Thursday, 18 January 2018

WHY I DON'T HAVE AN INSTAGRAM 'THEME'

Hey everyone, 
So today I wanted to talk about something which has been bugging me for a while, and that is Instagram 'themes'. I see so much talk about it around different platforms, and this made me think "should I have a theme?" "If I don't have a theme will people even want to view my Instagram feed?"
I realised I was being fed into this idea of making something 'perfect', may I just add what is perfect!? I get for some people they have a specific style, and that is the way their feed comes out, but for me, reading so much on creating a theme or a certain look made me feel as though I was incorrectly achieving something. Or my use of Instagram was wrong.
Now, Instagram is one of my favourite social network platforms, I am a very visual person and I love looking at photos of daily life, lifestyle, nature, food, beauty, pretty much anything.
I've used Instagram for a good few years, but its only over the last year or so that i've put more effort in.


Now I admit, I do not have an Instagram theme, and the reason ladies and gentleman is because I am not that type of person, I love all different forms of photography and I don't want to disregard posting a photograph I love and am proud of, because it doesn't go with the rest of the photos I already have.
A lot of my photos are resembling my daily life, and if I were to create that or alter it so significantly to include into a theme I feel as though I am stripping away the rawness of Instagram.
Another reason is because I cannot be bothered, I am naturally a perfectionist and I don't want to strip the fun away from using a social network I love because I am constantly worrying if someone will like my post, or does it go with my whole feed. It for me is too regimented, I love the art of free flowing form with my Instagram, I love to be raw and honest and that is showing my personality and honestly, a specific theme doesn't fit into that for me.

This is my personal thoughts for my Instagram, I love looking at themes people have, I think it looks amazing, but for me it isn't something that would work, possibly in the future it may be something I would like to try out, but currently I am happy and content posting whatever I please. If you want to check out my Instagram a little more my username is @Jessicalaarr I'd love to check yours out too!

Do you prefer an Instagram theme? What are your thought's on themes, I'd love to know!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

MY NEW FAVOURITE EYE CREAM



 Something I have come to love over the years (as I become more adult) is eye creams, anything that claims to reduce those pesky eye bags is something I am always drawn to. I have tried and tested a number of eye creams, possibly a review of my favourites would be appropriate, if that is something you would be interested in!?


Today, I want to share with you one of my all time favourite brands, Liz Earle. I discovered Liz Earle back when I was around 17 years old, and as a brand it has to be a firm favourite of mine, even now at the age of 25 years old.
I was lucky enough to receive the Super skin eye cream for Christmas (thanks mum!) and wow, what a luxurious product it is. This particular product came as a set with the eye bright soothing lotion and eye mask, I mean what a perfect present, right!?


 The Superskin eye cream is utterly beautiful, it's quite a thick consistency which works very easily into the skin around your eyes, it sinks in and leaves your skin feeling soft and revitalised. It instantly brightens my eye area, which is really important for me when choosing an eye cream, because sadly I was not blessed with bright under eyes and I am often sporting very dark circles, so an extra helping hand is always very welcomed. The ingredients of the pomegranate and green tea focus on the brightening. I often get dry skin around my eyes, and this instantly fixes that. I have found that it works well applied underneath makeup, which I was so impressed with considering it's consistency.


The product itself is packaged in this beautiful bottle, it looks expensive, which for 15ml it is fairly expensive at £35 however, in comparison to other eye creams it is not overpriced, I personally don't think. I am a sucker for packaging, and I definitely love that about the Superskin range, it looks much more high end, but is by no means a rip off. It definitely does what it says on the tin, so to speak. 
My sign of loving a product is asking myself "would I buy this again" ABSOLUTELY! is the answer, I never want it to run out, and I will certainly make a quick repurchase once the bottle is empty. 


Personally this eye cream definitely sits up there in my top three products, it is so soft and gentle on a sensitive area of skin, it can be used on all skin types as well, and I would say if you do have sensitive skin then this is definitely a safe option to go for, I am utterly in love. 

What's your favourite eye cream? 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

i definitely didn't need a new coat


I saw this faux leather style biker jacket recently in Urban Outfitters, and I thought I must have it. Not because I don't already have enough coats and jackets (because obviously I do). But because I wanted/needed a winter replacement of my casual faux leather jacket. Sadly with the cold Yorkshire weather, my original leather jacket was just not enough to keep me warm in the winter months. I came across this one, and instantly fell in love, its got a faux fur lining which adds to the much needed warmth. 


