As I find myself stuck in an endless Instagram scroll through an unbelievably gorgeous model’s page, double-tapping on each and every classic beach bikini photo, fruit breakfast on a balcony with a view and candids, I feel bad.

Somehow, and for some reason, I can feel absolutely horrible about myself and my appearance, just by scrolling through someone’s page. Ella, you shouldn’t compare people’s lives. Obviously, this is something we all know to avoid but it doesn’t stop it happening. It doesn’t stop adults, and it definitely doesn’t stop teens, from comparing and contrasting every little detail in our own lives to that of a 200k-followed goddess.

This is often when I know I need to close Instagram and do something different. Instagram is, unfortunately, a perfect tool for procrastination, happily eating away at our boredom. That is what makes it so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of comparison. However, it is so important to know when to stop and walk away.

Also, my form of comparison may be the examples I have used, but, it equally works for artists, musicians and other people alike. Your talents, looks, and personality all shine through in their own way and overusing Instagram can be way too toxic for our own good.

Now, I’m not doubting the clear advantages to Instagram. It is, undeniably, a great social media platform in many aspects. It allows those with a creative flair to showcase their work, for bloggers and influencers to interact with others, to be a personal photo diary and more. However, with all great things, there are the disadvantages that have to be addressed.

There are countless reports on the detrimental effects of overusing Instagram on people’s mental health and honestly, I don’t think it stops there. Young people, especially, can vouch for friendships and relationships being tested by a partner’s choice to like certain photos, for example. Friendships can be damaged by others feeling left out too. When I was doing some research for this post I saw countless articles on “how to see what your boyfriend has liked” and advice articles about “what to do when your significant other isn’t liking your photos”. Obviously, this isn’t healthy and doesn’t lead to happy relationships.

None of this is something that should be taken lightly. Any negative impact on someone’s mental health should be discussed and it should potentially start with addressing our unhealthy addiction to social media, particularly Instagram. For example, “The UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement surveyed nearly 1,500 people ages 14 to 24 about how social networking sites and apps impact their mental health, including anxiety, depression, self-identity, and body image, and found that Instagram has the “most detrimental” effect on young people” (Vogue 2017).

Now that doesn’t look great.

Undoubtedly, this is all about finding a balance and learning to look behind a photo. Try to avoid spending countless hours flicking through photos of your ex-best mate who is now buddies with your current best mate, comparing your figure to personal trainers or Victoria’s Secret models, or even feeling jealous over someone’s material possessions. We all know that none of these actions have happy consequences. So, first things first:

  • Learn to unfollow the people that bring you more sadness than goodness. If you’re worried that you might offend someone, just message them if needs be (the unfollowing on social media debacle is a whole other blog post).
  • Their skin probably isn’t that smooth, their tummy that taut and their body that flawless. That is just what the photo is showing you. Heck, if it is, good on you pal, I’d show it off too.
  • They might be posting that amazing summer holiday photo while they’re in bed in pjs and scruffy hair. There are two sides to every photo!

And, thankfully, there are some people that show us that Instagram isn’t to always be taken at face value. There has recently been a huge influx of various different models posting reality photos in comparison with the edited or heavily posed ones they may normally post. This is the type of normality that I really appreciate in influencers and I’m sure others do to. There is nothing wrong with aspirational photos of great abs and killer legs but I also want to see that other people don’t have washboard stomachs when they sit down. It is just relatable. And, more often than not, what we need to be able to decipher between Instagram and reality. You may have come across Essena O’Neill, for example, who recaptioned all of her photos with the behind the scenes reality (news story here) or fitness model, Imre Çeçen, who shared posed v reality shots of her figure (news story here) – both I totally recommend checking out.

I don’t want any of these thoughts to suggest that I don’t love Instagram, because I do. I love seeing other people’s photos and sharing my own, and that is what makes it such a successful platform. However, I want to encourage everybody to remember to put your mental health first and sometimes have a break from the pitfalls of social media. Teen Vogue phrased it perfectly, “Look, at the end of the day, it’s simple: if makeup makes you feel good, wear it. If you think it’s fun to apply and play with and test new techniques, by all means, do so. But double-tapping a photo on Instagram and thinking your life would be better if you looked like a girl thousands of miles away doesn’t have anything to do with the makeup that’s on her face” (Teen Vogue 2015).

