Saturday, 13 October 2018

A Halloween cake date at Peggy Porschen

Earlier in the week mum and I ventured to one of our cake dates at Peggy Porschen. We'd been excited for this one in particular seeing as Halloween has hit the cafe and turned it into a spooktastic pink parlour. The Halloween decor at Peggy Porschen is dreamtastic to say the least; a massive floral skull adorning the window, purple and pink pumpkins arched along the entrance and brooms, flower power and magical sweet treats to conjure up all the cosmic cuteness any pink babe of bliss could wish for. I wasn't intending to blog about our visit but I took my camera this time and decided it would be the perfect time to post this festive Halloween cake date here on the blog for a little bit of Halloween heaven. 

As always the latte art was funktastic and for mum's latte she was given a pumpkin face (she couldn't wait for me to take photos, she broke the rules and sipped at hers before I caught it on camera), while my hot chocolate was given a Boo theme. Too cute! I also chose a Golden Apple & Chai cupcake but I was totally eyeing up the skulls & pearls one they do too, so pretty and festive. Mum got a bit impatient as I took 1234567890 photos on my camera and phone but by God was it worth it for the instagrammable dreaminess! Despite having visited Peggy Porschen a couple of times now, I've never really managed to get decent outfit shots of me there so during this visit I decided to dress to match the dreamy pink decor. I unearthed this gem of a pink floral dress from my wardrobe which I'd forgotten all about and was thrilled with how it matched against the Peggy Porschen decor. 

I also got to take my brand new fluffy pink ombre heart-shaped bag out for a ride. This is from Accessorize and admittedly the kids section, because do you know what? Their adult bags aren't half as fluffy and sassy. I know I've mentioned this before but I'll say again how friendly and sweet the staff at Peggy Porschen are. The guy serving us greeted us with a massive smile and as always we were made to feel welcomed and given a lovely experience. I'm so glad it was a sunny day and as always it was perfect. 

As is always the case after Peggy Porschen we got straight back on the train which is the perfect amount of time in London for me. I'd love to try some more of the London cafes now I'm getting more confident with London but I have a feeling Peggy Porschen will always be my favourite. It always offers up such a unique and cute vibe, it's a truly special place and if you have the opportunity to go then it's truly worth it. 

Have you ever been to Peggy Porschen? Do you like their decor? 
Do you have some favourite London cafe recommendations? I'd love to know! 


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

When girls are cruel to other girls

I'm 28 years old but I still feel butterflies twist themselves around my guts when I pass a group of teenage girls in the street or in a shopping centre - always fearful they're going to whispering about me, laughing at me. Wondering whether one of them will say something cruel and I might be unlucky enough to overhear. I never used to be paranoid or even think twice about groups of teenage girls walking past, but that was before I experienced the scars that come with the bitchiness, nastiness, the bullying from my teenage years. The upset and devastation that happens when girls are cruel to other girls.

When girls are cruel to other girls it can... 

Shatter your confidence 

A decade ago I learnt a nasty lesson; girls can be cruel to other girls - even if they're supposed to be one of your so-called best friends. I had this through my secondary school years, although it hit the worst heights during sixth-form. One of my best friends was a "fair-weather friend", as my mum always called her. When she decided she was cool with you she was cool with you. When someone new entered our group she'd quickly lose interest in me and would often mirror their behaviour. Unfortunately for me the new girl to enter our group in sixth-form had a real nasty streak and my friend quickly idolised her - mirroring her behaviour at every opportunitySoon enough I became the outcast of the group and the rest of my "friends" would do things like run away from me at lunch-times, talk about me behind my back whilst I was in earshot and laugh at my expense. I wanted to stay in their group as I had no other friends and was scared of being on my own.

I remember once they invited me to meet them at McDonalds in town but never turned up. I sat there alone, waiting. They left me a voicemail full of stifled laughter saying they couldn't make it because one of them was "ill". I quickly became withdrawn and guarded. I was deemed as "depressed" by one of them in the corridor once. Holding her hand up: "Go away, why are you even here? You're just so depressed. No, don't even talk to me. You're just so depressed". The rest of them thought this was hilarious as I tried to laugh the hurt I felt off, attempting to pretend I didn't care. Whenever I tried hard to pluck up the courage to contribute something to a conversation, it was always ignored, met with sarcasm or spiteful laughter, sometimes just more of the whole "bitching about you while you're in earshot" shit. In the end I started hanging around on my own.

