Monday, 25 September 2017 / London, UK

#BloggersFestival: My First Blogger Event


So, on Saturday, I attended my first ever bloggers event which took place in Conrad London St. James (a really gorgeous hotel) and was organised by the lovely Scarlett from Scarlett London! I'd love to say a massive thank you to Scarlett and her team for making the day run so smoothly and for giving a blogger new to this side of the industry such an enjoyable and relaxed experience! I really would recommend any blogger who is a bit apprehensive about attending a bloggers event to do it! I had the best time and met some really great new blogger friends (which means more great content I can read) and also people you can talk about your passion with that understand it.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived... I signed my name off the list and headed straight for the table with champagne (of course) so I wasn't just standing on my own being awkward. There were lot's of people in groups waiting to go in but also people who had come on their own, like me, so it really was a mixture and don't let arriving on your own put you off. If anything, it forced me to approach and talk to people which is great for me because I love meeting new people!


Once we were let into the main rooms, it wasn't long before I got chatting to two lovely ladies, Rhianna and Hannah who were also new to the whole concept of 'bloggers events' and had come on their own too! We went round and met all the great brands that were showcasing their stuff together and I can honestly say I met two lovely new friends!

It was such a nice, relaxed environment and was so great to be able to mingle and chat to people with the same interest as me. It was so nice to be able to talk to people that blogged as well because they just understood it. I've never really spoken in person to a fellow blogger so that was really refreshing!


There were some really great brands there and it was so nice to be able to chat with their representatives to see how we could work together to allow you to get the most out of their products. Some of my favourites, which I am planning to go into more detail about at a later date, were:

I am absolutely obsessed with the gorgeous jewellery boxes and storage from Stackers!
 

Something I really love about their products is the colours. Oh my, the colours are all so beautiful. They've stuck to neutral tones with lots of nudes, blushes, greys and (of course) white marble which are all colours I love. They were kind enough to gift me the Grey Cone Jewellery Peak which sits so perfectly in my white and grey room (eek, I love it so much!) 

I will be doing a more in-depth post about why I love Stackers so much so keep your eyes peeled for that one!

Of course, as soon as I saw Trilogy were there I knew I had to go and speak to them. As I'm sure you're well aware, I suffer from acne, eczema and dry skin and can only really use 100% natural ingredients on my skin. This is why Triology is so great because they are 100% natural!

I have written about how I use natural oils before and I'm really excited to review some of Trilogy's products so you can hear more about how they work with my problem skin.
 

I really did have such a great time at the Bloggers Festival and I am definitely going to be going to more events by Scarlett because I thoroughly enjoyed myself  meeting new people that shared some of my passions. If you're interested in going along to the next event, make sure to follow Scarlett on Twitter as that's where she posts updates!

I can't wait for the next one!
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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Shoreditch, London

Shoreditch London Tattoo ManShoreditch London People
Shoreditch London Generations
Shoreditch London Photography
Shoreditch London Urban Photography
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Thursday, 21 September 2017

23 Things That 23 Years Has Taught Me


So, I turned 23 today and it feels so weird to me that I'm that age already! It doesn't seem 5 minutes ago since I viewed people that were 20+ as fully fledged adults who should have a house and family... um, I think I'd set my sights a bit too high as I'm having way too much time enjoying the freedom being 23 brings!

I'd like to say I've learned quite a lot in my 23 years on this earth as I've made plenty of mistakes to learn from and feel like I'm surrounded by a lot of wise people! So, here is 23 things I have learned in my 23 years being alive:

1. Never say no to opportunities.
2. Make as many mistakes as you like as long as you learn from them!
3. You'll only know you hadn't met the right person until you meet the right person.
4. Feeling homesick at a sleepover? Eventually, you'll move to a whole different city and cope just fine without seeing your mum and dad every day.
5. Family is everything.
6. Don't worry about what people think, do what makes you happy.
7. Things will always work themselves out for the better but you will have to struggle to get there.
8. Drink lot's of water - it seems to cure everything!
9. Always read the question properly and don't overthink it (I owe this one to you, dad)!
10. If you mix your drinks you will be sick.
11. If you like something that's different to popular opinion, never be ashamed to admit it.
12. You'll meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with when you stop worrying about not finding them and stop looking.
13. A problem shared is a problem halved - don't stop talking about your problems and listening to other people's.
14. Contrary to popular opinion, education isn't everything - experience is.
15. However, your mind will be opened the most by the different people you meet at university.
16. No matter how old you get - if someone messes with your little sister you will want to kill them.
17. It's OK not to have 50 best friends, find the loyal ones that will be there forever.
18. Change is a good thing so embrace it!
19. There is no point in driving like Jenson Button everywhere - it's dangerous, you'll waste fuel and you'll only get to where you need to be about 10 seconds quicker.
20. You will get excited when people buy you household items for your birthday... like copper measuring cups and a pink blender!
21. Smile at random people in the street, it can only make both your days a little brighter.
22. Be humble and treat everyone with kindness.
23. Today is here, yesterday is dead, tomorrow is yet to come - remember that (my lovely grandad's words of wisdom). 

