Wednesday, October 29

10 Lessons I've Recently Learnt In Love. ♡

It's been a few months since I broke up with my ex, and I finally wanted to share (and remind myself) of the important lessons I learnt. Sit tightly, and put yourself in the shoes of a 20 year old girl whose most recent mistake in love is wearing her heart on her sleeve...for the wrong person.

I met him on Tinder, as you do. He was everything I was looking for; smart, charming, good looking and our conversations always flowed. I instantly liked him but most importantly, he felt way too good to be true. Surely I hadn't discovered an ACTUAL gentleman on a dating app like Tinder? We had similar likes and dislikes, and I was brave enough to share that I made videos on YouTube. The day he watched them, he phoned me for the first time and said "it's only fair that if I got to hear your voice today, you should get to hear mine." Kinda cute. I guess.

One ♡ Long Distance Will Make Or Break You.
I've heard of so many stories of people falling in love and living far apart, but knew if it's meant to be, no distance will be an issue. Although this guy went to University near me, it was June and he was working in London, living in Surrey and not due to return to Bournemouth until the end of September. We therefore had two hours between us. At first, I looked at all the positives to this; when we did spend time together we actually looked forward it, and when we were apart, we got the opportunity to actually miss each other too. Flip side? The driving was long and hard, the time we had together ran out way too quickly and I spent my life working around him. Lesson one, relationships aren't meant to be too difficult...if you can't find ways to meet in the middle to make it work, it's obviously not meant to be, no matter how hard you try.

Two ♡ Don't Revolve Life Around Him.
Naturally, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible, but I didn't see The Line. You know, the one you cross when you start revolving your life completely around him? I'd purposefully not make plans with other people, in case he mentioned about seeing each other (tragic), and I would sit and mentally work out when I was finishing work, how long it would take me to drive, and if I could get there in time for when his train got to the station. Cute, but TOO FAR. Lesson two, make him a priority but not always number one. I was so blinded and living on a cloud nine love bubble, that I didn't realise what I was doing to my own life and it wasn't healthy.

Three ♡ Take Things Slower.
He asked me to be his girlfriend and we said those three words pretty quickly. If I told you how quick, you'd really judge me (even I judge me). Why did I feel like these things were so important so quickly? Lesson three, take things more slowly and enjoy them as and when they happen naturally. Changing your relationship status on Facebook before most of your friends have even met him, whilst they ask "Who is he?" = too quick. Going on holiday after only being together for four weeks = also too quick...although to be fair, I didn't think so at the time. In my head, a whole week with him was perfect. What was I thinking?!?

Four  You're MORE Than Good Enough.
This is probably the most important lesson I took away from our relationship. Why, when he was always complimenting me and telling me I was his 'dream girl', did I not feel good enough? I still ask myself this question to this day, because I genuinely don't know why. I never have in previous relationships and it drove me insane. I was so insecure. He never did or said anything specifically but I felt like he needed someone who was thinner, smarter and had more friends. I then tried to change for him (*SCREAMS* NOOO!)  but lesson four, never ever be with someone if you don't feel good enough for them.

Five ♡ Never Change, EVER.
I wasn't interested in changing him, because I'd learnt from a previous relationship that you definitely can't change a person into someone they're not. However, I hit a low point of realisation that I was in fact trying to change myself when I packed my running trainers and gym clothes into my suitcase for our summer holiday to Lanzarote. I hate exercise, I hate the gym and I certainly wouldn't suddenly like it on our relaxing beach break. Just one example of me trying to change, for him. I would also say yes to plans with friends that I didn't really want to see. I was happy with the friends I saw before him, so why did I feel like I suddenly needed more friends now I had him? I never want to feel like I'm not worthy enough again. Lesson five, you are perfect just the way you are, and you don't need to change for a man, EVER. 

Six ♡ No Trust, No Point.
During our beautiful holiday abroad, I did the lowest girlfriend move ever and decided to check his phone whilst he was diving out at sea, oh dear. I didn't think I'd EVER be that kind of girl, but I obviously didn't trust him and I needed some peace of mind. He never wanted to talk about ex's and was on his phone A LOT. I was right to have doubts, because I found conversations of blatant lying and flirting with other girls, whilst we were on holiday together. I didn't want to ruin our break, and admitted and apologised when we returned. Lesson six, if you can't trust him and you can't rebuild that trust, then there is literally no point. It will never be the same and will eat you up all day, every day.

Seven ♡ 
Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
He seriously knew all the right things to say. His text messages and words were beautiful and when he screwed up, he promised he'd be the 'man I deserve' and would 'make it up to me'. Did he mean that? and did he REALLY make it up to me? Of course he didn't. He was so good at telling me things I wanted to hear, but lesson number seven, actions speak much louder than words. It doesn't take much either, small gestures like surprising that person, spontaneous calling to see how they are, or sending some flowers just shows that you still care or that you're sorry.