Ruin your life 

Life got worse for me when I left sixth-form and started college. The "fair-weather friend" and I were on the same course. I thought it would be a good thing, that maybe her and I could get back to how we were before. We'd had a brilliant friendship full of laughs and fabulous memories in the early days. I guess a big part of me was holding out for more of the same. On our college course we soon made friends with a third girl who seemed nice at first. I disliked college and hated all the unfamiliarity there, I had zero confidence and never felt like I belonged. Everyone was so loud, so sure of themselves and while all their personalities came out to play I just became a shell of myself. This made it difficult to ever fit in but at least at the start I had a friendship again with my "fair-weather friend" and this new girl. We got along fine and the three of us went out to the cinema, to Camden, on shopping trips.

Something changed once term started again after the Easter break. There was this bad vibe surrounding them and I knew something was wrong. They soon became ridiculously cliquey and would ignore me, spend lunchtimes talking to each other and barely even register my presence. We'd be sitting on a bench and they'd turn their backs on me and have a whole conversation during lunch hour without including me once. Just like sixth form I couldn't win; if I tried to make conversation it was just ridiculed, if I stayed silent I was deemed as moody. The spiteful bitchiness soon started, they'd spend lessons laughing at me together, looking over and making comments. I'd race to catch up with them once lunch and breaks started and often they'd try and dash off without me which hurt. I still remember waiting at the bus stop with my friend once and she was being pleasant enough with me as the new girl wasn't around to impress. When she got on her bus a few girls standing near me started bitching about her outfit, ripping her to shreds for what she was wearing. Even though she was on the bus and oblivious to the bitching I felt bad for her despite the fact that she'd done the same to me countless of times - because I knew what it was like. In lessons at college whenever I tried to say something to one of them they'd pretend to be nice and then I'd hear them laughing and whispering about me some more. Again I was terrified of being on my own but soon enough I realised I was better off that way. I'd spend lunch-times alone and feel down but relieved. 

I couldn't believe it was happening yet again; a never-ending pattern. It was like sixth-form all over again. I didn't know what I'd done to deserve it. In a way it felt worse than the bullying at sixth-form, at least there the school was familiar and I could walk home at lunch if I wanted. College was a scary and horrible experience - I hated every moment. I think my tutor guessed something was up as he referred me to a college guidance admin person who spoke to me about future career prospects. "Is there something wrong?" she asked me during one session. "You seem really down, is there anything going on that you want to talk to me about?" I ended up pouring out to her about everything that was happening. She was really kind and it felt like a massive relief to open up and talk to someone. She called in my tutor and made him aware of what was going on, and my other tutors were told, too. I was referred to see a college counsellor. Although she was lovely and patient it didn't really help, I just felt stupidly paranoid that one of the girls might walk past the counselling room and hear what I was saying through the walls and my life at college would become even more hellish as a result. Once the whole class went on a trip to Thorpe Park and I was the only one not to go. My tutor was sweet and tried to convince me to go. "Don't you want to go to Thorpe Park? It should be fun, everyone else is going. Don't miss out,", but I think he could see in my eyes that my heart wasn't in it. It was the last thing I wanted, having to spend any more time with those two fiends than I had to. 

It wasn't just college that was hell - my weekends were spent working at a shitty job which I absolutely loathed. Everyone working there bar one or two people were absolute assholes, even on my last day there they gathered round in a circle and ignored me pointedly. The same "friend" worked there on weekends with me too, alongside one of the other girls who'd been in our group at sixth-form. There was no escape. I took to hiding in the toilets at lunch-times I became so unhappy. The same kind of behaviour continued at my job, my friend ignored me repeatedly in front of a group of people when I sat down to say hello making me feel humiliated and lost. I continued to try and be the best friend I could to her, taking the blame when we both arrived late for work and doing things like buying her a cake from the cafe when she'd been moaning about her shift and visiting her with some DVDs when she'd been ill. My mum also gave her a lift home after work every shift. Mum knew all about this girls behaviour but I'd made her keep quiet and not confront her as I didn't want more trouble. Looking back I can't believe what a mug I was, you live and learn. Feeling vulnerable I was scared of the power she had, I didn't want even more upset.

One day it hit me at college that enough was enough and I made the decision to quit my job. Quitting my job there and finally getting to leave college when it ended was the biggest relief I'd ever felt. I stuck college out to the end, even though some days I called in sick, too frightened to go in. After leaving college and ending my job I was left with wrecked self-esteem, crushed confidence and zero self-worth. I had to rebuild my confidence from scratch and at that point I had no idea where to even start. Read my story on smashing low-self esteem.

Make you paranoid 
My boyfriend always says that whenever we're out and someone looks at me I automatically think it's for a bad reason and he's right. Even though I'm getting better at this and not always assuming the worst, it's a battle. I was left with crippling paranoia after sixth-form and college, I automatically assumed everyone was whispering about me out in public, bitching about me, thinking nasty thoughts. After having so many so-called friends constantly laughing at me and bitching about me it was my natural reaction to believe everyone else would be doing nothing less everywhere I went. I couldn't go in shops, I felt too humiliated and untrendy for Topshop. I got tense when walking past groups of girls, I still do. At one point I found it too hard to even face the corner shop. Those feelings of paranoia crept in only the other day when I was in some busy toilets drying my hands and I caught two girls looking at me and making a remark to each other. I find it so difficult not to assume the worst. 

