Books | Why I Buy Books Secondhand

I've always bought books secondhand. I love spending my free moments browsing through charity shops, car boot sales, secondhand book shops and even the likes of eBay, to find new titles to get my nose into. Don't get me wrong, I do love the smell of a new book; there's nothing like it. But there's something so special to me about buying a pre-loved book that just beats it.

In your typical bookshop, books are organised by genre, whereas when buying second hand you're faced with a free for all of genres, with books all higgledy piggledy among each-other. Let's consider a charity shop, for example, where there's no way of predicting what you may find: a romance title may be next to a sci-fi title, a thriller next to a mystery. When browsing, you often find yourself looking at genres which are new to you, as the cover or title or synopsis catches your eye. In allowing yourself this opportunity to explore new genres,  you'll open yourself up to a world of fantasy you never normally would have ventured into.

There's also something so special about falling in love with a novel you bought secondhand. Often you will not recognise the titles you come across, and maybe not even the author, so you have to cross your fingers and toes that you'll get on with it. Then when you do connect with the story, it feels like fate brought you and this little paperback piece of magic together.

For me there is something so magical about reading a copy of a book which was once read by someone else. Chances are you'll never know who that person was but you're connected with a stranger through the written fictional word. I have a love affair with thinking about those who have read that same book before me and considering what they may have thought: will our opinions on the plot differ? Do they connect with the main character in the same way I do? These questions will of course never be answered but it allows me to consider the book from a different angle, which I find deeply interesting.

The other, less deep and meaningful but important all the same, reason as to why I prefer to buy secondhand books is the financial factor. For the price of one brand new book you can often buy two or three (or more if you're lucky) pre-loved books. That's three new worlds for you to dive into instead of just one. Seems like a simple decision to me.

Do you buy books secondhand? Where is your favourite place to buy books?

Happy Mind | Happiness Is...

Happiness can come from simplistic, seemingly meaningless moments which create a sense of joy inside of you, even when you just think about them. It's easy to get bogged down thinking about the not so fantastic things that you can face in life, but that makes it even more important to remember and focus on the lovely little things that bring you happiness.

To me, happiness is...

r Sharing funny YouTube videos with my boyfriend and belly laughing together.
r When someone says 'I saw this and thought of you'.
r Buying a magazine.
r The feeling of someone playing with my hair.
r Being in the arms of a loved one.
r A fresh manicure.
r Late night drives with my headphones in.
r Being hugged from behind.
r Long phone calls with loved ones.
r Unexpected compliments.
r The feeling of having freshly washed hair.
r Christmas music.
r Nights in with my family, with a takeaway and a film.
r Inside jokes.
r Scrolling through pinterest
r Looking down on the world out of a plane window.
r Sleeping in fresh sheets.
r When you find a new book you just can't put down.
r Unexpected discounts at the till.
r Finding that perfect spotify playlist.
r Having a nosey at houses I could never afford for sale/rent online.
r Seeing family and friends after a long time apart.
r Going for a pint in the pub with my Dad.
r Warm bubble baths.
r The feeling of cuddling a teddy bear, even when you're a fully grown adult.
r Seeing snow for the first time that year.
r Wearing a new outfit for the first time.
r The smell outside after it rains.
r Having my hair played with.
r When someone remembers seemingly unimportant things you've said.
r Having a nosey around a bookstore.
r Getting into bed after a long day.
r Seeing streets lit up with Christmas lights.
r Creating a blog post I'm particularly proud of.
r Making plans for the future.
r Seeing an engagement/baby announcement.
r Watching trashy reality TV.
r Jumping into a warm swimming pool.
r Waking up early and being the only one awake.
r Eating out at restaurants with loved ones.
r Listening to thunderstorms.
r Hearing the words 'I Love You'.
r Seeing people reunited with loved ones at the station/airport.
r Looking back through old photo albums.
r Songs which instantly boost your mood.
r Starting a brand new notebook.

Let's all find joy in the ordinary.

What simplistic things bring you happiness?

