Sunday, 30 August 2015

WEEKENDER: August


August has been so different to what I imagined. 
Warm, but cold. Meeting new people and actually getting on with them instantly (that never happens). DIY madness. Decisions being made. We got a credit card. Eating badly. Wearing a parka for the first time since February. Job opportunities. Visits to hospital. Moving family to new houses. 

Tired, but very happy.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

HOW TO: DIY Cup Holder


Whilst browsing Pinterest the other day I came across a photo of a cup holder that was made out of a pallet with multicoloured hooks attached to the front. I loved it. And once I finished browsing, I'd lost the photo! The closest I could find to it was this one.

So armed with a vivid memory and a tonne of determination, I roped the Lad in and we made one.

If you'd like to make one too these are the things we used and the process we went through:


  • We used an old pallet, but any wood will do!

  • We went around loads of hardware shops before finding a really good deal on coat hooks in Wilko's (should've tried there first really). We emptied the white hooks out (50p each) and rounded ourselves up to 10 in total with silver ones (95p each).

  • It didn't matter what colour the hooks were to begin with because we knew we were going to spray them a different colour. Firstly, you'll need to prime the hooks so you'll need a spray paint metal primer. We chose to spray them all one colour, but you could chose a few different spray paint colours and have a mismatched display. The colour we chose is Rust-oleum Painters Touch Craft Enamel in Balmoral Red.

  • You'll also need some nail in brackets like these. I got mine from Yorkshire Trading, but any flat brackets that can be used to hold the wood together will do - bearing in mind the weight that it's going to hold.

  • Some screws, not too long to go through the wood, but long enough to hold the coat hooks in place and the nail in brackets on (we used screws for extra hold).



1. Break down your pallet, cut the wood to the right length and fix together with your brackets.
2. Prime your hooks.
3. Spray your screws and hooks corresponding colours. Seeing as we only used one colour, we just sprayed everything red.
4. Arrange your hooks in the pattern (or non-pattern) that you want and screw in.
5. Touch up any screws by spraying a piece of card with the colour you want and dipping with cotton bud and dabbing onto anywhere that needs it.

6. There are many ways you can attach your mug holder to the wall. We firstly tried standard picture hooks, string and a nail, but worried about the strength of the nail/string/hooks. In the end we used good ol' fashioned rawl plugs and super hench screws directly through the wood and into our wall. It's super secure and I feel safe putting my best mugs on it. Whichever you choose, make sure it's secure enough for the amount of cups you'll be putting on it!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

LIFE: A Catch Up


I rarely just 'chat' with you in this space. I relay information. The past two months have been hard. I think I've had a mini life crisis.

Things I've thought about that I wouldn't normally think about:

1. Buying a new car
2. Buying a new house
3. Breaking up with the Lad
4. Getting a new job
5. Cutting my hair off
6. Painting our living room black

Those are just a few things I've actually seriously considered.

Then throw in issues at work, my Grandma and my mum both going into hospital, my neighbour going crazy, our being declined for a mortgage, my best friend moving away, sick cats, sick chickens, my car breaking down.

I feel like I should have broken by now.

But I haven't. I'm still here. I don't know how. But, I am.

And despite having all these things falling apart around me, I've actually had some pretty cool things happen too.

Things that I've done that make me happy:

1. I bought houseplants and they're still alive (well, some of them)
2. I got a tan on my legs (never, ever happened before)
3. I've stuck to my resolution of printing my phone pictures out every month
4. We got a credit card to help boost our non-existant credit ratings
5. I'm on track with my 52 books in 52 weeks
6. I bonded with our neighbours and they've started buying me cheese (always a winner)

I've also decided that I love the transition to a new season. 

This week felt like the first tendrils of Autumn were sneaking into the way the sunlight hit the pavement, the way the breeze found some leaves to rattle along the flowerbeds, the way we have the heating on timer again now. 

