My Teeth Transformation

Never in a million years did I think I'd be posting a timeline of my teeth transformation. For a few pesky chunks of whatever the hell they're made of, they've caused me a lot of grief throughout my 23 years. I mean, health-wise they've stayed in fairly good nick - especially considering during the ages of about 10 to well, now, the majority of my diet has consisted of  e-numbers and additives, but in terms of emotional grief..let's just say my gnashers and I haven't always been the best of friends. Never in a million years did I think I'd get to the point where I actually felt even at ease about my smile, let alone feeling confident. 

Now for some people, the appearance of my teeth back in 2009 might look like nothing, but as I'm sure you all know, kids can be harsh. And if it wasn't for them, I probably would have grown up gap-toothed and gummy without a care in the world. Instead, I grew up with nicknames such as 'goofy' and 'Bugs Bunny' accompanied by a series of insecurities that stuck around for over a century. 

editing out without any real thought. I don't know if I wanted it gone to get rid of the chip itself, or because I wanted every trace of my old grin gone for good. Regardless of why, I knew it was time to get it gone for good.

So when I was offered up the chance to get a free treatment at the Elleven Dental Practise in London (who, by the way, treat everyone from Ferne Cotton to David Gandy) I said yes, yes, yes. I've never been a fan of dentists to say the least, but I was assured that this would be like no other dental appointment, and boy, were they right. The practise itself was huge, and the treatment room (which equates to about the size of my current house) looked more like a hotel than anything else. Think full-length sofas, floor to ceiling windows and the most beautiful ornate balconies. Normally I would rush out of a dentist as soon as possible, but this time? I was quite happy to stick around and enjoy myself. That's right, I did just say relate the word 'joy' to being at the dentist.

Anyway, onto the treatment. Originally I was expecting to get my teeth contoured (a fancy word for re-shaping), but after a short consultation with my new favourite dentist he told me that contouring was out of the question, and that he didn't want to file down my teeth in order to create something that didn't exist: perfection. He took a closer look at me and quickly realised that my orthodontist from years ago had left a lot of glue on my teeth from the braces. Over a period of around four years, this discoloured slightly, leaving me with discoloured parts of my teeth that even I - self-consious Steph the spy - didn't pick up on. He gently filed away at the front of my teeth for the next twenty minutes. My teeth had never looked so white. Then, we moved onto my chipped tooth - the last part of my 'imperfect teeth from the past' that had got me down for so long. Within a few minutes my tooth was filled with a composite filling, shaped accordingly to balance out my two front teeth, and that was me done. Operation Teeth transformation: Complete.

This is actually the first time I've ever even looked at my own 'teeth transformation' (let alone shown it to anyone), but if you told me the teeth in the last photo belonged to the same person in the first I'd have laughed in your face - whilst covering my mouth of course.

Thank you so much to everyone at Elleven for closing the book on this teethy chapter of my life. I guess good things do happen to those that wait - or at least, those that go to a really great dental practice. Still waiting on Gandy though..

It wasn't until 2011 that I finally made it to the top of the waiting list for braces. I'd been metaphorically perched on that waiting list for four years, unable to do anything but just sit around and hope that my time would come. There was no way I or my family could afford to pay for them privately, so I just had to stay hopeful that the NHS would make me a brace face before my eighteenth birthday. Anytime after that and I would no longer qualify for free orthodontic treatment. Thankfully, a few months before I hit the big 1-8 I got called in for my consultation. A few weeks later and I was a fully fledged metal mouth - rubber bands and all.

I'll spare you the next few years of my teeth transformation, since a lot of you will already know the pleasures of having braces tightened and having the wires scratch the inside of your mouth on an almost hourly basis. It sucked, but it was absolutely one of the best things I ever did for myself. Almost three years later - right before I started University - and I was able to get the go-ahead to have them removed. As you can see, it was quite the improvement.

But as you can also see, I didn't quite stop there with my teeth. I was happy with what I had for a little while, but then I became fixated on the idea of having perfect pearly whites like I saw in the magazines. Pretty tough, considering I was necking around five cups of coffee a day and five glasses of red a night (#unilife). I tried every whitening treatment on the market - both professional and uh, potentially damaging, and finally I came across a routine that worked, that was safe enough for me and my teeth. 

By this point I was more confident about my mouth than ever before. Without even thinking about it I began to find myself smiling more and laughing more without even attempting to cover my teeth. My new gnashers didn't just make me look different - they made me feel different too. For the first time in my life I could look at myself in the mirror and think - you know what - I might not be perfect, but hey, I ain't that bad either.

