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Monday, 16 April 2018

Why I'm Doing #WalkInHerShoes

10,000 steps a day does not sound like a lot to most people. However if you're like one of the many people like me who use public transport and then sit on their bums all day in an office, then it is embarrassing how few steps you're able to achieve on a day-to-day basis. Until recently I had never even thought about how far I was walking each day, or how much time I spent sitting versus walking. I always thought that if I was eating good (enough) food and doing my yoga once or twice a week then I was surely living a healthy lifestyle. Well I was wrong! Sitting around for more than eight hours a day can be associated with diabetes, heart disease, issues with blood pressure...the list goes on. However if you're able to swap your habits and walk around a little bit more during your day then you can counter all those problems and more! 

A few months ago I heard about Care International, a charity working to fight poverty in 94 countries, after seeing their signs at International Women's Day in London. I discovered that they do a number of fundraising projects throughout the year which focus on helping women and girls who are affected by poverty and discrimination - and they have been doing some incredible things so far. I think it is very easy to go about your normal life and not think about women in other countries who are exactly the same age as you, but living their life in a very different way. I wake up in my comfortable bed, go to work using my oyster card on the tube, and then sit in my nice warm office all day long earning money to pay my bills. I don't have issues with buying myself lunch, or accessing clean water. I don't have issues with putting clothes on my back or makeup on my face. I am fortunate in the sense that I do not have to face any extreme discrimination because I am a woman. Yet I'm sure you'll all aware that this is not the case for a lot of women and girls in other countries.

So I thought I would try and do my bit. Care International run a project called Walk In Her Shoes, a fundraising opportunity that asks you to walk 10,000 steps every day for one week (16-22nd April).
Why? Well every day thousands of women and girls, all over the world, have no choice but to walk many miles to fetch water for their families, and that water that is often dirty. Their daily routine deprives them of the chance to have an education, a job, and traps them in a cycle of poverty. Isn't it crazy to think that by purely not having water available to them, so much of their life could be affected?

By getting involved in Walk In Her Shoes, I'm helping to raise money that will be put towards building wells and water pumps closer to rural communities so that women and girls don’t have to spend their days walking for water, and can plan for a better future. And it's so simple! All I had to do to be involved was pay 5 pounds to enter, and then speak to my friends and family about sponsoring me. You're asked to try and raise at least 100 pounds before the 22nd April as Care are working with the government who have said that they will match any donations submitted before then. But I'm hoping I'll be able to get some more money in before the end of the week!

So from now on I'll be trying to take the stairs instead of the lift, I'll be walking up the escalator instead of standing to one side and looking at my phone, I'll be taking a quick 5 minute break to walk to the shops over lunch instead of ordering in. And if I'm able to help even a little bit then it will have been totally worthwhile! Care International's projects have led to an increase in girls’ school enrolment, improved school performance and reduced incidences of violence against girls collecting water. So I definitely think this is a good project to get involved with. If you want to help me change the lives of women around the world then please feel free to sponsor me here.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Wrapping up

