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The confidence chronicles #2

*Collaborative post* 

Having confidence is something that so many of us wish we had. A little while back I wrote a post all about confidence in the first part of my confidence chronicles, which you guys adored, therefore I thought I'd bring you part 2, let me know in the comments if you'd like a part 3 to this post. Sometimes we might have confidence when we’re walking down the high street, or talking to our friends, but when placed in awkward situations, in meetings at work, or even meeting someone new, its not uncommon to find that confidence eludes us. For some, confidence comes when they're dressed well, have flawless makeup, their looks great and their anti-aging eye cream is working well. But have you ever considered finding a more natural and more permanent way to boost your confidence? Read on for 5 ways you can feel more confident. If you fancy checking out my first confidence chronicles post you are more than welcome to! 

Stand tall:
First things first. If you want to look confident and feel it too then you need to work on your posture and stand up straight. Walking with your back curved and your shoulders slumped makes you look small, and as if you’re shying away. Being 5'2, standing tall can often be a challenge, as it always feels like people are looking down at you metaphorically and physically, however, only one of these needs to be true. Cos sadly, no matter how much I want to be taller, I never will be. Take a moment now to stand up, put your shoulders back and hold your head up. Even if you’re still not feeling as confident as you’d like – rest assured, you’ll look like someone who knows what they’re doing, where they’re going and what they’re all about. Put this into practice every time you head out somewhere – studies have shown that a strong, powerful stance will help give your confidence a lift.

Press play:
Trying to muster the courage to ask for a pay rise? Or to raise an issue with a teacher or friend? Well, all you need to do is press that play button! Studies have shown that listening to upbeat, positive tunes can really encourage a powerful mindset. Especially tunes that are bass heavy! I always find Eminem 'Lose Yourself' gives me confidence and makes me feel like a boss. For more amazing playlists check out Spotify recommended or if you fancy listening to my playlist you can find it here.  

Remember a time when you felt confident:
Remember that time you nailed that job interview? Or when you received a compliment on a blog post you've worked hard on. Well, you need to remember that you’re still that person and if you did it once before, you can certainly do it again! Channelling a time when you oozed confidence has been proven to – you guessed it – make you feel more confident! Writing a list of things in your phone which you've done prior that make you feel good, is always a great way to find those memos when you're feeling a little short on confidence.

Dress the part:
Ever heard of the saying dress to impress? Well there is some truth behind it. Although bear in mind that you’re ultimately dressing for yourself. Wear clothes you feel good in, nobody feels good in their old tracksuit bottoms and a dirty t-shirt, they're comfy of course and we all need our comfort clothes, but when you're looking to dress to impress, it's worth making an effort and when I look good, I ultimately feel good. 

Try a new skill:
Studies have shown that learning a new skill or refreshing knowledge that has gotten a little dull over time, but it can give us as much mental satisfaction as getting a pay rise or a promotion. I am a huge fan of learning different photography skills on my camera or creating different pieces of art which is new to me, using different mediums. There are so many skills you can choose from. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn Spanish – see if your local college has any classes, or hit up Duolingo. If your maths skills could do with a little polish (I know mine could big time!), do some studying of your old text books or from the library.  

I'd love to know in the comments your number one top tip for building your confidence. 

The confidence chronicles.

*This is a collaborative post*

"Confidence is a superpower, once you start believing in yourself the magic happens."

Confidence can take a lifetime to build and be knocked down in a matter of seconds. The truth is, most of us aren't confident in ourselves. The reasons for this vary on a huge scale and sometimes, sadly, some people don't ever build the levels of confidence in themselves that they need to feel good. For me, no matter how confident I can feel on the inside, the way I look always seems to drag me down. We all have our 'flaws' and things we wish we could change about ourselves and some things we will never be able to change. These things take over our brains and often turn us into someone who we don't want to be.

If you're like me, you will change other things about yourself to make you feel better if you can't change that thing, as much as you want to. I often feel uncomfortable about my acne, and I usually attempt to show my confidence via my hair colour. However, I do often worry about my hair and possible hair loss with the amount I dye it and the stress and depression in which I deal with. I had no idea until recently that depression can actually cause your hair to become dry and weaker, from low moods, a lack of energy and feeling drained which can eventually lead to hair loss!With my weight, my tattoos and bright coloured Dr Martens tend to give me that boost which I need. It's crazy to think what we see about ourselves that others don't see. Even those who seem the most confident, still have their struggles. 

Sometimes people don't struggle with their exterior appearance and more to do with what is within. I know that I struggle with talking to new people and groups of people in the fear that I come across boring and people don't actually want to know what I have to say. In some ways, this can actually be harder to overcome than the physical appearance side of confidence as it is you fighting against yourself. Although we can mask what we dislike on the outside, trying to lie to ourselves on the inside can often prove to be harder than it seems. Mind who is a mental health charity has some great tips about coming to terms with your low self-esteem and how you can get to the bottom of the issues to be able to allow yourself to continue to heal. Blast out those negative thoughts and fill the spaces with more positive ones. 

To me, my confidence does build every single day, week or month of the year. I've started to learn how to celebrate my successes, think about the 'good' qualities which I have and why they're good to have. I've also learnt how to stick up for myself more and become more assertive that includes everything from saying no to stuff I really don't want to do to taking control of your thoughts and not letting someone else do this for you. I totally understand this is not as easy as it seems but there a huge variety of resources in which you can use to help build your confidence on a daily basis and hit back against those negative thoughts.  

