| I’ve Got Some Exciting News |

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I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA for the past month but I have a good reason that I’m about to explain…

To put it simply, I moved home to Ireland!

It’s still incredibly strange to me that I’m sat typing a blog post in my living room in Ireland but yet a couple of weeks ago I was writing my posts in South Africa. Talk about a big change!

To fill you in on how this came about, I was offered a job that I couldn’t turn down. I have been given an amazing opportunity & opportunities like that don’t come around twice so it was a no-brainer that I was going to accept it. While I’m incredibly lucky in that perspective, I’m also lucky in more ways than one. I have such a supportive and encouraging boyfriend who has made sacrifices to move with me. I know that it isn’t easy to leave your family & friends behind to start a new life; I know that all too well. But I’m very lucky that he did that for me without giving it a second thought. It’s one of the many reasons that I love him so much & I’m excited to build our new life together here.

We’ve got our place & I’ve just finished the first week of my job & so far we’re settling in & it’s been lovely. It’s been a crazy month & a big adjustment for the two of us but we’re excited for the future & what it has in store for us.

I can’t wait to take you on this journey with me

 

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| Advice That I Would Give My Younger Self |

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Gone are the days of being young, naive & a little stupid. I’m now a mid-twenties gal with some life experience under her belt & I truly feel like I’ve come a long way since my younger days. If I had the opportunity to sit down with my younger-self to have a cup of tea & a chat, here is the advice that I would give: 

You really don’t need to have your life figured out
I mentioned this in my What I learnt As A 24 Year Old Post.  When we’re young we’re told that we have to get good grades in school & that we have to go to university if we want to have any chance at being successful in life. My school drilled this into me which, now that I’m older, I don’t appreciate. It’s such an old way of thinking! At the age of 17 when I was applying to universities, I felt like I needed to have my life planned out in front of me. That if I didn’t, I would be lost like a fart in the wind & I’d never make something of myself.  I’d like to tell my younger-self that this is utter nonsense. You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to do with your life. You don’t need to have a solid plan that you have to stick to. I only recently figured out the path that I’m good at & that I’m destined for & I’m 25. Guess what? It isn’t what I studied at university for either. Life has a way of putting you on the path that you need to be. Just enjoy the ride & don’t stress about it.

There’s more to life than your weight
I’ve told you all about my weight struggles in my Body Image By The Skinny Girl post. I’ve suffered with being underweight my whole life & I’m open about it with anyone who wants to talk about it. When I was growing up, especially during my teenage years (because we all know how difficult body image can be when you’re a teenager) I tortured myself mentally about my weight. I would cry myself to sleep over it. I would change my outfit 10 times until I found the outfit I didn’t look ‘too skinny’ in & then I would go back to feeling bad about myself as soon as I saw my reflection in a shop window or a mirror. I would take every single stare,  every single look & every single comment about my size to heart & I would let it affect me. I wasted a lot of time hating how my body looked & because of that it still affects me today – although I’m happy to say that these occasions are very rare. I realised that there is so much more to life than your weight. My weight doesn’t define me & I just wish that I realised that at a much younger age.

Value yourself
It wasn’t until I hit the age of 22 that I really began to value myself as a person – especially when it came to dating. I dated people who were completely wrong for me & that I knew were completely wrong for me. But because I didn’t value myself as much as I should have, I stayed with that person. I let them treat me in a way that I never should have allowed. I don’t know at which point the switch flipped, but suddenly I refused to have anyone in my life who didn’t add value to it & who didn’t truly make me happy. Now I’m so happy to say that since that change I have found the love of my life who is a true gentleman who treats me better than anyone else ever has or ever could. It’s so important that we value ourselves enough to demand the love & respect that we deserve.

Don’t be scared to be yourself
This is something that I think a lot of young people experience because it’s with age & maturity that we sometimes learn the art of not giving a hoot. I used to care far too much about what people thought of me. I wouldn’t go out without makeup on in fear that, heaven forbid, someone I knew saw me. I wouldn’t do certain things in case people judged me. I just wanted to be liked by everyone. Now I really don’t care anymore. The reality is that the world is full of judgemental people who will judge you no matter what you do. So instead of worrying about them or trying to please them, worry about yourself & please yourself. After-all, it’s your own thoughts inside your head that you have to deal with, not theirs.

