NEW Fortnightly Favourites #8

When I began Fortnightly favourites, the plan was to post every fortnight... not that the name gives this away or anything. That being said, I think I let my inner literature-student call the shots here and shot my functioning self in the foot. Alliteration is a lovely thing, but it doesn't look so pretty when you're stressing out over another week gone, another post not published. 

If you're unfamiliar with my Fortnightly Favourites series, it is where I round up my favourite blog reads from the 'fortnight', from travel inspiration to wellbeing lessons to live by. I always chose posts that spoke to me, so never picked them for the likes; no offence to the 101 reviews of MAC's latest lipstick, but I'd choose 101 coffee recommendations or fluffy dalmatians any day. That''s just me.

*This com-paw-ison just reminded me that MAC aren't cruelty-free, so I hope they do take offence.* 

Yet despite sharing blogs that resonated with me, I still focused exclusively on the lives of other people. This became apparent to me last month, after reading Dawn O'Porter's #ShoutAboutYou piece in Glamour; unless I'm giving an advice post/celebrating other people, I do feel anxious and I want that to change! So I've decided that #Blogtober will start a new chapter...

I still love the concept of spotlighting bloggers and will continue to do so; however, I want to free up my favourites and talk about other things! For example, I love series' such as Katy's 10 Good Things and Ella's 10 Things that Make me Smile and have wanted to do my own version for a while; why not bring it all together? A fortnightly roundup of my little life joys, from that "it's-so-fluffy" ball of yarn, to that perfect Pret-uccino or Liam finally winning star baker... it WILL happen.

I can't promise to know How Far I'll Go with these posts, but I will promise to find positivi-tea in something, however small - even if we're talking free coffee! And on that note....

    TASTING    

It happened... I got a free Pret coffee! After two years of waiting, wondering and frequent flat-whiting, I was finally on the receiving end of their 'Make Someone Smile' scheme... and smile I did. My friend Yasmin also got her Green Tea for free, alongside our main guy guys Godfrey (take a leaf out of Joey's book!). It was also then that I realised Godfrey practically spells out Good-For-You. So the next time you see one of those "Fat free! Sugar free! TASTE free!" adverts, listen to Joey and Godfrey - not the gumdrop button thieves!
 If we were in Hogwarts and pictures talked, you'd hear me squeaking "not the gumdrop buttons!" for all of Pret to hear... 
In other nom-news, I'm loving the new Graze Protein Bites. I'm not quite sure why they're called this, as it's basically their delicious flapjack in a multipack, but I have one virtually everyday and can't see that changing anytime soon! My favourites are the banana flavour, because I'm basically a minion and they're all jam-packed with seeds. I've never been a huge fan of flapjacks, as I find them overly sweet, but the seeds really balance it out here. I also just really love my seeds. Perhaps I was a squirrel in a past life? 

Speaking of nuts, I'm still loving the Deliciously Ella Cacao, and Almond Balls that I mentioned last month and was so excited to spy her new oat bars on my Twitter feed - which even come in a cacao and almond flavour! I needed 280 characters for those heart-eye emojis. After learning that they're exclusive to Tesco, I visited the Express branch in Broadmead, Bristol full of hope... and my heart was broken. It's hardly the back end of beyond! Thankfully, Starbucks was nearby and I could keep my date with cacao goodness; it just happened to be in nutty, dried fruit form. So to end on a cliff-hanger, my oat search continues... 

Last by by no means list, September was the month I discovered Pip & Nut's Maple Peanut Butter in Holland & Barrett. Oh Pip... Oh Nut... How did it take so long? It's only been two weeks and we're already two three peas in a pod. Along with toast topping and apple dipping, it also marks the first time I've eaten nut butter straight from the jar... Messrs Pip & Nut, you are officially my new recovery mascots! On a final happy note, I keep thinking of Pip from Enchanted and  singing "happy little working song" as I savour this spread of DREAMS in true Disney style.

Do you have any (bunny-friendly) food favourites?


