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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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Have you ever been called selfish? Or in fact, called someone else selfish? I’m sure it’s never been heard or said in a positive light. Although I think this should change. I definitely believe that there are some instances in life where being selfish is probably the best fucking thing you could be.

I don’t know if any of you have read “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck” but my mentality around being selfish kind of stemmed from there. Like this book, I’m not at all insinuating that there is something inherently worthy in waving your hands around shouting fuck this, fuck that, fuck you and I don’t care at everything and everyone you see. It is fairly obvious that what you get out of life is reflected in what you put in and you need to dedicate time and effort into relationships, work, hobbies and more. But where do you fit into this? Many of us have reached a point, once, twice or way too frequently, where you feel like you’re bottom of the pile. The last thing on your list to care for. And that, my friends, is not healthy.

This is where being selfish is a good thing and needs to stop being thrown about as if anybody who spends a good 15 mins doing a face mask after a stressful day at work instead of taking the bins out is the devil incarnate… I’m just being dramatic, I’m not speaking from experience.

You’re never going to be happy and healthy in your mind if you don’t put your wellbeing first once in a while and sometimes this means doing things the compassionate and kind elements of your personality would normally prevent. For example, those particular friends that are way too toxic in your life but you still keep holding out for? I can almost guarantee that most people reading this has at least one name in mind. Now, think how much happier you would be if you stopped giving them the time of day. I’m not saying that you should steal their prized possessions, insult their pets and puncture their tyres. I’m saying, just stop caring. “Easier said than done Ella”.

Well, lets put this into a physical perspective. If you had a friend who came to you and was like, “Ella, this person who I consider my friend kicks me every time she sees me and I really don’t like it. She hurts me and won’t stop”. You’d be like “Woah, ditch her”. So why is it any different if they are mentally wearing you down? You shouldn’t have to force yourself to be surrounded by people that make you sad, are mean to you, make you feel unimportant or worthless. That’s not okay. There are more than enough amazing people in the world that want to lift you up rather than bring you down and you need to go hunt them out rather than spending time on those who don’t think twice about you. This doesn’t mean that these particular individuals are inherently nasty or have it out for you, but rather you are just incompatible. And that’s when you need to put yourself first.

Be selfish sometimes. What I’m not saying is ‘be a bad person’. I think it is important that we learn to distinguish between the two and stop seeing selfish as always being a bad thing. When you cancel plans to just have some me-time, for example, this doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a bloody sensible one. Everyone needs time to focus on themselves and we would be naive creatures to say this isn’t the case. In fact, it is scientifically proven that spending time on yourself will making you a more well-rounded, postive and happier individual. And hey, who doesn’t want that?

So say up yours to those who don’t care, cancel some plans to have some well-earned me time and pick your favourite restaurant once in a while. Because we all deserve to be selfish.

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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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