Sunday, 22 October 2017

Insecurities & Social Media Pressure


On Thursday I did a big thing (for me) by vlogging with no make up on. Having acne and scars is something I'm really insecure about so it was a big step for me to show that to the world!

That afternoon, I went to Norwich to see Tom and we got a Yo Sushi and stayed in a Premier Inn hotel (which was really nice).

On Friday it was mum's birthday! I spent the morning in my room chatting about how I'm struggling with the pressure of blogging and social media

Watch it all in my vlog below!


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Why Do You Blog?


I need to write and I need to create. I always have. As a child, I had countless diaries where I'd write down my worries and problems. I started writing about 20 different novels and if I wasn't doing that, I was sketching or making little videos with my friends, writing down the lyrics so I could learn my favourite songs or writing my own songs! I am a creative person, that's just how my mind works.

Now, whether I'm writing fiction, blog posts, novel ideas, to do lists, I am constantly writing. I have to write to work things out in my own head, to remember thoughts or events and, recently, to inspire or reassure others - that's where blogging comes in for me. It just seemed like an obvious route to go down.

Being creative and helping people have always been my two career goals. I really deliberated over whether to go into a profession in healthcare or pursue my love of English at university when it was time for me to decide what I wanted to do with my life. It didn't seem an option that I could do both! Blogging gives me both, though. I can be as creative and thoughtful as I like and I can help other people by sharing my experiences.

I've always told myself that as long as I've helped one person by writing about my thoughts or experiences, that blogging will be worth while. Lately, however, I feel like I've been forgotten that a bit. I've found myself fixated on the numbers. How many people have viewed my post? How many people have followed my Instagram account after reading? I haven't posted on Instagram in a while and my followers have gone down! Why didn't anyone comment on that post?

My blog is probably doing the best it ever has at the moment (which is literally nothing compared to the millions of other people that have massively well established, successful blogs) and I think that is down to the time and effort I have put into it lately. It's crazy how you can see the difference when you just put a little more work into blogging. This, however, has made me obsessed with the numbers and I hate it.

That's why I'm writing this post, to remind myself why I actually blog

Do I blog for attention? No. So why worry about who's reading it? Do I blog so I will get more random (probably fake) Instagram accounts to follow me? No way! So stop looking at the numbers of followers (if you asked me a month ago how many followers I had, I honestly would have had no idea). Do you blog so brands contact you? No! I never thought it would get to that stage. So stop checking your emails to see if any have.

I am being really honest with you all about how easy it is to forget why you started something. I don't want to become driven by success and following and money so I'm not going to let myself. I'm going to carry on writing what I want to write about and sharing it with you all in case at least one of you feels reassured or can relate to what I'm saying.

I love blogging and I've recently started vlogging which I have found I'm enjoying just as much! Both are such great ways for me to use my creative energy and also act as great journals for different points in my life. I don't do it enough, but going back and reading an old blog post is really cathartic to see how much you've changed or how trivial a problem you had a year ago seems now. It's reassuring to see that you can work through any problem you get and come out the other side of it.

So I'm not going to let myself feel the pressure of 'not being the best' or 'not having the prettiest, most liked photo on Instagram' or my new blog post 'not getting as many views as the one before'. It's so easy to work yourself up and worry and care what other people think of you but I'm not going to let it happen, I've decided. My blog is for me and anyone who is positively affected by it. That's why I started it and that's still my main goal, focus and drive to writing it.

It is scary but nice to be able to be so honest with you all. I'd love to hear what you all think about social media pressure and whether you sometimes ever end up valuing yourself on how many likes or followers you have. I'm sure it's something that affects a lot of us and I'd really love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Thanks for listening to me rant and off load as always!


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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review


Oh my god, when I first saw the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette I knew I had to have it. Even better, I found it a week before my birthday so that just confirmed it was destined for me (or so I like to believe). It was literally like I was unwrapping gold when I received it... is anyone else like that when they get a new eye shadow palette? Or maybe I'm just weird!

I had been searching for a palette with lots of warm colours for such a long time. It took so long because I was specifically looking for one with a strong orange because I just find they match my skin tone the best and they really make my blue eyes pop!


I love the Urban Decay Naked palettes because the eye shadows are really creamy (I know everyone says it but it's true). They blend out so well and the colours are super pigmented. However, they do have a bit of fall out but, if I'm honest, I haven't had an eye shadow that doesn't do that yet (always open for suggestions if you have)!

