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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'm the least likely of people to spontaneously pack up for a few days, but last week, that's exactly what I did - throwing my non-existent plans out the window and heading across to the Kent coast for two days of exploring and sea air.

It wasn't exactly a switch-off holiday, but I used it mainly as a chance to 1. get away and explore new places and 2. take photos purely for my self enjoyment. I've always loved taking photos of the beach and the people around it, ever since I was studying - it's those moments where you capture someone's life and day, see a dog in it's element or watch how the sky meets the sea and the lines blur together (if you're not singing Blurred Lines now, chances are, you will be. Soz.)

I did briefly stop off in Canterbury beforehand, only to sample the deliciousness of Kitch Cafe which does some incredible vegan brunch - I went for pancakes, because there's not many chances for me to eat vegan pancakes that are actually decent, and they were perfectly balanced between sweet and devourable.

Now I'm going to keep this short and sweet, purely because I think the photos do more justice than words, but I do have some recommendations...

Whistable Beach is lovely and moody, perfect for pictures and even more perfectly lined with pastel and brightly coloured houses that remind me of San Francisco. There are lines and line of oysters which is the main pull to the town, but it's nice to walk along the coast and get that fresh air.

For your stationery needs, Harbour Books has the usual books and pens on offer, but I really loved the wall of art books on offer and Gemma Correll illustrations - a good browse, makes you want to buy a lot of pens and greeting cards.

A bit of an odd one, but Staines Farm Shop was packed with so much fresh produce, and possibly the biggest lemons outside of Sorrento. Pick up one big ass sweet potato and get your carb on for dinner.

I went to Margate with good intentions, hopeful to walk around Dreamland and scout out some vintage, but sadly the former was closed and I only managed to find one or two shops I kinda liked in the amount of time we had.

Firstly, a vegan cafe find! Vegan Victory Cakes is tucked away off Old Town, and is cute and quaint. Rather than have a cake I opted for vegan tuna bagels which, hand on heart, the best childhood throwback minus the fishy taste - I used to eat tuna every day, so this was a real treat, and even better that it was all vegan friendly.

If you're a fan of art and home design, then Maxine Sutton is a lovely studio/shop filled with chairs, pillows, and the like. I really like the use of colour and line in each piece, and honestly if I was decorating a whole house I'd be going mad for a couple of the lamps ;)

With my lungs fully loaded with sea air, I'm happy to slip back into my non-existant spontenaity for a little while - just get me a cute pastel beachside house for the weekends...


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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Monday, February 20, 2017

I know this may be a bit premature seeing as it's Mid-February and I only set goals a month ago, but it feels as though time has passed quickly and I'm losing check of myself already! January and the beginning of February were a bit mad and stressful, and I didn't feel I could do what I wanted (then again, both those months are grey and blah and if you go outside, you mad bro) so with hibernation season seemingly over, I wanted to recap and see how I can make the best shiz happen over the next 6 months.

The idea of a deadline really gets you into motion, and already I've seen a shift in how I'm using my time, but I want to make sure I'm keeping my goals for the year in mind and feel happy with how I'm progressing - 6 months can fly, and I always find that once March is over, it's pretty much speed x8 until November and then hey Christmas! If you're needing a kick up the butt yourself, take note from a few of my own aims for the next 6 months...

Work around and on my tiredness
I'm going to get a bit psychological now - through various tests (all online, cough) I've worked out my personality and my introverted habits, and researched into all the whats and whys but more importantly the hows when making the most of my energy resources. 'According to recent studies' introverts have very active RAS aka reticular activating system which means you stimulate brainwork and active social energy continuously and entering into situations where you have to be more social can drain you, and coupled with my 'oh do people like me? Am I oversharing? What other worries do I have? Oh I'll just be quiet' I'm usually ready for a nap and some chocolate by 3pm.

So how does this relate? Well, I'm attempting to manage 'doing fun shiz' with 'feeling balanced and zazzed' as much as possible; after an event in London last week (in which I left at 11 and got home at 8:30) I felt surprisingly perky - granted I dipped a little inbetween but after a nice vegan burger in GBK I was more than restored to full health ;) It all comes down to a little bit of planning and time management, which leads me too...

