Body positivity for everyone

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I’ve seen way too much negativity lately, and I’m writing to tell you I’m your local blogging glitter fairy who’s about to exterminate all of that bullshit. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

The term “body posi” creates an idea in my head of an overweight woman who doesn’t give an eff and loves her body despite being overweight. It really shouldn’t give me this picture (first of all, “despite” being overweight? Why did my mind go there?!) . Body positivity should be creating pictures of everyone who might need it. Anyone can, easily enough, feel insecure about their body – so fat, slim, man, woman, black, white, young, old, able bodied or not, you’re allowed to feel however you want about your body, regardless of whether you meet societies standards. The parts of my body I like don’t necessarily conform to societies standards of young women, and perhaps the parts I hate are what other people would prefer to have. Either way, it’s no ones business but my own, because it’s my body.

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There seems to be negativity around expressing insecurities in your body if you’re slim or meet the “requirements” set for beauty more than someone else. That’s bullshit.
There’s negativity around men being insecure about their bodies, “you’re a guy, it’s not as bad for you” – that’s bullshit too. As a curvy woman, I’m lucky that there’s support for me if i’m feeling my curves, and also if I’m not, because the culture is there for me. But for so many others, there’s not enough people cheering in the background for whatever they feel like.

Body and beauty standards are enforced by companies that ultimately, want our money. They make their “GOALS!” posts incredibly unachievable and make us feel like if we buy the mascara/clothes/perfume in the advert, we’ll feel as sexy/confident/cool as the model pictured. This trickles down to us as consumers, and we use it to pit ourselves against each other. This is inhumane and makes us dick-ish to be honest. You’re not better than anybody else because you look more like an advert than they do – and we’ve all been there -so why do we do it?

Well, because it’s everywhere. Every time you scroll through instagram, every bus advert that drives past you, every advert on TV, in a magazine…you know, you’ve seen it. I don’t need to list them all. So when we fight back, when we say “you know what, I’m happy however I look, I’m worth more” we’re exercising our strength. And when we say “you look brilliant” or even “how you look has no impact on your value” to others, we enforce a much more supportive atmosphere for everybody involved. Isn’t that what we all want?

I don’t want to ramble my way through this blog post. I’m not what you’d call a “body positive” blogger, so I won’t pretend that I’m an expert – I’m trying to tread carefully – but I truly think this issue touches us all at some point and I wanted to remind anyone reading that you are more than enough without considering your looks at all. You feel great today? Your make up is on fleek? You’ve put on a few pounds? A few stone? Your clothes don’t make you feel good? You’re perfect, capable of a lot more than you know, and absolutely enough. Don’t forget – and remind someone else too!

What do you think of body image? How does it affect you?

Lizzie xo

Top 10 tips for a Getaway to Prague

Prague is an absolute favourite city for me and my boyfriend. For our first anniversary, he whisked me off and we fell in love with the place – beautiful architecture, first class restaurants and scenery to die for. So this year, I did the same for him and now it’s safe to say we know our way around.

Going to Prague, or considering whether it’s for you? Here’s ten things to know before you jet off.

