Why I LOVE my alternative style (and probably always will)

2009-2012 were the 'emo' years, I spent the majority of my life in black clothes, which consisted of a band tee, skinny jeans and of course studded belts. I would be nothing without my latest Blue Banana bag, converse covered in random words and drawings from my pals and my hair had to have the life backcombed out of it, or something wasn't right. I spent the majority of my teenage years trying to fit in with fellow people who rocked the alternative style. 

Taking my main inspiration from Tumblr, and girls I met on the internet. I often felt alone in my own town with my out of the box style and my parents were less than happy with the clothes I decided to wear and when I became 16 the world opened up even further. To include the world of piercings, ever since I first saw them, I knew wanted lip piercings, the generic 'emo' snakebites and even possibly angel bites. I knew my parents would full on rage so I decided to make a collection of piercings in my eyes, when I turned 16, until it being acceptable for me to get my nose pierced. Further through the year of being 16, I wanted to change my image more and more, I wanted the brighter hair, extensions, I fell in love with fishnets and turned to wear vests and denim jackets and still my trusty converse and despite now thinking, "oh my god what was I thinking?" I stayed true to myself and that is always something I will be proud of. 

Despite everyone my age dressing in 'pretty' clothes I have never been about that life and still can't even cope when wearing heels. The idea of purchasing anything from the store Jane Norman filled me with dread, the idea of wearing coloured tees terrified me, and I refused to stop backcombing my hair because it was the 'shizz' and I did get bullied for the way I dressed and acted, but it wasn't going to stop me from being the real me. I have always been seen as somewhat of an easy target for this. When I left school and went to college things were easier, people cared less about my style and it allowed me to branch out to who I was. I kept some of the old parts of my style and mixed them up with a few bits of colour. When 18 hit, I knew I wanted a tattoo, but I wasn't sure what, all of the ideas of tattoos I had have seemed to no longer interest me, it wasn't until turning 19 I actually got my first tattoo. I went for my wrist and it is still my most meaningful tattoo. 

As the years kept coming (and they don't stop coming) I was 'fully fledged adult' (in the eyes of the law of course, even at 23, I am still not sure I feel like an adult) My style kept changing too, I was bleaching the ends of my hair and adding vibrant colours to it, becoming the girl at university who constantly changed her hair. I kept getting more piercings (my septum is still my favourite piercing) and even more tattoos, with this year taking the total up to 9. Over the last year, I have changed my hair colour around 5 times, and I am constantly looking for the next colour(s) to go. As for my clothes, I am known for wearing colour, but totally random pieces of clothing which others don't like and I am a sucker for anything pink(!!) I will still go for the most alternative shoes and random bags I can find though, as the true me can't be forgotten completely.

In 2018 my style is celebrated rather than being frowned upon my hair is always a talking point, and I get a lot of looks for it, but mostly they are good and kids love it! My tattoos are always going to be controversial, especially to my family and typically the older generations but they're colourful, fun and make me happy so I guess that is all that matters. From everything to my photos and blog to the way I am, I love to be alternative and quirky and I wouldn't change that for the world! 

Home improvements on a budget.

Every single time I go out of the house I end up buying some kind of homeware, whether it is a new cute ornament or a new bookcase, it has to be done. Especially when the sales are on I can't help but buy things in the hope that they will look good in my home, there isn't usually much thought into what I am going to buy and why. But recently been looking at other ways to improve my house, such as making over the walls and floors and I thought I'd share with you my top tips for home improvements on a budget with you which I have come across whilst attempting to do this to my own home, let me know in the comments if you have any ideas which have helped you save money when making home improvements.

Look around:
Like with most things, the key is always to look around before purchasing, and you can often get better deals online than you can in stores. When it comes to tiles although you get to see them in person etc, it's worth purchasing online as it tends to work out cheaper, also you can order samples of them to get the look and the feel of whether you'd want them within your home. For me, I'd love to purchase some tiles for a feature wall in my bathroom or kitchen and I've seen the most amazing decorative stone tiles which when looking in stores or on other online sites these work out considerably cheaper. 

Search for ex-display items: 
In some shops such as Ikea, there is a section which is full of ex-display items, and they're a huge discount off the original price. Some of the items are covered in stains or are a bit broken, but you can also find items with small marks on them, I purchased a bucket chair a few years ago with a small rip on it which is hardly noticeable and it was 75% off, which was a mega saving! I've also purchased a variety of blankets from there as they're pretty much new. 

