Happy Monday! This post was originally written on Friday evening but due to having too much fun enjoying some quality time spent with the family, I’m only now getting a chance to hit publish. The post may be called Friday Favourites but who says you can only appreciate life on one set day? Better late than never, here’s last week’s Friday Favourites post.
I’m currently sat on the plane on my way to a weekend I’ve been looking forward to for the last 6 weeks. When Mum first suggested we go to London and finally visit the Harry Potter Studios as a family weekend away/ belated birthday treat, I’ve never had try so hard to suppress an excited squeal in public before in my entire life. A) London is my favourite city and B) to say I’m a fan of Harry Potter would be a serious understatement. We’re not just talking about religiously watching the movies or reading the books over and over again kind of fan. We’re talking hunting down the last Harry Potter book in the middle of Sri Lanka because I couldn’t wait to get home to read it – that’s dedication to the cause.
As I sit here with my earphone in, Spotify’s Feel Good Friday playlist blasting, on my way to spend the weekend with my family in my favourite city, it feels pretty impossible to be anything but happy right now. It’s Friday and you know the drill, here are this week’s Friday Favourites – a round up of what’s kept me smiling this week.
You’ve heard me bang on about podcasts in almost every Friday Favourites post since January and here I am again with a new discovery (this one’s been around for a while, I’m just late to the game as usual.) When it comes to reading magazines (something I do an unhealthy amount of) I love reading the editor’s letters at the start. It helps to bring the magazine to life right from the very beginning, providing the perfect set up for whats to come in the following pages. I also think with the digital age creeping in and threatening to take over, it makes people incredibly accessible. We watch their snapchat stories, we watch their Youtube vlogs, we follow their every move on Instagram. In print, it can be harder to get to know the important figures behind the beautifully curated content and so with the editor’s letter, you get the chance to get to know your editor a little better.
Taking that idea one step further is Glamour Editor, Jo Elvin, who hosts the Glamour Magazine podcast, Hey, It’s Ok. In each episode of the podcast the Glamour team invites a guest to discuss different topics. I know what you’re thinking – wow Niamh, thanks for the vague description, I’ll definitely take the time to download that podcast now (rolls eyes) but honestly I don’t know how else to describe it. Instead of inviting a guest on and interviewing them in the standard Q&A form, offering obvious plug opportunities for their guest, the Glamour podcast keeps things casual, letting the conversation flow in whatever way comes naturally and because both the hosts and the guests are such amazing women it ends up being a great conversation. There’s still that interview element to the podcast but it’s much more subtle in its approach and feels much more like you’re part of the conversation. Still not satisfied with that explanation? Just trust me on this – download the podcast.
2. Blogging pals
This week I had a little blogging visitor venture down to the South – the lovely Ashlee from Oh So Femme. I initially met Ashlee in December when I worked with her on the Victoria Square styling challenge which you can read all about here. I’m so glad that Gemma (the amazing That Belfast Girl) brought us together for that challenge and since then we’ve developed a little friendship.
You see all of these big bloggers on social media living what seems like a really glam, exciting life with all of these beautiful friends. While I’m not a ‘big’ blogger, from the little that I have experienced of blogging and from all of the behind the scenes articles I’ve read, this isn’t reality. This is the side of blogging that they’ve chosen to show you. In reality, it’s a very competitive, fickle and at times, incredibly intimidating industry. In my experience, you find yourself fending for yourself a lot and while there are a lot of helpful blogging resources out there, you have to figure a lot of it out by yourself. For that reason, it becomes incredibly helpful to have someone within the industry on your side from. Someone who understands how frustrating it is when people buy followers, how intimidating it is walking into an event not knowing anyone and how painfully awkward and a lot of the times cringe it can be when you take out your phone or camera to snapchat in public. Ashlee has become my little blogging agony aunt. She’s been in the game longer than I have and her following proves that. She knows the score when it comes to a lot of the above so whether she likes it or not she’s become my go to gal when I need a second opinion on a blogging idea or when I just need a pep talk that the hard work will pay off someday.
I’ve been fairly lucky with my skin growing up which is both a blessing and a curse. It means that I’ve become pretty lazy with my skin care routine and up until recently really hadn’t been taking care of it very well at all. While I’ve never suffered with acne, as I’ve got a bit older I’ve definitely noticed my skin changing. I’m much more prone to an outbreak of blemishes and spots than I was as a teenager and I’ve realised it’s time to wise up and pay attention to my skin.
Last week out of the blue my cheeks broke out in a few spots, something that very rarely happens to me thankfully. Usually when this happens I turn to a good face mask (Lush BB Seaweed one is my favourite), change my bed sheets and pillow cases and they quickly clear up but this time they weren’t up for clearing up. I’d been given the Garnier Anti-Blemish Clarifying Tonic a few weeks and it’s sat staring back at me up until this week. I thought I may as well give it a try and between the 3 products included in the package, my skin slowly started clearing up. While I was at home last weekend I went to Pure Day Spa to get my brows done and briefly mentioned about my skin to Elaine who to date is the only person I will let near my brows. She took a closer look and suggested I get a good exfoliator to clear up my skin and bring out any ugly blackheads lurking. Following her advice and using exfoliator she gave me, I can happily report that finally my skin has cleared up. I still se the Garnier products twice a day and will definitely be paying more attention to my poor skin from here on out.
4. Taking a step back
It’s funny, every time I move somewhere new, I throw myself into my blog like there’s no tomorrow. On top of that working on my content is something that I really enjoy so it makes sense to me that that’s what I should focus on. However, it seems finding a balance between socialising, trying to create a life for myself in a new city and building my blog up is something that I really need to work on finding.
Since December and up until last week I had been publishing blog posts 4-5 times a week, mostly daily Monday-Friday. Through December while I didn’t have a job, this was completely feasible and helped to bring some structure to my days. Now though, working full time, coming home every evening to blog until it’s time to go to bed is hard to keep up with every day.
I ended up off sick last week and then headed home for the weekend. Normally I would have felt the need to use that time to work on my website but I just didn’t have the energy or drive. Following that week I wrote a post about anxiety and how I was lacking in motivation. After publishing that post I decided to take the pressure off myself a little bit and take more time to enjoy myself fully and pay more attention to how I really felt like spending my down time. This week I’ve noticed a definite shift in my mood so for now I’m just going to go with the flow, focus on the quality of my posts over quantity and take more time to enjoy the company of friends and family while exploring the city of Dublin.
Stay tuned for this week’s posts with a lot of International Women’s Day content coming your way as well as what I got up to in London this weekend.