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Thursday, 28 February 2013

It’s no secret that I sometimes struggle with money – with only working part time at the moment, in the past I’ve had to miss out on things I’ve really wanted to do simply because of lack of funds. Unfortunately the country isn’t in the best state at the moment ; it’s almost impossible to find a job these days and even when you have necessary experience, jobs are still few and far between. Luckily, since I first began university, I tried to find some other easier ways to up my funds a bit to help tide me by. Although none of my methods were necessarily as good as working full time, having some extra cash thanks to these small steps actually benefited me a lot and to this day I still use a lot of them. I’m looking for a full time job based more around my degree in the long run, but thanks to some of these ideas I’ve found ways to help tide me by during those times when I don’t get as many hours at work or actually really need the type of money I’d earn if I did have a full time job.

 Survey websites 
Survey websites are a great way to get some extra money if you’re willing to put the time and effort in. Putting a couple of hours aside each day to answer a few surveys will benefit you in the long run, but it’s definitely a method that requires a lot of effort if you want to start earning a lot of money. Most surveys offer between 50p - £2.00 for a 10-30 minute survey which means some bad points include the surveys can be quite boring and long winded, especially when you don’t see results right away. However, sometimes putting one day aside a week (or a couple of hours per evening) helps spread things out a bit and within a month you could earn quite a lot of money just for offering your opinion. There are tons of websites about, some offering cash paid direct into your paypal and others offering vouchers for websites such as Amazon and others. That’s just the basics – there’s a lot more to be said about the ways in which you can commit yourself more to this method – but I’ll be having a friend do a guest post on this soon!

Ebay is an absolute godsend if you have the time and patience. I bet you’d find tons of clothes lying around your room that you don’t wear anymore – why leave them in your wardrobe collecting dust when you can sell them and make someone else happy? I put loads of clothes on EBay last month and earned about £200 and this was literally stuff I’d never even worn. Clothes with tags still on go for so much more and it’s always an idea to look into selling things on EBay as a kind of on the side business. You can buy lots of cheap clothes from boot sales and charity shops and sell them for much more than what you paid on EBay and a lot of people who don’t have the time to do it all actually pay other people to list stuff for them. You could also do this if you don’t have time yourself.

 Cash for Gold 
If you have any gold lying around, it will be worth a lot more using cash for gold websites as opposed to EBay or anything else. Jewelry from over the years just gets piled up and you’ll probably find you don’t actually want old rings/necklaces etc from old boyfriends that you forgot they gave you. Sell it on and earn some money out of it at least and if your ex was a bad boyfriend then it’ll feel even better selling it ;)

 Cash back websites 
I’ve already blogged about cash back websites before, but generally cash back websites are really beneficial if you do a lot of online shopping. It takes no extra effort on your part – simply set your home screen to the website of your choice and next time you want to buy something online, click onto the website via the cash back site and earn a percentage of what you pay back. Different websites offer different deals and some even offer freebies where you can earn a little bit of money each day just by clicking through to certain sponsors. Bigger buys = bigger earnings obviously, and things like phone contracts, car insurance etc can give you payouts of up to £100 or more.

 Competition entering 
Not all competitions offer cash, but some do and those that don’t offer great prizes. This is pretty straightforward too – you’ll find a variety of different websites dedicated to avid compers who post full lists of competitions to enter daily. Generally the smaller the competitions the more chance you have of winning – but don’t let that defer you. Some competitions offer top prizes of things like holidays, thousands of pounds and more – and after all, someone has got to win right?!

 Mystery shopping 
Mystery shopping isn’t as popular in the UK, but it DOES exist. I’ve yet to find a website that offers glamorous assignments like staying over night in 5* hotels and such, but I’ve recently gotten into mystery shopping myself lately and have to admit, it’s helped boost my income a bit! The best part is that it’s actually fun – you’ll find assignments for pubs and supermarkets and really all you have to do is visit a place and pay attention. Some tasks ask you to purchase items or food, which are reimbursed, and you also get paid for actually doing the assignment.

