Monday, October 30, 2017

9 Things You Do On The Daily Commute (By Car)

Once upon a time it used to take me 10 minutes to get to work in the mornings, I could wake up at 7am and have a confident 30 mins scrolling through my Insta stories before I even had to think about making myself look less than half dead. Once upon a time was roughly 6 months ago for me. 

LOL. Imagine the above. Until some guy came along and thought it would be a good idea to do a bunch of roadworks for 18 months on the busiest road in Plymouth, yippeee. What could go wrong they say? 

In total I have spent maybe 7 hours per week sat in my car, not moving. Sometimes 1 hour at a time. For a 20 minute journey. PITY ME. That is 7 episodes of Narcos, almost a full sleep, A PLANE TRIP TO New York. I know what I'd rather be doing...

But HEY, if you catch my drift, you can probably totally relate to these things when you're just not moving..

1. You've already been stationary for 15 minutes and the traffic report says 'traffic is moving fine through *insert town/area/location*'. Like LOL I'm not moving mate. You practically scream at the man who says otherwise. Your'e not even here though. You even consider ringing the number to put the story straight, until you realise you can't text and drive, even when not moving.

2. Heart. Radio. Heart. Radio. You're switching the channels more than Jess from Love Island pops up a paid ad on Insta. You know the drill, as soon as there's talking and adverts you're switching faster than Usain Bolt. 

3. You're sure you left in the pitch black at 6am, except you're certain that the sunrise has already happened whilst you've been sat there in your car. Have I really not moved for 2 hours? No you haven't.

4. When cars try to cut in by skipping the traffic - NOT ON MY WATCH BITCHES. You clutch control so close to the car in front as humanely possible to stop anyone cutting in and stealing you edging forwards by 5m. But HEY, if you want to cut in, you almost burst an artery with rage when no one does and start shaking your head in the hope they look back in their rear mirror. How rude?

5. You drive past the same builders or whatever they're called doing the road works every day. Never doing any work. You drive slowly past them each day, properly giving them the death stare. Do they ever do any work tho? You even consider shouting at them, fancy holding 548368 people up every day.

6. As you're edging closer to work, you think of all the stories and traffic tales you're going to bore your colleagues with. Like do you even go to work if the first 20 mins aren't spent talking about traffic tho? Probs not.

7. You start to think if quitting your job because the traffic sucks is a valid reason to quit. The mini breakdowns you have in the car every day are taking their toll, you always say you'll drive a different way, but you never learn your lesson, course you aint coming in a different way.

8. The worst bit about being stuck in traffic? You can't check your phone. You're chomping at the bit to check how many Insta likes your latest post has got, probably none, but STILL. 

9. You long for the school holidays, and traffic is the only way you actually know when those school holidays are happening'. Empty roads, 7am wake up calls, stress free journeys - please stay. But if there is roadworks LOL, sorry not for you. You realise that the most exciting event coming up in your schedule is the date the roadworks finish, and you're really not sorry about that. Roadwork free trips to work over a getaway to the Malia Strip any day.

Can you relate to any of these?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

5 Lush Halloween Products You Need In Your Bath This Autumn

Oh, what would you know, just like that it's almost bloody NOVEMBER. I'm not ready to admit that I still haven't met this years 4637 New Years resolutions, or set next years for that fact. But I love this time of the year, it's fresher, it's about buying PSL's that you don't even drink OR like - and sweet merry lord, the Lush Halloween collection is out too. It's better than ever.

I got a little preview of the Lush Halloween and Christmas collection a couple of weeks ago at their blogger event. Aint nobody do better blog events than these guys. I'd already spotted a few returning huns from last year and some new additions that have somehow topped what they did last year. 

So whilst the evenings are starting to draw in, those days of leaving and coming home in the dark are on the horizon, the bathing season has started. For me, you won't want to be without these 5 Lush Halloween products this Autumn!

How cute tho? It reminds me of a) lucky black cats b) the children's TV programme from the 90s (Cat's Eyes) and C) Salem from Sabrina, I'm smitten. Imagine having a black bath, like how Halloween and spooky is that? It's obviously going to be my bath product of choice when the 31st rolls around.

Yep, it's the first time this one has ever graced the shelves of Lush and I hope it makes a return.

2. Naked Twilight* (shower gel)

Mama have mercy. It's Twilight galore this year in Lush and I could not be more excited. I almost wet myself a bit when I realised Twilight shower gel was actually being sold in my Plymouth store, say what? I've always been a Twilight fan as opposed to a Snow Fairy gal and if their new twilight/sleepy additions weren't enough, they've now released a Naked shower gel of Twilight.

A lot of their products are now available in a naked form, removing plastic from the equation, it's of course much better for the environment, and lasts longer too. It smells INCRED - I almost want to use it as a room scent as it's just sooooo good. 