1. There’s room for every kind of trip – Charlie and I have been to Prague twice for 2 romantic getaways, and both times we’ve seen hen and stag parties at one point or another. Prague is so cheap, which makes it a hotspot for younger generations no matter what stage of life you’re at – and if it helps, because everything is so spread out across the city, our romantic trip and the drunken adventures of those parties didn’t overlap too much.
2. Beer, beer beer – be warned, beer is EVERYWHERE. Czech’s make some excellent brews (Charlie really knows a lot more about this than I do, I’ll be honest. I just drink the stuff. Follow him on instagram at @palealedicannio for beer help!) and this is just a warning that it is cheaper than EVERYTHING ELSE. If you’re on the soft drinks, you’ll be paying more than your friends on the Pilsner. Also, a pint can be as little as 50p if you drink in the right places, so maybe make the most of one of the best cities for it and get a little sloshed on the cheap, if that’s your thing. (Please drink responsibly though. Don’t do a Lizzie circa Prague 2017 and have to be dragged back to your hotel by your boyfriend. That’s not cool).
3. Venture beyond the grapevine – Prague 1 is the hotspot of Prague and where you’ll find all the tourism spots, Charles Bridge, and all the designer shops. This is great but if you spend all your time there you’ll be broke in an hour. I had the best experiences in the authentic pubs we found in Prague 2, the hidden restaurants, and the underground tours that weren’t advertised through our hotel. You’ll find people that don’t just want to sell to you and you’ll see a whole lot more of the city, too (and it’s not too far from the centre, either. Spread out, see more, save money.)
4. Dress appropriately – now this is true for every destination of course, but with Prague I really mean it. The first year, we went in March and the whole city was flicking frozen. Well, I was. I was cold basically. So this year, going a few weeks later in April I packed jumpers, jeans and coats feeling all smug and prepared. Naturally it was boiling hot and I sweat for 4 days straight. Plan ahead, people.
5. Take your time – Prague isn’t exactly slow paced, but nowhere is ever as busy as London in my experience and Prague feels a lot more relaxed. Really breathe in the architecture entwined with nature, walk through the alleys that look a bit hidden, and see what you find. Prague is absolutely full of hidden gems and Charlie and I have had some of the best nights out/meals/conversations with people of our lives so far because we dared to explore. Please, please do the same.
6. Music is everywhere – Okay, I’m a tad biased because I’m always looking for music, but there is no reason not to see something live if you’re wanting to when you’re in the city. Whether it’s in the opera house, a cabaret bar, or something less common like the hidden underground jazz club we found ourselves sitting in under Old Town Square (you’re welcome) or the pianist in the same square that plays all night, with his keyboard wrapped in fairy lights. There is no limit to how much vibrancy and music you can find in Prague.
7. Eat traditional – I’ve turned vegetarian since getting back from Prague and I’m not sure how easy that will be to adhere to next time I find myself there. However, if you do eat meat, you’re in for an amazing experience in the food department. Think traditional eastern european and order something recommended by the waiter. Also, check out Portfolio for a fine dining experience so phenomenal we went 2 years on the trot and still reminisce about what we ate there. (What? The food is immense, okay?)
8. Walk far and wide – Even though uber is brilliant out there, you’ll miss out on so much if you don’t at least allocate one day to wander aimlessly and discover things. See point 5.
9. Talk to everyone – learning about a random bartenders way of life educated me a lot more than the tour we went on did. Don’t discount anybody – plus, it’s nice to be nice.
10. You don’t have to spend it up – 50p-£1.50 a pint most of the time, and if you venture out of Prague 1 you’ll find all the bargains.

I hope this helps any of you planning a trip! Prague is the best place for a proper escape, and really does have something for everyone. Get booking if you haven’t already…

Love,
Lizzie

Live Jazz with Pizza Express

This is a sponsored post.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my music, and if you know me personally, you probably know there’s a special place in my heart for jazz. It’s the basis of the best gigs i’ve been to, the most special nights I can remember with my boyfriend, and the music that makes me feel most like myself.

So when Pizza Express contacted me with an invitation to one of their coveted live jazz events, I jumped at the chance to cover it on my blog – jazz and pizza?! What more could a girl want?

It may come as a surprise if you’re not aware that Pizza Express are pretty big on their jazz, and have been for a while. One of my absolute faves, Jamie Callum, was heavily integrated with them on his rise in the jazz scene and the late great Amy Winehouse also played on their stages. Safe to say I knew the music was going to be good when I joined them in Maidstone last week, where I went with a friend.

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Trust me to head straight for the selfie mirror

Upon entering an intimate room with hues of pink and purple, we were greeted by the view of a grand piano, which is always certain to get my tummy tingling. Being a keyboard player is all well and good but I’m always itching to play a real piano! With prosecco and as much pizza as one can handle in an evening, we began exploring the venue.

