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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Well I'm officially back from my Mexican adventure now, although I'm certainly nowhere near to getting back into the swing of things - I've only just caught up on sleep! There's so much I'd like to share about my trip but that's definitely going to take a while.

So, here in the meantime, here is a small selection of photos from my trip - enjoy!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Mexican BLT | Trek America

It was an amazing trip and a life changing experience - keep your eyes peeled for many more posts detailing the trip and how much fun I had.

You can also find me on


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Friday, 21 April 2017

I'm not huge on beauty over here (despite my blog description saying so - I really must change that!), so it's very rare that I sit up and take notice of particular brands. 

But I have to say, Lime Crime have not only caught my eye but totally stolen my heart too and not just because of the brand's relevance to unicorns.

I stumbled across this brand last week and immediately I was smitten. They've fast become popular due to their soon-to-be-launched unicorn hair dye, but just one look through their Instagram will tell you that they're one of the coolest brands about right now.

Here's what I love about their Unicorn Hair dye.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Beauty | Brand Crush | Lime Crime | Unicorn Hair | Unicorn Hair Dye

IT'S SEMI-PERMANENT 
I am absolutely loving the look of their unicorn hair dye. First of all, it's semi-permanent, so although I've been craving for a bright and bold hair colour for years now, a semi-permanent dye that doesn't lack in colour or vibrancy is right up my street. And believe me when I say the colours are bold. Some brands offer dyes that create a lovely pastel effect, but this range is really bold which I love.

AND TOTALLY CREATIVE
The current obsession is the actual unicorn hair though, which sees multiple colours being applied to hair, creating a mesmerising mermaid-like-unicorn-themed hair do that catches your eye. Some of the images are just stunning. You have the option of choosing just one colour or creating a rainbow of colours. You could even pick a few similar colours to create an awesome ombre effect.

THE DYE NAMES ARE AWESOME
With names like sext, dirty mermaid and jello you just can't go wrong. Plus, I'm utterly convinced that the super bold orange dye is named after Leeloo of The Fifth Element. I don't think they've confirmed this but c'mon, I can't be the only person to get that reference...right?

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Beauty | Brand Crush | Lime Crime | Unicorn Hair | Unicorn Hair Dye

THERE'S A WIDE RANGE
Some brands stick to the typical pink/purple/blue. But Lime Crime has brought out a range that features thirteen different dyes, some of which are different shades of purple and such. So there's like, y'know, a plum purple, a pinky/purple, a more subtle purple..basically you're spoilt for choice.

IT'S AFFORDABLE
With each generously sized tub costing just £12.86, you can't really go wrong.

And, best yet...

IT'S VEGAN & CRUELTY FREE
Major props for this. It's super hard to find brands that are this green, so the fact that it's actually a super cool brand that is being vegan and cruelty free as well is like a dream come true.

But that's not all. Although the brand is certainly well known for it's unicorn hair dye range, Lime Crime also sell makeup, hair and nail products and some freakin' beautiful lipsticks.

It's not often I fall for a brand this hard - as soon as I'm home, I'm putting an order in..

What do you think? Do you like the look of the hair dyes or do you think the unicorn theme has been done to death now? Let me know with a comment below!

You can also find me on

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Saturday, 15 April 2017


You all know by now that visiting Mexico (or even travelling in general) has been on my bucket list for a long time now. My bucket list seems to grow longer each and every day, but as I've always felt it's important to count my blessings and remember things I have managed to do, I thought it might be fun to put together an 'anti' bucket list today.

So here are some things I've done/opportunities I've had in the past - some have been on my bucket list, some haven't but would be on my bucket list..and some are just damn right awesome.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | The anti-bucket list | Lifestyle | Travel

RIDDEN A CAMEL
I probably wouldn't have put this on my bucket list otherwise because camels are scary as shit bro, but hey, I've ridden a camel and it was kinda cool (as is the photo to prove it). The best part is why though - it was when I was on holiday in Egypt with my sister and we went on an excursion that saw us travelling into the Egyptian desert on camels to stargaze. We did other stuff too, but being able to stand under the vast night sky and watch the stars in the middle of the Egyptian desert is something I'll never forget.

TRIED SNOWBOARDING
I was terrible at it, but at least I've tried it..