For a jacket I did not think it was too expensive at £99, I thought i'd wait a little bit when I initially saw it, and boy am I glad I did. I couldn't believe nearly a week later I saw it online in the black Friday sales. I immediately hit the purchase button, and it arrived at my front door a couple days later. I could not be happier with my new purchase.
I will tell myself this will be the last jacket I need, but I can guarantee next winter will approach us, and I obviously will need another.




What I love most about this jacket, is that it come up quite oversized, which in the winter is fantastic, because i'm usually found wearing about a million layers. I have tried to link it from the online store, however, it sadly seems to be unavailable. It may be in some Urban Outfitters stores, so I would recommend keeping a look out if you love it. If it comes back online, I will be sure to link it. 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

why i am not making new years resolutions

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope that you are all settling well into January, I must say I have found it difficult getting back into a routine, considering all the time I've had off over the festive period.

Today I am talking about New Years resolutions. Last year I made some, you can watch them here, if you are interested to hear about the resolutions I had set out for myself.
However, I actually cannot tell you what those resolutions are, unless I head over and also watch that video myself. Of course, naturally I had to watch it over, and review whether or not I had been successful in achieving the resolutions I had set out for myself, at the beginning of the year.

Sadly, I did not achieve them all, some of which are difficult to measure "getting fit" am I fit? Was that achieved? I honestly have no idea.
Looking back over these previous resolutions got me thinking, why do we make them? Is it to try and change our behaviour and adopt that 'New Year, New Me' style? Possibly, December can be somewhat a heavy month, full of festivities, and the thought of looking back over the year and heading into another with the same behaviours or routines can seem frustrating for some.
I think we have all felt that pressure of feeling the need to change along with the New Year. But is it really about us changing? Surely not, it should be about striving to be the best we can be, given the circumstances life throws at us, naturally our paths can become a little unbalanced. Yet by setting unrealistic targets and expectations can lead us feeling depressed and negative, because we get to the end of the year, and realise those targets have been unmet.


This is the exact reason I have decided not to make any New Year resolutions. I shouldn't be resolving anything in my life, I should mererly be growing and evolving with the years, I make mistakes along the way, but that is natural, I do not need the added pressure of adopting resolutions, which can set me up to fail.
I felt depressed and negative after realsing that I had not met my 2017 goals, however, I am striving to become happier and more positive, and well lets face it, realising goals in my life have not been set is not going to help me feel in any way positive.

Instead of setting myself goals, there are things I would like to do, however, if I don't always achieve them, then that is okay. Life is about learning, and being kind to ourselves, and if it's one thing I have learnt then it is, for me, New Years resolutions feeds into my negative thoughts of feeling as though I have not achieved something. This is something I am working hard to move away from, hence my personal reasons for not creating any resolutions this year.


Have you made any New years resolutions?

Monday, 1 January 2018

WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS






Last year I did a "What I got for Christmas" and I loved doing it, and also reading and watching what others received, so it is back again this year!

I feel so thankful to receive all of the presents I have, I received some from people I didn't expect to get me anything at all, and that I was truly thankful for.
All of these gifts are things I love, and I think it speaks volumes as to how well the people who gave them to me, know me. 
If i'm honest, I cannot pick a favourite because I love all of my gifts, and all for different reasons. I am thankful for being all snuggly and cosy in my new dressing gown, for feeling relaxed with amazing scented candles, for smelling fantastically; thanks to the Glossier perfume, for keeping up with my skin care routine, and being able to pamper my skin with luxurious products. 

I talked a little bit more about all of my gifts in my latest youtube video, so I will leave that below if that is something you are interested in watching. 


I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas! x


Thursday, 28 December 2017

the most delicious mince pies

It may have passed Christmas but that doesn't mean we should stop eating mince pies, does it!?
I mean, I do apologise, this should have gone up before Christmas, but alas we live and we learn.
I personally will be enjoying mince pies all the way through to the New Year, it actually makes me sad they aren't an all year around tradition. 
For years, I have always wanted to make my own mince pies, but never did. I love to bake, but making my own pastry almost scared me a little bit, however, I did it! And let me tell you, they taste amazing. 



