Tayla Hunter: Empowerment through fitness

Welcome to my first blog in a Health and Wellbeing series which looks at what ‘feeling good’ means to all of us.

Back in January I wrote a blog all about my personal journey but rather than go on about my experiences, I’m keen to share other people’s stories. I want to gather together the experiences of different people with varied interests in the hope that we can inspire or provoke better discussions about physical and mental wellbeing – for everyone.

My first interview is with Tayla Hunter. Tayla is a Crossfit champ and has recently placed first in her first Bikini Body Building competitions. Tayla and I worked together a long time ago at British Home Stores and I have been in awe watching her health and fitness journey unfold on social media. You can check it out on her Instagram: @Taylahunter_.

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Tayla’s level of commitment to her own self-care is pretty inspiring so I was eager to find out more about how she achieves this in a world that’s centred around junk food and junk thoughts. When you look at a photo of Tayla today – it’s hard to imagine that this person was ever ‘just like me’: someone who was intimidated by the gym, unable to focus, and dealing with disordered eating. But like all of us, Tayla’s journey starts right at the beginning:

When I turned seventeen, I joined the gym. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was too scared to touch any weights as I felt really intimidated in the gym and had absolutely no confidence in myself so I stopped going.

So how did Tayla go from having no self-confidence to competing in Crossfit and bodybuilding competitions?

After giving up on the gym the first time around, Tayla continued to struggle with her body image and unhealthy patterns of eating. It was only when she went to study in America and gained weight that she decided she’d had enough:

I felt really low about myself and totally shut myself off from the world.

Tayla made the decision to put herself first and started teaching herself about training and nutrition. It started off simple: googling ‘leg day’ or ‘shoulder day’ to discover more about weight lifting. Fast forward a few years, Tayla was training hard and eating well.

But how do you sustain something like that? I know from personal experience that motivation is easier when you’ve got a big goal to work towards but quite quickly consistency and dedication can turn into bad habits and laziness. After losing the weight, Tayla felt like she plateaued and was bored of training on her own so in 2017 she joined Crossfit BIA 2.0 in Kilmarnock and fell in love.

Coach Scott Dickson pushed me out my comfort zones, got me lifting heavy weights and pushed me to be the fittest, fastest and strongest possible version of myself.

Within a year of starting Crossfit, she entered the Rainhill Trials competition in Manchester with no expectations other than taking part:

I worked my butt off training six times a week (sometimes twice a day). I was super nervous on the day of the competition as I was up against some females who had been training for years.

However, Tayla defeated her own expectations and placed first on the day.

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From an outside perspective, one of the key questions I had about Tayla’s journey was how she stays motivated. It’s so easy nowadays to get distracted with a bombardment of emails, scrolling through social media or trying to keep on top of housework. It’s difficult to make your health a priority. Tayla’s advice is fantastic and something that I think anyone can incorporate into their routine, including a sloth like me.

I write myself a power list every day of 5 things I want to achieve by the end of it and since I’ve started that, I’ve became so much more productive.

I love lists and think the idea of a ‘power list’ is inspirational. It made me ask myself ‘what would empower me today?’ This might be fitness goals like achieving a personal best on a particular weights machine at the gym or mastering a new pose at a yoga practice. But a ‘power list’ could include anything that makes you feel good. Eating a nutritious meal? Taking five minutes to meditate? Calling a friend to catch up?

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At the end of the day, fitness should be about self-care and self-love. Something Tayla herself has struggled with. Like many young women, she has dealt with “disordered eating patterns and body dysmorphic behaviour” from a young age. Wellbeing is ongoing and ever-changing, I don’t think anyone gets it right all of the time but Tayla says education is her number one tool for combatting self-doubt and negative habits.

I began to further educate myself thoroughly on nutrition and exercise. Listened to podcasts, read books, opened my mind and started to believe, that with the right tools, I could make a positive change in my life. I’m now clued up on foods, exercise and fitness. And I’m now in a much healthier and happier place. What’s best of all – I am not controlled by food anymore and I don’t exercise purely out of ‘guilt’. It’s been a long process for me, but with consistency came change.

