2020 – not a total sh*t show.

Right, it’s been 3 whole months and 14 days since my last post.Just looking back now at my diary [to actually enable me access back into my own blog,] I flicked across the ‘goals’ page of the diary from the start of this year. Almost laughing out loud (or slight aggressive puff of air out of both nostrils, with very slight and brief curling up of the corners of the lipsI believe this is the official definition of lol) I looked at the bullet points I’d blissfully and unawarely formulated at the end of 2019. It all seems very, very weird to look back.

I must be totally honest though. This year has not been a complete disaster for me. Despite the completely disastrous state of the world and this country’s shocking inability to successfully contain the spread of the virus, care for its people adequately and do, well…anything really, I do count myself as a lucky one. While it has felt a difficult time to be an inhabitant of this planet in many ways, it would be really wrong for me to compose a totally woe-me post. I’ve escaped 2020 relatively unscathed, compared to some folk. Perhaps just a few kilos extra on my hips? We all have our coping mechanisms – mine just happen to be white chocolate coated Oreos and every type of cheese-on-a-cracker known to man. Yes, a few stress and mask-invoked spots on my face, but it could be much more devastating.

So, for my own self really, and for anyone who perhaps is looking for something a little more uplifting to counter-balance the dreadfully depressing posts elsewhere on the Internet, I’m going to briefly summarise why, for me personally, 2020 hasn’t been a total sh*t show. Emphasis on the total, because it’s had it’s challenges aye…

This beautiful illustration is by Maggie Stephenson, you can shop her prints here.

The first lockdown forced me to find time for my blog/ Instagram. For years I’d been unhappy with the creative directions I’d taken, I now finally had the time to cultivate and curate a feed and content that I felt was a true reflection of myself (and an aesthetic that somewhat silenced the obsessive compulsive tendencies I had about the grid, the images, the colour and the compositions, in my head.) As a result, my Instagram took off in a way that it never had done previously. I’m not solely talking about follower count – that’s just not what it’s about for me – being on 1,600 and something followers I’m aware I won’t be breaking the Internet at any near point in the future. I was however, building a community of people who were like-minded to myself, who cared about what I had to say, and who somehow believed in and wanted to follow this totally ‘un-conventional-looking’ stranger and her love of cruelty-free-ness on the internet. That’s pretty cool to me.

For the first time in my life, and my 7-odd unsuccessful years of blogging later, I received my first paid job ‘creating content.’ As much as I hate that pretentious-feeling way of saying blogging, it pretty much sums it up. A new app brand called OOOOO reached out to offer me the opportunity to talk about cruelty-free beauty products on their platform, with the opportunity for commission on each product. One of my submission videos was chosen as their social media advert (see Facebook somewhere?) and this was just one of the sweetest moments for me. It felt full-circle, in the biggest-possible way in my small world. I was realising that perhaps I wasn’t totally useless. *If you download their app through my referral link, you’ll receive a shiny £10 voucher to spend on any product on their app, and in-turn, I receive a shiny little virtual £1 coin (which hopefully will eventually turn into many little £1 coins in my bank account.) Link is here : ooooo.com/the.useless.blogger Personal plug over.*

I was also being contacted by various brands to receive pr products; this had never happened before. I was getting the chance to discover cruelty-free brands of all kinds, as well as several ad campaigns with The Body Shop throughout the year. I’m aware this is all relatively small-scale in the grand scheme of running a successful blogging empire, especially as this work is usually unpaid in pounds (but paid in product,) but either way, it is a personal little woo moment for me every time a DM or email comes through with a such-like offer.

As a white person in 2020, I learnt of a fraction of the sobering reality of what it means, and has meant to be a black person, or person of colour in this world. The tragic murder of George Floyd was the wake-up call we all needed. A light was shone on the injustices and hardships experienced daily by black communities and individuals. I was heartbroken. I felt guilty. I found it totally consuming. After having read the quote “It is a privilege to be learning about racism in 2020, rather than experiencing it…” I knew things had to change. It wasn’t about me at all. I knew I had to be part of the change. I began educating myself on black history and the black experience – although there are infinite sources, and I feel our work will seldom be ‘done’ I began my personal journey of doing better for our black friends. Kind of in the same way the Australian bush fires at the start of the year sparked discussion and outrage about the state of the climate, George Floyd’s untimely death hopefully wasn’t completely in vain. Sometimes something completely terrible and life-changing has to happen, before we realise that previous systems and circumstances were not serving us justly. 2020 was packed full of alarming, but much-needed wake-up calls – you could argue.

This year saw the continuation of my battle-recovery relationship with my mental health. While the long periods of loneliness and nothing-ness in lockdowns were undoubtably detrimental to my mental health, I was really forced to sit down and analyse my progress. I quietly celebrated being 3 years self-harm-free. I increased my dose of medication slightly (with doctor supervision) without fear or judgement. I continued my commitment to my recovery in my therapy sessions, fortnightly or weekly, when needed. More than anything, I finally learnt to recognise negative/ dangerous thinking/ behaviour patterns, and took action to prevent spiralling of any kind. The same way I like to create a safe space on the internet for those who follow me, I’ve tried to create the same judgement-free space for myself in real life. This is a daily commitment which continues.

This was the year I finally got Netflix. This was also the year I learnt a great deal of self-compassion. I was forced to drop all expectations of self and, like most people, develop coping mechanisms and strategies to simply get through each day. This was the year we spent all the time with our pets and beloved plants. I didn’t know it was possible to love a tiny creature as much as I do Pepper, but it turns out that a tiny ball of apple-domed chihuahua head fluff can bring endless comfort and joy in globally taxing times. I also learnt that a maximum number of house plants does not exist. 2020 was the year I learnt not just about body positivity, but also body neutrality. Look it up – it’ll change your life. The notion that it’s okay to be at peace with your body as it changes and evolves in any way, is truly liberating. I wasn’t great with financial management this year or at keeping in contact with people but we can’t have it all, eh. If I don’t improve on that in 2021, I’ll perhaps draw to the conclusion that I’ll forever be useless at replying to the messages of people who care, and that my savings account will forever act more as a borrow-if-I-need-it type of thing.

Sending my love and warm wishes for the new year to you all. Here’s to a slightly less terrible one! Let’s not forget that in 2020 America voted an old predatory bigot out and voted a woman of colour in. We turned up in protest for our black, trans and immigrant friends, and will continue to do so. We stood up for our planet, even though our work is not done until Greta is president. We realised that in the midst of absolute despair, there are communities of good, caring people out there. Failing that, there are always dogs. There is always some form of hope.