I love it. I love the excitement. I've loved getting that tan on my legs, but I cannot wait, LITERALLY CANNOT WAIT, to get my tights on and my boots out and my fur lined parka on and trudge about sweating profusely under a million layers.

September, I'm looking forwards to you.

Friday, 21 August 2015

REVIEW: Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner


As soon as these hit the shelves a few months back, I really wanted to try them. But, the price tag put me off. Cue last week when they were half price everywhere and a super happy Jo went and finally managed to get her mitts on them.

The Oxygen Moisture Shampoo claims to volumise hair whilst retaining the moisture levels of an intense rejuvenating shampoo. From my perspective, I agree. My hair feels soft, but bouncy. Nourished, but boosted. Pretty darn good. I especially love the smell! It smells like freshly cut cucumber. I got complemented on the scent from the lads at work - I class that as a winner! Even if you don't like cucumber, it's hard not to appreciate the cleanliness and lightness of it.

The Oxygen Moisture Conditioner works well alongside the shampoo. I blowdry and straighten/curl my hair every day and my usual flyaway ends felt softer and tamer.

Altogether a superb combo. Although once they go back up to full price, I'm not sure whether I'd go out of my way to repurchase. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

LIFE: The Liebster Award



I'm so stoked about this! To have someone who reads my blog and wants to read more literally puts the biggest smile on my face. This post is more about you guys and how awesome you are. I love you lots. I mean that.

The lovely Cheryl at Beauscience tagged me with the Leibster Award. Cheryl is one of only a handful who regularly comment and one of my absolute favourite things about this blog is hearing everyone's thoughts on the topic/item I posted about, so thank you Cheryl! Also, sorry it's taken me a while to post this, it's surprisingly hard to think of questions for other people when you're put on the spot!

1. Why did you start your blog?
I have been blogging for over five years. My old blog was more fashion-y/outfitt-y/personal style-y which was great when I went to Uni and wore different clothes everyday, but once I started working full time in a warehouse in reinforced-kneed workpants and a round-necked sweater I found it really difficult to keep up the creativity involved to display the contents of my wardrobe. 

Kudos to those who do. 

I created Oh, hello jo to start afresh with sharing things that interest me - a lot more than my wardrobe ever did really. I love lifestyle blogs and beauty blogs and outfit blogs and I like the flexibilty that Oh, hello jo has given me to explore more options and to share different things.


2. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
A cat. A cat has the freedom of the world, whilst also having a nice warm basket to come home to, food in it's bowl and (if it's lucky) a patient owner (that doesn't mind the cat hair) to sit on. AND it had nine lives. Total winner.

3. What is your most cherished piece of beauty advice?
I'm not sure whether this falls under the 'beauty advice' title, but it's one I always remember and am glad I always followed:

Brush your teeth once after breakfast and once before bed, every day.

I have no fillings, no teeth taken out, no problems with rogue wonky teeth. I also highly recommend paying the extortionate prices to see a dentist regularly. My teeth are fine, but I go every nine months, just to make sure. I need these badboys to stay good for the rest of my life. No fixodent for me.


4. What inspirational saying do you live by, or just love?
Remember:  happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.
My ultimate goal in life is to be happy. My version of happiness is to be mindful and grateful for little everyday things - like having no fillings in my teeth. It's a simple quote, but it's something I remind myself of often. I even have it framed and hung above my bed.

5. Favourite or cheesiest joke?
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Bum.
Bum who?
HAHA you said bum!

It's not a joke, but I dare you to say it and not have, at least, a faint smile on your face.

6. What was the last boxset series you could not put down?
I finished watching the first series of New Girl (again) last week, but the box set I really got into was Game of Thrones before Series 4 began. I had to catch up on all of the first three series' in about three weeks. It was on constantly. I've never seen so many naked people in so short a time. The other day I started watching Brooklyn Nine Nine on Netflix at a friends house; I don't have Netflix... yet. So this will definately be the next obsession.