Stay young & don’t rush to grow up
When we were young, most of us remember thinking ‘I can’t wait to grow up’. I also remember many of the adults in my life at the time telling me ‘your childhood goes so quickly so enjoy it while you can!’ Did I listen to this advice? No. I wanted to grow up too quickly. I wanted to dress older, look older, feel older & act older. Now that I am older I wish that I could tell my younger self to be immature while I can. Having no responsibilities and no ‘adult worries’ is a wonderful thing that we only experience for such a short time. You never get to be a kid again. 

My word, life is so short
It seems like only yesterday I turned 18. Today as I write this I’m now 25. I know that I am still young but what scares me is that I’m half way through my 20’s already. The years are flying past at a rate I never would have expected. I wish I could give my younger self the cliche advice that we’re all given countless times – to enjoy life because it’s so short. I want to tell my younger-self to go out and do everything that I want to do. To tick off the items on my bucket list no matter how scary they are. My years are flying by & before I know it, it’ll be tied down with a house & kids so enjoy all the adventures while the opportunity is there & throw yourself into absolutely everything you do.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

| Current Lifestyle Favourites |

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You all know by now that talking about all things beauty related is my favourite pastime but I do like to change it up as much as I can, you know  with variety being the spice of life & all that. What better way to bring a little change to Beauty & The Blouse than to let you delve into my current lifestyle favourites. That way you can see exactly what I’m watching, reading & getting up to outside of the blogging world, so without further ado, let’s get started:  

Peaky Blinders: I am so happy that I’ve finally watched this series (well, seasons 1-3 because 4 isn’t on Netflix yet.) A few months ago I had made my other half watch the first episode, but at the time he just complained about how it was ‘yet another gangster series’ – What can I say, I like them (and to be fair to him we had watched a lot of them last year!) But fast forward several months I sneakily put it on again & got him hooked enough so that we could keep watching & it was SO good! In a nutshell, it’s set in Birmingham in the early 1900s & is the story of a family of criminals who run the city & is set around their attempt to take down everyone who tries to get in their way. The acting in this series is unbelievable & although violent at times, the story line is great too. I imagine that a lot of my readers have already or are already watching this series, but if you haven’t add it to your list – it’s a good one!

The Night Of: So I just binge watched this 8 episode series over the course of last week and holy heck is it great! After hearing that it had won an Emmy Award & after reading the description, I knew I would enjoy The Night Of  because any series about murder & I’m sold (as psychopathic as that sounds!) It’s the story of a college guy who meets a girl, they go back to her house & long story short, she ends up dead but you have no idea how it happened & he is charged with murder but denies guilt. Sound like a hell of a story line? It is! I was completely hooked & I’m so disappointed that it’s finished. Seriously, give it a watch. It’s an unbelievably great series that will leave you hooked & dying (excuse the pun) to know what happened.

Old school R&B music: The past few weeks have been so crazy for me & I’ve had an absolute ton of work to get through. I love being busy so I don’t mind having a big to-do list but sometimes you need a little bit of motivation to get you through the mountain. Music is usually the best way to keep me motivated & I really enjoy listening to music while I power through my work. However, my iPod needed a serious update as I’ve been listening to the same music for far too long, so I took to YouTube & rediscovered all of the old R&B music I used to listen to back in the early 2000’s. You can find one of the playlists I’ve been listening to here. I’ve been that chick dancing at her laptop for the past week & boy, it makes working so much easier. Click the link, put your headphones in & go back in time – you’re going to love these tunes!

Eating well & training hard: Back when I wrote my goals for the month of January I had mentioned that I wanted to stick to my training & healthy eating plan. I’m still continuing with this & I’ve been eating well as well as training a lot in the gym & I’m loving it. I feel so much better and I’m starting to see the changes in my body which is making me even more motivated. My stomach is more muscular & doesn’t get bloated & I’m starting to see more shape in my arms & shoulders which I never had before. I said that I would get into my best shape in 2018 & I’m loving doing it (which is surprising from a girl who always loved junk food!)

Movie dates: My boyfriend & I have been going to the movies a lot recently & it has been so wonderful. We’re both big movie lovers so it is such a pleasure getting to spend quality time together on cinema dates. In South Africa they even have a Pizza Hut inside some cinemas so you order your pizza before your movie starts & they bring your pizza to you while you watch the movie. You can imagine how much I’ve been loving eating a big ol’ pepperoni pizza while watching a blockbuster movie. Delightful!

