Getting Thrifty With It

Getting Thrifty With It

I'm not going to lie to you, this post has been sitting in my drafts for MONTHS so I thought it was definitely time I finished it and got it posted, more for my own sanity than anything else but here goes.

I love a good thrift. I think my love of thrifting stemmed from the fact that I used to be a checkout operator in a local charity shop and when the store was quiet I would always take a look around to see if there were any bargains I could snatch up. I usually ended up with t-shirts, some jackets and mostly books but my most incredible thrift shop purchase to date (and probably ever again if we're being realistic) is this mustard yellow Zara puffer jacket (pictured below), which I managed to pick up for the bargain price of £2.25! I KNOW RIGHT!

Anyway, some people really struggle with thrifting and how to find good things when thrifting but the art lies in knowing where to look and as someone who has previously worked in a thrift store, I feel like I have a unique perspective. So here are my top thrifting tips!

Shop Around
When you're starting out, don't just limit yourself to one shop. Usually, if your community is anything like mine, you'll often find multiple thrift shops or charity shops in pretty close vicinity. So don't give up if you don't find anything you like in the first one you look in. Different shops will cater to different people, so someone else's favourite shop may not be yours and vice versa.

Frequent Visits
If you pop into the same shop often enough, chances are the staff will start to remember you and may be able to point out some stuff that they think you'll like or even keep some stuff back for you. While I worked at a charity shop, they got in a whole load of science textbooks and because they remembered that I studied Biomed, they kept them over for me and they just so happened to be my exact recommended reading for my course that year!

Don't limit yourself to one section
It's quite easy for things to get mixed up in thrift stores so the exact items you're looking for could be hiding among other sections. I can't tell you how many times I incorrectly labelled men's clothing as women's clothing and vice versa.

Give yourself time
Don't expect to just walk in and instantly find things you love. It can take a lot of hoaking about to find something so you may need longer than you expect to have a look at everything, even if the store seems small.

Don't be afraid to try things on
Thrifting is exactly the same as normal clothes shopping. Things can look good on the hanger but once you try it on it's a completely different story. Thrift stores typically have dressing rooms for a reason. Use Them! While it looks like a bargain, if you don't actually like it, it was just a waste of money!

Online Thrifting
While depop and poshmark have been around for ages my new favourite thing is an online thrift store called Thrift+ (check it here). Not only can you find preowned/preloved clothes but it also supports different charities through purchases so you get to be ethical and support charities. It's also super easy to navigate and they have a boutique section so  you can shop either high end or high street brands.

Do you like thrifting? If so what are your top tips and what is your best thrifting find to date? Let me know in the comments below!

My Travel Essentials

My Travel Essentials

I'm so excited for this summer season. If you look out the window it might not look all that much like summer right now but for me, the summer holidays are all about travel. I have lots of exciting trips planned so prepare yourselves for ALL the travel content in these next few months. As a pretty seasoned traveller, I tend to think I have all the basics down for the essentials that you need for your trip.

A backpack

This is my hand luggage bag of choice, so many airlines are now limiting you to only having a small hand luggage bag but I always have my trusty Madlug by my side, these bags are made in Northern Ireland and also operate on a wear one, share one policy where for every bag purchased, a bag will be given to a child, currently in the care system in the UK, who doesn't have a bag. They're my favourite bags (I literally have 9 different ones!) Check them out here!

This is the Rolltop Daypack in Burgundy and was kindly gifted to me for content creation purposes!

Denim Jacket
This may seem like a random one, but you will never find me at an airport, or travelling anywhere to be fair, without my denim jacket on. Why is that you may ask? INTERNAL POCKETS! The Internal Pockets are the stuff of dreams! If you're only travelling with hand luggage you can fit so much stuff in the internal pockets of your denim jacket that it frees up so much space in your hand luggage bag. I one put a 400-page book and my purse in there. It was wild. My jacket in this photo is super old from Zara but you can generally get super cute jackets from any thrift store or vintage store but I've linked a few cute ones below.

