Oh, hello.

It’s me. The blogger who has barely had time to blog lately because, well, work and dating and life in general just tends to take over, doesn’t it? I’ve been particularly busy lately with work as we’re currently mostly out on the road meeting clients. I cannot even begin to tell you how weird it is seeing myself dressed in smart little outfits/dresses with small but smart heels, straightened hair and business cards in hand.

I mean I’m just not used to it. I jazz myself up all smart then come home and change into the laziest clothes I can. Anyway. Here’s the (somewhat) more interesting stuff I’ve been up to lately, according to instagram…

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Life Lately

ONE
I just really like this cute shot I took for my recent book review of Carl Goes London Islands. The dots are cute, aren’t they?

TWO
During a recent trip to ALDI I ended up down the aisle with all the weird sh*t and just had to buy this cute picnic blanket. Why? I have no idea. I’ve never had any urge to go on a picnic before in my life. But alas I purchased it and had to use it so the girls from work and I agreed to have a picnic on Friday afternoon (as is tradition in our office, we always forgo regular lunch to order in and go out). We found a spot in a field across the road, popped open some lemonade that looked like champagne and enjoyed the sunshine (and many Instagram pics).

THREE
Christmas in July! Yes, it was weird but yes, I entirely loved it. I recently got the chance to check out Scandinavia’s Christmas event – aka a Scandinavian themed Christmas in a teepee! I got to munch on yummy canapes and sip festive cocktails, as well as enjoy just how damn pretty the whole thing is. The actual Christmas events themselves will have a lot more on offer too, but I’ll get a full review up with further information soon.

FOUR
I just had a really cute outfit on today. I actually own a pinafore now too. What is happening to me? I’m becoming stylish! Plus cactus’s are cute.

FIVE
A real life shot of part of my desk when it’s not messy. The background is a folder purchased again from the mad aisle from ALDI, a cute postcard I picked up from Paperchase and one of my fake plants. It’s great because, y’know, I don’t actually have to look after it.

SIX
Changes! Changes! Changes! As it is with any heartbreak, my usual go-to thing is to dye my hair. It took me a while as I had the awards with work so first of all just had to cover up my roots, but a couple of weeks ago the hairdye was on special offer in Tesco and this was the result (even though I’d only gone in for like rocket salad or something like that). It’s a work in progress to go back actual blonde, but in the meantime, I think the fact that it has a yellow tint gives me a bit of an edge. Even though it looks orange/ginger in that photo. It isn’t that orange in reality, but I had to post that photo anyway because the hair was just so big!

SEVEN
Just another shot of the books I picked up from Carl Goes Travel Guides. They’re cute, no?

EIGHT
As explained in the original post, the book launch for Carl Goes London Islands took place at Eel Pie Island and it was a beyond lovely day. It was sunny, I’d wanted to visit the island for so long and I had my good friend Becky with me. Hence how I got this shot of me posing on the bridge.

NINE
I posted this picture because I had a floral dress on and was wearing a bold lipstick. And I’m a former emo kid who used to wear dark purple lipstick and only wear black clothes. Oh how the times have changed…

So yeah. That’s what I’ve been up to lately, through the form of Instagram! Have you been up to anything exciting lately? Let me know!

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It’s July. July people. Let that just sink in for a moment. We’re officially in the second half of the year; closer to Christmas 2019 than we were to Christmas just gone. And alongside this seemingly never-ending heatwave, football fever and botched hair dye jobs (that’s me by the way – not you guys – and maybe I’ll tell you the story soon), there’s a fair bit to look forward to this month.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Hello July | Ghosted by Rosie Walsh | The First Purge | Sounds and Sorcery | The Vaults, London | Orange Is The New Black | OITNB | Last Day on Earth: Survival

THE BOOK
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh sounds hella good. It’s about a couple – Sarah and Eddie – who meet and fall in love instantly. They have a worldwind seven day romance, until Eddie goes on holiday. Sophie never hears from him again. Days turn into weeks which turn into months – and the initial belief of being ghosted soon turns into actual worry. As someone who has been ghosted many a time, this story hits home with me. I’m used to the idea of ghosting now, but there’s still that worry that something a lot worse has happened..
Ghosted will be released on the 24th.

THE MOVIE
I have yet to actually sit down and watch any movies from this series (though I really digged the Rick and Morty episode that paid homeage to it!), but The First Purge actually looks kinda good. I’m starting to really love action horror movies, so I have no doubt I’ll enjoy this. I also like that The First Purge takes place during the events of the first movie from the series; making it all come full circle.
The First Purge is out now.

