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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION.


THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
I wrote about about my recent struggles with depression at the beginning of the year and have been overwhelmed with the incredible response - the emails, messages, likes, tweets, cards, gifts and words, have been a support that's felt endless and completely unexpected. I am yet to respond to most of them because words are difficult - but please know that I will. 

I’m still in the midst of a silent hurricane - a complete turmoil, and the life I once knew exists only in memory. No matter how many people reach out I still feel utterly alone; I guess that’s depression, isn't it? 

My gratitude to the ones who get it, the ones who want to help, is all encompassing. But today I wanted to write a note to the ones who don’t - the ones who believe you have to fit a certain criteria to be struggling. The ones who think their suffering is insurmountable to others. To the ones that would rather bring someone further down than lift them up. 
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK


It’s surprising isn't it - because my automatic response would be ‘They don’t understand because they haven't experienced it’; but what do you do when they have, are, do? 

Perhaps it’s a lack of experience, perhaps it’s immaturity - but it doesn't really matter either way. My last blog post proved two things to me:

1.) There are so many more people than I realised suffering - who wan't their voices to be heard.

2.) We still have a long way to go before we're all heard. 

These photos were taken a the beginning of the year too -  a matter of weeks separate these images with those sat in my first post. They were taken on a day I’d felt willing to put on a face of makeup and brave the world. To me, I see a beautiful backdrop, perfect framing and a pretty outfit - but I look tired, and my eyes are blank. 

My point is this: depression has many faces. I can live a life online and not show all the horrors that happen behind closed doors. Perhaps you would have seen me on this day and thought everything looked perfect. 
The fact that I’ve shared some of my truth is not there to be measured or judged against your suffering. It’s there to say it’s okay not to be okay; that some days I can but most days I can’t. 

I don’t want to be pessimistic - I want this to be a gentle nudge, to hopefully fill a blank where education on this subject should be. I wan’t there to be a greater understanding, a louder voice, and less hostile, taboo environment for us all to exist. 

This is to say, there’s absolutely no way you can compare ones brokenness to another. 

Dragging someone down, whether they know you are or not - will always say more about you than it will about them. 

Please know that you are valued, but you are not above anyone else. And whether you understand someone's battle or not, doesn't take away from their fight. 

And to anyone suffering -  Know that owning who you are, no matter how fragile that may make you, is far superior to a life stunted by negativity.
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

Photography by the magical Georgia Claire

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Monday, 17 April 2017

HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL.

CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Portugal is one beautiful, vast country. Jamie and I stayed last summer with hopes of taking a day trip to Lisbon, only to realise it would take us more than that to arrive via public transport *doh*. 

We’d decided, then, that it would be our top place to visit for 2017 and in late March we did just that. We packed as much as we possibly could in to our two days and for what it’s worth, I’d certainly recommend staying a little longer if you’re able. 

Today, I wanted to share my top places to sleep, eat and see whilst you’re there - a jam packed City Guide to one of the most amazing, cool, laid back Cities - Lisboa. 

TO SLEEP 
Residentas Apostolos - a unique, luxury apartment building in the heart of Lisbon. Its location is perfect, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city noise but central enough to be able to experience this beautiful place on foot. Each room is elegantly designed and is guaranteed to make your stay feel even more special. The staff go above and beyond to ensure you get the most out of your time there, and will even offer free of charge transfers to and from the airport when you use my cheeky discount voucher listed at the end of this blog post!
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
TO SEE
Principe Real, If I learned one thing from my time in Lisbon is that it is steep. March-April are definitely preferable months to visit, you get all of the beauty without any of the sweat patches from blistering summer heat. Those hill climbs are certainly worth the pay off though - the views from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara are so beautiful and offer a relaxing, subdued environment to soak up the stunning sights, and relax those burning thighs. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Sintra 
If you find yourself with an afternoon to spare, I would totally recommend a train ride to Sintra - a small town only thirty minutes and €4 return from central Lisbon, it really is a wonderful day out. We rode a tuk-tuk to the very top of the mountains (quite possibly the scariest journey of my life), where Pena Palace is prettily perched. You can simply wander the grounds or explore the museum housed inside, it is without doubt one of the most stunning pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
TO EAT

