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Head Above Water

Don't forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

WHAT SUMMER MEANS TO ME.

There's something about the summer months that makes us Brits so much more joyful. Lighter, warmer evenings equal frolicking in the park and sitting in beer gardens on a weeknight - it kind of goes without saying that we have more to be happy about.

And with that joy comes an element of calm - everything becomes just that little less urgent. We can take a moment, stand, and appreciate what is going on around us - get lost in our own world and thoughts.

And when I let myself stop to think about Summer, I think:

Summer is adventure: Is it just me or when summer rolls around do you feel like could take on the world? I leave my inhibitions, reservations and cautious behaviours at the door. I want to explore the winding path ahead of me, see the world and have as much fun as physically possible.

Be somebody nobody thought I could be.

Summer is family and friends: Throughout the year we visit our friends and family - some of us all the time, others less frequently. But when summer rolls around we consciously make that time and that makes me really happy. We all feel like we can book that time off from work because we're halfway through the year (and god knows we've earned it) and subsequently, our mood is lifted because of the people we surround ourselves with more frequently.

We didn't realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. - Winnie the Pooh

Summer is Hayfever: Now as much as I love this time of year it does leave my face as something much to be desired (thankfully we're focusing on the feet in this post!). Pollen is not my friend and so it's a bloomin' good job I really enjoy wearing sunglasses and that there are some many to choose from ;-). And even on the highest pollen count days, I'd still rather walk with my head high in the sun than down in the rain.

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Summer is You, the Ocean and Me: Summer feels like my escape. When we all live such hectic lives it can be incredibly difficult to not get bogged down with the here and now. But when it comes to Summer I make plans. To get away, even if just for a few days, to feel free of responsibility and just be. It clears my head, and allows me to listen to what's really important in a much clearer way.

You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say. - Paul Coelho 

What does summer say to you? I'd love to know! By uploading a summer picture to instagram or twitter using #SummerSays and the @UGGUK tag, you're in with a chance of winning £500 to spend at UGG! Not a bad way to kick off this sunny spell, eh? Find more details by clicking here.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with UGG Australia but all views are my own. I love these sandals and I bloomin' love summer, too.

SHOP MY SHOES:

Photography by me and the last shot by COMB - who are just a little bit amazing. They're the place to go to find the best alternatives for the fashion pieces you desperately want, but can't find. Simply upload a snap of an outfit via their app and they'll find you what you're looking for!


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Thursday, 21 April 2016

3 REASONS TO MAKE TIME FOR YOU.


A typical trait of a self-employed individual is their desire to work work work. 

What do you think when you read that statement? Do you think that's a bad thing, to want to work all the time?

I don't. 

Working doesn't stress me out. I love my job, with a capital L. I'm incredibly fortunate that everywhere I go and everything I do can be an opportunity to share with you. But a lot of the time I'll find myself being driven by that, rather than making an active choice to do something I want to independently of work - and that's where 'taking time out' comes in.

I mentioned a while back that once a month I was going to have a full 24 hours off work and social - and I haven't done it since that one time I stayed in a barn that had no signal for a 20 mile radius (nothing like forced relaxation, eh?)

Looking after yourself is really important, but actually tearing myself away from what I do is really challenging for me. 

So maybe that's not the answer.

I realise that I need time away - that doesn't mean I can't work, but it does mean I need to make the active decision to take it and not be driven by my schedule - So whether I'm working or not, dedicating a day or two a month to say 'This is where I'm going, on this date, to do some sort of relaxing, and I'm not going to cancel it'. 

Alone, with friends, partners or family it doesn't matter - I just know I'll be a happier individual if I have those ~breaks~ to look forward to. 

Here are a few reasons (and perhaps a few pointers) on why I think that's really beneficial:

Time to Think
My job enables me to have a completely different day, every day. But that doesn't stop the habitual routine creeping up on you. Regardless of whether your lifestyle is the best thing since sliced bread, you still need time out of that situation to think. Simply taking a day to do something not entirely focused around your job will give you the headspace to get some perspective. 

