Sunday, 31 July 2016

Why It's Ok Not To Love Blogging All The Time

If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I've only recently returned from a four month break from blogging. I'm not going to go into the reasons why as I have already discussed them here, here, and here. What I haven't discussed anywhere is my plans to quit. At the start of June, I was unsure whether or not I wanted to start back up again. Whether it was worth the hassle one goes through to put up and promote a post. I felt like I wasn't enjoying it, and when you feel like this you feel an intense pressure to start liking it again. I think it's perfectly normal to feel like this every now and again. While starting this blog has been one of the best things I've ever done, blogging isn't like a normal hobby (or career). It is all consuming and the roles of a blogger are never ending. There's always something to do whether it's writing, editing, promoting - the list is endless. Plus there's the pressure of having hundreds (and even thousands) of readers. So here are a few reasons why it's ok not to love blogging all the time (or at all). 

There will always be highs and lows // As with everything in life, there will always be highs and lows associated with blogging. And it's so easy to get caught up, focusing on the negatives. As long as there are more highs than lows you'll be fine. It's perfectly normal to go through a few rough patches, so don't worry. If you do find yourself hating it too much, it is perfectly fine to stop. Do whatever makes you happy.

Haters gonna hate // As with anything, there will always be someone that doesn't agree with you and wants to rain on your parade. Although these ugly trolls don't always rear their heads, there are a few things you can do to help. If people do try to spread negativity, block, unfollow, mute the individuals. Don't try and retaliate or stand your ground and they will eventually give up.

It's ok to say no // A lot of people find it incredibly hard to say no, and bloggers are certainly no exception. It is important to remember that the only person who has any say on what goes on with your blog, is you. Take PR for example, it's perfectly ok to reject a collaboration if you feel it isn't for you. If I'm completely honest, I've probably rejected more collaborations that I've approved. By saying no, you are giving the opportunity to another blogger who might appreciate it more.

It's ok if blogging isn't for you // Even though it seems like everyone is a blogger nowadays, blogging isn't for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work for very little in return, and a lot of people simply aren't up to the task. It can be hard to admit that you want to quit. But there is no point doing something you don't enjoy because you are too proud to quit.

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The 5 Books You Should Read Right Now

 My love for reading has been well documented during my time blogging, and over the last year or so I have read some truly influential books. Nothing beats finding a book that changes your outlook on life, so today I have rounded up the books that I have recently taken something from. I hope that you can enjoy them as much as I have, and if not I hope that you are able to find other books that impact your lives in the same way that these have impacted mine. 
Calm: Calm The Mind, Change The World - Michael Acton Smith // Although there isn't really much to read in this book, it is has had a massive impact on my life recently. I struggle a lot with anxiety and a quick flick through this book every now and again really helps me to calm myself down (no pun intended). I was recently chatting with a friend about this book, and we both agreed that is great to flick through at the end of a stressful day. It has a highly interactive element, and makes an excellent coffee table book if you're into that sort of thing. 

Yes Please - Amy Poehler // To be completely honest I don't know why I even bought this in the first place. I've watched Amy Poehler in many of her TV programmes and films, and as much as I adore her, I wouldn't say that I'm completely obsessed with her. But I'm so glad that I did pick it up as it is jam packed full of Amy's hilarious life experiences. It is a lighthearted, easy read that covers a wide range of topics, and can make you think about the way you handle certain situations.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying - Marie Kondo // I learnt a lot from this book. It gave me the encouragement and motivation needed for me to sort my life out. I didn't even get through the first chapter without feeling the urge to whip out the vacuum cleaner. It has changed my outlook on living, making me a tidier and more organised person, and has ultimately made me want to stay this way.  

Sparks Joy - Marie Kondo // It's no surprise that two of Marie Kondo's books have made it onto my list of influential reads. I read the other book over Christmas, and I purchased this one as soon as it became available for pre-order. Although there aren't many differences between the first and second book, they touch on the same topics in slightly different ways and I feel as though you have to read the former to appreciate this book. This particular book focuses on Marie's tidying methods and includes lots of handdrawn illustrations depicting her methods. It allows you to see her methods in action, so you can implement them into your own lifestyle. 

Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig // I think I may have mentioned this book on my blog before, but it honestly deserves as many mentions as it gets. My sister is a diagnosed depressive, and it was so interesting to read about the perspective of somebody has gone through the same thing. Whether you, or someone you know suffers from mental health issues, this book provides an insight into what goes on in someone's head. It is an exceptionally short book, but what it lacks in words, it makes up for in meaning. It will make a huge impact on your life, and will make you feel grateful to be alive.  

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Sunday, 24 July 2016

What I've Learnt From Exercising Regularly

A couple of years ago the thought of exercising would bring me out in a cold sweat. Even though I want nothing more than to get fit and have a healthy body, the thought of exercising regularly would make me feel physically sick. Fast forward to today, and I have been working out multiple times a week for almost 8 months. Eight months! Now if I miss a workout I push myself to work twice as hard next time to make up for it. I want to talk about what I've come to learn since I started working out regularly. Now don't get me wrong, having a routine hasn't solved all problems - I'm far from perfect. But it has given me a sense of confidence that I wouldn't give up for the world. So here are the top lessons my exercise routine has taught me so far: 
So much washing // My routine consists of a variety of different activities. From swimming, to Zumba, I tend to wear a different outfit for each different session. I feel as though my house is becoming a chinese laundry, with the surge of extra washing from all that sweaty gear. And it's not just the gym gear that needs washing. I feel uncomfortable if my hair isn't washed after working out, but it does get annoying having to wash it more frequently. 

Getting fit isn't difficult // Well it is, but you get what I mean. Making changes to your lifestyle (and body) isn't going to come overnight. It takes a lot of time and dedication (and a willpower you will not believe), but it really isn't as difficult as everyone makes out. Even just a little bit here and there will help boost your fitness levels. 

Healthy body, healthy mind // It is fairly common knowledge that regular exercise can aid a multitude of mental health problems. It can work wonders on those with depression and anxiety, and at first I didn't really understand how something could have such an impact. But I've seen vast improvements in my mental health.My anxiety has been at an all time low recently, and I've been a hell of a lot happier. I'm a firm believer in sweating your worries away; nothing beats that amazing feeling when you step out the gym or collapse on your bedroom floor after a hard workout. 

It's ok to take a break // Over the last eight or so months, I've missed a couple of weeks due to illness or injury (and occasionally laziness) and at first I was a little hard on myself. I started off by beating myself up (not physically obvs), but now I know that sometimes it's important to to give your mind and your body a rest when needed. Just as long as your break doesn't turn into a permanent break. 

I have never regretted a workout // Seriously. Even when I've been feeling run down, or a little under the weather I've still attempted to workout. Occasionally I've thought I was going to pass out during a set of burpees and had to give up half way through to collapse on the floor. But the feeling you get when you've finished makes crawling out of bed that little bit easier. 

Have something on hand to eat // Have something ready to eat immediately after your session because you will be starrrrrrving! If not you'll end up stopping off at the neighbouring bakery section of Lidl to buy alllll the pastries and donuts. 

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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Life Lately: July

If you follow me on me on Twitter, you probably know that June and July have been a bit of a whirlwind for me and my health. I've decided to write this post not for the sympathy of my lovely readers, but as more of a diary entry where I can share my current thoughts and feelings, track my progress, and basically set goals for the future. 

I've not really talked about it on my blog (or anywhere for that matter), but I suffer from Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) and consequently have a lot of issues with my joints. Occasionally I have flare ups, where joints become painful and I have to take a few days off here and there to get back on track. On the day of the UK referendum (I blame you for all of this Brexit), I woke up with a lot of pain in one of my ankles. At first I thought it was one of my flare ups and decided to rest for a few days. Eventually the pain got so bad that I was having panic attacks and crying for ~75% of the day. I just couldn't cope with the pain and I wasn't even able stand up. Just the weight of even a blanket or a sock made me scream out like a banshee. My mum rang the 111 service to see what she could do, and they recommended I go straight to A&E. I was seen almost immediately and given some prescription-strength painkillers to help reduce the pain, and told to come back in a few days if there were no improvement.