These are just a few tips that can help you boost your income just that little bit more. Although I wouldn’t say you could earn enough money to give up work completely, these are definitely ideal for students or people working part time like myself. A lot of them do depend on how much effort you’re willing to put in yourself but at the end of the day a lot of them are really quite easy in regards to how much you can earn! I hope this post helps!

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Back in September I finally got to read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I'd heard rave reviews about it, a lot of people had been discussing it and talking about the issues raised within the books pages. Not long after reading it, I discovered it was being made into a film - which is out at the cinema now. So if you haven't heard of the book the chances are you've probably heard about or watched the film! The film is actually a rom-com, whereas the book is a lot more darker and thought provoking, and I hope to see and review the film too. I'm interested to see how it compares to the book, although I would have loved to see the film being made within that darker genre as I feel being a rom-com it may not do the book as much justice.

The blurb reads -

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a burst of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

It took me a good few weeks to read this book which is actually kind of odd for me as normally I'll read a book within days or a week. It wasn't that I didn't like it - I actually really enjoyed this book - but it was more the fact that it was so deep and dark that it was something I found I had to take a break from every so often. I found it was the type of book that needed your full attention - I couldn't read it whilst on the bus on the way to work for example or whilst half watching TV. It was very heavy if that makes sense.

I generally thought the idea behind the storyline was fantastic. I've not really seen a book (or many other things for that matter) covering the idea/issues both after a zombie apocaylpse or by focusing on the zombie. This book focuses on R who is a zombie and is written from his point of view which is so interesting simply because it's so different. I imagine the author would have struggled with this quite a bit, but honestly massive props to him for not only attempting it but managing to do it very well!

Despite the fact that R is a zombie, it's very easy to sympathize with him and feel sorry for him. I doubt many people have actually imagined what it must be like to be a zombie from a more neutral point of view - the fact that zombies need to eat human flesh to survive and that it's not really their choice to become monsters. None the less, a lot of the issues raised in this book are thought provoking.

I thought it was oddly romantic too, in a very weird sense. The blurb reads that Julie is a 'burst of colour in a dreary grey landscape' - and at the end of the day, isn't that love exactly? When the world is okay, not amazing but not horrible either, but when you meet someone special it just becomes that little bit better and brighter?

I found some parts of this book actually quite depressing, especially when it forced me to think about the lifestyle and purpose of a zombie and things from their point of view. When I stopped to think about the fact that these zombies were once actual people and now didn't even live properly - both in the sense that they didn't 'live' their live and in the sense that they're technically 'undead' - well it was quite sad. The idea that they had no purpose whatsoever and just...wandered absolutely terrified me to no end. No memories. No names. No persona. They just...are.

There isn't much I can say about this book without ruining the plot line apart from the fact I'd definitely suggest reading it. It's not for everyone, but it is very different, and the type of story I could re-read a few times over even though I know how it ends. I'm very intrigued to see how the film compares to it and I have a lot of respect for the book, simply for how tough it must have been to write and just how interesting it is to see Isaac Marion push the boundaries and write about this type of subject.

P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word - another blog I'm part of. It's a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!

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Friday, 22 February 2013

On Saturday me and my parents went to the zoo! They had some clubcard vouchers to spend so they picked me up from work and we headed straight on over to Whipsnade Zoo. I hadn't been in years so I was definitely excited - it's a massive zoo situated right at the top of the downs (which is basically just a bunch of huge hills overlooking all of the city) so the zoo also has lots of nice views.

It was chilly but it was a nice day spent with my parents and seeing all the different animals. My favourites were the penguins and flamingos - just because flamingos are so random and pink! Anyway, there's not really much to say about a zoo, you all know what's there so I'll just leave you with some photos I took!


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Monday, 18 February 2013

P.S Feel free to follow us on Tumblr @Inspire Mag for some more fashion inspiring photos!

