Hello 25

Well well well, a long overdue blog post to celebrate another year of me.

I’m quite open in my feelings on my birthday – I’m not the biggest fan, but 25 feels like a kinda significant one and I’m full of thoughts today.

For starters, this is the first birthday I have not spent with my family, which is a pretty big deal for me. It’s the first birthday I’ve spent in our current house, and given that we’re moving house very soon (another story for another time, I don’t think I’ve shared that on here yet), it’ll also be my last. Someone was *nice* enough to remind me yesterday that 25 is half way to 50 – I mean, just want I wanted to hear, right? But that got me thinking.

We often see the new calendar year as a new, fresh start in our lives, but not so much when we move into an actual new year of life. So here I am, officially at the mid-20s point of my life, and I’m ready to take some things into my own hands.

I want this to be the year that I will actually do all of the things that I have told myself I’ll ‘do this year’ for the past however many years. I want to properly look after myself after years of overlooking my physical and mental wellbeing and really make 25 year old me the best Lottie I’ve ever been.

Just over 4 years ago, I wrote a small bucket list of things I wanted to do before I turned 25, and I’m pretty proud to say that I’ve achieved all of them except one – with that one being that I didn’t read all the books I wanted to have read – and one changed slightly as my life has but was still achieved, so I’m pretty proud of myself for making these things happen, and now I’m ready to carry this momentum on for another wonderful 25 years and then some!

Why I’m Not Going to See Toy Story 4 in the Cinema

So apparently I want to branch out from already being a ‘bad’ blogger to also being a ‘bad’ Disney fan, but hear me out on this one.

I think we can all agree that this has been a mega year for new movies. From Avengers Endgame already smashing a tonne of box office records to the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX coming soon, film boffs will most likely be spending more time in the cinema in 2019 than ever before. And out of all these films, I think Disney has had the most fingers in the pie than any other production companies, with some huge films having already hit the big screen and many more still to come.

This is all very exciting for Disney fans; we’ve seen some of our favourite animated classics have a reimagining as live actions, and also some pretty huge sequels, one of which closest to the hearts of my generation being Toy Story 4. 90’s kids like myself have grown up with the adventures of Andy’s toys, many of us sobbing FAR too many tears over *that* scene in Toy Story 3, so we were all good and ready when a fourth film was announced to be hitting our screens.

I was ready to go and see it, don’t get me wrong, and I am excited for when I finally do see it, but I’m not going to the cinema for it, and here’s my reasoning..

While the experience of some films is heightened by seeing it on an enormous screen in a pitch black theatre with surround sound and no talking, I personally think that other films are somewhat ruined by it, and Toy Story 4 is one of those for me. Give me all the action and adventure on the big screen, give me stunning cinematics and world class special features, but when it comes to a feel-good family animation, to be quite honest I’d rather be curled up on my sofa at home with a blanket and pile of snacks, being able to laugh out loud when I want to without getting evils from the rest of the guests.

And as awful as it sounds, I truly do get bored watching some films in the cinema. If its not a super gripping storyline or visually incredible, I find myself sat in the dark wishing it would hurry up and be done with sooner so I can get out of there, which I probably wouldn’t be thinking if I was watching it at home – y’know, unless it was a rubbish film in the first place.

So there’s one hell of an unpopular opinion for you I’m sure, but its something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and honestly, I stand by it. Anyone else feel the same? Let me know in the comments!

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – My Thoughts

I just want to prefix this post with a potential spoiler warning – I personally don’t think a film based on true life events can necessarily have spoilers, but if you don’t want to know anything about this film then stop reading now.

When the trailers for the Ted Bundy biopic featuring Zac Efron as the notorious mass murderer hit the internet a few months back, I told myself it was a movie that I wouldn’t be watching, but as being a Sky customer meant I could watch the film on the tv in the comfort of my own home on the same day it hit cinemas, I found myself putting it on out of sheer curiosity.

I have never been into this sort of thing. I’m not into murder documentaries or true crime and I refuse to watch anything that glorifies or romanticises abusive relationships or domestic violence and I figured those themes would be inherent in this film which was why I was put off, but I had some reasons behind why I found myself hitting play.

