Although I'm back to blogging regularly, it feels like ages since I sat down and had a little chat with you guys just about life. If you follow my Twitter or Instagram then you will probably be caught up with what's happening in my life and how I'm feeling, whereas those of you who only read my blog may miss out on this. I thought this evening I'd have a little catch up with you and share a few of the things that have been going on in my life lately, so keep reading to see what I've been up to!

Starting second year of university
The academic season is well and truly upon us, and so I'm back living in Manchester whilst doing my degree. Being back has made me realise just how much I love this city, plus it feels great finally having some routine and structure in my days again. Rather than staying in private halls like last year, this year I'm sharing a house with my boyfriend and a few of our friends, which is honestly lovely and so far we've had a great time. Although I'm sure that my second year of uni will be hard and I'm already drowning in reading, I'm excited to see what it will bring!

Becoming a section owner in Waterstones
Another exciting update is that I'm now the sci-fi and fantasy section owner in my Waterstones store! If you don't already know, I work part-time in Waterstones alongside my degree and after my annual review a couple of weeks ago, I was given my own section to control and manage. This was incredibly exciting for me, as I started less than a year ago as a Christmas temp but I'm now starting to have more responsibility within the store. I used to read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books a few years ago, and I can't wait to rekindle my love for these genres.

Passing my driving theory
At the start of the summer holidays, I decided to book my driving theory test even though I hadn't done any revision of practice. It was my little goal to dedicate some time, even if it was only a couple of hours a week, to look over everything and hopefully be ready to take it come September. Now I'm pleased to let you know, I passed first time! After many practice tests on the app and an unnecessary amount of nerves, I ended up getting full marks on the multiple-choice questions and 65 out of 75 on the hazard perception. Next step is learning to drive - which will hopefully be soon!

Starting dance again
Last week, I officially started dance lessons again, which genuinely makes me so happy! I've danced all my life but leaving LIPA before moving to university marked the end of my dancing days (I wanted to continue classes last year in university but for various reasons I couldn't). I realised how much I missed dancing, and so decided to join the University of Manchester dance society and take classes in jazz and contemporary. It's only been a week so far but I've genuinely been loving it, and I can't wait to continue. I've also decided that I'm going to audition for the competition teams next week, although there are a lot of extremely talented people in the dance society so wish me luck!

Feeling happier
Although I have my occasional wobbles, I'm honestly so much happier lately. My mental health is drastically better than last year (I've never fully discussed this, but the bottom line is that I'm getting the help I need and really working on it) and I'm very happy with where my life is at right now. My heart is just so full and I'm surrounded by some lovely people - everything just seems to be going my way.

I'd love to know what you've been up to lately, so make sure you leave me a comment down below!

I spent the majority of my summer commuting back and forth from Manchester a few times a week, as I was home for the holidays but still had my part-time job to attend. I therefore had a lot of spare time in my day - waiting for trains, during the journeys, breaks in work - and it soon became boring just mindlessly scrolling through social media. After a while, I really made an effort to use these moments throughout the day to be productive and do something useful, and so perhaps these ideas will inspire you to make better use of your time too!

Do my hair and makeup - by always having a hairbrush and some makeup essentials to hand, I could get ready for the day whilst on the go, for example during my train journey. Plus, it was definitely worth it for the extra half an hour in bed!

Work on my blog - whether it was posting on my Instagram story, commenting on peoples' posts or replying to emails, these little tasks were the perfect way to fill a few spare minutes and honestly made a huge difference. I also tended to type blog post ideas in my notes ready to work on later

Reading - my 45-minute train journey was the perfect opportunity to delve into a new book without feeling disturbed, and it also helped me to get ahead with some of my university reading. Just be careful that you don't become too engrossed and miss your stop!

Learn something new - I took the opportunity to learn my driving theory over the summer, and so every spare 5 minutes that I had I'd open the app and quiz myself on some of the questions. It feels nowhere near as intense as sitting down for hours at a time, but I was surprised by how quickly it stuck

Eat a meal - breakfast and lunch on the go became essential for me over the summer, and I was constantly grabbing a cereal bar or making sandwiches to eat while I was out. Not only does it save money, but having some food will leave you feeling ready for the day

I hope you enjoyed this little blog post, and I'd love to know what you do with your spare time to be productive!

