Monday, 25 September 2017

Taking Control Back




Before I get into my rambles, let’s talk about this epic coat. I’ve wanted a patent trench since I lost out on getting one of Alexa Chung’s from her Marks and Spencer Collection, which inevitably sold out pretty fast. 

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Should we blog for us or for you?


This question is something that often pops in to my head when I think of my own YouTube journey, but also when I dissect the paths of others. I find my mind often goes to this query whenever an opportunity comes my way and I’m going through the internal though process of whether it would be right to accept it. I wanted to put it out to you guys today, just to see if you share my confusion. 

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Monday, 11 September 2017

Fashion: WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FROM?


I haven't been doing a huge amount of fashion content over the last year or so because if I'm honest I haven't had the money to be going shopping willy-nilly, plus filming lookbooks is pretty tricky/impossible for me as a tired lone-wolf without an available and willing blog/YouTube husband. Instead I've been spending money on art equipment, Osteopath appointments, train tickets and study fees. The only times I have shopped this year has been for an occasion that calls for a new outfit, like a wedding or premiere, or if I've had a really poop day and I've allowed myself to treat myself to something affordable in the sales. 

Anyway, that doesn't mean I can't share the few bits I've gotten over the last 9 months or so, just in case any of you like the look of them and would like to style them up yourselves. 
For the first time ever I've used these special links that you see a lot of bloggers use. This is brand new to me so I don't know whether I've done it right, so please tell me if they don't work. Also I'd love to hear your feedback about how you feel about affiliate links on blogs, Instagram or/and YouTube.
Is there a platform you prefer them on to others? Does it put you off my content? 
Let me know! 

Mazza Menswear


 We were shopping in the mens department of H & M to try and find Si a preppy summer blazer to wear on a stag-do he was due to attend in Jersey, one which would involve trips to the races and days on swanky boats. I of course got distracted by a selection of music tee's a few metres away from the suiting and ended up treating myself to this Marilyn Manson tee, figuring it would be a great garb for Bloodstock which I was due to go to courtesy of Kraken Rum.



Living Trellis 

I got this floral body because I wanted some coverage on my arms but still wanted to be cool (in both ways). I wore a sports bra underneath, but you could team with a pretty bralet or a strappy top....or nothing if you're on a mission to free the nipple.


I wore it on a night out in London when attending the screening on Annabelle Creation. At Premiere's you can go all out fancy, but at screenings you want to look like you've made a bit more effort than normal, without being too dressy.


I also wore when I was in Germany for Haldern Festival and teamed with my favourite grungy mustard cardie. 

This is sold out but a similar style by same brand can be found here - http://rstyle.me/n/cr82gcccv6p

The Perfect Denim Jacket

One of those wardrobe pieces that is hard to perfect, and becomes on of your long lasting shopping missions. This summer I finally found my ideal denim in the form of this black (although it's more charcoal grey) denim jacket from New Look and it was only £24. I love how it is slightly boyfriend/retro in fit, and gives any outfit an instant effortless feel.

I wore it at Bloodstock, V Fest and Reading, as well as the Heavy Awards (pictured below). I also wore it when sitting down to be interviewed on a live Facebook stream by Style Counsel. 


New Look Black Denim Jacket.



Silver Boots (similar from Pull and Bear at ASOS) 



V Fest Fashion


I'm not too concerned with looking current or on-trend, and in most of my at home vlogs you'll see me veer more towards comfort than style, but when I'm working with a brand to make a video I want my look to have a bit more impact (so they think I've made an effort and in case they share it). I got a bee in my bonnet about wearing orange, so when I found this orange Metallica tee I was particularly chuffed with myself, although it's probably a bit ironice to wear it to V Fest. These snazzy trousers proved to be very popular when I posted a picture of my outfit on Instagram, and fortunately they're still available to buy for those that messaged me querying where I got them from. A bargain at £15 too!


Pretty Little Things Brown Leopard Print Paperbag Waist Skinny Trousers.  


Boohoo Metallica Lily License Metallica Slogan Bright Tee



Your Wild Side Suits You

Being able to grab everyone you want to talk to on the red carpet is notoriously difficult. Usually I'm doing red carpet interviews for my channel, so aside from being disappointed if I don't get someone I wanted to get, it's never been a problem. However when you've been hired by someone (yes! I got paid), and given a list of people you HAVE to get some soundbites off, the pressure is on. So even though I wouldn't be visible in the final edit of the highlights reel I thought that my chances of getting people's attention may be increased by some sort of loud or out-there outfit. After trawling ASOS for a while I came across this suit. I ummed and ahhh'ed wondering whether it was too Bette Lynch to get away with, but in the end thought sod it, its only fashion! Although it was way out of my comfort zone I definitely enjoyed a night of being a bit more outlandish with my style - I'm sure for many this is tame.
 


