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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Quality Vs Quantity

Up until my mid-twenties, I never appreciated the value of quality and I went for quantity instead. I thought it was wiser to have more things with lower quality than having a small number of things which were higher in quality. I thought it was silly to save up to buy an expensive handbag when I could just easily get about twenty for the same price at Primark. 

Fast-forward to my early thirties, I realise that when you constantly buy cheap things, you end up with a lot of unused clutter, which you can either (a) keep and end up on TV as a Hoarder or (b) throw everything away and feel guilty about all the money, time and energy you wasted on products. I've found myself an option (c) in case anyone is interested it is to pick a few of my items, use it to the max and then discard them. I am definitely on a mission to streamline all my belongings.

When thinking about writing this blog post, I had more in mind than just your shopping bag. In all aspects of your life, you can always choose between quality and quantity; your education, career, social and romantic relationships, lifestyle, etc..  Choosing quality over quantity is great because you are thinking more long term and about durability and sustanability. Furthermore, by choosing quality, you are really able to enjoy and appreciate all that you have as opposed to thinking of everything disposable and never truly understanding their real value.

You may at a point in your life where you are not able to get yourself the kind of quality items, relationships, career, etc. that you want. That's okay too; just get something and climb your way up just be mindful not to collect a plentiful of things of lower quality in the pursut of getting that high quality item.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Moving Without Direction

There may come points in your working and studying life, when you will feel completely lost and unsure about where you are headed. You will see everyone around you on a clear mission while you seem to be just going through the motions- everything that you do just lacks the passion, enthusiasm and drive that everyone else seem to just inherently have.

....But it’s okay; life was never meant to be an easy journey. Achieving dreams is tough but it’s tougher to not have dreams so you just don’t know what it is that you want to achieve and yet you know that you want to achieve something out of your life. You know that you have so much untapped potential. 

Feeling like you are moving along in life without direction can be frustrating and somewhat disheartening. You are constantly in search of your own niche and trying to figure out what you want from life. You are searching for where you belong and trying to figure out what you should be doing...

It is a tough part of life but it is not a hopeless situation. Many successful people have gone through bouts of feeling lost. While you are trying to find your feet and figuring out your passions are, keep yourself active. Attend courses you are interested, get apprenticeships, internships, voluntary work. Have a go at anything you are interested in. The idea of this is to keep an active work portfolio while at the same time, you are giving yourself a taster of the different options that is open to you. Always keep yourself open to new experiences and opportunities.

Also, during periods of uncertainty, make sure you read plenty of books- fiction or non-fiction does not matter; just keep your brain engaged. Watch motivational talks (think Ted Talks). Keep yourself up to date with current affairs and news. Always stay informed of what’s going on around you. 

If you have tried to move on and are still feeling lost, why not ask people who are working in a field you are interested in and try picking their brain. How did they get the opportunity to do the work they are currently doing, what experiences are necessary, what are the drawbacks, etc.. The more you talk to others, you will gain better clarity into what it is that you are likely to thrive at.

I know that this blog post may be vague but it is written to help people from any discipline with the aim to feel less stressed about their situation and give an indication of how to find their calling. I do hope that anyone reading this finds it to be beneficial. Work hard and keep yourself opening to new opportunities and growth and eventually you will find your space. Don’t waste your time worrying; too much stress never solved a problem any quicker!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Planning for Your Future

It is never too early to think about your future. Here are a few things I wish I had known when I was younger and I hope that these tips will be useful to anyone who comes across this blogpost.

Figure out what you are good at, your passions, what drives you and make this your focus. Unfortunately, life often tells us we are not good enough and we become so disillusioned that our dreams take a backseat and we say it was unrealistic anyway. If there is something that drives you and that you are passionate about, don’t let it rest. Find courses either online or an evening/ weekend class. Classes are great as they will give you greater knowledge about the subject area while also giving you a better idea of the industry you want to get into. Furthermore, this is a great networking opportunity. So, go ahead and enrol yourself into a course today and see where it lands you....

Let go of anything that is holding you back. It may not always be possible to let go of people or things in your life. For instance if you have nay-say parents, you can’t exactly ditch them but you can control what aspects of your life they are privy to. Don’t allow anyone or anything to get in the way of your dreams. This also includes any negative thoughts that you may be harbouring. Sometime, life doesn’t always go our way. But keep your chin up and keep on moving ahead. All of life’s traumas and hardships are lessons in disguise. So, with all the battles you face, be sure to take a lesson away from them.

