Monday, 22 May 2017

Bluebelle & Co...Brighton's Treasure Trove


Having lived in Horsham for the majority of my life, Brighton is somewhere that I have visited a lot over the years, being only a 30-40 minute drive away. The fresh sea air and cute Laines to mosey around in always makes for a great day out.
This last week I was invited by my friend Emma from Colour Me Copper and Katie from Katie Kirk Loves, both fellow Sussex bloggers, to go down to Brighton and have a good old nosey around a beautiful little shop called Bluebelle & Co. It sits on Trafalgar Street in the North Laines, only a short walk from the station, and is owned by Kate Powell; the director of the quirky gifts and accessories brand House of Disaster.

Bluebelle & Co is an independent boutique, which I can only describe as a treasure trove. It feels very warm and familiar as you walk in, due to the gorgeous decor, with a large cosy bed at one end and beautiful vintage style floral and bird print wallpaper (love!).
It is filled with everything from makeup bags, to chinaware, to baby clothes and throws. You could honestly find a gift for anyone in here....and the best thing being that it would be really unique.



The manager Lauren was lovely and welcoming to us all, and it was really interesting to speak to her about the shop. As you walk around you notice little quirky details, like a row of tiny children's wooden chairs nailed to the wall and used as a hanging rail for the baby clothes. So adorable and inventive! Lauren said that Kate often finds these little random items on her travels and then they incorporate them into the shop. I love these touches and it shows the thought and care that goes into making the boutique feel special.


If you are a fan of the House of Disaster brand, then Bluebelle & Co always get their new items and stock in first, so it's a place to keep an eye on for that.




I had a lovely evening getting to know the store and even treated myself to a little compact mirror, perfect for a makeup artist like myself, and also a little feather necklace. However I could have picked up so much more and have made a list of items to go back for that will be perfect for family and friend's birthday gifts.

I highly recommend a visit if you are in Brighton, and you can check out their online shop here too:
http://bluebelleandco.com/

I love to discover new local businesses don't you?


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Monday, 3 April 2017

Happiness

Happiness: The quality or state of being happy.



What does the word happy mean to you? This is something that I have been thinking about and reading into a lot lately.  
Have you ever just felt flat and lacking in extreme emotion? Not sad, or down but not really happy either. I have come to the realisation that this is possibly just our standard default state of mind. 

I found myself recently wondering why life isn't always exciting and craving a life where everyday is a happy one, filled with adventures. However why am I sad that I don't have a life that simply doesn't exist?

It's true that if we didn't have the down times, then we wouldn't appreciate the happy times. If life was just one colour all the time, then it would equally just feel as flat. But how can we work towards a life filled with more happiness....more ups than downs and less of the flat times?

From my research and own experiences I think that nothing but our own frame of mind can do this. As frustrating as this is, nothing external can truly help. Of course, you can get a surge of comfort from treating yourself to that new bag or eating some much needed chocolate, however long term this just doesn't suffice. 

There is a lot written about mindfulness at the moment, and meditation seems to have become pretty trendy. But this technique that has been around forever, really should have a place in everyones life, in whatever form suits you. It doesn't have to mean sitting cross-legged and chanting, but just having a few moments throughout the day where you allow your mind to wander and appreciate small moments does wonders for your mental and physical health.

From taking a walk and really looking around and noticing the flowers, listening to the birds and breathing in the fresh air, or snuggling under a blanket with a new book and finally lighting your expensive candle. Take note of your surroundings....when in a taxi or on a train look out of the window and admire life, or maybe chat to someone new.
These small details are what will truly make you feel alive and happy. 

I watched a documentary this week about Rio Ferdinand and his journey through grief after losing his wife to cancer. The whole programme was incredibly moving, but there was something in particular that I took away from it. After struggling to get his children to talk about their feelings, he discovered an activity that could help. They sat down and wrote their favourite memories of their mum together and put them all into a jar. This could be the smallest of details, from a colour, to a favourite song, but whenever they were sad in the future, they could go back through these and smile.
This is something that I loved and will start doing myself for my mum I think. But this shouldn't have to be just for someone that you have lost.

