So, it feels a little weird to come back and write on this blog after taking so much time off. It seems to have become a reoccurring theme with ellamaygarrett.com that I write then disappear for weeks and come back again. If you haven’t been around for a long time, you won’t know why I started this blog. For me, 2 years ago, I was in a bad place and I needed somewhere that I could write and be myself. It ended up becoming my little personal gateway into a community of friends and amazing people that inspire and influence me every day. It completely lifted me up and the support I found was unprecedented in my everyday life. I think when you believe the world is against you, finding a stranger that takes the time to tell you otherwise is a dream.

Since then, things have changed a lot. I have just finished my last essay for university and I’m going to be graduating in July this year. I’m packing up my life in Cambridgeshire and I am moving permanently to the place that brings me the most happiness in the world with the person that makes me the happiest. I have only ever really fallen in love with 3 geographical places, Yangshuo, Barcelona and York – and to get to move to York is a big old scary venture that I can’t wait to dive headfirst into. Lastly, I accepted a job offer to work in Social Media and Marketing. It is my first ‘real adult’ job and to think that I got the position because I took on things such as this blog is crazy.

Ellamaygarrett.com has completely shaped me as a person and helped me grow in ways I never thought writing could do. Anybody who has ever messaged me about starting a blog has been inundated with replies from me urging them to do it over and why I have loved it so much. With that, I have personally and mentally grown away from why I started and I think this new chapter of my life is hopefully one filled with happiness and not one filled with the darkness it once was.

Without this blog and certainly without the amazing people I have got to know because of it, I certainly wouldn’t be starting work in this industry. I wouldn’t have realised how much I love learning about social media and its benefits and how some connections on Twitter can make all the difference for a business. As cheesy as it is, finding this space probably saved me from a lot of sadness that I didn’t see an end to.

I want to write more and I still find myself thinking about posts I could do but I keep failing to prioritise it as something to do. I think I can no longer consider myself a ‘blogger’ but rather someone who owns a rather public diary who shares their thoughts from time to time. You never know, I may drive right back into blogging after I’m settled in York and who knows, maybe it will become an even bigger part of my life than it was before but, for now, it is a little break for it and I. Hopefully I will be hit by some new inspiration and I will be doing this again three times a week, like I used to, but until then… see ya soon!

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This post contains a paid for sponsorship

So, where have I been hiding? The past week has been crazy stressful. Basically imagine a mash-up of family, houses, jobs, university and general life situations coming to blow at once and you can step inside my day for a moment! But, we all have struggles and it is obvious that the best way to cope is to take some time out here and there to pamper yourself. Your self care is the most important thing when times are hard and so I have 5 products that I am recommending to you this Spring to spoil yourself with. These aren’t all the cheapest items in the world but the range from £19-45 gives you the chance to have a one time treat yourself splurge to brighten your day! As you know, self care is a topic that I discuss a lot and, if its something you’re interested in, I have linked my last post on it here.

The first thing that I have to recommend you are the hair conditioners from L’Occitane*. Not only does the idea of a conditioner packed with “natural ingredients” and “essential oils” instantly relax me but their Repairing Conditioner was featured in the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible a few years ago. If an award isn’t enough reason, 83% of people have attested to how fabby it is too. I always feel so much better when my hair looks and feels good and this product is the perfect fit. Hints of ylang-ylang, sweet orange and lavender make this the ideal relaxing treat for you this Spring. Also – how photogenic is this bottle? I can imagine it in so many flat lays already.

Now that Spring is coming around, I’m so excited to finally be looking at shoes that aren’t boots! The idea of wearing sandals and open-toed shoes are something I have attempted to brave all Winter (shocking, I know) but now I can finally start doing so without the risk of frostbite and concerned looks. Did anybody else sleep in their new shoes when they were younger? That is essentially the level of excitement you can expect from me when I get new shoes. I.e. perfect spoiling material. Asos have some gorgeous shoes in their SS18 campaign and I had to feature them on here. There is something about polka-dots that screams Spring and Summer at me. The pair I’ve mentioned are featured here. Just imagine these with a white floaty summer dress…. gorgeous!

Lastly, I wanted to mention my renowned favourite highlighter, the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops. I mentioned this in my highlighter collection a few weeks back and I still stand by what I said. This is the most unbelievable highlighter ever and you literally only need 2 drops to completely transform your look. It gives the most gorgeous glow and the range of colours means they’re guaranteed to suit everyone. I feel great when my cheeks are dotted with this absolute gift to the makeup community and I’m sure you will too. One of my favourite things about Spring and Summer is having dewy, glowing skin and this is the ultimate product for it. It may set you back a bit but it will 100% last you forever.

What products have you picked up recently to treat yourself?

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You write up your post, add a few photos, do all your checks and finally click publish. Your post wooshes off into the digital atmosphere and that’s it. Your little piece of writing is out there for anybody to digest and have their opinion on.

