Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Old English Company: A Brand Overview*


At the end of March, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Old English Company, who very kindly wanted to gift me a selection of products that I had chosen, which I could review here on my blog.  We had been following each other on social media for quite some time and when I knew that I'd get the chance to work with them, I was so excited!

Described on their website as a 'stationery and homeware brand', they create all of their products by hand in their Stamford studios. They didn't want to incorporate any particular calligraphy rules to their designs and they wanted to use their own personal lettering to come up with stylish, innovative ideas that contained relatable messages for the public to connect with.

I wanted to have a look at a variety of the items on their website, as that would allow me to give a much more thorough overview of the whole brand and what they have to offer to potential shoppers. In total, I was sent: 3 greetings cards, a coaster, a mug, a notebook, a pocket mirror, a cosmetic bag and a pin!

Ideally, I don't like to get people those bog standard birthday cards from Clintons or Card Factory. I like to be a bit more adventurous, a bit more unique and get them something special that (hopefully) stands out from the rest! Equally, if I know a family member or a friend is feeling down, I'd like to be able to get them a card, just to say that I'm thinking of them and to try and lift their spirits. I think all 3 of these cards are absolutely perfect for that. They aren't too flashy or colourful, but they have classic, simplistic designs that still mean a lot to the person on the receiving end! If someone you know or even someone you have occasionally chatted to on Twitter is having a particularly bad time with their mental health as of late, you could send them one of these cards with an encouraging message inside and a little handmade self-care box or something of the sort! If one of your friends has got a promotion at work or has set up their own business or something, you could send them one of the 'SHINE BRIGHT' cards, as that's guaranteed to show them that you're super proud! 



To those who know me personally, it won't come as much of a surprise to you that I ask for a coaster and a mug when the opportunity arises as I'm obsessed with drinking tea. It's more likely that I would give someone a mug with a quote on like this rather than keep it for myself, but I thought it was too cute not to get! Every time I have a cup of tea, I always allow myself the treat (okay, the habit/requirement) of having at least a couple of biscuits to dunk, because how could I possibly have a satisfactory cup of tea without them?! If you're wondering, my personal favourites are digestives, ginger nuts or the classic hobnobs (which I haven't had in what feels like a few years). Anyway, I digress. This mug is super cute and also a good size for drinking out of! I then chose the coaster to go with it (even though they have completely different quotes), because I've never owned my own coaster before and as it has one of my favourite quotes ever, I thought it was only right that I get a coaster which I can put my brand new mug on! I think it's lovely, affordable and it even has a pretty design on it, so what more could you want?!


Although I'm pretty much obsessed with all stationary in general, I genuinely do have a real addiction to notebooks. I'm not sure what it is, because half the time they just collect dust and sit in my house somewhere (oops!), but I can't help myself from wanting more. At the moment, I've been going through quite the "motivational" phase. I'm super focused on my education, my future, my own personal growth and progression and I'm not going to let anything, not even myself, stand in my way. I always look to inspiring, empowering quotes, as I think they are so important in guiding you and making you want to be the best version of you that you can be. "JUST OWN IT" is a simple enough quote, but it holds a lot of meaning. You should be who you are and have faith in yourself and in everything that you set out to do. Be proud and feel sassy, always. This notebook can be used to jot down any "change the world" kind of ideas that you have, any career plans that you want to put together or anything else that will help you to get on the right track. You will be much more productive and successful in reaching your goals if everything is in the same place!


Whenever any of us girls are out and about, we should always want to carry a pocket mirror! Although in this day and age, we will have our phone on us most of the time, what would we do if it ran out of battery or it was switched off at the time we needed to see how the enormous spot on our chin looked? My point is, a pocket mirror is always handy to have, as it can just be thrown in our handbag or our coat pocket and then we can easily see how to touch up our lipstick, pluck that stray eyebrow hair or get food out of our front teeth. Who doesn't love something that's compact and a pretty pink anyway?! I'm sure there will be many times that you're grateful you took this product out with you and the words on it will boost your self esteem and pop a smile on your face too! 



Now, don't get me wrong. I love absolutely everything that Old English Company gifted to me, but one of my personal favourites (if I had to choose!) would definitely be this makeup pouch. Although some people might think  that black isn't their cup of tea, as it can be seen to be quite a dull and dreary colour, I actually really like it, because it won't stain as much as a brighter bag would and the white contrasts really nicely too. The material feels like it's super high quality, which will last you a long time, so that you can get endless usage out of it! I also think that it's the perfect size for travelling or using on a day-to-day basis, because it isn't too bulky due to its shape, but its just enough to fit in your essentials (and a bit more on top of that!). The quote is uplifting in regard to your self esteem, as is the pocket mirror and it fits in well with the idea of it being a make up pouch. 

As someone who has never owned a pin before, but who has always wanted to build up a collection, I was super excited to see that there was one on the website with my go-to girl power quote on it! I think that through this post, we can all see the sort of style that I like to go for (bad-ass, sassy, inspiring - you get the gist!) and it's obvious that this quote in particular resonates a lot with me, especially considering I want it as a coaster AND as a pin! Ever since I saw other people buying pins, I've always wanted to have a few which I can wear on my basic tees, my dungarees or my denim jacket or even to stick on the memory board next to my bed if I need a motivational morning pick me up. As I mentioned with the coaster, I love the little detailing around the edges and I really do think that I will get a lot of use out of this beaut!

So, that's it for today's post! Do let me know what you think about this brilliant brand and if you have heard of them or ever purchased anything from them before. If not, would you be willing to now?