Why don't we all try to write down little moments that we love each day, to remember and look back on. 
The process will surely help to have our eyes fully open and notice the happiness in each day, which can often be forgotten and un-noticed because of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and chores. 
Or instead of writing them down, just taking a moment whilst removing your makeup or taking your bath, to think through what has made you smile today and why.

Life sadly isn't always a party or an adventure, but it is filled with little moments of joy, that can make you feel happy every day when you take the time to notice them. 
Let's try not to strive for perfect (perfect only exists on Instagram), and be grateful for being alive and what we have right now. 


Use all of your senses and breathe in each moment so that it can be locked away as a memory. I'm sure that this way we would realise that in fact there are more ups than downs.

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Reflections and My 2017 Inspiration



So January has arrived again. As usual full of promises of new beginnings and fresh starts, but also the dreaded rain and dark skies. To me it's a strange month and I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with it. However it always makes me reflect on the previous year and even though I don't usually make resolutions, I do love writing a list so I prefer to focus on goals.
2016 was a very non-eventful year for me. There were some definite highs and lows, but in general there isn't much that particularly stands out. This worried me at first thought. We all love to feel as though we have achieved or are at least moving forwards don't we? However a few weeks ago whilst getting my roots bleached I was discussing my 'nothing' year with my lovely hairdresser and her response made me feel instantly better.

'I'm quite happy that you've had a non-eventful year after everything you went through last year...I'm pleased to hear it.'

I completely agreed. I had decided after my mum's passing that I would allow myself time off from the world to let myself rest and heal. This was only intended to be for a few months however I had really lacked the motivation to return to the 'real world' and struggled with my get up and go. Life had changed and I couldn't accept it, plus I didn't know how to adapt.
Looking back now, instead of thinking negatively on this year and being frustrated, I think it was the best thing for me. There had been so much emotionally and mentally to deal with for multiple years that I believe it's done me so much good to sit back and not have to deal with much. A break from drama and anxiety will do you the world of good, and you know what it's ok. If you are struggling too then don't feel as though you can't temporarily stop. Boring for some...necessary for others.
I now feel as though I'm ready for a pro-active year and have a list (of course!) of the things that I want to achieve.

For anyone else that is ready to take on 2017, I wanted to share a recommendation. As I have mentioned before in my posts I am about to embark on an exciting journey to create my own brand....which fingers crossed should be launching at the end of the year..eeek! To aid my learning and give me inspiration I have been doing a lot of reading and have just this afternoon finished a book that I loved. This book was 'Jo Malone My Story'.
I haven't been able to put this book down for the past few days and think it's beautifully written. If you have your own business, wish to start one one day or just love the beauty industry then I highly recommend you give it a read. I sit here this evening feeling incredibly driven, inspired and full of girl power running through my veins!
Jo is a true British entrepreneur and I just love the spirit and passion that she exudes. I hope that one day I can follow in her footsteps with my own venture.

If there is anything that you have dreamt of doing, perhaps let this year be the year that you start. Be it a tiny step or a big leap, take the chance and begin your journey. We can do it together.

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Sunday, 18 December 2016

5 Ways To Remember a Loved One At Christmas


Christmas for so many people is a time for seeing family, feeling loved and celebrating the past year in style. It's a time when everyone seems in good spirits and the world is lit up and twinkly.
I for one love Christmas and always have...in fact when I was little I often used to make myself physically sick on Christmas morning because I was just THAT excited! I've definitely calmed down from that level nowadays (thank goodness!) but something that I wanted to touch on today was those people who dread this time of year and really struggle.
As you know, since losing my mum my perspective on a lot of things has changed. It's easy when everything is going well in your life to not understand why someone would not look forward to the festivities and hide themselves away. However just as Christmas can be an amazing time for some, it can equally be a very sad and lonely time for others. It can really highlight that you have lost someone and make you yearn for them that little bit more.

I am a big believer in keeping people's spirits alive and instead of being afraid to talk about them, make them a part of your celebrations. I have put together a few ideas that help me and hopefully may help anyone else who is missing someone special this year.

Buy them a card

 Last year, the first Christmas without my mum, whilst shopping all I could see was Mummy and Mum cards. It broke my heart that I wouldn't be able to ever buy one again. I struggled with this feeling for a while and then realised that why couldn't I still buy her one? Why put myself through the upset? I chose the prettiest one and wrote a special message inside, then on Christmas morning I went down to the cemetery and left it there for her with some flowers. She is still my mum so why not do something that makes me feel like she is still included.