Please share your your favourite words of wisdom in the comments below as I'd love to hear them!
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Monday, 18 September 2017 / The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, UK

What It's Like To Be A Twenty-Something-Year-Old Woman In 2017


Disclaimer before I begin: I do not want this to be a post categorised as feminist. It's merely a light-hearted outlook on just a few things I've been thinking about lately and I haven't constructed it thoughtfully enough to address such a complex topic.

Something you probably don't know about me is that I played football for around 10 years... (this does relate, I promise). Anyway, Tom and I were just generally talking about football and how boys/men tend to lay on the floor for like 5 minutes if they get tackled and then jump up (most of the time they're fine) after they have had some 'magic spray' sprayed onto them by the medic guy. You've all seen it. They all do it!

I told him how when I played football, no girl would do that unless they were seriously injured. There was no rolling around on the floor dramatically, we all just got up and carried on running. I know, personally, I just carried on because I wouldn't want to be thought of as a 'weak little girl'.

This was the same when I was just having a kick about in the park with boys. If a boy missed the goal by a mile or kicked the ball badly, that's all it was. A bad hit. If I did it, they'd give me this certain look that I can't explain but made me feel like 'they think I hit it badly because I'm a girl'. This made me extra aware to make every shot and every pass perfect.

I had something to prove.

I feel like this analogy has stuck with me as a twenty-something-year-old woman as I do feel the pressure to prove to myself and others that I can do whatever I have set out to do. I can only speak for myself but it seems to me that a lot of men I come into contact with seem to have grown up with a quiet confidence that they can do anything they want to. Maybe because they've never had to prove themselves. They know they can do it and if they make a mistake, that's fine, it's just a mistake! 

But then there's us. The twenty-something-year-old woman that is constantly striving for perfection whether that's the 'self' that we portray through social media, our bodies, our makeup, our relationships, our houses... the list could go on!

Your twenties are a time for you to really find yourself but it's so hard to do that without worrying that you're not doing it right or like other people. It's so easy, being a young woman in the current climate, to constantly watch what everyone else is doing as a guideline for how you should be living your life. 

 It is impossible to live up to what everyone else is doing, though! How can you be travelling the world like one person, buying a home like that other one, having a baby like the other and going on 50 holidays a year like the other. You can't.

I feel like as young women we feel like we have to be doing everything to prove we're on track. It's like the football analogy. If something knocks us down, we get straight back up to show to everyone that everything is good. We don't want that image of ourselves that we've constructed to falter at all. This means every choice we make has to be perfect.

What I'm trying to say is being a twenty-something-year-old woman in 2017 is tiring. You're constantly seeing what you 'should' be doing without really stepping back and figuring out who you are and what you are destined for. Our twenties are meant to be freeing. We're adults, we can do what we want but most of us don't yet have the responsibility of a family etc. We can up and move jobs, houses, cities. We can travel, explore, start a family if we're ready. 

As twenty-something-year-old women with a lot more privileges than those in generations before us, we need to start embracing this time and using it to find out who we are. More importantly, we need to relax and just go with the flow because we'll never get these years again!

What I'd like you as a fellow twenty-something-year-old woman to take from this blog post? Stop feeling like you have to prove yourself. Enjoy your twenties and use it as the years to (ready for the cliche) find you. Stop feeling like you can't make a mistake in life - you can. In fact, the more mistakes you make, the better! With trying, failing and succeeding comes resilience and also empathy for other people that might be doing the same. It can only make you happier within yourself and more accepting of others.

So, let's start embracing our twenties because they are, arguably, the best years of our lives!

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Friday, 15 September 2017

15 Reasons Why Having A Sister Is The Best

 
The inspiration for this blog post is a bit of a weird one... after (almost, my birthday is on Thursday) 23 years being alive, today was the first day I properly realised that my blue eyes weren't fully blue but had these weird green splodges in them (they don't look as bad as they sound, I promise). Anyway, after realising this of course the first thing I did is Snapchat my fam showing them of my new discovery...

