Things To Do When You Hit A Block

I know I cannot be alone in suffering from regular bouts of the dreaded ‘block’. Whether it be writer’s, artist’s or just a general creative block, its the worst feeling when there’s just nothing going on in your head, or at least nothing that will translate into anything you’re happy with.

Know the feeling? Next time, why not try a few of these..

Take a step back and clear your head

A watched pot never boils and a blank page doesn’t fill itself.

Don’t force anything

There’s nothing worse than trying to force results. I look back at blog posts and I can spot the ones that I bashed out just because I felt I had to write something, and I’m not entirely proud of them.

Do something silly

Just for a moment, stop taking it all so seriously. Write a funny limerick or doodle something stupid, create something crazy just for the sake of it (but like I said, don’t force it) – just doing something can start getting those cogs turning again.

Take a proper break

If you can, totally walk away from what you’re supposed to be doing; take an hour, a day, a week even. You won’t find the cure instantly, but not being so in the zone for even a little bit of time can do wonders.

Remind yourself why you love what you do

Just take a few moments to list some of the things that make you love doing whatever it is that you do, look back at some of your favourite pieces of work or read nice feedback you’ve been given by others – take a minute to actually feel proud of yourself!

Know that this will pass

At the end of the day, remember that this is just a block. Whether any of these steps help you or not, they eventually go away anyway and you’ll come back fighting, so don’t fret!

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‘Healthy’ Words and Phrases You Need to Rethink

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, everyone is different, and that’s ok. Everyone’s body is different, and the fact is different things work better for some than others; its all about understand your body and finding what is best for you.

But when it comes to fitness and health, there’s something I feel very strongly about, and that’s people trying to do things in a way that isn’t healthy, and while it might not seem like it to some, the way we talk about food and fitness can be very unhealthy. What am I talking about? Well do you use any of these terms?

Cheat days

There’s an actual psychological term called the ‘what the hell’ effect, and this is actually used in relation to diet psychology. Essentially its the whole ‘oh, I’ve had one slice of pizza, I might as well eat it all’ thing that I bet we’re all too familiar with. Well the same thing tends to happen when people give themselves a ‘cheat day’.

More than that though, the unhealthiest thing about cheat days is they make us feel guilty. You’re allowed to eat whatever you like, and eating what you want to eat isn’t cheating – all you’re doing is creating negative association.

Guilt-free and guilty

On the back of cheat days, I’m tired of people referring to things as either guilt-free or guilty. I’ll say it again: YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU LIKE and you don’t have to justify what you eat to anyone. Food is fuel, and your body needs fuel to function, end of.

Weight loss

No, I’m not saying that you can’t think about weight loss if you’re trying to be healthier, but weight loss shouldn’t be your only goal. I am fitter now than I’ve been in the last few years, but I also weigh more, and that’s totally normal because while I have lost fat I’ve gained muscle. So many people, women especially, concentrate far too much on what the scales say, and get down when they don’t see that number dropping, but what you really need to be looking at is how you feel and look at measurements rather than weight.

‘Skinny’

Nothing gets me riled up more than ‘skinny teas’, ‘skinny pills’ or quite frankly any use of the word in relation to a product or food item. Chances are these products are full of chemicals, or just full of something that’s just designed to help you poop your innards out, and there’s nothing actually healthy about them at all.

Calorie-controlled

Sure, there’s evidence to say that reducing your calorie intake can lead to results, but if you limit yourself to 1300 calories a day but are still eating junk, that doesn’t make it any healthier. Calorie counting can also become an obsessive behaviour, and that unhealthy relationship with food that I talked about earlier, plus not giving your body enough fuel to function.

For me, the most important part of staying healthy is keeping everything in balance. We all have good days and bad days, but rather than stressing ourselves out over the bad days, we just have to relax and accept that it happens every now and then. Mental health is just as important as physical health, they both go hand in hand and you have to put yourself and your happiness first, always.

