Monday, 8 April 2019

What to do when social media makes you feel ill

Six months ago, if you'd have asked me if social media made me feel ill I would've said a definite no. Is it toxic at times? Highly. Upsetting? Definitely. Irritating? Yep. But not so bad as to make me feel physically sick to the stomach. These past few months, however, my answer would be a definite yes - yes social media has been making me feel ill. On occasions it's left me shaking, crying, in such a bad way that my special birthday week became ruined with sick to the stomach nausea and paranoid dread. The exciting lead up to my holiday was wrecked with self-doubt and upset, I was on the phone to my boyfriend more than once at work because of a bad blip in my mental health due entirely to several things that happened on social media. The last time I'd felt this horrendous was over two years ago.

This chain of events was one of the reasons why I stopped blogging.  
I was too frightened to post anything because of feeling so vulnerable by several things that had got me in such a bad way. All of this stemmed from my supportive nature being taken advantage of by someone I thought I could trust who turned nasty. This taught me a lesson I needed to learn; that I should have listened to my gut feeling earlier, and that I needed to be less trusting online. We don't really know who someone is behind a screen, and often we don't know what their intentions are. After speaking to a few close friends I was heartened yet disappointed to find that they'd found themselves in similar situations too. I wasn't alone. It was comforting but worrying, how badly time online had affected us. How people, practical strangers, had made us feel so paranoid and worried, costing us our health in the process. 

The pettiness of social media seems to have ramped up a notch this past year, with people taking offence to any given thing, stabbings in the back that belong in secondary school, sarcastic subtweets flying back and forth and social media users using their platform to promote harm, instead of good. Bullying, criticism, hate and witch hunts seem to occur on a daily basis. The amount of negativity online is astounding, reaching levels of spite that are unbelievable at best, hateful and disgusting at worst. At one point I was seriously considering deleting my social media handles and just leaving it all, full-stop. If you come offline, the nastiness and negativity all just disappears, a lot of people will be quick to point out. But why should those people win and ruin it for everyone else? Deep down I didn't want to come off social media for good, but I didn't see any other solution when it was affecting me so badly. Just as I was feeling better and had enjoyed a lovely Sunday sitting outside in the garden, I went on Twitter for all of five minutes before someone leapt on something I said, and I started shaking with upset. I didn't want to be shaking over a stupid comment but being a naturally sensitive person who takes everything to heart and also battles with anxiety every single day, I couldn't help it.

The worst thing when someone turns nasty with me on social media, is that I immediately start to worry that others will follow suit. People that I care about, people that I consider life-long friends, people that I enjoy chatting to. I know this is unlikely, but this is the state in which anxiety leads me. Despite being initially upset, I managed to disregard the online exchange as quickly as possible, making sure it didn't ruin any more of my night. Even though this may only be a small victory, it's practically unheard of for me - someone who replays every negative remark and nasty word said in my head for days afterwards. Someone who can't help but hurt when little inconsequential things like this happen.

I recently decided I needed to put my health first and stop letting strangers online ruin my life. Despite Instagram being highly criticised and understandably a platform that a lot of users find can do more harm than good, I always find it a safe and happy place, and it's often Twitter that sees the root of a lot of upset and negativity impacting on my health. I've got some friends for life online, and I talk to many kind hearted, supportive and caring people on Twitter who often make my day with their kind comments and show me so much love and care which I always appreciate and try my hardest to reciprocate. This makes it even more of a shame that a choice few can ruin what would otherwise be a perfect platform. These past few weeks I've realised I need to take some steps to improve my time on social media, to ensure my health comes first. I thought I'd share a few of these in the hope of helping others out there who have been feeling the same. 


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5 ways I've improved my time on social media 

I've stopped scrolling 
Twitter can be like an achievement roll of other people's successes, which is fine. I've posted things I'm proud of on there, and it can be a great platform for sharing and engaging; that's what it's all about! But too often I'd feel deflated from Twitter, in a switch of a second suddenly feeling low and down about my own life, when minutes ago none of this had been concerning me. These past few weeks I've stopped scrolling, especially seeing as the negativity on the app has been harder and harder to bear. Instead I focus on the people who I speak to the most, who bring me the most positivity and light, and who I enjoy connecting with. Making this change has already made a massive difference to my state of mind; already I'm feeling more positive and enlightened about life.