I don't know about you, but i'm bloody freezing pretty much all the time. I'm that person who wears socks to bed (and sometimes a jumper). I'm that person who has gloves in their bag for most of the year as I always feel like my fingers are going to fall off. I'm that person who can't sit on the sofa without a blanket cascaded all over me. In short, I get cold A LOT. When you're inside, you can wrap yourself up in all the cosy things you can find in your room, but when you're forced to leave the house for annoying things like work or social occasions, then you're a bit stuck when it comes to being warm AND looking nice. I know that when it gets to September, us Brits all have the same predicament where we don't want to give up entirely on the chance of some final summer sunshine, but we are also very realistic about the fact that within a few days, the temperature will drop, it starts bucketing it down with rain, and all public transport will be ruined for ridiculous reasons like too many leaves or frozen tracks. So despite us now being on the other side of winter and *supposedly* one step closer to some sunshine, I thought i'd share one of my favourite looks that i'm wearing at the moment, one that has helped me stay wrapped up and looking nice over the last few months. 
The cream knitted jumper. Is there anything better? You can have slim fitting ones, or slouchy over-sized ones, and yet they still look really awesome. The thing I love about my H&M knit is that it goes with pretty much anything. It's long enough to fall down below my bum (meaning it's hiding my really stylish under clothes situation of a top tucked in to my jeans) and also has nicely fitted sleeves which aren't too long and aren't too short. It has some slight detailing to it, but it isn't so over the top that it is a statement jumper. And finally, it is super cosy. It's the perfect jumper for chucking on under a big coat or a light jacket, and has been my go-to item for the last few years. I got this baby in a charity shop for £4 and I would definitely say that it has been one of my best finds. If you're ever looking for great jumpers then please do check out your local charity shops (especially if you don't mind a bigger fit), there are so many great places selling amazing big knits for everyone, but with a tiny price tag which means you can't say no. 
I have so many scarfs (probably too many), and as someone who is always cold, I wear them with pretty much every outfit. A monochrome one is an obvious key item to have because it can be worn with pretty much any coloured coat or big jumper. This big scarf is an old one from Peacocks, but i've found a really similar one from H&M here. This scarf has been through a lot with me - been a hair protector in the wind and rain, has been a blanket on cold trains and flights, and has done a great job of keeping my neck warm through all weathers. I'm a big believer in getting a big scarf for all occasions, as you never knew when it's going to be needed for multi-purpose use! This little Chloe dupe bag is an eBay bargain after seeing it on Believer it or not, it was only about £11 and has lasted me so well. Get yours here!
I've been living in my black high-wasited jeans as they work with pretty much any look i'm going for, but when it's chilly outside, i've been pairing them with some over the knee black boots (with huge fluffy socks underneath), and i've been good to go. Get yourself a comfortable pair of over the knee boots and you'll be wearing them for years to come. Whether you get heeled ones or flat ones, black boots add a new element to a very simple outfit of a cream jumper and jeans. This whole look works perfectly for weekend brunches, a visit to see a friend, or a quick trip out of the city. As much as i'm looking forward to feeling the sun on my face, i'm also sad to be putting away my big knits for a few months! What has been your go-to cosy outfit this winter? Let me know in the comments below! CTx

Thursday, 22 March 2018

#OriginsInBloom in Cambridge

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend an event in Cambridge with some of my other lovely Camb Meet Up ladies at Origins in Rose Crescent. Sally from planned an incredible Saturday evening event after the store had closed and I felt so fortunate to not only be with a group of really nice people for a couple of hours, but also in the Origins store finding out about the amazing products they sell. I've always been a bit useless with my skincare (e.g used to be rubbish at taking my makeup off/bad at washing my face or using face scrubs), and then a few years ago I was introduced to Origins and i've been in love ever since. Attending an event in their store was like an evening of heavenly treatment. We learnt about the correct type of products we should use for our different skin types, the order that we should apply the products in, and how we can look after our skin better moving forward. A couple of girls were used as models to demonstrate the effect of the cleansers, toners, serums and moisturisers, and it was relaxing even watching this! I had a full face of makeup on so I didn't put myself forward, but I made sure to go and feel how soft their skin was when they had finished (I got permission first!). Instead, I jumped at the chance of having a hand and arm massage. I could feel the tension being released from my hands with each movement, it's crazy how much you can de-stress from something so simple. It just shows how easy it is to make yourself feel that tiniest bit better with a little bit of self-care with some good products. 
I have quite dry and sensitive skin, but Origins use all natural and certified organic ingredients, which means that your skin is left feeling nourished and refreshed after using their products. I am especially a fan of the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask which is used to 'quench skin's thirst'. As I basically live with dry skin every day of my life, having something that you can put on before bed and then not worry about it until the morning is such a nice thing. At £26.50, I tend to use it quite sparingly - but the great thing is that you don't need to use a lot to make a huge difference. It hydrates your skin almost immediately, and if you ask anyone who uses it then you'll know that they RAVE about the apricot smell. There are so many other products that I am desperate to try, and I know that I will be popping back to treat myself whenever I can. 
The event was a really great reminder of how nicely bloggers and brands can work together. Everyone walked away genuinely enthusiastic about Origins, and I don't think there was one person who didn't buy something special for themselves. We were all kindly given a sheet mask in our goodie bags and I am making sure that I save it for a relaxing evening in to myself. I can't wait to be able to light some candles, read a book and recharge my batteries whilst sorting my skin out. Origins aims to provide products that have a unique blend of mood-enhancing essential oils that are a pleasure to use, and I genuinely do feel that that is the case. When I use their products I feel like I am looking after myself, and it was lovely to hear that this was the consensus from all the other girls at the event too. We spoke in detail about what our favourite items are and how they benefit us each differently - which just shows how vital skincare is to each and every one of us.
Thank you so much to the lovely Sally and the team at Origins! It was a great evening, surrounded by inspirational friends and new people too. Sally made sure that everyone was looked after, and her husband even made some cakes for us to enjoy. It didn't take much convincing for me to want to shop with Origins, but it was great to find out more about some of the goodies that I didn't know anything about. I'm really looking forward to trying more out soon! CTx