Make it hard to trust people 
I have a couple of female friendships that I cherish but during my 20's I've struggled to maintain or even make female friendships. I am very wary of who I trust and a major part of me just can't be bothered with the hassle of it all. Once you get burnt badly your guard stays up and I've had to end a few female friendships early on because I've just not been able to cope. When girls are cruel to other girls it can fracture friendships forever. 

Destruct your inner-strength. 
Maybe this was why I was so upset when out shooting blog photos recently. We bit the bullet and shot outside a pretty pink shop in the midst of a busy high street. I always knew it was going to be a challenge, but I really wanted the gorgeous backdrop. I attracted lots of bitchy looks, death stares and general nudges, whispers and people just deciding to laugh at me outright. I'll be honest, it f*cking hurt. The worst thing for me was that most of the people partaking in the aforementioned behaviour were women - grown women who left high-school long ago. Grown women pushing prams - two baby girls - who are being brought up by women who think it's okay to laugh at other women, to rip other women's confidence to shreds, to crush another woman's confidence. What kind of a hope do those babies have if their own mothers treat other women with such disregard and disrespect? After we'd shot the photos we wanted I was shaking all over. The nastiness really got to me. It's a bit of a confidence crusher when you've got people laughing at you, not even bothering to hide snide smiles and bitchy looks.

Make you stronger 
I never had the courage to ever stand up for myself or challenge the bullying. On the last day at my job I put on this massive act to this "friend", just so she thought everything was okay. I can still remember how exhausted I felt, smiling and acting like I was fine when really I wanted it all to be over. I waved her off, told her I'd drop a birthday card in the post for her (which I did) knowing that would be the last time I'd ever see her. That was in August 2008, and we had no contact until December 2008 when she text me and asked if she could come round to mine. The text really shook me up and I felt the old feelings of vulnerability come back to haunt me. I was miles away in Swindon that day and my mum's friend (who's brilliant) told me to send an unenthused text back, she didn't deserve anything less. Even then I didn't have it in me, I sent a polite text back. The other girl from college also messaged me on Facebook and was being sarcastic with me and bitchy. Looking back I can't believe I gave either of them the time of day.

I've now learnt - a little too late - that no one ever has the right to make your short life such hell. I assumed all the bullying was something I had to suffer with, something I got heaped with so I therefore deserved. I assumed it was my fault and that I just had to put up with it - that there were no other options. How untrue that was. No one should ever have the right. No one deserves power over you, you DON'T deserve to suffer or to put up with shitty people like that. If you can please walk away, if you can please stand up for yourself and please remember that you're a strong as hell person while the bully is just a weak, broken, fragile human being who has to use you to gain inner-strength.

Today I can finally say I'd never allow anyone to ever treat me this way again - unfortunately I've dealt with bullying in the past in previous jobs, too. I've often been vulnerable and exposed to such treatment due to being too nice and polite, getting taken advantage of in the process. Life is too short to let other people treat us like shit, and I've certainly been through enough of that to not come out fighting should anyone test me in this way again. I was once broken but I built myself up - block by block - into another woman entirely. I'm not the scared, shy and fragile girl I once was who looked down at the floor instead of up at the sky. If people put me down I won't just apologetically believe them, I'll give them what for. I'm now a strong, assured and confident woman who's writing her first novel, running her fashion blog and is aiming solely at the stars. I have many off days, bad days where I'm reminded of the girl I used to be - but I won't ever let them define me in the same way ever again.

I didn't particularly want to relive these memories or write about this but then I realised this is the post my 18 year old self really needed and didn't have. I'm sharing my story in the hope that anyone out there going through the same thing can seek strength and feel less alone. You'll get through this, I promise. 

When girls are cruel to other girls it can leave eternal scars. Let's be kind, instead of cruel. 



Thursday, 20 September 2018

Rainbow style, confidence blips + disappointing blog shoots

I've had many favourite styles and looks this summer but I think this rainbow overload of an outfit has to be my ultimate. I decided to go all out in my quest to rock the rainbow; Missguided white rainbow stripe shorts, Sunnylife rainbow pool floaty and Skinnydip London rainbow cross body bag. Rainbow on rainbow on rainbow, basically. Orange is a colour I've also been living for this summer and these Quay Australia tropical sunset sunglasses are my sure-fire. The shirred orange boob tube is another Topshop gem, I swear I just seem to shop in Topshop and Missguided these days. I was so happy with how this shoot turned out; the outfit sums up my style perfectly: beach disco meets retro summer camp.

