Self Care: Things we need to stop stressing over in 2020

It’s January and officially a brand new year! Self care is so important during this month in particular, as after the huge Christmas build up (which pretty much starts the moment Halloween is over) it’s a well known fact that people can feel a bit deflated and the January blues can kick in. I wrote a blog post about this last year HERE if you would like some tips on how to keep positive during January.

There are a few things that we need to stop stressing about and leave well and truly behind in 2019. We really shouldn’t be over-thinking or worrying about these sort of things and I’m sure you will be able to relate. 

Cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic procedures used to be a little secret and not something to really broadcast or talk about. However these days it seems that EVERYONE has had some sort of enhancement. Lip fillers are now a standard procedure and the majority of girls that I see on Instagram have had some kind of lip treatment and I have found myself starting to wonder if this is something I need to have done myself. I have never had any issues with my lips before, but it just goes to show that the images we see online on a daily basis, can really start to affect the way we think and how we look at ourselves, which is not a good thing. This has even led me onto looking at jaw fillers, nose fillers and an obsession with having the perfect straight, white teeth which I actually had done last year. I have nothing against anyone having a cosmetic procedure if it’s something they really want and if it makes them feel better, that’s amazing. But having procedures just for the sake of it, or because it’s seen as a trend is not healthy and we all need to learn to love ourselves as we are without comparing ourselves to how others look.

Also, our beauty regime these days is not a cheap process! We can’t just apply a quick layer of fake tan with a face of make up for a night out anymore. Now days there are so many things that us females feel the need to have done, from micro bladed brows, Russian lashes, hair extensions at £400 a session, nail extensions, tan, make up – the list goes on. To add to this,  new beauty trends pop up all the time and the pressure to be involved in these sort of trends are constantly looming in the background.

Baby Gate

“When are you having a baby then?

“You better get a move on now that you are in your 30’s” 

“You don’t want to be an old mum though do you?”

If only I had a pound for the amount of times I have been asked these sort of questions! It seems that when anyone has been in a relationship for any length of time, it becomes the question that everyone feels they have the right to ask you. Perhaps some of us are just happy being a couple and enjoying life together without children. A crazy thought right?

I’ve found myself starting to get annoyed with these sort of questions. They have started coming from friends that have had their own children and there’s nothing worse than your own friends ‘pregnancy shaming’ you. I have even been questioned by my boyfriend’s friends about this subject which really surprised me. I don’t know about you, but being told by a male that you are “running out of time” just seems bizarre to me. My womb is my own business thank you very much!

So, I feel that people really should avoid asking couples about this subject. You never know, they could be trying for a baby and not getting anywhere which could be distressing for them. For me personally, it starts to make me panic and makes me feel that I am falling behind others my age which is really silly and a classic example of peer pressure. I love my life at the moment – if I want to go on holiday or on a last minute night out, I can. I don’t have to try and find a baby sitter and I don’t have scary child care costs to worry about and that suits me just fine. But equally, I do want a family of my own and I do appreciate that there is a time restriction for females but we should be allowed to do things at our own pace without judgement and without feeling the pressure from others.

FOMO 

The fear of missing out. This is another modern day thing that I feel all of us suffer from which needs to stop. Social media is the biggest route cause of this and we all need to remember that these platforms are a showreel of someone’s life. No one ever posts the boring bits of their day or the part where they are sitting at home in their pyjamas looking like Hagrid. 

So, when you see everyone else on yet another luxurious holiday, or with yet another brand new outfit, dont let it make you feel that you are falling begind or that you are not in the same league as these people.

It’s easy to look at friends too and compare yourself to what they are doing. It’s normal to so this but it’s also important to stress that everyone has their own path in life and just because you know someone that is buying a house or getting a sparkly new kitchen and you aren’t at the moment – then that’s ok! Your time will come and if anything, it will encourage you to work towards your own goals more so enjoy the process of your own personal journey in your own time.

Lipstick – special Isabel Marant collection by Loreal

Is Instagram creating a new breed of social climbers?

A social Climber

A Social Climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone if they have something that they want. They become ‘friends’ with people in particular who ‘know people’ that can be of use/benefit to them. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) friends with that first person’s more ‘popular’ friends, then leaving the first person behind. They repeat this cycle to get to the ‘top’ as they see it.

This is something which has been playing on my mind a lot recently and I’ve been noticing the trend of this happening around me quite a lot. I know I can’t be the only one experiencing this so I wanted to write this blog post to put it out there that social media channels, particularly Instagram, is encouraging a new breed of social climbers. 

I love Instagram as it’s so visual and great for inspiration. I personally really enjoy using it for picking up on new emerging trends and seeing how other bloggers or Instagram models put together outfits, looking out for the latest bars or restaurants that are opening and also for home styling ideas. It’s great though for anyone, whatever their passion or interests might be. I wrote a blog post a year ago about my thoughts on Instagram HERE  which you also might like to take a look at.

Follow/Un-follow culture

Instagram has always had a problem with the follow/un-follow process. If you are not aware of this, what happens is that the account will start following people to get them to follow them back. Once they follow back, they then hit the un-follow button. Usually they never notice that this person un-followed them and they have essentially got away with it. The reason they do this to boost their follower account and there are even companies that you can actually pay to do this for you as a ‘bot’ which is craziness!

Fake Instagram friendships

When I first joined Instagram there were girls that would comment and engage on my posts all of the time. I was happy to be networking with some really lovely people, (or so I thought) and I genuinely loved supporting them back with their posts. However, a while ago, two of them stopped leaving comments as regularly and then stopped following me all of a sudden. It made me slightly paranoid, making me wonder what had changed. Did they no longer like my content? Had I done something to offend them? Had I missed any of their posts lately and it had annoyed them? 

It really bugged me for a while and then I realised – they didn’t need me anymore and I was someone they could drop now that they were climbing up the ‘Instagram ladder’ with more and more followers and they had used me along the way to get there. After thinking about it, the whole thing is really quite stupid and just confirmed to me that these girls were not my ‘friends’ at all – I hadn’t even met them in the real world! I had to give myself a talking to and not to be so silly to even worry about such a thing. That’s what happens sometimes with Social Media though – it can be a funny old place and no wonder why so many people struggle with it. On the plus side, I still have a lot of interaction with some girls that have been there from the beginning and they are really lovely. 

Moving forward

This has really opened my eyes though. I’m seeing Social Climbing happening everywhere, not just on Instagram and it’s definitely something to be aware of.  I’m not saying that you need to be suspicions of everyone that you meet, wondering what it is that they want from you, but I will be a lot more conscious that this sadly is a thing now.

I think that this will also really make me pay more attention to how I interact with other people. My Instagram account has grown since I started blogging last year and I still love interacting with a lot of the same people that I did back in the very beginning as well as new people I have come across along the way. I would never want anyone to think that I didn’t have time for them and that the number of followers you have makes you more ‘important’ than anyone else – it’s a nasty way to behave and people will always see through it in the end. As they say, Karma will always find it’s way to those who deserve it.

Have you had experiences with this before?

Leave a comment below if you have!

How to beat the dreaded January Blues

January has always had a bad name for itself. There was a huge build up to Christmas and that is now sadly all over and done with. Your bank account is looking in a sorry state and you are feeling like an actual pig in blanket from over doing it over the holiday period. Is this sounding familiar right about now?

To avoid the January blues, here are some of my top tips and 5 simple ways to help boost your mood for the first month of the year.

1. Get out more

At Christmas we tend to spend most of the time relaxing at home and after a while you start to feel a bit lazy and restless. Now is the perfect time to get out of that sluggish vibe and get out exploring! Go to that new coffee shop that you have been wanting to try out, go out of town and have a mooch around a different one for a change. Plan something fun that you will look forward to such as a London west end show or go and watch a new movie that’s come out at the cinema. I want to go and watch the new Mary Poppins so I am excited for that this month.

I have also been to visit the beautiful new Elan branch that recently opened in London as you will see from the images in today’s post!

2. Meet up with family and friends

Arrange to go and have a coffee with a friend you haven’t seen recently,  spend a day shopping with your mum or sister and even plan a relaxing spa day with your boyfriend. Not only will it cheer you up, but it will help them out with the depressing side of January too! If both you and family/friends are trying to be healthy for the new year you could go to an exercise class together.

3. Have a Spring clean

There’s something about the start of the new year that makes me want to have a really good clean up of my home. I like to go through my cupboards and get rid of anything that I haven’t used for a while. I will start in the bathroom and go through old products and the medicine cabinet and get it all organised. I’ll then move onto other areas such as the kitchen (we all have one of those messy kitchen drawers) and work my way through the rest of the house.

