Doubts & concerns. A normal part of growing up.

6 months is a long time and yet it seems to go so quickly! That is how long it has been since I last wrote on here and I feel so awful for the fact I haven’t been keeping in touch more, but life has been busy both in and out of work and to be honest, I’m not going to beat myself up for enjoying myself a little.

For a while I thought about taking the blog down as I didn’t have the time I used to to devote to something which I created from scratch. Also, people change. The plans I had when this blog was started are so different now and I think that if anything my blog just needs a refresh. The most helpful posts for me have always been ones which are really open and real so instead of talking about fashion and beauty quite so much, I’ll be focussing more on real life. Of course, I still love all that stuff and that will feature, but think of this as a real insight into the life of your very average 20-something woman!

So what has been on my mind lately? For me it has been about whether I am good enough. What do I mean by that? Well some of the things which feature:

  • Am I being a good enough friend/girlfriend?
  • Could I be doing more at work/professionally?
  • Am I too fat and should I be working out more?
  • Am I too hard on myself and worrying about nothing?

The list goes on and on, but you get the picture. The worst part is, I know I am not alone in these thoughts as these are fears a lot of people I know also share in one way or another.

I work so hard and put my all into everything that I do and sometimes it just doesn’t seem enough. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to go for a run or a bike ride, sometimes I would rather just stay in all weekend rather than going out. Luckily, as someone who tries to look at everything from an optimistic point of view, I don’t get stuck in that slump for too long, but it does happen. Take the blog as a perfect example, I started something which I feel like I haven’t been able to finish. At one point it was something which felt like it defined me and now it’s not so great.

And why do we feel like this from time to time? The answer is that we compare ourselves to others!

When you compare yourself to others it is so easy to get in a rut. No two stories are the same, so how can you properly compare? Someone else may seem to have more in one aspect, but without a doubt they look at you and see something that they would like to have just as much.  Instead of focussing on what everyone else has that you wish you did, write a little list of the things you know you do well or have in your life to be positive about. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but the more you can add the better, even small things like smiling at strangers as that goes a long way for some!

I’d love to hear how you feel about this post! What are you biggest fears and concerns? Do you think you are too hard on yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

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Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

Hey everyone,

Today is a post I have both been really looking forward to sharing with you all but is also the post I’ve been most nervous about! I’ve been debating whether to post this for such a long time, but I figured if I do post it and it helps just one person feel better, braver or more understanding then it’s got to be worth sharing!

Now I know normally my posts are really happy and probably a bit ditzy, but this one is a bit more serious (only a bit more because it is still being written by me after all!) but it does have a serious message running through it which I hope you all appreciate, enjoy and can learn from 🙂

So today I am writing about my experiences of not feeling well and living with some kind of health issue or problem which you know is there but which other people cannot see.

I want to start off by saying, there is nothing seriously wrong with me and I know I could be a lot worse off than I am, however, over the past few years, I’ve found myself feeling isolated and misunderstood about the symptoms I have been experiencing and that for me is the biggest problem of them all.

For background, I am currently an outpatient of the rheumatology department at my local hospital as since September 2013 I have been suffering from what may be a connective tissue disorder. In English, that is basically where the connective tissue (basically every part of our body) attacks itself for some unknown reason, which sounds pretty scary, but actually it’s not that dramatic!

For a while now I’ve suffered from aching and sometimes swollen joints at random (not always the same ones and no correlation to the amount of exercise I do), extreme fatigue/exhaustion, hair loss, skin rashes and unexplained bruising, headaches and the feeling of being unable to concentrate or focus (when I’m feeling really bad it feels like my brain has been replaced with cotton wool because my head just feels so heavy and muddled) and frequent chest/throat infections.

I love to be active and energetic and to always keep myself busy, so more than anything these symptoms of the yet to be diagnosed condition are a nuisance! I visited my doctor several times before being referred to the hospital and have had multiple blood tests and x-rays to ensure I don’t have Arthritis or anything glaringly obvious or serious and since anything really bad has been ruled out I feel kind of like I’ve been abandoned. The response I get at the hospital is that I am 23 years old and that I should be fit and healthy. I eat right, I work out and I don’t smoke or drink so it’s probably nothing majorly serious. The last piece of advice I was given is that I should rest more and swap exercising (something I thought it was recommended we did more of) for doing nothing at home and to ensure I get at least one full day of rest at the weekend.

