A lovely morning delivery!

I absolutely love free stuff, everyone does. So, when I found this app that lets you get free photo prints, I was straight on it and ordering some photos. The app is called FreePrints, and when you sign up you get 10 6" x 4" prints sent to you completely free and you don't pay for postage either! It's actually pretty cool and was really excited when my little envelope of photos came through the door this morning. The way it works is pretty simple, you get 45 free prints per month (after the first 10 on signing up) and you only need to pay for postage and packaging, which is pretty cheap anyway. If you want to go for other sizes of photos, for example instagram square prints, then it costs for the photo as well at the postage, but if you're happy to go for the standard size, you get them for free. I was pretty amazed by this, as I have no idea how they can give away prints for free, but I certainly wasn't complaining.

The quality of the photos is just what you'd expect from a photo booth, with a glossy finish and a reminder of all those camera rolls you used to have to take to be developed. Ah the good old days before digital cameras. I put the photos on the wall next to my dream catcher above my desk and it looks pretty cute. There are a few of Craig and me, as well as a few of the cat (of course).

If you're interested in getting free photos, then you should definitely get this app. I'd like to point out that this post isn't sponsored in any way, I just thought the app was quite nifty!

things I've learned from working in retail.

I've been working pretty much since I was seventeen, with a few gaps here and there for education or personal reasons. In that space of time between my first job and my current job, I've worked in four different retail stores. Over the years, you eventually learn that there are some things that only retail staff with understand. I'm going to list them here and chances are if you've ever even remotely worked in a shop environment, you'll agree with most of them. (I'm aware these could apply to other jobs too, but just go with it..)

» Your "phone voice" becomes your work voice.
»  Your fake smile also becomes your work smile.
»  No matter how quiet the shop is, when it's time for your break, a crowd enters.
»  The customer isn't always right, no matter how loud they shout it.
»  "I've already spoken to customer services"...
»  You've perfected a greeting that gets the customer to say hi and skip the chat.
»  Ten minutes before closing, someone will inevitably come in to complain.
»  When customers tell you their life story and say something awkward.. *pretend to type*
»  Shouting at me will not make me refund this, it's your fault it's broken.
»  "I'm sorry, the systems are down" - customer thinks you can still help.
»  That inner excitement you feel when you get an angry customer to back down.
»  The same excitement you feel when you win an argument with an angry customer.
»  You never work your actual hours, there's always opening and closing.
»  You've forgotten what a weekend is, since you're always working it.
»  Therefore, your life runs at a completely different time from your friends / family.
»  You have a new found tolerance for other retail / sales staff.
»  Unless they're bad at their job, then you judge them and their poor service.
»  You wonder why anyone would enter your shop at 9:02am... on a Sunday.
»  Customers blame you for something another department has done.
»  Being told that "you're the face of the company" and must be able to fix it.

Those are just a few of the things that I've learned, but that's like maybe 10% of it. I do enjoy working in retail, as it's always something different and talking to people on a daily basis (when they're nice!) is quite interesting. However, it really does come with some challenges. Most of which make you think through with the outcome of "will I get fired for saying this?..." We've all had that thought at one point or another. Don't deny it.

If you have learned any major lessons from retail, then please share, because chances are I, or someone else, has felt the same way!

it's finally over!

 photo braces1.jpg

It's over, it's finally over! (well, mostly). If you follow me on twitter or instagram then you'll probably have noticed me moaning on the odd occasion about my braces and then you probably seen the excitement when I knew I was getting them off. I've been to hell and back with my teeth, so I felt that they deserved a little blog post all to themselves.

Like a lot of kids, I had squinty teeth when I was younger. Actually, they weren't really that squinty, I had fangs a little bit like Kirsten Dunst, but way less cute, and my bottom jaw was over crowded with too many teeth. So, my mum decided that she would take me to the dentist for some advice on getting braces. I was pretty nervous the first time, as being friends with people older than me who already had braces, I had heard quite a few horror stories.  However, the dentist I went to see was incredibly friendly and was very keen to get me started on the treatment. I was pretty happy when I got my braces in as I knew I was on the path to a prettier smile. That happiness didn't last long, though.

After a few months, I noticed that the gaps weren't closing, despite the fact that my little cousin (who started her treatment within a week of me), and other friends, also had braces and their gaps closed almost instantly. I was pretty upset that the braces weren't making a difference. I was also annoyed that whenever I went to get them tightened, they never cut the wires properly, so I was constantly being stabbed in the gums and cheeks with the wire. All in all, it wasn't a good first couple of months. Things did pick up a little after the first year, my teeth were essentially straight and I was sure I was getting them out within the next few months. How silly I was.

Seven long years I had those braces in. It was awful. It turned out my dentist was a scammer, a fraud and was deliberately ruining patients teeth in order to keep them on the treatment longer and keeping him paid for longer. He was very clever at it, obviously expecting that the majority of people would never catch on considering how little they would know about dentistry and orthodontics. I honestly never knew, until I seen him in the local newspaper. His plans were quite simple, when "tightening" the wires in the brace, he would pull them too much at one side in order to cause a gap at the opposite side. This would then go under the excuse of "don't worry, we're just closing all the gaps" or "it will be fine, they'll eventually straighten out". On the next appointment he would do the same thing, only switching the side he would tighten and the side the gap was created on.

