Friday, 30 December 2011

Farewell 2011

As this is the last blog post of the year, so I wanted to round things up and let you know how 2011 has been for me.

Some part were awesome, and those were the bits I chose to share with you. It has been both good and bad, in equal measures. This post is a bit personal, but I think it's a good way to end the year this way - be open, and to put things behind us. A new year, a new start!

This time last year, I wasn't feeling very well. I know it was all my fault! I overworked and wasn't taking care of myself. You can probably see this in the way I blog. (work work work work work!) My day to day was 12 hours a day in the office and I did nothing else but work. I never took a single day off. My friends will tell you, they never saw me for over a year!

Because I was neglecting my well-being, I ended up with issues that was ultimately caused by stress. I wasn't really aware of it at the time but that chronic headache I kept getting? It was caused by slight tension problem on one side of my jaw. That tension headache then caused neck pain and back ache too. What a downward spiral it was.

For two years, I never felt right and I genuinely thought I was dying. I really did. Those painkillers I was taking were not doing my insides a favour, either! It eventually gave me stomach pain for 3 months (eeeks) During those three months, my anxiety went in to over-drive, I began to think there was something seriously wrong with my health.

Part of me knew I was absolutely fine, I was being a hypochondriac but the other half of me would convince myself that there was something seriously wrong. Either way, it kept triggering panic attacks. The kind that makes your heart beat faster, convincing your brain that it could be a heart-attack, making you feel paranoid that something inside your body was malfunctioning and that you will suddenly stop breathing just from all the terrible paranoid thoughts that was going through your mind.

It was a constant battle with myself. And it made me feel stupid and awful because I knew that there are people in the world with bigger problems. Real problems.

In my panicked state, I would stupidly google the symptoms (NOTE TO ALL. Don't ever do this to yourself. Do yourselves a favour and NEVER google your symptoms) and started to fear from what I was reading. As a result of this, I became too scared to see the doctor, but when my stomach pain got too bad, I booked an appointment. Of course, the problem was common, they gave me a course of tablets and all was fixed.

But there was one more thing. They suggested putting me on the list for therapy sessions to help me with my anxiety. With an open minded and a determination to beat it, I took their advice. They are the professionals and who am I to reject this offer of help?

I went for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for six months and I completed the sessions in June, this summer. The coping methods the therapist taught me were simple things. Things I had forgotten how to do because I'd been in the bubble for so long. Things like learning how to breathe in order to stay calm and reduce the fight or flight mode that makes us panic (a totally natural reaction).

I was reminded of how to organise a balance of work and leisure, re-training the brain to think positively, and learn how to deal with negative thoughts. I recognised that one of my problems was that I didn't have a healthy balance between work and play. All the pain and aches I had was due to stress. If I could find a way to manage this, I would be able to relax and breeze through it day to day.

I'm already quite shy too, so I developed a bit of social anxiety aswell but it got worse because I was avoided things. I felt like I couldn't go out by myself and do things on my own, I always had to have someone with me. It never used to be like this.

At the beginning of the year, I decided that this year would change, I would take time out for myself; To go shopping, buy things for myself, visit friends, and just chill out. In my head, I still sometimes think I "can't do things", I do still avoid doing things if I feel like it might give me a panic attack but whenever I challenge myself to do it, I feel better for it. A bit like going to the dentist, it's never as bad as you think! 

Although I started the blog in 2008, I never thought to put myself out there. It was a risk I didn't want to take. At first, I was careful not to post pictures of myself and my personal life. I was worried that if I got negative feedback.

During Spring of this year, I took time off to do some fun things and took a few trips. I wanted to blog about it as a distraction from work. I considered blogging as a new hobby, and a few months in, I became so comfortable with it that I wanted to try doing style posts! I was actually excited at the thought of a brand new challenge!

I felt so proud of myself that I managed to have won the Look Magazine blogging competition later down the line. A lot was beginning to happen in a very short space of time and I took it all in like a sponge. Even when I got to London for The Look Show, I really started to panic. I got nervous and wondered how many people would be there, how I would handle it, and how I would be perceived, how I would cope in general. I just handled it and learned from the experience.

This time of year is difficult for a lot of people. Anxiety is really scary, especially if you don't talk about it because it makes you feel like you're alone. Talking is therapeutic, it will help you, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. And you are certainly not alone, I promise you.

Anxiety can stem from the tiniest of concern, which you then you begin to obsess about. Suffering from anxiety can hinder your thought process, and it's a paranoia cycle which can spiral out of control. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that no matter how bad things may seem, we can always get ourselves out of the situation. Help is always available, from friends and family, or professionals.

We all have a blip, but with the right mindset, it is totally and 100% possible to work it out turn things around.

This time last year, things were so different. I'm not one of those lucky, land-on-your-feet kind of person who gets things handed to me on a plate and in the past, I haven't dowsed myself in a lot of self-belief but I know that if I want something, I can work hard to achieve it.