"Confidence is not they will like me, confidence is, I'll be fine if they don't"  

Confidence is about celebrating the little things you do, rather than focusing on what you weren't able to do. Making note of these victories for when your confidence is meter is a little low can be a great way to keep building rather than knocking it back down again. Spend time with those who make you feel great and who love you for you. My final piece of advice to those of you who feel this way is to reach out. Whether it is to a professional or a loved one, it's worth talking these things over, as often they can give you a whole new perspective on things. 

The Ugly Truth About Body Image *TW* | #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

This post may be triggering, so please read with caution. 

Society tells us we should love ourselves, we should be happy with the way we look and embrace our flaws. We are also told by society we need to be perfect, look a certain way and be a certain size to be accepted. It tells us that if we are "fat" we are going to die and if we are "too skinny" we may also die. No matter how we look, we are fighting a losing battle and it's no wonder we are struggling with body image now more than ever. With photo editing regularly used by the majority, it's easier to show ourselves in a different light online. You can hardly go throughout a day without seeing something regarding our appearance or way to improve ourselves. Vitamins, new clothes, weight loss aids, the perfect smile, the latest skincare you NEED in your life to look younger, or the easy ways to conceal your acne and ultimately becoming the best version of yourself. This impacts us whether we are 13 or 93. Yet we are still told to love ourselves as we are all beautiful and it's about what's on the inside that counts. I'm not sold on that concept.

This week is mental health awareness week (13-19th of May) and this year it's about body image. This is an issue that most of us have struggled with at some point in our lifetime. The mission this year is to create a more positive image around our bodies, as after all our body image and the way we feel about ourselves impacts our mental health. On a massive scale. For those who struggle with the way they look it does put them off doing things, whether that is meeting up with friends, going out on a date or going on holiday, body image controls these situations. For me, body image is at the forefront of the majority of my downwards spirals. Regardless of whether it's my acne playing up, feeling fat or disliking my facial features, it's an exhausting battle to work through, especially in a world where appearance is supposedly one of the most important things.

To my dismay, this will never change. But taking baby steps towards feeling good about the way you look is a fantastic place to start. The way in which you arrive at this conclusion will vary dependent on each person and there isn't a right way to do this. Whether this means deleting the social media which you feel affects you negatively, not watching model shows, ditching those friends who make you feel unhappy about your body or not going on dating sites like *ahem* Tinder, which can drag you down. It can take a long time to figure out what really is the root of the problem, as a lot of the time we don't realise the ways in which we are actually affected by until we take a step back.

Growing up around Tumblr, throughout my teens I didn't realise it was having a negative impact on me, I met so many people that I could talk to on there, I gained a pretty large following and loved answering questions. It wasn't until I took off the rose tinted glasses and realised how much I envied the girls on the site, whether it was because they were allowed long hair extensions and I wasn't, or the bright hair colours which changed every week or if they were super skinny (even though I was at the time, I didn't see it) they always looked amazing in their baggy shirts, fishnets and backcombed hair. I felt like I was constantly comparing myself to them and when I stopped using the site I felt 3000x times better about my body image.

So many people wish they looked like somebody else, and then that person wishes they looked like somebody else, you see where I'm going with this? Nobody is ever truly happy with their body 100% of the time, but you deserve to love your body as much as you can. Your mental health is much more important than the way you look.

I often use humour to deflect how I feel about my appearance and it tends to make a situation feel comfortable as it gives us something to laugh at. As a result, I've ruined pretty much any self-confidence I've had over the years. Plus, if you say the terrible things about yourself, it feels like when others say it, it feels a lot less painful. Amiright?  But it's about time I aim towards making myself feel good, well... about me, rather than becoming the joke. I am going to take the steps towards loving myself instead of hating myself. The way I look doesn't define me as a person and I'm starting to realise this more and more each day. It starts by finding the parts of you which you "don't mind" and turn that into a like, then from that into love. The more you tell yourself you like something about the way you look, the confidence will continue to grow. A final piece of advice to end this post, don't say anything to yourself you wouldn't say about your best friend, that tends to make us think twice about what we are saying, as nobody really wants to hurt their best friend.

To find out more about what the Mental Health Foundation is doing this year for Mental Health Awareness week, check out their site here. I've done a variety of body confidence posts on my blog as well as a selection of mental health posts throughout the years so feel free to check those out too.

Why I regret going to university.

It's approaching two years since I left university, and apart from my student overdraft and a ton of debt, I don't really feel like I gained a lot from going to uni. First things first, I didn't even want to go to university, at the time of applying to go to university at college, I didn't want to do it. I've never been particularly academic, my anxiety has often ruined my chances of doing well in most things. Exams are my worst nightmare, group work is like hell on earth and don't even get me started on presentations. In college, I did a course in Media which I did love, the analysing of the films, adverts and writing about them in great depth but the creation side of film didn't appeal to me. I don't have confidence in myself to be able to create any content alone, and as stated above, group work isn't something I enjoy. So when it came to the creation side, I was scared to share my ideas, therefore, was just pushed to the side. I managed to come out of college with distinction, distinction and merit. Which I was beyond made up with, but when it came to deciding what to do after college my head started to pound. The idea of getting myself a full-time job straight out of college scared me, but as did university. Being stuck into film creation for a further 3 years wasn't something I wanted to do. But everyone else was going to university and I was confused. 

