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    Everyday Life

    6 Vitiligo Related Instagrammers You Should Follow in 2018!

    From Vitiligo Beauty that globally champions those with Vitiligo, to the unique beauty bloggers who demonstrate how to highlight and enhance their Vitiligo rather than conceal it, there are endless Vitiligo groups, bloggers, models and advocates that you should be following on Instagram, if you aren’t already!

    Social media is incredibly powerful when it comes to bringing stories to life and capturing moments in the simplest way. I only found that out in 2015, five years after it was born! Discovering the different groups and profiles on really opened my eyes to just how many people in this world have the condition and how open they are with it. I loved that it opened the ‘gateway’ to communication globally and allowed for honest and truthful discussion with the real people at the heart of the condition.

    I’m never massively been into social media and so the thought of creating another social media platform, with the added pressure of taking photos that were instagram worthy, felt like a stressful chore that I had no interest in investing time in. That changed when I caught a glimpse of a group of girls lazing on the beach in Santa Monica (one of whom had Vitiligo) that I realised just how influential and visually appealing photos can be! A short while after I had created my own profile and was scrolling through endless holiday snaps so that I could start building followers and of course, tracking down and following all the Vitiligo related groups!

    Now, as I call myself a committed Instagrammer, I share with you my top 6 favourite Vitiligo groups and advocates that I recommend you follow;

    Living Dappled

    Formed in 2016 by Erika Page, the Living Dappled movement is the Vitiligo page for girls, women and children. Living Dappled has a growing community of followers that allows for support and encouragement amongst each other, and the follower traction is quick! It is great for initiating conversations, opening discussions and getting you thinking about the many journeys those with Vitiligo face. The photography is clean, simple yet visually striking.

     The Vitiligo Society

    The Vitiligo Society is the UK’s only charity aimed at supporting those with Vitiligo and providing the latest updates on research, treatment and the management of the condition. Formed in 1984, the long running charity has a strong network of medical professionals that support the work in which they do. Their Instagram page, which was formed in February 2016, has attracted over 1200 followers so far and its not even been 12 months yet! Their page consists of inspiring photography with stories that outline the different issues; challenges and pathways people have faced with the condition.

    Vitiligo NL

    Based in the Netherlands, Vitiligo NL is the official account for the association that was formed in 1990. With great photos and captions to support, it’s a key group to keep track of and tag yourself in if you’d like to be featured.

    Laur_elyse

    Lauren Elyse has been called many things….baddass, talented & wow worthy! With more than 307k followers, she is one of the most influential makeup artists associated with Vitiligo. Her unique makeup skills which showcase some striking looks include peridot eyes, sea witch lips and peachtwist cheeks. A makeup artist like no other!

     Vitiligo Beauty

    With a following of 14.5k, the page name gives away exactly what this group is dedicated to….an array of beauties with the condition. This page is simple, you post, you tag and they share. Get your pictures posted!

    radiantbambi

    Better know as Ashley Soto, this is the girl that literally has the world painted on her body! She emerged in 2017 when her story was shared with the likes of The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan and Allure and since then she has gained recognition for her positive outlook and the love she has for her body! She is a body positive activist and has even recreated her body through famous artists such as Van Gogh.

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    Everyday Life

    Why Im Not Committing to New Year Resolutions

    Happy New Year all! Welcome to a brand new year! I can honestly say, 2017 was a year that I couldn’t have predicted. I feel very lucky to be able to say 2017 was a fantastic year!. Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine alongside Dean Edwards was a memorable highlight, as was hosting The Vitiligo Society annual open day in November and getting involved in Changing Faces 25th anniversary which saw me photographed and interviewed for a glossy coffee table book.

    So with the New Year being our new focus, quite naturally I needed to write a post about New Year Resolutions! I’ll start by saying my attitude towards New Year resolutions have always been pretty relaxed. In fact, if I’m totally honest I’ve only ever really set them because it’s the traditional thing to do when the year comes to a close. Last year I vowed to go to the gym twice a week. I’ll be honest in that, I didn’t quite run make it to the door with my new gym kit, as much as I’d have like. I promised myself earlier nights, so that I could write for an hour the next morning, before the start of my day. I was more committed to early rises, but soon found myself switching off the alarm during the darker mornings when an extra hour asleep was more appealing.