My sister answered with "Yeah, Liv, I've known that my whole life! I thought you knew it too!" and that's when I was inspired to write a blog post dedicated to reasons why I love having and being a sister because no one will truly know you like your sissy does!

1. The private jokes.
On Christmas, my sister and I aren't allowed to be on a team in any game that involves guessing a word (like Articulate or Pictionary etc) because we have so many private jokes that we can say one random thing and the other one will get it. For example, my sister once said "The one on the left" and I answered "Brooke" and we got the point... yeah we smash it every time!
 
2. Constant hand-me-downs.
When you're having a clear out of clothes, your sister is the first one that gets to rifle through the bin bags - no questions asked!

3. You can trick people on the phone.
My sister and I have identical voices so when someone would ring and I picked up the phone as 'Amy' I had hours of fun chatting shit and making the person on the other end think she was crazy (fun times).

4. Sometimes you just need advice from your sister.
There are certain things you won't want to go to your mum and dad to and your sister is the best person to answer those questions or talk through a situation with without judging you.

5. You've got a constant bodyguard.
This applies more for the younger sister but I know that as much as I teased my sister growing up, if anyone else was mean ever mean to her 'bodyguard Liv' would be on the case!
 

6. Your sister has seen you at your best... and your worst
Your sister will remember every cringy part of your life and, often, she's been part of the cringy action!
 

7. You can be fully yourself.
My sister definitely takes this to extremes as she is so comfortable around me that I can be mid conversation and she'll tell me to get out of her room if she's had enough of my company!

8. In an argument with other people, you're always on the same team.
There's nothing better than having your sister there when you're coming up against someone in an argument. You can always bet she'll be there to back you up and you're a formidable force when you're together!

9. She understands your crazy family!
How amazing is it to have someone that has been brought up in the exact same family as you? She shares the same memories and is attached to the same people so there's no better person to understand your point of view!

10. You can say what you want to each other, you'll be best friends again before you know it.
Because she's your sister and you know her inside out, you know exactly what's going to hurt them the most but because your sisters, both of you can say the lowest blows and get away with it!

11. Holidays and visiting your parent's friends were always fine because you had your sister.
I may be biased, but having a sister growing up is the best thing ever because you always have a friend wherever you are.
 

12. When bitching with your sister, you can say what you like about people and know it won't go any further!
Honestly, you're not going to break the trust of your sister! If I've ever wanted to vent about someone, my sister is the first person who I would go to. Not only would she never tell the person, she'd always agree and we would end up having the best time being outrageously out of line (always with the comfort that it wouldn't go any further)! Sometimes you just need a good vent!

13. She's honest.
Ever want an honest opinion about an outfit or a boyfriend? Your sister won't hold back in telling you the blatant truth! That's what sisters are for... aren't they?

14. Ran out of something? Your sister's room is a goldmine!
We all do it, if you've ran out of shampoo or deodorant, you will always nick some from your sister (just remember to put it back exactly how you found it)!

15. You'll never have a friend like her.
I don't care what you say, if you acted exactly how you do with your sister with any other person - they wouldn't be your friend for long... That's why, nothing beats having and being a sister!
If you have a sister and can give me more reasons why it's so great, please share them as I would loveeeee to hear them!




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Monday, 11 September 2017

Why Polaroids Are Scary AF

 
 

So, it's time to get honest with you (we all know I love a good 'honest' blog post)... A few months ago now I bought a Fujifilm Instax Polaroid camera and, as much as I love it, it's really made me think about a few things.

 The film is really expensive (about £1 per photo) and so I really don't want to waste them on any old thing. This is good because it really makes you think about what you want the photo to look like instead of snapping away and just deleting but...

It's really freakin' scary!

 Born in 1994, I am from that weird middle-of-the-road generation when it comes to technology. I just about remember dial up internet but I can't really remember not using computers in school. My childhood photos are all taken on disposable cameras but by the time I had hit my teenage years I had a phone that could take (grainy) photos and my dad had a DSLR camera (which I did break by falling over and smashing it against a wall during a photo shoot with my sister in which I dressed her up in a long pearl necklace and dodgy lip gloss)...so you can kind of work out my relationship with social media etc.

If you can't, basically, I had a Piczo and then a Bebo which meant (in another one of these weird staged photo shoots) dressing up in my 'best clothes' with make up on and taking loads of awkward duck face photos... or that pose where you do a V shape under your chin (you all know the one). I would then put them through a vigorous editing process of 'grained', 'sepia', 'negative' or 'black and white' if you want to be a bit classy. My life seemed to revolve around whose 'top 5' I was in and who was my 'other half' and I lived for people requesting to 'own' my selfies...