7. The thing you love most about blogging, or a treasured memory because you blog.
I love how it's made me look at the world differently. I photograph everything, I try different things through recommendations, I spread top tips I've found, I read articles that give me a different viewpoint to look through - like Charlotte's post. I love how through blogging I've found confidence to be who I am and accept everyone else for being who they are, because everyone is different. Just like everyone's blog is different.

8. What was the last random act of kindness you experienced or gave?
My last random act of kindness is linked to this post. I made my neighbour a sandwich. I'd never spoken to him before. It was ham and cheese. But, I never got to give him that sandwich. It sat in my fridge for two days before I threw it out. I wish I'd've made it sooner to give it to him, maybe things would have turned out differently, but I wasted valuable time debating whether it was something he'd like or not. It's such a simple thing, but I think it's the simplest things that make them the kindest.


9. What is your favourite thing to do and why?
I love sitting on my bench outside in the sunshine either reading, or eating, or sewing, or just looking at our garden with one of our cats curled around my feet. It's what makes me happiest.


10. What is your 'go to' outfit?
Currently, it's my ripped knee Jamie jeans and an oversized back and white check shirt . Suitable for all occasions by dressing up with heels and a clutch or dressing down with my Nike SB's and an alphabetbag tote.

I've used the number of followers indicated on Bloglovin' to create my nomination list and I've only chosen a cream-of-the-crop five blogs:

Mint Notion
I love the variety of posts Eden writes. Travel, style, some beauty - great allrounder and something for everyone.

Her Face In The Crowd
Tatiana's style is just spot on, I love how she always has a smile on her face! And her little puppy Tipton is just TOO cute.

Dreamerseekingself
Becca has just completed the Whole30 - something I'd really like to try. I love how honest Becca is about life and about finding happiness.

An English Rose
Ciara is a) so pretty, b) super knowledgeable about beauty and c) I have GOT to make those mini victoria sponge cakes.

Ooh La Luce
I stumbled across this girl recently and I was instantly taken with her writing style. So friendly, down to earth and, like Becca, honest. I also really recommend reading her How To on taking and staging photographs.

Here are my questions:
1. What's your favourite colour and why?
2. Who is your favourite author and which book of theirs would you recommend reading?
3. Which blog do you read the most?
4. What three pieces of advice would you give yourself ten years ago if you could?
5. If you could wear only two makeup products, which would they be?
6. What are your favourite types of blogpost?
7. Twitter or instagram?
8. What's your most worn item of clothing and why?
9. What/who is your biggest influence?
10. If you won a million pounds tomorrow, what would you do with it?

Monday, 17 August 2015

HOW TO: 5 Tips on Making Your Workspace Pinterest Picture Worthy




1. Choose a theme and stick to it.
Whether that means taking pattern to the next level, block colouring every surface, going minimal black and white, taking a 'carefully cluttered' approach - go all out and do just that.

2. Photograph small parts.
Unless your room is completely amazing, photographing the details mean you can focus on creating little spaces of pinterest worthiness. Eventually, you can get that completely amazing room.

3. Be thoughtful with the angle of the photograph.
No-one looks good photographed from below, it's a fact. Same goes with your room. Certain angles will never be flattering. Choose carefully how to get the best from your space. This could mean taking loads of photos from different angles and then choosing the best one, or it could be taking the time to plan out your photo and taking only the one.

4. Surround yourself with what you love.
You are more likely to present things and spaces in a better way if you genuinely love them. If it's not your cup of tea, the passion just won't be there. It'll be like a damp squib, something, but what exactly?

5. Bring nature indoors.
Notice how in most amazing photos there's a bunch of flowers? Or a cacti? Or a green houseplant? Well get your own. It's amazing how it can give that extra pop to a photo and also to your space in general. Having a desk plant brightens the mood!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

LIFE: Alcohol


I mentioned in my Weekender post for June about my Grandma going into hospital and coming out much better. Well, it's because she came out clean.

