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    Everyday Life

    BlogConLDN – My First Bloggers Networking Event!

    Earlier this month I experienced my first Bloggers event. Given I was going alone (one of my commitments to myself was to solo network more!), I didn’t go in lightly and decided to head for BlogConLdn, an annual event that connects bloggers, influencers and creatives for informal networking in a fun, yet insightful environment. This is the second event of its kind by Scarlett London, and having experienced this one, I kinda wish I could turn back time and experience the first event that took place in 2017!

    I’ll be honest. When I parked up at the CEME Conference Centre in Rainham, Essex and quickly noticed girls in pairs and others in groups excitedly predicting what the day might look like, part of me wanted to drive straight back out the carpark! I suddenly felt like this was an event that needed to be enjoyed with friends or other bloggers and so my initial idea of going solo, suddenly felt like a big mistake. Nevertheless, I soon shook of any feelings of nervousness and headed in, afterall, the idea was to network, meet people and most importantly move my blog forward with help from some of the workshops arranged for the day.

    The spacious conference space that was filtered with natural light allowed for comfortable mingling. I casually wandered around soon after I arrived, checking out the planned workshops agenda and deciding on which talks would aid me in my pursuit to build my blog. After treating myself to a glass of champagne, I made my way upstairs and decided to attend the ‘Improving your blog photography with Lightroom’ workshop with blogger, April Todd, followed by ‘Taking your Instagram To The Next Level’ with Jordan, from Hello Miss Jordan. Lasting for 45 minutes, both offered insightful tips on photography and how to get the most out of your blog photos.

    After both sessions, I headed back downstairs to visit some of the exhibitor stands,

    which included some of brand favourites – Macadamia Natural Oil, Jewellery Box, Johnny Loves Rosie and Scan Disk. I instantly fell in love with Jewellery Box , an online retailer who specialise in a wide range of versatile, 9ct gold and sterling silver pieces and found the ethos of recently launched TOTM very interesting. Created in 2016, TOTM is a brand passionate about raising awareness of periods and eradicating the idea that ‘the time of the month’ is a taboo subject for girls and women. Ethically friendly, I learnt about their range of period products that are 100% certified organic cotton, eco friendly and cruelty free.

    On the main stage, four bloggers and influential YouTuber’s shared with us ‘How To Find Your Blogs USP’, something I’m sure we’ve all given extensive thought after deciding we want to write a blog or create a YouTube channel.It was interesting to hear their views on how to increase your following, maintain consistancy, grow your market and how to find your all important USP. I definitely learned some good takeaways from the session.

    The last workshop I joined was ‘Collaborating with Brands: Blogging, Blagging and Blagging Your Dream Projects’ as presented by Kirsty Leanne from Clickstay. This was a great session as there was an opportunity for a bit of ‘on the spot writing’, which, although feels a little daunting, is a great way to get you writing in the spare of the moment. One thing I have always found tricky is how to pitch to a brand – how do I start an email? How best to sign off at the end? What does the brand wan to hear? and so the exercise whereby we had to write a pitch email was a great learning curve, as it finally allowed me to establish exactly what to include in a pitch email. Clickstay also gave me some great holiday type blog post ideas, which I can’t wait to start writing!

    BlogConLdn was definitely worth the solo visit (even just for the goodie bad alone!), although now that I’ve experienced it, I reckon next year I’ll be getting my blogger friends to tag along! Despite all that I learned and the informative workshops, I missed out on photo opportunities because there are only so many times you can ask others to take a quick photo! Nevertheless, I’m glad I didn’t turn back when I arrived because the valuable tips I’ve taken away, would be ones I may never have known….

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    Everyday Life

    Celebrating World Book Day

    Even as an adult, I find the energy around World Book Day exciting! Every year, on the 1st March, children set off to school dressed as characters from their favourite storybooks and spend the day celebrating stories and the importance of reading.

    As a young girl, I used to love reading. I was a big Judy Blume fan who brought us teen classics such as ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ and ‘Iggie’s House’ and begged Mum to buy me the latest edition of Sweet Valley High when it was released, as I couldn’t get enough of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, the most popular high school twins during the early 90’s!

    When I look back to most of the stories I read growing up, it’s only now, I realise just books that represented those with in-differences were sadly non-existent. I mean…could you ever imagine Belle from Beauty and the Beast having eczema or Vitiligo or a Disney character having some form of disability. That probably sounds incredibly far fetched, but why should it, after all these are people that represent those living a life in todays society.

    Things have moved on since my younger years thankfully, and we are seeing more books slowly emerging with characters that represent those like us, teaching us that we too are worthy of being characters in the fictional world. So of course, it only feels right, given what World Book Day is all about, that I give a round up of the books where characters with Vitiligo are taking the lead…

    Snow White & The Seven Patches by Jewel Kats

    This lovely story is a modern day version of the classic fairytale. With typical themes such as evil versus good, a poisonous apple and the magic mirror, the only big difference here is Snow White was born with beautiful, white patches. A book with great illustrations, a familiar storyline with an interesting twist…

    Saniyah Goes To The Zoo by Scott P Dawson and Saniyah Dawson

    There are so many things children with Vitiligo can face – bullying, staring and feelings of isolation and this is a story that tackles such themes. Saniyah goes to the zoo is about those very things children often face when they have an indifference. A great story that will teach your child how to handle and overcome such situations positively when they might feel like others are against them. One for teaching some of life’s simple lessons…

    Vitiligo Doesn’t Scare Me by Kim Kirkland

    The title of this book is so warming! Vitiligo Doesn’t Scare Me follows the journey of a little boy called Chris who discovers he has the condition after a visit to his GP. Naturally he becomes concerned and finds he is faced with a number of challenges because of his indifference. Throughout the story he faces a number of issues and feelings as he comes into contact with those who notice he has the condition and although he is aware his skin looks different in some places, having Vitiligo doesn’t scare him….

    A No Nonsense Guide to Vitiligo by Yan Valle

    Whilst this isn’t a story book as such, its still a great book that offers insight into Vitiligo. Recently published, The No Nonsense Guide to Vitiligo is what the Dermatology world, and those with Vitiligo are in need of. Up until recently, Vitiligo has often been regarded as a misunderstood condition, with many questions around treatment, management and what to do after diagnosis, remaining a ‘grey’ area. This guide is for those of you who have been looking for a better way to manage Vitiligo. In this smart and accessible book, Yan Valle – author, tireless campaigner and CEO of Vitiligo Research Foundation – cuts through the myths and misinformation that surround Vitiligo to tell you what you really need to know, covering themes such as potential triggers, how to feel confident about treatment options and how to detect the early signs of Vitiligo.

    Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela De Prince

    This is the incredible story of Michaela De Prince (pictured), a successful young dancer who escaped a country riddled with war and set her sights on becoming a leading star in Ballet.

    She was infamously known as girl No 27 in the orphanage in which she lived, a place where she expected to feel safe, but instead became a place of abandonment when it was discovered she had a skin condition that turned her skin white. For that very reason she was known as the ‘Devil Child’. After suffering torment by those who were supposed to care for her, she was adopted by an American family who nurtured her love of dancing and which later lead to her becoming one of Ballets most successful stars…engaging, unforgettable and well worth the read…

    Photo by Serena Reidy Photography

     

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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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