Thoughts | 10 Things I'd Do If I Were A Boy

So I'd thought I'd unleash my inner BeyoncĂ© and give my take on what I'd do had the fates decreed to make me a boy. This isn't going to be a massive rant against the male species because I'm not going to lie, they are mostly rather lovely aren't they? It's just a girls take on the life of a boy. Simple.

If I were a boy I'd do the following:
Be thankful every single day that society hasn't told guys they need makeup. Enough said.

Be a gentleman. Little gestures like opening doors, holding bags. Manners win you lots of good points with us girls.

Unleash my inner James Bond and wear a suit at every opportunity. Just because.

Avoid lying to women at all times. Us girls can spot a lie a mile away and we will find out the truth quicker than you can come up with the lie in the first place. 

Always shower and use lovely aftershave. That's a given really isn't it?

Drop the macho act. We all know most guys aren't anywhere near as tough as they make out. You can forget the 'I never cry, I'm a bloke' pantomime and just not be afraid to show a bit of emotion every once in a while.

Over use the man flu excuse. Considering boys see it as their prerogative, I might as well make the most of it.

Take my top off when out and about on hot days. Boys don't know how lucky they are do they? Us girls are melting away whilst they get to breathe free.

Actually show some level of affection towards younger siblings/family members. Not only is it a lovely thing to do, us girls love it. This also includes pets, might I add, there's nothing better than seeing your other half cuddling your dog.

Not get so worked up over whether or not a girl know silly little things like the offside rule. (which many of us do; girls can like football too you know). In the grand scheme of things, just appreciate that we want to enjoy the things you do, even if we don't necessarily understand everything that's going on.

Take notes chaps.

What would you do if you were the opposite gender for the day?

Happy Mind | 3 Tips For Battling The January Blues

I don't know about you, but in my mind January is a bit of a pants month. It's likely that this opinion has come from my love of Christmas; as it's my favourite time of year, it's always a bit of a low point when the decorations go away and we're back to living our un-festive lives. We spend the best part of the month grieving the year just gone in a bit of a post-Christmas slump. 

But I'm determined that this year is going to be different. I am, in general, in a much better place mentally than I was this time last year and I want to stay like this. I want to kick the new year off to a good start and therefore I am determined to not be moping around for the whole month.

Today I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I'm going to be battling the January blues this year; three simple ways of working towards a brighter month. 

New Year, New Me
You know those new years resolutions you make every January 1st and then don't think about for the next three hundred and sixty four days? It's time to get your booty into gear and get cracking on them. New year, new me and all that jazz. Maybe you want to get into the gym and get back into shape post-mince pie season. Maybe you want to reconnect with old friends or start saving money. Whatever you want to do, get cracking on it now; it'll be a great distraction from the January Blues.

Spend Time Outside
The darkest months of the year are well known to bring on the blues, so try getting yourself outside and enjoying the natural light we do get. Decreased sun exposure (which is a given during the short winter days) leads to a decrease in serotonin, aka the 'happy chemical'. Popping yourself out into the fresh air and having a good wander will help to boost your mood dramatically.

Make Plans
The Christmas period is one rife with reunions with loved ones, but why does that need to stop come January? Have friends over for a film night; go out for a meal; plan a date night. I know we generally have to tighten our belts in January to recover from the Christmas present splurges but you can do some wonderful things with loved ones on the cheap, or even for free. Not only will seeing your nearest and dearest help to boost your mood, future plans will give you something to look forward to through the darker days.

What will you be doing to guarantee a brighter January?

Books | Reading My Way Through January

Due to 2017 being a rather hectic and all over the place year, my inner bookworm had to be buried for a while towards the winter months. This means that my poor bookshelf is practically crying out for love and attention. Even though I haven't been reading anything for a little while, I've still been book shopping like there's no tomorrow, so my "to-read" pile is now over-spilling with gorgeous novels. I've picked five titles which I'd like to read throughout January; although fingers crossed I''ll  manage to find the time to get my nose into even more titles.

About a month back I wrote my Twenty Before Twenty post, one point of which was to read fifty books. Considering I now only have less than five months left I better get my bookworm booty in gear, and these books are a great way to start. 

