Virtual assistants are having a moment. A big one. Unsurprisingly, the demand for hiring virtual assistants has skyrocketed because the outbreak has halted the ability to work and travel. Businesses and creative individuals alike have recognized their necessity of hiring virtual assistants for general tasks, marketing or just to assist with connecting to clientele on a wider scale.
Additionally, a high percentage of established online platforms have either invested in virtual assistants or have pursued their services to increase their exposure.
“WHAT ARE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS?”
Virtual assistants are, at the heart of it, communicators. We perform a series of administrative tasks concerning your needs, either business or personal if necessary. Think of us as your PA, but digitalized. We can set up meetings, manage your emails as well as accommodate your clients all from a remote location. This makes us very desirable workers because we can be available to you instantly (within our work hours, of course).
“WHY WOULD I NEED TO HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?”
Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to sit back and relax whilst they handle the background tasks. By outsourcing your general tasks to a VA, you’ll have more time to invest in your business or personal life.
They can usually be available for you for a minimum of 8 hours a day, although my hours have been extended for new clients.
” HOW DO I HIRE YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT SERVICES?”
Here is a list of the services I provide:
Booking appointments with clients/customers
Proofreading & Editing
Following up with clients/customers
Hotel and flight booking
Social Media Management
Don’t hesitate to contact me via the Contacts page on my blog. Alternatively, I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. I can’t wait to meet you!
Three Essential Skin Products You Need During Lockdown
Skin. It’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? It’s the largest organ in your body and yet it’s the most fragile. It can take a moment to damage and a lifetime to repair so having a consistent skincare routine is paramount.
And what better way to kickstart it or take it to the next level than in lockdown?
Think about it. You have nowhere else to be and you have so much more time to understand, identify and listen to what your skin needs.
This article is going to outline in tremendous detail the three essential products that you’re going to need to achieve and maintain plump, balanced, Instagram-worthy skin. Sit tight.
I know, I know. Cue the fluttering eye rolls. You were expecting me to reveal something you can just buy in a bottle, right? Well, guess what…you can. And if bottled water isn’t your thing, investing in a thermal one is the real G. You have your private tap at home with 24-hour access so let’s utilise it! Let me tell you why the advice of drinking water is constantly reiterated and why it’s also constantly underestimated.
Water is something that humans cannot live without. Ever. We’re mostly made up of water. Not only does it positively cater to every other organ and function in your body but it is the only thing your body cannot substitute on. Why deny it the one thing it will always need?
On the flip side, dehydration is something you should never be experiencing, especially if you’re fortunate to reside in a first-world country. If you tend to have naturally dry skin or eczema, you’re more likely to lose water through your skin at a faster rate.
Dehydrated skin may turn red, become dry, flaky, darker and tight which encourages skin damage through tearing. If you’re prone to little cuts and bruises that you’re unsure of how they arose, chances are that your skin is very tight and susceptible to damage that hydrated skin would substantially improve.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, dehydrated skin produces a natural oil -which seems contradictory- called sebum which is what clogs up your pores and hastily invites acne to the party.
What’s the solution?
Drink water. Just drink water. Preferably 2 litres a day, which does seem extreme, but little and often consistently is the ultimate key. Your bathroom’s going to be busy, but you’re at home, so it shouldn’t be a problem! I keep a 5-litre bottle and an 800ml bottle in my bedroom.
An example of this product in practice:
I fill up my 5-litre to the top and use that to top up my 800ml bottle which stays on my desk when I’m working. As soon as I run out of the water from my 800ml, I use the 5-litre to top it up.
That 5-litre bottle means that I don’t have to go downstairs just for water for 2 days. It makes a huge difference and I’m much more inclined to drink more because it’s only a half-hearted grab away. It doesn’t get any more first-world than that.
Follow @drinkwaterslut on Twitter as an extra incentive. An account dedicated to reminding you to drink water. Profanity is used but it’s funny, it’s sassy, sometimes I feel personally attacked, but it works.
