Real Talk: Let's Stop Body Shaming

A couple of weeks ago I asked you guys over on Twitter which lifestyle/wellness post you would prefer to see and whilst my post on why you should date yourself won the vote (and got a great response - so thank you?!), a post all against body shaming came a close second and some of you guys asked for both so guess what? You get what you ask for!

So let's jump straight in. Body shaming is fucking disgusting. I'm going to be really opinionated on this topic in this post so if y'all don't want to deal with that, I urge you to not read any further, but I have thoughts on this topic and I damn well want them to be heard. The reason I feel so strongly about body shaming is because it's such a subjective thing that honestly should not happen but I'm not delusional - we'll never live in a world where body shaming isn't a thing and isn't happening. We need to try to move towards collectively, as a society, to preventing body shaming and making people realise just how harmful it can be. It's difficult to point the finger at individuals and say to them "hey you can't say that" when we're almost conditioned to think that way by the media. We're surrounded by judgemental headlines and photos of celebrities on the beach being chastised for wearing a bikini when they're "the size of a beached whale" and then they're celebrated when they inevitably release a weight-loss fitness DVD because they've felt the pressure to look a certain way in our society.

It's such a harming thing that seems to be more and more common as the years go by and in an odd way, don't we just accept it? Sure the majority of us will sit there and complain about it, we will say it shouldn't be happening but does anything really get done about it? It's difficult when its so prevalent in our day to day lives to know how to tackle it but there's definitely some things that I think can help:

1. Every body is a perfectly good and right body. Okay so this might seem pretty self-explanatory, but the best way to tackle body shaming is to accept that everyone's body is different and that is okay. So many times I see women and men tear each other down and say that someone is "too skinny" or "that's not curvy, that's just fat" without giving any thought as to how hurtful or damaging that can be someone. What if you're saying this to someone with an eating disorder? What if you're ridiculing someone with a weight-related illness that means they can't shed the pounds like other people? Body image is not something we can take at face value as it is always linked to the individual's mind inside that body. In an ideal world, we'd all be concerned with ourselves and ourselves only. One can only dream.

2. Support changes. So this next point again, is pretty easy to do, yet we don't seem to do it enough. How many times have you seen someone get ridiculed at the gym because they're a bigger guy or girl who is trying to make a change to benefit them? How many times have you seen someone make an insanely misjudged and outright rude comment about an individual who is sharing their success story of overcoming their inability to put on weight? It seems to happen frequently when during those times the one thing everyone should be doing is supporting that particular individual through their change. If your pal is going to Weight Watchers club and they're super excited to tell you how many pounds they've lost each week - root for them. If they "slip off the wagon" because you've gone to Pizza Hut and they've taken full advantage of the endless supply of ice cream and diet cokes - tell them it doesn't matter. They're allowed to enjoy life but be a support. Let them know how proud you are of what they're doing. Make them aware of the positive change you can see in them. If they're happier because they're going to the gym 6 times a week then be happy for them too. If they're ecstatic because they've finally worked out how to put on some weight then celebrate with them. Just think about how much it sends you positively reeling with ecstasy for that split second when someone compliments you and think about how that will feel to someone who needs encouragement and reassurance that they're doing great and their hard work is not going unnoticed. It will potentially make them feel a million dollars.

3. Don't mirror your beliefs onto others. A lot of the body shaming we see tends to be along the lines of
"I think you've put on weight"
"I think you looked nicer with blonde hair"
"In my opinion plastic surgery is disgusting"
Notice something? It's not about you. This seems to be something that has become more and more of an issue on the likes of Instagram and YouTube where people seem to think it is okay to parade around their beliefs without rhyme or reason. Don't get me wrong, often people on those platforms will put themselves in a position of which they've asked for opinions and are therefore being judged by potentially millions of people, but consider what you are saying. This is something that doesn't just happen on social media but in everyday friendships and conversations with family members too. How many of you have had a family member comment on your appearance? I've got both hands raised here. It can be the smallest comment but it can stay with a person and eat away at them. I'm not saying don't give your opinion when someone asks for it but be kind. Be constructive. If you can see that someone is unsure of a change they've made, think before you speak. You should be making that person feel safe, secure and confident in themselves not tearing them down or making them feel they have to fit a mould.