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Thursday, 14 February 2013

I'm really loving the total corny/dodgy/hilarious poorly-done-in-paint Valentines Day craze that seems to be everywhere right now...
Yes, it's that time of the year again I'm afraid. You're probably as sick as me of seeing repetitive gift/outfit/single ladies night out ideas posts all over your blogger dashboard, so I'll keep this short and sweet. I hope you're all having a lovely day whatever you're doing - single or not! And if you are single, remember the right person is on their way.

As a fleeting idea (and the fact that I have the best music taste ever) I decided to put together a little Valentine's Day playlist for you all. The idea is corny but the music is anything but - I've mixed it up a bit with a few classics, a couple of romantic songs and just awesome feel good artists. Whatever you're doing today, make it better by listening to some music.

Hope you all enjoy it and let me know what you think. Also, do let me know if you'd like to see this playlist malarky become a regular thing, I do enjoy putting together awesome songs by awesome bands to make beyond awesome playlists. Also, it's doing my bit for the music industry/my favourite bands by introducing you all to great music and making you all fans ;)

Anyway, for some reason, I cannot find a full version of Think I'll Go Inside by Joshua Radin on Grooveshark so it cuts out at the end :( But you can listen to the playlist via Spotify, and it has the full version on there! Just click here for the playlist. Although, on Spotify, The Maine's 'Thinking Of You' has a voicemail message at the end of the song which is supposed to be an introduction to their next song on their album Pioneer & The Good Love. *Sigh* you can never win, whether you listen to it via Spotify or Grooveshark! Never mind. And if you're wondering what the voicemail is about, it's the voicemail of the lead singer's mother because the next song on the album was written about/for her (too sweet!)

And yes, I know one band *cough* The Maine *cough* feature four times but yeah their songs are great and varied and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased.


P.S If you're a single pringle this Valentines and you're finding it hard, just remember, it's always better to be single than to settle with/for someone who doesn't make you happy! Never, ever settle. 'Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it's a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life, & love should not be one of them' - Dream for an Insomniac.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Remember back in December when my sister surprised me with a trip on The London Ghost Bus Tour for my birthday? I had such an amazing time and when the company behind the tours offered me tickets for their sister tour, Professor Quantum's Magnificent Time Tour, I was ecstatic. I loved the ghost bus tour so much and thought the whole idea was very different and original, so I knew the time tour was going to be just as amazing.

Image taken from
The tour follows the same theme as the ghost bus one - it's conducted on the same bus and you learn about London's history from a bonkers conductor whilst traveling around the city. However, that's where the similarities end and despite being a very similar idea, the tour manages to really hold it's own and distance itself from it's sister tour. Professor Quantum's Magnificent Time Tour was a lot more lighthearted and concentrated on being educational and humorous rather then scary, and the tour conductor threw in little tidbits of all different types of history about the city - fun facts, history about it's buildings and the countries royals and much more.

I wasn't quite sure how it would work out being on the same bus which was decked out quite old and somewhat spooky, but perhaps because the tour was held in the day, the atmosphere and decor felt much more suitable for 'old times' - as opposed to a haunted bus which it felt like during the ghost tour held at night. I really enjoyed myself on this tour and it was perfect for a rainy day in London. It was also kind of relaxing in that you could sit back and experience the tour without having to think too much about it. It was lighthearted and you could have a listen to the history and follow the story, or just enjoy the views.

The tour was conducted by the bonkers but hilarious Professor Quantum who made us laugh so much! We also had the chance to have a chat with William Shakespeare during the tour and some other crazy characters. I thought this tour was a lot more family friendly - although both tours are suitable for most ages, this tour was something that younger children would really enjoy as well, proving that it had a bit of something for everyone. The tour had a few twists as well, and tried to involve us too which drew us in a lot and made it really fun.

I really loved how they mixed it up a bit by using old historic clips and contacting characters throughout history too - this was a really interesting touch. Overall the tour was really funny and taught me loads about London's history - and it was interesting facts that I didn't previously know, not just general boring history that no one wants to know! As before, the conductor stayed in character really well too and kept the tour going even when the bus had stopped at the many, many red traffic lights in the city. Of course it's so easy to not know what to say when traffic is particularly bad and there might not be anything to look at, but she kept the story going, chatting away and making us laugh. 