I didn’t know how much you can actually get done in a pizza express. Dreamy pizza? Check. Live jazz? Check. Conference rooms with waitress service? Check, check. (And I’m not just talking a random room at the back either – top floor, high ceilings, art all over the walls and a mantelpiece, complete with ornate mirrors. Check.)

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Beyond the gorgeous rooms and intricately detailed staircases (yes, I notice the detail of staircases), we spent the night getting lost in the voices of Liane Carroll and Gwyneth Herbert – 2 absolute queens who floored me with their presence. Gwyneth Herbert’s off-beat rhythms and distinctive technique had the whole crowd either singing, clapping along, or a moment away from tears throughout the performance. Truly something special happens when she takes the stage.

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Gwyneth Herbert – atmospheric queen!

Liane Carroll was different – her voice was so soulful – a girl after my own heart! – and slightly more traditional. Her piano playing made you feel like you wanted to stay in that bar all night, watching her play, with a whiskey in hand. The incredible creativity in her songs was mindblowing, too – who ever thought you could mash up the sound of music with classic jazz tunes?

This was definitely a night to remember. Pizza Express have jazz nights all up and down the country, so whether you’re reading this in London or Birmingham, they’ve got you covered. I whole heartedly encourage you to go and discover what’s hiding upstairs in the evening of your local.

Thank you Pizza Express for having me at your beautiful event – and do get down to one of their nights near you, because in the words of Ray Brown, “Jazz is something you have to feel. Something you have to live”.

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What I REALLY think of blogging…and where it’s taking me

Hey! Hope you’re doing really well. Welcome back!

The way I look at the whole blogging industry has changed massively lately, so let’s get straight into it shall we? Get ready for some kinda brutal truths.

First of all, I bloody well hate drama, and the blogging world is full of it. I’ve been commended for being honest lately, and no matter what side of which argument you’ve been on, I still don’t care. Save the drama for your mama. All these talks of female bloggers being catty and bitchy – can we stop already? We’re strong women, capable of a lot more than tweeting insults, and to THAT blogging company that continues to belittle, mug off and insult small bloggers? Ugh. Done now. Please exit the door stage right.

If you don’t know me yet, I really believe in the power of women. I believe we’ve got so much more strength than the world has believed of us for a very long time, and I believe when we stick together, giving each other help and opportunities, there are fewer better feelings of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I think we’ve also got a duty as women to prove we can be better than the stereotype (we shouldn’t have to prove it, but I think a lot of the world doesn’t believe that yet.) SO, it makes me want to stand on top of the world, as a woman, and scream “I told you so!”.

In short, I think we really owe it to ourselves to not only support each other, but to be better than the “catty, bitchy, two faced” stereotype. We’re in a professional setting and particularly as bloggers, we have a lot of people watching. We can do more, spread better messages and help each other without all the aggravation. I’d like to point out that there are plenty of men in the blogging community too, many of whom can find themselves wrapped up in all this drama – I’m just so passionate about women building each other up that it inspired this post.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing people in the blogging industry who I’ve become friends with and I’m insanely proud of, for their personalities and strength just as much as their achievements. And when I look at all the people taking advantage, being creative and creating their own opportunities, I’m beyond inspired. There are some people in the scene really killing it at the moment and tying all their branding together and creating their careers – I am SO FOR THIS. *applause*

But on the other hand, I’ve had a wake up call in terms of blogging. I’ve figured out what I don’t like about it – and in turn realised what I want to do with my blog. I’m not motivated by reviewing lipsticks or telling you what’s in my handbag. I don’t talk about that kind of stuff on a daily basis, so why write about it? I’m not about fashion or make up (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those things, but I don’t get a lot out of reviewing them or posting about what outfit I’m wearing that day. It’s not what lights me up, and there are people out there who have more love for it than I do.)

I’ve found my niche in blogging and I’m realising that I need to write about my passions rather than what everyone else is used to hearing. It might be new and a bit harder to predict but it’s what I need to do for me, so it’s what I’ll do.

