| 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!

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|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? 

 

|How to Deal with Homesickness |

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For those of you who might not know, I moved from my home in Ireland to South Africa just over one year ago. I have never regretted moving here & I’m so glad that I took the leap to follow my heart & my dreams out here but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a roller coaster ride. Last month I was hit with an unexpected, almost overwhelming feeling of homesickness that lasted about a week & that was the first time that I had really felt that since the move last year. I missed my family, I missed my friends & I missed all of the familiarities of life back home. 

It was that overwhelming feeling that led me to write this post in the hope that I could help anyone out there who is feeling that same way. Homesickness isn’t easy but I have a few tips that have made me feel better that I’d like to share with you:

Video Call Those You Miss
It goes without saying that if you’re missing friends, family or a partner back home that speaking to them will help. If I’m feeling homesick I always find that speaking to those that I love & miss makes me feel like I’m there with them & gives me such a lift. However, I say this with a warning as speaking to those loved ones too often DOESN’T help. If you’re constantly Skyping/FaceTiming those back home it can make you more homesick or prolong this emotion as you almost become dependent on that frequent contact with them. I tend to video call my family once per week which I think is the perfect amount as I look forward to speaking to them but I don’t feel homesick for the other 6 days of the week. It’s all about finding the perfect balance as you must also deal with living somewhere new, away from everyone else.

Don’t Keep Looking At Photos/Videos 
This is one that I have been guilty of all too often. When I’ve missed home I found myself scrolling through my videos & photos so that I could see the faces & hear the voices of those that I love. While at times this can make you laugh & smile, looking at photos too frequently will heighten your emotions & make you feel worse so try to limit this as much as you can.

Get Busy
When I feel down the best thing I can do is keep myself busy. Sitting around & wallowing in your own misery never helped anyone so when times get tough, you’ve just got to get up, get dressed & do whatever you need to do to keep your mind busy. My favourite ways to keep busy when I’m feeling homesick is to work out at the gym, clean & organise whatever I can, play a game or get out for the day. Whichever way you keep yourself busy is completely up to you but whatever it is, make sure it keeps your mind distracted.

Make Comfort Food From Home 
I always thought that this would make me feel worse but I’ve found that it helps. I live in a completely different country now where people don’t eat my cultural foods & if you’re in the same situation I’m sure there has been times when you’ve craved that delicious dish from home. I live with my boyfriend who is South African with an Indian heritage so a lot of the time we eat Indian food which I love, however, sometimes I find myself missing my mumma’s familiar, homely cooking. When I feel like that I’ve found that it’s good to cook up one of my favourite homely Irish dishes as it comforts me & makes me feel like I’ve been transported home for a moment.

Talk About It
One of my flaws is that when I’m emotional about something I don’t like to talk about it & I like to pretend that everything is fine. The problem with this is that your emotions build & build without your noticing until you snap. It’s a completely unhealthy way to deal with things & it’s something that I’m working on. So from past experience, my advice to you is that when you’re feeling down & missing home, talk to someone. Just say it out loud & let them know you’re having a bad day. It really makes you feel better to get it off your chest & to know that you’re not alone.

Remind Yourself Why You Moved
It’s hard to leave everyone you love & everything you know behind but generally there’s a reason why you did it. I for one did it for a new beginning, to make something of myself & to be with the love of my life. Everyone’s reason is personal to them but if you made the choice to move then you need to remind yourself of that because generally there is a good reason. Homesickness is a temporary side effect of moving away & if your reason for moving is bigger than that, then you need to keep your reason at the forefront of your mind & keep telling yourself that it’s worth it.

Listen To Happy Music 
The quickest way to make myself good is to play happy music. I have a ‘Feel Good Music’ playlist on my iPod & I really recommend making a playlist of your own. When I put on happy, upbeat music I just cannot stop myself from smiling or from dancing around the room. If you want a quick solution to your homesickness so that you can get on with your day – this is my best solution for a quick fix.

Accept That It’s Normal 
While some of my tips will help you forget about the emotions that you’re feeling, it’s also important to accept them, understand them & deal with them. Don’t wallow in your misery but know that what you’re feeling is completely normal, that you’re not alone & that these emotions will pass & you’ll soon feel like you again. You are not a weak person because you feel this way. So practice your self-care & make yourself feel better – you will get through this.

