At the very beginning of this year, I set myself 9 goals with the full intentions of smashing every single one of those by New Year's Eve. We're now here, at the end of June, the official halfway mark and I figured it was only right to have a catch-up and a regroup, and discuss how I'm getting on... I'm going to be honest, I can't really remember what's even on this list, so it'll be interesting to see how well I've been doing without consciously trying to tick them off... 

A look at how I'm getting on with the 9 goals I set myself at the beginning of 2019 now that we're halfway through the year

01. Get a career I love

Oooh, what a quick and simple one to have started with there, Becca... Well, as of today, I'd say I'm halfway there - pretty apt considering this is the half-year review, huh? So, at the moment I currently have two different paid roles secured for two days a week, in the homeless sector, but am yet to sort out what I'm doing for the rest of my time. One of the roles is a project management role based in various hostels and the other is 'freelance academic writing' as my friend so eloquently put it. Essentially, I'm writing a document that's going to be sent to the government, whaaaat. So, yeah, I'd defo say I'm well on my way to achieving this one! 

02. Have clear skin

Hahahahahahha. Lol. Nope. University hasn't been a good time for my skin, third year in particular. I mean, I've been drinking lots, eating tonnes of pizza and other takeaways, going to bed with makeup on after nights out and, oh yeah, have been really stressed. I also tried some new tablets for my skin which made it sooo much worse, so I'm currently trying to get my skin back to how it was before I took those! But, let's not get disheartened... As you're reading this, I'm currently on holiday in Mauritius, so hopefully, a fortnight of relaxing and sunshine might just sort my skin out! 

03. Get a car and drive

My new job requires me to drive so I'm currently on the hunt for a car. I've been and looked at a few but wasn't blown away, so am still looking for 'the one'. Although, to be honest, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, so who knows if I'll ever find 'the one'. I have decided, however, after struggling to get in the back of my friend's 3 door KA, that I think something with 5 doors would be much better for me. 

04. Read more

I mean, if textbooks count, then I've definitely done a load of that so far this year. I did read quite a few books at the beginning of this year, but it's safe to say that that habit has well and truly fizzled out. I did, however, pick up a couple of books to take on holiday with me, so maybe that'll reignite my reading spark... 

05. Continue being more eco-friendly 

I'm currently cutting out dairy (for the most part) which I think definitely counts towards being more eco-friendly. I tend to have either cereal or porridge for breakfast most days, so swapping out dairy milk for soya milk is definitely significantly reducing my consumption! I have also been trying out a bamboo toothbrush too, but I've heard on the grapevine that they're not particularly good for your teeth and gums... Does anyone know any more on that? But yes, I'd defo say that I'm ticking this one off!

06. Get back into the gym and stick with it. 

Hmmm, I've very much been doing this in phases. I think I just need to accept that I'm not one of those gym everyday kinda people. I mean, I did have a habit of going four times a week, but then life gets in the way (read: meeting up with friends and watching Love Island). My membership at the uni gym is obviously coming to an end, so I'm currently trying to decide which gym to go to in my local area at home... Who knew some gym memberships were so expensive?! £80 a month for one of the 'nicer' leisure centres near me... Haha, I think not!

07. Run a 10K

Whilst I have been running pretty much everytime I've been in the gym, I'm not sure it's been enough 'training' for me to successfully run a 10k anytime soon. I haven't completed this goal yet, and I also haven't booked on to any runs, so we shall have to wait and see what happens with this one... 

08. Hit 10K on Instagram

Let's just not talk about this one, hey? My Instagram growth has well and truly halted, but, if you would like to follow me, you can do so here... I post photos of random assortments of items laid out on my white bedding, Love Island stories in the morning and the occasional mirror selfie, rock and roll. Am I selling it to you here?

09. Continue growing as an independent, intelligent young woman

I can hand on heart very much say that I am doing this one. A few things have happened in my day to day life recently that have shown that I'm very much maturing and becoming one hell of a gal! You can read about an example of one such experience here, if you're interested. University really has done a lot for my personality and confidence, and I think the line of work I've chosen to go into will only further that greatly. Cheers to strong independent women, hey?!...