That’s a beautiful thought: eating to satiate your body, not being controlled by cravings or fad diets, and exercising because it feels good not because you want to burn off the pizza you ate last night.

So what’s next?

Tayla refuses to get complacent and since our interview she placed first in the Nabba Scotland Bikini Figure 2019 and PCA Scotland Bikini Trained 2019.  In the future she would like to start her own personal coaching business.

“I’m so passionate about health, wellbeing and fitness and I know that I can help others in their own journey to a place of healthy body and healthy mind. I’m not at the point in my life right now where I feel I am able to provide the best service due to my own training commitments, but when the time is right, I’ll be ready to give back to those who have supported me throughout my own journey.”

Well, I for one, have been inspired by Tayla’s journey. I don’t think I’ll ever be a Crossfit champion or entering bikini competitions but Tayla’s story proves that if you educate yourself and you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. I’m excited to see what challenges she takes on next!

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Tayla’s top tips

Be consistent

  1. With consistency comes results
  2. Changes don’t happen overnight – you need to be patient with your body.
  3. Log your training sessions – what did you do that day? How many sets and reps did you do? Did you lift heavier than last time? Did you run a little faster than last time? If so… your improving!!

Don’t over complicate things

  1. Baby steps – even if it is just tracking your steps on your phone at first. You don’t need to join a gym straight away.
  2. Find something you enjoy doing whether that’s a Zumba class, a spin class, a running club, Crossfit, swimming etc

‘Diet’s’ don’t work.

  1. You need a change in lifestyle in order to make sustainable progress.
  2. These fad diets set you up for failure straight away from the beginning.
  3. Follow a lifestyle that you can be consistent with – It’s all about balance – eat nutritious foods, train hard too but also have that chocolate bar if you want it and don’t feel guilty about it. Life is for living.
  4. Stay away from the magazine ’14 day bikini body’, diets and the devil herbal drinks and fat loss shakes – they do not work – they are a temporary solution that will not allow sustainable progress!
Follow Tayla on Instagram to keep track of her competition prep. 

Health

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the festive period and are now moving into 2019 feeling positive and excited for what lies ahead. I’ve decided to write a blog which is quite out of my comfort zone but that’s a good thing. I’m writing about…HEALTH.

Time to face the facts. I am quite an unhealthy person. I am addicted to junk food, I don’t exercise at all and my mental health is often quite poor. I’m frequently fatigued, feel low and get out of breath just walking up stairs. Yikes!

At the age of 24, this is NOT where I want to be. So I’ve decided to set myself some healthy and realistic goals for 2019 and want to invite my friends and family – and anyone who is interested – to join me on my journey.

Goal sharing

The main reason for sharing this very personal journey with you right now is because there are proven benefits of goal sharing and I am much more likely to achieve if I have said it out loud. Mostly because it keeps me accountable for my actions. I see you all as my accountability partners. If you’re interested in the psychology behind goal sharing I found this blog a helpful read.

What do I want to achieve?

  1. Activity. I don’t intend to join a gym and go to 4+ fitness classes a week. I have tried to throw myself in at the deep end in the past and failed to achieve consistency several times. I want to increase my activity by walking more, driving less, getting the stairs instead of lifts and generally standing more. After all, standing is the new smoking. I would also like to attend yoga for both physical and mental reasons.
  2. Nourish. I am NOT on a diet. I have been dieting on-and-off since I was about 16 and so far I am still overweight. I’ve tried Slimming World, Cambridge Weight Loss, Ketogenic diet etc and, personally, I find they work in the short-term but I gain weight quickly after. I’m not disparaging those who find this works because I know it does for lots of people. In 2019, I want to take a non-diet approach which focuses on adding lots of healthy, colourful and nourishing food to my diet and where possible ditching high processed carbs and sugary foods. I’m not restricting myself and I’m not punishing myself or attaching morals (‘good’ and ‘bad’) to food because it’s incredibly unhelpful to me. I’m sure you all know how it feels to be on a diet then fall off the wagon with a Chinese or pizza and you beat yourself up about it and make yourself feel like a failure. Not good. If you want to know more about a non-diet approach to eating, have a read at this blog.
  3. Relax. Stress is a huge factor in all of our lives and it’s something I want to become better at managing – mostly through my first goal of activity but also through regular meditation practices. I will also work on using social media less because this is a huge factor in feeling a bit rubbish about myself. I wrote a blog called Breaking Up With The Internet a while ago which talks about this in more detail.
  4. Sleep. I have been fortunate to never really suffer from insomnia. Unfortunately though I have had long bouts of hypersomnia where I find myself needing to sleep for 12-14 hours every day to feel remotely human. To work on having better quality sleep I plan to reduce my caffeine intake, reduce time spent in front of a screen and create a positive sleep routine which I follow as much as possible. I actually wrote a blog about sleep a while ago which you can read here.