    There shouldn’t be a specific time for changes. Everyday should be an opportunity for positive change and slip ups shouldn’t leave you feeling defeated. This year, I’ve decided not to set firm resolutions. Just some simple, realistic pointers that will keep me focused and give me some direction for the year ahead. They’ll be no pressure to enforce certain actions and nor will I be disappointed if for one month I haven’t given them a single thought. Here goes:

    Blogging: Networking

    As a blogger, there is nothing more satisfying than meeting other girls that have the same passions and desires as you! Networking events are a great opportunity to learn from others and feel inspired by ideas you might not have thought of! Bizarrely enough, I don’t do it often. Im guilty of coming up with excuses – to far too travel, will it live up to expectations, do I even have the time to fit in an event amongst everything else going on….In 2018, I have vowed to attend at least one networking event a month that focuses on bringing bloggers together….I’ve even booked my first bloggers conference already! In June I’ll be attending the Scarlett London’s Blogging festival and I cant wait!

    My Passion: Writing

    Writing is my ultimate outlet. It’s one of the few things that relaxes me, helps me to switch off and reminds me what I’m good at! Yet, considering this, I don’t do it enough. This year I vow to write more. More blog posts, more planning and more trips to coffee shops, because its where I love to write the most.

    Perfection: Not worry about new spots

    I just had to commit myself to something that relates to why I write this blog! Quite a few times last year, I found myself standing with my nose touching the mirror as I inspected my face for signs of new patches that quietly tried to appear without me noticing. Now I realise, there is no point in worrying as its something completely out of my control. I tend inspect through habit and because I want to know beforehand if my skin is changing, but thankfully my skin feels more stable than ever, so for now, the only thing I want to use the mirror for, is to apply my makeup or admire whatever it is that I’m wearing!

    Stay Focused on my Wellbeing

    Wellbeing is about loving, caring and being kind to yourself. When I think about the word ‘wellbeing’ I think about expensive retreats in the UK countryside, regular full body massages and a weekly food shop that eliminates crisps and chocolate and instead focuses on avocados, super foods and anything that tastes like a seed. Wellbeing is about doing the things that make you happy and allow you to have timeout, whether that be reading a book, getting a full 8 hours sleep or meditating before bedtime.

    For the first time in 10 years, I’ve read my first full book and it feels like a major accomplishment. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I’m always so wrapped up in other activities, that I never allow myself time to engross myself in a good story. Now, instead of scrolling through pointless Instagram feeds on my commute into work, I use the time to read which is so much relaxing than playing with technology. This year I vow to maximise my ability to self care. Yes, i’ll continue with my frequent spa visits and weekend breaks, but i’ll also be incorporating those small things that are just as important for the soul…like reading.

    So there you have it, my simple, non-pressurised ‘resolutions’ for 2018. In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing how much I incorporate them into the next 12 months. For now, I wont worry to much, and instead will wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018…..

    Photo: Kaye Ford @ Fordtography

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    Everyday Life

    Reflecting on the stories of 2017

    Let’s be honest; 2017 was a pretty good year for raising awareness through the stories we openly shared via social media, on TV and in magazines and newspapers. So before we take a positive step into 2018; its worth taking a look back at some of the momentous stories that were shared throughout the year, revealing some insights into living with a skin condition like ours.

    Here are 7 memorable features and stories from 2017:

    Artist creates dolls with Vitiligo to show children that diversity is beautiful

    These dolls created by Kay Customz are not only stunning, but send out a strong message to kids; that we are all beautiful and no one should be excluded. Inspired by Winnie Harlow, these dolls show that diversity is something to celebrate.

    Vitiligo: My Journey Through Art

    I was truly saddened by the treatment of Raki Chaki who was subject to many forms of treatment as a result of the stigma of Vitiligo often connected to those from an Indian background. I was inspired by how she finally learned to give her skin a voice….

    At Last! Whether you suffer from acne, psoriasis or Vitiligo, there’s a new suncream that works for your skin

    Wearing suncream has always been high on the agenda when it comes to protecting our skin during the summer months. However, questions have always been raised around which SPF we should use and which brands offer the best protection against the sun. In August, in an article written for the Daily Mail, a number of best buy products were tested and recommended for skin conditions such as Vitiligo.

    New transplant restores colour to skin damaged by Vitiligo by taking pigment cells from unaffected areas before stimulating them with a laser

    This informative and detailed article which featured in the Daily Mail discusses Vitiligo, the different treatment options and pigment transplant surgery RenNovaCell, a type of treatment that stimulates pigment cells.

