how to: coconut oil your hair

So I’m not a beauty guru, nor do I profess to be and we all know that my hair can be a bit… temperamental to say the least.

I have however jumped on the bandwagon and become an advocate for coconut oil in all its rich, nutty glory. My Mum, who swears by it, bought me and my sister a tub of the Sainsbury’s one (£4.50) each for Christmas and I’ve been using it once a fortnight since then.
It isn’t just a fad though, it really does make a difference! My hair is softer yet stronger and has a really lovely shine to it despite all the bleach and heat its gone through over the years.

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Because of this, I thought I’d make a vlog showing you how I apply the coconut oil to my hair and see if you can see the difference it makes. Perhaps it will inspire some of you to give it a go yourselves. It’s much cheaper than most of the hot oil treatments I’ve seen in stores but I reckon it’s just as good.

Do you use any lifesaving products on your hair?
Have you tried coconut oil for anything?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
my silver hair journey – see how I got to pastel hair from red and the lovely things that Scissors did with it…
adventures: Scissors Christchurch Ladies’ Night – Nanny and I got pampered with bubbly, cakes and hair treatments!
Wella Instamatic Smokey Amethyst toner – what the last lilac toner we used did to my hair

where will we go on holiday in 2016?

If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that as a poor and lowly student I have to travel on a budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t go on holidays, it just means that we carefully plan and shop around to get the best deals… and that I save up rather than going out or buying clothes!

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Last year Josh and I went on a group holiday to Dublin with two of our close friends, Lora and Leeann.We had a great time and packed it full of things to do on the cheap. You can read more about where we stayed and what we did on that trip here.

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We also we went to Manchester for a few days for our anniversary last September and had a really great time having our own little adventures together. You can read about them here.

So we’ve been thinking about where we want to go this year already because it’s rainy and everyone’s skint at this time of year and looking at holidays and other places is quite frankly a good way to cheer yourself up, whether or not you actually end up going! While there’s no finalised plans yet, I thought I’d give a run down of my most-wanted destinations and what we’d do if we end up going there in 2016. As much as there’s some amazing global places, I’ve narrowed it down to those in Europe here because of the cost… but one day, the world!

 

Amsterdam

Things to see and do in Amsterdam

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There’s no need for me to list the reasons that I want to visit Amsterdam. Its quirky, vibrant scenes are something not to be missed and a few of my friends have already been. This is shaping up to be our group holiday for the August bank holiday with Leeann and Lora this year and as Lee’s been before, she can show us where to go. I am going to want to squeeze a couple of my own things in there though, including the Anne Frank House, the hofjes, the Alkmaar cheese market and the Munttoren for starters.

I’m leaving the transport and accommodation to Leeann too. The little travel bug that she is, she’s picked up a few hints and tips about how to get the best deals as she proved with our Dublin stay. We have discussed using AirBnB to find somewhere to stay but the girls want to opt for a house boat like this one and I’m petrified of water!

Paris

Despite having studied French for bloody ages, I’ve only been to France properly once and that was for Hellfest. Not a lot of speaking and listening practice at a metal festival, I can tell you that!

Things to see and do in Paris

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I want my first visit to Paris to be with Josh and not just for the romance but because he’s as big of a culture nerd as I am and I just know we’d have a great time doing all the cool things.  Top of my list are all of the usual suspects of course: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame… but I have also bookmarked the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden,  Deyrolle, Musée des Arts et MetiersRue Crémieux and a few others that I’m keeping a secret…

I’d like to go in near September for our anniversary and get the eurostar from London, then perhaps stay in a quaint bed and breakfast just outside of the city. We don’t really spend much on transport once we’re there usually, I’ll be happy to walk into the centre during the day.

Prague

Things to see and do in Prague

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So I’m pretty crap with history but I know that Prague has a rich and vibrant story and that there’s some incredible things to see and do there. Whoever I went with would have to understand that I’d want to go to the Jewish Museum and see the Astronomical Clockbut I’d also want to pay a visit to the John Lennon Wall and walk across the Charles Bridge.

