What I learnt from my 6 month Social Media detox 📱

It was difficult!

At times I literally felt myself in withdrawal.

I made a list to remove unhelpful things from my life.

It looked a little something like this:

  • Alcohol.
  • Meat (Ethical reasons).
  • Toxic People
  • Social Media
  • Jobs that I no longer enjoyed

etc…

Social Media was actually one of the worst. A clear sign I had an addiction. And I’d consider myself a moderate user!


Like most Millennials; Social Media has infiltrated my life. Admittedly I’m more of a Social Media Voyeur than a Poster… but I do go through phases where my virtual friends are probably bombarded with my posts. Sorry!

I’ve even tried removing myself from the online forums but constantly felt like I was missing out on everything. There seems to be an unwritten rule that you are some how ‘outside’ if you don’t use Social Media. Even work expects you to be virtually ‘present’.

During my detox I witnessed the corruption of Facebook, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Law take effect. This makes me feel so much safer because it gives everyone the right to ‘disappear’.

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Negative Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Constantly feeling like you’re missing out on something.
  • Losing work… especially if you’re Freelance.
  • Losing ‘Virtual Friends / Followers’.
  • Missing out on events.
  • People getting irritated because they think you’re ignoring them.
  • Unable to share news on a large scale.
  • Not being able to keep up with recent news about what people are up to.
  • Having access to larger amount of people to talk to.
  • Reconnecting with people from the past.
  • Not being able to Virtually Network.

Positive Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Having ‘A LOT’ more free time.
  • Feeling like you don’t have to compete or compare with others.
  • Feeling more present in my own life.
  • Building stronger connections with my true friends.
  • Concentration improved.
  • Being more satisfied with my own life.
  • Getting more things done.
  • Actually physically meeting people instead of hiding behind a Virtual Avatar.
  • Less lonely.
  • More peaceful.

As you can see Social Media obviously has it’s good points. Especially for work. I don’t think it’s detrimental to your business not to have Social Media but it does have it’s advantages. On the contrary having to find work the old fashioned way has helped me build more authentic contacts as I find on Social Media you can convince people you’re whoever you want to be; which means more Bullsh*ters.

One thing I also realised was that a lot of people who were on the verge of ‘stardom’ disappeared. As soon as I logged out I didn’t really see them anywhere, it was all online. This is not a dig as I know there’s lot’s of famous Vloggers whose main platform is Social Media. It was just an observation.


I still want to create a business and work in a Freelance capacity just in a different area.

How do I do this without conforming to the addiction?

Boundaries.

Looking at the list Pro and Against Social Media I can see it’s healthier to be offline. I still want that level of satisfaction and gratitude for my life without falling into that all too tempting spiral of Compare and Despair.

A few years ago I decided not to stalk ex’s as it just ended up annoying me, and you can’t really see what’s real as like everyone they put up their ‘best life’. Though annoyingly this doesn’t stop them contacting me out the blue! I really don’t like it! I don’t like how Social Media provides a way for them to see what I’m up to. I’ve done the whole ‘blocking’ them on every app, but they still find a way to contact me online. It creeps me out to be honest. Should have put that on the list!

Sorry went on a bit of a rant. Back to more important issues … Boundaries!

So as I mentioned I do think it’s useful to have Social Media in you’re life especially if you’re a Freelancer.

But let’s not forget there’s darker side of the internet.

It’s believed 87 million were affected by the Facebook Scandal. Information about users was purposely divulged without the users consent.

It’s also been suspected that Social Media hacks the microphone in your mobile to listen into your private conversations in order to pick up on keywords. The theory is they do this so they can target you with suspiciously specific advertisements. Not sure if this is true or not.

But check this out.

And what’s scarier is that if you have open privacy or accept requests from people you don’t really know then it could be someone more dangerous than a stupid ex watching you.

I know a lot of my friends post proud pictures and video’s of their children running around having fun just being a kid; sometimes in their bikini or PJ’s. And it’s great they want to share these cherished moments with friends and family. But be aware you are putting these pictures on the internet. ANYONE can get hold of these pictures even if you are being cautious.

Million’s of video’s are shared each day containing abuse of a person who is underaged. And that’s only one’s that we know of, which actually sends chills down my spine.

Blake Lively is an Ambassador for Child Rescue Coalition and this is what she had to say.

DISCLAIMER: Please note some of the issues she talks about are disturbing.

I’m not pointing this out to upset anyone. I just want children and parents to be safe. That’s what I’d want for my child, and any parent I know would want the same.

Here’s my tips on using Social Media safely and constructively:

Safe:

  • Instead of putting pictures online. Maybe create a WhatsApp group with Friends and Family where a large group of people can see pictures of you child. This is what a friend of mine does.
  • But if you do want to upload make sure you know everyone on your Network. I’d say something like Facebook is easier to use as with Instagram/ Twitter anyone can follow you. Unless you have a locked account.
  • Make your account private.
  • Steer clear of uploading pictures of your children in bikini’s or anything like that. There are predators out there and they are very smart and will be drawn to pictures like this. Unfortunately this is the world we live in.
  • Be careful of checking in. This could encourage stalking or for people to know you’re not at your home to protect it.
  • Personal details… emails, phone numbers…. credit card details! Keep it to yourself.
  • If your child has their own account. Be aware of who their talking to. Predators often disguise themselves as the same age as your child. And what’s scary is that predators can also be young. So it’s difficult to distinguish.
  • They can also coerce your child … making the child besotted with them. So be aware for any behavioural changes in your child when they use Social Media.
  • Check on the types of photo’s they are posting. It may seem innocent to them but maybe catnip to a predator.
  • If you’re dating online. Make sure you properly research the person, ask around if you have mutual friends. Let a friend know where you will be if you meet up with this online person. Because most of the time they are a complete stranger.

Again I’m not just trying to be dark. I genuinely think Social Media can be fun, but let’s not be naïve.

Constructive:

  • It’s easy to scroll and scroll and then realise 4 hours have gone by. If you are going to scroll one tip that helped me was to set a timer. Therefore you can moderate the time you’re on it without wasting too much time.
  • Write a list of what you need to do online and do it. It’s the prerogative of Social Media to distract you. You’re about to do something then something else pops up with pretty pictures then you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of online timewasting.
  • Research people who could help your business, write down their name/details then log off. See is you can email them directly or If you have to message them online do it then log off. Don’t sit there and wait for a reply, it’s too temping to scroll.
  • With Facebook there’s a separate app ‘Messenger’ which you can use to just talk to people without physically going onto Facebook. There’s nothing more depressing then going online and seeing you have a tonne of notifications only to realise it’s all irrelevant.
  • Post what you need to and log off. Don’t wait for a comment or keep checking. This creates ‘Validation Seeking’ which is harmful to your self esteem.
  • With my Blog I’ve found a way to connect my posts to my Social Media. So it means I don’t have to physically go on each site and post. The blog posts it on all these platforms for me, so it prevents me from going online and checking. Obviously it’s nice to see comments but no comment has been that miraculous it’s worth losing my inner peace for. The checking is a compulsion that must be controlled; otherwise it controls you.
  • If you really can’t control your need for Social Media. I would suggest a cold turkey ban. I know it feels like you’ve gone to live on Mars but I promise you, you’re rarely missing much.
  • Get a friend to post for you. Therefore you can’t indulge.
  • Have a purpose. Write down all the things in your life that are suffering because of your online addiction. Maybe there’s a book you can’t seem to finish. Or an unfinished project etc…
  • Delete Apps and always be logged out. This will make it more difficult to just log in as you have to go through the hassle of going to the website, typing in your password etc…

So my post went a slightly different direction from what I expected it to. But nevertheless I felt it was an important message to convey.

