Thursday, July 26, 2018

Things that are helping me beat the heat!

I literally cannot remember a time where I wasn't sweating the diddies off myself.  I miss the good old days of walking to the train station, jumping aboard it and not dying of the sweats.  I mean who needs windows that open or air con at rush hour??

I've been making a conscious effort to try to beat the heat... I have no other choice or I will be withered and shrivelled by the time August hits... So I went through my stash and picked out some of the products I've been reaching for time and time again during the heatwave that is never going to end.  It isn't sure it's not?

You know when you're away on holidays and while you're sitting there sipping a nice cool beer and you see the poor feckers who have to go to work in the heat?  We are those poor feckers....  Anyway, let's get to the products and if you'd like a video featuring these and more, let me know!

A fan.  But not just any fan.  A Dyson Pure Cool Desk Smart Air Purifier (€449)

Now Currys & PC World sent me this fan last month and I enjoyed it for approximately two days before my brother asked for a lend of it as baby Matthew wasn't coping well in the heat at all.  He was having sleepless nights from teething mixed in with sleepless nights from sweating.  I feel you Maffyew, I feel you.  So of course I gave them a lend and my bruv has reported that Matthew has been sleeping so much better, it isn't noisy and it also helps with the air pollution from the fields close to their house.  He may or may not have let off a little steam (ahem) beside the fan to test its purification claims and see the little green line there that says the room has low allergens and pollutants?  It went red.  'Nuff said.  There's an app that comes with it, a remote and I'm highly jealous of Matthew getting to enjoy it, but also delighted that he's not having to go through what we are in this heat!


The Academie Anti-Pollution Moisturising Mist (€29.20) is new to me and not only does it help cool and refresh my skin, but it acts as an urban shield, protecting me from the environment, acting as "security" for the skin.  So basically it's like a bouncer in a can and I'm cool with that.  And also, I only copped it this year, but inside the home has a load of pollutants, like when you light candles.  Who knew?  So next time you're setting the mood and relaxing with your favourite candle, lash on the anti-pollution mist and you're good to go.  Now it has a wet mist, so my advice is to hold it back from your face a bit and mist it gently, or else you'll be applying an Academie Anti-Pollution Moisturising Splash.

Another one that's always on rotation is the Lotion Yon-Ka (€32.50) which smells divine.  And it's a rule of life, (it's not), that you have to take a couple of minutes to do nothing when spritzing it.  So if you have to spritz it every 15 minutes and can't do your work while you're having a moment, then so be it!  I keep it on my desk at home and have another one on my bedside table and yes, yes I do spritz myself during the night when I'm melting. And I'm talking about a whole body mist.  You don't know what it's like to be moist all the time.  And if there's one good thing that's come out of this heatwave, it's that I've pretty much become immune to the word moist.  Nobody can torment me with it again! This has a gorgeous fine mist that doesn't drown you.  And a piece of advice, keep these guys in the fridge to help cool you down even quicker.  Thank me later.  I'll have no room for food in the fridge if I keep putting my beauty products in the fridge but be grand.


The Urban Decay Primer Potion (€22) is my all time favourite eye primer and while I use it pretty much every day anyway, it's an absolute necessity in the heat.  My lids are always super oily and even the shadows that promise to stay put no matter what don't stand a chance on me when you mix my oily bits with the heat.  This keeps my shadows crease proof, budge proof and melt proof.  I've gone through tubes of this over the years and it's just deadly stuff.

When I'm roasting (every day of life right now), I don't want to be wearing a load of makeup or have it feeling thick or heavy on my face.  So while a face primer might mean I can wear more of my dewier foundations without the fear of them sliding down my face, you can't beat a matte foundation.  And the Note Mattifying Extreme Wear Foundation (€13.95) is one of the best budget bases I've ever tried.  A little goes a long way and you can read about it in more detail in the post I did on all of the Note foundations where I have before and after photos of all of the bases.

