Saturday, 23 March 2019

Keep Yourself Confident In The Way You Look

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Feeling confident in the way that you look is easier said than done but each one of us has a reason to feel beautiful. What is that reason? You are already beautiful! Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way. No matter what you look like or any of the things that you usually worry about, you need to remember that you can be pretty like you, not like someone else. Even the most objectively attractive people can feel like they're not good enough at times & I think that social media has a lot to answer for in this respect. Sometimes it can be really difficult to look in the mirror & not start picking out all of your flaws or take a selfie & not Facetune it to death. But the more comfortable you become with your appearance, the more confident you will appear to others. So if you're looking for ways to get this feeling of confidence, here are some ideas to help you out!

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Comparison truly is the thief of joy & at times comparing myself to others has really knocked my confidence. Instagram can be a great place to get beauty & fashion inspiration but scrolling through your feed can also be a very toxic way to spend your time. You might be feeling perfectly fine until you come across someone with perfectly clear skin or an impossibly skinny waist & wonder why you can't look the same way. This train of thought can really damage your mental health & possibly lead to disordered eating, wasting money on cosmetic procedures or using apps to make yourself look unrecognisable. Chances are that the people you envy on Instagram don't look that way in real life either & the manipulation of photos can manipulate your sense of self. If using social media is making you feel so awful about your natural appearance you need to just delete the apps for a few days & stop engaging with that content. Don't follow people who make you feel bad about yourself & don't let what other people are doing affect you.

Practice Self Love Every Day
Learning to love yourself can take a long time but it can hugely boost your confidence. There are lots of simple ways you can practice self love, some of which can be done on a daily basis. Taking care of yourself shows the rest of the world how you deserve to be treated. Being kind to yourself about your appearance is pivotal to your own happiness & when you feel happy, you'll feel more confident too. It's easy to focus on the things that we dislike about our appearance so take the time to appreciate the things that you do like. Maybe your skin is looking really clear or your nails are long & strong. Write a list of these qualities that you can read whenever you need a quick pick me up. Learn to cherish all the things that your body does. Sure your arms might be a little flabby but they allow you to hug people, draw, write & carry things. You might not have a thigh gap but you can dance, run, jump & skip with your legs. Our bodies allow us to do so much & should be treated with respect, not self-loathing. We can be so harsh on ourselves that it verges on bullying & it's vital to take the time to fight this negative self talk.

Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do is ensure that you are getting enough sleep! It doesn't matter what your reasons are or how difficult you find it to get to sleep, it is essential that you get the rest your body needs. When you do this, you will find that you wake up feeling refreshed & your skin looks better than it has done in ages. Once you notice this, you are immediately going to feel far more confident in the way that you appear & that's just the start of it! If you do have trouble getting the right amount of sleep, there are a few hacks that you can try. Having a warm drink before bed, taking magnesium supplements or diffusing lavender oil in the bedroom can all help to promote natural sleep. Another helpful tip is to remove all the electronics from your bedroom so that the blue light doesn't disturb you. You might be thinking that you don't have a blue light but this is something that your electronic devices are constantly emitting which has been linked to difficulty sleeping. As such, this little trick is well worthing trying if you are trying to get the recommended hours of sleep in!

The Perfect Smile
Another thing that you should look at is your smile. It might be the case that you already love the way you look when you are smiling, a lot of people do because that's when we all look our best. It really is true to say that nobody looks better than when they have a smile on their face! But for some, they just don't feel confident in the way they appear. In fact I never smile with my mouth open in photos because I don't want people to judge me for having crooked teeth. Like I said, self love can be difficult & my teeth are the thing I struggle with most of all. That is where a company like Instasmile can help you. Providing you with the perfect smile is what a service like this can do for you, which will do wonders for boosting your confidence. You might not realise it now but once you feel beautiful when you are smiling, you are going to radiate confidence & the whole world is going to look at you in a different light!

Exercise Is Always A Good Idea
Finally, keeping fit is an excellent way to ensure that you feel good about the way you look. It doesn't have to be about weight loss, going to the gym is also fantastic for your mental health. When you exercise, the sweat clears out your pores giving you that refreshed glow that people are always talking about. But you will also notice that you start to look at yourself differently. It only takes eight weeks to see a difference & if you want to feel confident, you should certainly consider hitting the gym to tone up. I love the way that exercising makes me feel. I'm addicted to the rush of endorphins I get after a Body Pump class. I enjoy being able to lift heavier weights & pushing my body to do different things. I like that sense of fatigue in my muscles & being able to feel a little bit more muscle definition each week. Even gentler classes like yoga & pilates can have a strong impact on your body. I hardly ever run on a treadmill because it doesn't make me feel good about myself. Exercise should be something that you enjoy & when you start noticing those small changes in your body, your confidence levels will skyrocket.

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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Four Looks From Femme Luxe

Femme Luxe Animal Snake Print Biker Jacket

Shopping for clothes online can be very hit & miss. It seems like there's a new fashion brand popping up every week & what you see on a website isn't always what you get. When you first buy from a new brand it can be impossible to tell what the sizing will be like or whether the material will be cheap & nasty so I always appreciate honest reviews. I've been on the lookout for cute, on-trend pieces at affordable prices & in that respect Femme Luxe seemed to tick all the boxes. They kindly offered to send me four different pieces to review. Their style of clothing is very similar to the sort of thing you often see on Missguided, Boohoo & Pretty Little Thing so I wanted to see how they compare.