Lots of love always,


*This post contains gifts from Old English Company. All photographs, words and opinions are my own.*

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Why My Grandparents Are My Everything


Words will never be enough to express the love and gratitude that I have for my grandparents. My childhood was quite a troubled and traumatic one at times and there were many moments where things had become so turbulent that I didn't even know what would happen the following day.
However, one thing that I always knew for certain was that my grandparents were going to be permanent parental figures throughout the years - and that still stands true 17 years down the line.

Now, my Father was in my life until I was 6, but since then, we haven't spoken or seen each other very much at all and that's just the way life has worked and I'm gradually beginning to accept that as time goes on, because it's been my kind of normal for the past 11 years. Even though I haven't grown up around him, I'm not going to sit here and throw shade, because that's just unfair and uncalled for and it wouldn't be very mature on my behalf.

All throughout primary school, I used to stay at my grandparents 3 days a week and stay with my mum and her partner for the other 4. The arrangement really worked for me, because I have always valued my grandparents and they have always been very 'hands on' and involved so to essentially live with them half of the time brought me so much happiness. We'd all watch Coronation Street and Deal or No Deal together in the evenings, I'd play with my Barbie dolls whilst my Grandad watched films and my Grandma read the paper and then as I stopped playing with my dolls, I'd resort to reading on the sofa or watching YouTube on my iPad instead. We would always have dinner altogether at the table as well as pudding (of course) and later on in the evening, we would all have cups of tea too, because we are traditionally British like that. Myself and my Grandma would then go upstairs and watch something like One Born Every Minute or Supersize Vs Supersize and then we would always have the ITV News on downstairs, unless I was at the age where bedtime had to be around 9pm. I don't remember the last time I went to bed at 9pm nowadays, let alone asleep by 9:30! How times have changed.

These memories are incredibly precious to me. I am so blessed at the fact that I got to spend most of my childhood with 2 of the most important people in my life, because I know not every child in the UK, let alone the world understands what a special relationship it is.

Both my Grandma and my Grandad have taught me endless lessons that I will forever hold close to my heart. Above anything else, they have taught me how men should treat women, to always be kind and have respect for others, to be patient and empathetic, to always try my best in school and to never let a boy or a man take advantage of my innocence or my body. I'm only human and so obviously I don't always listen to people's words of wisdom, despite knowing their right 99% of the time, but then my grandparents have always dealt with the tears and tantrums to help me move on from whatever the negative situation was.

Evidently, I never grew up in a typical family home. I didn't have 2 parents that were happily married and hopelessly in love. I don't recall my parents ever showing love or appreciation for each other. I've never had a dad who can protect me and talk down to any boys who disrespect me. I still feel quite bitter about that and that's understandable, because I am still a teenager, but this is the way that my life is and it's something that I'm used to now. Some days are just harder than other at accepting it. In a lot of ways, my Grandad is the man I look up to in order to see how women should be respected and treated. He has been married to my Grandma for over 60 years and that is the kind of love that I could only ever dream of. They have set such a wonderful example to both me and my older sister through the way they are as individuals and as a couple and I am blessed that I get to be related to them.

I think the picture that I've included at the beginning of this post is enough for anybody to see just how genuinely smitten they are with each other. I will always treasure it and I'm sure I'll look back on it in years to come when I have my own family to show and tell them just how much of an influence my Grandparents had on my life and my upbringing.

Although I don't see them as much at the moment since starting secondary school, I do still text my Grandma everyday and I call and visit them whenever the opportunity comes up.

I love you forever and always Granny and Grampy. Forever my favourites. 

Lots of love always,



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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Putting Yourself First*


Back in February (the month of luuuurvvvee), I was lucky enough to receive this motivational journal created by Wendy at The Love Monkey Company. I'd done my research on it before reaching out to her, and in all honesty, it looked like the perfect sort of journal to have in your life!

For anyone who has lost that spring in their step, or those looking to make some sort of change, this is what you need in order to reach those goals, and successfully see them through. I've always been fascinated with the idea of mindfulness, and journaling, but I've just never actually got into it until now.

This particular self-help journal starts off by with some inspirational quotes (which are always a win in my opinion!), and then for the next few pages, Wendy introduces her own story, and what life was like before and after she created this masterpiece. After that, she gives a few examples of what she doesn't want to happen in her life, and then she leaves some space for you to do the same.

Further on, you get the chance to create a happy list of, you guessed it, the things that make you happy.

Going through the book, you focus on what goals you want to achieve, what your timescale is, and how to ensure that you have the right, positive mindset. The idea is that you fill out a page each day based on what time you got up, whether you exercised and drank enough water, if you have any positive affirmations that you used (it's suggested that you implement at least 3 into your day!), whether you meditated, 4 things you are/were grateful for, spending a further 5 minutes visualising your day, planning out a short to-do list, and then thinking about your food, alcohol, mood, and any activity that you did in regard to self-care.

After the first 30 days, there's a section which allows you to round everything up, so thinking about what changed, what your biggest victory was, your overall commitment level, what you now do that you hadn't done before, the 3 things you always do to improve your mood, what habit needs reinforcing, what you will do to commit to doing this, rating your happiness out of 10, and what you need to remind yourself for the next 30 days.

As you may have guessed, you then do exactly the same thing for those, and then at the very end of the book, there is space for you to create a vision board, write any positive affirmation ideas, and then some pages for you to write any notes should you wish to do so.

I think that if you struggle with keeping track of your targets, or if you are the sort of person who always says they want to achieve something, but then procrastinates before they even start the process, then this could be the perfect journal for you!