I've fallen in love with Urban Decay's All Nighter Waterproof Pressed Setting Powder (€31) which has kept my oily face looking perfectly matte and shine free in the heatwave.  It feels so lightweight on my skin, sits on top of my makeup beautifully and for days where I'm wearing a dewy base which would usually slide down my face in 2 minutes after walking outside, this keeps those bases in place.  It's definitely sweat proof and if we had a bit of rain, I'd be able to see if it was waterproof!  I get great satisfaction out of watching it blur my pores before my very eyes.  It's a winner and my favourite powder from Urban Decay so far.

Budge proof brows are very important for me (except for today where I had a makeup free day but sure listen).  I've tried a load of brow products in the past and keep coming back to my beloved Kiss NY Pro Fine Precision Brow Pencil in Taupe (€11.99).  It's just perfect.  It's not too soft, it's not too hard, that sounded weird, I didn't mean to be rude... Let's continue... But the most important part is that it stays put alllllllll day, with no smudging or movement at all and it's lasting me ages!  I'll definitely be repurchasing it myself when it finally runs out.

Recently I've taken my brow game up a notch and have proper notions.  I've been using the Billion Dollar Brows Brow Gel (€24) to help keep the hairs in place and I think it would be a deadly product to have if I had microblading or them Phi Brow things and didn't need to pencil them in at all.  This doesn't go hard or crispy on the brows and I feel very groomed altogether when I use it.

Face & body bits

I know I keep harping on about the Vital C Hydrating Overnight Masque from Image (€59.50) and I won't bore you with all of the details again, my full post is here.  But with the sun and heat taking its toll on my skin, I've been keeping the dehydration at bay with the mask and am applying a thin layer pretty much every evening now.  And if I'm really roasting, I sit in front of my non Dyson fan and let the air cool the mask on my mush.

And another mask that I've been loving is the No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum Boost Sheet Mask (€34/pack of 4) that I've written about in more detail a few weeks ago.   Again, I love leaving these in the fridge for the extra cooling effect while I let the week's worth of serum do its job.

And finally, my current favourite shower gel (€18.50)!  This is new from L'Occitane as part of their limited edition Verbena ranges and I'd have been lost without it during the heatwave.  It's from the Mint Verbena collection and it makes for the perfect morning shower, the evening shower, any time I feel sticky or clammy, and want to feel refreshed instantly.  I love it and it's my favourite of all the Verbena shower gels I've tried so far.  It's more cooling than it is sweet smelling which is what I look for when I'm melting!

Now I'm all ears if you have any products that you can't be without this summer, I need all the help I can get!

PS I totally wanted to call this post "Products that help me when I'm sweating the diddies off myself" - it would've been SEO gold!


Monday, July 23, 2018

Urban Decay Beached Collection review, photos, swatches!

Ooh I love summer makeup because I get to go wild with a bit of colour, now not too wild as am a severe geriatric, but there are ways us bridies can try something new with colour and not look mad!

The Beached collection from Urban Decay is a gorgeous range.  I fell in love with the palette when I saw it on Instagram a while back and hoped it lived up to my own self made hype.  I didn't know there was going to be an entire collection until they sent it to me to play with and colour me impressed.  Want to see more?  Thought so!

The Beached palette (€34) houses eight eyeshadows, one matte and seven shimmers and if there's one thing Urban Decay know how to do (ok they know how to do a lot) but they know how to give good shimmer.  All of them are buttery soft and while there's a small bit of fall out, it's worth it because they are beautiful!

The pops of blue with Double Dip and Plunge transform it from being a grand summery bronze palette to something with a bit more interest.  And while I'm not skilled enough, cool enough or brave enough to wear the blues as the main colour on my eyes, I can do a mean pop of colour under my lower lashes!  And in the look below, you'll see I tried to do something a bit different.

I'm no MUA but I love how it turned out!  I'd advise to use a flat eyeshadow brush when picking up the colours as there's a bit of fall out with a fluffy blending brush or use your fingers.  There's one matte shadow which makes for a lovely crease shade, and this is me just being picky, but I'd have loved a slightly more neutral matte as a transition shade.  But apart from that, it's a stunning palette for summer and leaving out the blues, it's one that I'll use lots year round too.
There are two eyeliners (€19.50) in the collection, a deadly yellow gold called Goldmine and that fabulous copper shade called Lucky which I'm all over.  In the look above I used Goldmine in the inner corner and Lucky on the waterline. If you want to see a video of how I did the eye look, head to my Instagram page where I uploaded a one minute video showing it in action.