What to expect

I want to write regularly about my health journey and share tools and resources that I have found helpful along the way.

I would also like to share the stories of friends and family who have successfully managed to change their health for the better using lifestyle so please do get in touch if you have any tips.

Love April x

April 2018 Favourites

It’s officially been one year since Jamie and I moved into our flat and if you’ve been following The Fourth Month on Instagram you will see I’ve been really interested in interiors over the past 6 months or so. This is partly because I’ve been working in a stunning country and period interiors store, Saks and Hart, since January. And partly because I’ve also been trying to make our rented flat feel more like home.

So most of my favourites for April 2018 are interiors related but I’m hoping to do something bookish shortly since I’ve been reading a bit more lately.

Let me know what you think of my faves this month and I’d love to hear what you’ve purchased recently.

Enjoy x 


Rae Dunn artisan collection by Magenta

I’ve been drooling over Rae Dunn pottery on Instagram for a while now. They are just the perfect addition to any farmhouse-style home. They’re so unique and the use of font really appeals to the publisher in me. So on my birthday, when Jamie asked me what I wanted, he was a bit surprised when I said I wanted… bowls. TK Maxx are currently stocking a small amount of Rae Dunn for a very reasonable price. I got my bowls for £3.99 each and my ‘Let’s Eat’ platter for about £12.


Stone jug and eucalyptus

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This is one of my favourite Saks & Hart purchases! It’s a very rustic and traditional style stone jug and I’ve paired it with two stems of artificial eucalyptus. I’m currently filling out our flat with artificial flowers and greenery to give it a vibrant springtime feel. I just think the splash of green makes a home feel more lived in. The jug was only £15 and it’s still available in the Dalgarven, Kilwinning store. You can also get something really similar at Homes Direct 365 and you can get three sprigs of eucalyptus on Amazon for £8.99.


Bobble Bath Mat from Cologne and Cotton

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This bathmat was another Instagram discovery and when I saw it, I knew I had to have it. This adorable little bath mat trimmed with fun bobbles was an ideal addition to my neutral bathroom. It’s 100% pure cotton, fully washable and it feels so soft when you step onto it. Plus it’s only £16, which I thought was a bargain for such a good quality product!


Birchbox UK x Cath Kidston (April 2018)

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I used to subscribe to Birchbox a while ago but cancelled to save pennies. However, when they announced their Cath Kidston collaboration, there was no way I was missing out. I’m obsessed with Cath Kidston – I have Cath Kidston mugs, socks, a hot water bottle, purse, meal planner… the list goes on. So I had to get this gorgeous Birchbox. I was slightly disappointed because one of my products arrived dirty but I’ve reported this to Birchbox and hopefully it will get sorted. Other than that I was in love. That gorgeous Cath Kidston print and a Cath Kidston hand cream! I also got a lovely brow gel, mini blush, mini highlighter, a make up brush cleaner, free Spectrum brush, and hair volume spray. All for only £12.95 (including postage). I’d say that’s pretty good going.