4. Body image isn't restricted to any gender, size, race, or style. When I think of body image, I think of everything you see on the outside - everything from the person's weight, to their gender (if they wish to show it), to the colour they choose to dye their hair. We get caught up in thinking about weight when "body image" is uttered and I think that's probably because it's what comes under fire the most but as I mentioned earlier, there's lots of things people do to their body to express themselves and to feel comfortable in their own skin and again, it's important we help build that up. I don't care if I'm wearing a lipstick that's "not right for my skin tone" because I want to wear it. I like it. I feel confident in it and I wouldn't like anyone to go out of their way to tell me any different. In our contemporary society, people should be free to identify how they want to both inside and out and feel safe that they can do that without any repercussions. For some people it might be something small - like me - of feeling free to have whatever hair colour they want and feel sort of okay about their acne, for others, it may be feeling safe to walk down the street wearing a dress if you identify as a male, wearing a hijab if you are British born white woman who used to be Christian... All of these outward signs we express are our own unique ways of saying "hey look! I'm me! The one and only!" and why that is not celebrated more I do not know - just *think* how wonderful our species is that we have that much diversity?!

5. Social media is never a true representation. So we might blame the media for our negativity towards diversity in body image and appearance but a major factor in the last 5 years in particular is without a doubt the growth of social media. Sites like Instagram for example have whole accounts dedicated to "fitness babes" or "IG baddies" and it's just full to the brim with beautiful, slim, athletic women which yeah, a lot of them look like that, but we all have to bear in mind the majority don't look like that at the same time. For example, that girl who looks like she's got a teeny tiny waist and a big butt? She has stood in such a way to emphasise that. That girl who's got flawless skin and lovely hair on her "just woke up lol" snap? You didn't see the 63 other photos she took where she didn't look quite so bangin' and you didn't see the 10 minutes she put in to editing the photo. I want to make it clear that I am absolutely not tearing these people down, but those who are comparing themselves to these people need to be aware that real life does not always correlate. The girls on IG that advertise the skinny teas and the hair vitamins etc. whilst actually working out a butt-tonne and actually wearing hair extensions should be honest and celebrate what they are actually (how many times can I say actually) doing to look the way they want. I'm all for modifying yourself to a point that you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin but y'all, be honest about it so it doesn't damage others. I'm looking at you, Kylie Jenner.

I'll be honest, I don't really know where I was going with this post, but I have such a strong feeling towards body image and body positivity that I feel I needed to try and get my thoughts down somewhere. Being body positive is a step that only an individual can make and work towards however think how much of a nicer place it would be if, along that journey, other individuals gave the occasional pat on the back, high five, twit-twoo to keep you going - to reach your goal and ultimate happiness. It's not too much to ask now is it?

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Makeup Products Fit for Spring

It's official, google says we entered spring 2017 two days ago therefore we can all start smiling again at the thought of some sunshine and clear skies (maybe, we are talking about the good ol' British weather afterall). As it's spring time, I like to switch up my makeup a little and try out a few different products that I feel are always "spring appropriate". I love wearing peachy/coral blushers, matte bronzers, and the Mary Lou Manizer highlighter, but there's just something about spring that makes me turn to anything and everything with pink tones and bronzers with a bit of shimmer and glow. So here's some of my top picks for spring:

Eye Products
- Beauty UK Pin Up Eyeshadow Palette | £5.49: I've already blogged about this palette in detail so I won't bore you (head over there to see swatches of each shadow), but I really like this palette. The 3 last shimmer shades that are shown in my swatches in that post are absolutely stunning and give the lid such a great metallic, almost wet-look, sheen that I really like all year round but particularly at this time of year. The matte shades in this palette are also super nice and they are very "spring-like" to me as they're generally warm shades and that subtle pink shimmer shade - just perfect for spring!

- The Body Shop Color Crush Eyeshadow in Sunshine Love | £7.OO: When I first spotted this eyeshadow, I knew I had to try it. I love yellow - it's my favourite colour - and I've gotten braver and braver with incorporating it into my wardrobe. I've also gotten braver with including it in my makeup bag and this shadow is my ultimate yellow product. The Body Shop's single shadows are buttery soft and blend extremely well. This particular colour is so bright and vibrant but weirdly, despite being so unique and *out there* in colour, it is really wearable. It reminds me of pollen and daffodils in bloom and if that doesn't say "spring" I don't know what does.

- Rimmel Match Perfection Illuminating Concealer | £5.99: I'm really enjoying using this concealer and it's a gorgeous product for giving your skin a bit of a lift and light. The Rimmel Match Perfection range has a knack for brightening the skin so this is a nice concealer for the undereyes but it also heavy duty enough to hide blemishes. I think the brightening this can do gives the skin such a nice natural dewiness - even for us oily skinned folk.

- Essence Silky/Satin Touch Blush in Satin Coral | £1.OO: Essence are always a super budget go-to brand for me and this blusher is just gorgeous. A peachy yet pinky shade, this blusher has a slight shimmer to it making it a great one for when you're feeling lazy and don't want to highlight or if you prefer a more natural highlight. These blushes blend super seamlessly into the skin and give the skin such a natural flush - a definite winner.