This plan of causing gaps went on for years, and it never occurred to me or my mum too seek outside advice, considering everyone else I knew who got braces at the same time as me got them out within the first eighteen months. It went kind of unnoticed. After a few years, I'm talking an easy five (yes, five!), a mother of another patient went to a private dentist to consult about her sons teeth, who had also had the treatment of causing gaps from my dentist. He quickly discovered what he was doing, and it spiralled quickly from there. An investigation was launched into his practice and it soon came out about everything he was doing. He was stripped of his ability to practice dentistry and was sacked, as was most of his staff who were doing the same thing.

After the mess he had caused with my teeth, including pulling out too many teeth on my bottom jaw, I pretty much had to start the treatment again from scratch, with a new dentist. I was quite scared to go to a new dentist after the shambles of the last guy, but it turned out the guy that took them off was lovely and he couldn't have been more apologetic about the way my treatment had been handled, even though it wasn't his fault. All in all, it wasn't a pleasant experience, but that was just my experience, I know plenty of people who have had braces with absolutely no complications whatsoever. I guess I was just unlucky with mine.

So now, I'm braceless!

It feels so good to not feel those sharp metal braces poking and stabbing my mouth any more. My teeth are straight, but will need whitened a little where the braces have been sitting for those years, as it's a little stained, but after the length of time I've had them, that's to be expected. I will have to wear a retainer, which I'm not really looking forward too, as it's another hassle, but as least I only need to wear that at night. I can't tell you how good it feels to finally be able to smile and not feel ashamed of being twenty-three and still wearing braces. I can smile confidently in photos now and not pull that mouth closed smile I always do. I smile with my gnashers now!

Seven years and it's finally over. I couldn't be more glad. If you know of any good whitening kits or toothpastes that whiten well then send a link my way! I will happily buy them all to test, haha.

hello again!

Hello again! I've been a little missing in action around here, haven't I? Whoops! I've just been quite busy with work and some new hobbies I've recently gotten back into. I had a few blog posts written but because I was writing them for the sake of it, they just seemed pretty crap, so I never actually posted them. I didn't want to force myself to blog just because I felt like I had to, you know? So, I thought I'd do a little instagram post and do a sort of 'What I've Been Doing' thing as an almost welcome back to blogging, as I'm thoroughly wanting to get back into it again.

1. Starting will a little selfie, like always! 2. I bought this cute ring from Accessorize, which is so lovely. 3. Waiting for my mum in the hospital two weeks ago, she was in there for ages.  4. Winry cuddling my hand little a little baby, what an adorable kitty! 5. A day off well spend with Lord of the Rings and some Rekorderlig. 6. A little walk along the canal and looking at all the boats. 7. My new Kikki.K planner in mint is gorgeous. 8. A new skirt that is now a firm favourite for the hot weather. The pattern on it is lovely, especially the elephants!

The past month has sort of been a blur of days at work, spending time outside in the sun and days off in the flat mulling around playing with the cat. I haven't really done anything that interesting to write home about. Just the usual sort of stuff.
- #boring

However, I have recently gotten back into the huge world of stationery! I used to be obsessed with stationery when I was younger, choosing a new diary or set of pens over new clothes any day. I can remember I had this massive pink box that was bursting with loads of art supplies, notebooks and pens that were display only. I never let myself or anyone else use them, which was crazy as I humphed this thing around everywhere! I thought once I used them that they didn't look as nice any more and therefore weren't work keeping. I don't know why my parents let me be that weird.

Over the years I gradually grew out of it and eventually all my stationery disappeared, was thrown out or given to charity. So last month I was casually browsing through instagram and seen a picture of a Filofax planner on the popular page that was decorated with washi tape and used to keep a track of work hours, meal plans and other bits and bobs. The planner looked so cool, so I clicked into some of the hashtags in the comments and discovered just how large the Filofax love went. So many people with planners/Filofax's sharing tips, chatting and becoming pen pals. It was awesome. I knew I wanted to get involved, so I headed down to my nearest WHSmith's and bought myself a Filofax, which ain't cheap btw! I thought this is going to be an expensive hobby to start up again, but I couldn't help myself, I was hooked. Ever since then, I've been buying pens, washi tape, post its, pencil cases, anything stationery, left right and centre. I honestly love it though! It's generally a really great hobby and has helped me get my arty side back too.

For anyone that's interested, the planners that I'm using is the Kikki.K Mint Time Planner in A5 and the Filofax Finsbury Raspberry in personal. The Kikki.K planner came from Australia and cost me about £100 including shipping, which sounds crazy, but it's the nicest thing I've ever bought I think. The Finsbury cost me about £35, as I had a couple of vouchers for WHSmith at the time. They're usually around £50. I've also put a picture below of some of the things I've been buying to use with the planners. How cute is the panda pencil case and highlighters? 

This post has jumped around a little, so I'm going to leave it here and go back to playing with the cat for a little bit. If anyone on here is into crafty stuff like this or Filofax's, let me know as I'd love to chat, or follow me on instagram @hellozeldaloves. (specifically for the planners)!!
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