The Book Thief: I’m such a lover of curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea & a great book & just getting lost in the words. But I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been so busy recently that I really haven’t had the time to read much this year. Certainly not as much as I would have liked to at least! So with this in mind, I’ve been trying to make a much more conscious effort to read when I can. Even if it’s just half an hour here & there. I’m currently reading a great book called The Book Thief & while I’m not even a third of the way through this book yet, I already know that it’s going to be a great one. It’s written from the perspective of Death during World War ll & is the story of an albeit naive, young girl who has been sent to live with a German family where she begins to learn what it’s really like to live in Germany under Hitler’s rule. Well, that’s what has happened in the third of the book that I have read. It’s such an unusual read that is really well written & if a book can educate me at the same time, its always going to be a pleasure to read.

What are your current lifestyle favourites? 

 

| What I’ve learned from living in a developing country |

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So for those of you who may not know I’m originally from Northern Ireland but I moved to South Africa in 2016. It has never been my plan to settle here permanently but I really do love this country & I’ve learnt so much since moving here. 

If you’ve never been to South Africa then please add it to your bucket list of holiday destinations because it is a truly beautiful country with amazing people, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, a rich culture & there’s a hell of a lot to do here. Sadly however, South Africa is still classed as a developing country. While there are so many opportunities to be successful here & it really is an amazing place for business, there is still a high unemployment rate (26.6% of South Africans are unemployed compared to the 4.2% in the U.K) and there is a lot of poverty (30.4 million South Africans currently live in poverty). 

Having been born & raised in a 1st world country I’ve had to learn a lot very quickly since moving to a developing country & this has led to this blog post. I want to talk about the things I’ve learnt since moving here because it might make people who’ve only ever lived in 1st world countries think. This can be a touchy subject for some & I just want to throw a disclaimer out there that I write this blog post with no intention to offend or upset anyone. I am very grateful to come from a 1st world country & I am also very grateful for the opportunity I have been given to live in a developing country. 

Here is what I’ve learned since moving here:

We are so lucky to have our benefit system
As I mentioned South Africa is rife with poverty. 1 in 2 people here live below the poverty line. That poverty line is only R441 per person per month. Do you know how much that equates to in pounds? £26.42 per month! That’s only 88p per day! Can you imagine trying to pay for everything you need with so little?! It breaks my heart that so many people can’t afford what they need. In this country if you’re unemployed for any reason there is no help for you. You’ve got to find your way yourself. Now I know that there are many problems with our benefit system & there are many reasons why it frustrates those of us from the UK, but the long & short of it is that we are so lucky to have it because when we need it most, when there’s no income coming in – it’s there for us.

The NHS is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted
A lot of people have a lot of negative things to say about the NHS but unless you’ve lived in another country where they don’t have it, it’s difficult to see why it’s amazing. Here my partner & I pay an absolute fortune a month (about £240) in medical aid (medical insurance) which covers us if we ever need emergency hospital treatment. A lot of the time this only covers some of your medical costs & doesn’t include things like prescriptions, gp visits, dentist appointments, opticians – nothing outside of hospital care. Sometimes medical aid won’t even cover you if you get cancer! It’s insane! Do you know how difficult it is to pay that much money as a ‘just in case something happens to me’?! The NHS is a godsend & in my opinion is one of the best things about the UK. Everyone, including those who live in poverty, will always been seen by a doctor, will always be given emergency medical care & will always get their prescriptions because they’re free. In a developing country many don’t have that luxury.

We are born into a country of wealth & opportunity
Here’s a little story for you to explain what I mean by this: it’s common in South Africa to have a helper, or a cleaner as we’d call them in the UK, who cleans your house for you. We have a helper called Teresa who works for us 4 days a week & she’s a lovely woman who is originally from Malawi in South East Africa. She moved from Malawi to South Africa which meant leaving her daughter behind (she lives with her grandmother) because they had no money in Malawi & she wants to save enough money to take care of her family. She has worked for us for almost a year & during this time she hasn’t been able to see her daughter. Helen was born into a very poor country with little opportunity so she had to leave those she loved the most in order to take care of them. In the UK we are born into a country that can offer us so much & we really take that for granted.