I absolutely loved this tour and would love to see what tour the company thinks of doing next. I still insist that the whole idea behind it is very quirky and original - bus tours around London are so common but Professor Quantum's Magnificent Time Tour and The London Ghost Bus Tour really go above that and make the whole experience stand out with great story lines, awesome actors and much more.

Me and my sister had a lovely time - it was nice to be able to treat her for once as she's always surprising me with quirky things to do around London - and it was also a welcome treat away from the pouring rain. We went on Sunday which coincided with Chinese New Year which was nice, especially as it was the year of the snake which is my Chinese zodiac! London was filled with celebrations and after the tour we braved the cold and had a walk through the beautiful Chinatown, before grabbing some Chinese food. It was a great day!

Professor Quantum's Magnificent Time Tour runs at 2:45 on weekends all year round, with additional tours running during the holidays. The tour is roughly one hour and fifteen minutes long and leaves from Northumberland Avenue, just by Trafalgar Square. A standard adult ticket is £20.

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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Image taken by Christopher Yarrow
A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of the film Whip It (and a review of the book it was based on too, Derby Girl) - which tells the story of small time girl Bliss Cavender who joins a roller derby team and literally has her whole world turned upside down. Ever since I saw the film a few years ago, I've loved the idea of roller derby and have always been eager to try it out myself. It's such a bad-ass sport - it's a contact sport which is very edgy and awesome. Luckily, I discovered that Milton Keynes has it's very own team called The Concrete Cows. Although Milton Keynes is fairly local, unfortunately it's too far for me to travel to without a car on such a regular basis, so joining the team at the moment and training weekly isn't possible for me. However, they recently had an intake night where you could go along and try it out and I jumped at the opportunity, hoping to get a feel of the sport.

A roller derby game is actually quite simple - basically each team has five players - 4 blockers (defence) and 1 jammer - the point scorer. The game is played on an oval track (on roller skates obviously) and all 8 blockers from both teams skate altogether in a pack, with the two opposing jammers beginning only a few feet behind. Once the whistle blows, the jammers aim to skate through the pack (their own team defending and blocking against the opposing jammer whilst trying to help their own jammer get through) and hopefully break through. Then the jammer must skate around and attempt to overtake the pack. Each blocker they pass/overlap of the opposing team equals one point. It's a fairly simple game with little rules, however it's very fast paced and being a contact sport, can get quite competitive! 

I had to laugh about the idea of attending, as I managed to convince my friend Amy to come along with me. Although we figured for it being a first lesson/try out, there wouldn't be any shoving or contact on our parts, but still we laughed about the fact that we might have to 'man up' a bit so to speak and not worry about being too friendly and polite should it come to that part. Amy then says to me 'Well, if you don't want to go up and shove random strangers, just say to yourself 'look, these bitches are in the way of you getting to John Ohh (that's my ultimate rock star crush if anyone is wondering!) - just skate up to them and shove them out of the way!'. I couldn't stop laughing!

Nonetheless, of course once we got there, the lesson was generally all about safety then anything else, which I actually really appreciated. Once we got kitted up, we were told how to 'fall' safely to avoid getting hurt. I was really thankful for this because I knew with it being a contact sport, you were pretty much going to end up falling over a lot. So being taught how to do it properly made me less scared, knowing I wouldn't get hurt. We then had to practice all the different types of falls and spent a good 45 minutes literally throwing ourselves at the floor and trying to get up and skate on in under 3 seconds. Very fun! Towards the end we grouped up and practiced skating around the track as part of a pack/as if we were blockers, all whilst practicing the falls again. This was great because you expect a first lesson to be about all the boring but necessary stuff, but it gave us a feel of what it was like to actually play in a game, even though it was only a first lesson. 