Switching off after posting 
One of my biggest downfalls is immediately assuming a blog post, an Instagram pic or content I've been excited about is going to flop. A dangerous habit of mine would involve constantly checking up on comments, interaction and reactions - optimism draining away by the second as nothing seemed to happen. This would not only make me feel like a failure, it would also lead me down a destructive path of negativity; should I just stop blogging? What's the point? There's no interest, I may as well just give up. It's not healthy, and only now am I making sure it doesn't become a repeat performance, time and time again. Taking time to step away from the content I've just posted is proving a better move for me, and instead of worrying and focusing on the negatives I'm feeling more positive about all the content I'm creating.

Muting, blocking, disengaging 
VITAL. I recently wish I'd hit the block button on several individuals a lot sooner, it would have given me peace of mind and the opportunity to have had a lot less upset. Guilt grounds away at me if I feel the need to mute or block - but our health is the priority here, and recently I've dropped the guilt and realised if those actions need to be taken to ensure my time is healthier online, then that's no.1.

Realising my worth
I've wasted too many precious hours worrying about people online. I spoke about meeting an online friend in this post, and how it all went wrong. It shook me up for a while afterwards - I found myself in a bad way self-esteem wise. The same thing has happened these last few months, just because of some nastiness I started doubting and worrying what everyone thought about me, convinced other people might turn too. Rising above is tough, but I'm constantly reminding myself that so long as I'm happy in my own skin, I haven't got anything to prove to anyone. I'm a kind person who has big dreams, works hard and has a loving partner, mum and dad, friends and this is all that matters.

Enjoying life offline 
Since moving in with my partner I've realised even more what really matters in life. Our time together comes first and if that means lesser time online, so be it. On days off I make sure if I post something I turn my attentions away from my phone and usually don't look again until later in the evening. Messages that I used to pressure myself to answer I put on the back burner, waiting until I have the time and not before. I used to be guilty of checking my phone too much when we were out but now I find I do that less and less. There's no need, and everything else can wait. In the evenings if we're watching TV or having a meal I've got into the habit of leaving my phone upstairs, forgotten and out of my peripheral vision. It's amazing how applying such a small change can make such a big difference. 

Lastly I think it's important to remind ourselves that everyone we interact with online is a real person behind a screen. Making an offish comment, turning on someone, being unkind for no given reason or typing that critical comment could just be a blasé remark to you, but it could cost someone much more. You don't know what state of mind someone could be in, and choosing kindness over cruelty is everything. "If you've got nothing nice to say then don't say anything at all", applies to this ever-increasingly toxic online world in more ways than one. Instead of engaging or giving time to people and scenarios that bring me down, I'm curating my time online solely to share what I need whilst interacting with those that boost me up, not bring me down. Our health comes first over everything, and I'm not going to waste another second of my life being upset by the toxic side of social media. 


♥︎

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Barbados: my top 5 colourful places to visit on the island



Hey you babes, it's been a while! I returned home from a trip to Barbados earlier this month and was immediately hit with major holiday blues. Throughout most of February and March I took a step back from blogging to focus on other projects and found the longer I stayed away the harder it was to come back. Saying that, when I'm not blogging I do miss it. But without further ado I thought it was high time I shared some Barbados content with you! Last February I took a vacay to the island as well, but this time round my boyfriend and I both agreed we fell even deeper in love with beautiful Barbados. 

Barbados is everything you could possibly dream of; it's colourful, vibrant, fun, tropical, kind-hearted and welcoming. The island is stunning, with lots to see and do. Palm trees frame golden coasts and aqua blue seas. You get frequent rain showers but typically those end within minutes before the sun bursts out again blissfully. Everyone is incredibly friendly and the pace of life ticks along refreshingly slowly. Yep, we loved every minute. Seeing as we're fairly familiar with the island now, I thought I'd talk about my favourite colourful locations we discovered whilst staying there.





Read on for my top 5 colourful places to visit that are a must-see in Barbados! 

Dover Beach 
We stayed at the mega colourful Dover Beach Hotel, which I'd definitely recommend if you want the stunningly divine Dover Beach on your doorstep... literally! The room blocks are painted vibrant, rainbow colours and last year as we were situated in the blue block, I gazed adoringly at the pretty pink hotel building but this year we were granted a pink paradisal room of our own! Cue our pink balcony becoming my very own insta outfit shooting backdrop. Dover Beach and the surrounding sights are full of colour and happiness. The area is a must-see if you're after a luxurious hotel stay and a babelicious beach.





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St. Lawrence Gap
Vibrant and funky, St. Lawrence Gap is buzzing with colourful nightlife and dreamy restaurants. We particularly adored Mimosas which overlooked the crashing waves and served the most delicious rose. There are cocktail bars and sunroof cafes, a Chattel village with its own restaurant and many bars that have live music playing during the evenings. Only a five minute stroll from Dover Beach, St. Lawrence Gap provided all the piña coladas and pizza we needed after many a day sight-seeing or beaching it up.


