I feel like when you leave University there is so much pressure on you to have everything figured out and to immediately start taking steps towards achieving your 'dream career.' No one ever prepares you for just how hard it is to get a graduate job (especially if you don't live in London!) and this is made even harder when you're also trying to battle chronic illness.

I've never made a secret of the fact that I really didn't enjoy my English and Creative Writing degree, and despite achieving a 2:1 I just haven't felt motivated or inspired to try and do anything with it. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I've spent a lot of my post-graduate years feeling like a failure, and even though I have a part time job which I really enjoy, I've felt like that spark and fire in my belly has been missing.

Having to leave my beauty therapy training course at the beginning of the year due to health problems was another real blow for me and I've found myself feeling super worried about what people must think of me. I have tried a few different things over the past couple of years and I'll be the first to put my hands up and admit that they mostly haven't worked out. I'm not trying to make excuses for myself, but when you're battling an invisible illness that leaves you feeling like an 80 year old cripple most of the time it's very, very hard to do the things that you want to do.

I always try to live by the idea that mistakes are very important for helping you to grow as a person and I try to feel proud of myself that despite my health difficulties, I still strive to make my life as happy and fulfilled as possible. For a while now I've been trying to think of something I could do from home alongside my part time job to make my life a little happier...

So it was a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago when I was a little bored and restless and found myself browsing Pinterest for wedding inspiration that I came up with the idea for 'Handmade By Holly'. I started out with the idea of doing little hanging hearts as wedding favours, and then over that weekend I just got more and more excited as different ideas popped into my head for little hand sewn gifts and keepsakes I could make.

After spending the Sunday afternoon sketching some designs I went to bed completely buzzing at the thought of visiting a local fabric shop the next morning and after choosing some girly, cath kidston inspired fabric I spent the next couple of days experimenting with designs and falling completely head over heels in love with sewing.

I did Textiles at GCSE and absolutely loved it, but for one reason or another (a.k.a. my teacher totally crushed my confidence by telling me I couldn't hope to achieve above a C grade - I went on to achieve an A, the second highest grade in my class!) I didn't take it any further than that, so it did feel a little strange after all those years to suddenly start sewing again, but it all came flooding back to me after a little bit of practice, and my oh my, I just love it!

It's strange how something can suddenly come back into your life and you have no idea how you managed without it before; I now spend pretty much every spare second that I have sewing and I've been waking up each morning so excited about what I'm going to make that day and actually wanting to get out of bed early to start working, which is something that I've never experienced before.

I set up an Instagram page (handmade_byholly) as a little gift shop for my designs after being inspired and encouraged by one of my friends who has done something similar, and I've been extremely lucky to receive a few orders over the past couple of weeks. I get the most excited feeling in my tummy when an order comes through, and I just can't describe how happy it makes me to work on designs for people and then pop them in the post.

Now I'm not going to pretend that it's all been plain sailing because it hasn't; trying to set up your own business is really difficult and I forgot just how daunting it is starting an Instagram account from scratch. I get really nervous sharing my designs and the finished items with people, and I have had doubts about whether anyone is even interested/if I'm going to get any orders etc, but I know this is completely normal when first starting out and I'm so determined to make a success of this that instead of worrying about it I spend my time trying to think of new designs, or different products that I want to try, or new networking ideas, or how I want to style my photos...and I'm just so excited by it all - I feel like I'm going to pop!

I've been putting pretty much all my time and energy into Handmade by Holly over the past couple of weeks, and although I've hit another really rocky patch with my illness, for the first time in my life I care about it so much that I really want to put all of my time and energy into it. And what I love about sewing is that it's something that I can do at home, snuggled on my sofa, without making myself really ill, and it's given me hope again that despite being ill I can create something that I'm really proud of.

I feel like I've become the queen of rambly posts recently haha, but I just really wanted to share my love for my new baby and kind of explain why I've started it, so *hopefully* people won't eye roll and think it's just another thing that I'm going to fail at. This means so much to me, and I've got lots of other product ideas to come, I can't wait to share them all with you :)

I've also set up a Facebook page if anyone fancies being super lovely and giving it a little like, and if you do want to order anything or have any requests please just pop me a tweet @hollycrouch or email me: holly-crouch@hotmail.com <3

Love Holly xo



God it feels like so long since I sat down and actually wrote anything. You know how sometimes life just gets in the way and all that?