See people!
I'm pretty chuffed in that I already have 3 dates in the diary to meet up with peeps, but I know there's more to do - I want to see people to catch up, and to also do fun creative things, and I want to go visit others and have them visit me! The most part is me feeling scared asking, but the worst is someone says 'nah mate' so I'ma keep sliding in those DMs for now.

• Confidence driving on the motorway
Again, this is mostly all linked; I know I can drive on a motorway as I drove to Devon twice when I first passed my test, but now when I see an M sign I freak a little. It has put me off visiting a lot of people and going to new places, but after driving a lot the past week, it doesn't seem so bad or scary. Just whip me up a motivational CD (yep I still only have a CD player in my car) over a few test trips and I'll hopefully be driving places in no time!

Save up for that studio equipment
I've always loved having a range of equipment, and watching various people's content inspires me to achieve a similar quality or better myself to provide cooler services and produce creative things, and let me tell you my dream equipment list is looonngggg but I want to keep on saving and working to tick a few items off that list.

Stick to the fuck budget
When I'm feeling lack and all loss of motivation, I like to read over my fuck budget - it's funny, and it reinspires me. Some noteworthy budgets include me time, jumpers, time to create, bread (obvs), feminisim, taking photos, feeling good, and exploring things I'm interested in. About time I started knitting I think...

• Achieve something big work-wise
Reading this post back, I noticed a lack of work/blogging goals and whilst I made a concious decision not to have any number or level-unlocking resolutions, I do still want to grow and achieve great things. Whether it's my photography business growing, my blog reaching more people or working with amazing people and having recognition, it would be awesome to set the wheels in motion during the next few months.

There's definitely still a few things on my 2017 goals list I have time to work on - dermatologist sessions are something I really need to look into, as well as booking in a few events and not talking myself out of commitment. Mostly, I really want to get started on a project be it a personal one or planning workshops, but I also want to up my photography business game in general - hint hint if you're based in London/Surrey/Brighton and need photos, get in touch!

Here's to time slowing down a bit, some deserved chill time, and the next 6 months - now someone pass me the knitting needles whilst I plan to see every single person I know asap...


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, February 17, 2017

Currently I'm in a second wave of under-skin breakouts, those annoying ones that just sit there not doing anything unless you touch them and they go as red as the Comic Relief noses, and it's safe to say I'm not feeling it. Because it's all a bit sensitive I'm easing back into my face mask routine, which in the last month worked wonders - honestly, my skin felt super soft and clear enough without a trip to the dermatologist (although I'm constantly dreaming of the mico-dermabrasion machine that sucks out all the gunk, so fresh and so clean clean.)

As I said, I've got a face mask routine pretty much down now and it's really made a difference in my complexion overall - after cleansing, I take a chemical exfoliant like REN Glycolactic Radience Renewal Mask to remove the dead skin cells and flaking dry patches, and also because the acids go deep into the pores and remove the build up of congestion; imagine your blackheads are a test tube - when you pop the head out, you're only removing a top layer of gunk, which will then be pushed up from the bottom and making that pore look full again (this is why it's key to use acids and clarifying masks in conjunction to really remove as much congestion as possible!)

Speaking of congestion, one of my favourites for clearing pores is Vichy Pore Purifying Mask* which keeps skin hydrated whilst pulling everything out and keeping it calm. My skin looks a lot clearer and pores tighter afterwards, but if I need something a bit more calming I usually go for Elemis Herbal Lavender Mask to reduce redness and treat more sensitive spots - both work a charm when mixed together also, so you can cure two birds with one stone ;)

With all the stripping and pulling, I like to give my skin some life back with lots of moisture and hydration - for a more moisturising effect, I like Antipodes Aura Mask* but the one I find gives the best renewed hydration, glow, and overall softness is the Laneige Firming Sleeping Pack. Probably my favourite Korean purchase, it does a serious miracle of plumping and adding water back into the skin, and for a real treat I like to apply two layers to really boost that J-Lo glow - after all those previous masks it gets my skin feeling and looking baby soft again *insert all the heart eye emojis*

Whether you use these products or others similar, keeping skin exfoliated and pores cleansed with lots of moisture to rebalance it all does do the skin a world of good - somebody warn the red noses, I've got a generous application of clay mask with their name on it...