If you fancy subscribing and trying Birchbox yourself, follow this link and you’ll receive £5 off your first box!* 


WHAT ARE YOU LOVING THIS APRIL? WE ARE STARTING TO SEE SUNSHINE AND IT’S TIME TO WELCOME PASTEL COLOURS AND FLORAL EVERYTHANG. DO YOU HAVE ANY GO-TO PRODUCTS FOR SPRING? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS OR ON INSTAGRAM.

*for the sake of transparency, I will also receive £5 off when you sign up

Upcycling project: TV unit

Recently I completed my first upcycling project and although it’s not perfect, I am really pleased with the overall finished result and thought I would share the process with all of my readers.

I was really inspired to start upcycling by my good friend Victoria and Jo from @littlevillagehouse on Instagram, who have both created some amazing pieces through recycling old furniture.

So Victoria and I ventured off to local charity shops to see what I could find. Because Jamie and I live on a budget, most of my furniture is secondhand (from family members) or bits and pieces from Ikea so I was really excited about the prospect of having something unique to call my own. I had been looking at corner TV units online for a long time. I had been drooling over the Huxley Corner TV Stand from Next but I just couldn’t warrant the price tag at this stage in our lives/careers.

I found this sturdy corner TV unit at a charity shop in Kilmarnock for only £10. Instantly, I had a vision of how it could look with grey paint and fresh handles. I love country and farmhouse style furniture and accessories (even though I live in a top-floor flat in a busy town) so I could definitely imagine the unit fitting in perfectly.

My friend had lots of furniture paint leftover from her own projects so we used that to paint it. It was Rust-Oleum’s ‘chalky finish’ furniture paint in the colour Flint, which you can get in Homebase or Argos. Before painting, we gave it a light key with fine sandpaper to help the paint stick. It really didn’t need much so if you’re doing this yourself make sure you’re not too heavy-handed.

After sanding, we used a combination of a small sponge paint roller, for large flat areas, and a little paint brush, for corners and edges. Once the paint was dry, Victoria kindly touched up any rough spots and – voila – it was ready for its new home. Depending on the desired finish, you might want to use more than one coat but I like the shabby-chic look and felt the one coat gave great coverage.

The original handles were cute and gave a vintage feel to the unit but because I wanted to give it a complete facelift, I decided to replace the old handles with farmhouse-style cup handles and picked a cute knob for the main cupboard in the centre. These were super cheap from Amazon. The cup handles were only £2.79 for 6 and the knob was £2.90. Click on the images below to get your own!

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Overall, I am so pleased with the finished result and it feels magical that not only do I have a piece of unique furniture that I really like, and that cost me less than £30 in total, but that I made it with my own hands. As someone that suffers periodically with bouts of bad mental health, I’ve found creative projects like this to be super helpful and healing. There are a couple of chipped bits around the base, which I need to sort out, but imperfections are a part of life so who cares? There is something amazing about seeing it in my living room and knowing that it’s one-of-a-kind and special to us.

What do you guys think? Have you tried some upcycling?

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Follow me on Instagram for more home and interiors updates!

Friction Free Shaving razor subscription

I’ve been meaning to blog about Friction Free Shaving’s razor subscription for a while because I think more people need to know about it. This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by FFS; I just love their products!

Friction Free Shaving (FFS) is a genius service that you need in your life.* This is a life-saver if, like me, you’re a bit low-maintenance or forgetful. Using old blades is so bad for your skin; is unhygienic; and prevents you from getting a really close shave. With monthly or bimonthly deliveries, I never have to remember to pick up fresh blades at the supermarket and my legs can be silky smooth at all times. Plus it’s really good value for money.

*if you choose to shave! The choice is totally up to you, of course, and you should never feel obligated to remove any of your body hair. If you rock natural hair, good, If you don’t, good. Your body = your choice. 

When you first order from FFS, you get to choose from three razors ranging from £5 to £9 (Rose, Silvia and Frankie). You can even get your razor engraved for ultimate personalisation (free engraving worth £6 if you click here*) and pick some add-ons like pre-, post- and during shaving creams and balms. The more luxurious options include a stunning rose-gold metal razor with 6 blades and the world’s first chrome razor designed especially for women. I went for the basic Frankie razor with 3 ceramic coated blades and a lubricating vitamin E strip for extra moisture. It feels heavy and sturdy and the blade has 90-degree movement, which is great for around the ankles and knees. Plus it’ll only set you back £5.