I really hope that these tips helped you to feel better & that they help you to get through whatever you’re feeling. I’d also like to hear your tips for dealing with homesickness so feel free to post them in the comments. Just remember, this too shall pass!

|The Gift of Gifting | Gift Guide |

If you’re anything like me, you love buying gifts for other people. There’s nothing better than seeing someone you love filled with joy & excitement when they open a gift that they truly love. The next few months for me are full of birthdays, anniversaries & not to mention Christmas (I’ll admit I just did a little excited squeal then) so I’m trying to plan ahead so that I’m organised & not rushing around last minute.

I was recently asked to check out an online company called Uncommon Goods & you guys know that I’m always looking for new fantastic brands that I can fall in love with, so of course I agreed to check them out. After perusing their site of goodies I just fell in love with their brand, their company ethos & their fantastic range of gifts & I’m all for supporting great brands so I wanted to share it with you in a blog post.

In a nutshell, Uncommon Goods is an online store that sells a variety of hand-crafted goods that have been created by incredibly talented people across the world. It’s like going to a craft show online & we all know how beautiful craft show products are! They sell everything from mugs to wall art to handmade jewellery so when it comes to gift shopping, you’ll find something for almost everyone.

As I’m currently shopping for gifts for my loved ones I thought it would be a nice idea to pick out a few of my favourite products from their site & create a mini gift guide. Any help when it comes to gift shopping is always appreciated, right?!

Choices for the Besties

My besties birthday is coming up next month & I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gift for her. Besties appreciate thoughtfulness behind their gifts as after all, we’re the ones who know them the best. Here are my top picks:

Anatomy of a best friends heart mug
For the Sentimental | Anatomy of a Best Friend’s Heart Mug
Womens Organizing Travel 4-Pack
For the Traveller |Women’s Organising Travel 4-Pack
Literary Candles
For the Book Worm | Literary Candles

A full selection of products perfect for your friends, including my faves above which can be found here

A little help for the men

Shopping for girlfriends isn’t easy. We’re fussy & sometimes we just can’t decide exactly what we want so ladies, if you want to give your men a nudge in the right direction tell them to check out Uncommon Goods. They’re been super nice & dedicated a list of gift ideas for the lost men out there who can’t decide what to buy for their girlfriend.You can find it here. Gentlemen, if your lady’s taste is anything like mine, I’ve also included a few items that I loved from that list below. Just don’t forget the card!

Wine glass set
For the Wine Lover | Iridescent Stemless Wine Glass Set
ring
For the Fashionista | Aquamarine Branch Ring
what i love about you by me book
For the Romantic | What I Love About You By Me Book

 

Christmas Gifts

I know I’m thinking quite a bit ahead but I’m one of those people that likes to be super organised at Christmas time & have all my shopping done by the end of November. The Christmas rush is just too much for me to handle & I’d rather be sipping on a glass of mulled wine than dealing with crazy crowds of manic shoppers. Thankfully, if you’re a little less organised than me but hate the mental atmosphere of Christmas shopping, Uncommon Goods have a wonderful selection of Christmas gifts herewhich you can shop in the comfort of your own home. My absolute favourites are:

 

Driftwood Iphone Charging Dock
For the Tech Lover/Interior Decor Enthusiast | Driftwood Charging iPhone Dock
Box of Chocolate Soaps
For the Chocolate Obsessed | Box of Chocolate Soaps
links of love bracelet
For your Mumma | Links of Love Bracelet

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this gift guide & that it gave you a few ideas of your own. If you check out Uncommon Goods please let me know what you think of their products, I really think you’ll love them!

| Blogger 12 Questions Tag |

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In the blogging community (whether you’re a blogger or a reader) most of us love a good tag so that we can get to know the bloggers we follow & learn a little more about their lives – whether that’s out of curiosity or in my case, nosiness. So you can imagine that I was a little excited when I was tagged by a lovely fellow blogger, Hayley from Hsaysblog (who’s blog you can find here), to do the 12 Questions Tag. 

In a nutshell the purpose of this tag is to answer 12 questions that I have been asked & afterwards I must ask 6 other fellow bloggers to answer questions that I myself have chosen for them. I’m all for helping my readers to discover other fantastic bloggers out there so I will be tagging the 6 ladies of my choice over on my Twitter which you can find here (Not that I’m promoting my Twitter or anything!)

