Best friend gift guide

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Hi guys,
Hope you’re all well!
So, September is here. We’re actually halfway through September already, can you believe it? September is an exciting month for me… It’s one of my best friends’ birthday. She is the most difficult person to buy for; she is the pickiest eater, the most particular about her room decor and crazy about her skincare.
So, when UncommonGoods.com  reached out to me, I looked at their website and was more than impressed. I could finally find something special to get her and get some peace of mind! 🙂 I have found some great gifts that I really wanted to share with you and a gift guide was, of course, the best option to do that. UncommonGoods hold an amazing range of gifts for absolutely everyone and I am more than sure everyone will find something to their liking. What the company stands for, for me, is just a great bonus. Not only do they promote small manufacturers, but also put a big emphasis on being environmentally friendly to minimise their company’s impact on our planet. They also allow you to select a charity to receive $1 from them at the checkout which, so far, has resulted in them donating $1,000,000 since starting the programme in 2001. How amazing is that?
As stated, UncommonGoods do not only provide gifts for best friends; they can cater for just about anyone. Have a girlfriend that you’re struggling to buy for? Click here and make your choice! Want to make a gift extra personal? Look no further and ! And with Christmas just around the corner (I mean… it is now less than 100 days!) it would definitely be worth checking out some of their amazing Christmas gifts (https://www.uncommongoods.com/gifts/christmas/christmas-gifts).
Now, for my personal, favourite choices…
1. I absolutely fell in love with pieces from this jewellery designer (Mary Steratore). I mean.. just look them, they are absolutely stunning. I don’t think there would be anyone who would dislike the look of them. My best friend often struggles with remaining positive.. so the positivity necklace would certainly be my choice. I personally also love the furry friend one; any volunteers to buy one for me?! 🙂
2.  Because my best friends is a little bit of a drinker (:)) of course I had to look for some amazing drinking accessories. I have found these absolutely amazing cocktail glasses (by Alison Thomas); not only do they look insane and super quirky, but also tell you what to put in your cocktail. I mean.. in case you had too much to drink and forget? I think it’s such an amazing idea.
3. Lastly, I just fell in love with these prints and artwork by Alena Hennessy. As stated before, my best friend struggles with thinking positive and with her low self-esteem. These inspirational quotes are just right and look beautifully. I would also definitely want one in my room.
Hope you enjoyed!
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What is in my handbag?

Hi guys,
Hope you have all been well. I had quite a busy few weeks and quite a lot of things have been happening in my life. Some good, some bad, but we’re getting there! 🙂
One of the good things was the fact that I have managed to get my hands on a new handbag. I do have to admit I have quite a lot of handbags, but rarely find ones that I actually end up using regularly.  I am usually a backpack kind of girls just for the pure comfort of them and whenever I get a new handbag, it just always ends up in the corner of the room.
However, when I saw this beauty I couldn’t help myself and had to get it (especially due to the fact that the price was significantly reduced…). It’s the Kurt Geiger Leather Emma Bowling Black Tote Bag (could the name be any longer?!) . I thoroughly enjoy using it, I think it is just the right size. Inside, there’s a pocket that you can put the most important bits in. The gold hardware makes it match most of my outfits and jewellery as I always tend to sway towards gold rather than silver.
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And what does a new handbag calls for?! Of course, a what’s in my bag post. Enjoy!
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And believe it or not but I do not usually carry a cat around in my bag (although it’s debatable, as I am obsessed). However, for some bizarre reason Pippin refused to leave me today and insisted on being in my photos. 🙂
  1. Glasses – Mine are from Mango. I’m shortsighted and I need them for driving. Also, I have noticed that without them, I tend to miss out on a lot of things going on around me. I feel like everyone else is seeing things in HD.
  2. Purse – Just somewhere I keep my cards, money (that I don’t have a lot of, haha) and ID. I really don’t like it much, I feel it’s a LV rip off, but I’m yet to get a new one.
  3. A Zoella mist – only because it smells nice and it’s tiny. I received a set of all 4 scents for Christmas and it is very handy.
  4. A hair bobble – I just found it inside my bag. I usually use the Invisibobbles but they are usually on my wrists. And because I panic and tend to over-prepare, there are always extras in my bag.
  5. My current favourite lipcombo – This featured on my instagram recently. Of course it’s NYX, there’s no surprise to that. I currently use the NYX Liquid Suede Cream in the colour Soft-Spoken, the Butter Gloss in Madeleine and a Suede Matte Lip Liner in Soft-Spoken. Beautiful.
  6. A Tangle Teezer – Because I have long hair…. I have loads of these laying around my house.
  7. My phone – I say it’s in my handbag but in truth, it is more often in my hand. Enjoy the lovely picture of my boyfriend and I. 🙂
  8. A notebook – Mine is from Sainsbury’s but I think it’s very pretty. Love the copper details on it. I always carry a notebook, as I write songs and sometimes get inspiration in the weirdest of places.
  9. Headphones – When I am alone walking, on the bus or in any public places I always listen to music. It helps me focus. Whenever I forget these, I panic.
Here is an extra picture, just for the pure cuteness of it.
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Julia x

