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. Saturday, 3 November 2018 .
This post has kindly been sponsored by Panasonic - a leader in beauty products UK - however, as always, this has not impacted upon the opinions expressed in this blog post. Please note, this blog post features affiliate links, so I will make a small commission if you purchase through my link. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it really helps me out, so if you do decide to purchase due to my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through my links!

With Christmas fast approaching (apologises to anyone who is still in denial about this) I've started to think about what I might like to find under the Christmas tree. So I thought I'd share that with you guys in case you're stuck for ideas of what to ask for or gift for a loved one!


https://amzn.to/2yPOU97 

I have a love-hate relationship with shaving. I love my skin feeling soft and smooth but hate the effort of shaving. Particularly during the winter months when my skin is pretty dry, shaving really does feel like a chore. Epilation is something I've always thought about braving because the results last longer than shaving, however the thought of it has always made me wince a little. I love that this Epilator from Panasonic has a 'normal' and 'soft' mode so I can introduce myself to epilating in a more gentle manner. It also comes with 6 different attachments so it can be used all over your body. Another plus is that it can be used dry or wet, meaning I don't have to waste water by removing hair in the shower. It has a flexible pivoting head so its always in contact with the skin and 48 tweezers to remove every last hair.
I've seen some great reviews for this product so hopefully i'll get to try it out this festive season!



https://go.magik.ly/ml/gzqe/
If you watch my YouTube channel, you'll probably know that I'm OBSESSED with Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk lipstick. The only slight downside to it is that it's a matte finish. Most of the time I love this, but in the Winter my lips are just too dry to be wearing a matte lip colour. However CT has recently released their iconic shade in a superstar lips formula, which is a lipstick with a glossy finish. I'm desperate to pick this up so I can wear my perfect nude all year round, but it's currently out of stock so I just need to keep my hopes up that it will come back into stock before Christmas!



https://go.magik.ly/ml/gzrc/


The Benefit Roller Lash is a cult favourite and there's a good reason for it! I missed the initial hype under the false pretence that no mascara was good enough to justify its £21.50 price tag, but boy was I wrong! I've worn it every single day since I purchased it and the thought of it running out is just too much to bare quite frankly. Christmas seems like the perfect excuse to treat myself to something that I want and know i'll get loads of use out of, but don't necessarily want to pay the price tag. Plus there's quite often a few Benefit gift sets available around Christmas, so it might be worth keeping your eye out for a gift set. It's a great way to save money, restock a favourite and maybe try out some other Benefit products that you haven't tried before.





https://go.magik.ly/ml/gzrj/

I absolutely love the overall aesthetic of Ted Baker's brand but I've never tried anything from their beauty range. So when I came across this little set whilst hunting online for gifts for others it went straight on my Christmas list! The set is made up of an eyeliner, two eyeshadow crayons, a highlighting crayon, a mascara and an eyeshadow palette. I love the rose gold look of this set and it comes in a gorgeous box so makes for a perfect gift! Plus it's the perfect little set to throw in your bag for a weekend away when you want to create a beautiful makeup look.


https://go.magik.ly/ml/gzse/
I very rarely wear nail polish, simply because I rarely have the patience to paint them and wait for it to dry! Nothing frustrates me more than smudging my nails because I've been too impatient. However one of my favourite nail brands is Essie - if I do paint my nails it's quite often with one of their colours. This little set is a perfect Christmas gift with a mix of a festive pop of red with two more wearable, everyday shades. I rarely finish a nail varnish so these smaller pots are perfect for me. And if you can't paint your nails during the festive period, then when can you?!





https://go.magik.ly/ml/gzcj/
My final pick that I wanted to share with you is something I've actually very recently picked up! But it's just so beautiful I had to share it with you guys anyway because if you don't already own it and you love Nude/Pink eyeshadows then you NEED this palette in your life. This is the New Nude eyeshadow palette from Huda Beauty. The palette contains ten matte shades, four reflective shades, two pressed glitters, one pressed pearl shade and a concealer base. If you want to see my first impression of this beauty you can check it out here.