And as much as I love blogging, and I really really do love it, I have to admit I find it really hard work sometimes. Trying to stick to a posting schedule, constantly coming up with new content, trying to get page views/engagement/comments, engaging with other people's blogs, making sure the lighting in my photos is ok, trying to string coherent sentences together, trying to keep up with things on social media...yeah, sometimes it just gets too much, and this usually tends to coincide with when I'm having a bad Fibro flare. Yup, another one of those has come out of nowhere and completely knocked me for six.

Oh Fibro you little bugger, you really do ruin everything.

I was having quite a bad flare anyway, but then things took a turn for the worse last Wednesday when just completely out of the blue my right knee started trying to dislocate. I have had trouble with this in the past, but never really to this extent and ever since then I've kept thinking 'oh it's nothing really, it's going to get better soon', but unfortunately that just isn't happening. After limping around for two days and ending up in tears a couple of times, I did something which I never, ever do with my chronic illnesses and I went to the doctors about it.

I have had a really negative time with doctors over the years because, I'm just going to put it out there, I really don't feel like they have a clue about the illnesses I'm fighting. I find them hugely unsympathetic and the majority of appointments I've attended have just felt like a complete waste of time and energy. I haven't seen a doctor about anything chronic illness based for a good year and a half, so it was a pretty big thing for me to make an appointment, and, oh man, it was just awful.

He was horrible from the moment I walked in and the best he could suggest was taking paracetomel, which to be quite frank doesn't do a thing for my level of pain, and I also tried to explain how I am unable to take any other medication because I am extremely sensitive to it (which would be on my notes considering all of the quite severe reactions I've had to various different types of medication over the years, but he didn't even look at my notes once so obviously he wouldn't have a hope of knowing that!) and he actually laughed when I said this before shrugging his shoulders and saying 'well there's nothing else I can suggest'.

I then started to cry hysterically in front of him and tried to explain that after 6 years of virtually no help I'm finding it all too much to cope with and have been really scared about my knee, and all he did was stare at me, tell me to calm down and take a tissue. Yep, massively fucking helpful.

So I've hit this new level with my health where it's deteriorated once again, and I just do not know what I'm meant to do anymore. There is clearly no medical support available and fighting to live a 'normal' life is completely exhausting me. I learnt a very long time ago that the only way to deal with these kinds of illnesses (because I'm sorry but there really is a horrendous lack of help available from the NHS) is to adapt your life to enable you to manage the pain as well as possible and avoid doing things that are going to trigger bad flares, but it's really really bloody hard.

I feel so frustrated by it all that I end up feeling like I'm going to explode sometimes. All I want is to live like a normal twenty four year old, but I can't. And how do you accept that?

After my appointment I just couldn't stop myself from crying and I was walking towards a bench to try and calm down and a random woman came and gave me a hug and asked if I needed a cocktail, and to be honest that just made me cry harder because I can't drink alcohol, I haven't been able to for a good couple of years now because it makes me super poorly and it really is frustrating as hell. Not that I'm an alchy or anything (lols) but you know, a glass of wine sometimes would be pretty nice.

Of course to look at me you still wouldn't know there was anything wrong, apart from the knee strap I've been having to wear the past couple of days. I had a lovely day out with my sister today, but you wouldn't realise looking at me just how much pain my knees were in from walking, or that my IBS has been through the roof recently, or that going to the cinema is extremely painful and uncomfortable for me, but it's one of my favourite things to do so there is no way that I'm going to stop doing it.

Le sigh.

This has ended up being a bit of a rambly post, but I guess what I'm trying to get across is that I'm finding things really hard at the moment, and sometimes it helps to just write it all down and get it off your chest, you know?

