Alice Megan

Sunday, 20 January 2019

5 Tips for getting a good nights sleep

Sleep, my favourite hobby. I'm definitely not a member of the 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' brigade, in fact there's nothing I love more than a lazy day in bed, but getting to sleep when I need to? Having a proper sleep routine so I'm productive and energised the next day isn't always as easy as it seems. But as a connoisseur of getting a good nights sleep I've definitely established a few tips along the way to help improve it

Girl on white mattress under pink quilt feet hanging out of bed
[1] Make sure your bed is fit for purpose
No seriously, we never refresh our mattresses as often as we should, most people wait until the springs stick through or it's lost all bounce but finding the perfect mattress* can really improve your chances of a good nights sleep. There's a whole host of different kinds of mattresses from memory foam to specific anti-allergy ones to ones that offer really good back support so make sure you have a read up and decide what your sleeping needs require

[2] Avoid Technology
Hands up who promises themselves an early night then spends hours scrolling through social media or watching cat videos on youtube? I know it isn't just me! But seriously technology is everywhere and it's scientifically bad for getting those sleeping hours in. Looking at your phone before bed exposes you to blue light which stops the body producing melatonin in the levels we need to fall asleep. Try and avoid technology and tv for an hour before you head to bed, maybe try reading a book or writing a journal to give your eyes some technology free time

[3] Reduce your Caffeine
Caffeine can have a similar effect to technology, while it gives you a boost of energy it does that by blocking sleep inducing chemicals and increasing adrenaline. Try limiting your caffeine consumption (in a tea loving country like the UK apparently we have far too much anyway). It can be found in coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, energy drinks and even chocolate. Make a few switches such as decaf or using less coffee when making a drink and definitely avoid in the evening so as to keep your sleep cycle as on point as possible

[4] Empty your head
Easier said than done right? But a lot of sleepless nights can be attributed to running through what's happened that day, figuring out what needs to happen tomorrow and stressing over things you've missed. Now you might be productive at 3am but it's unlikely so you need to empty your head of all of these thoughts before bed and have a plan for the next day. This will then relieve your stress levels because you know that XYZ job that you missed you've already scheduled in to complete the next day. Keep a journal to write down any random thoughts just to get them out of your head. Writing a journal of reflection before bed is a really good way of getting the days thoughts out and deciding a plan of action the next day

[5] Consistency
This is key, you'll struggle getting a good nights sleep if your body has no clue when 'bedtime' is. If your sleep pattern can vary from a 8pm sleep to a 2am sleep your body will be in a state of flux as to when it's supposed to feel sleepy. Try and keep your sleep and wake times within an hour every night, it really helps your body. I find myself waking earlier at a weekend now as my body's become tuned into my working week schedule of sleep. Gone are the full days in bed - well sometimes. Sometimes I wake up and just chill in bed because why the hell not?

What's your top tip for sleeping?

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

What Insurance do I need as a blogger?

So you've done it, you've taken the plunge to become a full time blogger, you've made sure that you're all set up for self-employed or freelance work with the tax man so you're all set right?

Well not quite. If you're now going to start running your blog as a business there's other things out there that you should probably look into to make sure you're protected such as various insurance. Most of these might not be needed until you're making a solid income but it's certainly something to consider because as soon as you run as a business, handle other peoples data etc. you're liable so you better make sure your ass is protected
Blogger Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance
What Is Cyber Liability Insurance* you might ask, well if you run an email newsletter or collect any information and this is undefended it means that cyber criminals can access this data and you can be the one responsible for that breach. Rigby Financial offer a great range of insurances that can protect you if data is illegally accessed or manipulated by cyber criminals. It can also help you recover any costs if the worst was to happen

Health Insurance / Life Insurance
Just because you're self employed doesn't mean you should forgo traditional insurance you'd usually get from an employer. Health insurance can really help secure you if you become ill or require hospital care, if this turns into a period of ill health where you can't work it can have disastrous effects to your self-employed income so a little protection can give you that peace of mind

House Insurance
If you're a blogger, the likelihood is you're working from home on a regular basis so make sure everything within there is protected. This includes house insurance and content insurance, you don't want to be in a position where if you were a victim of crime it would negatively affect your working environment too

Travel Insurance
This is mainly travel bloggers, but also everyone in general ever. With the collapse of airlines and hotels disappearing on a regular basis, every time you move out of the country you need to make sure that you have adequate travel insurance, this should also include any extreme sports in case of injury

PMP is a pretty new form of insurance that's occurred due to the rise in social media influencers, it basically protects your words and pictures for those times you may accidentally misquote a celebrity, or offend a company and they decide to take it further. Or those copyright free pictures which actually turned out to be copyrighted and now you're being chased by the photographer for a huge bill. This insurance is ideal for an influencer on any medium, it gives you a wide range of cover and is tailored specifically to the industry

Do you have insurance? 
Have you ever thought about it?