Let’s just recap – I am 23 not 83 – shouldn’t I be able to work all week and party all weekend if that is what I wanted to do? Aren’t these the years or my life where I should be able to enjoy myself and make the most of my youthful energy? Apparently not!

I know I have a particularly full diary, I hear it almost daily from the people who are closest to me, but this is nothing new! From way back when I was at school I would frequently do a whole day at school, followed by several hours of gymnastics training and when I was old enough to work I would do all of the afore mentioned activities and found time to work three jobs and still have a social life, so how comes now I am less busy, less active and look after myself better, am I struggling more than ever?

These symptoms come and go, I seem to have peaks and troughs of how I feel and currently (and the reason why I’m writing this post now) is that once again I am not feeling well. This is the third week of feeling downright exhausted and achey and muddled. There is no warning as to when I’m not going to feel well again, there are no correlations with activites I do or times of year, it just comes and goes whenever it wants. It interrupts my blogging schedule because there are days where I feel like I literally don’t have the strength to get out of bed in the morning and when I do finish a full days work, I come home and go straight to sleep. I’ll sleep all night and wake up and feel like I haven’t slept at all. It stops me going to the gym, it impacts my ability to concentrate and deliver at work and worst of all it makes me not feel like myself 😦

So far this post has all just sounded like a big moan, which I hate, so let me tell you why I wanted to share all of this with you! For me, what I have taken from this whole situation is that some things are sent to test us and that there is nothing which cannot be overcome with a bit of positivity. Feeling like I feel some days, I can totally see how it can be so easy to fall into a depression as it’s so much easier in life to focus on the bad, as often they are the most prevalent in our minds. However, I use this as a reminder to myself of all the good things I have and should be thankful for! What is a bit of a joint pain and sleepiness when I have a job I love, a gorgeous bunch of friends and family and am fortunate enough to live in the UK with all the amenities we have access to, including the NHS, which just isn’t available anywhere else?

As well as reminding me of all the things I should be thankful for, it also got me to thinking! I know so many people, and I have been guilty of it myself before, of judging people based on appearances or initial interactions, I think it’s just human nature to do so. However, how can we tell just by looking at someone whether they are suffering from a chronic illness or mental ill health? What if someone is judging them based on their perceived “lack of willingness” to partake in a conversation and thinking they are being rude? Maybe they just have other things on their mind, are in pain or just too tired to focus! So please spare a thought for all those silently managing their conditions whatever they may be, and please use this a reminder to ensure that you never judge someone on their off days or their quirks! Get to know a person before making a judgement and even then be nice as you never ever know what they may be going through!

I know lots of you readers and fellow bloggers suffer from depression, anxiety, stress and chronic conditions like this, so I really hope that this inspires you to open up about them and share your experiences with any invisible conditions and also helps you keep your chin up on the darker days! And if you are lucky enough to be completely healthy and happy, I really hope it helps you put perspective on what is most important in life and how to ground yourself to ensure you are being the best person you can be 🙂

If you enjoyed this I’d love it if you could subscribe, share, like and comment on this! Like I said, this was the hardest post to publish so the more love the better!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

#TakeBackWhatsYours – Sharing happiness, love and positivity!

Take Back What’s Your’s Campaign

Hey everyone, welcome back! I’m so glad that I’m getting to write more lately 🙂 I really hope you‘ve been enjoying the wide variety of posts which have gone up recently and of course there will be more of these to come! Today, I’ll be writing about a campaign I was made aware of called “Take Back What’s Yours” which I think is really important for us all to get behind! Thanks so much to Carrie from Pale and Persian for nominating me to get involved! Please check out her blog as she writes so much amazing content – I could literally read her blog for hours 🙂

So, what is the ‘Take Back What’s Yours’ campaign all about?