Firstly, the response to the trailers had me interested. My twitter feed was divided into two types of people: those who were going googly-eyed over Zac Efron, as so many of my generation do, and those who were incredibly annoyed by the former, concerned that this film would romanticise the real life character of Ted Bundy, who raped and murdered so many young women. I guess I fell in the latter, and I really wanted to know if this film would be turning viewers into living versions of the heart eyes emoji – hoping, of course, it would not.

Not I don’t know if because I went into this movie with concerns that I was immune to it, but I certainly did not feel like Ted was made to attract the audience. Sure, the part was played incredibly well by Zac Efron, and his character of the deceptively sweet-talking and certain man that his namesake was was very clearly portrayed, but at no point did I feel like many people would be swooning over what I was watching. I think that knowing the true outcome of the case that shocked a generation was the main factor in all of this – we go in knowing that the man is guilty – so my initial concerns were put to rest.

Through the whole movie I knew he was a lying, manipulative criminal and all I wanted was for Liz, played by Lily Collins, to get the happy life away from him that she deserved.

As for the rest of the film, I don’t know if impressed is the word but I respected it. The acting was incredible, the storytelling was clever and when during the end credits they played actual tapes from the real trial, I couldn’t not feel like hats off was due to the director who had really made many of the scenes from the film like for like. There were no proper scenes of any of the crimes committed – which I appreciated very much – only one brief and partially shown incident was in the movie, which I thought showed some respect to the real life victims.

Will I watch it again? Probably not, but my curiosity was satisfied and I am glad it was made in the way I hoped it would be.

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Colourpop Chasing Rainbows Palette – Swatches and Thoughts

What’s that? Another Colourpop palette added to my collection? I’m not even gonna pretend this was an accident..

I asked my mum for Chasing Rainbows for Christmas, perfectly timed with a 48 hour free international shipping offer, and although that meant I had to wait until New Years to get it, I’ve never found Colourpop products to not be worth the wait.

So this is the fourth Colourpop palette that I have reviewed on here, and if you look back over all the previous ones, you would quite easily come to the conclusion that I have a thing for bright eyeshadows, and that is 100% true, which is why this particular palette jumped out at me – well, that and the super cute packaging..

As the name of the palette also suggests, the range of colours covers a good amount of the colour spectrum, with some staple browns and golds to round it out, and as the swatches below show, the pigmentation is of a classic amazing Colourpop standard.

Left to right: Realness, Feeling It, So Meta, Blurred Lines, Wiggles

Left to right: Not Playing, Keep Cool, Manifest It, Wish List, Woke

Top to bottom: Lucid, Bring It, On One, Eclipse, Prism

I really like the versatility of Colourpop palettes; it makes life so much easier when I’m travelling if I can take just one palette but am able to produce a whole bunch of different looks from it, and this is no exception. Special mention goes to the shade Lucid, which on first look didn’t look like my cup of tea, but when I swatched it I discovered its blue-ish duo-tone effect which is really beautiful.

I feel like I’m often spouting the same spiel when it comes to Colourpop, but the fact is in my eyes there’s not a whole lot they can do wrong.

PS I’m super interested in trying out their No Filter Foundation, so if anyone has ever tried it or reviewed it, please let me know in the comments below!

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February Focus

I tell you what, if you ever want January to go quickly, go on holiday. I’ve never been so shocked to find that we’re at the end of the month.

February is always a decent month in my eyes. Its just 4 little weeks that always seem to fly by, not to mention one of my favourite national holidays (I know its not a real holiday) Pancake day. Its just really manageable, y’know? And much like how I feel about Mondays, I always enjoy the fresh start that a new month brings, and having come back from an amazing holiday with a renewed sense of motivation and drive for the rest of the year, I’m bringing all that energy into February with some new goals and plans for the 4 weeks ahead.

Reorganised office

Towards the end of 2018 I was so caught up with finishing up Christmas orders and then making sure I had everything ready for our trip in January that I let my office get a little chaotic and a messy work space is not helping my productivity BUT I am already in the process of sorting it all out. I’ve got shelves that I still haven’t put up since moving in, so that’s first on the list and then I just want to streamline and tidy everything up so that I can take the rest of the year by storm.