Wait for the sales: 
Again, with the same as most things waiting for the sales can result in a massive saving, it's worth going at the end of the 'season' for some small items, but for larger items such as kitchen units and baths these seem to be massively discounted in the new year when they bring in a whole new selection of items for the new year. It's worth doing your research on when the discounts are due to take place and which stores offer the biggest discounts. 

Change the smaller things first: 
It is amazing how much just a small change can make to a room, and often changing one or two things can give a room a whole new look! Things such as skirting boards, repainting the radiator or bringing some new colours into a room can make a huge difference and costs significantly less than all new furniture and gives it a new lease of life. I love to add new decorative items to a room when I fancy a change, such as flowers and a new throw, it always makes me feel better about a room, even if it is just for a while. 

Upcycle your items: 
I didn't realise how much of a great feeling it is to upcycle an old piece of furniture and turning it into a new one, you can use old pieces of furniture to build a new piece or just take an old item and make it like new. Great items to do this to are old chairs as you can change the fabric on them or tables as spray painting them gives them a whole new look and you can even change the legs on some tables. 

What are your top tips for making home improvements on a budget? 

*This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts are my own :)

The truth about dating with BPD

Dating with BPD is a tricky one, from my own personal experience I fall fast and find it had to cope with the emotions that come from dating. Dating for anyone can be confusing, do they like me? Why haven't they replied? I think I've been ghosted and half of the time that person just doesn't like you and doesn't have the guts to tell you. I have always struggled to think rationally when it comes to dating, and I am always willing to give someone a chance. As someone with BPD, I do think I am easily manipulated and I know I give off those vibes, which sadly people use for their own gain. I find it hard to not know things, so when I am left hanging after a date whether it's a few hours or a few days it makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, or I did something wrong. My best friend always said whilst I was dating I went after the red flags instead of avoiding which to some degree I can now see this is true. I like to try to fix those who don't want to be fixed, I get attached to people who treat me badly and those who are actually nice to me confuse me as I don't understand why they're being nice. 

I dated someone who was nice to me until I fell for him, acting like I meant so much to him. Then bam, he was gone, and only came back when he needed something from me. But in my head, this meant he wanted to come back to me and I spent the best part of 2 months being treated like a piece of rubbish by this person. It honestly felt so much longer too. I've never felt mistreated so badly by another human, and as innocent as he tried to play the whole situation, he knew exactly what he was doing. He was looking at other girls Tinder profiles in front of me, on dating apps messaging girls telling them they're beautiful and acting like I didn't exist. I am so glad to this day he finally cut me off or I am worried it never would have ended. 

"Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it." 

I met guys on Plenty of Fish and Tinder who were great to chat to, but if we met in person they were nothing like they said, I met someone who was racist and another who kept 'making jokes' about how hot their sister was, claiming it was ok as it was only his half-sister, but that made no difference. Some dates it felt like we were both trying to find something to say, like about anything, including the age of the building we were in. I started seeing a guy who told me my issues were clearly linked to deeper issues than I was willing to confront. People liked to play therapist on me, telling me how I should feel and why I felt in certain ways, but they had no idea.  I met guys who were great guys, but they weren't the guys for me. I went through months of struggling with my own sexuality and wondering what this attraction to girls I was having was about and why I was still more attracted to guys than girls. I met people who taught me a lot of valuable life skills, I made friends with some of the people I dated, and I felt less lonely the more I dated. 

The whole time I was dating, I had no idea I actually had BPD, I knew there was something more than the issues I had been diagnosed with at this point, but I didn't know how to address them. Which for me was terrifying as I was just burying the issues deeper and deeper and hoping they went away. I became more reckless with meeting people I didn't even really know and could have put myself in serious danger, but at the time I didn't even care. Being a super bad place with your mental health and then going out to date isn't something I'd recommend, as you're not as well equipped to deal with the bad situations as you may be on a 'normal' day. I felt like my heart kept being broken over and over and put a clock on every one of the people I dated, like that Black Mirror episode but the clock was in my head and it was how long it would last before someone walked out. In a way, I think this was me self-sabotaging the good things to protect myself, but at the time I couldn't see that. 

It was around seven months into being 'single' and I was talking to this guy who would spend all night talking to me on Facebook video calls, we'd chat about normal things, and it turned out we went to the same college and did the same course just in different years and now did the same degree at university as me. We talked about the people we knew in common, and it turned out we probably met previously at college. We went on our first date at Starbucks and he offered to pay for my drink and although I turned him down, it was such a great first date and he was everything I thought he was, and all he wanted to was get to know me. Which for me was exactly what I needed, we took our time to get to know each other which is not something my brain was used to from past relationships. That person is Will, and we are still together now and I couldn't imagine not having him by my side. He's my best friend and more and I can say he saved me from myself. 