I would recommend anyone who is worried about an addiction to Social Media to give yourself a limited break. Make sure you have a set date when you can go back on … trust me it will make the withdrawal easier. Let people who you want to keep in contact with know what you are doing, or you could even announce it in your status. Depending how you feel.

I would really recommend it. After the initial shock I felt so much happier and felt I could easily never log in again. It was interesting as soon as I started flirting with the idea of being virtually present that obsessive, compulsive side started wanting more and more. So this is why I’ve had to have strict boundaries to ensure I stay present in my actual life instead of my virtual one. And share my life with people who I want in my life instead of a load of strangers.

Hope you enjoyed my post. If you would like to read more articles like this please make sure you subscribe to my blog to read my latest posts.

Stay safe!

Warmest Regards

Part 1: I want to lose weight but I don’t like exercise and love food too much #Help !! 🍦🍔🍟

This has been a lifelong dilemma.

And to be honest I think it has been for most women.

So what do we do if we haven’t got a naturally super fast metabolism? Apart from cry….

 

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The problem:

I used to work at a Gym. And what I saw was a lot of clients regularly attending the gym with militant discipline; even spending a small fortune on trainer’s with minimal results.

Why?

I think one of the main reasons was black and white thinking. They separated their life from exercise. I’ve been guilty of this in the past; not believing in the power of small changes. They take the lift, think they can be slack with food because they work so hard in the gym 3 x times a week. Unfortunately it doesn’t;t really work like that.

For me, I can’t think of anything worse than being constantly active. I’m already running around like a headless chicken with stress draining every bit of energy I have.

What used to annoy me was some Personal Trainers lack of ability to consider peoples lifestyles. They had a ‘if you really want it attitude that was more judgemental than helpful. I’d like to see exercise as much as they do with a demanding full time job in another field and even children!
Lifestyle:

You think the way I run around I’d be skinny as anything but I’m not. In fact I’m the biggest I’ve ever been (Size 12 pushing size 14). I’ve always had child bearing hips which the modelling industry hated, but unfortunately I can’t slim down bone.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food and my body. I’m not good to my body, I’ll be the first one to admit it, then I criticise it for not being how I want it.

I’ve denied myself food in the past. Especially as a kid, I was referred to as lanky. But then I moved in with my Dad who was a big foodie and I could eat anything I want and all hell broke loose. I went from the strict upbringing from my Grandparents to the chaotic lifestyle I lived with my Dad. Funny enough this is the relationship I have with food… all or nothing.

I don’t really think London is healthy. I live off sandwiches and sushi and find I’m hungry again in an hour. There is a theory that a lot of fast food chains are in cahoots with diet/slimming companies as keeping us in the gaining weight/loosing weight cycle makes serious bucks!!

The constant buzz means stress levels are constantly high, and stress burns energy so we need more food to just keep going. Stress also releases cortisol which makes it almost impossible to shift that tire around your mid section.

Watching Netflix until silly o’clock in the morning disrupts sleep, spiking cortisol contributing to the Michelin Man look.

Coffee spikes your insulin resulting in a hunger crash. Your body is constantly running on empty so it’s trying to hold anything it can to keep you going.

And you wonder why you’re not losing weight?

You go hours without food, then stuff it in like it’s the last supper. And then that creates a habit for binge eating as you probably don’t know what feeling full really feels like (and no I’m not referring to feeling like your about to combust, I’m talking about feeling like you’ve had sufficient).
Methods I’ve tried:

I’ve tried pretty much everything!

Consistency is my issue.

I’ve spent many years in the gym realising I don’t actually like this. I like the feeling after and feeling motivated but it’s quick and easy to go back to old habits. Actually yes, it’s part discipline and part not having a purpose. I would rather read or write then put myself through pain. And what’s the point I’m not training to be an athlete nor am I about to be on the front cover of Vogue… so what’s the point in putting myself through this torture?
Slimming Pills:

Yes. I got super slim off them, I was also early twenties and didn’t know they were basically speed! My hair fell out, I kept getting bites that were quick to get infected. I was cold not matter how hot it was and I was constantly in a fowl mood (the model agencies loved it!)

As soon as I stopped my course, the hunger came back with vengeance! I abused McDonalds and just could not get enough. My body literally took over my will. It was then I realised it was all good and well losing the weight, but not I realised I had to keep it off!

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That pose! Eek! 😣

Trying to keep up an unrealistic lifestyle:

I was surrounded by Personal Trainers and Models all giving me extreme weight loss advice. I began a cycle of rebelling and bingeing, then punishing myself at the gym. Only now do I realise I had/have bulimic tendencies. I wasn’t throwing up so I didn’t see it like that. The more I was ordered to loose weight from agencies the more I got scared and ate more. I should have realised then my heart wasn’t really in it.

I normalised these extreme lifestyles and berated myself if I couldn’t keep up. May I add a lot of these people (not all) had some kind of ‘help’ in the form of slimming pills, detox teas, fat burners or in some extreme cases steroids.

This lifestyle was not for me. I might have been a lot slimmer but I was miserable.

Quick Fixes:

Ok so no pills.

But I can drink warm water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon instead of food right?

Wrong. You’re supposed to do this for a few weeks, I got to two days. It was awful! And at the end just lost water instead of fat, and was more hungry than I’ve ever been so started eating twice as much as before.

I hear baby food works?

Tried it. Apart from it being gross, it has no nutritional value. I’ve recently learnt if you don’t give your body what it wants it keeps sending the hunger pangs until you do. That’s why even though you feel full after a whole day of carbs your appetite will increase because A) You’re eating more to compensate and more eating will lead to eating more and B) Your not helping your body so it starts nagging. If you want your body to help you, you have to help it.

A few of my friends have tried detox teas and pills that make you drain out the fat when you go to the loo (eww). I was always too scared and yes they had some public accidents… so I really REALLY don’t recommend this!

Psychology books:

I liked this as it got to the root cause of my erratic eating patterns. I also think there’s an underlining belief women shouldn’t have a healthy appetite. I know there’s a lot of men who like but I’ve had experiences where some men have made comments, that I think were used to shame me.

‘Mind your fingers’

‘You’re not still hungry are you?’

‘Gosh you like you’re food don’t you’

‘Are you really getting more food’

‘You don’t have discipline’

‘That’s a lot of food you have on your plate’

I will eat however I bloody well like, and it’s not for you to make comments!