Light a Candle

I was brought up a Catholic and even though I'm not practising today, I do get a lot of comfort from being in a church. It feels so peaceful and makes me feel calm. Last year again, I went into my church on Christmas Eve and lit a 3 day candle for my mum with my brother. Knowing that it would be alight over the Christmas period made me happy and I will definitely be doing this again this year.

Donating to a local Hospice

We were very lucky that we managed to keep my mum at home where she wanted to be, rather than having to go into a hospice, however the nurses did come into our home regularly to help look after her in the last few days and keep her comfortable. This is a service that is incredibly important and you don't appreciate it until you have unfortunately had to use it. There are some families that will spend their Christmas day in the hospice with a loved one and will want to try and make it the best day possible. St Catherine's hospice, near me, ask for donations of drink around this time as they offer patients and families a glass of bubbly or something festive on the day to celebrate as best they can. I think this is a lovely touch that would be hugely appreciated, so I will be back again this year too, to donate some bottles to help create good memories for some people in need.

Angel Wing Decorations

The christmas tree is always the main feature of decorations in the house and so I decided that it would be nice to remember my mum whenever I looked at mine. I bought myself some angel wing decorations that hang on the tree and have one right in the centre. This brings me comfort as again it makes me feel as though she is there.

Talk and Share Stories

This one can be incredibly hard, as you can feel as though you don't want to think about what's happened too much in case it upsets you. However I think it's so important and will actually make you feel better. Share your favourite memories with each other and laugh about the silly things that your loved one used to do. Talking keeps them alive within you and helps to reduce the feeling that they are missing. Don't be afraid to let your mind wander there and perhaps raise a glass to them at the table too.

All of these little things helped me a lot last year and I hope that they can help anyone else in this situation too. To end this post, here is a little request from me:

Please don't forget anyone who may be alone this Christmas time or who may still be grieving.
Please appreciate your families and tell them how important they are to you. Don't ever take them for granted. And....please have a wonderful Christmas :)

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Making Of Harry Potter


Harry Potter, one super famous young man. I must admit that I have never read the Harry Potter books. I was not a big reader when I was younger so anything that was too thick or had small print put me off instantly! However I was not unaware of the hype that was developing and I definitely made sure that I saw all of the films.
In the midst of the films releases over the 10 years, was when I trained in hair and makeup for TV and film. I started to watch films in a different way and really appreciate all of the work that goes into them to make them seem realistic and the fine details. Especially a series like Harry Potter is an incredible work of art, with amazing makeup, wigs, special effects and prosthetics.
So to have the chance to visit the real sets and see the creatures from the films in person is pretty exciting.
The Warner Brothers Studios is nothing new, it has been open for a few years now, and I did actually go with my mum and brother not long after it opened, but last week I went back.
After re-visiting the films lately and learning that the studios had opened up new attractions such as the Hogwarts Express, I booked in for myself and my boyfriend to go along.
Neither of us are Harry obsessives, but I still thought it would be great day out and it definitely didn't disappoint the second time around.
I wanted to share some pictures on here for anyone who hasn't had the chance to go along or wants to get a peek inside.












As you can see they are extremely generous in what they share and have on show. There is something that will interest everyone and it's fun to learn little secrets and facts along the way with the digital guide. If you love Harry Potter then you really will feel in heaven and for anyone else, it's still very cool to step into a film set!


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Stylist Live: Tanya Burr and Estee Lalonde




Last Friday I got up early and hopped onto the train to London, ready for a day of inspiration. This came in the form of a day at Stylist magazine's fabulous event Stylist Live. This was their second year running the four day festival, and after attending last year and having a great time I definitely made sure that I was headed there this year too.

My first talk of the day was with someone who is very well known in the blogging world...the lovely Tanya Burr. She looked beautiful in a gorgeous long floaty dress and spoke all about her life online and how she feels about her journey and being successful now. It was great to see her in person after watching her videos for so long and inspired me to want to be a #girlboss too.