The truth was, I loved writing and wanted to progress further with that, but I didn't know where to start. I decided to approach my tutors for some advice. Who advised me to go on to do a foundation degree which was held at the college before progressing on to the university campus. This was like taking a breath of fresh air, I got to stay at the college, with the lecturers I had gotten to know and my tutor even told me I could come away from the production side of things. A few weeks into the course, I realised I had made a mistake. My heart wasn't in the course and wanted to leave. I told my tutor I had made this decision, and he said he knows I'll be great on the course if I just carry on, I was still hesitant. He pointed out to me, that all of the universities are in full swing now and I would need to wait until the following year to apply, which again scared the life out of me. I decided to push through and keep going with the course. As I had done my first year, it was time for the second year. I had no idea that you could change course after your first year as you get 4 years of finance through SFE. But once, I'd spoken to someone who advised me of this, it was 3 weeks into the course, which counted as using the finance and qualify for the rest, I'd have to fund my own first year. Unfortunately, my Sainsburys wage wouldn't cut the thousands needed upfront. As I didn't want to waste any more money, I decided to see it out. 

As I had done a foundation year, I still had to do the additional year at university, to make this a full degree, which I decided to go for. Sadly, it made me resent my college even more and wishing if I was going to do the degree that I had just done it all from the university to start with. As the facilities were better and I feel like I would have been able to grow my confidence more. Almost 2 years later, the only reason I like my degree is that it looks good on my CV and I gained a little bit of further knowledge into cameras and how to write a script which we learnt early on in the course. 

I wish I could say throughout it all, at least I made some good friends but I can't even really say that. With moving around so much, I missed out on making friends as people had already made friends in their freshers year. However, I do live to tell the tale, and want to let all of you guys know who are applying for uni, or are considering university you don't have to apply. You can take a year out, or wait for years to come or not even go to university at all. Plus if your course doesn't seem compatible with you, it's ok to drop out and not have a plan B. Sometimes life throws us curveballs and we just have to ride them and hope for the best. I would love to know in the comments if you regret going to university and whether you have a job based around what your degree. 

Things they didn't teach us growing up: The Money Edit

*This is a collaborative post*

Growing up like most people I hated going to school, I felt like every day was so pointless and constant bullying made my days at school hell. However, now as an adult, I can respect the amount I did learn at school, and wish that I could have worked harder towards my goals instead of counting down the days until I left. Looking back on what we learnt at school and the skills most of us are lacking now is a huge downfall in the education system. We needed to know more about finances, relationships, how to cope with our mental health, sex and how to communicate better with others. 

As when we are in school it is when we develop most as a person as these are our younger years leading on to our teens. We needed to learn more about real life, instead of what was in books and although I may know basic algebra, I lack in knowing about actual real life money skills. Such interest rates, money management, credit cards, how to save and even credit scores. Those things are real life and they're what we need to know. So I've decided to share my own personal knowledge on the subjects, the best I can and hope to help others learn more about the topics. I am in no way claiming to be an expert in any of the fields, this is purely my opinion and based on what I've learned along the way. I recently wrote the confidence chronicles and how self-confidence can go a long way. Let me know in the comments what topic you'd like to see covered next.

Credit cards aren't always bad:
I was always made to think credit cards are bad, that they are there for additional bills or things you can't afford, so they add them to their cards to pay back at a later date. Which to some extent can be true. However, credit cards can be great for your credit rating, they allow you to buy something on them, pay them back each month (in full if possible) and then your rating will grow as it allows you to show you are responsible with money. Luckily for me, in college, our tutor told us about this when we were learning about freelancing. It's worth going through a comparison site such as Money Supermarket who offer a credit card comparison service based on the information you provide they advise the likelihood of you being accepted for a card without doing a credit check which can damage your score. Most people I know who are attempting to build up their score, usually by their weekly/monthly shop on their card and then pay it back at the end of the month. 

Loans are fine, as long you can pay it back:
Sometimes unexpected bills can crop up, like an emergency dentist appointment or an expense which is unavoidable and you can end up needing to borrow money. Most of us have been there and although it's not a great situation to find yourself in sometimes you have to do it. With things such as payday loans to get you through to payday, the interest can be higher than the amount itself dependant on the time frame in which the loan is going to be taken out for. Finding the correct lender for you is always important, in the past, I've gotten a loan with a company I didn't know much about, and went in a bit blind and went for it, which ended up with me paying back so much more than I owed. With iLoans they help you find the perfect lender for you, with the best APR for your loan. With all loans, there is a cooling off period, so it is worth finding this out before taking out the loan in case you change your mind.

Set up a spreadsheet to budget:
It's often easy to get away with spending on payday, but it's worth creating a spreadsheet which has your earnings on and all of the bills you have coming out (be honest else it won't work) then it will allow you to see what is left. I include my food shopping on the sheet due to this being a pretty big expenditure each month, I find out the amount to add in monthly by doing an average of the last three months and that way it gives me a rough estimate. With the remaining funds I like to spend on things I may need each month e.g. food out and makeup and then any left over should go into savings. It's easy to create a spreadsheet and I enjoy to add colours into mine to make it less daunting. 

What are your top tips for dealing with your finances? 