My Grandma has been drunk for, I reckon, about three years.

She'd have coffee spiked with rum for breakfast, she'd drink sparkling water with vodka for lunch, and get on the brandy's before the Alan Titchmarsh show at 3pm.

I have known about her alcohol obsession for years. As has everyone in the family. I point blank refused to take buy her alcohol, but the thing with alcoholics is that they play everyone. They manage to make everyone believe it's not so bad, that they haven't had too much, that they can control it, that they don't have any in the house. Well, that's not the case.

She went into hospital after she lost consciousness in public. She still looks respectable, she's not dirty and doesn't smell, so she hid her addiction well. Whilst in A&E, she had a fit. She didn't know who my mum was. She didn't know why she was there. She had hallucinations about fires. She pulled off all the machines and tried to go home - though I'm sure she didn't know where 'home' was. They kept her in for four nights, before we realised some of the new issues might be being caused by her detoxing from the alcohol.

Turns out, the collapsing and the fit was brought on because her body couldn't handle the drink any more. Turns out, her hallucinating and being frightened all the time was because she needed a drink. Turns out, as soon as we told the Doctors she had a drink problem they all went 'aaahhh! So that's what it is!' because they couldn't pinpoint why she'd reacted the way she had. So on the fifth day, she came home. We had a very frank talk, my mum, my Grandma and I and despite everything, she's still on the alcohol, but admitting she has a problem and is now seeking help. I'll take that as a step in the right direction.

Now, why am I telling you this?

Because a week later, my neighbour went crazy through drinking too much alcohol. And you might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. He was arrested under the Mental Health Act because he thought a man was going to kill him. The twist (if you can have a twist when a crazy man thinks he's going to get killed) was that the murderer was in his belly. We were obviously worried he might try and cut the man out, or harm someone he thought was the man. He tried to run away from the medical staff who were called to help him and became violent towards police when they came to secure the proceedings - which happened to be in our back garden. As you do.

He is only twenty-five years old.

Summer is great for going out and having a laugh, having a few drinks, having a few BBQ's and messing around. But, take it seriously. My Grandma took three years before starting to black out and lose her memory; my neighbour binged for a week and went literally crazy. You don't need to be an alcoholic to feel the bad effects of alcohol, so be wary.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone about an issue with yourself or about someone you know, here are a few links that can be your first step:

I haven't been paid or asked to post about this topic, or to link to these organisations - since being around people who have suffered I feel that alcoholism should be spoken about and support given to those who need it.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

WEAR: Cotton Denim

From left to right: Dress, Dress, Shirt, New Look last season, but this one is similar.


I'm not sure whether 'cotton denim' is a thing. I'm certain there are different grades of denim though and although I call the lighter grades 'cotton denim' what I really mean is that floaty type of denim that is probably a cotton that just looks like a denim. 

Or in the case of the stripey dress above, a chambray linen.

I win at descriptive explanations. You know I do.

I've taken to this type of day wear as my little-bit-dressier-than-normal-but-still-fairly-basic attire over the past few weeks. It's easy to throw on, wash and then not iron, before lobbing back on again. 

What's your favourite trend this season?

Friday, 7 August 2015

LIFE: The Un/Employment Game


The other day the company I work for changed. It changed in ways I don't want to change. So, I'm looking for a new job.

Since deciding to leave, I've been looking for job roles I think I could fill and learn how to do and enjoy as much as I enjoy my current job.

And I've had two, rather disastrous interviews.

The first was a 'group session'. Most awkward. The second was an individual interview that I thought went quite well, but didn't as I 'failed to understand what circumstances might arise' - aka, it wasn't just admin.

Now, I could admit defeat and stay where I am, but on the flip side, I'm obviously doing something right to be invited to two interviews after applying for only five jobs. So, I admit I'm shite at interviewing and start working my ass off to be better at being me.