One of the books suggested really listening to your body to see when it’s full and to stop there even if you haven’t finished your food. I HATE seeing food to go to waste! As a kid I didn’t care, I left what I didn’t want…wish I could do that now. Think that comes from too many years of being guilt tripped about all the starving children there are in the world. That’s quite a lot to put on a child. I wish I could go back to my natural hunger thermostat.

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The Solution:

I’ve come to realise it’s not all my fault. I’m not giving myself a get out of jail free card I admit my motivation and discipline could be worked on. Lets concentrate on what we can do.

Over the next year I will be experimenting from a more self compassionate approach and see how this works. This isn’t to say I’m going to be over lenient with myself I will still have boundaries (with myself), I’ve tried being hard on myself and all it does is demotivate me and makes me reach for the chips!

Sleep:

I’m going to start with the basics. I haven’t got a work routine at the moment so I have to make one for myself. I need to get to know myself properly and what works for me, and what changes I need to make. For example, I only watch what I eat when I’m exercising otherwise what’s the point (needs changing).

Sleep is so important. We can survive days/weeks without food, but sleep more than two night and we start going mad. Even that’s a stretch!

Exercise increases our energy levels. But the first hurdle into exercising when your already burn out is exhausting and I think tough on the body. So how do we get new energy to exercise? More sleep.

I’m guilty of this electronics keeping me awake, my stupid phone beeping to tell me I’ve got a new junk email or what the weather is going to be tomorrow. Turn it all off. I know it’s boring and tempting to what more episode, (I’m not denying that you need some winding down time after work or school).

Make sure you got to bed at a certain time each night. This takes practise, even if your are going to bed most nights on time, that is good enough. I understand this is especially difficult with kids.

I’ve come to realise anything you put before your mental and physical health you ultimately lose. For example, putting work before your health can make you sick. You get sick you cannot work.

If your anything like me, my mind is constantly racing and my body is constantly exhausted relying on caffeine to get me through the next hour. This is not uncommon for Londoners.

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So this will be my first step is to sort out my sleep.

Tools:

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I’m easily infuriated by the food prices in London. How is a Sandwich close to £5. It’s ridiculous!

List:

  • Grill Pan …. I bought this as you can through on some salmon or meat with some vegetables. It’s quick and easy especially if you want a nutritious healthy meal that’s quick!
  • Frylight ….This is 1 kcal per spray. I love Olive Oil and it’s somewhat healthy for you, but just in the beginning it’s best to start with something lighter.
  • Tupperware….You’re going to need a lot of these. I suggest 1 set of different sizes, and a few set’s of the same size. Preferably one’s you can carry around with you.
  • Trainers … I used to run a lot and ended up getting Shin Splints if you want to know what they are click here. It’s really painful and are normally caused by ill fitting or old trainers. I recently started getting pain at the side of my legs and when I went to buy some new trainers in ‘Lilywhites’ they had a device where you stepped onto it and it told you where you put the most pressure on your feet and presented me with the perfect trainer to solve the problem. My foot arch is really high so I over compensate by putting all the weight on the outside of the foot causing a ripping pain on the outside of the leg.

That’s about it really.

Next step is to find out what you enjoy. This will give you a taste for exercise in an enjoyable way. The subconscious is programmed to want more of things so as soon as you get those endorphins going the brain will want more. And you start seeing results, the brain will want more.

I like walking so I’m going to try and incorporate that more. I also use a website called ‘Borrow my doggy’ where you can borrow an owners dog in your area to take out for a while. I fell in loves with Alaska, she’s a 3 year old Siberian Husky !

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I check my phone after and I’ve normally done about 20,000 and not even noticed!

I’ve always wanted to try dance, so I’m going to give that a go. Also if you like running maybe you could do it with a friend. Or even swimming? Anything to get you interested again.

If you suffer with depression I know exercise is the equivalent to an anti-depressant but depression itself is starting to be recognised as a physical illness. It drains your body of energy and makes you feel like your being dragged down constantly.

Don’t feel bad if you can only do a small amount, this isn’t suggested because your not capable. It’s suggested because like anyone with a chronic illness it’s a sometimes a little bit more difficult, and it’s not fair as your not always starting at the same place in the race as everyone else. Trust me I should know.

Sometimes I see if anyone’s around to go for a walk with. Or I walk and treat myself at the end with a coffee. Because even though it seems like a small step, the way your body is, it would probably equal to someone who isn’t suffering with depression going on a 30 minute run! There’s actually I great app I sometimes use that builds up your fitness over time. You actually start with mainly walking! It’s called ‘Running for weight loss’ and because it’s interval training it builds up your fitness gradually, which is actually the key for consistency.

Being Realistic:

I’m never going to have the body of Pussy Cat Doll because I don’t have a Nutritionist, Personal Trainer on hand as well as probably doing 10 hours of dancing a day. I’m always going to be curvy and have soft parts. There’s a saying that goes …. ‘I wish I could be fat like I was at 25’. This is so true! I’ve always seen myself as over weight even when I was actually clinically underweight. And this is because you really can’t have an objective view of yourself as you see your body in your minds eye.

For example, if I always see myself as over weight, my brain will think that’s my natural state. So it will self sabotage to ensure that internal image is matched with reality. That’s why it’s really important to recognise and celebrate your progress. Taking photo’s helps.

Just a note: Don’t be too discouraged by the first picture that comes out. Remember weight in transient. Granted we all have different genes, lifestyles, metabolisms etc… but things like appetite, health and weight are adaptable. Weight should have no attachment to your sense of self… easy to say I know. But it shouldn’t. Also remember not all of this is your fault there are many factors that contribute to your weight stress and life events, bad quality food that’s too easily available, marketing ploys to play on your hunger, energy levels, criticism from the external etc….

Also if you look at any ‘diet’ it comes down to the same.

Healthy Eating + Exercise = Weight Loss.

I will obviously document my progress through out with photographs and evidence. I’m going to give myself a year because I think that’s how long it takes to make something a lifestyle choice. Some people may do it in a shorter time, and after a month it does become a habit but a real consistent lifestyle, for me, take around a year.

This blog also gives me a purpose to keep motivated. As I know how horrible it is to hate your body and feel trapped in this cycle of always being starving followed by guilt and shame. Something’s got to give!

I hope you can take away some tips and motivation from my posts.

Here we go!

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Warmest Regards

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Top 5 Drug Store Nude Lipsticks

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Trying to find the perfect nude is a bit like trying to find the Holy Grail.

It feels impossible.

But (without sounding like an Oracle) … I have the answer…. if not something very close!


 

Charlotte Tilbury promised to end our desperate searching for the perfect nude lipstick with her revolutionary lipstick PILLOW TALK . I tried it on and to be honest it felt sublime and gave my lips that soft pillowy effect (should do for the price tag).

The velvet consistency glided over my lips like a burnt sienna fantasy!


 

BUT!!!

I don’t think you have to break your bank account to achieve a blonde bombshell pout.

Here’s my drug store recommendations:

RIMMEL: Kate Moss Range in 42

PRICE: £3.99

I love this! It’s such a fresh pink tone nude! So pretty! Kate Moss is the Nineties Queen of nude lipsticks and smoky eyes so you know you’re in good hands.