Considering it's only £15, you get so much value for your money, as it will last you a couple of months, and then you can continue to do it throughout the year if you found that it worked for you. If change is going to be made in your life, it's essential that you put yourself, and your own needs first. Be grateful for what you have. Focus on your mindset and work on it if you need to. Use this journal as your daily reflection, and your daily source of encouragement.

If you don't want to take my word for it, take a look at the website, and you will see how many positive reviews there are from other people! This journal really can change your life, and even if you only make small changes each day, the end result will be incredible, and you will have wished that you took more time for yourself sooner.

Have you got your copy of this journal? If not, have you been tempted to make a purchase?

Lots of love always,



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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Money Matters Now More Than Ever*


Living a cost-effective life nowadays is hard for all of us, unless we are somehow born into a miraculously rich, and famous family (the Kardashians *cough cough*). Chances are that everybody has to worry about money on a weekly, if not, daily basis, and it's becoming all the more consuming as time goes on.

I was recently contacted by Beth from Nebula, who has created a brand new, up and coming business idea alongside her co-founder, which can help you with all of your cash related concerns. I'll be talking more about it later on in this post, so keep your eyes peeled to find out the details, or alternatively, click on the above link to have a little look for yourselves! 

I have watched countless documentaries over the past few months about homelessness, and teenagers living below the breadline within the UK, and personal debt is becoming increasingly common amongst our nation. There are people who are struggling to put food on the table, and those who can no longer keep a roof over their families heads. We are living within the 21st century, and yet financial education is still not spoken about enough. That's a real, life threatening problem. 

According to statistics from The Guardian, 1 in 5 people are financially illiterate, and they are simply incapable of grasping basic shopping conundrums. I fear that I would personally fit into that figure myself, due to the lack of education that I've received throughout my life on money management. Those of us who are growing up within today's society are facing immense pressure to buy from the latest brands that are dubbed the 'best', and near enough everything that we want to do costs thousands of pounds once you add it all up! 

In 2014, finance was supposed to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for secondary schools within the UK (excluding academies, and free schools), but, according to further research from The Guardian, around 35-45% of schools were actually delivering financial education back then, and it's estimated that even now, only about 40% are doing so. Us students need information about loans, mortgages, interest rates, and credit cards, as otherwise, we will only be able to learn from our mistakes, which is an incredibly worrying thought, but one that can so easily be prevented.

However, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, because help is at hand. Nebula Webinars is an education startup, and the founders are launching a course in the Spring that breaks down basic economics, and personal finance for teenagers. The aim of this online finance course is to teach teenagers how to become more independent, and more intellectually aware when it comes to money, and to not rely on their parents income when they fly the nest, take responsibility, and successfully stick to budgets, as well as understand how to never fall prey to dodgy credit cards, which will only have a negative effect in the long run! If you want to make your purchase now, you can do so at the pre-sale price of just £20. Now, that's what I call proper value for what you pay. 

You can also sign up for the newsletter here if you want all the latest Nebula news each Sunday!

Before you finish reading this post, it would be super helpful for the co-founders to have your feedback through this survey, which only takes you 1 minute! 

Are you going to be checking out this course? Do you believe that money matters now more than ever?

Lots of love always,


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Friday, 2 March 2018

What I Learnt Throughout 16 Years


As this post goes up, I will have just turned 17 years old. That's such a crazy thought for me to comprehend! I remember the days when I was excited to turn 13, and here I am, 4 years later.

To be honest, I think 16 was the best year of my life. I'd gotten well into my teens by this point, and I'd therefore pretty much gotten through the rough stage of figuring out who I was. Don't get me wrong, I'm still on a self-discovery journey, but I've grown massive amounts since those days! 16 is just a genuinely good age, and it's one that I personally consider to be a milestone. A lot of goodness, and many blessings came my way, but I understandably went through a lot of hardships too. Today, I thought I'd close the #SweetSixteen chapter of my life, and do so by reminiscing on what I learnt, as well as some of the best bits...

PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS HAVE AS PURE INTENTIONS AS YOU
Something that I had shown to me time, and time again throughout my 16th year of life was that people aren't going to be as nice, and as kind-hearted as you are, or as nice, and as kind-hearted as you want them to be. To put it truthfully, people can be dicks. You go into a new friendship, or a new relationship with the best intentions, and you hope that the other person in the same, but that isn't always the case - and that's okay. Learn from it, just as I have, and don't allow them to change you. Continue to give your all, and never settle for anything less than that, even if you don't receive the same in return. 

HAVE FAITH IN WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU BELIEVE IN
One thing that I have definitely strengthened in recent months is my belief in God, and my belief in myself. Since focusing more on my faith, I've started to count my blessings, and really focus on my ambitions. I feel much more supported, and much more positive, because to me, it's as if someone of a higher power is guiding me, and that's a great comfort. It's helped me to recognise previous bad habits, and to fully appreciate my own worth. I still have a long way to go, but good things happen to those who wait, and persevere. You will get to where you want to be if you believe you can achieve.

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO GIVE A F*CK WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS
Looking back at my younger self who was bullied for many years, I feel sad for her, but also incredibly proud. She persevered, and she didn't give up, even when she felt like she wanted to every day of her life during one particularly bad point. As I've gotten older, I genuinely have realised that other people's opinions don't matter. Even if you really value that particular person, each decision you make is still ultimately up to you. Absolutely take into consideration what they are saying, but don't let it completely control the choice you're going to make. Just let it help you make an informed decision! Take small steps in embracing who you want to be. Wear those bright orange dungarees, get a floral sleeve tattoo up your right arm, dye your hair papaya pink, because why the f*ck not?!