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Holetown Chattel Village 
Holetown is easily one of my favourite places to visit in Barbados. This year we decided to take it easy and mainly have beach days instead of venturing out so much, but Holetown was first on our list when it came to exploring. The Chattel Village is one of the main attractions; brightly coloured huts that materialise as shops, cafes and boutiques, and sit prettily amongst balmy palm trees. The nearby beach is a beauty while there's a cute shopping mall a few minutes away and even a pink phone box!


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The pink phone box 


A personal favourite of mine, this pink gem of a phone box was found during our trip to Holetown, to see the Chattel village. If I'm being honest, it's a superstar in its own right! Perfect for some fun blog photos, we took our opportunity and click-click flashed away.

One of my favourite colourful hot-spots, it's worth a walk by if you're already hitting up Holetown. Opposite the Chattel Village, it's too cute to miss! Not far from the phone box is Holetown beach, a gorgeous haven of soothing waves and unblemished sand. There's also a shopping village nearby with a cafe serving to-die-for smoothies.


Oistins 
Oistins is one of the most talked about must-see places on the island of Barbados. They host their annual fish fry which is a big thing every Friday and also have music and food stalls. Turtles can be spotted by the nearby shores. The brightly coloured huts drew us in but unfortunately we had a bad experience with a dodgy woman who kept offering us a free tour of the island and wouldn't leave us alone, so we fled the place before too long to escape her clutches. A lot of people seem to have gone to Oistins and loved it, and due to its colourful nature I felt it only right to feature it in this blog post too. Despite that one experience last year at Oistins, we felt really safe on the island and it now feels like an absolute home from home.



 ♥︎
Have you ever been to Barbados? 

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Monday, 11 February 2019

Peggy Porschen at Valentine's: La Vie En Rose


So Valentine's fever has hit Peggy Porschen's pink parlour hard. Since my first visit to Peggy Porschen last March, I've become pretty addicted to a cake date there every now and then, and I was especially excited for their La Vie En Rose collection. Every season Peggy Porschen gets a magical make-over, and their Valentine's display didn't disappoint. With a love adornment of flowers lining the entrance, Eiffel Towers lit up in the windows and gorgeous to-die-for pink cupcakes, I was head over heels in L-O-V-E ♥︎

For our Valentine's date (or as I went with my mum and her lovely girlfriend, should that be Galentine's date?) to Peggy Porschen, I opted to wear the most romantic outfit I own. Glittery embellished red heart jeans and a baby pink sweat top with sassy hearts embroidered up the sleeves and a cut-slash front design. For a final injection of pure pink paradise I wore my shocking pink boots from asos, killer and fronting all the February 14th auras. Admiring the gorgeous heart wreath on the entrance door and the twinkling fairy lights amongst the flowers, our attentions soon turned to the stunning Valentine's menu.
Devoted to Peggy Porschen's mega cute hot chocolate art, mum and I chose our drinks with this in mind and were rewarded with an Eiffel Tower masterpiece and an adorable heart design that had me seeing stars. Obsessed with the enchanting cupcakes on display, we selected a pretty pink rose affair atop of the most beautiful icing, and a chocolate love cupcake with sweet little hearts and gorgeous frosting. 



Charming cupcakes aren't the only desirable offerings on the menu, Peggy also has dreamy La Vie En Rose layer cake, the cutest cookies known to woman including perfume bottles, poodles, Eiffel Towers, hearts and roses. I had to capture the magic on camera, and brought my fluffy pink heart bag from Skinnydip along for the ride, a firm February favourite. Who knew February could look so fabulous in the cold? 



Always enamoured with Peggy's seasonal offerings, their La Vie En Rose collection for Valentine's is something else! I'd never been to the parlour before for Valentine's, so this was a really special and memorable trip. Forever thinking ahead, I'm getting very excited about the prospect of what their stunning spring and Easter displays might look like. I can't wait!


Mum's girlfriend loved Peggy Porschen as much as we thought she would, and we enjoyed a girly chat in the parlour whilst adoring all the Parisian prettiness surrounding us. If you're after a girls day out, a cute cupcake date with your one true love or a bit of "you" time, hit up Peggy Porschen for a Valentine's wish come true! I cannot wait to go back very soon, counting the days!


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Have you ever been to Peggy Porschen? 

🧁