THE SERIES
Orange Is The New Black returns to Netflix this month too with series six dropping on the 27th. Admittedly, it’s not as shocling as it was when it first launched as we’re now used to the sex and violence scenes, but there’s still a hell of a lot in this show that keeps me on the edge of my seat. The season picks up with many of the inmates being split up – some stayed and hid out in the bunker at Litchfield, whereas others have been moved to a new prison – so the change of setting is going to be interesting. I’m eager to see what’s next for them all – but I’m still sort of thinking about that stripshow from CO Straman. Partly because it was kind of hot, but mostly because I simply cannot work out how that sock stayed on and secure during all of that vigarious thrusting.
Orange Is The New Black will be available from the 27th.

THE APP
Right now I am so addicted to Last Day on Earth: Survival. I love good zombie game but what’s best about this one is how realistic it is and how it’s more of planning game where you have to think ahead. It’s not just about fighting zombies. You have to grow your own food, scavange items to create weapons, build your own home…it’s amazing and so addictive. You even have to make your own clothes, hence why half the time my character is running around half naked trying to fend off zombies. This app has taken over my life these past few weeks and I ain’t even sorry. It turns out I need a radio tower to create a clan but, y’know, if you’ve got the game, feel free to add me for future reference so we can team up and raid other bases together. My username is riotgirl (how fitting).
Last Day on Earth: Survival is available now on the Google play store.

ANYTHING ELSE?
If you’re in London anytime soon, head to The Vaults to check out their newest venture, Sounds and Sorcery. I won’t give too much away because the point is that it’s immersive and you’re not meant to know beforehand – but it’s inspried by Disney’s Fantasia. It’s always going to be awesome when it takes place at The Vaults however.
Sounds and Sorcery is running until the 30th September.

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

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I met Lais at one of Hard Rock Cafe’s fashion show events and straight away thought she was the coolest. Since then, I’ve lived vigariously through her adventures; if you ever find yourself on her Twitter you’ll be scrolling for days reading about what she’s up to (lately she’s been partying it up in Vegas and rocking out at Warped Tour!). By day, she works at LD Communiations. By night she DJ’s. And in her spare time she’s always up to something fun.

So of course I had to interview her..!

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Interview with Lais Martins Waring

YOU DJ AT NIGHT, PARTY AT WEEKENDS AND YET YOU’RE ALSO VERY APPROACHABLE AND DOWN TO EARTH! WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO BY DAY?
By day I work at a PR agency called LD Communications. We have a bunch of cool clients, like Download, Reading & Leeds, Cirque Du Soleil, Boardmasters, Hard Rock Cafe etc. It’s a lot of fun but the hours are long and we work our butts off!

YOU’RE ALWAYS OFF DOING SOMETHING FUN, APPEARING AT THE COOLEST PARTIES AND HANGING WITH THE HOTTEST BANDS. HOW ON EARTH DO YOU FIND ALL THESE OPPORTUNITIES?
You are too kind! A lot of the cool parties/events are through work, but a lot of the opportunities I’ve been given have come through being around for a long time and meeting a lot of people along the way. I started going to gigs in South Wales when I was 13, and then started reviewing and interviewing bands when I was 18, and then with DJing and PR on top of that (as well as being a yes man in general), I’ve ended up getting to know a lot of people and have had some great opportunities through that.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO DJING AND HOW DID YOU TRAIN?
I had my own radio show when I was in uni and I also had a couple of friends who DJed clubnights so they showed me the ropes around ten years ago, and then six years ago a friend of mine told me a new clubnight was coming to Cardiff – I said I wanted to DJ and he said yes, so I started there! I pretty much made it up as I went along, and then people liked what I did and started approaching me to do more events for them. I think the key is to read the room and know music well enough to gauge what people are going to like, rather than just playing what you think is ‘cool’. There is nothing better than making people happy by playing music they can dance to!

YOU’VE DJ’D ALL OVER. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES OF DJING?
My absolute favourite DJ set of all time was at Emo Nite in San Diego – it was so sweaty and the atmosphere was amazing and I’ve just never seen anything like it. Other highlights have been Emo Nite in Vegas and LA plus their recent stint in London at a sold out Islington Academy, which was insane. I’ve also DJed Download Festival and Reading Festival where I played head to head with Huw Stephens at a silent disco, which was incredible. I will also forever have a soft spot for the nights I started out at (Team Up Cardiff and Bump & Grind) where I’ve had some of the best nights of my life.