Being sneaky on SkyScanner using incognito mode (it keeps the flights cheap) I found that we can get there in two hours from a London airport for just £80 each way if we were to go around October time, but then of course we have to factor in the cost and time of travelling up to London. I think because of the language barrier we’d need a very tourist-friendly and central hotel but again I’d consider using AirBnB to ‘borrow’ our own self-catered accommodation.

Florence

I have wanted to go to Florence ever since we did our Renaissance module back in the first year. Everyone who had been there was amazed by the beautiful art and architecture and told me that I had to go when I got the chance. Again I think this would be something that Josh and I should do together on our own as it will be an enriching experience.

Things to do and see in Florence

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I’m most interested in going to the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and admiring views atop the Ponte Vecchio but the liberal arts loser inside me would have to go and see the greats at la Basilica di Santa Croce  and the Galleria degli Uffizi too!

Using Skyscanner again, I found that we could go for a long weekend in June flying from London for only £120 each way. This is dirt cheap for two people but… there’s a catch. The journey would involve a couple of hours stopover in Rome, both ways. Perhaps this trip would be best planned well in advance and we could combine it with a couple of nights in Rome? This one requires more research.

Berlin

Things to see and do in Berlin

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I’ve also got a good grip on the German language but I’ve never actually been to Germany! It’s ridiculous, I know. I’d be happy to go to Berlin in a group or even just with one close friend and I’d want to take a trip to see some of  the various historic Memorials and the Brandenburg Gate, maybe have a picnic in Viktoriapark and take a wander round Alexanderplatz to name but a few things.

Much like Prague, I can fly from London to Berlin in a couple of hours. Even in July, I’m getting quotes for about £75 per person per flight. Annoyingly though, I can’t return to the same airport that I departed from. This would make getting transport back home to Bournemouth a bit more complicated.

I will add that I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a ‘luxury’ hotel if we went to Berlin, as there’s so many beautiful ones to choose from.

Copenhagen

Things to see and do in Berlin

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It was Rosie’s travel diary post on her blog about her stay in Copenhagen that first sparked my interest in going there. Her photos really captured some beautiful sights of the city and they did some great things on a budget so I fancy a go too!

First stop would probably be the Torvehallerne Food Market then a look at the magical Tivoli Gardens and of course, a visit to the Little Mermaid Statue. I’m also quite interested in checking out the Amalienborg Palace, The Round Tower and the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art while we’re there.

Gatwick to Copenhagen in early November was coming up at about £60 per person each way and less than a two-hour flight which is great! I would want to stay in an AirBnB apartment like Rosie did because there are so many cute ones to choose from there and we’d get our own privacy.

 

You can follow my Pinterest for all of my budget travel hints and tips including restaurants, hotels, museums, sightseeing and more!

Are you already planning holidays for 2016?
Have you been to any of these places? Do you have recommendations for us?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
what to do when you’re in Manchester // what to do when you’re in Dublin – what we got up on on our holidays on a budget

 

Primark Pajama Haul

If you’re not from the U.K then you might not know what Primark is (or Penneys in Ireland!). Primark is our place for cheap basics and staple items and there’s one in every town as far as I know. You’ll find pairs of knickers for as little as 50p, leggings from £3 a pair and cool pop culture t-shirts for around a tenner… It’s brilliant!

I took Jaz to Southampton for the day as part of her birthday celebrations and I did the boring grown-up thing of buying myself some new underwear and pajamas. I’ve been moaning recently that our house is freezing even when I’m in bed under the covers, but after about five minutes of warming up, Josh will then accuse me of feeling like a radiator. Because of this I got a mixture of thick and thin nightwear and its all very cute!

 

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| red tartan shorts //  black and white striped shorts |

 

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| black and grey strappy loose cami top |

 

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| Moomins t-shirt and sweatpants set |

 

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| grey fluffy slipper boots |

 

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| fleecy thick blue/cream hedgehog set |

 

 

How cute are these? I almost felt like I had treated myself even though it was on something essential.

