About My Younger Self

This was me, aged 15. This photo was taken about two or three days after I had been dumped by my first long-term boyfriend – we’d been together around 8 or 9 months – by text, at around 2 o’clock in the morning. Yeah.. My two best girlfriends had slept round mine, and we had gone to a local summer festival where we tried to get as many free things as we could, ate food that came from trucks or stalls and just had some fun.

In those days I always carried a camera. More often than not it was my dad’s because he had much better ones than me, and phone cameras still took grainy, low quality photos. My phone at the time was a slid-up LG thing with buttons. Yep. I would take so many photos, most totally silly but every one a memory that I would painstakingly upload to Facebook in groups of 5, caption individually and tag, so that everyone could see. I still have every single one saved on my computer.

My two best friends were everything. Our lives revolved around sleepovers at each others houses and trips to Primark. We sat together in every class but still text each other under our desks, and we were there for each other through every breakup, fall out or family problem. We all had our own style and our own likes and dislikes, but we all respected each other. I never thought there would be a time that we wouldn’t be friends anymore. Well, we drifted apart in the end.

In those days I knew very little when it came to makeup, and I certainly didn’t wear it every day. When I did it was probably just blue eyeliner and mascara – I think by 15 I had given up on my Dream Matte Mousse in 3 shades more orange than my face actually was. My eyebrows were never filled in, nor did I ever pluck them (but that was partly because I’m quite lucky with my natural shape), but my nails were always painted. My nail varnish collection was my pride and joy and every week at school was a challenge to see how long I could make it before a teacher eventually noticed my navy blue tipped fingers and made me go to the office to take it off. Most gave up bothering.

Even back then my style was different. I wore skirts and shorts with knee high socks and high-tops – Converses were basically the only shoes I owned, and still are. I wore dungarees and band t-shirts, and actually knew who the bands were. I knew what I was wearing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I almost thrived from it. I guess the fact that I didn’t try and blend in back then is what makes my style what it is today. To be honest, when I look back I still love every outfit.

Younger me went through a lot. I look back at some of it and wish some things had been different. I wish I could have told myself so many things about how life would be in 5-10 years time but I also applaud that version of myself for getting through it all. I almost feel like I don’t know that person anymore, but she was great, despite not believing it herself.

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Let’s Talk About Luck

Luck (noun)

“success or failure apparently brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

I feel like this says it all, but because you don’t know the point I’m trying to get across, here’s some backstory..

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you achieve, there will always be someone who says ‘oh wow, you’re so lucky!’. Whether you’ve just tweeted about a promotion at work, or you’re Instagramming beach pics from a fabulous holiday, so many people jump to luck. Now don’t get me wrong, 9 times out of 10 this is probably meant as a compliment, but that’s just the thing. Unintentional as it may be, claiming luck invalidates the accomplishment.

Take bloggers for example. I follow so many incredible bloggers on Twitter, all of which produce great content, take photos that could easily appear in magazines and pour so much effort into their posts that they deserve every opportunity they get, but whenever they tweet in gratitude about one of their favourite brands reaching out to work with them, so many of the responses that come flooding in are ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing! You’re so lucky!’. Yes, it is amazing, but look at the definition of luck (see, I put it there for a reason), these things came about through hard work and determination, so that’s far from luck.

Personally, I hate being told that I’m lucky whenever I go on holiday. Sure, I guess I’m fortunate to have a job that pays well, but I earnt that job and I work hard in that job, plus I put in so much overtime for the very purpose of being able to pay for said holidays. And I suppose it helps that my outgoings aren’t too high, but again, that’s because I’m very careful with money, budget like a pro and know how to find a bargain. Yep, these are all sounding like my own actions..

I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for every opportunity that comes my way, because I am. I am so grateful and so thankful for everything I have, and there are so many things that I do think I’m lucky to have, such as my amazing family, incredible boyfriend and wonderful friends, because apart from somehow convincing them to be in my life, my actions had nothing to do with them being who they are, I just wish that we didn’t devalue accomplishments by suggesting luck has anything to do with it.

What do you think?

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Things I Learned When I Tried To ‘Fit In’

I don’t think there’s a single day that I don’t see some tweet about how someone doesn’t feel like a ‘proper’ blogger because they don’t use a marble backdrop, rose gold props or whatever style is currently being conceived as a ‘typical’ blogger thing.

There’s a number of reasons that these sorts of comments bother me, and I’m not going to get into all of them now, but the biggest one for me is that people think that you have to conform to a particular style to be a blogger. Yes, there’s a bit of a stereotype and a lot of bloggers make jokes about being ‘basic’ or ‘cliche’ but the fact is, its just a popular style and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In my early years of blogging, I didn’t know much about my own style, or even anyone else’s for that matter, but when I started to discover more of the blogosphere, I started to feel a little bit of a tug to replicate these pretty photos I was seeing all the popular bloggers post. I started brightening my photos, doing more flat-lays and I even made myself a fake marble backdrop. And what happened?