Thank you so much to Panasonic for sponsoring this blog post. What is top of your Christmas list this year? I'd love to know!

. Saturday, 13 October 2018 .
What with it being October, it only seemed natural that Glossybox went with a Halloween theme. Glossies randomly receive either the 'trick' or 'treat' box and I got the 'trick' one! If you aren't familiar with Glossybox it's basically a beauty subscription service; you pay £10 a month and receive 5 beauty items. I have always loved beauty subscription services because it's like getting a present from yourself each month! I've tried a few different ones before but had never really looked into Glossybox before so thought i'd give it a try. This post is not sponsored and I bought the box with my own money, I just wanted to share with you what I got in my box this month. I actually managed to hold off opening my box for a couple of days until I was able to take the photos for this post - so i'm pretty impressed with myself! This edition of Glossybox is actually entirely cruelty-free and contains 4 full=size products which is definitely a winner! So i'm going to stop rambling now and just show you what I got inside!
1. Illamasqua lipstick in the shade "Energy" RRP £20
Now this lipstick is definitely in-keeping with the halloween theme in this gorgeous vibrant purple shade. It's a semi-matte which is very on trend and perfect for these colder months when lips tend to be drier so you usually want to avoid very matte lips. Illamasua is a brand i've never tried before, which is another reason why I love beauty subscription services - they really broaden your horizons in terms of the brands you use. I love the formula of this lipstick; its creamy and pigmented but looks matte on the lips. I will definitely be seeking out other Illamasaqua shades to try as they seem like great lipsticks. However, my only issue with this choice of shade is that I am highly unlikely to get much use out of it, and I imagine most people would agree with me. While it's a very bold colour and fits the Halloween theme perfectly, it does seem like a little bit of a waste of a product considering I would only really wear it once for a Halloween party perhaps. I cannot deny that it's a great lipstick, but I just would have preferred it to be a shade that more people would be able to wear more often.
2. Sleek Eyeshadow Palette in "Au Natural" RRP £8.99
Sleek is a brand that i'm very familiar with and love many of their products. Their eye shadows definitively aren't the best i've ever tried, but for the price point I do think they're a really great product. This palette is perfect for the new season with warm, autumnal hues and a combination of matte and shimmer shades. It also has a huge mirror inside which is always a winner for me as it makes makeup on the go a lot easier. I especially love the reddish-brown shimmer in the bottom left corner - it's literally my perfect autumnal shade!
3. This Works "In Transit Camera Close-Up" RRP £17
I'll be honest, I don't really understand what this product is. It describes itself as a 'mask, moisturiser and primer all in one' which just doesn't make any sense to me! It's the only product from this box that I haven't had chance to try since opening my box. I can see from the ingredients that it contains several different types of oils and I just don't think that's going to work well at all with my oily skin. This is the only item inside this month's box which isn't full-size, however the full-size product is only 40ml so at 20ml, the sample is a pretty decent size. I think i'm going to give this to a friend with a different skin type who might be able to make better use out of this product.
4. Luna Cosmetics Loose Translucent Powder RRP £17
Luna is a brand i'd never even heard of before receiving this product, but i'm definitely going to be checking out their other makeup after trying this! This very much reminds me of my Laura Mercier translucent powder which is a massive compliment because I love that stuff! It's small size and the addition of a powder puff to keep the product inside makes it perfect to travel with too. It's great for mattifying the skin, keeping makeup in place and hiding pores.
5. Luxe Bronze & Sculpt Contour Kit by MUA RRP £5
Makeup Academy is a brand I'm aware of but have never actually tried any of their products. While it's nice to try some more expensive brands occasionally, I also love discovering new drugstore brands so my bank balance doesn't cry if I love the product and decide to repurchase! I have never found a drugstore bronzer that I loved until discovering this one. I've always stayed true to my holy grail Benefit Hoola. But let's be honest, it's quite pricey! Plus the box it comes in is fairly fragile so I get nervous chucking it in my makeup bag for on the go. This little compact actually contains two shades; the top one (shown in the photo) is a shimmery shade perfect for highlighting and adding a touch of colour if you're super pale like me. Then the shade underneath is a darker shade for contouring and sculpting your face. I'll admit, i'm not great at this! But the powder blends beautifully into the skin so it makes it easier if, like me, contouring is not your friend.
Have you ever tried a beauty subscription box? If so, what's your favourite one?