 

Unfortunately I can’t link to the products as Primark’s website doesn’t stock everything they do in stores. I also cleverly managed to bin the receipt so I can’t tell you how much each thing was exactly but I know that I didn’t spend more than £25 on the whole lot and some items were reduced… I’m sorry – crap blogger alert!

 

Have you been to Primark or a similar store recently?
Do you like shopping for pajamas?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
birthday wishlists: clothing //summer/autumn wishlist 

Jazmin’s 15th Birthday (in pictures)

So my little sister Jazmin is now fifteen which is terrifying – as if I ever needed reminding that I’m growing up ever faster!

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I remember changing her nappy for crying out loud!

I remember reading her bedtime stories and watching countless episodes of Dora the Explorer.

I remember cutting all the hair off of her Barbie dolls once because she annoyed me.

I remember how she was very compliant in starring in my plays and wearing whatever weird costumes I asked her to.

I remember how I made her be the student and we would play ‘school’ where I’d give her pretend work to do.

Mostly I remember how I was so glad to have a sibling to play with.

She gave me a reason to act responsibly, encouraged my love of learning and taught me a great deal about patience and fairness . I had to share, take turns and set an example in what I did from there on out.

Basically, my little sister made me want to be somebody she looked up to.

 

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For her birthday we went to Frankie & Benny’s in Bournemouth for dinner.
Me, Jaz, Mum, Nan and Josh had a great time joking around and stuffing our faces with some great food.

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Jaz was pretty impressed with her Banana and Butterscotch Milkshake

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…and her new wheels for her longboard!

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I got some lovely pictures of my beautiful Mama and Nanny… I hope I look as good as them when I’m their ages.

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Josh and Jaz spent a lot of time goofing around…

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I had a really tasty Grilled Chicken Pitta with barbecue sauce which came with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw.

It was a really big portion for just £11.45 and everything was cooked well.

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I even had dessert and I never normally opt for something sweet!
Mind you, it was Salted Caramel Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream so my hands were tied…

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It’s a great family-friendly restaurant and the staff were really helpful. We didn’t have to wait long for our meals either, despite it being a busy Friday night. We also got 20% off our total bill because I used my NUS Extra card. I’d recommend Frankie and Benny’s Bournemouth for groups on a bit of a budget but would advise that some might find it too lively for a first date or a catch up with someone.

Have you been to a Frankie and Benny’s? Did you enjoy your visit?

Where have you been for dinner lately?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

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If you liked this post, you should check out:
hangover bacon cups with British Lion Eggs* – a morning-after breakfast savior made with ethical eggs
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – My Nanny and I got a night of food and pampering thanks to Scissors Salons!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – A Bournemouth conference about kick-ass women and gender equality in business.

adventures: Christmas Family Fun Day

(I know this is a bit late but if you want to read why I didn’t post over the Christmas period, see here. For the vlog on this page, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

I am proud to be called an Auntie to three amazing children – Ofelia, Erin and Logan. Despite usually finding it difficult to bond with peoples’ kids, these three are very important to me and I try to dedicate as much time and energy into spending time with them and their parents as possible.

Just before Christmas, I planned a whole week of seeing my nieces and nephew because the magic that children see at that time of year is the best. Unfortunately, I got tonsilitis and wasn’t able to see Erin and Logan until recently but me, my sister-in-law Lisa and little Ofelia had a really fun and festive day just before I got ill so I thought I’d show you guys what we got up to!

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First on the agenda was visiting a local garden centre because their Christmas displays are always gorgeous. We went to Haskins in Ferndown and Fee was instantly enamored with all the soft and sparkly seasonal stock.

 

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There were some beautiful ornaments, some of which had moving parts that we really liked but it was important not to touch them!

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The trip made me really wish we had our own place so that I could have got some nice decorations but this time next year, I’ll definitely be going back. After a quick bit of ‘ladies who lunch’ we went next door to Hobbycraft to get some gifts.