There is so much more that I could say on this but these were the biggest points that I wanted to share. My advice is to travel the world as much as you can, especially if you can’t or don’t want to live in another country for a while. Travelling is one of the most enriching experiences & it will truly make you a better person. Those of us from 1st world countries are really so lucky & blessed compared to so much of the world. Don’t take it for granted! 

| 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me |

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I’ve mentioned a bunch of times on my blog that I love to learn about people, their life & their personality. Call it nosiness if you may but I’m incredibly interested in people & what makes each of us different. That is why I have been absolutely loving the ‘5 random facts tag’ that’s been happening on Instagram recently. If you haven’t seen this yet (I’m not sure where you’ve been!?) but it’s essentially where you post 5 random facts that people may not know about you on your Instagram stories & then tag others to do the same. Simple right?

It was this trend that inspired me to continue this trend & to give you a more in-depth look into what makes me unique by giving you 20 random facts about me that you may not know!

Fact 1
I was born without a thyroid. Crazy right? Thyroids are pretty damn important things & for whatever reason my body decided it wouldn’t make one. It happens to only 1 in every 40,000 babies born in the UK so it makes me pretty unique.

Fact 2
I pride myself on my ability to eat a sh*t tonne of food in one sitting. For someone so slim, I can pack it away.

Fact 3
I’ve been in 2 flipped car crashes. I wasn’t driving when either of these happened but they were pretty hectic. I’ll never forget the sound of the metal crunching & I’ve been such a nervous driver ever since. I like to think I have one heck of a guardian angel watching over me

Fact 4
I am addicted to crisps. I can eat a share bag of crisps in one sitting without any problem at all. I don’t know why they even bother to call them share bags! They are my kryptonite.

Fact 5
I have lived in 3 different countries. I was born in the Northern Ireland then I moved to Scotland at the age of 18 to study. I now currently live in South Africa & have done for a year & a half.

Fact 6
I don’t really like children who aren’t family. (I feel like such a bad person even saying that!) I do want kids of my own someday but I’m just not in any rush to have them because I know how demanding they can be & how much my life will change once I have them.

Fact 7
I have an allergy to face paints. I can’t tell you how much that destroyed me as a kid. (I did still get my face painted now & again but I paid for it in the form of the red, painful skin afterwards)

Fact 8
I am so particular about the way things are organised. My wardrobe is organised by ascending length (e.g. strappy tops followed by short sleeved tops followed by long sleeved tops)

Fact 9
When I was at school I really wanted to go on to study psychology so that I could become a criminal psychologist but my careers teacher talked me out of it. Part of me wishes that reincarnation really does exist so I can follow that career path in my next life. Shame on my old careers teacher for talking young, impressionable people out of their career choice.

Fact 10
I am a feminist. I know that people tend to flinch when they hear that word nowadays because of the negative connotations but I am proud to be a woman & I will continue to do my part to fight the fight for equality.

Fact 11
I am someone of two extremes. I’m so relaxed in my every day life & not much worries me yet I’m such a wimp & I’m scared to do a lot of things. I know how confusing that sounds!

Fact 12
I hate tomatoes yet I love tomato ketchup & pasta dishes with tomato based sauces. To me they taste totally different!

Fact 13
I’m made up of 80% leg. I’m 5 ft 8 & yet I wear a 34″ inside leg jean. My dad is 6 ft tall & wears the same length of jeans as me! It makes jeans/trouser shopping really quite difficult sometimes.

Fact 14
I’m both an introvert & an extrovert. I’m very outgoing & chatty & make friends easily but I also really enjoy time by myself & I feel exhausted if I’m around lots of people for long periods of time. Typical qualities of both personality types.

Fact 15
I am a Harry Potter nerd. I grew up watching it & reading the books & I’m pretty sure I know most of the lines in every movie. I’m dying to go to the Harry Potter Studios in London.

Fact 16
I can’t cook much but I can make a damn good lasagna & I can also bake pretty well. My brownies are what I’m known for.

Fact 17
I grew up with most people thinking I had some form of eating disorder (even though I ate like a tank) & being really nasty towards me because I was always naturally so tiny. I never did have an eating disorder & I never wanted to be so small. It still affects my self-confidence even now but thankfully I’m okay with it most of the time.

