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What been brought up by a single parent taught me.

I don’t remember ever living with my Dad. My parents got divorced when I was about 6 months old. Throughout my childhood I had a pretty sporadic relationship with my Dad and so, for roughly the first ten years of my life, it was just me and my Mum. There are lots of stereotypes that surround single parent families that which I hope to prove are often not the case. Of course a single parent household brings with it difficulties, however, I have not only managed but I have thrived and learnt so many valuable life lessons through being bought up by my mother alone. These lessons have helped me become a braver, stronger and more independent person.

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The first thing I learnt through being bought up by only my mother, is that your mother is the best and most loyal friend you could ask for. For the last 20 years, my mother has not only been my mum but has also been the best friend I could ask for. When I was growing up it was very difficult for Mum to juggle a social life whilst bringing up a child, which meant our relationship became as much friends as it was mother and daughter. Because of this, all my life I have had someone to confide in about anything and everything. Whatever I am going through, I never feel like I have to face anything alone and there are no conversational boundaries in our household, literally anything goes! Contrary to stereotypes surrounding single parent families, this relationship meant I never needed to go through the ‘rebellious’ teen stage and never felt the need to go behind my Mum’s back. Don’t get me wrong, there were and still are moments when my mother very much takes on her authoritative role but luckily this isn’t that often.

Through my life I have always adopted the philosophy ‘say yes and figure it out later’. Now, I’m the first to admit that this has sometimes left me in some pretty sticky situations but it has also opened doors for me that I never thought were possible. Each time I agree to something, whether it goes well or not, I take something away from it and develop as a person. I entirely put this attribute down to my single parent upbringing. I have never once seen my Mum give up. She might not know how to do everything at first, but she can turn her hand to anything when she needs to. My Mum admits that bring me up alone meant she had to improvise a lot, but she figured it out.

Despite research showing that children who grow up without fathers are more likely to be unhappy, my upbringing taught me very different. From watching my Mum thrive, I learnt from a young age that happiness should always be my main priority. I have sometimes struggled with this, as I think everyone does, but having this message instilled in me from an early age helps me immensely when dealing with tough situations. My Mum’s experience taught me never to stay in a relationship you’re unhappy with – you’ll be so much better off on your own. In every aspect of your life you should always respect yourself enough to walk away from something that is no longer helping you grow, whether that be a relationship or a career.

This brings me to the last and most important thing I’ve learnt from being bought up by a single parent. Be brave. No matter how hard things get, and things will get hard, things will always get better. They might not get better over night and sometimes it will seem like everything is against you, but give it time. Walking away from something (or someone), tackling new challenges alone and remaining positive and focused during your hardest times, is scary. But you can do it if you’re brave enough to. It’s okay that things aren’t ‘perfect’ all the time, in fact, things never will be ‘perfect’, but appreciate everything that is there in front of you and always try your best to give back.

Being bought up by a single parent has never made me lack faith in love or feel any bitterness. My Mum and Dad still have a good relationship and, when I turned 12 years old, my mother married my now step-dad who I love and consider, not only part of my family, but also a friend. If anything, I have seen the strength of love people can have for each other and the strength we have inside us. Looking back on my childhood now as I leave my teenage years, no part of me feels like it was lacking anything.

I will forever be grateful to my mother for giving me so much love and being the strongest role model I could have ever asked for.

Jamie x 

Is Technology Helping Or Hindering Our Relationships?

A few months back I was involved in a Twitter chat about Travel. We were discussing the impact that social media had on travel and whether that impact was positive or negative? I have to admit I was torn. Here was the answer I gave:

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It really got me thinking – if technology was able to have such profound impacts on a travelling habit, what is it doing to our relationships? In short, is technology helping or hindering relationships?

My initial thought was immediately a positive one. Living away from home and being in a long distance relationship, technology allows me to maintain relationships with those I wish were closest to me but can’t be. I am able to feel close to them, hear their voices and see their faces. It is the same with friends back home. Even now my friends from University are just a phone call away and I can always count on the group chat for a bit of motivation when I’m feeling down, usually in the form of ‘YASSS QUEEN SLAY’ (It’s kind of like I get to be a drunk girl in a toilet whenever I need it).

