A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE WITH OPEN COUNTRY


*Advertisement feature with the Aviva Community Fund.

I recently had the pleasure of spending the day with a local charity, Open Country, as part of my work with the Aviva Community Fund.

Based in Harrogate, Open Country is a local group that helps those who are disabled or vulnerable access the countryside around Yorkshire. I was able to join their Friday group tending to Askham Bog, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site situated just outside of York.

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Prior to attending, I was told to bring along some waterproof boots/wellies and, by my own admission, I am not that accustomed to the great outdoors! The day arrived and as I waited for the members of Open Country to arrive, I was introduced to some volunteers who attend each week alongside a member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. They told me a little about what they do, and how not only do the members of Open Country love attending these sessions, but how the volunteers do too. A brightly coloured blue minibus pulled up, which I was told had been named ‘The Blue Calypso’, allowing Open Country to transport both members and volunteers around the countryside easily.

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In total, there were 13 of us including myself, 4 volunteers, 6 members of Open Country, Kate (Countryside Activities Coordinator) and Joe from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The day was to be split into two parts; the first part of the morning involved resurfacing and covering up potholes within the Askham Bog car park, and the second part in the afternoon involved heading into Askham Bog to see the growth of previously planted wildlife and plants!

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As we were resurfacing the potholes, I could see the members around me getting stuck in and looking as though they were enjoying themselves and getting a real sense of achievement by admiring their own handiwork! I myself was enjoying it too, although it did make me think I needed to rejoin the gym as it highlighted how unfit I was! Anyway… I got to talking to Kate, the Activities Coordinator, who was overlooking the day and asked her how winning the Aviva Community Fund Award earlier this year had benefitted the charity. She began by telling me that it allowed them to gain more resources for their projects with Churchyards such as tools, building materials and extra members to join the charity.

Alongside looking after Wildlife Trust areas, Open Country are currently involved in a project that looks after churchyards around Yorkshire which helps to either improve the wildflower meadows or maintain their current state. Having this ongoing project allows the members of Open Country to reap the rewards of being outside in the fresh air and getting stuck into the work. By being a part of Open Country, this allows them to access the countryside which they may not have managed to do, had it not been for Open Country’s help. Through securing funding from the Aviva Community Fund, both the members of Open Country and the local church communities’ benefit, helping to build stronger and more future-proof communities in York. Open Country’s win provided them with the much-needed resources to assist their work in keeping churchyards wildlife-rich and wildlife-friendly!

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Once all the potholes had been filled and resurfaced, we then took a short break further into Askham Bog - as we walked through, I hadn’t realised we were surrounding a golf course! There were many different paths within Askham Bog and we eventually came to a mini pond and had our lunch. During the lunch, it was interesting to hear how long the volunteers had been attending and the police check and background checks they must undergo in order to qualify as a volunteer. Of course, this seems like common sense to be able to work with the disabled and vulnerable, but I hadn’t appreciated the process prior to becoming a volunteer for Open Country. This only reiterates the fact that the charity members are in the best hands!

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We then made our way deep into a vast wetland which honestly seemed as though it was in a whole different world, despite being near a motorway. The members love the serene, peacefulness of the surroundings and they showed me some of the plants that had begun to grow; some of the areas within the wetland had been scaled back in order to maintain grow and allow new trees and plants to flourish. Upon finishing our walk through the wetland, I made a move home feeling a real sense of calmness.

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The whole day was lovely, and I felt very privileged to have been able to spend the day with Open Country, getting a better understanding of their charity and how their Aviva Community Fund funding and support has benefited them. For more information on Open Country, click here.

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The Aviva Community Fund enables local groups to enter for the chance to secure funding which ranges from up to £1,000 to £25,000 in one of three categories; Health & Wellbeing, Environment or Skills for Life. You can then have your say by voting for the groups you feel really deserve this great boost towards their projects!

The fund also offers ‘more than money’ support consisting of a range of toolkits, encouraging groups to shout about what they are doing on social media and in the press! Through offering extensive grass roots support, Aviva help to build stronger communities together – championing the local groups we all know and love!

Why not check out the 2018 Winners!? The winners of the 2018 Aviva Community Fund have been announced –why not pop over to the Aviva website to see which great groups near you secured funding this year! Visit https://at.aviva.uk/celebrate

#StrongerCommunities


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DRUNK ELEPHANT


‘I wanted something that didn’t exist, so I made it myself.’ - Drunk Elephant founder, Tiffany Masterson.