It’s affordable and can be worn with a slick of mascara or a signature supermodel smoky eye look.

It’s semi glossy but not too much; it’s light compared to the other nudes but I like that. Especially if I’m tanned!

I wish the product would have had a cool name to go with it as I’m a stickler for this marketing technique. But alas it’s just a number.

 

 

BOUJOUIS: Velvet Lip in FLORIBEIGE

PRICE: £8.49

As you can see this product is more of an orangey nude. It’s velvet description is on point; the texture has a mousse feel to it and goes on consistently without any streaking.

I recommend coupling product this with a lip liner, even though I haven’t as I wanted you to see the product in it’s full glory. The reason I say this is because it seems to feather at the edges of the lips and doesn’t define well on it’s own.

It claims to be long lasting, unfortunately it wasn’t. I just put it straight onto my lips; maybe if you lay a primer underneath it will last longer. But definitely not 24 hours as it claims.

 

 

MAYBELLINE: Colour Sensational in TANTALIZING TAUPE

PRICE: £6.99

This flatters a natural look because of it’s sheer, light weight and understated appearance. You could even wear this colour over another nude, but I think it stands well on it’s own.

My lips are naturally pale so they can really show the nude colour for what it is. If you have more rosy red lips I’d suggest blotting a bit of foundation over your lips if you’re going for an authentic nude.

Not all nudes suit my skin tone, especially if it’s too light; you want the lips to look full and juicy … not anaemic. This is why a lot of trial and error is involved! As you can see I have a fair skin complexion but also I have a slight yellow undertone, so I have to try lots of colours to see what matches.

I love this colour because it has a tinge of mauve; this may sound odd but it really does look good! Just like salt and caramel shouldn’t go together but my God it does… so well!

I remember Angelina Jolie in her ‘Tomb Raider’ days mentioning she used a lipstick with grey tone to give her those pouty, voluptuous lips we fell in love with when she was ‘Lara Croft’…I figured if it’s good enough for Angelina.

Also out of all of them, this colour smelt amazing!. It reminded me of the vanilla essence they used to infuse ‘My Little Pony’ with which I loved. It reminds me of childhood where my love of makeup was first introduced by my Mum.

 

 

BARRY M: Satin Super Slick Lipstick in TRUFFLE SHUFFLE

PRICE: £4.99

This is the Kim Kardashian of the nudes. If I had to personify this colour, I’d say she was confident, sexy, knows what she wants and gets what she wants!

She’s a pouting princess…but I kind of love her! This colour plumps up your lips ten fold!

It’s very glossy and creamy but at the same time highly pigmented.

Personally this is more of a night time colour and I’d wear it with a natural eye. I think with a smoky eye it might be a bit much for me, but if you can pull it off … hats off to you!

 

 

GOSH: Touch Lipstick NUDE 162

PRICE: £7.99

Last but not least we have our coral, lustre gloss. This is gorgeous! It’s a mandarin colour that compliments my skin tone and I’d imagine most people’s to be honest!

This colour is for when you’re on the beach and it’s too hot to wear makeup. So you slick a bit of this lipstick on and the tropical colour reflects the suns gleaming rays perfectly.

Or…..

If your stuck in a polluted concrete jungle like I am in London. You can still play out this fantasy by slicking a bit of this on and letting your mind wonder to the most exotic parts of the world.

This would look amazing with coral eyeshadow and bronze!

Only thing with sheer lipsticks is that they are quick to diminish. So it may mean carrying the lipstick around with you, which I don’t mind as the glossy texture works well as a balm for hydrating my lips.

 

 

So there we are. My TOP 5 Affordable Drug Store Nudes. In a later post I will be writing about my Top 5 Luxury Nude Lipsticks. I’m sure you can guess which product will already be on that list.

It’s Summer Time so whack on the Aviators and slick on a nude colour that would make Kylie Jenner jealous!

 

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Hope to see you guys soon!

Enjoy the Sun!

Warmest Regards

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Pride Make Up 🌈

Yayyyyyyyyyy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so excited for PRIDE!

It’s a celebration for people of any race, gender, age etc… to love being who they are!

I had such fun creating this look! (As you can probably see).

Pride originated from the LGBT community; but now it’s so much more! The rainbow flag is a symbol of self acceptance with pride.


 

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The streets of Soho are filled with rainbows and I am EXCITED !!!!!

Let me break down my Pride/Festival look for you:


 

EYES:

Eyes are the window to the soul, especially with stars around them!

  • First I started with the base. I used Laura Mercier Eye Primer in ‘FLAX’. The consistency of this product is really smooth, and the mousse texture makes eyeshadow blending a pleasure, rather than a flaking nightmare!
  • Next I used MAC eyeshadow in ‘DEEP TRUTH’ . I tried to research it so I could link it for your guys but they don’t seem to stock it anymore. But I found an identical alternative in a NARS eyeshadow called ‘ARCTURUS’. I picked up a trick online where you put eyeshadow on the inner and outer corners of the eye and leave the centre… (all will be revealed why we did this later on).
  • Then I got some masking tape and lined it diagonally from the outer corner of my eyes to the hair line. It’s a good idea to take away some of the stickiness by placing it on your arm and taking it off so your eye area doesn’t feel like it’s being waxed! You want it tacky not super sticky.
  • Next I used MAC eyeshadow in ‘CRANBERRY’. This is a really pretty maroon colour. Even though I want this look to be colourful, I purposely chose to go a bit darker on my eyes to give definition but also to keep it fashion. I dusted this into the crease line and over the masking tape. I then removed the tape, and fingers crossed it should give you a razor sharp maroon cat eye. Feel free to smudge the edges if it’s too intense.
  • I then went back to the centre of my eye and using my wedding ring finger applied a tiny bit of NARS creamy concealer in ‘CANNELLE’.
  • Now for the fun bit! Using STILA Glitter eyeshadow in ‘DIAMOND DUST’. I applied it over the centre over my eyes adding a touch of fairy dust (not really but it looks like it!). This creates a glossy 3D effect that is sexy and fun at the same time! I also put a bit of glitter in the corner of my eyes to let people know I am serious about glitter!!!