I'm not entirely sure on the 'naked' concept yet, I think it's great what they're doing and hasn't been done before, but I'm not sure of how you would really store it or travel with it. But it is Twilight, so of course I had to have it. (Already setting my alarm for the Boxing Day sale to grab THE LOT).

Why buy the orange version when there is PINK. Always pink. I'm super happy at this new addition this year that is undeniably going to go down a storm with bloggers and girls everywhere. 

It's pink, sparkly and lasts a few bath times, what's not to love about that?

4. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is back this year and it's a Halloween tradition of mine. You can't not buy Pumpkin, like it's the law. This cute bath bomb fizzes and creates that autumnal bath colour of dreams.

A comforting and sweet smell which is almost just that bit more satisfying than having a whiff of a PSL. I like it a lot.

Lord of Misrule is a babe! I think this is the third or fourth year it has returned, and the smells, colours are just divine. It's that one bath bomb that will always nail that lushie bath art for your Insta too.

It reminds me of the theatre show Wicked with its wicked green colour, it's only £3.95 too, so it definitely comes in at one of the more cheaper bath bombs!
What are your favourite bathing products from the Halloween collection?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Life On Being A Teetotal 25 Year Old

It's been 4 years since I last drank alcohol. Knowingly at least. 4 years since I turned my life around and I snatched back that part of me that was once the life and soul of the party. The type that didn't need a bottle of your Asda voddy to get you cutting shapes on the dance floor. 

I was complete without it before, and once again I was. 

So let's just jump back to Thursday night last week. It was a launch night at a hot new restaurant in town, OK so people were mostly there for the free bar all night, and a few bits of finger food tossed in for good measure. It was a nice evening, I'd already been spoken down to about not drinking by two separate bar staff. I'd already lied twice about why I wasn't drinking too.

'I'm driving!'.... 'Early start tomorrow, you know how it is'....

One more mocktail for the road I thought. I'd already had about 2 cartons of passionfruit juice, my sugar allowance had been reached for the week, but go on then. 

As I was handed the only one mocktail option of the night, within the first sip I'd realised I'd just had my first swig of rum in a very long time, and I was scared. 

OK, it was a sip. Only a sip, practically like having a chocolate champagne truffle. Whatcha gonna do? I honestly imagine the feeling is like a vegan being handed a quorn sausage, later realising it was actually a pork sausage. That sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I'd worked so hard to avoid alcohol before, I felt like my abstinence from it had been ruined in a second. It had.

It seems that being teetotal actually seems to get harder and worse to explain when you get older. I'm never going to be that girl who can neck a bottle of prosecco with the girls before a night out, I'll never drink a dirty pint again (ain't that a shame), buying pretty cocktails for Insta will never happen for me. That's fine. 

It's the acceptance of other people, strangers even, that's hard. Will I always find this hard? Why do I find myself lying? Why am I made to feel so embarrassed about it?

The hardest part is that I don't have a choice. I was forced to give up alcohol and never look back if I wanted to get my health back on track, to stay out of hospital and be able to live my life. That's a small cost to pay for my health, fitness and being able to enjoy doing things that I once did. To find happiness once again. 

I never thought I would recover from pancreatitis, the pain, losing weight, the months of tests, the sadness - no one sees that. No one can understand unless they put themselves in your shoes. It's something that I always try to do with other people. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

To the barman that once laughed in my face when I asked in a bar if they did mocktails. The barman last week who said I was boring and should be making the most of a free bar. The people who laugh and question how you could ever go on a night out sober. 

To all of those people who single me out and make me feel like a freak, you make it hard, but you make me more grateful than ever that I can say no to you. I'm just lucky it's easier than saying no to eating a whole packets of biscuit in one sitting. That aint easy.

I wonder in time if I will become more accepting of it too. The problem is knowing how life once was, knowing what it was like to get off your trolley. It needs to start from me, I need to be able to accept it before anyone else can.

I long to feel that gentle buzz from the alcohol reaching my bloodstream again, those best friends you meet in the club toilets, LUV your hair BBZ. Those first waking moments when you can't remember a thing that happened, slowly piecing it together by pictures, snapchat stories and text messages. I do miss it. For a social aspect at least, I won't ever let my guard down or let my hair down like I once did.

I still have fleeting moments where I think I should try it again. See what happens. 

But it's too big a risk to take. I can't afford to put myself back in a hospital bed for a few hours of fun. And that's just it, learning to accept that this is it from now on and for an eternity. There's no going back. No second chances.

I will never be able to drink alcohol again, when I'm 26, 30 or 50. This is my life and the sooner I can accept it for what it is, the sooner I can say up yours to those people that make me feel inferior.

Being teetotal is not an issue, and it never should be. 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When To Say No To Blogger Collaborations

I wish I'd had a post like this when I first started out blogging, because I'm not afraid to admit that I pretty much accepted anything and everything 4 years ago. I had nail decals, clothing I had to send back because LOL I didn't think that one through and a liquorice all sorts dress that I accepted because I didn't want to say thanks, but no thanks. I guess you could say it was a learning curve.

