Sunday, 10 September 2017

10 Reasons Why Living Alone is Awesome!

Having recently moved out of my parents' house and into a flat of my own, I've been enjoying the freedom this affords me; I've never lived on my own before but, as a definite introvert, it's turning out to be pretty much perfect for me! I don't have to see people unless I want to, and I know I've got my own quiet space to come home to at the end of the day. Bliss. Here are ten reasons why I'm pretty sure living alone is The One.
Ten Reasons Why Living Alone Is Awesome
  1. No queuing for the bathroom. Your morning routine revolves around you, and you alone. You can be as leisurely as you like; you can allow yourself exactly the right amount of time in the morning and no-one will spend too long in the shower and make you late. Bonus: no-one uses your favourite toiletries without asking, leaves the toilet seat up, or "forgets" to replace the toilet roll when they've finished it.
  2. You only have to clear up your own mess. There's nothing worse than having to do someone else's washing up before you can make your own food. It's so much easier to keep a place clean and tidy when there's only one person messing it up!
  3. You never come home and find that someone has eaten the cake/chocolate bar/avocado you were looking forward to. There are certain times of the month when this would literally make me cry - I'm saving it for a reason! Now I don't even have to hide my emergency chocolate stash, it's perfectly safe just in the cupboard.
  4. You don't have to consider anyone else when deciding what to cook. You fancy lasagne? You can make lasagne, ain't no-one else to please! In the mood for a curry? Crack on! And if you don't fancy cooking...
  5. ...The only person who can judge you for getting takeaway three nights running, is the delivery guy. And even this is easily overcome by ordering from a different takeaway each night.
  6. No-one can stop you filling every available surface with cacti and candles and other pretty things. Tiny, adorable cacti, in tiny, adorable pots, and gorgeous scented candles in pretty holders and jars. What's not to love?!
  7. You get up as early as you like... or sleep as late as you like. There's no-one to disturb if you feel like getting up early and cracking on with your day! Equally, there's no-one likely to start hoovering or doing noisy DIY if you decide you fancy a Sunday morning lie-in.
  8. Single-occupant discounts. How boring and grown-up! You can make a saving on your council tax if you live alone, and I've recently discovered that United Utilities offer a similar discount. Hooray for saving a few quid, which can be spent on far more interesting things than council tax and water rates. Like cacti and candles, for example.
  9. Things tend to stay where you leave them. There's no knowing you left your keys on the kitchen side, but they're nowhere to be found when you need them. There's no-one "tidying up" when actually all they're doing is making you unable to find things.
  10. You only have to interact with other humans on your own terms. I mean, apart from going to work and things - if you want to come home and be anti-social and not talk to anyone, that's just fine. If you want to see people you can go to the pub or something - and if you don't want to, you don't have to! #IntrovertGoals
Do you live by yourself? What are the best and worst things about having nothing but your own company?

xo
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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Travel Diary | Vienna