AND PAINTBALLING
The same as above. Although I spent half the time hiding as I was too scared to get hit, so perhaps I can't vouch for this one entirely as I've never actually felt the pain of being hit by a paintball!

CELEBRATED NYE IN PARIS
Another one to thank my sister for. Celebrating the countdown along Champs-Élysées was the best New Year's Eve of my life.

WATCHED A METEOR SHOWER
I mean yeah, a lot of people are still surprised to learn that you can even see meteor showers in the UK but it's possible. There are a lot throughout the year, but watching one for the first time beneath clear skies was a really lovely memory for me.

MEETING MY IDOLS
Yeah, yeah, we all knew this one would come up eventually. I feel lucky that I've not only been able to meet my idols/people I look up to so much/my favourite band, but I've also been able to hang out with them and have nights out with them. I suppose these days it doesn't seem like such an achievement as being able to meet a band member is as easy as waiting outside after a gig ends, but back when I was younger and in love with Charlie from Busted, I'd literally never imagine I'd have the chance to ever meet any sort of celebrity. Now I'm on a first name basis with my favourite band and have lots of pictures to look back on to remember these times.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | The anti-bucket list | Lifestyle | Travel

A GIRLY WEEKEND IN BRUGES
Obviously I appreciate everything about this weekend even more now that my mum is no longer with us, but years and years ago, my mum, my sister and I had a girly weekend away in Bruges just before Christmas. It was so beautiful and seasonal, and of course Bruges is really well-known for being a fairytale town anyway. This is one of my favourite ever memories.

KISSED IN THE RAIN
Oh yes. Everyone has done this, then again, anyone that hasn't should do this at least once in their life. It's not that special and certainly doesn't feel any different but hey, at least you can pretend you're in a movie.

INTERVIEWED THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS
Even though the footage never actually got published online and even though I've interviewed plenty of bands over the years, this was my first ever time conducting an interview and it couldn't have gone better. There was so much that could have gone wrong that night (at first we had no way to get there until two strangers - Tom and Harry - offered to give us a lift and went on to become such good friends of ours, I forgot my notes, I had to use my phone as a dictaphone) - yet everything not only went perfectly but just felt so...right. The interview flowed so well that it felt like I was just having a conversation with old friends, which I suppose is the way an interview should seem. Best of all though was the fact that I can be totally shy when meeting new people, let alone band members, but I managed to interview this amazing band (who I've been such a fan of since I was a teenager), stone cold sober without any issues. It just made me feel like it was my calling to interview bands because of how at ease I felt, and I'll always be sure to call on that feeling when I feel disheartened about how hard it can be trying to break into music journalism.

BEEN IN A PLAY
This isn't that amazing and it was only a high school production, but being that I was notoriously shy during my teenage years, being in a play was a big achievement for me. I applied for the narrator's role but my drama teacher pushed me for a main role as he felt I had more talent then that, so that was a huge confidence boost for me too.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | The anti-bucket list | Lifestyle | Travel

TRIED QUAD BIKING
Now this was fun. I'd totally do this again.

ATTENDED THE VIP WARPED AFTER PARTY
So I got drunk and spent the whole evening with the lead singer of The Maine rather than actually being a journalist and talking to other artists, but to be fair I was there as a guest, not to interview bands anyway so.

SEEN BON JOVI LIVE
I don't know why this would be on anyone's list but he is a legend.

ROAD TRIPPED AROUND THE UK
I've always wanted to do a road trip and although it's still my ultimate dream to do one in America, this was fun. Me and some friends road tripped around the UK to see our favourite band at all their UK tour dates and it was an adventure I'll never forget. We made memories to last a lifetime, stayed in awesome hotels and got to visit some pretty cool tourist attractions too. A lot of people actually told me they wished they'd had the chance to do something similar when they were younger but honestly? It was just a matter of finding some friends who liked the same band as me, budgeting for some cheap hotels (and one party hotel!) and creating a bunch of awesome playlists. The planning was half the fun...

BEEN TO MUSIC FESTIVALS
It's only recently I ticked this one off but within the last few years I've been to Reading and Lost Village, as well as smaller day festivals such as Slam Dunk, Hit The Deck and Camden Rocks.

BEEN TO DISNEYLAND PARIS
My parents took me as a total surprise when I was younger and it's still one of the best holidays of my life.