So let’s get into it shall we:

Question 1| Who’s your idol and why?
I don’t really have an idol per-say. There are of course many people who I greatly admire e.g. successful female entrepreneurs such as Arianna Huffington or humanitarians such as Mother Teresa but I’ve just never really had an idol.

Question 2 | Do you have a fashion icon? If so who and why? 
My fashion icon is Olivia Palermo – She is so effortlessly chic, classy & elegant & I am yet to see her wear something I hate. She is one hell of a style icon & there have been many occasions when I’ve seen her outfit & felt true style envy.

Question 3|Whose your favourite musician?
I feel like I’m such a cliche in so many ways when I answer this question but it is undoubtedly Ed Sheeran. Since little ol’ Ed first showed up on the music scene I completely fell in love with his music & how honest & beautiful his writing style is. He is truly a talented musician!

Question 4 | What’s your favourite animal and why? 
The answer to this question for years was monkeys but since moving to South Africa I have learned that they can be really quite vicious & that they like to steal from you, so while I still think they are beautiful & intelligent creatures, they have in fact been bumped down my list of favourite animals & have now been replaced by DOGS. I have always loved little doggies but since moving away & no longer having a dog around for the first time in 13 years, I’ve realised just how much I miss having one. They are the most loyal, loving little animals & they have truly been sent from the gods. Do I sound like a crazy dog lady or what?!

Question 5 | What’s your favourite item of clothing?
My favourite item that I own is my little leopard print booties which you may have seen in my previous OOTD here . I got them from Dune last year & I have worn them to DEATH because they’re just my style in a shoe. They look amazing with dresses or with black jeans & they smarten up any outfit!

Question 6 | What’s your favourite TV show? 
My absolute fave will always be Sex & The City. But since I’ve watched the entire series more times than I can count, I now love to snuggle up with a good series on Netflix. My favourite shows from Netflix to date are Luther, Making a Murderer & Mad Men.

Question 7 | What inspires you to write your blog? 
For about 10 years I’ve read blogs & watched YouTubers because the beauty & fashion industry is something that I’ve always loved & that has always been a big part of my life. Starting a blog was something that I always wanted to do but that I never had the courage to start & a lot of that was to do with what people would think. But it’s true when people say that you hit a certain age & you stop caring what people think – The day I hit that stage of my life was the day I started my blog. I am so thankful that I took the leap because now I can share my passions with the world & I can meet wonderful people who love the same things – It really is a wonderful community.

Question 8 | What’s your favourite food? 
Can I really just choose one thing?! Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I LOVE food & I would eat all day from dusk to dawn if I could. If I HAVE to choose just one thing then I’ll go for Chinese food. I freakin’ love it & now that I’ve been made to think about it, I now want some. I will say however, that South Africans cannot make Chinese food like back home. They make great Asian food but their Chinese food sucks & the first thing I’ll be eating when I’m back home visiting is a Chinese takeaway as I’ve gone without a decent one for 10 whole months! Tragic, I know.

Question 9 | If you were stuck on an island and could only take on thing what item would you take and why? 
I’d take my partner as I feel like no matter how little I had on that island that I could make light & enjoy the situation with him by my side. So cheesy right?!

Question 10 | If you won the lottery what would you buy first?
I’d pay for my family to come out & visit South Africa. I know how much they all want to see this beautiful country & why I loved it so much that I decided to move here. So I’d like to treat them all, take them on safari & give them the holiday of a lifetime that they all deserve.

Question 11 | What’s your dream job and why?
My dream is to be a successful entrepreneur. To me there’s nothing like working for yourself & creating financial freedom for yourself while doing something that you love. Being able to have time freedom & financial freedom is what I want for my future.

Question 12 | Have you ever met a celebrity and who? 
I’ve met a few but never anyone very famous – I’ve met Jack O’Connell, the big guy from The Chase & Prince Charles waved at me from his car – yeah I know, cool right?

 

Now that’s my answers so my questions to the 6 lovely ladies I’m tagging are:

  1. If you had to eat any food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. What is your favourite quote to live by  & why?
  3. What is your favourite blog post to write & why?
  4. Are you happy with the direction your life is going?
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go & why?
  6. If you could travel back & time what advice would you give to your teenage self?
  7. What colour describes your personality & why?
  8. What is your favourite beauty product of all time?
  9. How has your 2017 been so far?
  10. If you could go back to being a kid, would you?
  11. What were your biggest fashion faux-pas?
  12. What is on your bucket list of things you want to do before you die?