I worry so much all the time that people think I'm just a big fat failure with blogging because no matter how hard I try I really can't stick to a posting schedule, I just don't have the spoons (chronic illness term for energy) and I'm not able to engage with other blogs and things online as much as I'd like to. I just wanted to give an explanation as to why I'm a bit absent and inconsistent sometimes and I have also been thinking about changing the direction of my blog a little bit to include more lifestyle, chronic illness themed bits and bobs like these diary style posts, so please let me know what you think about that :)

Love Holly xo
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Finding a wedding dress has always felt like one of the most daunting parts of a wedding to me. Not to sound like a right old tight arse, but they really are ridiculously priced considering you're only going to wear them for one day of your life and I've just always felt like I wouldn't be able to justify that amount of money as I'd end up thinking 'but we could spend that money on the honeymoon.' I always knew I'd get my dress from the high-street as my budget was really quite low (I'll never forget a conversation I had with a customer at work where we were discussing how expensive weddings are and she commented on how they'd had to find "a real budget option" for her daughters wedding dress and it turned out to have cost £5000!!! I nearly fainted when she said it) Me and James have been engaged for nearly 2 years now, so even though we only booked our wedding a few months ago I've had quite a lot of time to browse around and get an idea of the kind of dress I'd like. I really can't recommend Pinterest and wedding magazines (as you can probably tell from the above picture my favourite is Perfect Wedding) enough; although most of the dresses featured were totally out of my price range, it really helped me to decide what length/style/colour/detail etc I wanted.

To begin with I was quite set on having a knee length, prom style dress and I completely fell in love with one from Phase Eight. I sent a photo of it to my sister and we were both pretty sure it was the one, but after a couple of weeks I kept getting a niggling feeling that it wasn't *quite* right. I'm really pale and the thought of having my legs on show was starting to make me feel a bit nervous as I'd have to decide whether to attempt fake tan and all that jazz, and then I started looking around for some shoes to go with it and I just knew it wasn't going to work for me at all. Being a chronically ill gal, I really don't get on well with high heels and James is only a smidge taller than me so I hated the thought of being taller than him in heels. A prom-style dress means there would be a lot of focus on the shoes, so I just completely went off this idea and I felt a little bit disheartened and lost with what I was going to go for.

I was then browsing at dresses online one day I promise this isn't what I've been doing with 99% of my time since getting engaged #oops and I ended up on a website I hadn't even considered before (I'm going to be a right old tease and not share where I bought it from until after the big day) and the minute I spotted it I just knew. I sent the link to my sister straight away and she really loved it too; I just couldn't stop thinking about it and *may* have ended up revisiting the website every day to swoon at it. We'd planned to go to Westfield in London so that I could try it on in real life along with a few others as I was determined not to pin all my hopes on this one just incase I didn't love it as much in real life or it didn't suit me or whatever. But then I was making my daily visit to the website one evening and I noticed that it had gone out of stock in every size apart from an 8 and I swear my heart literally dropped out of butt; I was devastated. I'd always thought I'd need a size 10 as I tend to be somewhere between the two, but with a little convincing from my sister and one of my friends at work I decided to scurry off to the local store on my lunch break to order the size 8 *just* to try it so I could at least rule it out if it didn't fit, rather than always wondering (it was certainly the most exciting Monday lunch break I've ever had!! *insert monkey covering his mouth emoji*)

After a *slight* drama with finding a tiny mark on it (cue heart falling out of my butt again and me having to seriously control myself not to cry and be a right old drama queen) and me having to hastily reorder it and pay next day delivery to have it arrive today, I have finally got my dream wedding dress, and oh my goodness me, it is perfect and it fits me like a glove; I honestly can't believe my luck :) I swear it's going to kill me not being able to talk about it and I almost give something away about 1794378742980 million times a day because I'm just so in love with it and want to talk about it all the time pinky promise I'm not turning into a bridezilla I've already got an idea of the kind of shoes I'm going to wear with it and I've seen a couple of options that I really love and it was luckily a really amazing price too, so I basically haven't stopped grinning since I tried it on :) :) :) :)

It feels super surreal to think I actually have my wedding dress hanging in my wardrobe now (in a protective garment bag of course so James can't have a snoop hehe!) after many many months of searching and dreaming about what it would be like. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a tiny panic about whether it's definitely the right one, especially considering it's the only wedding dress I've ever actually tried on. But finding the mark on it made me realise even more how much I absolutely love it and that it is 100% the dress for me; I swear to god I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time waiting for the new one to be delivered today!! So my biggest piece of advice to anyone looking for their wedding dress is just go with your gut instinct; you know when it's the one and it doesn't matter where you get it from, whether you try it on in a shop or in the comfort of your own home or how much it is (obviously as long as you're happy with the price and it's within your budget) - when you know, you know.

