instagram, life, mental health

#10YearChallenge or Not

You may have seen all the 2009 vs 2019 photos on social media, you may have even posted your own photo comparison, and for the most part they’re great fun, seeing the changes 10 years have wrought. However there is a darker side to this trend.

Dr Melissa Fabello,who writes abour such interesting things as the intersection of sexuality and eating disorders, posted on her stories why she wouldn’t be sharing her 2009 photos. In 2009 she was struggling with an eating disorder herself and in a dark place. Comparing her self was not a funny topic, but a painful one.

I understand that all too well. In 2009 I was struggling with my own demons. A year before I had graduated from university with a solid 2:1 into a financial collapse. Suddenly all the great graduate jobs were gone, companies were not hiring and the industries I was interested in had closed their doors (some would not survive this).

I was pretty miserable, the depression I have struggled with pretty much all my life was reading its ugly head and I was at a loose end. I still worked intermittently for the local council’s Children & Young People’s team; but that too would end as budgets were cut.

My mum, who may actually know me better than I know myself, seeing how lost I was told me to apply for a course. I studied to become a TEFL teacher – something I’ve not exactly made use of. It was an incredibly tough, emotionally draining course. But it had me using my brain, had me reading and writing essays. I really enjoyed it.

I have an analytical mind that also has an anxiety disorder. This is not a good mix – I know this now. 2009 was a year I had to get through. 2010 was better. I got a job I would have for the next 5 years, met one of my best friends and the man who is now my husband.

I won’t be sharing my 2009 vs 2019 photos (mostly because there aren’t any) because who I was then and who I am now aren’t hugely different but they’re different enough that the comparison isn’t worth making.

beauty, beauty boxes, instagram, lifestyle boxes, make up, perfume, skincare

Advent Calendar Opening

Hello lovely blog readers,

Today is December 1st, aka the first day of Advent. You may now put up your tree and hang your stockings.

This year I bought a beauty advent calendar as opposed to the chocolate ones I seem to have every year!


I went with L’Occitane’s rather sweet one as I love their products and thought a mini treat from them every day would brighten up a cold, damp December.


So, let’s see what’s behind door number one!

Ultra rich face cream!

I will most likely be posting these on Instagram so come follow me there, as well as all sorts of Christmas fun and games as we head further into the festive season.


beauty, books, instagram, make up

Who do you get your beauty advice from?

I don’t really buy magazines, I resent spending my money on adverts and pictures of hungry women in over-priced, ugly clothes.

I do buy Glamour, which in the UK often covers issues that affect women, like politics and women in sports, not just celebrities and clothes I would never be able to afford.

Via @GlamourUK on Twitter

And I do read Sali Hughes’ beauty column in The Guardian’s Weekend magazine on Saturdays. I like Sali, she’s no-nonsense, writes about products that she’s tried and that work from a variety of brands and prices.

Via @salihughes on twitter

Last year she published a book Pretty Honest, which expanded on her columns and explored issues around the cosmetics industry and skincare.

Via google

Her website features fun interviews with women like Caitlin Moran and Marian Keyes, who I admire as writers and women. I follow Sali on Twitter and Instagram too, where she talks about more than just make up.

In fact it’s one of the two books hanging out in my wardrobe/lady space/hoard. The other is The Goddess Guide, which is purely aspirational.

I also quite like the weekly free magazine The Stylist, and in terms of their beauty advice – the column Trend on Trial is probably the most interesting. Three of their beauty staffers test out the new catwalk make up trends to see how wearable they are in real life. Often to hilarious effect. Worth reading online if you don’t live in the UK (or if you do but don’t see the vendors on your travels).


I also stalk nail trends on instagram, as well as people I admire and want to copy their style. There’s also twitter, pinterest, tumblr and facebook, and I do spend a bit of time ogling pretty things when I should be doing more active or important stuff.

So where do you get your inspiration from? Is there a blogger, instagram account or beauty writer you refer to?


instagram, life, ratties

Ratties – 2 became 5!

Peaches and Custard

You may remember my little ratties – Algernon and Justin. Well now they have three sisters.

Oh mum, not girls!! We're off!

We adopted three fluffy sisters, who needed to be re-homed ASAP. We’d been discussing getting some girls after having the boys neutered, rats are social creatures and need companionship.

We did rename them – Custard, Peaches and Cream (she’s camera shy) and they’ve been adjusting to each other.

Algernon is quite easy going and likes cuddling up with Peaches, while Justin seems unimpressed and would like them to stop eating ‘his’ food. Greedy chops.

Cream doesn’t like being handled and is a nervy thing, spends most of her time asleep or hiding. Peaches is more gregarious, and likes popping up to say hello. Custard is a bit bitey but I’m training her out of that. Unfortunately I’m not sure she’s completely healthy – she has a funny lump on her belly and makes an odd chuffing noise from time to time so I’ll be popping to the vet next week for a check up.

I keep trying to get a photo of them all together, but apart from Justin the poser, they all scatter when they see my phone!

If you want to see how they’re doing, I post pictures on instagram with the hash tag #fuzzyweirdos


giveaway, instagram, upcoming

A lucky streak?

I am not one of life’s winners, I don’t have natural luck.

The only thing I ever won as a kid was a blue stuffed elephant, who I imaginatively called Elephant. I still have her. Turns out it was rigged. I was three, it was my great-aunt’s birthday party and the raffle was for a local charity. My Grandad swapped out the ticket so I’d win the elephant.

At school I didn’t win things, I wasn’t that kind of kid, and they don’t give prizes for reading. I won first place in girl’s shot putt in year 10 at sports day. That was a fluke, I am not athletic. But I do have a younger sister and many years of practice in throwing stuff.

Recently I’ve been entering competitions, mostly on social media, and I’ve hit a lucky streak.

I won Saturday’s giveaway on Scribblicious which was an Anne of Green Gables mug and Dr Seuss bookmark.

Then I won Butterfly Twists competition on Instagram, two pairs of ballet pumps (I love shoes)!!

The re-grammed image

Previously I’d won London Craft Club’s giveaway – a book on hand knitting, canvas bag and other bits, and The Vagenda’s discussion group starter kit (book, postcards, badges, snacks, balloons and stickers).

Lomdon Craft Club prize

While it would be nice to win some bigger items, like the bed in this week’s Observer (the slats in ours are on their last legs – that’s what you get when you buy cheap!) or a holiday, even winning little things gives me a nice buzz of excitement, and I didn’t spend any money!

What about you? Have you ever won any competitions or giveaways? Let me know in the comments.

There will be a blog giveaway soon so stay tuned. 🙂


ethics, fashion friday, instagram

Who Made Your Clothes?


The 24th of April – join me on twitter and instagram by posting a selfie with the #whomademyclothes to commemorate the Rana Plaza collapse which killed many clothing machinists.
For more info go to


Few brands tell us the truth about their manufacturing processes. Ethical clothing is in the spotlight, let’s keep it there and hold major manufacturers to the question #whomademyclothes.


Pictures all from Fashion Revolution on twitter.