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. IT'S EITHER A BLESSING, OR A LESSON
This honestly couldn't be more true. I've met so many different people over these 16 years, and I've experienced so many different situations. Some of which are blessings, and others are just lessons that I've had to learn the hard way. Some people I've held onto for years, and I've grown with them through the good, and the bad, but others, I've seen their nasty streak one too many times, and I let go before things became even more toxic. Some situations I've been really grateful for, as they have been fun, magical, and memorable, but others have broken my heart that little bit more, and really tested my strength. Either way, this has all made me the person I am today, and I will never, ever give up fighting. I will always keep smiling, and I will never let anything, or anyone get the better of me. You can get knocked down 100 times, but then pick yourself back up 1000 times better, and stronger. 

ALWAYS HOLD ONTO THE INNER CHILD THAT RESIDES WITHIN YOU
When you're a child, you are so much more innocent, and carefree. As you grow older, you become aware of all the issues with society, and all of the expectations that have been constructed, and especially during your teenage years, you can easily become influenced, and just give in to becoming what you don't want to become. I think it's good for people to always have a part of their childhood inside them that comes out every so often. For me, it comes out within my sense of humour, my bubbly personality, the fact that I can be spontaneous, and adventurous, and that I like going to festivals, concerts, and social events where I can be hyper, and lose myself. I used to go to the woods most times I'd meet my ex boyfriend, and we'd literally just wander around, take outfit photos for my blog (back in the day haha!), listen to music, talk, and have snacks! It wasn't really much, but it didn't cost tonnes of money, we were in nature, and we were just being young teenagers together, and I enjoyed making those memories, because they just remind me of letting my inner child come out to play. I also display her through my imagination, and my poetry writing!

DREAM WITHOUT FEAR AND LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS
Don't let anything, or anyone hold you back in this one life that you're given. Your dreams are yours, and you can make them come true if you never give up, or let them go. Don't be afraid, and don't let restrictions stand in your way. Don't create imaginary barriers for yourself. Don't be too scared to try new things, and step out of your comfort zone. Give love to everyone that you interact with, and come across in this life. Don't let them turn you into someone who is cold-hearted. Even if you know that they don't love you as much as you love them, continue loving them regardless. Loving people is so important, and it will help you to be better, happier, and stronger. We need more love in the world, and you have so much to give, so never stop sprinkling it out like it's magic dust. 

I really hope you enjoyed reading this post! I've loved writing it, and I've loved reminiscing on the life lessons that I've learnt. 

I'm going to miss being 16, but it's now time to say take the lessons, the blessings, and the memories with me along the rest of life's journey, say goodbye, and embrace the new chapter - 17. 

Bring. It. On.

Lots of love always,


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Sunday, 25 February 2018

A Long-Awaited Update


Wow. I feel like I haven't sat down to properly think about writing a blog post in absolutely ages - and to be quite honest with you, it has been a while!

Life has well, and truly got in the way of everything - yet again. I feel like I haven't had time to come up for air to breathe these last few weeks, let alone maintain a social life, and create content for my beloved blog. Every day I have thought about coming back, and trying to get into the flow of things again, and finally the day has come. I should be cracking on with coursework, and other commitments, but sometimes, you just need to take a step back, and take a little time to focus on the things that set your soul on fire. Studying is, of course, important in regard to my future career prospects, but my mental health is more important, and it always will be.

The main reason that I've been so MIA on pretty much all of my social media, and especially when it comes to neglecting my blog is because I have just had so much going on in every aspect of my life. I have to put 100% of my time, and effort into Sixth Form, and with that comes mock exams to revise, and prepare for, coursework deadlines, referrals for said coursework, notes that I need to sort out for my Criminology course, which I have chosen to do for my DofE, meetings to attend for the programme, volunteering in a local charity shop for it, and on top of that, I have to fit in going to my part time job whenever I can manage it as well! I also start personal training in a couple of weeks, and I'm still trying to write my book, so it's all go, go, go!

Don't get me wrong, I love being busy, and I love having things to work on, and try to progress with, but sometimes I do begin to feel slightly swamped under, I must admit! Even though it's hard, as I can't exactly prioritise blogging out of everything else on the list, I do want to try and dedicate at least an hour in the evenings to write up even just a few paragraphs here, and then, or comment on some other people's posts to share the love. It feels like I haven't done that in months!!

Not only have I been busy lately in general, but I've also been lacking motivation when it comes to my blog. I am always so proud of the posts that I produce, and I never write, or publish any of them halfheartedly, so that's partly why I have taken a spontaenous break again. I just haven't been able to get into the flow since the New Year, but I'm going to do my best to organise, and manage my time much more effectively from now on, and I'll try to brainstorm some new ideas for my blog, so that it doesn't keep getting neglected! Please let me know if you have any feedback, or constructive criticism, as I would really appreciate it. You can either do so in the comments under this post, through my social media, or via the survey that I've created! It can be found here.

I hope you are all doing well too. Let me know if you have any updates, or any news that you would like to share, and I'll make sure I reply to all of you as soon as I can!

I'll hopefully have some more content coming your way soooon! Bear with me, my lovelies!

Lots of love always,


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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Sharing My Secret...


Something that I've been keeping hush hush about for the longest time can finally be revealed, and I genuinely couldn't be more excited about that. 

In case you didn't already know...


I'M WRITING MY OWN BOOK!!!!