My relationship with my body

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I have alway been a ‘big’ child. I even think I have considered myself as chubby. I was always taller than all the other girls, I was always more mature than the other girls. My boobs started growing considerably quicker, my acne started getting worse. It almost seemed like every one of my friends had a boy who fancied her, except for me. To make it even worse, my hair got greasy really easily and I was foreign; not that there is anything wrong with that, it just stuck out to the bullies, apparently.
Looking back at it now, it all feels so silly. The strive for acceptance is long gone, but at the age of 13 I really struggled to fit in. I remember sitting at my dining room table, talking to my mum and crying about how I will never have a boyfriend and that no boy will ever like me. As a mum, she always used to tell me I was beautiful and that my time has not come yet, but according to my logic, she didn’t know what she was talking about. I mean, she met my dad when she was 16 and has been happy ever since, so how can she know what being lonely feels like?
I remember she once pointed out that I have inherited her wide calves and ankles. I never noticed it before. Ever since, even in the hottest summers I used to insist on wearing black tights and jeans. My legs were not to be shown to anyone.
I was always the loud, obnoxious friend. I think I was trying to compensate for the lack of confidence in my appearance. I went through many stages; I was a rocker, I listened to hip hop, I tried to be like Rihanna in ‘We found love’ which was a big hit at the time. Nothing quite worked for me. I got really into make up to try and cover up the acne. I used to pile on layers of powder and fake tan (which were two considerably different shades. I looked ridiculous). Those days were the ones that I am, until this day, really ashamed of. Alcohol started appearing in the picture; I used to get drunk a lot and kiss a lot of boys. I strived for any chance of affection from anyone, even if it meant being called a slut the next day. It still makes me shiver, and oh god help me, I really hope my daughter never falls that low.
But one day, when I was about 17, I noticed that I wasn’t the tallest girl anymore. My acne has cleared and my hair was not as greasy anymore. Hey, a boy fancied me and I even got beeped at on the streets. I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t ‘chubby’ anymore. I have grown out of it. My brother always used to laugh at how skinny my arms were. All of that felt nice; it quickly became addictive. I really started caring about my appearance, I loved the attention that I have never received before. It’s a vicious circle. You are never going to feel good about yourself if it is only ever based on others’ judgements. But nevertheless, it felt nice.
But then, a boy happened. I absolutely fell for him. Oh dear, I even thought I loved him, which looking back at it now, I definitely did not know anything about love back then. But he was the first person to openly tell me I was pretty, beautiful, smart. I thought it was forever. See, I’m a very romantic person as it is, but if it’s the first experience of ‘love’ you have in your life, you’re doomed to become a lot more attached than you would normally. For the first time in my teenage years I felt so happy.
One day, he just stopped caring. He stopped ‘loving’ me. He ignored my messages, calls. I was devastated. My only chance for a happy ending was gone and I would now definitely, forever be alone. As bad as it makes me cringe, I begged for him to stay. I did not want to loose the only acceptance I have ever received in my life. But as much as you can try to make someone love you, it never works. But I tried in the worst possible ways that I am not proud of. I used to starve myself for days, hoping he would notice, feel sorry for me and come back. I am, until this day, thankful that he did not. This kind of blackmail is the most vicious and fucked up blackmail you could use, but this toxicity is definitely something for another post.