I never used the marble backdrop

After going to all the effort of making my backdrop, it has never actually graced the pages of this blog. I tried, but I realised that it just wasn’t my style and I didn’t want to compromise myself just to look like everyone else.

I discovered more topics that I like writing about

I created this blog original to just talk Disney, but now its so much more than that and I love it. I discovered that I actually really like writing about beauty, even though I never thought I’d be a beauty blogger, and I’ve learned that there are a million other things that I can use this platform of mine to discuss.

Flat-lays are a true art form

And one I have yet to master! You may look at a flat-lay and few products laid out on a nice backdrop but oh my gosh is it so much more? I have so much respect for the bloggers who nail them every damn time, and I aspire to be even half as good as them!

I like my own style, and I like not ‘fitting in’

So I don’t fit the so-called stereotypical blogger style, and I am 100% okay with that. I like bright and colourful and that is me. Blogging is all about being your own person and doing your own thing, and I have known that all along. And yes, I love rose gold and shiny beauty products, and I like marble and pastel and pretty stationary and anything else that makes me a ‘basic’ blogger, so sue me?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be anything but yourself to be a blogger. A blogger is just someone who has a blog, simple. Love it? Own it.

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Things My Travel Disasters Have Taught Me

I always say I’ve had the travel bug from a young age. I was very lucky as a child that my parents took my sister and me to so many different places and I have experienced so much of the world already, and that need to see it all has never gone away.

Now in all my years of travelling, you wouldn’t expect that everything’s always gone 100% smoothly, and you’d be right, it hasn’t. There have been plenty of slight holiday malfunctions and mishaps over the years, but as a child a lot of these didn’t seem like problems – probably because my parents always did a pretty good job of covering them up – but in more recent years, my travel nightmares have led to a lot of discovery.

Even if you’re travelling hand luggage only, make sure its a suitable bag

This is a fun story from a year ago now. I went on solo trip to Disneyland Paris and after a wonderful weekend away I got to the airport to discover my flight home had been cancelled. The airline were nice enough to get my on another flight, but this was at a different airport which I had to get a coach to, and then after walking the entire length of the airport to the gate for the second flight, that one was also cancelled. Long story short, I spent the majority of my day walking back and forth through a huge airport, and the bag I had chosen for my weekend’s worth of stuff? A shopping bag, kinda like a bag-for-life/Ikea blue bag style thing with a little grab handle, so I couldn’t put it on my back or over my shoulder, and my hand hurt so much by the time I got home – 9 hours later than I should have.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from airport staff

On a flight to Japan, my sister and I had a VERY tight transfer time in Dubai, and by very tight I mean too tight. Thanks to a delay in our first flight, we wouldn’t have had enough time to make it to our next gate, so we did the somewhat sensible, someone stressed-fuelled thing to do and ran through the airport shouting for someone to help us. Well, we ended up on one of those little golf-cart things that the airport staff use and got shuttled right to where we needed to be, just in the nick of time!

Just because trains are reliable, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the timetable

This is another Japan story. Japanese trains are the most reliable in the world; they so rarely run late that you actually need a note from the train company to take to work with you to prove it was actually late. Well we never experienced a single late train, but we did assume that all trains ran super regularly, when in fact the train to the airport only ran once an hour on the day we needed to take it, and we got there 5 minutes after a train had just left. Another mad run through the airport..

Set yourself a reminder alarm on any train journey

So I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m super stressed out my body likes to shut down and make me sleep whenever the opportunity arises. Well this occurred once after I stressed about my Eurostar home from Paris being late once, and as soon as I got on the train, I fell asleep. Luckily, I kept my phone in my hand the whole time, and a friend of mine who was sat in a different part of the train had text me to ask if I was ready to run of the train at our connecting station, which woke me up, but had I not I would have missed it altogether and rode that train all the way to Brussels. Oops.

Always check the pockets of bags you haven’t used in a while

This is one of my favourite stories going back to when I was in secondary school. I was in cadets, and had used the same rucksack to take away on a cadet camp early in the summer that I used as hand luggage for a family holiday. It goes through the scanner and gets pulled for inspection, where the security guard asks if I would have anything sharp or metal to which I proclaimed that I just remembered that there were some safety pins I’d forgotten about that I would have had in there from camp. Well it turns out I also had forgotten about the pen knife that I took to camp, which the guard then pulled from my bag. Yep..

Well I certainly hope you’ve been entertained by my little cautionary tales, if you haven’t learned anything from them yourself! Have you ever had any major travel faux pas?

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Why Has ‘Fit Shaming’ Become A Thing?

No, that’s not a typo in the title.

I, for one, cannot understand the shaming culture that we have created. We’ve had ‘fat shaming’ and ‘skinny shaming’ and unfortunately we still see this unnecessary viciousness every day, but what has really shocked me in recent months is what I personally like to call ‘fit shaming’.