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

London Gin Festival

Last month I had an email pop in to my inbox that could possibly be seen as every gin lovers dream. 'I'm currently on the hunt for bloggers to attend the London Gin Festival'...erm say no more, yes please! After giving up vodka and a couple of other spirits a few years ago, gin became my go-to drink for all occasions. Looking for an after work drink... how about a gin, tonic and grapefruit? A relaxing evening drink...i'm sure gin, elderflower tonic and cucumber would work! There's so many different ways you can add an exciting twist to a classic G&T and I knew that the London Gin Festival would be the place to find some new ideas. Based in the amazing Tobacco Docks, a Grade 1 listed warehouse in the East End of London, this couldn't have been a more perfect venue for the festival. It's uniquely authentic design helped to add another element to the experience as everywhere you looked there was a new interesting area filled with music, food and gin. You could tell that other people agreed as even though the queue to get in was quite long, everyone was commenting on how fascinating the venue was and how excited they were to get in and have a drink. (Pro tip: get there as early as you can to avoid waiting in line). 
When we got through to the event we were greeted by festival helpers who gave us an little pack for the evening with a huge amount of information in it about the gins on offer, the gin companies there, the food and the shop. We moved out of the way of the eager ginthusiasts to examine the guide and I have to say that I was blown away. I've never claimed to be a proper gin aficionado, instead I'm much more of an appreciator, but I was still amazed by the variety of gins that were being presented to us. Herbal gin, citrusy gin, sweet gin, smokey gin, spicy gin, dry gin...the list goes on, they had it all and I couldn't wait to find out more! We picked up our Gin Festival glass to use for the evening and decided to head straight to the bar as the cocktails were calling our names. Everyone was walking round with glasses with beautifully coloured drinks swirling around inside and as soon as I spotted someone with an pink coloured gin I decided that it would be the perfect cocktail to get me started. The bartender put together a combination of fruity Pinkster Gin, a whole heap of ice and some schweppes tonic - it was heaven! After a long week at work the taste of cold raspberry gin on my lips was such a satisfying feeling. Everyone around us seemed to be laughing as they clinked their glasses and sung along to the music and it was clear to me that they were all having a really good time. 
 After we had done a recce of the building and sussed out all the places we wanted to visit, we headed to the gin tasting room. We went from stand to stand learning about the history of each company, the types of tonic or mixers you should drink with each flavour, and what garnish would suit the drink. We tested samples of straight gin from PJ Gin, Piucinque, KokoroWhitley Neill Rhubarb and ginger, and Tinker and we couldn't get enough. We learnt which gins worked with amazing schweppes tonics (like grapefruit, lemon, cucumber etc), which gins you should eat a sansho berry with (Kokoro team - you're killers), or which flavours are accentuated by a shaving of a citrus fruit skin. We felt like we were walking round the sample section not only having a huge amount of fun, but also gaining a heap of information and building our gin knowledge. By the time we left the room we knew that our next step needed to be a trip to the bar to select our new found favourite drinks. Mine had to be a Tinker gin with grapefruit tonic - a fresh drink with a natural sweetness, but balanced by the sharp elderberry. I think it might have to be my go-to drink going forward as it has such a soft flavour, but the ice in the big glass and a little bit of mint help to release the fruitiness (I've already looked at where I can get it in London bars and pubs!) 
One of the best things about the event definitely had to be the atmosphere. Everyone seemed like they were genuinely having a really good time! There were couples, groups of friends, and it even looked like there were a few family outings happening. Despite it being a Friday night there was lots of room to mingle and look around without it feeling too spacious, and the queues for drinks were just the right length when you're eagerly waiting to try a new gin delight. A few gins in and we had visited pretty much all of the stands that we wanted to go to and decided that the stage was the next place for us. Northern Epidemic, a two man band from Yorkshire, was playing and they were literally amazing. They managed to get the whole crowd singing and dancing along to a collection of classic tunes from through the ages and they helped to finish off our evening at Tobacco Docks with a bang. 
The tickets start at 10 pounds (depending on the date/time you go) and there are numerous events round the UK so make sure you check out their website to see if there is one coming to your city soon! The next London Gin Festival is 24th-26th August and I will definitely be rallying the troops to go along for a summer drinking experience. I hope to see you there! CTx