Femme Luxe Animal Snake Print Biker Jacket
Femme Luxe Animal Snake Print Biker Jacket
Animal Snake Print Biker Jacket - Pearl* (£21.99)

Biker jackets are one of my favourite ways to add a bit of an edge to any outfit & you'd have to be mad to leave the house without one in this weather. Whenever I find a jacket I love, I will wear it to death & that's exactly what happened to my faux leather jacket from Primark. To be fair I'd had it for ten years but I literally wore it on every night out ever. It was a staple piece in my wardrobe & as soon as it started disintegrating I started searching for a new one but the only leather ones I liked were £300 from All Saints. So when I spotted this snake print biker jacket on the Femme Luxe website, I knew it'd be an awesome on-trend alternative. I wasn't quite sure which size to get as it comes in S, M & L but their size guide only covers numerical sizes. I went for the Medium & luckily, it's a really good fit. I only ever wear biker jackets undone but if I do zip it up, it's exactly the right size. The overall fit of the jacket is quite slouchy & it's really comfortable to wear. The only thing I'm not too keen on is the belt buckle as it looks a bit messy hanging off the jacket so I just tucked it into the pockets. This was definitely my favourite item that I received as I'm really into snake print right now & it works with so many different outfits. Here I've styled it quite simply with a black smock dress from The Whitepepper & some white snakeskin flats from All Saints.

Femme Luxe Wine Loungewear Tracksuit Set
Wine Loungewear Tracksuit Set* (£14.99)

Femme Luxe have some really cute loungewear sets so I decided to order a couple of those. The first one is this burgundy long sleeved top with matching leggings. I am obsessed with burgundy, I wear this colour constantly & I think it suits me really well so getting this set was a no brainer. I ordered size M/L (12/14) & it's a good fit on me. I wanted something comfy to wear around the house & to be fair that is what I received. However this tracksuit is so thin & see through, I couldn't possibly wear it out of the house even just to take out the bins! There's fashionable loungewear that you can wear out of the house & then there's loungewear like this that you can only wear as pyjamas. You can completely see my underwear through it & it's so unflattering around the crotch area. I'm sure the trousers are more see through than the top so they look ever so slightly lighter in colour & it's a bit weird. They would be passable as pyjamas but I would never wear them for anything else.

Femme Luxe Black Off Shoulder Loungewear Set
Black Off Shoulder Loungewear Set - Blake* (£15.99)

The second one I ordered was this black off the shoulder loungewear set. Despite being the same M/L (12/14) size as the burgundy set, this one was a lot tighter. The trousers were okay, again a bit unflattering around the crotch but at least the material was a lot thicker. I wasn't aware that the top was cropped when I ordered it but I don't think it makes my stomach look too bad. The top didn't fit very well though as I struggled to make it actually be an off the shoulder top on me. I think it looks okay overall but I'm far too self conscious about my belly to wear something like this outside. This style of tracksuit would look amazing on someone who is a size 6 but I'm a 12 & it just doesn't sit right. You could definitely wear this out with heels & a duster coat if that's your kinda thing. I prefer loungewear to be a casual thing though I just wore it with my Adidas Superstar trainers.

Femme Luxe Mustard Extreme Polo Neck Oversized Jumper
Femme Luxe Mustard Extreme Polo Neck Oversized Jumper
Mustard Extreme Polo Neck Oversized Jumper - Amber* (£13.99)

The last item that I ordered was this oversized yellow polo neck jumper with some huge bell sleeves. I think that mustard jumpers look really nice with brown hair so I had visions of me wearing this & looking super fashionable. Sadly, as you can see, that was not the case. The jumper is extremely oversized & I didn't want it to completely swamp me so I ordered the S/M (8/10). Everywhere fits really well apart from the neck. The neck was so tight that it felt like I was being strangled by this jumper. I'm pretty sure it pushed all the fat from my double chin further up so my face looks rounder than ever. The colour is fab & the fabric is decent but I don't enjoy looking like a Boohbah! I wore it with some black Molly jeans from River Island & ankle boots from Topshop which I feel were good style choices but the jumper just lets everything down. It had so much potential but I strongly dislike this jumper.

Have you ordered anything from Femme Luxe?

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

February Favourites

Heimish All Clean Balm, Pixi Retinol Tonic, Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray, Jordana Ticia Cosmetics Lipgloss in BonBon, Peaches & Cream Loose Eyeshadow Pigment in Gatsby

Heimish All Clean Balm
Double cleansing is such an essential part of my skincare routine. I use sun protection every day regardless of whether I'm wearing makeup or not so it's the only way to ensure that everything has been properly removed before I go to sleep. It's been quite a while since I last used a cleansing balm but the more I heard about Heimish's All Clean Balm, the more I knew that I needed to give it a go. In this beautifully designed tub you get 120ml of thick, white cleansing balm & a little spatula to hygienically scoop out the perfect amount of product. All Clean Balm undergoes a three step transformation from a balm, then to an oil & finally to a cleansing milk. This allows it to get rid of every last trace of makeup without leaving any residue on the skin. The balm is really gentle & has a lovely herbal scent. It doesn't sting my eyes or blur my vision at all. It's basically a dupe for Banila Co Clean It Zero but with better ingredients, a natural fragrance & more product for your money.

Pixi Retinol Tonic
Retinol is a wonderful skincare ingredient with the power to combat both acne & wrinkles. The trouble is finding a formula that your skin can tolerate & a product that doesn't cost the earth. I normally use The Ordinary's Advanced Retinoid 2% but I fancied trying out Pixi's Retinol Tonic as their toners tend to be pretty darn good. This toner features a unique time-release retinol that helps to smooth & soften the skin alongside powerful antioxidants & botanicals to soothe sensitive skin. I do wish Pixi would tell us the percentage of retinol they use in this formula but I'm guessing it's fairly low as the toner is gentle enough to use every day without irritation. It has a faint scent of lavender & feels very refreshing on the skin so I find it really pleasant to use. The formula is quite hydrating as it hasn't dried out my skin at all & that's something you have to be careful of when introducing retinol into your skincare routine. My skin has been looking really smooth & bright lately as this toner has helped to plump up any fine lines & fade hyperpigmentation. I enjoy using this every day as a gentle retinol solution because using something hardcore can often be a mistake. If you've never tried a retinol product before then this would be a great way to start.

Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray
I first heard of this product back when Kim Kardashian bleached her hair white blonde. Her hairstylist, Chris Appleton, said that Dream Coat was his secret weapon for fighting frizz & keeping her hair looking super sleek. As a result, Color Wow couldn't keep it in stock but luckily I managed to snag one of Marks & Spencer's beauty boxes with a deluxe sample bottle inside. This innovative spray coats each hair with a heat-activated waterproof shield that locks the cuticle down & seals in moisture whilst stopping humidity from wreaking havoc. It's almost like a raincoat for your hair! The product feels really lightweight & gives your hair the most incredible shine without making it look or feel greasy at all. I generally like my hair to look sleek & polished so this has been my go-to product to spritz on before a blow dry. I'm obsessed with how beautifully glossy it makes my hair look as the shine is simply unreal. I'll definitely be repurchasing this wonder hair product to protect my locks from the great British weather!

Jordana Ticia Cosmetics Lipgloss in BonBon
Recently I've found myself gravitating towards lipglosses again instead of matte lipsticks. I went off them for a while because I don't like having to touch up my makeup & my hair always gets stuck in them. It's so much easier to pop on a matte liquid lipstick & forget about it because you know it'll still be there eight hours later. But glosses just look so pretty! I love these ones from Jordana Ticia Cosmetics because unlike other lipglosses they are ultra pigmented & stay put for hours. They have a creamy texture with no tackiness & provide a high shine finish. They're also vegan, cruelty-free & have the most deliciously sweet scent. I have eight of them but BonBon is currently my favourite colour. It's such a pretty soft pink shade. The high pigmentation means that you don't have to wear a lipstick underneath but I love pairing it with one of my Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheats for some extra definition. The colour of BonBon is very close to Pillow Talk so I either use that or Supersize Me if I want something a tiny bit darker around the edges. I feel like lipgloss is coming back in a big way & these ones are some of the best I've tried!

Peaches & Cream Loose Eyeshadow Pigment in Gatsby
Peaches & Cream are a Liverpool-based beauty salon who have created their own fabulous range of makeup. Their products are extremely popular with Instagram MUAs & they are probably best known for their brilliant loose eyeshadow pigments. I actually used to be quite scared of using pigments because I tend to hate anything messy but this brand has completely changed my mind. As long as you use a good primer & the right kind of brush, pigments are really easy to use & you can create some truly spectacular looks with them. You simply can't achieve the same finish with regular eyeshadows & their loose pigments are all about the glamour. One of their most popular shades is Gatsby which is an ultra fine, pale champagne gold sparkle. It's utterly gorgeous on the eye & instantly adds a bit of gold glam to any look. I love doing a cut crease with Gatsby on the lid, the colour is incredibly versatile & goes well with so many other eyeshadows. Loose pigments might be a bit messy but they really do take your makeup to the next level.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Heimish All Clean Balm

Heimish All Clean Balm - £14

At the end of each day I always look forward to pampering my skin with an array of wonderful skincare treats. Cleansing balms are one of my favourite ways to start off the process by gently removing my makeup. The way that everything melts off your face is so satisfying to see & it's a chance to indulge in a bit of facial massage. The latest addition to my nighttime routine is this All Clean Balm from the Korean brand Heimish. I recently started using this product to double cleanse my skin followed by the CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. Double cleansing is a staple part of any Korean skincare routine. It doesn't matter whether you wear a lot of makeup during the day or just a light layer of sunscreen, everyone should be double cleansing at night. It's the only reliable way to properly remove any oil-based products from your face & clean away any sweat or dirt your skin has produced throughout the day. Double cleansing ensures a deeper clean that can help to reduce breakouts & provide the perfect starting point for the rest of your skincare routine. I've worked my way through quite a few Korean skincare products but hadn't tried a cleansing balm yet. I had originally planned to purchase Clean It Zero by Banila Co. It's something that people really rave about but then I noticed that they had changed the formula a few months ago & some people were very unhappy with the new version. However this led to the discovery that some of the people who founded Heimish used to work at Banila Co & apparently took inspiration from Clean It Zero whilst improving the formula to create their All Clean Balm. Of course I only want to use the best quality products on my face so I went for the Heimish balm instead.

Heimish All Clean Balm comes in this beautifully designed white plastic tub with a pink tropical leaf print on top. I really like the packaging, both in terms of form & function. It comes with a flip top lid & a little spatula to help you hygienically scoop out the perfect amount of product. The tub contains 120ml of cleansing balm & as you only need a small amount each time, it should last for a few months. The thick, white balm inside the tub has a fairly solid consistency but it soon melts down to a smooth & silky oil once applied to dry skin. I was previously using the Bravura First Cleanse Oil to remove my makeup but the one downside to oil cleansers is that they can be quite messy. This balm does the job just as well but without running or dripping everywhere when you're massaging it into your face. All Clean Balm has a lovely herbal scent which adds a slight aromatherapeutic quality to the product. It's quite subtle but that's because the fragrance is entirely natural. I'm not really a fan of artificial scents in skincare or makeup because they can often irritate my skin so I appreciate products that smell nice by themselves. The cleanser is made from a base of shea butter & coconut fruit extract to inject some moisture into the skin during the cleansing process. It also features lots of other fabulous fruit & flower extracts to brighten the complexion.