However cringy all this is to us in this generation now, the point is we have been used to picking the 'best photo' and putting it through an editing process. Our virtual popularity much out-weighed how we were viewed in real life (or how we treated others). We didn't have to confront things in person, we could do it all on MSN and before we knew it, we had forgotten what real life was.

So, like many other people my age, I've been drawn to the idea of Polaroid photos and I have a strong feeling that this could be a reason why. My generation seems to be yearning for simplicity again (I'm sure you know at least a few people who have bought vintage record players). It was only after I purchased my Fujifilm Instax and had to shake it like a Polaroid picture (who sang that in their head?) that I was aware of a strange wave of anxiety that had come over me.

I couldn't control what I looked like in this photo. I couldn't edit it! This photo is going to be the real me. The 'authentic' me and there's nothing I can do about it!

I've spoken about the truth behind my Instagram photos before and I understand that one huge thing my generation faces is the pressure to be perfect... to be an edited version of ourselves. So why do I feel so anxious when being faced with the raw, authentic truth of what I really look like when I am working really hard to create an honest, authentic representation of myself online (hense the name, lol). 

Am I a fraud?

It's such a strange cycle we're in and I know so many people (like me) who are desperate to break out of it. The problem is, I can't see it happening any time soon. I know I, and lots of other people have highlighted the problem with our generation and how we feel like we need to create a perfect facade of ourselves on social media. I just think it's such a difficult cycle to break out of. As long people are posting an edited, superficial version of themselves we will feel pressure to emulate that. So, feeling the pressure we do the same and so the cycle repeats.

I don't necessarily think I should feel guilty for that. Maybe the first step is being honest about how we're feeling and when a photo has been edited (although it is also easy to tell!)

Polaroids are so much fun and it's really nice to actually have to think artistically about what I want it to look like before I take a photo on my Fujifilm Instax. I guess that's the first step in moving away from this super clean, edited portrayal of ourselves. Small steps are better than no steps at all!

I'd love to hear if any of you have any tips in releasing the pressure to be perfect on social media or if you know of any influencers that are really good advocates for this. Not only would I love to be inspired by them, I'll probably write a blog post soon about my favourite body-confident content creators and it'd be great to get some new ones for that list!

Thank yaaaa, Olivia x


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Wednesday, 6 September 2017 / Cambridge, UK

Paleo Twix Recipe



Since converting to a paleo based diet, I am always on the hunt for new baking recipes so when I found the recipe for these paleo twix bars I knew I had to try them!

I always find baking with natural ingredients really different to normal baking and I'm still learning on what ingredients have what consistency and how they work together (or don't work together). This is why I don't hold my breath when I try a new paleo baking recipe for the first time...

However, I can honestly say, these are amazing! They are so, so easy to make (they literally consist of a few repeated ingredients) and so yummy! I can honestly say I would pick these over 'naughty' home bakes any day. Not only do I love them, literally everyone I've given them to (paleo and non-paleo eaters) love them too!

Apart from baking the biscuit base in the oven, there is no more baking involved! Say goodbye to standing over a hob with your bubbling caramel guessing if it's going to come out sloppy or rock solid, the caramel in these paleo twix bars literally just hardens and cools to the perfect consistency. Also, the 'chocolate' isn't even chocolate but made from cacao powder which is full of vitamins and good things for your body... but it tastes like chocolate! Win, win? Definitely!

I have slightly altered Jay's recipe by doubling the ingredients for the caramel and chocolate just because I much prefer those over the biscuit base and I felt I needed a little more of them!

I urge you to try this recipe, you won't regret it! 

Paleo Twix Recipe

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Doing What's Right For Us










how to make a life decision together as a young couple

  OK, where do I start? Firstly, I feel like today is the day that I have finally managed to take a moment, breathe and really reflect on the change in 'life circumstances' for me and Tom...

We've moved back in with my parents. Tom started his new job today and I literally felt like a mum dropping her child off for their first day of school when I watched him go in! I am looking for work and things are looking positive! I have a few interviews lined up so, hopefully, something good will come out of that!

It's hard to make a decision that's right for both of you and something we've got quite good at. I like to think that we both take each other's feelings into consideration and really do whats right for us as a couple, not just one individual.

I'm not going to lie, we both thought we'd have a fair few more years in Nottingham and had even started to prepare ourselves for staying there forever. I loved my job, we loved our flat and we loved the city but for the last few months, we weren't happy.