I may have mentioned once or twice or a thousand times that I recently had a week in Vienna with my boyfriend - or more accurately, six days, arriving early Tuesday morning and leaving late on Sunday evening. This is going to be a pretty photo-heavy post, but it's such a gorgeous city that I think I did well to narrow my photos down this much!
A week in Vienna
Our first day, we were able to check into our hotel room early, so after showering and unpacking a little we headed out to explore. We ended up taking a circuitous route into the city centre, which was about a 20-minute walk from our hotel if you took a direct route. I took so many photos because I was just amazed by all the buildings - I don't think I saw an ugly building in the whole city, everything was just beautiful.
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna
There were also traditional horses and carts everywhere, which were lovely to see trotting about - they used the roads just like all the cars and buses. We thought about having a tour in one but they turned out to be quite expensive to hire, so we didn't bother in the end - we actually walked almost everywhere during our time in Vienna.
Horse & Cart - Vienna
One thing I knew I wanted to do was visit the Sigmund Freud Museum - as a psychologist, I didn't feel I could go to Vienna and not visit! I have to admit I'm not a massive fan of Freud but nonetheless, I found the museum interesting and I'm glad I went - it's based in the apartment where he lived before emigrating to London during WW2, and features a lot of his belongings, diaries, letters etc. My boyfriend was utterly baffled as to why I was so impressed by his sofa, but any fellow psychologist will get it I'm sure!
Prof Dr Freud - Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna
Freud's Sofa - Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna
There are so many gorgeous churches in Vienna - below is Stephansdom, which has the most beautiful tiled roof and some pretty impressive towers. It was actually undergoing restoration whilst we were there, hence all the scaffolding, but it still looks pretty doesn't it!? There an U-Bahn station that comes up just in front of this, so it's a pretty spectacular sight to emerge to!
Stephansdom, Vienna
We went armed with a list of Austrian food we had to try in our time away, one item off that list being Wurst. We went for traditional Bratwurst and it was lovely - although I have to admit, I liked the Kartoffeln (potatoes) even more!
Wurst - Vienna
Neither my boyfriend nor I are particularly arty people and so we decided to give the art galleries and museums a miss, but we did stumble upon this exhibition in the Museums Quartier which I just had to take a photo of - it was a whole wall of various portraits, but this one of Chester Bennington genuinely made me catch my breath.
Chester Bennington - Museums Quartier, Vienna
Now, my boyfriend isn't keen on heights, but he was very brave and agreed to come on the Wiener Riesenrad with me - this Ferris Wheel has been standing since 1897 and gives some pretty incredible views over Vienna for €10 each. Situated in an area called Prater, this was a bit of a trek outside the city, so we treated ourselves to some public transport for the day. A 24-hour ticket which can be used on trams, buses and the U-Bahn within the city cost just €7.60. We used both the trams and the U-Bahn and found them to be frequent, clean and fast, so I'd definitely recommend it if you're less able to walk, or need to get somewhere a little further afield.
View from Riesenrad, Vienna
View from Riesenrad, Vienna
And then, since we already had the tram tickets, we took a little tour to see something else that had been on my list - Hundertwasserhaus, which is actually social housing, designed by artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His work features a lot of bold colour blocking and unusual shapes, and the housing looked really cool. You can't go inside (people live there!) but there's a little complex called 'Hundertwasser Village' which has a coffee shop, some souvenir shops and exhibitions of artwork, which is free to enter and definitely worth a look round.
Hundertwasserhaus, Vienna
We also took advantage of the tram tickets to head out towards the Donauturm or Danube Tower, which is the tallest structure in Vienna (and indeed, in Austria) at 252m. Bearing in mind my boyfriend's head for heights, I was surprised when he agreed to go up - it was around €10 each to go up in the lift, but you can then spend as long as you like on the viewing platform, or go up a little further to a cafe and restaurant. We got a drink and sat for about half an hour in the cafe, which rotates slowly so that you can see literally the entire city.
View from Danauturm, Vienna
Another day of exploring took us to Belvedere Palace; we didn't go inside, but the grounds are free to look around and are also pretty spectacular. They're currently featuring this work by Erwin Wurm called 'Fat House', which is apparently symbolic of Western culture's obsession with material possessions and suchlike. Considering we decided not to do the arty things, we still got a bit of art into our trip!
Erwin Wurm, Fat House, Vienna
Belvedere Gardens, Vienna
On the Saturday, we decided to take a little daytrip to Salzburg, because my boyfriend had discovered that the Red Bull Hangar (HANGAR-7) was there. It was around two and a half hours on the train, which cost us just under €50 each for a return ticket (bought in my clumsy German!) - there were some lovely views, but also a lot of time spent in tunnels. Saturday was also the worst day of our trip, weather-wise, and the only day that rained, so on a clear day it may have been a more scenic trip. Once in Salzburg, HANGAR-7 is a short bus-ride and then a short walk from the central train station, and entry is free. I'm not into cars and the like, but even I found it pretty cool to look round all the F1 cars, planes, helicopters and so on. My boyfriend, meanwhile, was in his element!
Hangar-7, Salzburg
Hangar-7, Salzburg
Once I finally managed to tear him away from the shiny metal things, we had a little wander round Salzburg, which is just as beautiful as Vienna but in a different way. I was very taken with the castle, which overlooks the city and is quite an imposing presence. Sometimes you're able to see the Alps behind it, but there was quite thick cloud whilst we were there so that wasn't the case for us!
Salzburg Castle
Salzburg Castle
On our final day, we were able to leave our luggage at the hotel after checking out, so we went for a last stroll around the city. The square in front of the Rathaus (city hall) was hosting a film festival whilst we were there, and was also home to an incredible food market with dozens of stalls offering different types of cuisine - that's where our Wurst came from, and we also tried several other dishes here. We enjoyed a leisurely lunchtime pint in the sun on our last day - I had developed a little obsession with this beer!
Rathaus, Vienna
Ottakringer Citrus Radler, Vienna
Looking back I'm amazed at how much we managed to fit into six days - and this is just the highlights! It was a lovely trip and Vienna is a beautiful city to visit; I'm not sure whether I'd go again, purely because there are so many other places I want to visit, but I'd definitely recommend a few days there if you ever get the opportunity or fancy a city break with plenty of culture.
Have you ever been to Vienna? Have you been away this summer?

xo
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Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hello September!!

September already! I know, I know; I'm a walking, talking cliché, but I can't believe how fast this year is going... It doesn't seem five minutes since I was writing down my goals for 2017, and now we're two-thirds of the way through the year. September is going to be a pretty busy month for me - I started my new job and uni course yesterday, and the first month is all uni-based, so there's going to be a lot of information to take in, on top of getting to know a whole bunch of new people! September is also my birthday month, so I'll be turning 26 towards the end of the month - not really sure how I feel about officially being late twenties, but I guess I'll get used to it!
Hello September!
As always, I'm setting myself some goals for the month, although I'm trying to keep them realistic given how much else is going to be going on for me this month!
See friends at least twice. This is a little easier now that I've moved into town, rather than out in the middle of nowhere - quite a few of my friends live close by, so I've got no excuse for skipping pub nights! I actually went to the pub with a couple of friends last night, so I'm already halfway there on this one. I feel like keeping up with friends is gonna be important for my sanity this month...
Read at least one book. I'm probably going to have quite enough reading to do for uni, but I feel like reading something non-work-related is, again, going to be quite important for keeping me sane. I'm partway through two books at the moment, My Cousin Rachel and Once In A House On Fire, so I need to crack on and finish at least one of them!
Keep up my fitness. I had to cancel my gym membership when I moved and I haven't yet joined a gym local to my new flat - I wanted to see how much time I'm likely to have before committing! I have been getting back into running, though, so I'm aiming to keep that up through September and hopefully build my distance up a little.
 Keep on top of uni work. I'm a veteran procrastinator but I really, really want to overcome that bad habit with this course - there's going to be too much work for me to put everything off to the last minute like I did previously! We've got one study day per week and I really want to make sure that I'm using it as best as I can to keep on top of everything.
September Goals
I don't feel like I've really got much planned for September, aside from a weekend away to the Lakes with the rest of my course - which I'm really looking forward to, it sounds like it's going to be great fun! Are you setting yourself any goals for September? Do you have any exciting plans?

xo
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

In Retrospect | August 2017

Another month over and we are now officially two-thirds of the way through 2017 - eek! August has been a busy month for me (hence being a little bit quiet here on The Indigo Hours) but it has felt like quite a long month - probably because I've packed so much into it!!
August In Retrospect
August Empties.
August Empties
Will Repurchase: OGX Hydrating Tea Tree Mint Shampoo | This is SLS-free, smells lovely and leaves my hair feeling nice. I'm already on a new bottle! // Kind Natured Coconut & Passionflower Body Wash | Again, SLS-free, smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. This is also an absolute bargain and often on special offers in Boots. // Kind Natured Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub | I love this stuff, it smells incredible and works really well to exfoliate my body. // T-Zone Charcoal Nose Pore Strips | These are some of the most effective pore strips I've used, they're so satisfying in terms of pulling a load of gunk from your pores!
Might Repurchase: Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Pads | I really liked using these of an evening, but I've just bought the Nip + Fab Extreme version to try, so I'll have to see which I like best... // Friction Free Shaving Shave Cream | I did quite like this but thought it was expensive for how much you get/how long it lasts, and was disappointed that it isn't available to buy on its own - you have to order blades as well, and I didn't like the FFS blades! If they start selling it on its own, I might buy it again though. // Unani Illuminating Cleansing Milk | I actually have another bottle of this since Glossybox sent me a duplicate, but I'm not sure I'd buy it again for myself - it was nice, but not my favourite cleanser by a long shot.
Won't Repurchase: Givenchy Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum | This was nice to wear for a few days whilst I was on holiday, but there are definitely other scents which I prefer, so I wouldn't buy the full-sized bottle. // Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator | I really liked the scent of this and it did exfoliate nicely, but again there are other products which I prefer.
Vienna Aug 2017
August Goals.
• See friends at least twice. One cake gathering for friends' birthdays (they're twins!), one night at the pub with a bunch of friends (followed by a sleepover with my best friend because she wasn't fit to drive...), and one visit with my other best mate for him to see my new flat. I also met up with a few people who are going to be on my course at university, so I'll know some faces on my first day (tomorrow! Eek!) - I feel I've been quite sociable this month!
• Read at least one book. I finished reading The Warning Bell by Tom Macaulay, which took me a while to get into but I ended up really enjoying it, and I certainly didn't see the ending coming! I'm now partway through My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, which again has been a bit of a slow starter but I'm getting into it now. I really want to see the film of this, but I need to finish the book first (I'm one of those people...)
• Get everything moved into my new flat and unpacked. I'm well on the way with this - mostly everything is out of boxes and put away, there are just a few bits and pieces still lingering, awaiting homes. I've got a coffee table which I've stripped down but still need to paint, as well as a dining table and some chairs which need some attention - but they're still at my parents' house, so at least they're not making the place look untidy for the time being!
Have a good clear-out. I've taken one bag of clothes to the charity shop, and I have a little heap of books waiting to be taken, along with a few bags and shoes - I've got more to do, but I've made a start! I've also had a bit of a clear-out of paper, throwing away things like credit card bills from 2010 (why am I keeping those!?) and career-planning hand-outs from my undergraduate degree. I need to keep on top of my hoarding tendencies!
Get my sweet tooth in check. I don't think I've been 100% successful with this (a week in Vienna certainly didn't help...) but I think I've been doing better than I was, so I'm taking the credit here.
Get a haircut! I did this before I went on holiday! I was very brave and actually ended up having about eight inches taken off - it's now in a kind of long bob/shoulder-length style, which I'm still undecided on. It's too short to put in a ponytail or a bun or even a French plait... but it is looking much healthier for having all the ratty ends taken off. I think if I grow it out a couple more inches, I'll love it!
So five-and-a-half out of six isn't too bad, is it!? I'd been hoping for quite a relaxing August but it's ended up being pretty busy...
Vienna August 2017
August Loves.
I've not read a huge number of blogs this month, due to being a way for a week, and only getting the internet connected in my new flat towards the end of the month - but nonetheless, there have been a few posts that I've loved! Laura Louise posted about GOSH's new A/W2017 Collection, Nordic Magic - I'm so tempted to add the eyeshadow palette to my collection. Laura's post about Skincare Steps That Make A Difference got me thinking - apparently, light from our phones and other screens can damage our skin in the same way as UV?! Scary, huh. Siham's tips on mastering the flat lay make an interesting read, there are definitely some suggestions I'll be taking on board - her photos are always gorgeous!! Charlotte posted about why she doesn't love the new Urban Decay Naked Heat palette, and made me feel a whole lot better about the fact that I don't really get the hype, either... I also really enjoyed Gwennan's post about Instagram editing and whether we're going too far - then again, I pretty much love everything Gwennan writes, so there's that... #MajorGirlCrush
Vienna Rathaus
August In Summary.
August has been a generally lovely month - I had a gorgeous week in Vienna with my boyfriend, which I'll hopefully have a proper post up about soon, but first I need to sift through the 600+ photos I took... The weather was beautiful, the food was amazing, and we fitted in pretty much everything we'd hoped to see and do with our time there.
I'm close to being all settled into my flat after an Ikea trip with my Mum, a weekend spent building flatpack furniture with my boyfriend (who still loved me at the end of it, which is remarkable!) and approximately 491 trips between the flat and my parents' house with various boxes of stuff. There are still a few bits and pieces I need to get (another trip to Ikea! Yay!) and some sorting-out to do, but I'm almost there...
All in all, it's been a lovely month, and I certainly feel like I've made the most of my last month of freedom before starting my doctorate tomorrow! What have you been up to in August? Did you achieve your goals for the month?

xo
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Friday, 25 August 2017

Five Skincare Gift Sets Under £50*

I know I'm not on my own in loving trying new skincare, but the costs can really add up - a new cleanser here, the latest eye cream there... It can become an expensive business! One way to try a few products from a new brand without splashing out too much cash, is to take a look at their gift sets - often you can make a decent saving compared to buying the products separately, and stores often have special offers on their gift sets as well - double the savings!! Here are five skincare gifts I'm currently eyeing up...
Skincare Giftsets Under £50
Clarins Cleansing Gift Set (Combination/Oily Skin), £24 here
Elemis 'Brighten' Skincare Gift Set, £42.50 here
Balance Me Glow Getters, £38.40 here
L'Occitane Roses & Reines Hugs & Kisses, £17 here
bareMinerals Skinsorials Intro Combination Skin Gift Set, £39 here

I haven't really tried any Clarins products, so a set like this would be an ideal introduction - the 200ml bottles of cleansing milk and toning lotion are a fabulous size, and the 30ml tube of exfoliating cleanser is a great trial-size - at just £24 this set is a bargain, given that the cleansing milk and toning lotion are £18 each when purchased individually! Similarly, the Elemis set offers a 185ml bottle of cleanser alongside a 50ml Papaya Enzyme Face Peel, a 10ml serum and 14x 'Cellular Recovery' skin bliss capsules. Balance Me's Radiance Face Mask is an old favourite of mine, which when bought individually is £18, whilst the Radiance Face Oil is £30 - buying them together like this saves you almost a tenner! I swear by L'Occitane hand creams, and this set combines a 30ml hand cream with a matching 12ml lip gloss. There's a fantastic range of L'Occitane gift sets for both men and women, if you did happen to feel like treating a loved one... And finally, I've been wanting to try bareMinerals skincare for a while, and this set offers a whole little routine of cleanser, serum and moisturiser which would be a brilliant introduction to the brand!

Do you ever buy skincare giftsets for yourself? What are your favourite ways to grab a beauty bargain?

xo
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