The early days of blogger collabs were more about obtaining that holy grail backlink rather than a little mention on Insta. So 4 years back in time I used to get sent a lot of stuff to review. I was in correspondence with my fair share of PRs, I played the field a little. I learnt when not to sell myself too short and when to run at the opportunity with open arms. Most importantly, I've learnt when to say no, and why I should be saying no.

My Blogger Collab Criteria

Is it on brand tho? Now I know where I am and who I want to be, I know whether something is on brand or not. So maybe I did before, but I was desperate back in the day to get sent something for free, because if that didn't make you a proper, profesh blogger what did? 

I'm not even talking about plugging e-cigarettes if you're a fashion blogger, those are the obvious ones that you hopefully won't touch with a barge pole. You need to be asking yourself the following 3 questions before even thinking of going any further;

Do I like the products & their brand?

Will I wear/use the products after the review? (WILL THEY BE ON DEPOP 1 WEEK LATER THO)

Is it something that I would buy?

This is the make or break for me, because if it's not something I would normally buy then why the hell am I doing it. You need to be enthusiastic and excited about it, as this is what is going to show through in your content and photos. So here I am laughing to myself about that bright yellow tracksuit that your nan would have bought you in the 90s and turning up to what I thought was an evening of theatre, which involved 10 other people over the age of 70 and a meal that you'd expect at the school canteen. Then there's nothing worse than that follow up email, 'hey hun, when is your post going live?' - it's this email that still haunts me now. How am I gonna write about an event/product I don't even like. You know the content won't be good, but you feel too bad to say 'sorry, I just don't like it enough to blog about it', so you push bad content out, move on and *hopefully* won't make the same mistake twice.

We have all been there and it's the worst. My love for writing has grown to an existential level over the last few years where I blog because I like it and not for those freebies we all become accustomed too. I will probably only say yes or even reply to 1 out of 5 things I get approached on now. Even if I was being offered dollar dollar bill for something I didn't feel happy about, I'd still probably say no and that's probably the most important thing. 

Payment Terms

I get asked by a lot of non bloggers how collabs work. When products are involved there is always your two classic ways, 1) You're sent the item for free in return for a review (no payment is exchanged) 2) You receive an item for free and are expected to review/post on Insta in return for an agreed payment. You *may* even have to chase said invoice for 4 months, or more, so that's nice.

I do not do any blogger collabs for free, in the sense that I will receive something for any work I do, my time is money. I will not plug products in return for nothing. I used to be bashing blog posts out left right and centre for that potential chance of 'exposure' and being shared across their social channels that only have 70 followers. Nah, you're alright.

It's hard when you're a new blogger, everyone does it, and that's okay. It's about learning and finding what your worth within the blogging world is, and that always is worth something.

I do more 'here's something in return for a review' than 'here's something free and £343647'. It has to be a mutually beneficial partnership in my eyes too, the terms have to be right for both of you. Don't sell yourself short, and always ask for more if you see fit. I work very closely with a few brands that I absolutely LOVE, and It's not like I'll ever say no to a free packet of Chocolate Digestive Biscuits or a jar of Marmite for a blog post, because priorities. Gurl gotta eat something during those Netflix binges.

As soon as you're being asked to write a blog post to be entered into a competition, have the potential to get social exposure and basically receive nothing, that is when you say no. Tbf most of these emails go straight to my junk now, but just a heads up that however small or big your blog is, know that your blog is always worth more than giving some PR a lil freebie.

How To Say No

If you're a bad blogger like me and sometimes go days before you remember to reply to an email, you'll probably not even end up replying. It is courtesy to reply, because these PRs may have potential opportunities for you in the future that could be more suited to you. Plus, it's just rude.

Always email back if you can, or in my case also apologise that it's taken you a month to reply. You'll know what is right to reply, but you can never go wrong with 'I'm really sorry, but I don't have the time to take on any blogger collabs at the moment, thanks for the opportunity though hon'. Or something like, 'Thanks so much for your email, the opportunity sounds great but it's not something that currently fits into my blog content'. Keep it short, simple and to the point. It's better to be honest than accepting and getting your knickers into a twist 2 weeks later about how you're gonna plug waxing strips on your fashion blog. It's not pretty.

So there we go, a tiny insight into blogger collabs, hopefully this also answers when to say yes. If it's Kate Spade, Marmite and any kinda chocolate then yes. It's always a yes from me. Stay true to yourself when you start dipping the toes into paid content, as it will always shine through in your content.
Jumper - Primark
Jeans - Hollister
Bag - Zara
Brogues - Dune London
Flowers - Lidl

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Monday, October 16, 2017

3 of My Spotty Skin Saviours

You know those days when your skin is like, LOL not today hun. This ones for you. I can probably count the actual real days in my life on one hand that I have had clear skin, and it aint pretty. If you read my most recent post about acne, you'll know it's not always been as easy as finding an elusive potion to clear your spots in one go. Getting rid of spots is about as hard as batting off that god damn boy from primary school from landing in your DM's, it's not easy. 