But - the best thing about the Naked palettes? They don't irritate my eyes! Throughout the whole of university (when I was going out multiple times a week so putting tons of eye shadow on) my eyes were would get so watery and itchy and it was definitely down to the eye shadow I was using. Once, I even had to stay in because of it. I re-did my make up twice and both times my eye make up literally ran down my whole face - not a good look!


The Naked palettes are the only eye shadow palettes I have used that don't do that to me so if you, like me, are allergic to lot's of eye shadows, definitely give these a try!

The palette was £39.50, so slightly on the pricier side to other brands, but it is totally worth it for me. I love eye shadow and experimenting with different colours and looks so it's great that I can actually do that with the Naked palette without my eyes acting like waterfalls!


I literally love all the colours, there isn't one that I don't like which is quite rare! For the look in the photos I've included I used Chaser as a base colour all over the eye. I then went in with Ounce in the middle of the eyelid to inner corner to brighten it. In the outer corners and around the eye I used Cayenne. Layered up along the lash and crease line I used En Fuego and Ashes!
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

She Always Ignores My Calls!


On Monday 16th October 2017, I went to Peterborough to get a dressing gown from Next that I'd been eyeing up for so long... whilst I was there, I managed to meet Amy for lunch at Chiquitos (oh, and I managed to fix HD, yay!)


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The Cutest Baby


So, I finally decided to start vlogging! As I explain in the vlog itself, it's been something that I've wanted to start for a while so I just finally did it... and I'm so glad I did! You can watch it below:

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Friday, 13 October 2017 / Cambridge, UK

Feel Good Right Now

panasonic multi room speakers

Being a complete sun worshiper, I have to admit that I am quite sad that Summer is over. Obviously, the warmer seasons are good for getting us out and about (because we can nip out without having to put on 3 jumpers, a puffer jacket, scarf, hat and gloves) but it also makes me feel happier and puts me in a better mood...

So, when the colder seasons start to creep in, I have to do a few 'self-care' things to keep me as happy and motivated as Summer Olivia! I like to think of Christmas (because I love Christmas), watch happy films or vlogs, drink yummy hot chocolates (because you definitely can't do that in Summer) and listen to some feel-good music!

One of my favourite things to do when traveling all year round is to blast feel-good music with Tom or my friends and sing at the top of my voice (badly, of course). We have loads of different playlists on our Spotify account but I have mixed all my current favourites (new releases and some throwback classics) into one playlist of 30 songs. So, if you're anything like me and need a bit of pepping up as Autumn and Winter arrive, check out my feel-good playlist below!


Also, (this discovery has probably come at the best time seeing Christmas will be here before we know it), Tom and I have been searching for the best wireless speakers for as long as we've lived together with little success. We first had normal plugin speakers and then a little pod but they just don't give us the same effect as when we're in the car surrounded by our favourite songs.

So, (don't tell Tom), I did a bit of scouring and have found what I think could be the perfect speakers for his Christmas present this year. I haven't decided which to buy yet but I think I'm going to go for something a bit bigger this time for maximum sound effect! If you're interested in looking for your own partner or dad or anyone who likes music, the range I've been religiously researching is the Panasonic Multi Room Speakers and they really do look perfect so hopefully, they match up to last year's Xbox!

What other songs do you think would be perfect for the playlist? Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the speakers... I think they look great but it'd be great to get some more feedback once you've checked them out!
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Truth Behind My Instagram Part II

the truth behind my instagram polaroid camera
the truth behind my instagram polaroid camera

You all seemed to really enjoy reading my previous post, The Truth Behind My Instagram, so the time has come for part 2! In my previous post, I basically pulled apart my own Instagram photos and called myself out for putting my best 'self' forward.

So, in honour of #WorldMentalHealthDay, I thought it was time to rip that facade back down and be authentic with you all about the truth behind each of my Instagram photos because, let's be honest, none of our lives are like our Instagram pages and it will do all of us a bit of good to remember that!
 
1. Is There Really Bailey's In There?
So, it's safe to say that my Pumpkin Spiced Bailey's white hot chocolate does taste amazing and I actually 'accidentally' discovered it when my sister's girlfriend asked me if I wanted a white hot chocolate and I had Pumpkin Spiced Bailey's left over too...

HOWEVER, I took all the featured hot chocolate photos on a random Monday morning and no one can consume that much cream, hot chocolate and Bailey's alone. So, the drink in the mugs underneath the whipped cream is actually some of my mum's old cooking cocoa mixed with water! 