To the right of the copper liner I've swatched the Beached bronzer in Sunkissed (€30) and in the compact, it looks quite red toned, but on the skin, it gives the most beautiful natural warmth.  I think the slight hint of red makes it look like you've just caught the sun rather than wearing makeup if that makes sense.  I didn't think it was going to look as well on me and I had visions of having to blend it out with my foundation brush, but it's so flattering on, it's so finely milled and applies like silk to the skin.  You'll be seeing a lot of this on my face this summer!

There are three lipsticks (€19) in the collection, all with the cute beachy palm tree packaging.  Two are part of the metallized finishes and one is sheer.  Swatched on the back of my hand is one thing, but you have to see them on the actual lips don't you?  Keep scrolling!

The Beached Lipstick in Heatwave is a true copper lipstick and if you're a fan of a metallic finish, you're going to love this.  It's not drying, one layer gives great colour pay off, I'm just not sure I can get away with a metallic lip like this!  I blame old age!

Next up is the Beached lipstick in Tower 1, also described as being one of the metallized finishes, but despite looking copper and shimmery in the tube, on the lips, it's more of a lip topper than a lipstick itself.  It feels like a lip balm on and has tiny flecks of gold and rose gold glitter running through it.  It's gorgeous and I'll get loads of wear out of it when I want a look that isn't too in your face.

Finally we have my favourite of the three lipsticks, the Beached Lipstick in the shade 100 Degrees.  This is described as having a sheer finish but as you can see in the photo and the swatch on the back of my hand, it's definitely more on the pigmented end of the scale than it is sheer, but it's not fully opaque.  This is a beautiful strawberry red, perfect for summer and I've actually worn this out of the house too!

The Beached collection from Urban Decay is out now!  Will you be picking anything up?

*post contains affiliate links*


Monday, July 9, 2018

How to use Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter!

One of my most frequently asked questions is how I use Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter and while I've featured it in a couple of my one minute videos on Instagram, I thought a blog post might be a bit more helpful!

Full disclosure, I was given this bottle to test out and I'm so grateful because for me, this was a grower.  I wasn't sure how I felt about it initially and I think I'd have been raging to have not been instantly blown away with it the way everyone else seemed to have been.  I definitely used too much when I first started playing with it and ended up looking almost robotic, but as always, with Charlotte herself, less is more!

Coming in seven shades, this is shade 3 Light/Medium and can we have a second for the packaging.... The glass bottle and rose gold lid is fierce weighty and absolutely gorgeous.  It's pure luxury, but not very travel friendly, so you'd have to decant it if you wanted to bring it on holidays and not have to worry about the glass smashing.  Inside is a massive doe foot applicator that I totally forgot to photograph, but it's huge and makes quick work of dabbing it where you need it.

Described as a "customisable complexion booster for super starlit skin", it can be used in a few different ways, and my scaldy face and I are ready to show it to you in action!

Use it on its own or under foundation!

Used alone, it gives instant radiance to the skin and if you want to go foundation free for the day, but still want a bit of a glow, then you're sorted.  As you can see in the photos above, it doesn't add any coverage, so don't assume it replaces your foundation.  For the photos, I applied it all over my face, but as an oily skinned person, I'd usually leave my nose and chin alone and keep it to the dryer parts of my face like my cheeks.  It gives a wonderful sheen to the skin but leaves it slightly tacky, and my oily girls out there will feel me in that I spend 42% of my life trying to not feel sticky or tacky!

Use it mixed in with your foundation!

This is my favourite way of using it and love how it makes my skin look.  For the photos here, I mixed it with the matte Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation which made it look like my beloved Luminous Silk foundation!  It helps give my foundations a natural dewiness that makes it look like skin and doesn't affect the coverage levels either. And because it's not a runny product, it doesn't change the texture of the bases I've mixed it with.  You could either dab both products on your face the way I have or apply them to the back of your hand and mix them there.  Either way, healthy looking skin is minutes away!  The photo below cuts out the application part so you can see the before and after easily.  Obsessed!