Portable Charger/Powerpack
I don't even just bring this travelling, this is in my bag at all times, because you never know when your phone may need a top up but wherever I am, I always get asked about this setup. This power pack is from Ideal of Sweden (gifted and I've worked with them in the past but this post isn't sponsored I just blimmin' love this thing) I have this one in the Flower Meadow pattern but it comes in loads of pretty designs. You can also get 20% off with the code ID20-AL110*. The cable is a Xoopar octopus cable, mine was kindly gifted to me by VOXI but you can get unbranded ones here* or you can use any cable on it, but the octopus is perfect if you want to charge more than one type of device while you're away.

Keep Cups/Reusable Water Bottles
For me, airport travel is incomplete until I'm sitting in Starbucks sipping my Mango Black tea Lemonade waiting for my gate to open. But with a huge shift to sustainability, did you know that you can fly with a keep cup in your hand luggage, provided it's empty going through security that is! A lot of cities also have water stations so you can refill your water bottle if you get thirsty with the summer heat!

A good book!
I read the most when I travel, not even long distances, I used to get through books so quickly when I was travelling up and down to uni on the train. But flights, I find, give the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a good book. I'm planning on doing a book recommendations post in the near future so keep an eye out if that's your thing!

What are your must-have travel essentials?

My Year With CAP

My Year With CAP

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting at my desk on my last day as a Christians Against Poverty communications intern. My main roles were social media, photography and events. I even dabbled in some data analysis as well. I spent most of my time in office but I've shared a couple of exciting highlights from each month because no month at CAP is ever the same as the last I've grown a lot this year and I've learned so much that I just thought I'd write this blog post outlining just what I got up to for the year if anyone is interested! 

After interviewing in July and getting the role in August I officially started on 1st September. The first thing on the agenda was a trip to head office in Bradford. Head office was like nothing I had experienced before. Starting the work day gathering together for worship, random prayer meetings in the middle of the day, an emphasis on fun and rest while still making sure all the work gets done. It's no surprise that they've won awards for being the best company to work for in the UK! This was a great opportunity to really discover the heart of CAP as well as being able to meet my fellow team members and interns.

I was barely back from my trip to Head Office when it was time to head off again. This time to Blackburn for Closer Conference. This was my first time meeting the Northern Ireland frontline workers and getting to come together as a nationwide team to grow in our faith and leadership all while at a nice conference centre. Also, CAP is BIG on dressing up so naturally, we had a big formal meal on the last night with evening entertainment, drinks and heroes and villains themed dress-up (see me below pictured in my scarlet witch costume which I was personally very proud of).

October meant that it was time for the fundraising dinner. As a charity, it's important that CAP fundraise so that we can help as many people as possible and one way they do this is through fundraising dinners. This is basically a fancy dinner (ours was held in Titanic Belfast Suite) the people get to come to for free with the expectation that they'll donate money to the work of CAP. I'm a photographer so my main role was to photograph the night and give a few live twitter updates on the events. I had an excuse to dress up and we managed to raise £139,253.

In November I headed back over to Bradford for some Intern development training. CAP love to invest in you by giving you training and making sure it's tailored to your needs. This also gave me an opportunity to reconnect with the Head Office team and my fellow interns to discuss how we were all getting on in our various roles. 

I was off for most of December for Christmas holidays but that didn't stop me from attending a client event and taking some photos for the people attending. We printed them out and got them framed as a nice keepsake for them as it's something they wouldn't normally be able to have.

January, with being a new year, was quite quiet, I mainly just spent most of my time in January working in the office but sometimes you need quiet months. I had a few Zoom meetings and attended a few training sessions and events.

I turned 21! CAP, as I mentioned, are very big on rest and fun so my birthday was actually a revive day, so instead of taking it off (I did go out for breakfast and come in late though), we spent the day praying, ordered Domino's pizza and played board games.

I also went on a Job Club visit to see first hand what the services CAP run actually look like in the real world and not just on paper!

We had our United conference in March. This is an opportunity for the churches that partner with CAP to come together to find out about all the work that has gone on the last year. We also celebrated 10 years of CAP in Northern Ireland with a big cake!

I also got the opportunity in March to take photos for our Northern Ireland client report. I got the opportunity to spend time with a former client and her family take some photos of them and get to hear their first hadn't experience of how CAP helped them.

