Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Liebster Award | "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."

Okay, this is crazy. I've been nominated by the lovely A Yank In Blighty for the Liebster award. This is such an amazing way to find new blogs and I'm going to nominate my own 11 to answer some questions. I have been blogging less than a month and it's so humbling to see that people like what I ramble about. Over the last few weeks, I've made new friends, accumulated 23 followers on bloglovin' and found my love for writing again.

There are a few simple rules that you need to follow:
1. Mention the person who nominated you with a link in their blog
2. Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers 

4Create a new set of 11 questions for your nominees to answer 

(I don't know if the blogs I'm going to nominate have under 200 followers but they are my favourite blogs at the moment).

1. Why did you start blogging?
I lost all passion and motivation to sing which is what kept me happy for a long time. Being a creative person, I knew I needed to get my teeth into something new and my friend (who I'll be nominating in a minute) started blogging and it then occurred to me that I probably should try that too, and I absolutely love it!
2. What is the main goal you'd like to accomplish in 2014 with your blog?
I really don't have a goal as I've never really thought about it that much. I don't see my blog as being something that other people will enjoy, it's just something for me - though it's great that people read and do like my posts. I guess it would be great to reach 100 followers and keep blogging and not lose faith in myself again.
3. If you could move anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
Oh god, this is a hard one. I have no idea. I think I'd buy an RV and travel all the way around the world first and then decide after I've experienced all different cultures and places.
4. What is your earliest memory?
Being 5 years old in hospital for 2 weeks and my class making me a card with all different pictures and names on it. My teacher bought it into the hospital when she came to visit and it made me so happy to see that people cared about me. Hospital at 5 years old for a fortnight is pretty lonely.
5. If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
Now, you're bringing out the Marvel geek in me. As cliche as it is, I think I'd have to pick flying. How incredible would it be to just go somewhere and not have to pay extortionate prices for the train, or walk miles on end to get to where you want to be?!
6. What website do you spend the most time on?
Probably Twitter. Or Zoopla, house hunting online is my new favourite past time.
7. What is your dream job?
I would absolutely love anything in the music industry, or in media. It's something I've been aiming toward for so long, but I've sort of given up now. 
8. Do you prefer cooking or getting take out?
It really depends on whether I've been working or not. I really love a good take away, but I feel that cooking your own food makes it taste so much nicer and you appreciate it more. So, I'd have to say cooking my own food.
9. What if your favorite store, where you could probably spend too much money?
At the moment, I spend absolutely no money at all, but it would probably be Yankee Candle or Primark.
10. Who is your favorite blogger?
This is a hard one. I don't think I really have a favourite blogger because I don't really enjoy putting things in an order. I have lots of blogs I enjoy to read!
11. What is the best piece of advice you've been given/found?
Stop caring about what people think about you. It doesn't matter if they don't like you, if you like yourself.

1. Alice's Antics - Here is my best friend. Alice is 18, and wise beyond her years. She's just moved to Italy as an Au Pair for 8 months, so you're bound to find quality content here. 
2. Skinnedcartree - I have never known someone so passionate about blogging as Corinne is. She posts beautiful dresses and advice on blogging, she's set up a website so we can get to know one another (you can join up here).
3. What Lucy-Jayne did 
4. Coffee And Cosmetics
5. RubyDuchess 
6. LipstickLeathers
7. FabulousWithHeart
8. CatchLifeAsItFlows
9. MissAmyKatherine
10. SimplyRoxilicious
11. Wear Something Black

And my questions for you are...

1. What are your ambitions for this year?
2. Where do you see your blog in 5 years time?
3. Sweet or savoury?
4. What would you change about your life if you could alter one thing?
5. What made you start blogging?
6. Favourite blogger?
7. What is your day job?
8. What other hobbies do you have other than your blog?
9. Favourite song?
10. Describe yourself in 5 words.
11. Link your favourite blog post.

There you have it. Go go go. I can't wait to read your answers, and thanks again for nominating me.
Normal blogging resuming in 3...2...1..

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Moving Out | "Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands."

So this is it, this is the year that I'm moving out. Expect another post on this when I've moved and I'm settled in... It's exciting, but God damn, it's terrifying. I've never lived away from home for more than 2 weeks before and this time it's for good. I currently live in Bristol, a big city with everything I could possible want or need on my doorstep. I've spent 21 years in the same place, people coming and going out of my life and it's finally time for me to move on. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to miss this part of the country so much. It's all I've ever known. Starting completely from scratch in an area I don't really know, but I'm just excited for this adventure to begin.

Bristol. My home.