 

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  • For under the bottom lash line I used SHISEIDO eye colour trio. This royal purple is so luxurious! I love mixing it in with brown eyeshadow too to give a beautiful warm autumnal (or if you’re in America ‘Fall’ look). Just line the eyes underneath and there we are…. Purple Perfection! This colour also especially compliments green eyes.
  • Next I lined my eye lids using EYEKO Fat Liner to accentuate and bring the look together. I drew the line slightly beyond the inner corner of my eye to give length. I also traced the liner against the already cut maroon line that we made earlier using eyeshadow and masking tape, adding to our feline shape. I wanted a thicker line because the rest of the Make Up is so wild I didn’t want the eyeliner to drown in colour, so I gave it enough width to stand on it’s own two feet. This particular product as it’s amazing for adding impact.
  • Next I applied a coat of Mascara on both the top and bottom eyelashes. Just so they merge naturally in with the falsies. I recommend Eyeko Mascara in ‘BLACK MAGIC’.
  • Now this is tricky and I suggest using tweezers. I applied cult classic HUDA eyelashes in ‘SAMANTHA’. Don’t you just love it when your eyelashes have the same name as you! I love these eyelashes! I give them a curl with the curlers just to really open the eye. The hairs are so natural looking instead of some of those plastic, spikey versions you get in drug stores. They also last so I’d say it’s worth the price tag!
  • I then just drew in the waterline using MAC liner in ‘RISQUE’. To really open the eye and make your eyes look as big as possible. I suggest using a flesh colour as against white as it merges in more naturally.
  • I pencilled in my brows using NARS brow pencil in ‘SURINAME’. This is easy to use and natural. See my post on Eyebrows to see how I maintain my brows.
  • Last but not least the STARS! I actually got these from the post office for £1.99. They came in big and small sizes and I just had fun with them. I would suggest using the same glue that you’d use for your false eyelashes as if you’re out they may flick off… this is not the time for Shooting Stars! Note: These go on at the end when the rest of you Make Up is complete.

 

LIPS:

  • I wanted this look to be quite edgy so I used a dark cherry colour. I actually used a NYX colour which I bought in Melbourne, Australia. But I’m having trouble tracking it down in the UK (I’m sorry not doing great with the updated products today!) But you’re in luck as I found a gorgeous gothic replica. GOSH Lip colour in ‘TWILIGHT’. You can add gloss but I prefer to keep it semi matte.

 

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BASE:

  • I normally do the base after my eye makeup because A) Eyes take the longest to Make Up and B) You don’t have wipe off foundation if there’s fall out from the eyeshadow. I used GLOSSIER skin tint in ‘LIGHT’. This gives a natural but radiant finish.
  • I then used BOBBI BROWN powder in ‘PALE YELLOW’ to bake the skin tint so it stays in place. I decided to use extra powder as I knew I’d be on camera and dewiness can look like oiliness behind the lens. Baking makes it easier to contour and blush smoothly and easily without the dreaded patchiness. It really is all about the base.
  • I used MAC mineralize bronzer in ‘GIVE ME SUN!’ to give me a golden glow. I contoured quite loosely as I wanted to keep it natural as the eyes and lips were so intense.
  • I wanted a pretty flush so I used MAC mineralize blush in ‘HAPPY-GO-ROSY’. I love this colour but be careful as it’s highly pigmented so it’s easy to overdo and end up looking like a Russian Doll. Dust lightly for a healthy radiance.
  • To finish off the base I used MAC mineralize highlighter in ‘BARELY DRESSED’. You can wet this product to give an ultra beaming look but for today I want to just want a slight twinkle. I glided this across my cheekbones, tip of the nose, under the eyebrow and on the cupids bow. It’s great for illuminating the face and giving dimension.

 

HAIR:

  • I wanted a colourful ombre effect in my hair to compliment my funky look. I was going to dip dye with pink but then I came across L’OREAL hair colour spray in ‘LAVENDER’. I wasn’t overly impressed with this colour. It’s great if you just want a bit of fun for the weekend; but want it gone before work on Monday morning. Like most spray’s it made my hair quite hard and spiky, and the colour also rubbed off on my skin. I like the colour but as you can see it didn’t match what was on the packaging. On my hair it looked like more of a cool blue tone. But it was advertised as more of a pink/purple. Which like I said I don’t mind just wish it would have stayed true to form.

 

I am a massive self confessed Ru Paul Drag Race fan. And am loving Season 10… Team Asia all the way! I was inspired by Aquaria’s Make Up that she did on Jeffree Star. Obviously I didn’t want to copy the look exactly otherwise I might have a law suit on my hands! But definitely took inspiration from this vivacious look!

 


 

Colour seems to be the in thing right now. I was in Central London the other day and was happy to see vibrant stands from luxury brands; especially in Selfridges.

 

 

Dior is one of the top contenders that I saw, which is pleasantly surprising as they’re usually quite a conservative brand. They’ve really made a huge splash with this recent colour collection and spread their wings by appealing to a younger demographic! I’m dying to try the purple mascara!!

Gone are the days when blue eyeshadows were frowned upon post eighties. Colour is back and is taking the Make Up world by storm! I say mix and match people! Purple eyeshadow with pink unicorn lipstick; fluorescent yellow lids with blood red lips… do it all!

Lets love who we are! Make Up should be fun not something we fear, it’s an expression of ourselves. We only have one life lets make it full of happiness, fun and colour!

 

Come celebrate at Pride! And I might see you there!

 

Warmest Regards

 

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‘Sometimes you simply cannot save people from themselves’ – Reta Saffo (Kate Spade’s Sister)

The world is still reeling from the shock of losing one of Fashion’s biggest icons.

On Tuesday the 5th of June 2018 Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Kate Spade was found dead. Her body hanging by a red scarf in her New York Appartment, she was aged just 55.

I’m not sure if there’s a rise in suicide or if there is just more awareness surrounding the issue as it’s normally people in the public eye who draw attention to an already ongoing problem. But it seems more than ever people are starting to realise the drastic impact Mental Health issues can have on a person, which fingers crossed is a sign things are changing. I pray this encourages understanding and compassion and is no longer a taboo subject.


The will to survive is in every living creature. So it seems to be going against what’s natural to take your own life. The desire to end life must be so strong it overrides the inbuilt survival instinct which is in our DNA.

It’s always a bit more of a shock when someone who seems to ‘have it all’ takes their own life. There’s an assumption that if we have money, success, family, marriage etc… we will be happy, it’s the ‘lack’ that’s the ‘problem’ we convince ourselves. Kate’s case goes to show this is simply not true.

‘Peace comes from within. Do no seek it without.’

– Buddha

There’s truth in what Kate’s Sister said. I have never committed suicide, obviously, but I have been tempted in my darkest hour. For me personally ‘hope’ got me through. And a faith that things would get better.

It’s possible to say that when someone takes their own life, all hope and faith has been extinguished. Ultimately it is your choice to go through with the act, no matter how much loved ones try to convince you otherwise. You have to believe you have something to live for in order to survive.


People who we’ve have lost to suicide in the last few years:

 

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Robin Williams:

Renowned Actor & Comedian.

Known for his exceptional talent and lovable personality.

Born: 21st July 1951

Died: 11th August 2014

 

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Avicii aka Tim Bergling:

Swedish DJ/Musician

He was only 28 y/o at the time of his death.

Born: 8th September 1989

Died: 20th April 2018

 

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Chester Bennington:

Lead singer of American Rock Band ‘Linkin Park’.

One of my favourite bands growing up!

Born: 20th March 1976

Died: 20th July 2017

 

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Stevie Ryan:

American YouTube star and Comedian.

Beautiful, witty and funny.

Born: 2nd June 1984

Died: 1st July 2017

 

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Alexander McQueen (CBE):

World famous Fashion Designer and Celebrity.

Talented, young and at the Top of his game.

Born: 17th March 1969

Died: 11th February 2010

 

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Kate Spade:

Famous Fashion Designer and Business Entrepreneur.

Mother, Wife and Business Woman.