Me, Myself & I. {AD}

2018 has actually been a year where I've noticed a huge amount of growth in myself, unfortunately not height wise *forever stuck at 5'3* but with my confidence. I've found myself doing things I wouldn't have done before, wearing clothes I'd of once felt I wasn't pretty enough to wear, speaking to new people and feeling more confident in myself as a whole. This for me is a huge win, from making new friends, staying at my job for 18 months, trying new styles of clothing and even wearing colour, going out more with friends and even feeling like my social skills are somewhat improving. 

  For me, since I can remember I have always been afraid, afraid of just about everything. Leaving my mum at the school gate, to doing my work experience in year 10. To leave my hometown and visit anywhere else. Going to pubs, clubs and even blogger events. I even have a phobia of most foods, including the texture of meat and anything that has seeds. 

Growing up, I always knew I was different. I found it hard to make friends, and I didn't know how to act around new people. Doing sports at school made me scared in case I would fall, and it wasn't the phobia of falling and hurting myself, it was the phobia of what people would do, would they laugh? would they act like didn't happen or would they come and help me. I would forever play out each of the scenarios in my head and it consumed my life. Despite having various types of therapy, I wasn't ever sure how to overcome my struggles.  

I would write stories, and I always would be the shy girl, the underdog who just needed her chance to shine, and it felt like this was me my entire life growing up. I would want to be one of the 'popular' people and always fell short. I forever dreamed of being an author, I would spend hours of my time, drafting all of these stories, especially after reading book after book where the uncool girl became the one everyone wanted to be friends with. 

Being different for me in my teenage years was something I found hard, I wanted to belong somewhere where I wasn't alone. I tried to change myself so much but it wasn't the answer, even as an adult up until recently, I thought I needed to fit in. 2018, has been the year where I've stopped caring what people think of me, I am that girl who has bright coloured hair, a yellow raincoat on and the brightest doc martens. Weirdly, now after hating who I am for the majority of my life, I feel somewhat more confident in who I have become.

"Be proud of how you see yourself, rather than ashamed of how others see you."

There are people everywhere, and I wish I had understood this growing up. The people who are around you now, are unlikely to be around forever. Things change, people change and the world changes. Some friendships last, sadly others don't. You learn who your real friends are and those who aren't. You only need to live for you, and that's the huge thing in life a lot of people don't realise, myself included

Learning, that living with a mental illness doesn't make me any less worth happiness, and that my moods are something that sometimes I cannot control. I didn't choose this illness, in fact, it chose me. I come with my quirks but that's just what makes me, well yano, me. 

My goals for 2019 are to work on my confidence even further, this includes facing the things that make me 'hate' myself, as opposed to loving myself. Keep making steps in the right direction and continue being me. 

If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

"If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" Ru Paul

Self-love is one of the most difficult things we as humans have to deal with, the number of hours we spent trying to fix ourselves, make us the better version of ourselves and wondering what we can work on next. It's exhausting. Yet I still don't know a single person who can 100% they love everything about themselves, which is ok too. But I personally am suffering a long-term battle with my own self-confidence and most days it is a battle just to find one thing I remotely like about myself, and a lot of the time, I am pretty sure it shows. 

I have come to the conclusion no matter somebody else thinks of you, it's only going to stick if you believe it yourself. That's why insults and negativity stick around for so long as it feels like a confirmation of what we think of ourselves. I do all of these things that make me feel good about myself, like dying my hair, buying cool new 'edgy' clothes and even getting piercings and tattoos, and to me, I feel on top of the world when I am being me. But it can only last so long, and then I come back to earth with a big bang. 

"Your words are powerful, be careful how you speak to yourself."

Weight gain is something that has held me back for the last few years, I've avoided taking photos of myself, especially full body ones like the plague. The idea of standing in front of a camera and letting someone else take photos of me is a foreign concept to me. But since I had my hair recoloured and received some cool new tees from Truffle Shuffle. I felt a boost of confidence and with the sun shining I decided to take a leap of faith and created an alien-esq vibe makeup look and headed outside to take the shots. For me with previous photos I have done, I try to be someone I am not, and end up pulling all of these fake smiles and standing like I was trying to be a doll and the look just didn't work for me. So I went for the more edgy vibe that I do somewhat well and actually found 5 shots that I was happy with out of the many we took. For me, that's a result. I saw 5 photos that I wanted to edit, keep and upload.

It's true what they say, we are our own biggest critiques and getting over this hurdle can be pretty much impossible for a lot of us. But from what I've learnt it's about taking those smaller steps and soon these will grow into bigger steps that are stepping stones to becoming the person you want to be. 

You've gotta believe in yourself and that's where the journey starts!

Dealing With Stress | Lets Talk

Happy Wednesday, how are we all doing? As it is Wednesday you should know by now that I take this day to talk about issues and things which are important to me, I feel like these posts are rewarding and I will never stop talking about things which need talking about. Today's topic is all about stress. Stress is triggered by many different things, some people are great with dealing with being under pressure others find it a lot harder and feel very stressed and upset. To me I deal with stress when I feel like I am under pressure to do something which I feel unsure about, it can often happen to me at work when I am given a lot of tasks in a short space of time or after speaking to somebody who is getting mad at me for something which is out of my control.