And that’s why my blog is here. To provide you with information that is tried and tested and not designed to confuse or repeat vague tips for the sake of it.
SWEET ALMOND OIL
Okay. This might sound like the least desirable product for any of my clients who suffer from oily skin but similarly to oil cleansing, it helps keep that excess oil away and has been proven to be a necessary step in a glowing skincare routine.
Almond oil is created through cold-pressing the almond kernel. The organic oil is best as it’s the most natural but highstreet suppliers frequently sell the chemically extracted type so it’s always good to know which one you have.
Nevertheless, both work very well and the chemically extracted oil (which tends to be cheaper) will still look after your skin and demonstrate the same fabulous effects.
Why is it so good for your skin?
Rich in antioxidants, almond oil is known for achieving long-lasting results which include reducing dark circles (with a consistent and optimum amount of sleep) and hyperpigmentation or increased melanin. I find that this product is amazing at combatting dry skin and UV damage so imagine the added benefit of drinking water to reduce dryness. Super soft skin? Yes please and thank you very much.
The horror enthusiast in me wants to say ‘sun scream’ but you’ll be screaming when you see how much this improves your skin, especially in the little time it takes to use it regularly.
I never understood why so many dermatologist routines stressed the utmost importance of wearing sunscreen every day – even when the sun wasn’t visible – until I found out that sunscreen is the key to preserving your youthful appearance. It’s the ‘you’ll thank me later’ potion to looking 24 when you’re 58…or something.
Yes, it’s primarily used for absorbing or reflecting UV radiation, but for the sake of your skincare routine, you should see it primarily as the product that heavily prevents the development of sagging skin, wrinkles and dark spots which can include hyperpigmentation.
These are my holy trinity products of skincare. It’s a skincare routine that can be followed by most, dare I say, all skin types because the benefits genuinely do work long-term. I am extremely confident that if used in conjunction with consistent sleep, your skin will improve in smoothness, brightness, youthfulness and have that undeniable glow. Do it for your future self. They’re counting on you.
In my upcoming e-book, I outline the exact methods, beauty tools and commercial products that I’ve tried and tested myself for years, some of which I religiously use in my routine today.
Here is an outline of just some of the chapters in my e-book that will get you the results you’re after:
A specified list of beauty tools and products to buy
Step-by-step methods on EXACTLY how to apply and the order in which to apply them
The skincare routine needed to obtain optimum skin health
A chosen fitness package that outlines weight gain, weight loss, weight maintenance and toning
A style guide for every season
A practical guide for motivation and consistency
I’m not going to leave you hanging! In preparation for this pack, you can receive a 30-minute consultation with me where we will establish your goals and intentions together before fully engaging your time and energy into them.
Sound good? It sure feels good to me! Links to your consultation can be found here. See you there!
How To Invest In Your Head, Your Space And Headspace
Originally posted February 25th 2020
I’ve always thought that having a great night’s sleep was hard to come by. In the past, it would take me literally hours to finally power down, even after scouring the internet for the best ways to wind down from technology- yes I see the irony…hush- sleeping in a cooler temperature, using an eye mask etc. My mind would be stuffed full of tasks I hadn’t completed for the day, even the ones I had, and I’d be replaying events that were yet to happen and events that never would.
This cluttered mind needed a refresh button. You can get them on Amazon, right?
When you hear the words ‘all-nighter’ you can probably imagine a college student hopped up on Red Bull with blood-stained eyes, typing wildly on All-Caps with their favourite motivational playlist pumping out of their earphones which are sprawled over their, frankly, embarrassingly cluttered desk.
Whilst I’ve never been a fan of an all-nighter and have never willingly resorted to it, it’s become something that I’ve recently found myself regularly participating in, just for the thrill of it! My productive urges always hit me towards the latter hours of the day, which, as a freelancer is acceptable, but it’s definitely not desirable, because how are you able to justify to yourself what you do in the earlier hours of the day, compared to what society calls ‘the 9 to 5’? Nine-to-five? My hours are more ‘6 to 3’.