A massive reason was how much Tom wasn't enjoying his job. Most days, he would leave at 4am and get back at 8pm or be staying away for nights. He wasn't even doing a job he enjoyed which made it worse. His unhappiness made me unhappy and we weren't even able to barely see each other! Our flat tenancy was coming to an end and I hadn't yet signed my contract for another year working for Nottingham Trent...

So, we had a decision to make.

We listed the pros and cons and I honestly changed my mind on the decision every hour for a good month. In the end, we knew that moving back to Cambridgeshire, my home, was for the best.

I don't want to dwell too much on the things we left behind - my job being the biggest loss. Instead, we've both decided to look forward and at the positive aspects of our decision. I'm so happy to be back with friends and family and, really, it does feel right. Tom's so excited to be able to join the local football team and start playing again and we can actually save for a house now instead of renting which is a huge bonus.

We are just really excited to start the next chapter of our lives together and I'm hoping that it will be a positive one!

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Friday, 1 September 2017 / Cambridge, UK

What I Wish I'd Known Before Starting A Blog

how to start a blog

When I wrote my first blog post I had that feeling you get when you start a new exercise book in school... I wanted my first blog post to be amazing and, more importantly, I wanted it to look perfect. Looking back now, it really didn't matter so much about what my first blog post was!

 I found this out after I'd started blogging. I read lots of blog posts about how to 'gain readers' and 'grow your blog' and what I learned from them? I just needed to stick with blogging and write. A lot.

Another thing I remember seeing a lot is to  make sure you 'sincerely' comment on other people's blog posts. This is something that seems to have died down recently as people seem to comment on the link through social media if they particularly liked a blog post. I know I do!

WOW, I have learned so much more since then and I feel like I am still constantly learning (which is something I actually really like about blogging). Trends are forever changing, technology is forever changing and what people want to read is forever changing.

 The tips I picked up on when I first started blogging seem pretty outdated now which is what led me to start exploring new ways to get people actually reading my content.

So, as a pretty novice blogger in the blogosphere, what do I wish I had known before I started blogging?

Stock Images
Taking photos that didn't look like I'd taken them on my Gran's house phone is something I really battled with when I started my blog. Really, they were shit. To be fair to me, though, it does take time to learn how to take good blog photos and I know that lots of other bloggers say they cringe when they look at their first photos!

 I just couldn't understand how bloggers were able to churn out such amazing photos all the time... then I found websites with stunning free images on and my life was saved! There are some amazing websites out there with photos that you are actually allowed to steal. They're a quick and easy way if you don't have time to take great photos.

How Time Consuming It Is
Thinking of things to write about let alone actually writing the blog post takes up a lot of time. Not only does thinking of the ideas and writing them down take time, it takes ages for Google to pick up that you're a reputable source and start ranking you higher so people can actually find your blog organically. It also, obviously, takes ages to actually get enough content that people can spend a lot of time on your blog.

Also, as amazing as Stock Images are, you can't solely rely on them. It's important to also offer new images and getting those top quality photos is time consuming.

Phew!

How To Optimise My Blog For Search Engines
I've only just started learning about how to actually do this and my eyes have just been opened to all the features I can actually make use of in Blogger...

When I know more about what I'm doing, I'll definitely write a blog post about so stay tuned!

How Much Money I'd Spend On The 'Perfect Theme'
Confession time! I have been guilty of spending way too much money buying different themes for my blog. Simply, I get bored of 'a look'. Whether that's my hair, my style, my room interior or my blog, I like change. I am honestly like a magpie, if I see something shiny and different, that's what I want my blog to look like.

With changing the design and theme of my blog obviously comes extra expense. I guess it's something that's unavoidable though. I needed to make style and content mistakes to actually work out what I wanted my little space on the internet to actually reflect and if that means a couple of wrong blog themes - so be it!

How Many People Would Actually Read It
I really did start my blog because I love writing and it seemed an obvious move for me when I decided I wanted a career in creating content. Writing the blog and putting it out there didn't worry me at all because I honestly didn't think anyone would really read it!

It was when I went through a bit of writer's block and I'd say a bit of a 'blogger breakdown' with what type of content I wanted to produce that I was actually aware that people do read what I write. Lot's of people (strangely, a few people that I didn't think would want to read it) asked me when I was starting writing my blog again. That support honestly did spur me on to push past that writer's block and carry on blogging! Also, it really does make sharing my blog feel a lot more worthwhile!

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