Expect to see more fun, creative, adventurous posts that I’m putting my heart and soul into. Encourage me to stick to my guns, if I need it! Give me a minute, while I figure out where I am and where I’m headed – I’m hoping I’m in the right direction now and listening to myself, rather than what everyone else wants. In short, I’m about to do me. (unedited.)

So, here I am:

IMG_5985I’m Lizzie. I’m 22 and I’m obsessed with creativity. I live for good music, belly laughs, strong make up looks, being individual and passionate about what I believe in. I’m big on equal rights. I’m also big on chocolate biscuits and Amy Winehouse. I stick up HARD for my friends and family and I don’t take anyone’s shit. I swear sometimes. I forget things super easily. I’m late to things occasionally and I’m a CLASSIC Gemini (yep, really.) I’m a listener and a talker, but my favourite thing is to sing and I’ve forgotten that about myself in the last few years. I’m on a journey to remember who I am and what I want to do. I’m ambitious, without knowing entirely where I’m headed. I’ve got flaws and drawbacks, but I’ve got great qualities too – and as I write this, I’m vowing to do better than the doubts in my head. I hope you can think of some amazing things about yourself too – let me know in the comments the amazing things I should know about you and your blog!

With Love,Lizzie x

2017.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. 2017 has been a pretty tough year for me and the blog that I once loved, pursued and nurtured has fallen by the wayside to make room in my life for prioritising my mental health. That is not a bad thing by any stretch, but I’ve really missed it and the blogging community!
Whilst everyone is sharing how brilliant their 2017’s were, I’m being reminded that the blogging community is filled with positivity when you least expect it. It has an awful reputation sometimes (that we are all better than) but the amount of posts I’ve read about how much everyone is learning, growing and achieving has made me really proud to be part of an industry where so much change occurs.

I’ve had a real mixed bag of things happen this year, but I’m not here to dwell on the bad stuff. Here’s everything I’m grateful for from 2017 and here’s to the next year – may it be even better than the last for you!

 

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H E A L T H

2017 had some emotional ups and downs that really took their toll on my mental health, but in a way I’m glad for them. Family drama has reminded me who’s got my back, and hitting the lowest point with my mental health gave me the motivation to keep getting back up again and becoming stronger. I know everyone online seems to harp on about mental health, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here – I’m just really, really glad I’ve had the opportunity to begin moving on this year. The help and support I’ve had has put me in a place at the end of the year where I feel ready to really make things better. I’m incredibly lucky with the support I’ve had with that. I’ve also had a lot of confusion surrounding my physical health as well this year, being misdiagnosed with different allergies and intolerances and put on diets by doctors that were really wrong for me (thanks for that!) but I’m now seeing a dietician and I feel in a really prepared place to take care of myself next year. Whether that’s getting more sleep, seeing my friends more, drinking water or eating right, I’m putting myself and my health at the very top of my priorities in 2018 and I can’t lie, I’m REALLY excited about it!

C A R E E R

I started a new job back in May that I have absolutely adored. The time I’ve been there has absolutely flown by, and in the past couple of months the role has started to really challenge me. I’m so proud of the company and the job I do and what I’ve achieved working there and I’m now at a place where I need to figure out if I am ready to up my game with them and work even harder. I want to make sure it’s an active decision to either run with the massive amount of work I’m being given or to decide it’s too much – either way, I want to ensure it’s me actively engaging in my career and making the decisions.

In 2018, I’ve got some more creative goals for my career outside of the workplace (I’m not sure if that makes sense! I’m trying to steer my career on my own terms and investigate where it really, truly is I want to be and what I want to do). I’m hoping I can introduce some more creativity into my career and push it forward single handedly (watch this space!)

C R E A T I V I T Y

This year I have IGNORED my creativity so much and it’s been crap (let’s not mince words). My blog, youtube, music, all got ignored. Can’t remember the last time I did anything like see a play or go to an art gallery simply because I love it. 2017 has shaken me up and made me realise that though. 2018 is going to be all about me and my creativity, nurturing it and reminding myself just how important it is to me. I am the artsy-est person through and through and I have completely forgotten that this year, because it’s all been about growing up and preparing my life for a different direction. Moving out and away from some difficult situations (or trying to) has completely dominated my year and I haven’t had the time to just relax and be myself. Well, screw that. I need me time in 2018!