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Kiko Cosmetics Sale Haul

So last week I had a day alone in Manchester, so naturally I gravitated towards the Trafford Centre, and after a morning of working away in Starbucks, I treated myself to an afternoon of shopping. I hit pretty much every store that had a sale sign in the window, and one store that caught my eye particularly was Kiko Milano.

Despite being well aware that I own enough makeup as it is, I always love trying new brands, and when that brand is not only having a massive summer sale but is also cruelty free, there was no stopping me, but I did only spend £25!

The first thing that caught my eye stepping into the store was the display of gloriously bright nail varnishes. I’ve always loved having colourful nails, and while I have always sworn by Barry M when it comes to nail products, over recent years they’ve opted to diversify and their original collection of nail paints just aren’t available in as many colours as they used to be. As soon as I saw the wall of Kiko Smart Nail Lacquers I fell in love, but not wanting to go too overboard I just chose two, which are actually two shades very similar to my favourite Barry’s that aren’t available anymore, and they’re only £2 each, so win win!

Nearer to the checkout, they also had a few ‘mini’ nail varnishes at just £1 each so I decided to nab two of those as well!

Next up, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this STUNNING matte finishing powder – its so creamy and blendable, plus its fine and super light! I also grabbed this pretty blush for just £3.80, which is also super light feeling and the shade, Breathtaking Azalea, is perfect for spring/summer looks.

Lastly, while I’m not normally one for individual eyeshadows, I decided to pick up this little duo-shadow because the colour combination was super pretty and very me. Its not the most pigmented, but the two shades compliment each other wonderfully and its perfect for a subtle look, which is more my style anyway!

Have you tried any Kiko products before? I’d love to hear any recommendations!

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4 Things I Never Thought I Could Wear

The official definition of fashion from the Oxford English dictionary is:

‘A popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour’

but I personally feel that over the last 10 years or so, fashion has very much moved away from this definition. In fact, I truly believe that in the society we live in now, while we may not all agree on some things, personal style has become much more widely accepted, and you don’t have to be wearing what’s on the cover of magazines to be rocking your own look, and for people to respect you for that.

For many years, there were certain things that I didn’t think I could wear due to certain features of my body, but as people’s views on fashion and style have broadened to become more accepting, I’ve started to realise that the clothing I never thought I could wear without facing judgement, are actually items that I not only love wearing, but that do actually suit me.

Crop tops

While I’ve never really strayed from size 10-12, I always have been and will probably always been a little bit squishy around the edges, and because of this I used to think that crop tops would never be for me. Well about 3 years ago I decided to hell with that, and not only did this do absolute wonders for my confidence, it introduced me to one of my wardrobe staples. I discovered that wearing a crop top doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stomach is on show for the world, and even if it is, I’m much more comfortable with that being the case.

Midi skirts

I’m the tallest in my family at a not-so-staggering 5ft 4, and thus I felt that If I ever wore anything that wasn’t essentially a mini skirt, I ran the risk of looking ridiculous. Back in 2013 I got over my fear of the maxi dress, although I still don’t really wear them often, but last year and this year for me has been the time of the midi skirt. No, they don’t make me look shorter, and I actually feel pretty damn cute in them thanks. Ps. I normally wear them with crop tops..

Soft cup bras and bralettes

I always thought that with my boobs sitting pretty above a B cup that I would have to spend my life in wired contraptions in order to keep everything under control. Wow, have I ever been so wrong?! Not only have soft cup bras and bralettes become my favourite inventions ever, and my go-tos most days if I can help it, but I’ve also discovered that some days its ok not to wear a bra at all! This has been freeing in so many ways.

Anything off the shoulder

Bardot-style tops, strapless dresses, these always felt like items that were never ‘everyday’ convenient. In fact, only until a few weeks ago I never thought that I could wear a bardot top, until I took the plunge and bought a pretty lace style bodysuit on a whim and when I tried it on I fell in love! And when it comes to strapless, I’ve actually found myself gravitating to those dresses and playsuits in my wardrobe during the summer months. I can’t explain this one because its not like I’ve ever had any issues with my shoulders, I just think I figured I’d always look a little out of place in them..

