases. Once I saw their super cool range of cases, I knew I wanted one! This week, I have also been lucky enough to team up with the Cover My Bits people to give you all the opportunity to win a phone case from their brand new Initial Collection. 

Cover My Bits (what a cool name, don’t ya think!) offer a huge range of cases to cover iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG and Sony phones. They also have a fun and vibrant range of Tablet cases too. If you like inspirational quotes, floral fruits, cute pastels and personalized cases then this site is for you!

I was kindly gifted my very own phone case and I got to choose the one I wanted from their extensive range. As soon as I saw these adorable llamas though I knew I needed them in my life. Other designs I had my eye on were the green avocados, pink doughnuts and colourful lollipops.

You can completely customize your order and choose whether you want a wallet case, hard case, rubber case or protective case. Sometimes I feel a bit like a 50-year-old auntie with my preference for the wallet phone cases, but these llamas make me feel cool again. I’m also a fan of the wallet case as it guarantees my phone is protected. I use my iPhone for EVERYTHING and the amount of times I’ve dropped it on the floor is getting ridiculous now.

If you are looking for a brand new phone cover, then you are in luck my friend. Cover My Bits are offering the chance for one lucky Twitter follower to win their very own personalized case from their Initial Collection. All you have to do enter is:

  1. Follow me on Twitter @hellobexa

  2. Follow Cover My Bits on Twitter @covermybits

  3. RT my pinned tweet 

That’s it! I will pick the winner at random on Friday 18th May 2018 at 6pm. Good luck to everyone who takes part!

What kinda phone case do you prefer? Wallet cases or hard backs? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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