Fact 18
I like to think of myself as mildly psychic. When I’m dreaming random scenarios pop up in the middle of my dreams & they come true. It’s not deja vu because I remember them when I’ve woken up & I can remember it happening in my dream when it happens in real life

Fact 19
I love animals so much that I can’t watch animal movies/documentaries because I couldn’t handle seeing an animal left alone or hurt. Animals are such a gift so it breaks my heart seeing them alone or hurt.

Fact 20
I’ve had the same best friend since I was 4. That’s a friendship of 21 years & by today’s standards that longer than most marriages!

I really hope that you all found this post interesting & that it’s helped you to get to know me a little better & also that it didn’t put you to sleep! 

 

 

 

| January Goals |

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Well here it is, 2018! Can you believe it?! I just can’t believe that people born in 2000 are now turning 18 and are legally allowed to drink. I feel like the years are passing by so fast & I’m getting old a lot quicker than I’d like.

But no one wants to listen to little old lady over here so let’s move swiftly on. With this new year comes new goals for the year. I don’t believe in the whole ‘new year, new me’ thing but I’m still a believer in setting goals. So let’s get right into my goals for the month of January!

Goal 1: Book my first smear test

So in November last year I turned 25 & where I’m from this is the first year that you are requested to go for a smear test. However since I now live in South Africa it is up to me to find a gynaecologist & book my test myself. I won’t deny that I’m nervous to get my first one as I don’t know what to expect & of course I’m worried that it will be painful. But with that being said I do know how important it is that I get one. There are so many stories out there of women who have had lucky escapes only because they religiously go for their regular smear test so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Goal 2: Save where I can 

So you may have seen my tweet (if you’re not following me on Twitter then you can follow me here – I know, shameless self-promotion, right!) that I have booked to go home in April & I’m so excited that I could squeal. By this time I won’t have seen my family in 9 months & I won’t have been home in almost a year & a half so as you can imagine it’s well overdue. With this trip coming up I want to save where I can not just this month but also for the next few as I’ll need plenty of money while I’m there to go on lovely outings. And with the Rand to Pound conversion I’ll need to save as much as I can!

Goal 3: Stick to my training & healthy eating plan

In December my boyfriend & I decided that we wanted to become super healthy & get in the best shape of our lives. We’re both slim people so we’re not doing this to lose weight. Instead we just want to tone up more & to feel even better on a day to day basis. When you eat crappy food it just leaves you feeling bloated, tired & crappy & who really wants to feel that way. So we’ve gone pretty extreme & cut out junk food & instead our plates are now filled with chicken or fish, veggies & rice. We’re also cutting down on red meat (I can tell you I’m already missing steak & lamb chops) while going to gym & doing high intensity workouts 5 days per week. 2018 WILL be the year I get into my best shape but for now January will be able adapting and focusing on sticking to this new lifestyle.

Goal 4: Get better at getting up early 

I don’t know about you but I was always one of those people who had to have 9 hours sleep every night in order to function adequately. The problem (and the blessing) of being an entrepreneur is that you can sleep as long as you like because your working day is how you want it to be. I’ve decided that I want to become a 7am riser so that I can get on with my work earlier & then close my computer earlier so that the rest of my day is my own. I will no doubt be exhausted for the first week of this but like anything else, it just takes a little routine & I’ll soon get used to it. Time to become the early bird!

 

 

| December Goals |

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I think I’m still in shock that we’re in the final month of 2017. I feel like I’ve blinked & this year has almost passed! This month is going to be a strange one for me, really strange. And it is with this realisation that I wanted to talk about my December goals (and also because I haven’t written a goals post in a few months)

Goal 1: Deal with spending Christmas somewhere else
This is my biggest goal for this month & I know that it isn’t going to be easy. For the past 24 years I have never spent a Christmas without my family let alone on the other side of the world. Honestly, I’m already struggling with it. I haven’t been in the Christmas spirit as it’s hot here, there are no Christmas decorations up in the house & I’m not doing my traditional Christmas outings & activities. I’ve been hating seeing everyone (especially family & friends) posting about it on social media. It’s difficult being without your family & friends at this time of year & Christmas in South Africa just isn’t the same. At all.
My goal for this month is to make the most of this. I’m getting to spend Christmas in a new country & I’m getting to spend Christmas with my love which I’m thankful for & I know he’ll do his best to try & make it special for me. Now it’s just up to me to make the most of this situation & to enjoy the festive period as much as I can, no matter how un-christmassy it may feel!

