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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

I think you all probably know that in the past year or so, my blog has fallen a tad below standard, and that's hard for me to admit.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Lifestyle | A Confession; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online

A good five or so years ago, just when blogging was becoming the norm, I created this own blog to help coincide with my dissertation at university (meaning I've been stuck with a beyond corny name ever since) and I was determined to do well.

And, I have. I've had some great opportunities over the years and made some special friendships through my blog, friendships that have gone onto become friendships that take place in real life too. I've tried to push myself to blog regularly and even though a lot of the time I've struggled to think of content for the blog, I've persevered.

That, I've been proud of.

In the past year, there has been a fair few times I've thought about just quitting the blog. It's not successful and I know you shouldn't blog to find success, but when I can't think of content, I can't deny the fact that I wonder why I'm pushing myself when not that many people bother to read it.

I mean, would anyone really miss my blog?

Yes.

I would.

I've been blogging for five years now and when I think about it, when I think about the time I've put in, blogging 2-3 times a week, nearly every week for five years, then I find myself pretty damn proud. My content hasn't been the best lately, but I think I'd be mad to throw it all away.

So I sat and thought about why it wasn't doing well. And there wasn't just one specific thing - there were a few things altogether.

The name. I cringed every time someone asked for my blog URL and I had to give the story of 'well five years ago I called it this and now it's stuck'. I feel the name, alongside the layout, pigeonholes the blog too. I want to write about music. I want to interview bands. I want to blog about edgy outfits and gigs.

What band will take me seriously if I ask to interview them for a blog called Inspire Magazine?

And then there were the photos. Sometimes, I can take a really good photo. But sometimes, I'll type up a post I'm really proud of and then let myself down by using a photo that's just not good enough.

And yes, sometimes my post topics just haven't been very good at all.

So as you can see, it's a few things really. Nothing major, at all. But when you put them all together, you end up with a blog that's kind of below par, and the lack of a decent name or professional photography just lets it down. A lot.

Or maybe I just can't write for shit.

Who knows.

But as I said, I love my blog. I love that I have a little corner of the internet all to myself and I love that although I don't get thousand of visitors a day, I still get a few people reading my blog. And that's something.

Back when I first started this blog, I wrote about why I chose the name 'Inspire' (or 'Inspire Magazine as it became known as) and what I wanted my blog to achieve;

"That's why I came up with the name 'Inspire'. I'm not the only one who reads magazines and gets these feelings. And these feelings are good. They inspire people to do things for charity. To work harder. To have more fun. To better themselves. I want my magazine - and this blog - to be filled with these things. I want people to read the magazine and the blog and want to pursue these feelings. I want to raise awareness of issues that are kept on the down low. I want to remind girls to be safe when they are on nights out, or to be careful about what details they put online. I want to my magazine or blog to be responsible for someone taken the extra precaution to be safe. Even if someone logs onto my blog, or sees something in a magazine and tries out that makeup look which gives them even the smallest confidence boost that day, then I've done what I wanted. I want to inspire people."

And honestly? I think I've lost sight of that. That was my eighth ever post on this blog, back on 21st January 2011 - whoa, so long ago now! And I think deep down, I still want that. I want people to come to this blog and feel inspired. I want them to have more fun and better themselves, even if it's just by reading a daft post like my dating disasters - hey, if it makes someone laugh or smile after a bad day (or bad date), then I'll be ever so pleased.

It's not about the numbers. It's about how writing is my escape and might just be someone else's too.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, with Christmas coming up, it might just be radio silence for a while. 

Because over Christmas, and hopefully ready for the new year, the blog might look a tad messy. I'll be relaunching it under a new name, design and, even a new URL. Or a new domain, as I have finally purchased one!

I'm not going to lie and say it's going to be a complete overhaul where everything has changed. I'm still going to struggle to post sometimes, and I'm not going to turn into a fashionista overnight who blogs outfit posts regularly.

But I am going to try more and I'm already feeling a new lease of life for this big old blog. I have some great ideas for new ongoing content and I can't wait for you to see the new design.

And I know what you're all thinking. A design can't change a blog, much like you can't polish a turd. But my writing isn't turdy. My writing is pretty damn awesome. But I do believe a new name that I actually like and a fresh new design will motivate me more, because I'll no longer wonder what the point is like I have done so many times - I'll no longer feel like my corny name and cluttered and overly girly layout lets down the real strengths of this blog.