We had our Castlewellan Discovery Break in April, just at the end of the Easter holidays. This is when we take between 50-80 clients from all across Northern Ireland away for a weekend for a fun weekend of activities and teaching sessions for free to bless them. I was leading the youth programme and surprise, surprise, doing the photography. I had such a great weekend and the young people were so much fun to hang with, even though one of them beat me at chess and wouldn't shut up about it for the rest of the weekend!

CAP has been operating in Northern Ireland for 10 years and in order to celebrate we launched our Client Report (the one I took photos for back in March). It ended up being my very first published photography/photojournalism work so it was a very exciting time! (you can see it here). We held the launch at Stormont Parliament buildings where we were joined by various industry professionals and local politicians.

Also in May, I went on a retreat with the rest of the Interns to the Lake District where we got to take some time out of our schedules to grow in our faith and have fellowship with each other. It was just a great time!

As I came to the end of my internship I ran a social media training course for some of the members of frontline staff on how they can best utilise social media for their services as well as making sure my co-workers knew what to do during my absence. They also bought me the coolest leaving present! (Yes it is a poster of every Eurovision result ever! The Eurovision fan and stats geek in me is thriving).

While the internship is voluntary, you are really invested in and a lot of expenses are covered for you. CAP NI are currently looking for an intern for next year so if you're keen, get in touch with for more information. I high key recommend.

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

I'm an introvert but that doesn't mean I hate people

Where are you finding your joy? This is a question I was asked and at the time I only gave a one-word answer but in reality, I think it needs more than that because a good question requires a good answer.

Recently, I availed of Instagram's newest feature, Story Quizzes, because who doesn't enjoy having even more ways to pester your friends with your constant Instagram stories/need for attention. and boy oh boy was it an eye-opening experience! Don't get me started on the fact that a third of the people who answered didn't know I'd been to Portugal despite the fact I attended Eurovision there last year being my main topic of conversation for the last 12 months! But the biggest shock for me was how many people thought I was an extravert. More than half said I was an extravert as a major introvert it made me laugh a lot, but then I got to thinking, what is it about me that apparently screams extravert?

When asked where I found my joy, after a lot of deliberation, I responded 'when I'm with other people'. Now, this might scream extravert to you but hear me out. My love language is quality time which for an introvert might seem weird, but it really means that I'm particular with my time. I don't love spending time with just anybody and it takes me a while to feel comfortable around people but once I'm comfortable with someone, with them is my favourite place to be. I also have massive FOMO so I'll hang out even if it tires me. and that's the biggy. I don't get my energy from being with people, I get my energy from spending time in my own company and resetting.

So I'm not riding in here like a saviour on a white horse come to redeem the good name of the introverts but I think we should end the stigma that introverts are always shy and reserved and just don't like people. I love people and I need my people time but more importantly, I need my ME time. Time to myself to reflect on the great times I had with the people I love.

So that's where I find my joy, not necessarily from spending time with people, but not from being alone either. Instead, it's from using my energy to do things I love and knowing when to quit so that I can refuel and enjoy those times even more.

So where are you finding your joy?

Bringing My Nails into Summer with OPI

Bringing My Nails into Summer with OPI

I was never a big nail polish person as a teenager, while everyone was out doing their elaborate nail art and getting gel nails and the whole shebang I was always just there with my natural nails looking all plain, but that's how I liked it. Once  I actually did start wearing nail polish, I was still very much rooted in my baby pink (big up to Essie Ballet Slippers). Even now I'm not the most dramatic with my nail choices very much staying with my tried and tested formula of baby pink, white and baby yellow (occasionally chucking in a darker colour every so often) so when Influenster got in touch and wanted to send me some colours from OPI's Tokyo Collection I JUMPED at the chance to shake up my monotonous nail life with something a little more exciting!
 The colours I got sent were 'How Does Your Zen Garden Grow' (pictured) which is a beautiful pistachio green colour, 'Rice Rice Baby' which is the loveliest pink colour and I'm so excited to use this one this summer, and 'All Your Dreams In Vending Machines' which is a bright shimmery pink and definitely VERY out of my nail comfort zone so I'm not entirely sure how much wear out of this one! I also got sent the Start to Finish Treatment, which is a base coat, top coat, and strengthener all in one AKA your new manicure best friend!