I left another week in the hopes that it would all just go away and I'd be back doing burpees and dancing erratically to Taylor Swift before I knew it, but in the end I had to go back as I was still in unbearable pain. I'd been taking a combination of all the painkillers known to man, with doses big enough to knock me out for a few hours but nothing even touched the pain. I had an X-Ray to see if I'd broken something, but the scan came back fine. The doctor (James the bae), said he was stumped and didn't really know what was causing all the swelling and pain in my ankle. He gave me some more painkillers and sent me home to try and walk on it more and more. He said that the Codeine should numb the pain, however in the 2 weeks I had been taking the Codeine, I'd had every other side effect on the information leaflet (including the rare ones) except the desired pain relief. I felt sick ALL THE TIME, I kept fainting, I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, and I lost over a stone (15lbs/6.8kilos) - ALL IN THE SPACE OF TWO WEEKS. At this point I decided to stop taking the medicine as it was doing way more harm than good. 

The following day I received a letter in the post saying my X-Ray had been reexamined and I needed to go back to the hospital. I got really excited thinking that they'd found a crack or something, and I'd be sent home in a cast and it would heal and all would be fine. But as soon as I saw the doctor I could see it was more serious than I'd thought. After 3 weeks I was given the diagnosis of a Talar Osteochondral Defect. Essentially I had chipped the main bone in my ankle at some point or another and the joint space had been continuously filling with water and God knows what else for quite some time. I had a blood test (complete with the worlds biggest panic attack) and It showed I was perfectly healthy, with zero signs of infection. The doctor decided to refer me to an orthopaedic specialist, gave me some crutches and a walking boot, and sent me home.

Four weeks to the day since the pain started and my orthopaedics appointment rolled around. The doctor (who was an actual psycho btw) started the appointment by shouting at me for being referred to the wrong clinic. He then proceeded to tell me that this was a life-long condition that would never go away. At this point I burst out into tears because I took that he meant I would never be able to walk again, but my mum  later reassured me he simply meant the damage to the bone was permanent (#phew). He told me I would need weekly physiotherapy appointments for the rest of my life and referred me to Radiology to have an MRI scan. On the day I'm writing this (the date of publishing), I have just received my appointment for my MRI scan, and the amount of information that came in the envelope was daunting. I'm not bothered about having the actual scan as I've learnt about them at uni and I know that they are completely painless. I'm more worried about the actual results, because if the scan shows that the bone fragments have collapsed into the joint space, I will need surgery to clean it out otherwise I would go on to develop arthritis in my ankle. My anxiety has been through the roof, and the thought of needing surgery makes me physically sick. I don't cope very well with even dentist checkups, so the idea of being admitted into a hospital makes me want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep forever.

Despite everything that's going on I've remained quite positive with only the occasional emotional breakdown. The pain has reduced dramatically, and I've started my physiotherapy which is making me feel a lot better in myself. I've been given lots of exercises to improve the mobility of my ankle, and the physiotherapist showed me how to walk up and down stairs safely with my crutches so I don't need to crawl as much anymore. Since my first appointment, I've been able to bend my ankle into more of a standing position, bear some weight on it, and even take a few steps. I'm really hoping that I will continue to progress at the same rate as these last couple of days. Before my orthopaedics appointment I was worried that I wouldn't be able to return to university in September, and was thinking through all the worst possible scenarios in my head. At this point I would like to set myself a few goals for the month ahead; by the start of August I plan to be the same as I am now whilst relying on one crutch as opposed to two. By September I hope to be off crutches for the majority of my day, and by the time I go back to university I hope to be able to drive and walk as normal. I'm not expecting to be able to walk long distances, or do all the things that I would usually do - but I am hoping I will be able to at least commute to and from university every day. 

