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Monday, July 25, 2016

I'm pretty much down with my skincare, and I love a good pamper, but you know what I'm really crap at? Putting my face mask and general 'caring for my appearance' routine into practise.

Even though a face mask takes about 30 mins tops including steaming, and nails even less, I always make excuses for why it takes so long and end up with bare peeling nails or seriously clogged skin I just want to attack. Not ideal.

See, I don't really know where it started, I just suddenly recognised that I wasn't, and didn't want to, take care of my appearance. Going out the house sans makeup wasn't a mark of confidence, it was because I could be bothered to look 'decent' and people just had to deal with a scruff; similarly, I do nothing with my hair apart from curl it for an event but most of the time it's flung up or down limp, I just never see the point in trying especially as I dislike the feel of product in my hair and worry it'll clog my skin via pillows - yup hygiene freak over here. Nails, oh until recently nails were sparsely painted or just left to peel and stay bare - too much faff to re-paint; SERIOUSLY?!

So I kicked my usually unorganised ass in gear: makeup or face washed by 6, face mask three times a week to keep it blemish free and renewed, painted nails as soon as they chip (even if it's the same colour because man I am obsessed with nudes rn) and just sacking off a bit of work to do a pedicure and actually moisturise my skin - because really, how much time does slathering yourself in body butter take irl in comparison to what your brain tells you?

Since I've got back in the habit of it, my nails are stronger and prettier (always a winner), my skin looks decongested and even and even my feet look super smooth! It's just the little tasks which always feel a bit 'ugh cba' sometimes that actually leave you feeling pretty darn good (and ready for any occasion instead of hastily applying three coats of polish at 10pm the night before a meeting that is way to thick and smudges hours later). It says a lot about yourself when you don't take care of your appearance for reasons other that you literally are too busy, so now I'm making sure to keep on top of an eyebrow pluck here and there and keeping my manicure in check - I've just noticed mine is now chipped so that's a task for tonight as I type!

Now that's I've got the face and body down, I think it's time for hair, and lord knows how long that'll take...

Do you take time and care in your appearance? What is your self-care routine?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Photography and I go way back, way way back to the early years of Bebo and social media profile photos where MySpace angles, black and white filters and a duck face were all you needed to look super cool (I've been reading Emma's Ctrl Alt Dlt which got me reminiscing over this fact), and I've always been the one to snap pictures of picnics, parties, and pantheons wherever I may be.

It took a while for me to realise people and photography were my thing; trying to paint people was not my forte (something I didn't grasp until A-Level Art) and I would spend hours upon hours editing photos of last night's gathering for Facebook, planning photoshoots for DPs and taking selfies before selfies were selfies.

When you find a passion, it's important to keep hold of it and run wild with it, but it's also important to accept doubt and questioning you stumble upon along the way. I remember in my final year of 6th Form my teacher (who had given me an A* in Photography) said he thought I'd end up doing printing, and whilst I enjoyed that, I didn't crave the process like I did snapping, editing and sharing imagery. There was also the decision of studying further to degree level which I went against because £9K a year seemed way to much when you can just go out there and learn.

I've had my frustrations: am I good enough? Do I have an eye? They don't have an eye why do they get to do cool stuff? What am I doing?! But it has been recent times, pushing myself to make more of what I love that made me realise: damn, I love photography, and so many things have happened that have helped me reach this point.

From a teacher's questioning, self-doubt and saying no to uni, to finally starting to offer services to friends, bloggers and clients (which after a lul in Spring made me think 'why bother?' and ho ho I'm so glad I kicked my butt in gear), working with people I admire and get to push both them and myself with imagery, it makes me so sure that photography is what I'm meant to do. I love writing words, and making videos, but I love photos more. I love creating beautiful imagery - soft, blurry and natural for blogs, and high contrast and dramatic for something more 'wow', even fine art that brings discussion, because there is so much you can say about yourself through imagery, and show much more of another through your perception.

Now I do this thing on the train, where I imagine what my life would be like if I were a big successful YouTuber or creator, at the point where I could create 'merch' let's say; writing a book didn't feel right, a beauty line would be cool but I'd want it so specific it may be too expensive for the target audience...and then I thought: well, I'd run photography courses and workshops, maybe even sell prints. It was so clear, that I would teach people how to use their cameras and take beautiful photographs, inspiring them to look at things differently and being able to share my knowledge too.