If you want to give Glossybox a try for yourself, feel free to sign up through my referral link. You'll get 20% off your box and I get store credit - so it's a win-win situation!



. Wednesday, 3 October 2018 .
Autumn is my favourite time of year when it comes to fashion. I love the colours, I love being cosy, I love it all. Despite not really be able to afford it at the moment (moving house is expensive!) I decided to have a look through the new in section on ASOS and share with you my favourite picks.

Links to all the items mentioned can be found beneath the photos. Please note, the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I'll make a small commission if you purchase through my links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it really helps me out, so if you do decide to purchase due to my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through my links!

https://go.magik.ly/ml/fun9/ 

I absolutely LOVE mustard yellow, quite frankly I wear it all year round but I especially love it in the Autumn. I'm also a big fan of chunky knits so this jumper is basically the stuff of dreams for me. I like to wear oversized jumpers like this tucked into skinny jeans with a statement belt. I already own a couple of mustard jumpers but there's always room for more, right? Plus at £20, I think it's a great price.













https://go.magik.ly/ml/funn/
I have wanted a pair of Dr Marten boots for as long as I can remember, specifically a pair in the cherry red colour so autumn seems like the perfect time to pick them up! The only thing i'm not keen about with these ones is the super chunky sole. Personally at 5"9 I don't really feel like I need any extra height. They are also quite pricy at £165 but I see Dr Martens as an investment piece and know they will last me for years! It's my birthday in a few weeks so i'm tempted to treat myself to them as a birthday present, but will keep hunting around a bit longer until I find the perfect pair.










https://go.magik.ly/ml/funm/

I desperately wanted a teddy coat last year but just never got round to purchasing one. I left it too late and then all ones I liked were sold out. There are so many different multi-coloured versions of these coats out there now in all different styles but my personal preference is a more simple design in the classic light brown colour. It has a quilted lining which is going to keep you warm as the temperature drops, and it has real pockets which we all know is a winner!  Plus because its from New Look, it's a pretty decent price point compared to the ones from Topshop and Zara.








https://go.magik.ly/ml/funl/


We've already established that i'm a big fan of mustard, and i'm also a fan of tartan print at this time of year so as soon as I spotted this mustard tartan print dress I knew it had to be mine. I love how the model is wearing it with a roll neck underneath, it would also looks great paired with some tights and boots so can still be worn as the temperature drops. Plus it's an absolute bargain at £15.99. Despite this blog post being a wish list, I think it's safe to say that this will be in my basket before long!










https://go.magik.ly/ml/funj/

I've already mentioned my love for tartan but this gorgeous red and navy pair of trousers basically just screams Autumn/Winter to me! They're from Warehouse and are a little pricer than I'd usually like to pay for such a statement piece at £42, but I could imagine myself styling these in so many different ways. I know Primark are also selling similar trousers at the moment if you want to get the same look for a lower price point.
I would style these with a grey thin knit roll neck, or a black chunky knit jumper. Perhaps even with a t-shirt tucked in and an oversized cardigan too. Essentially what i'm trying to tell you is that there are so many ways to wear these trousers!





https://go.magik.ly/ml/funh/


I am a big fan of pinafore dresses, I actually think I already own three! But of course they're all totally different and therefore it would be acceptable to own another one - right? This rust colour is just perfect for Autumn! It would also work really well as a transitional piece; while the weather is still milder you could get away with wearing it with a thin knit roll neck underneath and perhaps even bare legs. Then when the temperatures start to drop pair it with some thick tights and a chunky knit to make sure you stay warm! It also has that all important button feature which has been a massive trend recently and one that I have definitely embraced.