YOU’VE MANAGED TO NAIL A REALLY CASUAL BUT STYLISH LOOK FOR EVERY EVENT I’VE SEEN YOU AT. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO CREATE A LOOK THAT’S COMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO DJ/WORK IN BUT IS ALSO SUPER STYLISH?
This is so cute and I am very flattered! My main thing is that if I’m working/DJing for a long time then I just need to make sure my feet don’t hurt (otherwise I get livid). I like to make sure I feel good in my clothes – my go to if I’m working but also out in the night is a pair of American Apparel disco pants, a top and some boots because it looks a bit dressed up but also casual enough to work in.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Interview with Lais Martins Waring

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE FAIL SAFE SONGS TO PLAY?
Ooh, this depends on what type of night I’m working. If it’s rock then you can’t go wrong with:

A Day To Remember – The Downfall Of Us All
Paramore – Misery Business
Fall Out Boy – Sugar We’re Goin’ Down
Panic At The Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies
My Chemical Romance – I’m Not OK (I Promise)

Obviously a very different kettle of fish if it’s a different genre, but those are the ones that get everyone going at a rock night.

GREAT CHOICES! I SAW YOU WERE AT DOWNLOAD RECENTLY – HOW WAS IT?
It was amazing thank you! It’s my absolute favourite festival in the world – such a friendly atmosphere – and I’ve been going since 2010, mostly as a journalist, once as a DJ, and then the last two years I’ve been on the PR side of things. It’s very hard work but it definitely pays off. I’m very proud to be part of the team – I could never have imagined as a teenager that Andy Copping (the big boss) would be giving me a shout out when Download received a Golden Gods award.

YOU ALSO TWEETED A LOT OF LOVE FOR YOUR BUGGY CART SKILLS AT THE FESTIVAL. TELL ME: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN AND HOW AWESOME WAS IT?
Hahaha! Hilarious. LD had a golf cart to take press around on and do errands with, and during the weekend someone let me loose on it for the first time. I took an influencer friend of mine to see Asking Alexandria on it, and then gave a couple of bands/press a lift along the way. Loved it! May even consider being a professional golf cart chauffeur. Hahaha.

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM GIG LINE UP?!
Ooh, I think Rammstein as headliners (ridiculous stage show), Bring Me The Horizon, A Day To Remember, The Maine and State Champs. Also, let’s go for Craig David, Tinie Tempah and Stormzy to mix it up a bit. All so good live it blows my mind! My favourite actual festival line up was at Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey back in 2008 – the headliners were Snoop Dogg, Paramore and Jimmy Eat World, and then A Day To Remember, The Movielife, Every Time I Die, Four Year Strong etc as well as my great pals in The Blackout (RIP). That was the best! Also loved Download 2014 when the main stage was Bring Me The Horizon into Fall Out Boy into Linkin Park doing Hybrid Theory in full. Insane!

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
A very busy summer of working at festivals (Isle Of Wight, Boardmasters, Reading & Leeds etc), DJing parties, weddings and clubnights! I’ve also just come back from going to Warped Tour in Vegas and Arizona for my 30th birthday!

Lais is the ultimate edgy gal pal – I literally want to be her. If you ever spot her out and about at any events, make sure you go and say hi. Not only is she the coolest person ever, she’s also super talented!

What did you think of my interview with Lais? Let me know!

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It’s been a good few years since I last did a feature delving into the secrets of my handbag. In fact, it was back in 2011 (look at those terrible photos and my bad writing skills!) when I last did a post like this. Although I did write about what’s in my gym bag somewhat more recently.

Anyway. Life has gone on. I’ve gotten a different job and upgraded my bag and so, of course, the contents have changed. Here’s what’s in my bag now.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | What's in my bag

I got this bag from H&M with the last of my discount before I left. My sister did get me a beautiful lightweight bag for Christmas which I use for casual, but this bag I use for work because it’s just big enough for everything I need on a day-to-day basis. However, I really don’t know why I need to carry around so much stuff with me…

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | What's in my bag

This is what I have in my bag on any regular given day. From the top left, I have my cute unicorn purse gifted to me from my bestie at Christmas a few years back. The writing has long rubbed off, but I use this purse for my change and one or two cards I use the most like my debit card and Monzo card. Oh and a little pack of cute wipes.

I also have my other larger purse which has a special meaning to me because it has the same quote/lyrics on it (not shown in photo) that I have tattooed on my wrist – aka my mum’s song. I remember how it felt like almost fate when I spotted this purse – if I remember rightly, I was just starting to put my life back together and about to start a new job not too long after she died, and I saw it as a sign from her – as if to say she’s still around and watching over us.

Next, I have a random notebook (because I always have to have some form of notebook in my bag). Below that, I have an energy drink. I have energy drinks EVERYWHERE. At home. At work. In my car..and I always need a spare one in my bag in case of a tired emergency. I am ALWAYS TIRED. My favourite energy drink is actually Flyte, but when I’m skint I go and grab these ones from my corner shop because you can get cute little packs of four for a quid.