Over the past year and a half of being together, my boyfriend and I have done a variety of different activities and been on some really unique dates. Although we both enjoy going out for a meal or getting cocktails, sometimes it's nice to spice this up a bit and do something creative that you wouldn't otherwise think of, whilst also creating some amazing memories and hilarious moments. I thought I'd share ten of my favourite date ideas that we've done, whether you're looking for inspiration or just a sneak peek into what we get up to!

Do an escape room
Although it may sound quite intimidating being trapped in a room with someone for an hour straight with the intense pressure of trying to break free, doing an escape room is actually a really fun date idea. Aiden and I did one on our first date and it definitely helped to break the ice a bit and eliminate any shyness, as we were forced into working together. We've done a couple more since and both really enjoy it, as our inner competitive sides come out full force. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who has a logical mind or enjoys a challenge, but if you're argumentative or get quite aggravated under pressure, maybe this isn't the best idea for you!

Rent some bikes and explore
Aiden and I decided to do this last year at the Albert Dock in Liverpool, and to this day it was perhaps one of my favourite dates we've been on. With the sun setting behind you whilst whizzing around on bikes, it actually feels quite romantic, especially if you choose to stop off at some picture-perfect locations. Or you could unleash your competitive side and race one another, and the sky is the limit with how far you want to go.

Attend a gig or a show
If you have a mutual interest, it may be worth getting tickets for a concert or show that you can watch together. It feels a lot more special than just going to the cinema as it's something that you're both passionate about or interested in, and will make for great memories. Aiden and I went to watch Thriller Live in London last summer and it such a great evening, and we've also attended a couple gigs together (including Bastille, my all-time fave) which we've both agreed are some of our favourite memories together, and we have another one booked for next month!

Go to a theme park
If you're a thrill-seeker, a theme park can be a really enjoyable day out! Although there's quite a bit of waiting in queues, this is the perfect time to just chat and chill out together, and then the thrill of the rides is unbeatable. Aiden and I went on a double date to Alton Towers a couple months ago and it was a really nice day filled with constant excitement and laughter, but if you're afraid of rides then I'd definitely avoid this one!

Play some mini-golf
This is quite a standard date idea, in my opinion, but it's still a really good one. It's the perfect way to have a laugh and not take yourself too seriously, and you seriously can't beat the feeling when you get a lucky hole-in-one! Whether you opt for an outside course on a gorgeous summers day or the fluorescent edginess of somewhere like Junkyard, I can guarantee it'll be a fun way to spend a few hours!

Go bowling
This is another fairly standard one, but people often underestimate the enjoyment of bowling. It's not just an activity for kids, you can have a really fun date doing this together, whether you're cheering each other on or competing to win. If you do think that it's a bit childish, there are places like Dogbowl in Manchester which is a bar with a bowling alley inside it, which is a very cool and unique concept that definitely spices up a regular game of bowling.

Have a shopping spree
Although it doesn't really sound like a standard date, I actually think it's quite enjoyable to go shopping together. Not only can you have a browse in the shops and scout out some nice items, but why not have a go at styling each other and selecting them an outfit, whether it's serious or funny? It's also nice to have some time just walking around with no real intent, and instead just chat with each other and catch up on what's going on lately.

Try something physical
For some reason, we always tend to gravitate towards somewhat physical dates and activities, and we've tried some mad things like axe throwing and canoeing. Although these didn't really sound up my street at first, it was actually really fun trying out something that I wouldn't typically do. The lesson learnt here is that it's okay to be bad, and it's actually way funnier that way, plus you'll get to try something you never considered before.

Explore somewhere new
If you're getting bored of your hometown and feel like you're running out of things to do, why not hop on the train and explore somewhere for the day? You don't have to go far, and even if you only spend a few pounds you can discover some cute and quaint towns or travel to a nearby city for lots more to do. Whether you want to take in the sights or discover the heritage in museums, there are no limits to where you can explore!