So, there you have it. If you log on over the next few weeks and it all seems a tad messy, that'll be why. If you're wondering why there's radio silence on my end, don't worry, I'll still be tweeting all about my food baby on Christmas day and such.

Until then, see you on the other side x

In the meantime, keep an eye on my social media (especially Twitter/Facebook) to see how things are progressing...


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Monday, 21 December 2015

It's no secret that our skin can suffer during winter.

With the harsh weather that often gives us chapped lips or dry skin, copious amounts of alcohol and one too many nights spent gorging on junk food and/or falling asleep with our make up still on.

Welcome, my friends, to Christmas and the effect it has on our skin.

So how do we look after ourselves when it comes to this time of year?

Key Winter Skin Facts to Bear in Mind:

- Your skin is more fragile in the winter
- You need products that will combat the effects of the harsh weather
- You need products suited to your specific skin type 

Cleanser – photo from Wikipedia
ONE | CLEANSE
Switch to a gentler cleanser in the winter. Many contain alcohol which can be quite drying and as you’re already fighting the drying winds, low humidity, and the effects of indoor heating, you don’t need even more dryness to fight. Remember that your skin is more fragile in the winter so it needs to be treated with extra care. 

Moisturise – photo from Luke Lehrfeld via Flickr
TWO | MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE!
Be sure to moisturise your whole body: face, body, and lips. It’s particularly important to choose a thicker moisturiser for your face as it will be lacking its usual levels of moisture. If you have oily skin and are a little hesitant about wearing a heavier product, keep a lighter one for the day and just switch to a thicker one for nights. Your hands and feet can also get hit by the cold climate so make sure you moisturiser both after you wash your hands and every shower. Don’t forget to keep a hydrating SPF lip balm with you at all times as well. 

Exfoliate – photo from Zanspa1 via Flickr
THREE | EXFOLIATE
You still need to exfoliate during winter as the process removes dead skin cells, which allows your moisturiser to better penetrate your skin. You can exfoliate up to once a week but bear in mind your skin type and adapt as necessary. Stay clear of scrubs and bead-based exfoliants as they can tear the skin and cause irritation. Opt for a face wash as they’re kinder to skin but still produce good results. Popular washes contain ingredients like hydroxyl acid

Image
Problem fixers lotion – photo from sunshinecity via Flickr

FOUR | PROBLEM FIXERS
You may find that you experience some problems you didn’t have in summer, such as more sensitive skin, dullness, or a red nose. It’s worth purchasing additional product/s to combat these; beauty collections like spa gifts will be designed around skin problems and specific skin types, so look for these to get your fixers. Red noses are a common problem around this time of year; the blood vessels cut off circulation to the nose when your outside but then dilate again once you’re indoors, which causes a rush of blood, hence the redness. Throughout the day keep putting a gentle moisturising lotion on to help reduce the redness. 

Sun – photo from raghavvidya via Flickr

FIVE | DON'T FORGET THE SUN
It may be cold, it may be dark and it may seem like it’s not that sunny but the sun is still affecting your skin, or rather, still harming your skin. It’s even more of a concern if you live in areas where it snows because the sun can reflect off the snow and hit your face with even more power. Use moisturising products with at least an SPF 30 in and you’ll stay protected! No matter the weather this should be a priority. When my friend took part in one of her American summer camp jobs this saved her! 

Nails – photo from Denise via Flickr
 SIX | NAIL IT
As well as looking after your hand, you need to take care of your nails too. They can become brittle in the winter so ensure you regularly use cuticle oil and always keep at least a clear coat of polish on them. Don’t forget to buff and file them at least twice a week though, as these can help stop snags and keep nails shiny and growing. 

Hair – photo from Betsy Jons via Flickr

SEVEN | GIVE YOUR HAIR SOME TLC
Think ‘Goldy Locks’ and treat your tresses well. Hair also can be stripped of moisture so make sure you never skip the conditioner and it’s worth using a deep conditioner (covers hair from scalp to root) once to twice a week to lock in all that hydration. Try to cut down on blow drying or stop all together if you’re able to. Prolong your hair wash with dry shampoo and your hair will thank you for it. 

Water – photo from philografy via Flickr

EIGHT | STAY HYDRATED
Last but definitely not least, drink plenty of water! You may hear this all the time but it’s an important thing to remember. Water replenishes your skin so keep up your fluids!

What about you guys? What's your winter beauty regime? Let me know with a comment!

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