Sunday, 19 August 2018

Dear Past Loves

Dear Past Loves
After reading Caroline Flack's feature in August Cosmopolitan, I was so inspired and thought it was about time I wrote open letters detailing the loves I've found, lessons I've learnt and experiences I've had along the way.

Dear First Crush Weren't you just the sweetest. I'm pretty sure we'd never spoken before but between classes one day, you caught my eye and I spent my whole science lesson talking about you. Fast forward a few weeks and in true twelve-year-old style, my friend asked your friend if you'd go out with me. The summer holiday soon followed and we spent almost everyday hanging out with friends and rope swinging into the river. When my parents told me we were heading to Devon for a couple of days, I was devastated at the thought of leaving you for a weekend with just £5 credit left on my phone. We dated for a couple of months afterwards until some kids in school thought they'd interfere. They teased us for dating each other just because they could and eventually it ended when people deliberately told us that the other wanted to break up. Neither of us knew that it was a lie they'd made up and despite me hoping we'd remain friends afterwards, you never said another word to me. I still think you thought it was me that wanted to end things, not just mean kids who stepped in between us. It was fairly dramatic considering we were so young but it's so nice to see that you're happy now we've grown up and I certainly learnt about kids I didn't want to associate with.

Dear Not So Nice A classic case of someone I hope to never see again. You made me feel absolutely terrible on a daily basis. You were 18, working and rented your own place, I was 16, sitting my GCSE's with just my pocket money to fund the 60 minute bus ride to you. You constantly compared me to other girls you knew and made me feel bad for leaving on your day off because I had an exam to sit. You never showed compassion or empathy towards me but if I were to say one thing 'out of line', you'd ghost me for weeks. Looking back, I don't quite know how or why I even continued to date you but back then, I guess having a boyfriend was cool and crying myself to sleep at night seemed normal. I've never been happier than the day I finally plucked up the courage to tell you I never wanted to see you again and though your little chuckle down the phone suggested you thought I would be back one day, I'm so glad to say that I never was. 

Dear Ready For A Baby We met bizarrely through a bartender I'd gotten to know after far too many midweek wines.  My friend and I had planned on walking home but it started raining and you offered to give us a lift. Before I knew it, you'd asked the bartender for my number and it wasn't long before we were heading out on dates and spending weekends away. You were older than me though it never really felt like it and for the first time, in my life, I felt like I was in a real relationship. It was all so grown up, having dinner with your family and deciding which car to take out for a day in the countryside. At one point I really did see us going somewhere but after having 'the chat' a few months in, you told me that you were ready for a baby. I could completely see your perspective but at 18, it wasn't something I was ready or prepared to do for the sake of saving a relationship. After things ended I bumped into you in a club and though I was happy to see you, you weren't so pleased to see me - Being engaged and now a Dad suggested to me that you were in a good place but it still didn't stop you giving me hell for not wanting to start a family just to make you happy. Though I could see a future with you at the time, I'm happy that I walked away. 

Dear Older Guy We met in a bar one Tuesday night and though your friend wasn't shy about hitting on me, you and I hit it off right away. I was working as an admin apprentice and you were a pathologist 10 years older. On paper, you had it all worked out but the reality was so much different. A constant stream of nights out and ex-girlfriend drama coupled with an unhealthy drug habit meant that it was never going to work between us but nevertheless we had fun and hung out for a few months. Just when I thought it was a waste of time, I learnt some valuable things from you - The biggest? How much I didn't want my life to pan out like yours. I'd never really thought of it until then but it was almost as if I'd learnt what not to do in life. I swore that at 30 I wouldn't be doing anything nearly as stupid as you but as far as I know, you're almost back on track. It's a long, hard road but I really hope you keep going.

Dear Never Going To Work Where do I begin with you? I honestly think I could write a novel. We met online, through mutual friends when I was 15, you were 17. You were the coolest guy I'd ever hung out with and though we were never officially dating, we saw each other almost every weekend. I quickly started liking the same music as you and bought my first leather jacket because you told me it would look good. Despite me thinking we could make it work, you always told me we couldn't be together - You thought I was too young and soon enough it came to an end. I was hung up on you for years and truthfully, you effected every relationship I had afterwards. Whenever you'd creep into my inbox, I'd jump at the chance to chat, hoping there was something there but you were quickly engaged to a woman 20 years older and married a year or so later. A few years ago, despite receiving numerous emails claiming you'd made a mistake, I was in a happily committed relationship and so I swore I'd never speak to you again - Realistically after the ups, downs and heartache of it all, I just didn't need or want to hear it 6 years too late. In June this year, after hearing you were going through a tough time, I was mature and wanted to be there for you after initially having reservations. I never let my feelings for you come back but you did. From then on it became clear that we could never form any kind of relationship. 