I'm definitely not off to spend the evening staring at the photo my sister took of me wearing it #sorrynotsorry

Love Holly xo
Twitter / Instagram / Bloglovin



Simple Illuminating Radiance Cream - I spoke about my love for this in a recent skincare post, but it's honestly become such a game changer in my daily makeup routine. I'd been wanting to try the MAC Strobe Cream for a while but just couldn't justify it's hefty price tag (#heartbreak) so I decided to give this a try instead and I have to admit to begin with I wasn't completely convinced as it does look a little shimmery when you first apply it, but once I've popped some of the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream on top they just make the most amazing combination and give a really healthy, glowy, 'lit from within' kind of look to the skin. I forgot to use this one day last week and I noticed such a difference in my skin which made me realise even more just how amazing this actually is; it's definitely worth it's £8.99 price tag and I can't see myself ever not using this now.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream - I've been a fan of this for a couple of years now and every time I come back to it I remember just how much I love it. I like to apply it with a damp Real Techniques Sponge as I find this gives the best finish and whilst I do need to apply quite a large blob to cover my whole face, it's such a bargain at just £7.99 that I don't mind having to repurchase it every couple of months. Obviously being a BB cream it is a quite a light coverage, but I find this does a really good job of covering redness and evening out my skintone, plus it gives such a lovely dewy finish to the skin - a customer at work actually asked me what I use on my skin and commented on (in her words!) how beautiful it looked, which absolutely made my day as I always feel like my natural skin is a little more on show when I use this rather than a foundation! It's a perfect match for my pale skin too which is a blooming miracle considering every other BB cream I've swatched seems to come out completely orange on me! #casperwoes

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer - I find this the perfect companion for the BB cream as this gives a little extra coverage where I need it (mainly on my dark under eye circles and slight spot scarring around my chin). This is a very creamy consistency which blends like a dream and doesn't go cakey throughout the day, and I raved about it so much in my Budget Concealers On Trial Post I'm sure you already know how much love I have for this little baby! #rimmelwakemeupconcealerfangirlandproud

Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Powder - I then like to dust this over my t-zone, under my eyes and around my nose as these are the places I can be a *tad* prone to creasing and shininess. I love love love this powder as it keeps everything shine free and in place all day, but it doesn't look cakey or visible on the skin and also manages to still allow the dewy finish and radiant look of the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream and Simple Illuminating Radiance Cream to show through - top points S&G, top points.

Soap & Glory Love At First Blush 'Instant Rosy Glow' Cheek Stick & Maybelline 'Peach' Dream Touch Blusher - In the spring/summer months I definitely prefer a cream blusher to continue the whole 'natural and dewy' look and these two are all kinds of awesome. The Soap & Glory Cheek Stick has a hint of shimmer so it acts a little bit like a highlighter too and it's seriously creamy so blends out like a dream. It's quite a delicate, rosy pink which I love on my pale complexion and it has amazing staying power too *major swoon* The Maybelline Dream Touch Blusher is quite an old favourite of mine; it's a really subtle peach which works with pretty much every lip colour and it's a perfect everyday choice for giving a hint of colour to the cheeks to make everything look more healthy and glowy.

What are your favourite spring base products? I'd love to hear what you think of any of these :)

