When I returned from France on Thursday, I had a little package waiting for me in very familiar ivory packaging with chic black details. Inside was the new fragrance from Jo Malone, Wood Sage & Sea Salt. If you've read my blog or watched my videos for a while, you'll know that I've been in love with Jo Malone since I first discovered it 5 years ago and whenever they launch a new scent I'm always eager to try it! I felt all icky from the plane and wanted to give this fragrance a proper test, so I jumped in the shower, got dressed to go out for the evening and then spritzed my first spritz of Wood Sage & Sea Salt.
I knew I loved it straight away. I'm quite like that with fragrance. The last new scent I tried from Jo Malone was Peony & Blush Suede, which I instantly knew wasn't for me as soon as I spritzed it. This scent, on the other hand, was love at first sniff! It's inspired by the fresh sea air and the mineral scent of rugged cliffs, which is so my cup of tea. It smells natural and fresh on my skin, with a slightly warm woodiness to it. It's not at all pretty, floral or girly, but I prefer fresher scents.
I'm usually not all that great at describing fragrance, but I loved this one so much I felt the need to dedicate a whole blog post to it!
The Wood Sage & Sea Salt collection is available from September 2014, let me know in the comments if you think this is a fragrance you might like! Also, let me know if you have any fragrance favourites that are similar to this as I'd love to try them.
If you've read my previous two blog posts, you'll know that I have been in Cannes with my boy, Jim. We are home now and can't stop talking about what a great time we had! This morning when I woke up, I joked with Jim as his eyes were still closed and excitedly said, 'come on! It's time for breakfast on the balcony!', I think I may have fooled him for just a second before he came back to reality.
On our third and final day in Cannes we decided to make the most of the beach. It was the hottest day of the three we'd been there so we were delighted to find out you could order a huge plate of watermelon right on the beach! It was so refreshing and yummy!
The only thing about going away just the two of us, is there was nobody to take a photo of us together! I know we could have asked a stranger, but we felt a bit awkward so we opted for a selfie. This is 2014 after all!
As we chilled out on our sunloungers, we couldn't help but think of the delicious ice-cream place we went to the night before. I think it was called 'Le Quirly', so if any of you are ever in Cannes you must go! Jim claimed it was definitely ice-cream-o-clock and I really had to try the Ferrero Rocher flavour that Jim had gone for the previous night, so we snuck off for a scoop! OMG the Ferrero Rocher one was SO GOOD.
Back at the beach I got stuck into my book. 'Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. I actually finished it yesterday and I have to say it now makes my 'all time favourite books' list. I loved how I got completely lost in the story and didn't want the magical journey to end. The way the author writes is just so beautiful, which makes it a pleasure to read. It's definitely something I would read again and again.
By about 5pm, the sky had clouded over, so we went inside to get ready for dinner. We went down early for dinner so we had time to browse in a few shops along la croisette and have a drink at the Martinez beach bar.
We shared some steak for dinner at a beach restaurant just a short walk away with a beautiful view. I love being by the sea :)
After dinner Jim and I went up to our room, I ordered my final Pina Colada of the trip and we played card games out on the balcony.
We played about 20 rounds of our favourite game, 'Take 2', and I won nearly every time!
That's it for my Cannes blog posts guys, I hope you've enjoyed reading them and seeing my photos as much as I've enjoyed documenting our trip. I love that I'll always have these blog posts to look back on and remember all the fun we had.
If you read my last blog post, you'll know that Jim and I escaped to Cannes for 3 days. We just got home last night and I'm missing it already! I wish I could go in a magic time machine and have the whole trip all over again! Who wants to come with me?!
I got so many lovely comments from you guys on my previous post and lots of you asked to see more from our trip, so here is what we got up to on day 2!
We started our day by eating breakfast on the balcony. I loved that we didn't rush down to the hotel breakfast buffet, instead we took our time to gaze out to sea and chat to eachother as we relaxed back into our chairs and nibbled on pastries.