I've used OPI products before (hello 'Met a Boy Cute as Can Be' my absolute favourite nail colour ever) and they are long lasting, go on really smoothly, great colour pay off and there is such a good selection of colours to choose from. I definitely recommend checking out the whole Tokyo Collection here because there are so many cute shades!

The Netherlands: A Tourist Guide

The Netherlands: A Tourist Guide

I consider myself a pretty seasoned traveller, I was fortunate enough to have parents who really treasured having the opportunity to explore foreign countries and experience different cultures that I ended up going on my first overseas flight before I even turned one! But if there's one place that I've been to the most and I'm most familiar with, it's most definitely The Netherlands. While I'm loud and proud about my love and affection towards Denmark (where I've been 4 times), I often somehow shy away from talking about all TEN of my experiences in The Netherlands (My Dad lived in Amsterdam for a year and became a little obsessed so we went there A LOT as kids). Amsterdam is quickly becoming that place where absolutely everybody on Instagram is going to or has been to in the past year and now since they've won Eurovision the likelihood that tourism will peak again is huge, so I'm going to share a few tips about visiting Amsterdam as well as a few other places you should try to get to while you're there because the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam and is definitely more than just 'Holland'.

Amsterdam Tips
We'll start with the biggie! Everyone and their cousin is going to Amsterdam at the minute and while I did just mention that the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam it's also great to know some tips for getting around Amsterdam easily as well as what to do and what not to do etc. I'm not a local so I'm sure there are people better qualified than me but here's just a little summary of the things I like to get up to when we visit the city.

Dwaze Zaken
If you're not staying in the heart if the city (which we rarely do) you'll most likely be hopping off the train at Amsterdam Centraal. Once you get out of the station, almost straight ahead of you across the canal is Dwaze Zaken. We love this place and no trip to Amsterdam for our family is complete without it. In fairness, my dad worked here when he lived in Amsterdam so that's why we go all the time, but I think it's definitely worth a visit. It's described as a Lively, Christian-oriented cafe serving hearty meals & beers on tap, plus art exhibits & live music. Also if you ever do visit pop in and check out their toilets. You think I'm kidding but really these toilets are next level, that's all I'm going to say to keep up the suspense!

Book Museums in Advance
If you want to go to certain museums and art galleries when you're in Amsterdam make sure you book them at least the day before you're planning on going to save yourself an unnecessary hike out to Museumplein only to be turned away, This happened to us first hand because we never thought to book the Van Gogh museum in the height of summer, oops, so make sure you avoid our mistakes so they weren't made in vain!

Use a Map
I know, I know, you don't want to look like a tourist, I hate looking like a tourist on holiday because I always just want to blend in but if you can get your hands on a city guide it'll have a whole load of places you can choose to visit on it, That's where I discovered Hortus Botanicus which just so happened to be one of my favourite places we went to in the city.

Canal Tour
Amsterdam is obviously famous for its canals so if you're going you DEFINITELY have to go on a canal tour, otherwise, what's the point in going to the city of Canals? There are so many different tours to choose from but they basically all offer the same thing. 

Obviously with weed cannabis being legal in The Netherlands that can be a big draw for people but if that's not your jam (It's definitely not my jam) just be aware that the smell of weed can be very strong at certain times. And research actual coffee shops before you go so you don't end up going into the wrong kind!

Footwear Choice
Obviously, when you're on a city break you're going to be walking a lot so make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. That doesn't necessarily mean trainers or walking shoes but any shoes that you're comfortable walking long distances in, I wore my Arizona Birkenstocks and they suited me perfectly but that's because they're comfortable for me, but maybe just avoid heels if your planning on exploring a lot of the city.

We can't go on holiday to The Netherlands without a trip to a pancake house for lunch. If you can find an authentic Dutch pancake house it's definitely worth hitting up and I'm just going to recommend you try a Cheese and Bacon one, it will blow your mind!

Other Places I Think Are Worth Visiting
As I mentioned, the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam so while I've been to Amsterdam a fair few times, there are also many other places in The Netherlands that we've explored, so here are a few of my favourites from throughout the years.