Born: 24th Dec 1963

Died: 5th June 2018


Looking from the outside, I’m sure you’ll agree all these people had everything to live for. So what goes on in the mind to make suicide seem like the only option?

A friend of mine Jonny Benjamin who is a Mental Health Campaigner, Author and Vlogger; made an incredible Documentary about his experience with suicide and mental illness.

The Documentary follows Jonny as he searches for ‘Mike’ a random member of the public who saved his life that early morning in 2008.

Jonny who suffers from Schizophrenia, was loitering around the edge of Waterloo Bridge in a very bad way. Totally ignored by the tyrant of people hastily trying to get to work in morning rush hour. One man stopped. This man was ‘Mike’ aka Neil Layborn. He convinced Jonny to step away from the edge. Thankfully Jonny listened!

He didn’t know who this kind stranger was, so he named him ‘Mike’ and set up a Campaign called ‘Find Mike’. This was a nationwide search to find the Samaritan who saved his life that morning.

You can watch the full documentary here:

Stranger on the Bridge – Jonny Benjamin

Jonny, like myself, believes in challenging stubborn stigmas surrounding mental illness. Unfortunately there are some people who cannot seem to pull themselves out of the dark ages. They believe mental illness is only for the ‘weak’, when actually it takes a monumental amount of strength to carry on when your brain is trying to destroy you, every….single….day!

Some also believe ‘Suicide is selfish’. I’m sorry but this angers me! Its short sighted, simplistic thinking and just plain ignorant! Yes, I feel sorry for the person who has to find the body, but I also feel sorry for the person who was in so much pain that they believed the only way to make it stop was to die!

Advice for people contemplating suicide:

  • The mind is an extremely power entity. Mental illness is a disease of the thoughts. It intertwines itself with your sense of self, forcing you to believe a distorted reality. This illness wants to destroy you. You are more than just an illness.
  • Chronic thoughts circulate themselves over and over and over again. I know this is torture and can be like listening to a tap drip for years on end. But there is help out there, and maybe you have tried many therapies and it’s not worked. It’s normally to do with connection and the relationship you have with your therapist. The right one will make you see what these thoughts for what they really are…edited, biased bullsh*t versions of the truth.
  • Try and hang onto that little bit of hope that has seen you through so many times before. Hope is truth.
  • Sometimes you may not even want to die you just want your mind and pain to stop. The sick part of your mind tells you that there is no other way out. And worryingly this sick voice can disguise itself as the voice ‘trying to help you’. Anything in your mind trying to convince you to cause you harm is not on your side!
  • You’re not alone. Coming from someone who is still grieving the loss of my close family (especially my parents) I can relate to what true loneliness feels like. What kept me going was thinking about how much my Mum wanted to have me, and how heartbroken she would have been if I’d gone through with any sinister plans. I have a duty to keep the legacy of my parents alive. If your family are alive, just think about the pain you passing away would cause. Even after an argument, for example, you may feel vengeful and impulsive. There is no coming back from that decision. Is the value of your life worth that little?
  • Suicide is never a pleasant experience. I don’t think people understand how much the body fights to survive. I’ve heard of overdoses that can leave people in agony for days before they die. Or you may survive and end up with brain damage. Also a lot of people flirt with suicide without actually wanting to die, but things get out of hand and they can actually kill themselves without meaning to.
  • Build a strong support network around you. This is difficult to do, especially in cities. Which is why I attend a support group full of like minded people who understand, it’s important to find your tribe. You’re not alone, no matter how much your mind is telling you that you are.
  • Gratitude lists. In moments of immense pain your mind only focuses on the negative and catastrophises everything that is ‘wrong’ with your life unable to see anything good at all. Looking at the things you like about your life will stop you drowning in dangerous thinking. Gratitude lists can help you see things with a more balanced view.
  • If things are getting out of control call an ambulance. Your life is in danger, just like it would be if your body was hurt.
  • There’s always a solution to every problem.
  • Night time is never a good idea to make decisions about your life. Wait until the morning to see how you feel.

Helplines:

Samaritans: 116 123

Papryus: 0800 068 4141

Maytree: 020 7263 7070

I also discovered this website which I thought was really good. It’s letters from people who have experienced a range of different Mental Health issues. One of the main things to realise is that you can be helped, no matter what’s happened or how weird and painful your thoughts are; you’re not the only one in this boat facing the storm.

http://therecoveryletters.com/

There have been times when I’ve not believed things would ever change or get better, and I will be destined to continue to think in this horrible way 24/7 forever. Even worse what if these thought are true!? They’re not.

If you have survived suicide or lost someone close to you by suicide there is help for the aftermath:

http://supportaftersuicide.org.uk/

http://www.survivorsofsuicide.com/

https://uksobs.org/

Three D’s:

If you can relate to thoughts similar to the following I’d say you’ve spiralled into a dark, deceiving mood.

DOWNING: ‘Everything is hopeless. You’ll never get to where you want to be. Everyone else can do everything and you can’t because there’s something wrong with you. In fact everything you’ve tried has pretty much been a f*ck up. No one will ever understand these weird thought’s I’m having I don’t even understand them… I’m incurable and will always have to suffer’. (Sound Familiar?).

DEMANDING: ‘Look how old you are, you should be successful in your career/relationships/ personal life by now! Why haven’t you ever got the energy to do anything your so far behind everyone else you can’t even get to work/school on time! Why are you never happy you should be grateful! Why can’t you keep to anything to set out to do! You should be exercising but your too lazy!’ (Ergh go away you horrible F%4*6!rd voice).

DISASTERISING: ‘You’re going to turn up at that event and so and so is going to be there and you won’t be able to handle it! I bet he still thinks about his ex, and wonders why he is with you! I’m never going to be able to start this way of thinking! And then I’m going to have to go on benefits for the rest of my life because I’m too ill and won’t be able to hold down a job! Oh no I’m going to end up with 100 cats when I’m old… who would want me.’

And you wonder why you’ve had enough…

It’s a well known saying that ‘Confidence is quiet. Insecurities are loud.’ There’s something in you that believes things will get better, it’s the same voice that has carried you through all these years. This voice is to be trusted, no matter how small and quiet it is at the moment… it’s your strength.

 

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Let your faith by bigger than your fear. And be kind to yourself. You’ve been through enough.

Get help. Don’t always trust what your mind is trying to get you to believe. Don’t become another statistic. You’re not alone.

Take care of your beautiful, unique self.

Warmest Regards

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Toxic Family Members… Protecting your #MentalHealth ☠

Families can be a dream; an absolute nightmare… or both!

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‘Blood is thicker than water’… apparently.

Families can be wonderful… but they can also be horrendous! Especially if you add money into the equation. $$££

I’ve just finished a 2 year battle with my estranged Uncle regarding the drastic (and weird) changes to my Maternal Grandmothers Will (this may I add is my Late Mothers Brother). It became really vicious, and there was lots of betrayal and lies involved.

Life decided to cram in about 100 life lessons in the space of that 2 years! My faith became stronger than ever which I am grateful for. I was forced to trust myself and know that I was fighting for justice; no matter how much certain people tried to sway me with doubt, guilt and nastiness. It really showed who my true friends were, and who I could rely on. 