 

I really hope you all enjoyed this tag & if you’d like to find out who answered my questions – I’ve tagged the 6 fellow bloggers I choose over on my Twitter! 

| My August Empties |

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I am currently writing this blog post from a sweet little cafe in Cape Town & it’s such a pleasure to be writing here. After living in South Africa for a whole year (which I just cannot believe) I am finally getting around to visiting Cape Town for the first time & I can now understand why people love it so much – it’s just stunning. However you came here to read an empties post so I’ll get into that rather than raving about Cape Town.

It’s been a hot minute since I have written an empties post as I haven’t been using up many products as of late & I just don’t see the point in writing an ‘empties’ post on just one or two products. This month’s post includes old favourites & also some products that were completely new to me. So without further ado let’s get into the products I used up in the month of August & what I thought of them.

Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Plumping Serum

I have previously talked about this serum in my Current Skincare Routine post which you can read here (my skincare routine has in fact completely changed since I wrote this post but it may interest you all the same.) I used this serum religiously for about a year & I enjoyed it because of the extra hydration boost it gave my skin but other than that I just didn’t notice any plumping effects. That could be because I’m still on the right side of 25 with already plump skin that cannot benefit from any extra plumping – but who knows! The Dragons Blood serum is a nice product for creating a hydrated base which makes applying makeup that bit easier, however would I repurchase it for £19.95 just to give my skin extra hydration without any other benefits? In all honesty, no. Serums are the no.1 solution to anti-ageing & I just don’t think the ingredients in this product are potent enough to make any real changes in my skin & to prevent the later development of fine lines & wrinkles.

Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

I was never a Nivea body lotion user until I started living with my partner. One day when I had run out of my own lotion I borrowed his Nivea lotion for dry to very dry skin (the one in the deep blue bottle) & I loved that it made my skin feel highly moisturised from morning to night. Following this discovery, I decided to purchase this lotion as I adored its delicious cocoa butter smell. Unfortunately however that’s where my love for this product ended. Yes it smells delicious, but it just isn’t moisturising enough even though it claims to cater to dry skin. Johannesburg is so incredibly dry in the winter & this product just wasn’t rich enough for me & left my skin feeling dry again after just 30 minutes of application. Because of the dry climate that I live in I don’t want to bash this lotion too much as it may work for my skin in a less dry climate but while I live here, I won’t be repurchasing this particular product as it just didn’t do what I needed it to.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Shade 1 – Fair

I have raved about this mascara in my The Products I can Trust post so I’ll try to keep this short & sweet. In a nutshell – I am obsessed with this concealer & it’s very affordable price tag. Since I purchased it for the first time several years ago I have repurchased it more times than I can count. It is so lightweight, provides high coverage & it doesn’t cake or feel tacky on the skin once applied. It’s a product that I would highly recommend to anyone & still stands as my favourite concealer of all time. Unfortunately, I have only 2 tubes left from the stash I brought with me from home & I’m going to have to get a hold of some more before I run out completely as I just cannot be without this baby.

Nivea 3-in-1 Refreshing Cleansing Wipes (Normal to Combination Skin)

I don’t know what it is with beauty bloggers & our need fix things that aren’t broken by trying new products even though we’ve already found the ones that we love. In my Current Skincare Routine I raved about the Dry Skin version of these wipes & because I loved them so much I decided that I would try the other kind – even though I am a dry skin girl. Please tell me where the sense in this decision was! I think you know what I’m going to say before I say it – of course these wipes didn’t compare to the dry skin version. Firstly, they smell completely different & not in a good way. The dry skin wipes are scented with the iconic, soft Nivea scent however this version smells strongly of old-fashioned perfume. They did remove my makeup but the wipe didn’t feel as saturated with product so it took me longer to remove my makeup & I also found myself tugging on my skin more – not good if you’re trying to keep wrinkles at bay. I think the Normal to Combination wipes would be good for the people with this skin type (if you can get past the smell) but I’ll be sticking with my fave dry skin version.

What products did you use up in the month of August & what did you think of them?

| September Goals |

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I just cannot believe that we are already into September. Where is 2017 going?! Although I must admit, I am happy to see September as we are finally now in Spring & the temperatures have already gone up this week. Believe it or not, South Africa does get cold in Winter & with no central heating in homes you really do feel the cold when the temperatures drop. So hooray for the long-awaited arrival of  heat, sunshine & summer clothing!