Use over your foundation!

Again, having to keep my oily bits in mind, when I'm using it this way, I tend to keep it to my cheekbones, cupids bow, all non shiny areas really.  I pat it in with my finger or with a makeup sponge and I'm good to go.  Because it leaves an almost glossy finish on the skin, fans of a drier finish might like to apply a powder highlight over the top, but I love how it looks like a natural non sweaty sheen on my skin!  As a highlight, it's not a wow in your face finish, and I'll be honest, I'm too old to wear the blinding highlights that are all over Instagram these days!  This is more my type of sheen.  Natural, soft focused and gorgeous!

The Hollywood Flawless Filter is €40 in Brown Thomas or Arnotts or £30 on the Charlotte Tilbury website.  They're always going in and out of stock, so keep your eyes peeled!   Will you be trying it out?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

New! L'Occitane Verbena Limited Edition Collections

L'Occitane is tres famous for their Verbena collection and all its lemony goodness.  It's been a go to range in the summer when you are sweating so hard that you're wondering if you're shrivelling up on a daily basis, when you wonder was it was like to not have your hair expanding before your very eyes with the humidity and you wonder how you're going to stay feeling fresh and cool on an hourly basis.

Well, L'Occitane have expanded the Verbena range and have three limited collections that will make us laugh in the face of this heatwave, that will make us forget that we are feeling sticky and clammy and that will give us a pep in our step every day!

I was sent one item from each of the three ranges and I've been putting them through their paces over the last couple of weeks.

First up, the Mint Verbena Shower Gel (€18.50).  This is one of those gels for a morning shower.  The one that will revitalise you and wake you up after the 4.5 minutes of sleep you got because you were melting all night.  Not a pick of breeze to be had.  I absolutely love this and it gets me going for the day until I get to coffee time, where my caramel macchiato tag teams it and keeps me going.  There's a Mint Verbena EDT and a Body Ice Gel too to make up the rest of the range.

Next up we have the Icy Verbena Body Gel (€26).  This bubbly blue gel is infused with menthol, giving your body a wallop of coolness and if you want to freeze the diddies off yourself (well we've been sweating the diddies off ourselves so fair is fair), keep this in the fridge and see what it feels like to be cold again!  There's an Icy Body Shower Gel in this collection too.  This smells like lemon sherbet to me and I ain't mad at that.

Finally we have the Citrus Verbena Moisturising Body Foam (€24) which I'm obsessed with!  It comes out like a shaving foam which I totally enjoy altogether, and is a mix of the two scents above.  It has the cooling effect of menthol and the zestiness of the citrus, and again, it's one for the morning, or if you've come home from work where you sweated on the walk to the train, you sweated on the train because who needs carriages with windows that open or air con, and then sweated on the walk from the train to the house and you need to get out of your clothes, into a cool shower and feel refreshed again.

And that's what this range is all about and it couldn't have come at a better time.  Yes, I would like a teeny bit of rain and yes, a grand thunderstorm would break the humidity, but until that happens, I have my Verbena bits to keep me going!

There's a Refreshing Exfoliating Sugars and a Hair and Body Mist in the range too if you wanted to round it out and smell ridey from head to toe.

The new ranges are out in stores and online today, so go forth and treat your sweaty self while the heatwave lasts!  Will you be trying anything from the range?


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The best lip balm I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot!)

In times gone by, at any given time, if I was to open my handbag and empty out the contents, I'd have a good 3-4 lip balms in my possession, at least.  AT LEAST.  I know.  My name is Karen and I am a lip balm addict ok bye.  I go through phases of having dry lips, finding something that will work and as soon as I stop using it, my lips go back to the way they were.  Until now.  I have found The Best Lip Balm ever.  Say hello to Glossier's Balm DotCom.  No really, say hello.

Now when it comes to lip balms, I've pretty much tried the lot, from super spendy Balm De Rose to cheap as chips Nivea and I've found some great ones along the way.  Some I've even repurchased, but they've always had their slight down sides, be it packaging or scent, but the Balm DotCom?  I cannot fault these two.  I was given them by the brand but I'll be repurchasing 100% and am making it my mission to try all six scents because I'm committed, what can I say.