My acne seems like a distant memory now, but I still suffer from troublesome skin and blocked pores. Banning chocolate and pizza from your diet doesn't work either, just FYI. These scaremongering articles do more harm than good I swear. From recommendations and my own discoveries, I've learnt that when it comes to skincare you do have to pay more to get the quality and results. You might not be able to afford to eat for the rest of the month, but HEY I actually have nice skin. These are 3 skincare products that I have been loving recently.

I first dipped my toe into the world of Glamglow when I received a sample size of the above mask in my Look Fantastic Beauty Box, game changer. After wearing SPF, body oil and baking in the sun for a week, I ended up with clogged facial pores and a lot of spots. Yay. Sun is meant to make you skin look better, right? This is THE product for congested skin, I probably use it 3 times a week when my skin is really bad. It gently exfoliates the skin after use, dries it up and makes it feel a lot smoother after the first use.

This stuff is not cheap. I usually get the small tub and only use it when my skin really needs some help. It is so worth the money though, if only for my sanity. NO I'm not getting acne again, but my skin does need a bit of help when I'm reaching for this. I won't use or purchase another clay mask or similar since discovering this.

All hail the only spot cream ever invented that doesn't dry your skin or turn you into 80% scales. I like you a lot. I've repurchased this for the second time now and it's such a blessing in disguise when I get angry spots. It has a slightly sticky consistency that does not dry on your skin. I've found it really effective in reducing the size and colour of my spots. 

When your skin is crying out, the spots need moisture to get better not drying out to the point that you end up with another skin issue entirely. I thank Caroline Hirons for this little tip! The control gel now comes in a plastic tube unlike it's previous metal like tube that ends up cutting your hands to pieces, with the gel oozing out of every orifice it can find. It lasts sooo long too, I don't think I need to sell it to you anymore, just do it.

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate 30ml - £38.00

I never thought I'd be one of those people that actually bought Kiehls, like who the Frick do I think I am? I only ever end up buying high end skincare bits when I have leftover euros at duty free. Like I'd rather have 2 dominos than actually treat my skin, but trust me on this, this is another product I now cannot do without. 

I only use this product once my skin has started to decongest and is feeling better, because its a bit like adding fuel to the fire else. I use this in the evenings after my normal skincare routine (cleanser if I'm lucky, if not I'm looking at you face wipes) - I use 2 drops of the oil and dab it onto my face. I then put face cream on over the top as I tend to get quite dry skin. I wake up looking like a new woman when I use it, my skin is less dull and looks healthier than it did before. I wouldn't say it helps keep my spots at bay, it is an oil so use sparingly. I love using this after I've been travelling and my skin needs a bit of TLC. Kiehls products are expensive, but worth the money!
Armed with my 3 favs, I know a clear skin day is never too far away. I also use a lot of Simple products too because HEY this girl got a mortgage to pay. But I find they're so perfect for my skin type, no nonsense and simple products that don't upset or overload my skin. It's a bit like buying clothing from Primark I guess, mix your expensive products with cheaper products to nail the perfect skincare routine!

What are your go to boo's for spotty skin?

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What It Really Feels Like To Have Acne

Photography: Viivi N. Media

A few years ago after I ended my summer adventure at Camp America and headed to Finland for my exciting year abroad, I'd made endless memories, drank a little bit too much, barely had any sleep and certainly didn't have time to wash my makeup off or look after my skin properly. WHAT EVEN IS FACE WASH THO? Within 2 months of arriving in Finland I seemed to develop acne overnight. I'd suffered from troublesome skin before, but nothing more than your average spotty teenage skin. The acne took me completely by surprise, and teamed with being far away from home and not knowing many people made me feel incredibly isolated.

The worst thing when you have acne is that even if they're not you feel like EVERYONE is looking at your spots, not you or listening to what you're saying but those new, red and angry eruptions that appeared on your face overnight.

No one understands. Unless you've suffered with acne yourself, there is no way that you can begin to imagine how it feels to live inside a body that has acne. I felt like I looked ill, I felt like people would think I ate really badly. Like LOL she actually does resemble a pizza Margherita. I felt self conscious, I doubted how I looked and it was painful. The face of acne is that it's miserable. You feel so alone, and after trying everything on the counter, and trying one after another of recommendations you see no change. It feels like you're going to look like this for the rest of your life.

Your outlook completely changes. I was once an incredibly confident and 'life and soul' type of person at the party until acne arrived. I didn't want any focus put on me, I cowered away as I was embarrassed for people to see my skin, it was like I was fading away as a person and spiralling into a dark hole that I didn't know if I could return from.

