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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Inspired: How I Use Pinterest

As a creative person, I need to have a constant flow of inspiration. Sometimes inspiration throws itself at me if I'm particularly conscious of what's happening around me but other times I have to actively search for it. 

It's been said that no idea is ever original but just a tweaked version of an idea by somebody else. It's the stamp that you put on a concept that makes it unique. 

When I first started writing, I thought that I had to come up with an idea or a concept that hadn't even been touched by anyone else. After beating myself up that I couldn't do it, I soon realised that it was impossible and that piece of advice always helped me move out of Writer's Block.

One of my biggest (actually, I think it is the biggest) sources of inspiration for literally everything is Pinterest and below are a few of the photos that are inspiring different parts of my life.

Collage of photos from my Pinterest

1. White Lace
Other than being obsessed with white at the moment (more about that later) I'm really enjoying wearing lace. It's so delicate and can make any outfit look just that little bit more feminine.

2. Short Hair
This was actually one of the photos that inspired my haircut. I am one of these people that see's a style looking good on someone else and then rushes out to do it without thinking it through. Some may say impulsive, I say inspired.

3. Vintage Light Leak
Simply, I'm obsessed with the light leak effect in Afterlight. It looks cool.

4. Photography
Whenever I see a cool photo on Pinterest, I want to grab my camera.

5. Simplicity
Like I said, I'm enjoying the colour white a lot recently. I love the clean, untouched simplicity of it. If I had my way, I would have my whole house and wardrobe white!

6. Messy Hair
I'm using Pinterest a lot for inspiration on how to get that messy, 'I-just-rolled-out-of-bed' look.

7. Portraits
Oh my God, I just love looking at portraits. I often use them to inspire characters in my writing and I just love people, I love to I imagine what they are like, who their family are, where they live, their experiences. Strange, I know.

8. Style
I Pinterest a lot for style inspiration. At the moment, I'm loving the tomboy with a dash of feminine vibe.

9. Holiday Wardrobe
I was on Pinterest constantly before my holiday trying to get inspiration for what I could wear.

If you're interested in checking my Pinterest out and following some of my boards, click below and (hopefully) get inspired:

As this post is all about inspiration, thank you Marianna for inspiring me after I read your post Inspired Right Now!

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Liebster Award: Q&A

Hello lovely people,
This is a bit of a different one for me and a change from my recent 'emotional out-pour' blog posts because I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Chloe from My Crazy Beauty Journey. So, in following the rules, I'm going to answer the list of questions that she sent my way! Here goes...

1) Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because I love writing! Anything that allows me to write regularly, help others and incorporate photography and design along the way is perfect for me so blogging was a no-brainer, really.

2) Lipstick or Lipgloss?
Lipstick but liquid lipstick! Or lipliner... if I'm allowed that as well? I much prefer the matte look.

3) Who inspires you?
Public figures? Maya Angelou and J.K Rowling... Personally? My Grandad has inspired me in story telling and writing.

4) What’s your go to outfit?
 At the moment, ripped jeans/dungarees, a t-shirt/sweatshirt and chunky sandals! I can't shut my drawers and my wardrobe is bulging but I can never find anything to wear... does anyone else have this prob?!

5) What’s your favourite place that you’ve visited?
 This is really hard as I don't think I've ever been anywhere that's really taken my breath away (this is on my list of things to do in my life and I can't wait!) So, I'd have to say Amsterdam, I think! I loved the chilled out vibe and I do love a good city, definitely worth a visit!

6) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pizza! If it wouldn't make me fat and give me constant stomach cramps... Realistically, perhaps some sort of fish and vegetable combo which I pretty much eat every day anyway! (Wild, I know)

7) Netflix or YouTube?

8) What’s your dream job?
You've probably guessed it - a writer.

9) What’s your favourite T.V. show?
Hmm, I'm not a massive watcher of 'T.V shows' as I tend to watch YouTube, films or one off series.... A few of my favourites have been Skins, This is England and (guilty pleasures), Made in Chelsea and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

10) Where do you see yourself in five years?
 I see myself with Tom (I have no idea where, hopefully in Nottingham) in a house that we've bought... I'd love to be in the same job I am now or even have moved freelance if I dare!

11) What’s your favourite thing about blogging?
I love having my blog as an emotional and creative outlet. I'm a very deep person and can't keep it all to myself as I'd drive myself crazy. I also love that other people can maybe benefit from reading my experiences.

Now, here are my nominations for the award...

