17/05/2015

Not-so-monthly Favourites





I don't think I've ever spent so much time preparing, drafting and editing a post before but I am chuffed with how it has turned out. I hope you enjoy reading about a few products that I have been using lately and highly recommend. There's a right mixture - from bras to music so have a read and gorge yourselves on the things that get me out of bed in the morning.



Until recently, bra shopping was my idea of hell. I have always had big knockers but as you may know if you read this post, a few months ago I got my arse into action and started living a healthier lifestyle and subsequently (to my absolute joy) lost a bit of extra baggage around my chest. Going down a cup size definitely did not push me into that -DD bracket but I finally found some bras that were easy on the eye and fitted well. This Rosie for Autograph bra is one of my favourite brassiere purchases and would highly recommend it for fuller-busted ladies. 



I wouldn't call myself a green thumb but I'd take a pot plant over a bunch of flowers any day. These pre-potted cacti from Ikea prove popular amongst bloggers and for a snip at £4.50, they're a perfect way to bring a bit of life to your living space. If you don't live near an Ikea, try your local Wilko as they sell similar sets also. I went bit bat-shit crazy and purchased more cacti than I had space for but the biggest hidden gem that I found is a large, hollow ceramic head that I spotted whilst passing a junk shop one day. It homes a little succulent perfectly.




CKIN2U holds a lot of nostalgic memories for me and although I like to try new perfumes, is a fragrance that I always return to. I recently had an awful allergic reaction to another perfume that I used after finishing CKIN2U and immediately repurchased this holy grail product. I go through perfume quite quickly so try to hang off buying any until they are on offer. If like me you like to pretend you're still 15, CKIN2U is currently half price in Superdrug


I received The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Cleanser in a goodie bag when I spent over £30 not too long ago and have been enjoying using it. I'm usually rubbish when it comes to skincare and will try to do the bare minimum in regards to makeup removal but I love the satisfaction of having a completely clean face when using this product. I usually take the majority of my makeup off using a Simple cleansing wipe and follow with a double cleanse, applying the product with a double-sided cotton pad from Boots, and finish with the Garnier Micellar Water. If The Body Shop is a little out your drugstore budget, they are infamous advocates for cruelty free products and I think that's something that money cannot put a price on. They also often have brilliant offers on their products and that's when I love to snap up the All-In-One BB Cream which I swear by!





I've been an MP3 downloader ever since I can remember but after inheriting my little Ford Fiesta that dates back to god knows when, an AUX cord was off the cards. After only finding a lot of S Club 7 whilst digging through old CD's, I bought myself a little selection of perfect driving soundtracks. I think The Wombats are majorly underrated and am pleased they've made a come-back with Glitterbug. My favourite songs include Pink Lemonade & Sex and Question Marks.



I've been an avid wearer of Maybelline The Rocket Volum Express Mascara for a long time and is the best dupe for Max Factor False Lash Effect that I've found. I'm very reluctant to try new mascaras but picked up Maybelline Lash Sensational when it was on an introductory promotional offer and it has revolutionised my mascara application. Coincidentally, Benefit released their Roller Lash mascara around the same time which has an almost identical wand and has also received raving reviews. Having tried both, Sensational Lash is by far the better of the two in terms of application, longevity and removal. I've recently been more weary about purchasing cosmetics that may have been tested on animals and after further research, was really disappointed to find out Maybelline condones this. Despite the mega results I get from the product, I won't be purchasing it again so if anyone has any cruelty-free mascara recommendations they'd be much appreciated.



I'm probably the last person to jump on the Spotify bandwagon but until now it just didn't make sense to me. It seemed too good to be true - and it kind of is when you're hit with adverts and limited skips, but lately I've been using it to stream music more than iTunes and it's such a gem for finding unknown artists. I'm not very clued up on the ins and outs of it yet and I feel a bit in the unknown like how my mum must feel about Facebook and Twitter.




Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is the trendy little skincare product that is Bioderma's cheaper cousin. It claims to be exceptionally gentle and is perfect for those with dry and sensitive skin. I use it in replace of a toner and am not left with that dry, tight feeling that some toners leave my skin feeling. Micellar water is an all-round handy multipurpose product and is something that I keep repurchasing.






A year ago I did not think that I would be the trainer-wearing rapscallion that I am today but have fallen in love with the comfy, casual footwear trend. My latest edition is a pair of Adidas Superstar trainers and I have never tried so hard to find anything before in my life. When I thought all hope was lost, I finally found these in a size 3 and bopping about in them makes me feel every bit the 90's chick that I hoped.