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Now that I have submitted my final two essays I can get round to writing this post that I have been really excited to do!

2017 was just such a rollercoaster. What ever happened to us? We said goodbye to so many icons and legends, we faced political chaos and Mother Nature well and truly hurled some real shit back at us. On top of this (and significantly more trivial, I must add) there were way too many trends that made me audibly roll my eyes. So, without further ado, here are 6 things we need to leave in 2017.

Side note: This is a pretty light-hearted post – do let me know if you would like me to delve into more serious topics like politics, feminism etc – so, in general, I’m just referring to silly trends rather than global issues that I am more than aware need addressing.

Snapchat Streaks

This is probably the one trend that makes me feel 102 years old. I do not understand Snapchat steaks and I don’t understand why they’re even a thing. On the occasional chance I use Snapchat and notice a little emoji next to someone’s name, I have to do a quick little Google to figure out what the hell it means. Why are there so many different ones?! It’s like another language. It actually baffles me that this is a trend and it is something we really need to leave behind in 2017. I’m fairly sure I have seen news stories about various horrific circumstances where children have broken down or lost their minds that they lost a steak. Is it really worth sending meaningless photos to each other constantly to maintain a “streak”? Na, not for me. I even looked up news articles on Business Insider from teenager’s perspective who labelled them an example of “friendship” and ending them has “consequences”. Honestly, if you have a friendship that can be broken over a Snapchat streak, it isn’t worth the time.

X Factor/Big Brother/Britain’s Got Talent

I think it has slowly become obvious that these shows are on a downward spiral. I don’t deny that they do still feature some incredible acts with talents that really should be shared and celebrated but in a desperate attempt at harnessing views, I feel like there is significant emphasis on shock acts who get voted in every episode over people with exceptional talents. I just find it heartbreaking that people who deserve a real shot are booted for no valid reason. I remember when I would spend my evenings watching every show, and now The Guardian quotes that “The 14th series of The X Factor kicked off with the lowest viewing figures since the show first began in 2004”. I feel like these shows are holding on for as long as possible and it just doesn’t have the spark and entertainment value that I used to love.

Fidget Spinners

It bothers me so much that fidget spinners became a craze in 2017. They are often used for stress relief and to benefit people who suffer from attention disorders. Unfortunately, the craze left a lot of schools and other educational institutions banning them and the potential benefits they could have for others was shattered. At first, I was mildly impressed with some of the tricks people could do but after seeing them everywhere – in shops, on clothes, adverts, I was over it very quickly. What saddens me more is the original inventor lost the patent because she couldn’t afford to renew it and struggles to make ends meet. I know it is one of those “life is tough, shit happens” moments but I feel like she is deserving of the money from such a craze and isn’t benefiting at all from her creation.

Donald Trump (Especially The Tweeting)

I mean… I don’t really need to say too much here, do I? I am so fed up with every single day seeing another article about his racism, utter incompetence and sexist views. It baffles me how he ever got to be President and the huge step back it has been for the country. What I find even more troubling is that even though, en masse, people ridicule him on social media and protest where they can, if you open any tweet of his, there are often strings and strings of positive, supportive replies that believe what he is saying is true. I opened one of his pathetic responses to the assumed attack on Haiti and other nations where replies included, “We finally have a leader who is not afraid to make the tough decisions. Who cares if he uses colorful language sometimes?” and “have all the trust n U,Mr. President.Thank you 4 not allowing our nation 2fall”. It just baffles me. How?! Can we just leave him in 2017 and have the Obamas back please!

Mermaids and Unicorns

They were kind of cute at first and then it totally transcended into the world of weird and annoying. I can’t begin to count how many times I picked up a mug or notebook thinking it looked nice only to be faced with a horrible pun about some weird cat-mermaid hybrid. I mean what?! When did that become a thing?! I mean, just imagine… “Oh what a lovely water bottle, I could do with one of these. Oh… ‘Mermaid Squad’…” No. No no nope. Not for me. “Ahh maybe this water bottle will do! ‘Being a unicorn is thirsty work’. Ohhh….right”. These are both slogan water bottles on New Look and as cute as some of them can be, it is just overkill now and I’m not here for it.