"A simple hello could lead to a million things"

Dating when you have BPD is anything but smooth sailing, and although dating is confusing and hard for anyone who does it, doing it with BPD makes it 10x worse. To anyone who is currently dating with BPD or any other mental illnesses, I completely know where you are coming from if you need to talk to someone who has been where you are. I think it's important to remember that your friends and family say things because often they notice the signs that you do not, and even though it sucks to hear it, they're usually right and those who take advantage of your kind nature aren't worth your time or energy, ever. 

My 'lazy day' routine 2018

*This post is in collaboration with Lyons 

What do you mean Olivia, that every day isn't a lazy day?! Shockingly enough, despite the image that my Instagram portrays (with the bed flat lays on a daily) I can be a pretty *busy* person, although I do enjoy my bed, probably more the average person. So on my days off from work, I usually like to dedicate one of them to be lazy, which often helps me reset my mental health for the following week at work. Sometimes I run errands on these days or go to the gym, but for the most part, going out is kept to a minimum on that day. I tend to consume copious amounts of animal biscuits and want to sleep a lot, but what is in store for Olivia on a lazy day? I hear you say (nobody said that really, I just needed to imagine they did so I could have an angle for my post) However, if you do want to find out about what my lazy day entails stay tuned and all will be revealed

Each lazy day starts with no alarms, of course, waking up when you want is the beauty of a day off, unless I have a delivery or its bin day then I am good. Once waking up, coffee or some form of Caffeine is needed. Recently I've been relying on my coffee bags which I didn't actually know were a thing until a few weeks back when I was sent some by Lyons. The concept is exactly the same as tea, except it is coffee. It's so great to be able to chuck a bag in some boiling water and leave it for a few mins, then you discard of the bag and add the additionals as you usually would, milk and three sugars please! (No judgement on my sugars allowed.) I love to enjoy my breakfast at the table whilst reading a magazine or catching up on my favourite YouTubers. Today, this will be watching the new Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star video, if you are yet to see this series, you are missing out. 

After I've finished my coffee and food, I like to go brush my teeth and then take a shower. About 2 hours later (slight exaggeration) I usually air dry which is another beauty of not being in a rush for work. Then I will dry off the excess water out of my hair and plait it or just leave it to dry naturally. Lazy days are not for makeup so I usually skip my usual makeup routine and apply some skin care products, I am completely in love with Clinique recently and ended up buying a whole new skin routine to try to combat my acne and oily skin, so far so good. Following this, I'll probably lay on my bed and either watch countless episodes of Jeremy Kyle, 90-day finance or Friends and then move on to some blogging and be semi-productive. 

On the days on which I actually head out to do things for a while, I make another coffee to go in my travel mug, and of course, grab a couple of the Lyons Coffee bags for caffeine-related emergencies! For 14p per bag and each bag is filled with freshly ground coffee beans and is quick and easy to make, I think I am on to a winner. After I've run my errands, it is time for the remainder of the day to be completely unplanned, I like to hang out with my bunnies, clean a bit and watch more TV, I am currently working my way through my Netflix watch list and if I have time, chuck a cheeky nap or two in there for good measure! #Perfection, and that folks is how I roll on my lazy days! Let me know in the comments how you like to spend your lazy days and if you've ever tried coffee in a bag, I am curious! 

BPerfect Stacey Marie Carnival Palette

BPerfect Stacey Marie Carnival Palette

BPerfect is a cutting-edge makeup brand which launched back in 2013 created by Brendan McDowell in Belfast. The brand was launched by Brendan to make beauty products which are on trend and unique, the products are claimed to be easy to use, and to change your makeup routine forever. Oh, and last year they were on Dragons Den and even secured an investment. Recently BPerfect has started being stocked on Beauty Bay which is where I noticed the striking Carnival Palette which is in collaboration with MUA Stacey Marie. The palette features 24 shades, including 17 vibrant matte shades and 7 high pigment shimmers as well as 2 highlight shades and to top it off inside of the palette is a decent sized mirror, the palette is in sturdy packaging and a lot more lightweight than what it looks, so is perfect for travelling with. 

BPerfect Stacey Marie Carnival Palette

If you know me, you'll know I was instantly drawn to the bright shades within the palette such as Funki, Keen and Lit which are super eye-catching as well as highly pigmented. The palette as features some more neutral shades to create a more natural look and if you're wanting to go all out there are some glitter shades which look bomb! The palette itself isn't afraid to break the makeup rules and I feel like that is similar to my own personal view on makeup, as I am one who loves the colour and will put as many bright shadows on my eyes as possible and unlike normal 'bright and pigmented' palettes this one does what it says on the tin. Stacey Marie who is a makeup artist who loves colour and isn't afraid of creating out of the box looks. Her Instagram is full of dreamy looks and I would love to be able to create similar looks from her palette. The looks you can create are extremely versatile from a more simple everyday look to a full-blown rainbow affair.  