    The women who described herself as the ‘human oreo’

    Sharekia Winston developed Vitiligo just months after giving birth to her daughter. In this moving story, she tells of her journey from diagnosis to self-acceptance.

    Winnie Harlow just made the most important point with this nude selfie

    Remember when Kim Kardashian broke the Internet when she appeared on the cover of New Yorks, Paper magazine in 2016? Well, to us, this is exactly what Winnie done when she released a naked selfie on Instagram in August!

    Striking a dramatic pose in nude underwear, Winnie simply slayed in the photo taken as a reflection in the mirror and finished it off with a very strong message to all her followers….

    This adorable little girl is teaching everyone a lesson

    A great feature to finish off the year! The story of six year old Maya Johnson who rocks confidence and doesn’t let her skin go unnoticed on Instagram…

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    Everyday Life

    Schools Visit With Changing Faces

    Last week, two fantastic primary schools welcomed me as a speaker representing the charity, Changing Faces. Coinciding with Anti Bullying Week (13th – 17th November), I was asked to speak during their weekly school assemblies about my experiences as someone living with a visible skin difference.

    Given my own school days are long behind me, being back at school gave me an overwhelming nostalgic feeling. Walking down the corridor, glancing over the school walls plastered with children’s drawings made me instantly smile. As did the hopscotch on the floor as I walked across the playground and the polished floor that looked as though it had shined over the weekend, ready for another school week. There was even the distinctive school smell…..a heady blend of musty schoolbooks, mixed with the wooden smell of the bookcases that lined the corridors. It was so nice to be back…..

    The night before, I had been repetitively reminding myself that there was no need to be nervous, after all, two days prior I’d presented at The Vitiligo Society Annual Open Day (separate post!) and in a way, presenting to a group of cute school kids in years, 3, 4 and 5, shouldn’t have been two daunting. I was fine as I waited in reception for the head teacher….still fine when I was greeted by the PE teacher in the assembly hall where I was due to present. But, as I guessed, my nerves started to fail me as the kids started to trickle in, class by class, filling the room like it was a conference that had reached full house!

    By 10am all the kids were sitting quietly, cross-legged, on the floor looking a little intrigued by my presence. After the Deputy Head introduced me, I was handed the mic to start. The children were incredibly enthusiastic within minutes. Before I gave them an overview of who I was, I briefly explained who Changing Faces were and their role as a charity who supports people with indifferences. Before I began with my own story as someone with Vitiligo, I asked how many of them had heard of the condition. I was very surprised when more than half raised their hands. Good start!

    As I spoke about my journey and how having a skin condition affected me when I was around there age, they were keen to ask questions and share how it might feel to be different. Keen to interact, I asked their views on how it feels to have a visible mark, to which they gave impressive answers such as; it can make you feel unique and beautiful, makes you feel different and on the flip side how it can make you feel sad when people stare and ask intrusive questions.

    After presenting, I gave the children an opportunity to ask questions….and of course my slight fear was that they’d be silence! But it was great to see their hands shoot up! I was asked questions such as ‘Did I have treatment’? ‘Was I born with Vitiligo’?, and ‘Is is the same as a birthmark?’…..all of which were very common questions.

    Later that week, I made my way to a second school for a mid afternoon assembly. Fresh from lunch, I presented to a slightly smaller group of year 6 children which was a completely different experience. I gave exactly the same presentation however, this time I was conscious that one of the kids actually had Vitiligo. When I asked if they’d heard of the condition less hands went up, which I was surprised by especially as they were older. They listened intently and shared their views about what it was like to be different, but their responses were interestingly different. They highlighted that you would likely feel isolated, sad, embarrassed, uncomfortable and cautious of potential bullying and staring. All of which are very true, but they didn’t suggest that you may feel unique, beautiful with an embracement for being different, like the previous school.

    After presenting in two very different schools, I reflected on how the children in each of the schools responded. I personally felt as though children in higher primary school years are more conscious of there peers….less likely to put their hands up to share their ideas in fear of giving the wrong answer or possibly a negative reaction from others. Whilst in the younger years, their enthusiasm, interest and ability to share their own personal experiences, was refreshing. They were open to answering questions and quietly discussing some of the other themes that arose throughout.

    For me, aside from it being an ordinary working week, it was a fantastic and personally educating, new experience! Afterall, they are a future generation in the making and I’d like to think diversity and the acceptance of others regardless of appearance, is fully embraced by the time they reach my age….

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