UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Friday, 3 November 2017

Growth: Knowing What To Keep & What To Leave Behind

Growth is a funny thing isn't it. ( And no, I'm not talking about the significant growth of my abdomen due to one/one thousand too many nights of cheese indulgence ) When I started this blog there wasn't really a tonne of people with their own little internet space and I was a bit of a latecomer to it myself having previously opted for Lookbook and Tumblr. I was in a very different place to the one I'm in now and as much as I had real life concerns as much as the next person, I had more time to focus on fashion and the latest lipstick launches than I do now. I had more time to go to events, more time to keep up with other bloggers and no longer are certain evenings kept free for twitter chats.
I feel like despite the changes that we have all made over last 5 years or so, despite the aging and new life circumstances we find ourselves in.. blogging has been a little slower to catch up. I still love watching youtube videos whilst I'm doing my makeup and I still love searching the blogosphere for inspiration on what to wear and how to wear it... 

However..

Sometimes it all feels a little 'samey'. Is it okay to say that? In honesty I'm a walking contradiction because despite feeling the need to create 'original' content.. I also eagerly await the uploads of Autumn Primark Hauls and as much as I hate to admit - am a sucker for clickbait.
I guess I've felt out of touch with the blogging community over the last few years, and I can blame that on a few things; new ridiculous job, lack of effort on my behalf, loss of motivation... but I think that more than anything, it comes down to the fact that I've fallen out of love with creating the 'same old' content that I used to, and haven't quite been in the right mind set/situation to push myself to create something new.

I suppose.. if I really think about it, I feel a little like I've lost my place in this community and I'm not quite sure if/where I fit in anymore. I don't recognise all of the people at events anymore and I don't have the same sense of confidence walking into the room. I feel conscious of everything I post because people in my everyday life now know about this platform and I understand entirely the stress of being a creator full time but find myself unable to completely relate to the most current 'blogger issues' because it's not everything in my life at the moment and working as a Paramedic ( Yes, finally qualified.. how terrifying) gives me a lot of perspective on things like social following and algorhythm changes. 

- Hey, I'm not for one second saying instagram isn't a total nightmare at the moment and that other content creators don't have a tough time of it. I know they do. -
 I guess that my reality has shifted a little in the last few years and I've found that engaging in some of the negative and stressful sides to content creation haven't left me enthused about coming back to the blog.

As we've all grown up and the blogging platform has developed into something none of us saw coming, we're all busier than ever, playing more roles than ever, and there's a general feeling that no-one seems to really have the time to be engaging with each others content and we're only able to focus on our own stuff and self promotion.
I am completely and utterly in love with blogging, the idea of it and the sense of community it has brought me over the years that I have been involved in it but I think that I've been waiting for something to change and well... waiting gets you nowhere does it?
 
And so, moving forward, I'd like to keep talking about fashion, and keep talking about lifestyle topics too. Of course I want to share my love of coats, but I also want to use this space to talk about feminism, friendships and what it's like to live on your own. I want to be open and vulnerable, and 100% transparent, and I want to feel comfortable to share my ramblings as often as I used to.
I'd really like to get back into youtube  but come back with more creativity and originality than before, and I want to spend more time engaging with the community as a whole. I want to meet more of you, chat to more of you and make more of an effort to support other creators too.
I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to keep you reading/watching, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to grow this little internet space a bit more, to give me the opportunity to spend more time on it...however, what I want more than anything is the creative satisfaction that it used to give me, and that's only going to happen if I let my content grow along with me, rather than fighting that process like I have been doing recently and feeling like if I don't follow the trend of content creation then there's no point in creating at all.
It can be hard to leave things behind that have once served you, but not everything in life is consistently required and sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith. 
This blog has seen me grow in confidence, it's seen about fifty thousand changes of hair colour, it's seen me go through relationship breakups, relationship startups.... various job roles, different homes, different ambitions and passions... it's given me the gift of the most incredible friendships, only to take some away again without warning... it's given me stress and paranoia, it's given me focus and it's given me the most incredible opportunities to work with brands and other creators that I never could have imagined. 
I wouldn't be the person that I am without this blog and I have a lot to thank it - and you wonderful people - for, and I think it's time that I came back, with a new sense of self and a little more fire in my belly ( speaking of fire in my belly.. I made lasagne with mexicana cheese the other day and man it was good. WARM.. but good)