Missguided Leopard Print Blazer (from ASOS)


Missguided Leopard Print Cigarette Trouser


Pastel Romance 

If always had a bit of an obsession with pastels, so when I saw this ruffled beauty for sale on the website I knew I had to get it for my friend Mark's wedding. I only got to wear it once this summer, but I can't wait to wear it again next summer hopefully somewhere like Italy where I can wear it to a dinner situated with a view of a majestic lake. One can dream... It's a tad shorter than I tend to wear but because it's not too booby I was willing to put up with that, and teaming it with flats made it feel more within my comfort zone which tends to be in the unsexy area of dressing. 




Grey Dylan Vintahe Floral Ruffle Wrap Dress. Now only £9!!


 The Perfect Slip

This slip dress has got so much wear over the last few months. It's pretty and girly in that 90's way on sunny days, but can be given more wearability when layered over a tee or long sleeve. In the winter I may even try polo necks underneath and wear it with thick tights and boots. I love the patchwork element of it too, it makes it a tad more interesting than the average floral slip. 
An added bonus for those that suffer from bloating, the trapeze fit makes it an ideal option to cover, the print making it impossible to detect the lumps and bumps you'd rather not show.  


With Amber and Jade Pinkett Smith at the screening of Girls Trip

 
Nobody's Child Eleanor Black Mix Print Swing Slip Dress


Maxium Impact
Another item I have only worn once due to lack of reason/weather to wear it a second time. This is the maxi I wore to my brothers wedding. It was supercomfortable and great value for money. I have seen a few celebs in it too, I think it's popular because of it's lovely but unusual colour-way and nature inspired print, but also because of its lovely feminine drop shoulder details.



ASOS Cold Shoulder floral Maxi Dress


Happy Shopping everyone!!


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Is switching off possible?



I won’t go in to the why’s and what’s in this post as I’m going to tackle that in a future post, but last week it was completely necessary for me to step back from my phone and social media. It was wasn’t a case of just wanting to elevate some stress, or done in an effort to implement effective time management, this was a act of saving a life, my life. 

I decided I’d have a few day (or whatever was required) where I wouldn’t post on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and I’d abandon WhatsApp, Text and Facebook messaging too. I pinned a message on Twitter saying I was peacing-out for a while, I changed my WhatsApp status to ‘Taking a break’ and informed one of my friends in my busiest WhatsApp group that I was taking a break so she could let others know if they were wondering why I was absent from the conversation. 

Soon I found out that these steps weren’t enough.

While I’ve managed not to post on any social media for five days I’ve not managed to remove the the whole routine of checking that has become a staple of my and most of our days. So I realised part of the switching off process if about breaking the habit. Even though this was something I wanted to do, and fully my choice, my hand kept going to grab the phone - to check for messages or to start a scroll action of some type. I managed to stop myself, but as we know all to well it only takes a couple of seconds to see a message, comment, image or tweet that can make your mood take a download spiral. It also only take a second to see DMs, texts and email numbers increase to a stress inducing amount. It’s in those moments you start focusing on the fact that  taking time out will mean that the moment you switch back on again will inevitably be even more stressful due to the backlog. 

The most disappointing realisation from allowing myself just 5 days away is that some people wouldn’t allow it, or didn’t seem to think it was acceptable that I have it. From looking over messages, there was some from strangers who watch my videos who were making me feel bad for not replying to their messages straight away suggesting I was ‘too busy for them now”. There were the work clients who felt the need to email me on the weekend instructing me to send over invoices or reply to their emails asap. Then there were friends who sent message after message badgering me for a reply for something they needed help with, despite my status of being away. And it wasn’t a case of them checking to see if I was okay, it was them merely concerned with not getting the reply they needed. 

Why don’t you turn your phone off I hear you say? Well yes, I’ve let my battery drain down to nothing numerous times over the last few days, and left it in my room in times where I’d usually have it in my pocket, or lit up in my hand. This is something I find hard, but not just because of an addiction to social media or because of my workaholic tendencies. This goes a bit deeper. When I was at uni, putting my phone on silent overnight on my then boyfriends advice, I missed a call from a friend in need who had gotten herself in trouble, a call that could that could have been our final conversation. So what if you’ve put yourself in the position of expected accessibility - someone that is relied on to be there for others. Does that mean that you give away the luxury of being able to switch off when you need it?