Self Importance
A thing I struggle to remember is that I'm important too. In a lot of ways I will put myself first - I don't ever do things that will make me unhappy or purely to appease someone else; but I do sometimes forget that it's key to focus on what I want and where I'm going, rather than just getting lost in the moment and focusing too much on what other people might think. 
Something as easy as taking 5 minutes on that day to make a list of goals you'd like to achieve or realising, actually that colleague has asked too much and it's okay for me to go back and say 'no' this time will both help you feel like you've been productive but you're also looking after you.

Being Healthy
I'm not an active individual and I've never invested much time in my diet to have enough knowledge to 'care' about what I eat (I'm getting there, baby steps). But in terms of lifestyle, if you work and work and work until you burn yourself out, that's not good for anyone, is it? You might feel like you're still healthy, but actually if you never have time to stop - when you go on your annual 2 week sun holiday say, you'll probably end up with chronic exhaustion and all of the sickness because your body is just too tired. It kinda defeats the object, huh?



We all need a little me time, sometimes. And realising that it really will benefit us in the long run is half the battle. 

If you're looking for your first getaway, I'd highly recommend The Hoxton Hotel in Holborn, London 

Lindsey and I had such a lovely few days there, frolicking in our (rather incredible) pyjamas, eating all the good food and having all of the good talks (over all the good cocktails). 

And if you're as head over heels for our PJ's as we are, you can shop them here:

Photography by COMB - who are just a little bit amazing. They're the place to go to find the best alternatives for the fashion pieces you desperately want, but can't find. Simply upload a snap of an outfit via their app and they'll find you what you're looking for!


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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

FINDING THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE INTERNET.


If there's one thing I love about the internet, it's the ability to discover things you may never knew existed. I'm talking making friends with likeminded people you could've waited years to meet - discovering brand new career paths or even something as simple as finding a clothing brand you feel was made for you**.

It may sound ridiculous, but I really do believe that the internet has played a huge part in me discovering who I am and who I want to be. I suppose a big part of that is being able to look back over these 4 years as it's all documented online, and I can quite clearly see the journey I've been on.

We live in a digital age, a time where what we say and do goes - we can have our opinions and share them freely with the rest of the world to see. It's taking that playground slang of 'it's a free country' to new extremes.

It gives us the ability to explore who we are. The ultimate opportunity to delve in to areas of our personality we might've known were there, but just didn't think we could show.

Before my blog, I would always cower in the shadows of others; watching their light shine brighter and just hoping that mine would one day switch on. I didn't actively seek out a happy life, I muddled through and hoped for the best; I'd never been a 'do-er.'..until the internet.

But what I want to talk about today, and a question I hear and see all of the time is: 

'How did you start a blog?' 

And for some reason, that really gets my goat. Isn't half the fun working that out for yourself? As the internet, digital and blogging world grows, apparently so does our greed. An insatiable hunger to be the best at what we do right now. There's no time for mistakes, there's no time for learning, we need it and we need it now.

But really, what I most enjoy about the internet, about my blog specifically, is the rollercoaster it takes me on. That there's no right or wrong way - it's just your way.

So here are a few examples, of why a journey of self discovery via the internet has been way more fun than being given all the answers - because SPOILER ALERT, no-one has them.


1.) Writing Style.
I knew from the off that I wanted to talk beauty and fashion. I started blogging because I discovered Zoella's blog - that's what she was talking about and I didn't really allow my brain to think too much about there being other options or topics to explore. I knew ~blogging~ sounded fun and so I jumped in feet first. 
Years down the line and the beauty topic is few and far between on my blog - personal style prevails and I've fallen in love with writing. I may not be a grade A English student, but developing my writing independently makes me really happy. 