This campaign is all about bringing happiness to our lives with positivity, support and love! This campaign aims to bring nothing but love and support to the community and if it help’s anyone who read this to be more positive, more confident or even just puts a smile on their face, then it has to be worth it!

When I saw this campaign, I knew I needed to take part! I’m sure for my regular readers out there, you will have seen a few of my posts where I talk about having doubts about my ability and appearance which delayed me starting my blog. Not just for me but for most girls I know, we have our insecurities, our doubts and are often own worst enemies! So this year I am all about being confident and self-assured and I hope my pledge reflects this 🙂 My resolution is pretty personal and I pledge to stop comparing myself, both physically and in ability, to other people.

We are all on different paths and have different strengths and weaknesses which make us all beautiful and actually, what I have begun to realise through starting my blog, is that people look at the things I write and do and aspire to be like me or are inspired by the things which I do! It’s so easy to go through life blinkered to positives about yourself and instead viewing everyone else as being better than you, but I can guarantee that someone else is looking at you wishing they had something of yours, whether it’s your confidence, your ease of carrying off a conversation or even your style! I take inspiration from many fellow bloggers who I know through their writing have the very same anxieties I have, so why should I limit myself based on a warped self perception? This year, I aim to stop comparing myself to others and instead play to my strengths. I aim to acknowledge my weaknesses as having them makes me human, but instead of beating myself up about them, I’m going to embrace them and learn from them. I’m also going to try to let people know what it is about them that I love so that they can embrace this – especially if it is something which they perceive to be a flaw! I’m going to share the love and banish the negativity and I hope you all join me in this!

Everything in life is sent to test us, but ultimately we have a finite amount of time on this Earth, so let’s make every second of it the best it can be with a bit of positivity 🙂

How do you take part?

It’s so simple! All you have to do is:

  • Write a blog post talking about this campaign, the message it contains and why you are taking part
  • Share your #TakeBackWhatsYours resolution
  • Tag 10 bloggers to take part
  • Let me know if you’re taking part so I can gain inspiration from your pledges 🙂
  • And if you can – include a photo of yourself with a handmade poster (doesn’t have to be artistic!) with the words #Takebackwhatsyours
No make up because it's Sunday and I just got back from the gym sorry!

No make up because it’s Sunday and I just got back from the gym sorry!

 Now It’s time to tag 10 of my wonderful fellow bloggers to take part in this amazing campaign and hope that they see value in this also. As well as tagging them I’m going to start with my pledge and share a little message about each as to why I have nominated them and why I love their work so much!

The people I ‘m going to tag are –

  • Beck in a Blog: It’s no secret this is one of my absolute favourite blogs to read as it’s so well written, the content is amazing and the photos are all absolutely gorge! Plus Becca is absolutely lovely and has become a really beauty blogger buddy!
  • Georgina’s Hideaway: This blog is so sweet and the way which Georgina writes is so fun and easy to read, plus her range of posts is great 🙂
  • KateKiwii: I’ve only recently started following Kate’s blog, but again it is so well written with amazing content and her pictures are always AMAZING!
  • Loves and Loathes: I hope my blog is half as good as Helen’s! Her reviews and posts are so detailed and yet easy to read – I always look forward to her next instalment!
  • Clare’s Beauty: Clare’s passion for beauty products is so clear in her abundance of detailed reviews! Reading her reviews has actually convinced me to sign up for Birchbox!
  • Anomalous Me: Emma is so enthusiastic and bubbly in the way she writes, plus she writes about so much different stuff! Again another blog I cannot get enough of 🙂
  • The Avon Insider: So much more than just Avon products! As well as her fab reviews, Jen posts some lovely posts about all different aspects of her life! Another blog I’ve only recently discovered, but seriously worth a read 🙂
  • Ymor Beauty: I have serious blog envy! From the way it’s written to the way it looks and all the great content, Romy definitely is my inspiration 🙂 (although I’m nowhere near as composed or professional!)
  • That Chic Fashion Blog: Vanessa is seriously talented and has a great eye for fashion and she is so young! Definitely check her out if you haven’t already!
  • Maja Estelle: Another blog with so much variety and one that I cannot wait for the next instalment of 🙂 A firm favourite of mine!

