16 Things 2016 Taught Me

 

Well, it's a good job my New Years Resolution wasn't to be more timely, because here I am rolling up with a New Year post more than a week after the new year began.  I've been trying to avoid the extremely large, obnoxious elephant that's been sat in the room for weeks, but it's finally gotten to the point where I feel embarrassed not talking about it. I know - I know I practically abandoned this blog throughout November and December. I promise I didn't mean to. In fact it was quite the opposite - the idea was to blog more once I finished full time education, not less. But I'm back - if that's any consolation - and I feel like I'm finally inspired to start writing again. Despite all of the amazing things that came out of 2016, I think a lot of us can agree that the past twelve months were, well, interesting, to say the least. It wasn't the best year of my life but - looking back - it was definitely a year of lessons learned. 

1. You can't control everything

I'm a control freak. I've never been good with spontaneity. In fact an impromptu trip to Macdonalds is probably about as spontaneous as I get - and even then I always pick the same things. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit and I like it that way. But no matter how hard I try to control certain things around me, this year I've come to terms with the fact that it is, ultimately (to my dismay) completely impossible. In fact, I think I've actually started to embrace it. Don't expect me to hop on a last minute flight to the other side of the world any time soon, but hey - you never know.
 

2. No one knows what they're doing

At 24, I thought I would be at the height of my career now. You know, my own house (maybe one in the South of France), money in the bank, a fridge full of food that isn't (a) out of date or (b) cheese that comes out of a squeezy tube. I mean, I'd at least thought I'd have known which compartment fabric softener goes into in the washing machine. But alas, I do not. And 2016 was the year that I realized (unless they're superhuman) no one really knows what they're doing either. We're all walking around blind, looking at our phones and praying people think we're answering important emails (when really we're playing level 378 of Candy Crush), walking into supermarkets with the intent of detoxing, and coming out with eight bags of sweets and a bag of Doritos. None of us know what we're doing, we've just learnt to make it look to everyone else like we know what we're doing.
 

3. It's okay to love yourself

Earlier in 2016 I wrote a post all about why I chose to change myself in order to love myself. To this day people still question why I made the decision to change myself so drastically, and to this day I still believe it's one of the best things I ever did, because - for probably the first time in my life - I actually love who I am, both on the inside and outside. But - oddly enough - a lot of people tend to think there's something wrong with that, and so throughout the majority of the year I felt embarrassed about finally feeling good about who I was. But at the end of the day, you are the only person that you'll always, without a doubt, have in your life. You can achieve a lot more when you love and believe in yourself.
 

4. You are your own worst enemy

With all of the above in mind, sometimes your mind does just decide to turn on you, and whilst you should always believe in yourself, sometimes you should always believe yourself - or at least the thoughts you're thinking. Does that person on the street care if your liner is uneven? No, they don't. Does your boyfriend care if you put on a few pounds over Christmas? Chances are, he probably likes it. When you're feeling low, it's easier said than done to just snap out of it, or believe in yourself. Instead, look to the people around you and take comfort in how they see you. I realised this year that none of us have ever seen what we actually look like - we've only seen reflections or images. Therefore, we can't accurately comment on how we look or who we are. The people around you think you're amazing - and they know best.
 

5. It's okay to take time out

I'm not just saying this because I've been so MIA with the blog recently, but in all honesty, sometimes it is good to take time out. I'll never, ever feel ungrateful about having this as my job, but unlike most careers, bloggers don't tend to the same time off as someone who works a 9 to 5. Of course, the perks outweigh that, but this year I realised exactly how important it is to switch off sometimes. I actually took time off at Christmas for once. I stayed off social media (for the most part) on my birthday a few days ago and I intend on doing the same in the upcoming holidays. Sometimes, a day in bed watching TV does wonders.
 

6. Your boyfriend can be your best friend

'Boys come and go, but friends are forever' - I've always hated that saying. That whole 'bros before hoes' sentiment is an interesting one, but for me that 'hoe' (AKA my boyfriend) comes before everyone. I've learnt over the years that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having your boyfriend as your best friend. Sure, who knows if you'll be together forever, but the same can be said about any friendship. I'm not one for soul mates, but I do think that when you know, you just know. That doesn't mean you can sack off any other person in your life because you've got a brand new boyfriend, but it also doesn't mean you have to feel obliged to have a separate best friend. Sometimes, they can be both.
 

7. After low lows come high highs

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it's happened far too often for me to not take note, and actually, it's taught me to be more hopeful in situations that, well, seem a little hopeless. Whenever I've had one of those weeks from hell, I used to sit there and wallow about how my life was never going to get good again. Of course, it always did. And it always will do. So now, whenever I'm going through a rough patch I've learnt to just wait it out. I've also learnt that wine is a great way to help get through said rough patches.
 

8. There are no shortcuts to success

I've been doing this blogging/internet thing for a while now. Years, even. I've tried just about every trick in the book to build my audience and push myself further. I've tried dissecting algorithms, tactical posting, networking, everything - and whilst some of these things do work over time, no one thing is going to push you to where you want to be over night. I learnt this mostly through Youtube. I was posting at certain times, about certain things, and I was being consistent. My stats just didn't seem to shift. That is, until one of my old videos went semi-viral (viral for me, anyway). It wasn't the best video I'd ever made, nor was it the most interesting or controversial, but for some reason it got picked up, and in just a a few weeks I had amassed a whopping 40,000 subscribers. There were no tricks, it was just a case of luck after working at something for so long. Whatever you're doing, keep at it - it'll pay off soon enough.
 

9. SOME FRIENDSHIPS JUST WEREN'T MEANT TO BE

This makes me a little sad, but it's still very true. I remember when I was younger everyone would have huge groups of friends that they'd hang out with, and I'd often wonder why my parents only saw the same few people every so often. But, as you get older, you do lose ties with people. There doesn't have to be any bad blood, you can simply just drift apart. It's no ones fault - it's just how it happens as you get older.
 

10. Comparison is the thief of joy

It really, truly is. The second you start comparing yourself to someone else is the second you've lost. No matter how hard you try, you will never be that person nor be in the same situation as them. I get it - sometimes you look at others and you think why, why do they have *insert here* and I don't? It sucks - I get it. But just because you've acknowledged that doesn't mean you'll suddenly get it. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is your. Improve on your self day after day and after a while you won't even notice what everyone else has.
 

11. Things very rarely go to plan

It's no news that I like to plan. I mean, I made the Blogger Journal - a book that is literally dedicated to planning and organisation. I can write down all of the millions of blog posts I plan on doing but, when it comes down to it, there's never enough time. I wake up each morning and I make a list the length of my arm, and then at 5pm wonder why I've only ticked four things off of that list. Life gets in the way, distractions happen, and sometimes you just can't be assed. In 2016 I learnt to c
 

12. Being yourself is the best thing to be

This is something a lot of you guys taught me - especially over on my Youtube channel. 2016 was a year of pretty big change for me - mostly on the outside - but it was also the year that I learnt to accept myself and who I was as a person. When I started out my blog and channel I felt like I had to act a certain way to fit in with what everyone else wanted. I had to take myself seriously - otherwise no one else would. Or at least, that's what I've thought. 
 

13. There is a thing as too much sleep

In 2016 I was exhausted. Or at least, I thought I was. And when you feel tired, the obvious answer is to sleep more. However last year I came to the conclusion that too much sleep can be just as detrimental as not enough. I would get nine hours of sleep and find myself exhausted up until dinner time. After countless all nighters completing this years Blogger Journal I took the Christmas break as an opportunity to sleep. Some days, I would sleep up to fourteen hours a night and spend the rest of the day over-tired and uninspired. I then remembered my College and Uni days where I would get just four or five hours of sleep a night, and - despite the bags under my eyes - I was still a fairly well functioning human being. This year it's my goal to find a happy medium. And a good under eye concealer..
 

14. Hard work always pays off

It's not 'being lucky' it's working hard. Being lucky is when you buy a scratch card and win twenty quid. Working hard is getting your dream job, or saving up to travel the world. It's not something that is ever just handed to you. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Hard work is exactly that - hard. It's not something you do for a week and then you find yourself in your dream career, it's a complete lifestyle change. It takes time, and it takes effort. But think about it, how many people - real, hard working people - have you heard about that never made it? I can't name one.
 

15. You can't do it all

I'm the kind of person that feels like a failure unless I'm constantly achieving something, which is why I always make sure I'm busy. My mum always used to tell me that I was 'burning the candle at both ends' - which, in normal person language meant I was doing too much and that I was going to burn out after a while. It took 23 years, but I finally did do just that, and in turn it left me unable to fathom doing practically anything - hence my eventual return today! Will I stop taking on too much at once? Probably not. But will I know my limit a little more? Absolutely.
 

16. A lot can change in a year

I realised this just as I was typing up this blog post. I remember the post I made last year about my resolutions and goals, and after reading it back I realised just how far I've come in the past 365 days. We tend to compare ourselves to how we were a short while ago, as opposed to the grand scheme of things. Sure, maybe you haven't progressed in your job since last month - but why not try looking back to when you first started, or a year ago to this day? You're achieving a lot more than you think. Bring on the next year!

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My Philips Zoom! Treatment - Before & After

Growing up, I never had the nicest teeth. I was a small scrawny kid with big, wonky teeth and far too many fillings. The latter still kind of applies now (what can I say? Girl's got a sweet tooth), however thanks to a few grueling years of brace-wearing and a few sessions of bonding, I finally became happy with my smile. Now some of you may remember a short while ago that I had some excess brace glue removed from my teeth, which resulted in them looking whiter. And whilst they did look incredibly white for a while, I soon realised that my natural teeth began to stain a lot easier as well - which isn't ideal when 75% of your daily fluids consist of tea, coffee and red wine. 

I'd heard about so many different whitening treatments in the past, but I'd also heard so many horror stories that instead of going ahead with any  I chose to just live my yellow-toothed-life, slapping on whitening strips to my hearts content. They worked, but they didn't last. And I was kind of starting to worry about the effect they might have on my teeth in the long run. I mean, I wanted white teeth, but I also wanted to keep them in my mouth for as long as possible.

So when I was invited down to try out Philips Zoom! I was a little bit apprehensive to say the least. Dentists terrify me - I'm sure I'm not alone on that one. But I was quickly reassured by the fact that I was going to have celebrity dentist Rhona Eskander performing the treatment on me. If it's good enough for a celebrity, it's definitely good enough for me!

I received my Philips Zoom! treatment at the SW1 Dental Clinic in London. The process itself took around an hour and a half from start to finish, with the whitening treatment itself taking an hour. The first step was to take moulds of my teeth so that I could have personalised trays made to take him with me for the at-home treatment. If you've ever had braces, you'll know exactly how this goes down. Think biting into a big, blue, minty chunk of playdough. Oddly satisfying, also a little bit gross. That part of the treatment takes just around five minutes - the trays are made during the Philips Zoom! process itself. 

Prior to the whitening Rhona placed cotton balls around my lips and cheeks in order to keep the product itself away from my skin. She then used what is called a liquid dam to ensure the whitening gel stayed on my teeth and didn't go onto my gums. 

Once I was looking sufficiently sexy the treatment was ready to begin, but not before I was styled up with some seriously glamourous goggles to complete the look. The treatment consisted of four fifteen minute courses, which went surprisingly fast as the goggles connected to a screen that allowed me to watch a film the entire time. I chose American Psycho because, what better film to watch at the dentist that one filled with gore?

An hour later and I was allowed to see the transformation. The pictures below barely do it any justice, so I definitely recommend checking out the video below for a full before and after. I was honestly so thrilled with the results!

But that wasn't the end of it. After being given the trays of my teeth and two syringes of the Philips Zoom! gel I was sent home to continue my treatment. Honestly, a month later and my teeth are still looking just as white as they were on the day I left the clinic, with absolutely zero sensitivity. And if I ever need to top up with more gel again in the future I can go ahead and use the same trays as before. But judging by my teeth now, I won't need to do that again any time soon..

AFTER

BEFORE


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* This post was sponsored by Philips Zoom! *

The Blogger Journal 2017 is here!

Last year I couldn't believe the amount of support I received regarding The Blogger Journal. I came up with the idea one evening when I was covered in scrap pieces of paper filled with lists and ideas, fed up of feeling so unorganised. It dawned on me that night that it would probably be a good idea to have an entire journal dedicated to organising my online life. Something I could keep on my desk at all times so that when an idea struck I could jot it down. Something that would help me keep track of my monthly statistics and keep me motivated along the way. I couldn't find anything quite like it within my budget, and so I decided to make my own.