And it got me thinking- as always- why don’t I take my mental and personal space seriously? I’ve always believed that they’re important, but they’ve never been super high on my many to-do lists, especially when I’d be prioritising other tasks and other people much higher than what they deserve.
Also, what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep? Does it cause damage? Irreversible damage? Why can’t I just be awake 24/7? I could get so much more work done, or, realistically, I’d have so much more time to procrastinate about the way I’ll perfectly get more work done. In a fear-fuelled panic, I rushed to Youtube to have someone who’s professionally ’sleep smart’ intellectually slap me out of my habits.
Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and author of ‘Why We Sleep’ goes into excellent detail about the many eye-opening effects of sleep deprivation on the brain and body which you can watch here.
He describes worrying statistics on the reproductive, cardiovascular and immune system, not excluding the terrifying consequences of accelerating the production of the protein ‘beta-amyloid’, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, which currently has no definite cure. According to Walker, the recycling rate of a human being is 16 hours. I’m definitely one of those humans who needs those crucial 8 hours to guarantee a ‘great night’s sleep’. The Wakeful Eight I call them.
Based on Walker’s phenomenal findings, science clearly proves that your cells are slowly dying the longer you stay up. Well, for one thing, my eyes end up stinging like a b!%£* but that doesn’t stop me playing Plants and Zombies 2 whilst watching ’12 Biggest Reception Regrets’.
The point is, humans need sleep. We use sleep to process the endless mass of mundane tasks and confusion that stomps our way, our inboxes overflowing as we dance it all away and leave it all behind on a Friday night.
So, I started to make a change to my working routine, incorporating daily meditation and decluttering before my work shift started, and it was devastatingly helpful. Here are a few tips to get you started:
INVEST IN YOUR HEAD:
Create a great relationship with your hair.
Figure out where it’s at health-wise and adjust your hair products accordingly. Is it usually greasy? Structure a wash routine that works for you and invest in anti-grease solutions. Many girls I know despise the fact that their hair even knows what grease is and dares to excrete it, but if you can learn how to control it and minimize it if necessary, I swear it’s the next best thing to running off into the sunset and changing your name. That feeling of having a new hairstyle, whether it’s a haircut or just taking some extra time in the day to style it will increase your confidence which will transfer to your productivity.
Visualize what you want to accomplish for the day and when you’ll take your breaks. Reflect on the importance of each task and imagine yourself completing each one with patience and efficiency. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, or even longer if you’ve got a lot to achieve, but as long as you’ve sat with those thoughts, you’re off to a bloody good start.
INVEST IN YOUR SPACE:
Take a look around your room. How tidy is it? And by tidy, I mean, your honest version of tidy, because everyone’s is different. A universal theme of tidiness, though, is the ability to know what is both useful and necessary for you, where important things are at all times if even your tidiness occasionally spins out of control.
Can you look at every item you own, big or small- yes those numerous lip balms that have been sitting on your bedside table count- and be confident that it’s an item that you need? If it is, how often do you use it?
As for the items that you’ve stored away, do they deserve to take space in the places you don’t see? If they don’t, maybe you could donate them to a friend or two, or sell them if that’s your prerogative. You can get some tips and advice from my article How To Make Money On Depop.
Once you’ve established that your room is tidy, clean it. Sweep it, vacuum it, polish any wood-bearings, light a scented candle- I’m mad for them!- or a neutral one and open your window. Let all of that stagnant energy and procrastination be gone and feel the wind of change.
So where does Headspace come in?
Headspace covers all bases of your mind for every aspect of the day, morning, noon and evening but, in particular for the evening, uses skilled voice actors who ease you into a suitable relaxed state of mind, which cleverly conditions you to receive the vast variety of Sleepcasts they provide. These are a collection of stories that are supported by audioscapes that match their description, and they are just heavenly.