Before, I wasn’t big but I became even skinnier than before to the point where my friends would comment on how slim I was. And again, I loved it.
I met Bart when I was 18 and quickly, I learned what love really was.  He accepted me just as I was and I can’t explain how lucky I still feel to this day. Never did I feel that he would want to change my appearance in any way, shape or form. Even when naked, there was nothing I was worried about. I felt and still feel really loved. If you have someone like that in your life, you are a one lucky person. For a while I forgot about the boy who hurt me, about trying to be accepted by others and fit into the society. He increased my confidence and slowly but surely, it worked. Hey, I even started wearing shorts on holidays!
But over one summer holiday, when I was at home and off university, I started discovering blogging and youtube societies. I used to watch so many people, all beautiful, leading a perfect life with their perfect relationships and yes, you guessed it, figures.
Till this day I remember one Youtuber telling me to love myself the way I am, while undergoing a breast enhancement herself and having her nose straightened.
When I think about it now, all I can think of is how hypocritical the whole industry was and probably still is. Television, internet were all filled with people telling me to love myself while all not being able to do so. It’s easy to love yourself, when anything you have can be enhanced and when you look absolutely stunning. But what about the girl with the wide ankles and calves? What about the girl with the big nose? I wish I knew back then.
I found that calves and ankles liposuction was a thing. I quickly became obsessed. As you can probably tell, I do have quite an obsessive personality. It’s easy for me to delve on something and for it to become a thing I constantly think about. I started researching the cost, tips for money saving and testimonies from people who have undergone the procedure. I came to the point where I though I would be better at blogging if my legs were slimmer as I would be able to post short skirts and shorts outfit posts. I used to sit there and pinch my calves, hating them, to the point where it would leave bruises.
I talked to my mum and cried. I quickly realised that as well as having the liposuction, I would also want to make my nose smaller, lips bigger, boobs less saggy and get rid of that massive wrinkle in between my eyebrows. She looked at me and asked, whether I realised how many people would love to look like me. But I just didn’t see it. I was obsessing over the smallest things because that is what the whole world does. Ever since that day, I have decided to try and love myself the way I am. With the big nose and the wide ankles.
I exercise regularly, but nothing will ever change the appearance of my ankles or calves. It’s genetics. I value a healthy lifestyle for my own benefits, but I realise that I will never look like the fitness bloggers I once strived to look like. I still admire their hard work and perseverance, but it will never be me.
Now, I refuse to believe I am less because of the way I look. I refuse to believe I cannot be a good blogger, person, influence just because my ankles are slightly wider than everyone else’s and I have cellulite on my bum. I am telling you to love yourself. Without the interference of a surgeon.
Go and read a book. Travel. Sing and dance. Flourish as an intelligent, aware human being. Focus on experiences. You are nothing short of amazing.
I love you.
Julia.