Once the balm has transformed into the oil stage it feels very lightweight & gentle when working it into the skin. I think this gentleness is what makes this balm so special. Removing makeup becomes an effortless task as you don't have to rub your face raw to get everything off. There is a coolness to this soft balm as well & you can feel that refreshment on your skin as you start your cleansing. After massaging it into your skin, the balm undergoes a third transformation into a milky fluid as it emulsifies with the addition of water. This allows the cleanser to rinse off with the greatest of ease whilst removing even the most stubborn makeup. I always use it in conjunction with a cleansing mitt to make sure all the makeup has been removed. I would never normally use a balm or oil as a morning cleanser because that's just asking my skin to break out but the way that this cleanser emulsifies means that it leaves absolutely no residue on my face. It doesn't sting my eyes at all or give me blurry vision which are my pet hates when it comes to cleansers. It simply leaves my skin feeling clean & refreshed without stripping it of moisture. It also brightens & clears up my complexion. My forehead in particular has been looking very smooth since I introduced this balm into my routine & that's always been a hotbed for closed comedones!

Overall I have to say that I'm really happy with this purchase. I tend to stick to the same skincare products these days but I'm glad I took a chance on this cleanser. Before trying Heimish's All Clean Balm the only balm cleanser that I've truly loved was the Emma Hardie one but I've never repurchased it because it's such an expensive product. Investing in Korean skincare tends to work out a lot cheaper & £14 for 120ml was a really good deal. The cleanser doesn't irritate my skin or eyes, it's a piece of cake to use & it cleanses away your makeup almost instantaneously. What more could you possibly want? Taking your makeup off at the end of the day can be a lot of effort so if you like your skincare routine to be quick & easy, you will love this balm cleanser. I'm keen to try out some other products from Heimish so if you have any recommendations please leave them below!

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Life At Thirty

It probably goes without saying that I haven't been the best blogger over the past couple of years but I'm finally back with a vengeance. Even though I was constantly taking & editing photos of products and coming up with new ideas, the posts just never seemed to materialise. I sometimes struggled to put up one blog post a month! There's currently over 140 draft posts on here with fully edited pictures waiting for me to write some interesting copy. Blogging is still one of my main passions in life but I could never find the time or energy to invest in it & that's mainly because so many awful things were going on behind the scenes at home.

I took these photos last August on my 30th birthday because if you don't take some photos with gold number balloons, did you even really have a birthday? The original plan was to put up an outfit post of me in this fab dress from Joanie Clothing & write about what a great time I had in Manchester, eating at Home Sweet Home & going on a shopping spree in Affleck's Palace. Yet again, I couldn't get the words out & my efforts were going to waste. This time it was more than just 'blogger's block', I was completely broken as a person. How could I possibly have written about frivolous stuff like makeup & clothes when my world had fallen apart?

You might remember when I wrote about my 29th birthday back in 2017. A few weeks before, our holiday to Spain had to be cancelled because Chloe had caught chicken pox at school & wasn't able to fly, then Andy crashed his car into someone on a moped. There's been plenty of horrible incidents over the years but that was when I truly felt like he had changed for the worse. Looking back, I don't think I really loved him at that point & his love for me was definitely fading too. But when you've been together for so long it's hard to admit that you need to split up, especially when there are children involved. My relationship with Andy has never been healthy or stable. Even when we first met, he would dump me because I took too long to text back & then beg me to get back with him. I, being a young idiot in love, always did. However I was not at all prepared for what life had in store for me in 2018.

Andy lost his job the day after Chloe's 8th birthday & as he's always had a gambling addiction, he decided not to get another job & to just make money from football betting. As you can imagine, the World Cup sent him over the edge. He spent every minute of every day looking at betting odds, placing bets & chewing his way through countless biros. When England lost, he lost out on £4000. He was obviously stressed to the max & when I suggested that maybe he would be less stressed if he just got a new job, he decided to break up with me & chuck me out. As we've been living in his dad's house for the past 8 years, I couldn't ask him to leave instead. I had to beg to stay because I couldn't afford to move out & it wouldn't be fair on Chloe. The only way he would let me stay was if I started paying 2/3rds of all the bills. He wouldn't pay his third of the food bills though, I had to write down every single bloody thing he ate & keep a tally of how much he owed for that. My mental health was incredibly low. I was spending all my time either buying food, making food or cleaning the kitchen. I was effectively his slave. The only time I felt happy was when I was at the gym but then I would come home & binge eat, undoing all of my hard work. Things got even worse when his dad decided to double our rent & I was the one stuck paying 2/3rds of it.

Even through our many ups & downs, we've always been best friends & it's really hard to lose a friend as well as your relationship. We were engaged & just a few months before we broke up we were discussing getting married & having another child. It just goes to show that you never know what someone else is thinking & whether they really love you or not. I've definitely wasted the last ten years of my life, my entire twenties & that makes me really sad. I've had to put up with gaslighting, stealthing and blackmail as well as constant emotional & financial abuse. To say that he ruined my life would be an understatement. I thought that 2019 would be a fresh new start. Despite everything, we were still on friendly terms & all three of us stayed up to watch the fireworks together on New Year's Eve. I had planned to get my hair done for the first time since Summer 2017, get my passport & driving licence renewed, start blogging again properly, look for a new job & then get a new flat. But on January 5th, I got told that I had to move out immediately. I was completely shell shocked & my anxiety went into overdrive. I couldn't eat or sleep or stop shaking. Andy had been doing temp bar work & told me that he had a shift the next night when in reality he met up with an old friend from Uni that he'd reconnected with on Tinder. I know he wasn't my fiance anymore but it still fucking hurts to see someone you loved with all of your heart going on nights out with potential new girlfriends.