1. Dion Diane 
2. Elle Belle's Notebook 
3. Through The Mirror 
4. Jess Who 
5.  SGX
5. Don't Faff
6. Life As Tilly Rose
7. Jenny Of Wonderland
8. Call Me Caz

...and here are your questions, girls:

1. What is your number one 'blogging tip' for people starting out?

2. Which social media platform is your favourite and why?
3. If you could be called a different name, what would it be?
4. What's your favourite piece in your wardrobe right now?
5. What made you start your blog?
6. Do you have any regrets?
7. What is your favourite song of all time?
8. Blogger or Wordpress?
9. Where do you find your inspiration for your content?
10. What skills have you learnt through blogging?
11. If you could live in one place in the world, where would it be?

I look forward to reading your answers and remember to pass it on to your favourite blogs too! Let's keep the chain going and get more people's blogs out there!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Life With Acne

Having a skin condition is irritating in every sense of the word. They're often sore, itchy and hard to get rid of. What happens when that skin condition is on your face, though? Your face is covered in painful cysts that are impossible to hide and take ages to shrink. When they finally do shrink they're never truly gone and you're presented with a dark blemish that makes it look like it's still there. Going to bed and waking up everyday is a demoralising experience. After slathering different topical creams on, praying that this is the thing that will work, you wake up the next day to find more cysts have appeared or you've irritated the ones you've already got and you've made them angry. Angry acne is not fun. I've been brought to tears by the pain of it and also how it looks. You feel ugly all the time. You feel like people are only staring at your acne and you're super aware of their eyes flitting down to it when they're talking to you. It starts to feel like your acne defines you.

I've had cystic acne that flares up and down since I was about sixteen/seventeen. As my peers were starting to suffer from bouts of acne during when we hit puberty, I was blessed with clear skin. I didn't need to worry or even think about my skin. It was when everyone else's hormonal symptoms started to calm that my face seemed to explode over night.

I tried over-the-counter products, steroid creams, antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, coming off the contraceptive pill, stronger antibiotics, more steroid creams until I finally accepted that nothing would work.

My acne is strange. Sometimes I can cover the blemishes and no one would know I had it. Sometimes my chin area is so inflamed that there's no way I could ever consider hiding the bumps. Sometimes the sun and sea salt on holiday works its magic and it disappears for a few weeks. Sometimes I get stressed and that stress seems to bubble up (literally) and parade itself on my face worse than ever.

I've had years to know what works and what doesn't, what makes it inflamed but one thing I haven't been able to figure out is how to get rid of it for good. My acne is manageable at times but other times, it is completely out of control. I have started to see a pattern, though, and for me, it seems to be stress related. 

Having a condition so obvious as acne that rears it's ugly head the most when you're stressed is one of the most frustrating and soul destroying things. I'm already stressed so seeing my face explode into acne only makes me more stressed and so the cycle begins.

Right now, I'm at a place where I'm deciding whether to go on the drug Accutane or Roaccutane or muddle along life with it as I've always done. How the drug works is it basically dries your body from the inside so, in most cases, this dries the acne out. It's only given to the most severe or persistent cases and it's well known for its (sometimes) drastic side effects but amazing results.

Honestly, the side effects scare the hell out of me. I already have dry skin and suffer from eczema so it's a given that I will be covered in dry skin and eczema whilst on it. Many people have reported severely cracked lips that you just can't get rid of. You can't drink alcohol as the drug works in your liver and mixed together it can attack your liver extremely dangerously. If you happen to fall pregnant, there's an 100% chance your baby will be disabled so you have to take a pregnancy test at the Drs every month. You have to be on double contraception. You have to go for blood tests and check ups at least once a month. You can't be in the sun light for too long but, most scary of all, you can develop mental health problems such as depression.

You're probably thinking, why on earth would you go on this drug?! I just think that shows how hard acne can be to live with. I'm in the dilemma of a deal with a few dodgy side effects for 6 months or possibly deal with acne for the rest of your life. I have my consultation in August and I'm glad I have a bit longer to decide. It's a massive decision and one that could essentially change my life. 

If I do decide to go on it, I plan to keep a diary/video diary about my side effects as I've found watching and reading other people's experiences so helpful. I would also love to hear if anyone else has been on it/thinking about going on it/or has any experiences with acne that they would like to share!

In the meantime, I'll keep you all updated on what I decide and I hope this has helped or resonated with at least one other person as I know acne is such a common yet still slightly misunderstood condition to have!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Holiday Photo Diary

Not forgetting, we had Tom's Go Pro and had so much fun with it! You can see our footage below.


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A Letter To My Thirteen-Year-Old Self

Dear Olivia,

You're deeply emotional. You always have been and always will be. You worry about tiny things and over think them until they seem so huge that nothing else matters. They do. I can assure you, half of the things you're stressing about now, you won't even remember in a few years.

You know how you play up in class with your friends? You won't stop doing it no matter how many detentions and phone calls home you get. You will have a colourful time at school but it will sometimes at the expense of adults that just want to help you, remember that. You will scrape through most of your GCSEs and A Levels, ace English (against all odds) and only really start to care about education when you get to university.