Once I received my first order (the razor and a set of 4 refills), I could choose to have my refills delivered straight to my doorstep at a frequency that suits me (every month or every second month). I get the Frankie blades delivered every two months, which suits me perfectly, as I can change my blade every two weeks. But if you would like to change them weekly, you could go for the monthly delivery.

I’d also like to point out that the customer service at FFS is amazing. I have to admit that I considered cancelling my subscription during winter because, let’s face it, your shaving frequency is significantly less than during the summer months. However, instead of cancellation, the lovely Amber at Friction Free Shaving offered to put me on their ‘winter setting’ which allowed me to either swap my next set of blades for one of their tubed products or postpone my subscription to give me time to use up the blades that I currently have. I thought this was a great personal touch because I didn’t want to cancel forever but I didn’t want to waste my cash on surplus refills. 

So if like me, you are always looking for ways to maximise productivity in your day-to-day life, subscribe to FFS and you’ll never have to remember to buy fresh razor blades again and you can feel safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a super hygienic, smooth shave every time.

Click here to get FREE razor engraving worth £6 using code NUFE9H*

 

*Total transparency: You get free engraving and I receive £3 credit towards my FFS orders whenever one of you lovely people join the FFS gang.

September favourites

You may have noticed some recent changes to The Fourth Month. I’m now residing at thefourthmonth.blog and pages like Food, Wellbeing and Shopping have returned to the site. In February, I wrote a blog about Changes, where I announced The Fourth Month would focus solely on the publishing industry and books. However, since I made this ‘niche’ for myself, I found myself completely uninspired. So I’ve decided to go back to my roots and The Fourth Month will be a mix and match of anything and everything once again.

In the spirit of embracing chaos, I am starting a monthly ‘favourites’ blog, which will be a list of random products from books and magazines to beauty and candles to delicious foodie treats.

Enjoy x


Breathe & Teen Breathe Magazine

I featured Issue One of Breathe Magazine in a blog last year (August 2016 Home Inspiration) when I first discovered this amazing publication. A year on and they have recently launched their sister magazine, Teen Breathe, which aims to help teens and young adults find a bit of peace and quiet in their hectic, social-media driven lives. The beautiful illustrations and peaceful content of Breathe magazines have resonated with me from day one. A year later and I’m still enjoying every issue. Not only does it look great on your coffee table but it’s bursting with ideas to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. I also think it’s pretty inexpensive as far as luxury magazines go. I recently subscribed so that I never miss an issue – I love it that much!

Get an annual subscription to Breathe for your Amazon Kindle.

If you’d like me to do a full review of the recent issues of Breathe magazine then please comment below or drop me a line at thefourthmonth@icloud.com.

Rustic bath shelf from Sainsbury’s

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Face cloths from Asda, candles from Aldi and Wax Lyrical UK, face mask and body scrub from Lush Cosmetics

I’ve been desperate for a bath shelf for AGES. I love running a hot bubble bath after a stressful day and some over-the-bath storage is the perfect addition to a soak in the tub. I picked this up in Sainsbury’s – their homeware selection is gorgeous – and I like to use it to show off my favourite bath time products: some rolled-up face cloths, Lush cosmetics and a couple of gorgeous candles. It’s like my own mini spa. There’s also room for a glass of wine (or two). If you’re on a budget, you can up-cycle an old wooden shelf for the same (if not better) effect.

Aldi Lime, Basil and Mandarin Candle

This Jo Malone dupe is getting ALL THE HYPE lately and I can see why. At £3.99, this supermarket candle will cost you 90% less than the real deal. While I’m not convinced about the ethics behind such a cheap dupe, I can confidently say that this candle smells just like the Jo Malone original and leaves a long-lasting, strong fragrance in the air. It also looks really luxurious and mimics the classic Jo Malone style beautifully. Ultimately, I will probably continue to splash out on a real Jo Malone candle once in a blue moon because you always get what you pay for but this Aldi dupe will definitely keep me going in-between – I’ve already bought three!