Other relationships that immediately came to mind was my relationship with other bloggers and people I have only ever come across through the world of social media. I have come across some wonderful people and genuinely feel as if I have a much wider support network than I would have had without social media. Naturally not every encounter is genuine one but that is surely the same when you meet people face to face. You can never truly know another persons motive and I think that not being face to face definitely makes it even harder, but online interactions have taught me a lot about the impact words can have on another individual and I have become a lot more considerate and empathetic.

However, there are certainly cons to the impact our ever-advancing technology is having upon of social interactions and consequently the relationships that we make. A very interesting (and important) point was raised in the chat by @wanderingpram.

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If we apply this reduced need to be social to relationships we can certainly see how technology has the potential to seriously hinder them. Sure, it is great that answers are now only a few clicks away but that means google becomes the local sat in a bar or the person walking down the street who looks like they know where they’re going. We avoid interaction because it is no longer necessary to the point that when interaction is necessary we recoil in fear. Being told by google that your search was unsuccessful is a lot easier than the feeling of rejection that potentially comes from face to face interactions.

Last year I secured a place on the News UK Summer Internship where we had to opportunity to visit Unruly a marketing and advertising agency based in London. When there we were given a tour of a ‘house of the future’. This house had everything! The mirror could tell you if your outfit matched and what Zara shoes would go best with those black trousers – ‘They’re currently in the sale, would you like me to order them for you?’ The fridge would order your butter for you if you were running low, the bath would run itself if you needed a soak – the house did EVERYTHING, all you had to do was log in. What might surprise you is that this ‘house of the future’ was actually a house of 2020 – 2 YEARS AWAY! Obviously the vast majority could never afford technology like this but it would be there as an option for some. This level of technology meant that you would literally never have to leave the house should you not want to. You would never have to interact with anyone again apart from the person who delivered your groceries that your cupboard ordered for you when you were running short.

Technology and the impact of social media is certainly not black or white. In fact, it’s kind of a messy grey sort of colour. The sheer pace at which technology is developing terrifies me. In the house of 2020 I was simultaneously in awe and horrified. I never want to be in a situation where I don’t have to leave the house. Face to face social interactions and fulfilling and allow us to develop as individuals. However, interactions on social media too have allowed for me to develop patience, empathy and a willingness to be proven wrong. Just as with everything in life, it seems to be a case of small doses. As Sirius Black ever so wisely said (how do I manage to bring everything back to Harry Potter?):

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

The impact technology has on relationships, whether it helps or hinders, is ultimately down to us. What matters IS the part we choose to act on.

Technology can never rival the closeness of face to face interaction, but the reality is that is not always possible and when it isn’t I am grateful for technology being there to give a helping hand.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, let me know in the comments below! 

Jamie x 

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Hair And Graces | Five Favourite Hair Products.

Hey guys and gals! So it’s time for another Five Favourites. Rather than going for  specific brand today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite hair products. I’ll admit, I have kind of cheated a teeny tiny bit (I did warn you this would happen) and there are more than five products here but if it’s a shampoo and conditioner duo that’s fine, right? Good.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy and find it useful. So, let’s get started…

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment

I mentioned this product earlier this week but I’m not even sorry –  I adore this product. It is the first hair growth treatment I have ever used that actually works and I literally used it ALL the time when I was trying to grow out my fringe and bob. I still use it once every few weeks just to keep my hair growing nicely. The formula works by fertilising the follicles, which helps your locks reach their maximum potential length.

It also makes my hair super silky and smell like a SNACK, which always helps.

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Image from amazon.co.uk

Aussie Hair Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner

Aussie is one of my absolute favourite hair brands. They do some fantastic products from shampoos and conditioners to hair masks and oils. It was a tough one to narrow them all down but the Aussie Hair Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner are my absolute ride or die shampoo and conditioner. They smell amazing and make my super duper dry hair feel nourished and super soft. They’re a little pricey but I really do think they’re worth it.

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Image from aussiehair.com

Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

A slightly cheaper alternative to Aussie shampoo and conditioner are the Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and they are still really good. I have really noticed that since growing my hair long it gets lifeless and dull really quickly, but these are great for giving a bit of life to your long hair. My hair always feels super soft and looks really shiny after I have used this. It doesn’t last for ages (ie. it gets dull quicker that when I have used Aussie) but it is more affordable and still pretty good stuff.