The three stages of a sorry-you-didn't-get-the-job phone call:

1. Do you have any feedback?
2. What specific questions could I have answered better?
3. Thank you for your time.

And then move the hell on. If the company you applied to work for is a good one, they will give you specific feedback to help you in the future. Before I got my current job, I applied literally everywhere and I got a handful of helpful phone calls versus a tonne of useless emails back. Emails are harder to respond to, but still, unless it states that no feedback will be given, email back and ask for it! If it's a sector you really want to work in, all feedback is good feedback and can help you get where you want to be.

For me, I need to research the roles I apply for thoroughly instead of winging it. It's something I'm prepared to do so fingers crossed for the next time.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

SAVE: 5 Beauty Items To Share With the Boyfriend



I read this article the other day about sharing beauty products with the boyfriend to cut back on money and to save space. Whilst that list is fairly all encompassing - from moisturiser to bath soaks - I realised that The Lad and I share some things not mentioned on the list that I thought was worth a mention.

1. Mens shavers and shaving foam
Muuuuch better than the woman equivalent. I mean, these things are made for someone's face so there shouldn't be any discomfort on my part when I use them on my legs or underarms. And the brands are undoubtably cheaper. Especially when there are 'sensitive' versions for the same price too.

2. Dry shampoo
Despite having my hair coloured blonde and The Lad having naturally dark hair, we use the same Batiste dry shampoo - the original version. There's not much need to have a ton of different variations when the basic version works wonders.

3. Shampoo as body wash
We buy super large bottles of shampoo and conditioner* (currently we have the VO5 Give Me Moisture shampoo) and regularly use the suds from our hairwashing antics to wash the rest of us. It's not something I really think about us doing, but when we do buy a body wash, it's used up in a week, whilst a shampoo that we use only a little bit more of in one go can last us a month or more.

4. Toothbrushes
Woah there! Not normal manual toothbrushes. That's a step too far. What I mean here is an electric toothbrush. There are plenty out there with colour coded interchangeable heads, so whilst an electric toothbrush might be a big outlay, it'll a) save you money in the long run on dentist fees and b) save you time on a morning and night by doing all the manual work for you.

5. Spot treatments
The Lad and I are mid twenties, but we're still prone to the odd outburst of spots. A spot is generally speaking, a spot, whatever gender. Spots are not sexist. Find a treatment, facewash, cream that you both respond well to and stick with it. The Lad and I both love the Clean and Clear Morning face wash.

* You might be wondering, 'where do all these shampoos you review go then, hmmm?' well, I do have a lot of shampoos on the go at once, however I have - what I  like to call - a base shampoo on the side of the bath at all times. My base shampoo is one that I fall back on if I don't need volume, heat defence, frizz, detangling, sleekness-inducing properties. It's also, in this case, great for using as a body wash too.

Monday, 3 August 2015

REVIEW: Garnier Pure Active Anti-imperfection Cleansing Gel


I started using the Garnier Cleansing Gel when I had a horrible breakout on my chin a few weeks back. I was disappointed with the results considering this claims to be 'anti-imperfection'.

It smells like the real deal - a clean, fresh, cucumber scent. It foams up real nice too. Takes off all my makeup and grime from the day. At first use, it seems like it'll be a keeper, but the more I used it, the less I liked it.

A few days into using this, I found that I had more blemishes and spots - those nasty, red, under-the-surface-without-a-head spots. After I started using a different wash, my skin instantly settled.

I've used this a couple of times since, and the same reaction has occurred. For me, this is not the anti-imperfection face wash I was hoping for, though I'm sure it's just my skin reacting to one of the ingredients rather than the wash not being what it claims to be.

Have any of you tried this? What do you think of it?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Hello August


I wish I was at school again to have a whole month away from doing anything but waking up on a morning, eating during the day and going to sleep on a night. That August would be epic. But as it is, hello August - a grown up, working everyday, no holidays this month, August. I hope you have some good surprises up your sleeve.
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