However, on a blogger’s end, other than stats and the odd comment, you don’t necessarily see any direct impact from your writing. For me, it is like writing a public diary. I don’t really expect it to get read by people most of the time and nor do I expect it to affect them in any way.

What you don’t get told about when you start blogging is how, in reality, people you never expect to interact and read your posts will. I definitely got “the fear” when it came to publicising my blog on my previously private platforms. It wasn’t until I was over a year in and my engagement had suffered from going self-hosted that I took the plunge and began mentioning posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Honestly, I was nervous about people outside of the blogging world mocking me for what I do. I know I know, I really shouldn’t care, but these were the people that I grew up and went to school with, and, like most other school kids, they had no qualms about taking the piss out of each other. The whole slightly bitchy playground scenario. I have no problem with anybody I grew up with. At all. But I had definitely seen similar reactions when we were younger and I didn’t want to be next. This is why I eased myself into promoting what I had written and didn’t expect much in return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blazer (similar) | Jeans

What I never believed would happen has slowly happened. I never thought that people I worked with, my friends even from my primary school and family friends would take the time to engage with what I had written and even take the time to comment back to me. I presumed when I did a cheery little post on social media that the odd blogger might hop on over but never someone I worked with over 4 years ago or a friend from 5 years ago, at that. I never thought what I would be saying would be of any interest. Over time, I have been overwhelmed to get a message from someone here and there that what I was saying was really interesting, they really enjoyed it and even the odd one saying it was inspiring. I actually both cringe at myself and light up saying the latter half of that sentence. There is no way on earth I would ever associate myself with such a characteristic… but I’ll take it and run, thank ya!

There is nothing quite like the joy of knowing that a friend has sat and read through my Ultimate Gift Guide For Her to find out what to buy his partner, or that family have read about my Wine Tasting Experience. Something about it makes me so eternally grateful and happy.

So what I am saying is, have faith in yourself. Trust that people will enjoy what you can do and there is no shame in saying it. I encourage everyone to write and when I have been asked to give advice it is generally to just go for it. Like me, you’ll probably be utterly surprised by who takes an interest and it means the absolute world to see something you have created go down well with others.

To the people who have ever sent me a little DM on Instagram, messaged me on Facebook or spoken to me in person: I cannot even thank you enough for how it makes me feel. You might not know but this blog was started to escape a debilitating and all-consuming mental health diagnosis and the little compliments have helped so much in overcoming some of the hardest points in my life. It is impossible to explain how much it means to someone who writes a blog post to hear some encouragement and I cannot stress enough how amazing it is for people to go out of their way to drop a little message to do just that. Thank you to everyone who has ever messaged me or another blogger to say something nice. And hey, it doesn’t need to be a blogger. Anybody on social media or in person. Are they wearing a cute dress in their photo and look fab? Tell them! If they’re trying something on in Zara and you think it looks hella fine. Tell them! Kindness makes the world go round.

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Like most people, I have body hangups. However, I never really have photos taken that are full length, or where I am deliberately attempting and failing to look good. Recently, I wanted to up my photography game on the blog and get the boyfriend to expand his duties to the amateur outfit photographer. Realistically, I don’t think the poor sod knew what he was letting himself in for…

Unfortunately, I soon found myself getting really worked up about the background not looking right, the angle being wrong, the lighting being off and ultimately about me not looking as fab as all the bloggers I obsess over on Instagram. Adam found himself taking 20 of the same photo for me to write-off every single one for such minor details. And really, it wasn’t a problem with the photo but a problem with me never really seeing my figure so many times before and having to accept it for what it is.

I’ve since taken a step back and just calmed down a little. I know that a lot of people may be annoyed that I appear to be suggesting I have ‘body problems’. To explain, I’m really not suggesting this is the case at all. I know I’m not in an unhealthy shape but it would be crazy to assume that everybody doesn’t get themselves down now and then about their appearance. What I’m trying to articulate is this was the first time that I saw my figure presented to me in over a 100 photos for me to be the sole judge of whether it was ‘good enough’ for Instagram. And of course, everyone is their own worst critic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinafore Dress | Bag (similar)

This is all really silly, I know. I both want to chastise myself for getting upset over something trivial but also not belittle how something has made me feel, especially without seeing if anybody else has ever felt the same. A bit of a weird limbo between “Gwon girl work it” and “Let me wear a sack and hide for 1000 years”.

Outfit blog photos aren’t something you tend to do every day and to take the step out of my comfort zone was really challenging. I honestly can’t wait to be confident in front of a camera and be content with the outcome but I know it will take time. I think it is naive to believe that this comes naturally for everyone. Some people are born to be photographed. I am just not one of them. But, it is all about learning what works best for you! I know that despite my personal struggles with my hair, it is a pretty damn defining and unique part of my appearance and I should showcase it more to stand out, for example.