L O V E

Okay okay, I won’t get too mushy, but I’m ending 2017 in a really good place in terms of the people I love, because this year I really learnt who cares about me and who deserves my time. I’m ending 2017 with fewer friends (fake ones, who never wanted to help or let me help them. I wish them well though) and different family. Again, you might feel like you have to keep toxic family members around simply because they’re your blood. My timeline and history and family ties are the biggest proof ever that this is not true. If someone mistreats you, let them get on with their own toxicity and look after yourself and your people. I am so grateful for my best friends, family that I reconnected with this year, my little sister, and my fantastic boyfriend who really has been my rock this year. 2018 will see me move in with him and throw a massive party with everyone I love! (Thank you Charlie :))

A N D    T H E    R E S T

All in all, it’s been a tough, but productive year. I got a great job (that is hard work) started a really cute penpal friendship (Hey Annaleid if you’re reading this! Thank you for making my year better! While you’re all reading, check out Anneleid’s blog:) I travelled, saved money, and moved house (busy bee) I took some much needed time for myself mentally in various way and I have everything I need to enter 2018 in a healthy, productive, fun way. This is the year I’m going to re-jiggle all my priorities and make sure I’m happier!

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I hope you all have an amazing (and safe) time tonight if you’re out partying, and if you’ve read all the way to the end of this post THANK YOU. I haven’t written a post in forever and to have people that still follow me and encourage me to do this is amazing. Have a wonderful 2018, all my love x

The Bloggers Who Brunch Launch and what it taught me…

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A week on from the BWBLaunch and I’m still hearing glowing reviews of it. A day of popcorn-fuelled inspiration in an instagrammable penthouse was always going to be a hit with bloggers. In a set up that included talks from quickly growing bloggers (LexiLife) and top class photographers (Katherine McMorran) I learnt a lot – but as it always is with these events, it wasn’t in the way I thought it would be!

With events like these, I always find the most important advice in the details rather than the main event (which is why it’s so important to go – you never know where inspiration will spring from) don’t get me wrong, I know more about YouTube details than I did before from Katy and thanks to Katherine I now actually know what aperture is (yep, you caught me) but the bits and bobs I learnt from networking with other bloggers was invaluable.

I started my blog because I’ve always loved writing and I wanted an outlet for that. I wanted to write about the local music industry I had found myself in and find others who would benefit from sharing tips and experiences through it. For the first year, I did no promo, wasn’t involved in the blogging scene at all and literally just did it for myself to read back on my favourite ramblings about outfits and musical opinions. When I found the blogging community on Twitter, I found loads of support from bloggers and influencers alike, circling mainly around fashion and beauty (which, yeah, sounds a bit odd for someone who wants to talk about music?).

At BWBLaunch, I met with the lovely Tabby from Take Heart Be Courageous, a beauty blogger I met an event last year and have since stayed in touch with, and another couple of bloggers Tinker Tailor Online (Antonia) and Verity and the Very who i’d followed on social media but never really spoken to properly – I ended up learning so much from them both though and I’m so glad to have met them! We went for brunch and begun swapping blogging stories and tips. Although I was initially feeling slightly inferior amongst talks of brand deals, I was really inspired by all three of these women and felt that I wanted to take my blogging further creatively. (PS, Prosecco and brunch before a networking event is a good way to feel super-cosmopolitan) Going onto meet Sophie from Edited Collective, we went for (debatably too many) cocktails and again swapped experiences. I learnt so much from these ladies and they fuelled my imagination so much. That is honestly something you can’t buy, or search for on Pinterest and I hope to turn it into something great.

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Brunch pics: Clerkenwell Grind is to die for!