The Palette itself is currently is £40.00 and you can get FREE UK next day delivery on the Beauty Bay with this palette which enables you to get this glorious palette in your life even sooner. I found the shades easy to blend and only a few of the shades really have fall out, which is way better than previous coloured palettes I've tried. I am raving about this palette due to the variety of colourful shades which you would not find in the same palettes including neon pink, bright orange and a deep blue! I would definitely be interested in trying more of the BPerfect products after such a stellar first impression with the Carnival Palette.  

BPerfect Stacey Marie Carnival Palette

Would you try this palette? 

Why it's OK to take a mental health day.

Despite suffering from mental health issues all of my adult life, I still find needing to take time off when I am suffering one of the hardest things to do. I don't think there will ever be a time when I need to take that time off that I won't feel guilty. Despite it being exactly the same as psychical health because it can't be seen, it somehow makes me feel like I am being lazy. Last summer I had to take a month out due to struggling so bad with my mental health and every time I went out of the house I felt guilty. Even if it was only to the gym or therapy, like the motto of if I am sick I should be in bed was drilled into me growing up, but this is a different kind of sick, on the outside I look normal, despite the possibility of huge eye bags, messy and unwashed hair and 3 days old pjs. 

I am not in any physical pain that you can see, but my brain convinces me of all of the bad things and talks me out of anything good I once felt about myself, it makes me feel tired, like I've walked a hundred miles, I have headaches from the lack of sleep I am getting and don't even get me started on my panic attacks. But yet I still feel guilty for being 'sick', I suppose I see it as there is no way it's going to be cured, unlike a cold or a sickness bug. 

I wake up with the dread over my head that I need to tell my work once again I am feeling ill, and they already know what it's going to be, and despite being kind and understanding I can't help but feel like one of the worst people in the world. I lay in bed surrounded by the guilt of having to phone into work and also the sheer panic that this is the time I am going to get fired. Luckily for me, my work is understanding and as long as I am willing to see my doctor/ be proactive about the time I need off, they are ok with it. But no matter how many times I am in this situation, it ends up feeling like the worst time yet.

Usually, I am lucky, the days off I have are enough to help me recover and help me to feel better, however, I know some of us aren't that lucky. This time last year I was signed off for 5 weeks at the same job I am at now as I went from a small amount of part-time work to 5 days a week with blogging added on top, and everything became too much. I felt scared that this was going to be the end of my new job back then and that didn't make it any easier to relax. Once I went back to work things seemed easier, I cut down my days to 4 and do a lot more blogging now and it feels less like I am drowning. I will always have my down days, weeks or even months but that is something I need to come to terms with. 

Please remember that your work should treat your mental health the same as they would with any psychical health condition and allow you the time you need to recover. I understand that often it is hard to open up to your employer in the first place, but if you feel comfortable doing so I would recommend it, so they can provide the support you may need. I am lucky in the fact I have a doctor that knows my situation and is happy to provide my work with the documents I need for long-term sickness. 

I am now hoping that I do not need another sick day for a while as I hate taking them and I hate phoning up to tell them that I feel this way, but if I do, I know it cannot be helped and I shouldn't make myself feel guilty for it. I'd love to know your experiences with mental health days at your work in the comments. 

How to build a sustainable wardrobe.

I swear no matter how many clothes I have in my wardrobe I always find the need to buy new ones. I have a wardrobe full of items that some that have barely seen a look in, others still have tags on. Then, of course, there are my favourite outfits. Those outfits that are worn several times a week until they're falling apart and then they end up in a rubbish pile. In an effort to make my wardrobe (and life) more sustainable I decided to sort out my wardrobe to allow me to fall back in love with those once loved pieces, to clear out those clothes and give them a new home and even breathe a new lease of life into some of my favourites which have seen better days, for sure. I decided to share my journey with you due to my previous post on how to live a more sustainable life being massively popular. 

Look after your clothes:
I am 110% guilty of not looking after my clothes properly, I don't even remember the last time I read the care label and I am forever mixing whites and darks together and the *occasional* coloured sock within and they often end up on the floor or scrunched up in a draw too. I am not saying I will end up completely changing my ways, as I am pretty sure that is impossible but separating colours and reading care labels more is something I will attempt to do more as I heard washing them at the correct temperate keeps them softer (just saying!) for keeping your clothes soft and brighter for longer I'd recommend trying the Dr Beckmann Colour and Dirt collector as clothes really do run and ruin each other which I was pretty much in denial for most of my adult life about so far. 