Mini lavender pots

I love a bargain! So I was pretty excited when I saw this set of three artificial miniature lavender plants in a cream wire basket reduced to £7 in Tesco. I skipped to the checkout and to my delight, these cuties were reduced even further – to £1.70! I couldn’t believe it. I love seeing these lavender plants perched on my kitchen windowsill every morning. I haven’t seen them in any local Tesco stores since and I can’t find them online but you can get a similar set from Melody Maison for only £8.95.

Try adding a couple of drops of real lavender essence to give some authenticity your artificial plants. Lavender oil has some wonderful healing properties which make it a great bedtime companion.

Lazy Sunday Coffee

Jamie and I recently bought a coffee grinder and French Press from IKEA so that we could enjoy freshly ground coffee in the mornings instead of instant. However, I often find fresh coffee too strong or too bitter but I was pleasantly surprised by Taylor’s of Harrogate’s ‘Lazy Sunday’ coffee. With hints of hazelnut and citrus, these coffee beans don’t claim to be “knock-your-socks-off, drag-you-awake coffee.” Instead, this is “coffee for lie-ins and Sunday papers, for lazy mornings with your feet on the sofa.” If I was a cup of coffee, this is what I would be.

You can buy three bags of Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Medium Roast Ground Coffee for £8.65 on Amazon.

On the subject of coffee, we’re thinking about getting a proper barista coffee machine for our Christmas this year. Do you have any recommendations or know of any coffee machines we should steer clear of? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Instagram.


What are you loving this September? The weather is cooling and it’s time to break out the hats and scarves again. Do you have any go-to products for Autumn? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.

Get Cosy with Candleisima

This is the last time I’ll post homeware inspiration on The Fourth Month now that I have transitioned to only literary and publishing related posts. However, I saved a real good ‘un for last!

Way back in December, in my Christmas ‘Good Gift’ Guide, I mentioned two candles that I would like to try. The first being a Song of the Sea candle from Candleisima. I loved this slick, luxury aesthetic and, as someone who loves to be by the seaside, I was enticed by the idea of a candle scented with juniper, salt and seaweed. I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Szilvia from Candleisima who kindly offered to let me trial a couple of scents. She sent me a small sample of ‘Song of the Sea’, which is as entrancing as I had imagined, and a large ‘Cranberry Bliss’ candle which reminds me of one of my favourite Yankee festive candles.

Candleisima candles are created by hand in small batches ensuring that all candles are of the highest quality with an extra helping of love added to the ingredients. One of the main selling points for me is that their candles are made of natural soy wax with cotton and linen wicks so you can enjoy your candle without any toxins. They use high-quality fragrance oils to help you relax and they are currently experimenting with soy wax and coconut oil to make all natural coconut candles. I am excited to try one of those! Like me, Szilvia is passionate about lovely handmade products with quality ingredients.

‘Song of the Sea’ was my anticipated fragrance and as I write this blog it is burning on my desk. Inspired by British sea shores, it is scented with juniper, salt and seaweed, which leaves my room smelling fresh and piney. As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer screen and not getting enough fresh air, this is a real treat. You can buy a small tin for £4.99 or a full-size candle for £9.99.

In contrast to the salty ‘Song of the Sea’, ‘Cranberry Bliss’ is a fruity delight with a hint of cinnamon making it a sweet addition to the home. It was part of the festive range alongside the spicy cinnamon ‘Silent Night’ and the crisp and clean ‘Winter Wonderland.’ These limited edition candles come in a red glass as opposed to the slick black that encases the other candles. I keep a lot of candles in my room but when I come home from a long day this is the only thing I can smell when I walk in the door is ‘Cranberry Bliss.’ It is powerfully scented with natural oils and smells like sweet, juicy cranberry sauce. I haven’t even burned this candle yet so I am super excited to discover how good it smells when I do. I can’t wait to run a hot bubble bath and get this on because I just adore the fragrance. You can still buy one for £10.99 but there are only 20 left in stock so be quick.