The first book on my to-read pile is Fractured by Ruth Dee. Fractured tells the story of a woman suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, coming as a result of being abused as a child. It describes how her life was torn apart by abuse and how she built it back together again, leading to her helping other people also facing Multiple Personality Disorder. I've never read a novel highlighting complex issues such as these before, but I'm looking forward to educating myself on the topics through a personal account.

Next I'm looking forward to reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I've been wanting to read this novel for a little while now as the concept of a writing-loving introvert navigating the world of university is rather familiar. Fangirl is written by an author I've heard lots of positive comments about so I can't wait to give it a read. 

The next book I've recently added to my to-read pile is This Raging Light by Estelle Laure. This novel was described with a single sentence - Can you fall in love when everything is falling apart? - which intrigued me greatly and made me super keen to get my nose into it. This Raging Light features the protagonist suddenly seeing her friends brother in a new light; "How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?" . It's nice to see a novel featuring a relationship which progressed from friendship, rather than your typical love at first sight kind of scenario. It's how my boyfriend and I ended up together so I'm looking forward to seeing how the author explores it.

The book I'm currently reading is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book has rather dark tone to it; the protagonist (in whose voice the story is narrated) is a fourteen year old girl who has just been murdered and is looking down on earth as her family grieve. Despite the dark themes, I am absolutely hooked. I'm only two chapters in but the way the author describes the events of murder and also the grief being experienced is incredible. I'm completely in awe of the ideas and descriptions of heaven, and can't wait to see where the rest of the story goes.

The last book on my to-read pile is If I Stay by Gayle Forman; by far the most well-known novel out of the five. If I Stay tells the story of Mia whose family are in a fatal car accident. Mia is left in a coma and has an out-of-body experience where she has to ultimately decide whether she wants to stay in the living world without her family, or pass on. I started to read this novel when I was younger but never really got into it. The story line has always intrigued me though so I'm going to give it another go. 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you got any recommendations for me?

Beauty | Lush Boxing Day Buys

Would it be boxing day without making a few Lush purchases? This year Lush didn't hold an online sale - cue twitter loosing their marbles - so I had to take a trip into my local Lush the day after boxing day to get my fill of the sale goodness.

The mammoth Lush 2017 Christmas collection was just as decadent as it is every year. There were so many gorgeous bath bombs which caught my eye, so I was delighted to see them available in the sale.  Since making these purchases I've had many a soak in the bath, which has been a perfect way to spend the cold winter nights.

First to reach my basket was the Snow Fairy Jelly Bomb. The jelly bombs are some of the latest things they've been cooking up in the Lush kitchen and boy am I a fan. This one is in the staple festive scent of 'Snow Fairy', the epitome of pink sweet candy-floss goodness. The jelly bombs are lovely and moisturising, perfect for a winter pamper.

My next purchase was the Butterbear Bath Bomb. I just couldn't resist this little guy. It's got a super moisturising formula and does not have an overwhelming scent.

Next I picked up the Christmas Sweater Bath Bomb. This is my favourite festive bath bomb, it's scent just embodies Christmas as its full of spicy and warm clove scents. This bath bomb turns the water into a pinky red colour before letting off a gorgeous golden wonder.

Finally I went for the Sherbet Dip Bath Bomb. The scent is lovely and uplifting for the dark and dreary winter days. It's like putting a ginormous lemon sherbet sweet into your bath, so get the bath running and reminise of childhood sweeties.

Did you make any purchases in the Lush boxing day sale?

Happy Mind | The Power Of The Great Outdoors

There's just something special about being in the great outdoors. The crinkle of leaves underfoot; the whistle of the gentle breeze; the smell of wet grass after a rain storm. Just a matter of minutes spent exploring the outdoors can sweep aside any negativity that is consuming your mind.

Now that I live in a big city I do find myself craving the serenity of the countryside I was blessed to grow up around. My family home lies on the edge of a small city, close enough to the centre to reap the benefits of city life but also a stone throw away from the tranquility of the Fens.