House to-do list

In the last week Matthew and I have been trying to make a dent in the to-do list for the rest of the house – basically the stuff we’ve been putting off because its not vital – but there’s still quite a bit left to do and I’d really like to get through as much of it as we can while momentum is on our side.

Mini-goal weight

One of my New Years resolutions was to regain the body confidence that I lost in 2018, and for the first time in ages I’ve actually been successfully losing weight over the last few weeks. I’m already 5lbs down on what I weighed at the end of December, and although I know that the number on the scale isn’t everything, I’m also feeling so much better. I’m not following any particular plan, just eating better and hitting the gym as usual but I seem to be doing something right, and although I’m not going to divulge the number, I have a particular weight that I would like to hit by the end of Feb and I’m feeling pretty positive about getting there.

Work and save

If there’s any month that’s best for setting a spending ban, its February. January sales are over, there’s no more parties or presents to buy, and if nothing else, its shorter than every other month so you’ve got a better chance of sticking it out for 2-3 days less. So the plan is to get my head down and be too busy with work to spend any money, and just pray that I don’t stumble across anything that I’ll want to break the ban for!

Happy times and happy habits

With January being a bit of a blur for me, going into February I am ready to hunker down and get myself into a good routine with self care, positivity and life in general. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, and I’ve got 28 to get it right, so let’s go February!

Are you up to much this coming month?

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Things I’m Doing to Love Instagram Right Now

You know, it’s really starting to feel super cliche when I complain about Instagram; it’s just not what it used to be.

On the flip side though, I do have to think that back when our feeds were chronological and the dreaded algorithm didn’t really exist, I didn’t have the following that I do now, so truthfully I can never really compare engagement, and maybe even I wouldn’t have my 5000+ followers now if not for the changes. Who knows, right?

Despite all this, I honestly do still love Instagram. It’s my favourite social media platform because I feel it’s where I can be the most creative, and it’s gone from a place where I post occasional life and holiday photos and promote my blog, to all of this plus being the primary place where I promote my business and a place where I’ve made a lot of really good friends.

Over the last few weeks I’ve made a couple of changes in how I approach Instagram, and honestly they’ve all really boosted my positivity around the platform, and have also possibly contributed to an increase in engagement for me as well!

Getting chatty

I see so many rumours and theories flying around about what helps boost posts and I really don’t know where they come from or if they’re true, but supposedly comments really help. Whether this is urban legend or not, I’m actively making sure that if I scroll past a photo and have a thought about it eg ‘ooh I’d love to go to this place’ or ‘wow I need those shorts’, I put that thought into writing. If nothing else, I know how much I love getting comments so if all I’ve really done is given someone a little internal ‘yay’ then it’s a success in my eyes.

Now I don’t know if this is coincidental, or possibly that other people are having the same thoughts as me, but I have noticed since doing this that I am getting more comments and generally more likes, especially within the first few hours of posting, so I might be on to a winner. If nothing else though, I feel pretty good about it.

New editing software

I went from ‘what is this Lightroom thing that everyone’s banging on about?’ to ‘wow this is fantastic’ in approximately 2.5 seconds. Sure I still don’t fully understand it but I’m having fun winging my way through it! And yes, I guess it is just another additional step I’ve created for myself before being able to post to Instagram, but I really enjoy editing photos and I really love the results.

Planning ahead a little

I really take pride in my Instagram, so it does stress me out sometimes when I can’t find the perfect photo to post and sometimes that means I don’t post for days which makes me sad. I know this might sound ridiculous to a lot of people, but like I said earlier it’s one of my biggest creative outlets so while it may just be Instagram, it’s kinda like an artistic wanting to paint but not having any brushes. You get me?

Anyway, I’m tackling this head on with my handy sidekick, the app UNUM, which I’ve had for about a year now. I don’t religiously plan my posts, but I do like to know what I’m doing for the next day or two, with maybe a couple of blank spaces for ‘of the moment’ inspiration, just like I do with my blog posts, and it means I’ve always got something to fall back on if inspiration is lacking a little.