With my boyfriend being in the Royal Air Force, I will be packing my life away and moving half way up the country. It's a crazy thought being so far away from my family, my friends and my job, but it's something I need to do. People keep asking me if it's a good idea to leave everything behind, but if I don't do it now while I'm young, when will I do it? We get comfortable in one place and never go and experience other things. For a long time, I've been starved of inspiration and motivation to do the things I usually love and I'm really hoping this change will ignite my fire again. 

Luckily for me, we will be moving up to Lincolnshire which is where Danny grew up and his family still live, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with that territory and it won't feel completely alien to me. Lincolnshire is such a beautiful area and it's SO flat. Hills are pretty much my arch enemy, so this is a great factor for me. If you ever get to go to Lincoln in your life, there is a Cathedral (see below) which is so stunning you would be a fool not to visit it. The only problem is that it's basically at the top of the biggest hill I've ever seen, accurately named 'Steep Hill'. 

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire.

Friends come and go, but family are for life. This is something I need to remember as I'm so nervous about drifting away from my family. Even though I might not see them everyday, or speak to them when I want to, I know that they will always be there. It's always going to be hard to just pack up and leave when you're so familiar with this routine but there has to be a time where you think about what is best for yourself. As much as I'm nervous about this new chapter of my life, I am so ready for it, and when I say ready, I mean that half my life is already packed away in boxes. I even have a whole box just for candles alone (I really love candles...). I will definitely miss Bristol and everything I've come to know here, but it's time for me to move on.

The view from my room/Lots of boxes already...

I'm hoping that in this change, I can find myself. 
I'm ready for you, adventure. Come at me.

Have any of you moved out? How did you find that experience? If you have any tips, leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

2014 Resolutions | "There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."

It's almost the end of January, so I'm aware this is a bit late, but better late than never right?
Every year I tell myself I'm going to make a new years resolution and stick to it. Every year I'll get to the third week of January and those resolutions are a thing of the past. I love having the start of a new year as motivation to better myself and this year I am more determined than ever to achieve my goals.

Firstly, Lose weight.

This is my main goal for this year. I don't care if it takes me 12 months, or 3 months. I want to feel more comfortable in myself and with my body. I want to be able to wear gorgeous clothes and not feel like a complete monster in them. I would be more than happy with a size 10.
I'm making changes to my lifestyle, and although they might not be completely concrete at the moment, I'm really happy with the progress I'm making. Losing a few pounds in these last few weeks has already made a difference in how I feel, which is great! I can't wait to be able to be proud to stand in a full length picture, rather than feel like I have to hide behind other people.
If you have any tips, feel free to share them.

Be more positive. 

Anyone that knows me knows I'm not exactly the most positive of people and I'm really trying to change that. I'm trying my hardest to see the sunshine in rainy situations. It's amazing how just ignoring the negative feelings can make me feel so free from this cage I've kept myself in for so long.
I've stopped regretting things that I've done or being upset about situations out of my control, started believing that it all happens for a reason and getting on with it. The past is the past and we can't change what has happened, only grow from it.
2014 is going to hold so many amazing experiences for me, and I'm really excited to see where it takes me.

Save as much money as humanly possible.

This year I'm finally flying the nest and moving in with my boyfriend (hurrah!). It feels like such a long time coming and there are no words to explain how excited I am. It's a completely new experience for me and I have no idea what what to expect but the mystery just makes it all so much more exciting. We've already been looking at houses online and I've gotten a bit ahead of myself saving lots of furniture and accessories to my favourites. Oops. Luckily where we are looking at buying, house prices aren't horrendous, because money saving isn't the easiest when your job doesn't pay that much per week/month.

Do something for charity.

I don't do enough for charity at all. Apart from posting about wanting people to become organ donors (you really should join, if you haven't already). I really haven't done anything and I feel awful about it. My pub throw out so much food daily, and it really bothers me that it can't go to the homeless so I'd love to do something for those less fortunate than I am. It doesn't matter how big or small what I do is, I just want to help. In my bid to get fit and healthy, I would aim to eventually do a charity run and get sponsored to it. It won't be this year, but never the less, I should (really should) probably start training soon...

So, these are my resolutions. Do you have any? How are you getting on with them?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Make Up 101 | “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”

Now that my annoyance is out of the way *see previous post*, I thought I'd talk a little bit about the products I do use on a regular basis (for my own happiness, not for anyone else's...)

Although, it's not really my thing. I can't control my obsession for mascara, lipstick and nail varnish. It's getting to the stage where I have to have separate drawers for each. It's a bit embarrassing really.
For my 21st birthday, I treated myself to a gorgeous 'MAC Russian Red' lipstick. (You can see it in my picture to the right). At £15 each, they can be a bit pricey, but they are honestly so so worth it. This is the only lip product I'll ever go to now so I really am getting my moneys worth.