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved reading, and writing of all sorts. I was mainly into the creative aspect of it, because my imagination is super crazy, but as I got into secondary school, I'd write a couple of diary entries here, and there, when I was going through a particularly bad patch, and then just place my focus onto English lessons. It's not that I lost the interest whatsoever, but it was automatically placed to the back of my mind, because I just didn't have the time, or the ideas, and quite frankly, I didn't have much reason to put in all the effort either. 

Wanting to write a book has been something that has always stuck with me. The idea has never disappeared, but I didn't ever imagine that I'd be announcing the plan at the age of 16. 

Although I've touched on the tough times I've faced in blog posts before, I've never really shared all the whole story, and I don't usually tend to share the personal poems that I write either. When I was going through the beginning of the drama, I was too young to properly read, or write, so I obviously didn't have that escape back then, but throughout my teenage years, I've always turned to writing. I find that it really helps me to put things into perspective, and it allows me to process things properly, and in some ways, rationalise the way that I'm feeling. That's why I do it for myself, but I also do it for other people. They may be able to relate, they may find comfort out of my poems, they make feel less alone knowing that somebody else has battled with similar demons. I know that I personally feel that way with other people's poetry anyway. 

The book is going to be called 'Intoxicated Minds', and there are a couple of reasons behind that. To me, intoxicated means out of control, overthinking, the madness of growing up, and minds is a collective term, referring to teenagers, and young people as a whole, or just every human in general. I also perceive intoxicated as meaning young people are poisoned by the societal standards, and expectations, but they aren't all necessarily conforming to them. 

I have also started thinking about chapters, and I've now got the 5 solid ones set in stone. They are: empathy, encouragement, empowerment, excitement, and experiment. How cool do they sound?! I wanted them all to start with the same letter 'e', because that symbolises emotions, and obviously, I want my book to be pretty damn emotional (both good, and bad!), because that's more realistic. 

I don't want to share too many more details, because it all is still very new, and exciting, and I don't want to give everything away, and ruin the surprise, but I just want to say that this really is a dream come true. I feel so happy, and hopeful, and so proud of myself for trying to do this (basically) on my own at such a young age. I have big dreams, and this has always been up there in my top 3, I'd say. 
Just keep your eyes peeled, as I'll always give you the updates as soon as I have them! 

Let me know how you feel about poetry, and whether you would consider purchasing my book once it's available! I would really appreciate all of the support, and all of the feedback I can get, because you guys are the best at showing the love.

Thank you for everything, and I hope you're just as excited about this whole project as I am!

Lots of love always,






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Friday, 5 January 2018

My Goals For 2018


I genuinely can't believe that we're already nearly a week into 2018. Where in the world has the time gone?! It blows my mind, because I'm sure the years are just going by faster, and faster. 

A new year only means one thing - New Years Resolutions. Well, unless you're like me, and you don't believe in setting yourself unrealistic expectations to meet, because that's just asking for disappointment, right?

Instead, I'm going to be talking through just a couple of my goals for the upcoming year, as they are much more achievable on a personal level, and I'll feel much more pride, and satisfaction this way.

1. Continue to do well in my A-Levels. 

Whether this means in my coursework, or in any exams that I have, I want to put 110% effort into my first year of A-Levels. Sixth Form is proving to be quite a challenge at the moment, since starting in September, but I'm always willing to take on a challenge, and it's nothing overwhelming. You have got to do what you have got to do in order to succeed in the future, after all!


2. Push myself even more with my blog. 

During 2017, I worked incredibly hard on my content, and my social media pages. I worked with some lovely brands, and I gained quite a few followers too! However, I hope to just keep getting better, and better. I'd love to improve my photography further, try to post a couple of times a week, and work with more brands than I did last year. 

3. Finish writing my book, and have it ready for publishing by the end of the year. 
I'm working my arse off at the moment to make this dream come true, because I so desperately want to have my book put together by December, so it can be available for pre-order then, and therefore ready for my birthday in March. I'm still trying to finish off the content at the moment, as I don't want to rush any of the process, but it's looking very promising, and coming on well! I'll do a separate post about it on Sunday though, so keep your eyes peeled!

4. Get my first proper, paid job. 
At the moment, I volunteer for 3 hours every Friday at my local Marie Curie shop, as part of my DofE award. I love helping people, and it's my first bit of experience within retail, and working in the community. However, as much as I still want to focus on charities, I also want a paid job, so that I can make my own money, and get satisfaction, and pride out of that, but also afford to do fun things that I enjoy without having to ask my mum, or rely entirely on pocket money. 


5. Start learning to drive, and buy my own car.
EEEK, how exciting is this?! In March, I'll be turning 17, and as I live in the UK, that means I can legally start learning to drive from then on. My sister, being the babe she is, has said that she'll buy me some driving lessons to get me going, and my mum has already found me a potential driving instructor! I applied for my professional driving license the other days, so it's full steam ahead now. I'm not sure if I definitely want to buy a car once I've passed my theory, and my practical, but it's something I'm considering! 


6. Travel to some more places, and get out the house as much as possible. 
Even though it's harder to get out, and about during these colder months, I really want to put in more effort to make something of my life. I want to get out into the world, explore, go on more trains, and day trips, enjoy more concerts, and festivals. Of course, it's much more easier to do so in the Summer, and when it's warmer, but honestly, you have to make the most of each day, so I'm going to do as much as I can, whilst I still can. 


Those are all of the things that I can think of at the moment! Hopefully, I can give you all an update when we get to June, and then again at the end of December to see how many I've actually achieved, and whether there's anything else that I've done, which is worth mentioning.