Have a cosy evening in
As much as I enjoy going out on dates, sometimes you simply can't beat a chilled out evening with your feet up. My idea of a perfect evening together is ordering a Chinese, watching a film that I know we'll both love and just getting cosy on the couch. It's also fun to play some board games, do some baking or even go for an evening walk around your local area, whatever you fancy!

Hopefully this will give you some inspiration for date ideas, and I'd love to know any more suggestions down in the comments!

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer Review

Over the past couple of months, I've been in a real rut with my foundations. Although I was enjoying various different products that I was using, I kept thinking that they weren't the whole package and there was always something not quite perfect. One major struggle that I've always had is foundation disappearing off my nose and also the dreaded flashback, which is perhaps due to often wearing lightweight BB creams that contain SPF. After many recommendations and positive reviews, I decided to try the Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer, and honestly I haven't looked back since! I've been using them non-stop and so thought it was only right to share all of my opinions of these gorgeously glowy base products on here, so keep reading if you'd like to know more!

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer Review

I'll admit, I'm a sucker for makeup that has gorgeous packaging, and so my love for these products was instantaneous. The glass bottle combined with white and metallic copper features really creates a lavish and luxurious first impression, feeling more high-end than the drugstore price tag. Although the foundation bottle is slightly on the heavy side, it feels sturdy and secure, and it also has a pump which is a definite win for me. The concealer comes in matching packaging and has a tapered doe-foot applicator - ideal for applying it right under your eyes.

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer Review

The Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation has a medium, buildable coverage - it almost magically blurs any imperfections and smooths out the skin, yet has a natural and weightless finish that doesn't look as though you're caked in foundation. It also contains SPF and thus adds an extra layer of protection to your skin, although I haven't had much of an issue with flashback despite this, so it may be a great option to take you from day to night.

As for the Light Illusion Concealer, normally high coverage concealers can look quite heavy under the eyes, but the weightless formula of this product creates a full coverage look without becoming cakey. This concealer instantly blurs any fine lines and illuminates under the eyes to remove any signs of fatigue, and its creamy texture blends seamlessly.

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer Review

To apply this foundation, I've found that using a brush is best for maintaining coverage whilst achieving an effortless blend. On the skin, it creates a gorgeous glowiness without looking shiny, and can be built up if you like. Rather than applying the concealer in the Instagram-model style of drawing huge triangles under the eyes, I find that this works best with just a few small dabs in the corner of my eye. I use my foundation brush to blend this out, as it ensures the coverage remains whilst seamlessly diffusing my foundation and concealer together.

The shade range is perhaps the only downfall of this otherwise lovely product - there are only 5 foundation and 4 concealer shades stocked in the UK, and only a couple more that are available in America. This may make it more difficult to find the perfect match for you, especially when considering undertones, and I'm really hoping that they expand the range sometime in the future.

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer Review

I purchased the foundation in the shades 'Nude' and 'Natural Beige', which both have warm undertones that are perfect for my complexion. The paler of the two is a great match for me now, and the darker will be ideal for when I have fake tan on or for nights out, although it would be nice to have a lighter shade for winter. I have the concealer in the shade 'Light', which is perhaps a bit too light for me but was the closest match I could get, although it's definitely great for achieving illuminated under-eyes. It seems to be more on the cool-toned side, although I can get away with it as pinky tones are better for correcting dark circles. You can definitely tell from the brightening appearance and undertones that it is intended to be an under-eye concealer, although you can use it sparingly on blemishes.

For a dewy, radiant foundation with a high-shine formula, these products last a lot longer on the skin than I expected. My usual foundations quickly wear off my nose and dry up in places, but I've never had that problem whilst using this one. It maintains its glow, albeit to a lesser extent, but it still looks lightweight and radiant. The concealer also wears really well and doesn't tend to crease under my eyes, even without powdering it.

What are your thoughts on the Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation and Concealer? I'd love to hear your opinions, or if you've decided to try it, down in the comments!