This month my goals are focused around my own personal growth. I am one of those people who always strives to improve myself so that I can get that little bit closer to the best version of myself. With that being said, let’s get into my goals that I want to achieve in the month of September:

Get to the gym more regularly 
When I first arrived in South Africa last September I was so good at getting to the gym 3-4 times per week but this year I’ve found that more difficult & I’m just not happy having lost the tone that I worked hard to get. Life has gotten busier leaving me with less energy & when you’re tired it’s just too easy to make excuses & not go to the gym. I want to get into the best shape of my life so this month I plan on getting to the gym 4-5 times per week.

Eat healthy
Are we noticing a theme here? I promise that I haven’t just started caring about these things because bikini season is on its way. A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to eat healthier & we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day so I decided to make small changes to avoid failure after a couple of weeks. So I decided that I wouldn’t eat any junk food from Monday – Thursday but on weekends I was allowed to eat treats. So far it’s gone really well & I’ve been sticking with that rule. Now I want to improve it further by not eating junk food for 3 days a week & by making small healthier choices on the days when I’m not eating junk food e.g. opting for a healthy stir-fry over a burger & chips at lunchtime. Incorporating these smalls steps will lead to prolonged success!

Meet new people
Moving to a new country is incredibly rewarding but it isn’t easy to meet new people. Lately I’ve found myself needing ‘girl time’ again as I never have that anymore & sometimes you just need that. I think I became complacent as I have my boyfriend here & his friends & while he also has some lovely female friends who I enjoy hanging out with, I also need friends of my own away from his circles. My own friends. This month I’m making a conscious effort to strike up conversations with strangers so that I can meet new people because you just never know where a new friendship may strike up.

Grind, grind, grind!
Last month I had a complete mind shift. It was like my motivation levels were kicked up a notch & I achieved a lot more last month than I did in previous months – and honestly, it felt so good. It made me want to work even harder this month so that I can be proud of myself when it hits September 30th. So basically, I am going to work my little butt off this month as often as it takes & for as long as it takes because I WILL achieve my goals.

I can’t wait to get working on my goals this month. What are you goals for the month of September? 

 

| Why Am I An Entrepreneur? |

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We all know that being an Entrepreneur is the job of the future. The scary reality is that jobs that were once viewed as ‘safe’ are no longer safe anymore. And yet, becoming an entrepreneur is something that will never cross many minds as it seems too scary, or maybe they don’t believe in themselves enough or maybe it just seems unthinkable.

After working regular jobs after university I decided that I wanted to start my own business. So I quit my job, moved & started my own company. Fast forward one year & I now own 2 businesses & my life couldn’t be more different. So why did I decide to leave a life of security & become an entrepreneur? Here are my reasons:

I decide my working hours, days & patterns
Following university I worked for 3 years in a few regular jobs. I think it’s important for any entrepreneur to spend a little time working in a regular job as it teaches you invaluable skills that you may not otherwise gain. Working in these jobs gave me security & a regular pay cheque which was nice but it just didn’t fulfil me. I was working crazy hours for the company owners dream & that was never what I wanted. Now I get to choose when I work & how I work & it’s just the best thing ever. Waking up & starting my working day isn’t a difficult task anymore – it’s a pleasure. Every day I look forward to what I can accomplish, what challenges I can overcome & how much I can make my business grow.

A ‘secure job’ isn’t a secure job anymore 
Over the years I have watched people I love being fired from jobs or having to leave their job because of their health & when you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you’ve worked your whole life for someone else in a particular field & you’ve no skills in other other profession – what do you do when you lose your job? People are constantly being laid off from their jobs & being an entrepreneur leaves that risk at the door. Don’t get me wrong, owning a business isn’t easy – but when you make it, you make it big.

I want financial freedom
Let’s face it, we all want to be able to at least be financially comfortable. We at least want to be able to pay our bills, feed our family & have enough at the end of the month to spend it how we want to. I want all of those things & so much more. I want to be able to buy my dream house & my dream car & not worry about the payments that come with them, I want to be able to go on holiday 3 times a year, I want to be able to take care of my parents the way they have always taken care of me. If I want to do these things with a regular job it would take me most of my life to get there & by then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it the same as I’d be a lot older. I wouldn’t be able to go on holiday 3 times a year because I’d have to ask permission to go on leave & I wouldn’t have enough leave to even go on those 3 holidays. Owning my own business gives me the opportunity to earn more than I ever could in a regular 9-5 so that I can achieve financial freedom.