Just reading through some of these makes me realize just how lucky I am (even though I've probably forgotten a bunch!). But I will say that a lot of things listed here have just been down to me saying yes or putting myself forward for opportunities. Interviewing my favourite band or riding a camel is something that anyone can do, really, (well the camel one depends on where you are in the world!) just by putting yourself out there!

Have you ever put together an 'anti bucket list'? If so, I'd love to read it!

You can also find me on

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

You know you're an adult (or a blogger!) when you start getting excited about the idea of buying new lights. I still remember when I worked at Next year's ago and I bought a stunning off-gold classy matching light and lampshade and how adult I felt. It was the first ever 'home' item I'd bought myself and now I love buying bits and bobs for my room.

The same can be said for bloggers too, especially vloggers. We all know that light boxes have been a huge trend recently, but it's not the first time bloggers have relied on pretty lights (not equipment lights!) to make a photo look better or to add character to a video - fairy lights have always been pretty popular too.

I've been itching to make an area in my room for blogging for a while now and buying some lights for that area (even if I don't vlog!) is going to be super important. I've already been looking at some examples for a while now and have put together a wishlist of the best lights for bloggers, whether that's to add a subtle classy touch in the background of a video blog or something smaller to use as a prop in photos.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Festive Lights | Home | The best lights for bloggers

This first light just screams blogger with it's rose gold geometric cage - and it's super sophisticated too. It's a good size, so this would be perfect for images with not a lot going on, so if you're looking to create a busy flat lay or photograph small and intimate jewellery, this isn't ideal for that. However, if you want to show off one particular item like a cute pair of shoes or you're showing off some new home ware you've bought - this'll slip into the photo nicely.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Festive Lights | Home | The best lights for bloggers

Above, from left to right, we first have this subtle fairy lights that could work well as the perfect background for anything. Outfit posts, vlogs..or even selfies. Fairy lights on a wall always create a gorgeous blurred but really relaxed (and sometimes even romantic) glow/effect, but again, fairy lights could work well to help showcase a set up dinner table or a well-laid out meal for a recipe post.

Next, these sweet Moroccan fairy lights are a little less subtle but are super stylish. These could be used for anything as well really, as well as just a nice way to add a modern touch to your own bedroom decor. If you shop a lot like me, putting your recently bought items on a hanger one at a time and hanging them on the chest of draws alongside the lights (like the way they are hung above) can be a great way to showcase new bargain buys.

This bold flamingo light may be under the 'children's night lights' category on the website but damn is it too cute to just be for kids. As seen in the photo, it goes great with foodie photographs and is the perfect prop for any blog posts based around parties, recipes or just anything a bit fun.

Finally, this sweet twig tree just looks great as a background prop too. It's too large to really be used to show off smaller items, so again, this is best used for outfit photos or general deco posts, especially as it's so versatile and would go with anything.

All lights above have been taken from the Festive Lights website, which I used to create this post as there's quite a varied range for lights - both indoor and outside.

I've taken a look around the Festive Lights website and trawled through the wide range of varied lights for this post.

The team also created this interesting and visually stunning video all about the history of lighting, which I thought was cool to watch.


Overall, I think I'll definitely be purchasing at least one or two of the lights above, and the first rose gold one has really caught my eye..

What do you think? Do you like using lighting to help give a stylish twist to blog photos or do you think buying lights for blog purposes is a waste of money? Let me know!

You can also find me on

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

I've mentioned before how awesome I think Joanne Mortlock the founder of Love Pop Ups - London is and I even interviewed her for a previous blog post because I absolutely love the fact that she runs such a cool community that brings bloggers and press together. Therefore I knew I just had to get her to do a blog post for me while I was away, so I asked her what some of her favourite all time London pop ups have been.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Love Pop Ups - London | London Pop Ups | Guest Post | Lifestyle
I have been to so many new places and pop ups such as Magnum, Edible Cinema, Secret Theatre, The Art of the Brick: DC Legends, Goosebumps, Moomins Adventures in Moominland etc. but my all time top five that I have visited over the years has to be:
  
Alice's Adventures Underground 
When I went down the rabbit hole to adventure through Alice's journey I came across many characters from an eccentric Cheshire cat to bumbling Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee. All the costumes were colourful and spectacular and the acting was outstanding.  I just could not wait to keep on moving through the rooms meeting new characters and getting involved in some way or another. I in fact went back twice to the production as there was four paths with each one having different stories and characters to meet. 