I may have ordered too many eggs! My French is not up to scratch...
I posted an Instagram video of breakfast on the balcony and a few of you said how strange it was that I took my Emma Bridgewater Big Love mug with me to Cannes! Well, the thing is, I often get anxious when I go on holiday and struggle to enjoy myself because I get so worked up with worries. I know, I know, I sound crazy!...Holidays are supposed to be relaxing! I'm just weird. Let me know in the comment section if any of you get the same way too so I don't feel so crazy! Somebody suggested to me to try taking a couple of home comforts along with me to France. Now, I don't know if it was taking the familiar things from home that worked, or the other little strategies I was using, but I managed to have an anxiety-free holiday which is a huge deal for me, so I've come home feeling very happy indeed. Here's me looking quite contented with my Big Love mug full of tea!
After breakfast we headed straight down to the beach and spent most of the day soaking up the sun and frolicking in the sea!
We were super lazy and ordered lunch straight to our sun-loungers! It was SO YUMMY. The food at Plage 45 beach is simple, fresh and tasty.
That evening we had plans to go to Baoli for dinner, a famous Balinese themed restaurant. We lucked out and happened to be walking to dinner at sunset, it was pretty...
I would describe Baoli as an "experience restaurant", it's more about the setting, design and atmosphere of the place, rather than the quality of food. It was incredibly glamorous even at the entrance...
I ordered a Pina Colada (typical Tan!) and it came in a coconut! So cool!
Once we'd eaten, (I didn't photograph the food as it got very dark!), we decided to politely decline the dessert menu as Jim had a better idea - to sneak off to the late night ice-cream place near our hotel! I had a scoop of mint choc chip and it was delicious - my all time favourite ice-cream flavour.
I've loved reminiscing about our second day in Cannes whilst writing this post! I hope you guys have enjoyed reading it and looking at my photos :) Hopefully I haven't made you crave ice-cream too much! Check back tomorrow for my third and final Cannes blog post.
Jim and I have escaped away to the South of France for a couple of days of fun in the sun! We arrived at our hotel in Cannes on Monday and ran straight out to the balcony to check out our view. We've got a pretty great one!
I didn't gaze out at the sea for long before having to jump straight in it!
We had a gorgeous lunch at Plage 45 (a pretty little restaurant, right by the sea). We shared the burrata and then both had a plate of the "big prawns", which were very tasty!
I know some people hate feet photos, but little makes me happier than being barefoot on the sand :)
After a couple of hours, we came inside to de-sand ourselves and freshen up for dinner. I decided to wear no makeup to dinner as that's what holidays are for right? Here's what I wore...
Incase you guys didn't know, July 14th is French National Day, known as Bastille Day. The French celebrate with parties all over France, but Cannes is really the best place to be for Bastille Day, as they have a HUGE firework display. We had dinner in the front garden of our hotel at Le Park 45 restaurant with the idea that we would be in the best place for the fireworks at 10pm.
Here's my gorgeous dinner date, Jim.
Dinner was errrrrrrmmmm, interesting to say the least! We didn't realise before we sat down, but it was actually a rather posh restaurant. One of those places that put weird foam on EVERYTHING! I admit that I am no food connoisseur, however I appreciate good food, whether it's fish and chips from my local or amazing sushi at a great Japanese restaurant. This place was just too fancy and fussy for me! However the staff were really lovely so we still had a great time. Jim and I found it quite funny daring each other to try each dish first, as half the time we weren't sure what it was we were eating! Jim went first with the canapé...I would tell you what it was, but I have no idea!!
I just asked him to give me a quote about them and he said "foamy....and weird"
My face says it all!!!
My Pina Colada on the other hand, was the best I have ever tasted! That means a lot coming from me, Pina Coladas are my official holiday cocktail and I love them.
The starter was beautifully presented, but again, the taste was a bit strange!