I remain optimistic, although I do realise that my goals may be completely unachievable. My friends and family have been incredibly supportive over the last few weeks, and one of my friends has even offered to let me live-in at her house on the days that I have lectures, so she can help me travel in and it not be as far to get there. It's times like these when you really do realise how much people care for you, and my friends and family would well and truly do anything to make my life even the slightest bit easier. I will probably continue to share little updates of my progress over the coming months, so apologies if you really didn't like this post, but I'd rather it wasn't happening for me to write about too. I promise I won't go into overkill, but the progress I'm starting to make is more exciting than anything else in my life to date. After not being able to stand up for 4 weeks, I see it as being reborn and being able to watch myself grow up and take my first steps in the world.  

Thank you for reading and for your continuous support during this moment in my life. 

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

My Go-To Shower Products

(I secretly think this is one of the best photos I've ever taken)
If it were socially acceptable I would shower twenty times a day, and if there were a job involving sitting in a shower all day long, I would be certain to hand my CV in as soon as possible. There's nothing like the refreshing cleanliness that comes with a shower, and I've realised I've been reaching for the same products recently. So I thought I would share the things that I use on a regular basis! I always start my shower by rinsing with the Dove Beauty Cream Bar. This is my favourite soap because it doesn't feel like a soap. I've used various soaps in the past, but this is the only one that doesn't dry my skin out. It has a quarter moisturising cream in it and leaves your skin silky smooth and smelling lovely!

I have this little deal with myself that if I workout in the morning, I can use one of my Lush shower gels instead of my usual cheap ones. Recently I've been working out most mornings, so I've been reaching for my Lush goodies on a regular basis. I currently own 8 different Lush shower gels (#obsessed), but my recent go-tos have been the It's Raining Men Shower Gel and The Comforter Shower Cream. They both leave you smelling wonderful! Once I've finished with shower gel, I use the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. It's rather pricey for a full size tub, but I usually receive them in a gift set over Christmas/birthdays/Easter etc., so I haven't had to splurge just yet. 

I always finish by washing my hair as I enjoy doing things backwards. I'm pretty fickle when it comes to shampoo, I tend to switch it up but at the moment I've been using the Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Shampoo, which can I just say - smells incredible. It protects my hair and leaves it wonderfully conditioned. During the winter months I use it alongside the conditioner, but I don't bother usually as my hair is more on the oily side. Once a week I do like to treat my hair with the John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Intensive Masque, to make sure it stays in the best possible condition. It's not the cheapest hair mask out there, but it leaves your hair so soft, and you get a fair few uses out of it. 

What is your go-to shower staple?

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Sunday, 17 July 2016

My Favourite Cookbooks

For last seven months or so, I have been completely in charge of everything that gets cooked in the family kitchen. And beside the surprising amount of stress that goes into planning meals that everyone will eat, I have enjoyed every minute of it! We recently started doing our weekly shop online, so every Saturday I flick through all my cookbooks and pick out the meals for the following week, and order the ingredients. Over the last couple of months I have found myself reaching for the same cookbooks over and over again, so I'd thought I share my favourites with you today. 

The Healthy Life by Jessica Sepel // I bought this book not realising it had recipes in it. Which was a bit stupid of me really. This book is a bit different to the usual cookbooks, as it focuses on living a healthy life (no pun intended). Jessica shows you how to address certain health ailments, to make sure your body is performing at it's best. The book focuses around Jessica's 10 principles for a healthier life. It teaches step by step methods to help you with a multitude of problems. From balancing your blood sugar, detoxing, and hormones, to stress, sleep, and mindfulness. It even includes various meal plans for each of her 10 principles. My favourite bit is right at the end of the book where there is a huuuuuuge list of blogs, websites, books, and online fitness classes to look at.  

The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka // I've been a fan of Gina's blog for years. I have made many of her recipes and they are all delicious. I don't think I've ever made a recipe of hers that I didn't enjoy. There is a halibut and broccoli bake (which I have made using cod) which is sooooo delicious it's unreal! Some of my favourites include the jerk chicken tacos (yum), the persian turkey burgers (mmmm), and the loaded potato skins (yaaas).