It's strange how a physical problem can affect you mentally, but when something literally makes itself resident in your skin overnight, how could it not? I struggled for 6 months with acne, and when it was at it's worse I just didn't know what I could do or turn to. I was adamant not to seek medical advice, I was also in Finland at the time so this made it very difficult. James sent me various spot treatments and creams in the post that I couldn't get in Finland and I was forever grateful for his support. At the time I struggled to even think how he could find me attractive and want to stay with me. You are the same person, but acne has a hold over you that can make you doubt even your strongest morals.

I wanted to be sucked into a dark hole when friends would be moaning about one spot on their face, like LOL LOOK, I am more spot than face. I went through bottles and bottles of concealer, making every effort to cake my skin and hide the fiery and painful eruptions. Let's not even talk about the treatments that made your entire facial skin shed like a snake. Flaky and spotty, cute. There was no hiding from it. There is no mercy when you have acne. It will continue, and continue and you never know when it's going to get better, or lord forbid it, if it will get worse. The weeks and months just blend into one. You think you'll have it for the rest of your life. 

There was a period of time where I never shared photos of myself, only the people I lived in Finland with knew I had it, with that being bad enough, I don't know how I would have coped bumping into people I had known all my life. I didn't look well and I didn't want anyone to ever look at my face again. Only I have photos of what my skin once was, which I'm not sure I'll ever share. 

Those were dark days. But with time it got better. It didn't happen overnight, it wasn't one of those light at the end of the tunnel moments, but it was working progress. I stopped drinking alcohol, I went back to basics with a very simple skincare regime and I started eating better. The scabs and crusty formations slowly started to heal and fade, I was slowly left with a handful of scars which I think I was lucky to escape with. It's now been 4 years since I had acne and I really hope it's left my life for good. I still panic when I see a few new spots forming, but I always know it will get better. Acne will get better, you just need to give it time, love yourself and remember that acne certainly does not and should not dictate your life. You're more of a person than your acne is.

Have you struggled with acne before? Can you relate to my experience in any way? How did you combat your acne?

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

My Teeth Whitening Transformation - Before & After

Ya gal got white teeth! Finally. There was only so much I could take of having a bottom set of teeth that quite frankly resembled an undercooked piece of corn on the cob. I've wanted white teeth since probably forever, the type you need to wear sunglasses to look at them.

It wasn't cheap. But oh boy, the results. Amazing. I can't believe it's my smile when I look in the mirror now, I thought I would be one of those only people in the world that a whitening treatment wouldn't work on. Like no hun, sweetcorn teeth forever for you. This post is NOT sponsored and I haven't been sent to review this treatment, just in case you were wondering. The results are too good not to share with you, which I'm sure you'll see from the upcoming before and after pictures below. So here's how I did it!
The Treatment 

Okay, so firstly before any whitening treatment the stains on my teeth had to be removed, because else the whitening treatment won't really do anything to your teeth because there's this layer of tea, red wine and other brown stuff it's trying to get past. I have no idea why my bottom teeth have become so prone to staining (blaming it on naked bars) I'd already had this treatment done once before, and again the results are amazing with this alone.

It's a private treatment at my dentist (any dentist) called Air Flow Treatment costing £50. It takes about 20-30 mins and just involves a lot of powder, air, and water. It gives your teeth a good clean, removes the stains and instantly made my teeth about one shade brighter and whiter. I would recommend this to anyone, it's not expensive for the results and it doesn't hurt or make your teeth sensitive.

After Air Flow it was time for the main star of the show. The teeth whitening treatment was £250 in total, worth. every. penny. The expensive part is getting a set of retainers made for your teeth which will be a familiar thing if you've ever had braces. It's essentially taking impressions of your teeth that they then make into retainers for you to use during the at the home treatment. It takes about 10 minutes, and is painless. It took about a week for them to be made before it was time to start the treatment.

The tooth whitening system which is used is called Opalescence which I think is something that is used in dentists nationwide, or something similar at least. You are given 4 syringes which contain the gel which you fill your retainers with each night and then wear for at least 4 hours each night. Or 8-9 hours if you go to sleep at bang on 10pm every night. It's probably a 2 week treatment, but my teeth are small so it's lasted way over 3 weeks for me. My teeth were matched against shades beforehand by my dentist to see what my teeth were currently at, with my side ones being almost 2 shades darker than my front which was no shock to me. I know they're yellow. OK. My dentist expected for them all to get 2 shades whiter by using the treatment. I was showed how to use the treatment effectively and that if there was any sensitivity it's okay to leave it for a couple of nights and start up again. 

One thing to note is that your teeth will NEVER go back to your original shade, although they will fade in time. You can buy top up syringes for only £25 when you want to boost the brightness, as you already have the retainer that's all you would need to do for future whitening.

The Process

I must admit that I was timid at the fact that it was at home treatment. Like am I even doing this right? The trick is to not use a lot of gel as this ends up going onto your gums and causing irritation, and to only focus on covering the front bits on the retainer, not underneath. After I'd had my retainer on the first night, I rushed to check in the mirror ten mins later, like to check if they were white yet. They weren't.