Take care of yourselves, each other and our home next year,

Love,

Ev

BORN A CRIME Book Review

A few months ago I made a commitment to do better for Black Lives. My education and support continues, whether it be behind the scenes in silence, or openly and honestly with you all.

I’ll start by saying that this book superseded my expectations. I have been a an enthusiastic follower of Trevor Noah’s comedy for a couple of years now, along with his hosting of The Daily Show in the States and this book has really cemented my love for him and his story! I’ll start by giving a little background…

I was about 16 when I had the absolute privilege of visiting South Africa as part of an extra curriculum (and very expensive) activity, towards the end of my three-year stint at a ‘prestigious’ all-girls school. Unlike some of the other girls, I was hyper-aware that my parents were sacrificing a huge deal to provide me with this once-in-a-lifetime-experience. Being the eldest daughter from a family of hard-working immigrants, these big opportunities were never lost on me. A bit like my entire education in private schooling from 4 to 16 years old, I was aware – and constantly reminded by my parents – how lucky I was to be there. We visited schools, communities and museums in Johannesburg, areas of wildlife in completely rural areas, groups, schools and communities in the township of Soweto, along with some of the most deprived areas of Johannesburg city… The little kids and teenagers across all the different schools and orphanages were some of the most lovable I had ever met. I was completely in love with them, they, on the other hand, were totally fascinated by my hair.

I actually don’t have many photos to recall this time, and actually, when I think back now, there’s a lot that could have been done by the school to educate us beforehand and to alleviate a sense of white-saviourism that we’d un-knowingly taken with us. But what stayed with me was how South Africa made me feel. The people and their spirit, their cultures and 11 different official languages, the natural beauty of the landscapes, the animals, the sheer vastness of the country…a very long story short, since that short two-week trip, I fell in love with the place.

One of the things that horrified and fascinated me in equal measure more than anything else, was learning of South Africa’s abhorrent history of racism and its 40-something years of sufferance under apartheid. *For those of you who don’t know, apartheid – literally meaning ‘apartness’ in the language of Afrikaans – was a system of institutionalised segregation, enforcing laws and rules that encouraged complete disparity and separation between white and all other non-white citizens across South Africa. Racial groups lived and developed separately, consequently grossly unequally, and as Trevor once said ” they had the best racism in the world.” * History has always been a subject that has completely captured my interest, probably one of my most-watched genres on Netflix to be fair… I find it fascinating to learn of how people once lived, what they lived through and how drastically our world has/ hasn’t changed. It’s also shocking and inexcusable that the first I ever learnt of apartheid and South Africa’s history (which is a huge part of Black history as a whole) was while standing in a museum in Johannesburg at 16 years old. Not a single mention of it in the completely white-washed version of history taught to me throughout school life, which is absolute madness to me. My eyes were opened to a world I didn’t even know had previously existed, but luckily for me, I had been taught the order in which Henry VIII divorced and beheaded his six wives – colonial priorities eh

The trip provided me with a small glimpse into South Africa’s devastating past and it created this connection between myself and the country. While I’m not Black, I have no ties to South Africa on a heritage-level and I couldn’t even begin to imagine the hardships of its peoples both then and now, there was something that connected me. South Africa is known for being made up of people of all races, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds – a real melting pot of sorts – hence the many colours represented in their flag, but also, a real place of hope. This, is something I could relate to. As a half Italian half Greek kid of immigrants, dual-nationality, dual-religion, brought up and living in the city of Brighton, I somehow felt at-home there.

All this contributed to creating this level of relatability I found with Trevor Noah. His comedy was the first of it’s kind in my opinion; educational, politically poignant, hilarious, relatable, but more than anything he came across as wildly well-educated on life and it’s dealings. I loved that. I heard that his book had been a roaring success and had been on the New York Times Bestselling list repeatedly for an eternity, but it was the uprising of BLM that really just acted as a huge kick in the a** for me, pushing me to educate myself further. I ordered a whole haul of books written by black authors, but this was the one I was most excited about, and decided to read first.

I’ll also say that I am an incredibly slow reader, always have been, coupled with the fact that I have the attention span of a small goldfish, which results in me rarely actually finishing a book. I read this from cover to cover and loved every story, every memory, every chapter. I feel like, while Trevor is very much recalling stories of his childhood, growing up under apartheid, he is also giving a stark education to the reader. This book has helped me fill in blanks, it’s given me background, it has provided me with a direct recalling of this period of history, through the eyes of a young mixed-race boy living in segregated South Africa.

I like the way the book flows, it’s not chronological to Trevor’s age/ life events but instead is done in a sequence of un-related stories, as chapters. Although each chapter is not necessarily connected with the chronology of time, it flows in a way a story book would. You get a real sense of Trevor’s character, his inner maverick; from his antics and debates with his mother as a young child to his days of selling pirated CD’s and stolen goods to make a living, as a teenager in the ‘hood’ of Alexandra. I have also completely internalised his voice from watching so much of his comedy, so I pretty much read the entire book as it would sound, read from his mouth. Can you tell I’ve watched and re-watched his comedy just a few times…

It is beautifully written, engaging, interesting, informative and an easy read for just about anyone. It is literally as though Trevor has painted a colourful story book to flick through, simply with words and stories. This book doesn’t focus on Trevor’s success, but acts more-so as an ode of gratitude to his mother, Patricia. I love that so much of this book is dedicated to her. She is, in fact, the common thread throughout all the stories and chapters. How she raised him as a single mother, the influence she has had on him, the expectation of women, especially black women, in South Africa at that time, her absolute resilience in the face of adversity, apartheid, domestic abuse and hardship. Patricia really comes out as the ultimate superhero in this, and I really, really love that.

Un-expectedly, a book in essence about female empowerment, with absolute focus on the integral role of a woman and mother, written by a son, with apartheid South Africa and racial oppression, as its backdrop. Although it was published in 2016, this book has no sense of expiry. It’s a book I’d encourage any 12 year old to read, just as much as I’d recommend it to my mother. It’s timeless in it’s intention and timeless in it’s impact. Stemming from this read, I’ve really been compelled to learn more about South African history, black history, the impact of apartheid and so much more.

There are two comedy shows by Trevor on Netflix: Son Of Patricia and Afraid Of The Dark. I’d highly recommend watching both, alongside or before reading Born A Crime. I purchased my copy of the book from Waterstones, but obviously you can support your favourite book store.

Let me know what you thought of my very first book review on the page, and if you’d like to see more of them!

Ev

Product Empties

September ’20

I just want to dive straight back in to what I do best, or at least what I think I do best…talking about beauty products! It definitely feels like it’s been a little lifetime since I last wrote a post but let’s save the bibliographical style of writing for another time.