Goal 2: Relax
2017 has been one of the most hectic years of my life & it has also been one of the toughest. In my What I Learnt as a 24 Year Old post I lightly touched on this if you want to take a look. Basically, it was the biggest learning curve & it’s been pretty damn stressful. With the arrival of the festive period & going on a week away, I just want to relax & unwind for a little while. While I’ll have a little work to do here & there I want to limit this a lot so that I can get the break that I’ve earned. I’ve worked a lot this year & I’ve learnt a lot this year so it’s time to give my tired brain & body a rest!

Goal 3: Learn to cook a turkey
So I’m 25 & I’ve never cooked a turkey & the only reason that I’m making the big life decision to do so is because I’m spending Christmas with my boyfriends family who don’t like to eat turkey. So I’ve decided that I’m going to cook my first turkey because I cannot imagine a Christmas without my traditional dinner & if I’m not having Christmas at home, I’ll bring Christmas at home to South Africa. Wish me luck & pray that I don’t burn down the kitchen, I’m going to need it!

Goal 4: Reflect on my year
As mentioned this year has been crazy for me, but it has been a year when I have learnt more than I ever could have imagined I would. I started businesses, failed, got up & tried again. While at times I’ve felt that this year was a complete failure, if I really spend the time to look at what I’ve gone through & where I am now, I really should be proud of what I’ve achieved. I want to spend some time & write in my diary all the things that I’ve faced, overcame & achieved because I want to keep it as a reminder to never give up!

 

| Body Image by The Skinny Girl |

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Let’s talk body image. It’s one of those topics that can touch every woman because whether we admit it or not, it has played a big part in our lives growing up. I want to talk about body image from one perspective & one perspective only. It’s the side of body image confidence that we never really hear about because the media has twisted it completely. It’s the side of body image that doesn’t always have a voice & by writing this post I intend to give it a voice – it’s the body image of the ‘skinny’ girl.I hate the word skinny & I always have. For me it has so many negative connotations around it & my insides continue to squirm when I hear it even at the ripe old age of 25, but I’m going to use it for the purpose of this post.

So let me give you a little bit of a background – I’m that skinny girl. I have been very slim my whole life which has a lot to do with a thyroid condition that I was born with (but we’ll not get into that) so I have never been this slim by choice. Now when I say slim I don’t just mean slightly smaller than average – I mean that my legs were minuscule & shockingly tiny. I hated them more than could imagine. Growing up I had serious confidence issues & was so self-conscious about my body. While I am no longer as skinny as I was as a teen, I’m still tiny but I’ve just learnt to accept it & deal with it. But I’ll never forget the things that people called me, the sly comments & the judgemental stares. That is the reason for this blog post – I want to talk about what it’s like to be a skinny girl in today’s society & how harmful it can be.

Now I want to add a little disclaimer here because body image can be a sensitive topic for many: I am in no way undermining those who are overweight or what they go through mentally when it comes to body image. I am simply giving my perspective from someone on the opposite end of the spectrum because it’s something that is rarely talked about.

The media has shaped society’s thinking around weight massively. We’re constantly seeing and reading about celebrities losing & gaining weight featuring unflattering photos & nasty articles. It’s a horrible world & can hurt so many peoples self-esteem. A pattern that you’ll notice if you pay attention, is that according to the media anyone who is too thin MUST have an eating disorder because no one can naturally be that thin. It is this thinking that can be so detrimental to people like me who are naturally  underweight. Throughout my life I had to constantly explain myself when people made comments like ‘you’re so skinny, do you not eat?’, ‘you’re too thin, you need to go eat lots of burgers’ & so on. The problem was that because the media had shaped society in such a way no one could understand that I could possibly be this size if I ate a normal diet.

This is where society is so wrong. As a ‘skinny’ girl I have received as much criticism, as much judgement & as much hurtfulness as someone who is over weight but people struggle to or can’t see or understand that. People assume that we couldn’t possibly understand how a larger person feels but I’ve stood in front of the mirror & cried about how I look, I’ve felt self-conscious in every outfit I tried on and I tried to hide my body because I felt it was ugly. So the reality is that those of us who are very underweight can relate to those who are overweight more than you think.