I’ve started to think the only way I can get close to the concept of switching off is when I’m on holiday, but most importantly in a destination with no 3/4G or wifi. When it’s something taken out of my hands, I at least won’t feel the pressures/guilt of not being there for people, or not being ‘on-it’ professionally, as much I would if I had a choice in the matter. Even then I know the thoughts will go to what I might be missing out on because I haven’t checked my emails, which friend or stranger I might be letting down because I’ve missed their call or message, or what fun adventure I will inadvertently opt out of because I’ve missed the WhatsApp group hype. 

So what have I learned from the last 5 days. Well, I think it’s clear that I have a lot of work to do on myself in terms of managing my thoughts which hopefully my ongoing studies in Mindfulness will help - I clearly need to stop the pattern of guilt and worry that occurs whenever I take the foot off the tech/work accelerator. Knowing how I felt about the messages I read when I finally decided to check my phone properly, I will really think about how I message, or don’t message, others when they don’t reply in their normal speedy fashion, or if it feels they’ve been a bit absent from their normal methods of communication and content. 

I also need to make changes moving forward to stop these things repeating when I need to step back again. I think they key is not ever fully stepping back in, to the extent I was ‘in’ before at least. The big problem is I’m now aware what happens when I do attempt to take a break, and that will undoubtedly inform my feelings of apprehension next time I try to do it. 

Anyway, I think I’m going to exit some WhatsApp groups that although might be fun at times are probably adding stress, even if I don’t realise it. I’m unfortunately going to have to have less personal connections with subscribers and readers too, because while some add some fabulous interactions to my life, others add unwarranted and needless stress and pressure. In fact I think my whole work life will have to change considerably. 

This last week I felt like something inside me has been extinguished and I don’t know if I want to continue any of this anymore. The more I spend with people who aren’t on social media, or in industries related to media, the more I recognise how detrimental to your mental health they are. I know I’ve had these wobbles before but this one put me and my life at real risk, and is any kind of success or job satisfaction worth that? I don’t the answer to that yet….

So I don’t know how present I’ll be anywhere online, I have a few things unpublished, already contracted or edited that will go up, but over the next few weeks I have some important thinking to do. 


I just want to reiterate…

If someone hasn’t replied straight away, give them reasonable time to reply, and if they don’t, try not to bombard them, I can’t tell you how much stress that can create. 

If their online behaviour seems out of the ordinary, maybe check what their statuses are or their most recent updates have been. If something feels off, check in with them just so they know you care. 

If you are an avid watcher/reader of a Blogger/YouTuber please don’t rely on them to maintain your own mental health or happiness, or put them on such a pedestal that you make them you only go-to for advice. Please be realistic and fair in terms of your expectations of that person.They have a life away from work (or at least would like one) and they don’t know everything - they’re human, flaws, life stress and all. 

The internet isn’t real life. It’s a snapshot, it’s a highlights, or now with relatable content, even a low light reel. There are secret agendas and motives. Don’t seek all your value or strength from it. Spend more time nurturing yourself and your in real life relationships that you know to be true. 

Ask yourself honestly whether you truly need to be ‘online’ as much as you and whether certain platform are particularly responsible for effecting your mood. Ask yourself if there is a way to make things easier - turn off notifications, only check it a certain amount of times a day, turning off your phone in the evenings etc. 

If all this tech stuff that is deemed expected and normal as part of your day in 2017 just didn’t sit well, ask yourself if there is another job role that you could still enjoy that doesn’t require you to do it. I’m definitely looking into more things I can do quietly behind the scenes. 


I’m going to continue to peace-out from social media, and my phone, as much as I can for the meantime. You’ll see the odd thing I have or want to post, but my focus needs to be on the not so simple task of keeping going right now. I’ve not switched off but my finger is definitely pressed agains the button. 

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A great Vegan Mask??



Time to introduce you to, or at the least sing the praises of another great Vegan product, this time courtesy of dr.organic. A quick visit to their website will tell you how dedicated they are to creating products that are environmentally friendly, and that as a brand they’re clearly always striving to use organically grown products (and even when its not possible, they source sustainable natural alternatives). Here’s a few other areas where they make an effort to be an ethical and all round fantastically conscious brand. 

