I'M FEELING 22-OOH-OOH

... and there we have it ladies and gents, I have become the world's biggest cliche and have coined Taylor Swifts pretty annoying song for the sake of a blog post. And I have definitely not been waiting for years to be able to scream it from the top of my lungs either ;)

I'm not sure you would have known this before reading the title of this post - as I absolutely hate birthdays with a passion and therefore barely mention it on social media, on my blog etc. - but it is my birthday today, so I thought 'what better time to sit down, get a bit reflective with you all and let all the feelings flow'. (At least, it was my birthday when I started writing this, whether or not it'll go out today - or at all, as this is pretty personal for me and I would be lying if I said I was shitting a brick about the thought of pressing publish on this - is another question)

I am now 22, and I have decided to embrace growing older and here's why. For anyone that doesn't know, I am a TV producer and have worked in TV for the last 4 years. If you follow any of my social media accounts I'm sure you may have seen me from time to time joking about how many hours I work and the stress etc. that comes with the job (and all the fun parts too - meeting Harry Styles for 'work' isn't the hardest job in the world). Which is why as I sit here today - 2 glasses in and ever so slightly tipsy - I am allowing myself to do something which I have never done before, and that's to say out loud (well, in writing anyway) that on reflection, I'm actually pretty proud of how much I have lived, what I've experience, and what I've achieved in those 22 years. Now, please don't read that and christen me the world's biggest twat, I am the least braggy/arrogant/'up my own arse' type of person you'll ever meet and am constantly taking the mick out of myself, but today, as I'm surrounded by family and friends reliving some of the things I have experienced, I have realised that a part of growing older means becoming more comfortable in yourself. And the most incredible thing of all? Losing the ability to really care what people think of you, and freely expressing whatever you think regardless. Hence this post you're reading right now. 

22 is pretty young for a TV producer, in fact, most people only start in TV around that age so I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to be where I am. The reason however that I started so young is because I was chronically ill and in hospital from the age of 15 - I actually fell ill on my 15th birthday which doesn't help the birthday hate - to 18. To cut a long story short, despite still getting my GCSE's by some utter miracle, I couldn't take my A Levels and therefore go on to Uni, as had been the plan my entire life. I was academic and not at all creative so everything, in the space of what felt like only a second, had completely changed.

After undergoing a pretty life changing operation, - thanks Professor Knowles (because I'm sure you will be reading my fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog) - I was finally well enough to (in my own words) "start doing something with my life". I fancied working in TV so wrote off to over 100 production companies where I interned and did work experience for 9months. No pay, no travel expenses and a hell of a lot of hard work. Eventually I was offered my first 'proper' job on the X-Factor at the age of 18 and the rest as they say, is history.

But you see, I'm not telling you all of this for a pat on the back or for pity, I'm writing this down for my own benefit - obviously for anyone in the world to see also if they so wish - to remind myself and express how truly, truly grateful I am for everyone, and everything I have in life. Times haven't been too easy - but then that makes me no different to anyone else does it? - and I only need to look at the people surrounding me on a daily basis - and the love that I receive and feel from them to realise that actually, I am truly rich beyond my means.

So thank you Mum, Dad and James - for being by my side every second and giving me reason to carry on fighting.

Birthdays for me bring a whole new level of perspective - hence this ridiculously long and soppy post - so here are some things going through my mind right now that's it's totally ok to do. Some sentimental, some superficial... pretty much the story of my life :)

*It's OK to look in the mirror on your birthday just to 'check' that you haven't got any wrinkles, despite having none only one day before.*

*It is totally OK to polish off over half of your leftover birthday cake, even if people are looking at you like you're the biggest pig in the world. Just do it anyway...*

*It's OK to mentally check through where you are in life and panic because you're not in the place you thought you'd be in when you were 14 and clearly knew everything about the world. You've not done the things you thought you'd do but you know what? It doesn't matter. Everything in this world happens for a reason and what's meant to be will always find it's way*

*It's equally OK though, to not ever want to grow up. It worked for Peter Pan, right?*

*It's OK to run upstairs the second you've finished opening presents to go and try out all the new makeup you've received. Even if you plaster it all on at once and end up rocking Drag queen chic*

*It's OK to want to go out to 'make the most of your birthday' but equally slob around all day doing nothing but eating chocolate and watching mean girls.*

*It's OK to have a mid life/mid twenties/any old life crisis. If you're worried and are questioning life, it simply means you care.*

*It's OK to cry. Whether it be happy tears, emotional tears, or tears because some bitch has stolen the attention on your birthday. It's your birthday and you can cry if you want to ;)*

Thank you so much to anyone that has persevered through this ramble, I am so grateful to anyone of you that take the time to read my little corner of the Internet. I hope you enjoyed this post, it was far more personal than I ever thought I would have had the balls to publish so if you did, I would love to hear in the comments below <3

[insert millions of 'blow kiss' emoji's here]

xx

COFFEE TRAWL #3 HEJ, BERMONDSEY SQUARE

  
Coffee. That little cup of goodness that picks you when you're down. Wakes you up in the morning when even matchsticks can't keep yours eyes open, and the mid afternoon pick me up when home time seems so near but yet so, so far away.