So many people are affected by stress on a daily basis but what about those who can't handle it, it can be a lot more serious than feeling under pressure. Some people use smoking and drinking to cope with their stress because it helps to calm them down and feel more together, I know that a lot of people smoke when they feel like they're under an immense amount of pressure or are dealing with something which is out of their control. Some people cannot cope with the stress at all and their body shuts down, some examples of this are chest pain, pulling out your hair and increased levels of anger. if you feel like you are suffering from stress it is important that you go to see your doctor, it may not seem like a big deal but more people suffer than you realise and it will be taken seriously. For those who are suffering from hair loss, there are ways to fix it and give you confidence back such as FUE hair transplants which is something to be considered if you are suffering from a lot of hair loss or it is damaging your confidence. Although taking some chill time may not be the answer to your stress it is important to take some time for yourself from time to time, and just take a breather, even though it may not fix the problem overall it gives you fresh eyes to start again when you are ready and it gives your body time to relax and get to grips with what is going.

If you feel like you are struggling or need somebody to talk to there are so many people willing to help and lines you can call to get help such as Mind and Samaritans, please don't suffer alone.

*In Collaboration With Harley Street Clinic

Transform your look this summer! | Tips and Tricks

Before you know it, summer will be here, so if you’re keen to give yourself an image makeover, now is the time to take action. Whether you’re fed up of your current style or you’d like to give yourself a much-needed confidence boost, here’s how you can transform your look in four easy steps.

1. Ditch your glasses for contact lenses
With so many different frames to choose from, it isn’t difficult to find glasses that perfectly suit and represent your individual style. However, if you’re eager to give yourself a totally new image, you could try ditching your specs for contact lenses instead. Lenses give you the opportunity to free up your face and experience clear vision without the need for glasses. To start off, you may want to try daily disposable lenses. These lenses can be thrown away once you’ve used them, meaning you don’t need to worry about a cleaning routine. You can get daily disposables by visiting your local optician or you can purchase popular branded lenses from an online specialist. For example, you can buy Focus Dailies from Feel Good and have a supply delivered to your front door.

2. Get a new hairstyle
To transform your image, you could go for a new hairstyle. Whether you choose to cut your locks into a cute bob or you decide to add luscious extensions, don’t be afraid to try something new. You could even go for a different colour. From subtle sun kissed highlights to a dramatically different shade, the possibilities are endless when it comes to changing your hair. Although you could do it yourself at home, for best results you may want to visit a salon and speak to a hairdresser. They should be able to give you advice on what hairstyle and colour will perfectly suit you.

3. Switch up your makeup routine
Another way to change your look for the sunny season is to switch up your makeup routine. Trying new products and practising your technique is a great way to experiment with your image. You could learn how to perfect winged eyeliner or teach yourself how to apply lipstick like a pro. Because the makeup is temporary, you can keep practising with different products until you find a look that you absolutely love.

4. Upgrade your wardrobe

If you’re stuck in a style rut, treating yourself to a few new fashion staples could help you achieve a fresh look, and as the summer months draw closer, you could use the warmer weather as the perfect opportunity to upgrade your wardrobe. Whether your ditch your skinny jeans for a floral dress or swap your slouchy cardigan for a slick leather jacket, there are plenty of ways you can change your image through the clothes you wear. For inspiration, why not take yourself on a shopping spree or browse your favourite stores online?

Making some of these simple changes should help you achieve your desired look to embrace the summer with style and confidence.

*Guest Post 

Living With Adult Acne | Lets Talk

Acne, is the one thing that has been consistent throughout my teens and now in my early 20's it is still bothering me the same way it ever was. It's not even just the fact that it looks awful on my face and all over my body, it's actually really painful on my face and is constantly leaving me with 100% confidence. I try to cover it up with makeup but it is often too painful to do so, leaving me feeling disheartened and down about my skin, I have tried so many pills and creams but it always ends up coming back. I am forever wishing I had the confidence to go out without makeup but my head tells me that people are staring at me and my acne makes them sick.

Yeah I said that I think some spots on my face make people sick, even though in reality they probably haven't even noticed them. During high school I had to deal with a lot of bullying because of my acne and I have never quite recovered from that, the names they used to call me still affect me today- equator face, ugly, your face makes me want to be sick, EW that's disgusting you should wear a bag on your head. Those things still come into my head when I am having a bad acne day, it's becoming a problem even now to cope with my image. I've tried so many different things, and none of them seem to work I am starting to accept the fact I'll never have good skin without some kind of intense treatment which sucks. Growing up you get told it'll get better, you'll grow out of it but that day never comes and you feel as disgusting as you ever did. I am sad because I know my face will always have the scars which acne caused and I'll never have the perfect face which I dream of, but I guess I'll get used to it one day, maybe not yet but one day I will.

Achieving your dreams | Lifestyle.

On the 26th of August is Womens equality day, a day which women everywhere can celebrate how far we've come as women and also sharing love for being a woman. It's not always been easy being a woman and for some women in the world they still don't have the luxuries of being a woman we do in the UK. Some women in world are not allowed to do anything which men are they are simply forced to stay at home and look after the children which I don't agree with at all! I remember at school learning about the women who died just so women could get the right to vote, it feels strange being a woman who has always had equal rights to being a world where women were treated as less than men! Today I thought I would talk about how if you aim for a goal you can achieve it!