Barry M are my saviour when it comes to nail varnish. Their 'matte' and 'gelly hi shine' collections are just incredible, but due to the time of year it is, 'matte' has been my varnish of choice. Burgundy is such a great colour for winter, it just looks absolutely gorgeous with anything. They are such reasonable prices at only £3.99 each, you could buy the whole collection if you wanted to!
If you've never tried Barry M, they are just the best for cheap but great nail varnish and I'd really recommend them. You could ask anyone and my whole collection is pretty much filled with their products.
Gorgeous, isn't it?

I do often use a different base coat to Barry M though, as I find it's not as good as the Collection 2000 one. It's just a matter of buying the cheap ones (if you can't afford the more expensive ones) and figuring out which is best for you. The Collection 2000 is a lasting colour base coat and I've found that even after a week, I've not had a chip yet!
These are my current favourites.
(L-R Collection 2000 lasting colour, Barry M Matte 'Crush', Loreal crystal top coat)

I use 3 different mascaras and they are all great. The first one (the label rubbed off so I don't know what it is) has almost run out so is great to just lightly coat and extend the lashes. The next one (has also rubbed off), is in a purple tube and is used to curl the lashes and give volume, and finally, I use the Rimmel Day2Night mascara and it is my absolute favourite. 

I don't claim to know anything about make-up at all, and would never give anyone advice, this is just a post to show what I use and what I would recommend.

Stay beautiful.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

True Beauty | "Beneath the make-up and behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world."

I've never been one for make-up, but I can't help but fall in love with the way it transforms us. It's incredible. I think women (and men) are gorgeous with and without make-up, but I can appreciate that we all want to feel beautiful and if make-up makes us feel that way, then so be it.

I get so frustrated with celebrity magazines commenting on people leaving the house with a fresh face as something that is just not acceptable. I've done a bit of research and the thing that comes across the most is 'shocking photos'. Why?! Why is that shocking? So what if we don't want to leave the house with a face full of make-up? It's not exactly a crime. No wonder we have self esteem issues when we're constantly faced with headlines like this.

Recently, my boyfriend and I had professional photos taken and we both got given a 'MAC' makeover before hand. It was a really new experience for me and I felt so pampered and absolutely gorgeous. (If I wasn't so lazy, I would probably try and do my look myself just to feel that way again). It took about 50 minutes and I didn't see myself until the final product. I didn't even recognise myself. It was refreshing. It gave me a completely new confidence that I'd not had before.


Here is a before (no make up at all), and then with the makeover.

It's frustrating when there is such a big thing around women having to wear make-up to be beautiful. Just because I'll go to work with no product on, doesn't make me any less beautiful than the rest of my female colleagues. We are such stunning creations. If you want to wear a face full of make-up every day; do it. If you don't want to wear any; don't. Lets not let the media decide this for us. Make-up does not define us. We are absolutely bloody gorgeous either way.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Growing Up | "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

Growing up is never easy, no matter who you are or what sort of life you have. If you say you had it easy, I will say you're lying. It's crazy to think that I've been alive for 21 years and every year there has been one thing or another that stopped me in my tracks. Childhood is where we learn the basics of the life we are heading into and we spend the majority of the first 10 years of our life being force fed information on things we really don't understand. All we want to do is pretend to be planes or draw on walls. We don't care about how to join up letters or how Moses parted the sea. It's so important to be told that it's okay to make mistakes and that it is an essential part of growing up. Learning from mistakes when you're younger can only give you more time to develop and remind yourself that what you did didn't work out. 

Primary school for me was just 7 years of having religion shoved down my throat. That's the problem with going to a catholic primary school, I suppose. We aren't given the space and opportunity to have our own opinion. From such a young age we are being encouraged to think about our futures and we shouldn't be. Childhood is for innocence and being silly - not for deciding you want to be an accountant. I'm in my second decade of life and I don't even know what I want to do yet. 

I was one of the early developers in my class in school and that made it really difficult. Being the oldest sibling, I had no-one to talk to about what I was going through. I didn't know what was happening with my body and it confused me. People would make fun of me because I wore a bra and I was taller than most people in my class (unfortunately I stopped growing that year and I'm stuck at 5'2). Instead of playing with my 'friends' in the playground, I would sit in the reception with the women and draw pictures because going outside, not knowing what people would say was terrifying. I was only 10 years old and there was already people telling me what I looked like was 'wrong for a girl'. It was upsetting. What kind of person would tell an impressionable young girl that having meat on her bones is wrong? We don't all look like Barbie, and nor should we.