Do you have any 2018 goals? If not, think of one now, and let me know in the comments below!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year. It's onwards, and upwards now, guys. 


Lots of love always,



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Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017: A Yearly Review


So, 2017 has come to an end. As always, the past 12 months have been a complete whirlwind filled with fun, and laughter, but also fear, and disaster. Most years turn out that way anyway, as I've learnt from experience. However, I do have to say that it's definitely been more good than bad on my behalf.

Just like I did last year (look here for the evidence), I'm going to be reflecting on 2017, and sharing some of my highlights with all of you. There were a lot, as you can see from the collage above, but I'm just going to talk about the ones that stand out the most to me.

January meant that I got a new phone (the 6s to be precise!), found out I'd passed my GCSE Business exam, shared my first article for Kiloran, which was published in February, aced my initial Sixth Form interview, and worked out how to add a personalised signature to the end of my blog posts!

February saw me go to Paradise Wildlife Park with 2 of my best friends for Valentines Day, reach 3.5k on Twitter, and I even started talking to a new friend! (Shoutout to you Christina)

March is my birthday month, so naturally, it was a pretty good one! I received my first Pandora ring as a present from my sister, got my first proper professional Sony camera, heard about the idea for a mental health magazine from a fellow blogger, which then turned into what we know now as Beautiful Minds, got on 2 buses to my grandparents by myself for the first time, and  made plans for the Summer months!

April brought with it my blog's 2nd birthday (!!!), a theatre trip to see Les Mis with my Auntie up in London, a cinema trip with my Auntie & Uncle to see Beauty & The Beast, and many positive, fun filled days with my friends!

May mainly consisted of getting ready for exams, and marking the end of secondary school, so it was quite eventful to say the least! I went as Little Red Riding Hood on the last day, ordered my prom dress, and clutch bag, did an online interview with Bloggerview, and received some exciting blogger mail from Amie Skincare, and Tisserand!

June was another month that stands out to me from this year. I started talking to one of my very best friends Liam Hinton (major shoutout to you, my love!), celebrated my best friend Tara's 16th birthday with cupcakes, and lots of selfies, started watching Love Island which became my Summer TV obsession, and had many FaceTime sessions, and phone calls with those that mean most to me. 

July was absolutely crazy amazing! I had my prom on the 3rd and had such a laugh with my best girls, found out I'd been shortlisted in 4 categories for the Teen Blogger Awards, visited Dover with my Uncle, got the title of Mental Health editor for Love from... magazine, went to my first festival (Wireless to be precise) and had the most fun with my friends, received a tee, and tote from Good Girl Gang, ordered  my first 2 poetry books (Milk and Honey, as well as Melancholy Mind), had Nandos for the first time, and visited Hever castle with my Aunt and Uncle!


August became filled with family time, getting blogger mail from OY! Skincare, getting 2 new piercings (rook and belly), going bowling with my friends, creating a personalised memory board for my bedroom, got my GCSE results, which were 1 A*, 2 A's, 2 B's and 3 C's, and a short, but incredibly lovely stay to St Ives with my Aunt and Uncle to end my Summer perfectly.

September always marks a new academic beginning. My first day as a Sixth Former went very well, I made some new friends there within my first few days, I received the Naked Heat palette as a present from my sister, I had a media kit made for me, and I even created my first professional CV!

 October consisted of a few spontaneous days/evenings with my friends, I started my weeks worth of Work Experience in a local residential care home for the elderly, and I spent time with my family, and friends, which is always important!

November saw me get the train on my own for the first time, and sort out an Operation Christmas Child box with my friend to give back to those less fortunate during what should be the most magical time of the year. One of the most significant highlights was going to see Bryson Tiller with the same friend at the end of the month, which was INCREDIBLE. Unfortunately, the next morning, my dear Granddad ended up in hospital, but I thank God, and all of the doctors/medical professionals for the fact that he pulled through, and is now much better. 

December marked the beginning of my charity work with Marie Curie, receiving, and giving Christmas cards, spending Christmas Day itself with my loved ones, going to Lakeside for the first time with my sister to hit the shops on Boxing Day, and then coming down to my Aunt and Uncles, where I'm currently writing this post to see all of the local festive lights, head up to London to see The Phantom of The Opera, which definitely exceeded my expectations, and now we're preparing to welcome in the New Year with a massive meal together before I go home later on!

And there we have it! That's a review of my entire 2017. I really hope that all of you have had a good year filled with love, positivity, fun, and laughter, but if not, that's okay. As of midnight tonight, you have a whole new 12 months to work with, so make the most of them, and start 2018 with a smile on your face, and hope in your year.

I'll be doing a blog post sometime next week with what I hope to achieve/experience next year, so keep your eyes peeled for that! Let me know what your highlights/best achievements have been from this year!


Happy New Year!

Lots of love always,




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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Teen Talk: Dealing With Fake Friends

 

In the years since becoming a teenager, I've grown very aware as to how many people turn out to be fake friends. I used to be incredibly trusting, and always willing to impress anybody, but nowadays, I'd much rather mind my own business, and keep my circle small.

When you're going through secondary school, and ultimately, the phase of peer pressure, it can seem like you need everybody to like you in order to make yourself valuable as an individual. There's an overwhelming desire to get approval from everybody your age, especially those who are seen as being labelled 'the cool clique'.

All throughout primary school, and secondary school, I was never popular. None of the other children really had an interest in being my friend, and they didn't really care whether I liked them or not, because they had already formed their own group - a group that I wasn't ever going to be part of. At the time, it got to me. In fact, it got to me more than I would let on. I was very shy, and very reserved, so I wasn't exactly a joy to make conversation with, unless all you wanted in reply was a couple of stutters from a girl who's cheeks were as red as a tomato. I didn't go out much, I didn't watch Disney Channel religiously, and I didn't wear all the latest fashion. I was quite an outcast, really.