- Rimmel Lasting Finish Mono Blush in Live Pink | £3.99: These wee blushers from Rimmel are some of my all-time faves and I wear the shade "Santa Rose" pretty much daily, but when I do feel like switching it out for a different shade, I love this very girly, very not me but I love it, baby pink. It looks much brighter and much more bubblegum pink in the pan, but on the cheeks it can look very natural and healthy on the skin.

- Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Bronzer in Golden Days | £4.OO: Another product I have blogged about before, this bronzer is a gorgeous budget product for getting such a great glow on the skin. This bronzer is shimmering but not full of chunky glitter so it still looks flattering on the skin and as a pale girl, I find this shade a really nice match for my skin. It's a creamy powder to blend out and it's colour - despite being a £4 product - lasts well on the skin throughout the day. You also get a large pan of product for your buck so it will see you through all of spring and summer too!

- Essence Soo Glow! Highlighter in 2O Bright Up Your Life | £2.3O: Not usually a cream highlighter girl, I'm as surprised as you are to see this in this post but I really do love these cream to powder highlighters from Essence. Both shades in this range are gorgeous but the pink is particularly nice for spring and is one of the best highlighters for giving a pearlescent sheen to the cheeks and high points of the face.

- The Balm The Manizer Sisters Highlighting Palette | £18.OO: So everyone and their cat is a fan of the Mary-Lou Manizer powder but I also love the not-so-talked-about Cindy-Lou and Betty-Lou Manizers too. Cindy Lou gives the perfect pink highlight with an intense but wearable gold shimmer in it and Betty-Lou has the same gold tones but is a great bronzer. Betty-Lou is a slightly darker, more intense bronze compared to MUR's Vivid Baked Bronzer, so if you've got darker skin than ghostly me or if you like an intense bronze, this is the product for you. I like having the full palette to pick and choose from at this time of year because all of the shades are so great for the slowly in-creeping sunshine.

From left to right: The Body Shop's Eyeshadow, Essence's Silky Touch Blush, Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Blush, MUR's Vivid Baked Bronzer in Golden Days, Essence's soo glow! Bright Up Your Life, The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer, Cindy-Lou, and Betty-Lou

Base Products
- Maybelline Fit Me! Powder in Ivory | £5.99: Although I love translucent powder there are a couple of coloured powders that provide a little bit more coverage that I really like. One of those powders is this Fit Me! powder from Maybelline. If you saw last week's disappointing beauty products post, you will know that I am not a fan of the Fit Me! foundations however I do love the concealer and the powder. This powder gives great coverage, keeps my skin looking matte and not cakey, and is also really finely milled so feels velvety to the touch and feather-light on the skin. The best thing about this product though is that I find it quite brightening despite being a matte powder. I like to use it to set my undereye concealer as it brightens the area whilst also keeping it crease-free. This may be due to it's slightly banana/yellow tones but regardless, this is a great all-round powder for any skin types as it doesn't cling to dry patches either.

- The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream in OO| £12.OO: I haven't been wearing any base products such as foundation since last July but if I ever feel the need to reach for a base I'd actually grab this one. Way back in May when I first purchased this and blogged about it, I wasn't too sure about it because it was so extremely illuminating it seemed more like a liquid highlighter. However now that I have played around with the product more, it is such a gorgeous subtle product for giving your skin a boost. If I want really natural skin and I'm not doing my usual routine where I skip base products completely, I like to use this just to make my skin look healthy and dewy. Teamed with the likes of the Essence cream highlighter and a nice pink blush, this product is incredibly pretty and is extremely comfortable to wear on long days.

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Why Hello Spring

Ahhh happy first day of Spring, people! I might be in love with the colder months and layering but I am damn happy to see the longer days creeping in and the daffodils blooming. This past week we have had such crazy weather - one minute I've been freezing in a jumper and a scarf then the next it's been too hot for a coat - madness, I know. As it's the first day of spring, it only seems to kick things off the way I intend to carry on over the next few months which is wearing a hell of a lot of floral embroidery and not giving a hoot if folk don't like it. I bloody love this little Zara dress because it's gorgeous as a dress (especially with bare legs - bare leg wear is creeping closer too ladies woo!) but it looks ace as a long tunic-style top over some ripped denim and some converse. Despite this ensemble being all black, the pops of colour and the floral details keep it looking delicate and perfect for spring. I love this dress so much I'm going to pick up it's creamy white sister on payday because I mean, you can never have too many embroidered dresses right?

Zara Embroidered Dress (similar & similar | Boohoo Fedora | Asos Embroidered Bag (similar) | Boohoo Platform Boots

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