It's really quite wonderful to get to a point where you know having your own business is the thing you are passionate about. I've started working with Anna on her photography and it's so fun (and a breath of fresh air) to produce content for someone else; it opens your eyes and makes you think more when you consider the subject, what their style is and what they want, and so far it's going fab. I've had the pleasure of photographing other bloggers and friends (like these beautiful images of Saida) and help them achieve their visual goals, and even thought you're not the one in frame, you're just as visible as the model or subject.

love now that I can say my main job is photography, it's amazing, and I love the process of planning right through to the final image being shared on platforms and seeing the response. It drives me to be better and to keep creating, and should you stumble across a similar feeling then make sure you listen to it, because that girl who was always shoving a digital camera in your face at house parties may be destined for something.

If you are interested in working with me as a photographer, get in touch via the contact section, and you can see my previous shoots here!

What is your passion? Has something you love and enjoy become a job or led to a career? And how beaut is Saida?!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

One of my biggest distractions when trying to get shiz done in the evening (because we all hit that wall at some point) is online shopping; browsing sales, shoes and 'does this dress come in blue?', I seemingly decide now is the optimum time to start adding to my capsule wardrobe - not that I need anything, but hey, you may just find something pretty special...

Lyst has become a new obsession, keeping me occupied both on my computer and phone when I actually want to venture from the office but still get lost in all the high-street and luxury sales after dinner. I've been looking for more summer dresses recently as my back has cleared up loads, and after being a trouser/shorts girl for so long I feel the need to switch it up more, but feel overwhelmed of where to start looking.

Thankfully the website is easy to navigate, and a simple click of Dresses > Blue leaves me with a huge wishlist of wardrobe additions; seemingly I've fallen for Free People and this Gianna Lace Dress is just sensational, and I'm also eyeing up this Floral Mesh Dress in Peacock and Vapour Blue - too beaut! Something I love about Lyst is the fact you can find undiscovered products from your fave brands - for example, I found loads of & Other Stories dresses (including this simple drawstring dress and porcelain print dress) and even new brands too, especially this Blue Silk Bomber which I 100% need in my life right now; Lyst you little enabler you ;)

I really love the easy options of shopping on Lyst itself and being directed to brand-own sales, plus by using the app you can be alerted of when your favourite store or item has a few pounds knocked off it, which is always the kind of notification you want to get - aside from 'here's 90 likes on your photo of breakfast, score!

Are you a shopping at your fingertips lover? Have you tried Lyst? What's been your latest deal?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

This post is in collaboration with Lyst, but all love of blue and sales my own!

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest


Monday, July 18, 2016

I started a Happiness journal just over a month ago, in dire need of some direction and addressing why I was in such a funk. Looking back over the entries, I wish I could give myself a hug and whisper 'hey it's okay, you have no idea how happy you are about to become, how it's all going to turn out better and more, and if you keep doing what you're doing now, you are going to be so grateful for everything.'

I won't lie, I've forgotten to write in the diary for the last 7 days, and each time I quickly fill it in there's the usual 'take photos, saw a friend' but there are also 'OH SHIT HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!' moments that now, I'm fully open and accepting of.

The reason I got the book in the first place was a Bio Oil campaign on women who wanted to wear a piece of clothing but felt their scars made them too self-conscious to do so, and I could completely relate; my acne had produced deep blemishes across my shoulders and back, leaving marks and scabs in places where wearing a bikini was made impossible. Thankfully it's healed now, and whilst my face has a bit of clearing to do, for the first time in months I have bought (and worn) a very back revealing dress. And I didn't feel ashamed, I didn't feel scared, I didn't feel self-conscious, and it was amazing. Amazingly normal. It didn't feel like a big deal, and it's crazy how a change in something that worries you can really affect your happiness.

Recently a chain of events occurred that I have now come to believe are linked and almost a test of my own desire and willingness to be happy and achieve what I wanted. I was tested in many areas and belief - spending money on things I didn't think I was ready for, self-blame and frustration at not being in control, things over the years that have hindered so so many opportunities and experiences.

Now, I'm in a place where daily I'm excited, able to say yes and commit to great things, and actually living my dream (more on that in another post though ;) ). I'm photographing people, working with people I admire and building my skills, plus realising that I'm actually kinda good at what I'm doing, and that makes me so happy.

It may sound crazy, but I've already come to the conclusion that if this is as good as 2016 gets for me, I'd be ecstatic. But of course, happiness only leads to more happiness and good things, so I'm pretty sure it's all up from here, and I don't feel it's too presumptive to say that either which is amazing in itself.

Happiness is when you start to feel worth.

Happiness is when you realise you created the opportunity that led to something significant.

Happiness is when you can look around at yourself in the moment and feel content yet open for more.

Happiness is when you create opportunities to show your real self and work through the twist and turns, finally reaching your goal and realising it was all you, and always you.

How do you feel about happiness?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
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