How do you think content creation has changed? 
And who do you look to for original and inspiring content? 
Share the love

x

-The Secret Of Change Is To Focus All Of Your Energy, Not On Fighting The Old, But On Building The New -

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Summer Brights

 Oh Hey stranger beings. How are we?
It's been a little while since I've been active over here hasn't it? Work has been getting in the way more than I'd like ( to be honest I'm ready to retire already) and so I just haven't had the opportunity to shoot. However, I finally managed to drag my luminous self down to a pretty location (wahey) and today I'm bringing to you an outfit post based around the trend 'Summer Brights'. I was challenged to create and style this trend by the lovely people at the Gracechurch centre as part of their Fashion In The Frame campaign which showcases the best trends of the season and gives visitors a chance to win their favourite looks.
I felt like this was a bit of a challenge for me as despite generally having pretty bright hair.. I tend to stick to mostly black or muted tones when it comes to clothing. I went for a sunshine yellow dress but still stayed within my normal style by grunging it up with fishnet socks and a vintage denim jacket. Oh - and of course - the best t-shirt ever to have existed.
 Layering a plain t-shirt over a bright dress is a great way to inject some colour into your outfit without feeling too 'on show' if you're used to more muted tones. Of course, if you'd rather make a statement with your accessories instead then this bright orange bag does the job just fine, (Matching Ronald McDonald hair optional)
Evidently.. I went for all three of the above because if you're going to make a statement then why not really go for it eh? 
Admittedly, I probably wouldn't wear this outfit for a quick milk run or to collect a mass of parcels from the delivery office, but I actually fell more in love with this outfit the longer I wore it and will definitely be bringing it back out to play sometime soon.
Something that I've been realising more than ever before is that 'pulling something off' or 'looking fierce' is 99% about how you feel and 1% about what you wear. If you feel confident it seeps out of you and takes your outfit from pass to sass.
 River Island Shoes, Socks, & Sunglasses, Topshop T-shirt & Earrings, New Look Dress, Bag & Necklace, Vintage Jacket

 I'd love to know how you feel about injecting bright colours into your wardrobe. And also just how you are in general cause y'know... long time no speak.

Don't forget, if you head to the Gracechurch Centre in Sutton Coldfield then snap your favourite framed outfit and share it on your social channels to be in with a chance of winning your chosen look!

Miss ya
X
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Blogging From Outside Of London


Something that I always find when attending events, press days or meetings in London is that most people are a little shocked that I don't live in London and that I've actually travelled down from Birmingham. As I'm sure most of you will be aware - most things that are going to happen, are going to happen in London, and I guess that for some, this can be quite difficult - especially if you're just starting to grow your blog and could really do with a few networking opportunities. 
So, I wanted to pop together a little post all about how I make blogging work for me, and things I've found that really help me get the most out of opportunities when they arise.
When I first created this little space on the internet, I was working in Topshop, living with my mom and spending most of my money on clothes and makeup. Living at home with my mom meant that I had more spare cash than I do now and I was able to set aside some money each month to put towards travel and seeing friends. Having a railcard was SUPER useful and saved me so much money on train fare (I die a little death every time I realise that I'm now too old to qualify for one) and I found that trying to schedule everything into one day meant that I'd get to see lots of people whilst also not having to spend too much money on travel or hotels. I'd also say that being 'picky' with what you attend is never a bad thing, especially if you're travelling quite far and paying out quite a bit of moolah to get there.
Needless to say, things have changed quite significantly for me and I'm now working in the ambulance service by day ( and night.. many many nights) and I try my best to fit blogging in around it. It's harder to swap shifts to attend events and I'm a little more strapped for cash as pretty much all of my money goes on bills - the life of an independent woman eh?
SO, I now tend to navigate my travel to London a little differently and so far? It's working out pretty well. I still try and fit everything into a short space of time but I tend to spread things over a couple of days and stay somewhere for one or two nights to really help me absorb the atmosphere and to allow me to make evening plans without rushing for the latest train, which, in my opinion.. is never quite late enough. 
My most recent venture down to the big smoke was for an exciting shoot with Look Magazine ( I know.. I'm pretty sure they asked the wrong person too but I was obviously never going to highlight that) Whilst I was down there, I stayed at the Citizen M Hotel in Bankside and let me tell you.. it was glorious. Staying overnight immediately took away the stress of travel, and it meant that I was able to fit in seeing my girl Elle and have a spot of dinner with my brother too before heading home.
The hotel itself was absolutely perfect for a stay with work, or even just for a night with the girls and it made my time in London super easy and incredibly comfortable. Did I mention that the beds are basically the size of my flat? The room had a floor to ceiling window (something which all Citizen M hotels boast) and mood controlled lighting, free films and blind controls - all from the touch of a tablet. Of course I couldn't be kept away from the bar for long because: cocktails and the breakfast in the morning was perfect to set me up for a day of shooting in the big city.
On the night between prep day and shoot day, I didn't really venture far from the hotel and opted for getting cosy in the dreamiest bed, watching Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids (because : my life) and catching up on some emails and photo editing for some upcoming posts. I've honestly not felt that relaxed in a long time and the fact that all of the drinks and snacks in the fridge were FREE..? Well.. I guess that just added to the success of the night.
Vintage Shirt, Primark Jeans, Topshop Necklace