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, February 15, 2017

Blogging has had a rep for being lonely place - on a platform where you are so intertwined with everyone yet ultimately working alone to stand out more, it sometimes felt hard to 'compete' (I really hate that word) with those established, those growing fast, and the smaller niche yet very cool creators who everybody loved.

I've felt it, and I've tried to stop feeling it. My brain is very split in two which I'm thankful for, as it will allow my ego to whine about 'so and so had more jobs in January than me it's not fair' whilst the reasoning side states 'well they do a completely different style of work to you so you can't compare that.' Yes a lot of my days are spent with internal back and forths like this, but in a way it keeps me sane and helps me push forward with what I think is going to happen in 2017: creative collaboration.

I wrote previously about how I feel bloggers/youtubers/influencers etc. will work together more this year, whether it's hiring team members or connecting with a group of local bloggers to meet up and take photos for one another or help one another out with analytics, working on social, and in short, pushing each other up because you want each other to succeed, not because of agenda or personal gain.

I've personally tried to arrange days with friends or people I admire creatively to connect and share inspiration with (also to hunt down a GBK to eat vegan burgers and down elderflower refills with whilst chatting, obvs.) but taking that all one step further was Kristabel's #YouCanSitWithUsLDN - an IRL get together of bloggers from all levels and genres to discuss a variety of blogging struggles under the title of many classic Mean Girls quotes. Perfection.

The whole get-together itself was blogging heaven - brightly coloured tables perfect for flatlays, the ever classic succulents and plates upon plates of cute and delicious treats (I'm patting myself on the back that my cookies were all gone by the end), yet the variery of discussion between women on topics of algorithm, USP, creating content and struggles in various departments. We all had a chance to say our piece, to hear about views on representation, and to give people reassurance in what they were doing - for example, I talked a lot about meeting up with people and having sessions to discuss growth and how posts were performing, and even days just to grab a coffee with others, and how overwhelming it all feels sometimes, and everyone (everyone) could identify and help boost confidence in making things happen. I felt I could talk openly and candidly about my thoughts with people understanding and reasoning ways to improve, which was something I'd been searching for.

It felt for the first time IRL that things were moving towards an 'US' community rather than 'THEM' or 'ME', and I think it symbolises a full-circle movement that's been in motion for a while now - posts can still look luxurious but have univeral relevance, topics discuss previously taboo or under-represented issues that are now creating better awareness, creators themselves are changing the way advertising and business works to become more ethical, true and connected. When I think of an 'US' community, I think of the mix of fun/cheeky list posts with 'boos and huns' tied in with 'how to look slick whilst wearing 20 layers' and also a bit of 'here's my creative strength, I'm going to really go to town on it with this post because sometimes you just need to be wordy or visual to get an idea or thought across.'

I came out of the event making new connections, getting over my introverted tendancies (and embracing them when needed) to talk about what I believed in and talk to others, offers to hang out and talk more analytical stuff, and possibly an even more renewed sense that the blogging world is much bigger out there than I thought, but not as overwhelming.

There's something I like to practise when I go into "ME' and ego mode - when I sulk that no-one is shouting out about my work, or that I'm not doing XYZ, I stop and get my reasoning side out to talk the Real Advice; 'if you can't support your own work, and admire it for what it means to you, then how can you expect others?' - if you can't stop thinking about you singular and them collective in an egotistical way, then how can you expect to integrate into a wider community that helps everyone? Cheer and champion your own work, absolutely, but remember there's a seat at the table for everyone to work together.

Things to do to promote creative collaboration:

• Meet up with a friend/group once a week to take photos
• Have a monthly meeting to discuss content, growth, what is and isn't working and share ideas.
• If you have an idea that needs help, don't be afraid to ask, and don't forget to give back in return.
• Embrace the fact that sometimes to grow, you need assistance - whether it's paying a photographer/videographer/animator/illustrator to help with a concept, you're supporting your creativity and someone's talent.
• CREDIT CREDIT CREDIT EVERYTHING. Everything. Tag the person who helped or you love on social platforms. Keep the wheel turning.
• Reach out. No one will bite you and at worst, they'll ignore you (or block you, depends how persistent you are) but if you feel in your heart that the other person may be a creative fit in mind, skill or just to talk to, make it happen. We're all a bit worried, even if we have 100K or 10.
• Sign up to Kristabel's newsletter for details on the next meetup!
• Trust.


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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