I highly recommend Midnight Launderette and greatly compliment the voice actor responsible for setting the scene. His voice is low, slow, grandfatherly and gravelly, with a tenderness that’s made for this service. I’ve listened to it every night for over eight months without tiring and that is because the scenarios are expertly designed to be similar but with slight changes and deviations in the story so you’re never left yawning out of boredom, but rather, a comforting familiarity.
This makes Headspace a brilliant investment just for the sleep element alone because you’re practically guaranteed a sound night, with the option to scour their 23 other stories. On top of that, if the idea of people reading you a bedtime story seems somewhat alarming or just unwelcome, you can easily opt to change the volume between speaking and audioscape to just audioscape. The whirring of the laundromat machines are irresistible and hearing the fire crackling in Desert Campfire gives me goosebumps as I descend into snore-heaven. Lovely.
Your brain is responsible for everything that you do so it’s about time that you treat it right.
If I haven’t convinced you to invest in these three things, let Headspace convince you. My quality of life has vastly improved for the better and I will continue to shout their praise any chance I get. You can download it here for a free trial!
Become Depop Famous: How To Successfully Make Money on Depop
Depop. Depop, Depop, Depop. I bleed Depop stickers and the Depop logo is red. Coincidence? No. Well, yes.
I never imagined I’d be a successful seller on Depop. It’s certainly not the primary reason why I created an account. I just wanted to spend all of my money on clothes that I already had. And clothes I certainly did have. Every time I had to find something cohesive to wear it was like fighting an invading army, pushing back against my wardrobe doors as if I was defending my kingdom’s castle walls.
But one lazy summer afternoon, I decided enough was enough. I felt claustrophobic, surrounded by fabric that was being hoarded for more sentimental reasons than practical and some of them I’d physically outgrown, or was trying to lose weight to get back into for fitness inspiration, which didn’t work, by the way. I needed more space, and it couldn’t be for more clothes. I’d run out of things to wear. I’d run out of money…or so I’d thought.
What is Depop?
Depop is a super trendy platform that’s designed to let ordinary people like me rise to high ranks and become both a customer and seller of their personal and professional items. If eBay and Instagram had a baby, Depop’s your loverat. I had just begun to truly understand what thrifting was, what qualified as a true vintage item compared to ’vintage-style’ items and I was young, energetic and broke. These were the ultimate propellers for this flight of fancy: becoming a Depop seller.
I took every single item of clothing I owned and put them in a pile. What a heap. I also created a separate pile of accessories (coats, bags, hats, belts, and shoes) and made sure they didn’t overlap. God knows I didn’t want to have to deal with that all over again. Next, I categorized each item into clothes I couldn’t fit in, the clothes I liked, the clothes I loved and clothes I was still undecided about.
This was surprisingly easy to accomplish as I’d given myself multiple scenarios of thought to play with which meant that I wasn’t slyly talking myself out of selling anything. Nothing was definite. I could still just keep everything and carry on living my life as if nothing had ever happened. Yeah, right.
Next, I went onto Depop’s official page and looked at their recommended tips for selling on their site. I wanted to be taken seriously so I followed their advice as accurately as I could. I still had a lot to learn but by God, it worked. Within half an hour, I’d set up a spot in my back garden with the clothes hanging neatly on my washing line, ready to be modelled and goggled at.
At the time I was lucky enough to own an iPhone 8 Plus which came in very handy for photos as the camera is great, especially when paired with natural light which is what Depop highly recommends anyway. It took the better part of an afternoon, pretty much until the sun went down as I was taking multiple photos of each item, determined to get the money shot. I rehung my confirmed clothes and separated the ones for sale, vowing to never wear them again. They were going to have new owners. Grateful owners.
Then came the listing. Man, this took a while. The app has come a brilliantly long way in terms of updates and it’s become ridiculously easy to identify where each item comes from (unless it’s a true vintage item, in which case you label it so). I got out a notepad and identified hard facts about each item: What, Colour, Texture, Fit, Condition, Measurements (where necessary) and Quality. A system that I still use today. One item down, eighty-one items to go. By this time it was almost 9 pm. I was tired, but I was seeing this through until the items were uploaded and ready to be viewed and bought. I wanted to see how my hard work was perceived. Through likes? Through purchases? Both came, eventually.
After every item had been catalogued and given a personalised description, I turned all of my Depop notifications on. Maybe nothing will happen, maybe my items aren’t worthy or trendy enough to be on here. Maybe Depop won’t even acknowledge me.
Wrong on all counts. Firstly, I was being followed by a lot of people, many were new accounts, but many were also established.
Secondly, my items started to get numerous likes, day after day, month after month, until, inevitably (although retrospectively I didn’t ever think it would happen) a lot of my items were being featured on the Depop search page, sometimes two at a time. How did this happen? Simple. It was because of the quality of the photos. The ones that got picked to be featured with the best of the best were the items that looked particularly pretty as a picture on their own.
They were also quite colourful or happened to fit the trend that Depop would be featuring. Whilst you may not be able to know what trend Depop is focusing on (although you can identify it when an item of yours is featured), as long as you make sure your photos stand out naturally, are creative and have accurate descriptions, you’re going to do well. Peep some top tips below:
Declutter every piece of fabric you own.
Sort out your clothes and accessories. Put away the clothes you would ugly-cry at the thought of selling and take out the clothes that you’re not completely sold (ha-ha) on selling but would let them go for a certain price. Everybody has their price.
Take great pictures.
And by great I mean natural light, (or studio if shot clearly), I mean trendy, I mean fashionable. Give customers a reason to scroll through Depop, see your item and give it a chance by clicking on it and reading your accurate description. What makes it special? Why should a customer invest their money and buy it? Are there any defects? Are they noticeable? What do you love most about this item?
Update your items regularly.
Edit items and keep reloading them. Get them to the top of the search pile by adding relevant keywords that fit your item’s description. Additional keywords are acceptable if they match an aesthetic you’ve chosen to model your item in, but I wouldn’t recommend using clickbait keywords just for the sake of someone seeing your item. You’re just going to piss people off for tricking them and wasting their time which deflates potential budding customers and, ultimately, loses you a very potential sale and even more upsetting, a trendy friend. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!
Create a Twitter or Instagram account.
Because of how substantial my following was becoming I felt that I needed to extend my social presence. Enter Twitter Vs Instagram. That lovely blue tweety-bird. That camera-shaped pastel beauty. I couldn’t decide between them because I used them so frequently…so I got both! Ha! I created accounts on both platforms and linked them to my Depop store, keeping them regularly updated, although this can become very challenging when other parts of your working life take over. Just make sure to keep updating when you can, tag Depop in your posts and if all else fails, manage your Depop store. That’s where the sales and the cool people are at, after all.
I’m hoping that if you got this far I don’t have to tell you to check out my Depop store?! How could you not? You’ve read all about it! And now that you have these tips, I expect to see you growing and keeping that wardrobe mountain-free.
Marie Kondo’s series is now out on Netflix and everyone seems to be transformed by it: “Where has this been all my life?” “I feel so much more in control” “How have I survived living like this?” And whilst I’m happy for the ‘sparks of joy’ that have been erupting around me left and right (and back and forth and fold and tuck…) I do wonder whether Marie’s influence is drowning out what Minimalism represents.
As someone who sells clothes, buys vintage pieces and stores them in a tiny bedroom, I’m constantly mislabelled as a hoarder by my fellow flatmates. I’ve been met with bouts of laughter when I tell them that I’m a minimalist because what they see isn’t what matches up with Minimalism in their minds. But there lies the problem. It’s not about what you see. To another extent, it’s not even about what you do. It’s about how you feel and going forward, how you deal with issues in your life.
Minimalism is a lifestyle. The flashy portrayal you see with the same colour bed sheets and curtains, green succulents, monochrome patterns and empty decor is the surface level. You can apply Minimalism to every aspect of your life, or just one. Or none, if you don’t agree with its method. It’s not a big deal. Minimalism can be materialistic if you’re focused on colour, or one type of item.