Don’t get stuck in one place for too long. Each job you land, you face the opportunity for growth and development. Be sure to take full advantage of this. Be on top of your game in your post and then think of moving on. Each job you have should be better than the last and you can only really do this if your skills have developed and improved.

Be smart with your money. Open a savings account and deposit some money each time you get paid. I’ve got plenty of blog posts about money; be sure to read up on them if you would like to get more valuable advice regarding money, your savings, credit scores, etc.. Even if you are unsure about what you want to do with your savings, still set some money aside; life is unpredictable and it is always sensible to have a financial safety net.

Keep yourself open to advice and suggestions. People are always willing to help those who have ambition and drive. So, if you are a hard worker and you know you will be great in your chosen field, then let people know where you want to go (particularly those who are already doing your dream job). Listen to their advice and allow yourself the chance to be the best version of yourself, doing the job you have always dreamt of and having the life you deserve.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Simple Fashion Tips

1. Know when to Spurge and when to be Thrifty.
After getting plantar fasciitis a few years ago, I always ensure my shoes are a good quality and I don’t mind spending little extra if it means my feet will be comfortable. I also think bags are something ladies should spend more on, particularly, those of us who carry a heavy load, including the kitchen sink with them when they go out. The quality of high street store handbags are never the best. This usually means a snapped handle at best or worst case scenario, bag totally gives in and all your things land on the floor. There are plenty of high end brands, which have different price points. Know your budget and start shopping around.


2. Choose Timeless over Statement Pieces
Dainty pieces like a delicate necklace or a ring are timeless pieces that you can wear with any outfit and you can wear these for any occasion. As much as I love statement bauble necklaces as much as the next girl, I do find them somewhat limiting in where you can wear them. A cute dainty necklace can be worn in the office, at uni/ college, parties; the options are endless. A statement bauble necklace on the other hand could possibly only be worn at parties and on holidays.

3. Don’t Follow Current Trends Religiously
Unfortunately not everything you see on tv, magazines and on fashion bloggers suit everyone. But that’s okay because it means you have a unique look and you should embrace that. Get creative with your shopping habits and figure out what suits you. 

 4. Only Buy Heels if You Can Wear Heels
As a rule of thumb, the bigger your feet, the easier it is for you to wear and balance yourself in heels. So, if you are short with big feet, you’ve hit the high heel jackpot. But let’s face it; short girls have small feet and tall girls tend to have larger feet. Dilemma, dilemma....Do buy heels. They are pretty and have their uses. Just be sure that you are buying something you’ll be able to wear out. There is no point in owning something pretty for your wardrobe.

5. Have Regular Clearouts
Have regular clearouts of your wardrobe to always have your A-Game on. Be ruthless of what you want and need to keep so that you can make space for the newer, fresher items. This way you are always on trend and you can keep a fresh, clean, updated look.

6. Venture Out to Different Stores
Sometimes I buy from Next and M&S. I know that these are supposed to be ‘mummy’ stores. But here’s why I go there; (i) no one in my age range will shop there, so my clothes will always be unique and (ii) the quality of the clothes are made to last much, much longer. Girls in their teens, twenties and thirties are known for updating their wardrobe far more regularly than women in their fifties and sixties. The fashion retailers know this and have used this information to their advantage. 

7. Don’t Become a Slave to Fashion
Sometimes you will fall in love with things and you desperately want it to work in an outfit. But it doesn’t. You go online and start image searching outfit ideas but everything you see is more appropriate for a fashion magazine cover than it is for your everyday life. Don’t fret; instead, see it as a piece of art and appreciate it for that. Focus your time and energy on the things that do work. And remember your things are supposed to work for you, you are not supposed to work for your things. 

8. Small Change, Big Impact.
Sometimes, all you need is to do one small thing to make a big difference to your look. What is it about your look that defines your style? Is it that you always wear black or that you are always in jeans? Change it up. Wear a colourful blouse or wear a skirt and see how different you look. I recently cut my hair; it was a small change but it made a drastic change. When changing your style, less is more. 