Love Holly xo
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JD Williams Dress
There is nothing I love more than wearing a pretty summer dress with bare legs on a warm day. Unfortunately we don't get that many of these kinds of days in England, but it always feels like an extra special treat when we do and I find myself jumping at the chance to ditch my jeans/tights/leggings to flash my pins. The weather at the weekend was so beautiful, and after working all day on Saturday I couldn't wait to spend the day outside in the sun with James on Sunday. I started the day by sitting outside on our little balcony with my breakfast and favourite wedding magazine which was just complete bliss, and then I slathered myself in factor 50 suncream (#palegirlproblems), popped on my pretty new dress from JD Williams* (available here) and then we packed up our sunglasses, a blanket and food goodies galore ready for a picnic in the sunshine.
JD Williams
I've mentioned before that skater dresses are my favourite style for my hourglass figure, so I found myself doing a little happy dance when I came across this beautiful printed shirt dress which has an elasticated waist and buttons down the front. I've been seeing shirt dresses everywhere recently and I really love them, but so many of them have seemed pretty shapeless and just kind of straight up and down (a.k.a a curvy gals nightmare), so to have finally found one which flatters my shape and cinches in at the waist has felt like a blooming miracle!!  I think the colours on this dress work well with my dark hair and pale complexion and I teamed it with my Primark tan sandals (I think I've had these for something crazy like four years but they're still in pretty good condition and are super comfortable!) and my Warehouse tan satchel which are my go-to summer accessories. 
JD Williams
I love wearing my Dorothy Perkins denim jacket with dresses that go in at the waist as it's a slightly cropped style so doesn't hide the shape of the dress too much and although it was a glorious day on Sunday, I always like to take some kind of jacket or cardigan out with me just incase the weather suddenly gets a little breezy or if a shop has their air-con on high (I've definitely learnt that layering is key with the good old British summer over the years!!) I've already chatted about my love for this denim jacket, but honestly it's one of those items that I have no idea how I managed without before! It's probably my number one staple in my spring/summer wardrobe and it just works with everything - I think I'm going to have to dedicate a post to it soon as I definitely need to rave about it a little more ;)
JD WilliamsThe slightly floaty style of this dress has a lovely feminine feel to it and I love love love that it has a round neck as the majority of shirt dresses I've come across have V necks which I don't think suit me at all and can look a little bit too formal. It earns extra brownie points for having some black detail running through it too as I'll be able to pair it with black tights, pumps and a little cardigan for any not quite-so-summery days this spring/summer! 

Love Holly xo

*This dress was kindly gifted to me by JD Williams, but all raving and swooning is my own ;)



With the sunnier weather finally gracing us with it's presence in England (wahoo!!!) I felt like my wardrobe was really missing a pastel coloured handbag as the only summer appropriate one I had was my beloved grey tote from Accessorize and as much as I love it, I was getting a little bored of using it every day. As soon as I spotted this pastel pink beauty in Debenhams I knew it was love. I carried it around the shop for a while to give me a chance to have a think about what outfits I could wear it with and trial whether it was comfortable on my arm etc, and it was one of those 'I really can't put it back' moments, plus it was the only one left so I like to think that means I was meant to have it ;) It’s quite a soft, faux-leather material and is super light to carry which is always a major plus for a chronically ill gal and I love that it has three different sections as it makes it really easy to find everything. It was £25 which I think is quite reasonable for a good quality, everyday bag and I’ve worn it every day since I bought it :) I'm sure you'll be seeing this popping up in lots of outfit photos on my Instagram!
Skater dresses are my favourite style for my hourglass figure but I find them SO difficult to come by  these days (like seriously, why have all of the shops stopped doing them?! #heartbreak) so I'm sure you can imagine my delight when I spotted this on the sale rail for £5 in my local Newlook. I don’t wear blue very often but I just love the pattern on this and the peach/pale pink detail makes it a little bit softer for my pale skin tone. I wore this a couple of days ago with black tights and my denim jacket and had so many lovely comments on it; it fits me perfectly (which always feels like a miracle with dresses!) and is something which I feel really confident in - there’s just something about a pretty dress on a sunny day that gives me a right old spring in my step!
I have a bit of a thing about sunglasses; I’ve just never found a pair that fit me comfortably and didn’t leave awful groove marks on my nose #firstworldproblems The last pair I had were from River Island and they would always leave the most awful marks on my nose after I'd only been wearing them for a couple of minutes, plus they'd usually give me a headache so I ended up never wearing them which would then also give me a headache; it was a blimim nightmare! I decided to make it my mission this summer to find a pair which I actually liked and could wear comfortably and it really is complete and utter love with these little babies! They were only £7.99 in Newlook which I think is a right old bargain and they are honestly so, so comfortable - I’ve been super happy to be able to wear them in the sunshine the past couple of days :) They fit perfectly, don't give me a headache, don’t leave any marks on my nose and I think they suit me ok *major happy dance*
This was one of those ‘do I really need it' purchases as I’d already picked up the other one, but it was only £5 (complete bargain or what?!) and I really loved the colour and pattern of this one, plus me and my sister decided it would go perfectly with my new handbag so of course that sold it to me ;) I’ve got a pale pink cardigan which I think it will work really well with and I like how the colour of both of these dresses can be worn with black tights, as although we've got some warm weather at the moment you can never really rely on England having much bare leg weather!! 

Love Holly xo



kiko lipsticks
I made my first trip to Kiko last summer when I discovered a store had opened in Churchill Square in Brighton and it's fair to say I've been pretty besotted with them ever since #kikofangirlandproud ;) Their stores are like an affordable version of MAC and I'm sure you can imagine how I basically turn into a kid in a sweet shop whenever I get to visit one much to James's delight I do find myself getting a *little* overwhelmed though as there is just so much to choose between and it always all looks so amazing, but the product that I seem to find myself gravitating towards the most is the lipsticks. They look, feel and smell so similar to MAC (in my opinion) and even come in little boxes which for me sets them miles apart from any other affordable lipsticks I've tried and well, let's just say I'm a little bit in love...
kiko lipsticks
Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo 804 'Pearly Watermelon' - This is my go-to shade for spring/summer; it's such a pretty peach toned coral which is really easy to wear as it works with basically any makeup look (I particularly like it with glittery gold eyeshadow) It gives quite an opaque finish to the lips, but the glossiness stops it from being too 'in your face,' making it a perfect choice for everyday wear.
kiko lipsticks
Kiko Ultra Glossy Stylo 813 'Apple Blossoms' - This is a really pretty mauve which I think works well with my dark hair and pale skin and the colour pay off is insane, especially considering the glossy formula! I usually prefer plum shades in the autumn/winter months, but the soft tone of this makes it quite versatile and I think it works well this time of year with a pale pink blusher and a simple liquid eyeliner look. 
kiko lipsticks
(Left: Apple Blossoms, Right: Pearly Watermelon
The formula of these reminds me of the Revlon Colourburst Lip Butters £7.99, but I think these give a more opaque colour and I really can't get over what amazing quality they are for just £4.90 each! They are super easy to apply and tbh you could probably manage to apply them without a mirror which I love for everyday when I'm out and about. I do like to apply them over a lip liner (as I do with all of my lip products) but oh my goodness me, the staying power of these is amazing!! The glossy finish does wear off slightly after an hour or so, but they leave a really good wash of colour to the lips and after reapplying them once after lunch I really don't have to worry about them budging for the rest of the day! They're super moisturising too which I love as my lips can be a little bit dry.
kiko lipsticks
Kiko Smart Lipstick 905 'Red Coral' - This is just summer in a lipstick to me and I really can't wait to crack it out in the sunshine this week :) It's quite a bold colour without being too neon toned (I can find bright lipsticks a little too 'woah' on my pale skin sometimes), and it's one that I personally think works best with minimal makeup so the attention can all be on the lips.
kiko lipsticks
Kiko Smart Lipstick 912 'Crimson Red' - I'm really not a fan of red, but sometimes it's quite nice to have that 'red lips and winged liner' look going on, ya know what I mean?! So this is a perfect alternative for me as it's a deep, raspberry pink which you can build up to be quite a bold lip, or you can pat it into the lips slightly to make it a more wearable shade. I love wearing this with a simple monochrome outfit and it's one of those lipsticks which I always seem to get nice comments on whenever I wear it which makes me a happy little sausage :)
kiko lipsticks
(Left: Crimson Red, Right: Red Coral)
I honestly cannot get over how amazing these are for only £3.90 each - they're perfection in a lipstick! They glide onto the lips like a dream and give an amazing wash of colour with only one swipe and considering how bold they are, I find them really easy to apply. Again I like to wear a lip liner underneath them to help with longevity, but they're such a dream you could definitely get away without using one. These really do not budge at all and there are so many pretty colours available; writing this post has made me realise how desperately I need to add some more to my collection *scurries over to the Kiko website to place an order* #oops

Have you tried any Kiko lipsticks? I'd love to hear if you have any colour recommendations for me :)

