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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

7 pet peeves with blogging / social media

just belle - 7 pet peeves with blogging / social media

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't written any new blog posts for the last few weeks. It's not that I haven't had ideas on what to publish, I just either haven't had the time to sit down and write them up or when I have been free I simply just haven't wanted to write it up.

Over Easter, I had an unintentional week off from social media as I just wanted to enjoy spending time with friends and family. It actually felt quite liberating not constantly being glued to my phone to check up on my social media platforms. It made me realise that there's a lot of stuff people publish that I really don't care about. Now don't get me wrong, that doesn't go for everything! There are people I have met through blogging or other fields of life that I love to keep up to date with on their travels, adventures, what they're loving, etc. but there's also plenty of things I honestly could not give a toss about.

Every so oftenI  feel like I suffer with blogger burnout or I'm not "good enough" or don't fit in with the community and I don't think I'm the only one that feels like this. Recently I have seen a lot of people tweet the same things.

It's been a good thing to be away for a few weeks

#1 Blogger drama

We all love a good gossip and a bitch but some of the disagreements that escalate are just downright nasty and bullying. It also seems like it's a daily occurence specifically on Twitter currently. Now I'm not gonna point fingers or refer to people to "name and shame" them but you quite often see a lot of the same names that get involved with it. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with standing up for what you believe in or defending a friend but when it turns in to "My opinions right and you're wrong!" it just escalates and becomes so petty. If I see something that I think is stupid or wrong, I just scroll passed, unfollow, mute or block. Life is too short to get involved and upset in half of this. It also makes me think, "Would you really want a potential employee to see this?" or "What are you like in real life?"

#2 The constant need to be on social media

Social media is a wonderful thing for keeping in contact with people and making the World feel a lot closer but it is also a terrible thing! I work in a generic admin job, Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5pm and being sat down all day on the computer makes coming home to sit on the computer again is one of the last things I want to do. I love being active and exercising or sometimes catching up with friends so it's not always possible to constantly have an online presence. I also don't like constantly being glued to my phone as I feel that I will be missing out on what's going on around me. Sometimes I just like to stop and have a look at the World going on around me.

#3 Sometimes brands can be sneaky

There's been some truely wonderful brands and PR companies I've worked with that I feel so grateful that they have contacted me to work with them. However, I've had some that aren't so great to work for. There are some brands that have asked me to "work with them" by writing a post about a launch of their new product by sending me photos of said item. Now I don't know about you but in order to feature an item on my blog I would like to recieve said item in order to give it a fair review. What good is a picture to me? All I'm doing is giving free advertisement to them.

I've even had a brand that contacted to pay me a set amount to feature on Instagram and Twitter but kept changing what they wanted, didn't make it very clear and then cancelled it at the last minute. It was probably a blessing in disguise to be perfectly honest.

#4 Am I good enough?

Do you ever feel like your blogs never good enough? Some days I feel well and truely inspired by reading my favourite blogs and that I just want to write and write while other days, I just feel like my blog is just crap.

#5 That thing called life that gets in the way

When I say life, I'm referring to a number of different factors that encompasses work, exams, social life, me time, spending time with family/Greg, etc, etc. In an ideal World I'd love to work part time so that I had enough income coming in to cover the bills comfortably and then blog the rest of the time. Sadly for me though that's highly unlikely to happen anytime soon. So if I go AWOL every now and then it is probably due to one of these factors.

#6 The constant changes on social media

Twitter changing to hearts from stars. Instagram algorithms and shadow banning. The constant changes on Facebook. Here's an example of the messed up algorithm on Instagram, I constantly see photos captioned with "Thank God it's Friday" or "It's finally the weekend!" on a Monday. Can you imagine how depressing this is on your first day back to work after the weekend? It also confuses the hell out of me and then I realise it's been posted three or four days previously. I get social media moves fast but some of these changes are just God damn annoying!

#7 Everyone thinks that they're an "expert"

This kind of relates to my first point but is more in relation to my Facebook newsfeed currently. Unless you've been living under a rock, you will know that a general election is fast approaching. So to give an example of my point is I see so many photos shared giving facts but if you actually do some research in to these "facts" you find that the majority of these are comepletely misleading and quite far from the truth. This doesn't go for everything but I wish people would read more in to things before sharing something on social media then gobbing off about it.

I'm going to end that hear now as I feel this post has dragged on and on and on. I guess it makes up for the last few weeks, eh?

What are your blogging or social media pet peeves?


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A mascara every girl needs...

I was intending to write a post on my thoughts of all the high end brand mascaras I have tried and tested but after using the Joan Collins mascara* for the last few weeks, I thought it deserved its own post. Although keep your eyes peeled for a future high end brand mascara post it will feature in!

The Class Act Mascara is part of the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty collection so the mascara's packaging design is all within keeping of this. The mascara's packaging is of a gold chrome design colour and feels slightly weighted when compared to other brands of mascara, giving it a sophisticated and glamourous feel.

The mascara's outer packaging promises the mascara as "growth boosting & thickening". I'm not going to lie, I was a little sceptical of this promise at first but thought I would go along with it and see how much it lived up to this promise. However, I needed not have any worries when using this mascara.