Make up that I actually bothered using on holiday

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Hi guys,
Hope you’re having a lovely summer and you get to see places that you wanted to see.
As you probably already know, as I cannot seem to shut up about it, I have recently been fortunate enough to visit Greece, or more specifically, Rhodes. It was an amazing experience which you can read about in my previous blog post.
Now, trust me when I say that I am rubbish at packing. My boyfriend tells me off constantly for taking things that I will not be using and although I argue back, most of the time he is right. As much as I can’t imagine my life without make up in everyday life, on holiday, I barely ever use anything despite packing a full make up bag. So today, I thought I would share with you some of the make up that I actually bothered using in the hot weather (unless we were going to the beach… then no make up it was. No one likes panda eyes, do they?).
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown – £15.50 – I have no eyebrows. No, that is a lie. I do have eyebrows. Just not much of them. My hair is naturally very dark (it’s ombred now, so the roots are) but somehow, my eyebrows just decided not to match the hair on my head and are considerably lighter. That is why I need to fill in my eyebrows, otherwise, I look awkward. Well, I think only I think that. Because I had my eyebrows tinted before I left, I didn’t need that much of a filling, as I would usually go for the pomade, but the Brow Wiz was amazing for just filling in the tiny parts that needed to be coloured. 
  2. MAC Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage – £21.50 – Why would you wear a primer without wearing a foundation, you may ask? Well, this primer gives the loveliest glow. As much as I tend to want to stay matte back in England due to struggling with an oily t-zone, on holiday I am all about the glow. This just makes my skin appear smooth, healthy and glowing without having to apply the heavy foundation.
  3. Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer – £5.49 – Despite not wanting to have full coverage on my face, the late nights spent drinking cocktails in bars, were really showing on my face. This concealer is amazing at covering the dark circles under your tired eyes. I applied it just there and lightly patted it in with the tips of my fingers (who can be bothered to wet their Beauty Blender?!). Instantly, my face would look so much more awake and ready to face the day of walking, sunlight and sightseeing.
  4. Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Pink Cloud – £1.99 – I don’t tend to use much bronzer on holiday because, let’s face it, you are probably hoping to catch at least a little bit of sun on your face to not have to do that. However, I still like to use a blusher to give my face a little bit of a healthier look (remember the cocktails?). These blushers are amazing. They are so affordable, have some lovely shades and the packaging is so small and easy to fit into any make up bag. Of course, due to the price, it does not last you all day, however it has impressed me a lot more than some of the higher end blushers I have used. If you ever have 2 quid to spend and are round Boots, give them a go.
  5. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – £8.99 – I realise that I probably should have gone for something waterproof as although you’re not swimming when sightseeing, you still sweat. However, I did not notice any residue under my eyes after a whole day of wearing it. A lot of people rave about this mascara, for all good reasons. It is affordable, coats your lashes nicely and does not clump. I quite like it, however, suffering with short eyelashes, I’m yet to find my dream mascara.
  6. NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake – £5.50 – I have talked about these glosses before. I absolutely love them. They have an amazing colour selection, are affordable and look great on the lips. On holiday, I don’t tend to use much lipstick, unless I’m going out for dinners in the evening, but throughout daytime, I love a nice, subtle glow on my lips. This lipgloss gives me just that. You have to try it. This colour is particularly a lovely nude and is also great to combine with a nude lipstick of your choice.
What are your holiday essentials? Let me know. I hope you enjoyed!

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My first cover?

Hi guys,
All of us have a passion. Some of us do jogging, others make cards while I… sing. Now, I always loved singing. I used to do singing competitions when I was younger but no one ever told me I was any good. So I limited myself to singing in the car when I was going on road trips with my parents.
It was only at 20 that I discovered my singing teacher, Charlotte. She gave me confidence and believed in me. I am not amazing at singing. Nor will I ever be, but I enjoy it a lot. I did a couple of open mics in pubs and don’t think I will ever make a career out of it. But I love it.
And here it is.
My first cover.
I can’t believe I have actually done this. It seems surreal and I don’t know where I got the courage from.
I’m scared.