As far as careers go, despite being a university student I am doing some freelance working alongside of this in social media management which has been one of my goals for a while. I love that I am now self employed and it's amazing feeling to know that I work for myself and I earn my own money, a few years ago if you would of told me this I would of never have believed you as I was suffering a huge lack of confidence and never would of thought I could of taken this giant leap. It's so important to trust yourself and take that huge leap when rebuilding confidence in yourself. I am one of those people who always used to doubt myself and never believed I could do something but when you set your mind to something and believe, you actually can conquer your dreams. Achieving your dreams is a lot easier when you break it down into smaller steps, which is what I did.

First off you need to work out exactly what you want to do achieve for me it was to be self employed, to make this easier for yourself I would get a piece of paper and mind map- starting with your one key goal and drawing branches from there showing what you need to do to achieve that. Following this I would write down a list in order for you to be able to achieve this, a couple of suggestions of mine would be to have savings first, and also read up about what it takes to be self employed. Then it's about taking each of those steps until you finally are ready to take that leap! It will seem scary of course, but in life it's about taking those chances and following your dreams. You can do this, I believe in you! I am happy I am finally able to be confident enough to follow my dreams and you should do the same, be confident, you've got this.

*In collaboration with TheCircle

Challenge Rebrand!

Pink Fashion

Girly Style

Forever 21

Dr Martens

I was recently set a task by Clarity Travel Management to undergo a style re-brand, as they've recently re branded their image as a company. My first thought was where to start with my own personal rebrand? I am usually one for jeans and t-shirts with boots, so I decided I would mix it up a little as the important part of this task is to rebrand whilst still keeping the true you. I feel like heels or girly shoes are not me at all, so I decided to stick with the boots as you can still wear dresses and make the look a bit more me with the added touch. P.s. who doesn't love a pair of Dr Martens? So for my rebrand I went for two gorgeous items to wear, one being a dress and the other a playsuit. A playsuit is something I haven't worn in years, throughout summer I've turned to shorts and vest tops, I saw this and fancied the challenge I love the pink flowers on it an white isn't usually a colour I would go for. The shoes which I would put with this outfit would be these as they're not completely out of my comfort zone as they still have an element of my style. I decided I would stick with my current bag as it's bright and girly and matches the look well, I went with a lovely pastel nail varnish and a nude lipstick to finish the look off!

For the second look I went for a dress, I have been one to wear dresses but I feel this is quite a different style to what I usually go for, if I was to wear this dress I would go all leather on top of it with dark lipstick, but for the challenge I decided to go for a blazer instead which keeps the girlier element of the outfit, I had to add my Dr Martens in there or I would of felt completely out of my comfort zone, to match with the outfit I decided red make-up would go best, I decided to go with a bright red nail varnish and a red lipstick from Rimmel, I have previously tried this lipstick a few years back when I was more girly so I thought it might bring back that side of me! If I was to add a bag to think look I think I would go for a little bag such as this as it's small and doesn't attract the attention away from the outfit.

I think this summer I will be attempting to steer away from the jeans and aim for the dresses and skirts as I loved it when I was younger and used to be girly, I just seem to have lost some confidence along the way, thanks so much Clarity Travel Management for setting me this challenge as it's really brought out a different side in me and given me the confidence to try something new!

* I was sent vouchers for this post!

What does your tattoo mean? The ramblings of a tattooed blogger.

Growing up, I loved to watch Miami and LA Ink. Watching in awe at the people going into the tattoo studio as a blank canvas and leaving with these beautiful pieces all over their body. Each one of them had their own story to tell, whether it was a passing of a relative, a date of a birth or a piece of art they've wanted for years they always meant something and Kat and the team would create these lovely pieces which were literal pieces of art. I dreamed of the day I was old enough to get my first piece, I would spend hours on the internet searching what I wanted to get. I was still clueless at 18, the shows made it look so simple to decide on something so permanent, I was panicking that I would make the wrong decision. I was also scared of the pain, forever asking people if it would hurt and how much. The honest truth being, it depends where, how big and what your pain threshold is like. For those of you who are wondering, tattoos do hurt, I have a few stand out pieces which I felt like my body parts may just fall off.

It wasn't until I reached 20, that I finally made a choice, got booked in and turned up on that day and got my first piece done on my left wrist which meant so much to me, it was a beautiful rope infinity symbol with an anchor within and it says 'I refuse to sink'. It was about overcoming my struggles and working through the constant battle of my mental illness. To this day, I am glad this was my first piece as it is is so meaningful to me. On my other wrist, sits a beautiful rainbow coloured quill writing out the word 'believe', again this piece was a little part of something bigger in my life. 

I had the tattoos that had significant meaning to me, I wanted to have a bit of fun with the rest, and until I recently had my bunnies tattooed on my leg, the pieces I had were random, colourful and fun. Getting asked but "what does your tattoo mean?" is a question which always strikes me a little as there can be no meaning. I liked this piece of flash from my tattoo artists sheet, or I saw something cute on Pinterest and wanted to turn it into my own vision. I love coloured tattoos, small pieces built up into something bigger. Three of my tattoos are of bunnies which is my favourite animal, I have a few food pieces including a doughnut and the others are just random things I liked the look of.  

To me, my tattoos were something I liked at the time, and whether I turn around and hate them in the future is something I'll have to live with, but for now, I am happy covering my body in these pieces. The colour makes me happy and gives me something that brings out confidence within me, some of my tattoos I prefer over others, just like most things. The thought process behind each one is different and sometimes it really as simple as seeing something drawn up by an artist that you think would compliment your pieces and other times it can be something more personal like a pet.