As well as finding the perfect place to stay ( Yes, Citizen M have got you covered, even at the airport if you're flying in) you can also network outside of events by meeting up with some twitter pals that you may have been RT'ing on the regs. If I haven't met my blogging pals through events, I've probably met them through sheer stalkerish behaviour on twitter and just dropping them a message saying 'hey, wanna grab a coffee?'
I've found that the majority of the blogging community is pretty damn ace and most people are usually down for being a bit social - and of course, taking a trendy instagram photo ( we are bloggers afterall). And, I've gotta say.. it's the friendships I've formed through blogging that are the sole reason I owe so much of my happiness to it. The events and the opportunities are incredible and I'm thankful for them every day, but mostly? I'm thankful for those I get to share it with, people I now get to call friends.

- Vlog coming soon! Check out my channel to keep updated -
X
 
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Taking Ownership Of Your Body


So here's the truth. 
No Bullshit.
I've spent the majority of my memorable life despising my body. The only time I remember being remotely happy with it was after an operation where I wasn't able to eat properly for months. 
I've had 'episodes' where I've felt a little more in tune with my body.. after regular yoga practice and meditation and I guess there's also a small sense of acceptance that comes with age. (Yes I know I'm not 80 but honestly.. I feel like the negative relationship I have with my body is at much less of an extreme than it was in my teenage years) 
I guess part of it has been not feeling ownership of my body. For as long as I can remember, it has been someone else's body.. to accept.. comment on...hold.

No More.

I don't think it's just about acceptance either.. it's about acceptance because of the 'flaws'.. and not in spite of them.

I grew up - like most of you I'm sure - surrounded by images of women.. slated if they weren't fitting the very 'specific' mould, or praised for loosing weight. Widely unachievable bodies are used to sell products to men who want to be seen with those unachievable bodies, and to women who want to have those unachievable bodies.
Surely it's about time we saw 'women like us' as inspiration too. Women with big hearts and an open mind.
 Women of different shapes, sizes and colours.
Women who truly represent the reality of what it is to be female.
 

Something that I've always used a form of 'feminine protection' - if you will - is having long hair. I don't feel confident in my body and my dress sense can be a little grungey at the best of times. Having my hair cut short was something I feared as I felt like I was getting rid of the one thing - if anything - that had the potential to define me as 'pretty'. 
And so.. when the time came to take these photos.. with shorter hair and a low self esteem.. I wasn't exactly buzzing about it. 
Something I realised during the process.. was how much dressing for myself could make me feel so on top of things... like I'd got my shit together and could tackle whatever the day would throw at me.
It made me realise how much of a boost I can get from wearing some sexy AF underwear just for me.
 I'm obviously not trying to claim that wearing a good bra will solve all of life's problems (although how fab would that be) but more that there's something to be said for for forcing yourself to get up - get ready - and power your way through the day, faking it until you make it.
I've been making a real effort recently to boost my self esteem - not just by trying to limit that judgemental little gremlin in my brain but also by heading to the gym, reminding myself that it's -okay and also possible - to eat and still change your body shape, and by taking care and actually - pride - in the materials that I choose to wrap around my body.






Simply Beach Lingerie *


Thanks to Simply Beach  (who create the most confidence boosting swimwear AND lingerie ) for giving me the opportunity to treat myself, and for allowing me to see myself with an outsiders eyes.
I guess my aim in posting this is to say that it's okay to look like me.
It's okay to look like you too.
I've got a long road ahead of me.. but if I can walk it whilst wearing some beautiful underwear? That's got to be a good start right?

X

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

How To Attract A Man....

For those of you that follow me on twitter, you might already have a little insight into what this post is about, but for those of you who don't? Let me explain..
So, I work in the ambulance service.. there's a large population of staff that are male and 'banter' is something that comes with the job and if I'm honest.. I love it. I'm not easily offended or argumentative, but something that a male nurse said to me the other day really got me thinking ( and tweeting ha).
I was told that if I wanted to attract a man I should wear less makeup.
The first thing I'd like to point out is that I didn't approach the subject of wanting to attract a man in the slightest.. in fact, I was just talking to another member of staff when I was offered the 'advice'. 
Bizarrely it seemed to come from a 'good place'? as much as it was inherently wrong.. in my opinion anyway. It was also a little bizarre to me that wearing makeup for myself was totally incomprehensible.
So, I took to twitter to ask some of you guys the reasons why you wore makeup.. was it for yourself? or to attract a partner? I thought that I already knew the answer but I guess there was part of me that wondered... 'Am I the only one who wears makeup to make myself feel better?'
You might not be surprised to find out that 95% of the wonderful humans that had their say, said that they totally wore makeup for themselves. The lovely Beth from whatshedid said 'It makes me feel good. It's my passion. Ain't no man coming between me and my makeup brushes' and the idea that makeup makes us feel good ran through the whole thread, with Rebecca saying 'It's my armour. My mask. My conformation to myself that I've got my shit together and can take what is thrown at me' and after having a conversation with Tessa who said that she wore makeup for both herself and others, we then came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much to 'attract' someone else, but 'it is just to feel more presentable!'
I guess that there's a few things going on here.. 
Firstly, a little bit of unsolicited advice that I didn't want or need. Lessons on how to attract a man? No thanks.
Secondly, did he speak for all men? Does every male that I encounter think that I'm trying to 'attract' him because I'm wearing makeup?
Thirdly, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind.. I did not pause for a mere nanosecond before responding 'I wear it for myself'.. but I wonder if perhaps we need to unpick this a little more?
Topshop Blazer(old) & Joni Jeans, FanClubClothing Tee, New Look Boots, JewelleryBox Jewellery
 
So yeah... I wear makeup because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel 'put together' and prepared to take on whatever the day has in store for me. It actually has that much of a positive impact on my drive that my - wonderful, beautiful, sassy as hell - friend Elle and I are forever encouraging each other to wear a red lip on a down or difficult day because it just gives us something.. something extra. I believe it's called sass?

 I guess where I'm a little confused, is where that good feeling comes from.. is it something that makes me feel good because I'm changing how other people see me? Maybe.. Do I sometimes use it as a bit of a barrier and defense mechanism? Probably.. but do I wear it 'to attract a man'... No.. no I do not. I'm fully aware that if someone was attracted to me, I'd need them to be attracted to my creepy little gremlin face that hides under the makeup too.. but more than that.. I'd need them to be attracted to the kind of person I am.. my actions.. and my beliefs.
Admittedly, I'd never turn up to a date all bare gremlin faced.. but I wouldn't turn up to any situation where I was meeting someone new or doing something fancy with my gremlin face.. cause I enjoy the way makeup makes me feel and actually yeah.. I enjoy the way that it can make me look. I enjoy the application of it, of picking shades and colours.... the constant struggle for the perfect winged liner and the sassy red lip.

I guess I'm just at the point where I'm thinking..
 No one has the right to tell you why you're doing things and to do them differently
If you don't want to wear makeup? Awesome, I stand by you girl.. equally, if you're rocking a wing and a bold lip.. I'm gonna go ahead and compliment you on your application of that wing because.. I stand by you girl.

Oh, and also.. a little sidenote - you should never have to change yourself to 'attract' someone. It's not necessary and it doesn't work anyway. Stay true to yourself.. I'm sure there are potential partners out there somewhere that aren't distraught at the sight of your glittery eyeshadow.

So... when this post goes live I will have just finished a night shift and do you think I'm wearing my usual full face of expensive beauty gunk? 
You bet I am.

So come on then guys... what's your stance on this whole thang? Lets chat.

X


*For a chance to win all of the jewellery I'm wearing in this post, head over to my Instagram *

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

How To Style Your Undercut Three Ways

So as you guys may or may not have noticed, I've been going through somewhat of a hair transformation over the last few months and one of my recent additions to the fro has been an undercut. If I'm totally honest.. I'd been considering it for ages but wasn't brave enough until the pink hair dye I'd been using had started to make my hair break so much around the hairline that I practically already had one and so I thought, 'It's now or never!' and here I am!
And so, with that, I thought I'd put together a small post of a few ideas for styling your undercut as I know I've been having fun with different ways of showing it off ever since I got it shaved in!

1. Dutch Braids. If you're anything like me, the idea of trying to do dutch braids on yourself probably fills you with fear but I've got to say.. with hardly any practice I've managed to get myself into a place where I can actually make a 'good enough' job of them and I think it's such a cool way of showing off the undercut too. From the front and sides you'd never know but from the back you can see the undercut and pattern poking through and that my friends is what I'm all about. It's a super easy hairstyle that takes minutes, great for hair that could do with a bit of a wash and still gives a little 'somethin somethin' with minimal effort.

2. Space Buns. Because what instagrammer would be worth their salt if they hadn't at least tried space buns eh? Part of me likes this style because they kind of look like ears and I can get away with pretending I'm a teddy or a cat for all of about ten seconds before I have to get back to pretending to adult efficiently. Anyway I digress, this super simple style is perfect for those in a bit of a rush because it takes no time at all. I'm also a fan of messy buns so you don't even have to put too much effort into the 'styling' - if you will - of your space buns. One thing I will say is that you're a better human than I am if you can leave them uneven. I can't STAND it if one is slightly higher than the other. My bad.
 

3 Top Knot. I don't think I know one gal who doesn't massively approve of a top knot at the end of the day. The benefit of having an undercut is that wearing your hair up is no longer seen as 'I can't be bothered to do my hair' but tends to migrate a little easier into 'effortlessly cool' realms. (Of course, I am still the lamest person to grace the planet and any dreams of being effortlessly cool are still massively out of reach but hey, every little counts.. right?) Anywhooo, this has probably been my favourite way to wear my hair since getting my undercut shaved in as it really shows off the undercut without distracting from it. 

Would you ever brave the shave?
Would love to hear your thoughts!
x


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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Love Yourself First

Happy Valentines/Galentines/Palentines/Love Day guys! 
I just wanted to have a quick chat to you about the importance of loving yourself regardless of whether you're single, partnered up or somewhere in that messy space in-between.
I know that today is traditionally about spoiling our partners.. a 'named' day to express love and affection and whilst some may argue that it's not necessary, and others look forward to it all year round.. I feel like it's all kind of irrelevant if you don't love yourself first.
*you are excused to do a mini vomit*
I'll be the first person to admit I'm pretty shit at the whole 'self love/self care' thing but I'd like to think that I'm slowly.. s l o w l y.. getting there.
As much as I 100% support loving what you see in the mirror, putting your needs first, being kinder to yourself, not beating yourself up for the occasional takeaway etc.. what I'm really trying to get at is the importance of strengthening our ability to love ourselves as an independent.. not just as 'the other half.
The way I see it.. Valentines Day isn't a day for feeling bitter, it's a day for celebrating being comfortable, whether that be alone or with another. Having the ability to be comfortable in our own skin.. to really appreciate our good qualities and be proud of ourselves if we do well.. those are the things that make us not only happier within ourselves.. but they make us much better people to be around, to spend time with, and to invest in.
Something I've found that has really helped contribute to my growth as a reasonable human is by surrounding myself with the best people, and really building up a 'team' of favourite humans. I really don't think that it matters how big or small your team is either.. just as long as they help you grow in confidence, happiness and self worth .
Glasses Direct Glasses* Forever 21 Dress, Topshop Coat, Dr Martens