I want to prove it to myself
I want a challenge. I don’t want to go to work & know that at the end of the month I’ll get the same pay cheque that I always do. I want to decide what my pay cheque will be at the end of the month. I want my hard work to pay off & reflect in my pay cheque. I want to prove to myself that I can do this. I can achieve what I set out to do. I want to achieve my own dreams rather than working for someone else so that they can achieve theirs.

I want to help other people
My second business involves helping people to realise their dreams, start their own businesses & achieve whatever goals they may have. Out of everything that I do, this is the most rewarding. I can watch people achieve things that they never thought possible, I can watch them grow & flourish into the best version of themselves. Above everything else, this is the most rewarding part of my work & I am so incredibly blessed to have that opportunity.

If this blog post has struck a cord with you, has made you think again, has awoken something in you or has intrigued you &  you’re interested in starting your own business contact me at beautyandtheblouse@outlook.com. It’s free & I promise I’m a super friendly lady!

‘Be the game changer’ 

 

| Get To Know Me |

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Life has been hectic this past two weeks & I feel like my blog has been suffering a little as a result of this. Only bloggers will know just how time-consuming it can be to take blog photos & write blog posts, so when life takes over its difficult to squeeze in the time.

Excuses aside, I wanted to write about something a little different from my usual beauty posts. While I love all things beauty & fashion related, variety is the spice of life & I like to change it up every now & again.

I love to hear & read about people’s stories, their favourites, their dislikes & just what makes them unique, which is why I thought I would take the opportunity to let you see into my life by doing the Get To Know Me 25 Questions tag. So here goes:

Question 1 – What is your middle name?

My middle name is Elizabeth which I really am quite fond of. My parents didn’t name me after anyone but when my great-grandmother died they discovered that her nickname wasn’t in fact her real name (which everyone thought it was), her real name was Elizabeth! So it turned out to be a great choice after all.

Question 2 – Share your favourite subject in high school

I just cannot narrow it down to one subject so I would have to say Biology & Business Studies. I love learning & always have done but these two subjects were the ones that I loved learning most at school. I loved biology because I am a nerd when it comes to learning about the human body, how it functions & why it functions in that way & I loved Business Studies because I am very much a business minded lady & have always loved studying & reading up on the business world – which is the main reason why I am now a business owner.

Question 3 – What is your favourite drink?

If we’re talking alcoholic drinks then I would opt for a glass of rose wine or a cosmopolitan (such stereotypical feminine drinks I know) or if I’m going for something non-alcoholic then I would usually choose either a diet coke (on very rare occasions) or good old-fashioned tap water with ice & lemon – really pushing the boat out I know!

Question 4 – What is your favourite song at the moment?

My friends always laugh at me because I’m always behind on new music releases – I’m just much more of a movie gal than a music gal so I don’t really keep up with the charts. My favourite song at the moment is from a YouTube clip featuring a sing off between Conor Maynard & Alex Aiono which you can find here. Those guys are seriously talented & they sing the kind of music that I just love.

Question 5 – What would you name your children?

Being on the right side of 25 (although not for much longer) I am not planning on having any little ones for about 5/6 years so I haven’t really given it much thought. Although I do prefer traditional names like Charlie & Lily.

Question 6 – Have you participated in any sports?

In all honesty I am in no way sporty & I never have been. I come from a family of sporty people but I was always the black sheep when it came to sports. I do however love going to the gym but I don’t think that counts as a sport. Does it?!

Question 7 – What is your favourite book?

My favourite will forever & always been the Harry Potter series. I am proud to be an ultimate Harry Potter nerd!

Question 8 – What is your favourite colour?

Honestly, I love black & white – I know, how boring right?! But if I had to choose a real colour I’d go for a nice cool-toned dusky pink.

Question 9 – What is your favourite animal?

Dogs, dogs, dogs. I am really quite the crazy dog lady. Since I moved to the other side of the world, leaving my sister’s beautiful dog behind, my crazy dog lady-ness has been bumped up a level. My poor boyfriend has to deal with lots of excited squeals when we visit someone with a dog. They are just the most loyal, loving animals & they deserve all the love & care in the world. Okay, okay, I’ll stop now.