2.) Branding. 
Lots of us have 'blogging block' - a time where we just can't think what the hell to write about. 
Since giving my blog a brand, I feel like that block rarely rears it's ugly head. I find myself creating pieces that will work with my websites layout, theme and aesthetic; quality over quantity - and that means content comes so much more naturally to me. I know financially it's not always possible to have exactly what you want right away, but working towards that is so rewarding. I worked my tooshie off to save for my initial website design by The Wonder Forest, and then I was lucky enough to meet Jamie and develop something totally bespoke. It's not something you know straight away, you develop an understanding for what you want over time - and it's so exciting. 

3.) Personal Style.
We're chameleons - each and every one of us. Just because we document what we wear online doesn't mean we have to fit a certain fashion bracket forever. As I grow older my style grows with me - when I was 18 I loved floaty dresses, long brown hair and statement earrings. Now I feel most comfortable in monochrome, sack-like clothing and with brightly coloured hair. Of course I'm not everyone's cup of tea, and readers I had back in 2012 I might not have now, but the beauty in it is that get to choose. I've learnt that there's room for all styles in the world and experimenting is so much fun. 
For the first time in my life, my blog has let me feel totally comfortable in my own style.

4.) Relationships. 
This could cover so many bases, but right now I'd like to talk about the relationship I have with myself. It kind of worries me sometimes that it's the internet that's taught me so much about myself - but yes, it's scarily true. My most popular posts are discussions about having my heartbroken, going for smear tests or building my body confidence - and they're also my favourite ones to write. I feel like at the beginning (and even now) I look to people online to help me work out how I feel. I'm insecure and self-doubting but I'm fearless, too. That second bit is a recent addition. I learned the hard way that you can only really rely on you - not in a bitter sense, just that, for me, I need to be a go-getter. I need to live the life I want to, kindly, but to not feel guilty for choosing happiness. I've learnt it's okay not to be okay, and that being real and true to myself is way more rewarding than just sharing a perfect life. And that sits heads and shoulders above anything else.



I'm trying my hand at public speaking for the first time ever this week, talking all things blogging to people who may know zilch about it (if you want to come, you can sign up here!) and I guess this post is inspired by that. I've been petrified that I'll fail, but looking back on this journey only makes me more certain I won't know until I try. None of us will.

So, for now, I owe you a big thank you, internet - for making anything possible.

I'd love to know about your journey through blogging (or simply the internet!) What have you learnt about yourself? How have you grown?

**I've discovered a brand that was made for me in House of Sunny**
SHOP MY LOOK HERE:


Photography by COMB - who are just a little bit amazing. They're the place to go to find the best alternatives for the fashion pieces you desperately want, but can't find. Simply upload a snap of an outfit via their app and they'll find you what you're looking for!

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

STYLING MY BOYFRIEND.

It's funny, in the year I've been with Jamie there's only been one photo of us on my blog - a selfie I took of us in Copenhagen.
Considering half my life is is lived on the internet you'd think I'd have handfuls of snaps to share. But I seem to have attracted a boyfriend who is allergic to the camera, or so he says...


If you're an avid Friends fan, you'll be familiar with Chandlers face whenever the camera comes out - basically, Jamie is his twin.
And so, when one of my dear friends Tami asked if I'd be interested in working on a post with Superdry..styling up my boyfriend, I said no before I'd even let her finish her sentence. I kind of shrugged it off as I knew Jamie's skin would crawl at the thought; not because he doesn't love what I do, but because he just hates the camera. It's one of the things I love about him - that he's so ruddy handsome (I'm biased), chiseled to perfection, yet he simply cannot see it. I mean, if my cheekbone game was as strong as his I'd have a mirror attached to my neck so I could constantly see my reflection.

Anyway, I asked him regardless just to see, and surprisingly, he said yes.

Picking clothes for Jamie is never an issue - I'm pretty lucky in the sense that we have very similar taste, in all of the things. Monochrome is the way forward for both of us and so when browsing the Superdry site it didn't take me long to pick out some pieces I knew he'd like and feel comfortable in. But if you'd like to buy your fella something new and aren't sure where to start, I find going back to basics is always best.