I would give anything to be able to move back to London or Leeds as there's literally nothing for me here apart from Chloe's school. But she obviously comes first so I found a flat just around the corner from our old house, paid the extortionate agency fees & we've now moved in. I'm poorer than I've ever been in my life so please understand the sudden influx of sponsored posts. It's not great but I'm beginning to like it more with each passing day. I can hear cars driving past 24/7, some of the walls are a bit mouldy & I have no furniture but at least we're free.

2019 is the year that I start putting myself first. Due to my slave status I never got to go on any nights out as I always had to put Chloe to bed but last year I started going to drag shows. When Andy & I had our first major breakup back in 2012, RuPaul's Drag Race (& lots of therapy!) basically got me through it. I've wanted to see some of my favourite queens live ever since but I just never got the opportunity. Jinkx Monsoon has been my absolute favourite drag artist since season five first began & I finally got to see them at The Comedy Store in Manchester! It was such a fantastic night & I hope I get to see them again soon. Jinkx is even more lovely & charismatic in person. I also got the chance to go to the Dragula UK tour & it was one of the best nights out I've ever had. I loved seeing Biqtch Puddin & Vander Von Odd perform but Abhora, Meatball & James Majesty were all brilliant too. I even got to meet the Boulet Brothers at the end which was a dream come true even though my iPhone completely messed the photos. Thanks to Strongbow Dark Fruits for giving me the confidence to line up for the meet & greet! This year I plan on attending more drag shows & music gigs & video game/anime conventions because those are the things that bring me the most amount of joy in life. I'm a massive nerd & now I feel like I can finally embrace this without being judged. These things also help me to be more creative in my own work & heaven knows I've been lacking on that front! I don't really care about getting into a new relationship right now but if I do find someone on Tinder, he would have to love all of those things too because I don't have time for any negativity about the things that I truly enjoy.

My life at thirty years old is nothing like I expected it to be. I thought Andy & I would've gotten married in Vegas, I'd have an amazing graphic design career & we'd own a cute apartment together but instead I'm starting from scratch as a single mum. Thankfully I think I'm finally starting to get over all the pain & stress that the last few years have caused me. At long last I'm ready to focus on myself & I plan on making my thirties a whole lot better than my terrible twenties. After all, life begins at thirty!

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Thursday, 21 February 2019

How To Improve Your Personal Presentation

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Fashion & beauty are things that some people just take to like a fish to water. Plenty of girls (and guys, too) are absolutely obsessed with customising their style so that they always look & feel their best. An ever increasing amount of services & industries exist specifically to serve that purpose & that's because there's such a high demand. Just think about all the aesthetic clinics that started popping up as soon as Kylie Jenner first started getting lip fillers. At the same time, however, some people are chronically unhappy with the way that they look & lack the confidence to actually take steps to improve the way that they present themselves to the world. Of course, this isn't good either. If you find that you've been unhappy with your presentation for some time now, here are a few tips to get you started on levelling up your look today.

Invest In Your Clothing
Some people are naturally driven to take a purely pragmatic approach towards their clothing choices. They will buy things because they perform a certain function or because they're within a certain price range and will pay just about no attention at all to how they actually look & feel. While it's good to be pragmatic at times, a total 'function over fashion' mindset & approach is not always a good thing. If your wardrobe makes you feel frumpy & unattractive, it's having a negative impact on your life as a whole & that's something that you need to weigh up against whatever benefits you may get from those clothes. Fashion should be a fun, creative outlet that allows you express your personality through your clothes. Start treating your clothing as a real investment instead & go for quality over quantity. That means quality in terms of appearance, as well as function. Only buy things that you actually like the look of & that make you feel good about yourself. Life is too short to be miserable in boring outfits that fail to spark joy. Take inspiration from Marie Kondo & discard the items that have served their purpose. Be willing to spend a bit more, for the greater benefits that come with this. And don't be afraid to return things to the shop!

Develop Your Confidence
A lot of the time when people aren't putting much thought into their presentation, it's because they have such low confidence & self-esteem that they feel it's futile or embarrassing to even try. This isn't a problem that can be solved overnight but it is something that you absolutely need to work on. If your confidence is chronically low, look into avenues to improve it. Consider going to see a therapist & take up hobbies that will make you feel good about yourself. Things like drama or exercise classes, adult choirs or book groups are all great ways to meet new people & learn a new skill that can help you to become the best version of yourself. Some of these hobbies might have nothing to do with the way that you look but personally I've found that blogging has greatly helped me to build my self-confidence. No matter how unstylish you think you are, there will be someone out there who loves the clothes that you wear or the way you've done your hair & makeup. Blogging, either through a traditional written blog or Instagram, gives people a place to comment on your personal presentation. It can be really scary to put yourself out there but on the whole, people will respond well to your bravery & the comments will be positive.

Take Advantage Of Modern Technology
There are a bunch of benefits that come with living in the digital age. These days there are numerous modern technologies that can help you to improve your looks & presentation almost effortlessly. Many of these benefits have to do with how easy it now is - with the help of certain technologies & techniques - to look your best. If you want to level up your look, investigate services that can help streamline this process. If you're self-conscious about your teeth but don't like the idea of wearing braces as an adult, consider Invisalign as an option. If you don't know much about makeup, start watching beauty gurus on YouTube. If you want to improve your personal style, start reading fashion blogs for inspiration. The Internet is a wonderful thing & it's one of the best ways to find out about the latest trends. Use it to your advantage & you'll be feeling better about yourself in no time at all!