A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones // I bought this after a friend recommended it to me. I've recently been leading more of a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Although I'm not completely committed (bacon tho), 75% of my meals are either vegetarian or vegan. I've only really made some of the salads from this book so far, but I did attempt to make the bay and mushroom biryani. I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe, but I found it pretty bland. But I would buy it again simply for the salad recipes. They are completely delicious, and I hope to be more adventurous and make some of the other recipes soon! 

Good and Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley // I've been watching the Hemsley sisters on the television for a while, and from what I can tell the book accompanies their show. Again I haven't really made anything other than salads, but the photography in this book is incredible. If I was allergic to food (and somehow still alive) I would flick through this book for the photos alone. They are so bright and vibrant, and a huge amount of inspiration for me. 

Lean In 15 by Joe Wicks // Although I don't agree with Joe's methods for losing weight, he has some pretty tasty recipes in this book.  The recipes are all fairly quick and easy (hence the 'in 15'), and are perfect for students or those with a busy lifestyle. There are a lot of asian style recipes, and a packed full of nutrients. What I would say is if you make the 'Cheeky Chicken Fried Rice' measure out your Sesame Oil properly - don't guess, it will taste disgusting! I especially love how there a couple of workouts in the back too - it covers all bases!

Where do you find your recipes?

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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How To Care For Your Succulents

If you know me (or follow me on Instagram), you'll know that I am actually obsessed with plants. I have an entire windowsill full in my bedroom, and my desire to buy more is constant. After recent trips to IKEA and Leeds Market I thought I would write a little post for the not-so-green-thumbed. Although people often say that it is near on impossible to kill succulents and cacti, I know that's not quite too. I've never actually killed a cactus or succulent (or any plant for that matter!), but I do know that it is ridiculously easy to kill a cactus!
Water // This is the biggest killer of plants. Unlike most house plants, succulents can survive with very little water. You're much more likely to kill them by overwatering them as opposed to under-watering. During the summer, most succulents and cacti go through a ‘growth’ phase. During this phase they need plenty of water and nutrients.  When the weather starts to cool down, they need a lot less water. In the summer you should water them once a week, and then go to once every two weeks when it cools down. Giving them too much water causes them to rot, so I recommend using an atomiser and just positioning the nozzle into the soil. I have this one from Amazon, which was pretty cheap - but I think it's designed for slightly bigger plants!

Light // Did you know plants can get sunburn too? Yes they originate in the desert, but the majority of varieties can't handle the heat from the sun. While they appreciate a lot of light, being in the midday sun (especially during the summer) can cause scorch marks. I keep the majority of my plants in full sun, so I tend to only buy plants that can hold their own against the sun. If you're looking for varieties that can withstand hotter temperatures, look for plants that are red, blue, grey, or ones covered with needles. Varieties that are green or variegated (the tips are different colours to the main part of the leaves) are most prone to sunburn. 

Food // You only need to feed your succulents once a year. Use a well-balanced organic fertiliser (such as a liquid houseplant feed or a specialist cacti feed), and using half of what the packet tells you, feed when the weather starts to pick up during spring. 

Re-potting // I'm far too lazy to repot my succulents and cacti. I like them the size they are, otherwise I wouldn't have bought them. If you are really serious about your plants, they should be replanted into bigger pots every 1-2 years or whenever they start to look too big more the pot. When re-potting make sure you opt for a pot that has a drainage hole in the bottom, otherwise the roots will rot and the plant will die. Make sure you use gritty, sandy, or specialist cacti soil so they have the right nutrients needed to thrive. 

Ditch the terrarium // Whilst terrariums look adorable and totally Instagrammable, they don't give the breathing room needed by succulents to survive. The vast majority of succulents come from warm, dry climates and so depend on good air circulation to breath.

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Why It's Ok Not To Have A Job

Now that I've finished university for the summer, everyone and their mother seems to be asking me if I'm going to get a job. And they are surprised when I answer blankly - no. "But why? You have so much time on your hands now" they ask. This baffles me so much. Why is it considered socially unacceptable to have a bit of well deserved time off. I don't think people understand how stressful university actually is. There is this big stereotype that students don't do anything, and for the small minority this is true. But for the vast majority of students, university is a seemingly endless pit of fire when relaxation goes to die. I understand that there will be moments where I wish I had something to do, but for now I'm just enjoying the free time to relax and catch up on all the things I've been meaning to do for ages. 

