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!

My trip to Rhodes – Part 1 – About Rhodes

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I went on holiday, whooo! Going on holiday would probably be my favourite thing in the world. I love discovering new places, foods and meeting new people. This recent trip has inspired us (my boyfriend and I) to hopefully, in two years’ time save enough money to go travelling for a year. I have never been the one to consider this; I get easily anxious and value stability as it often calms me down.
But this trip was… different. It was my first holiday without parents (I know, I’m 21… but money doesn’t grow on trees!) and maybe that’s what made it so special for us. We were free. We saw places. We met people whom I will actually keep in touch with. We fell in love with travelling. So, keep your fingers crossed for me. I hope this isn’t just the holiday blues speaking through me.
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I loved Rhodes. We stayed in the capital, Rhodes Town, more specifically in the centre of the Old Town. It was incredibly romantic. The atmosphere of the surroundings and our hotel was everything we could have wished for. We stayed in a place called Kristina’s Rooms. Now, we are not at all the all-inclusive-holiday-by-the-pool kind of people. We honestly just need a hotel to sleep in, have a shower in and occasionally use the wi-fi. This hotel gave us all that with great style. The rooms were very comfortable, nicely decorated and cool (in the temperature sense! You need it in Rhodes). Each room had a little outside seating area that allowed you to chill and relax in the shade on the days when it was just that little bit too hot. Nothing more we could have asked for and would definitely recommend. We booked our hotel and flights through Expedia and for 11 nights, payed around £800 for both of us, which was a pretty good deal.
The hotel was also very well situated. As we have travelled by plane, we needed something that was close to all of the attractions and the public transport. Situated in the Old Town, the hotel allowed us to explore these areas as well as being within walking distance to the beach and the New Town where all of the more modern shops and bars are.
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Rhodes Town has a lot to offer. If you’re a historical junkie then it is a place for you. You can visit the museums, castles and ancient building such as the remains of the Temple of Apollo or the old stadium. To be honest, walking anywhere in the Old Town would be exciting for you. If you’re more of a nightlife lover then you will not be disappointed by what Rhodes has to offer either. The many clubs and bars of the New Town (Old Town also!) are surely to keep you entertained for days with many offering deals and discounts for tourists (I will do a post on where to eat and drink in Rhodes Town soon, so stay tuned if you’re interested!). If you’re into nature and architecture, the views are breathtaking. Adrenaline junkie? Why not try the scuba-diving experiences? (a post on that coming soon too!)
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If you’re currently looking for a place to go on holiday, I would definitely recommend Rhodes. I do have to say, it is quite a touristy place, but saying that, it does have an authentic feel. You do have to be careful of any scams, like bar owners convincing you to come and drink a beer and ending up bringing you the biggest one you have ever saw and asking you to pay €16 for one. Usually, the best places don’t require people convincing you to have a seat. The Greeks (well, at least the ones that we have met!) were all lovely people and came forward as very intelligent and open-minded. Except for a certain few Greeks, who were more open about their appreciation for the opposite sex! 🙂
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Have you ever been to Rhodes? Are there any places you would love to visit in the future? I know I surely have a list! I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Julia xProcessed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Oily dehydrated skin… what?!

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Hi guys,
hope you’re having a lovely weekend. I certainly am… (except for the massive load of University work that is still waiting for me to complete it. But hey, nothing’s more important than a roast dinner at a pub on a Sunday, right?!)
Today, I wanted to talk to you about my skin. The one on my face.
Now, I have written (spoken?) about this subject a lot before and from what you can gather from my previous post,  my skin has always been very problematic. In the weekday mornings (and I do not know why there is a difference!) my skin is quite smooth and manageable, as at the weekend mornings it turns into a dry mess that makes applying foundation, without a dump beauty blender, pretty much impossible (is it the lay in? Please tell me it’s not the lay in…). No matter how my skin behaves in the mornings, by about 2pm you could literally be able to see your own reflection on my forehead. No, I am not exaggerating. The sebum build up on my forehead, nose and tops of my cheeks was something that has haunted me ever since my teenage years. I have always blamed it on having oily skin and kept using moisturises focused on this condition or… not use a moisturiser at all (I know, beauty addicts, it’s a sin!). It was only very recently that I have decided to get my skin checked by a skin expert (they probably have a specific name?) at a SPA we went to and I could not have been more wrong about my skin. I found out that my skin was classified as oily DEHYDRATED skin. At first I was like… is this even a thing? My poor, ignorant self has only ever heard of three skin types; oily, dry and combination, so this was a complete mystery. It turned out I had to thoroughly hydrate my skin in order to stop the excess sebum production, because apparently that’s what happens when your skin does not have enough moisture.
So… I have completely switched up my skincare routine in order to match the needs of my skin. Maybe, this will help someone out there. I use these products in the order shown, except for the last Aveda mask which I only put on overnight. These products are highly moisturising and nourishing which is apparently what my skin has been missing. I have noticed that with the right primer (hello, Benefit Porefessional!) my skin does not produce half of the oil is used to and has sorted itself out in the morning. I still get an occasional dry skin on my nose but I am yet to find a good exfoliator. Any ideas?
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Thayer Cucumber Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Alcohol-Free Toner – £16.00 – 355ml
Avene Soothing Moisture Mask – £11.50 – 50ml
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Rich Cream – £17.00 – 50ml
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum – £19.00 – 30ml