Friday, 12 January 2018

Unexplained Unfulfillment

Despite being friends with people because of common interests or circumstances, you will never view a situation in the same way as the person next to you. You can feel as if you know someone because they portray themselves in a certain way, but it's important to remember that behind closed doors they might be someone completely different. It's so easy to make assumptions about people based on what you know or see about them, but how often do you stop to look deeper? We are all so busy, so we choose to accept people as what we think we know, and that is completely fine! Who can be bothered to question it? Modern day life takes over and we are all time poor, so viewing things in the simplest way is normally the easiest to come to terms with. Every so often though, we should take a moment to realise that only a few individuals are truly themselves on the inside and out, and that some people use all of their energy on 'appearing' okay, whilst also suffering with anxieties, fears and battles of their own. 
I've titled this post unexplained unfulfillment because this is what I suffer from. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a steady income, yet I live with a constant feeling of unfulfillment. It's absolutely insane when I try to explain it to people (so apologies if it doesn't make much sense), but I guess the only way I can articulate what I mean is by saying that my life feels like a never ending battle to achieve what is just out of reach. My brain tells me on a daily basis that i'm incapable of achieving the salary I want, the body I want, the motivation I want, the types of friendships I want...and there is absolutely no explanation as to why. I just can't. I realise that this is a stereotypical post written by a modern day 'millennial' - someone who is supposedly completely unsatisfied with life and unappreciative of what I have (can you tell I hate generational prejudice?). However, I think it is important to explain that this is how I feel, and not hold back because I'm worried about what people will think. 
I've spent most of my life suffering with anxiety and have had real issues with comparison, but I think that more recently it has dawned on me quite how much I struggle with it. We live in a world of instagram models and social media accounts which display the success of our peers, and it makes it really difficult for each of us to not compare our lives to theirs. Don't get me wrong, there's so many amazing things that come from the world we live in, but it's also not healthy to see these aspirational bloggers and celebrities who live lives that are so out of reach. It makes it almost impossible for me to realise my value or work out where I belong when I'm pretty much being told that I should be someone completely different to who I am. It's not surprising in the slightest that I am feeling these crazy feelings of unfulfillment when I am getting so much exposure to an unattainable lifestyle. I know deep down that all the things I think I want wouldn't necessarily make me happy or fulfilled in any way, but because it is in front of me all the time my brain plays tricks on me. 
This year I want to spend more time following and being inspired by girls and guys who I feel like I could go for a coffee with. Make friends with people who live in the moment and are real, those who write posts about real life subjects that I can relate to and don't make me feel bad about myself. Every time I look at a picture and get that horrible sensation of FOMO (from a friend or blogger), I need to pinch myself and bring myself back to reality and realise that the person in the picture might be struggling with the same imposter syndrome that I am - but they are just better at hiding it. I know that not every relationship is perfect, every girl suffers from body image issues, and I know that I can't afford a Gucci handbag or go to expensive restaurants on a daily basis, so why am I spending my time trying to convince myself that that way of life would make me feel more satisfied?
I know that mental health is discussed all over the place, as this is 2018, but it always amazes me that it is still so frowned upon by some people to openly discuss the struggles that you're going through. We all seem scared to be honest about the thoughts in our heads due to the fear of being called a drama queen, an over-sharer, or worse be categorised as the dreaded label of 'mentally unwell' (which unfortunately has more negative connotations than it should). I don't know about you, but I think I have very few friends who feel secure enough to discuss the extent of what is going on with them because we live in such a world of judgement. People are worried, even with their own friends to talk about their insecurities and the things they are battling at the time. So I say to hell with all that. I want to encourage everyone in my life to be more open - in fact I challenge you. If someone makes you feel bad about thoughts you're having that aren't 100% happy all the time then they aren't people you should be spending time with. I don't want anyone else to have a horrible feeling of unfulfillment  - explained or unexplained - so how about we support each other a little bit more instead of feeling envy or rivalry? I've never been a big fan of 'new year, new you', but if you are going to change anything for the year ahead, then why not try to be content with what you already have? Stop feeling like you've failed because you're not the same as everyone else. We are all special, and the sooner we start believing that, the better off we will all be. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Let's be proud of what we've achieved