Alice is in fact returning this year 2017 and with new characters and scenes to experience, and a few of us can't wait to return. 

Secret Cinema: Star Wars
I have been to so many Secret Cinema productions but Star Wars is most certainly one of the best ones I have ever been to. The whole of the venue was decorated out spectacularly well that I actually felt like I was on Tatooine with all the sand on the floor recreating the desert, the Jawa's badgering people for computer tech and wanting to trade with you, Stormtroopers marching around, C3PO and R2D2 walking around, seeing Chewbacca and Han Solo having conversations with each other with Chewbacca roaring away, aliens dancing on the dance floor etc. Not only were these spectacular characters that not only acted and looked like the cast from the movie but you could also drink blue milk and be involved in missions - there was just so much going on. This production has to be one of the more unique high end productions they have ever done. Secret Cinema always know how to lay on a good event.  

Bompas and Parr: Beyond the Waterfall pop up event
This was certainly a cocktail bar with a difference and was so unique. It was in Westfield Shopping Centre and it all started by me boarding a rowing boat and going through alcoholic mist in which I must add I got stuck in as I can not row. One of the boatmen had to come and rescue me before I inhaled too much alcoholic fumes. After getting off the boat I then was greeted by a mystical man who told me a story about the sea and the creatures that live within. I then got to choose a magical crystal which I could keep. Through a cave entrance, I was then greeted by an eccentric man which had his face decorated/covered with glitter. He told me about the three mermen who were in the room. One was playing a harp, the other giving out tarot readings and the other one telling you about your horoscope and your character which I must admit he got spot on spookily. I felt like I was actually meeting real mermen the atmosphere was electric and the cocktails were really good too.

Whole Foods: Skrei cod night with Michel Roux Jr. pop up supperclub
This supperclub was a special one as it was hosted by Michel Roux Jr. who is a two star Michelin chef. It was an honor to watch him talk about Skrei cod that comes from Norway and watch him cook the cod. He also served up the dishes to the diners. We had two different cod dishes and each was succulent, very white cod, fresh, meaty and tasted divine. After Michel Roux Jr. done a Q&A session in where we got to ask him many questions. This was such a unique event and one that only cost £20 surprisingly enough I will certainly be looking out for future supperclub events that Whole Food put on.  

ABQ
This establishment popped up last year and is still running. If you love the series Breaking Bad and you love cocktails with a difference then you will love this. I highly recommend going along as there is no other cocktail making experience like this in London. You enter a RV that looks like it is from Breaking Bad and this is where you then get to choose your cocktails and make them yourself but not the usual way you make cocktails as these ones involve syringes, dry ice, cereal etc. The whole concept of how you make them is so unique, slightly dangerous and fun especially the one that involves breakfast cereal.  I highly recommend to do with a group of friends.

I love the sound of each of these pop up's - oddly enough, I have also been to Alice's Adventure's Underground and Secret Cinema events and I even follow Bompass and Parr events - but never manage to get tickets! Thank you so much for agreeing to guest post Joanne!

You can visit Joanne's website, Love Pop Ups - London here, and request to join her Facebook group here, where she often offers competitions and opportunities to attend exclusive London pop up events.
   
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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Dear Louise,

As I write this, today is the day that we travel out to Mexico and I can't even begin to explain how excited and nervous I am. In fact, the timing is super convienent because the moment this goes live, I will literally just be boarding the plane. To some, the idea of travelling to Mexico might seem like a plush holiday with luxurious five star hotels and sandy white beaches. To me (us?), it's a trip that just might change my life.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Hello Mexico | Mexico | Letter to myself | Travelling | Travel

Heading to Mexico will see us travelling for the first time ever. We've been on beach holidays, long weekends away and have even done the party holiday in Ibiza, but we've never travelled. We've never flown to a country to explore and trek around. We've never gone to a new place just to soak up its culture and explore its local traditions. 

All my life (our life?) we've wanted to do something like this and all my/our life we've found reasons not to. We've used stupid reasons too like not being able to afford it (or not making the effort to save the money) or being too busy with work - when in actual fact, I think we were just too scared.