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Image from boots.com

LUSH American Cream Conditioner

Next up is another product I have mentioned on the blog before. The LUSH American Cream Conditioner is one of my favourite conditioners EVER. It smells like a thick, delicious strawberry milkshake you get from an American diner, which is so beautiful and indulgent. Not only does it smell like heaven, it also makes my hair look super sleek and glossy.

I always get compliments after using this and it leaves me smelling like strawberries and cream for the rest of the day – it’s incredible. Go and buy it. 

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Image from lush.com

Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo

Last but certainly not least is a silver haired gals best friend. I have naturally blonde hair but tend to have highlights every few months that can go really brassy when it’s time for them to be redone. This shampoo is the best out there for brightening and reviving my hair and helping to keep any yellow brassiness at bay. As a shampoo it is not the MOST nourishing but it is still pretty good and doesn’t need another shampoo used alongside it (maybe just a conditioner afterwards). 

Word of warning though, leave it on too long and you’re gonna have yourself some lovely lilac locks so be careful. Unless that’s the look you’re going for then by all means leave this bad boy on!

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Image from lookfantastic.com

So there you go, my top five favourite hair products. I actually found this a lot harder than I expected as there is so much good stuff out there for looking after your locks. A go to of mine is the humble coconut oil (I tend to just put this on the tips overnight if my hair is feeling super dry) but in terms of products specifically designed for hair, these are the ones that made the chop. What are some of your favourite hair products? Let me know in the comments down below. 

Jamie x 

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From Summer To Autumn | Switching Up My Routine.

It’s Autumn time!! Autumn is my favourite season hands down. A) Because it is my birthday season (I’m an October baby so it is officially my birthday month) and B) Pumpkin spiced lattes are back and I am continue embracing the #basic life in caffeinated style and C) Because I love updating my health and beauty routine to suit to colder weather. I thought I would share with you guys today some of the changes autumn brings to my routine. So, let’s get started. 

Skin Care

I tend to use autumn as a transition season to help to rejuvenate and repair your skin from any summer damage and get it ready for the brutalities of a British winter. Everything has to serious up its game when it gets to autumn as moisture becomes to new buzz word. Now it is getting colder and I am becoming more and more reliant on the central heating, a more intensive moisturiser in necessary. I tend to ditch the lighter creams and go for heavier moisturising creams and gels that reinvigorate my skin and body and give it a little extra hydration.

  1. Whereas the Dove Summer Revived Gradual Tan was getting me through the summer months just fine now it is more about the Aveeno, which I cannot recommend enough. I also tend to get slight eczema during the colder months on my chest and elbows (nothing too serious) but this moisturiser clears it right up and keeps it to an absolute minimum.
  2. I also tend to switch up my lip care to something a little more moisturising. As you might remember, during summer I was LOVING the Carmex Pineapple and Mint lip balm (it even featured in my holidays essentials post). Now, however, my lips are needing a thicker balm that does not make me mourn my summer holidays. Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm is perfect for this. It is so so nourishing and super thick so continues to provide moisture ALL day. The thickness might not be for everyone but I cannot think of a better lip balm to take me from summer into autumn – it’s fantastic.
  3. Moisture might be the buzz word but it is important not to forget to exfoliate during the autumn months. My go-to is always FRÉ Skincare ‘Purify Me’. It keeps my skin clean, smooth and helps to get rid of dead cells and impurities without making my skin feel dry or tight at all. It’s a dream of an exfoliate and I would seriously recommend it. If you fancy getting your hands on some remember to use my code JJ, which will give you 15% off at the checkout.

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Hair 

Moisture is also the buzzword when it comes to hair. I have pretty dry hair anyway so my hair care regime doesn’t change dramatically BUT I have some bits and bobs I would recommend and one pretty big change.

  1. The Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment (For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length) is AMAZING! Not only does it help speed up hair growth, which I love during the autumn and winter months, it also leaves your hair feeling super moisturised and silky smooth. I definitely will be using this product a lot more regularly over the next few months.
  2. The biggest change when it comes to my hair is that autumn means it is time to bring back the gold. I am a natural blonde but like to change up the tones to match the seasons. Over summer I had a super light highlight ran through it. Autumn will see more honey shades to match my wardrobe and make up changes. By winter we will probably see the return of a silver undertone but, for now at least, I’m going to be a golden girl

Make Up

I hate to say it but I am no longer the tanned goddess I was last season. Now I resemble a sheet of paper and that sadly means that my make up all needs switching up to suit. My autumn make up looks tend to be a lot deeper and more intense. Whereas summer saw pastels and pretty shimmers, autumn is about browns, burgundy and a popping highlight.