There has also become an acceptance in society that if someone is too slim, that it’s okay to tell them. You would never go up to an overweight person & say nasty things but if it’s a ‘skinny’ person it’s perfectly fine to do that. I am not saying that overweight people never get horrible comments made at them by lowlifes, I’m just saying that people feel like they have a right to tell someone that they’re too thin because ‘its for their own interest’ or because ‘society says it’s okay’. I’m here to tell you that you have no right to comment on anyone’s weight. Ever.

This may have been a slightly long-winded blog post but I just wanted to create awareness about what you say & how you act towards ‘skinny’ people. We have feelings, we’re sensitive about our size & we feel body issues like anyone else. I didn’t choose to be this size & it’s very, very difficult for me to change it. My challenge to you is that if you don’t already, treat ‘skinny’ people with the same respect as you would anyone else because you have no idea how they feel about themselves. Don’t make comments about their weight. Don’t make them feel inferior, worthless or bad about themselves.  If I ever have a daughter with a similar body shape to mine, I would never want her to feel what I have felt & neither would you.
Basically, be nice & don’t be a dick!

|What I learnt as a 24 Year Old |

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So here it is, the big 25 & this is possibly the hardest birthday to take. When I woke up yesterday I was no longer 24 & instead I had suddenly reached my mid-twenties & flippin’ heck does that scare me. It feels like just yesterday I turned 20 & now I’m as close to 30 as I am to 20 – where did those years go?!

With this passing birthday I had an idea for a blog post – what I learnt as a 24 year old. With every year that passes we learn new life lessons & this year was a big one for me. I have lived in a foreign country for one year, I have started businesses & I’ve gone through one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. So I thought how better to enter another than to reflect on my year as a 24 year old woman.

Here is what I learned:

To believe in myself
I never realised how much my mind controls me until this past year. When it comes to every day life I am generally a very positive person but when it comes to thoughts about myself, I’m full of doubts & I completely underestimate my own abilities. I’m not sure where this mentality came from or how long it’s been there because I’m a confident woman but inside my own mind I guess I’m not as confident as I portray myself to be. I think things like ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I won’t be good at that’ or ‘I won’t do a good job’ when in fact every time I push myself out of my comfort zone, I surprise myself. It hasn’t been easy to control this mind set & sometimes I still catch myself doing it but it’s just about saying to myself ‘I can & I will!’ because I’m capable of much more than I give myself credit for.

 

How to deal with financial struggles
This year I have had to face some of the toughest financial times I’ve ever gone through & for anyone, that isn’t easy. When I was living back in N.Ireland I had a lot of disposable income & I was able to go shopping & buy whatever I wanted without much thought. Since moving to another country with a high unemployment rate & where it can be so difficult to find a job, I had to face financially difficult times & it really wasn’t easy. But now that I’m out the other side I am so much stronger because of it, I am now so careful with money even when I have it & going through this has really taught me the value of money again. Be thankful for what you have & always save for a rainy day because you never know how your situation can change.

You don’t need so much ‘stuff’

This leads on from my previous point as when I was going through a tough time financially I just didn’t have the money to treat myself to anything, I only bought the essentials which meant no buying clothes & no buying makeup that I didn’t need. Suddenly I was using everything in my makeup collection & I was wearing all of the clothes in my wardrobe because there was nothing new being added that took my attention. This made me realise that I have more than enough already & when I had a lot of disposable income I didn’t appreciate what I already had as I was always looking for my next purchase. Now my shopping habits have drastically changed for the better as I only buy things that I really love & I don’t throw my money around. This is a life lesson that I am so thankful for.

 

Be the fiery, opinionated woman that I am
When I moved to South Africa I was suddenly living in the biggest country I’ve ever been in & I was thrown into a fast paced world that was completely different to my home. After moving I became conscious of who I was & how I acted as I no longer had my best friends with me & I had to meet new people & make new friends of my own. Because of this I began to feel like I was losing myself a little as in certain situations I stopped myself from voicing my opinion even when I wanted to & that just isn’t who I am. I realised that just because I live somewhere new, that it doesn’t mean that I have to change who I am because I’m a still a warm, likeable person but I just prefer the warm, likeable girl who voiced her opinion when she needed to.

No one else has their sh*t figured out either
There is a crap element of society where we’re made to believe that we need to have our lives figured out ASAP. I think a lot of that comes from the generations before us when the goal was to work hard in school, get a safe & secure job & start a family before you’re 30. The problem with this is that as 20 somethings we feel like we should have everything together & if we don’t then we’re failures, but you know what? That’s bullsh*t because I don’t know anyone my age who has their whole life figured out. We’re all just running around & trying to find our ‘niche’ in life so the sooner you realise this & stop panicking, the better you’ll feel because we’re all in the same boat. I’m just glad I realised this at the age of 24!