I'm lucky that currently my timing is just right. I only work part time and I have saved money for this, although some money has come from mum which I hope she's glad about - I'm putting it towards a genuine life experience that will hopefully spark a lifetime of travel.

I can't quite tell you the reasons why we we're too scared before. Maybe it's because we knew we'd enjoy it or maybe it's because we thought we'd enjoy it so much that we wouldn't ever want to stop travelling - and deep down I still wonder if I am ready to take this chance which I know will tempt me to am to give up what I have here to really travel the world for months on end?

I don't quite know yet. I'm seeing this as a trial run - as my first taster of travel without throwing myself in the deep end and still putting myself out there (travelling alone but meeting a group there). I think it's perfect because we would never be experienced enough to travel around Mexico alone but, likewise, I wanted to go all out for our first time travelling. I could have chosen Paris or somewhere closer to home, but Mexico is so different than anything we've ever known before with its jungles and cenotes and such.

I'm convinced I'm going to fall in love with the place, come home and just feel lost. But I think that's okay. Because if that's the case, I'll get my head down, save some money and do it all over again as soon as I can - but hopefully for longer next time.

Hopefully when you read back on this in future, these plans will already be in place. Maybe you'll be sitting in the airport about to board or maybe you're sat at home with your mouse hovering over that purchase button when looking at flights. But I hope you can read this and see that despite the nerves, it's obvious how excited I am. It's clear to see the anticipation in my words for my first proper taste of real travel and I hope you never lose that feeling. I hope if you ever doubt going, you can read back on this and remember that we've always had that doubt - but it didn't stop us. That curiosity is what drives us to keep exploring, to keep adventuring - to keep travelling.

My heart is in my throat as I type this but I'm pretty sure this is going to be the best two weeks of our damn life. Nothing beats this feeling - don't ever lose it.

Wish me luck - and I'll see you on the other side.

Louise x

And to you - my readers - please be aware that my posts will not be as regular for the next couple of weeks. I have some scheduled posts and one or two guest posts, but they won't be as regular as my normal posting schedule - still, sometimes a girl needs a break ;)

You can also find me on

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Friday, 7 April 2017

Next month marks the 10th anniversary of Gavin & Stacey and I still love it as much as I did when it first broadcast. I was in a long distance relationship myself at the time, so I really related to the characters and loved how relatable the show was to my own situation. 

It was also really refreshing to see a show not only based around a long distance relationship, but a long distance relationship that blossomed between two characters who met on the phone. Though these days people tend to meet online rather than by phone calls, back then, meeting in any way that wasn't 'natural' or in person was relatively unheard of and those that did certainly weren't as open about it as we are now about using Tinder and the like.

I've been re-watching the show yet again lately and here are eight reasons why it's still refreshing, funny and relevant.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | 8 Reasons why Gavin & Stacey is still relevant | Gavin & Stacey | Ruth Jones | James Corden | TV

STACEY UNABLE TO FIND A JOB IN SERIES TWO
Seeing the couple struggle in series two isn't fun, but it sure is realistic. Stacey is a hard working person who finds herself out of work when she moves to Essex to be with Gavin. The episodes accurately represent what it's like to struggle for work - to begin, she spends days at home depressed and feeling lost, before turning to rigorous exercise and flat hunting during her days at home. Each rejection letter she gets is a slap in the face, and yet she still continues to search. It's easy to think of people out of work for long periods of time as lazy or 'benefit frauds', but Stacey is just your average 26 year old who is struggling.

The show also follows the couple's journey looking for their own place. Although so many of us struggle to afford our own place full stop, the show at least shows the couple struggling to find somewhere even semi-decent on their small budget and we see them viewing some real grimy places. The struggle is real.

PETE & DAWNS LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP
I just love their relationship. On the surface, they seemingly hate each other and the insults they hurl at each other are hilarious. But despite this, they stick together and often try various things to fix their relationship, such as role play or threesomes. They're miserable together, but they're still together at the end of it all. It's kind of sweet, really.

THE ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF FAMILY GET TOGETHERS 
The family get together's are kind of exactly what I imagine/hope my future to be if I ever get married. They usually have a bit too much to drink and there's always some sort of drama, but it's everything you'd expect when two families become one.