Staggering photos

I came back from my recent Disney trip with, no joke, THOUSANDS of photos. I posted maybe 2-3 photos a day while I was out there, but especially being on the cruise for a few days with no WiFi, I still have so many photos that haven’t seen the light of Instagram yet. Sure, I could post them all back to back, but I sometimes worry people will get sick of them and I also like to keep some content back to fill the gaps between trips (not that I’ve really got many gaps this year if all goes to plan!), so I spread them out between current photos for variety.

Not getting too hung up on numbers

No one likes not being liked, I get that, but Instagram is a weird and wonderful place full of bitchy politics and bots, and I’m just learning to accept that. Fact is, if you’ve seen your follower count drop overnight, it’s more likely to be courtesy of bots dropping out or accounts being deleted or deactivated that it is that many people making the conscious decision to take you off their feed. Hakuna matata.

As for people playing the follow/unfollow game, I just think that they must be having a really miserable time on Instagram if they feel the need to do that all the time, so they can do them and I’ll just be over here having a fabulous time because it’s so much easier than stressing over it.

At the end of the day, I know its just an app, but its also an app that is very important to me for a lot of reasons, so its so much easier to enjoy what I’m doing on there, don’t you think?

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The cariPRO Ultrasonic Toothbrush from Smile Brilliant | AD

The following post contains some affiliate links and features a gifted product. All views are my own.

Let’s face it, we all feel better when we look good, right? Well, the truth is I can be a little lax in that area, and it does affect my mental health, so one of my personal New Years resolutions for 2019 was that I wanted to spend a bit more time taking care of myself and my appearance.

At first, I thought that this would be taking a bit more time to do my makeup, or being stricter with my skincare routine, and it never even really dawned on me that I could also benefit from focusing more on my oral hygiene, until I was contacted by Smile Brilliant to try out their new electric toothbrush, the cariPRO Ultrasonic.

I don’t think I’ve ever really used an electric toothbrush before, except maybe a kiddy one as a child, so I was excited to see if brushing with a little bit of power would actually make the difference that you always see dental adverts claiming. I’ve never really had any concerns about my teeth; I’ve never had a filling, braces or really needed any sort of treatment, so I’ve always thought I was doing just fine with a manual toothbrush, but how do I feel now?

My first impressions of the cariPRO toothbrush were surprising. I expected it to be quite heavy in the hand and bulky compared to the manual toothbrushes that I’m used to, but it was surprisingly lightweight and a lot slimmer than other electric toothbrushes I’ve seen before, and its soft touch grip means it holds really nicely. The brush head is quite a bit smaller than on a manual toothbrush but this makes it easier to focus on each tooth individually to get a great clean all over.

The cariPRO has five different brushing modes – Clean, Whiten, Massage, Gum Care and Sensitive – with each one having a different vibrating effect, and it also has a built-in 2 minute timer, and every 30 seconds there’s a small pause to indicate when you should be moving on to the next section of your mouth, which is super handy if, like me, you never really stop to think about how long you’ve been brushing for. The toothbrush also comes with extra brush heads, a wireless charging dock and a 2 year warranty – oh, and did I mention its totally waterproof?!

But are my teeth cleaner?

Well, they definitely feel it, but not only does using the toothbrush make my mouth feel better, it also actually makes me want to clean my teeth. I now like taking the time to brush thoroughly, alternate between the different brush modes and ensure that I am getting a full 2 minute brush in, whereas before I used to see cleaning my teeth as a bit of a chore.

Are you interested?

Well it might just be your lucky day because I’ve teamed up with Smile Brilliant to give you the chance to win your very own cariPRO Ultrasonic Electric Toothbrush by simply clicking hereAnd if you don’t win or you can’t wait to try it out for yourself, you can save 20% off your purchase using discount code ‘lottiedoes20‘ at the checkout, so everyone’s a winner really!

Be sure to head over to the Smile Brilliant website to see all the other excellent products they have on offer, and check out the FAQ page if you want to know anything else!

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electric toothbrush
//www.smilebrilliant.com/widget-caripro-article/lottiedoes/773/228