Luckily my main course was delicious. Four tasty little red mullets with olive gnocchi. Jim's was yummy too, but you'll have to head over to his blog to see what he had ;)
At 10pm we suddenly realised the best view for the fireworks was probably from our hotel room balcony! We asked the waitress if it would be possible to bring our dessert up to the room and she kindly said yes. We hurried up to our room as the music for the fireworks began to start! A lady does a speech at the beginning for a couple of minutes, so we didn't miss a single firework. It was so cool looking out to sea and seeing all the yachts that had come in to watch the show. (The yachts are all the pretty lights in the middle of the sea!)
I wrapped up in my favourite Disney blanket and watched the most incredible firework display I've ever seen.
It was a magical end to a brilliant first day in Cannes.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this post and if you'd like me to blog about my second day in Cannes too! Sorry I haven't got a new video up since being here, the wifi is very slow. The second I get home tomorrow I will upload my Summer Haul video :)
Not sure why I chose this photo for this blog post, but I always like to have photos in a post and I didn't have anything to specifically go with this one as it's a bit different. I guess I liked that this post is about thinking positive and I look really happy in this picture :)
I actually wrote and posted this blog about a year ago, but even now I still get people emailing/tweeting me to tell me that it has helped them in some way. It makes me so happy to think that I could be helping you guys in any small way, so I thought I would re-post this for all my new followers who hadn't seen it yet. I haven't edited it at all, so here it is...
The reason I'm writing this post is because so many of you ask me to speak about my experience with anxiety and I've been putting it off (as it's not something I like to talk about) until I last visited my PO Box and found letters from some of you who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. I actually felt quite emotional reading them, a few of you said that even knowing that I have suffered with anxiety has helped you, as you can see how I stay positive and that it comforts you in some way knowing that you're not alone.
This is such a different side to me that you guys don't see, you see me on camera, usually for 10 mins once a week being very happy and smiley. Of course I'm not really anxious for the whole rest of my week, on the whole I am a really positive, bubbly, happy person, but I have my ups and downs just like everyone else in the world, and my downs are usually related to the fact that I sometimes struggle with anxiety. The only reason this came up in a video recently is because I was daily vlogging in LA at Vidcon and had a panic attack that day. 1 in 4 people suffer with some kind of mental illness like anxiety and depression. So even if someone seems perfectly happy on the outside, you never know what's going on in their head. Each persons' struggle is totally unique to them, for example, although my friend Zoe and I can relate to each other a lot as she also experiences anxiety, the things that make us panic are totally different. I've actually found it easier to open up and speak about my experiences with anxiety as I've got older and realised that so many people suffer with it in some shape or form. Turns out a handful of people I work with do, and even members of my close friends and family. It's just not something people like to talk about and I think that needs to change! Not in the way that I think people should dwell on their down times, but in the way that people should not be afraid to talk about it.
For those of you who don't know, anxiety is a feeling of worry, for me I find it easiest to describe as feeling unsettled. Sometimes the unsettled feeling can lead to panic. Everyone in the world feels anxiety, it's a normal emotional state, just some people have an abnormal amount of anxiety and feel anxious when there's nothing to be anxious about. A panic attack is a sudden rush of adrenaline caused by an uncontrollable level of anxiety. The scariest part for me was when I was younger as I didn't speak to anyone about it properly and I felt totally isolated and thought it was crazy. It totally ruined my self-esteem. When I was about 14 I couldn't sleep or eat properly for months as that was when my anxiety was at it's worst.