I think an ‘Empties’ post/ video is the best insight into truly seeing what products people actually love and use, until empty. I’ve been meaning to do this for about a year now, and have actually saved up a small paper bag of empty boxes and bottles but being the first time I’m just going to start with my very faves, my most-loved, my top tier babies that have been loved until left empty. This is a culmination of cruelty-free makeup and skincare I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using and have reached for on the daily, ’til tattered and hollow on the inside, a bit like the walls of the brains of the men I’ve met on dating apps.

Another little thing to note, is that I’ve also indicated whether a product is either cruelty-free or cruelty-free & vegan. CF indicates that the product and brand does not test on animals at all and vegan indicates that the formula contains no animal derivatives, products or by-products. The two are not always mutually exclusive, so be sure to look into this when researching a brand/ product. I’m aware that we are all looking for different things from our beauty products and we all have different ethics, beliefs etc. I hope this helps!

Stay Naked Foundation – Urban Decay Cruelty-Free & Vegan

Find it here

I’ll jump straight in with one of my most-used products; the Urban Decay Stay Naked foundation. I wear the shade 40CP, I don’t know what that means and am just as clueless when it comes to undertones and pigments, all I know is that this is a perfect match for me. This bottle has lasted me a year exactly, so plenty of bang for the buck, and while I know it’s not cheap it really is a beautiful quality foundation. I think £31 is a fair price for a good quality foundation.

The coverage is medium to light, so if you’re looking for heavy coverage this may not be for you but it is buildable to some extent and for warmer, summer months it’s lightweight and easy to apply. I personally use it year round because I’m very fussy with makeup and so is my skin. It agreed with me from the offset and I definitely recommend giving it a try. Also Lizzo is the covergirl for this so… do you really need any more convincing?

Would I re-purchase?

The second bottle is in the mail as we speak. Now that I know my shade and now that ASOS have begun to stock Urban Decay extensively, I can order directly from there, however, I was originally shad-matched in Debenhams.

Conceal & Define Liquid Concealer – Makeup Revolution CF & V

Find it here

While we’re on the subject of foundation and base, lets talk about the Makeup Revolution concealers. These are excellent, these are super cheap, these come in an extremely extensive shade range and these are so readily available. These had a great deal of hype when they first came out and I totally understand why. They are medium to full coverage, which really is what I look for with these dark-ass bags under my eyes – I know I look like I’ve been tired since 1998 – but these really help. I’ve also used darker shades as a liquid contour and lighter shades for a bright, under-eye highlight. For £4.99 you can probably afford to have a few shades for different uses in your makeup bag. I’ve re-stocked different shades countless times.

Would I re-purchase?

Definitely. Although I’ve been looking for higher-end, higher-coverage formulas, these are really a great safety net to fall back on. I either purchase from Superdrug or ASOS.

Solution – Glossier CF & V

Find it here

I’ve spoken about his product here before, and in all fairness, I have used up every drop! For those who don’t know, Solution is a chemical exfoliator, which removes dead skin cells, leaving a clean, fresh complexion. I noticed a huge difference in the appearance and feel of my skin almost immediately after the first few uses. I used it at night, before bed, after cleansing and would wake up with the softest-feeling skin and completely clear complexion. I have noticed that since this has run out, Ive been a lot more prone to blemishes, breakouts and it seems that the appearance of my skin is a lot more un-even and less clear-looking.

Would I re-purchase?

One gripe I did have with this, is that it leaves the face very sticky once applied with a cotton pad. Although I hate this feeling so much – especially before bed – it is a factor I would overlook in the future, based on the great results I get after use. This may not be a product I buy continuously throughout the year, but perhaps a little treat, that re-sets my skin a few times a year. This 130ml bottle lasts at least a good month or two. It is designed to “..transform the look of skin in four weeks…” and the bottle size reflects this fairly. I’m also aware that a continuous chemical exfoliant may not be good 365 days a year, so I’ll move forward with this one intermittently.

Boy Brow – Glossier CF

Find it here

Moving onto brows. Glossier Boy Brow was the first ever product I’d ever used on these dark, mediterranean caterpillars. I am open to try other brands brow products, but this is so sublime, it would be hard to beat. It’s kind of like my first love – well, the eyebrow equivalent – so it may be hard to move on from and may just always remain in my heart and makeup-bag. I’m a big Glossier fan – that’s no secret – but when they make appropriately priced products which compliment people’s natural features so much, it’s really hard not to.

I wear the darkest shade ‘Black’ and the formula mixed with the shape and texture of the brush applicator, means that you can really create your desired shape, colour and texture, in a very natural-looking way. There’s no risk of over-drawing or over-buffing with this, it’s fail-safe and fool-proof. Amazing for brow-beginers, those who like their brows done in 3.5 seconds, those who love a natural look, I could go on… I really love the texture this brings to the brow hairs, to the point where I often judge myself for not using it sooner, looking back on previous flat and basic-brow times. Hindsight is a beauty, amirite?

Would I re-purchase?

Yes. I am also looking to branch out with other brow products and brands, now that this has done a great job at breaking the ice into the brow world for me.

Milky Oil – Glossier CF & V

Find it here

Lastly, in terms of top-tier empty Glossier I have to talk about the Milky Oil. It’s a waterproof makeup remover and is just the easiest and smoothest way to remove stubborn mascara or thick elaborate eyeshadow. I’ve been finding myself doing a lot of jazzy, colourful, heavily pigmented looks for Instagram over the past few months and I’m so glad I’ve had this to help me through that dreaded removal process. I purchased this on a whim to try out, being the Glossier gal I am, there’s not often a product that I don’t like from them, and this didn’t disappoint either.

I give this a little shake so that the oil and micellar water solution mix evenly, then apply a small amount onto a cotton pad. A full eye of shadow, mascara and liner needs 2-3 gentle swipes at the most with this product. No sore, dry eyes from rubbing/ scratching the makeup off. A little goes a long way here, this small bottle will remove countless eyeshadow looks over the space of its life.

Would I re-purchase?

Mentally planning my next Glossier order, as I type. For now, for me, this is the ultimate easy-to-use, skin-kind eye makeup remover. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. A firm fave.

Vitamin C Toner – InstaNatural CF & V

Find it here

I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken of this before here. This is one of the staples in my skincare routine. It’s the most skin-kind toner I have come across. I have sensitive skin, with a combination of drier and oiler areas across my face, so it can be hard to find products which work well for me in general. I’ve been using and re-purchasing this for over a year, possibly two now, and have even introduced it to my mum. She was struggling with her sensitive skin too, with extremely dry patches around her eyes. We switched her previous Olay toner, for this and have seen a world of difference. The toner really sets the standard and the foundation for the skincare routine.