I guess what I’ve learnt from this more than anything else is to ignore any stereotypes that the fashion industry may set, but also that fashion really is about you doing you and being happy with that.

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The £5 Clinique Highlighter Dupe

I never have and never will claim to be a real beauty blogger. When I do write about makeup, I write as a girl who just likes wearing it (and buying way too much of it), so while I might not have the expertise of most, I still like to give it a good go every now and then. The discovery of today’s dupe was purely accidental, and I actually owned and used the dupe before I came across the high-end equivalent.

I’m the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to highlighters. I’d say they’re my weakness when it comes to makeup but I have many other weaknesses too so I’m not sure if it counts, but it was due to this weakness that I made this discovery. You see, when I wracked up enough points on my Sephora card back in February to claim some free gifts, when I was offered a free Clinique chubby stick highlighter, I snapped that badboy up without a second thought, but with so many highlighters in my collection, it was only recently that I actually thought I’d give it a go.

So there I am, sat in front of my mirror with that new product buzz going on, when I was struck with deja vu – have I used this before? I was questioning my sanity when I realised where I’d seen the same results before: from my Barry M Strobe Cream, shade Frosty Pink, which I’d bought months before for a mere £4.49. Now I know my chubby stick was a free gift, but it retails for £19.50 so that’s quite a difference..

Wanna see?

Left: Barry M, Right: Clinique

Top: Clinique, Bottom: Barry M

As you can see from the swatches, there’s hardly any difference in shade between the two. The Clinique does have a creamier formula, and possibly gives a little more shine than Barry’s, but I actually prefer the lightweight feel of the BM strobe cream, and its just as long-lasting.

If a £15 difference in price isn’t enough of a selling point, let’s not forget that Barry M is cruelty free and vegan friendly, and if Frosty Pink isn’t your jam, this is just one of four shades that its available in!

I know which one I use more often..

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Things That Are Worth Paying For as a Blogger

While we may make a little bit of money from sponsored posts, advert space and affiliate links, for the majority of bloggers, a blog is a labour of love, and I know that I for one definitely don’t make as much money out of blogging as I put into it.

As a result of this, over the years I’ve learnt all the classic money-saving tips for blogging: hitting up Primark and Asda for blog props rather than Zara Home, robbing B&Q for wallpaper samples to use as backdrops for photos and finding as many high street dupes for our favourite beauty products as possible. The list goes on.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to pour money into your blog to make it successful, but with that said, there are a few things that I am more than happy to pay out for in order to keep my blog running as smoothly as possible.

A domain

Whether you’re self-hosted or not, buying your own domain as opposed to being a .blogspot or .wordpress address is 100% worth it. I pay about £18 a year for mine, and not only does it help my blog look more professional, it all counts towards that all important (though also thoroughly pointless in my eyes) DA score.

Buffer Awesome Plan

I’ve been with Buffer since I started scheduling tweets, but there are a whole bunch of other sites available. When I first started out I stuck to the free plan, meaning I could schedule 10 tweets in advance at a time. Now I schedule 5 tweets a day, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I could only ever schedule two days at a time, which was a nightmare when half the time I would forget, or if I was away I’d face days of no tweets at all, so before my trip to Florida back in February I decided to upgrade so that I could schedule the whole two weeks I was going to be away, and since then I’d never go back. Its $10 a month, which depending on exchange rate is £7-8, but it makes me so much happier knowing at the start of each week that I’m all set until Sunday night, when I’ll top them up again.

ASOS Premier

I’ve been paying for Asos Premier for 3 years now, and trust me its worth it. £9.95 for the year to get free next day delivery on all orders, meaning I never have to worry about knowing if my items are gonna show up on time. Its kinda like Amazon Prime for my wardrobe, and yes I did once just order a pair of gloves for £5 two days before going to France because I knew they’d get to me on time and I couldn’t be bothered to schlep into town to dig through Primark for a pair.. PS. If you ever return and item for an exchange, the replacement item is also sent next day.