The wand itself looks like a generic mascara wand but has a very slight curve to it like the Two Faced Better than Sex mascara but just not quite as exaggerated. When coating it on to the lashes it helps define and lift them, giving the illusion that the lashes are much bigger than they actually are. It also coats the lashes individually as opposed to them sticking together and clumping or causing smudges below the lashes. For me, this is great for when I'm in a rush in the mornings and quickly trying to apply my make up in the car whilst on the way to work.

If you wanted a bit more of a heavier mascara look then this mascara is great for giving buildable coverage without clumping up the lashes but giving a false lash illusion. Before trying this, I tend to usually use two different mascaras; one with a very thin defined brush to create the base layer then another with a much thicker brush to give the lashes some real boost and lifting. With this mascara, I don't feel this is necessary.

The only downside to this mascara is if you're on a budget then it might be a little out of your price range as it costs £20. But if you feel you can stretch that little bit further within your budget, I would recommend purchasing this especially if like me, you buy two different mascaras to boost those lashes!

What's your favourite mascara? 

*PR Sample but all thoughts are my own.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Venturing in to the New Forest

A few weeks ago, Kate and I decided to go for a walk in to the New Forest. Apart from going the week previously to make pancakes in the New Forest for part of a project Kate was doing, I have never actually been to the New Forest before. Considering I've lived in Hampshire for nearly five years and to say I haven't ventured that much outside of Winchester/Southampton/Eastleigh area is quite sad really. It doesn't help that Greg's lived locally all his life so doesn't think of exploring Hampshire that much.

If you read Kate's blog regularly, although I love going for a walk and outside adventures, you will see that Kate is much more of an outdoor, adventure blogger than I am. She's also an Ordanance Survey #GetOutside Champion and seeing as she spends much more of her free time venturing around Hampshire, I left her to decide on the walks and places were going to.

She couldn't have chosen a more perfect day as the Sun was shining so brightly with really clear blue skies, one of the first most really bright sunny days of 2017. We ended up doing a 5 mile walk from Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard. The ground was a little boggy when walking through the trees but that didn't bother us as we came dressed fully prepared for this kind of terrain.

Once we had walked to Buckler's Hard, we stopped to have a tea break, watch the boats and take some photos obviously! As we were having a look at the houses, an old vintage car turned up with a couple that had quite clearly just gotten married. It looked like they were having they had their wedding reception held here which seemed like such a perfect day weather wise and location to have chosen.

After we had finished taking our photos, we headed back to Beaulieu to then go on to Thatchet's Pond. We didn't really do any walking here but got to see some of the New Forest ponies and take some photos of how gorgeous the water and surrounding scenery was looking, along with some selfies of course! 😄

We then went down to Lepe Beach to get some photos of the sun setting over the sea and the Isle of Wight. A couple were sat there and had the idea of throwing chips to the seagulls thus causing a flock of gulls to appear which can only be described as Kate put it, "Something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie". Although I wish to point out that they didn't attack us but it did make a great photo opportunity.

Where have you been out walking recently?


Monday, 27 March 2017

My blog turns 2 & anniversary giveaway!

just belle - 2 year anniversary giveaway

I've been meaning to do a post on this over the last couple of weeks but just haven't fitted it in to my blogging schedule. This month marks two years since I decided to properly start this blog so in celebration, I've decided I'm going to do a giveaway.

Although my blog is still incredibly small, I have acheived so many wonderful things in the past year. I have attended and been invited to events and had brands and PR companies contact me to collaborate which makes me feel so grateful. When talking about my blog, I always feel quite humble about it and am currently trying to learn to feel more confident in my writing and push myself more.

I'm also still trying to grow my following and as I said, I'm still very small but I've more than doubled my following in the last year. So if you're reading this and as a thank you (As mentioned previously), I'm running a giveaway.

just belle - 2 year anniversary giveaway

The giveaway

The giveaway consists of a selection of beauty and make up samples* that I thought would make a nice variation of products for someone.

The rules

To enter, you can do the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I will not be taking responsibility for any loss or damage through the post. 

The giveaway will be running until 23:59 pm, Friday 28th April 2017 and I will pick one lucky winner at random on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Good luck entering! 😊


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Why I quit Slimming World

just belle - why i quit slimming world

I've mentioned various times about how I am on a mission to shed a couple of stone to be back to my pre uni size. For the last 14 months I have been on the Slimming World diet where in total I've managed to lose 1.5 stone. During this time I have had a love/hate relationship with the diet where I've yo-yoed back and forth. This has happened to me about three or four times but I've managed to kickstart my enthusiasm back in to it and shed a few more lbs then I get bored and gain the lbs again.

Since Christmas, I've just really lost the enthusiasm for it completely and not gotten back in to the swing of it despite various efforts. For the last two months, I've just been feeling that I'm wasting £25/20 a month to weigh myself when I could easily buy a set of scales myself and save that money for my upcoming holiday in May.