If you’re looking to source all the local cuisine look no further than here - a street style, sit-down food market hosting delicacies such as sushi to pizza and seafood to jerk chicken it’s not one to be missed. It differs from your typical street food on the basis that it caters for all - if you’re looking for a quick snack, great they’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for a sit down three course meal, amazing, they’ve got that too. It provides for the masses and does it with elegance, ease and affordability. Perfect. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
AO26 
The vegan food project. Now, I’ve never eaten vegan before now and so I have very low expectations for what a good vegan meal looks like but Oh. My. Regardless of your dietary preferences, this restaurant is a must. Super affordable, beautifully designed and incredible food with flavours that are absolutely insane you’ll wonder why you even bothered eating meat in the first place.
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Pastel De Nata - aka the most delicious custard tarts you’ll ever experience. Manteigaria is the place to get them - a shop come cafe where they make the tarts before your eyes and let you grab a coffee at the same time. They’re a mere €1 each and I would be lying if I said we didn't eat these at breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
We sampled some other incredible restaurants, that I wanted to keep away from the camera just to enjoy the experience, but that are certainly worth checking on your stay: 

Cantinho Do Avillez - Jose Avillez is a michellin star chef and owns some of the most highly recommended restaurants in Lisbon. Cantinho is one of his more affordable, with an intimate setting and a menu that lets you feel like you’re spending a million dollars euros, without actually having to. 

The Insolito - Boasting the best views of Lisbon, you can either come here for dinner or to sample one of their famous (mock)cocktails - travel up to the top in the first ever lift built in Lisbon and be prepared to never want to come back down. 

City breaks are fast becoming my favourite way to experience the world, but with travelling comes responsibility and budgeting for such trips becomes essential the older we become (wise words, Megs). So if you’re looking to see more of the world but are keen to know exactly how much it’ll cost you, have a quick look at the Post Office website and their City Costs Barometer for this year -its a hidden treasure and should be your one stop shop for City travel in 2017. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL

Our time in Lisbon was short but sweet and so I'd love to hear your recommendations for what to do in the comments below for me and other readers, too. 

Oh, and if you're visiting this year, make sure you use my 5% discount for your booking at Residentas by using code ‘APO2017MEGS’ at checkout - you're welcome :-)

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

MUM, IT HASN’T BEEN EASY AD

A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
Mum,

Life hasn't always been easy, it still isn’t. I don’t think either of us envisaged the start of this year to be so very difficult.

Things have happened, things that cause worry and anxiety and pain - but they’ve almost been a blessing in disguise; because we are closer than ever. Oddly, when we’ve both been feeling at our worst, we’ve found strength to become each others pillars, cemented firmly in the ground to ensure the other doesn't falter. 
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
We talk about the nitty gritty of course, but we’re also lucky that it can be so much more than that.

We’ll go out for lunch and take trips to the cinema, talk about new beauty products and you’ll raid my stash whenever you get the chance. It’s not the be all and end all, but it is special - because it feels like I can give back just a smidgen of what you’ve given me these past 27 years.

We all know the importance of skin care and as we get older it becomes more of a necessity as opposed to a luxury to keep our skin looking its best.

You’re no exception. You’ve used the L’Oreal Age Perfect range for years and so it was the obvious choice to top you up with your favourites when I found out they were releasing new items. After all, you were the one who taught me when I turned fifteen to take my makeup off every night, the one who told me off when I attempted to shave my legs at nine years old. I suppose the strength of our relationship has been born from honesty from the start, regardless of what form.
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
Our love has been hard fought for.

It’s so very easy for people to look from the outside and create a perfect world for someone else but it’s because we’ve worked so hard that we can laugh like we can today - and I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for you.

Because you’re a beautiful person inside and out - just look at you.

Because you deserve the world, in every way.

Because you’re worth it, Mum. 
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
If you’re still deciding what to get for the special lady in your life this weekend, this beautiful gift set is on offer for £15, and makes the perfect Mother’s Day token - with the products totalling an RRP of over £30 it’s not only thoughtful but a total bargain too.

It’s packaged beautifully and inside are three full size products including:

Age Perfect Cleansing Milk - uplifting and sure to revitalise the skin with Vitamin C and magnesium; this smooths and reduces signs of fatigue.

Age Perfect Face, Neck & Decollete Lotion SPF 15 - this hero is an absolute dream come true when it comes to anti-ageing. Its light, silky smooth texture will re-hydrate, firm and reduce the appearance of age spots as well as protecting delicate areas with an SPF 15. Wham bam thank you ma'am.