Upgrading your iCloud storage

If you’re forever snapping away for those all too Instagram-worthy shots, paying to upgrade your iCloud storage so you never run out of space on your phone is a lifesaver! I think I pay 99p a month and not once I have I had the dreaded ‘your storage is almost full’ pop up. In fact, I have photos back to December 2015 on my phone and I’m at no risk of running out of room any time soon.

Do you have any services that you swear by?

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Improving My Sleep Habits

Sleep and I are fickle friends; its a love/hate relationship really. The fact is, I really cannot function without it, and while everyone says this, I am the kind of person that can rarely make it to midnight, and more often than not is in bed by 10pm, if not earlier. I am also a napper, and if I am tired and need sleep, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if my body decides its time to sleep, I probably will – I think my finest moment was falling asleep while standing on a train in Japan. Oh yes.

The hate part of my relationship is that sometimes sleep doesn’t like me. I can be a fairly vivid dreamer, and while some nights I’ll sleep like an absolute baby, other nights I’ll be awake on the hour every hour. I’m not an insomniac, I’m just fairly restless, and some nights actually feel more draining than they do refreshing and restful.

So I’m in the market for anything I can do to improve my shut-eye, and I’ve already identified a few changes that need to be made in the hopes that I can see some real progression, and from here on out, I’ll be doing my best to stick to these new habits.

Clearing the clutter

I have this awful habit of leaving things in my bed when I’m about to go to sleep. Chances are my laptop will be on there somewhere, and probably a notepad or two, plus my iPad and maybe even some clothes that I haven’t got round to putting away yet – no more! From here on out my bed will be a place for me to sleep and just me.

Not getting into bed until I’m ready

I also have this horrible habit of getting into bed as soon as I get in from work, fully dressed with a full face of makeup, grabbing my laptop and getting a bit of writing done before I go to sleep, or putting on Netflix for a bit. The problem with this is that I then rarely want to get back out, so sometimes I’ll end up going to sleep without taking of my makeup and sometimes even sleeping in whatever shirt I was wearing that day so I don’t have to get up and change. Yikes, right?

Now, while I still have no issue with getting straight into bed when I finish my day at work (so much more common now I’m working 12 hour shifts), I won’t do it until I’ve eaten dinner, brushed my teeth, getting fully changed and all makeup off. I’m even making more of an effort during this time to get everything for the next day out and ready for the morning!

Having actual pyjamas

As I mentioned above, pyjamas are a bit of a fluid concept for me. I do have them, but sometimes I’ve been known to just grab whatever comfy top I can find rather than using actual pyjama options. Yes, I do have a few t-shirts and tops that I still have designated as pj options rather than day-to-day wear, but I’m training myself to remember to reach for these instead of any old shirt I can find.

Setting a pre-sleep skincare routine

More than just remembering to take off my makeup before bed, I’m actually working on sticking to a proper skincare routine before bed: makeup off, cleanse and tone face, moisturise etc. As well as being so much better for my skin, its actually a great way to wind down before getting into bed, and a little bit of self-care goes a long way!

Reducing the number of screens I’m on

I can be that person who is on my phone checking Instagram while trying to write a blog post on my laptop and also Netflixing on my iPad in the background. I like to consider myself a multi-tasker but really I’m just overstimulating myself. Now I’m on 12 hour shifts, I’ve found that I’m not reaching for my laptop anymore as soon as I get home, so I’m trying to make it more of a habit to leave my laptop for my days off, and instead just watch a movie or plan blog stuff in my notebook in the evenings after work – which also helps towards not sleeping with a laptop in my bed!

Doing distracting jobs

I’ve written before about the strange things that are the only things that I can stay awake doing, so rather than being on my many screens right before bed, I like to mix things up a few nights a week by getting other things done, like cleaning my makeup brushes, sewing or writing to-do lists for the coming days.

I’ve been trying to do all these for about 2 weeks now and I feel like I’m already seeing small improvements, so here’s hoping for the best!

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