Healthy vegetarian, beetroot soup

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Hi guys!
I have recently been trying out pescetarianism. If you’re currently like my mum and asking yourself what the hell pescetarianism is, it’s a diet which eliminates all meat products excluding fish and sea food. Now, I know I’m going to get some vegetarians and vegans screaming at the screen, trying to let me know that fish are animals too and the eggs and diary industry is just as bad as the meat one. Yes – I do realise! However, pescetarianism, for me, is just one step forward. I think even starting with Meatless Mondays makes a change, so yes, I am proud of myself. It has now been a month and no side effects have been noticed. 😉
Due to the change in my diet and a lot of spare time, I have tried implement a lot of new recipes into my every day life. For some reason, I really craved beetroot (and now, if that isn’t the weirdest craving you hear of…) and decided to make a beetroot soup. I found the recipe on Pinterest (My Fussy Eater to be exact) which is always my point of call when it comes to recipes and dishes. It is healthy, tasty, easy and you guessed it, vegetarian.
So, let’s get into the recipe!

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You will need:
3 beetroots
2 carrots
1 potato
1 onion
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1 litre of vegetable stock
2 cloves of garlic (I use the already chopped up one because… I’m lazy!)
Half a teaspoon of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Prepare all of your vegetables. Peel and cut them into chunks that are all similar size.
  2. Chop the onion. Put some olive oil into a big pan and add the onion. After 2 minutes, add the garlic and after softened, add all of the chopped vegetables. Cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, tomato puree, thyme, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Bring the soup to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Blend the soup together (I used a hand blender).
  5. To serve I used some greek yoghurt, grated cheese and parsley.

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Enjoy!

Holiday Essentials

 

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetWith summer fully gracing us with its presence, a lot of people are getting ready for their holidays. Whether you are going abroad or staying in the country, I wanted to share with you what I can’t live without on holiday. Hope you enjoy!
  1. A hat – I suffer from health anxiety. And how is this anything to do with hats? Well, when you suffer from health anxiety every little symptom turns into a massive deal. When on holiday, I am paranoid about suffering from heat stroke due to being exposed in the sun for too long. Keeping a hat on, allows me to protect my head and so, ease my anxiety. You should really wear it, even if you don’t suffer with anxiety though. Heat stroke is a real thing!
  2. Appropriate clothing – I love a relaxing holiday, (which is why a bikini is a necessity!)  but I can’t stay at the beach or by the pool for too long. I’m the kind of person who loves exploring new places, often by foot. A bikini, loose, cotton clothing and comfortable shoes (usually my trusty Birkenstocks) I literally live in on holidays.
  3. SPF and Aftersun – I mean.. do I have to explain this one? I burn. Badly. After a day on the beach, I look like a lobster. And that is with SPF. SPF 50 is therefore necessary for me, especially around the face and shoulders area. I usually use a 20 for the rest of my body and try to reapply every time I get out of the sea, even though the brands claim to be water resistant. I mean.. you can never be too safe, right? Aftersun (I’m screaming Love Island reference) is also a must to help your skin heal after being exposed to the sun. In the picture, there are my trusty Nivea ones which I have used ever since I was little. On the other hand though, my boyfriend rarely ever uses SPF and never suffers. Where is the justice?
  4. Backpack – Pretty much similar to number 2. As stated already, I love exploring and trips when on holiday. Backpacks make carrying a load just that little bit more comfortable. When in hot places, you definitely need a bottle of water, or even a spare pair of sunglasses. Instead of hurting your shoulder by carrying a massive beach bag, backpacks are there to save you.
  5. Hair products – When you’re out on the beach or going for a skiing holiday, your hair will suffer. Whether it’s the intense heat, cold, sea salt or the sun. My hair is half bleached which means it’s prone to get dry anyway. Having a hair oil such as the Morrocan one, allows you to moisturise any of these dry strands whenever you feel the need to without weighing your beachy locks down.
  6. A camera – Sorry, it’s not in the picture. I was taking the photo with it! I always have a camera with me when on holiday or even during any weekends away or even just the occasional one day trips to new places. I love to document my life and look back at the memories at later stages. I am still to print all of my photographs out. I have a few albums from when I was a child and absolutely love looking through them as they bring back a lot of nostalgia. I think it’s a shame that the habit of printing out photographs has been lost in the digital era of cameras. Definitely a goal for this year!