Age Perfect Re-Hydrating Night Cream - This compliments the lotion perfectly - containing similar ingredients such as Soya-Ceramide that works overnight to plump the skin with moisture, revealing a rejuvenated complexion come morning.

You can read more about it by clicking here!
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
A letter of love and appreciation for my mum on Mother's Day
And remember that whoever you celebrate or however you spend this weekend, it doesn't matter. Just know that it’s about love and appreciation and gratitude, in whatever way.

Photography by Catherine Bradley.

This post is sponsored by L’Oreal


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Monday, 20 March 2017

THE BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME.


This post is in collaboration with Boots. 

2017 has been the year I’ve fallen in love with beauty. 

Don’t get me wrong, Wonderful You was first inspired by my passion for it - but in these last few months I’ve realised its value more than ever before. 

This year has shown me that no matter how bad I’m feeling, taking care of my body is a key part of taking care of my mind.

I’m not as naive as to say that superficial beauty holds the answers to inner peace: we are all beautiful, just the way we are - but the inner strength I can find from making myself feel more beautiful - whether that’s singing in the car or applying my favourite lipstick, isn’t one to be sniffed at.

A little bit of self love can go a long way - and yes, just lately I’ve not been reaching for my makeup as much as usual, but on the days I do, I fall even more in love with it. The world of beauty allows us to enhance, not mask, our natural state and experiment with different looks to suit different moods, and really, that’s quite a powerful thing. 

I realised it’s been more than three years since I last shared anything beauty related on my blog and so today I wanted to share with you a number of my all time favourites. My beauty haul of fame, if you will. The products that I love dearly and have no doubt will remain in my stash until I’m grey and old. 
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS


I’m not a woman who is loyal to just one scent, but there are certainly fragrances that stick and Tom Ford is one. Velvet Orchid is sweet and velvety and dramatic and as soon as I spritz it I feel instantly powerful. It may be an absolute killer, but my secret weapon is teaming it up with the body emulsion; a hydrating moisturiser with the original Black Orchid scent - woody, dark and floral. I apply this to the areas of my body that perfume would naturally sit and use it as a base to intensify the scent - together they are an absolute dream.


My trusted trio goes to YSL touche éclat. I’ve used their illuminating pen under my eyes since I was 16 - a total lifesaver for those of us cursed with the dark circle gene. It’s super light weight, so do not mistake this for a concealer - but it is wonderful at correcting colour and adding brightness to an otherwise dull area. A more recent addition to the family, but loved nonetheless is the Blur Primer - holy crap it does what it says on the tin. Pores are instantly diminished, my complexion illuminated and my skin smoothed; it’s the perfect base for the foundation which I think will always be my absolute favourite. I use shade BD20 and with the signature light-reflecting formula it provides a weightless radiance with beautiful, buildable coverage. 
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS
I love playing with colours on my eyes and two high-street brands that get my vote are Stila and Barry M. To create this look I’ve used the Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish eyeshadow in shade Dusty Rose - it comes with an all day liquid primer that holds the eyeshadow in place beautifully and the intensity and pigmentation of this shadow is like no other. To add depth to the crease I compliment the rusty tones of the Stila shadow with the Barry M glitter dust in shade Crimson Pink, basically they’re a match made in heaven. 


Liquid eyeliner is my favourite way to add a little more drama to a look and the YSL Couture Eye Marker is one of the best ever. It’s basically like using a felt tip pen and allows you to take a cat eye from thin to thick with its versatile nib. If you struggle with precision when it comes to liner, this is the one to choose, trust me. 

MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS
Mascara is a game changer, isn't it? Without doubt, it’s the one beauty product I couldn't live without; and the YSL Volume effect Faux Cils is everything you need. Instant intense colour, volume and separation, it’ll grab on to lashes you didn't even know you had. 

There’s nothing I love more than an all in one. The Clarins Face Contouring Palette enables me to give depth, warmth and colour to my skin and I ruddy love it. 

Lastly are brows and lips - two of my favourite features to accentuate. For my brows I literally swear by Benefit; the Precisely My Brow Pencil and their Ready Set Brow Gel are second to none. I cannot tell you how much love I have for these two - they’ve completely changed my brow game and together allow me to create a super natural, defined look that stays in place all day.