I'm sure you've seen a lot of people posting about the three things they are proud to have achieved in 2017 after Adam J Kurtz's tweet about personal achievements went viral. Every other post on my feed seems to be my blogger pals and favourite people stating what impressive things they have done and I think it's awesome to see people taking a moment to recognise how great they are. 365 days is a long time, and we are all capable of achieving a lot - so give yourself a big pat on the back for getting through it all. You did it! Whilst I say that, I do also think that it is important to not feel bad if you haven’t achieved life changing things in 2017. I wouldn’t say that anything I achieved was even in the slightest bit earth shattering, but to me, they meant a lot and I am proud of them from a personal point of view. 
So to end this (slightly chaotic and bizarre) year, I thought I would tell you the top three things that I am proud to have achieved in the last 12 months.
I survived over a year in my London job, and got a pay rise. Now saying that I survived a year in my job doesn’t sound like something to shout about, but this time two years ago I was settled in a nice job in Cambridge and was far too terrified to do a ‘big move’ to London. So I really am impressed with myself that I not only managed to quit one job that I quite liked back home, but also that I managed to get a new job in the big smoke, and didn’t get fired/bored. I know that the current job market isn’t amazing, so I think that if you can stick it out anywhere and still be happy to go to work each day - then you’re doing well! Then, because of the hard work of everyone in my team, we managed to all get a pay rise. It wasn’t much, and isn’t anything to shout from the rooftops about, but London life is pretty pricey, so every penny counts!This year has been an interesting one in terms of my health. I started the year feeling fit as a fiddle, without a care in the world. I was eating too much, drinking too much, and generally not taking care of my body. Then in the early summer I was hit with ongoing bouts of cystitis and kidney problems. Of course, it is very easy to assume that this was because of the normal reasons (google it if you’re unaware), but unfortunately that just wasn’t the case for me. I was getting more and more ill, and ended up crying in agony in front of doctors too many times to count. After a number of visits to A&E, NHS doctors and private consultants, I was told that I have an incurable hereditary kidney disorder which means that my body is susceptible to more infections than a normal person. Every time I get sick, it is more than likely to be because of something new, and the only cure for it is long term antibiotics. Only problem is, each infection needs different antibiotics, so it means that I am basically a human sample testing machine every time I am ill. So months after this debacle started I am now in a more stable position, and am feeling positive about my health moving forward. I have had to give up a lot (including two of my faves - wine and caffeine), I’ve had to switch up my lifestyle so I am not exhausting myself, I’ve had to change a lot of the products I used to avoid infections, and finally, I spend my life living with sample pots, antibiotics and water bottles in my bag everywhere I go - but I will take all of this if it means I’m not in pain, miserable, and missing out on life. I am so proud of myself for not giving up when times got tough, for persevering with tests and drugs and doctors appointments, and I am proud that I have managed to survive despite at one point feeling like there was no chance i’d ever get better.
My third achievement is something pretty general, but awesome all the same. In 2017 I met so many incredibly amazing new people and I am feeling very grateful. I met new friends, new bloggers, new colleagues and a new man, and it is very exciting to think back at all the awesome experiences I had with each and every one of these people. There’s no denying that a new romantic relationship makes a huge difference to your life, but I genuinely think the success of 2017 has been because of a combination of people who have all contributed to making the last 12 months incredible for me. I've met like-minded individuals who are not only interesting, but they are also interested, and that makes for an awesome time together. I'm learning from my boyfriend and friends all the time, and I feel like I am constantly developing as a person with the help of a fantastic support system around me. I am so thankful that I am able to meet new people on a daily basis, whether that is through work, at events, or through friends, and I hope that 2018 brings a lot more fascinating people in to my life.
The move into 2018 is literally just the clock moving from one minute to the next, so try not to put too much pressure on things. I didn’t ask for or plan for any of the points above, but I achieved them because I had an open mind and saw happiness as my number one priority. I’m not expecting miracles in 2018, but I am going to continue each day with as much positivity as I can muster up, and I am going to relish the opportunities that come my way. I’m not going to set goals, but I wish you all the luck in the world with whatever you want to achieve in the next 12 months, and I can’t wait to see how much we have all grown this time next year. 