At the launch, having met and caught up with a few bloggers I’d known, I started to realise that I’ve been forgetting my niche in blogging. This blog was always meant to support my love of writing and my connection with music – and that’s sadly been lost a little bit! I’m changing things up a bit round here and I’m on a mission to find more music and lifestyle bloggers, which is so exciting! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some amazing beauty and fashion bloggers along the way, and some of my best blogging buds are working in that sector with their blogs – but it’s not for me, and I won’t be performing at the best of my ability if I get sidetracked.

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Who can resist a bathroom selfie when it’s entirely pink….

So right now, I’m working on a few things that are a little bit more me. I hope you like them and I hope they spark my creativity. Thank you Kirby Small (I’m so proud of you!) and BWB for a great event, meeting plenty of bloggers who taught me some priceless things!

Make sure you check out everyone tagged – girlboss central in the blogging world at the moment.

Lizzie x

Is it possible to stay positive in negative circumstances?

If there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s that positivity is not something that you can just choose to have. People seem to think it is, but it’s entirely human to be affected by the world, by seemingly insignificant events, by other people. As the saying goes, it’s okay not to be okay.

I’ve also learnt that negativity sucks a lot more when you really, really don’t want to feel it. That may sound odd initially, but you know there are those times and people in life – the ones where negativity is just the easiest way out? Putting everything down to “my life is awful” makes it seem a lot more like you’re not in control of your circumstances and life is just bad, all in all. If you feel negative about life and you want to change that, but just can’t shake it, it hurts a lot more. It becomes a steady journey to positivity that is tiring and takes a lot of time and effort. (It’s a healthy journey, one you should definitely take if you feel like you want your life to change – but it’s difficult!)

What I’m saying is there are a lot of people, myself included, who may feel kind of crappy from day to day. Who need the odd pick – me – up to remind themselves just how well they are doing and that they’re on the way to a better state of mind. If that rings a bell, this ones for you! Grab a cuppa, a notebook, and let me try to help in some teeny tiny way.

1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE PROUD OF YOURSELF FOR.
Everything. Every single insignificant little thing. Gotten dressed, when you couldn’t face it yesterday? That’s amazing! Made lunch and looked after yourself today? Write it down! Written a blog post? Walked the dog? Made your bed? Be proud of everything you can be proud of, because you deserve to. You’ll have days when you ace job interviews, score a hot date, achieve your dreams, but they don’t arrive every day. So write down all the little things you’re proud of yourself for until another one of those days comes back around. Find that twinkly “if I can do that I can do this” feeling and KEEP it. (Keep this list nearby and look at it when you need a confidence boost – and don’t diminish your achievements!)

2. SELF CARE.
In case no one’s told you today, I hope you’ve eaten some veggies and drunk some water. (If you haven’t, go get some. I’ll wait) I hope you’ve looked at an old selfie and gone “WOW I’m fabulous”. I hope you’ve had some rest, laughed at something cute or funny (if you haven’t, here is a fave meme of mine to help) and I hope you have a good old pamper sesh. Stimulate your senses, and that might sound odd, but it’s what the professionals advise when you’re feeling out of touch.

3. REMIND YOURSELF THAT EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY, AND YOU’RE ON A JOURNEY.
I struggle with this one. I see happiness in the achievements rather than the journey itself – and how much do we miss out on by doing that? It might be years before you achieve what you’re longing for. It might be hours. But ultimately you don’t know, so find some fun in what you’re doing now. You want to just graduate already? Take pride in the fact you’re learning. You want to change your image? Think of how fun that will be! Even if you’re feeling the lowest you have ever or can imagine ever feeling – it will not last. Those massive hits of achievement you’re chasing won’t last either. It’s the little things in life that are constant and frequent, so you have to find some goodness in those.