Other fragrances I’d love to try out include ‘Orange Choco Chip’; I have yet to own a chocolate scented candle and it’s something I’d like to try in the hope that it helps with some of my indulgent tendencies. Plus, Jamie loves all things chocolate orange so I think he’d really like this burning too. I would also love to get my hands on ‘Citrus Basil Salad’ because I am a huge fan of Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin collection and I think they would be pretty similar.

All these candles are made with pure soy wax and cotton-linen wick so they are as natural as possible, with a few splashes of high-quality cosmetics grade fragrance oils for a measure of luxury. Szilvia is continually experimenting with new ingredients and products so I’m excited to see what she comes up with next and I’m sure she’ll go from strength to strength with these gorgeous candles. Every one of them is made in her home by order with her own bare hands and that’s the kind of dedication and heart that I love showcasing in my home.


Check out Candleisima and create a cosy atmosphere for your next reading adventure with one of their candles

Christmas ‘Good Gift’ Guide – Under £25

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably have seen me talking about ethical shopping quite a bit. I am far from perfect (sometimes Amazon Next Day Delivery is just TOO CONVENIENT) but I have been trying to buy my gifts from local or independent sellers. It’s important to be aware of where your things come from and what you’re spending your hard earned cash on. A ‘good gift’ supports independent shopping and ethical products.
To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I have put together a collection of some gorgeous gift ideas from Etsy that won’t break the bank . I came across all of these while doing my own Christmas shopping but they didn’t make the final cut so I thought I would share them with you all instead.

Candles & Lights

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Song of the Sea Candle from Candleisima – £9.99

Candleisima candles are officially at the top of my wish list. They are so classy and this one is scented like juniper, salt and seaweed, which makes it a perfect gift for anyone that loves being by the coast.

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Floral Votive Gift Set from Lace Emporium – £16.99

These delicate floral candles are so pretty I would be too frightened to burn them. They’re also organic and come in recycled packaging!

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Harry Potter Fairy Lights from Bristol Folds – from £22.50

OMG. These origami heart fairy lights are made from pages of Harry Potter making it the most adorable and unique gift for your favourite muggle.


Kitchen & Bathroom

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Girl Boss Mug from TheBestOfMeDesigns – £10

This mug is ideal for any badass women who are getting sh** done. Be quick: if you want to get this mug in time for Christmas you need to order by the 12th December.

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Personalised Breakfast Tray from Applecratescouk – £15.99

I actually saw this a few months ago and added it to my own personal wish list. It’s a lovely idea especially for a couple who have just moved into a new home.


Edible

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Vegan Drinking Chocolate with Raw Chocolate Hearts from Lovelight Chocolate – £12

Why don’t you spread a little cruelty-free cheer this Christmas with Lovelight’s vegan and organic chocolate gifts? All the festive indulgence with none of the guilt.

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Tea Taster Selection from Tea Belly Teas – £10

This gift box is the ultimate pressie for tea lovers. It contains Double Mint Brew, Sleepy Brew, Lemon & Ginger Brew, Detox Brew & Rosen-Berry Brew and each taster pack makes 3-4 cups of herbal tea. Absolute bargain!


Beauty

mens-grooming

Men’s Grooming Gift Set from Emina Botanic Boutique – £20

I don’t know about you but I really struggle to buy for the men in my life but this dreamy gift set (all natural and vegan) would make a gorgeous gift for under the tree. Hey, eucalyptus and peppermint aren’t reserved for men so it would be a lovely gift for ladies too.

Wee Tree.jpg

It’s a Wonderful Life soap from Wee Tree Soap – £4

You guys already know I love Wee Tree Soap so I don’t need to tell you why these vegan, natural soaps are awesome but this limited edition has the added bonus of Christmas joy! At four quid, it’d make a brilliant stocking filler.


What ethical gifts have you bought this year? I’d love to chat all things Christmas over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.