Would I re-purchase?

I use this twice daily, after cleansing to close pores and refresh the skin, ready for skincare products which follow. I will continue to re-purchase this, as it works much better for me than Lush and The Body Shop alternatives that I have tried. It contains the perfect balance of nourishing oils and other good stuff which all compliment my sensitive skin beautifully. Would recommend to all!

If you guys have enjoyed this round-up of my very favourite Product Empties, do let me know, and I may do so more regularly!

Take care of yourselves, your skin and each other,

Ev x

My Commitment To Black Lives Matter

In the wake of the George Floyd tragedy I found myself unable to formulate words for any social media posts that felt appropriate. I felt angry, powerless, depressed and guilty, as a white person, but in the same breath determined to make things better and adamant to prove that I am totally anti-racist. Silence can be mistaken for compliance in these times. I also did not want to make it about me, because it wasn’t and still isn’t about me. It’s about black lives not mattering, when they should be. I mean, how can they not? How can human life be a subject ‘up for debate.’ I settled on an image with a quote by Obama; “We can and we must do better.” This summed it up for me, with no complexities in between. It is this simple.

As always I have to point out that this is not a news-based post, this is simply me openly sharing my commitment to do better. I have two story highlights on my Instagram where you can find information, resources and links to black-owned businesses and creators where I hope to generate as much support for the BLM movement as possible, and encourage those who follow me to do the same. I will be extending my research and support to the blog here too.

So I’ve set about educating myself. Although I am half Italian, half Greek and felt very much different from the other kids at school, this does not mean I have the first clue about black history and the importance and weight of this fight. As a daughter from a family of immigrants who have struggled, I can relate to a sense of feeling and looking different to others while also being very much attached to my motherland cultures, but that’s where the similarities end. I can’t relate to any other black struggle, and I’m learning that there are many. Without me realising, the whiteness of my skin has carried me safely through many aspects of life.

I fiercely believe that anyone can support BLM, however they see fit, whether it is visible online or not. Often the work that is done to un-do systemic racism is more effective offline, speaking to family members, protesting etc. It is not my place to judge anyone else’s means of education, learning and support, as long as it is in fact impactful and helpful to the cause at hand. One of the evenings after Floyd’s death, I had a moment of epiphany as I lay in bed feeling helpless about this white privilege I had never been aware of. I decided that in the name of justice, I could no longer allow myself to be afraid to say or post the wrong thing, or show my lack of knowledge. My days of being silently anti-racist were over, I now wanted to show up, whole-heartedly and boldly as an anti-racist. With that said, I have decided to be very open about my ignorance surrounding this topic. While I’m sure I may be more socially and culturally aware than others, it runs true that we are all deeply deprived when it comes to being informed about black history and black struggle. It was time to show up. I want to be totally transparent with my learning. I’m seeing that it’s better to show up imperfectly than not at all, so let’s.

Although we may feel powerless to prevent senseless acts of injustice in countries that our not our own, we must look deeper than that, because there is a lot we can do. It is absolutely true that racism and prejudice seeps deep through all veins of society, in all countries so to believe that this is either ‘a black problem’ or ‘an American problem’ is the height of ignorance, it’s time to take accountability. I’m currently reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race and it is truly an education. Systemic racism has and still is a huge social issue here in the U.K. and I’m aware that this book is the first of many shocking insights I’ll be getting into black societal hardship. This is just the start of my education. I feel appalled that I’ve learnt more about black history and injustice in the past two weeks, as a 24-year-old, than in all my years at prestigious private schools and a state college. Education is the key here.

Education is also just the start. I will continue to educate myself and share my learnings openly and honestly. I will continue to research, discover and support black-owned brands, with a focus on cruelty-free beauty. I will continue to listen, learn and put huge value into the stories and voices of the global black community. I will continue to amplify black voices and the black experience far beyond the point where it is no longer a news story or Instagram ‘trend.’ To me, Black Lives Matter, along with my love and support for my black friends and black communities, is a long-standing commitment to equality and change. It is a commitment that must be kept.

A commitment to be made by us all.

I will link my Insta here, if you are interested in my BLM and black-owned business highlight reels. The link to purchase Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race is here, with many, many other important books also available. There is also a post which links all the things we can do for BLM here in the U.K, with the the USA equivalent also provided. I will pop both here below:

Click here to support BLM from the U.K.

Click here to support BLM from the U.S.A

While these lists are helpful they are not exhaustive. There is always more that can be done, from donations, to petitions, to supporting black-owned business and education on a personal level. I’d encourage you to do some research of your own, whether you are U.K. or USA based or not, racism is the global pandemic, we have the cure.

We can and must do better.

Ev x

Barry M GREEN ORIGIN Review

Living the life of a woman without a nail technician has become my unfortunate reality as of recent. As much as I want to sit and cry about the state of the world, and my nails, I decided to take matters in to my own hands- literally. Some of you may think it a tad boujée to be indulging in a beautiful gel manicure every 4 weeks, but nail and hair care have become a huge part of my self care and self preservation in general.

I want to keep this review as short and sweet as possible, so as always, scroll to the bottom for the product overview or keep reading for the long and short of it all.

I’ve mentioned bits and bobs of my mental health story here and there, but as someone who neglected myself, my self-care and my own needs for so long, it’s nice to do something outwardly that helps me feel in control and have a sense of agency over my own recovery as well as all the work I do for myself internally, emotionally etc – I suppose the aesthetic side of self-care is really just an extension of that.

Now, enough with the backstory, let’s get into this product review. BarryM is a super affordable cruelty-free British brand, available in the vast majority of U.K. drugstores with an established and growing collection of vegan beauty too. Being without the lovely Dianana (my nail tech, follow her on insta here) has meant that I’m obviously taking the care of my nails into my own hands. I was excited when I discovered this collection and am really into the concept too. The idea behind the Green Origins collection means that the polishes are made up of 70% natural ingredients and I LOVE this.

ASOS have really been expanding their beauty range and I appreciate this deeply, obviously, the more cruelty-free brands, the better, so I first came across these polishes here. So with my bare nails crying out, I went ahead and added 3 beautiful earth-toned shades to my basket and checked out.

Barry M say the range is “Made with 70% certified natural ingredients including potato, corn and wheat, Green Origin delivers the 
high shine finish and long lasting wear of a traditional Nail Paint from a new environmentally sensitive, low-chemical formulation.”
What more could you want, right?

I genuinely prefer this Green Origin formula to the BarryM ‘Gelly’ collection that has been around for years. Obviously the colours in the ‘Gelly‘ range are wider but l’d choose a predominantly natural-based product over a totally synthetic one any day, even if it means a smaller range of colours initially. This natural formula is beautiful and vegan-certified. I generally apply 2/3 coats for a lovely opaque finish and unlike some nail polishes, the formula is not at all watery, washy or patchy, which makes it super easy to use. The brush head allows for perfect application and I honestly can’t fault the formula or performance at all.

Shade ‘Butterscotch’
Shade ‘Charcoal’
Shade ‘Mushroom’

I’ve tried all 3 colours ‘Butterscotch’, ‘Charcoal’ & ‘Mushroom‘ and can say that every one individually performed beautifully. I really think these polishes are a breakthrough which says a lot because I’m extremely fussy with my nails, and beauty products in general as you well know. The base and top coat I use is ORLY Top2Bottom (obvs. cruelty-free, LA-made, a little more on the pricey side compared to BarryM, available at Superdrug but totally, completely and absolutely worth it.) The key to a slick, long-lasting manicure really is the clear coat so I would be curious to try the base & top coat from this range too. At £3.99 each, I think you’d be foolish not to give these a go. I will definitely be buying more from this collection as I do use non-gel polish on my toes year-round/ when I can be bothered and I will definitely be recommending it to other babes.

Overview

*These products were purchased by me, this review is based purely on my experience and personal opinion, of course product experience is always unique from one babe to another.

  • Formulation (appearance, scent, texture):  10/10 Every nail polish has that scent but the formula and pigmentation are beautiful. Love that it’s 70% natural ingredient-based.
  • Performance : 10/10 The polish has lasted chip-free for weeks! 
  • Value (worth the dollar?): 10/10 Super affordable, readily available.
  • Packaging:  5/10 Pretty bog-standard.
  • Would I repurchase?  YES, have just ordered the lilac shade ‘Lilac Orchid’

You can find the full, and might I add, beautiful collection of colours on their website here. The beauty of BarryM, is that you can also likely find it at your local Superdrug, Boots or online beauty store. If there’s one drug-store, affordable product you try this month, let it be one of these babies and be sure to get a nice top/base coat to back it up. I feel like Green Origin is really going to be a formula that changes the beauty market, or at least I hope, because if you can make a polish this good with mainly natural ingredients, then there’s less need for all the toxic added nasties across all products and brands. It can be done- the proof is here!

I’d love to know if you’ve tried this range or are going to and/or what you think. So stay safe, implement that self-care and then let me know about it,

Ev x

26 Things NOT To Do Right Now

A comprehensive list of suggestions and ideas to keep you safe, well and sane during this bizarre time in our lives.

Here we are 6 or so weeks or so on from my ’26 Things To Do Right Now’ post and we’ve been in a state of lockdown here in the U.K. for the best part of 8 weeks now… I think? Time, of course, is a concept that has lost all meaning. Meeting up with the gals for a Thursday night margarita in the usual place has become a distant memory, a mere recollection of the past. This is not the type of blog where you can gain factual and scientifically accurate information about the Covid-19 virus, that’s just not what I’m here for. There are plenty of accurate sources that you can find across the internet for that kind of update, and no, your Auntie Karen’s Facebook is not one of them.

This lovely ‘Staying In’ print is from StayingInStudio (when I purchased the print, £5 from every purchase of this print was being donated to the NHS Covid appeal – amazing!) The gorgeous Cactus and dried Achillea flowers are from Gunn’s Florist, Brighton – support small business babes!

It’s no secret that our mental (and physical) health is as important now as ever, and I’m a firm believer in taking good care of both. Preserving our wellbeing and committing to looking after ourselves whole-heartedly is not easy during this unprecedented time, Ive personally spent copious days in bed, but while it’s important to listen to our bodies and it’s needs, I think it’s also paramount to keep a few things in mind…

So without further a due, here is a list of things I will be trying not to do over the next few weeks, a list of personal reminders that you too may find some semblance with.

  1. Do not gain your information/ base your opinions of the pandemic on posts you see on your Aunt Karen’s Facebook. There are plenty of credible sources, epidemiologists, scientists and NHS experts to gain insight from.
  2. Do not be a victim of racist propaganda- mad that I even have to write this, right? Trouble is, Karen and like-minded people share information that is false, misleading and inaccurate about the origins of the outbreak of Coronavirus.
  3. Do not over-watch, re-watch or fixate obsessively on the news. This can be super damaging to anyone’s mental health.
  4. Do not share false, inaccurate information across social media constantly like Karen, this creates unnecessary panic. Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?
  5. Do not be anything like Karen.
  6. Do not compare your life to others’ on social media – not just specific to this pandemic – it applies throughout life. Instagram is a highlight reel for many people, most of us are feeling all the feelings despite what we may share online.
  7. Do not feel pressured to post/ show your productivity and banana bread making endeavours to the world. Some of us just aren’t natural bakers.
  8. Do not place unrealistic standards and goals in place for this time.
  9. Do not feel guilty for not being productive during this time.
  10. Do not feel guilty for feeling sad during this time.
  11. Do not feel guilty for feeling anxious during this time.
  12. Do not neglect your emotional needs during this time. Do reach out for help and support across groups, friends, networks though. There are plenty of mental health specialists who will be working remotely and are ready to support you. GP surgeries are also still open, as a first port-of-call.
  13. Do not use the excuse of a global pandemic to message your toxic ex, or in my case, the dude who ghosted me and fails to acknowledge my existence and/or value as a human being but continues to watch my stories on Instagram. Do, however, throw on some Lizzo and remember who the f** you are.
  14. Do not use the excuse of a global pandemic to message a toxic family member or friend. Nothing is worth sacrificing your mental health for, trust me.
  15. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to participate in all the social media socialising and zooming going on, it’s okay to retreat a little.
  16. Do not feel guilty for enjoying this as ‘time-out’ on some level.
  17. Do not feel guilty if you are being super-productive and getting your life in complete order – go you! In fact, we applaud and commend your efforts…now pass me the Oreo Bites so I can finish watching every episode of Gilmore Girls ever made.
  18. Do not feel bad if there are days where you can’t get out of bed or brush your teeth – honestly, I’ve had many a duvet-day.
  19. Do not suffer in silence during this time. Some of us may have difficult relationships with the people we’re quarantined with. Some people are the victims of the rise in domestic abuse at this time. There is help available, even from home, as mentioned in no. 12.
  20. Do not pressure yourself during this time, there is no right/ wrong way to deal with this.
  21. Do not forget to thank the key workers around you; even the people working in the supermarket and behind the post office desk – Barbara you single handedly are helping me keep my Depop sales shipped and going. Thank you sweet, small, Irish lady.
  22. Do not neglect yourself and your needs (physical, emotional, spiritual, or Oreo-Bite-based needs…) really just do what makes you feel good and helps you get through the days, no-one is judging. So long as you’re not harming yourself or others, obviously.
  23. Do not feel bad for loosing track of time, none of us know what the day OR time is. Time has lost all meaning.
  24. Do not feel alone in your anxiety of returning to ‘the new normal‘ – again – we’re all in the same boat.
  25. Do not let this temporary period of abnormality and struggle screw up your plans for the future. Do know that this will be over very soon and you will once again be able to hug your friends, stroke all the dogs in the park and sit uncomfortably close to a stranger on public transport again. Im looking forward to the first two immensely so.
  26. Do not give up. I’ve seen many-a-post from fellow girls, expressing their mental health struggles and sometimes relapse during this period, but the silver lining is that we’re all in the same boat. I often forget this. By the end of this we will have endured one of the biggest challenges of modern times in many respects, and to have survived it, to be alive at the end, well, I suppose we should really consider ourselves lucky. Whether we’re carrying a few extra kilos from Oreo Bites and Custard doughnuts, or not. We are the lucky ones.

I hope in reading this you may have found some solace in knowing that most of us are probably feeling a lot of the same things right now. I believe that we are through the worst of this situation (if only you’d all keep your backsides at home and not on Brighton beach) and that from here there is so much to look forward to. I cannot wait to go back to work and resume all the mundane things that we once took for granted.

Stay safe, wash your hands, take care of yourself whole-heartedly.

Ev x

HEMP Beauty – What’s The Deal?

In the spirit of 420 I decided to do a little research and talk about a few of the Hemp-inspired products in my beauty collection, as I seemed to have accumulated quite few recently. For those who don’t know 420 (April the 20th) is a day synonymous with the celebration of cannabis smoking in America, and like most American traditions and holidays, the concept has trickled through to the U.K. and become somewhat of a deal here to – pun fully intended. I’m not some kind of seasoned red-eyed pot smoking cool cat, quite the opposite actually, I had to Google most of this last night.

I’ve seen lots of beauty brands picking up on this hemp ‘trend’ in recent years and it has actually become evident that contrary to my imagery above, the healing properties of the cannabis plant are becoming widely celebrated and are no longer only associated with red-eyed pot smoking cool cats, for the most part, and I’m actually really glad about this. I am one of the people who genuinely believes in the healing and sustainability properties of hemp after doing some research and watching various documentaries. I guess now would be a good time to make the following disclaimer: I am not encouraging the recreational use of cannabis or any other drug, ever, and am in no position to give advice on the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

With that said, I’m here to simply present a beauty-based, angle to the subject and if you want a more in-depth scientifically-based representation of things, I suggest you look elsewhere. I have however done some research as far as the beauty industry is concerned and I may be able to answer some of your questions in this post.

First of all, let me explain what hemp actually is. It is a strain of the leafy, green Cannabis plant, that most of us know, bred specifically to contain less chemicals. Generally speaking it contains 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient that produces the ‘high’ in marijuana, which is why you can’t get high from a a tube of hemp hand cream – sorry to say. It is known as a multi-benefit crop because the plant itself has so many uses, from the fibres of the stems themselves being used in the production of fabric, to the oil and other by-products derived for health and beauty purposes.

How does this relate to hand cream, you ask? Well, Hemp’s cold pressed seed oil is high and balanced in essential fatty acid content (omegas 3 and 6) which makes it an ideal ingredient in personal care products. “The essential fatty acids soothe and restore skin when added to salves and creams. The natural texture gives excellent emolliency and a smooth after-feel to lotions, lip balms, conditioners, shampoos, soaps, shaving products and massage oils,” says George Blankenbaker, Manager of Real Hemp. I’ll link the entire article from cosmeticsbusiness.com here, because although a little out-dated, still provides a lot of interesting info. So in short, hemp contains a lot of good and beneficial stuff.

The Body Shop have been hemp pioneers for some time now, you can find their entire range here. I’d been recommended their Hemp Hand Cream by my nail technician, who no doubt sees a lot of sorry and beautiful looking knuckles. I had an appointment with her before the U.K lockdown ensued at a time where my hand washing had reached fever-pitch and my hands looked like they’d been scrubbed with sand paper. I’ve been using this for a good month now and I can confirm that it does in fact have healing properties for extremely dry hands. A combination of this cream along with less hand-washing, my hands are transformed and actually look nourished for the first time in years. I must say, that with most hemp products, I’m not a fan of the scents whether derived naturally or synthetically, but because all the products seem to work such a dream, it’s a factor I’m happy to overlook.

I also picked up the hemp lip salve too, as it has a deluge of five star reviews, along with the hand cream. It’s almost scentless which I like in this case, it feels buttery and leaves my lips soft – does what it says on the box, we love that. I use both the salve and hand cream a couple of times a day, and they have both become welcome additions to my self-care and skincare routines. I’m definitely now curious to try more from their ever-growing hemp collection. You can still shop The Body Shop online at the moment, which makes me SO happy!

I’d heard really great things about Dr. Botanicals from a fellow small-time blogger on Instagram, so when I saw this product on the Oliver Bonas sale, for half price, I snapped it up immediately. I also picked up several other Dr. Botanicals items, so will do a new brand review post with those all soon, if that’s something you’d like to see…? I assumed this wouldn’t be a match for me, given my patches of oily areas on the face but I’m not going to beat around the bush here: this product is liquid gold hemp oily goodness. Along with the dry areas, I’ve also always had a lot of very dry areas on my face and this seems to have worked wonders across the board.

I have pretty sensitive skin, so as far as trying out new skincare I’m always hyper-wary but I was so pleasantly surprised with is. It’s a transparent, almost scentless oil-based solution which I’ve been using as advised once/twice daily after cleansing skin. The first bonus point is that it doesn’t aggravate my sensitive skin, and the second bonus point comes from the fact that it leaves my skin looking and feeling beautiful. I’d recently had to stop using my Glossier chemical exfoliator at night as it had finished, which was really keeping breakouts at bay, and my skin calm and glowing but it seems that, although not an exfoliator, seems to be doing the same wondrous things for my skin. It’s clear, smooth, radiant and I’m so pleased with the results from this little supplement! Dr. Botanicals is widely available online, so go eat your heart out.

Now with is last product, I have to admit that the jury is very much still out, as I’ve only been using it a few days. This is an organic daily hormone supplement, containing 1% CBD extract. I will do a full review of this supplement once I’ve been using it a substantial amount of time to see a difference but I wanted to show you the range of cannabis-derived products out there on the U.K. market. This is another product I gladly discovered in the Oliver Bonas sale and again at a fraction of the original price, I simply had to try it out. I love the premise of the brand Ohne, established by two fierce female entirely based around period education and accessibility – yasssss queens, we love this!

Their site says “yours, hormonally is an ingestible, under-the tongue, daily CBD supplement containing avocado and MCT. ” I have really been experiencing a lot of stress recently, as I’m sure a lot of us have. As a result I’ve had very low mood most of the time so this is a welcome experiment for me. It has a herb-like taste, made predominantly of coconut and avocado oil and I’ve started by taking two drops under the tongue when I wake up with the advice being to build up to a pipette full over time. I must honestly say I’ve seen a noticable difference in my mood over the past few days, in a good way, but as I say I want to test it thoroughly before concluding an opinion. *Also important to note that this is not suitable for kids, obviously and it is advised that you consult a doctor first if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication. * It this works, it could really be a game-changer for me, so stay tuned for my final thoughts!

As always I hope this post has been in some way informative, helpful and/or hopefully interesting, even if just a light moment of distraction from the intense goings-on in the world at the moment. I’d love to know what you think, so either comment down below or find me over on Instagram @the.useless.blogger!

Stay safe, always research a product thoroughly before purchasing or trying out and enjoy the fruits of the hemp plant (safely within the confines of the law obvs.)

Ev x

Hair Masks Worth Rooting For

Along with the bitter-sweet practice of social distancing, another means of self-preservation I’ve been indulging in over recent weeks, has been to routinely implement hair-care into my bathing routine. Hair care had always been something I’d overlooked, a bit like the importance of quality skincare, until now. I’d kind of always accepted that I was destined to a lifetime of curly, frizzy Mediterranean hair. Hair that had been scraped back by my mother with handfuls of Boots own-brand blue hair gel and a sorry looking wooden brush with abused looking brown bristles, for the most part of my childhood. Recently everything changed.

Without delving too deeply into the self-pity tin, a few years back I shaved my entire hair off in a very not-funny, but totally relatable Britney Spears 2007 type meltdown. *This is not advisable, you can enjoy hair-care without the severe lengths of self-harm first, or ever, and if you are having thoughts that you may harm yourself or someone else, you should absolutely seek help.* The bottom line is, that over the 2/3 years it took to grow back, I felt nothing like myself at all, I hoped that one day I might not be mistaken for my younger brother. Yes, we looked similar but it was a comment I choked back reluctantly although somewhat knowingly, as a 22 year-old woman with dark ‘foreign features’ (whatever that means, stranger in the pub.) This whole process gave me a whole new appreciation for my hair.

My first proper hair cut last November totally blew my mind, and without getting too Russel Brand on you all, I felt re-born in a big way. I now appreciate and care for my hair in a way I never had before. I really take pride in it, as if it were a symbol of my recovery. I’ve enjoyed trying out products and testing brands, so without further a due here are the hair masks I think are worth rooting for.

Lush’s ROOTS

This was the first hair mask I’d ever tried after hearing and seeing great things on Instagram. I started using it as my hair was growing back and although I didn’t document the re-growth process specifically (I’d seen other bloggers say it dramatically promoted their hair growth,) it was super easy to use with very short hair and I felt like I was getting results. The treatment is obviously root-focused whereas many other hair masks tend to treat the lengths and ends. It promises to “…stimulate the scalp, drawing nutrients to the roots to nourish the hair follicles…”

It’s formulated with a lot of naturally-derived ingredients (peppermint oil, sweet orange oil, extra virgin olive oil, honey…) so it’s very gooey and thick in texture. It smells super minty and invigorating, which I love. It should be applied all over the scalp and massaged in for 10-15 minutes, left for about 20 mins and then washed off in the shower followed by your usual hair-washing routine. My hair feels healthy and thick after using Roots and it’s definitely something I would suggest for those with thinner, fine hair above all. I gifted it to my mum for Christmas as she has thinning hair and I’ll be really curious to see the difference it may make.

You can shop it here, or in your local Lush store.

I do tend to have a bit of a dry scalp so this is definitely a product I will continue to re-purchase plus a little healthy hair growth never hurts anyone, right? I like that it’s root and scalp-focused whereas my other masks take care of other elements of the hair. I like that I can apply it before my bath and let it sit for a while, it’s low maintenance and easy to use, plus this size tub lasts very well.

Coco&Eve’s Like A Virgin

I picked up this little beauty from Oliver Bonas, an absolute steal in their post-Christmas sale and let me just say: I will be re-purchasing this product, I will be re-purchasing from this brand because this is truly one of the most exciting hair products ever? This is the ultimate antidote for my frizzy, curly, dyed hair, I almost couldn’t believe the difference after the first use.

The website says it’ll…

  • Restore dry damaged hair
  • Improve hair texture and shine
  • Hydrate and deeply conditions
  • Treats split ends and tames frizz
  • Transform your hair in only 10 minutes

I can easily agree with all of the above. The product smells dreamy – I’m a fan of anything fig-scented– but more than anything it somehow conditions my hair slickly and wonderfully. I’m aware it’s not the cheapest product on the market, the price is reflected in the premium results but I can assure you it’s worth every penny.

You can shop it here, or alternatively from a range of stockists.

I will say that the application isn’t my favourite process, just because you have to apply it after towel-drying washed hair and I always find myself awkwardly leaning over the bath to rinse, but because I’m such a fan of the results I don’t really mind. I use it scarcely throughout the lengths and ends, because my hair is naturally very oily and I’ve found that a super small pea-sized amount is enough to brush through and nourish my entire head. So, bang for your buck, smells amazing and leaves hair feeling like actual hand-spun silk – what more do you want sis?

It’s worth all the hype it gets across social media and if you’re looking to indulge and want a solution to damaged, problematic, frizzy hair, it’s a worthwhile investment that won’t fail you.

The Body Shop’s Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Mask

This lovely conditioning mask from The Body Shop is definitely comparable in results to the Coco&Eve mask above. It’s a little more affordable and accessible, coming in at £12 for this large pot so if you’re new to haircare and masks this is a great shout.

I always find myself reaching for this after shampooing because it’s so easy to use and we can all be a bit lazy sometimes, especially myself as a Libra. It should be applied like a conditioner straight after shampooing and left for 5-10 mins. E-A-S-Y. It has the texture and consistency of a thick conditioner, you can really use as much or little as you prefer, the outcome is equally great. I also give this top points for scent to, they have a lot of products under the ‘Shea’ collection and it’s such a fresh, attractive scent.