The comments of what will those tattoos look like when you're old, or when you gain or lose weight, the honest answer to that is, I don't know. I may regret them when I am 80 or I may not, it's a new generation of tattoo lovers and I know I certain I will not be alone. Tattoos can symbolise a journey of a lifetime, and bring stories from within. They can also show some colour on your body. 

My tattoos mean something to me, to everyone else they probably don't. The same goes for most tattoos which are upon someone's skin. For those who like tattoos will probably enjoy looking at my pieces like I do theirs. I love looking at the cool pieces of art they've chosen on their body, and laughing with them about those not so good mistakes they made. It is important to remember that not all tattoos have meaning to that person, and it is ok to have one purely for the sake of liking the image. 

Do you have tattoos?

Will Reviews: Mo Bro's Grooming Kit.

Hi guys, I thought I'd try something new on the blog today, which is handing over the reins (my computer keyboard) to Will for him to review a beard kit he's been loving. Will is looking to create a blog himself and I thought this may help with building his confidence to take the leap to create his own blog! Hopefully, you enjoy this post and let me know in the comments if you'd like to read more of Will's reviews.  

Hi I am Will, and I am Olivia's boyfriend and a novice beard enthusiast and I decided it would be fun to review my new Mo Bros' Grooming Kit on Dungarees & Donuts. I hope you enjoy and speak soon! 

I've had a beard for over a year now, and I don't like to look back on my clean shaven days anymore. I like to think back to the episode of 'The Office' where Andy goes travelling and returns with a messy, overgrown beard. When he returns to his job and shaves, he regrets it, saying his beard was his 'Security blanket' and that's strange how I feel about mine now.

The thing is, I spent about 2 years not knowing how I could care for my beard. I'd just grow it out, shave my face, and repeat. It was really inconvenient for me. Recently, I purchased a beard trimmer and that's helped me a little more to maintain my beard for a year, but I recently discovered products for beards and it's changed everything for me. I saw the Mo Bro's on Dragon's Den not too long ago and liked the sound of their product, I noticed all three of them had different types of facial hair which I thought was interesting. I was given the opportunity to try their product and here's my experience with it. The Mo Bro's make a beard grooming kit, and I can't recommend it enough - it's got all the basics a man needs to help clean up his beard. Messy, unkempt beards aren't the only beard problems a man might face, there's also itchiness and embarrassment when eating. The kit also comes in a tin which I think is pretty cool, since there's a lot of different little pieces you can store everything together. It's very compact so if you were travelling it would be great.

The scent of this grooming kit is called 'Winter Spice' and it smells exactly how you'd expect, I'd say it reminds me of a Christmas scented candle. It smells very natural, it makes me think of walks through a snowy forest. The scent of the wax and balm isn't too overpowering - you can still smell it, but it's not too strong which I think is great. I'd describe the scent as being 'masculine'. The beard balm is one of the best I've used, it's not too moist which means it has a good hold of my beard. Balms I've used before leave too much of a shine in your beard, this one does that too, but it's more subtle and gives more of a natural look instead. Although I don't rock handlebars on my moustache, for someone who does I think this wax could be the best part of this grooming kit because it has a really strong hold, which makes it really stand out in the market of beard products. 

Don't be put off by the size of the pots, 15ml is more than enough product. I've found myself in the past using too much beard balm and leaving my beard looking unusually shiny, so this kit has helped to teach me how much product I should use.

The wooden comb is something I've wanted for a while but never got around to buying, I'd usually use a cheap 99p plastic one which would hurt my face. The wooden comb doesn't hurt my face and the best part is beard balm or oil doesn't stick to it, making it perfect to reuse. It's nicer to hold than a cheap plastic comb and actually makes combing your beard a better experience. 

The most annoying part of having a beard for me is my moustache. When the hair grows longer and it touches my upper lip it's the most frustrating thing ever! If I eat, sometimes food might get caught in it and I won't notice until I look in the mirror or somebody points it out. My beard trimmer helps to neaten that up, but I can't really do a good job with it. Since I've used the scissors in the Mo Bro's grooming kit, it's really helped me to neaten up my moustache and stop those hairs from getting too long and annoying. Not only is it great for maintaining moustache hair, they are also great for cutting any longer, wiry beard hairs that appear.

I do genuinely recommend this product to any man wanting to try and experience new beard products. It currently has a retail price of £25 which isn't bad considering what you get in the kit, you get all the essential products and the user experience is really good. Everythings straightforward and the products aren't confusing so you'll be able to tell what does what. The kit includes a tin and bag so you can store away the products safely and hygienically, so there is no need to worry about damaging or getting the products dirty. 

Here's to 5 years of Dungarees & Donuts!

When I think about how long 5 years is, I can't get over the length of time it is and what I've achieved in that time. I launched Dungarees & Donuts back in college and since that time I've completed a degree and I am now working a full-time job. I've changed my name via deed poll and had two relationships. Like, a lot has happened. I remember talking to my best friend at the time about her blog and YouTube, she would speak to all of these really cool people on Twitter and it was like they were real-life best friends despite never meeting. Her blog was full of book reviews, colourful pictures and posts about makeup and I wanted to get in on the action. I set up my blog which to this day don't know why the name Dungarees & Donuts stuck, but I did eat a lot of Donuts in college and Dungarees goes well with it, plus when I first launched my blog I wanted to talk about fashion. Over the years my blog really has taught me a lot and I've made some great friends, gained some confidence I know I would not have without my blog and have been able to share my passion for writing with the world.