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4. COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.
I would LOVE to have some of the things in people I see online (talking personality traits, not belongings, although there are some pretty fine handbags floating around Instagram at the moment) I adore and am inspired by go getting, sassy women. Even my music taste is ruled by them and my goal in life day to day is be one of them. I can’t do that everyday. I can’t be sassy and confident every single day, I’m not there yet. I don’t know if I ever will be, because what are we without our mistakes and our down days? Lord knows that social media and our society in general is very competitive and if you’re feeling down, it can make you feel a whole lot worse. I’m not saying don’t compare yourself to others, because you’ve heard it before, and it’s near enough impossible to do. Compare if you want, because I know you will – but remember that every person you EVER meet is jealous (or has been jealous) of something in someone else. We’re all trying to keep up, and until you just become happy with being you, and different from others, you’ll be anxious about things that other people don’t even notice.

5. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS.
For me, making a coffee, putting some lipstick on, and finding anything tagged with “girl boss” is a sure way to remind me of the sass-master I am. For you it might be the great outdoors, reading a book, baking a cake – what tiny things make you happy? A certain song? Person? Dress? Find something tiny and positive and throw yourself right into it. Then repeat with other little things, all day long.

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To conclude – this isn’t a definitive “I KNOW HOW TO MAKE YOU HAPPIER!” guide, and it’s not intended to patronise either. It’s just a little note to say hey, I’ve been there. I hope you’re okay. If all else fails, drop me a tweet (@LizzieArkell) and we can wallow in our rubbish feelings together (and I’ll send you a gif to cheer you up.)

Love Always,
Lizzie x

Life Update | I’m going to Prague!

IMG_4507Hey guys! It’s been a while since I blogged (d’oh) but I’ve got a real opportunity to get ahead of things again, inspire myself and create some great content. I’m jetting to one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Prague!

As I write this, it’s Thursday and I’m blogging in Costa (so cliched but I love it) and I’m leaving with the boyf on Monday. I’ve still got a million and one things to do, but I am literally counting down the days because OMG HOLIDAY YES PLS.

Charlie (the boyfriend) is completely to thank for this trip. Basically, he got it for me as a Christmas present last year and scheduled it so that we fly on Monday – our first anniversary! How perfect?! He’s literally whisking me away to Prague. *swoon*. Apologies for the romantic connotations but I can’t deny that this is the most thoughtful, romantic gift I’ve ever been given. Nothing is better than getting time with your partner, and in a gorgeous city you’ve never seen before? Win.

If that isn’t cute enough, we’re staying in a palace that’s been converted into a hotel, right in the centre of the city. We’ve got a day of sightseeing planned (and lots of beerhouse time planned too, of course) and our anniversary dinner. I am just praying the time doesn’t slip by too quickly, because I think this is going to be a trip to really remember!

Have any of you guys been before? Can you give me any tips on things to do? We’ve got one free day we’re looking to fill! Expect lots of pictures, maybe a video and a blogpost or two, and a LOT of “Prague beer is too strong for me” tweets.

Follow me to see what we get up to!

Insta: @LizzieArkell
Twitter: @LizzieArkell
Facebook: Lizzie Arkell Music
YouTube: Lizzie Arkell

Lizzie x

NEW YEARS 2017 | GIVEAWAY

Hi all – I’ve got another fantastic giveaway for you all!

The last giveaway I did on twitter was so well received, I was shocked. I am so grateful to everyone who took part – it means a lot that you can all get involved with my little blog! A big congratulations to Katie once again, who was the lucky winner!

I ran this giveaway in December over my vlogmas but because that ended in such awful fashion I didn’t finish it – the entries from back then will all be included, so not to worry!

Now it’s a new year and a new giveaway – and I’ve got everything you need to get the year off to a great start. Have a little look at what you can win…

HAPPY JACKSON 2017 DIARY

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This diary is BEAUT. Filled with quotes to live by alongside the usual diary, this includes everything you’ll need to motivate you past those January blues. I love Happy Jackson and this diary was so popular this year, and now one of you lucky lot is going to get your hands on it.

NEW LOOK ROSE GOLD WATCH

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New Look watches are ridiculously underrated. This watch is the most beautiful colour and has so many beautiful sparkly diamonds (diamonds? Rhinestones? You know what I mean, shiny bits) encrusted in the face. New Years Resolution to improve your time keeping? I’ve got your back!

