Tuesday, 31 March 2015

\\ My March Favourites 2015! //

Having just broken up for the Easter holidays and with some free time to kill, I figured now would be a good time to write up my March favourites. It's been a month of free-trials, with some emotional moments cropping up every now and again. I've really been looking after myself this month!

1) Lzzy Hale
Earlier on this month I had the pleasure of taking my dad to his (and my) first Halestorm gig at our favourite live music venue, Rock City. Fronted by female lead-singer Lzzy Hale, Halestorm is one of the hottest bands out there right now - with their most popular song I Miss The Misery recently making the Gold record standard. If you listen to Halestorm, you'll probably notice that a lot of their songs - despite most band members being male - are very much 'girl power' and feminism-related, with God being depicted in their song lyrics as a 'she'. But I didn't realise to what extent Halestorm were into feminism until I saw them live. Lzzy took a moment to talk about how rock music empowers her, and gave a shoutout to lots of other female-fronted rock bands, such as The Pretty Reckless who they recently toured with.  But what really struck me was, not only her incredible talent or appreciation for music, but how she held her own when the drummer and two guitarists had to leave the stage. Maybe it was an equipment malfunction that caused them to leave, or maybe it was planned, I don't know, but Lzzy was left on her own to perform a heart-wrenching acoustic rendition of I Hate It When You See Me Cry. If you know of Lzzy, you'll know - and even she admitted this - that she acts like a hard-ass most of the time (it's part of their image, after all), but in that moment she was vulnerable to the audience and it only made us respect her more. She also told us she originally wrote the song while drunk in a hotel room, sad and alone. That one performance of that one song was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen - one woman up there in a room full of thousands of people - in an otherwise male-dominated rock industry. It made me feel so proud to be a girl, and really opened my eyes to what women can achieve. On that night, she definitely became one of my biggest inspirations.

2) Graze boxes. As I'm still hoping to travel in the future, it occurred to me that I'm probably going to need to open my mind to different foods. I decided I'd been pretty stuck in my ways and it was time for a change. I coincidentally received a Graze box voucher in the post with my free monthly Asos magazine - which promised me my first and fifth boxes for free. Needless to say, I decided to give it a go. One of the best things about the subscription, I found, was that the website helps you personalise your order. Next to the picture of the snack, you choose either 'bin', 'try', 'like', or 'love,' and it's by this rating system that Graze decides which healthy snack to send you. You can also choose how often you would like to recieve your boxes. My first box, which arrived yesterday, was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting one snack, not one box with four compartments! For my starter box, which came in environmentally-friendly packaging and was small enough to fit through my letterbox, I received: Summer Berry Compote with Wholemeal Shortbread (which was gorgeous and so rich in flavour!), 'Hot Cross Yum' (orange raisins, sponge pieces and cinnamon & honey almonds - also lovely! I did like the almonds but my boyfriend had to finish them off), as well as Cheddar Gorge and Sour Cream and Garlic Costini, both of which I am yet to try. Accompanying the box came two £5 vouchers for me to pass on, as well as 4 more 'get your first and fifth box free' friendcodes to give to any of my friends that want to try Graze. If you know me and you want one, please give me a shout! But it doesn't stop there - I also received a little letter detailing the dietary content of each compartment box and how long they'll stay in date for (this is great for me, being a college student, as I'll be able to take a couple of boxes in with me each week). I personally loved it - I got to eat my breakfast in bed! Despite being healthy, the food tastes great, and also filled me up for a good while, although I haven't been that active this week. I'm definitely considering carrying on my subscription.

3) It's safe to say I've never had the most extensive skin care routine, but this month I've turned this around. I used to use the Clearasil Rapid Action Pads, but I found that using this often made my skin worse. It also stung to put it on over especially sensitive areas, as, being honest, I tend to pick at my skin a lot. A while ago, my dad's partner, who's a pharmacist, picked up Garnier's Skin Naturals Fresh Clarifying Wash for oily skin (why do they all have such long names?!) for me, which has been doing the job perfectly. After the first application, my skin felt a little bit tight (but refreshed) and it's for this reason that I decided to go out and buy the Moisture Matte Oil-Free Moisturiser from the same range. This is great to use if you're about to apply makeup on top, as the foundation just glides over. Having these products on my skin made me feel a lot better, a lot more hydrated, and I also noticed that I largely left my skin alone rather than picking at it. I use these together usually once a day, and I've really been noticing a difference. If however, any spots do arise, I use the Witch Doctor Skin Treatment Gel that my family swears by. This reduces their appearance and often makes them less painful and angry. And I feel a little bit better about myself.

4) And Headspace, how could I forget you?! I'd heard a lot about this app, and then it was recommended to me by a friend that I look up to a lot, and that was it, really. For those who don't know, it's intended to help you find ten minutes a day to meditate. You can download the app on Google Play to access the free ten-day routine, where you're guided by Andy, the creator, who actually has a really calming voice. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner like me; it's so easy and you'll probably pick it up really quickly. It's something anyone can do, and you don't have to use your phone while you're meditating, so don't worry about that putting you off. The app is great if you're stressed out a lot, as I know most college students are. It's really helped me just to find a few minutes each day to wind down, and I've only not managed it once since I've had the app. The only downside to it is that after those first ten days you have to subscribe for more content. As much as I like it, I think I'll stay with the basics until I have a bit more money in the bank but I'll be looking for a job soon.

Also this month: I've received a year's free membership with Vessel (like the new, exclusive YouTube) just for signing up in the first few days, and I'm hoping to let you know how that goes when I try it. Similarly, since it's the holidays I've activated my 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, but so far I'm not liking it as much as Netflix. Also, I saw my favourite local band Parasight, live again at The Midland in Ripley. My dad's partner bought me the merch I've wanted for so long but I'm yet to wear it! Not only this, but guitarist Danny has just announced they'll be playing The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham with five other fledging bands soon - here's hoping they're making it big!

See you for another one next month, hopefully (we all know my monthly favourite posts occur about once a year)!
Meaghan :)

(Disclaimer: Some photos do not belong to me, click on the pictures to see the original websites)

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