  1. The biggest change in my make up from summer to autumn is my lipstick colour choices. Whereas summer sees me rocking a soft pink, bright orange or more natural/nude shades, autumn is all about deeper and darker lip colours. My absolute go-to’s are both MAC. First up is Dark Side, which is the most stunning deep burgundy ever that goes so well with browns and oranges. I also absolutely love Dubonnet, which is described as a deepened claret. It is the perfect deep red and goes with pretty much every single make up look.
  2. I am sad to say that after months of light powders and a bit of bronzer, the liquid foundations are back. Even though I am looking for a bit more coverage from my foundation I still don’t want my skin to feel clogged up and full of make up. My favourite for creating a beautifully dewy, natural finish is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. If I am looking for something with a little more coverage, the MAC studio sculpt foundation is my go-to (although I am currently in the market for a new one so suggestions are welcome). 
  3.  In terms of eye shadow, my bright oranges and yellows have had to go back in the drawer until next year. It does mean, however, that my NUE Eyeshadow Palette from Laritzy  has really come into it’s own. I have spoken about this palette before for it’s stunning browns and deeper shades and they are absolutely perfect for the autumn months. My Smashbox Full Exposure palette is also a favourite for the autumn/winter months and is great for creating day looks as well as looks for your work Christmas party.

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It’s goodbye for now Silent Disco… 

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Fashion

Definitely the most notable change in autumn is my fashion. Living in the UK means that autumn gets very cold so the shorts and cute summer dresses go to the back of the wardrobe for another year and we say hello to some new fashion staples.

  1. Hallelujah, jumpers are back! I love a jumper. The bigger the better. Last year I did a huge jumper shop and got loads from Primark. They’re super affordable and will last me through this autumn as well. I would also recommend hitting up Primark for coats. They’re usually very similar to ones you might find in River Island or TopShop but are a fraction of the price.
  2. It’s time to say goodbye to the sunshine yellows, baby pinks and bright (and by bright I mean covered in flamingos and pineapples…) and hello to burnt oranges, burgundy and deep reds. Just as with makeup, my wardrobe becomes a lot deeper in the autumn months. I still like my longer dresses but tend to pair them up with cute little chelsea boots and wooly tights rather than flip flops. When it comes to shoes, Zara have an excellent selection (as always). Here are some of my favourites.

Snake Skin/Leopard Print High Heel Ankle Boots – £99.99

Red Leather Stiletto Ankle Boots – £89.99

Burgundy High Heel Knee High Boots – £119

All a little pricey (they’ve had to go onto the wish list) but Zara shoes are great quality and last for years so definitely worth the investment if you can afford them.

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Okay, so maybe baby pink still features a little… I just can’t help myself. 

Exercise

Autumn might be my favourite season but the switch from summer to autumn is a bit of a disaster my training programme. Okay, that’s unfair on autumn, but it certainly does mean there is a huge dip in my motivation. When you get up for work and it’s dark and then you come home from work and, surprise surprise, it is once again dark, the last thing I fancy doing is a gym session. This means that my exercise programme sees a bit of a switch up in order to maintain motivation throughout the colder months.

  1. My training moves from outdoor agility and functional training to more gym based, indoor training. This isn’t a problem as long as I ensure to keep up cardiovascular training whilst I’m there (I’ll also probably be walking around less so I also need to make up for that). 
  2. I train a lot smarter in the colder seasons. This means that I make my workouts shorter and focus them more on compound movements.That way I’m not inside for every single daylight hour but I can go in and get an effective session done quickly.
  3. Gym buddies are saving graces when you’re lacking in motivation so I tend to go to a lot more classes and group sessions during the colder months. Pop into your local gym and see what they’ve got available OR look into local walking groups or Zumba classes – these always keep me motivated and it is also a great way to make friends (it’s nearly secret santa time, right?)