For the last few years I have wasted my summers scouring for part time jobs, and the amount of rejections I've had are unreal. I have found, in my extensive searching, very few jobs that are consistent with a demanding academic timetable. Being told I'm 'overqualified', 'not the right person', or just 'not suitable' (how can you even be overqualified for a retail job? HOW?). Even if I did possess the necessary experience, iron-clad referees, and the qualifications, the summer jobs that were so seemingly abundant, no longer exist. And at this rate, the summer will be over by the time I get myself a summer job. So with that, I thought I'd share with you the reasons why it's ok not to have a job!

Take the time to unwind // If, like me, you're in university (or school/college) you'll know that it can be very hectic and stressful. Everyone deserves a bit of time off now and again, so enjoy it whilst you have the chance. If you want to stay in bed till 3pm - do it. You won't have the chance to do it when you have a job.

Set yourself some career goals // If you don't know what your dream career is yet, don't worry! People in their 30s and 40s still aren't sure! Spend time setting some goals and if you aren't sure what you want to do, sit and think about it logically.

Expand your skillset // It's ok not to have a job as long as you aren't sat around in your pyjamas watching the latest season of OITNB day after day. Take this free time to enhance your CV. Take a course, gain some volunteer work experience, start a hobby. What you do now will heighten your job prospects for the future, and if you are currently applying for jobs - you will have more interesting things to talk about in your interview! I recently took a course in CPR and it has gone straight onto my CV - plus it will prove useful at some point in the future I swear!

Learn something new // Similar to the above point, spend your time learning something new. You can add these onto your CV, and you may even find something that helps you destress once you have a job. Learn a new language, learn to drive - learn something that you've never had the opportunity to learn before.

What do you think, is it ok not to have a job?

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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Lush Ray of Sunshine Gift Set

I recently finished volunteering at a high school after working there for a whole year around my university lectures. As a little thank you all the staff in the department spoilt me rotten; buying me chocolates, cards and the Ray of Sunshine gift set from Lush. I don't know whether they knew I liked Lush, or whether it was simply a guess, but I was really happy either way. So I thought I would put my camera to good use a snap a few photos before I used everything! The gift set retails at £16.50, and includes four product miniatures wrapped in a holiday themed wrapping paper. I was forced to open up the pretty wrapping paper even though I knew what was already inside, so apologies for not having a photo of the pretty wrapping! Inside the gift there was a The Olive Branch Shower Gel (100g), Sugar Scrub Shower Scrub (50g), Each Peach and Two's a Pair Massage Bar (30g), and a block of Sandstone Soap (120g). I've never actually tried any of the products included, but they all look and smell gorgeous. I'm most excited to try the Sugar Scrub as I've never tried any of the body scrubs from Lush, and the bright green colour product looks so interesting! 
The Olive Branch Shower Gel // I had convinced myself that I didn't like the smell of this, but I don't know why because it smells incredible! Lush describe it as smelling like the Mediterranean, and I can totally see why; it is made with fresh mandarins, bergamot oil, vine leans, and olive oil! This is unlike any of the shower gels I have used before as it specifically says you can use it on your hair too. So I'm excited to give that a try! 

Sugar Scrub Shower Scrub // I didn't even realise this sort of product existed, but now that I know that is does it's not surprising that it comes from Lush. This particular product is a bright green colour, similar to the Avobath bath bomb. The smell reminds me slightly of Christmas. I'm not sure why as none of the ingredients shout out a typical christmas. But it has the spicey sort of smell if you get what I mean. 

Sandstone Soap // This smells slightly similar to the Sexy Peel soap, however has quite a gritty texture to it. The gritty texture makes it perfect for exfoliating your skin, and leaving your skin nice and soft. It is made with several different oils, so is perfect for soothing dry skin!