We live in an indulgent world. Whether we choose to participate in it is up to us. It may feel as if we have no choice, but we do. It just depends on how much you’re willing to stray from the ‘inevitable’ and become as authentic as you choose.
I’m not knocking Marie Kondo or her work, on the contrary- she’s making people tune in to their surroundings and evaluate what’s important in their life and that is revolutionary. Our world leaders haven’t been able to make people do that. But I ask you to see the bigger picture. It shouldn’t be a phase. It should be a constant ongoing process. How you feel dictates how you think, how you look, how you act. So start with that. Clear your mind, one thought at a time. Just because you don’t look like a minimalist doesn’t mean you aren’t one.
‘New Year, New Me’: Can We Stop Kidding Ourselves And Just Live Already?
‘New Year New Me’ is a phrase I’ve come to despise for the last few years. It sends shivers down my spine, and not the pleasurable kind. ‘New Year, New Me’. ‘New Year, New Me’. What are we talking about? What does that really mean? Do we automatically morph into the idealised version of ourselves that we’ve been dreaming about at midnight? Do our worst habits melt and become replaced with ‘a healthy mind, clean eating, and a higher sense of self? (Bearing in mind that time is an illusion and the way we see ourselves is forever evolving).
We are -partly- a product of the environment we inhabit so why would we expect these things to happen because a countdown told us so? We change when we decide. The Law of Attraction has started to become an overstated concept but I think we should receive everything in moderation. “Be the energy you want to attract. Positive attracts positive.” [@LAWOFATTRACTION on Twitter]. And yes, that may actually happen successfully for some people from the New Year, but these things take time. Made-up time.
New Year’s Resolutions are another irritating thing for me. Whilst I do adhere to the fact that having an excuse to start anew can really get people’s momentum going, I don’t fully agree with the pressure it places from a societal perspective.
January is predictably full of rosy, mellow ‘New Day New Me’ hopeful posts, meeting your friends for the first time in the New Year feels awkward because everyone’s talking politely as a result of being around their parents for a month, then February rolls around with everyone forgetting what they were trying to achieve and how they were attempting to come across until we’ve all got bored and have deleted any checklists for the year ahead.
Having your own style of mind is ridiculously important. Be picky about what you expose yourself to; be aware of what you choose to watch and listen to. It shapes your mind a lot more than you think. Frankly, having your own style is one of the most attractive attributes I can think of. What you think is popular to everyone is surprisingly only attractive to a limited number of people and your niche lies in your particular focus on a certain genre of film, music or fashion sense. So celebrate that by revelling in it.
1) Start to make a mental note of what appeals to you and cultivate it. If it’s a certain shade of colour (like Chartreuse for example) start to collect items specifically in that shade. If it’s colour pairings (like Chartreuse, Honey-Orange and Lilac), make it your signature. If you like to walk in the park for a prolonged amount of time, do that and make it part of your scheduled routine. If you find yourself addicted to a blogger or a group of cheeses then find them and show your appreciation!
2) Practise what you preach. If you can’t stand alone in your beliefs and comforts, you’re going to have an increasingly hard time convincing anyone else. And even if you do, it won’t be long-lasting or genuine enough to cling onto, so get rid and harbour your beliefs from a secure foundation, i.e a unique style of mind.
3) Find like-minded people. Or if that isn’t an option (being an introvert has its drawbacks socially) become familiar and comfortable with being alone. I’m a naturally positive and bubbly person. For an introvert, it’s almost an insult to the INFJ personality type. But I know what I want and what I don’t want. I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know who I like to be around and who I choose to avoid. And I’m content with that. I’m not afraid to be blunt. It’s taken me a while to get to this point and I still have so far to go but nobody can accuse me of being fake. And if they do, they’re jealous. Trust me.
On the other hand, if you’re going to publicly air your resolutions, it may do your self-esteem more harm as you’re revealing your weaknesses and have exposed yourself to unnecessary judgment if you can’t fulfil them or choose to drop them – which is also fine by the way.