When I’m letting my eyes do the talking there is one lipstick that I’ll always reach for: The Chanel Rouge CoCo Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in shade Cecile. The pigmentation is stunning and the glossy, full look it gives to my lips means I’ll repurchase it forever more. 
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS

When you’re boasting a full face of makeup you without doubt need a conditioning cleanser to get all that product off. In my 27 years on this earth there has never been an evening I’ve gone to bed with a full face - it’s so important to take the day off and let your skin breathe and Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream does just that. It removes my makeup like a dream, is kind to sensitive skin, and leaves it feeling incredibly soft and smooth. 
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS

When I was younger I wanted everything matte, but in my mid twenties I found myself craving more radiance. One face mask that is guaranteed to give you that luxury skincare boost is the GlamGlow flashmud brightening treatment. It’s a multipurpose mask that exfoliates, brightens and aims to balance skin colour. When there are so many radiating masks on the market it can be hard to choose, but I honestly couldn't live without this one. 


My hair sees a lot of colour and therefore needs a lot of protection. I’ll always use a heat protector before applying any heat and TRESemme Heat Defence has been in my stash since I can remember. It’s affordable, smells delicious and most importantly, does the job. 

When it comes to styling for me, messy is always best. I’m definitely not one to aim for precision and my two favourites to add texture and shine are from Bumble and Bumble. Their surf spray gives my hair the perfect amount of grit and the CitySwept Finish Spray gives hold, shine and separation that allows my hair to move naturally, but still hold it’s style.
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS
MY BEAUTY HAUL OF FAME FROM BOOTS


And that’s it. The beauty products I swear by, that help me express myself and let those good days feel even better. 

You can shop all of the products in this post via the boots website - what are your favourites from this look? I’d love to know if you give any of them a go!

Photography by the wonderful Kyle Galvin


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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

GIRL VS. CANCER.

GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer
Cancer. 

It’s a dreaded word that all of us would rather put to the backs of our minds that face up to the fact that 1 in 3 of us are likely to get it. 

I wasn’t sure whether I could write a blog post on this. I’m not even sure now as my nails tap the keys, what I can possibly say to do any justice to this subject, to her. 

The shock I felt when I found out my dear friend Lauren had been diagnosed with breast cancer completely winded me. I couldn't believe it. 

This doesn't happen to people I know. 

This doesn't happen to my friends.

This doesn't happen to a healthy, happy, 30 year old woman.

GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer
Except it does. 

We are blessed with life, that for the most part is so wonderful we more often than not, take it for granted. 

We go to our jobs, we earn our money so we can buy our fancy things, we socialise with friends and we wine and dine our loved ones.

But what do we do when that’s not an option anymore? 
GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer
GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer
GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer
Lauren is sick, but never before have I witnessed such strength. 

You can see it for yourself in her latest blog post, where you'll find out more about how she's kicking cancers butt, and also hear more about her story on her instagram. She's sharing the nitty gritty about her titty and I am SO proud of her. Her honesty, guts and determination are nothing short of inspiring; and I've no doubt she is helping so many other people with their journey, too. 

I always knew Lauren would have this attitude, because she's absolutely incredible. But even with the right mindset, there are still things completely out of our control.

Did you know that statutory sick pay is £350 per month? Yeah. 

That means paying her rent and doing the food shop? Near on impossible. 

I just had no idea that needing to take time off for treatment might mean she couldn't live comfortably. That there’s basically no money, from any platform, to make the most prevalent time to get well, easier to manage. 

All of her energy should be going on how she’ll get better, not worrying how she’ll pay the bills. 

It’s utter madness. 

But that’s why the GIRL VS CANCER titty-tees were born. My lovely lady managed to create her own business, because what the hell else was she going to do?! And because of that, because of her, you can help Lauren, thousands of other cancer patients, and have something pretty darn awesome for yourself, too. 

Taking part in this photo shoot, with a bunch of other inspiring women was a highlight of 2016. I’m surrounded by such incredible ladies and Lauren is one of the best. I can’t wait for her to be well again but in the meantime, all I can ask of you is to dig deep, do what you can to spread the word using #GirlVsCancer and look like an absolute boss in the process.

And don’t forget to give your tits a squeeze too, ladies. 
GIRL VS. CANCER a blog post raising awareness for breast cancer

Get your titty tee HERE

Direct links below:


Photography by Comb


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