I know it's kind of cliche to be all 'you've gotta love yourself' but I guess I just want you all to know that you're awesome. I know what it feels like to be so far away from knowing that and I just want to give you all a little nudge - just in case you need it - in the right direction. (The direction of being easier on yourself, being more comfortable with yourself and trialing a little acceptance here and there.)
 Whether you're in a relationship or not, whether you're the happiest you've ever been or you're struggling more than ever.. you...  YES YOU .... you're doing great and please know,  you're always.. always part of my team. 

X

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Personal Notes For 2017

Well then.. wasn't 2016 the rollercoaster you never saw coming?
You reached some personal highs and some incredible lows and I think that it's important to remember that although sometimes it can feel like you haven't moved forward one bit and that you're stuck right back where you were... you've learned SO MUCH and you really have grown as a person.
You've grown up - and you can stop pulling that face right now, it's true. You've taken responsibility for yourself.. for your feelings and your actions. You've moved into a flat on the other side of town - ONYOUROWN - bought a new car.. you've managed to hold down your job without getting the sack despite your numerous hair colours and you've allowed yourself to be vulnerable and have an open heart with another human being despite all of the fear and anxiety that being broken hearted again brought to your door.
Life has been hard sometimes, but you've learned to remain soft and how integral that is to your values. You've learned the importance of not being defined by others actions and words, and that even when it feels like you're backed into a corner, like your very core is being attacked... to remain true to yourself and to still be 'nice'.
In fact... you've learned that 'being nice' is underrated and that actually, offering a warm smile and a friendly ear can do wonders for others but also for yourself. 
Whilst we're on that note.. you've managed to consolidate and grow friendships with some really important people ( people that are compassionate, caring, honest and really DO have your back) and my God if you don't continue with that into 2017 I'll probably hurt you.
I know that you've seen life.. and a fair bit of death... that's only going to continue but I think it's important to keep dealing with it in the way that you are. You're tougher than you were and you were told that you would be...(much to your disapproval of course.) The thing is, being 'tough' is fine.. it's good to be able to deal with what life throws at you.. it's a really good tool to have but don't go turning cold on me. Always keep that sense of fun and warmth.. it's integral to your being and it's one of your most important qualities. 
Your ability to laugh through the hard times is something that you've really developed in the last few years or so and it's done you nothing but good. 
Stop taking things so personally. 
Sometimes people are just dicks, or maybe they're not even bad people they're just not 'your' people and that's okay too. I know you find it hard to loose people but you're getting better at accepting change and that's great.. take that attitude into the new year and you'll feel much more stable. 2016 was the year that you really realised that life isn't black and white.. you're constantly evolving, growing and changing  and that despite how initially overwhelming that feels.. there's something quite freeing about that.
Photo's by Lauren
 
So, with all that you've learned and left behind.. here's a few things to keep & accept:
-> Keep your passion 
-> Keep laughing - even when you're shit scared
-> Keep making an effort with those who are important to you
-> Keep your softness.. it suits you.
-> Keep questioning things.. no-one ever learned anything by just accepting everything.
-> Keep up with yoga and mediation... (In fact.. put a lot more time into this. Talking about doing it isn't the same as doing it once a year doesn't count)
-> Keep your heart open and keep allowing vulnerability into your life. 
-> Accept that you can't help everyone. 
-> Accept yourself and your body. You're not just an object of aesthetics.. your body does incredible things.. stop punishing it.
-> Accept that you can't do everything at once. Prioritise and learn to take breaks.
-> Accept that you will be hurt again and you will have shit times but also accept that you will get through it.. no day is the same as another and you are more capable than you feel.
-> Accept that you're not obese, and that it wouldn't matter if you were - for God's sake.
-> Accept that you need time to travel, to gaze at the sky, to get lost in a book.. you won't be inspired if you don't allow yourself the time to be.
-> Accept that asking for what you want doesn't make you selfish.
-> Keep growing, Keep faith, Keep asking how and why, Keep strong

X
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