I really hope you liked this post and that it filled you with some warm positive energy and some inspiration to love yourself! Please share you pledges and resolutions in the comments below and of course if you enjoyed this please like, share and subscribe on all of my different channels including Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Happiness Post – 10 Reasons Why You Should Wear As Much (or as little) Make Up As You Like

Hello again bargain hunters! My time is finally freeing up a bit so hopefully several posts a week will become a regular thing from me again, yay!

Now this post is a bit of a different one… As you can probably tell from my other posts I spend a lot of my free time reading articles and blogs about fashion and make up (as well as lots of other stuff). Recently I read an article on Elite Daily (a pretty good website for light-hearted articles) however one particular post that I read really stuck with me. It’s a well written article by a female author basically encouraging you to wear less make up and whilst that might not sound like something to get emotional about, some of her reasons for not wearing make up offended me a little bit. So naturally, I decided to do a blog post in reply to this article about why you should do what makes you happy, even if that is wearing lots of make up!

For many years like lots of other girls I know, I’ve struggled with insecurities about my appearance often wondering if my skin was too spotty or whether my hair was right, whether I looked too short or too fat for my outfit and yet recently what I am coming to learn is that it simply doesn’t matter! I can get in my own head about how I look, but ultimately someone, somewhere will think you look nice and as long as you can be yourself and let your personality shine, that’s all that matters as image isn’t everything. It’s wrong for us as women to put each other down because another girl doesn’t have the right outfit or hairstyle, as everyone is different and ultimately, that’s what makes us all beautiful and interesting! So let’s not dictate to others what they should or shouldn’t look like and instead all do whatever makes us happy and here are my reasons why…

(I would suggest reading the article first so this comparison makes sense – you can read it here!)

Why do I wear makeup?

I wear makeup because I like it! I like the way I look with makeup, I like experimenting with different looks and colours and because I’m rubbish at most arty and crafty things and yet make up and hair is something I’m good at. It helps me express who I am and what mood I am in and a positive side effect of make up is that it makes me look better than I do barefaced 🙂

I wear quite a lot of make up most days, but it helps me feel put together, confident and ready for the day ahead and despite the fact I wear make up it’s not my defining or most memorable feature. I’ve never known anyone refer to me as “the girl that wears lots of make up” so whilst people may or may not appreciate the effort I go to on a daily basis, I know that people are still looking at me as a whole person instead on focussing on what I have on my face.

  1. If we are trying to combat the body ideal, we should also try to combat the makeup ideal.

What is the make up ideal? I can understand the body ideal trying to combat the photo shopped images that we see everywhere, but what is the make up ideal, do we even have one?

One look on social media or through magazines and you see a whole variety of different looks and styles of make up and some images where no make up has been used at all so what does that say to you? To me it says wear whatever you want!

  1. You’ll spend less money.

I kind of agree with this. Wearing make up is an expense, not just a financial one but also one of time. However, who says the amount you have to spend is exorbitant? One look on a blog like mine will show you how to do your face for £5 or get a whole outfit for less than £30! Also, the time and money that I spend on make up to me has more pro’s than con’s. Looking put together put’s me in a good mental space and prepares me for the day. If I went to work without make up on I’d be worried people would be judging me and be far less productive which would probably cost me steps in my career which ultimately affects my ability to earn a good wage. If you want to wear make up think of it as an investment and an enhancement, not the be all and end all!