How are you getting on with your goals for this year?
~ contains gifted items ~

As you're reading this, I go on holiday this week... Whaaaaat? The last few months have totally flown by and I cannot wait to get on that plane and be jetting off for some sunshine. This year, my family and I are off to Mauritius for a couple of weeks. We're staying in a villa, and a lot of our plans revolve around chilling on the beach, swimming in the pool and eating a lotta good food. I actually tried Mauritian food for the first time a few weeks ago, and absolutely LOVED IT, so it's fair to say I'm excited to stuff my face over the next couple of weeks!

Surprisingly, I haven't actually bought all that many new summer clothing pieces this year but I was recently gifted a few bits that I'm absolutely loving. I own a lot of clothes and certainly don't need anymore, but, there's nothing like rocking a new outfit on holiday, right? So, let's just dive right in, shall we? Let me show you the goods...

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer

First up, we have this black and white crochet dress*. I absolutely love this, and I can't wait to wear this both on holiday - as a beach coverup - and at festivals later on in the summer. Being made of crochet, it is see-through, but with a black bikini/cycling shorts on underneath, it looks fab. I have mine in a size small and it fits me perfectly. (I'm a size 8 and 5'7 for reference)

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer

What is a summer haul without a pair of denim shorts? These are the lightwashed distressed denim shorts*, and I have mine in a size 8. I actually trimmed a lot of the distressing on these as it was a bit much for me, and I much prefer how they look now! They're high-waisted, a tight fit but not toooo short - there's no cheek on show. 

Last summer I bought the perfect pair of denim shorts but they actually ended up getting pinched whilst I was in a hostel in Vietnam, and to this day, I'm still not over it. But, these will do as a replacement - I'm definitely a fan. 

At the risk of sounding like one of those wanky gap yah travellers, the shirt in these photos I bought in a market in Vietnam and the bag is from Bali, so I have no links for those I'm afraid. That being said, bags like these are everywhere at the moment, including Primark, so you definitely don't need a return flight to Denpasar to pick one up!

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
Ahhh the t-shirt dress, an item I'm never sure looks quite right on me, but I wear regardless. I'm a pretty lanky human with fairly skinny limbs, so it's fair to say that anything too oversized and boxy doesn't do all that much for me. But, when I spotted this pink striped t-shirt dress* I knew I needed it in my life. I have this in an S/M which is an 8/10 and I certainly wouldn't want it any bigger. Dresses like these are so easy to chuck on with a pair of trainers and a denim jacket, so they definitely get a thumbs up from me. And this pink colour? Delicious. 

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
The humble graphic tee: a staple in everyone's wardrobe. I love this white love yaself tee*, it's so simple and pairs really nicely with any sort of bottoms... Floral midi skirt? Yes. Funky patterned shorts (these are Primark FYI)? Definitely. A pair of mom jeans? A look. I actually sized up in this and opted for a M/L because everyone knows that a tight white tee is never a good idea in the summer... Helloooo, sweat patches. 

And on that delicious note, I think we'll leave this post here! If I pick up any more summer pieces I'll definitely post another of these hauls, if you're interested! Also, do excuse the desolate bedroom... I'm currently in the process of moving out of my uni room so it's defo looking a bit sorry for itself!

Have you picked up any new summer pieces recently?
I'd like to take this moment to thank my sister for a) introducing me to this haircare range and b) giving these products to me. What a legend. Do I have to mark these as AD #gifted? Is my sister an influencer now? What is going on with the world?

Anyway, I've never been particularly loyal to any haircare brand or product and normally tend to opt for whatever is on the end of the aisle, on offer in Sains. Buy one get one free? I'll take it. A quid? Even better. 

I was recently facetiming my sister and she was using the No Haircut Cream, which I'd never seen before, so I asked her approximately 8 questions about what it was... Fast forward a few days and I had the full trio to try for myself. These products are from L'Oreal Elvive's Dream Lengths range, and lemme tell you, they are fab. The whole idea behind the range is to protect and restore damaged hair and split ends, and I am HERE for it. 

My hair always seems to be a bit damaged. Yet, I don't blowdry it nor straighten it, and it isn't particularly long either. I do go for semi-regular haircuts and by 'semi-regular' I mean about twice a year. (Maybe I'm answering my own questions here...) But yeah, my hair is a bit dry and damaged and so I figured these products could possibly be everything my hair was crying out for. 

A review of the L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths Range including the shampoo, conditioner and no-haircut cream. Created for damaged hair, these products prevent breakage and reduce spilt ends at an affordable price.

Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo

All of the products smell fab - they have a subtle fruity scent, which, honestly, doesn't last all that long in the hair, but it's nice nonetheless. The shampoo lathers really well and it certainly leaves my hair feeling clean without it feeling stripped of allllll the moisture in the world ever. I'm not sure how much more there is to say about a shampoo? It cleans my hair and it smells nice, I'm happy!

Dream Lengths Detangling Conditioner 

Of the three, this product is by far my favourite. When it says it's a detangling conditioner, it really isn't fibbing. I know my hair isn't particularly long, and I'm sure people with longer hair find it waaay more of an issue than I do, but my hair does find a way to get itself pretty knotty. But, this product seems to be an absolute saviour. Whenever I use this, my hair always feels so buttery smooth and the hairbrush absolutely glides through it, no matter what state it was in before I washed it. 

Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream 

I love the idea behind this product - why had I not heard of it/bought it sooner?! It's a leave-in product you can apply to wet or dry hair, that claims to 'help seal spilt-ends and reduce breakage'. Now, I'm not sure if I've been using this long enough to fully report on those claims, but I have been using it every time I've washed my hair since I was given it, and so far so good. My hair looks healthier than it ever has, which is surprising considering it's taken a bit of a beating the last few weeks with all the styling it's received for the balls I've been attending!

Overall, I really am loving these products and would recommend them to anyone with a drier hair type who is on the lookout for some new products to try. (I have a feeling that these might be a little too heavy duty for anyone with really fine hair, so maybe pass on these if that's you!) The shampoo and conditioner retail at £4.99 each, and the haircut cream at £5.99, but Boots are selling the entire bundle (including a hair mask I haven't tried) for £12... So, if you're interested in trying the range then that might be the way to go...

What is your favourite shampoo/conditioner combo?
It's 2019, we all know how important an SPF is. I mean, if you don't, read this, then come back to this post. I've been using an SPF every day on my face for several years now, and, over this time, I've tried a fair few different ones. I always like to opt for a factor 50 because, if you couldn't already tell, I'm fairly pasty and I burn pretty easily. Plus, the more protection the better, right?

The Best SPF I've Bought: The Body Shop's Skin Defence. A chat about my favourite suncream for the face.

I recently bought The Body Shop's Skin Defence after seeing Caroline Hirons mention it on This Morning a few weeks ago. Which, if you haven't already seen, the clips are all on YouTube so I highly recommend you catch up on them now! That woman really does know it all when it comes to skincare, and I genuinely fully trust what she says...

Anyway, back to the product. It retails at £17 for the 40ml or £21 for the 60ml, so, it definitely isn't cheap! But, compared to skin cancer and wrinkles, I don't think it's too much of a sacrifice... Thankfully, when I bought it they were offering a 40% discount online, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for any future discount codes, they really do make a difference.

This product has a really really light texture, and unlike other facial SPFs I've used, it's not sticky at alllll. I've used this every day for several weeks now and I'm yet to find anything I dislike about it. It sinks in really quickly, doesn't interfere with my makeup and also doesn't irritate my skin in the slightest. I have also spent quite a few full days in the sun and can confirm that it does its job, I haven't shown any signs of sunburn at all!

The Skin Defence contains both UVA and UVB protection, which is very important, as well as a couple of ingredients known for brightening the skin. So, it really is a good all-rounder.

Unfortunately, this product is currently sold out online, but I figured I'd write this post as a little PSA in case anyone is after a new SPF for the summer, because this really is the best one I've ever used...

Do you have a favourite SPF?
Back in April, I made the decision to try and cut down my dairy consumption. I spoke a little bit about it, at the time, in this blog post, and, fast forward two months and here we are. I'm still limiting the amount of dairy I consume and I haven't bought cow's milk nor a block of cheese in over two months - wahey! (As someone who used to eat a lotttt of cheese on her bolognese, this is quite the accomplishment!) So, I thought it was about time I updated y'all on how I've been getting on...

Going dairy free: two months on. From the differences I've noticed since cutting out dairy to a roundup and review of all of the products I've tried.