For the past couple of months I couldn’t log onto Instagram without seeing a skincare product of Drunk Elephant being featured somewhere on my feed! It seems to have become an instant cult beauty favourite with us skincare bloggers and after trialling out a few for myself, it wasn’t hard to see why…

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I had kindly been gifted 3 products from the brand;

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  • Protini - Polypeptide Cream

A protein moisturiser which combines an unprecedented array and concentration of signal peptides, growth factors, supportive amino acids and pygmy waterlily for visible and immediate improvement in the appearance of the skin’s tone, texture and firmness.

I applied the Protini first thing of a morning on clean skin to allow the cream to really absorb well and again last thing at night. The texture of the cream was incredibly lightweight and almost ‘melted’ into my skin! My skin immediately felt hydrated and appeared to look healthier with an overall more balanced look. I also liked how versatile this cream was with it being just as effective in the morning, as well as night. The packaging is rather sweet albeit a little confusing at first to know how to apply this, but once I figured it out (good ol’ YouTube), I applied this sparingly and found only a little amount was needed!

A fun little tip as well with Protini is that you can add a ‘shot’ of this to any other Drunk Elephant product! To purchase, click here.

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  • C-Tango - Multivitamin Eye Cream

C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream is rich and restorative, featuring a brightening combination of eight peptides, five forms of Vitamin C and cucumber extract for firmer, stronger looking skin around the eye area. A mixture of potent anti-oxidants, replenishing ceramides, plant oils and soothing actives all designed to refresh and restore a radiant appearance.

Similar to the Protini, this C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream can be applied both in the morning and at night, but I found that for me, it was easier to add into my nighttime routine to work overnight as I found that during the day it dried up my eyes a little and irritated them. When I applied this at nighttime however, I noticed that after a couple of days, the eye area seemed a little brighter and less dark.

Tip: Leave in the fridge for a cooling, soothing treatment! To purchase, click here.

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  • Pekee Bar

An ultra gentle 3-in-1 bar that clarifies, balances and moisturises whilst rinsing away pore-clogging surface debris, impurities and excess oil. Infused with a blend of blueberry extract, marula oil and honey, the Pekee Bar tones and promotes retention.

By my own admission, I am used to cleansers coming in liquid form and at first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. After having used this for about a week or so, I became more used to the idea of using this and found it to be a really gentle yet effective way of cleansing my skin! My skin felt softer afterwards and much cleaner. I am also trying to reduce my plastic use and using this little soap bar has been a great alternative. To purchase, click here.

Overall, I have to admit I have fallen onto the Drunk Elephant bandwagon and from what I have tried so far, I am impressed!

I also love the packaging for the products in the sense that it is mainly made from card which is all recyclable and the chic, minimalistic branding is simple and clean which ties in perfectly with the brands message and the ingredients used within each product.

To learn more about Drunk Elephant, click here!

Have you tried anything by Drunk Elephant before? What did you try? Are you new to the brand? Or am I just late to the game!? Do let me know if you’d like me to review any other products by Drunk Elephant and if so, which product? Let me know your thoughts below and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!


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DEAF AWARENESS WEEK 2019


I can’t believe a whole year has passed, and it’s already Deaf Awareness Week 2019! (In fairness, I have tried to raise Deaf Awareness throughout the year since!)

It’s still as important to me now as it was a year ago to try and show that being deaf doesn’t necessarily mean you have to act in a certain way or be how people expect us to be. I find the word ‘deaf’ so broad with many different connotations and views on the word, that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The biggest misconception I get is,

‘Well you can talk and hear me fine so you can’t be that deaf!’

Okay first of all, WOW THAT’S RUDE. Second of all, there is no right or wrong way of being deaf and if there is, then I clearly missed out on receiving a copy of that book. I don’t want to sound all ‘woe is me’ and as if I’m wallowing in self pity, far from it, but growing up I never felt as though I fitted in either the hearing world, or the deaf world.

Deaf enough to not be a part of the hearing world. Not deaf enough to be a part of the deaf world.

I think that’s changed now though (or so I’d like to think) and believe it or not, social media has helped. Massively. Yes, social media has a lot to answer for in terms of ruining peoples self esteem by constant comparison to others, but it also has many positives which luckily for me, hugely outweigh the negatives! Since becoming a Phonak #hEARo Ambassador, I have spoken with so many deaf people around the world who can relate to feeling as though they don’t fit in in either world which ironically has created a little world in itself!

Despite getting into blogging for Male Grooming and Lifestyle, I now feel that it is important to use my platform that I have built up to carry on raising awareness for the deaf community and I hope you will follow me on this journey.

Remember, always make sure you are facing a deaf person, and make an effort to move your mouth in a more expressive way, without going too OTT, as you could look incredibly patronising leaving a deaf person feeling embarrassed, and as though it is drawing attention onto them!