  1. Applying makeup takes up way too much time in the morning.

No, just no! It doesn’t have to. It takes me about 30 minutes to get ready for work. I shower or bath the night before, leave my hair to dry naturally and then spend my mornings prepping my face and picking an outfit. It helps me wake up, allows me to spend a bit more time with my boyfriend and puts me in good stead for the rest of the day. I have the news on in the background whilst I’m getting ready so I can catch up on current affairs, have chats with Andy about the day which if I wasn’t getting ready I’d spend in bed and this makes me happy and ready for the day ahead. I feel connected to the world, connected to the one I love and ready to hit the ground running. I still have a healthy breakfast, I still have the time to do some exercise and come to think of it if I didn’t wear make up I’d probably be in a much worse place than I am now. That’s not to say you have to wear make up, but don’t make it a time drain, multi-task and do something useful as well like catching up on podcasts or news or having a chat whilst you’re getting ready and if you choose not to to wear make up, then enjoy the extra sleep and make the most of your “free” time 🙂

  1. You’ll feel lighter.

Wearing make up on a hot day isn’t the most fun and this is where choice comes in! If you want to wear make up on a hot day, go ahead, just prep your face properly with a good primer and fixing spray and it will stay in place just fine. If you don’t want to wear make up go ahead, but you’ll still need to wear a good SPF which can often leave you feeling the same way as foundation.

All I have to say is that if you feel heavy with make up on you are probably wearing too much, so think about changing your setting powder to something lighter like L’oreal Magique or opting for a BB cream instead of a foundation!

  1. The guy you like/are hooking up with will see your natural face sooner than you think.

Who cares! I don’t wear make up or nice clothes for men, I do it for myself. If my boyfriend likes how I look then that’s a bonus, but as long as I feel happy then that’s all that matters.

  1. Honestly, the guy you like/are hooking up probably doesn’t know the difference anyway.

Not true! My guy friends and boyfriend can definitely tell when I have less/no make up on! They ask if I’m feeling alright or if I overslept.

I’m sure they would rather I wear make up than feel uncomfortable when I am with them because I don’t have any make up on and vice versa if make up isn’t really your thing. Just feel happy and comfortable and then they won’t notice a difference at all 🙂

  1. It’s better for your skin.

You should definitely check out what’s in the products you’re using! I try not to use anything with too many chemicals and where possible I purchase products which are moisturising and gentle instead of harsh and stripping. Despite all of this and whether you wear make up or not a good night time routine is essential! Shops like Lush now stock completely natural make up if this is more your thing or there are loads of great tutorials on Youtube on how to make you own completely natural beauty products, so if that’s your concern give it a go. But just remember to cleanse and moisturise your face every day and night to help replenish the natural goodness which can go missing during the day whether you’ve dolled yourself up or gone au natural! I like to use Simple’s Cleanser and Toner before applying Olay Regenerist around my eyes, Olay Moisturiser on my face and then applying Sudocrem to any blemishes or pimples (sounds odd but it really works for me)

  1. Taking your makeup off is the biggest b*tch.

I’ll admit that removing your make up can be a chore when you’ve had a bit too much to drink. On the whole though I enjoy taking my make up off and getting into my onesie! It makes it feel like it’s time to relax and draws the day to an end. For me it signifies relaxation and the start of downtime. Like I said, I would recommend having a good evening facial routine anyway, so what is one more step in that process if you want to wear make up?

  1. It’s so easy to do.

This is true and the points the writer makes about gradually reducing the amount of make up you wear are useful, so if you do feel like you wear too much make up or would just like to wear less follow this advice 🙂

  1. Nobody looks at you as much as you look at yourself.

This is true too. We are our own worst critics and see things that others don’t, we can all be self-deprecating and compare ourselves to others, I think it’s part of human nature! But if it makes you feel good to wear make up then do it! If it makes you feel free not to wear make up then do that too.

My whole annoyance about this article was it’s contradiction of itself. The author starts by saying she loves wearing make up, goes on to say by not wearing make up people see the real you and then finishes by saying that other people don’t see you regardless of what you do, which counteracts her earlier points, however the real crux of my frustration is more about who cares! Do whatever makes you happy! Spend less time being anxious or self conscious and enjoy all the good, happy times that come along as much as you can because life is precious and short – and if that means going out dolled up like Barbie everyday, DO IT!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post (this was my all time favourite to write) and if you did please show your appreciation by sharing, liking and subscribing! I’d also love to hear your comments on this post and see how you feel and what your preference is and also to hear what your morning and evening make up and skin care routines are 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx