NOVEMBER REFLECTION

Another month, another reflection post. November has been so hard, I feel like loads has happened but I just can't remember any of it whatsoever. So that's great.

At the end of October, I decided that I had enjoyed doing Blogtober so much that I wanted to post once every 2 days in November. Looking back, why the hell did I decide to do that and HOW the hell did I pretty much succeed?! I managed it apart from one day, but even then I put it up the next day and still managed to upload all the posts I wanted to upload. I feel like I must have been mindlessly blogging in my sleep because there is genuinely no other way that I've managed to do this on top of everything else. Am I impressed with  myself? Possibly a little too much. Come January, I'm gonna have absolutely no post ideas.

I set myself the goal this month of having 7 Blogmas posts done and scheduled and ready to go, and it happened! I have the first week ready plus some throughout the month so I feel less stressed. I've gotten into a good routing with daily blogging and managing to organise myself a few weeks in advance - I may struggle with keeping on top of it though but we'll see! I'm really excited for everything to start getting festive and everyone's gonna be putting out their Christmas content, I literally can't wait. I'm also really excited about some of my post ideas throughout the month, and I really hope everyone likes them!

This month saw quite a few events, one of which being the Aelder Elixir event in Leith, Edinburgh. It was a lot of fun to meet other Edinburgh-based bloggers and even more fun to drink alcohol all night. The Aelder Elixir team forage for their own fruit for the drink and also for the ingredients for the meals they cooked up for us - including seaweed. They put a lot of hard work into their brand and their product and it absolutely shows, so it was lovely to get to know the guys and hear about how they established themselves in the alcohol industry and how they stand out from the crowd. We had to make our own little cocktails on the night, my absolute favourite and the drink I dream about daily is the Aelder Elixir mixed with ginger ale and topped off with a lime. It's fizzy, it's fruity and it's delicious. I've been saving the little miniature bottle from the event to have with ginger ale and lime, and I think I need to invest in a large bottle of it because honestly, it's amazing.

Also this month, I went to the Busy B event in central Edinburgh. The room was set up like a bloggers dream and I snapped away quite happily for a good hour before realising I should probably start to interact with some real people. It was the first event I've been to properly on my own, I didn't meet up with anyone beforehand and I didn't really know anyone else going so I was really, really nervous, and it took me a while to come out of my shell and mingle, but I did! And I met some lovely bloggers that evening (Charlotte & Zoe, amongst SO MANY others). The Busy B team are also so kind, they were so approachable and chatty, which made the daunting task of approaching them to chat much less scary. Also the girl who told me about the Primark Teddy Coat was there, big props to her for changing my life.

I cannot believe that when I was sitting planning out this post, I forgot about my puppy. What is wrong with me?! I think it feels like we've had her much longer than 3-ish weeks, and she's just part of the family now. She's a teeny tiny nutty destructo-dog who has a hankering for human flesh, but she's pretty cute so she can stay. She does not like being told off or shouted at, she does not like her crate, and she does not like being outside when it's raining (hence 6 poos in the house). She gets a treat when she does the toilet outside, so she's started to go stand outside for a minute and then come inside and sit at the fridge for some chicken. My Instagram stories is 99% puppy, which some people may find annoying but y'know what she is just too damn cute to not photograph every 3 seconds. December will be when we can start taking her out for walks, and I can't wait!

How was your November?



CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

NOVEMBER FAVOURITES

This month felt like it went by in a whizz, and therefore I cannot remember a single thing I've enjoyed using or having. Such is life. I had to really dig deep into my brain to try and find things I've been loving and even then I came up short, but my little perfectionist brain has to get out a November favourites so that I've done one every month this year, that's just how it has to go. I think next year I'll rethink doing these because they've become a bit tedious, but we don't need to discuss that just yet.

I feel like I definitely mentioned this somewhere because I've been loving it too much not to - Stranger Things. I think I started it in October but didn't finish both seasons until the start of November, so I'm flinging it into this post. I took way too long to get on the Stranger Things hype; Max watched it when it first came out but because he kept telling me how good it was, it made me less inclined to watch it. I'm THAT annoying person. I had a sudden change of heart just before season 2 came out, and watched the whole thing and then I watched it all again. I'm honestly kicking myself now for not getting into it sooner - I've decided I now need multiple items of Stranger Things merchandise, and I have bought myself a Stranger Things Christmas jumper that I'm not gonna show for a few days because that's a cracking December 1st Instagram post.

Another TV-type thing I've been really loving is Buzzfeed Unsolved. This is more in the past few days than the entire month, but I think I've near enough watched all of them now. I genuinely didn't move all weekend because I was too into Buzzfeed Unsolved so no blogging at all got done, which is excellent because weekends are my only time to take outfit photos. OH WELL. The Supernatural ones spook me a LOT, but I love watching them go and try to find ghosts and my heart stops when they try and communicate with them. Ryan and Shane make such a good team, and Shane's skepticism just makes the entire show. I wish they did a video a day so I could get my fix, I've started to re-watch episodes I saw a few days ago.

There's not been many beauty favourites this month, but the one vaguely beauty related product is the Stylpro. I did a full post on it during November so there's not even a lot I can say about it that hasn't already been said, but it's completely changed my life so I couldn't leave it out. I hate washing my brushes and this device has made it so much easier and SO much quicker. Of course, I still put it off for as long as I possibly can, especially now because I've run out of the Stylpro Brush Cleansing solution and can't be bothered to order another one, but when I do use it I do find it quite fun.

As seen in my What I Got For My Birthday post, I got the Anna Saccone bracelet as one of my gifts and I LOVED it. Until it broke. I did get it replaced, but in the meantime when I was feeling ridiculously sorry for myself and the October offer was still on, I bought myself the corresponding necklace. I had been lusting after the necklace first, but decided to ask for the bracelet as I thought I'd get more use out of it given I had my elephant necklace that I wore all the time. I'm a little sad that I've replaced the elephant but I love this necklace so much and it looks amazing with literally any outfit. I pick my outfit to correspond with this necklace. And at least if I decide to go back to my beloved elephant, I have the bracelet to keep up my Stilnest love.

I was invited to an event in November that myself and Max attended, that I'll be going into more depth about in my next post, but it was for Aelder Elixir and let me tell you, this drink is the stuff of dreams. I was a bit unsure at first because I'm not very adventurous with my alcohol, me switching from vodka to rum was a BIG step, but I actually love this stuff. There's a lovely berry taste to it, and they'll probably be shouting at me right now for not delving into the brand but I SWEAR it's coming. I'm quite impressed that I haven't already tanned the miniature bottle I got at the event, because it honestly tastes like heaven mixed with ginger ale and a bit of lime. I am craving it right now.

Last but not least, I'm late to the train again, this time with #GIRLBOSS. Loads of people have read it, it's basically old news now, but I like to enjoy things several years after they're popular because who wants to have discussions with anybody about the things they like?????? #GIRLBOSS made me feel ridiculously motivated and determined, and opened my eyes to the fact that I am a Girl Boss. There's so many life tips in there that I'll take to heart and really stick to, namely the money chapter, but there's also some parts in there that I don't agree with and that's fine. For the most part, it's a massively helpful book that every female should read just for a little boost in morale and a little more motivation on those dreary, tired days.

What have you been loving in November?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

MY CURRENT EVERYDAY FACE

I don't think I've ever really done a post on what I use for my makeup on an everyday, work life basis. Or if I have, it's not been updated in a WHILE. So that's what we're gonna do! Plus, I was really strangely in the mood to do some product shots which is completely unlike me, and this seemed like a good post to experiment a little in terms of photography.

I think I've finally found a good set of base products (touch wood) that actually keep my foundation lasting all day, which is insane because I've been struggling for SO long. I've been using the Botanics Radiance Balm as a pre-primer primer, which isn't a thing but it's happening anyway. When this runs out I will absolutely be buying another one because I genuinely don't feel like I can be without it now, this is what's keeping everything in place, I just know it. On top of that, I use the Barry M colour correcting primer in green to help get rid of any redness. I don't really think this does anything for the redness but it's quite a tacky formula so I just feel like my foundation sticks to it. Again, I need to repurchase this one when it runs out because both of these products together are such a dream. In terms of foundation, I've been swapping between both of The Ordinary foundations - I'm lucky that both formulas work for my skin somehow so I just wear what one I feel like. I have reviewed these in a separate post so I'll leave a cheeky wee link to that for you to go and check out and decide what one you want to buy, because everyone needs at least one of these amazing foundations.

My absolute holy grail concealer is the Seventeen Stay Time concealer, it very quickly overtook Collection's Lasting Perfection concealer a long time ago and I've never looked back since. It's a better fit for my skin and it smells really good which I think might be a weird thing to pick up on. I also like to use the Rimmel Lasting Finish Breathable foundation because the coverage with it is INSANE. With my base products (foundation & concealer) I always apply them with a brush first and then after I've done concealer, I'll go in with a beauty blender and essentially dab at my face so all the excess product is blended in and smoothed out. This is a trick I learnt from Jamie Genevieve and it's made such a difference to the longevity of my base - I don't go as oily as quickly and even when I do, the products don't shift. The blender I use is just from Primark and I use it dry, hence why it's so yucky looking, but it works perfectly for what I need it for. I do some half-assed contouring with a Rimmel contour palette, because if I didn't I would look like a massive moon head and as much as I enjoy that, I like to feel good about myself at work.

My eyebrows are slacking a bit right now because I ran out of my beloved eyebrow pencil and I'm too tight to pay the £9.99 to replace it, so I've reverted back to the old Sleek eyebrow kit. It used to do me well, but I got used to penciling in my brows and now I feel like I'm trying to fill them in with a blunt crayon. They're definitely not as awful as they were in 2012 though, so there's always that. I'm a big fan of half-assing everything as much as I can, eyeshadow included. I go for things like the Maybelline Colour Tattoo pots - things that you can smear on with minimal effort and off you go. Just now, to add a little festivity, I'm using the Nude By Nature Eyeshadow Shimmer, it's a nice glittery silvery shimmery thing and in certain lights, it looks bloody good. I also use 2 mascaras for optimum lash lengh; Benefit's RollerLash and Bad Gal Lash. Eyeliner is too much of a chore for days that I'm working so there's no way in hell I'd even try.

I'm running so low on Champagne Pop that it actually pains me to use it, but it gives such a beautiful glow that I can't not. I like using this more in winter because the gold tones make me feel more festive, for some strange reason, but I've hit pan big time and I need to replace it but if I can't replace a £9.99 eyebrow pencil, what hope have I got replacing a £32 highlighter. NONE. I begrudgingly use other highlighters sometimes - I'll use the Becca Moonstone liquid highlighter and put another one on top which replicates the intensity of Champagne Pop, but nothing beats the colour of it. Absolutely nothing. As a finishing touch, I don't usually go for lipstick for work but instead I'll use the little candyfloss flavoured lip balm from November's Glossybox - it smells so good and gives a subtle pink tint whilst keeping my lips moisturised. I actually couldn't find it for this post and I'm pretty sure I left it at work so lets just pretend the Strawberry one is Candyfloss.

I have no doubt that this post will be out of date as soon as it goes live because there will be other things I buy or receive that I'm obsessed with and will start to use everyday, but so far so good. It probably takes me about half an hour to do my makeup in the mornings, which I think is not so bad!

What are your holy grail makeup products?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

INDULGING IN GUILTY PLEASURES

We all have those guilty pleasures that we share on Twitter or Instagram in an attempt to be relateable in the hopes that someone will respond with "no way, I do that too!", which more often than not does not work & you're left praying it's forgotten about. I'm teaming up with Clive Christian in celebration of their newly released Addictive Arts Perfume range, which focuses on art and guilty pleasures, some of which I'll be sharing today (well, the appropriate ones...).

I think my biggest guilty pleasure at the minute is absolutely getting too festive before it's socially acceptable. (Shoutout to Jamie Geneveive for putting her Christmas tree up at the start of November). I cannot get on board with these scrooges who think Christmas is only for December - I have too many Christmas jumpers for it to be confined only to 25 days. I don't see anything wrong with being festive in November because after Halloween, what have you got really? I love to de-stress using Christmas music in the car on the way home - if you commute, you know how awful that kind of stress is - and my Christmas jumpers are some of the cosiest that I own; as a naturally cold person, why wouldn't I dig them out? I recently bought a Christmas jumper from eBay, and it's the best item of clothing I own because it's a Stranger Things themed festive jumper. That's 2 of my favourite things right there. I can't even count how many times I've watched Stranger Things now. Bloody love it.

Imma throw this one at you - pregnancy announcement videos. You watch one and you just get caught up in a whole stream of them, and before you know it you're sitting sobbing watching a stranger tell her parents she's pregnant via the Whisper Challenge. I honestly don't know what it is about them, but I love the creativity behind some of the reveals. Similarly - soldiers surprising their loved ones. There is nothing on this earth that will make me cry harder than a little kid in nursery crying when his dad surprises him by coming home. It's strange to watch something you know you'll cry at, and it's even stranger that it's not tears of anguish/sadness because your favourite character died so abruptly (cough cough John Green), but tears of happiness. Why do I do this to myself?!

I am a shower hogger to the maximum level that you can hog the shower. I could honestly sit in there all evening until I've shriveled down to half my normal size. I used to go for a shower, wash my hair and shave my legs and all that, then sit down, put the plug in and wait until the shower head filled up the bath. How AWFUL is that?! I don't know what I was playing at but to be honest, they were some of the best showers ever. I have to sit down to shave my legs now, otherwise it just doesn't work and I'm left with a strip of hair on my calf, and sometimes I just lie there for a good few minutes and try not to fall asleep. Having quick showers is not something I enjoy and I always try to plan my evenings to include half an hour to go and soak myself. I'm not a fan of baths, so this is all I've got!

A few weeks ago, I read a post by Sophie called In Defense of Dressing Up, and it made me realise that I actually love getting dressed up. I like to look nice and more often than not, I'll do my makeup on a Sunday just to sit at home and write some content. I put a lot of thought into all my work outfits because I want to look my best, and it just makes me feel good when I think I look good. I don't go to a lot of events or places where I can where heels, so when I do get to wear them I milk it for all it's worth. Sometimes I do feel like I'll look a bit out of place if I go a bit fancier than everyone else, but if it makes me feel good then what does it matter? If you wanna wear those heels and that dress to the supermarket then absolutely do it.

There's something about expensive luxuries that just makes your day a little bit brighter - whether it's a more luxurious bar of chocolate that you treated yourself to or an expensive piece of jewellery that you'd been putting off buying because it's a little bit too expensive. I'm not big on spending a lot of money on material items (more so holidays) but it's nice to treat yourself every so often. I've been loving the Hedonistic and Ecstatic scents by Clive Christian - a luxury perfume brand, which shows in their packaging and scents. These two combined are quite musky yet sweet, and they smell so mature. I feel like a real grown up when I wear it. 


What are some of your guilty pleasures?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com


This post contains sponsored content.

ANXIETY AND LEARNING MY LIMITS

Something I've never really spoken about on my blog is mental health - I am an advocate for being open about mental health and I discuss it in private but I've not really felt like I had anything to say about it on here, until now. I've been learning a lot recently about what I can and can't handle in terms of anxiety and stepping out of my comfort zone, and I've felt prompted to write about it.

I do think it's good to step outwith your comfort zone - that's how you grow as a person and how you grow your confidence. I try to challenge myself in terms of anxieties and trying to conquer them, but I forget that there's only so much I can handle and sometimes I over-do it. I never want to say no or feel like I'm missing out because I'm anxious about things, sometimes I think that feeling would be worse than anxiety, but it's a needs-must on more than one occasion. Feeling left out (FOMO) is something I struggle with pretty badly, but I've recently learnt that doing something that puts me so far out of my comfort zone that I can't think about anything other than how anxious I feel is not worth it. I've gotten pretty good at events recently, I've been invited to a few blogging events and I normally always try to find someone I know that's going who I can buddy up with, but it doesn't always work. The first event I went to by myself was terrifying, and it took me an hour or so to warm up and start properly chatting to people, but I did it and had an amazing time. That was worth the anxious feeling beforehand. On the other hand, I went to a mini-flat party with my boyfriend and I knew maybe one person there - nobody really tried to speak to me or get to know me or Max, so I retreated into my little anxiety bubble and just tried not to cry the whole night. That was too much for me, I felt ridiculously uncomfortable and just wanted to go home, but I couldn't say that because the chances of Max leaving because I felt anxious were very slim. 

I'm beginning to learn to give myself credit for things more, instead of cursing myself for not being able to do something or for worrying about something minuscule. There's too much self-deprecation nowadays and we need to take it right back to simple terms and applaud ourselves for making that phone call to book an appointment or for managing to get on the train by yourself. They may not be a big deal to other people but they're a big deal to some and I of all people understand how scary both of those things can be. There was a work event recently that I was worried about so much that I made myself ill - not properly ill, but my anxiety is linked to nausea and the two things I hate most in the world are nausea and the hiccups. I had gotten into this mindset of "well there's nothing I can do about it so I may as well suck it up and worry about it" when actually, I could just be honest about how I was feeling. I was ridiculously nervous to even admit that I was struggling with the thought of this event, that gave me about as much anxiety as the event itself, but being honest about it was the best thing I could've done, and I've learnt from that now. I feel quite lucky though, not everyone will be surrounded by people who are as understanding as that and god knows I've had my fair share of skepticism surrounding my own feelings.

It often seems like no matter how much you stress that you can't do something, there will always be people who just don't understand and tell you "it'll be fine" and "you should just do it anyway", not realizing how big of a deal it is to you. There's a few people like that in my life, without naming names, and it is really, really upsetting. Being made to feel like you're abnormal and pathetic is not a nice thing, and I'm sure they don't mean to do it and more often than not it's probably my little brain over-thinking the tone they said something to me in, but it's true when they say nobody understands anxiety unless they suffer with it themselves. Sometimes I just want to scream at them "just because you can do it doesn't mean I can". They don't realize that it upsets me more than anyone else - I wish I had gone to so many things that I was too anxious to do. I wasn't declining the invitations because I 'couldn't be bothered' or 'just wanted out of it', I'm not myself at all when I'm anxious, as I mentioned earlier, I go into this little bubble and don't try to speak to anyone because I'm focusing on not crying/freaking out. I'm not sure that's the best impression to leave people with at a fancy event.

I don't want to make it a bigger deal than it actually is, I know that other people struggle so much worse than I do and my anxiety is at a manageable level most of the time. You just have to not judge anyone on the choices they make, because you have no idea what's going on behind the scenes.

How do you manage your anxiety?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

BRUSH CLEANING FOR LAZY PEOPLE

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that cleaning your makeup brushes is the worst chore in the entire world. Just the thought of it instills this deep rooted dread in me so I'm always putting it off until the bacteria and grime on the brushes starts to affect the condition of my skin. How awful is that?!

I was permanently on the lookout for something, anything, that would make this tedious task even a little bit easier. I thought the brush cleansing glove that I bought from eBay would've helped, but it was still a heck of a lot of effort to gather all my brushes, trek upstairs and wash them and wait for them to dry overnight. Who on earth has time for that? Absolutely not me. If I can clean my brushes from my bed, I'm gonna, and that's where the StylPro comes in. The baby of s1 Apprentice winner, Tom Pellereau, the StylPro washes and dries your brushes in seconds to the point of gleaming perfection. He fills gaps in the market with products to make lives a little bit easier, and after a meeting with a makeup artist, the StylPro came into circulation and has probably revolutionized the lives of everyone that owns it.