From the moment I read Caroline's article I was inspired to explore the past loves of my own and the things each one of them have taught me. If you have 5 minutes, be sure to read her letters. I'd love to know if you recreate this post!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Why I Feel Like I Should Do More

Why I Feel Like I Should Do More
As millennials, we want to be busy. Rather, we want to appear busy to those on the receiving end of our Snapchats and those navigating our Instagram grids. We want to give the impression that our work life is hectic yet fulfilling and that our social calendars are thriving with midweek cocktails and weekend stay-cations. But what's the reality?

Of course, it's different for everyone but in my life my midweek mostly sees me getting home from work, making dinner with my other half and no doubt watching too many shows on Nat Geo. Occasionally I'll head the gym and once in a blue moon I'll head out for a midweek pint. Weekends are very much go with the flow and it's rare that we'll make plans in case opting to watch Toy Story with cheese and crackers seems more appealing. I live a pretty chill life and honestly, I have no complaints. 

Sure, everyone's life is different. Everyone has different hobbies/interests/commitments but sometimes, when my other half and I snuggle on the sofa, I can't help but feel like I should be doing something productive rather than bingeing through episodes of KUWTK. 

Don't get me wrong, I know that we only show our 'best bits' on social media and of course I'm going to see someone cooking dinner from scratch rather than ordering from Perfect Pizza after a shit day at the office but it doesn't take away that I, myself, am starting to feel obliged to be 'more busy'. 

There's of course two ends to the spectrum, the 'live each day like it's your last' and the 'screw it, I wanna Netflix and chill' but is there room to sit in the middle of that spectrum considering it's inevitably becoming 'cool' to be one or the other?

I wish I had an answer but truthfully, I don't. 


Monday, 13 August 2018

5 Points To Consider When Selling Your Skills

5 Points To Consider When Selling Your Skills
I don't know about you but the idea of having to sell myself terrifies me. Picture this, you're applying for a job that you know you're more than perfect for. Your skills match the description and your experience is second to none. Your personality fits the bill and though your potential boss has already read your CV, they want more - You need to sell yourself. Similarly in the blogging world, whether you want to pitch to a brand or another creator for a collaboration, your work can speak volumes but you need to go that extra mile - Again, you need to sell yourself. 

In theory it sounds easy but truthfully, it takes more than just a list of things you're good at. Couple that with the fact that us humans are hardwired to disagree with anything positive about us and we ourselves in a bit of a pickle. Having had to attempt to sell myself for various reasons over the past few months, I wanted to share the hints and tips I've taken into account. 

Be confident in your work You know yourself better than anyone so when talking about yourself, be confident in what you're saying. You want to tell whoever it may concern, why you're the best person for the job whether it's a promotion at work or a collaboration campaign. Using a phrase like 'I know I am..' is far more powerful than 'I think I am..'. As I mentioned, you know yourself and your work better than anyone else so only you can make judgement on your full potential.

Use a mix of examples Whether you're putting pen to paper, key to email or even face to face, you want to be armed with a range of examples. Previous work is key to showing what you've already accomplished but also noting your goals if you were to take on the project, shows initiative and forward thinking. Also, don't forget to utilise your skill set and show how they relate to what it is you'll be doing. 

Stay on point In my opinion, it's better to be short and impactful rather than detailing a 342 page novel. In the same way that your CV 'should' be on one page, when pitching to a brand or a potential employer, you want to keep them engaged while getting across everything you want to say. When discussing a new project at work I made a long list of everything I wanted to include, starred the most important and then worked everything into about 4 paragraphs with a summary at the end. I made sure there was no scroll bar on the email so that the recipient could have every word right in front of her without the need to start taking notes because it ran on too long.