Standing up for yourself is one of the cornerstones of healing; it requires honouring your feelings and trusting yourself which doesn’t come easy if you’re not used to doing it. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had. Usually when you hit rock bottom, you find out what you’re truly made of.

I’ve not had contact with my Uncle and his family for a number of years prior to the legal battle as I didn’t like the way they behaved, nor did I agree with their ‘morals’ and how they treated me. I’m an adult now, and have the choice to cut them out to protect myself. What’s sad is that I did get along with some of my cousins, but we no longer talk due to the family situation. Unfortunately there are sometimes consequences to standing your ground. 


 

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It’s never easy to cut family members out of your life. But as you get older, you realise these types of people don’t have your best interests at heart and are fuelled by anger, jealousy and resentment from their own issues.

After someone passes away, grief can do funny things to people; you may notice skeletons are finally released from the cupboard they’ve been imprisoned in all these years. 

‘Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.’

– Luke 12:3

Doubt tormented my mind, but resilience and justice was in my heart and that kept me fighting! Eventually I won the Legal case against my Uncle, and justice was served thank goodness! This was terrifying as the legal system isn’t always concerned about what’s ‘fair’, it’s more about following a certain set of rules. 


 

In his book ‘Not in your genes’ Clinical Psychologist and Author Oliver James explains something called the ‘Offspring Stockholm Syndrome’, which suggests children will always be conditioned to side with their parents or caregivers no matter what.

When we start off as babies, we are helpless and need the adults in our life to do everything for us to ensure our survival. It’s essential to bond with them to discourage them from hurting or abandoning us… that bond is taken well into adulthood. He gave the example of Fred West’s daughter who defended him in court despite the indisputable facts and horrific abuse she herself suffered at the hands of her own Father.

There’s a conditioned loyalty you have to your family; if they say it’s black so do you …even if that inner voice knows it’s white. It’s why we internalise what adults say about us when we’re young, especially in that first 0 – 6 year period when our sense of self is reliant on our main care givers opinion. 

I experienced the shock and denial that someone I was related to and knows my past trauma could be so void of compassion and family loyalty. But for some people greed and jealousy takes priority.

I realised what it really meant to pursue something I believed in, despite the challenges and odds against me. I would go as far as to say I had energy and guidance from a power higher than myself. At the time I was still in the grips of grief and to go through this horrible experience was like rubbing salt in the wound.

I  didn’t feel angry when I saw my Uncle at Mediation. He appeared vengeful and old, his soul is sick. If anything I felt pity that someone could allow themselves to be eaten up by bitterness like that. I was annoyed before when he wouldn’t give me my late parents pictures and videos back to me just to twist the knife; I felt this was unnecessarily callous and unfair. He did eventually give me SOME items back, but nowhere near what my Mother would have wanted me to have. I understand him wanting to hurt me, but to do that to his deceased Sister defies logic? 

Goes to show that a healthy soul and a good heart is priceless and more than what money can buy. If you find people in your life like this…keep them! Friends can also be family!

It’s a bit more difficult when family members are destructive or critical without meaning to be or do it subtly. My Father suffered from Alcoholism, and would turn into a terror to put it mildly when he’d been drinking. Even though he caused my Mother and I a lot of heartbreak and angst, I could see he was not a well man. I knew he loved me, and even though our fights would be ferocious, he would never betray me the way my Uncle did. I’ve been criticised for loving my Father by some short-sighted people. Yes it’s probably a case of ‘Offspring Stockholm Syndrome’ but it’s also really no one else’s place to judge, and until you’re in that situation yourself, you won’t know how you’d feel and behave either.


 

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‘When a Toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth. Just like you did.’

– Jill Blakeway

This is a well-known venomous tactic people use if they can’t get their own way; and unfortunately there are people out there who are willing to base their opinion on what this idiot says about you. More fool them.

If you would not accept this type of behaviour from a friend of partner there is no reason you should have to accept this from a family member, even though society tells us differently.

Certain Cultures/Religions demand a level of loyalty whether you like it or not. Over the past few years the media has shone a light on the amount of ‘Honour Killings’ that is going on amongst families. This is wrong, and people have a right to freedom of choice. They should not be shamed or KILLED for not agreeing with their family, this is not love…this is control! 

I mentioned before some people don’t mean to cause harm they just do unintentionally. Whether it’s by playing the victim, not being able to support you the way they should, having their own struggles, not being emotionally available etc… It’s best to give them a wide berth, as you may love them, but not be able to be in their company for long amounts of time without wanting to pull your hair out.

Nowadays if they are technologically adept you can make contact with via social media/emails etc… Keeping any physical visits for when you’re feeling strong enough to handle them. This does NOT make you a bad person, don’t blame yourself for feeling this way; the subconscious knows what’s best for you better than you do, so it might be firing ‘STAY AWAY’ signals to protect you from what it perceives as harm. Just to quickly mention it’s possible for family members to look after you really well but at the same time not nurture your emotional needs, leading to feelings of abandonment.

Being the ‘whistle-blower’ or ‘different’ in the family unit can cause a rift. A lot of families like to save face and if there is dysfunction bubbling beneath the surface, they’ll normally be one family member who will present the symptoms of this through addiction, anorexia, mental health issues etc… and sometimes this person maybe be labelled the ‘Scape Goat’ or ‘Black Sheep’ to save the family name. 

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How do I know if my family is Toxic?

1) They make you doubt your own intuition.

You normally can feel the hackles going up when your truth is being disputed, even if it’s not a conscious realisation. You know you’re right, but this truth is attacked with doubt from a barrage of comments about all the things they’ve ‘done for you’. People shouldn’t do things in order to use it against that person at a later date… especially not a care giver. Check out the ‘Gaslighting’ technique I’ve mentioned in a past blog called …  Unavailable Men

2) You feel sad, angry, drained or numb around them but can’t put your finger on the reason why? 

This is normally you subconscious telling you this person is toxic. Maybe the signs are more obvious. I’ve been in the situation many times were I’ve thought to myself …’Maybe I’m being too harsh? I’ll try extra hard to get along with them’…. and then within 30 seconds of being in their company… you’re victim to a barrage of negative comments and/or barbed wire compliments.

3) They talk about you negatively to other family members or friends.  

This is not fair; yes we all like to bitch and moan about our family but keep it to a few people who are of an understanding nature. It’s not ok to do it to anyone who will listen especially as there are people out there who like to involve themselves in other people’s business. 

4) When money and possessions become more important than the relationship. 

I’ve experienced and heard of awful things where Wills are concerned. A greedy family member will normally over involve themselves in the making of the Will and guilt trip the Testator into leaving everything to him/her. If you are also one of the main beneficiaries this greedy family member will do what they can to drag your name through the dirt with the Testator which seems to work if they are elderly and more malleable.  But these days it’s becoming easier to Contest a Will, as suspicious behaviour seems to have unfortunately become quite the norm. The Testator can also use the Will as a control tactic if you’re not doing what they want. A kind family member would split the Will fairly and take care of their loved ones. 