Be sure to follow my social media channels this week as I am currently doing a ‘Sign of the day’ in which I am encouraging you to guess what BSL Sign I will be signing!

Instagram // Twitter


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MONTBLANC - EXPLORER


Fresh, clean and bold, Montblanc’s newest release comes in the fragrance form of; EXPLORER.

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A fragrance which pays tribute to the exploration theme, and with Montblanc sharing the same values as explorers such as the relentless quest for excellence, EXPLORER invites explorers on a journey using the rarest ingredients and manufacturing methods which combine both craftmanship with the latest technology!

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Clary Sage

  • Middle Notes: Leather, Haitian Vetiver

  • Base Notes: Indonesian Patchouli Leaf, Cacao Pod, Akigalawood, Ambroxan

The opening of EXPLORER begins with a bold and punchy note of Bergamot which makes the fragrance feel instantly fresh and clean. Immediately it transports me to the warm weather, sitting on a hot beach sipping a cool mojito, giving me all the Spring/Summer vibes!

Shortly after the opening, EXPLORER then takes a slightly muskier, woodier turn, but rather than feeling dense and a little heavy as woody notes can often feel, the fragrance still has that a sharp, clean edge to it which feels light upon my skin, but heavy enough for others to notice!

EXPLORER lasted for up to 7-8 hours which was impressive in itself given how clean and light this felt and its silage was medium-heavy. This fragrance is as versatile as it is interesting and could be worn either in the daytime or at night! Be prepared for a compliment or six…

Now, I do want to be honest with you all as I always am here on my blog, this fragrance did remind me of another fragrance out there… With that being said, there are some differences and I won’t be naming it as it would be unfair, and everybody experiences fragrances differently so if you do get a chance to smell this, let me know what you think!

If you are on the lookout for a new fragrance for this Spring/Summer seasons, then EXPLORER is definitely a must! To purchase, click here, and to find out more about EXPLORER, then click here!

Have you read my reviews on Montblanc - Legend and Montblanc - Legend: Night before? Will you be trying out the new EXPLORER fragrance? Have you smelt it already? What are your thoughts? Let me know as I’d love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button below!


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BETTY'S EASTER GIFTS 2019


For the past 3 years that I have been blogging, and whenever Easter has arrived, there is always one thing that I look forward to each time which is, a bundle of gorgeous treats from Betty’s! I feel proud and lucky to be able to work with such an iconic brand known both nationally and internationally, so it feels only right to share with you; Betty’s Easter Gifts for 2019!

I had been gifted some treats which include:

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Trio of Filled Chocolate Eggs - £10.50

A gorgeous little box which contains 3 pastel coloured eggs, all made from Betty’s finest Swiss Chocolate! A white chocolate egg filled with vanilla caramel, a pink egg filled with raspberry ganache and an eau de nil egg filled with Moët & Chandon and Marc de Champagne ganache. All of which have been hand-decorated with Royal iced-spring flowers. To purchase, click here!

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Praline & Milk Chocolate Eggs - £7.95

A continental styled paper cone, this treat contains both solid milk and praline-filled milk chocolate eggs! A fun way to enjoy some delicious Easter goodies with Betty’s illustrations displayed on it. To purchase, click here!

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Dark Chocolate Shimmer Egg - £7.50

A Venezuelan dark chocolate easter egg, a perfect alternative to those who favour dark chocolate to milk chocolate (I know I do!) - hand finished with a gold lustre and a piped design based around Betty’s Centenary emblem!

To purchase, click here.

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Betty’s Tea Room Blend (80 Tea Bags) - £4.25

A fragrant blend of teas from East Africa and Assam, these teabags can be enjoyed at any given time and these come encased in the stylish box designed by Yorkshire artist; Emily Sutton! To purchase, click here.

Milk and White Speckled Rabbits - £7.50

A group of 4 Spring rabbits, these were created using milk and white Swiss Grand Cru chocolate which are presented on a milk chocolate base. So tasty! To purchase, click here.

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I hope you have enjoyed this tasty guide from Betty’s, hopefully to inspire you when it comes to selecting your Easter treats for this upcoming Easter weekend! (Friday 19th - Monday 22nd April).

For more details and to have a look at the full range of Betty’s Easter treats, simply click here, or why not pop along to one of their cafes/tea rooms such as Harrogate, Harlow Carr, York, Stonegate, Ilkley, North Allerton!

Have you visited Betty’s before? If so, which tea room did you go to? Do you have any favourites from Betty’s? Let me know below as I would love to hear from you and don’t forget to click the ‘like’ button!


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