Bioactive ingredients
We use certified bioactive extracts to ensure each product is truly functional by nature.
Natural ingredients
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.

No harsh chemicals
We do not use ingredients often criticised for their side effects.We never use parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances.

No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.

No animal testing
Our products are always tested on human volunteers to ensure they are completely safe and effective.No animal tests are ever performed on finished products or raw materials.

No mineral oils
Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petrolium are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used.

No GM ingredients
Genetically modified or genetically engineered organisms are avoided to ensure all formulations are as natural as possible.

Preservatives
Where necessary preservatives are used to guarantee product safety and shelf life. Only the highest grade broad spectrum naturally derived preservatives are used.

So today’s review focuses on dr.organic’s Organic Tea Tree Deep Pore Charcoal Mask (jeez, that’s a mouthful), from their Skin Clear range of products. It’s not a product I picked up in store with intention or whim, but one that was contained in a goody bag from a recent beauty/health press day. This is why it’s so great for PR’s to give samples where possible, because it gives us the opportunity to test out products we may have never stumbled upon ourselves, and then discover ones we genuinely love and can’t wait to share our experience of. 

I have always enjoyed the process of wearing face masks, and my favourites ones have always been the thick muddy types. I don’t get the same out of translucent ones that allow you to see the blemishes through, I relish that my imperfections are hidden and ‘masked’ while the deep pore action is taking place. I also don’t like the ones that stay wet and gloopy even after the recommended time. You may say that I need to get out more, but I think there’s something fun about feeling the products dry and harden on your face.

I know I shouldn’t, but I often leave masks on my face much longer than the advised amount of time (this one states to wash up once it has dried) but this is one of the only ones that hasn’t lead to a breakout because of it, which I think says a lot about the ingredients. Why do I do that? It’s not some weird rebellion in regards to instructions, no it’s to do with out a feel about my reflection. I like that I can pass mirrors and glass and not feel disappointed about what stares back at me. Yes I know it looks like i have something rather unpleasant drying on my face, but that’s preferred to being reminded of the areas of discolouration, active spots, or blemishes of ones recently passed. I can almost kid myself that I have clear skin while I wear them, which is an illusion I enjoy. 

This deep cleansing treatment mask is infused with Willow Bark Extract and Charcoal. This mask is ideal for areas of problem skin such as spots, blemishes and breakouts, which pretty much sums up my whole visage since festival season came to a close. It boasts a proprietary blend of bioactive, natural and organic ingredients including Tea Tree Oil, Grapefruit and Chamomile Extract, this uniquely beneficial mask boasts natural AHAs (Fruit Acids) and Salicylic Acid which can help promote the rate of skin cell renewal. You will have seen Salicylic Acid mentioned in most beauty reviews, because it is this magical ingredient capable of fixing/helping all sorts of skin issues including acne, dandruff, or psoriasis, and is even sued to remove corns, calluses, and warts.


Tea Tree has always been one of my key spot fighting tonics. I have a bottle from Holland and Barrett that I put on those really face consuming spots, the ones that bring a pulse to wherever it’s located, the ones that are so swollen you develop and extra chin or feature to the face. Charcoal is another renowned ingredient, once activated it has the power to draw out bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion and fight acne. Charcoal is not metabolised, adsorbed or absorbed by the body, but it can be used to treat some poisonous bites and disinfect some wounds. Chamomile is known for its calming abilities, it’s an extremely effective remedy for dry and flaky skin and any sort of irritation. What does Willow Bark extract do I hear you cry? Apart from being a non irritant, even at a level of 100%, equivalent to 10% synthetic salicylic acid, it has been found to increase stratum corneum turnover more so than salicylic acid - 24% as opposed to 22%.

Finally the wondrous Grapefruit. Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C (great for collagen production) but it’s different from other citrus fruits in that it also has lycopene, a known cancer-fighting chemical. Grapefruit also has unique phytochemicals (a.k.a. bioflavanoids) that help promote skin health and general health. The skin consists of collagen which creates keratin, a protein building block found in skin cells. Grapefruit also has a phytochemical known as naringin which reduces toxins in the liver, which results in healthier skin.

Grapefruit extracts in creams can help remedy these pskin conditions such as impetigo, rashes, acne and dandruff.. Dandruff and psoriasis come from inflammation in the skin and this multi talented fruit can alleviate this effectively. Grapefruit extracts alsoincrease the pH of the skin, which may reduce acne.