It was probably about 3 days in when I had already started to notice the results. I liked this. No, I loved it. I experienced a slight bit of sensitivity on my front teeth, didn't stop me eating pizza though. So there's that. The sensitivity and pain is what has always put me off doing it before, but it wasn't bad at all. Like I said before if it is bad, leave it off for a couple of nights and start again. Your teeth also start to get used to it after a few days so it really isn't bad at all.

After a week my side teeth started to catch up. The treatment for me has probably lasted 3-4 weeks in total which is double to what I thought it would, but what's a gal gonna do? After the third week I was like, can they even get any whiter though? I subconsciously find myself checking out everyones teeth colour now and asking if my mum can smile in the mirror next to me so I can see how much whiter mine look. Obviously her favourite child for a reason...

The dentist advised me not to drink tea, coffee or eat curry whilst doing the treatment so I of course took this to the extreme and stopped having ketchup, hot chocolates and basically any kind of fruit and vegetables for 4 weeks so that's worked out well for my body for the last week. But really, it's not gonna affect you if you have more of a beige diet anyway, all the cheese, bread and crisps it is.

I had all of my treatment done at Meavy Way Dental Clinic, Plymouth. But most dentists should offer this, and always get teeth whitening done at a dental professional, not some dodgy person that can do it in 10 minutes at your local shopping centre for £60.

The Results

The bit I'm sure you've all only clicked through to come to this post for, I'm sure you'll agree the results are noticeable and I honestly couldn't be any happier with the results. I can now talk to people without worrying about people identifying the 'stains'. Still trying to find the darkest lipstick possible to enhance how white my new teeth are and probably catch myself smiling at myself in the mirror at least 16458 minutes a day, and wot? All these pictures are unedited, shot in natural daylight and not enhanced in any way.

What do you think?! Have you ever had this done or would be interested in it? Comment below or tweet me if you have any other questions about teeth whitening!

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

How Fashion Blogging Has Changed & What's Next

Here I was on my Birthday scouting out the cutest pastel walls I could find, all extra in my pearl skinny jeans from MissPap, a concept that my bf just couldn't get his head around *sighs*. They're jeans with pearls on them, DUH. Anyway.... I'm lucky that where I live I'm surrounded by so many pretty pastel houses, it's like I only bought my house because of it, like who would do that? Seriously.

Speaking of pastel walls, the typical Fashion blogger cliche for a picture, I think back to when I started fashion blogging and how much water has gone under the bridge since then. How many cliches we have jumped on, how much has changed and how I've gone back to how I did it before, and am happier with my content than ever before.

Back in 2014, Instagram wasn't at the height of it's global success that it is now, neither did bloggers use it so profusely as a way to promote their content and ultimately act as mini sales people for brands. Twitter was the most common way to share your content, engage in blogging chats and take your outfit photos in your back garden. EVERYONE did. Even Sarah Ashcroft did, in your street, garden, hallway - who cared? If the outfit was nice, the backdrop didn't even matter. People blogged then, and I mean blogged. For me blogging is writing, having an outlet, and having a space on the internet that you update regularly. 

As time went on, we adapted. Instagram took over, I scouted for better backdrops to take my outfit pictures. I was so far in, I even posted a 5 of the best places to take outfit pictures in Plymouth. It was as much about the backdrop/setting as it was about the outfit. Nailing the two together was impossible, and it often required lugging round my heavy DSLR in a crumpled up River Island bag on a day trip to the beach. It was effort. 

As it was harder to keep up than ever, I lost interest, it felt like a chore. Whilst trying to keep up, fashion bloggers were popping up from left, right and centre, most employing photographers to get those clear cut, lust worthy shots for the gram that you could only dream of ever having. As the divide between real life and reality started to become one, the words started to stop, and the rise of the influencer began.

By this time, on Instagram as a long standing fashion blogger, you couldn't exist in the same realm as the influencer. With 60k + followers, a full time photographer and an endless supply of free clothes. Most which you'd find on Depop the following month....

But I've always stayed true to myself. My love for writing and fashion is why I started, and part of why I continue to do so. It was never to make a quick buck, get a free pot of hand cream or bathe in the self gratification of 1,000s of Insta likes. Although, I guess that kinda would be nice. 

As I realise, and so many others have, Fashion blogging and being an influencer is two separate entities, you can't always be both. I've taken my fashion content back to the beginning as I've mentioned in a few recent posts. I only need a pastel wall now, a favourite outfit I feel good in and a willing friend who doesn't mind taking 100 + photos of me, plus some when I ask for more. AND the words are more, they mean something, they're not always tied to the outfit, but the outfit is there to guide you in and get you more engaged with my blog than you were with 'this top goes with everything'.