I'm not going to go into the depths of my personal issues today, I want to write this blog post purely to help those of you who have similar issues and maybe help you to think positively. What I will say though, to give you a bit of background, is that I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I mentioned in my 'Draw My Life' video that I thought it started at the age of 13. Last year I was suffering with anxiety quite badly and it was making my everyday life very difficult. On May 20th, I couldn't take it any more and reached out to a hypnotherapist I was recommended. It has honestly been life-changing. Not only is she working on my fears and worries, but she's also making me become aware and mindful of the influence that my thoughts day to day have on my life and teaching me to work with my thoughts rather than resist them. I know some people hear the word 'hypnosis' and think about someone dangling something in front of you and saying 'you are feeling verrrrrryyyyy sleeeeeeppppyyy' - well just thought I should let you know it's not like that at all! It's just a lot of talking really, not traditional hypnosis. I wanted to briefly talk about my story to give some of you who may be at your lowest point some hope. In early 2013 I was really struggling with my anxiety on a daily basis and it was stopping me doing things I would usually enjoy doing. I was making every decision based around my anxiety. A few months later, after working with a hypnotherapist (but also working with myself) I am feeling much better. It is October 2013 now (I am now adding to this post that was initially written in late August 2013) and I really believe I have kicked the main part of the anxiety and I want to let those of you know who are in a low place that you can get to a good place again. Something the lady I see says to me is "be kinder to yourself, it starts with you." It would take me all day to explain the way my therapist works, but it's about creating new neural pathways in your brain. I had learnt to be anxious from a very young age (subconsciously of course) and she has taught me (through hypnosis so reaching my subconscious and just general therapy) a different way of thinking and new neural pathways. I obviously still have my ups and downs, but I'm so much more balanced and can handle so many situations I wouldn't have been able to earlier in the year, I'm also feeling anxious a lot less, which is so great. I have seen therapists on and off since I was about 13, but had never stuck with one before, I would just do the odd session and expect it to work first time. All I can say is, stick with it guys! I am so so happy that I did and I wish you the best of luck.
Obviously my hypnotherapist has helped me massively so if you are struggling with anxiety please tell someone whether it be a doctor, friend or parent, just please don't feel alone. I just want to tell you guys a few little things that I use to give me a bit of "space" when I'm feeling anxious.
1. I ask myself "what if?" so whatever I'm worrying about, I ask myself "what if?" and then answer it and if I'm still anxious I ask myself "and….what if?" and keep going until it feels better in my head. It's kind of going down the "what's the worst that can happen?" route and reasoning with yourself.
2. I remind myself that this is an emotional state I'm in and that nobody ever has been stuck in the exact same emotional state forever, so no matter how anxious I'm feeling, I know I won't feel like this in a few hours, or the next day.
3. I do simple things like relax in a warm bubble bath and read a book. Never underestimate how valuable time to yourself can be.
4. Music is amazing too, it can totally uplift your mood and help you think positively. It doesn't necessarily have to be a song about how great life is, just a song that you enjoy. My favourite at the moment is Sonnentanz by Will Heard.
5. Meditation: I use calm.com and find this really helps to calm me and put things in perspective.
6. I use positive affirmations and quotes to help me feel stronger and remind me to think positively. I have lots written down, some I've found in books and online and some I've made up, (a little tip is to only make up your positive affirmations when you are in a positive mindset, don't try and do it when you're already feeling anxious or down as you'll find it much harder). Here are two things I say to myself a lot, it's incredible how much of a difference a few words can make if you really listen to them...
"Be Bright. Be Happy, Be You"
"You're Stronger Than You Think"
7. I use a calming technique my therapist talk me called "The 5 Stages Of The Sea". Close your eyes and imagine a really stormy, wild sea at night. Then imagine it starting to calm down, and calm down more and more, until it's dawn and the sea is perfectly still, the only noise you hear is a seagull passing by.
8. Try and stay in the moment. Don't fret too much about things that are happening in the future. Take each day as it comes.
I feel like I've been typing for ages even though I said I wouldn't go into too much detail with this post. This has been really tough for me to write and I am extremely nervous about clicking the publish button so please be nice in the comments. If this post helps even just one person, I will be happy. Although I'm not sure how my ramblings will possibly help!
I love you guys so much and want to thank you for always supporting me and being the best friends a girl could have :)