    LISTENING    

One of my happiest discoveries of late has been Podcasts. After being spellbound by Mugglecast in August (sort out your priorities if you don't know what I'm talking about), I've widened my horizons and am currently hooked on Glamour's Hey It's Ok. I've actually scheduled a full post on it, as I love it so much, but let's just say I've been listened to 8-months-worth of episodes in around 8 Days #HeyItsOKToBeAddictedToHeyItsOK. One minute I'll be laughing out loud (12-year-old Jenna Coleman singing operatic-karaoke), yet they're not afraid to contemplate the deep stuff - I'm talking serious-Dawn-French kinda deep. So bumble along my lovelies and bee swift about it; Jenna is looking for a new best friend... 
Between Podcasts and Barking dogs, I've not really listened to much Music lately. In truth, I'm still mourning 2008 Taylor and what she's turned into... I want the Love Story days back! Watching her Look What You Made Me Do video was like watching my favourite Sim get bitten by a Vampire/Werewolf and there's not even a "no save" option here. The death of Country-Taylor is Forever & Always and #ItsNotOk with me (sorry Glamour). 

So I think we've established that Look What You Made Me Do is on my "September Sorrows" list; however, there have been a couple of lights in the musical tunnel, starting with Emma Blackery! She's one of my favourite vloggers (as of last month, when I actually started watching vlogs), but  is also a rather amazing singer-songwriter and realised her Magnetised EP this year. I first heard it last week and Human Behaviour may be my favourite song of 2017. Thank-you Emma!  

My other musical discovery of September was also thanks to Youtube... could pre-video ads could be the new Spotify!? At first, I was simply counting my lucky stars that Karlie Kloss decided to take a nap (has anyone else seen her Wix ad a gazillion times ?), yet my focus was quickly pulled by  her replacement: an advert for BIC and its accompanying music. It turns out that the song - Jeans by Lily Finlay - was the winner  of BIC's "Write and Shine" contest and that I was also not the only person searching for it. 

Do you have any favourite Podcasts? 


    WATCHING    

Bloggers! Until this summer, my Youtube world pretty much consisted of Zoella hauls and Game Of Thrones Conspiracies... now there's a combination you don't see everyday! Nevertheless, after stumbling upon a certain Emma Blackery, I quickly established that YouTube is the Mary Poppins version of a Christmas Stocking; otherwise known as the gift that keeps on giving, for those poor unfortunate souls who can't appreciate a disney metaphor.... Two vloggers in particular are firm favourites:  

Just in case you missed it... Emma Blackery! She's funny, honest, relatable, does 80-minute Lush hauls and lived like a Sim for a day. I rest my case. My more recent discovery is Melanie Murphy, whose video Dreams Into Reality was like a giant hug at the end of a difficult day, or that first sip of tea in the morning. I love how simple it is, with no jump-cuts or edits; it is just Melanie reading a chapter from her book - Fully Functioning Human (Almost) - which is so beautiful it genuinely had me in tears by the end. There was one part that struck me so much, I instantly went back and wrote it down. I so often say "I'm trying", yet perhaps I need a different approach? 

"With this approach to life there is no try. There is only do, or do not. In trying, a person isn't really expecting it to work out. So actually, just do it!"
Beyond the really small screen, I have a couple of TV standouts. Firstly, I have to give a mention to The Great British Bake-Off. I'll admit that I was so righteous beforehand, swearing fealty to Queen Berry and the Mel-Sue sandwich. Yet one month later... I may actually prefer it on C4?! Thanks to watching Great British Menu, it doesn't feel strange to see her in the judging role and she's a bit more forthright than Mary. Sandi was made for this show and even sounds like Sue. As for Noel... he's basically a male version of Luna Lovegood/ Miranda Hart - could frolicking be the new galloping? 

My Other TV highlight is the return of Dance Moms, aka my ultimate guilty pleasure. Abby isn't even there and the drama is at a new level! I do miss JoJo and her Bow Bows, although I love that Chloe is back - I was always #TeamChloe from day one! To be fair, it doesn't seem like leaving the show did JoJo any harm; for starters, around 50% of the girls from my first school placement wore a JoJo Bow and she now has a collection in Primark. To paraphrase Mean GirlsYou go Glen Coco Miss JoJo!

My final favourite is Designated Survivor, the latest series my parents and I are devouring. We always like to have a series on the go and this was recommended by people who love House of Cards and Billions. Given our obsession with the latter two shows, the expectation was high, yet I can confirm that it gets an O.W.L Exceeds Expectations.... Outstanding! You probably have no idea what I'm on about - to be honest I rarely do - but Mr Wikipedia does and I will trust him to win you over (Universities can pipe down). All I will say is that this political drama has the biggest twist since GOT #RIPNed and Tom Kirkman may be the most likeable character in TV history.... and I'm including Tyrion here! 

What TV have you been enjoying lately?

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