Social Media Witch Hunts – Social Blade

Well, 2017 was definitely the year for social media witch hunts. I think this is probably one of the top things that I hope we can leave behind. It is unnecessary, and often very bitchy and cruel and not something that we should be comfortable participating in. There is a fine line between calling someone out on something bad they’ve done and launching a personal and scathing attack that would leave anybody feeling broken. I have seen some social media attacks that have shocked me so much and I can’t imagine that person being sat at home, reading tweets that are telling them to kill themselves and other nasty comments. A good example of this in the blogging community is the misuse of Social Blade. I know that one genuine influencer was harshly attacked for supposedly buying followers as one day they had a sharp spike in engagement and so on. In fact, what had actually happened was that a high profile YouTuber had mentioned them which created a flurry of support to head on over. This wasn’t the only example I saw too. I could say a lot more on this but I’ll save it for another time!

Ahh, well that was a good ol’ moan wasn’t it! I feel like I got to express how some trends of 2017 (and prominent figures…) were not beneficial to us at all and it would be great if we could wave goodbye to them in 2018! What trends in 2017 did you hate? Anything you wish we could leave behind?

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Hey guess who is back from the dead again… oh wait, it’s me! I have been away in Sweden with no way of writing a blog post so I really apologise for the huge gap between posts. As soon as I got back I wanted to post about my trip and include a load of photos but then I fell ill with food poisoning and a fever so it has definitely been a longer break than first anticipated.

Also, Happy New Year guys! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break and New Year and spent it exactly how you wanted to. 2018 is a new start and now that I have finally begun to make a dent in the 12,000 words I have had to write over the Christmas break (disgusting, I know) I can start writing some posts again! I have really missed writing and I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to share with you all over the coming months. I hope you checked out my post before this about my Resolutions for the next year. I have linked it here if you’re interested.

So… finally… here are some photos from my week away in Sweden.

Special credit to the wonderful Nikki who took this photo of Rose! After having some chilled out time after traveling over, we helped decorate the family Christmas tree. I loved all their decorations, so many of them being sentimental – from family, friends or countries they have lived in. This photo of Rose is probably one of my favourites from our trip. It was her first Christmas and she was determined to get her hands on that Mickey Mouse bauble! Such a cutie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all wrapped up and went for a walk when there was still a little bit of snow which made for some lovely photos! Hovås is quite close to the coast so they don’t experience a lot of snow like other parts of Sweden – so it was definitely a treat to get to see some.The walk was lovely as we got to see more of the place where Robyn and her family had been living. I had never visited Sweden before and I was in awe of all the houses, in particular. The architecture is gorgeous and I have a real love for Scandi home design so I was definitely in my element getting to finally have a look at their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also need to take a moment to appreciate this gorgeous little ball of love. I have never been around babies, or essentially any children that don’t walk and talk, so spending so much quality time with Rose was really eye-opening and made me realise how much I love children. Is there anything more heartwarming than making a baby smile and laugh? I have to admit, at first I was nervous to hold her or be left alone because I was worried that I wouldn’t be good enough at caring for her or be generally useless in knowing what to do, but it honesly came so easily and I love her to pieces. What is even more exciting is that since we visited her, she has begun to crawl and is getting teeth?! Crazy how quick she is growing and it won’t be long before she is breaking hearts, that’s for sure.

I mean, I could gush about what a little gem Rose is for hours but I also need to mention how incredible these lovely two ladies are. There are few women in my life that I feel as close to as I do Nikki and Robyn and I think it is vital that you let the people you care about know how much they mean to you as often as possible. They have both had their fair share of hardships and seeing them smile makes my day! They are only ever positive and loving and it baffles me every single day (being the cynical, pessimistic joy I am) that they approach life in the way they do, rather than my chosen method of a pity party until something goes my way. To be welcomed in to Robyn’s life and her lovely family and to be asked by Nikki to be one of her bridesmaids has been such an honour and I had to include this little message to give them a big ol’ soppy thank you for being the bestest.