Not only have I been feeling bored of it but I've also been feeling miserable just eating very plain and boring foods. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want this to be a post being all along the lines of "I hate Slimming World" as it is great and does work but like any diet, you need plenty of money to create varied and exciting meal plans. Unfortunately though, I do not. I tried this but I was on the verge of bankrupting myself every month as sadly my monthly paycheck doesn't quite stretch that far.

Another thing I struggled with is finding things to snack on. One time I remember having a conversation with my consultant with him telling me I should eat plenty of cold meats, eggs and vegetables to prevent hunger. I just sat there awkwardly nodding along as I'm vegetarian and found eating too many eggs and plain vegetables boring and I would still constantly be hungry. I don't mean to sound like I'm slating my consultant as I'm not expecting him to remember my exact dietary requirements but it's just hard and expensive to find meat alternatives. I'm not a huge fan of Quorn and I only like Tofu when it's been marinated but you can't exactly eat them in the same way you would eat cold meats.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought myself a Nutribullet and have been making smoothies for breakfast, wraps with salad, avocado and Quorn for lunch and having varied healthy meals for dinner. This has also included a few cheat meals of having pancakes and ice creams but hey, I'm allowed to be naughty once in a while. As a result of the change in diet, I have been feeling a lot healthier and more awake and already lost 3 lbs. I'm also feeling much happier in myself as I'm still sticking to the tactic of everything in moderation but if I want cake then I will let myself eat it so long as I don't pig out. I've also started using weights and doing various cardio exercises in the hope that I can tone my body and get it back to my ideal size by Summer and to hopefully keep up with losing weight!

Overall, I think Slimming World's great but like anything it just gets dull after a while. I'm not saying I'd never go back to it but for now I'm gonna save those extra ££s and just stick to this new regime.

Have you tried Slimming World? What was your experience with it?


Thursday, 23 March 2017

The £1 lipstick storage you need

For me, lipsticks are one of those make up items I literally have littered everywhere! I always find them in various handbags and around the house and as a result of this can never actually find the one I specifically want to wear at the time. I then buy another one so end up X amount of the same lipstick or many in similar colours as I completely forget I own a lipstick in a specific colour or brand.

As much as I love lipsticks these are issues with them that I deal with on a regular basis. That was until a couple of weeks ago when by chance I spotted these little storage boxes in Poundland.

These nifty little boxes can be found in the homeware section as they're actually meant to be peg storage boxes. However, it occured to me that they would be the perfect size to sort and store all my lipsticks in.

Considering I have about 30+ lipsticks, I bought two of them and they all fit in both of them nicely! So nicely in fact that I've been able to section them by colour in each drawer. The plus side is that they are small enough that I can fit them nicely on my make up shelf.

If you're more of a liquid lipstick or gloss kind of gal it also stores these in perfectly as well. I don't own quite as many as these as I do sticks so they all fit neatly in one drawer.

It might not be the prettiest looking storage or the most decent quality but for £1 and to keep your lipsticks safe, you can't go wrong!

What do you store your lipsticks in?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Explorin' Gloucester

Back in January, Greg and I went to visit his grandparents that live in Gloucester. As it has been many years since Greg has visited the Catherdral, as I have never been and as we both love history, his grandparents decided that they would take us there. They also took us to have a general wander round the city and to have a meal at the new(ish) Weatherspoons - which by the way, happens to be the nicest 'Spoons I've ever been in! It's totally Instagram worthy, right!?

Below I have just written a little outline of the Cathedral and Gloucester itself and included a lovely selection of photos which includes the docks and other parts of the city. While we had a little wander, I also took some videos which I have made into a short Youtube video (You could say it's about time I got back in to Youtube as been like... 6 months maybe?).

The Cathedral

"Gloucester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1,300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9 AD. Little is known for certain about the communities which worshipped here or the buildings they used over the next 400 years although it is believed that the Benedictine Rule was introduced here early in the 11th century." - Gloucester Cathedral
The Cathedral is free to enter but you can give a donation. Unfortunately I don't have any photos from inside as you have to pay to take photography inside and I didn't have change on me. The Cathedral quite often have events and exhibtions on inside which are also free of charge.

The exhibition that was on when we were there they had the Faith exhibition on. This consisted of a numerous amount of paintings of different people and their religious backgrounds and how they found their faiths. It was quite interesting but I believe this has finished now.


One of the reasons that you may have heard or recognise the architecture inside the Cathedral is that it featured as one of the corridors in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets. The corridors make a perfect setting for Hogwarts.

The City

Gloucester is the county town of Gloucestershire and is situated on the River Severn. It is located West of the Cotswolds and South of the Forest of Dean. Gloucester has an extensive amount of historical significance so if you love your history there's plenty to read about it!

Located in the centre of Gloucester is the Quays and the Dockyard. The Quays hosts a selection of shops whilst you can walk around the dockyard to a view various boats (canal barges, yachts, cruises, etc) and old factory buildings.

There's also a number of museums to have a look around and plenty of lovely places to eat. So plenty to keep you busy for the day!

Here's the video:

Have you been to Gloucester?

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