So if you consider all these ingredients are within this mask in some form, it’s no wonder its great at helping towards clearer skin and visibly reduced pores. Every time I use it my skin feel noticeably smoother, so much so that I ended up stroking it all evening, probably encouraging more acne to show up and defeating the goal entirely. The obvious tightening of the pores also help me look a tad fresher. The most obvious benefit is that it appears to make my skin more matte in finish I guess because it’s removed some of the oil. All in all a big thumbs up for me, and a product I enjoy using a couple times a week on slouchy work from home days. 

While I’m talking about how fabulous this brand is let me tell you about something else they have to offer us. They believe what you put into your body should be as good as what you put into your body, which is why they have created a simple sin diagnostic tool online to help you find your optimum skincare regime. 

The tool asks a few simple multiple choice questions to gather an understanding of your skin type, level of skin ageing, any eye concerns and overall skincare goals. The diagnostic also takes into account the impact of the lifestyle and environment factors on the skin such as stress and pollution.  By the end of the process you will go away with the perfect cleanser, eye product, day cream and night cream best suited to your skin and it’s needs. 

So although this is the only product I’ve used from the Skin Clear range I imagine when used in conjunction with the others it would be even more effective. But if like me you tend to dart between different brands and products rather than opt for one brand systems, I can very much recommend this mask to fill that spot in your regime. 

Have you tried this Mask too? What do you think?

Please recommend any other vegan masks in the comments. 


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Photo Gallery: Marika Hackman at Reading Festival


I'm recovering from a very hectic night at the AIM Awards where I was responsible for interviewing presenters and nominees, and grabbing some tasty soundbites for their official highlights video. Such an honour to be part of an event celebrating our wonderful independent music scene. Sorry to anyone that had to talk to me I felt like I was melting like some fairytale witch under all the photography lamps, and pretty sure I was starting to smell like Greggs. These factors combined with my animal print suit, a risky ensemble which teetered a bit too close to tacky, meant that I was probably an unappealing prospect to the stars wanted to avoid promo duties. 

For someone who loves the conversational aspect of interviewing, there's always an element of frustration doing interviews for a client because you have to stick to a string of questions in-keeping with their personal aims and goals for the video, rather than the questions your desperate to ask the artists or having the freedom to go off in wacky tangents. I have always admired Marika Hackman so I was very pleased to have a few moments chatting with her before she entered the main room full of it's decorated dining tables and flashy lights. If only we had more time to talk about her and her music though, hopefully another time!

Anyway this has given me a good excuse to post a few pictures I snapped very hastily at Reading. I had just arrived on site and was getting my bearings and doing my usual site recce to work out where all the different tents are located. It meant I got to grab snippets of all of the earlier acts on the Friday which are often the ones that became future favourites. 
None of these shots are great, I hadn't had a chance to put the right lens out or sort any settings out at this point, but you guys know I'm not all about showing you just the best, the flawless, the highlights. Whatever the results of my shots, I just wanted an excuse to alert you to another musical artist you may or may not be familiar with.

P.S How much do you want her t-shirt??






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Monday, 4 September 2017

S.A.D AND FEARING AUTUMN




The recent bank holiday Monday, the day I came back from Reading Festival, we were all greeted with a glorious last surge of summer sun. So despite feeling like a dried up raison who wanted to hibernate to recover under the cover for the next week to return to metaphorical grape form, I said to Si that we must get out and bask in it. So we put on summery outfits, in my case an off shoulder print dress from Light In The Box that I hadn’t managed to wear yet due to a lack of holiday, and not being free to enjoy the few sunny days we’ve had in the UK. I’m never too comfortable wearing dresses that show off my d├ęcolletage, so I find cold-shoulder pieces the perfect solution - I think bare shoulders are just as sexy as displayed chest with less risk of a nipple reveal. This dress was only £10.55, and the site is full of similar bargains, but just please be mindful of custom charges that will come with an order from the UK. I love the bell sleeves and the print, it’s got real hippy bohemian vibes which is a vibe I’ve always been drawn to. 

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

PHOTO GALLERY: ARCHITECTS AT READING FESTIVAL



Here's a bunch of photos I took from the crowd of Architects during their set on Sunday at Reading Festival. All taken with my little Lumix GM1. Sorry there's such a huge amount, my hard drive is being a bit sketchy at the moment, so I just wanted to have the insurance that the bulk are safely living on my blog, should it choose to pack up again! 
So who's bought tickets to their huge show at Ally Pally? 

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