A wardrobe spring clean is also really therapeutic and one of my favourite things to get in order. You can read about how I do this on a previous blog post HERE.

4. Dry January

Drinking has a huge impact with your mood and can make you feel fed up. We all like to indulge at Christmas and January is a great time to have a bit of a detox. Last year I only bothered for a couple of days and was annoyed with myself for not seeing it through. Not this year! I am one week in and feeling a lot fresher already.  Not only will your mood improve, but having a break from the alcohol is a great way to lose a few of those extra Christmas pounds.

5. Set yourself a goal

Now is a fab time to plan for the year ahead. Have you had your eye on a Gucci handbag or new piece of furniture but not had the funds to buy it? Set yourself a goal and save some money each month and when you finally have enough to buy it, it will feel like such a great achievement. Obviously don’t save more than you can realistically afford each month. Your bills will always need to come first!

Get planning a holiday. You might have always wanted to go to New York at Christmas time or for a couple of weeks somewhere in the Caribbean. If you start planning early on in the year you can work towards that end goal.

I have a few goals in mind for myself this year which I plan to stick to and will continue to work towards. I have been using the MiGoals planner which I featured in one of my Christmas gift guides HERE and I am loving it so far! It is a great way to keep track of your goals.

What do you usually do to combat the January Blues?

Let me know if you try any of my tips and if they work for you!

Thanks for reading xx

Instagram – The good and the bad and the addictive

Instagram has literally become one of my biggest addictions. When I wake up in the morning one of the first things I do is check Instagram for the latest news. I will then find myself scrolling through my feed during the day and even before I go to bed. That’s right, my name’s Hannah and I am literally an Instagramaholic!

They say that on average us Brits checks our phones 28 times a day. That’s at least once an hour… and more than 10,000 times a year! I personally think the figure is actually a lot higher than that for most people though and it’s undeniable that many of us would struggle to live without our smartphones and apps. 

Instagram has given us a look into the personal lives of celebrities in a way that we never had before. We get to see their rants, their sad times as well as their fabulous luxury lifestyles and I find it really interesting as they are just like the rest of us – apart from the millions of pounds in the bank part obviously.

In June 2018, Instagram reached over 1 billion active users which is pretty impressive. What is also crazy is that certain celebrities have a following figure that is almost as high as this. The most followed person at the moment I believe is Selena Gomez with over 140 million followers. Imagine that many people knowing who you are – that’s pretty insane!

Here are the things I have learned about Instagram over the years:

Networking & New friendships

Since I started my blog back in June, I have found that a large percentage of traffic is driven from my Instagram account. I have quite a few followers that have been really supportive of my content from the beginning and regularly leave likes and comments which is so nice and I am really grateful for this. I have started to meet some really amazing girls through Instagram and it has been a great way to find people with similar interests as me which I never expected.

Trends

Instagram is such a great place to quickly gage the latest fashion items of the moment and I get a lot of inspiration through using this app for fashion trends.

You will notice certain trends in how people style their Instagram pictures, for example the way in which people are filtering their images. Some accounts have a yellow sepia tone to all of their images or others where the backgrounds are abnormally bright and deliberately made to look this way. A new trend which is quickly emerging is to have 90s polaroid, blurry style photographs which have the date on them.

You will see hundreds of the same image of places to visit also – especially in London and once a few people catch on to a good photo opportunity then everyone else wants to visit the same place too. I saw an article on the news the other day that said pubs in London are spending up to 50 grand on huge flower installations to draw in the crowds of people looking for that perfect Insta worthy shot.

Creative content

I love finding Instagram accounts that are creative and different. This can be tricky as I find that once people discover them they try to imitate the same style and before you know it there are a load of accounts that all look the same which is a shame. I personally see Instagram as my own platform to add images that are in my own style and as a mood board of my life. Here are some of my favourite Instagram accounts for unusual, pretty and creative content

  • @meganhess_official for dreamy feminine fashion illustration
  • @sean_charmatz for a cute and quirky take on every day objects
  • @shopvioletvoss for beautiful eye make up inspiration
  • @jodiehulme for gorgeous and unusual makeup looks
  • @vladmua for insane lip art which is absolutely stunning.