Outfit - Polo neck, Jacket, Jeans, Shoes, Bag: all Primark

Friday, 15 December 2017

Are we all suffering from nomophobia?

Nomophobia - an anxiety disorder which stems from being out of cellular phone contact.

There’s no denying that phones are amazing. I remember getting my first Nokia when I was a kid and being totally blown away by it. Although I was under strict instructions that I could only use it to call people (and by ‘people’ my parents meant them, and them alone), I was still fascinated by how you could put a few numbers in and then someone else would pick up at the other end. Mind blowing magic as a child! Over the years phones have changed from providing us with phone calls, to text messages, to emails and BBM (remember that?), to pictures and internet, and then finally the thing we never knew we needed - social networking apps. I’m know I’m not the only one who has WhatsApp, Facebook (and Messenger), Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat and Skype on my phone, and I certain that I’m not the only one who checks these pretty much every day. It truly is unbelievable that we are all so busy and have so little time to do so many things in our lives yet our scrolling time is increasing year on year. It's addictive - each app catches ours and our friends interest and then we are hooked. Whether it’s looking at meme after meme on Facebook, or catching up on the latest news on twitter, we all use social media to consume information...but we also waste a lot of time on complete crap. I can’t be the only one getting frustrated that I don’t actually see anything my friends have put on Facebook because it’s jam packed with posts about things they had ‘liked’. Surely the whole Instagram community is pulling their hair out about the stupid algorithm which means we're seeing the same pictures over and over? And despite being so god damn irritated, I still go back...every scroll, scroll, scroll. Why do I do this to myself? I rely on my phone for so much - checking emails on the go, listening to some amazing podcasts, reading blog posts and articles from people I love - and it’s all part of my day to day life. There’s so many things I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for my phone, and how easy it is for me to get and share information. But at the same time, phones also really concern me. After looking at a screen all day at work, I make a conscious decision to stare at another screen in my spare time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’d be totally out of the loop if I didn’t have a bit of phone time, but I’m also realising that a lot of people (myself included) are rarely seen without a phone in hand, and it’s like it has become an extension of us that we never knew we needed. Some realisations: - I barely pick up the phone to call my loved ones, because there are so many other easier ways to communicate quickly and then move on with something else I’m doing.

- I take pictures of EVERYTHING, just because I can. With a swipe right on my phone I can be on my camera without even having to put my password in. I have thousands of pictures that I never do anything with, and probably only about 3 photo albums in my house with physical pictures in them - unlike my parents who still make so many. - I happily sit with my 3 housemates on the sofa and we ‘multi-task’ by watching tv, chatting and scrolling on our phones. It suits us because we want to hang out together, but also catch up on what we haven’t had the chance to look at during the day whilst in the office. But it always saddens me that this is the world we live in as I so often feel like i'm not fully present in a situation because i'm trying to do too many things at once. Do we really live in a time where we need to have 'mobile free nights' or leave our phones in our rooms for a bit so I fully embrace the time I spend with people? - I very often go for dinner with friends and phones are always on/never far from the table. Yes, this can be good because we can show things quickly, or look something up which will add to our conversation, but it always makes me think about the fact that people coped absolutely fine when they had to call their friend the next day to give them that restaurant suggestion or email the holiday pictures. - Are people actually listening? How many times do you think to yourself ‘Did they just hear what I said?’ - well for me, that is a lot. I’m sure I am just as guilty from time to time, but I am now so aware that so many people in my life are in a world of their own scrolling through rubbish online whilst I’m trying to have a conversation with them. The worst for me is when we are in public (which is just plain rude), as it makes me want to be doing something better with my time than talking to the equivalent of a brick wall. - I don’t sleep very well. I look at so many gadgets between when I wake up and go to sleep so it’s no surprise that I lie restless in bed for a while before eventually falling asleep. This is because screens reduce the amount of melatonin your body produces (the hormone that controls your sleep cycle), and your phone also makes your brain more alert and less relaxed because of the amount of information your consuming. Sleep is so precious - so why make myself so tired? We clearly all love our little gadgets, I know I couldn’t live without mine, but with all of the realisations above, it does make you think about the decisions you're making. It is clear that is our phones are making us far more sociable without having to leave our sofa, but they are also making us antisocial as we might not always be enjoying moments to the fullest. I'm not saying I’m going to ditch the gadgets and go back to writing letters, but I fear myself and a lot of people I know are on the verge of/already have nomophobia. How about we put down our phones whilst with friends? Arrange to meet up with someone instead of finding out about their life via WhatsApp or Facebook? Stop scrolling through Instagram when we realise we’ve seen the same thing more than twice? Just make a conscious effort to look up from our screens and live in the real world instead of through our amazing, but pesky phones. I know I will be. CTx