14/05/2015

Has Blogging Lost Its Niche?


I have been blogging (admittedly, quite sporadically) for 5 years and I feel completely out the loop. Like all first-time bloggers, I had a very small audience but reached my peak in 2011/2012 when I was mentioned by some 'high profile' bloggers/YouTubers. Around this time I was fully dedicated to my blog and everything else (including school work) took a back seat. I was posting every day and received a healthy incline of views, comments and followers. It wasn't until I started a new sixth form in September 2012 that I found something else that I was really passionate about (design) and I began focussing my time on that. I have always said that the key to a successful blog is perseverance and you have to keep generating content in order to keep your audience engaged, but that got me thinking, maybe it isn't just me that has changed, maybe it's the whole notion of blogging?

I fully stand by the claim that producing online content can become a career and fund your lifestyle - monetising your blog is essentially evolving a hobby into a brand and business. In this individualistic era, the prospect of earning a living and working on your own terms is very tempting. But is there too many of us in the online industry to all be successful? Yes. There's only so much 'niche' out there and that's evident with the many momentarily-trendy bandwagons that bloggers and vloggers jump on.

The ever-increasing growth of YouTube has played an absolutely fundamental part in why I think the notion of blogging has changed. I applaud bloggers who have recognised the change and produce video content to accompany their blog. It provides a stimulating visual aid for the audience and ultimately delivers the information faster.
Somewhere between the cat videos and crazy dancing, things got technical and YouTube lost its organic feel and instead became scripted, high quality pieces of work. I love watching in 1080p but I can't help but feel it's all too 'TV production'. Money has become a massive intensive in today's society and online content creation has become a very competitive industry. It is no secret that successful YouTubers can make up to six figure salaries from vlogging alone and that's a very tempting prospect for newbie bloggers. Although it is nice to see familiar faces succeeding and being able to live off something they love doing, this should not be the reason someone should start a blog or channel. Online fame and success is something that younger audiences idolise and many content creators have proven that hard work prevails. 

I admire bloggers who now occupy a strong YouTube presence and have become video makers. They cater for their original readers, as well as reaching an audience that is predominantly on YouTube. I am, however,  reluctant to accept the money-driven nature of creating online content and the obsession with the ideal that bigger is aways better.
As for the growth of my own blog; I would like to persevere with my interest in design and also make use of this platform to share my voice. I don't think I'm quite ready to make the leap to YouTube just yet but have realised that in order to enjoy blogging again, I need to do it for myself. 

29/03/2015

Playlist #25

Since my last playlist I've had the privilege of seeing George Ezra and Rag'n'Bone Man - both gigs were bloody brilliant so I'm very bias towards these two artists at the moment. As I'm now the proud owner of a 1999 purple, sparkly Ford Fiesta (called Purple Devil) I've also been purchasing more physical CD's to listen to whilst I drive off into the sunset. This month I've purchased James Bay's 'Chaos and the Calm' and also George Ezra's 'Wanted On Voyage' - both of which I highly recommend. 

Rag'n'Bone Man ~ Perfume

The Wombats ~ Give Me A Try

Marina And The Diamonds ~ Froot

NONONO ~ Pumpin Blood

Of Monsters and Men ~ Crystals

Alex Adair ~ Say You Love Me (original by Jessie Ware)

James Bay ~ FourFiveSeconds (starts at 0:11)

George Ezra ~ I Try (starts at 0:13)

09/03/2015

Healthier Choices - exercise, vegetable spiralizers & no more meat




B A C K G R O U N D

I used to avoid 'healthy lifestyle' posts like the plague. I didn't see people's fascination with clean living and quite frankly, I couldn't care less - or maybe I just didn't want to be reminded that I had to do something about my own life. Let's cut right back to basics and talk size and dimensions. Now I know a figure on the scales is just a number, it should be how you feel, look and how clothes fit. There is no rhyme or reason as to how much someone weighs so let's not get too het up on that. However, I am 5ft 1 and a half and currently weigh 8st 13. This is the lightest I've weighed since I was about 15/16 and at my heaviest I was about 9st 7. This is surprising considering I lived a very sedentary lifestyle, the only reason I wasn't very overweight is because I was just too lazy to over-eat.

