I know we’re almost mid-way through January, but I thought I can get away with one last blog of appreciation for 2015. So here is a round up of my favourite things from last year:
Where do I even begin… I love, love, loved this place, well Havana to be specific.
I spent a week in Cuba, but unfortunately only got 2 full days in Havana. I still managed to see most of the main tourist spots, however there is still so much I didn’t get to see.
So returning this year to spend more time exploring this beautiful city is one of the things on my 2016 bucket list.
I will write a blog post at some point to tell you more about my experience and share some of the amazing photos I took.
All the Many Layers
I think that perhaps this is my favourite blog of ALL time.
The blog is home to the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the wonderful GG Renee.
I love everything she does.
Reading GG’s blog posts is like reading a page from my own diary as I can related to everything she talks about. In fact, over the past 18 months or so, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know GG a little bit and we’ve joked that we’re like soul sisters.
GG’s writing is open, authentic and raw. When I read her blog posts, it feels like a wise soul giving me permission to be myself and affirms that not only am I perfect the way I am, but that I’m not crazy and there are people who see and experience the world in a very similar way to me.
I am eternally grateful to GG for being brave enough to share her many layers with the world and giving me the belief that one day I too will have the courage to do the same.
For years I was so against eReaders, I was truly #teamREALbook all the way.
Then one day, I had a conversation with someone who had felt the same as me about books and eReaders, but was given a Kindle as a gift as he was moving home and had no space for his books.
The conversation began to alter my view of eReaders, but I still had no plans to cross over to the dark side.
But when my mum bought a Kindle just before Christmas 2014 and lent it to me for a few days, I was sold.
I loved that is was so light and didn’t weigh down my bag. I loved that I could read multiple books at a time depending on my mood and I loved that I could highlight and make notes, which were then accessible online via Amazon.
So with vouchers I received as a Christmas present, I bought myself a Kindle in the new year and read 12 books (plus 8 short ebooks) in 2015.
I still read real books, but the love affair with my Kindle continues.
Re:Birth by The Floacist
I Googled R&B albums of 2015, and realised that I actually hadn’t listened to any of them. I did the same for Hip Hop albums and I’ve listened to 3, and only once each.
I know this may make me sound like an old person, but in my mind the music these days has nothing on the music released prior to the early noughties, so I always find myself returning to older albums.
So according to Spotify, the album I listened to the most last year was Re:Birth by The Floacist, and to be fair I do love this album and I spent most of 2015 listening to all 3 of her albums.
Fast & Furious 7
I watched a lot of films last year, however after doing a Google search of the films from 2015, it seems I’ve seen very few of them.
Now, I’m not for one minute suggesting that Fast & Furious 7 was by any means the best film of 2015, but of the films from 2015 I did watch, this was the film I enjoyed the most.
I’m a fan of the whole fast car thing, so I really enjoy most of the Fast & Furious franchise.
I think there’s a bit of nostalgia attached as well because years ago I won a competition to name a cinema and part of my prize was an invitation to the cinema opening. The film they showed was the first Fast & Furious film.
Evolution of a Revolutionary by Jasmine Guy
How could a book that is written by Whitley from A Different World (she’ll always be Whitley to me!), about the life of Tupac Shakur’s mother, not be fascinating, empowering and inspiring?!
Well it was all those things, and so much more.
You can find out exactly how reading the book affected me here.
Favourite Hair Product:
Cantu Deep Treatment Masque from the Shea Butter for Natural Hair range
2015 was my sixth year of natural hair, but only my second year of wearing it in it’s naturally curly state, and using products free from parabens, silicones and all the other harmful ingredients.
Who really knows what texture I have, not sure my head even knows. But if I had to guess I’d say the front was 3C, the back 4a and the middle the texture of someone who’s been sleeping rough for a while!
My hair really struggles to retain moisture and is never really fully detangled. I mean I spend forever detangling it, but it is so springy and coily, it continuously re-tangles and is always creating those tiny knots that no amount of gentle “teasing” can untie.
Anyway, as well as using this product as a deep conditioner, I also use it as my leave-in as it’s the only product I’ve used so far that keeps my hair moisturised. I’ve tried so hard to love Shea Moisture products, but my hair is not keen.
I would like to try other products in the Shea Moisture family, but if I’m honest, the idea of spending £10-15 on a product that potentially will not work, it less than appealing. Which is also why I like Cantu – it’s kind to my bank balance!
Favourite Skincare Product:
DIY Whipped Shea Butter Moisturizer for Skin by Hey Fran Hey
I began 2015 with an extreme skin condition so I became much more aware of the products I was using on my skin.
I had been using coconut oil for a while but I noticed my skin had stop absorbing it. I’d take of my clothes at the end of the day, and my arms and legs would look like sticks of chalk – not a good look!
My cousin had previously told me about a DIY shea butter mix she was using and I thought I’d give it a try. So I ordered my ingredients and followed Hey Fran Hey’s video.
I now recommend it to anyone who suffers with dry skin. It keeps my skin moisturised for the entire day, even during the coldest days. Best of all, now when I take my clothes off my skin is soft and still fully moisturised.
The only thing about this is the inconvenience. You can’t just pop to the shop when you run out, you have to find the time to make it.
I would say however, simply mixing coconut oil with shea butter does just as good a job, but the cocoa butter gives it the yummy chocolate smell, as well as the additional health properties of course.
Favourite Beauty Product:
Zao Coral 656 natural nail polish by Zao
I came across an article in Psychologies magazine about nail polish and how dangerous some of the chemicals used to make it can be for women’s health.
I immediately began to do my research and discovered that there are a few ranges of “natural” (uses a lot less harmful chemicals) nail polish.
I hardly paint my nails as I don’t have the patience to wait for them to dry and it bothers me that it takes ages to do them, only for them to chip within a few days. With that said, during the summer or whilst on holiday I do paint my toe nails.
So I invested in a couple of products from Zao. I got the Coral nail polish, top coat, mascara and a lipstick.
The nail polish lasts at least 4 days on my hands, and weeks on my toes, with 2 coats.
My only negatives are the price of the products and the cost of delivery if ordering under £50. I mean it’s only £3, but in 2015 I begrudge paying for delivery. You can call me tight, I prefer frugal.
Favourite Household item:
Primark Ginger and Pineapple scented candles
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love candles; scented candles to be precise. In fact in 2014, I attended a workshop to learn how to make my own.
However, one of my biggest frustrations is purchasing a candle that smells absolutely divine in its unlit state, only to get it home, burn it and find I literally have to sit sniffing it to get any whiff of a scent. It annoys me and I usually don’t burn it again.
I’ll always take a gamble with cheaper scented candles, as I don’t really have anything to lose. So when I did so during a trip to Primani, I was more than pleasantly surprised.
After a few minutes of burning the candle, the scent began to fill not just my living room, but my entire flat.
These candles come in a variety of sizes and containers – tealights, tins and glass jars (they even have diffusers) – and for scented candles that you can actually smell when lit, they’re dirt cheap!
There are also loads of fragrances to choose from and the large Pineapple and Ginger tin is my favourite.
Favourite Wardrobe item:
White Nike Air Max Thea
During my teens and early twenties I used to be a bit of a trainer fiend, but as I’ve got older I have dramatically cut back on the number of trainers I buy. So when I do get a pair, I normally love them.
The White Nike Air Max Thea are no exception. They look good and they’re comfy.
My only issue with them is that as they’re bright white and I live in London which is often wet, I don’t get to wear them as often as I like.
So there you have it, a round up of my favourite things from 2015. What things made you happiest last year?