A year later and I've sold thousands of those little journals. I still can't believe it. When I first placed my order at the printers I ordered fifty units. Fifty units that I thought I was being overly optimistic about selling. Even now I'm shocked when I get a notification saying an order was placed by one of you guys. It's one of the best and most surreal feelings I've experienced from behind the screen.

Anyway, if the title of this post didn't give it away enough, The Blogger Journal 2017 is here. No more pre-orders, no more waiting. If you want it, it's here. This year's journal is packed with the same goodies as last year including blog tips every week, goal planners and statistic trackers, only this year I've also decided to create an online hub made specifically for Blogger Journal-ers. What's included in the hub, you ask? I don't want to give away too many secrets, but I can tell you that it's going to be updated regularly with helpful tips and tricks, as well as printables and downloadables you can use to your hearts content. See you over on the hub!


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The best laptop for busy bloggers

The other day every blogger's nightmare happened to me. No I didn't run out of hashtags to use and no I didn't run out of battery on my camera mid-selfie. It was much, much worse. After almost seven years, the inevitable happened and my old faithful laptop finally gave up on me, leaving me in the mind-field that is tech shopping. I mean, technology has come on a long way since my chunky, heavy, over-heated block of a laptop, and when you rely on a computer as much as I do it's important to do your research to make sure you're not just dropping a huge wad of cash because something looks 'Instagrammable'. Although that definitely does sit high on my requirements list. Speaking of which, let's start off with that..
 

THE LOOKS

Granted, the looks are probably the least most important factor when it comes to choosing a new laptop, but let's be real here, we're bloggers. We like pretty things! And the new Acer Swift 7 sure is pretty. Matte black, gold hardware and super slim? Yes please.
 

THE WEIGHT

I'm the sort of girl that likes to take her laptop everywhere, just incase. However I'm also the sort of girl that likes to have full mobility of her arm after carrying a laptop with me around all day - which wasn't what I had with my old computer. But like I said, tech has come a long way since the launch of my seven year old laptop, such a long way in fact that the Acer Swift 7 is no more than 1cm thick and 4lbs in weight. Guess I better re-instate that gym membership then..
 

THE PROCESSOR

In short, the better the processor the more quickly you computer will, well, process things. The Swift 7 comes with an Intel i5 which - although isn't the latest processor - is more than enough for influencers on the go, as it means you'll be able to use multiple programmes without any issues, and it'll start up a whole lot quicker to. So you can just sit, flip it up, and go.
 

THE STORAGE

Anyone with a blog knows just how important storage is. I mean, I can't be the only person that has 800 folders filled with almost-identical pictures, but at a slightly different angle. Who knows what I'd do if I lost them! But in all seriousness, blogging is now a full-time career for some, and when you're entire work load is based online it's important to have secure storage. The Swift 7 has 256gb of Solid State Hardrive capacity, which is essentially a whole lot more reliable than just a regular old hard disk.
 

THE BATTERY LIFE

We all know the struggles of leaving the house with full battery, only to find half an hour later we're on power saving mode and rationing our Instagram time. Thankfully, the Swift 7 has 9 hours battery life, which means no matter where you got you'll be able to get your blog on..or at least online shop. #Priorities. 

 

Check out some of the Swift 7's other features in the video down below!


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*This post is sponsored by Acer*

Last Minute Stocking Filler Gift Guide

Anyway, of course diamonds and general jewels are a great addition to any Christmas stocking, but if you're on a budget (or you know, you're just so over being doused in riches..sob) I like to think that I've put together a bunch of bits and pieces that will suit just about anyone! Although maybe not your Grandpa..unless of course he happens to be into metallic lipstick and pink pom poms.Feel free to check out more of my stocking filler faves down below!

I swear, stocking fillers might just be one of my most favourite things to buy during Christmas - apart from the obligatory wine and cheese. I think it's something to do with the challenge of finding good gifts that fit within a festive sock, on a reasonable budget. The fact that I wanted to create this post and make everything match and look aesthetically pleasing only added to that challenge. Is it lame if I admit to having the time of my life styling up these gift guides?


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