9. Don’t be so rigid in your ideas
Become fluid with what you look. I hate the idea of denim on denim but I have come to appreciate a denim dress. When you become so focused and adamant on what you like and don’t like, you are stopping yourself from broadening your fashion sense. Keep an open mind and eye. All the clothes rails in the world is your oyster.

10. Have a Style Icon
If you like the style and fashion sense of someone you know, then let them become your style icon. You don’t have to copy them but just adopt some of what they wear into your wardrobe. It’s  good to have your own unique style but it’s also great to have some fashion inspiration and influences around you. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Little Black Dress

The little black dress, often referred to as the LBD, is that staple in every women’s wardrobe. Coco  Chanel is the brains behind the LBD- she designed a simple black dress, which made its debut on the cover of Vogue Magazine in 1926. Before the 1920s, black was only worn for periods of grief and mourning.

Chanel found that black was a great classic piece that suited women of all ages, sizes and social class. Fashion was no longer just for the elite upper class but for everyone. Chanel’s popularity grew in the 1920s, where men went to war and women found a place for themselves in the workforce. It is for this reason alone, that I often associate black with independence and a sign of women’s liberation.

The LBD is not a particularly fancy dress. It is not expensive and it is not a statement piece either. Instead, this is a simple dress that can be dressed up or down and yet it exudes so much class, style and elegance that it never fails to be turn heads and make an impact. The little black dress is a bold yet understated piece that can be worn to the office with a blazer or team it with the right accessories, then you have got yourself an elegant look for the evening. The little black dress is seen as a timeless piece that can never go out of fashion.

As black is such an elegant colour to wear, the iconic starlet of the late 1940s/ early 1950s, Audrey Hepburn is almost synonymous for wearing this colour almost exclusively. And I believe this is what has given her the timeless charm and appeal.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Health Skincare Tips

1. Drink Plenty of Water:
Water is a miracle thing. Drinking enough water throughout the day is essential to get rid of all the toxins in your body. This helps in all your organs working at its peak. A good measure to see if you are drinking enough water is the colour of your urine. After a pee, have a look and see the colour. If it is clear, you're doing good and drinking enough water. If it's yellow, then you need to increase your water intake. If your pee is red or brown, you may be having problems with your kidney; seek medical advice immediately.

2. Eat Well:
Ensuring you have a good, health diet is key to having good skin. Your skin is the largest organ and it is there to protect our bodies from the outside elements. Our skin also acts as a good indicator of our internal health. A poor diet is often reflected in skin having more than usual breakouts and pimples. Greasy, fried food are notorious for pimples and breakouts. Ditch them and start eating foods high in antioxidants. Carrots, grapefruits, kiwi fruits are high in antioxidants and are great for good skin.

3. Get Enough Sleep:
Our bodies work to repair itself when we sleep. This is one of the reasons why getting enough sleep is vital in us maintaining a good overall health. Throughout the day, our skin comes into contact with the elements which can be somewhat harmful to our skin's health. Ensuring you get a good night's sleep is important as during this time your body is taking care of you. 

4. Exercise:
Having good skin is all about being healthy inside out. Getting regular exercise not only is good for your body and overall fitness but also works wonders on your skin. And if exercise is not your thing, there are other things you can do to get your body moving and your heart pumping. Get involved in physical activity two to three times a week. Keep at it and notice the difference within a few weeks

5. Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise:
We have just covered the internal health of your skin. Time now to focus on the external part. Everyday your skin comes into contact with dirt and grime. This is why it is essential to cleanse your face morning and evening. Toners are products, which I describe as something between a cleanser and a moisturiser. These work to clear off any grime your cleanser missed while also providing your skin with some much needed moisture. Your moisturiser is the last part of this vital skincare regime and this is your best friend in the world of skincare. A great face cream helps to nourish and moisturise your face.

6. Have a Good Skincare Regime/ Routine:
You have your diet and water intake sorted and you've started cleansing, toning and moisturising your skin; that's great. Make sure you continue with this consistently and form a regime or a routine. Routine is great for your bodies and subsequently, great for your skin. So, go on get yourself a good skincare regime that works for you and stick with it.

7. Know What Products Suit You:
There is a plethora of skincare products at your local Boots or Superdrug and getting to grips with it all can be incredibly confusing. Know your skin type and find out what products suit you. If you like some are unsure and you would like some help with this, ask a sales rep. They are usually more than happy to help and are able to provide you with useful hints, tips and advice.