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Things I Loved In 2018

Billie Eilish - When The Party's Over

Billie Eilish is one of the freshest new artists around right now. Her sound is unlike anything else in the music charts & I find her completely captivating as a person. She released 'When The Party's Over' late last year & it immediately struck a chord with me. Her vocals are so hauntingly beautiful & the lyrics are filled with raw emotion, which is even more impressive when you consider that she's only 17 years old. I get the feeling that she's been through some shit & I like the way that she expresses that through her songs. This song has such a sad, melancholic vibe to it which is only amplified by the accompanying music video. It's visually arresting & a welcome change from all the boring videos that most musicians keep putting out these days. I can't wait for her album 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?' to be released as I'm sure it'll end up being one of my favourite albums of 2019.

Other Faves: Nicki Minaj - Chun-Li / Smashing Pumpkins - Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)
RuPaul - Call Me Mother / BTS - Idol / BMTH - Wonderful Life

Nicki Minaj - Queen

I've always loved Nicki Minaj but she really cemented her status as the true queen of rap with her latest album, aptly titled Queen. I'm a huge fan of Cardi B too but Queen is just that bit more cohesive as a full body of work than Invasion Of Privacy. As soon as Nicki released Chun-Li as a single I knew she had totally stepped up her game & I was definitely here for it. The rest of the album certainly didn't disappoint as Nicki is spitting rhymes harder than ever. Her lyrics are full of that signature Nicki charisma & attitude while her flows are equally aggressive & animated. Some of my favourite tracks on the album are Barbie Dreams, Good Form & Coco Chanel but Majesty is simply on another level. Nicki's collabs with Eminem are always a treat for the ears but their chemistry on Majesty is better than ever & I could quite happily could listen to this song on repeat for hours. In fact I probably have done seeing as my iPhone decided to delete all 45GB of music I had on there & this was one of the few albums left!

Other Faves: Smashing Pumpkins - Shiny & Oh So Bright / Cardi B - Invasion Of Privacy
Christina Aguilera - Liberation / Ariana Grande - Sweetener / Eminem - Kamikaze


There are few things I enjoy more than watching Nicolas Cage lose his shit. He's one of my favourite actors & if you don't agree then I suggest you watch Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off, Vampire's Kiss, The Family Man, Con Air, The Rock, Matchstick Men or Lord Of War. He's delivered some brilliant performances over the years but to be honest I've sat through some pretty awful films starring him, in the hopes that he'll freak out & give us a classic Cage moment. More often than not, I'm left feeling disappointed & annoyed at myself for wasting time watching them but last year Cage finally came through. Mandy is a psychedelic action horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos. It's set in the Shadow Mountains where a couple, Red & Mandy, are living peacefully in the woods. One day, a cult called The Children Of The New Dawn pass Mandy on her way to work & their leader is enamoured with her beauty. He kidnaps her & it's up to Red to get her back. One of the best scenes in the film is when Red locks himself in his bathroom, downs a whole bottle of vodka & starts screaming for several minutes. It's a great performance from Cage & definitely something that needs to be added to those YouTube compilations. As a film, Mandy is quite a surreal horror. The cinematography is eerily beautiful with intense lighting & colour techniques. The soundtrack is also fantastic & the film starts off with King Crimson's incredible song Stardust. It's quite an odd choice as my favourite film of the year but Mandy was just so different to anything else I've seen, especially when it comes to the horror genre.

Other Faves: A Star Is Born / Coco / The Incredibles 2 / Teen Titans Go! To The Movies / Ralph Breaks The Internet

TV Show

To be completely honest I didn't pay much attention to season one of Westworld until the very end. The whole robot cowboy theme park thing seemed kinda interesting but it wasn't until the true nature of Bernard & the identity of The Man In Black were revealed that I considered it to be worth watching. By the time season two rolled around I was stoked to see the outcome of Ford's new narrative & the aftermath of Dolores' uprising. This season the characters have become fully formed as the war between Delos & the hosts takes place. There's even more secrets & mysteries behind Ford's true intentions as well as William's journey through Westworld to The Valley Beyond & his relationship with his family. We also got to see some of the other parks, Shogun World & The Raj. The different timelines in season one were confusing enough but it gets even worse in season two, especially as Bernard has scrambled his memories & even he doesn't know which timeline we're following. This allows the show to flashback & flashforward in a Lost-esque fashion which reveals some truly crazy shit. Personally I found the scenes with Jim Delos, William & their families even more interesting than what was going on in Westworld itself. I can't wait to see where the story goes now that the hosts have the possibility of existing outside of the parks.

Other Faves: The Circle / Dragula / Atlanta / Better Call Saul / RuPaul's Drag Race
American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace / American Horror Story: Apocalpyse

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

I've been meaning to start watching JoJo's Bizarre Adventure ever since I saw a couple of guys cosplaying as Jotaro & Kakyoin at Majikkon but I struggled to find a decent stream for it. There were so many different series & I wasn't sure where to start. I also wanted to understand all the Jojo's memes & references that the Internet is so keen on pointing out. Last Summer it was announced that Part 5: Vento Aureo was going to be adapted into an anime & some people on Reddit were doing a rewatch of the whole series before it began. I decided to join in & soon found myself completely obsessed with the Joestar family. I couldn't stick to the one episode a day rewatch schedule & started getting through at least five episodes per day. The show tells the story of the Joestars, whose various members discover that they are destined to take down supernatural foes using the unique powers that they possess. There are many different parts, each following the story of one member of the Joestar family & all of their names can be abbreviated to 'JoJo'. The first season is set in England during the 1880s when Jonathan Joestar takes on his evil adopted brother Dio Brando after Dio uses an ancient mask to turn into a vampire. Part 2: Battle Tendency is probably my favourite part & features my favourite Joestar, Joseph. Things really take off in Part 3: Stardust Crusaders with the introduction of Stands, which are physical manifestations of mental strength & fighting spirit. The Stands get even more inventive through Parts 4 & 5 so the battles get really crazy & the villains are even more iconic. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of those rare shows that just keeps on getting better as it continues plus the songs are so damn good! It's impossible to choose a favourite. I often stick on a JoJo soundtrack compilation before doing any housework as the songs really get you hyped up! It's fast become one of my favourite anime shows of all time (tied with Attack On Titan) & I've even started reading through all the manga parts that haven't been adapted yet. I'd say it's worth getting into for the memes alone but that would be selling it short. If you're into anime at all, you owe it to yourself to start your own Bizarre Adventure with the Joestars.