At times when my head is restless and consumed with anxious thoughts, I like to wander off into nature and enjoy the sense of freedom and tranquility that comes with it. You should never doubt the restorative power of a long walk in the wilderness. There's something about being surrounded by nature that encourages you to be mindful; to take a moment to breathe during the hectic schedule of life.

Fresh air can be liberating for a cluttered mind. I love feeling the overall sense of calm that being outside brings to you, as you amble through forests and fields; admiring the flora and fauna that changes with the passing of each season. It leaves you feeling quite disconnected with the outside world, something which - in an era consumed by technology, pressure and fast pace - can feel like a, quite literal, breath of fresh air.

(Wouldn't be a forest walk without candid photos of the other half) 

As we wave hello to the new year I want to encourage you to take a break from life every now and again, and enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors; it'll  do you the world of good.

Beauty | January 2018 Evening Skincare Routine

After much chopping and changing I've finally settled on an evening skincare routine I really adore, so I thought I'd pop my beauty blogger hat on and share it with you all. As someone with acne-prone skin, I follow my skincare routine religiously in order to keep it under-control and these products have been a god sent. 

First things first it's time to remove the days makeup. My holy grail cleanser is the Ultrabland Cleanser by Lush. It's a beautiful beeswax-based concoction which melts away the waxes found in makeup to leave your face slap free and squeaky clean. Ultrabland also includes Rose Water - which calms and soothes the skin - and Almond Oil which hydrates it like there's no tomorrow. I have recently written a whole review on the product which you can find here.

To remove my eye makeup I like to keep things simple and just use the Boots Cucumber Eye Makeup Remover Gel. I won't beat around the bush, it's not the best eye makeup remover I've ever used due to it's rather annoying gel consistency but it does the job and at £1.50 I can't really complain; Student budget and all that.

 The next step in my evening skincare routine comes in the form of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. This is a fairly new addition to my routine but I've very quickly fallen head over heels with it. It's very gentle and doesn't strip the skin of moisture, which has been perfect during these winter months. I'm also finding my acne-prone skin to be rather fond of it, as overall my skin has been increasingly clearer since Cetaphil entered my life.

 One of my desert island beauty products is the Tea Tree Water Toner Water from Lush. It helps to refresh my skin post-cleansing routine, leaving my skin feeling tighter and cleaner. Tea Tree Water also helps to fight any breakouts from the outset with its antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial ingredients. It works wonders for blemish prone skin, it really does.

I also wanted to give a mention to the Yes To Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes. I like to use these in the morning primarily to wake my skin up, but do also use them of an evening when I've had a heavier-makeup day and want to give my skin a little more attention post-cleansing routine. As with all of Yes To's tomato range, the wipes help to tackle acne and blemishes which makes them perfect for my skin.

Now this isn't an everyday step, but I regularly use the Teen-Skin Actives Clearing Skin Scrub* to gently exfoliate my skin. This scrub uses bamboo beads and helps to combat blocked pores and blackheads.

Before I jump into bed I pop on the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. It helps to calm my skin, correct and unclog any imperfections and tackle pesky leftover marks from previous blemishes. I've recently switched to using this every night from sudocrem and I've seen a really positive change. It's a pricier product and doesn't promise the world but it has definitely forged a place in my staple beauty products.

Which products are you currently using in your evening skincare routine? 
*Disclaimer: A few products in this post have been very kindly gifted to me in the past as PR samples. All views and opinions shared on Yours, Chloe x are always honest and unbiased regardless of whether or not the product has been gifted to me.

Lifestyle | Stay Hydrated with Vieve Protein Water*

In the year just gone I made a real effort to increase my daily water intake, but I've found that drinking water alone can get rather boring... Enter Vieve Protein Water.

Vieve Protein Water is a hydrating and naturally flavoured water which is infused with 20g of protein. It is a low calorie, fat free and sugar free way to get a supply of protein whilst on the go. There's no more faffing about with protein powders of a morning, just grab a bottle and get the day started.

The drink comes in three delicious flavours to tickle your tastebuds: Strawberry & Rhubarb, Citrus Apple & Mint and Coconut & Honey. The team took a whopping two years to develop them; that's commitment with a capital C! 