Since I was younger I've always wanted to be a writer, even in Primary School, I'd create these 'books' which were essentially a lot of folded paper stapled together and a drawing I'd done on the front and in reality the book was only around 5 pages, but it felt like a huge deal to me at the time. In early high school, I decided to go down the route of creating children's books and although I never shared them with anyone bar, my family, I think it gave me, even more, drive to get my writing out there. 

I get asked a lot what I blog about and sometimes it feels easier to say what they want to hear e.g. beauty. But in reality Dungarees & Donuts is me, on a website. It's full of colour, quirky clothes, ramblings about everyday life and tons of posts about my own mental health and it's a huge part of me and although it's been 5 years I couldn't see myself getting bored of it anytime soon. I take small breaks from time to time and do often get frustrated when it comes to writers blog but I manage to come out of it stronger and as long as you guys still want to read, I will keep posting. For me my blog was once about constant scheduled content, 5 times a week to posting weekly once or twice and loving the content I am putting out. Each post full to the brim of photos I love and each piece of content I actually feel proud of, whereas before I created the content because I felt like I had to. 

The blogging community has changed over the years too, I was forever wanting to fit in with everyone else and what they were doing and over recent years there have been more alternative blogs making a stir within the community and they're who I aspire to be like. I love to read makeup blogs and learn new things which I would otherwise have been clueless about, but I know it's not my forte so it seems pointless trying to make it what my blog is about. The blogging community has shifted from a ton of chats each night to just a few a week, I am glad they're still going somewhere. Blogging feels like it is mostly now about making it someway in the industry, YouTubers, as we know, have HUGE incomes and get invited to lots of events and it makes us jealous, me included, but although bloggers may not get as much of the industry as YouTubers do, it's still great to know we have that kind of influence. It's amazing that normal people such as you and I can have such a big influence from anywhere in the world. 

I still pinch myself each time I get an email in my inbox about reviews and sponsored content and each time I still wonder why they'd want to work me, but at the same time, I feel eternally grateful and I doubt that feeling of wow, will ever stop for me. I feel privileged to be where I am today with my blog and have such a supportive readership. For the future of Dungarees & Donuts, I hope to keep spreading awareness around mental illness and it makes me feel great doing so because I know that during my struggles, so many of you have had my back and helped me through the tough times. I promise to keep making you proud and on to the next five years. 

I feel like I totally need to hold a glass of champagne and this point. 

Dear Me, A Letter To My Teenage Self.

Dear Jess,

Well, I guess that's what you were called back then. I am now 23, sat in my bedroom in a house I am renting and in some ways, not much has changed, I still live in Stafford, spend an unholy amount of time on the internet, oh and I still love listening to those songs that were on my iPod shuffle, except now I don't have to use the shuffle feature to pick my favourite song, which I am so glad is not a thing anymore. Back then my music taste was a mix between Dear God by Avenged Sevenfold and Complicated by Avril Lavinge. Come on Complicated was one of her best songs! Oh and the sly, a bit of Nickelback, I mean photograph was a catchy song. I still wear too much black clothing, still love dying my hair and sarcasm is still my number one go to. I bet you'd be shocked riiiiight? MSN has long gone and been replaced with a number of other platforms Snapchat, Whatsapp and Facebook to name but a few, and thank god they were not a big thing when you were growing up (to save you from even more embarrassment!) 

I am writing this letter (or blog post to precise) to let you know how things do change when you get older, school might be some of the worst times of your life (the worst so far for sure!) But when you're gone, you can begin to be a new you, and what happened in P.E or Maths class is pretty damn irrelevant now. You'll be happy to know you gained some confidence in yourself and started reaching out and talking to people, like in shops and everything! Back then when your friends had to order in the shop for you, as you were too scared. You are now that friend. 

You'll be glad to know all of those items which your mum called clutter you still have, and they make you smile everytime you see them. I mean tickets from your first gig are pretty impressive to still have 10 years later. The weird photos you took of Josh Franceschi on a camera so bad that he basically looks like some next level blob, but you remember that night like it was yesterday. The people that were in your life during some of your darkest times sadly aren't really around much anymore, but sometimes I guess that's for the best. Despite hating education, you will be happy to know you actually made it through university. 

Those people you met on the internet all of those years ago are still your friends on social media, which is pretty cool and it has been fun to see them grow too. Alex even married the guy she met online all of those years ago, cool right? Although you're no longer spending your life online on chat rooms or pouring your heart out to strangers (ok maybe, I am still doing this) you are still finding yourself and learning the majority of this online thanks to the world of blogging. The future does get better, I promise you now. Those people won't even be in your life in 4 years time. You'll pass them in the street and feel a sense of freedom you were looking for all of those years. Some will achieve more than you and probably look down on you like you always did, but right now you are living your best life. 

You do all of those things that people used to insult you for, you still dye your hair bright colours, have those piercings, finally got those tattoos you always wanted (maybe, slightly modified...) but you're still wearing those band tees and with your Dr Martens and rocking the quirky as ever style. 

Turns out some things never change huh? 

Lots of love your slightly smarter and older self,

Olivia xoxo