THE REALISTIC LOOK AT LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS
Long-distance relationships are rarely perceived correctly on screen, except for maybe in Like Crazy. But this one is spot on. Things move fast between Gavin & Stacey, as they often do when you spend a lot of your time apart but so much time having long phone conversations. By the second season, they almost break up after Stacey moves to Essex to be with Gavin. You'd think them getting married and moving in together would be the happy ever after, but she ends up feeling entirely lost and alone at being away from home. The show accurately represents what comes after the 'happy ever after', and I love that.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | 8 Reasons why Gavin & Stacey is still relevant | Gavin & Stacey | Ruth Jones | James Corden | TV

NESSA'S ONE LINERS
I mean who doesn't love the quotes Nessa comes out with?!

MEN BONDING OVER OVEN GLOVES
The scene in season two where all the men are gathered the kitchen talking about cooking a turkey and Mick recommends some oven gloves is hilarious. I just find it so funny that all the men bond over such a thing.

MICK & PAM'S RELATIONSHIP
#Relationshipgoals, amiright?! They may not always get on ('oooh Mick, you and I are going to fall out today!), but they pretty much have the ideal marriage. Even when they don't get on, their arguments are cute. Pam is also hands down awesome. OH MY CHRIST!

DORIS
She swears like a trooper, is often drunk out of her head and is a total cougar - she's everything you expect an old lady NOT to be, and she's hilarious. I hope I'm like her when I grow old.

It's weird to think that such a simple British comedy went on to span such a cult following. Even though it's a comedy, the show also features plenty of sound advice worth remembering.

Have you ever watched Gavin & Stacey? What are your thoughts? Let me know!

You can also find me on


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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

I have been spending most of this week prepping for Mexico, considering I fly out on Sunday. I had no idea how much I needed to do to prepare.

The thing is, it's a lot different than a beach or family holiday. I'm travelling alone, so I have to be really on the ball for things like printing out my flight details and making sure I have my VISA sorted, as well as studying the airport map (I haven't flown a lot and have never flown alone, so I'm petrified of getting lost and missing my flight!). It's also a 'travelling/hiking' holiday, so throwing a few pairs of shorts, some tops and bikinis into a suitcase just isn't going to cut it.

Therefore, there's so much I've had to keep in mind. If anyone else is ever thinking about travelling alone for the first time or taking a trip with Trek America, here are some ways I've had to prepare - sorry, this is a bit of an adult post!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Lifestyle | Holiday Prep | Preparing for Mexico | Holiday Planning
New nails = necessary. Also shoutout to the boyf for letting me use his hand as a prop to avoid looking like I've got an alien hand (y'know the photo I mean, the one every girl takes to show off their new nail polish!)

BODY PREP
It sounds stupid and not at all necessary, but I've been booking to get my hair, nails and wax done. Timing is essential because it would have been pointless getting my nails done two weeks ago/that far in advance that they would have chipped/the gels outgrown by the time I actually go away, and I also had to leave my hair till quite late so I could get my fringe trimmed shorter. My fringe grows so quickly, so if I'd got my hair done any sooner than last week, it would be in my eyes while I'm away.

DECIDING ON MY LUGGAGE
I actually really struggled with this. Because we're travelling around, a backpack seemed like the obvious choice, but I left it really last minute to find one because I was constantly changing my mind then unable to find one in the right size. We have our own bus when we're there, so a suitcase works too and then I can just transfer what I need into a day bag or backpack - and luckily I now have one on it's way from Amazon. I'm hoping it's big enough but, if not, I have other bags that I can rely. This task has probably taken the most thought in terms of size/comfort etc.

SORTING OUT MY CASH
I've decided to be quite smart and adult-like with this, sorting out my money way in advance. I've budgeted for my time away and have put half on a cash card, whereas the other half I've changed up to take with me. That way I have another option in case of an emergency like if my cash gets stolen or I lose the cash card. TrekAmerica had a nifty deal on a cash card which gave me around a further $40 which isn't bad.

PACKING
Oh, god. I'm the worst at packing but it's been even harder this time because we're going to be doing so many different things and it's not like I'll have time to stop and buy something if I forget it. I've obviously chosen a few pairs of shorts, a couple of skirts and lots of strappy tops, but I've also had to pack one or two long sleeved blouses to cover my arms, a lightweight jumper for if/when it gets cold, walking trainers, pumps and sandals and such. I have limited space too and I'll actually be living out of a suitcase also. I normally do this on holiday and just about manage with a messy suitcase, but I won't have time to be constantly trawling through clothes so I have to be smart about the way I pack.