The StylPro comes with the bowl, 8 different brush attachments for different sized brushes, and 2 sachets of their brush cleaning solution. It took me a few minutes to figure out what to actually do with everything - it does come with directions in the box but I like to make things more difficult for myself by not reading them and just trying to figure it out by myself. You pick the attachment size depending on the size of the brush you want to wash, put the little connector into the end and attach it to the device. I find it works best if you squeeze the brush into one that seems like it would be too small. You fill the bowl with water, you don't need much at all, just a tiny bit, and I've tried out 2 different things to clean my brushes. I tried baby shampoo, which I used with my brush cleansing glove, and the solution that comes with the StylPro, and would absolutely recommend the solution over anything else.

So, once you've got the brush attached to the device, you just turn it on and dunk it into the water. The device spins the brush so you're getting really into the bristles, and you do it in an up-and-down motion in the water to make sure it's all getting cleaned. Then, whilst it's still spinning, you lift it out of the water and get a little bit wet, but after about 15 seconds, your brush is completely dry. SHOOK. Honestly, not having to wait for my brushes to dry overnight has completely changed my life. Also, the brush cleansing solution that I mentioned just above, is the best stuff for your brushes that you could possibly buy. I thought my brushes were white when I washed them previously, turns out they absolutely were not. Now they are, they genuinely look almost brand new. I struggled with not being able to remove the bronzer from one of my brushes but the StylPro did it - that brush hasn't been white in about a year.

The best part about the StylPro is you don't need to be at a sink, you don't need to be in a bathroom, you can do it anywhere. All you need is somewhere in the general vicinity to empty out the water every few brushes because they get pretty disgusting. I can't believe I'm even saying this, but I get a little excited to wash my brushes now. I never thought I'd see this day, I really didn't. It's so satisfying to see all the grime just spin away and you're left with shiny, new, clean brushes that won't completely ruin your skin.

You can see the 'Before' shot of the brushes below, note the concealer brush because cleaning that was just as satisfying as it was disgusting.

If you have any interest in makeup whatsoever and own more than 5 brushes, you definitely need this. It will cut your brush washing time in half at least, and you'll never look back.

Have you ever tried the StylPro?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING A JOURNAL

I mentioned in my September posts you need to read that I'd been loving Jemma's post about keeping a daily journal, and it inspired me to start keeping my own. I've found it has so many benefits, and I'm discovering more and more reasons to continue keeping a daily journal with each passing day. Although, I do struggle to write in it everyday. I'm trying to make it a habit but I seem to be failing so far - I manage it a few times a week which, in the grand scheme of things, I think is not bad.

I used to keep a diary ages ago, back when I was in high school, and I would write in it only when bad things happened. Reading over it does put me in a bad mood, because it reminds me of all the bad stuff that happened and what I was upset about 3 years ago today. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to have more good things than bad things in this journal - obviously, that won't always be the case because that's just life, but it doesn't mean I can't try. Sure, maybe I had a really crap day and someone was a little mean to me, but there are so many good things going on in my life right now and sometimes I need to sit down and write about them in order to appreciate them properly. I don't tend to write down the petty things anymore, like what Max did to upset me that day, because it doesn't feel like it matters anymore. Keeping a journal has enabled me to appreciate and be grateful for the smaller things more, which is definitely improving my overall mood.

I can be quite a stressed-out person, literally just ask anyone. If there is anything bothering me I tend to just keep it to myself but act differently, like I'll be a lot quieter and a lot moodier and it's all down to anxiety and worry. I go to my journal first now, because it helps me get a hold on what specifically is bothering me, which then makes it easier to discuss with other people. If I don't know what's stressing me out and I try to ask for help, more often than not it does result in some sort of argument or me just not co-operating and not taking any advice into account. It's a way for me to get it clear in my head what's exactly wrong.