P C O S 

As someone with PCOS, I was told that in order to regulate my periods, I needed to lower my BMI - even if I wasn't technically overweight. That didn't really shock me into doing anything about it but slowly over time I dropped a few pounds until it plateaued off for quite a while. My mum always encouraged me to exercise more and I would agree but then didn't really do anything about it. I'm very impatient and I'm someone who likes to see quick results - but unless I actually started, I wasn't going to get anywhere. I took GCSE PE but thought I was someone who enjoyed playing sport but not exercising. After I'd finished, I never wanted to run again - and still probably don't. 

G E T T I N G  S T A R T E D 

I started going swimming once a week and felt slightly better about myself. I knew it wasn't enough but I didn't feel like such a lazy mofo after it. I considered getting a swimming membership but since I now have more expenses to pay for (i.e a car - which illuminated the walking I had been doing) I couldn't really afford it. I saw more and more of my friends starting to workout, get gym memberships and personal trainers and I thought, what the fuck am I doing? At first I was worried people would look at me and think 'why's that chubster suddenly interested in exercising and healthy living' but I had to start somewhere. My brother started the 30 Day Ab Challenge and I decided to give it a go too. I bought myself a new pair of trainers - do it, you'll want to wear them - a good sports bra to strap the melons to my chest and a ~swanky~ outfit. Invest in something nice to wear to whilst exercising and it'll act as a way of motivation. You don't need to buy expensive trainers and Primark are really on top of their activewear game right now.

E X E R C I S E

To my amazement, I finished the 30 Day Ab Challenge and saw a little bit of improvement in my body. About a quarter of the way through I began to incorporate exercises that used the whole of my body, not just my abs. The last few days were pretty brutal and I don't know anybody who'd keep that up forever, so I decided to use what I'd learnt and make up my own routine. I was worried that as soon as I stopped working out as intensely as I was, the velocity in which I saw results would decrease, but this was something that I wanted to carry on forever so I needed to construct a workout that was achievable and I didn't dread doing. I watched a few different videos on YouTube, picked up various exercises here and there and eventually came up with a workout that works my whole body and at the right level of intensity, meaning I can do it on a regular basis. I've been working out at least every other day and have been following this routine for the past few weeks so soon it'll be time to change things up as to not get used to it. 

D I E T  &  G I V I N G  U P  M E A T

I use the term 'diet' to refer to what I'm eating, I'm not actually on a 'diet' and don't recommend anyone to go on one. Make consistent, healthy choices from the off and you will see results. Fad diets have quick but temporary results - as soon as you start eating how you were prior to the diet, the results will be reversed. I stopped eating meat in January which was something that I had been thinking about for a long time. My parents weren't keen on the idea so I knew that when I moved away to uni I'd give it a try. However, my parents went on holiday and without realising, I stopped eating meat and haven't touched it since. I was having a massive ethical debate with myself but when it comes to restrictive dietary plans, there is no black and white answer. It is very subjective and as long as you are aware of where your food comes from and what you're putting in your body, you don't need to justify your choices to anyone. There is a lot of pros and cons to not eating meat and at first I wasn't sure if I'd made the right decision, but right now, I'm happy. I'm still eating fish as a source of protein and a lot of beans. I have also been eating meat substitutes such as Quorn but I know a lot of people say to avoid it completely. Although I'm not restricting myself of anything else, since I have stopped eating meat I have become a lot more conscious of what I'm eating and have also influenced my family to cut back on their meat consumption and only eat organic meat.  My favourite purchase has been my vegetable spiralizer. I bought a cheap one on Amazon for about £20 but it's doing the job. Courgetti is the trendy little health food of the moment and is supposed to be a lighter replication of spaghetti. It's very quick to make and although I'm still experimenting with recipes, I'd recommend it. The spiralizer comes with different adaptions for altering thickness of spaghetti/ribbons - I tried making vegetable crisps but they were a bit of a flop, literally. 

R E S U L T S

Despite my earlier claim that I like to see quick results, that isn't always the case when living a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, slow and steady wins the race and although I did see an improvement in my body within the first few days/weeks of regular exercise, it wasn't instant. The scales definitely show that I have lost weight and I hope to continue to lose a few more pounds and work on toning my body. Other people have commented on how my appearance has changed but I can't always see it. The way I look at living a healthy lifestyle is that you should find happiness in the fact that you're fuelling you body with the right foods and that you're treating it the best you can. If you drop a few pounds in the mean time, then that's a bonus. Continual work will eventually lead to results, it can be very disheartening but patience is a virtue. I have shocked myself that I have gone from someone who didn't really move much to someone who is enjoying learning about food and exercise.