https://go.magik.ly/ml/funf/


I realise that T-shirts aren't exactly the most autumnal thing you can get, but when I saw the colour combination of this one it just had to go on my wish list! If you watch my hauls on YouTube you'll already know that I'm a big fan of yellow/mustard. Mix this with the rust, black and white stripes and you've got this gorgeous Pinkie t-shirt. It's also an absolute steal at £7.99! This piece might not work as well when temperatures really start to drop but in the mean time it would look great tucked into some high waisted jeans with a chunky cardigan or denim jacket over the top.









https://go.magik.ly/ml/func/ 

As i'm sure we all know, chunky knits are just essential at this time of year. It's easy to slip into the habit of wearing lots of very similar jumpers though. I love how different this one is with vertical ribbing across the body of the jumper and bobble textured sleeves. It is a bit pricer at £46 from River Island but I definitely think its worth it for such a unique piece. Plus i've owned a few RI jumpers before and they've always lasted really well so I definitely don't mind paying that little bit extra for good quality.  I also (surprisingly) don't own any grey jumpers! I think this is because I usually go for my classic 'autumnal' colours so I'm definitely in need of a staple like this in my wardrobe.







https://go.magik.ly/ml/fund/ 


I never used to be a fan of green, but over the last couple of Autumns it has really grown on me. This coat basically resembles a duvet and I think that's why i'm drawn to it - who doesn't want to feel like they're wearing a duvet when they're leaving their house on a winter morning wishing they were still in bed?! It's £60 which I personally don't think is a bad price for what looks like a great coat.


Which of these pieces is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!






. Thursday, 27 September 2018 .
Fast Facts
Size - 65,610 ㎢
Population - 21.2 million
Capital - Colombo
Currency - Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Language - Sinhala, English, Tamil
Landscape - Diverse, ranging from rainforest to sandy beaches and highlands to arid plains.
Climate - Tropical climate with distinctive wet and dry seasons. Weather and temperature varies depending on where in the country you are.

Sri Lanka is a small island nation off the coast of India. Whilst a British colony the country used to be known as 'Ceylon,' but it gained independence from Britain in 1948 and dropped its colonial name in 1972. Sri Lanka also had a lot of influence from the Dutch and Portuguese from the 16th century onwards. Sri Lanka's population is a very multicultural one; the majority (73%) is Buddhist Sinhalese, but there is also a considerable population of Hindu Tamils as well as Christians and Muslims. The multicultural nature of the country has led to tension, with a bitter civil war breaking out in 1983 between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The conflict finally ended in 2009 after almost 26 years of violence. Whilst there has been some reported tension and violence between groups on a small scale since the war has ended, this has not impacted upon any tourists so do not let that put you off visiting this beautiful country. Had I visited Sri Lanka without being aware of its history, I certainly would not have thought that there was still any tension between ethnic groups while visiting as a tourist.

Sri Lanka is an absolutely beautiful country which now holds a very special place in my heart. However, until very recently it hadn't been very high on my list of countries that I wanted to visit. If you're in a similar boat I can now very confidently tell you that you are wrong - and that's not something I take likely! I went out to Sri Lanka with a company called Plan My Gap Year, my experience with them was absolutely incredible and I cannot recommend them enough. So if you're looking at going with an organisation to travel/volunteer I would definitely recommend you check out what programmes they offer. I've now travelled with 4 different organisations and PMGY were by far the best; Ash and the rest of the team in Sri Lanka are just incredible at what they do. However if you do want to travel Sri Lanka alone that is a very easy thing to do here. I spent a week travelling by myself after my 4 week volunteering programme finished and I also made independent travel plans for my weekend to go off either on my own or with other people I met whilst travelling.