When I was in a little bit of a low place last September, and in a reflective mood, I wrote a blog post about being an introvert. It allowed me to get all of my thoughts out of my mind, so I was able to process them much more easily. If you're an introvert, or you're struggling with shyness, you may find it comforting, or even just somewhat reassuring. At least, I hope you do.

The thing is, you don't need validation from any of your peers. You just need to stay true to who you are. Friendships are empowering, and amazing if they are with the right people. They take time though. You don't just speak to someone once in a blue moon, and suddenly become joined at the hip. It's all about trust, communication, honesty, and to a certain extent, vulnerability. If someone is acting fake, talking about you behind your back, laughing at you, or insulting you, get rid. Don't even waste your energy on them. Don't bother giving all your time to them. They don't deserve it, not for one second.

I suppose cutting off fake friends is like moving on after a break up. Well, not exactly, but there are plenty of similarities. Don't ever give too much of yourself to someone straight away. See how they act within the first few months, see if they start opening up to you, and just take it slowly. Trust your gut, as well. If something seems a bit fishy, then it probably is. Basically just believe your inner instinct. Fake friends usually just want to spread gossip, and put you down at every opportunity they get, so anyone who does that isn't a true friend of yours.

I've come across my fair share of fake friends, but especially since leaving secondary school, I've realised that I'm much more likely to notice the signs, and so I stick with those in my circle, and always act more wary than I need to, just in case.

Hopefully this post has helped some of you. Fake friends are never any fun, but once you have got rid, you can make room for the better ones, which is exactly what I've done!

Lots of love always,


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Sunday, 5 November 2017

My Top Tips For Writing Poetry

Being able to read, and write is something that I will never take for granted. Quite honestly, this ability has changed my life, and shaped me into the person that I am today.

Even when I was much younger, I was always into reading stories, or making up my own - and, within the last few years, I've also discovered a love for poetry.

Today, I thought I'd share with you a couple of the things that I've learned along the way, in the hope that they may be of help to you too.

Get inspiration from everywhere
People may wonder where poets actually find inspiration for their poems from. Well, the truth is, it can come from absolutely anywhere! The most important thing to me is that each piece is personal, and emotional, but it all depends on the individual, and what they feel they're writing for in the first place. Think about past experiences, the people in your life, nature, society, politics - anything!
 
Make sure it all comes from the heart, and no-where else 
If your poems come from the heart, it's more likely that your audience will actually connect to the words that are written as if they are words you have spoken. Poems are such an individual form of art, and for other people to relate, and understand them without even knowing the person shows that a true masterpiece has been made.
 
Focus on the flow of the feelings
The thing with poetry is that with any form of literature, there's not just one genre, or style that fits all. There's spoken word, prose, haikus, soliloquy's, ballads, odes, and many more! I personally tend to write without any particular structure, or thought about the layout, and I put an emphasis on the words, rather than the appearance.
 
Not every poem has to rhyme
Whenever I start to write, I hardly ever think about whether I want my sentences to rhyme or not. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. There's no set rules with poetry, ya know. Some are longer, some are shorter, and they aren't all going to be identical, even if they are about the same, or a similar subject. The whole purpose is to express yourself through words, and so as long as you feel you're doing that for yourself, then that's all that matters!
 
Those are just a few of my top tips for if you're wanting to get into poetry writing. It's a really fantastic, rewarding hobby, and it's even something that I'd consider pursuing as a career in the future. Whether you want just want to express your emotions, or you want to do it as a way of helping other people, you should definitely give it a go!
 
For those who are interested, my poetry account on Instagram is @jmpoetry_x!
 
Lots of love always,
 
 

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Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Importance Of Girl Power


Girl power is something that I feel incredibly passionately about, especially since we're in the 21st century. In case you were wondering why I've chosen to use the cover of Grace Victory's book 'No Filter' as the main photo for this post, it's because I consider her to be a girl boss, and one of my major inspirations when it comes to being sassy, and supporting others.

I feel like nowadays everybody is so quick to judge, and pass comments unnecessarily, especially when they don't know the person, or they can do it anonymously through social media sites. It's actually quite sickening to me, and I'm sure many other people feel the same.

Evolution is a part of life. As time goes by, everyone, and everything changes, one step at a time. Nothing stays the same, and you can either progress positively, or make mistakes, and allow yourself to deteriorate, and keep falling behind on the grind, so to speak. There's more to life than dragging others down, and doing what they want you to do. Haters are motivators, so use any negativity, and nastiness to help you lift yourself up.

Ultimately, you have to focus on yourself, and your own future. As much as your friends tell you they're always going to have your back, and they're always going to support you, it's never guaranteed that they are actually going to last in your life. Of course, you should have trust in them, but don't place all your hope, and happiness into that one person, or group of people that are your 'go-to's'. You should want to better yourself, and stay on the grind. Make sure you're always hustling, so you will eventually get to where you want to be. Who knows, you could be the next entrepreneur, or girl boss yourself!

The idea of being a girl boss may be different to you than what it means to me. I think it's a girl, or a woman, who's constantly trying to achieve her goals, whether that's personally, professionally, or otherwise. It's someone who always has ambitions, and is always working on lots of different things that she feels passionately about. She's always lifting others up, and empowering them, or speaking about taboo subjects to try and smash the stigma. You could have a few people that you consider to be a girl boss, or just one - even if it's yourself!