You can shop it here or at your local Body Shop.

I either straighten my hair or leave it curly on the rare occasion and this mask means that I can easily do both, without frizz or fuss. This product has about 80 five star reviews on their site and I can totally understand why. They also currently stock a Banana Nourishing hair mask, which I’d be super keen to try too. I feel like this is an easy staple to have in your beauty cupboard for guaranteed results, without splashing the cash.

I like to brush conditioners through my hair before rinsing off as a general routine. I recently bought this WetBrush Go Green Detangler and I love it! Tangle Teezer, step down please.

My haircare is a practice I’ll continue to enjoy, especially while I’m having to stay home. I hope you too can find this same enjoyment. Most sites are still fully-functional for online shoppers even though physical stores are not, so treat yourself to some self-caring haircare babes.

Ev

x

26 Things To Do Right Now

A comprehensive list of suggestions and ideas to inspire you during this bizarre time in our lives.

I’ve been finding myself spending a lot more time at home because my workplace is temporarily closed and I don’t really fancy catching the coronavirus and/or potentially spreading it among the old and vulnerable. So, I’ve decided to put together a list of things – mainly for myself – but also for anyone else who maybe struggling during this particularly strange and difficult time.

It’s true that we are slightly limited to what we can do within the confines of our space, but I personally have a never-ending list of things I want and/ or need to do but never get round to doing because I have a first class honors degree in Procrastination, which prevents such-like productivity. Maybe now is the time to do those things? Maybe the universe is physically pushing me out of bed, off my phone and into the present? Or maybe it’s just the run-of-the-mill effect of a global pandemic?

Either way, if you’ve exhausted your Netflix library here are a few ideas….

  1. Re-pot a plant
  2. Propagate a plant
  3. Learn about the proper care of houseplants
  4. Tidy and spring clean your living space
  5. Re-arrange the furniture in your space
  6. Re-decorate your space
  7. Tidy those darn drawers (we all have that one crap drawer)
  8. Organise your wardrobe, Marie Kondo style
  9. Donate all the clothes you don’t want (keep them in a box until charity shops re-open)
  10. Sell the rest on Depop/ Vinted/ Ebay
  11. Support local businesses and smaller, independent sellers
  12. Reach out to a friend, FaceTime family; physical social distancing doesn’t mean complete social detachment. To quote the lyrical and philosophical excellence that is High School Musical “We ARE all in this together” and we’re probably thinking and feeling a lot of the same things, it’s good to remember you’re not alone.
  13. Set up an online business
  14. Start a new blog, every one has a passion and there is an audience for everything these days
  15. Be kind to yourself, there is no right/ wrong way to feel through this
  16. Be kind to others, there’s enough toilet roll to go around the world twice
  17. Find a creative outlet; I’m a lover of adult colouring books
  18. Learn a new skill; Knitting? Baking? Expert plant potter?
  19. Make time for self-care. Don’t neglect yourself just because you’re staying in.
  20. Make a homemade face or hair mask
  21. Try making your own hand sanitiser (god knows you can’t find it elsewhere)
  22. Enjoy a nap
  23. Take an online course
  24. Read that pile of books you’ve been accumulating
  25. Research and plan that trip you’ll take when this is all over.
  26. See this time as an opportunity to lean into yourself, for growth, self-care and healing rather than anything else.

Look after yourselves and let me know if you found this list helpful. My DM’s are always open for messages of kindness, support and obviously cruelty-free beauty recommendations @the.useless.blogger

Ev

x

Self-Love Struggles

Throw on some Lizzo and remember who the f**ck you are.

I was planning a make-up based post on a look I’d created for Valentines Day, but aside from obviously thinking the creation is not worthy of an entire post, I feel like I have more pressing matters to address. You can find all details of this look on my Instagram @the.useless.blogger because while we’re on the theme of hearts, love and self-love (or my lack thereof) I want a bit of real talk for a few minutes.

These lovely crystal drop earrings were gifted to me by the lovely @lovebugdesigns , you can shop their Etsy store here.

The long and short of it is simple: I have NOT been loving myself to a Lizzo-worthy standard recently, and it’s just not good enough. I’ve slowly learnt to be better at loving myself in all my phases; happy, sad, toned, saggy, donut-filled or not… but recently it has been one hell of a struggle. It’s possible that because my mental health hasn’t been quite on-point, consequently I’m dissecting every part of myself and my body, my struggles and my triumphs – over thinkers will relate – and it’s exhausting.

I’ve followed a page on Instagram called @nonairbrushedme, for years. I stumbled across a story of theirs, below. This post on their stories incited a deep-seated, long-overdue series of thoughts within me. Is the reason I find myself so hard to like/ love largely down to the body-image toxicity, diet culture and years of consuming the noxious notion strewn across magazines, tv programmes and the parochial minds of little boys in the classroom at school, that there is only one type of ‘beautiful?‘ I believe the answer is a definite yes. Let’s break those thought processes, mindsets and societal expectations. Let’s redefine our expectations of ‘beauty’.

I don’t want to delve into a deep psycho-analysis of self right now, but it’s important to talk about two vital things. 1. It’s totally okay not to love yourself all the time, it would be un-natural and you’d be some kind of alien. I’m sure Lizzo and all those other body positive beauties and self-love ambassadors have days/ weeks where they don’t love themselves. Welcome to the human experience, no? Be KIND to yourself. 2. How can we make it better? You deserve to make it better because more than a few weeks of self-deprecation probably isn’t healthy. Aside from being kind to oneself, do all the things that make you feel better. In my case it would mean taking better care of myself; being more physically active, being more conscious with eating habits, being less obsessive about how I look and more concerned about taking these steps because of how I feel. I find that physical and mental health are closely linked and usually once half of the equation starts to improve, the other half will follow suit.

Nothing is ever permanent, these feelings I’m having towards myself today will fade, improve and undoubtably fluctuate in the future. A previous therapist taught me the importance of really being kind to oneself, that is almost always the answer. You wouldn’t scrutinise a friend the way you’re scrutinising yourself in your own head, would you? So let’s be better at that. The way we talk to ourselves internally is everything.

I really, really, really recommend following Nonairbrushedme, their feed is a complete celebration of the female and human experience. The accounts we follow have a sub-conscious impact on our internalisations and there is part of me that has become so at peace with myself through following the right accounts on Instagram, and unfollowing anyone who makes me doubt my own beauty and worth. It may sound silly, but it’s true.

Ev