And that was that, I thought. But if you read my recent post on why I decided to change myself in order to love myself, you might remember that I mentioned I had one final thing done - almost like the final piece of the puzzle. As a blogger I see more photos of myself than most. I see every pore, every pimple, every imperfection. Soon, I set my sights on a slight chip in my front tooth that I'd had right since the start, that I had been

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR CONFIDENCE HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS?


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How to de-stress (and de-bloat!) in sixty seconds

 How to get rid of stress and bloating easily
 How to de-bloat and get rid of stress easily
 Ways to get rid of stress and bloating

I am one of those strange individuals that thrive off of stress. I like lists, I like deadlines and I like overloading myself with work. Even when I was on holiday it took me days to be able to sit down in the sun without thinking about something work-related. Stress is one of those things that creeps its way into our lives without us even realising. Sure, traumatic events cause stress, but you'd be surprised by how much every day life can stress us out as well. And if you think stress just leads to the odd headache and a few aches and pains, you're way off the mark.

A little while ago I met with the lovely Katie Brindle, the creator of the HAYO'U method and the lady who I will forever know as the person who helped me handle my stress. The HAYO'U method is a form of one minute exercises that help to heal the body naturally, whilst de-stressing at the same time. 

THE MORNING EXERCISE (60 SECONDS)

- As soon as you get up, shake your body (you'll look insane) to help dislodge toxins and get your blood flowing. Do this for 15 seconds.

- Next, twist the body as if you were wringing out a sponge. This will help to dissipate the toxins from the body and increase blood flow which will help you improve your digestive function and release tension stored in the body. Do this for 15 seconds. 

- Last but not least, firmly drum on your skin to help get rid of any stubborn toxins in the body. This will also help you wake up your muscles. Do this step for a total of 30 seconds and repeat every morning for the full benefits. It'll help the body over time, but it'll wake you up straight away!

Like most people I don't have the luxury of going out and getting hour long massages and facials every week - nor do I have the time to attend yoga classes multiple times a week to help me unwind. I'd like to, and sometimes I do manage to squeeze the odd session in, but in general I can't quite commit to that sort of, well, commitment. So when Katie told me that her techniques would only take up a minimum of two minutes a day I thought - you know what - that is the sort of thing I can do. And I have been doing it - every single day.

Now, call me crazy, but I've always been a firm believer that we as people can fix a lot of our own ailments, without tablets or doctors appointments. I used to get the worst migraines, and at one point I was so desperate to find a cure that I found myself on the weird corner of Google looking at facial accupressure. I tried it out, and amazingly enough I haven't had a bad migraine since then. So when Katie started explaining the benefits of Chinese Medicine to me during our meeting I was all ears.


THE BREATHING EXERCISE (60 SECONDS)

- Get comfortable (I like to do this in the bath for full relaxation benefits) and take a big breathe in through the nose. Hold it for a few seconds.

- Breathe out through the mouth and engage your stomach - try to imagine yourself forming a 'smile' with your stomach muscles. This will help to engage your PNI (Psychoneuroimmunology) which, long story short, is the interaction between your brand and your immune system.

- Repeat this exercise five times - or more if you can! Doing this will bring more oxygen to the body and will help to release stress in the body. It'll also help to strengthen you against any future stresses!

Don't get me wrong - I'm generally a very healthy person, but recently I've been suffering from really bad bloating that - at one point - resulted in me being unable to move out of bed due to the pain. After talking to Katie it dawned on me that these digestion issues occurred around about the same time my Mum was diagnosed with lung failure. Alongside that, a few other personal issues, plodding through my final year of uni and working alongside, it became clear to me that the bloating was a result of stress, overthinking and worry, not the amount of pastries I was eating (although that probably didn't help).

Bare with me on this one, but, what emotion would you say comes from the heart. Love, right? And what about the lungs, the stomach, the spleen? We often ignore the emotions that effect the rest of our body, but it turns out that - in Chinese Medicine - every major organ is effected by how we feel. And the stomach? You guessed it - that's effected by worrying and overthinking - AKA stress, stress, stress. Did I say stress?

The idea behind HAYO'U is that you treat the problem, not just the symptoms, so instead of just trying to de-bloat I've begun to focus more on my overall stress levels, which in turn has helped me with my bloating. I almost feel guilty for writing this blog post, because all in all I'm simply just telling you guys to breathe - something you do every day. But trust me, it works. It may sound crazy, and you may think that it won't work for you, but if all it takes is a few minutes out of your day then hey, it's worth a shot, right?