Everyone was so helpful, there were so many experienced skaters there to help. But everyone was really friendly and what I liked is that they all came up to us whilst we were skating around and had a chat with us, demonstrating how to do things properly, having a laugh, making sure we were doing it right etc. It was all very hands on and I definitely got the sense that it was a very close knit team that I could end up becoming friends with when I eventually do get driving and can join properly!

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be and it was very tiring - my legs ached loads the day after! This lead me to believe that not only is it a great sport to take part in, it's also very beneficial in keeping fit, making new friends etc. But it was really, really fun and is without a doubt something I'd love to continue once I have the chance to.

I would without a doubt recommend doing a quick Google search for local teams if Roller Derby is something you're interested in. Yes, eventually you'll have to be quite tough and in the long run it's quite a demanding sport, but despite this it really is a lot of fun and I'd recommend just attending a starter lesson to try it out. As one lovely lady said to me on the night, 'Roller Derby takes over your whole life - in a good way!'.

Why not try something new today and attend an intake night or go and watch a game? Watching is just as fun as taking part because it's so fast paced and exciting!

P.S I attended an intake night held with The Concrete Cows from Milton Keynes. You can find more about the sport, their team and their upcoming games on their website here or check out their Facebook page here. Also please feel free to check out the Facebook page of Christopher Yarrow here who kindly provided me with the group photo above and is the teams official photographer. Check out the Lifestyle tag for posts similar to this!  

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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Yesterday me and Mamaw popped down to The Chequers where I treated her to lunch. It was another gloomy, cold and rainy day so I just dressed fairly casual. It was a nice meal but unfortunately for once my eyes were bigger than my belly and it defeated me, I only managed a few chips and half of my burger :( 

My sister dropped round some clothes she never wears anymore, including this gorgeous white top. It's a bit see through so I wore another white vest top underneath and just wore some jeans and boots. A very basic look, but nice none the less.

Make up I kept to a minimum as well, although I did wear this beautiful Benefit lipstick I got for Christmas. It's ridiculous how long my fringe is getting but I'm too scared to trim it myself. I think I might have to just man up and do it though as I can barely see anymore!

P.S Check out the Look Of The Week tag for a mooch at some of my other 'Look Of The Week' posts or please feel free to check out/give me a few votes on my LookBook - just click the image above!

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Recently I reviewed the film Whip It, a story all about roller derby, being an outcast and struggling to fit in. I raved about how much I loved the film and how quirky it was and recently read the book which the film was based upon. 

There's not much I can say about the story line of this book that I haven't already said in my film review post, because surprisingly the film stuck very close to what happens in the book - therefore I'll keep this review short and sweet!

I could only name one or two minor differences between the book and film, neither of which were extremely important to the story line. I found Bliss's character to be a little bit more sassy and awesome in the book, but I really loved the tone of voice Shauna Cross uses in the book. It's very informal and different, making it so easy to get inside the characters head.

The chapters are short and straight to the point, and apart from the first couple of chapters, the author doesn't tend to dwell on Bliss's feelings about not fitting in. This worked well though because she didn't really need to ; throughout the book it's obvious to see without having to be constantly reminded.

I did think Oliver's character was a tad more of a douche-bag in the book than opposed to in the movie, but again, we saw learned more about his character in the book overall, so he also seemed like a really nice character at some parts.

The book made me laugh out loud and made me feel inspired, and I thought it was just a really great light hearted read. I loved the book as much as the film - if not more - and despite being a book that was fairly short, it's one I'd re-read over and over. It's an ideal book to just pick up and read through in one go because it's not too heavy.

It's not deep and perhaps not moving but it is inspiring and laugh out loud funny.

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Monday, 4 February 2013

There's no doubt that we've all had 'one of those days'. A lot. Or weekends, weeks or even more. Sometimes you just get days where everything goes wrong - you head to work with a hangover and no sleep and after that every little thing that goes wrong makes it feel like the end of the world. And the worst part is, you get even more upset over stupid little stuff that normally wouldn't happen, and then you feel even worse for getting upset over something so trivial. I hate those days - doesn't everyone? You just want the day to be over.