Places To Go
Galle Lighthouse
  • Galle was by far my favourite place that I visited in Sri Lanka and somewhere I cannot recommend enough. It's on the south coast near to a lot of great beachy towns, so it's perfect for a day trip when you want to do a bit more exploring as opposed to relaxing. Galle is famous for its Fort; it is a fortified city founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century, however inside the Fort you will also see hints of its Dutch and British heritage. The Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and within it's 90 hectares there is so much history to see. If you have a Lonely Planet guide book for Sri Lanka they've included in there a fab walking tour that allows you to see all the main highlights within a few hours, although you could easily slow down if you wanted to spend the whole day taking in this little beauty. There is also a small beach near to the famous lighthouse if you want to take a rest from all that exploring. Galle also has loads of great places to eat; cute little cafes and burger places all up to more high-end restaurants, Western food and Sri Lankan cuisine. If you want to see more about my time in Galle you can check out my vlog here

  • Unawatuna is a great little beach town just a few minutes by bus or tuk tuk down the road from Galle. It's the perfect amount of 'touristy' in my opinion - not too busy, but enough people that there are a few shops/cute places to eat. There's also an "Instagram famous" swing at the next beach along called Dalawella. If you say beach swing to any tuk tuk driver they'll know exactly what you mean and take you to the spot! You do have to pay to use it (it's owned and operated by one of the local beach cafes). I believe the sign says its 500 LKR, but we managed to barter to 200 LKR each.

  • Ella is somewhere I wish I'd had chance to stay a lot longer. It just has a really cool feel to it, if that makes sense. There are loads of great places to grab a coffee or something to eat, plus its at  a higher altitude making it a lot cooler in terms of temperature and humidity than most of Sri Lanka. It'is found in their 'hill country' which makes for incredible views and hikes if that is your thing. There's also a few tea factories nearby which you can visit and watch how they take the tea from hillside crop to packaged and ready to sell. (If you are going to visit a tea factory it's well worth getting your hotel/hostel to check whether or not they're actually operating that day - you can still visit when they're not operating, but the tour isn't quite the same if you can't see everything in action). If you fancy a climb there is Adam's Peak and Little Adam's Peak nearby - depending on how fit you're feeling! Plus there is the famous Nine Arch Bridge which is well worth a visit, you can get there either by hiking or walking along the train tracks from Ella's station - just watch out for trains! If you want to see what I got up to in Ella you can watch the vlog here