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ofelia_lisa_toddler_shopping_hobbycraft_mumNext stop was the supermarket to grab some ingredients to make Christmas cookies. Fee really enjoyed doing this but kept asking “Can we eat them yet?” before we’d put them in the oven!

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While baking the cookies, we opened Fee’s Peppa Pig advent calendar.

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Then we made some Christmas cards using some of the bits we got from Hobbycraft. Lisa helped Ofelia to make cards for her grandparents and one for me and Uncle Josh (“Make sure Uncle Josh gets my card!” she said…)

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We had lots of cuddles and playtime then snacked on our cookies – delicious! It was a really fun day overall and we did it all on a budget.

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Below is my rather poorly cut together vlog from our day. It is best watched in 720pHD with the sound on.
Please bear with me as I still get to grips with the camera, the editing software and basically everything!

Did you do any fun activities for the holidays?
What children’s activities do you do on a budget?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:

Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went offline in order to spend the holidays with my loved ones…

#TLSXmas Blogger Gift Swap

(I know this is a bit late but if you want to read why I didn’t post over the Christmas period, see here.)

I just love taking part in gift swaps! Not only does it really make you think about what to get but it’s a great way to link up with other bloggers and to get to know them. Katy at The Lilac Scrapbook organised a fun gift swap just before Christmas. She paired us up and then we had to agree a budget and a posting date between ourselves. I liked doing that because it meant less pressure to post by a certain time and also gave you time to follow the other person’s content to get to know what they like.

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I was paired with Sophie from Essential Twenty and she was really sweet. A fellow student, she and I agreed to spend no more than £15 on our gift boxes and we told each other a bit about what we like. Sophie’s box for me was just perfect and she had wrapped it in hand-drawn cute paper which was a really nice touch! As well as that, each gift had a little clue as to what might be inside.

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Never try to take blog photos with Trixie around…

Inside my #TLSXmas gift box, there was:

* An adorable Hello Kitty colouring set for when I need some stress relief.
*A Lindt chocolate bunny and a candy cane (apparently very difficult to wrap!)
*Some festive and comfy Christmas pudding socks
*A gorgeous Mulled Wine scented candle
*Two Makeup Revolution Amazing Lipsticks (in Dare and Dazzle)
*A No7 Gel Finish nail colour in Red

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Thankyou so much to Sophie for such a personal and thoughtful package and I’m glad you liked your box from me too! Thanks also to Katy for organising such a great swap.

Have you taken part in a gift swap or do you want to in the future?
Did you get anything nice over the holidays?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
#BloggerSecretSanta – I got a cute, anonymous parcel for Christmas as part of Char’s gift swap…

#BloggerBoxSwapLynsey Emily and I exchanged some gifts earlier this year as part of Becky and Ms Mistry’s gift swap…

how to: commute to uni

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I have been commuting to uni in Winchester for three years now and I can tell you now, it isn’t the easiest option. Whether it’s the packed train carriages, buses running late, difficult weather or simply having to carry so much stuff, commutes are most definitely not glamorous.

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I chose to commute for a few reasons. Firstly, I had already had the halls experience living away from home at a different university. I’m not knocking it because I met some great people, it was good fun and I learnt a lot about living independently. What I will say is that as someone a couple of years older, I didn’t fancy going full ‘Fresher’ again and when I considered living with strangers and high accommodation costs vs the familiarity of my hometown with everyone I know and love, Bournemouth won out. These are the kind of choices that only you can make though, so don’t take mine or any other people’s stories to mean that’s what’s best or will work for you.

Before you leave…

1) If you have time, prepare food & drink to take with you.

I cannot stress this enough. Unless you work in a job where your food and drink can be claimed back on expenses, it makes so much sense to bring your own food and drink on your commute. Not only do you save money but you know exactly what went into the food you’re eating and it’s been freshly prepared! A flask is a great idea to bring a hot drink in the morning or maybe soup or noodles or something hot to eat? I always have a bottle of water on me too – I strongly object to paying for water when I’m out and about!