How are you supposed to deal with it without tearing your hair out or snapping at everyone in the process? If spending the day in bed just isn't an option (and don't we all wish it was...) here are some ideas to make *those* days just a little bit more bearable..

  • Think about what's really wrong, and try to resolve that situation. Work out what it was that resulted in putting you in a bad mood and rather then ignoring it and letting everything else get on top of you, resolve it. Once the initial cause of the problem has been resolved, your mood will hopefully improve and the other little things won't matter anymore.
  • The moment something goes wrong, take a deep breathe and count to ten. You might not think it will make much difference, but giving yourself just a few moments to calm down before reacting could be the difference between snapping and making the situation worse and letting the issue go.
  • Escape the world for just a little while. Listen to your iPod and block out everyone else, watch a movie or just read a chapter of a book. It will distract you and help you forget about everything else and although it's just temporary, after a while your mood will improve and you might realize that by easily forgetting what's wrong for just a while, it really isn't that much of a big deal.
  • Scream and let out all the anger.
  • Remind yourself that things could be a lot worse, and people have it a lot harder. Knowing that other people are going through worse won't help you directly, but at least it'll help you forget about the little problems. Again, it won't get rid of the main issue, but it's something.
  • Do something that makes you happy, like listening to a favourite song or wearing your favourite perfume. Little things like doing your make up nice or wearing an extra stylish outfit will give you a big positive boost and will help you take on the day better.
  • Run a bubble bath, light some candles and just relax.
  • Remember that tomorrow is a whole other day. No matter what, you'll always have another chance the next day and things can go so much differently if you allow them. Trivial matters won't be important anymore, and a good nights sleep can make a lot of difference.
  • Take a few moments to stop and think about what is going RIGHT. There's no doubt you have loads going for yourself so for a while forget the bad and think about the good. Make a list of things you're thankful for or things you love about yourself. Or you could even start collecting a list of memories in a jar as a new craft project, writing on bits of paper things that have made you happy or good memories you've had. Then when you're feeling down, open the jar and read a few - they'll put you in a better mood in no time.

...but most importantly, if things feel that bad that you really can't see how you're going to cope please think about spending some time with friends or family! Unfortunately days like this effect people who are depressed or bipolar on a much stronger level than other people. So if you are someone who suffers from depression or bipolar disorder and none of these tips work, please look at the bigger picture and get some or talk to someone before the bad days get too much!

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Sunday, 3 February 2013

I just had to quickly blog about this deal! are currently offering £10 cash back for ordering through Dominoes, whilst Dominoes are offering 50% any pizza (as long as you spend £15) with the code FEEDME50!

Technically, depending on the size of your pizza you can get it completely free, once you receive the £10 cash back within 7 days. But the 50% code is only valid until midnight!

I ordered a pizza for tonight which only cost me £2 (I picked a large pizza for 14.99 but added garlic bread for it to be valid. With the code it was £12, £10 of which I'll get back). I don't have work tomorrow and, being obsessed with anything American, I've decided to stay up with my pizza and watch the Super Bowl :)

Don't forget the 50% code is only valid until midnight!

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Friday, 1 February 2013

It's that time of year again. Christmas is well and truly over, and the January blues are at an all time high. If you're anything like me (and pretty much everyone else on the planet) then your new years resolutions are probably already a big fat fail. Goodbye motivated & eager personality, hello lazy pajama days spent scoffing your face with chocolate. 

Unfortunately over the years I've realized it's pretty much impossible to keep any fitness resolutions, especially with it still being too cold to do anything that involves stepping outside. Year after year I've vowed to go running every evening, drop down two dress sizes, eat only healthy...and year after year I've always failed. It's not easy changing your lifestyle to be more healthy but it is easy to fall into the routine of being too drastic and trying too hard in so little time. It can be dangerous to throw yourself into exercise and dieting, and it can be especially dangerous to expect results right away. There are many small changes you can make in your daily lifestyle to help yourself become overall more healthy, most of which you wouldn't even think of. Here are just 10 small steps I've made over the past few months that have made me feel more positive and overall more healthy.