Promotions and adverts

You will find that some blogging or celebrity accounts will advertise a tonne of brands, and don’t get me wrong, that is fantastic and a great way for their followers to find out about new products on the market. This is the way that many brands get their name out there now through the use of social media and influencers. However, there becomes a point where it becomes slightly obvious when an Instagram account turns into a purely promotion driven machine. You start to question if they really did like or use the products that they are plugging or if it was purely for the pay cheque, This kind of turns me away from their accounts as it all becomes a bit fake for my liking. For me personally, I wanted to start this blog, talking about the products, stores brands etc that I am genuinely loving and I wouldn’t ever endorse something that I had no interest in or love for.

Insecurities

With the plus sides, there are always the negatives and Instagram can defiantly cause insecurities with how we feel about ourselves. How many times have you seen people going away on what seems like 10 holidays a year to stunning destinations while you are sat at your desk at work feeling rubbish…and how many times do you see girls with perfect toned figures and flawless make up that make you look in the mirror and feel like a wilderbeast. We all do it.

I’m sure even the prettiest and most perfect of girls have these same insecurity feelings which stem from looking at other peoples images. What we need to remember is that Instagram is a showreel of people’s lives. It is certainly not every day life. No one is going to put up a picture of themselves looking like they have woken up in a bush as nobody wants to be seen like that. Not only this, but the majority of people use filters on their images now which is altering our perception of reality which is quite scary.

Follow/unfollow

My last point to mention about Instagram which is probably my biggest annoyance and that’s the follow/unfollow strategy that many accounts are using. This is the reason that some accounts have grown their follower count so much in a short period of time. If you are not familiar with this method, it is basically when someone follows you on Instagram – usually they are of a similar niche to your account and you are likely to follow them back. Then, after a couple of days they will unfollow you and you probably wont even notice, but this means they have gained a new follower by doing this and reduced the number of people they follow back. There are companies you can even pay to do this for you. For me, I feel like this is cheating – if you follow someone and they follow you back that should be the end of it. I don’t like the sneakiness of the unfollow tactic!

I hope you enjoyed hearing my thoughts on Instagram – the good and the bad points. My addiction wont be going away any time soon I’m sure. Do you love using Instagram? Leave comment below to let me know your favourite accounts that you follow!

New items that you will love from Zara Home

There is something quite serene about shopping in a Zara home store. Is it the beautiful smell of diffusers and candles that greet you as you walk in the door? Or perhaps it is because everything is neatly grouped together by colour tones which definitely helps to make my inner OCD happy. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it is addictive and it pulls me in every time!

I had a stroll around London’s Regent street this week in the sunshine and was drawn into the Zara homewear store. I was inspired and just had to let you all know about the new items that are now available. I really like this particular store as it has the most gorgeous marble and gold central spiral staircase which spans over 3 floors.

The bed linen is one of my favourite things in Zara home and in the entrance way was a beautifully made bed with a pretty spring floral print in dusky pink and lilacs. I must admit that Zara bed linen is slightly more expensive compared to other stores on the high street, but they do have a higher thread count which is a sign of a better quality material.

Sometimes I feel that it’s better to spend slightly more on items that you know you will get a lot of use out of over time and new smart fresh bedding is an instant mood lifter. Zara do have great mid season sales though and you can often grab a real bargain on bedding when it has been reduced.

                             

Top of my wish list was a duvet cover with matching pillow case set which is in a Versace inspired mosaic print. The print is a light gold thread and looks really classy. I also seem to have a thing at the moment for palm or leaf print designs and I came across the perfect set for a pretty spring bedroom look.

There was a new range of diffusers which I really liked. I have a slight obsession with these and love to have them around my home. Not only do they look smart displayed as an accessory, but they add a nice scent to a room and are particularly great for hallways.

Zara accessories are super affordable and they always have a great selection of different styles and colours. If you are looking for a photo frame or little decorative item you will definitely find something that suits your own home style. A good tip is to keep your rooms and furniture a neutral colour and then use colourful accessories to lift the room. This way, you can change your accessories during the year to give your rooms a new look. Fresh, bright colours are perfect for the summer months and rich jewel tones look great over the Autumn/Winter months.

                         

Here are links to the Zara home website for a few of my favourite picks:

     

Have you bought anything from Zara home before? Let me know your thoughts if you have and thanks for reading! xx

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