I've had a few disappointing experiences lately when shooting blog photos and even though this has been fairly rubbish and a bit of a knock confidence wise, I thought I'd be honest and share. I loved every minute of getting these photos at the beach, and I'm thrilled with how carefree and confident I felt. But while we were still shooting the photos a girl and her dad swarmed into our view and asked if we were nearly finished. It was obvious they were wanting to shoot photos themselves at our spot, her dad had already approached our corner and I now realise he was probably scoping out the spot they wanted. We hadn't actually finished, but they just stood there waiting and in the end I told them "go ahead, we're finished" because I couldn't relax with them watching us like two eager hawks.
We packed up, me feeling increasingly frustrated and a bit upset, and walked off just as the girl was skipping around in delight, whooping and setting up some tunes. Obviously triumphant that she now had her perfect location, the perfect location we'd been in the middle of using. On reflection I wish we'd stood our ground but I just felt too harassed and awkward to stay. Shortly afterwards I realised how rude it was - there have been frustrating times when I've wanted that "perfect blog shoot spot" but people have been using it already and I'd never have dreamt of interrupting them. The beach we were shooting at is massive, there's space for everyone and they could have easily found another spot - something we've done many a time, or just waited patiently for us to finish without hassling us. 

Shooting at a sunflower field was our next mission for the summer; we'd set a date to travel to one particular field and I couldn't wait. My hairdresser had done my hair ready for the occasion and I'd got an outfit sorted. We'd missed out last year on getting photos in a sunflower field and I'd been keen for years to make it to one. I was eager to get tons of photos for my blog and insta which I was so excited about. On the day we were due to go we checked the website. Due to all the recent rain, the sunflower field had put up an announcement that morning declaring the sunflower fields closed, advising people who wanted to see the sunflowers to come next summer. I was really gutted, it felt like such a blow. I'd wanted to do something magical for the summer, have one really special blog shoot - the sunflower field was going to be that magical place. 

My next attempt to shoot blog photos was also a bit of a downer. A pretty pink sweet shop that I'd been eyeing up for a while. Due to it being centred in a busy high street I always knew shooting there would be a challenge but I didn't think I'd be shaking all over by the time we were finished for a few good reasons. Add in some dickish behaviour from some instagrammers at Peggy Porschen and that completes the final set of frustrations I've had recently in view of my blog shoots. I'll go more in depth about what happened at both these locations in a separate post; there's just too much to say. Disappointment is something I'm trying to channel into determination, I've realised that you just have to charge all your energy into making the next moment and opportunity more magical than the lost chance. Even though i'm sharing a negative aspect of various blog shoots I don't feel regretful as it's so easy to think everyone else's go to plan when in reality I'm sure they don't. 

Often I try and keep my blog a positive, upbeat place but I think sometimes it's OK to vent and get real about negative situations that can get the better of us. If opening up and sharing my heart on this blog has taught me anything this past year it's that my real life experiences; good and bad, can help people out there feel less lonely and more safe and secure.

I really think there's been more of a shift in blogging and social media. People are tired of the "look how amazing my life is" theme complete with designer shopping tags, fake smiles and twirls. They want relatable content, content that doesn't come with a false review or a five star rating. Maybe I'm just speaking for myself but when it comes to blogs I don't want to be sold something, I want to read something - preferably something deep and meaningful. I've realised I want to create content that girlfriends can discuss over coffees in Starbucks, that teenage girls can feel assured by, that young women can feel buoyed up and lifted by. Instead of people reading a blog and thinking "if only my life was that perfect" or "I'll never be able to afford that", I want my readers to come away thinking "Thank God I'm not alone", and "I'm so glad I'm not the only one going through this". At this point in time I'm focusing on raw truth and emotional empowerment.

Since my last post I've thankfully been feeling better in regards to the washed-out hormonal stuff. I'm taking iron tablets and am working on a healthier diet for improvement. Unfortunately just as I started feeling better in that respect, emotion wise I've dipped. The last few weeks have seen lots of highs and lows; I keep breaking down in tears and have been finding it a bit hard to cope with certain situations. Often I'm sensitive, vulnerable and I get hurt easily and quickly. I've felt my confidence crash, and only last night Graham was talking to me about focusing on the positive aspects of my life instead of the negative. He mentioned how I'll let one negative impact the rest of my day, which I know is true. His words struck a chord and I realised I haven't been practising the Law of Attraction at all recently, something which I was really interested in and invested in, something that had really helped keep more of a positive and happy vibe to my life.

I really want to get back into the swing of blogging; I have lots of hot topics to talk to you guys about! Hopefully sharing some of my heart on here can continue to help people ♥︎