This is something that I have personally experienced for a little while now, but whenever a new year comes round, I see this increasing across the likes of Twitter, and this is the bizarre concept that people seem to think its okay to try and make people feed bad about trying to be healthy. Not trying to be skinny, not fad-dieting or specifically trying to lose weight, this is just the act of trying to live a vaguely healthy lifestyle by going to the gym every so often, making a healthier food choice every once in a while or just trying to be more active.

Are you as confused by this as I am?

We all know that one of the most common New Years resolutions is people aiming to be a bit healthier or get fitter. Whether you manage the whole year, or just the first day, I think its a great resolution to have, and I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad about setting this goal, New Years or not. Despite this, though, the keyboard warriors of the world love to try and make people feel crap about it.

Me? I’ve been teased by people I work with. Yep.. Snide comments about the fact that I went to the gym that morning, laughing about the fact that I packed a salad or teasing me and other colleagues when we compared Fitbits.

WHY IS THIS A THING?

I don’t really care about people making stupid little comments, but I just cannot comprehend why anyone thinks there is anything shame-worthy about fitness. I mean, I don’t think anyone should be voicing judgement on other people’s personal choices and decisions, but of all the things I just do not understand this behaviour.

I’m just gonna say it louder for the people in the back: LET PEOPLE LIVE HOW THEY WANT TO LIVE.

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Working 9-5

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago I wrote about how I ditched regular working hours in favour of 12 hour shifts, but time’s a-changing again folks! No, I didn’t get fed up of the hours – in fact, I really did love doing the whole 3 days a week thing – but your girl’s gone and got herself a new job!

I’m still working for the same company, in the same building, but I have finally clawed my way out of customer service and I’m pleased to announce that I will now be an accounts administrator in the finance department, and that means Monday-Friday, 9-5, and for the first time ever in my working life.. NO MORE WEEKENDS! The job comes with better pay, better hours and more opportunities, and I already love the work.

And while I did love my old shift pattern, I finally have total stability; no more working Monday-Wednesday one week, then Monday, Thursday and Friday the next, and then throw in a few random weekend days each month. I’ve also been given the gift of some flexibility – if I need to come in a little later one day, I can do that and stay a little later. I’m not having to be in for an exact time and take my breaks at the set time I was given, and better still, I don’t have to speak to customers anymore, yippee! (I have worked in customer service for over 5 years and while I somewhat enjoyed the work and like the majority of customers, some can be downright rude)

I normally hate change, but this change is going to be so good for me. I’m already so much happier to go to work every day, and excited to get back to a proper routine of eating meals at normal times, and not being totally exhausted when I get home. I’m excited to have time to go to the gym in the morning and still have time to do my makeup rather than just running out of the house with my eyebrows just barely filled in. I’ll have time to catch up with people on social media and promote my small businesses and just feel a little bit more like my life is together.

This is going to be good for me.

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Are We The Next Generation of ‘I Remember When..’?

Last Saturday I walked into the Apple Store in Southampton’s West Quay shopping centre to pick up my iPad Pro. Said iPad Pro had been ordered online the day before, and courtesy of a Black Friday deal I had been emailed an £80 gift card which I was going to use to buy an accompanying Apple Pencil.

Upon entering the store, I approached a staff member with an iPhone, who simply entered my order number and within minutes another staff member appeared from a back room with my iPad (pre-paid) and an Apple pencil. He scanned the barcode for my gift card straight from my email using his phone, and I paid the remainder by putting my card into a device attached to said phone. I entered my email address on the screen, my receipt was sent to that email address, and I was free to leave the store.

During my entire time in the store I did not have to go to a single desk. There was no collection point or checkout, no lines or waiting areas, but also no chaos, and I couldn’t help but think, is this the future of retail? Will shopping become as simple as walking up to someone with a handheld device and getting an email confirmation of payment before I’ve even walked away?

Naturally, my brain went to all sorts of extremes, and I started to think about all the other things that have changed in my relatively short lifetime. As a young child I had cassette tapes and experienced the struggle of going to watch a movie only to find that no one had re-wound it back to the start after the last time it was watched. Now, I have DVDs and Blurays that I’ll often ignore if I can watch the same movie on Netflix.

We spend our childhoods listening to our parents and grandparents telling us to be grateful for x, y and z because they didn’t have that back in their day, yet already we’re saying the same thing to those who are as little as 5-10 years our junior.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always going to be things that don’t translate across age groups. There will always be TV shows that only aired for a few years, or crazes and fashions that died out as quickly as they appeared, but think of the enormous lifestyle changes that technology has brought us – I’m talking going from brick-phones to flip-phones to smart-phones, from the days where you could probably only pay by cash or cheque to now not even having to carry your purse because you’ve got ApplePay..

Things are moving so quickly that I can’t even fathom how things will work in even just another 10 years time. Will we even have to consciously pay for things or will technology become so advanced that you can just pick something up from a shelf and walk out and be charged automatically? We’re moving so far past what we’ve known so far, I don’t think we can even try to predict the future anymore..

Sorry for the ramble but does anyone else ever think about these things?

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