If you’d like to enter this giveaway, here’s how to do it!
RT my pinned tweet on twitter:
(Insert giveaway tweet)
-Follow me on Instagram

BONUS ENTRIES
-Subscribe to me on YouTube (this would mean so much to me, go on help a girl out!)
-Tell me (on any platform) why you’d love to win these goodies!

Best of luck ladies, lets smash another giveaway! ❤️

Musical Goals 2017 & an announcement!

This Roald Dahl quote really struck me the other day.roald-dahl

Life really feels increasingly like it’s slipping away from me. Last year I made an active effort to stop that happening in regards to my health, my wants and needs and to really relish every opportunity I have to ensure I don’t lose out. I need some wild stories to tell to grandkids one day!

It occurred to me when I found this quote that every so often I have a moment like this where I realise there are a million things I want to do that I am just not doing. It’s easy to blame the reason why on a few things – money, time, stress, exhaustion – but at the end of they day all that remains is that I’m not getting certain shit DONE. That’s not very girlboss-y is it?

To be honest, I did a hell of a lot last year to try and test my comfort zone. I travelled further than I’ve been before and made some memories that I will never forget. I finally started pushing my blogging, and I’m so proud that I can finally see what seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel after a few years of mental turmoil.

There’s just one last thing to tackle (and why am I saying “tackle” when it’s ultimately something I will enjoy?!) and that’s getting back into music.

Now I KNOW I have said it a million times. I know I have intended to go to all the open mic nights near me, release new music, post more music on YouTube and then ducked out of it because that toxic little comfort zone of mine has sucked me back in instead. BELIEVE ME I might sound fickle to you lot but in my own head it’s more confusing. I love singing. I love music. There is nothing in the whole world that makes me feel better than belting out a tune on stage to an audience, knowing I’m killing it. So why can’t I just get back into the swing of it? Why did I stop?

The truth is, i just don’t know. Back when music used to be my life, when I was posting on YouTube a lot and going to gigs and open mic nights every single day of the week, I gained some people who were big influences in my life and I wasn’t a strong enough person to listen to my own heartbeat and do what I wanted to do. I was too concerned with what other people thought of me, whether they would be impressed by what I was doing, whether it was right by whatever image these people expected of me. At that point, being that girl that sings and gets tattoos wasn’t what they wanted or expected. Instead of telling them to fuck off, I let them pretty much dictate a lot of my life.

Since then, a lot has changed. I’ve found my tribe, who all know what I ultimately want, but they’re not going to push me in any direction at all. They’re going to let me get on with whatever I want to do, which is exactly how it should be. In the past year a lot has changed within me and I’ve learnt who matters, who doesn’t, and where my boundaries are. So I’m picking things up again and getting back to basics – remembering why I started singing in the first place and just having fun with it.

So what music goals have I got for this year?

1. Remember – and practice – the things that made me love music in the first place. That means going to more gigs (other people’s), dancing around like a maniac in my room to old records, and belting out whatever song I want to around the house for no reason.

2. Record and release my EP! I never stopped writing music – for me, it’s the same as writing a journal. I’ve had a lot happen this year and it’s going to sound awesome when I’ve turned it into a collection of songs people can listen to. I cannot wait to release it, film videos for it, and generally just get back in the studio to reconnect with it all again!

3. Incorporate more music into my blog – I’m working on a bit of an overhaul here on lizziearkell.com that will include more videos and listen links so you guys can hear a bit more of what I’m about with my music. The idea of having it all in one place and it all making sense sounds so good to me right now and I can’t wait to get there!

For now, you can see the newest release on my Soundcloud – a playlist named “LA in LA”. Click here to have a listen! These are covers tracks I recorded in LA last year (well duh) with the grammy award winning producer Mike Gaydusek at the world renowned Nightbird Studios, I’m so happy I can share these! Please have a listen – I hope you love them.

What are your goals this year?

Lizzie xo