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Don't be afraid to re-invent yourself

When I say re-invent yourself, I don't mean going the fully whammy and dying your hair, getting rid of all your clothes and radically changing every aspect of your life (although totally fine if you want to do that). I'm more talking about the fact that you shouldn't be afraid to change who you are because of what people will think of you if you aren't the same old person you've always been. I have spoken to so many people in the last year about how damaging (and also amazing) old relationships of all types can be. On the one side you have people who know you through and through, and can support you with things that are reoccurring in your life. However, on the other hand it means that people have the same expectations of you, and they think of you as the same person you were when you were 10, 15, 20...when sometimes that just isn't always the case.
I have made a lot of changes to my life in the last few years, all for the better, and I wouldn't ever look back. As a result of this, i've grown up, and changed as a person - whether that is in my fashion sense, hair colour, make up style, or more personally in my attitude to life and the people around me -  there's no doubt about it, you can't always stay the same. I don't spend my time with some of the same people as I did 5 years ago, and there's nothing wrong with that. A lot of the time it isn't because it was some big conscious decision, but instead because we were friends through circumstance. I'm sure if I saw them now then things would be fine, but I doubt i'd go out of my way to arrange to make plans (however harsh that may sound). Life moves on, people change and move away, and there is literally nothing wrong with that. Sometimes friendships fade away, and as long as neither party is overly offended by that, then why are we spending so much time trying to force something that ultimately isn't making us happy? 
What I have realised is that I am at my happiest by having little pockets of friends in lots of different places, and some are old friendships and some are new. Variety is the spice of life after all! Each friendship offers something new, and I have no doubt that I am a slightly different person with each of them. I don't mean that I am being two faced or fake, but instead that I offer different qualities to all the relationships, and those people offer me something different to what I get from my other friends. Some people I hang out with like drinking and partying, whereas others don't. Some like art galleries and exhibitions, and others don't. Some like eating all the amazing food in London, whereas others like to exercise with me. How on earth can you be the same person all the time when what you like and dislike is changing on a daily basis? Let yourself be more than one person, and re-invent yourself from time to time if something new sparks an interest in you that you didn't know was there. You're not doing anything wrong by putting yourself out of your comfort zone, and by socialising with someone new or different. You're actually developing yourself, learning new things, exploring new places, and becoming a more well-rounded person by doing so. 
Don't get me wrong, the people who have been in my life for longer than a few years still mean the absolute world to me, but I would never want to put them in a box and only think of them in one way. They have changed, they have grown up, and although sometimes it may not work between you, more often than not, you realise that you're in it together. The best types of relationships are those where there is no pressure to see each other all the time, and that does not mean for one second that you care any less. It just means that you are respectful of each other's lives. We are all so bloody busy all the time, and we need to live our lives in a way that suits us best. Surround yourself with people who excite you, who fill your heart with warmth, and who bring you up when you're down. Whether you've known them a day, a month, a year or 10 years - it doesn't matter. You've re-invented yourself a number of times already, keep going - you never know who is waiting for you round the corner.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Taking some time for reflection