2) Make sure you know where your stops are.

This one’s easy for me because I’ve been commuting to the same place for three years but always make sure that you know where your stops are in relation to where you’re going. It’s also a good idea to know what time you should arrive at each stop.

3) Charge any electronic devices.

To save panic in the morning and to avoid having to take lots of chargers en route with me, I put my phone and my iPod on charge when I go to bed that night. You can’t guarantee that your train will have an available charging point and you don’t want to get caught out. 

4) Pre-pack what you can!

Because I have the same timetable every week, I know what texts, books and supplies I need in my bag and I put them in ready the night before. I also throw in essentials like my diary, pencilcase, lip balm, purse and my keys because I won’t be using them before I go!

Optional: minimal make-up kit
I separate my make-up into two bags the night before. One with all my stuff that I might want on before I leave the house (brows, mascara, liner) and the other with the stuff that I can do on the train or later in the day if necessary (foundation, concealer, eye shadows, lip products). Then in the morning I throw my minimals into the bag with my optionals and take the bag with me to uni.

When you travel…

I think if it works out as cost effective to drive there and you prefer your own company/singing out loud embarrassingly then driving could be right for your commute. However, I’ve never passed my driving test -I can’t actually remember the last time I had a lesson! I have to take public transport to uni and because of this, I’ve learnt a few things about travelling round here.

1) Always be at a bus stop early.
Buses are unreliable. Bus drivers are also unreliable. I have known buses to drive past people for ‘not signalling clearly enough’ or because they can’t fit them on but at least if you’re there, it’s not your fault that you didn’t get that bus. I have also known drivers to go past smaller stops before they’re scheduled to be there because no one’s there so it pays to be early.

2) Try and have less than a £10 note for your fare.
Drivers are not keen on taking notes for a couple quid fare, especially early in the morning when they haven’t got notes to give you back. Some can be quite pleasant about the situation but generally, you’ll get a shitty look for trying to pay with a tenner or more.

3) Check if you’re eligible for a Railcard/Coachcard/bus pass.
There are plenty of groups of people eligible for travel concessions, some of the passes are free, others you pay for but you make money back from your fares very quickly! I have a 16-25 Railcard but partners, mature students, families, seniors and persons living with disability are all eligible for their own ones too! National Express offer similar deals with their Coachcards and your local buses will run their own concessionary schemes. It’s worth looking in to.

4) Don’t buy your train/coach tickets at the station!
This one is a serious no-no. I have got Advance tickets before that have saved me up to 75% off the price at the station on the day. Advance booking is relatively simple to do with websites like National Express, The Train Line, Red Spotted Hanky etc and you’ll be sent a number with which you can collect your tickets on the day (or before if you want to be prepared!)

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Once you’re there…


1) Find the cheapest/easiest way to get to your destination.
Unless it will be difficult for you to get there otherwise, I would advise you don’t get a taxi to your destination. Especially not in an unfamiliar area where someone could divert the journey to extort you. I realised very quickly that the walk to uni from the train station wasn’t too difficult for me to do and only took fifteen minutes. If the cheapest route isn’t the easiest for you, then that’s okay. If you just fancy being lazy occasionally too, that’s also okay. Just be aware of unnecessary transport costs and check your distances!

2) Don’t rush.
Even if you’ve had countless delays, cancellations and you’re stuck in a queue that feels eternal, there’s no use rushing or stressing yourself out about travelling because it’s not something you can control. As long as you apologise if you’re running late and you don’t disrupt the activity too much, people will understand that the gods were against your journey today.

3) Do something to get you settled before you begin your activity.
If you have been lucky enough for everything to go according to schedule and you arrive on time, do something nice and relaxing before you have to begin the day’s work. Maybe catch up with a friend or colleague? Read something interesting? Get a nice drink? You’ve done the hardest bit which was getting up and getting here so have some down time before your activities for the day commence.

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What are your top travelling tips?
Do you commute?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna
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