Then I also have a little emergency hair kit. I don’t know why I have this because I don’t use the clips in it and I also don’t use gold hair grips, but I do use the hairbands. It was just too cute not to buy.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | What's in my bag

I also tend to always have a bottle of water with me. I am obsessed with reaching my water intake at the moment. Carrying a bottle of water everywhere with me helps me hit that goal. I have also recently become addicted to Candy Kittens! They sell packs in TK Maxx for just £1.99 and all packs are vegetarian and gluten free, as well as all natural. Most of their sweets are vegan too.

Finally, I also keep a mini makeup bag just in case I get caught out of work or my plans change or whatever and I suddenly have to make myself look presentable. It’s just a gorgeous bag from H&M and little bits like mints, lip chap and lipstick. There’s also the sweet mini hairspray and dry shampoo bottles which I also picked up from H&M.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | What's in my bag

So – there you have it. This is what’s in my bag on a day-to-day basis – aka a lot. Luckily my bag has a real cute little compartment for important stuff like your keys and purse but other than that, it does end up pretty messy and hard to find things! I try and empty it out of all receipts and packet of crisps and junk once a month but it doesn’t stay that way for long!

Anyway, what’s in your bag? Let me know!

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Happy Sunday! I love Sunday’s. I spend the morning being lazy and chilling, then the evening slowly prepping for Monday morning. Luckily, there’s not too much to prep for but what I do have to sort out I try to not take on too much to ensure I still get to enjoy a relaxing Sunday.

Here are some simple ways you can spend your Sunday prepping for the week ahead.

FOOD
I simply cannot meal prep. I see all these amazing people on Instagram lining up plastic tub after plastic tub of delicious looking lunches for the week ahead but not only am I terrible at this, I’m also a single 28 year old so it’s not really like I need to prep lunches for kids or cook dinners in advance. Instead, I look in the fridge and work out a general meal plan for the week. I look at what things need to be eaten soon to avoid them going out of date, and think about what things I can make a little extra for so it stretches for lunch the following day. I generally make my Monday lunch on a Sunday, but that’s about it in terms of actual meal prep. Then, when washing up after dinner, I make sure to pop any leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day.

EMAILS
This one is easy but if I’m watching TV or catching up with a show, I simply just empty my email inbox on my phone. I get soooo much junk email, so deleting them every Sunday and being left with only nice inspirational emails or important ones is a huge weight off my shoulders. I like to read through the inspirational travel ones on a Sunday evening and daydream about travel, ha. I also take the time to unsubscribe to any junk emails too, when I can. I don’t do it all in one go as I’d be there forever, but doing a set amount on a Sunday means there’s less and less as time goes on.

FASHION
I also tend to choose some outfits for the week ahead. Not all – because the weather is unreliable and I’ll often turn up to work looking like I’ve rolled out of bed – but I enjoy properly putting together a couple of failsafe outfits, complete with accessories and shoes. I usually hang them all together too. If I don’t do this on a Sunday it’s not a big deal, but in the week I always forget my accessories so feel like I never look as put together as I could when putting outfits together in advance. At the moment, I tend to do this for the first few days only, so I look more and more lazy as the week goes on! But I’m learning.

BLOGGING
I dedicate Sunday evenings to blog admin. But the fun admin, like planning my social media for the week and writing any posts that still need to be written. It’s usually on a Sunday evening that I try and get back to the basics of blogging too by reading other blogs and commenting! When you try and blog every other day like me, it’s so easy to forget the enjoyment of reading and following other blogs because you’re too focused on growing your own. So I try to focus on the more enjoyable side of it on a weekend.

LIFE PLANNING
Finally, I’ll also sit down and quickly go through my week ahead and check I’m prepped for any plans (like dinner with friends, blog events, blog posts, work meetings etc). Usually these things are written into the planner in advance, but it’s always fun to write in blog posts or meal plans and decorate with pretty stickers – haha. I also double check I know how to get to places and what time I need to leave etc. I don’t always do this, but I do also have a weekly planner on my desk which I use to write what I’m up to as well, often because I leave my large book planner at work then just have this at home.

These are just some small steps I take to help me feel more prepped for the week ahead – I absolutely hate waking up unprepared on a Monday morning, rolling out of bed late, grabbing lunch on the way to work etc. These tips not only save me time and money but also just put me in a much more relaxed mood for the week ahead. Other things I sometimes tend to do on a Sunday evening are yoga, fill up my water bottle and have it beside my bed (so I can drink some water first thing when I wake up in the morning) and, when I’m home at my dad’s, have a long relaxing jacuzzi bath.

How do you spend your Sunday evening prepping for the week ahead? Let me know!

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