Question 10 – What is your favourite perfume?

I am such a sucker for anything soft, sweet & lightly floral. You can find my blog post all about my favourite perfumes here

Question 11 – What is your favourite holiday?

I have a feeling that this is an American tag so if we’re talking about a holiday in the American context then I’ve got to say Christmas. When I say I love it, I mostly love the run up to Christmas when the family gets together, it’s cold & there are decorations everywhere. Having a sibling living far from home & with me living on the other side of the world, I have come to associate Christmas with the coming together of my family – it’s one of the few times of year when we are all together & I just love that. Those moments are priceless.

Question 12 – On a scale from 1 – 10, rate your childhood.

Without a blink of an eye I’m going with a 10. I’m very blessed to have grown up in a safe, stable home with loving parents & siblings around me. My memories of childhood are playing outside with my friends until bedtime & my only worry was having to get up for school in the morning & doing my homework when I got home.

Question 13 – Have you been out of the country?

I have indeed. I am originally from Ireland but I moved to South Africa last year. You can read about my story here. I have also been to Hong Kong, Spain, Greece, England, Scotland & I’m travelling to Italy next month. Woohoo for pizza, pasta & gelato!

Question 14 – Do you speak any different languages?

I learnt French at school although to be perfectly honest I have forgotten most of what I was taught over the years. I have always wanted to be fluent in a second language so I am currently learning Spanish in my free time as I have always thought it to be a beautiful sounding language.

 Question 15 – Do you have any siblings?

I do, I have an older sister & brother whom I miss so dearly.

Question 16 – What is your favourite store?

I am such a Zara lover. I love how fashion forward they are and how affordable their clothing is. Some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe are from Zara as they offer fantastic, high quality pieces that really stand out against their high street competitors.

Question 17 – What is your favourite restaurant?

If you have ever visited South Africa before then I can guarantee that you will have been blown away by the standard of restaurants here – they blow restaurants in my home country out of the water! My favourite restaurants here are KOI (an Asian restaurant) and Crawdaddy’s – home of great sized portions & one of the best steaks you’ll ever have.

Question 18 – Did you like school?

As I mentioned I have always loved learning so I loved that aspect of school, however I also just could not wait to leave & go to university. Be careful what you wish for! Growing up I always disagreed with ‘grown ups’ who said “Your school years are the best years of your life” now I wish I had listened to them & made the most of it because they really were right. Gone are the days of no responsibility & your biggest worry being your homework & which boy fancied you.

Question 19 – Who are some of your favourite YouTubers?

I am always following & discovering new YouTubers but some of the content creators that I have followed & watched for some time now are:

 Tati, Lydia Elise Millen, The Sparkleicious, Wayne Goss, Wild Kat Makeup, Carly Musleh, Barbara Rossi, N1kk1sSecr3t & ChaChaCakes

Question 20 – What is your favourite movie? 

I am such a movie lover. There’s nothing better than curling up with snacks (usually naughty ones) & getting absorbed in a great movie. Some of my favourites to date are Pulp Fiction, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Batman Trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) Pirates of The Caribbean & The Silence of the Lambs.

Question 21 – What are some of your favourite TV shows? 

Breaking Bad, Luther, Happy Valley, & Mad Men. Is it obvious I like crime series?

Question 22 – PC or MAC? 

I have only ever used PC as I’m familiar with their software. Not to mention, MAC’s are HELLA expensive. My boyfriend has a MAC & he loves it but any time I use his laptop I just find it so difficult to work with – And I like to think of myself as tech-savvy!

Question 23 – What phone do you have?

I have been an iPhone girl for about 4 years & I will always continue to be an iPhone user. It’s like Pringles – once you pop you can’t stop!

Question 24 – How tall are you?

I’m a relatively tall height of 5’8. It’s funny because growing up I used to hate how tall I was but now that I’m older I’ve realised that I’m really not as tall as I felt & I’ve grown to like my height.

Question 25 – Do you have any pets?

Well…technically she isn’t really mine, but I like to think that I have a black Labrador called Poppy. Really she is half mine as she lived with me for about 3 years. She’s just the best dog. So clever, so loving & just the best!

Well that’s the end of the tag folks, I don’t know how many people found me interesting enough to get to the end but I really enjoyed doing this tag & I hope it helped you to get to know me better. Have a wonderful day!