 

| Current Lifestyle Favourites |

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a lifestyle favourites post & I very much enjoyed writing the last one. I talk a lot about beauty on my blog & I always like to change it up every now & again so that you as my readers can get a glimpse into my lifestyle & what I enjoy doing outside of blogging. This past month I’ve spent a lot of time at home so a lot of my lifestyle favourites have revolved around that. So let’s delve right into it: 

What I’m Watching:

Game of Thrones Okay so I have a confession to make; I am now only getting around to watching Game of Thrones & when I say that we’re talking Season 1 here. I can hear the die-hard GOT fans shouting “where the hell have you been!?” but you all know me, I like to join the party late with these kind of things. I’m usually not into series that involve castles, war & dragons, but I’ve got to say that I’m very much enjoying it so far & it has really taken me by surprise. It makes me so proud to say that GOT was filmed in my home country, Ireland. They have really helped to put Ireland & Northern Ireland on the map so I thank you GOT team!

Fed Up So this was an hour & a half long documentary that I watched this week on DSTV Catch Up but I’m sure that you’ll be able to get it online as well. I would seriously recommend watching it as it completely & utterly shocked me. It was a documentary based around the obesity epidemic in America & what the food industry is doing to encourage bad eating rather than preventing it. It was an eye-opening watch & it made me so outraged to know that the food industry can be so evil. Definitely worth a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

What I’m Playing

Monopoly I can hear you thinking – “do people still play that anymore?!” Hell yes they do! A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend & I took a notion to play this old school childhood favourite of ours as we are quite partial to a board game every now & again. So after spying it in Checkers one Friday night we decided that we’d pick it up & I must say that it’s been a lot of fun & we’ve shared many, many competitive evenings playing back-to-back games of Monopoly. Whoever said that board games aren’t cool anymore?!

What I’m Eating/Drinking

Cutting out junk Monday-Friday You may remember that I mentioned in my September Goals that I’ve limited junk food to only the weekends & I’ve got to say I’m really enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I could kill for something sugary & delicious but I’ve found that limiting my intake has made me feel better. It also means that I enjoy crisps & chocolate when I do get to have them & that I now see it as a treat. I would definitely recommend trying this if you’d like to improve your diet gradually.

Lots of water Recently I’ve been focusing a lot on making sure I get my 2 litres of water every day & it has made such a difference to how I look & feel. I have more energy, I’m not bloated & my skin looks much better too. I’ve been using a great app called My Water which tracks your water intake throughout the day & it’s been such a help in making sure that I reach my water goal every day.

What I’m Reading

The Night Watch I’m only about one-third into this book at the moment so I can’t give you a full review yet but what I can say however, is that it’s been a great read so far. The blurb reads:

The Night Watch is the extraordinary story of four Londoners: Kay, who wonders the streets in mannish clothes, restless & searching…Helen, who harbours a troubling secret…Viv, glamour girl, redlessly loyal to her soldier lover…and Duncan, an apparent innocent, struggling with demons of his own.
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit liaisons and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, this is an astonishing novel.

I originally bought this book because the title was familiar & also because it’s a no.1 bestseller that was also shortlisted for The Man Booker & The Orange Prize so I thought that it had to be pretty good. So far it’s been such an easy to read, page turning, beautifully written novel that gives a deeper insight into what life was like after the war & how these 4 individuals struggled to come to terms with what they have seen & how drastically their lives have changed since the war. I can already tell that I’m going to love this book.

What I’m Enjoying

Yankee Tarts So this isn’t exactly a new favourite as I’ve been using them for years but does anyone else fall in & out of lighting candles? I feel like I don’t light them for a few months then suddenly I want to light every candle I own & burn them all day long. So right now, I’m in the latter stage. I prefer to buy the tarts rather than the jar candles as they’re much more affordable & I cut mine into 4 which makes one tart last 32 hours! My favourite scents of all time are Pink Sands (it smells like an exotic holiday), Midsummer’s Night (smells like sexy man aftershave) & Autumn Bliss (the clue is in the same, smells just like Autumn).

What are your current lifestyle favourites?