For me, the gap between fashion blogging and being an influencer is going to grow wider in the next year. More people than ever are seeking relatable bloggers, they want to look at content and be inspired, rather than deflated. Influencer fashion is unattainable for me, in the fact that when their pictures are taken there will be 3 outfit changes at once, not an outfit that could be worn all day, to work or into town. 6 inch heels never have been or are comfortable for a day in the office. We want to see outfits that are cosy, stylish and dream boat shoes that we could stare at all day, but probably won't ever wear. We also want to see the person and the personality behind the account. Which is where writing and blogging comes into play.

A few months on since my is blogging a dying trend post, I think blogging is very much something that we should still stand by, it's a skill and a hobby that a lot of people can't afford the time with. When I think about my content, I think, what do I want to read? Do I ever actually read peoples outfit posts, about their outfit? The answer is no. If I see an outfit on Instagram I like I will almost always stay there, and not swipe up or click the link in their bio to read more. What more is there to say? Fashion content is perfect on a visual level, but there has to be more to it in order to draw the reader in. I personally love writing lifestyle content and it's probably the most popular type of content I do, I've been adding it to my outfit posts for the last 2 months and I've noticed a big difference in blog engagement, views and the amount of time people are staying on my post. Ain't nobody got time for an 80% bounce rate...

BUT you have to do what works for you and what you enjoy, not others. Fashion blogging might be executed in a different way to what it once was, but it's here to stay whether you like it or not. I'm sure I'll be back with my 2018 predictions really soon.
Jumper - Topshop (last season)
Magic Pink Crush Velvet Sneakers* - Rocket Dog

What are your thoughts about fashion content and how it's evolved? Do you like this outfit?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

I'M 25! - 25 Important Life Lessons So Far

EY UP, I'm 25! How did that one happen? I almost choked on my stack of pancakes last week when I realised it had been 7 years since I turned 18. 7 years since I was sick over the boat at my boat party. 7 years since I thought it was a good idea to have a spray tan the day before my party. Fact, it's never a good idea.

Something that I have learned in the last 25 years is that nobody's journey is linear, no one follows the same path, life is not meant to continue in a straight line. It can't. Lifes hardships are there to teach us, to be thankful and to always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I've learnt through mistakes, experiences and people. I'm grateful for each and every life lesson learnt because it's shaped who I am and kept me going, even when I don't think there is a way forward from situations. I've never understood why people moan about turning another year older, it's another year to help reach your dreams, make a difference and do yourself proud. Here's what I've learnt so far...

1. Everything will be okay, and if it's not okay, it's not the end. The one quote that will always stay with me, even in the darkest times when there has been a situation I never think will end or improve, there is importance in remembering it will end, and if it doesn't it will still be okay. Another similar perspective is thinking, will this all matter in a week, a month, 1 years time? Because the answer will probably always be no.

2. Not everyone will like you. But that's okay. When I was younger I just wanted to be liked, I wanted everyone to be my friend and I couldn't understand why some people didn't like me. It probably took me until sixth form to realise this, and it's okay. Its impossible to be everyone's friend, even for the sake of it, realising this and cutting certain people from my life at the time made me a much happier person.

3. Listen to your body. I never listened to my body. I used to go the gym every single night whilst I was in sixth form, go out every weekend, and work all weekend. I'd do it all even when I was ill. I continued to drink alcohol sometimes 4 times a week (at uni) when I knew what it was doing to me. One of the hardest and worst lessons to learn, I had to stop and realise what I was doing. My body was trying to tell me to stop, slow down and be good to myself. I now recognise the signs that I need to rest, eat well and just be good to myself.

4. Alcohol ruined my life. Continuing from above, and something I discussed in my why it's okay to be a teetotal 23 year old post, it took 2 bouts of pancreatitis, 100s of nights out that ended in black outs and 4 years of binge drinking to make me stop. It took me 2 years to get my life back on track and feel well again. It robbed me of happiness and health for a couple of years and if I could take it all back I would. But I stopped at a young enough age to hopefully reverse the damage made, I'm happier and healthier than ever before, so for that I am thankful.

5. 2 wrongs don't make a right. This is something I still call back to now, when I want to get even or want to act on how I feel, I take a step back and remember to not play the person/situation at their own game. Rising to other peoples petty games is a bad reflection on you, don't do it.

6. Paper trail everything. Whether it's a work situation, housing, school or anything else, make sure everything is paper trailed. You never know when you might have to prove something or show the work that you have done, having something in writing will always win.

7. Doing nothing doesn't make you boring. The well known Monday morning conversation at work when you're asked what you did at the weekend. Oh, you know I slobbed on the couch all weekend, got dominos and slept, WBU? Having no plans and doing nothing on the weekend does not make you boring. Those quiet weekends are what we need to recuperate and girl boss the working week ahead.

8. Make plans. Having something to look forward promotes happiness and a healthy mind. It doesn't have to be groundbreaking like a holiday or a weekend away, even a catch up with a friend or a coffee date is often just enough. 