Eight ♡ 
If He Loves You, He'll Prove It.
I think this leads nicely from lesson seven, but I really had to keep reminding myself that lesson eight, if he loved and cared about me as much as he said he did, he'd prove it. At the end of the day, he'd come knocking on my door or call to see how I am. I knew I wasn't worth the fight to him. Maybe he was just too proud but I honestly felt like too much effort. When you love someone, you'll do everything in your power to be with them. Simple.

Nine ♡ 
If It's Meant To Be, It Will Be.
This lesson pretty much speaks for itself. It was actually me who ended our short, emotional, roller coaster of a relationship. I explained how I was feeling and he didn't respond in the way I'd hoped. I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, people come into your life to teach you lessons and if it's meant to be, it'll be. Finding closure and learning to let go after he'd broken my heart was really hard, but it was all for the right reasons.

Ten ♡ You'll Love Again & It'll Be Amazing.
It's okay to accept that it didn't work and you weren't right for each other, as much as you believed you were. I'm almost looking forward to the day I'll meet someone new again. For now, I'm happier, finally lost that weight, focussing on my career and spending quality time with friends. All these lessons are super important and help you realise what you want in your next relationship. Nothing was ever a waste of time and therefore lesson ten, you'll love again!


Wednesday, October 15

Sakura Bournemouth | Japanese Fashion & Cocktail Masterclass!

Last night, I was very kindly invited down to the new Japanese-style Bar on Richmond Hill in Bournemouth called Sakura. Previously known as Lola Lo, Sakura opened at the end of August and I absolutely love what they've done. With contrast dark woods, light leather seating and gorgeous Japanese inspiration flowing throughout, Sakura instantly screamed stylish to me, with lots of attention to detail too!

We started the evening by learning about Japanese fashion from personal stylish Hannah Jean, also behind the website Find My Style. We discovered everything from kimonos to harajuku fashion, it was really interesting to embrace another culture, and understand a bit more behind the inspiration for Sakura too. We were then given the challenge to make origami dresses which I was absolutely terrible at, haha!

Throughout the evening of giggling and socialising, we were given the opportunity to try lots of different flavours of cocktails and shots. It is no shadow of a doubt that the superior style extents to the drinks menu, we were completely spoilt with choice! My favourite, and the one I got the opportunity to make too, was called Cherry Blossom. Priced at £7.50, it's a super tasty blend of luxardo amaretto, cherry liqueur and cranberry juice...SO GOOD! They also sell 'sake sticks' shots, £1.50 each or 6 for £6 in a range of flavours, including butterscotch, chocolate bon bon and white chocolate, mmmm!

Sakura also have bars in Manchester and Reading, and are quickly establishing themselves as a must-visit hangout, even celebrities like Michelle Keegan visit regularly! I was really impressed with the new look, and can't wait to visit again on a night out with friends. Thanks for having us guys, I had so much fun!

Ps. Massive thank you to the Sakura team & Hannah for the entertainment & drinks. To Phil Maclean for some of these photos, and JessKatie & Sarah for being such great company. Big love!

Sunday, October 5

Lush Christmas & Halloween 2014 | Photos & Haul ♡

I literally love Lush Halloween & Christmas. Did you know that they've released six Halloween products and a whopping thirty seven christmas products?! Amazing!

This year, we see the return of Snow Fairy and my personal favourite, Rose Jam Shower Gel. There are loads of brand new creations to get your hands on, like the giant Baked Alaska Soap, Northern Lights bath bomb and even a Snowman Fun Kit to name just a few! Inspiration for the range has come from all over the world, including food, drinks, books, clowns and stage shows.

There are so many causes for celebration with this festive range, including the fact that all the cocoa butter and cocoa powder is Fair Trade, what a brilliant achievement! Minus the shower gels, the whole range is Self-Preserving and the soaps are made with Lush's palm free soap base, with four of them being 100% palm free!

My personal favourites this year are - Lord Of Misrule, Rose Jam Shower Gel, So White Bath Bomb and Shoot For The Stars. I'm yet to also try Sparkler, Snow Angel and Fairy Ring Soap which really excite me and I'll be picking up soon too.

In my latest video, I share all the products that I picked up, along with some returning classics and a few stories from my last year at Lush. Be sure to watch below!


Wednesday, October 1

O2 Academy Bournemouth | Shadow Photographer & Gig Experience!

Last Tuesday 23rd September, I was kindly invited down to the O2 Academy in Bournemouth to not only see The Horrors, but to experience what it's like behind the scenes and in the pit with the house photographer, Charlie Raven. I jumped at the opportunity and nervously went along on my own...seriously, I was pretty petrified! I'm not a photographer, so shooting in low level lighting was a new challenge, and I'd never really listened to The Horrors before. However, I can most definitely say I left my comfort zone, fully emerged myself and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole gig. Their music was totally different live, the lights were incredible and it definitely wouldn't have been the same without Hollie, the lovely O2 Angel I got the pleasure of hanging out with too! 