5) When all the effort is one-sided and then when you back off they blame you for not keeping up the contact. 

You are good and consistently make the effort. But find if you don’t call you don’t have contact with them. Then when you do eventually make the call again you are chastised for leaving it so long to contact them even though they could have easily called you or at the very least written to you… you could have been dead for all they know. I think this is a set up for them to play the victim and a perfect opportunity to guilt trip you. It’s all about what they want to do, they manage to make every conversation relate back to them. They may not mean it to be this way it might just be the way they are. Still it  doesn’t mean it is fair on you, especially if you are the adult child or even the child. 

6) You are cut off and ignored for silly reasons i.e.) an argument that happened 10 years ago.

Love is forgiving. Ego is righteous. We probably behave with family and partners in ways we would never behave with anyone else, this is because you are close, and should be able to be yourself. Fighting is normal, but when it spills over to toxic behaviour this is when you need to rethink the relationship. Point scoring is petty and dragging up family history of that time you did this when you were in a child or going through a tough time etc… is grossly unfair. 

7) They are unapologetic and don’t consider how you feel. 

They say hurtful things or treat you unfairly then harp on about that cup of tea they made you or that expensive dinner they made you that took 40 hours to make (I’m exaggerating). They seem to think this gives them a ‘get out of jail free’ card for treating you like crap, or thinking they have the entitlement to treat you like an emotional dumpster….it’s not on! But in some ways fighting this is futile as they seems to have an answer for everything no matter how nonsensical. This is where writing a letter helps, I can’t promise you how much of it will go in. But it allows you to make meticulous points without getting too emotional and saying something you shouldn’t. (Which I’m sure will be used against you at a later date). 

8) They are over critical of your lifestyle and choices. 

It is your birth right to live however you want to as long as you are not hurting anyone. They might not be 100% happy about the way you have chosen your life, but they should at least be able to give love and support to the person you are. That’s what families do…or should do. I’ve heard of families forgiving the most atrocious behaviour because they are full of love and compassion. And I’m not saying this ‘bad’ behaviour is right, but often support and love encourages the damaged person to heal and change.

9) They don’t accept who you are. Or are easily coerced against you. 

You’re always doing something they don’t like or doing life wrong. Even if they do love you, it’s not right for them to leave you feeling like crap about yourself, why have enemies? They may be lovely and love you one day; but as soon as another family says anything negative about you they jump to support this other person’s opinion of you. These mixed messages can leave you feeling confused and lead you into a spiral of doubting and blaming yourself. Don’t do it, you’re feeding into the toxicity! One more thing they might do is idolise that one relative who does nothing for them, treats them badly or see’s them once a century. They compare you to them even though you do so much more for them, don’t listen. This is another subtle tactic to control you and make it all about them, it’s abuse! 

10) They are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive. 

This goes without saying. Maybe it’s not possible to move away, but I would strongly suggest telling someone … a friend, a Therapist, a work colleague or teacher. You do not and should not have to put up with this even if it is a member of your family. Charities can help you report the abuse anonymously and support groups can help you manage your emotions. 

These are just a few:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/sexual-abuse/

http://www.adultchildren.org/

https://napac.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

www.siawso.org

www.lwa.org.uk


 

Ok, so maybe they are Toxic. But I can’t cut ties with them, so what can I do?

Only YOU can decide whether its necessary to cut out a family member. Talking this over with a friend or Therapist can help you to make an informed decision, don’t let your decision be based on guilt or ‘Offspring Stockholm Syndrome’, what would you say to a friend who was going through this? Maybe they only need to be cut out for a short period of time?

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Lists can be helpful to get your thoughts out on paper. Write down the persons positive and negative qualities and if the negative out weighs the positive it’s time to make a decision. 

If you decide you can’t cut them out, maybe they are elderly and the impact would be too much on them. There are certain tactics you can use to keep them in your life but from a distance. 

  • Write letters and cards. This keeps the contact but from a bit of a distance. 
  • Keep a record of contact you make to them in case they use this against you at a later date. 
  • Have a back up plan. Say that you can spend this amount of time with them because you have to be somewhere else. Shows your making the effort. 
  • Embellish the truth. For example, if they don’t agree with the creative job you have, say you’re moving into the co-operate world (or you could just tell a white lie and be vague). I agree it shouldn’t have to be like this, but if you are just trying to keep the peace and your own sanity it might be necessary. 
  • Try to not take what they say personally. I know it may seem like their opinion is set in stone because you’ve always been the child and they were the adult but opinions are not facts. They don’t walk in your shoes or see how your life really is; their biased opinions are most probably outdated or limited.  
  • Practise assertiveness. I know it’s extremely difficult not to get involved in rows especially when you are being persecuted, but indulging them with a negative reaction will give them ammunition to blame you and play the victim. Take the dignified higher ground.
  • If you live with them try to figure out their patterns of behaviour. For example, my Father’s drinking would occur mainly on the weekend. So I would try to stay out of his way by staying out of the house as much as I could around that time.
  • I know they are going to pick at something, but try and keep them ‘happy’. This is not bowing down to their demands; it’s about being savvy and giving yourself an easier life. For example, I had a messy ex housemate who was obsessed with vacuuming. This is basically all the housework he and his girlfriend did (actually his girlfriend didn’t even do that). He screamed at me for not hovering as much as he did, but didn’t realise that I’d cleaned the window sills, taken the rubbish down to the bins, did the washing up (sometimes his share too) etc… so I made a point of hovering in front of him and didn’t do as much of my other cleaning which funnily enough he didn’t notice. He was just happy I picked up the vacuum, it was more of a control thing. 
  • Make stronger relationships with the family members you do get along with. And listen to the positive things they say about you. 
  • Don’t be pushed into doing anything you don’t want to do. Stay firm, maybe let them know you are distancing yourself for particular reasons. If they continue to push your boundaries, it’s time to start snipping. Don’t fall for guilt trips, your peace of mind comes first, even if it means putting yourself before a member of your family! 

If anyone makes you feel bad it’s a good idea to distance yourself as much as possible and not to internalise their opinions as much as you can. It’s good for me to write this post as it’s a reminder I should be practising what I preach. But there’s a voice inside that continues to tell me its ‘my fault’. This is normal; it’s best to be compassionate to this voice as it’s your younger self stuck in the trauma of the past.

As children we are sponges for the environment we grow up in, and we believe that everything is about us (in a non selfish way) because we have yet to be taught differently. So if there is conflict or negativity then we blame ourselves and carry that opinion into adulthood. It may take a while to change this opinion as it’s so entrenched but it does change with relentless compassion; I always believed I was a ‘bad’ child, this is not true, but it’s easier to believe what we ‘feel’. No child is bad, they are a mirror of their environment, and pain can often be mislabelled as ‘naughtiness’. This isn’t to say you have to be an absolute angel to be loved, you should be loved for who you are as a person (bad and good). 

Concentrate on the friends and family who bring out the best in you, and if needs be…make your own family. 

I hope this post helped you if you are experiencing a tough time or if you suspected your family might be a bit more than just difficult.

Warmest Regards 

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