DIY your clothes: 
Going through clothes you may not wear anymore for one reason or another is a great way to decide if they looked different, would you wear them again? If your favourite shirt has lost its colour, could you redye it? Your jeans have a hole in, can you make this look better by fraying it. You get the gist, check out Pinterest for tons of cool hacks on how to DIY your clothes, easily. 

Reviving those favourite pieces:
If you're anything like me, you will continually wear an item of clothing until it is destroyed, for me with bright coloured hair it's easy to destroy my favourite clothes. I have a few white tees I love to wear, but of course, with me having bright hair, being a messy eater and clumsy in general these get stained and over time your white clothes become this weird grey colour which is not the desired look most of us are going for. With the help of Dr Beckmann and their Glowhite Ultra your clothes can once again be white. By doing this it helps you to keep your favourite clothes for longer and also is more sustainable than just throwing them away and re-purchasing them. 

Is your clutter someone else's treasure?
As someone who goes through a lot of sizes in clothing from gaining and losing weight, a great way to get rid of these is to give them to a charity shop. I know some people who just toss them in the bin which is a complete waste. Whether you're giving your clothes to a friend, a local charity shop or even selling them online it's worthwhile. It allows someone else to gain happiness from an item you no longer want. 

Less is more:
As much as I love new clothes and Primark is a place I am forever shopping in, the clothes are cheaper and aren't likely to last as long as more ethically sourced pieces. Although this is may not be an option for everyone for me I feel like I could purchase fewer pieces and save up for those items I really want and often are made better and tend to last that little bit longer.  

What are your top tips for building a more sustainable wardrobe?

*This post is in collaboration with Dr Beckmann, however, all thoughts are my own, and I am clearly just really bad at washing and I am glad for Dr Beckmann who is now my saviour.

4 ideas to keep you busy this summer.

*This is a collaborative post

So, what are you doing this summer? Several long weeks of beautiful weather mostly guaranteed, and a sense of freedom we just don't feel at any time of the year. With so many more hours in your day, it's the perfect time to try something new, whether that be trying a new holiday spot on for size or doing something different for yourself at home. Here to help inspire and motivate, check out these 4 ideas to rev up your summer and perhaps your whole year!

Learn a new language:
Okay, yes, the word “learn” conjures imagery of stuffy classrooms and hours spent trying to memorise important facts and figures—quite literally the complete opposite of what summer should be. It's pretty safe to assume that this suggestion is being met with a little mistrust and a lot of resistance. Not all learning has to be tedious though, and learning a language can be one of the most fun things you could do this summer! I mean, have you ever even played language games at Mind Snacks before? You don’t know what you’re missing!

But really, think about it. Is there a country you've always wanted to visit and are planning a trip for? How much more amazing would that trip be if you could speak the language of that country? To allow you to truly soak up the history and culture of this place you've been dreaming about for however long.

And the great thing about learning a language is that it isn't just a onetime deal! Team up with Listen and Learn and you can take online or in-person classes with native teachers year round. Once you become more fluent, there are international friends waiting to meet you, not to mention the books, films, and all sorts of music that are now available for you to enjoy! It is a skill that truly broadens your horizons, lets you think from an entirely new perspective by learning not only the language of a place besides your own but also how other people live!

Doesn't everything feel that much better when the sun is out? The world a little happier, and all the things you've toyed with the idea of trying a little bit more appealing? This is why summer is the perfect time to try out something you've been meaning to but haven't yet got around to. Summer workshops on crafting, a new form of exercise practised in the park, cooking classes catering for all those summer fruits that appear in abundance the moment we get past spring. As a starting point, check out Meetup and see what’s around you! The question is only which new thing do you want to try first?

Somewhere different:
Of course, when we think of the summer, the very next word we think of conjures imagery of far-off lands. Wherever you're considering taking your holiday this year, the summer always seems the best time for it. Whether it's on another continent teeming with rich experiences so very different from home, or it's somewhere more local that is a cherished favourite place you like to return to again and again, there is little that beats that feeling of going on our summer holidays. Where is your destination this year? 

New you?
Is it time for a wardrobe overhaul? A new hairstyle? A fresh new layout of your apartment? Summer is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and start over with something different. That could mean painting your walls a different colour, clearing out the makeup you never use in favour of a new brand you've been meaning to try or raiding your local thrift store for new clothes. Be bold, be different and be you!

Whatever plans you have this summer, we hope it is a great one for you!