I couldn't shake what people had said to me for a long time. Self esteem was something I was hardly aware of and already I had none. I wore baggy clothes to hide my breasts, a jacket to hide my arms and I would be dead before I was seen in a skirt. I put on weight and even though I hated how big I had become, but I would keep comfort eating. It was a vicious circle. Sad because fat, eat because sad, sad because fat. 

Going into secondary school, I was nervous about what was ahead of me. I made sure I had the biggest uniform and looking back now I realise it made me look bigger than I was - not a good move guys. I was ginger, had braces and was fat. Not exactly the best way to start a new school, I guess. The nicknames soon began. There was tin teeth, boing boing, carrot top… They say that sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. They were wrong. They hurt. 

Moving into the higher years of secondary school, it became apparent that something was wrong with me. I was making myself sick so I didn't have to go to school, I felt empty and regretfully, started self harming. Fortunately, I was aware that I needed help. I started going to a counsellor and she helped me a bit, but I felt extremely patronised by her and decided that it wasn't for me. Trying my best to get on with life, I knuckled down and got good grades in my GCSE's. The feelings of emptiness and worthlessness never went away, I just managed them. Sometimes it seems like it is impossible to put them to the back of your mind, but I promise you, it will get easier.

Something that really affected me in college was a set of 'awards' given out at the end of our time there. Luckily enough I found out that I had won 'biggest attention seeker' voted for by all my year. I never thought people could be so cruel. Needless to say, I didn't attend the ceremony and have barely spoken to any of them since. 

School wasn't all that bad though. I had some amazing experiences and I wouldn't change them for the world. Learning a new language, meeting some amazing people, getting to go to a different country, writing songs that people would then cover and performing numerous plays and pantomimes (I actually got to be the female lead once and it made me feel incredible. I never thought I was good enough until that day). Experiencing bullying and depression in school has only made me into a stronger person today and as much as I would have liked to have enjoyed my time at school, I cannot thank it enough for the lessons it has taught me. 

The working world is much more mature environment although there is aspects that feel like you're still in the school playground. Earning your own money and accepting a responsibility is the one of the first steps you take being a proper 'grown up', unless you went to uni which I refused to do, but I'll pick up on the topic of uni another time… I've worked since I was 17. A year was spent in McDonalds which was actually great fun and then moved to Wetherspoon. You learn a lot working in a pub, meeting so many different people and all with different stories to tell. I hope that when I am old and grey, I'll be the one with the stories. I am still pretty new to this stage of my life, so I don't have too much to say on the matter but I am the happiest I've been in a long time. 

We come into life as a blank canvas and everything we experience is written in our skin. The bruises and scars we accumulate over the years are just signs that we had a tough time and we got through it. We are strong. YOU are strong. 

I really don't want this blog to come across as self centred and all about me. You are not alone in what you have gone through. My thoughts writing this were that if people saw that I had gone through rubbish, they would feel more comfortable talking to me about it if they thought they had no-one.  Please, please, PLEASE, if you feel the way I (and many others) have, do NOT hesitate to contact me. My facebook and twitter are at the top of this page. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Friendship | "You don't need a certain number of friends, only a number of friends you can be certain of."

It's funny how we go through school and our best friends change as often as our socks. I remember when we would have arguments because having more than one best friend at a time was not allowed. Sleepovers, sharing horrible glittery make up tips and 90's fashion was just a small part of our lives back then and I think we forget things can be that simple. 

It's all much more difficult when we slip into our teens. It's no longer a competition of who can collect the most lead from a pencil (I don't know why we did that…), it's a horrible mess of boys, grades and people making mistakes. The people we thought were friends turned to enemies, then back to friends and then sometimes enemies again. 

It's easy to get caught up in our lives and forget about what really matters at school. It becomes more about impressing people than what results you get in your GCSE's. You jeopardise your whole future for the people you probably won't even remember in 20 years time. I know that I regret not putting my entire self into my exams and I'm trying my best to get my younger brother to realise that his education is more important than some poppers in the music room. 

School is essential to figuring out who we are and the friends we meet during our time there have a huge part in doing so. Even if they don't stay in our life forever, they shaped and moulded who we are, no matter how big or small a part of our life they played. Even if you fall out with your friends and feel as though there is no way you can reconcile, be grateful for all the things they have taught you. 

Growing up means that sometimes life gets in the way of everything. My social life has suffered horrendously since starting work 4 years ago and I don't get to see or speak to the people I care about as much as I would like to (don't worry guys, I still love you just as much).
Unfortunately there is a stigma around friendship and people seem to think you aren't friends with others if you're not joined at the hip, but that's not true. Surely the ones you can go to after weeks of not speaking or seeing each other are your true friends. Friends don't just disappear because you lead different lives, the only friends that disappear are the ones who weren't really friends in the first place.