So there you have it, some of the changes I will be making to my routine over the next couple of weeks. Are you guys excited for Autumn? What are some of the biggest changes to your routine that the new season brings? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time. 

Jamie x 

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Favourites Of The Month | September.

I swear I say this every single month but HOW is it already the end of September. It seems like just yesterday I was walking around with so much sweat between my thighs I constantly thought I’d weed myself, moaning about the sunshine and waiting for the delights of pumpkin spiced syrup. Nice image for you there, ey. Seriously though, it is mad how quickly this year is going. It is also mad how I have managed to do favourites of the month consistently now since March. Well done me.

By this point you’re probably getting the hang of these, so let’s just get straight into it. 

Fashion

It will probably come as no surprise to you that this month’s fashion favourite is from Gymshark (something tells me that this is going to become a reoccurring theme). A few months back Gymshark released their Slounge Collection and quite literally as soon as I got into the office and saw these sets in the flesh I knew I HAD to get my hands on them. I went for all three components of the set in the grey but can also vouch for the other colours (I was really torn but decided that grey would go with more). They are possibly the comfiest joggers I have ever owned and yet they still manage to have such a flattering, bootylicious fit. The whole collection is an absolute game changer for Gymshark and I cannot rave about them enough. They are perfect for rest days, casual days out and for smashing your gym session now it’s getting a little colder – the perfect all rounder outfit.

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Image from gymshark.com

I wear a size S in all three components and they fit perfectly. I am usually a size 10 in bottoms and around an 8-10 in tops.

Make Up 

When I first bought this product I was a little disappointed. Not because it was bad quality because it is definitely not (it has such a silky smooth formula – I cannot fault it) but because it was a little too golden for my skin tone. I am talking about the cult favourite from Laura Geller, the Baker Gelato Swirl Highlighter in Gilded Honey. This glow is one of the best I have ever owned but the colour just wasn’t quite right. HOWEVER, that all changed this month. I have been consistently using my gradual tan and so I have a bit of a glow. Plus, now my make up as transitioned from the dewy, summer, barely there look to a more intense, winter look, it is perfect. It goes so well with deep brown lids and burgundy/berry lips. The product has a little bit of sparkle and a LOT of glow. It makes my make up pop and my skin look super healthy even in the colder weather.

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Image from beautybay.com

I would seriously recommend having a look at this product if you haven’t already because I really can see why there is such a hype surrounding it.

Skin Care

As you will know if you’ve read these posts before, I get really dry skin and this only gets worse as the weather starts to get colder. My absolute go to over the past few weeks has been Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentration Cream. It is the most delicious, nourishing formula that smells like melted chocolate. It has a thicker texture than usual moisturisers and feels so silky smooth, which I really like. This product has made it into my daily bag, which is a HUGE achievement for a moisturiser so well done Palmer’s – I tip my wooly bobble hat to you. The collection is HUGE so have a browse and see what floats your boat.

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Image from ebay.com

Exercise

It surprises me to say this but this month my love for the deadlift has returned. I really went off deadlifting when I pulled my lower back due to some dodgy form and seriously overestimating my capabilities (sure I am pull 100kg after 2 weeks off, no worries…). Since then I admit I have avoided it but since starting training in Solihull I have really started to love them again. Rather than going super heavy like I was doing before, I tend to do high reps with a lower weight (50-60kg) and I am really enjoying them.

If you’re not deadlifting here’s why you definitely should be doing:

  • It works your full body.
  • It helps with fat burning
  • It can help improve your posture (as long as the form is correct) 
  • Helps increase grip strength
  • Makes you feel BAD ASS.

Entertainment (Book) 

This one way easy this month. My September favourites when it comes to entertainment has to go to the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. The first book in this series is the one that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo film was inspired by. They are such fantastic reads – trippy, engaging and totally unpredictable. If you get the chance and enjoy crime fiction then I would seriously recommend giving these books ago. Larsson has such an original writing style that will have you hooked from the first page!

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Image from booktopiablog.com

This has actually been the easiest favourites of the month EVER! I usually find myself really torn but I am loving all of these things so much that they were unrivalled this month. What have you been loving this month? Did you treat yourself to the Gymshark slounge? On the hunt for an intense moisturiser to get you through the winter months? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x

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