Idris Elba, the god that he is - has teamed up with Superdry to create a new range of tops (will his talents ever cease?) - and like all of his other creations, Mr Elba has done a smashing job. This top: is incredibly well made, with the softest fabric and most flattering fit - both Jamie and I insisted on stroking it repeatedly throughout the day. And paired with their black super skinny jeans, they've got Jamie's style down to a T. Both are really simplistic pieces, but they're wardrobe staples, clothing that you'll always need.
I would also definitely be lying if I said I wasn't majorly happy with the fact that the orange detailing on the jeans matched my hair. (it's the little things)



SHOP JAMIE'S LOOK:

To be honest Superdry isn't somewhere I would've usually looked to shop for Jamie, but I'm so glad I did. Fantastic quality and stylish clothing for an affordable price - not to mention its meant that this cheeky chappy has finally made an appearance on my blog :-) Looks like we're all winners here!

 Photography by Alexandra Cameron

This post is in collaboration with Superdry. All views are my own, and to be honest, it's a pretty good view from where I'm standing ;-)


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Monday, 4 April 2016

4 YEARS OF WONDERFUL YOU.


Today marks a pretty special occasion for me, 4 years of writing, filming, snapping and sharing via Wonderful You. 

It's my INTERNET BIRTHDAY! 

It seems like I've been doing this forever and yet, at the same time, four years feels like nothing at all. 

I want to take a little bit of time today, to reflect on all of the good things this blog has brought in to my life. 

Friendship
I've made some of the most incredible friends, Zoe Newlove who taught me what it is to be a strong and kind human. Laura Jane Williams, who helped me believe anything is possible and that women are better together. Ally, quite possibly my sister from another mister - is my rainbow on any cloudy day. Alexandra Cameron, showed me how beautiful life is; with both her insane photography and perfectly wonderful mind, she makes me better. Emma Gannon, injects instant positivity in to my life and shines light wherever she goes. Hayley, the epitome of goodness - she would do anything for her friends and that alone, means they'd do anything for her, too. Linds, a pretty recent addition to the squad but boy is she a good one. The biggest heart I've ever known and the most beautiful, too.
Of course these are to name but a few - I feel so lucky to be part of a community that lets all it's stars shine so brightly, and the fact I've made such amazing friends because of it? I just can't quite believe how lucky I am. 

And oddly enough, on this very day last year, I had my first date with Jamie. So today marks our 1 year anniversary - and you know? I couldn't dream of a better day to have it on. Our relationship is a million wonderful things, but my blog is a big slice of it. He helped build the brand I'd always dreamed of, he believes in me and I'm so grateful for that, I'm so grateful for him. 

Goals
I've learned over the past few years that other women aren't the competition. And in a world as saturated as the blogging community, it can be so difficult to not let your green eyed monster take over. You see what one person has achieved and you can quite naturally compare it to where you're at. Why haven't I got what they have? But one persons journey isn't yours - we all have different paths to travel down, and actually, we all want different things. I've learned to take inspiration from my fellow ladies, not begrudge them because of their successes. I see you, I see what you're achieving and I am so happy for you - because you work hard and hard work pays off. 

And so here are three of those ladies who inspire me daily, whose work I appreciate and who make me more determined to be my best self...

Vicotria - In The Frow
I met this amazing lady at the company awards back when both our blogs were just a few months old. Together, we went away with awards for being blogger newbies and since then, her platform has become somewhat of a business empire. You can see the blood, sweat and tears smiles that must go in to making In The Frow what it is - that kind of beautiful content, that kind of growth, it doesn't come from taking a back seat. It comes from being determined and focused and brilliant. Not only can you tell that Victoria works incredibly hard, but she really is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I'm in awe of her on the daily.