 Today's blog post is a bit of a strange one as I am writing this from an airplane. Obviously I'm not actually posting it from the air, but I'm writing down my thoughts in notes on my phone whilst on a 13 hour flight to Bali. I'm 6 hours in and although I've spent 2 hours of that watching a movie, the majority of this flight so far has been spent staring out of the window and thinking. 
The last few weeks in London have been so mad and I feel like I've hardly had any time for reflection. It's been so nice to just sit here for a couple of hours listening to music and thinking about all the time that has so quickly passed me by over the last few months to a year. I hate to be one of those people, but can you actually believe that we are almost at the end of the year already? How the hell did that happen? 
 A couple of months ago I got a little mindfulness book from my friend Cara for my birthday and it says so much about the benefits of taking time to clear your mind and reflect - as it provides you with more thoughtful decision making about things currently happening, but also provides closure for things that need to be left in the past. That could be something small like worrying over a piece of work that you felt you could have done better on, or something bigger like a disagreement with a friend or an old relationship break down. We need to all remember how important it is to do a post-situational analysis on things that happen in life in order to work out how we can learn from them. After all, each day comes with new lessons and mistakes, so if you don't take time to reflect on them then you're just going to move so quickly that you spiral out of control without a second thought.
It needs to be recognised that being an adult can be a daily struggle. We live in a world where there are so many pressures from every angle; whether that's financial, mental, dietary, career related...god the list goes on. If I am completely honest, I don't know how we all get out of bed in the morning and go to work with the amount of stuff hanging over our heads. It is tough because I know full well that the older generations think that 'millennials' always make out as if life is so difficult...but actually it bloody is! We are all often made to feel like being you isn't good enough because the moment you feel good about something, another thing comes by, hits you in the face and knocks you for six. 
I guess this post (/rant) is a little acknowledgement to everyone - because I need to tell you that I'm proud of you. Try and take some time out of your busy life to reflect on that fact that although things aren't perfect, and there are elements of your life that you'd probably like to're doing a bloody great job of keeping your head above water with the way things currently are. As strange as it sounds, I'm really glad that we all have our imperfect lives, because it means we are real, and we struggle with real problems which we each can learn from. They make you stronger as a person and allow you to go on to tackle life by kicking butt, and that is very inspiring.

Being up in the clouds for so long literally forces you to take a step back from everything, and I feel like mentally I have been so productive. I've thought about work, friends, money, relationships, food, music, clothes, my social much. My brain has been positively working out what I'm doing with my life, where I want to be, and how I'm going to get there. Although you probably won't be able to jump on a plane to do the same, why not grab a cup of tea, sit down and makes some notes about the things you want to reflect on? Let your brain do it, I promise you'll feel better afterwards.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Getting crafty with embroidery

I have been loving the embroidered trend that's been around for the last year, and I'm really glad to see that it has stayed around for so long through A/W last year and S/S this year. Stores have embroidered everything in sight and I think that it can add something really special to an minimal outfit. I am quite a big fan of a simple stylish look, so adding a pair of embroidered boots, or an embroidered bag can completely transform the look! One evening I was feeling adventurous and thought that I would see if I could recreate one of these amazing embroidered looks myself by getting a little crafty. 
 I spent hours googling how on earth I would do it and after quite a few youtube tutorials and pinterest board searches, I worked it out! The first stumbling block was that I didn't know what item of clothing I would want to do a DIY on....a skirt would look lovely, but I am quite particular about skirts so I didn't want to screw that one up; then I thought I could get a cheap clutch bag, but then I realised I couldn't be trusted ironing on to fake leather or fake suede. So I had a look through my wardrobe and realised that my go-to casual day outfit is a comfortable shirt, and I have been loving the simple fitted shirts appearing in every shop. 
As I own a couple of nice shirts already, I thought I would head to Primark to pick up a fairly inexpensive light blue one, in case I completely ruined it! I searched around the internet to try and find the perfect floral design, and eventually bought a patch from eBay for a couple of pounds. I got the iron out to stick the design on with some webbing from Poundland and I was amazed that it only a couple of minutes to do. You cut the webbing out and place it on the back of areas you want to stick down, not forgetting to get bits in to the corners where it may become undone through wearing it.
I was so pleased with the result of my crafty afternoon, so I filmed a little OOTD video whilst out in Kensington to show it off. Let me know what you think! 
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