Whenever I write something nowadays, it's to be made public. Whether that's on my own blog or at work, anything I write is going to be seen by however many other people, which can be daunting at times. It's really nice to have my journal as a space solely for me. I can say whatever I want, talk about whatever I want, and I don't have to worry about anyone else. It's good to be selfish sometimes, and because I love writing so much, it seems silly not to have a platform or an area that is just for me to enjoy my own writing in private. I'm not planning on showing my journal to anyone, ever, I think. It's not as if I talk bad about anyone in there, but as soon as I show it to someone it's no longer my safe space to do whatever I want with.

Keeping a journal has absolutely helped me to get a hold on my anger. I have been noticing recently that I've not been getting angry as easily, and I'm able to calm myself down a lot quicker. I would say it's mostly due to coming off the pill, but my journal has also been helping a lot. When I get angry now, I go to the journal first. I write down some reminders for when I have these wobbly moments and I write until I can understand the situation and talk about it without getting angry or saying things that I don't necessarily mean. It's been a bit of a lifesaver to be honest, but because I try to keep things positive in my journal, it even helps to read over old posts. It makes me realise that you just don't need to be angry all the time, it's a pretty miserable way to spend your time and it's not what I want to be doing. I try not to get so stuck in the present all the time, and instead look to the future for exciting things that are going to happen, and it's definitely helping improve my mood.

Do you keep a journal?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

WHAT I WANT TO ACHIEVE BEFORE IM 21

A few months ago I did a post on 20 things I wanted to accomplish before I was 20, and I'm not going to link you to that post because basically it didn't work and I did a handful of things off the list, so I'm a little ashamed. I'm going to be a bit more realistic this time and set fewer, more achievable goals that I know I can and will achieve. It wont all be stuff that's been in the works for months though, because that's taking the easy way out. I want to challenge myself over the next year and try to push myself out of my comfort zone a little more, and hopefully this list will encourage me to do so.

1. GET MY DIGITAL MARKETING QUALIFICATION

So I know I said I didn't want to set things that were a definite, but technically this isn't. My course is set to finish next October, meaning I have just under a year to finish all my coursework and get my qualification in Digital Marketing. I do feel pretty confident about this, I'm not going to lie, because it's an area of work that I enjoy a lot and having that qualification behind me will make it a lot easier in the future. I also want to be proud of myself for something, and I like that I'll have something else behind me besides my high school results.

2. READ 5 BOOKS

You might think this sounds so easy, but recently I've lost my love for reading massively and I struggle to get through 1 unless it's really interesting. I don't want to set too high a number and feel pressure to reach it, so I think 5 is manageable. I have a lot of books on my TBR list and I'm going to try and read more daily, on the train and in the evenings, so I'm hoping it'll take me less than a year to achieve this one. But we shall see.

3. SAVE £1000

I'm crap at saving money, but now that I'm 20 and there are bigger things I want to save up for, I really need to try. It's possibly not my best idea to set myself this goal right around Christmas, when most of my pay will need to go towards presents and I'll feel guilty for not saving much, but we all have to start somewhere. I'm setting myself monthly savings goals, nothing too high so I can still treat myself if I want to but high enough that I have a sort of safety blanket at the end of the month just in case. Just like with the 5 books, I don't want to set a number too high and stress about it every time I look at my bank account. Again, hopefully I'll reach this before my 21st birthday but it's a good stepping stone.

4. IMPROVE MY PHOTOGRAPHY

I'm already well on my way to achieving this one, and I'm not sure how to define when it has improved, so I'll just have to rely on everyone else to tell me. I'm getting to a stage now where I love photography and taking all my own photos, including my own outfit photos, and I've got a better set up for taking them. I really want to up my Instagram game too, I'm heavily slacking in that department and it's about time I start to care about my Instagram and get it up to a good standard. Practice makes perfect!