Zoe - Zoella
The first blog I ever read, Zoe set the blogging bar and inspired me to start my own. There are some people, who even from afar seem like the most genuine, kind hearted souls, and that's who Zoe is to me. 
Never have I seen a woman handle the internet so tactfully. I mean, she started out like any blogger does, with a passion to share things she loves - but she had the determination to keep going even when some tried to hold her back. And now here she is, I mean, who could've known she'd be catapulted in to a media storm with millions of followers, two books, a beauty line, TV appearances and still come out the other end (alive) and somehow an incredibly normal, down to earth, lovely lady? I can't fathom how hard it must be to tackle the inevitable negatives that will come with such an exposed lifestyle - but one thing I do know, is she proves every day that she's human, a really really good human. And sometimes, in a world as crazy as this, that's really hard. She deserves all the success, but more than that, she deserves all of the support. 

Hannah and Stef - The Michalaks
Hannah was one of the first bloggers I chatted to when I started out. She was just so lovely, I always looked forward to her blog posts and when she first started filming her YouTube videos. It's been so incredible to see someone fall in to such a natural place with their work - she went from working full-time to making ~the internet~ her job too, and she's done it in such a magical way. Together her and Stef create the most amazing memories for their son Gracie in their weekly vlogs - constantly bettering the content they've previously created, with what should be, award winning footage. Together they show what growth is to me. They show that you don't just wake up one day with a perfect idea - you work and work and work until you find something that fits you just right. They make the internet a happy and better place to be.
Confidence
It's something I really lacked when I started my blog. I used to thrive off being the centre of attention, studying musical theatre at college with dreams of being on the West End. But somewhere along the line I lost hope, I lost my determination or my ability to believe that I was good at what I did. I took on any old job because I figured as long as I had money and was comfortable it didn't really matter if I didn't have a thing that I excelled at. Wonderful You proved me wrong. I began with the idea that it would be nice to have a hobby - but it's been so much more than that. Yes, it's now my job - but it's given me more than I could've ever hoped for in terms of employment. It's given me self belief, in all areas of my life. It makes me feel like I can achieve what I set my mind to and that I can share that with you without feeling embarrassed. That I'm more than I thought I was. That everyday I grow, and that every day is an adventure to finding out the next new thing about me - I love it.

Opportunity
No-one will work as hard for you as you will. And that's something I struggle to accept sometimes - that where I am now, with my blog, isn't because of anyone else, it's because of me. I've met the most amazing people (see above), I'm constantly inspired by them and others (see above), I have such wonderful people who read and watch and share and support me daily (yes YOU!) - and all these things contribute to amazing things happening, of course they do - but at the end of the day it's us, we create our own successes. 
Yes opportunities might come to you, but they only come from hard work and the knowing that you deserve them. With that being said, I can't believe that I've been able to work with some of my favourite brands - and that sometimes I'm lucky enough to be sent things to review, because said brands like what I create. And that sometimes I get paid to work with brands and even appear on TV ADVERTS and get to sign with an incredible management team who believe in me too, and I mean, I can't fathom it, it's insane - but it's insanely brilliant and I wouldn't change it for the world.

So, here's to another year. Another year of working stuff out, together. 

I don't know what the next chapter looks like, but I'm so glad that this book isn't over yet. That I feel happier and stronger than ever to keep on keeping on. 

Thank you, for being here with me - I know it's corny and sounds a bit naff, but I do really mean it. And sometimes it's difficult, to find the right words to say just how much Wonderful You means to me, how it's changed my life for the better and how having you guys there makes it what it is. Because is truly does, you make it the most special, you make it the place I always want to come back to. Because even on the darkest days, you lift me up and basically, that's the best birthday present anyone could wish for. 

So much love.

All of it.


To go along with the blog post, Alex and I created this video together - I hope you'll watch it. Initially we were just headed to the beach to shoot the photographs, but I thought it would be nice to have something to sit on all of my platforms to help celebrate today, and so we played around with some filming. Not only do I love the footage, but I think it gives a real time display of how much fun Alex and I have. I'm so grateful we get to work together - it never feels like work at all.



Photography and Cinematography by Alexandra Cameron. We shot this at Mersea, and isn't it the most beautiful location you've ever seen? I want to live in one of the beach huts.

Music by the super talented Jessie Moncrieff.


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