  • Kandy definitely wasn't my favourite place in Sri Lanka, but I do think its worth a visit (maybe just short one). For me the highlight was definitely the Temple of the Tooth which has twice daily ceremonies that you can take part in if you're there at the right time. It was such a surreal experience to witness such a fascinating religious ceremony up close. My only regret is I hadn't done much research beforehand. If you opt not to get a guide (like I didn't) then definitely do your research before you visit because you'll get much more from the experience if you have a rough understanding of what is going on. I researched it once I'd got back to my hostel afterward but wish I'd done things the other way around. Kandy is also home to some local dancing shows which again are just fabulous - the costumes, the music, the stories - a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. One of the major downsides to Kandy for me was that it was quite expensive in comparison to other places. The Temple of the Tooth was 1500 SKR per person to enter (approx. £7.50/$10) which may not seem like a lot but it is in context of the rest of the attractions in the country. It's also just a busy city, very much like what you'd find in most countries. That might appeal to some people but it just isn't my favourite kind of place to visit while travelling. My vlog from Kandy is here
  • Arugam Bay is somewhere I didn't actually get chance to visit while I was in Sri Lanka simply due to time constraints. However I've heard amazing things from a lot of different travellers that I met on the road. So if you have time I'd definitely suggest you look into paying it a visit. 
Getting Around
Public transport in Sri Lanka is cheap and fairly efficient, just don't expect things to run bang on time as the whole country operates on 'Sri Lankan time'! I was waiting for a bus at one point which was nearly half an hour late, worried I'd missed it I asked one of the staff at the bus station, he just shrugged and said "Sri Lankan time" and went back to reading his newspaper! Thankfully the bus arrived about 5 minutes later but don't panic if things are quite to schedule.
  • Tuk Tuks are a great option if you're only travelling a short distance. If you haven't been to Asia before they're auto rickshaws, some will look better than others but they're essentially small motorcycles pulling a seated area behind them. These are particularly great if you're in a busy city because they will weave in and out of traffic. Be prepared to barter because they will always ask you for way more money than they're actually expecting the first time. It's also a good idea to know how far away where you want to get to is and maybe ask your hostel/hostel roughly how much it will be to get somewhere, that way if a Tuk Tuk driver asks for way over the odds you'll know and be in a better position to barter. However my attitude with bartering is don't take the mickey essentially. It can be easy to get caught up in things but sometimes you just need to step back and realise you're haggling over something as small as 50p which probably means very little to you but a great deal more to the driver.
  • Buses are also really inexpensive and a great option if you're going a slightly longer distance than you'd want to do in a tuk tuk. They can be quite intimidating if you haven't taken one before but I took many bus journeys throughout my time in Sri Lanka and never had any issues. At a lot of the smaller stops the buses don't actually stop, they just slow down to allow people to jump on and off so you need to be quick otherwise they'll just drive off without you. If you aren't sure which bus to get on there's nearly always a man leaning out of one of the doors that is kind of like a conductor, if they spot you waiting by a bus stop they will often shout to you asking where you are going, if you tell them the name of a place they will often indicate in some way if this is the bus you want. Even if they don't ask just start shouting the name of the place you want to go to as the bus approaches and someone will tell you if its the right one or not! 
  • Trains are actually a fairly slow means of transport in Sri Lanka and again they often don't run at the times they are supposed to nor does the journey always take the amount of time you were told it would. However the scenery you'll see out of the window is often breath-taking. Especially if you take the famous train from Ella to Kandy (or vice versa)! It's well worth booking your train tickets as soon as possible as its the only way to get yourself a guaranteed seat. If you buy your ticket in advance you'll have a carriage number and a seat number, and on a lot of trains only people with an allocated seat will be allowed in the carriages set aside for allocated seating. So there's no risk of someone pinching your seat that you've paid for. If you buy a ticket on the day be prepared to stand because you'll have to go into one of the unallocated carriages, which can be absolutely jammed at times. The allocated seats sell out quickly though so that's why you should aim to buy your ticket at least a few days in advance. I travelled in third class for my first train journey only because that was all that was available when I bought my ticket, and despite my initial nerves it was actually a really pleasant journey. There was even a western style toilet in the carriage which I wasn't expecting! The only difference between the classes is the number of seats in a carriage and how comfortable the seats are.
Foods To Try
For me, food is one of the best ways you can truly get to grips with a new culture. So I would always recommend trying as many local dishes as you can when you visit a new country. It's always worth asking the staff at your hotel/hostel/air bnb where they like to eat as they'll often suggest much less touristy restaurants for a more authentic experience. Here are a few of the dishes I suggest you look out for:

Sri Lanka Curries. Jackfruit below the poppadom,
Pol Sambol at the top. 
  • Kottu is a staple in Sri Lanka cuisine. It looks like a kind of fried rice dish but it is in fact made with roti (a type of bread) which is why you might also see it referred to as kottu roti on the menu. The roti is chopped up with a variety of different ingredients usually including cabbage, onion, egg, spices and sometimes meat. It's filling, tasty and cheap. 
  • Dhal is another classic Sri Lankan dish, it's usually served with rice or roti and is made from lentils with a whole loads of other things thrown in for flavour. It usually has a bit of a kick to it but is mixed with coconut milk so it's creamy. 
  • Jackfruit Curry is often on the menu as polos. Jackfruit itself can be eaten when ripe and sweet but when made into curry its used in its unripe form. The texture resembles potatoes as its boiled until soft before being included in the curry. It's also high in fibre and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so a great healthy option whilst travelling. 
  • Pol Sambol is a side dish made from coconut that really has a kick. If you order 'Sri Lankan curries' from the menu you'll often be served rice with several different curries and side dishes, including pol sambol. It's normally not the prettiest of dishes but is packed full of different flavours. 
  • Wood Apple is a fruit native to South East Asia and you will smell it long before you see it. I would recommend trying it in smoothie form, you'll see it referred to as wood apple juice on the menu, for a much more subtle taste than eating it straight out of the shell. In juice form it's blended with sugar and water and has a really unique sweet and source taste. 