You have all helped me in your own little ways to get better this year, and you did it without knowing. Thank you. I am so grateful that everyone in the blogging community has been so nice to me. I am SO excited to see what's ahead and where blogging will take me.

Let's all welcome the brand new year in with positive thoughts and a fresh start!

Wishing you all the very best in 2012! I've lots of exciting things to share with you all in the new year! Enjoy the new year celebrations and the rest of the festive season! x

(Keep calm and carry on)


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New Look Lace Dress

Dress New Look / Jewellery Temporary:Secretary, Jon Richard, RubyGold / Nail Polish 17 Cosmetics

Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas! What presents did you all receive this year?

I bought this blue lace dress a couple of months ago and it is very similar to this but I am more comfortable with sleeves. I wanted it in a different colour but so many dresses that I want recently are blue (Kate Middleton effect). This New Look one is not as tight as the River Island dress, there's no way I am ever going to wear a bodycon dress on the day of an epic dinner! After failing to find something new to wear for Christmas, this New Look lace dress was what I chose. I don't know why I made a big deal out of my Christmas day outfit, because by 8pm, I ended up changing into something baggy and comfortable anyway!

What are everyone's plans for New Year's Eve? I'll be back to blog once more before it's 2012. This year has gone really quickly!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Last Box Of The Year

Contents: Rituals Foam Shower Gel / Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish / Bionova Eyecream / Blink and Go Palette / Cargo Lipgloss

I've tried other beauty boxes but Glossybox is the one I love the most! This is the last Glossybox of the year and I think it's safe to say that everyone that has received the December issue is happy with this edition! I got mine about 10 days late due to the hectic Christmas post, so I already knew what was in this month's box due to blogs and YouTube reviews. 

I am pleased with this month's Glossybox, I know there's a few variations. I LOVE it when there's make-up in the boxes! There's 3 this month (eye/blush palette, nail polish and lipgloss) Some got a mascara instead of the palette, and some got a face cleanser instead of eye cream. There two different palette colours too, but I go the dark coloured ones. This is the picture of other one and it looks lovely but I don't suit bright ones so I'm glad I got the one I received. I am looking forward to use the the purple glitter nail polish, I haven't worn glitter polish since late 1990's! I used to buy them from Miss Selfridge, back in the day when they stocked make up (true story!) and I've been put off ever since because I dread removing glitter polish. Usually with a hammer and chisel! The Cargo lipgloss is amazing in that it isn't sticky, I tend to stay away from lipgloss because I wear my hair down usually, and it's horrible when the wind blows and hair gets stuck to my lips. Then my hair goes sticky and tangles together! I have been using the Rituals shower foam since I got it and I am definitely going to repurchase, and possibly try out their other products too! It smells really nice and it is nice bonus that we got a couple of full size products too! Not always the case and that is fine as the concept is that you'd receive five luxe samples each month but full size products are such a treat! 


Sunday, 18 December 2011

25 Handbags of Christmas

I love seeing What's In My Handbag posts and YouTube videos but I have never done one myself. I have always wanted to but I haven't, mainly because my bags are such a mess and I am sure you don't want to see post-its and bits of tissues with chewing gum stuck to it! I recently collaborated with a website called What's In My Handbag, to be launched in early 2012. It focuses mainly on beauty products from industry insiders; beauty directors, make-up artists, skincare experts, beauty PR's, beauty editors, perfume designers, high end beauty buyers (Harrods) and those who founded companies like Diptyque and Eyeko! I can't wait for the completed website to launch. I really like it already and I think you will too! 

Since 1st December, they've changed their website slightly to adopt a Christmas advent calender theme. There will be a new handbag to see every day until Christmas. 25 Handbags of Christmas! I was day number 14 where you can read what products they are, and below are the pictures of the bag and the products that I submitted. I knew that I was going to be amongst proper beauty professional (I'm far from it!) so I knew I had to step it up and make my submission really good to keep up with the standard of the others. It's really cool to be part of this, I know I have been lucky to have had these opportunities, I want to do a good job of it! I panicked a little bit when they asked me for a "title" for my bag. I went for "products I use everyday" when I should have said that they were my favourite products to use. I wear lipstick and lip balm every day but I don't always wear red lippy as pictured. I wanted to blog about it on the same day so it coincides with the WIMH website, but I am so behind on blogging!

The Lancome primer shown below is the best one I have used. They always discontinue beauty products that I like! Fluide Illuminateur being one of them. Was my absolute favourite! I sampled a primer from Benefit last month but it felt quite sticky. The consistency and finish of the Lancome La Base (oil free) primer is similar feel to Benefit's Porefessional. My skin isn't the best but the primer makes it so easy to apply make up for a flawless look. I don't use it often as I usually only wear foundation when I go on a night out. The primer leaves skin smooth and silky, and make up applies on like a dream. Also, sometimes I get asked what blusher I use and the one I use all the time is the one pictured below, it's shade Pinch Me from MAC. Then amongst that, we have the usual hand lotion, lippy and lip balm, Brow Kit, liquid and powder foundation, eyeliner and mascara. Bag is Mulberry's Tillie Satchel which was an impulsive treat for myself when there was a Mulberry Spring discount! Apart from my MacBook, the bag is the most expensive thing I have bought for myself! Suffered from buyer's remorse for a little while!!! But... it feels good to know that I bought it with the money I earnt myself.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Missoni Scarf