I tried for a few years to complete every single thing I wanted to achieve -similar to a second Santa list, although in this case, I was Santa, giving myself the gift of self-care and improvement- and fully believed that if I made a list of what I wanted to change about myself, from midnight it will come to pass and I’ll be transformed for the better.
Contrary to my dislike in this mantra, some of those things stuck.
Green tea was something I wanted primarily for weight loss and good health. I was determined to try it and like it no matter what because I knew it was good for me. I requested it amongst the 2016 Christmas shopping. The unsweetened, organic kind. I felt so proud of myself for making a cup, considering I’d just downed an entire advent calendar and demolished a Celebrations box single-handedly. I felt confident that it was going to erase all the ‘bad stuff’ I’d been consuming. But when I first took a sip I knew I’d made a terrible mistake.
It made me feel like vomiting. I had no idea it would taste horrible. I had to look at the label to make sure I’d bought the right thing. In hindsight, I had no preconception of what it would taste like, I only knew it was good and people seemed to drink it all the time so it couldn’t be that bad. “This can’t be the same green tea that everyone’s drinking because it’s awful”. It had a pungent aftertaste and as it was so concentrated there was no other flavour to focus on. I’d completely underestimated how long it would take to like it. But I’d come to point in my life where I couldn’t continue dreaming of my future self. I had to crack the whip of self-discipline because deep down I understood that it was a step in the right direction. I look back and laugh now as I consume it daily, up to six times on a good day.
My point is, it’s fine to have old resolutions and new resolutions. It’s fine to start them and stop (provided that you’re coming from a place of growth with slow progression and not laziness). It’s fine to make a list and share them with people who genuinely care about your progress and support you without laughing in your face when-for whatever reason-you couldn’t fulfil what you’d set yourself up for. It’s fine that you start on the 10th January as supposed to the 1st January because let’s be honest, unless you’re not the drinking and NYE partying type you’ll be nursing a hangover for at least a few days- I’m not judging.
Don’t be lazy and don’t judge. If you catch yourself judging, check yourself, then refer back to the first mantra. I think life can be simple if you start from yourself and work outwards. But then maybe I’m delusional- like Time.
Am I Too Stylish For My Age? Is There Even Such A Thing?
Originally published Dec 19, 2018
I’ve always been revered for my sense of style. At a young age, I used to match my outfits with styles I’d seen in beauty magazines I “shouldn’t have been reading”. Now, peers and colleagues shower me with compliments that I’m not fishing for- and don’t really want-but quietly appreciate. I get praised for always executing certain trends and having the ability to ‘pull anything off’ and I’ve gradually learned to accept that. But I’ve come to a point where I’m questioning my style. I’m in my twenties but I have the dress sense of someone in their thirties who dresses from the 1940s.
I’m a vintage enthusiast. I don’t really stick to one era, although I regard ‘The Roaring Twenties’ as my past, present and abundant future. I haven’t bought a new piece of manufactured clothing for two years now. Even though whilst reading this I may come off as smug and arrogant about refusing to engage in an industry that accounts for over 50% of the population’s waste, I want to share my knowledge and experience and encourage people to adopt a love of sustainable clothing, whether that’s making it, buying it or selling it. I own a Depop store that’s mainly run by myself and resembles items that I love but don’t use anymore. But first a little about me…
My sense of style is what most people call ‘sophisticated’. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of this label. I’ve worked hard to look the way I do and acquire the clothes I have that reflect this title. I revel in sophistication and grace, and I also am aware that it can take people a number of months, even years to obtain sophistication and still struggle to grasp the delicacies that it has to offer aesthetically.
But I can’t help wondering if I’ve sold myself out of a few years of experimenting with a younger sense of style. I wasn’t allowed to wear short skirts or crop tops in my teenage years that I know my fellow friends were at least allowed to buy and try on. If I tried to buy anything like that and try to sneak out I knew I’d just be wasting both me and my parent’s time. There’d just be no way.