I've lived in Bournemouth my whole life and have been to a few gigs here. It's an absolutely beautiful Grade II listed building and there's SO much happening all the time. When I arrived last Tuesday, I was greeted by the lovely O2 team who provided me with my ticket and photo pass. I then met the photographer Charlie, who's been working for the O2 Academy Bournemouth since 2009. He very kindly let me shadow him working and interview him on his job, the venue and his greatest achievements...

Hi Charlie! Thanks for letting me shadow you tonight. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! Where to start!?! I've lived in Bournemouth for a decade now, and have been taking photos for around 8 of those. I'm totally self-taught, although I gained valuable advice from my peers when I first started out covering nightclub events. I have now shot some of the biggest names both on the live music circuit and in the club scene. I have been published in national and international publications and won an NME Music Photography Award in 2011. During the summer months you'll find me at various music festivals working for a number of clients. As with any profession, I am always seeking to improve my skills and portfolio and always look forward to the next challenge.

How does this venue differ from your other work?
Being a former Opera House and recently restored to its original glory, the venue is somewhat unique in Bournemouth and indeed the wider area, if not the country. Its interior is simply beautiful and it is a pleasure to have been part of the O2 Academy team from the beginning. I love being able to take photos from the wider venue, not just from the photo pit, as this gives a unique and enviable frame to the gig.

You obviously get the opportunity to see a lot of different acts. Have you got any memorable moments?
Something that's stuck in my memory from the last Rizzle Kicks gig was the surreal moment I encountered a very large inflatable T-Rex called Jeff seemingly floating from the stage, to the sound desk and back again!

Have you got an all-time favourite gig that you've photographed at the O2 Academy Bournemouth?
That really is a tough one. I've been able to see and shoot some all-time greats at the venue, together with some great new artists, and some of my childhood faves - how can you not leave O2 Academy Bournemouth with a big smile on your face having just seen Europe perform The Final Countdown, or Roger Daltrey blasting out Pinball Wizard! Other stand out acts for me personally were Stereophonics, Manics, Ocean Colour Scene, Skunk Anansie, and Leftfield - you can probably tell I went to college in the late 90s!

Sounds amazing! What do you find are your biggest challenges when shooting a band/act?
Lighting, always lighting. Simply because you never quite know what to expect. I try to have a chat with the lighting guys when I get to the venue, just to gauge what kind of show they're putting on, the types of lighting being used and whether the artists will be well lit.

What first attracted you to photography?

I first started covering night club events and it was those that took me to the Opera House, as the O2 Academy was formally known. With the expansion of digital media and the internet, people were able to seek and expect photos/memories of nights out and it was that ethos of memory capturing and sharing that really got me started.

What camera(s) do you shoot with?
I am continually upgrading my equipment and currently shoot with a Canon 5D MK3 and a Canon 7D. The cameras are no use without decent glass (lenses) though, and this is where a lot of the expense lies.

What have been your greatest achievements in terms of photography at the O2 Academy Bournemouth?
Being asked to return as House Photographer every year is a real honour and means I must be doing something right!

Absolutely! Finally, if this was not quite the dream job, what or where in the world would be your dream to photograph?
I would love to be the tour photographer for one of my favourite bands, joining them on a world tour, but one can dream!

Shadowing Charlie was an awesome experience. I had full access to the pit with him (the part between the stage and barrier) which was pretty surreal and I felt like people were awkwardly wondering what on earth I was doing in there! I was so grateful for the earplugs security gave me too, it didn't even cross my mind that I'd be right next to the speakers and I'd definitely need them for that part! Although I was concentrating on getting some shots, it was very cool to be so close to watching The Horrors. I also didn't appreciate that Charlie only shoots for the first three songs, meaning he works super quickly! He gave me a few tips on the manual setting of my camera, and we talked about how cool the strobes and lights looked. He's super talented and his work is brilliant, cheers for the experience Charlie!

After the first three songs were over, I was introduced to the O2 Angel, Hollie. These guys are the eyes and ears of the venue and great for giving you an even better experience. We grabbed a drink, listened to the rest of the show and chatted about life, music and what Hollie gets up to as an Angel. She is a true ambassador for the brand and has now made me really want to come back and see Ella Eyre, Example, Professor Green, The Kooks and Katy B! If you're an O2 customer, you can get access to gig tickets up to 48 hours before general release by texting ‘Priority’ to 2020 too. Hollie was so lovely and made me feel so welcome that we're now even chummies on Facebook (hopefully hanging out at another gig again in no time!).

I can honestly say that although I was so nervous prior to the event, I had such a brilliant experience. For more on the O2 Academy and your nearest venue, b
e sure to subscribe and check out their O2 Academy YouTube channel for interviews, backstage shenanigans and exclusive live music videos too. Massive thank you to the O2 Academy Bournemouth for having me, I'll be seeing you again very soon!

Big love,

I was kindly gifted tickets/access whilst this post is also sponsored by O2 Academy and the O2 Academy Bournemouth. This does not however hinder my opinion and I hope you enjoyed reading!
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