Scarf Missoni via Style-passport / Jewellery Temporary:Secretary / Jacket ASOS / Dress River Island

This scarf arrived in just time from Style-passport to keep me warm, it has been SO COLD these past few days. Our heating broke for a couple of days too so this scarf and my faux fur coat saved my life! It arrived so neatly but admittedly, I ripped the packaging and wore the scarf straight away! I have a lot of scarves, about 20! But none of them keep me all that warm, they're all sheer fabric "decorative" scarves, an accessory rather than functional! Stylepassport have a few Missoni Scarves and this is the one I am wearing. I didn't expect it to be so big and snuggly! I like that it's different shades of grey, I am not so keen on garish wooly scarves. Style-passport also has blog with lots of lovely images and fashion from other cultures. Style-Passport is an stylish website (magazine and shop) for those looking for fashion and beauty for holiday destinations, this may be ski holidays, beach, spa or outdoors. I'm eyeing up some beachwear already. It's out of my budget but a girl can look! Like lots of others, I have had troubles getting photos taken due to lack of daylight. Makes me miserable. It was so lovely and bright this morning, even if it was a little misty. I can't wait for summer again!


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Glitter Platform Shoes

Shoes Barratts

It has been a while since I posted about shoes! had been waiting for these chunky glitter platforms for a while and was so happy when Mum discovered the parcel outside! The postie left them outside my house but forgot to leave me a notification card!

Anyway, knowing that I love these types of shoes, Barratts/ sent me this gold glittery pair. I haven't been feeling so festive, I usually dread December as it means that work gets busy and I'm in the office quite a lot packing and wrapping parcels, more so than usual! When I saw these shoes, I knew they'd be perfect for the festive season.

Glitter shoes are huge this season, Miu Miu glitter boots being the most well known. Other designers who have glitter shoes as part of their A/W collection include Acne and Sergio Rossi. Chunky platforms are easier to walk in than a stiletto heel.

I have a similar black pair that I wear all the time, they are so comfy, light and easy to walk in due to their bold, chunky heel and large sole surface. I think these brown/gold glitter platform shoes will be worn just as much as I wear my black pair, they are also available in black/silver glitter. I am instantly drawn to shoes like this because I so desperately want to be that little bit taller! The quality of the shoes are good but it came with a note in the box that informs people about shedding of the glitter. 

Of course, it is that time of year where we're spending money on all people and if you're like me, you'll be looking for those all important discounts and bargains! There's a fab site called Voucher Codes where you can search for exclusive online discount codes and print vouchers off to be used in store. There are some offers for Barratts at the moment which you can view here. Always good to browse for a good deal! 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Kiki's Bow | How To Wear Hair Bows

large red hair bow
how to wear a large red hair bow
how to wear a hair bow
how to wear a hair bow

Hair Bow* Little Fille

I know you're going to love this brand, they go by the name of Little Fille. Some may have already heard of them, but for those of you who haven't, I am excited to introduce them to you! I feel like I have discovered a gem, and I need to tell everyone about it! I have actually known about Little Fille for a while now, they held a concession pop up shop in TopShop Oxford Circus earlier this year. They sell the most beautiful hair bows, all made from the hands of Mari who runs Little Fille. Mari is such a beautiful person inside and out! She is always there when I need her help. 

I am so happy to be finally blogging about Little Fille! It is something that I should have done a long time ago. I just know that all you girls will go mad for Little Fille's beautiful creations! So many lovely hair bows in an assortment of colours! I haven't worn hair bands or hair accessories for a long time and wasn't sure if I could pull this off, but I was SO happy when I got this red hair bow through the post last week! There's a few ways to wear it but this is how I've styled it. 

Finally, I couldn't end the post without showing a photo of Kiki


Thursday, 1 December 2011

I'm A Dahlia Girlfriend!

black polka dot dress, dahlia dress, peter pan collar dress
quirky jewellery, egg and soldier ring, cute jewellery, temporary secretary jewellery
peter pan collar necklace
fashion blogger uk outfit of the day, black polka dot dress, dahlia dress
I am really excited to tell you all that I am one of the new Dahlia Girlfriend. Fashion brand, Dahlia contacted me whilst I was on my little break from work and I was thrilled to hear from them, it was such a lovely surprise! I will be blogging for them each month and I can't wait! I am really excited about this! I love their designs and their styling, and most will say that this is just the sort of style I go for.

They sent me the nicest dress; large polka dots and an oversize doily collar! My new LBD! I wore it to the Hanson gig at the weekend and then I wore it again the next day with a big red hair bow from Little Fille!

My first blog post for Dahlia is due tomorrow, and I'll save my usual babble for then! In the meantime, here are some photos of the dress and a first preview of my collaboration with Dahlia!

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