I've also downloaded an app - TripList - which allows me to tick off items as I pack them. I really need this because normally I just visualize what I need but I've been adding to this list throughout the last couple of weeks (as there's always one or two odd things I remember out of the blue) to ensure I don't forget anything. You can create different lists - so I have one for my suitcase and one for my hand luggage - and you can also see what's been ticked off too.

SOCIAL MEDIA
I've spent a lot of time scheduling blog posts and prepping to share them but I've also learned a nifty new trick for when it comes to instagram. I'll obviously be taking a lot of photos there and luckily Trek America has a few specific hashtags which will mean all photos are saved in your trip hub. I've added some shortcuts in my phone so when on the go, I just have to type in #Mexico to paste them all. It sounds like such a silly little thing but it saves a lot of time (I don't want to spend half my trip swapping between my notes and Instagram to share photos) and will see them posted all in one place.

SHOPPING
Obviously. I did a big shop last week to buy most practical stuff like a travel plug, insect repeller and, er, some more clothes. It was a good feeling grabbing pretty much everything I needed in one long trip (I think we spent the whole day in Milton Keynes!) and at first I wasn't getting very far, finding myself distracted by pretty clothes. But I had a Red Bull, got my head in the game and set off ticking everything off my list.

MEETING FELLOW TRAVELLERS
I can't thank TrekAmerica enough in terms of how this trip has been arranged and I particularly love that there's a triphub you can join online. Here, you can see your itinerary, trip tips and who else is due to join you on the trip. Not everyone has joined online, but a few of us have been chatting in advance and getting to know each other. This has really eased my nerves a lot because of course I was scared I wouldn't get on with anyone once there. We've even arranged to go for a 'pre-tour' drink the night before the tour starts, just to help break the ice.

THE REAL BORING STUFF
And finally, I've printed off all my Visa & flight details (and forwarded them to my sister), made a note of where I'm staying and then make sure I keep it all in one place with my passport and not actually forget it when it comes to it!

I'm genuinely surprised at how organised I am about it all and I think my family are too. My friends are really shocked that I'm going through with it and heading off alone and I think my family are impressed at how organised I've been. Normally I'd be leaving it until the night before to pack and print everything off (normally then realizing I have no printer ink and having to run up Tesco to buy more), then remembering about a hundred things I still need to buy the next day and wasting tons of money at the airport.

However, I am determined that this is going to be smooth running and now my only fears are that a) I'm still going to overpack no matter what and b) I'm going to get lost in the airport.

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Monday, 3 April 2017

Being that I still live at home, I don't have much choice when it comes to decorating - except for in my bedroom. My bedroom is my safe haven; I can do whatever I want with it and although to some people it might look cluttered, to me its a reflection of my personality.


One of the ways I do this is by personalizing my walls with photographs, memorabilia and more. No matter what room it is - a bedroom, a living room - a few additions to an otherwise plain wall can make a lot of difference. It's very easy to add a new twist to a room or display your memories by personalizing a wall - and here are some ideas how. 


Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Home | Lifestyle | 5 offbeat ways to personalize a wall

WALL MURALS
Wall murals can be super stylish when used correctly. I don't really like typical paintings of things like flowers or whatever, so having one-stand out bold wall is a really great way to show off your taste. Although more subtle ones are available, one's that stand out can really send a message - just make sure all other walls are plain/toned down. I really love the wallpaper from Pixersize, especially the skull one above!

MEMORABILIA  
Rather than storing all your gig stubs, cinema tickets etc away, display it proud! I used to have lots of things like that and my mum created two collages of them which looked great as they were all put together. Though inside the frame itself was messy, because it was all contained into one (well two) frames, they looked neat when hung up on the walls. Of course you could always go for a really oddball look, putting them in colourful frames in random shapes and sizes and creating some frames with washi tape.

A POLAROID WALL
If you're really into photos, a full polaroid wall is a really cool way to show that off. It looks amazing and is always a talking point - and of course it's great to see all your memories displayed. Plus, it takes a lot more polaroids then you'd think to fill a whole wall. So even if you have tons of photos and think you have too much, you probably won't. You can print off your own (there are apps that create photos into polaroids for you), or use one of those websites that print your instagram photos out for you.