Giving your kitchen a new lease of life

Last year I moved out of my parents home and moved into my own home, but during that process I did a lot of traipsing around houses for sale and trying to find the one for me. I was absolutely amazed at just how many homes looked beautiful but when you walked into the kitchen it was like walking back into the 1960s. Soo many gorgeous houses that just hadn't been modernised in any way. I looked into how much renovating a kitchen would be and how much a full makeover would be through Kitchen Warehouse* before I found my dream home. Thankfully the home I found was a brand new build so both kitchen and bathroom had only just been fitted so I didn't have to go through with having a redecoration

Modernising your kitchen

But when I did move into my home I did change a few things around, and giving your kitchen a new lease of life can be a lot easier than you think, you don't necessarily have to tear out the whole thing to modernise it. Here are my top tips for bringing your kitchen right up to date

Take a close look at the units in your kitchen, and think of how you could update them, you could change the doors as most doors fit standard kitchen carcasses but definitely check, or if they're wood you could make a real statement by painting them a bold colour. Maybe turn your wooden doors into a nice grey colour. Compliment this with some new handles which can be picked up for dirt cheap on ebay and you've instantly completely changed the look of your kitchen for the cost of paint and a few door handles

One of the things I used to hate at my mums house was the lighting in the kitchen it was bright and flurescount and not really great for creating a mood. As the kitchen can often be the hub of the home I absolutely think a bright light is essential but also smaller uplighting on the cabinets or mood lighting if you have a dining table can really change the dynamic and make it less clinical. You can even pick up stick on spot lights at local DIY stores for under £10

This one's trickier because it's certainly not cheap, but you need to look at it as an investment. If your fridge is perfectly fine then make sure your other cheaper appliances are matched to it. Bringing colour into your home with your appliances is a really quick way of updating the look of your kitchen

Little Touches
Bringing personality into your home should be super easy! I personally have Harry Potter tea towels, a cat cookie jar, salt and pepper pot plus lots of cool travel magnets on my fridge. Bring family personality into the kitchen. A show room look is lovely but a homely lived in feel will make people feel much more comfortable

How do you update your kitchen?

Sunday, 13 January 2019

How to drink while dieting - The best low calorie options

It's January!
Or as the crazies are calling it Dryanuary... I am so not about that life. January is already depressing enough as we all try and get through to the millionth day of the month on 52p while eating cardboard because we over-indulged at Christmas, why would you then add a no alcohol rule to that? Voluntarily?

No no, I'm all about enjoying a little tipple every now and again, but I am dieting so I've been spending lots of time working out the best low calorie alcohol options so I can still have a drink while sticking to my diet

10 alcohol options for dieting

If Cider's your thing (my drink of choice if I'm avoiding spirits) then I can't recommend Cranes Ciders* enough, they come in 3 deliciously fruity flavours of blueberries and apples, raspberries and pomegranate and cranberries and limes. They utilise the natural sweetness of the fruit making them a really good diet alternative. With 30% less calories than brand leaders this bottle will only set you back 220 calories
Cranes Cider Blueberry and Apple

Wine can be a really great option when dieting as a small glass of either red or white can generally be just under 100 calories, with options such as champagne and prosecco being similar. You could even mix it with diet lemonade to make a spritzer, it will make your drink last longer without any additional calories

Due to the nations need to cut calories a lot of the major players in the lager market now have lighter versions to their full caloried brothers. Whether you have a Coors Light, Corona Light or even a Bud Light you're looking at between 80-100 calories. 

330ml guinness 125
Coors light 102
Corona light 99
bud light 89

Surprisingly Guinness is up there with the better choices in beer at only 125 calories for 330ml it's often mistaken as a bad choice due to it's rich nature and taste but due to the process in how it's made it's definitely a good choice

We all know the spirit rules of the clearer the spirit the lower the calories right? 
Gin and Vodka come out at around 104 calories a serving, team it with a low calorie mixer such as diet tonic or lemonade, cola etc. and with gin the addition of raspberries give it a nice kick while not adding too many calories

There are some bloody lovely people out there who've spent time planning out some fantastic low calorie cocktail options here's my top 5:

Strawberry Daiquiri

Cranberry Margarita

The Paloma

Moscow Mules

Sparkling Sunrise

What's your favourite low calorie drink?

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Body Positivity on Holiday

Back in August I wrote a blog post about being body positive in swimwear and while writing about it is lovely I had to put what I said into practice in November when I went on holiday to Orlando. Now while it wasn't a beach holiday it did involve numerous water parks which usually fill me with absolute dread, mainly because it's expected you walk around in swimwear all day, it's not practical to have kaftans on and off as you're going to each slide etc. so despite my concerns and worries (my gorgeous boyfriend was so supportive) I braved the Florida sun  and I genuinely couldn't believe the reaction
Plus Size Bikini

There I was in my polka dot 60s style bikini, high waisted to hide wobbly bits but also give me more shape (Good fitting bikinis* and swimsuits* are a god send) I took a deep breath and placed all my usual cover ups in the locker and do you know what happened? Nothing. No-one gasped, no-one stared. I was surrounded by people of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and genders and every single person was there to have fun.

I actually got a compliment from a complete stranger, while walking to one of the slides a lovely american lady told me she loved my bikini and called it very 60s, I was so overwhelmed at the positivity. I shouldn't be surprised that humans can be nice but it's such a rarity especially when it comes to women and how they look that I didn't know what to do. Another lady complimented my Alice in Wonderland tattoo on my shoulder, which normally would be covered up.

I left that day absolutely full of confidence and beaming at how I overcame my fear and truly embraced myself and other humans to be bloody nice. I had such a fun day at Typhoon Lagoon, the slides are awesome the biggest wave in America was hilarious and overpowered me numerous times as I'm only short

But the biggest thing I took away from my day at the waterpark? There will be some people who look, there are always going to be bad eggs but on the whole people can be amazing and it's really encouraged me to keep pushing myself forward and embracing my body

Tell me your body positivity stories

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