Safety
As a solo female traveller I generally felt very safe in Sri Lanka. On a couple of occasions men would be a little bit over friendly on public transport but always backed down after I sternly told them to leave me alone. As with all countries theft and scams are a possibility, but so long as you keep your wits about you there isn't any greater risk here than most countries. On public transport I would recommend you keep your personal belongings close to you and if travelling with a bigger bag that might need to be stored above your head or at the front of the bus, its worth putting a lock on it just to keep away wandering hands. It's worth remembering that Sri Lanka is a pretty conservative country so away from touristy areas I would recommend women wear clothing than covers their shoulders and knees to avoid any unwanted attention. In touristy/beachy areas they will be much more used to seeing women in dresses and shorts, but it is not acceptable to wear beach wear (i.e. bikinis, swimming costumes) anywhere but the beach. Both men and women will also be expected to cover up when visiting religious sites so its worth carrying a couple of scarfs/cover ups with you. Otherwise if you need to purchase one when you're near a religious site, roadside sellers will charge you much more than you would pay anywhere else.

I hope you guys found this helpful! Is Sri Lanka on your list of places to visit?

. Tuesday, 14 August 2018 .
When I first started YouTube, and even now to a certain extent, I struggled with how to explain it to people. Do I say I'm a "YouTuber"? Or perhaps say that I create content on YouTube, or simply that I make YouTube videos? I was nervous that by describing myself as a "YouTuber" I would open myself up to criticism - after all I only have a small audience. I didn't want people to think I was 'bigging myself up' to be something I'm not. I have the same issue with my blog; this is a lot newer than my YouTube channel, I have less of a following here and I don't upload content as regularly. Thus if I struggle to call myself a YouTuber, it's fairly obvious that i'd struggle even more with the concept of being a "blogger."
I know some people have the attitude of 'you have a blog and thus you are a blogger', and whilst I would never criticise someone else's decision to refer to themselves as a blogger or not, i'm speaking more about self-identification. I started my blog in September 2017 and for me I wasn't a "blogger" just because I had shared one blog post. I've spoken before on my blog about setting goals, and personally my goals are never numbers based. So I don't think it has anything to do with how many followers you have or posts you've shared as to whether or not you are a blogger. As with YouTube, there are many bloggers with smaller audiences that I follow more regularly and value their opinions more so than bloggers with larger audiences.
I have the word "Blogger" in my twitter bio, which I guess you could say is me referring to myself as a blogger. But I have that there more for other people to identify what it is I do within the online space. If I were to meet someone in person I certainly wouldn't say I was blogger while introducing myself or explaining what I do. I think part of my unease around referring to myself as a 'blogger' comes from the association between bloggers and earning an income. I think it is incredible that people have managed to turn what started out as a hobby and a passion into a business that earns them some form of income. Thus i'm almost nervous to refer to myself as a blogger in case someone were to ask me if I make money from it, because I don't. I remember both the first time I received Adsense money from YouTube and my first paid sponsorship as a vlogger and the excitement because I finally felt like a 'YouTuber.' Therefore I wonder whether it would take something like that to come from my blog in order for me to feel comfortable with the title of blogger.

I think my biggest fear about calling myself a blogger, is actually other bloggers! I tend to find that consumers of blogs are, for the most part incredibly lovely people, (you're always going to get a few nasty comments). But within the blogging community I see far more bad behaviour coming from other bloggers. I have always stood by the quote "empowered women empower women." So this attitude that some people seem to have of bringing others down just baffles me. I tend to find that the vast majority of my support comes from non-bloggers as opposed to bloggers. Which really frustrates me because I go out of my way to support people in everything they do, encourage them to reach their goals and celebrate with them when they do. Their success is not my failure. By calling myself a blogger I feel like i'm inviting myself into a community that isn't at times the most welcoming, which can be a pretty scary thing to do.

I'm curious, whether you're a viewer or a blogger yourself, at what point do you consider someone a "blogger?" And is that different from when you considered yourself one?


Photos: Sophie Ann Photography

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