5. MAKE £100 FROM MY BLOG

I'm not sure about this one - I have high hopes that I'll be able to even slightly monetise my blog over the next year but you just don't know. You can definitely try, and that is what I'll be doing, but I wont stress if it doesn't seem like something that's going to happen. I'm happy with my blog at the minute, I'm loving my content, I feel like my photos are definitely improving, and I have a lot of support online and in real life. The extra income would be lovely, but we'll just see what happens!

So whilst there's not many goals this time round, they're ones that I'm going to be working to achieve all year. I'm not afraid of hard work and I think it's time I start applying myself properly and working hard to make my life how I want it to be.

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

BUSY B'S 2018 COLLECTION

If my post on how I plan my posts is any indication, I'm a ridiculously massive fan of stationery. I have more notebooks than I can count and I'm so precious about them that none of them really get used, and yet I just keep adding to my collection. I was so excited to get an invite to the launch of Busy B's 2018 collection; Busy B are a stationery brand with some of the most beautiful diaries, planners and notebooks I think I've ever seen.

Busy B was created by Kerri B, in her kitchen as a little start-up company, and it has grown into a widely successful business. At the event, there was a Q&A with Kerri and we got to find out a little bit more about the business in the beginning and her journey to getting Busy B to the stage it's at now. Her first product was a Christmas card tree, and it wasn't exactly a best-seller, but she perservered and got it into stores and got some orders in. It's not been a straight road for Busy B, there's been some products that didn't sell at all and a massive re-branding for them to be known as the beautiful stationery brand they are today.

There were 3 ranges showcased at the event - the Pretty Range, the Fashion Range and the Contemporary Range. I kept gravitating back to the Fashion Range; it was all green and gold items which is a combination that I love. It was all a dream to photograph, the people who did the table displays certainly knew their way around a flatlay. Within the Fashion Range, a few of the items being showcased included some travel items, - a luggage tag and a passport wallet - the loveliest golden glitter tape I've ever seen, and various desk pads and notebooks. Busy B stand out to me because of their design - not all of the designs appeal to me, I tend to go for more minimal designs as opposed to busier designs but they have items that cater for everyone's tastes.

The Pretty Range is all pastel pinks and lilacs; I was particularly excited about the copper and white fur features on this display. They had mood boards up at each of the tables showing the ranges, just to basically show the feature colours and patterns throughout all the items in the range. The notebook designs within the Pretty Range were a bit busier than the Fashion Range - more floral patterns and designs which aren't really my taste. I did love the gold Busy B scissors and page clips on the pastel pink tray on the white fluffy section, I think I stood at that table attempting to take a flatlay for a good 10 minutes. I felt like a pretty good photographer but that's because all the work was done for me, really.

Finally, the Contemporary Range was one that I did keep going back to photograph because of the red diary placed in the middle of the table. It fit really nicely with the red features on the pens and the little rid notebook placed off to the side - I think this was my favourite table layout and that's not just because of the cacti and marble candle placed at the back of it all. This range also contained my favourite of all the 2018 diaries - the pale blue one. I loved the minimalistic cover of this one, and the shade of blue is one of my favourite colours. I picked this one to have personalised by their calligrapher, Christina from Laila Lettering. I am obsessed with the way she wrote my name, she actually made it look pretty which is something I didn't think was possible.

 
I got a pretty good loot in my goodie bag, including Get Your Sh*t Together, which I almost bought the day before. They had little sweets on a table in the room with a sign telling you to help yourself, which I was more than happy to get on board with. We were given little Busy B cupcakes, which I have resisted eating until I could get a good photo of it, and some flavoured milk! All the makings of an excellent event, in my books. I rememer being a little upset that I couldn't use my new, personalised 2018 diary for ages, and then it clicked. It's NOVEMBER. I literally have to wait about 5 weeks and then I'll get to use it, which completely blew my mind. I hadn't quite realised how quickly this year was going until then.

Have you ever tried Busy B stationery?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

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