Don't rely on anyone else. Focus on becoming driven, and motivated, purely because you want to give yourself a good future. Don't let others drag you down to their level, as they're probably just jealous, or insecure themselves. Allow yourself to be inspired, and positively influenced, but don't allow yourself to slack if you become envious. Channel that negativity into productivity, and continue to slay. Set yourself goals, and constantly push yourself in the right direction. Small steps lead to success. If you set your mind on the grind, anything is possible.

For me personally, I want to become a girl boss to other young people out there. I want to work hard on creating quality content on my blog, I want to build up a genuine support system that I can interact with, I want to go to University and specialise in Clinical Psychology, I want to start up my own business, I want to make music. I want to make even my wildest dreams come true.

With passion, perseverance, dedication, and determination, you can, and you will do anything.

Lots of love always,



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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Lily in Space Designs: An Interview


If you know me well enough, you'll be aware of my love for animals, and wildlife. I've always been a massive animal lover, and I just think that they're the cutest little things. I'm also someone who likes to support small businesses, and Etsy shops, so if you combine those two facts together, it's clear to see why I wanted to do an interview with Lily in Space Designs! A soon as I stumbled across Lily's account on Twitter, I just knew I wanted to speak to her and find out more...

Q1: Hey! Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you today on my blog. Let's start off with an easy question. What inspired you to choose the name 'Lily In Space'?
 
 A: Hello! When I was trying to choose a name for my business, I wanted something that incorporated my love of science, being a physics student, and my love of creativity and art. I thought that ‘Lily in Space’ brought together those two aspects, without really limiting me to a certain type of product, as I wasn’t completely sure what direction my business was going to go in. Some of my first designs were illustrations of woodland animals as astronauts! (Link to fox astronaut card)
Q2: The main theme of your designs seems to be woodland creatures. I'm guessing you're a massive animal lover?
 
A: Yes – I’m definitely a massive animal lover! Badgers are of course my favourite animals, as you can probably tell from my designs, but I am a supporter and lover of all animals. I’m a particularly strong opponent of the badger cull and fox hunting. I find nature fascinating, which is probably why I enjoy drawing plants and animals so much. I think my ‘Animal Lover’ badges are some of my favourite products, just because they describe me so perfectly! (Link to 'Animal Lover' badge)
Q3: How about you tell us when, and why you decided to start up your own online shop? Was it a sporadic choice, or one that took a lot of preparation, and thought?
A: My Etsy shop has existed since 2014, when I tried to start a shop but quickly gave up. I re-visited the idea in February 2016, after finding out about a craft fair happening at my university. I figured that I had nothing to lose by printing a few of my drawings onto cards and taking some along to see how they went down. I only had 4 designs, and I didn’t sell very much at that first fair, but I enjoyed the making process so much that I decided I might experiment a bit more and try selling some online! So, it was quite a spontaneous decision to start the business to begin with, but lots of decisions since then have required considerably more preparation, such as expanding product lines and taking the business in new directions.
 
Q4: You mainly sell badges/pins, cards, prints, and jewellery. Why did you want to design those things in particular? Would you ever branch out into anything else?
 
A: I mostly choose products based on what I enjoy making and can make myself at home. I find shrink plastic to be such a fun material to work with – it reminds me of being a kid, and it’s so satisfying watching the designs shrink down in the oven! I definitely want to expand to more products in the future though. I recently launched a new pencil case with a woodland animal design, as this is something else I can make at home. I’m really keen to make more pencil case designs – it’s on my to-do list! As well as that, I’ve got my eye on partnering with a couple more production partners to make a new range of notebooks and mugs, especially with some new writing-related and tea-related puns! So that’s a little sneak-peek of some things you might see coming to the shop in the near future. (Link to woodland pencil case )
 
Q5: Is your shop an individual thing, where you literally do everything, or do you have some little helpers as well?
 
A:  I do almost everything myself for my shop, from drawing, to making, to photography, to promoting. I have worked with some production partners though. For example, I had some notebooks printed by Awesome Merchandise. However, because a lot of the fun for me comes from making products myself, I mainly stick to making things on my own in my bedroom! My boyfriend does help me out though, like setting up at craft fairs and folding cards if I have any big orders, so I should give him some credit here.
Q6: Tell us your 3 biggest goals/hopes/dreams for the next 5 years! You can be as creative as you want!
 
A: That’s a tricky question! I have lots of mini-goals for the near future, such as reaching 200 Etsy sales by the end of the year, but I haven’t thought too hard about the long-term future. First of all, I would love to start selling my products wholesale. I love the idea of having my products sold in quaint little gift shops around the country and being seen by many more people. I would also love to expand my product line to include a lot more designs and products. Maybe in 5 years I’ll have at least 100 products in my Etsy store? That seems like an achievable goal to me. I probably won’t ever run my Etsy business full-time, as I am starting a graduate job in Physics in August 2018. Therefore, I guess my third hope for the next 5 years is that I will be able to keep this up. While doing a technical degree, I’ve found it so rewarding to have a creative outlet. I really hope that I will keep having the time (and the support!) to keep creating new designs, listing them and promoting them. And most of all – I hope that my designs will make people smile! Now I think that was more than 3…
 
 
 Hopefully all of you enjoyed finding out about a little more behind this business! I know I certainly did. Be sure to comment below if you purchase anything, as I'm sure hat will make Lily's day!
 
What's your favourite product on the Etsy? Are you as intrigued by animals as we are?
 
Social media links:
 
Lots of love always,
 
 
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