8. Use Sunscreen Products:
Few things are more damaging and aging to your skin than the sun. The intense rays of the sun have harmful UVA and UVB rays which can burn and age your skin. Make sure you protect your skin by applying sunscreen lotion before heading out. Reapply as necessary. I know, I know; it's fiddly and annoying. But it is necessary and it makes all the difference.

9. Clean Your Make-Up Brushes

As well as cleaning your make-up brushes, make sure you also regularly clean your phone, your pillow case and anything else that comes in close contact with your face. Over time, these objects collect dirt and grime and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Stop this at its roots and clean your tools as you go. There are companies that are extorting money by selling brush cleaners; don't get them. Instead just buy a cheap, store-own brand of shampoo to clean your brushes. It does the same job for a fraction of the price.

10. Quit Fretting:
Sometimes your skin will be your enemy; it will flare up or break out and it's completely natural. Don't fret over spots and any other skin imperfections. Just take care of your health and of your skin and you will see your skin clear up. It may take a while but you'll get there. Stressing out about skin does not help. Also, word on the street is that stress causes more breakouts; this is yet to be scientifically proven. Stressing sucks; so quit the stress and enjoy your fabulous skin.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Simplify Your Life

2016 was all about getting your space decluttered and organised. YouTube was filled with organisational and decluttering videos; this was mainly inspired by Marie Kondo, who wrote the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although I haven't subscribed to the Kondo method, I do like the premise behind it. Getting your things organised and space decluttered is a great way to take control of your life. It may not give you everything you want but it does create a good, clear space for you to have clarity in your thought processes and increase productivity. Plus it is a great way to just simplify your life a little and that is always a great thing. here are a few other ways to simplify your life.....

1. Get Rid of All Physical and Emotional Clutter:
You don't have to do it in one go, as suggested by Marie Kondo but decluttering things that you no longer want or need is a good start. Also, in the process, you can get rid of any emotional clutter you have lying around. Do you have gifts from an ex or maybe a letter or just some things that remind you of him? Do these things have an affect on your mood and make you grumpy? If the answer is no, then these are objects are not emotional clutter. However, if you do find yourself feeling sad (be honest with yourself), it is time to say your goodbyes to the objects. And if that's something you're finding too hard, why not store everything away into a box and store them in a place you're not likely to see.

2. Take Control of Your Own Decisions:
Sometimes, there are so many voices that your own one gets drowned out and it's hard for you to even understand what it is that you want or need. People will always have an opinion and will always want to part their advice. Listen to what they say but ultimately you should be the one who has the ultimate power and authority of what it is that you want to do. You don't always have to share your plans with everyone just know that you are the decision maker of your life.

3. Stop Following Fads: 
Some fads are great but most are a waste of time and money. See what fads you are drawn to; do these suit your need, do they suit you and can you afford it? If you ask yourself some sensible questions and you find that it is worth investing in the item, then get it. If you think you are buying the item just for the sake of having it (afterall, everyone has one!) then just think about all the things you would rather be spending your money on and know that by buying something you don't want or need, you are taking away from what it is that you really want.

4. Choose Quality Over Quantity:
In my late teens/ early twenties, I was convinced I was being really savy with money as I would buy cheap accessories such as jewellery, belts and handbags. This is a big mistake of my yester-years. The items I would buy were so cheap that I ended up buying more than I needed. Afterall, a £2.50 bag from Primark is totally affordable. Unfortunately, having an  excessive number of accessories meant I did not always use what I had and often I did not know what I had, as the items would just get lost in the closet. So, this savy money saving tip was infact a total waste of money. Fast forward ten plus years more, I would advise younger me to stop wasting money on cheap items and invest in one investment piece which will get used more and last a much longer time.

5. Be Comfortable With Nothing:
We are living at a time where there is a continuous stream of stimulation. Learn to be okay with nothing. Sometimes, it is okay to have nothing to do and just rest and unwind. Learn to live in the moment and enjoy the present, without being hung up with the past and all that that has been and gone. Take a break from thinking about the future; things will be fine, you are working your way up. So, just take a few minutes everyday for nothing. Be sure to enjoy your nothing time; it's precious.