Each Peach (And Two's A Pair) Massage Bar // This smells amazing - like lemon and white chocolate. Other than that I have no idea what to say about it. Although I've tried various body butters and body conditioners from Lush,  I have never actually tried one of their massage bars. I'm generally too lazy to smother myself up in body moisturiser after I get out the shower. I know thats bad, but I ain't got time for that. This sounds like the perfect product to me as you literally rub it over dry skin and your done. No greasy-ness. Just soft, scented skin. 

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Sunday, 3 July 2016

How To: Airbrush In Photoshop CS6

Probably a slightly controversial thing to write about, as there will probably end up being some people who will be all "you airbrush all your photos", "you're fake". But do you know what? I don't airbrush my photos, but it is a useful skill that can be used to edit photos that aren't necessarily portraits or selfies. Whilst doing A-Level photography, which seems a whole lifetime ago (but in reality was only a few years ago), knowing how to airbrush seemed invaluable. My portraits looked more professional, still life shots looked sleek, and I used the technique on pretty much every photo I took as part of my exhibitions. Now there are quite literally millions of ways to airbrush a photo, but one of the main reasons I prefer this particular technique is for the sheer simplicity of it (alongside the results it gives obvs). It's sort of like boom, boom, boom and you're done. And on that note, I'll get on with showing you how to do it...
For this little tutorial, I'm using one of my own photos as I know my friend won't mind me plastering her face on the internet as she is completely used to it. So once you have selected your photo and opened it up in Adobe Photoshop, we can begin. Now one of the first things I always recommend doing whenever you're editing a photo, is to duplicate the layer. Essentially this means if anything goes wrong, you can delete the duplicate layer and you're left with where you started. The more layers you have the better, as you are able to delete specific sections of your editing process. To do this you simply hit Ctrl + J on your keyboard (CMD + J on a Mac), and Photoshop has done it for you. If for some strange reason this doesn't work just go to Layer > Duplicate Layer, and just hit ok when a box pops up. 
Working on the new duplicate layer you want to change the layer blend mode to 'Overlay'. To do this you look on the right side of the screen, and you'll see a drop down box. At the moment 'Normal' will be selected, but to change the blend mode just click on 'Overlay'. Now when it has changed, you'll be like 'woah, why does my image look so orangey and dark' - DON'T WORRY! This is completely normal and it won't look like this for long! You then want to invert the layer, which is very important so don't forget!
Next you want to add a High Pass filter over the top. This makes your photo look quite blurry so that the skin still looks natural when you have airbrushed your photo. To do this you go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and when a window pops up asking you to adjust the pixel radius using a slider, you want to set it to 10 pixels. The pixel radius is usually set at 10 anyway, but if not just drag the slider along.
Similar to the last step, you want to go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. When the window pops up asking you to set the pixel radius. Set the slider to a radius of 3 pixels. Any more and your photo will look too fake, and if set any less the airbrush will be too sheer, and you will have completely wasted your time. Now you need to add a layer mask, which seems a bit stupid considering you've done all this work. But what this does is allow you to airbrush the parts of your image that you want to work with - rather than the whole thing. To do this you simply hold down the ALT key on your keyboard, and click the 'Add A Mask' button on the bottom right section of your screen. It will look like a rectangle with a smaller circle inside, if you can't see from my screenshot.
You're all thinking "this technique is meant to be teaching me how to airbrush, so when are we going to get to using an actual brush", well now it's time to do just that. Hit B on your keyboard, or select the brush tool from the toolbox, and select the preset 'Airbrush Soft Round 50% Flow' brush. Once you have selected your brush, the most important thing I need to tell you is not to click off the tool or swap layers or do anything until you are happy with your image, as otherwise you will have to repeat the whole process again. With the brush you want to simply brush over the areas of the image that you would like to airbrush. For example, if you are doing a face, you want to brush over the forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, etc. - but you need to avoid any natural lines and markings such as dimples and the contours of your nose otherwise your image will look flat and unnatural.

And you're done! I told you it was easy!

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