Next I stopped at the Waterstones stall to get my Bloom book signed by another YouTuber; Estee Lalonde. I can report she was extremely lovely and friendly and took plenty of time chatting with every person. We had a chat about the book, our families and I even got a cheeky picture.


After this I decided that it was time to collect my free glass of bubbly and have some lunch and a wander around all of the stalls. There were some amazing well loved brands, as well as new ones that I have never heard of before, showcasing their products. I managed to re-strain myself from buying everything in sight, however I did pick up some things for my makeup kit from Clarins and Urban Decay, as well as some nail polish from Little Ondine which I'm excited to test out.


In the afternoon I headed up to the VIP area where you could watch the catwalk show with a cocktail in hand...I could definitely think of worse ways to spend a Friday! The space up there was beautifully decorated like a secret garden and was filled with sweet treats to snack on. My personal favourite was Jude's salted caramel ice cream...delicious.





My final talk of the day was with Florence Adepoju who founded the brand MDMFlow. She spoke about how she started her business and how they have developed up until now. She gave lots of advice and helpful tips which was fab. I was definitely taking notes!



I left the venue feeling super inspired, super full from all the treats (may have indulged just a little!) and full of knowledge too from some wonderful women. It's a very well organised event and is jam packed with things to do, so you can definitely spend a full day there. Thanks Stylist and I am already looking forward to next year!


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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Purpose....Where To Find It?



Purpose....'an aim or meaning in your life because there is something that you want to achieve.'

This word 'purpose' is something that I have thought a lot about, and especially over the past year.
I'm guessing that I am probably not the only one too.
Life is a strange old thing and there have been numerous times where it has stopped me in my tracks and made me question everything. What is the meaning of it? Why am I here? What is my purpose?

I believe that we would all love our jobs and be much happier in general if we felt as though we were fulfilling a purpose. I know that this is definitely true for myself.
We spend such a huge chunk of our lives working, it's almost quite scary, so surely it's common sense that we are happy whilst doing so.

I have always been a believer in this mantra, but even more so since I lost my mum. I think sometimes when individuals have gone through a life changing event, it really makes you look at your life and re-assess everything. It makes you realise that we aren't invincible and that life is short. You only get one chance at this, so what's to lose? Now I am aware that I am sounding super cheesy here, however it really is true.

Throughout my mum's illness my purpose was to look after her. I luckily was self-employed and only working part time, but this was my choice. Our decisions and plans were all based around her appointments and how she was feeling. This was our life for 2 and a half years. So when she passed I felt completely and utterly lost. My purpose was gone and I did not know what to do with myself.
Being able to make my own decisions was weird and I almost didn't like it. I had grown accustomed to having my life dictated for me and I now I was unable to function.
That's a strange thing to hear from a 26 year old perhaps, but I felt as though I needed to re-think my life and what I wanted.

I adore being a hair and makeup artist and always loved the work, however it suddenly didn't feel enough for me. I needed more on top of this and I needed to do something to help others and make a difference.
Planning my mum's funeral felt like a blur but it did make me ask myself a question....How do I want to be remembered?
I think that this is a powerful question and one that I recommend anyone taking some time to answer. My mum was an incredible teacher and so much so that lots of her students were still in touch with her. I'm talking children who she taught when they were 6 years old and now were in their 30's. She made a big impact on their lives and I was inundated with wonderful messages from them and their families when it happened. This, to me, was amazing. She really found her purpose and her calling and it was never forgotten.

Now this is something that I am working on for myself. I want to enjoy each day, I want to feel like I am making a difference and not just working each day purely to pay the bills.
There is so much in the world to be enjoyed and I refuse to just let it pass me by.
Of course, I won't feel this way everyday and that's ok. But I am on a journey to find my next purpose and fill my life with satisfaction.
For anyone that knows me you will know that I am currently in the process of starting my own business and creating my own beauty brand. This is something that I never thought I would ever do, even the word business used to freak me out. However this now feels right for me and makes me feel comfortable in a strange way. I feel as though I need to use my experience with cancer and losing my mum to do good. I do not want to have been put through everything to just ignore it and forget it. I have knowledge and I want to use it.

Perhaps we can all use our experiences..good or bad...to find our purpose?

I will keep you updated along the way.


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