1. Drink more water. Drinking up to eight glasses a day can make a huge difference to your life - you'll have clearer skin and will feel more energized, and will probably eat less as well. However I don't know anyone that can manage to drink eight full glasses of water a day! What I find most helpful is to fill up a water bottle and carry it round with me throughout the day. By the end of the day I've drunk three or four bottles without even realizing it.

2. Cut down on sugar. Don't feel like you have to give it up completely but small steps make all the difference. If you normally have two or three cups of sugar in your tea, why not swap them for a single sweetener instead?

3. Exercise earlier on in the day. It's so easy to put exercise off throughout the day and soon it'll end up late at night, too late to go for a run or otherwise. Try setting your alarm an hour early, going for a run or working out and then treating yourself to a long, extra relaxing bath or shower. You'll feel positive for the rest of the day and more awake and active.

4. Think about alternative ways to keep in shape. You don't have to slave away in a gym for hours. Do you know what else burns calories? Sex. Walking. Dancing. Trying out a new sport. Spend a sexy night in with your other half or plan a night out clubbing with your bestie - it beats an hour on the treadmill, right?

5. Rather then dieting, try eating your meals in proportion. I've found this to personally be most helpful - when I snack throughout the day I hardly eat my dinner and end up snacking more throughout the night - eating junk food. I've found it helpful to give up snacking and eat three full meals a day - even if the meals aren't particularly healthy and are large portions, it's still been more helpful overall to eat properly and not snack. If you really can't stop snacking, try eating something healthy. ASDA do really yummy tiny salad pots usually for £1.00 only, and for someone who doesn't even like salad, when I'm feeling peckish between meals, I feel much better eating one of these rather than a packet of crisps.

6. Walk to places more. If you drive to somewhere that is close by, try walking instead. It's tough when it's so cold outside, so this tip might be better for summer, but it's still doable in winter. You get warmer by moving, so you'll have warmed up in no time.

7. Take pets for long walks. Even though my dad takes Jasper out every day, some evenings I just fancy getting out of the house so I take him for a long walk, and usually end up benefiting from it as well.

8. Too cold to leave the house? If you've got a Wii or any other games console, you could easily pick up a fitness or dance game for cheap on Ebay. Just Dance is especially ideal for a quick work out in the evening because really it doesn't even feel like working out and is a lot of fun, especially when you invite your friends around to join in. It really baffles me how people will happily pay loads of money for a gym subscription when it's so much easier and more fun to hop on Just Dance for even just half an hour a few times a week.

9. Listen to music. Some songs I honestly cannot listen to without having to have a boogie to in my room - and this is rock music we're talking about here. If you love your music like me, you'll burn a few calories just by dancing around and listening to music whilst you get ready in the mornings. You can also do a quick search on Google for the best songs to run/work out to, and can listen to these whilst you're out on a walk or just working out in the house. You'd be surprised at how much more motivated you feel just by listening to an upbeat song.

10. Keep a note of any exercise you actually do. Although I don't think it's a good idea to set challenges and force yourself to do a certain amount, sometimes it helps to note down throughout the week the little differences you have done. Looking back at it all at the end of the week will help you feel so much more positive and you'll probably find you've done a lot more than you think.

Just because Christmas is over and the weather is horrible, doesn't mean you have to feel bad about settling into your old routine yet again. With TEN different ideas of small steps you can take - as many or as little as you want as often as you want - there are really no excuses to let yourself feel guilty. If you really want to make a big change and be more healthy, you need to start thinking of ways that will last throughout the year, and not unrealistic challenges that you won't be able to achieve as soon as it starts snowing or when you're too skint to attend the gym. Instead this year forget about the need to lose weight or drop down a dress size - instead just concentrate on small changes that will hopefully make you feel more positive about yourself :)

P.S  Have a look at the Fitness tag for more posts about being more fit and healthy!

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