9. Don't make effort with those who don't make an effort with you. I'm still learning this. I've had so many friendships in the past that I still run into now, where it's mostly me making the effort, falling at their every word and turning up to plans that are frequently cancelled. It makes me angry, upset and makes me feel down. I've tried so hard with people in the past and maintaining friendships, and knowing when to cut ties or be more conscious about the effort you put in will help you cut that stress and upset off in a second.

10. Make the most of the little things. When I've had a particularly rough week or feel a bit down I have to strip it back to the basics and revel in the little things in life. Those precious things that can give us so much happiness if we remember. Croissants with jam, hot chocolates on a cold day, fairy lights and candles. It's sometimes all we need.

11. Say YES more. We're all guilty of jumping to say no when we'd already imagined that night in on the sofa watching Corrie on catch up. But those spontaneous evenings out or day trips are often the best. Those cosy nights in will still be there another day.

12. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. How true is this? Last year I did my first open water swim, I was petrified at the idea of it, I was too well accustomed to swimming in a pool and the thought of the sea petrified me. I bit the bullet and forced myself into a situation that damn right scared me. I did it, I raised a lot of money in the process of it and I liked it. It was something I never thought I would do, and that's why you should never get too comfortable. Always seek to push yourself out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and better yourself.

13. Make time for yourself. YOU are the most important thing, and time for self care and self love should come above all else. Taking the time to enjoy your own company is a wonderful thing, and loving yourself is the first step to letting other people into your life.

14. Don't compare. Jealousy is an ugly thing, and anyone who says they don't get jealous is lying. We all do. But comparison is both the route to evil and unhappiness. We have Instagram to thank for this, right? Everyone is on a different path, journey in their life, and if you fail to remember that, I always look for inspiration to this quote. A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

15. Don't wish for every weekend to come around. I'm soooo guilty of this, but since I've moved out my mindset has definitely started to change. Having things to look forward/keep busy with during the week really helps with this. Of course, being in a job that you really love and are happy in will make you want for the weekdays to never end. 

16. Don't rely on other people. Minus family, bf etc OBV. There's been so many situations and occasions when I have relied on other people and it has gone wrong. Its like the only being able to trust yourself old age adage, and it's true. Do your own thing, work for yourself, by yourself and you'll always end up better off.

17. Don't believe everything you see online. Oh, how true this is. Nothing you ever see online is real these days, there is always a very different picture behind the scenes, it's usually a reflection on whoever has posted it. Not on yourself. Social media is a silly old thing, with people seeking instant gratification. A make believe perfect lifestyle is almost certainly nothing to be jealous of.

18. Money is there for spending. Being able to and learning to save and budget is invaluable, but money is also there for spending, YOLO and stuff. We can save and save and save, but we have to be able to live and enjoy our lives too. This was something I really learnt when I was squirrelling money away each month to buy my apartment. You buy that lush bath bomb and dominos pizza.

19. Everyone has an opinion. UGH. Like why doesn't everyone just agree with me? My blood will boil at least once a day if I hear something muttered in the office or see something on twitter I don't agree with/think is wrong, But everyone does have a different opinion and again, that's okay. We aren't all meant to be the same and the best thing to do is ignore it and move on.

20. Admit when you're wrong. No one likes doing it, but it takes a certain person to hold their hands up and say, YEP, I screwed up. We all make mistakes and admitting you're wrong is the first step to learning and being accepted. No one likes a liar.

21. Work hard on yourself. I work for 8 hours every day, I come home and still work. I wouldn't be where I am today without being motivated and strive to better myself all the time. It's exhausting, it's hard, but dreams aren't made into a reality overnight and I truly believe that if you work hard for something you will reap the benefits, however long it takes.

22. Don't let people walk all over you. It still happens to me now. When you're a nice person it's sometimes hard to think NO, this isn't right and stand up for yourself. But sometimes things need to be said, and it doesn't make you a nasty person. A situation where I have learned this recently has really made me realise the importance of speaking up and not backing down.

23. Don't do anything you don't want to do. You have a choice, and don't do something just because everyone else is or people think it's cool. You always have a choice and not doing something doesn't make you any less of a person.

24. Eat what you want. There's too many scaremongering stories about food these days and advice on what we should be eating. FACT: we are all different, and any piece of food or diet it not one size fits all. I eat a healthy, very basic diet that might be lacking in a few fruit or vegetables, but that works for me. I'll never be someone that can eat 5 portions of fruit a day, but that doesn't make me an unhealthy, unfit person.

25. It's not over until it's over. I am all over the positivity train, but I never get my hopes up because I know what can happen in certain situations, and when you think it's over, it almost certainly isn't. There is always something else around the corner, so prepare for it and it never seems to bad.

Okay, GUYS, I won't be doing this when I turn 30. Much time was spent compiling this list. I'm sure a lot of you will be able to relate to this little list, it shows me how far I've come and how much I have left to learn.
Shirt - Topshop
Skirt - Zara
Bag* - Boohoo
Shoes - Office

What are the life lessons that you live by?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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