I love how unique this is as a product. Protein shakes are something I have had here and there but the stodgy powdery shakes can get rather boring so it's fantastic to find a light and hydrating alternative. Vieve Protein Water is also targeted at a more mass-market audience, it's not exclusive to the more sporty among us. 

I've been using these waters to help me get through long days at uni and work. They're an ace way of giving you energy to take on the day head on, whilst supporting the growth of muscles and maintenance of bones behind the scenes.

I'd also like to give a special mention to what gems the company are, as they pledge to donate 1% of their profits to MIND, the mental health charity. As you will know, mental health charities are very close to my heart so I was delighted to see a company giving back to such a worthy cause.

At present Vieve is only available online on their website but I don't doubt that we'll see them available elsewhere in the near future.

Vieve Protein Water is priced at £14.99 for a 6 pack and is available on their website. I've just had a peek and they are currently available for half the price so go and snap up a bargain.

Have you tried Vieve Protein Water before?
*Disclaimer: These products were kindly gifted by Vieve Protein Water, for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions shared on Yours, Chloe x are always honest and unbiased regardless of whether or not the product has been gifted to me. For further details please refer to my full disclaimer.

Thoughts | New Year, Stronger Me

Welcome to 2018! 

At the start of the new year I like to think very carefully about my goals for the year ahead. I'm very passionate about the benefits of goal-setting as they give you something to strive towards and look forward to. It's also good to look at the year just gone and take stock of everything that went on, to help you decide which direction to move on up in.

For me 2017 was very so so. I don't know if I would credit it as being the best year of my life, as it had its ups but it had many downs, but that's by the by now as a new year is upon us and I'm ready for the next adventure. 

The theme of this list of 2018 goals is not 'new year, new me' but 'new year, stronger me'

In the latter end of last year I became a lot stronger, more confident and happier; I set the foundations for a rather fantastic 2018. Rather than starting this new year with a list of things I want to change about myself, I'm going to take a positive approach and look at things I want to build on and develop over the year ahead.

Live a Little
As we enter twenty eighteen I want to work on really living; seizing the day and shrugging off the whole 'eat, sleep, work, repeat', kerfuffle. My anxiety got the better of me for much of 2017 and I passed up opportunities to add a little bit of sparkle to my life. Come December I started to get better and as we enter this new year I want to continue moving upwards. I'm going to get out and about more, meet up with friends, meet new people, see my family, go on adventures with my boyfriend; the list goes on. In May of this year I turn twenty and I want to enter my twenties as I mean to go on: really living and being present in every moment.

Stick to Blogging
In the latter months of last year I got my blogger booty back in the game and I have loved every second. I'd unfortunately forgotten how much I adore having this little outlet for documenting life's adventures and how much it really helps my mental health. My brain is currently bursting with post ideas I'm passionate about and I can't wait to get typing. In 2018 I want to keep building my blog and creating content I'm proud of; come and join me on the journey.

Don't Skip Breakfast
In 2018 I'm going to continue my eating disorder recovery. It's not an area of my mental health I've spoken about on here before as it is, understandably, a sensitive subject but I'm going to try my hardest in the year ahead to get stronger. My next step is to get into a routine of eating breakfast.

Be Proud of All Achievements
Whether big or small, every accomplishment is significant and should be celebrated. At the end of the year just gone I started to write a diary of my daily achievements; a list of little things I wanted to celebrate, be it big things such as uni grades or more simplistic achievements such as drinking a lot of water that day. This is a habit I want to continue into 2018.

Stop Comparing Myself to Others
In a world centered around social media it's easy to see other peoples lives and adventures and compare it to your own. In 2018 I want to remember that at the end of the day I'm only seeing their highlight reel, the behind the scenes footage would be much less perfect and 'Instagram worthy'. At the end of the day there is something unique and special about me that only I can offer the world, so the only person worth comparing myself to is the person I was yesterday.

We have 365 new days ahead of us; 365 new chances; make them special. Here's to a happier and healthier 2018.

I'd love to hear what your goals are for the year ahead.