I love Tilburg, it's completely different from Amsterdam but it's got that big city vibe without being overpowering. There are so many things to do and there's loads of good cafes and restaurants that I think it definitely warrants a visit! In fairness my opinion may be tainted by the fact that we watched Mamma Mia Here We Go Again here and I'll forever associate it with Young Bill but minor details. (Films are all in English in The Netherlands with Dutch subtitles so it makes going to the cinema really easy, if it's maybe raining one day and you need something to do inside)

Famous for its blue pottery, it has the most beautiful centre with renaissance buildings and you can even see some cheese rolling although that's probably less exciting than it sounds it's really fun to be able to experience authentic Dutch culture.

WINDMILLS! Nothing screams The Netherlands more than Windmills and Kinderdijk has an abundance and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1997.

If you're looking for a beach resort, this is THE beach resort of The Netherlands, we've spent countless holidays in Zandvoort fulfilling the beach needs that always creep in when you're on holiday. Anywhere in Zeeland is also a good shout if you're looking for a 

This is a place that not a lot of tourists actually visit but it's got a modern centre with cool street art with multitudes of restaurants, cafe's, and bars with great nightlife but it's also got a medieval part and lots of old architecture, surrounded by a moat. All in all, it's pretty cool!

Basically, it's mini-Amsterdam but with fewer crowds so if you're after the aesthetics of Amsterdam but without the people everywhere, Haarlem is probably your best shot! Corrie Ten Boom's house is also here if you're interested in the Holocaust then this is a good visit!

Each village in The Netherlands is unique so if you stumble across one, have an wander. The last time we visited, the village we stayed in had an exact replica of St Peter's Basilica in Rome in the centre which was really random but also really cool to explore.

Is there anywhere in The Netherlands that you've visited that you think other people should too? Let me know below!

3 Products That I Can't Give Up

3 Products That I Can't Give Up

I was a late bloomer, I always get taken aback when I walk by 12-year-olds with a full face of makeup on, I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 15 and even at that I literally just wore eyeliner and concealer. I bought my first proper eyeshadow palette when I was 16 after my GCSEs (Urban Decay Naked for all the OGs out there) and since then it's been a bittersweet love affair with makeup, and too this day, eyeshadow remains my absolute favourite beauty product, remember your roots, my friends! My makeup tastes have changed a lot over the years but there are always those products that you keep coming back to no matter how many times you try to change it up. 

Anyway on that note, here are the 3 products that I can't seem to stop buying again and again and again!

Rimmel Stay Matte
This is the true OG powder of OG powders and the one that I'm probably most ashamed to admit I still use. I tried to make the switch to loose powders which I did love using but inevitable as soon as I use them up I go straight back to my Rimmel Stay Matte ways even though I know deep down that it's probably not a good product, I'm still gonna use it anyway. Sue me!

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
I originally intended to purchase this as a one-off 'Treat Yoself' purchase but I'm currently on my 4th bottle! I initially planned to revert back to drugstore foundations but my skin just did not thank me for it at all so I'm back to my beloved, Born This Way, slightly pricey but worth it in my humble opinion (I use the shade Snow if anyone was interested!)

Benefit Hoola Bronzer
This is the big one, is there a person alive who doesn't use Hoola bronzer, this was actually the first bronzer I ever used, I got a full sized one in a gift set I bought on the ferry after Christmas for £15, A BARGAIN, and it lasted me for years, then I got a free sample in my Birchbox and it's lasted me another year so basically this is the first time I've actually had to replace it but once you go Hoola, you never go back, and boy have I tried but here we are again.

What are your Holy Grail beauty products that you keep on buying again and again? I'd love to find some new products!

Sustainability and Stationery

Sustainability and Stationery


I don't know about you but I love getting some new stationery, nothing says useless purchase like the 14th unused notebook you have lying on your shelf but I'm here with some good news for all stationery lovers everywhere, and it comes in the form of A Good Company.

So what's so good about A Good Company, well... It's the first climate positive stationery brand! Which is fab as there's been such a shift lately into people using more sustainable products, so if you want to make your note taking more environmentally friendly then these just might be the products for you!

A Good Company exists to create elegant, thoughtful and sustainable everyday products, refusing to take shortcuts and make sure that every single step in the journey of the products, from how they are made to how they end up on your doorstep is ethical and sustainable.