Other Faves: Steven Universe / Yokai Watch Shadowside / Adventure Time / Summer Camp Island / Apple & Onion

Octopath Traveler

JRPGs are my favourite genre of video game & when I heard that the team behind Bravely Default were working on something for the Nintendo Switch, I knew it was gonna be good. That something turned out to be Octopath Traveler, a turn-based role playing game with a gorgeous 'HD-2D' aesthetic. You play as eight different characters, each with their own jobs, skills & tragic backstory. Each chapter reveals more about their individual stories as they travel together on a journey to defeat those who have wronged them in the past. Some of the stories can get extremely dark, especially Primrose's which has a lot of references to brothels & sexual abuse but I found all of them to be really compelling. The characters are great fun to play as & I loved the combat system which expands upon the 'brave' & 'default' mechanics from Bravely Default in a really cool way. I started off as Therion the thief but you can team up & switch between each character to progress further in their individual storylines. Unfortunately they don't really link up at all but there is a final boss at the end that has had an impact on each of them. The soundtrack is amazing, as you would expect from Square Enix & it was just a blast to play. I really hope they come out with a sequel as I would love to spend some more time exploring the world of Orsterra with these eight travelers.

Other Faves: Pokemon Let's Go, Eevee! / Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Undertale / Hyrule Warriors / Super Mario Party

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Thursday, 14 February 2019

Valentine's Outfit Ideas With Quiz Clothing

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Valentine's Day is finally upon us & whether you're going out with your significant other or still looking for love, it's important to dress to impress. As well as all the loved up couples, there's plenty of singletons out there at this time of year who would love to find someone to be their Valentine. I'm sure lots of people will being going out tonight but there's still time to buy a dress for this weekend. A fancy new outfit can make you feel so much more confident & confidence is always sexy. If you haven't managed to find anything yet in your search for a Valentine's outfit then Quiz Clothing have got you covered. They have a fantastic range of going out dresses that are sure to attract attention without breaking your budget. I think it's fitting to go for reds or pinks as those are the colours most often associated with love & romance. I put together this collection of dresses that I think would be perfect for this occasion, along with some trusty LBDs thrown in for good measure. I'm currently obsessed with burgundy clothing so I would definitely go for any of the first four dresses. There's just something about this colour that I find irresistible. It's starting to overtake the amount of black in my wardrobe! My favourite one has to be the Berry Velvet Lace Bodycon Dress. Lace & velvet are such a beautiful combination. I love the lace panels on the side & the sweetheart neckline, both details really make it stand out. Which one would you choose?

Quiz Clothing also have their own men's range called Quiz Man. So if you fancy picking up something special for your fella, they have loads of sharp tailoring options for the fashion-conscious man. It might be cheesy to some but I love the idea of wearing complimentary clothing when going out as a couple. Not in a Justin & Britney double denim disaster kinda way obviously! I think it's nice to wear similar colours though so if you were to choose one of the burgundy dresses above, it'd be cute to dress your boyfriend in a burgundy mens blazer. These tux jackets come in plain block colours or with embroidery details so they all look really different. I think all of these blazers look super stylish & if I came across someone wearing one on a night out, he would definitely catch my eye!

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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Rosina's Lotions & Potions St. Valentine's Gift Box

Rosina's Lotions & Potions St. Valentine's Gift Box* - £47

Whether you're celebrating Galentine's or Valentine's Day this year, either one is a great excuse to treat yo' self or your loved ones. As a newly single lady, this week I'm putting myself first & indulging in some self care with this lovely gift set from Rosina's Lotions & Potions. Founded in 2008 by Sophie Cooper, Rosina's Lotions & Potions has fast become one of the UK's leading natural luxury skincare brands. Their products are inspired by Sophie's grandmother Rosina, who had a penchant for mixing up her own skincare concoctions. They have a gorgeous range of cruelty-free skincare & bath products that are all made in England from natural ingredients. The brand kindly sent me this gift box so that I could try out some of their very best creations. In the St. Valentine's Gift Box, you get their Kale & Pomegranate Exfoliating Face Mask, a bottle of their Rose Perfecting Oil, two flannels & their Signature Rose Scented Candle. All of the products can be purchased separately but the gift set is much better value for money. Everything inside the box has been wrapped with care & the vintage inspired packaging is absolutely beautiful. I'll definitely be keeping this box for storage as it's far too pretty to throw away!