I want to be brutally honest because that is how I always have been on here. It is a big deal for me to post the photo on the right. You may scroll up now and ask why? Well… the bunching of the dress makes my stomach look bigger than normal. And does it look big? No. I’ve decided to ignore my mind niggling away at me about it and post the photo because it is just a photo. And it isn’t the end of the world.

I think the moral of the story is that if you ever want to take some cute blog photos of your outfit or you looking fabulous down the closest street in your area to a replica of Kensington, don’t compare yourself! Please don’t think that your boyfriend taking photos in such a manner for the first time on an iPhone 7 is ever going to compare to a professional photographer and a blogger who has been doing it for years. I bet if you take a little journey back in most blogger’s photos, they all started at the same point. I’ve discussed the problems with comparing with amazing Instagram girls and the pitfalls that come with overanalysing every photo we take of ourselves. But, I want to reiterate, there is also no shame in taking inspiration of poses, locations and outfits here and there to help you along the way. If this is a new venture like it is for me, join me in being a nervous wreck on whether or not everyone is going to to be able to tell that you had a big ass takeaway the night before. I’m kidding of course. They won’t see, or even care, about the things you concern yourself with day-to-day so embrace some compliments and post on Instagram to your heart’s content. If anybody does have a problem, feel free to send them my way!

Ultimately, I think that the more I get used to this, the more comfortable I am going to be with my lumps and bumps. Because that is what makes me, me.

 

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A cup of tea, an empty house and three hours of YouTube videos lined up.

We all joke about the stark contrast between you ‘last Friday’ dressed to the nines and out until 3am and ‘this Friday’ where you’re in bed in clothes made just for the house with a shit tonne of food and ready to binge my new-found love of Shane and Ryland.

However, I’ve found myself progressively being more and more happy about avoiding the elusive night out. Ironically enough, as I am typing this I am planning a night out tonight. The idea of everyone else leaving, the house is quiet and me being tucked up in bed is my idea of bliss.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like going out. I love making plans and actually doing them where I travel, do exciting things and see people I love. But this doesn’t mean I want to do it 24/7. I do resonate with the whole trend of being an “extroverted introvert”. I am happy alone in my room and I’m not adverse to deliberately cancelling plans to do so but I do love going out. I just don’t choose it very much.

This isn’t a shocking revelation for someone to make, of course. It may be considered a bit more of a heavy blow when you take into account that I’m a university student. There is never a more obvious stereotype of us than the idea that we are constantly drinking and out until 4am most nights. I swear if I ever tell anybody ‘I’m tired’ it is just wildly considered that I’ve been drinking. Girl, no. I may have been up until 2am, but that is because I’m binging The Good Place. The other stereotype? That mummy and daddy are funding these drinking expeditions. But that is definitely for another time.

Honestly, the last time I got anywhere near a club was a solid 4 months ago and it didn’t end well. I think I just never really see the fascination with drinking. I don’t see any joy in potentially wiping out the next day, checking your bank account to see you’ve spent £30 and have nothing to show for it and making questionable decisions. Oh my god is it undeniable that some of the funniest and crazy memories have happened to people while they’re out and drinking but all my ‘cherished’ moments in life haven’t exactly occurred that way. Realistically, some of my worst memories also involve alcohol.

The idea of spending £6+ (I do relish the fact that I live in the North so these prices are significantly cheaper than London!) just to get into a club where it is hot, loud, sticky and I’m probably going to be inappropriately touched isn’t my number one way to spend a night. There is nothing like a group of mates screaming and running to dance to your favourite song but, hey, I’d much rather value a coffee date where I got to speak to them more and see how they’re doing.

Again, I love getting dressed up and going out but the same applies to a lovely meal where I have, on max, one or two drinks. I am just unconvinced that going out and getting royally trashed adds any value and happiness to my life that others things don’t/ I’ve tried it and nah, not really for me.

What isn’t fair is comments about people who decide it isn’t for them. There is nothing intrinsically horrific, shocking, or boring about not wanting to drink. Equally, there is also nothing wrong with going out several times a week. People can do as they please when they please. You do you.

So, I think I’ve come to the point where I just accept that I like being in. It isn’t fun to force yourself to go out, just to keep up appearances. I’m not for anybody doing things they don’t want to do, just for the benefit of others. I remember reading a Fashion Slave post like over 2 years ago when I first started reading blogs about a similar topic and she said something I completely agree with… It should just be accepted that you don’t have to send a text out that is a blatant lie, just because you want to cancel plans to go out. It is perfectly cool to say “hey, actually, I want to just spend a night in tonight”. Pizza date? Hell yeah.

So, with my diet coke in hand, I toast you to a happy night in. With no guilty conscience.

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