POETRY
Above my bed, I have some short but inspiring poetry by John O'Callaghan of The Maine. His book, Exaltation, features his work on square pieces of card, which are the perfect way to display on a wall with five in a row. For me, it's nice to see such inspiring words on display and there are tons of ways to do the same with your favourite songs, lyrics or phrases. Although you can easily pick up cute phrases in cute designs anywhere, it's a lot more personal to use something close to your heart. You can easily design them online and print them out on card, placing them in cheap frames from somewhere like TK Maxx - or using washi tape - or get something designed online via Not On The High Street or Etsy.

TAPESTRY
It may look a little Tumblr-esque, but mandala or aztec-like tapestries are an easy (and cheap!) way to theme a room or change the feel of it. They can provide a burst of character to an otherwise simple and basic room, or you can work around them with fairy lights and tons of patterned cushions.

Do you have any tips on how to personalize or update a plain wall? Let me know!

*Please note this post has been created in collaboration with Pixersize, but all views and opinions are entirely my own.


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Saturday, 1 April 2017

It's April! Time for my grand adventure and also, on a less important note, time for Easter (just joking. Easter is important too but I won't be here for it this year so I'm choosing not to sulk at the lack of chocolate I'll be getting this April...). It also seems to finally be getting sort of warm. I mean the other day I actually ventured outside without a jacket. Can you believe that?

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Lifestyle | Hello April | The Maine | Ghost in the Shell | The Handmaid's Tale | Peskys | Peskys Vegan Brunch Club

THE ALBUM
The Maine are back baby! It feels like it's been forever since they released anything, but finally their sixth studio album will be dropping this month. Lovely, Little, Lonely already sounds amazing and more mature than anything else they've done - their first single from the album, Bad Behavour is super catchy and second single, Black Butterflies and Deja Vu is really growing on me. I can't wait to hear the full thing.
Lovely, Little, Lonely will be released on the 7th.

THE MOVIE
My boyf is a self-confessed geek and has taught me that Ghost in the Shell is the film to see this month. Not only does it look amazing anyway, but it's actually based on the famous Japanese manga of the same name, which is apparently amazing. It's not exactly a new role for Scarlett Johansson (I do love her, but I feel all badass female roles like this immediately go to her these days), however it does look amazing and like it'll appeal to a wide range of audience.
Ghost in the Shell is out now. 

THE EVENT
Right now, I identify as 75% vegan and having a vegan boyfriend helps. This means we spend a lot of time searching out delicious vegan restaurants, so I was elated to find out that Pesky's are launching their first ever vegan brunch club this month. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the first vegan brunch club to ever exist. I've been wanting to visit Pesky's for a while now, so now I really have no excuse not to. The monthly brunch club will cost £20 per ticket (or £18 if booked in advance), and each ticket entitles you to a large main meal, sides and dessert and two alcoholic drinks. The menu includes a full English or pancakes and fruit salads and pastries = yummy!
Pesky's Vegan Brunch club launches on the 9th.


THE TV SERIES
I've heard a lot about The Handmaid's Tale recently, and when I learned the TV series is actually based on a book, it only led me to feel more anticipated to see the series. The book/series is based around a future Dystopian land which was once known as the United States. Now the world is split due to the world suffering from a major infertility problem. The story is based around Offred, one of the few remaining women who can conceive and who is a Handmaid - aka a woman kept just for reproductive purposes. It sounds like a gripping story and everyone is already talking about it.
The Handmaid's Tale will premiere on the 26th via Hulu.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I've mentioned this a million times already but I'm so effing excited that I don't care = I'm finally heading to Mexico this month - eek!!! It's going to be such an amazing and life changing experience and I still can't quite believe that it's actually happening. I've bought everything I need to for the trip except a swimming costume (I have bikinis though!) and I just need to get my nails done and a wax, otherwise I'm ready. And super, super nervous. I fly out on the 10th so for a couple of weeks, posts will be less regular, although I do have some scheduled. I'm still looking for guest bloggers while I'm away though, so if you're interested (you can write about anything you want!), drop me an email on Louise.Joy@hotmail.com now.

What are you looking forward to this month? Let me know!

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