These aren't just lip balms.  They can be used on dry patches too and I like to apply to my lips and whatever's left over on my finger, I massage into my cuticles.  Can't be wasting any of this at all!

The Birthday Balm Dotcom (€12) has a vanilla scent and has really fine glitter in it.  It also has castor seed oil, beeswax, lanolin, cupaucu fruit extract and rice bran and rosemary leaf extract, all doing their magic to keep moisture locked in, to act as a barrier on the lips and to basically keep my lips in the best condition they've been in for years.

The Rose Balm Dotcom (€12) has the same ingredients as the Birthday Balm Dotcom and has a light rose scent that isn't off-putting at all at all.  It doesn't smell like old ladies if that's what you're wondering.

I've heard people saying that this is expensive for what it is, but my crusty lips have honestly never been as soft or as moisturised, without any dry, flaky bits and that's it, I'm done testing out lip balms.  This is The One.  I don't have to apply it nearly as often as I used to with other lip balms so I haven't been going through them that fast.

Glossier now deliver to Ireland and it's probably a good thing they don't have a physical shop here in Ireland or I'd have to bar myself.  Have you tried this yet?  If so, how come you never told me about it!?

This post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Top SPFs to look after your skin during the heatwave! (and beyond!)

Who knew after getting so much snow earlier in the year that we'd be getting all this sun and heat?!  I feel like I've been detoxing on a daily basis with the amount of sweating I've been doing, and as much as I don't function at full capacity when it's hot and sunny (I feel like I'm in holiday mode), waking up to sunshine is amazing and instantly puts me in a good mood!

Now, let's talk SPF.  I did an Instastory the other day on these but a good few people missed it and have been asking me questions about my recommendations, so I thought a post would be handy as it'll be here all the time and I can send ye the link when need be.  Also, I'm not a doctor or a dermatologist, so please do research SPFs yourself too and see how they recommend you should use it.

With me and facial SPF, I pick and choose different ones depending on how much I'm going to be outside on that particular day.  If I know I'm going to be out for a good chunk of time, I like to apply a pure SPF, not one mixed in with any moisturiser.  I'd prefer to be over protected than under protected, just because I've gotten burned so many times over the years and have finally copped on in my old age.

The Vichy Ideal Soleil Dry Touch Face Cream SPF50 is a repurchase after being sent it last year or the year before and as someone with oily skin, it's a welcome thing to have an SPF that dries matte, leaves my skin feeling like velvet and my foundation applies beautifully over the top.  There's a 30 version too and if you've oily skin, it's one I'd recommend time and time again!  It's enriched with the famous Vichy Thermal Water too FYI.

Another one I've been loving is this beaut from Kiehl's that I'd heard brilliant things about and bought it in The Loop on the way to Spain this year.  It's oil free, feels lightweight on the skin and I wore it when I was doing the mini marathon last month where I sweated more than any human has ever sweated before and I didn't get burned.  It dries matte and I'd happily repurchase this again.

I have so much trust when it comes to La Roche-Posay, because I've used their SPFs solidly for years now and they're a brand that was always recommended by the consultants I worked with in the hospital.  The Anthelios range is expanding every year and they've brought out these new ones this year.  The Anthelios Sun Intolerance SPF50+ is aimed at those of us who get prickly heat (or Polymorphous Light Eruption if you're feeling fancy).  I get that most summers on my chest and sometimes on my face, but this year I've been spared it so far.  I used it on my face over the weekend and it absorbed quickly into my skin and didn't leave it feeling greasy.  I'm curious to hear how people get on with it who get PLE on a regular basis.

La Roche-Posay have also brought out two pocked sized SPFs for popping in your handbag and on Saturday I gave Claire and Stephen the one for children so that Matthew is sorted in the sun.  It's a great idea to have something for on the go sun protection for days that start out miserable and you didn't apply your SPF, only for the weather to change and you'd be caught short!