When I turned thirteen I was expecting an extraordinary shift in my journey as a young woman. I assumed my mother would come to magically realise that I had to advance my looks and fulfil my teenage duties by foregoing many different styles until I found ‘the one’. I truly believed that to turn into a teenager would pan out like the ‘Kevin Becomes A Teenager’ BBC sketch except, much more polite, shy, awkward, but hot and sexy af.
I didn’t have many friends that were the ‘going out’ type at the time and I had this massive internal conflict of wanting to sneak out and party and also have a crippling sense of obedience and rigid moral high ground. On top of that, I didn’t have the confidence to be reckless. I’d seen what reckless looked like and I didn’t appreciate the repercussions. I don’t know how I survived and stayed popular throughout college. I think my peers came to respect my choice eventually, even if it was predominantly influenced by my parent’s wishes. I knew what they were doing. To say they were overprotective is the understatement of 2018. But from time to time I do wonder what I could’ve been involved in if I’d chosen to be more rebellious.
All of the house parties that I missed out on (and as a result of my party prudishness not invited to) could’ve been elevated by at least 50% with my arrival, a further 70% with my participation. Oh well.
The parties I now attend in my twenties usually end up the same way: everyone getting drunk, horny and lost and me spending an over-ambitious amount of time getting ready, trying on various outfits, pre-drinking alone, blasting some jazz and chill-hop before choosing the first outfit I put together, putting on the most minimal makeup I can get away with, finally arriving at the chosen destination, getting bored and overwhelmed by the sloppy, chaotic energy, heading back home and cooking some mac and cheese and binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race before conking out at 3 AM.
Even at my drunkest moments, I’ve never had a hangover. And before you say it’s because I’m not mixing enough, I HAVE. It doesn’t work. There’s a small part of me that feels left out (sound familiar?) and there’s a large and strong part of me that really doesn’t. I’ve seen the strongest men dashed to the ground and bound to their beds by vomiting, heavy head syndrome and the inability to smile, even when watching the funniest video ever. Ever.
But back to style. My style. My sophisticated sense of style. I want to keep it and still be able to dress like the sixteen old who wants a sense of approval from her peers. But I already have that. I acquired that very early on in my teenage years and that sense of self-acceptance has merely strengthened as my trademark of individuality has flourished into its own.
I once met a girl that always came into class with straight, long glossy hair. Subconsciously I accepted this as her default appearance. One day she rushed in with thick strands of curly, frizzy locks. She seemed self-conscious and reserved as she sat down with the group. Contrastingly, as a proud Afropunk woman, I was both surprised and intrigued by this aesthetic, asking her how she accomplished the hairstyle. She explained that she hadn’t been able to straighten her hair before coming in and revealed that this was her natural look. I was shocked. “Why would you change it every day?”, I asked her. “It looks gorgeous!”. She confessed that she’d been bullied in school for how curly her hair was. I told her that if I ever saw her hair straightened for that reason I’d be very upset.
She’s never straightened it since.
Her sense of style had been dictated by the opinions of those who should’ve had the least impact on her life, but for whatever reason, she allowed them to influence her style and in turn, her daily schedule. I’m telling you, the day she was late was the day she became free. Well, freer.
Do I feel proud of telling her to be herself? Immensely. I also made sure that I meant it in good spirit and was not bullying her to keep her hair curly in my presence forever. I also made it clear that she is her own woman and can straighten her hair if she wants to. But how cool is that? The right words can definitely have a lasting impact on someone but aren’t they great when they’re for an empowering reason? The sooner you learn to embrace and accept your quirks (to which I have many), the freer you become. It’s 2018 and this mantra has been flying around long enough for us to get the picture, right?
All in all, I’m secure in my style, but I’m definitely going to engage in my youth’s trends more noticeably for a while and who knows, maybe I’ll ditch my vintage brogue print for good, although I think it’s safe to say that I’ve made my silk-sheeted bed and I’ll lie in it for as long as I damn well please.