In fact, Katie's so certain these rituals will work for you that she's offering them up to you for free. You can check out her tutorials on the side of this post, or you can have a browse on the HAYO'U website if you're feeling extra info-hungry.

WILL YOU BE TRYING OUT THE HAYO'U METHOD?


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*This post is in collaboration with the HAYO'U method, but I genuinely love it!*

Why I chose to change myself in order to love myself

I've been meaning to write this post for a while. In fact, I've been wanting to write it for such a long time that it's kind of gotten in the way of my ability in writing anything else thats's overly emotive. I guess when you post your life on the internet you allow yourself to sit under somewhat of a microscope - especially your physical appearance - and I guess it's finally time I addressed the elephant in the room for once and for all. 

When you post photos of yourself online it can seem pretty vain. I get it. You post a bunch of outfit photos on the internet and bam, you're in love with yourself. Although (and I think most bloggers/internet people will agree with this) that's not always the case. I've been doing internet 'stuff' for almost eight years now, and I've been posting on this blog regularly for two of those years - the majority of these posts being photos of myself. And whilst some of you guys might completely disregard what I'm about to say, the truth is is that I have literally hated how I look for years. I've mentioned my battle with depression in previous posts, but I've never really spoken about some of the reasons I used to feel so low and - long story short - a bulk of it really was just me struggling with my appearance. Whichever way you look at it - whether you think I'm crazy or you agree that I was somewhat lack-lustre in the old looks department - it was how I felt. And it feels really good to be able to say that that way how I 'felt' and no longer how I feel.

So I publicly broadcasted the fact that I had lip and chin fillers (be sure to check out my post all about my dermal filler experience if you're interested) and over time I've found myself in a routine filled with fake tans, whitened teeth, acrylic nails and hair bleaching. I've become more familiar with the gym (I'd like to humbly slip in the fact that I *chose* to go to the gym at 6am the other day..) and I've taken control of my diet in a bid to get the body I've always wanted. I've begun to wear lighter coloured contacts after years of wanting bluey-grey eyes and - if that wasn't enough - I also took a trip to the dentist the other day where I had one of my front teeth filled to fix something I've been conscious of for quite some time. So you know, nothing major.

I've never hidden anything that I've done - I mean, how could I? You guys probably see my face more than some of my own relatives. It'd be near impossible to hide what I've been up to without just taking photos of my ankles forever more (which by the way, have stayed the same). Sure, I haven't hidden anything, but I haven't really spoken about my semi-sudden transformation either. I know, I know, I've not had any drastic surgery or anything done, but when I was going through some old posts a few weeks ago I realised that, actually, all of these little things have kind of accumulated in a way  that makes me look like a very different person. I'm going to leave a link here to one of my older posts that's less than a year and a half ago, just so you guys can see the difference.

Now I don't mean to go all psycho therapy on you guys - and maybe it's just because I know what was going on my head around that time - but I think it's safe to say you can tell I wasn't feeling so great about myself. I wore baggy clothes because I felt that was what fit my body best, I wore hats almost all the time because it covered a portion of my face, I hid myself in outfit pictures because I didn't like how I looked, and even after the photos were taken I tried to edit the crap out of them to salvage whatever I could. In fact, I specifically remember telling Ollie (and this was only a few months ago) to stop asking me to look at the camera, and to get pictures of me looking down or away instead, because I looked better that way. And smiling in a picture? Pah! Dream on. But now? Now I literally feel like I'm looking at a different person when I scroll back to those photos. 

I know we all grow out of awkward phases and - generally - a lot of us get better looking with age to an extent because we manage to figure out what works best for ourselves and what looks absolutely ridiculous. But, up until now - at 23 years of age - I never really felt like I figured out how to look good. I mean

sure, I'll look back on these photos in a years time and think, jeez, maybe I shouldn't have done my makeup like that, but at least I can look back at them knowing that - at that moment in time - I felt good about myself.

I've had so many people talk to me about my fillers, my fake tanning, my contacts, telling me that I was 'pretty enough as it was' and that 'I don't need to change' and they're all completely right. I didn't need to change, I wasn't ugly. I've known that this whole time. But knowing that and feeling that are two completely different things. Sure I might have fallen in love with myself a few years down the line but, at 23 years old, I thought, why wait for that 'might have' moment? I lived 23 years looking at people and wishing I looked like them, and then when I matured a little in my later teens I spent a few more years wishing I could just transform myself into a better version of me - one that I pictured in my head. It wasn't a complete transformation into some form of Victoria's Secret model (although if someone can start some form of Kickstarter campaign for that I won't say no), it was simply to change ever so slightly to be able to be the best version of me, in my personal opinion. 