Ingredients you will need: 

8 oz Self Raising Flour
2 oz Vegetable Fat (I used Trex)
2 oz Stork margarine
1 egg yolk
1 egg whisked for the top 
Icing Sugar to sprinkle on top
Jar of Mincemeat 

Method:
  • Firstly add your flour, margarine and vegetable fat into a large mixing bowl and rub together with the tips of your fingers until you get a crumb consistency
  • Add the egg yolk and mix in (don't worry if you can see it hasn't fully mixed in with the rest of the mixture, this is ok)
  • Pour in a small amount of water (around 2 tablespoons worth) and continue mixing ingredients. Judge the amount of water when it begins to bind together, you don't want it to be sticky though
  • Combine mixture together to form a ball, place in some greaseproof paper and leave in the fridge to stand for about 20 minutes
  • Scatter some flour onto a clean work surface and begin to roll out the pastry, until thin (around 2mm)
  • Use a medium circular cutter for the base, then once cut out place in low muffin trays, this recipe will make around 10 mince pies, as you need the tops too.
  • Then place a teaspoon amount of mincemeat into the centre of each pastry base
  • I decided on stars for the top, but you could use another shape to, it is really up to you, so ensure you cut out 10 stars or other shapes for the top of the mince pies
  • Crack a full egg into a bowl and whisk together, then using a pastry brush wash the rim of the mince pie base with egg wash, then add your star or shape on top
  • Egg wash the top of your mince pie, complete this for all 10 mince pies
  • Place in the oven on 180 degrees celsius for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and place mince pies on a cooling rack
  • Using a sieve, sprinkle icing sugar to the top of your mince pies to decorate
  • Eat mince pies, warm or cold, with or without cream, and enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, pastry seems more complex to make that it actually is, and if you are a fan of mince pies then you will absolutely love these.
If you make these please let me know, or tag me in a photo on Instagram @Jessicalaarr I'd love to see them.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

my mental health and the contraceptive pill






Lets talk mental health. I approached the subject recently in a vlog on my youtube channel. I have a lot of experience of mental health both personally and professionally, so I have decided to start sharing that with you guys.

Today, I want to chat about mental health and the contraceptive pill. I think over the last couple of years there has been a lot more awareness about the link between taking the pill and depression, so I wanted to share my experience. Most importantly, I wanted to share with you what happened when I stopped taking the pill.

Lets go back 10 years, I started taking the combined pill which is where you take it for 21 days and then have a 7 day break which is when you would have your period. It contains artificial hormones of oestrogen and progesterone. I was prescribed this pill when I was around the age of 14/15 years old. At the time, I was suffering from heavy periods and also had acne which completely knocked my confidence, so after going to speak with my doctor he prescribed me the pill. I continued to take this up until today where I am now 24 years old.

During the years I took the pill I suffered from a lot of mental health problems, depression, anxiety, self harm (I can do further posts on this if you like) so I cannot say that the pill was the cause of all of these issues, because I am aware of other contributing factors. However, by the time I got to around the age of 21 years old I was not experiencing other situations which could cause my depression, yet I still felt so low. I started to think the pill may be affecting my mental health. I read a shocking statistic that 23% of people who take the combined contraceptive pill are also prescribed anti-depressants, I personally think that is an alarming figure.
I continued taking the pill for the next few years, as I was perhaps naive to think it was the easiest contraceptive and I knew it well.

Fast forward to now, at 24 years old I decided to stop taking the pill and the effects of doing this is what shocked me the most.
Physically I felt horrendous, I couldn't at the time work out what on earth was going on for me, I felt dizzy, my blood pressure was constantly low, I felt sick and faint. This went on for a good couple of months.
Mentally I felt even worse, I was irritable, I was just a horrible person, I was crying at absolutely anything and everything, and I just couldn't understand what was going on. I look back and felt as though it would have been better to just keep taking the pill, because mentally I felt so vulnerable and unhappy.

6 months later I have none of the physical effects and I feel a lot more mentally stable too, I of course have days where I am tearful and irritable, but this is usually coinciding with the week before my period is due, this is normal. I am so glad that I persevered with coming off the pill, but I was shocked and at times frightened with how badly my body both physically and mentally was effected by stopping this medication.

I have also made a youtube video about this topic, but I ultimately wanted to share with you the effects the pill had for me, especially when I initially stopped taking it because at the time I felt so frightened and depressed and I couldn't seem to find anyone who had experienced this too.

I know of course this does not happen for everyone, but I didn't think it would happen to me, so I hope that this post can provide someone else who may be experiencing what I did that it passes and sticking it out I feel so much happier now the pill is completely out of my system.

I would love to know what your thoughts are on this, or if you have experienced anything similar?