(You do get a degree in English, by the way. Even though that would mean nothing to you right now... do you even know what a degree is?)
 Friends will come and go so don't worry about being in the 'in crowd' so much. You will always be sociable which promises lots of fun times in the future. Getting drunk on Frosty Jacks in the park will soon be a distant memory and replaced with a 'quiet one' in Spoons. 

You won't even remember 'who was going out with who' in a few years... it'll even be hazy who your boyfriend was! You'll find sex is better when you love the person but you will have to kiss a few frogs to find out who that person is. He does come, though, so stop thinking so much about it and let it happen how and when it should!

You won't always live in March. I know you can't imagine anything different but you will be working and living in a different city... through your own choice! You think you've got a lot to worry about now, wait until you have to pay bills and it's not acceptable to be late in every morning.

It won't be long until you'll be able to admit that as much as you love Ne-Yo and Akon, you also enjoy listening to Bowie and Blur in the car. In fact, you'll follow many different trends to fit in and those short dresses and massive heels you wear in a year or so? Don't say I didn't warn you!

You hate your body now? That doesn't change. You'll starve yourself for many years and listen to no-one until you and only you realise it's unhealthy. Unfortunately, it will always be a battle for you. 

 Get ready for a turbulent relationship with your family over the next few years, you're going to be an absolute nightmare! Although you'll argue a lot, your parents do stay pretty cool, never restrict you and let you make your own mistakes. Just know that you will stay best friends and will love spending time with them soon.

Your hair will go through every shade in the rainbow and it will take a while for you to realise it's better to leave it or save up and pay for a real hairdresser to do it. Those girls you look at in Vogue? They're not real, that's why they don't look quite the same when you and your friend try to recreate them in your bedroom (yes, I know you do that)! You better think yourself lucky you're not growing up in the Instagram generation and can keep them to yourself.

I know you try not to think of the future but it's such a positive one. You'll find a sense of peace within yourself when leaving the confinements of school and you'll thrive off your own motivation. You'll work hard in every job you have (you do listen to Dad on that one) and you'll have built a few strong relationships with people that will always be there for you.
It's hard to see at 13 that you have your whole life ahead of you but, as you get older, it's easier to slow down and look forward to what's yet to come instead of dread it. Enjoy being young, learn from your mistakes and just know that it does get better.

It's 10 years on, you're nearly 23 and you're happy, Olivia.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Why Everyone Should Go Short For 2017

"I just want a little bit off, like how I had here... I don't want anything drastic..."

"But if I cut it where you're saying, it will be in the danger zone and you don't want that!"

"What's the danger zone?"

"It's where it sits on your shoulder. It will just flick out, especially with your hair texture! Honestly, hairdressers are told to never cut hair anywhere between these lengths."

She points between the bottom of my chin and my shoulder.

"Well take a little bit off and I'll see how I like it."

She chops just under the nape of my neck. My hair had gone. She'd cut all my hair off! I was bald. I daren't look on the floor.

"Oh, all your blonde has been cut out now, we'll have to book another appointment to put it back in... I liked it! Or, because you're quite edgy with your piercings, I'd love to try a lilac!"

I didn't realise that I was a bloody girl's world! Are you forgetting that this is my head and I have to walk around with this bob from hell now? Oh, and where do you expect me to pull all this money from? I can't even afford a full price trim in your salon let alone pay for every colour of the rainbow when you fancy it!

"Yeah, that sounds nice."


After she decided to curl my hair and make me look like Shirley Temple

Image result for shirley temple

I rushed home and cried into the mirror clutching the stumps of hair that I had left like a dramatic, vein little child!

I will cut myself a little bit of slack, though. I'd had a tough few weeks and you know how that one pathetic, insignificant-to-other-horrific-things-that-are-happening-in-the-world thing always seems to tip you over the edge? This was mine.

Now, there is a positive moral to this ordeal that I'm sure everyone who has been to a hairdressers can relate to... I got used to it. 

I've actually started to like it! 

It's grown out a little bit already (my mum did remind me multiple times that my hair grows very quickly), I've had lots of nice compliments (although I'm pretty certain it's because I've told everyone that asks how much I hate it) but. more importantly, it's good to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

In a weird way, it was quite cathartic to get rid of my hair. I said goodbye to the bits of blonde I had left and I am literally back to my natural colour again. My hair is as natural and authentic as it possibly can be and I'm quite happy about that.

My hair has always been a strange emotional outlet for me but as I cut, dyed, frazzled and bleached it to an inch of it's life I was never happy.

I could say I've struggled with a negative self image more than the average person and now I'm an adult, it's quite nice to take all I've learnt from my tumultuous teenage years and start being comfortable in my own skin again.

So, thanks random hairdresser for actually not listening to me although I probably won't be visiting you again (I dread to think what she'd do next time)!