The area was just so beautiful and I felt really lucky to be able to visit Robyn and spend time with her family and Nikki. It was the first time I had traveled with friends so it was a great experience and being able to spend the week there was incredible. On top of that, I got to tick another country off the list and it has definitely made me more excited to travel to Sweden’s neighbouring countries – especially because Nikki spoke so highly of Norway (which looks equally as beautiful).

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If you are a long time reader of my blog, you would be aware that I used to do monthly goals. When I decided to completely overhaul my blog, I did away with them and I definitely think my ability to stick to goals has suffered since. Please do let me know if you would like to see them back again!

But as it is the month of making goals and resolutions, I thought it was the perfect time to talk through some of my goals for 2018. 2018 is a really big year for me, personally and academically and I have some pretty big goals to share with you. Some of these are also intertwined with moments I am looking forward to in 2018 too.

Personal

  • Surround myself with more positive people and do not feel guilty about cutting ties with those who are toxic, negative or make me feel bad about myself. There are definitely a lot of people I surround myself with already that bring such positivity and inspiration in to my life and I always try to acknowledge them for how great they are – specifically, Katie who I help at the Hospice, Raff who is one of my closest friends and Nikki and Robyn who I have only grown closer and closer with recently and I love to pieces. However, I do have people who I know aren’t the best for me, especially my mental wellbeing, and it would do me some good to cut ties this year.
  • I read 21 books this year, which surpassed my goal of 18(!), but I want to read even more in 2018. I want to set myself the goal of reading 25 books. I have a Good Reads page too if you want to check it out – linked here.
  • Be vigilant when it comes to maintaining my oral health and hygiene and really care about my braces. I get clear braces fitted very soon and I am super excited to feel more confident (in around 16 months time…) but I know that the progress depends on my ability to be proactive and determined.
  • I want to enter myself into the York 10k this year and raise money for a Marfan charity.
  • Get another tattoo to remember my Auntie Tina who passed away when I was younger.
  • Better my anxiety when flying as I have a pretty long flight coming up in April when Adam and I travel to America for the first time.

Academic

  • To graduate. I guess that the big ol’ heffa of a goal. I mean, it is almost inevitable, obviously, but I’ve got to acknowledge that one! It is such a big step into the real world and I want to graduate and be proud of what I have achieved over the past three years in York.
  • Really focus on my studies. I am literally in the home stretch now as I don’t personally have a summer term and I want to really succeed and prove my abilities. I finish on March 12th and I want it to be the best 2 months I can make it.

Blogging

  • As you’ve just seen, I have a lot on my plate academically so trying to fit in blogging is both important but also not my biggest priority. I had a big love-hate relationship with blogging at the end of 2017 and I want to improve that. I get comments, quite often, about people who enjoy my content and I find it a great space to be in but the amount of knocks I received from going self-hosted has made it a difficult journey. I want to be more focused and try to write at least once a week again. If not, more!
  • Learn more about being self hosted and how I can make it work for me. I mean there are so many ways to benefit from being self hosted and so many reasons why people choose this route so I want to learn how to tailor it to myself so I can make the most of ellamaygarrett.com. My experience of going self hosted is linked here if you’re interested.

The Big Ol’ Life Goals

Finally, these are more of acknowledgment of the big life changes that I’m going to face in 2018!

  • As I’ve already mentioned, graduate and be proud of what I have achieved.
  • Get myself a job in Events, starting my career and enjoy my work as much as possible.
  • Start renting in York with my best friend and boyfriend.

So, that is all I have for you! What are your resolutions for 2018?

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When I came back from university last week I was over the moon to see a big ol’ box sitting on my bed from the delightful Bella Inizio after I was lucky enough to win her giveaway. And, oh my gosh, did she go to town on the goodies. She included some incredible Revolution products, to begin with, which I will be providing my first impressions on later in this post.