Remind yourself why you're doing it If you're struggling to come up with reasons why you're the right fit, sit back and ask yourself if it's something you should be doing. Even if the flow doesn't come to you at first, if it's still not there when you come back to it a few days later, evaluate if it really is the best move for you. Going back to being confident, you want to be in it for the right reason  and that reason is, because you're the best person for the job. 

Don't be afraid of knock-backs What I try to keep in mind throughout processes like this is what's the worst that could happen? Sure, you apply for a promotion but someone beat you to it, it's probably  because they were a better fit the job. Similarly, when pitching to brands, if it doesn't work out, I know that at that moment I'm not right for it but next time I might be. It's difficult being rejected when you know you meet the criteria but more often than not, it's nothing personal, someone else was better suited and sometimes, that's a blessing in disguise. 

How do you deal with selling yourself or your skills whether it's for a job or within the blogging industry? Tips are always welcome!


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Summer Glow Beauty Essentials

Summer Glow Beauty + Skincare Essentials
I'm all about that summer glow. I want to look good but natural and have myself wondering 'Wow, do I really look that fresh?' every time I look in the mirror. It's been an uphill struggle for me to find exactly what works for me but as I've mentioned time and time again, I'm committed to adding staples that I truly love to my regime to keep myself looking good as often as I can. 

When it comes to summer beauty, it's been hard for me to find the balance. Of course, I want to keep my face and body as fresh as possible and I also want to look nice without having makeup melting off my face. One thing's for sure, since we've been graced with the glorious (and sometimes ridiculous) British summer time, gone are the days of heavy moisturiser and full coverage foundation, I'm finally allowing my skin to breathe but still look as healthy as it can. 

Before I went to Las Vegas, I reflected on a similar post I wrote last year and how my wants and needs have changed. My want isn't only for great makeup but for great skin to go underneath so this year I've switched it up and tested a few different products that have really hit the spot so much so, they're now essential to my daily regime. 

Dew The Hoola, Benefit Before we start breaking old habits, you should know that this is still a huge part of my summer makeup bag. It's brilliant for makeup and no makeup days and I don't I'll ever get tired of how effortlessly it blends into my skin. It adds the perfect flush of colour without the need to sit out in the sun or use fake tan. I'll definitely be using this right through to Autumn. 

Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, REN Clean Skincare* If you've been following my skincare trials and tribulations, you'll know that exfoliating tonics have been a recent addition to my regime. I've been using this one from REN every evening and a few mornings and I can only scream about how it makes such a difference to my complexion. I often suffer from sensitive skin but I don't find any red patches after using this and don't experience any stinging during application. My makeup has applied so much smoother since using this and I can't wait to see what more it can do.

Instant Tan Finishing Gloss, St Tropez Fake tan maintenance has never been my thing, especially in the summer months, so this has been the perfect alternative. I caught the sun a little while I was away so adding this to my chest, shoulders and arms before heading out has been a great way to keep my skin looking dewy while adding a no fuss tint. It goes without saying that you need to wash it off of an evening to avoid the inevitable stained sheet fiasco but it's nothing a quick rinse can't  help with. 

AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum, REN Clean Skincare* Another product that has really changed the game for me is this body serum. It's a lotion consistency, smells absolutely incredible and I can't believe how light yet moisturising it is on my skin. Miraculously it makes my skin tone look more even and, like the tonic, I find it's kind to my sensitive skin which is bloomin' brilliant if you ask me. 

Glow Mon Amour Highlighting Drops, L'Oreal No summer makeup bag is complete without some highlighting drops. I mentioned these back in my L'Oreal No Makeup post and I still stand by the fact they're so versatile and that they still work wonderfully on my skin. Since the weather has been warmer I've been using them on their own or adding a very small drop to some CC cream before application. I didn't realise before but wow, when the sun hits them, they really shine. Such a good staple, highly recommend. 

The Beach Wave Mist, L'Oreal Although it's not strictly beauty, I'm mentioning this because it's been one of my favourite hair essentials to use over the past few months. In my post about styling short hair I touched on how this is one of the finest salt sprays I've tried and every time I use it, I'm fascinated by how it does such a great job without making my hair feel crap and crispy. It's such a lovely addition to my hair care routine and I actually get excited to use it whenever I feel like styling my hair.

I'd love to know what your favourite glow-to (yes, you read me right) products are for the summer season. Do you switch up your regime at all? What products do you swear by? 

Products marked with an * are PR samples. This post may contain affiliate links.
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