2. Unnecessarily Made Up
The only thing I did this day was write blog posts and go to Legs, Bums and Tums.

I only did my makeup so I could show you all what the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette looked like on (teaser for an upcoming blog post)! I just think it's important to remember that just because someone is done up to look like they're going out and having the best time - they might not be so don't let Instagram fool you.

Also - remember the opposite, too. I often go out and see friends etc and don't put it on social media. That's also great for your mental health too because it's nice to not have to think 'how can I make this look nice for Instagram' and just enjoy people's company.


3. Lucky Shot
I hated the few photos Tom took when I was actually posing in front of this wall and I was just lucky that he took one when I was walking away for it that I liked!

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4. Battered Old Bag
This goodie bag had been absolutely battered on the tube so obviously it wasn't as pristine as this when I got it home. I simply edited out the scratches and whitened it. Everything is not always as it seems...


5. Is That Really Yours?
I didn't even buy this jumper because I couldn't afford it. Just because people are posing in something it doesn't mean it's theirs! Do you know how many YouTubers/Bloggers buy items for hauls just to send them all back?

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My The Truth Behind My Instagram posts are light-hearted and fun but they really do have a deeper meaning behind them. It's so easy to get caught up in the whole 'Instagram bubble' and it can really affect our mental health.

Whether you feel the pressure to post the 'perfect' Instagram photo to show people what you think they want to see or you're looking at other people's 'perfect' photos all the time - it's so easy for our mental health to suffer when we're being constantly bombarded with altered images.

As a young person who is active on social media, I would like you to remember on #WorldMentalHealthDay that no-one lives an Instagram-perfect life however flawless their social media presence is. My advice to you is to take a step back from it all once in a while. Whether it's going through and recognising that your own photos don't represent your real life or looking at someone else's photos and doing the same, it's healthy to remember that social media isn't always a true representation.

Or, go out with friends or family and don't bring your phone. This is something Tom and I like to do every now and again and it's really nice to just be able to talk without the constant distraction of your phone going off. It is really nice (but weird) when the other person orders or goes to the toilet or something and you just have to sit and people watch and you only really realise how obsessed you are with technology in moments like this!

Obviously, I can only give my little day to day tips to keeping your mind healthy in regards to social media pressure but if you are feeling like you need extra support there are so many useful organisations that are there to help you as well as talking to your GP. I have linked a few good ones below:

1. Mind
2. Student Minds
3. Beat
4. Childline 

Have a great #WorldMentalHealthDay and make sure to use it is a day to talk if you have any concerns, listen to other people's concerns or just to acknowledge those people who do battle a mental health disorder every day!
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Autumn Inspired Hot Chocolate Recipes

It's Autumn which means cold weather which means one thing - hot chocolate!! There's honestly nothing better than snuggling down on a cold day with a film (for me, it's got to be Harry Potter because it's the cosiest film ever) and sipping on a hot chocolate.

Now, these 3 recipes are for hot chocolate... but with a twist! We have a Pumpkin Spiced one (of course) but not just any Pumpkin Spiced... Pumpkin Spiced Bailey's! There's also a gingerbread one for when Christmas starts to creep up and, of course, because I predominantly like to follow a paleo-based diet there's a paleo/vegan spiced hot chocolate which is also dairy free and refined sugar free! This is great for when you want to indulge but you don't fancy having lots of sugar. I like having this in the morning when I don't fancy breakfast to warm me up but also give me the right nutrients for the day.

So, I won't ramble any more, I'll let you try the recipes yourself! So get a film ready and a big cosy blanket and try one out... you won't regret it!

Pumpkin Spiced Bailey's White Hot Chocolate
Ingredients: 

- 4 tsps Options white hot chocolate
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 shot of Pumpkin Spiced Baileys
- Whipped cream
- 1 tsp cinnamon

Method:
1. Fill a mug up with milk and then tip into saucepan to simmer slowly until it has boiled. When tipping the milk into the saucepan, leave a bit in the bottom so you can make a paste with the hot chocolate powder.
2. Tip your hot chocolate powder into the mug and mix with the milk until it is a paste.
3. Once the milk in the saucepan has boiled, tip it into your mug and stir for around 1 minute.
4. Add 1 shot of Pumpkin Spiced Bailey's (or more if you desire) and stir again.
5. Garnish with some whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon!


Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
Ingredients:
- 1 cup of milk
- 3/4 tsps cocoa powder/hot chocolate
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
1. Fill a mug up with milk and then tip into saucepan.
2. After this, tip all the other ingredients into the saucepan and stir continuously. Let it simmer slowly until it has boiled (it may separate at first but don't worry, it will all come together once the milk starts to get hotter.
3. Tip the drink back into your mug.
4. Garnish with some whipped cream, ginger and a gingerbread man (if you haven't had enough gingerbread)!



Paleo / Vegan Spiced Hot Chocolate
Ingredients:
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 1/tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Method:
1. Fill a mug up with almond milk and then tip into saucepan.
2. After this, tip all the other ingredients into the saucepan and stir continuously. Let it simmer slowly until it has boiled (it may separate at first but don't worry, it will all come together once the milk starts to get hotter.
3. Tip the drink back into your mug and enjoy!



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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Being Thin?


"Fat, for me, was the worst thing you could say to me or anyone. Worse than being a bitch, worse than being dishonest. It was the worst." - Grace Victory.

As soon as I saw that Grace Victory had put up a video titled Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Being Thin? I couldn't wait to watch it! For me, her videos give me that bit of time out of the day where I can really work on feeling empowered and confident in my own skin, which is something I struggle with.

I really admire her. How she's broken society's (tiny) mold of 'perfection' and just owned it. How she shows people that you don't have to be from one part of society to be successful. I'd even go so far to say that she's my favourite YouTuber/Influencer or whatever you'd want to call her. The video is in collaboration with Megan from Body Posi Panda who I'd seen before on This Morning. She's just written a book all about body positivity and, as well as Grace, has suffered from an eating disorder.

It's a video that I urge everyone to watch. I'm pretty sure that most people will be able to relate and, like me, could learn something really beneficial to their happiness from it. As always, it's delivered in a really chatty, light-hearted and funny way so I think you'll enjoy it!

Anyway, back to the deep stuff...
 
Unfortunately, I'd say I'm still clinging on to the belief that fat is the worst thing I could be called however much I don't want to. The only difference is, now I work hard at pushing away the thoughts of needing to be thinner or only being worthy at a certain size.

That's why videos like this one are so inspiring to me. I'm not where Grace is at yet in terms of being confident at any size but it's a process and a long road that I'm working towards.

Really, the need or obsession to be thin is one that a lot of people have but why? Because we're constantly told that the only way to be happy and healthy is to be thin and that is wrong.

We see it all the time. Celebrities on Instagram holding their different brands of 'teatox' which basically gives you diarrhea to get rid of all your water weight. Or a new 'amazing' protein powder that will give you the lean body with rock hard abs and a perfect round bum we're all craving lately. Or, as Megan said, adverts of women in fields with yoghurts that are living their 'perfect, healthy lives' which made me LOL. I know it's all bullshit and most of you reading know it's bullshit too but, I don't know about you, I still feel a bit of hope when I see them. Could this product be the one to make me thin? Could this product be the answer to making me stop constantly thinking about my weight and give me the happy, skinny ending I've been dreaming of?

No, it can't! All it will bloody do is make the companies advertising them millions of pounds! I will be left feeling even more of a failure because my 'diet' has failed again and what will I do? Buy more rip off weight loss products or services. It's a con and I'm angry about it.

The girls chatted about how much money the diet industry is actually worth. In the US, it is around 60 billion dollars! 60 billion!! These companies are making so much money off our insecurities. They tell us we're fat and then sell us the solution.  

The world is telling us we are fat so they can make money.

If we all ate how we did when we were children, intuitively, then these businesses within the diet industry would not make any money. If we weren't all counting calories, cutting food groups and over exercising to reach our goal of 'perfection', how would they make money? They wouldn't.

I have to admit, about half way through the video (and I can't remember why I suddenly thought this), I did have a few doubts about whether living with no restrictions on what you eat could be healthy. Both Grace and Megan are larger women and, through all the positivity, I couldn't help the niggling voice in the back of my head saying 'surely, being overweight can't be good for you?'

 Thankfully, this was something they addressed later in the video and they made some really good points that I hadn't thought about. Grace explained how she'd been asked this question before... but by people that smoke or binge drink or under eat. I guess, like other people, I had started to equate weight with health because that is what we've been told our whole lives.