To begin with, I wanted to apologise for my blogging photos. They are not my best and that is predominately due to the fact that I have a severe lack of Christmas paraphernalia to add into the background to spruce it up a bit. So if they look as sparse as that 20-year-old Christmas tree your Auntie is currently dragging out that definitely looks worse for wear – that is why.

So… what was I lucky enough to receive? The first things I noticed were these lovely packaged scrubs from ‘Scrub Love’ that are for your body. I have seen so many people on Instagram and other social media platforms use and promote them and I have always been interested in testing them out! The yellow packaged scrub is infused with hydrating coconut oil in ‘Coconut Mango’. It supposedly leaves your skin smelling perfectly tropical as well as soft and glowing. I have found it here on Look Fantastic if you wanted to check it out, linked here. I am so excited to try this out!

The second one in the lovely pink and polka-dot packaging is in ‘Original Lovin” and is infused with coffee and vitamins to leave your skin feeling silky soft and moisturised. I found this one on Fragrance Direct if you’re interested, linked here.

Another amazing little treasure was the Benefit ‘Cha Cha Tint’ samples. I absolute love Benefit products – I actually named to get my hands on the They’re Real! mascara again, sometime – so I’m super excited to try out something new and interesting. I love the premise behind this product and I feel like it is perfect for creating a gorgeous, natural look. I’ll have to let you know how I get on with these!

I am absolutely obsessed with Yankee Candles, well… candles in general, and the Christmas Cookie scent has always been one of my favourites. To get a pack of 12 tealights is lovely! I can’t wait to start lighting these and feeling super festive! I don’t think my mum will be too pleased as last time I lit a candle in my bedroom at home, it got soot(?) all up the walls…. my bad!

The lashes are something I’m eager to try out too – probably for Christmas Day or if I have a nice meal out or something soon. Fake eyelashes are something I find always look fabulous on everyone else but I completely suck at them myself. I am trying to learn, but how does everyone else make it look so easy?! I remember attempting to try and put on a Cheryl Cole pair before and having the worst time. 5 years later and it’s a craft I’m still trying to master!

The set of three, gorgeously coloured eyeshadows are another thing I am so happy to receive! You can’t go wrong with having some incredibly bright colours in your collection and I can’t wait to test out some really different and unique looks with them.

The last things I wanted to mention were the absolutely incredible Revolution pieces she included.

I have always wanted to try Revolution makeup but I have never known where to start. I have heard such incredible reviews about their products so to be lucky enough to receive 3 is just insane!

The first I’ll mention is this great matte lip kit in the colour Noble. I am truly obsessed with the colour, just the perfect nude for winter, and the packaging with the copper is just to die for! I have already worn it essentially every day and the combination of the lip liner and the lipstick creates such a seamless finish that lasts for hours. The formula isn’t overly drying and sits perfectly. I have linked it on the Superdrug website here, if you’re interested.

Essentially, it is utterly gorgeous!

The next I want to mention the eyeshadow palette. Not going to lie, I may have squealed a bit when I opened it and saw the colours. Oh my gosh, they are just perfect! I feel like you can create so many beautiful looks with these shades – there is a great combination of matte and shimmery shades. I instantly went for a mixture of the dark reddy-pinks on the bottom row and I was generally shocked at how incredible the pigment is. The colours are so vivid and it has instantly become a favourite of mine. Again, the packaging is a gorgeous copper but unfortunately, I stupidly didn’t photograph it! It is understandable why this palette is rated 4.8 stars on Superdrug. I have linked it here for you guys, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Finally, I have to mention the stunning highlighter palette. I am currently besotted with all things shimmery and these were right up my street. They are such a perfect collection of shades and are exactly the right ‘iceiness’ for the winter months on cool, pale skin. I love them and they have, again, quickly become some favourites! I am now very much in love with all these Revolution products and I can’t wait to try out more!

 

I cannot thank the lovely Bella Inizio for choosing me as her giveaway winner and giving me the great opportunity to try out some amazing products! She is the loveliest person ever and I am so honoured to consider her one of my blogging friends. An amazing girl with an amazing blog!

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