Love Holly xo



Imperial Leather Marshmallow & Fruit Chew Shower Gels - I'm a huge fan of Soap & Glory shower gels, but after my Christmas supply ran out I was finding it hard to justify their slightly pricey tag, and then my Mumma told me to try these and oh my goodness me *insert all of the heart eyed emojis* They smell INCREDIBLE, like honestly each morning in the shower I find myself feeling like I'm bathing in a bag of pick n mix!! I love the pretty packaging (it seriously brightens up our bathroom!) and as sad as it sounds these are my favourite bottle design for shower gel as I find them the easiest to use. They are super thick and creamy so leave your skin silky soft (as well as smelling immense!) and they lather up really nicely too. These are on offer for £1 in most places which I honestly can't get over as they're so dreamy and they last for a good couple of weeks too :)
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream - I got a *little* ahead of myself a couple of weeks ago and thought that Spring had actually arrived (I know, I don't know why or how I decided to be so optimistic hehe!) so I picked this up as I get a bit frustrated with wearing foundation on a daily basis and I hate wearing it during the warm weather #sweatybettywoes I've used this during the summer months for the past couple of years and every time I come back to it I remember just how awesome it actually is. The coverage isn't anything groundbreaking, but with a touch of concealer on top I honestly find it perfect for a natural, everyday look and it does a pretty darn good job of evening out my skin-tone and calming down my redness. It's so quick and easy to apply (I find it works best with my Real Techniques sponge no surprise there) and it feels so light and comfortable on the skin, as well as giving a really healthy, dewy finish. Love love love!
Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Polishes - I was super excited when I first saw these on Instagram as they're designed to nourish and improve the condition of the nails which my nails are in desperate need of after years of daily nail polish use #oops I love every single colour in the range, but I went for these three as I thought this pretty pink 'Surfboard' looked like a perfect everyday colour which my nail polish collection has been massively missing, and 'Bikini' and 'Laguna' are such perfect summery shades *swoon* I love the formula of these and the brush is amazing; they apply like a dream and to be honest they only really need one coat as they're super opaque. My only issue is the chipping - I've found I've only got about 1 or 2 days from them before I've had to repaint, but I think this might be from applying them a bit too thick and doing two coats, so I'll report back with how I get on only using one coat :)
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Hand Food - Hello, my name is Holly and I'm a Sugar Crush addict. I just love the fresh, zesty smell so much this time of year and I've been super happy to see a few more Sugar Crush products filtering their way onto the Boots shelves. This has become a complete essential to carry around in my handbag with me and I apply it a ridiculous amount of times throughout the day as I just loves it so much. I'm always a huge fan of the Soap & Glory packaging and I think this is a complete bargain for £2.50; it keeps my hands nice and nourished and people always comment on the smell whenever I use it :)