Speaking of being caught short, one SPF that I love loads and after being sent it, bought another one this year is the Anthelios Fresh Invisible Mist SPF50+.   Now, because this comes out in a fine mist, I don't use this as my regular SPF, I use it more as a top up if that makes sense.  I don't trust myself to apply an even layer that's thick enough to give me the full protection and I think mists make it easier to under apply than over apply.  So I keep this in my handbag and if I'm out and about during the day, I apply a layer of it over my makeup and while they say it doesn't affect your foundation, I find I need to powder my oily bits.  But I'd rather be shiny and protected than matte and scaldy faced underneath!    Also, be careful of applying too much into your eyes or it can sting, I've learned this from experience!

Nuxe Sun is one of my all time favourite SPF ranges, mainly because it smells gorgeous!  And it does a stellar job of protecting your skin too.  Our family has gone through lots of tubes of it over the years and even over the weekend we were using the Delicious Lotion High Protection for Face and Body SPF 30 sitting out the back and felt like we were in Spain because we had the sun, the BBQ, the heat and the scent of the SPF.  All we were missing was the pool!  As I said, it smells gorgeous so if you're not into heavily scented SPFs, then you might have to look elsewhere, but I love love love it and the whole range is beautiful.

Image Prevention+ Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF50 is a great one for those who love being active in the sun.  So not me.  Joanne used this over the weekend doing zero activity whatsoever except for blowing bubbles for Matthew but said it felt lovely to apply.  I wore it on my arms and thought the spray was lovely and cooling on the skin, it absorbed quickly and I didn't feel in any way greasy.  If you're someone who's running around in the summer and want a hard working SPF, here you go!  It also works hard while you are doing absolutely nothing in the sun!

In terms of moisturisers with SPF in them, there are a couple that I've loved using.  The Image Prevention+ Daily Hydrating Moisturizer SPF30+ is one that really does moisturise my skin while protecting it and it comes in a matte version too.  It's enriched with a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and green tea that are anti-inflammatory agents and because it's so moisturising on my oily skin, I need to give it about 10 minutes to sink in before applying my foundation.  The matte version dries much quicker so that's on my list of things to pick up next.

The Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 is another gorgeous product to use on the face daily, combining moisturising with sun protection.  It's the spendiest of the products mentioned in the post, but it absorbs into the skin quickly and my makeup goes on easily over it.  It has a unique polypeptide which helps encourage collaging-producing activities (I'll take all the collagen I can get thank you) along with patented Oleosome encapsulation technology which is said to boost the effectiveness of the sunscreen itself.

Ah P20.  I'm always being asked about this and like I say with any product recommendation questions I get every day, I can only recommend products I've used, and I haven't used this.  However everyone I know who has used it says it works great on them.  The consultants where I worked weren't a fan at all as their ethos is to apply your SPF liberally and often, not once a day and they were concerned that if you didn't apply enough, that you could be out in the sun for the day with your bits exposed to the sun and burn.  But I know so many love it, Joanne and Will included and they used it on their holidays this year and last year.  So I included it so that I could give a bit of advice.  If you are going to use P20, apply a thick layer so that your skin has a wet sheen to it, to make sure you've applied enough and haven't missed anywhere.  I know it's "very water resistant", but me being me and with towelling off my skin after being in water, I'd still be inclined to reapply just to be sure.

Points about SPF that you probably already know but I'm going to tell you anyway because I am older and probably not wise but sure listen.

If you have an SPF of 25 on your face and apply a foundation with SPF 15, it doesn't make it SPF 45.  The highest SPF you've applied is as high as you go.

Let your SPF sink in for at least 20 minutes before heading out into the sun.  If you apply it and go outside right away, you're basically sitting in the sun for those 20 minutes with no protection.

Don't rely on the SPF in your makeup.  Think about how small a pump of product you apply to the back of your hand.  It's not very much is it?  Then think about how you apply it to your face.  You mightn't go near your hairline at all and before you know it, you'd be scalded.  With a regular SPF or skincare with SPF, you're applying it with more intent, rather than applying it so it looks good.  You'd need to apply a load of pumps of foundation to bring the SPF level up to its proper protection factor!

I saw this on This Morning recently and thought it was so obvious and yet I'd never done it.  Write the date you opened your SPF on the bottle or tube.  There should be the image of a little pot on the back of your tube with a number and the letter M in it, indicating how long you should use it.  After that amount of time, the ingredients in the SPF will stop working and then you'll get scalded.  Ain't nobody wants to be scaldy this summer!