Why did I cut out dairy?

Now, I mentioned in the aforementioned blog post the reasons for cutting out dairy, but I figured I'd recap them here, just in case you missed that post...

Firstly, there is a lot of discussion online surrounding the possible link between dairy and acne. I've mentioned it a million times now, but, my skin is not great. I've had acne for yeaaaars now, and I figured that cutting out dairy could potentially be the answer to all my prayers. What did I have to lose?

Well, update: I haven't noticed a massive change in my skin but I definitely feel better generally. I am nowhere near as bloated as I once was and I just feel so much better. I mean, it could all be a bit of a  placebo, but so far, so good, and I'm definitely going to stick to it.

The second reason behind this diet change was, of course, environment related. I'm sure you've all heard it before and you don't need me to ramble on about it... It's 2019 and we really are out here trying to turn things around.

So, how have I been finding the dairy alternatives? 

Almond Milk - is a big fat no from me. I really didn't like how it tasted in tea, nor in porridge or cereal. I mean, I'm not a massive fan of almonds, so maybe that has something to do with it... Almond milk was the first dairy-free product I tried but thankfully it didn't put me off completely! I personally wouldn't recommend it at alllll, but it's all about personal preference, yanno?

Soya Milk - is what I currently have on my cereal. I buy the unsweetened cartons from Aldi, they're less than a pound, and I like how they taste. I mean, they don't taste like a lot, but they're certainly not offensive! I've used this to make both pancakes and toad in the hole, and I've liked the results... It's not quite the same as cow's milk, but it's still good. As for in tea, it's also alright. It's not particularly creamy but if no other options are available it's more than good enough.

Oat Milk - the holy grail. I initially tried an oat milk from Asda's free from range, and that was fab! It was amazing in porridge and pancakes, and also made a fab cup of tea. Unfortunately, we don't have an Asda particularly locally, so I haven't had this one again since. I have, however, discovered the absolute joy that is Oatly Barista Oat Milk. In a tea, it's fab! It's really quite thick and creamy, two things that the other milk alternatives I've tried haven't been. If I was out and could choose any alternative to have in my tea, it would 100% be this one!

I am not being particularly strict with other dairy products, so I am still eating cheese and clotted cream if I'm out and about. This gal isn't about to turn down a cream tea, is she? But, one other thing I have tried are the Alpro Velvet Vanilla Soya Desserts. They look like custard, they taste like custard, and so get two big thumbs up from me.

Now that I've written this post, it has dawned on me how few dairy-free alternatives I've actually tried... My bad. I'll be sure to  test a few more out and then I'll come back with an update! The next thing on my list is yoghurt - I tweeted a few weeks ago looking for yoghurt recommendations, so I'm going to start working my way through those - any recommendations?

Which is your favourite milk alternative?
A lookbook of dresses for wearing to graduation, that are available online and cost less than £40... Including dresses from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and MissguidedAs many of you are probably aware, I've recently finished my final year at university meaning that my graduation is right around the corner. It's the moment that all of our studies thus far have been leading up to, so, it's fair to say that it's a pretty big day. So, of course, it's only natural to want to find the dress. The one you feel fab in, the one you love the look of, the one

So, for today's post I thought I'd help a sister out and compile a lookbook full of dresses I've spotted whilst browsing online, in the hopes that it could help even one of you out. I've tried to include a few different colours and styles, and not just dresses I'd usually pick for myself... 

I've not gone for anything too floaty or long as I figured it might all look a bit much under the robes (only my personal opinion!) They all retail for less than £40 and the sites they're from all offer next day delivery meaning that no matter the time limit, you should be alright! Some of the links are affiliate links - this doesn't impact your purchase at alllll, I'll only receive a small amount of money back in return!

A lookbook of dresses for wearing to graduation, that are available online and cost less than £40... Including dresses from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Missguided

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A lookbook of dresses for wearing to graduation, that are available online and cost less than £40... Including dresses from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Missguided

1   2   3   4

A lookbook of dresses for wearing to graduation, that are available online and cost less than £40... Including dresses from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Missguided

1   2   3   4

A lookbook of dresses for wearing to graduation, that are available online and cost less than £40... Including dresses from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Missguided

1   2   3   4   5

Which is your favourite of these dresses?