I felt pretty stupid after they chatted about it. How had I not thought about the people I know that are stick thin but literally eat fast food every day? Their health could actually be worse than someone who is overweight because they eat intuitively etc. Or myself, even. I've restricted food in the week and binged in all ways possible on the weekends. That's not healthy either. 

I really could go on about this subject forever as it's very close to my heart and there are so many injustices surrounding it. Grace said towards the end of the video that she's the biggest she's ever been but the happiest. She's happy because she's free from diet culture and worrying about weight and that's definitely something I'm striving towards. That one day where everything clicks and I am free of worrying about how much fat is on my body.

I know all the facts. I'm angry about the facts but changing the way you think about something after a lifetime of being told one thing is hard. In the meantime, I urge you to watch Grace's video and I have linked it below for your ease. It's so inspiring and I would love for it to help at least one of you reading! Also, thank you so much to Grace for continuing to put out videos that help me to work towards being confident in my body!

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Monday, 2 October 2017 / Shoreditch, London N1 6BY, UK

A London Travel Journal: Shoreditch

Living room in air bnb, Shoreditch, London
Living room in air bnb, Shoreditch, London

I love London. I just love that every time I go, there's always something I haven't seen or a part I haven't yet explored. I love that you can easily go to a different part of London depending on what mood you're in or what atmosphere you want to immerse yourself in.

It was my 23rd birthday in a couple of weeks ago and, knowing how much I love exploring London, Tom booked us into a flat in the middle of Shoreditch! It's safe to say, the place was so unique, filled with quirky decor, trimmed with awesome mood lighting and littered with urban photography books which could have kept me entertained for weeks! The boy really did do good!

Whilst I was at my first blogger event, Tom checked us in to the flat. A quick ride on the tube, he picked me up at the end of the festival and we made our way back (laden with bags of goodies I'd been generously gifted with). 

We walked past people playing music and spraying the walls with new graffiti art and I instantly knew that this was a place I'd enjoy staying in. (Make sure you check out some more of my street snaps!)

Graffiti art in Shoreditch, London, Brick Lane
Graffiti art in Shoreditch, London, Brick Lane

 Tom led me to a huge metal door which literally looked like a warehouse and took me down a lot of winding corridors until we got to the door of our flat. When we got in there, I was blown away with what a little gem it was! Colourful and quirky, it was so tucked away that it was a great place to escape to if you'd had enough of the lively street vibes.

Our bedroom in our flat in Shoreditch, London
Brick Lane by Phil Maxwell photography book
White kitty who lived in the flat
Kitchen in the air bnb flat in Shoreditch, London
Quirky decor in Shoreditch flat
Tom relaxing in the flat in Shoreditch, London

We had a relax in the flat for a while and, I have to admit, I spent the whole time wishing we could live there! After that, we went back to find somewhere to eat. As Sushi lovers, we stumbled across a Pan Asian restaurant called Yuu kitchen which was so amazing. The food was delicious, the people so friendly and the atmosphere very relaxed and comfortable. I couldn't recommend it enough!

Here's a few snaps from my phone that I whilst we were out:


Then, we headed to my other favourite place in London, Camden, where we sampled various cocktails and cider (for Tom) in the London bars I love the best. If you go to Camden, make sure to head to a little pub near Camden market called The Buck's Head. You can't beat their 2 for £9 cocktail deal if you want somewhere slightly cheaper in our pricey capital!

We crawled back to our flat after spending a bit more time in Shoreditch and had a very comfortable stay! 

We were very lucky with the weather whilst we were there and after we check out at around midday, we had a wander in the sun to find somewhere we could have breakfast. Our initial thought was The Breakfast Club in Hoxton but as we approached we were put off by the massive queue so headed to Bill's round the corner. You can't beat a good Bill's brekkie, can you? All I'd say is, if you want to go to The Breakfast Club, book a table as it seems to be the place to be!

We both had pancakes and a chocolate milkshake and were even able to sit outside, the weather was that nice!

Breakfast in Bill's, Hoxton, London
Pancakes and bacon in Hoxton Bill's Chocolate milkshake for breakfast in Hoxton Bill's
I honestly had the best weekend away and Tom had planned it perfectly (what a little darling) so it all ran really smoothly and we didn't want to come home!

We booked our flat through Airbnb and if you're interested in visiting, here is the flat we stayed in in Shoreditch! It was such a great atmosphere in this area of London, bustling with music culture and lot's of young people. If that's your sort of vibe, I'd definitely recommend staying here!

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