The skincare items are all lovingly packaged together with this super cute ribbon. At first I thought that the flannels were regular cleansing cloths but they're more like mitts which is actually what I prefer to use. I have some cleansing mitts from Sarah Chapman that I always use to remove my makeup but these are a much more affordable alternative. The fabric feels soft yet manages to be rough enough for removing cleansers or masks. I was really looking forward to trying the Kale & Pomegranate Face Mask (£25) because it's a multi-purpose product that can also be used as a daily cleanser. The mask/cleanser has a somewhat gritty texture even though it's not a physical exfoliant. That's because the base is made from sweet almond seed meal & oil which also give this product it's yellow appearance. It uses phyto-active pomegranate enzymes to gently exfoliate your skin & reveal a smoother, brighter complexion. Kale is the other main ingredient & is brilliant for dehydrated skin. The mask also features healing probiotics, Griffonia extract and vitamins C & K to protect the skin from oxidative stress. The fresh, natural scent makes it a pleasure to use & after washing it off with the mitt, my skin felt much softer. Any dry patches had been gently sloughed off & I could immediately tell that my skin was better hydrated as I was practically glowing! Personally I prefer to use this product as a mask instead of a cleanser as I think you get the maximum benefits from all those lovely natural ingredients. I think this mask/cleanser would be a fab choice for most skin types but I'd especially recommend it for those with dry or dehydrated skin.

My skin always feels a bit drier at this time of year so I love trying out new facial oils & I have to say I'm extremely impressed by the Rose Perfecting Oil (£22). The first thing you'll notice when you open the bottle is the divine scent of Rosa Damascena. It's not overpowering, just perfectly sweet & fragrant. Damask Rose is often used in skincare because it has mild astringent properties that can help to reduce inflammation. The bottle uses the same kind of plastic stopper that you get in essential oil bottles, so it's difficult to pour out too much oil. I've been using about 5-10 drops every morning & evening before my moisturiser. I've noticed a huge difference in my skin's hydration levels since I started using this oil. It's deeply moisturising yet feels really lightweight on the skin. The Rose Perfecting Oil makes my skin feel incredibly silky soft without any greasy residue at all. It's the kind of product that just makes you want to stroke your face all day! Applying the oil feels so luxurious & indulgent that I look forward to putting more of it on each time I wash my face. Damask rose is rich in antioxidants that play a key role in the synthesis of collagen & elastin to keep your skin looking healthy. It also has excellent moisturising properties to soothe irritation & redness. This oil is truly a must-have for all skin types.

Despite being a skincare fanatic, my favourite item in this gift set has to be the Signature Rose Scented Candle (£20). Having just moved into a new flat, I'm currently obsessed with keeping it clean & filling all the rooms with fragrance. The soft warm scent of tuber rose is such a classic & I've loved burning this candle in my bedroom. The hand-poured high quality pink beeswax comes in this fancy hand-printed glass jar & features a cotton wick for a clean burn. The scent completely fills the room & makes you feel as though love truly is in the air. It's the perfect accompaniment to a pamper day & if you're a fan of rose scents then this is definitely the candle for you.

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Simple Strategies For Expressing Your Personal Style

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There is no one else in the world quite like you & one of the best ways to express your unique personality is through the way that you dress. In fact, you can have a whole lot of fun when it comes to showing off your own personal style. I love over-accessorising my outfits to really make them stand out even if I'm just wearing something basic like jeans & a nice top. The process of customising your look is super simple & I thought I would quickly share some tips to help you express yourself through your accessories.

Jewellery can provide a little edge
When it comes to jewellery, our minds often go to delicate necklaces or Tiffany diamond rings. However it's crucial to remember that just like the rest of your outfit it can be used to reflect your own personal style especially if it is a bit edgy or left of the mainstream. After all, you can look equally as gorgeous as those with more traditional taste & feel more yourself by wearing jewellery in the form of piercings in the nose, lip or the top of the ear. You can even choose two or three items from the same helix piercing range & then layer them together for a truly customised look. Some pieces will also have a dual purpose so you can wear them in your ear one day & your nose the next, ensuring that you will never run out of options to express your own personal style. I used to have loads of different piercings including snakebites, an industrial & stretched ear lobes. I loved how they looked & really wish I hadn't taken them out, especially as I've now been left with random holes in my face!

Jazz up plain clothing with carefully placed accessories
Even the most boring of outfits can be lifted & personalised with some smart & funky accessories. I'm still obsessed with my gold name necklace, as there's nothing more personal than your own name. Jackets are a fab place for accessories, especially enamel pins or brooches. We're not talking your grandma's brooch here either, but chunky graphic designs made from plastic like these. Something that you can get customised with your own message or with a bold, kitsch design will make them particularly striking. You've probably seen my beloved Primark jacket (which I recently wore to death, literally!) about a million times in my outfit posts & most recently in this post here. I accessorised it with two eye-catching brooches & they're a great example of how easy it is to spice up a plain leather jacket. When I do eventually pick up a new leather jacket, you'd better believe I'll be accessorising it with these brooches again. They're also a great conversation starter. I mean, who doesn't love gin?!

Pick colours that you love & make you smile
Some folks only wear colours that they know will go well with their hair & skin tone. However if you really want to embrace the art of expressing yourself, it's best to pick colours, patterns & designs that make your heart sing! Who cares if you're just doing the weekly food shop? There's nothing wrong with a bit of glitter fabric if you're feeling the vibe! I'm talking bright bolds & neons, chunky rainbow embroidery à la Frida Kahlo & anything else that just makes you smile. After all, putting on an outfit that you love & that makes you feel confident each morning is one of the most positive ways to start the day.

Add a headscarf for an instantly retro look
Lastly, a quick & easy way to customise any outfit is to add a headscarf. It is also something that can help you to achieve a nice retro vibe as well. In fact, you may wish to head over to auction sites to find genuine retro scarves for this purpose. Although shops like Zara & Lush are doing some pretty good reproductions at the moment too. I picked up this spooky neon headscarf from Lush at Halloween & it's one of my favourite hair accessories right now. It definitely brightens up my day & has a bit of retro cool about it.

Oh & don't let not knowing how to tie them properly put you off, as I've got you covered with the video above. When I first got my headscarf I had no idea how to put it on either but it really is incredibly easy to figure out. So all you need to worry about is just being you!

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