I will happily put my hands up and admit that I'm well and truly obsessed with The OC. I've probably been watching it at least once a year since I was about thirteen and I still love it just as much as I did the first time. The beautiful California setting, the amazing music, the storylines which still never fail to give me goose bumps, complete fan-girling over the gorgeous Marissa Cooper and Summer Roberts, and not to mention the seriously cool diner which always gives me the biggest pancake/milkshake/burger cravings...it just never gets old. It feels like I've grown up with it and whilst I could happily talk about it all day (this post has taken a lot of editing as there's just so much I wanted to rave about hehe!) I wanted to write a post about my top 5 reasons why it's the absolute best programme ever. If you've seen it before I'm sure you'll understand my obsession, and if you haven't, well then I'm afraid we can't be chums anymore (LOL only joking <3) 
1. The Music - Before watching The OC I was very much a mainstream, 'whatever's popular in the charts' kind of gal, but the indie-type music in The OC introduced me to a whole new genre of music which has actually ended up shaping my music taste, to the point where me and my fiance have been considering using one of our favourite songs from The OC as part of our wedding music :) They just get the music so completely spot on to reflect the vibe of the show and I honestly don't think some of the scenes would have the same impact without the songs playing in the background. One of my favourites is when 'Hallelujah' (Jeff Buckley) is playing in the final episode of season one; it gives me the biggest goosebumps ever and always brings tears to my eyes before the really emotional bits have even started!! I also love how 'Into Dust' (Mazzy Star) is used as the background song throughout the series' whenever Ryan rescues Marissa - it's one of those songs which is sad but pretty all at the same time and has become a firm favourite on my ipod thanks to The OC. Some of my other favourites include 'Forever Young' (The Youth Group), Paint The Silence (South) and Dice (Finley Quaye) - whenever I listen to these songs I'm instantly taken back to the summer holidays of when I was a teenager as that's when I'd usually end up having a OC marathon :)
2. Seth and Ryan's 'Bromance' - Seth is without a doubt one of the best things about The OC; Adam Brody is just absolutely hilarious and not to mention a right old cutie too. I absolutely love how Ryan enables Seth to be who he wants to be (including helping him and Summer to get together!) and from the moment Ryan rescues Seth from getting beaten up by Luke and the water-polo team in the first episode, you just know they're going to have a proper bromance ("Welcome to The OC bitch!") They both kind of rescue each other in different ways ("I don't know what to say except you totally had my back out there. I really think if you were to teach me some moves we could totally take them next time, with a little bit of that, a little bit of that and that") and as Seth describes at the end of season one "before Ryan showed up this place was hell for me. I just can't imagine it without him." I also love how Seth manages to bring Ryan's humorous side out ("maybe you have the 'summer' flu and you should take some 'anna'-biotics") and he enables Ryan to experience life as a 'normal' teenager where they get to play the playstation and spend time with their girlfriends - it makes my heart swell a little bit :)
3. Sandy Cohen - I've been thinking all day about how to describe why I love Sandy so much, and the word I keep coming back to is 'humble'. Everything about his character is just inspiring and every time I watch The OC I say to myself 'when I grow up I want to be a female version of Sandy Cohen' let's just excuse the fact that I'm actually an adult already ok?! From the very first episode when Sandy decides to help Ryan and tells him "you gotta have a plan, some kind of dream" you just fall in love with him and then watching him help Ryan do his tie basically just makes your ovaries explode! A couple of my favourite Sandy quotes are when he tells Kirsten "I thought I could help him, make a difference. I was this kid...if someone hadn't helped me I wouldn't be here" and then when he tells Seth "We love you, and the door is always open" SWOON! He's also pretty hilarious and one of my favourite scenes ever is when Kirsten is saying she's worried they're stuck in a rut so Sandy decides to defy the satnav lady: "we do need to take more chances. GPS lady says turn left, I'm going right. We're living on the edge hunny!" Also those eyebrows - nuff said right?! They always make me think of the Mean Girls quote "That's why her hair is so big, it's full of secrets" *insert monkey covering his mouth emoji here*
4. Marissa Dying - Oh god, I can feel myself welling up just thinking about this and I swear it never gets any easier to watch despite the amount of times I've already seen it! (I actually went through a phase of skipping this episode out all together because I just couldn't cope with it LOL) It honestly breaks my heart every single time I watch it; the way the episode unfolds and the fact the producers went there with the storyline is, for me, the cherry on top of the cake of what sets this apart from any other programme. Being able to see how everyone deals with their grief in season four and the effect that one character dying has on a whole group of people is just insane and I can't think of a single other programme that's ever had that kind of impact. I kind of love how they suggest in season four that Ryan actually gave Marissa three more years of her life as she would have died from the overdose in TJ if it wasn't for him; I know people have mixed opinions about season four because Marissa was such a central character, but I actually think it's awesome how they do it.
5. The Season Finales - They honestly get each season finale so spot on and as I mentioned above, even though I've seen them all loads of times before they still affect me just as much now as the first time I ever saw them! I can remember being hysterical at the end of season one the first time I watched it and my mum came in my room wondering what the hell had happened to me hahahaha! The bit that gets me every time in the season one finale is when Ryan and Marissa are dancing at the wedding and then the very end scene with Seth on his boat in the middle of the ocean (thank god I watched them all on DVD as I don't think I would have coped having to wait for season two to come out!!) Marissa shooting Trey in the season two finale and the look on his face before he falls to the floor is probably one of the best, but most shocking moments in the whole programme (I'm covered in goosebumps just thinking about it now and I know I'm a complete a saddo because it isn't actually real, but, oh god!) In the season three finale it's the way that you think everything's working out for them and then bam! I sometimes get irrationally angry with the producers that they could have just let Marissa go off and work on the ship and written her out that way, but then I reason with myself that it wouldn't be the most amazing programme ever if that had happened would it!! I think the end of the final season rounds everything off really well as I love that Seth and Summer get married (even though she had to go off and 'find herself') and we get to see Ryan's success which is obviously all thanks to the kindness of Sandy Cohen, which then inspires Ryan to end the series with the famous words "Hey kid, need some help?" #BESTPROGRAMMEEVER!!!!

Have you seen The OC? Please let me know if you share my love for it and what your favourite moments are :)

Love Holly xo



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