Their main aims are: regardless of cost always picking materials with the least environmental impact, only work with suppliers they know inside out ensuring that they all share values, never using harmful chemicals in production, and identifying the potential environmental impact of all operations compensating for emissions resulting from shipping and travel, they also plant a tree with every order!

The pages in their notebooks are all made out of recycled stone, which isn't only better for the environment but also waterproof and smudge proof. Even the packaging it comes in is sustainable! I literally carry mine everywhere so I can wholeheartedly testify to the fact that they have not sacrificed quality for sustainability at all.

If you want to check out A Good Company for yourself you can find them here*. You can also get 20% off your purchase with the code agoodcoXalice*

They don't even just sell stationery, there's a whole load of sustainable products on there from notebooks, to pens, to paint, to bamboo toothbrushes, to bamboo cutlery. So I definitely recommend checking it out! Here's a little selection of my top picks!

The Clogs Craze and Why I'm Here For It

The Clogs Craze and Why I'm Here For It

Okay, so I can't be the only one who's seen everybody on their Instagram feed trodding about in the cutest little wooden clogs ever and been like I NEED A PAIR! If you are that person I GOTCHUUU COVERED with the latest clogs lowdown and some things you're deffo gonna need to know before you make that purchase!

If you don't already know, Scondi style is my absolute favourite thing so I JUMPED at the chance to buy myself a pair of authentic Swedish clogs, I recently ordered a pair of (wait for it) Highwood Taupe on Brown Brown Base from 'Lotta from Stockholm' (these ones) but there are so many brands about depending on your budget! Swedish Hasbeens is definitely the most popular, but Lotta's are a great lower budget alternative and just as good in quality. Now here's the three big questions. Style, Comfort, Practicality!

So as you can see from the photos everywhere clogs are CUTE, and they come in a whole load of cute styles. The ones that I have are the Highwood, closed toe version but here's a selection of other ones that I like! (all from Lotta)

If you're not sure on sizing, aka like me you have size 5 1/2 (UK) feet but bordering on a 6, I can't comment on all of the different brands but Lotta's are very true to size. I got a size 6 and they fit perfectly, a 5 would definitely have been too small, but with clogs, it's really important that they fit you properly so if you're really not sure, have a look at their sizing guide and it'll put you right.

This is the biggy! I'm a big comfort over style person so when I buy shoes I have to be sure that they're going to be comfortable and practical for everyday use, hence why I pretty much live in trainers! Now as heels go these are super comfy and functional, I wore these all day for work and had no issues whatsoever. However, there is a dark undertone of clogs, that I found out the hard way, and that my friends, is the buckling of the ankles. I have a very quick walking pace and have notoriously bad walking posture (think pregnant woman meets mother duck) so buckle in for story time... 

I was casually (well more like briskly) walking to church on Sunday morning, the roads were quiet and there was barely anyone about (which was a good thing) when suddenly my ankle buckled and I fell flat on my ass in the middle of the street and honestly lowkey thought I was about to die but nothing was bruised except for my pride and then the same darn thing proceeds to happen just a few metres farther down, this all happened only a couple of hundred metres from my house and I'd already fallen TWICE! What did this teach me? (Clearly, nothing because I'm still wearing them and recommending them to people but just making sure you know the dangers before you go ahead unlike me). I managed to make it the whole rest of the way to church without falling and even wore them to the airport later that day, and walking around Bradford the next week. But they've actually improved my walking before I have to be so so careful and conscious about how I'm walking and where I'm placing my feet. But the main thing I've realised is that cute clogs were not built for Belfast streets, city centre streets maybe, but definitely not the inner city streets where I live with their uneven pavements. I haven't fallen (or buckled) since that time on Sunday morning but it's really shaken me so now I walk about really aware that I could fall at any minute.

IN CONCLUSION: Clogs are cute but are definitely NOT appropriate footwear for everyday wear around inner cities with uneven pavements. If you live somewhere with nice flat and even pavements (uphill is also weirdly good) then these are perfect to walk about in, literally, the difference between flat surfaces and uneven pavements is STAGGERING! Despite my injuries, I still definitely recommend getting a pair of these if you're after a new pair of cute shoes, but please please please be aware of the formidable buckling ankles!!