It also helps you feel just that little bit less corpse-like when you've had the flu, have blown your nose into oblivion and haven't slept for a week, as well as serving as a great people-watching excuse and motivation to actually get out of the house that has now become a germ-ridden prison. Sexy stuff people, sexy stuff... So when I finally did start to recover from what felt like death, I packed up my shit stuff and headed for Hej which is fast becoming one of my favourite little "trendy" coffee shops.

So I thought I'd take you all with me. Think of it like a photo version of MTV cribs. Just without it not actually being a home. And not actually belonging to me.

Just a bloody lifestyle post then....
 As you can see, I headed to Hej on Bermondsey Square which is a really lovely little Swedish coffee shop. Now, the whole "Bermondsey Square, trendy trendy" thing is such a funny one to me. You see, I live right next to Bermondsey, my whole family grew up there - and most still live there now - my school was in Bermondsey etc. etc. and I can tell you that until recently it was definitely not known as trendy. More looked upon as somewhere to go to cast the next Jeremy Kyle candidates (harsh, but true). So I'm really pleased/proud - and bewildered - to see the growth of Bermondsey street and Bermondsey square (hosting the likes of PR houses, Gordon Ramsay's restaurant and the Fashion and Textile museum... who'd have thought?) but it does always give me a little chuckle when I see/hear of some of my favourite bloggers visiting there.

Chuckles over - chuckles over? what a tit... - seeing as I'm here and I dragged my honoury photographer along with me to take some thrown together, first thing that fell out of the wardrobe outfit photo's, why not take a look at the riveting outfit of choice today?
So that's about it from me today. Hopefully you've enjoyed nosing around this little piece of Bermondsey and wasn't too preoccupied by dishevelled face that even allll the concealer couldn't help :)

If you did enjoy it, I would absolutely love you to comment and let me know. Sometimes the blogging world can be a lonely little place and just lately, I've really benefited from the little boosts that other bloggers can give you, be it in the comments... or even over twitter, it's the nicest thing in the world for me to have a little positive feedback. :) Sentimental shizzle over, I'm off to comment on some of your wonderful blogs and practise what I preach.

As always, thank you so much for reading!

xx

PINSTRIPES AND PRETTY THINGS

Generally, I love Autumn/Winter. I love that it's an excuse to go shopping for a new winter coat. I love that you can layer a million clothes. I love being able to wrap up in the biggest blanket scarf I can find and be all warm and cozy. Oh, and not forgetting Christmas drinks - oh hi there Toffee nut latte you little devil, you - and all... all, the comfort food in the world.

So there's the positive. Let me tell you something I don't like - well, actually, really despise - and that's getting up early, making my hair slightly half decent* (*slightly less 'dragged through a hedge backwards' than normal), and putting makeup on for outfit photo's before work, just to find that the heavens have opened and outside photo's - i.e photo's that don't look like a 12 year old's blog - is totally out of the question. So off to my boyfriend's studio it was to find a white wall and make the best out of a shitty bad situation.

In other words, apologies for the lack of photographic originality. If I put an exciting product at the end will it make up for it? Let me know ;)

SHARING THE LOVE

If you're an avid reader of this blog - Mum, Nan... I'm talking to you - then you may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around these parts for the last week or so. Now, I would love to sit here and tell you that that was due to something exciting - jet setting around the world maybe, having a week off with my girlfriends perhaps, but alas, that ceases to be the case.

ROGER AND GALLET SORBET BODY LOTION

I am extremely lazy when it comes to body lotion. There's no two ways about it, I just am. A mixture of having no time in the mornings - and any of you lot who get up at 5am to fit in the gym, shower and moisturise all over etc. etc. please don't pipe up now and make me look bad ;) - and not wanting to feel greasy/sticky after a lovely bath or shower means that it is one item of skincare I really neglect, despite having a body lotion collection as embarrassing as Kris Jenner.

Laziness aside, when I was contacted by Roger and Gallet's PR team in regards to trying out their new Sorbet body lotions, I actually jumped at the chance. A body lotion described as "providing long lasting moisture whilst being non-greasy" is - get ready for it, get ready for it... - *insert Cheryl's geordie accent here* "Right up my streeet" 

Off of terrible Cheryl quotes and on to the products.

CIN - #BEARFACED CHALLENGE

Ever since I started being contacted by companies to work with them on certain projects, I made a pact with myself - because I'm cool like that, obviously - to never accept any offers that didn't fit in with my blog/that I wouldn't chose to purchase or be involved with on my own accord.

Ever since I started receiving these offers, I have never felt so chuffed and eager to get involved with a project than when I was asked to take part in the BBC Children In Need #Bearfaced campaign. If you're not in the UK or have never heard of Children in Need, it is a charity that raises money for, and funds over 2600 projects for disabled children and young people in the UK. It is an absolutely incredible charity and I am delighted to be involved with their #Bearfaced challenge - a challenge which sees you go make up free except for a pudsey paw print (which you can purchase in Boots for £1, proceeds go to the charity) for a selfie that you then upload to the BBC Children in need website. You can also get friends and family to sponsor you to do it, again with the proceeds going towards the charity.
© the Elle next door

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