With skin cancers on the rise, it's just using a birra cop on.  There are so many SPFs out there and I'll try my best to try out as many as possible as long as I'm blogging!  Now, get off your laptop or phone and go outside and enjoy the nice weather!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Lovely Chatty Bits - July

How is it July already lads?!  This year is flying by like never before and it's the maddest thing.  I was saying to the girls the other day that since starting the blog back in 2010, most days working in the hospital would be spent wishing the hours away until I could go home to do my bloggy work in the evenings.  The days seemed to drag and the weeks were endless.  WELL, let me tell you, working for yourself scientifically makes time speed up, the days go by in the click of a finger and when it gets to the end of a month, I can't believe it.  It's all mad and I'm loving it.  At least once a week, I shit you not, I stop, I well up a bit and I think "How is this my life"...  Yes I have my bouts of mad stress, I get overwhelmed, I wonder if I can do this, but then I think, I'm already doing it.  Leaving my well paid comfortable job was one of the biggest decisions I've ever made, especially in this industry and at my age, but I'm living my dream and it's all mad.  Every single bit of it.

July is my least favourite month of the year and has been for the last decade.  Loads of crap seems to have happened during this month over the years, and my main focus in life is to get through it unscathed.  I tend to lay low, put the head down and work and that's what I'll be doing this month too.  This year, my pal Catherine and I are escaping to France for a few days at the end of the month and we're in planning mode.  We're going to Thelma and Louise the Jaysis out of the trip and I'm excited to go somewhere with a blogging pal who gets wanting to take photos of things, filming things and just finding all the beautiful places!

For July this year, I have a few goals other than get through it without having a freak out.  (Last year I was ready to give up the whole blogging thing, but we won't revisit that!)  I'm not going to be buying makeup (famous last words), I'm going to work my ass off, I'm going to pitch ideas to brands and I'm going to look forward to our trip.  I have some really cool collaborations coming up and I have so many ideas in my head of projects I want to do.  I've gone through phases where I've turned down the paid jobs for fear of what would be said about me online, but then I said feck it.  People were going mad when influencers weren't declaring payment, and rightly so, and now they're going mad that people are declaring, so while I mightn't win with some of you, I'm going to continue to do right by you and by me too.

For me, blogging is less about me and more about the products.  I'd do this anonymously if I could to be honest.   For me to provide lots of free content in the form of blog posts, instagram photos, instastories, youtube videos on a daily and weekly basis, I will have to do some of those paid jobs, the #ads and the #sps.  This is my job now and like everyone else, I like to get paid to work.  If you'd be happy to go into work day after day and do it for free, good luck to you!  But in saying that, those of you who know me and even those who are new here, I don't do everything that comes my way.  We've all learned more than ever over the last few months online that integrity is key in this industry and that is priceless in my world and I'm not willing to jeopardise it for anything.  But I want to work and work hard and get paid for that work and that's alright.

More goals for July is to create more of a work/life balance.  I try to reply to everyone who messages me on Instagram, and reply to comments, but I'm going to be putting time limits on that.  I'm going to buy an alarm clock and hide my phone away so I'm not tempted to look at it during the night.  And I was watching Catherine's stories earlier and she showed the Leanun planner which reminded me that this one starts in July!  So I want to make it an evening ritual to fill it out and spend less time online.  The online world can be such a toxic place, but that's a whole other chatty post!  I had a digital detox yesterday as we had a family day and it was so nice, so I'm going to do that more often.

I'm also going to be filming a load of Instagram one minute videos and I love filming them so much!  When I started them a few weeks ago, not that many people were doing them but there are more of us now, so I'll be doing my best to make them different and keep them different to everyone else's videos but that's easier said than done!

I want this to be a July to remember and make happy memories.  I want to not drown in a pool of my own sweat on a daily basis in the heat.  I want to get through it in one piece but not wish the days and weeks away.  I want to work hard and smart and produce content I'm proud of and will make you proud too.

Come on July, let's do this!

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