I remember my mum always told me not to worry about what other people thought. She said it to me when I was called weird for playing video games instead of playing with dolls, she said it to me in school when I was made fun of for getting good grades; she also said it to me when I was a My Chemical Romance loving emo in secondary school. So when it came to that pivotal moment in my life a few months back, when I decided to change myself, the only real piece of advice I had in my head was to not listen to what everyone else thought. Everyone, literally everyone I spoke to told me I shouldn't do the things that I've done, my Mum included, and even though her advice was pretty solid throughout those twenty-odd years, I guess it kind of backfired on her on this one occasion. Because I ignored what everyone else said, and I did what I always wanted to do. Sorry ma.

Like I said I know that in a few years time I could have woken up one day and felt completely at peace with how I looked, but having felt genuinely depressed (and I don't say that word lightly) for years about what I saw back in the mirror I didn't want to take that chance. And so I slowly changed things bit by bit, building up my confidence along with it. Sure, my chin night be 40% fake, my lips might be a bit fuller than mother nature intended, I might shove fake eyeballs in my face most days and yeah, I might rub brown stuff on my body every week to get a tan. Stripped back, I probably look almost identical to that girl in the old pictures. With all this new 'armour' (as I like to call it) on, yeah, I guess some people would say I'm 'fake'. Fake or not on the outside, the new-found confidence and love I have for myself is very much real. 

WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? PS. I LOVE YOU GUYS!

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How to fall back in love with your blog

 How to fall back in love with your blog
 How to fall back in love with your blog

It always feels a bit strange writing the first line of a blog post when I haven't really been around for a while. It's like when you bump into someone from school that you haven't seen in ten years. 'Whats new?!' they say. Oh you know, just everything. About four hundred hair cuts, puberty - you know how it goes.

So, what is new, you might ask? Well puberty is still going strong and I have had a few hairdresser trips lately (more on that soon) and - you know - I finished University with what looks to be a high 2:1, I've been on holiday and developed a (real!) tan for the first time in about five years and - above all - I'm just really really happy right now. Things are good.

I mean, things were never awful, but a few weeks ago I was struggling a little bit behind the scenes. I was finishing up my dissertation, running to and from London for multiple jobs just to make sure I didn't end up in my overdraft after my student loans stopped coming in. I was taking on as many jobs as I could to make sure I got a decent start at doing this whole full time blogger thang, and that resulted in my blog turning into sponsored post central. Now, of course I only worked with brands I wanted to that fit with my blog style (I mean, I'm not quite desperate enough to start advertising continence pads..yet), but because I was posting so sporadically it felt that every other post came with a disclaimer. Sorry about that, but, you know, rent and cat food bills are a killer.

So the thing that I could usually turn to when I was feeling stressed (AKA this blog) wound up being something that I had to fully rely on  to ensure I didn't get behind on my rent or - worst of all - not being able to prove everyone wrong who said I could never do the internet as a job. But, like everything else in life, we all come out on the other side, and after a much needed holiday (seriously, I slept for about 5 our of 7 days of it) I've  

 

 

come back to my computer, more excited about blogging than ever before. 

Blogging has always been something that I just liked to do, and every so often I'd get a bit of money thrown my way or the odd opportunity handed to me, making it that little bit sweeter. But when my life became a big ball of stress and I began using my blog for work as opposed to fun (with a few pennies here and there) it ended up becoming yet another thing that I felt I 'had' to do, instead of something I wanted to do. So after finishing uni I decided to fall off the radar for a little while. I wasn't sure if I'd be gone for a day, or if I'd choose to scrap the idea of blogging altogether, I just knew I had to take a breather from everything for a while, and come back when I was actually ready to, not when I felt like I should have been ready.

A week without any real internet did me good. At first, I didn't miss my overflowing inbox in the slightest. I was quite happy Snapchatting here and there and posting Instagram snaps like any other person on holiday would. For that one week, I had no need to login to wifi unless I simply wanted to. By the last day, I was itching to get back home and answer my emails. I felt like I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with this blog and my Youtube, and for the first time in months I actually got excited about piecing together a blog post. 

 How to fall back in love with your blog

Because you see, there really can be too much of a good thing. You can love your job more than anything, you can be completely infatuated with someone, or you can just really, really like cake. But if you're forced to eat cake every single day of your life (#goals), after a while, you'll probably wind up craving some sort of salad. Unless it's an exceptional red velvet - that's a whole other story.

School holidays, bank holidays, weekends - these things were all invented for people to just chill the eff out - something I hadn't really done in, well, since my last holiday over three years ago. And after a few weeks away from uni, working blogging and just about anything that doesn't me sleeping and/or eating, for the first time in so long I've been able to blog - stress-free - just like I used to back in the day of bad photos and baggy clothes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. And whilst I'm not overly sure who 'they' are, they do seem to have a point. 

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When you're your own worst enemy..

I was never very popular at school. In fact, it's safe to say that I've been a bit of a reject throughout the entirety of my education. In primary school I was bullied for being bushy browed, and gap toothed (and not in a sexy Cara D / Georgia Jagger kind of way). In secondary school I was laughed at for being an awkward emo that wore over the top liner, band tees and studded belts. Yes I did have one of those god awful Myspace XsceneX names and no I'm not going to tell you what it was. Fast forward to college and I was called more names in the corridors than, well, someone that gets called a lot of names. It was pretty much a repeat of primary school, only this time around I had a mouth full of braces and near non-existent brows, as well as a particularly questionable fashion sense. Now, I'm a third year at University surrounded by the most amazing class mates and yet, despite all of this on-going (from you guys as well) I've never been more self-critical.

I don't know what it is about our generation. Maybe it's the whole social media situation going on these days, or maybe we've simply just evolved to a point where we're all self-loathing idiots, but I know for a fact that we're all guilty of hearing it. You all know what I'm talking about here. It's that voice in your head that crops up when you least expect it, telling you you can't do something you want to, or telling you you're not as good looking as that person you just scrolled past on Instagram. It's that voice that stops you from reaching your full potential and - let's be honest - it's that voice you quite frankly just want to shut up. And I'm not gonna lie, that voice (shall we call him Gerald?) isn't going to go just by sheer coincidence. It's going to take practise to get Gerald out of our lives. It's time to stop being your own worst enemy, stop listening to Gerald and start being our own biggest supporters. Good riddance, Ger.
 

Stop waiting for life to happen

Guys, life is happening now, like, right now, so stop holding out for that day you're going to be 'perfect' (whatever the hell that means) and get to work today. If you're sitting there thinking 'one day I'll be the person I want to be' you'll never make it. Every day should get you one step closer to where you want to be, and who you want to be - it shouldn't just be another day for you to procrastinate and feel bad about yourself.
 

Stop doubting and start doing

Doubt is one of the main things that holds us back in life. Sometimes Gerald (why did I insist on calling him/her/it that?) will pop into your mind and tell you you 'can't', but do you know what you have to do when that happens? Forget about it. Would you listen to someone else if they told you you couldn't do something? Hell no you wouldn't. So why listen to that voice in your head? Amazing things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone - you just have to take the leap!
 

Stop relying on others for your happiness

Whether it's gaining joy from hitting a new follower milestone, or putting your happiness in the hands of your significant other, the only real way you're ever going to find true happiness is within yourself. Sure, it's great when other people like you, and it's great when people do nice things for you, but that kind of happiness is only temporary, not long-lasting. If you want to stop beating yourself up all the time you need to stop waiting for others to help you out, and instead focus on helping yourself. In the words of Ru Paul: If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love some body else. Can I get an amen?
 

Stop comparing yourself to others

Sometimes people will be better than you, sometimes you'll be the one owning it. It's as simple as that. Jealousy is one of the most toxic things us girls and guys expose ourselves to, and it doesn't get us anywhere in life. Think about it. If I look at five million pictures of Victoria's Secret models, I'm hardly doing to become one overnight (although if there is a formula for such a thing, please send it my way). Sure, there's always room for improvement, but - news flash - you're never going to be anyone other than yourself. Take inspiration from others and build upon yourself, don't sit there wishing you were another human entirely.
 

Stop focussing on what you can't do..

..and focus on what you can! We can't all be great at everything, but we're all amazing at something. Sure, practise does make perfect, so if there's something you really want to get better at, go for it, but if things don't go how you want them to, don't take it to heart. You're not defined by what you can or can't do, but rather who you are and the choices you make in life. Speaking of choices, 

 

What I'm Wearing:

Topshop Leather Jacket
Missguided Boob T-shirt *
ASOS Ripped Jeans
Public Desire Heels
 

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