4 Things I’ve Learnt In Setting Up A New Blog

At the start of this year I made the decision to delete my old blog, Quirks and Queries. It had been a great six -seven years, I’d had so many fun collaborations, but I felt like I needed a change. My blogging journey sure wasn’t over, but I felt Quirks and Queries no longer fitted with me personally. After all a lot changes from ages 16-23 and I didn’t feel as though the blog gelled with who I was anymore and I was ready for a change. That and I wanted to switch over from Blogger to WordPress and had no idea how to migrate my site, but oh well.

I took a few weeks out for me as my mental health wasn’t great at the time either, as you may’ve seen on my Instagram, but when I started to feel better mid-February I decided to set up a new blog and begin a new blogging venture.

That’s when I decided to set up The Floral Facade, a new blogging project that would merge all my interests in writing, beauty, lifestyle, self care and spirituality into one place. It’s been two months now since I first made my WordPress account and there’s a couple of things I’ve learnt in that time, some things were just solidified to me that I already knew from starting a blog in 2014 and some things that were new to me.

So here’s 4 things I’ve learnt in setting up a new blog:

Building an audience takes time:

I half expected to be getting the same amount of views on The Floral Facade as I did on my old blog because all my social media channels were still the same, but oh how wrong was I?! Building an audience on any website takes time and while having my previous following on Twitter for example has definitely helped with the transition, I’ve still struggled a bit to get my blog on it’s feet, so to speak and I know it may be another year or so before my views are back up to what they used to be on my previous blog.

Every website needs it’s own identity:

This is where website branding comes in, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that your website needs branding if it’s going to take off and while I’ll always be slightly annoyed that you need to have a business plan on WordPress to be able to install a custom theme, if only I’d known that before I probably would’ve stuck with blogger, having a firm and strong identity for your website is crucial in enabling it to resonate with your readers as being your website.

Pageviews aren’t everything:

I used to be very caught up on how many pageviews I got each day when I was working on my previous project, but I’ve since learnt that engagement is far more important and even though my audience is smaller than it used to be, I now just view it as being more concentrated. I’m receiving a hell of a lot more comments than I ever did on my previous blog, and maybe that’s because commenting on The Floral Facade is much easier than it was on Quirks and Queries, I don’t know, but my readers seem to be more engaged now than they used to. For example, in the six and a half years I was running my old blog I received 700 comments (including replies I sent) whereas The Floral Facade has received over 250 comments from other people in just two months.

Blogging is really what I’m best suited to:

Everyone has their thing in life and it just turns out that blogging is mine. When I went six weeks without having a blog to write, I felt empty and although I needed that time to recuperate and work on getting better, I still felt as though my life had no purpose. Without it, I didn’t feel like me. But having something like The Floral Facade to work on, even if I’m only posting twice a week, makes me feel a whole lot better about myself and I’m hopeful that I’ll keep going with this blog for quite a while. Who knows where it’ll take me?

So those are 4 things I’ve learnt in two months setting up a new blog.

Until next time,

Beth x

Springtime Make Up Routine

So for today’s post I wanted to do something that pushes me out of my comfort zone a little bit and is a bit more fun than some of my more reflective blog posts as of late. Today’s post is going to be my springtime make up routine.

make up on a marble overlay
Here’s some of the products I’ve been using for my Springtime make up routine.

Base:

To start with I applied my base. I’ve tried a couple of different foundations this year, the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop left me with dry patches of skin, though that could’ve been because I was experiencing a lot of stress at the time, then I tried the Revlon Colorstay but I found the coverage just wasn’t enough and I was applying two layers of it. Lastly, and thankfully I’ve found a foundation that works for me and that’s the e.l.f Flawless Finish Foundation and I absolutely love it. It gives just enough coverage and I’m really enjoying incorporating it as part of my springtime make up routine.

Next is the powder and for that I use a recent purchase which is Milani’s Conceal + Perfect Shine-Proof Powder in 01 Fair. I’m really enjoying this as it compliments the golden undertones in the e.lf foundation really beautifully.

I personally don’t use any setting spray as I’ve found that it just makes my skin look pore-y whenever I use it. So I just opt to go without.

For my blush I use the Revolution Ultra Blush Palette in Sugar & Spice *not pictured*. Some days I wear blush, some days I don’t. It just depends how I’m feeling.

For my highlight, I use the Illamasqua Beyond Powder Highlighter in Deity as I just love how it looks alongside my blush. You can read my review of this highlighter here.

make up on a marble overlay
The loreal air volume mega mascara has quickly become my all-time favourite mascara.

Eyes:

I know some people prefer to do their eyes before their foundation but I find it so much easier if I use the foundation as a base for my eyeshadow as it provides something for the eyeshadow to stick to. I know that’s what an eyeshadow primer is for, but I figure there’s nothing wrong with cutting corners in my make up routine to make it as simple and as quick to do as possible.

For my eyes, especially during Springtime I love to add a pop of colour to my face and for this I’ve been using the B.H Cosmetics Trendy In Tokyo palette, which is a gorgeous 16 pan eyeshadow palette with a range of mattes and shimmers and it’s just so darn pretty. I like to go for one colour on my lid, because I’m not the best at eyeshadow and don’t want to bother with all that cut-crease stuff, which I love the look of but can’t do very well. To make things interesting I usually pick a different colour to go on the bottom lid just to add that bit of colour to my day.

I then opt for my Barry M Eyeliner Pencil in white to add onto the bottom waterline in order to make my eyes look a bit bigger and add some definition to the look.

Then it’s time for the Rimmel London Black Waterproof eyeliner to put on my lid and depending on how I feel is how big the wing is.

I also use the Loreal Paris Air Volume Mega Mascara, I’ve only had this a week and I’m already loving how it lifts my lashes.

Lips:

Sometimes I go for a matte lip paint, but given the fact we need to wear masks lately I haven’t really been bothered too much to do my lips. If I do, I usually go for a Barry M Liquid Lip, these are my favourite by far as they are quick-drying, long-lasting and don’t dry your lips out. And they’re inexpensive too, which is great as it means I can collect them all.

And here’s the finished look:

a selfie
I don’t usually upload selfies onto my blog, but oh well.

So, that’s it for my Springtime make up routine. I hope someone somewhere out there enjoyed reading this, but if not hey ho at least I enjoyed writing it and it changes up my content a little bit.

Until next time,

Beth. x

8 Mental Health Benefits Of Journaling

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

I wanted to talk a little bit today about journaling and all it’s positive mental health benefits. I’m a huge fan of journaling in general and expressive writing so a post like this is right up my street. Journaling is a great hobby as it’s so inexpensive, all you need is your mind, your imagination, a cheap notebook and a pen. Journaling can also lead to great things, I often find inspiration for poems and prose when I’m writing about my thoughts and feelings in my journal, but it’s great as a standalone thing as well, especially for our mental wellbeing.

So, how does journaling improve our mental health? Here’s 8 way it does just that.

Improves your memory:

When we’re suffering from a mental illness, like depression or anxiety for example, our memory can often suffer. Journaling helps with the memory process and can help us process and ‘soak in’ the events of our day.

Offers a place to express our emotions:

Journaling offers a safe space for us to express our most inner thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s a healthy coping mechanism and a brilliant habit to build up.

Offers a place to practise gratitude:

I know I preach a lot about practising gratitude but it really has worked wonders for me, I’ve done a blog post all about how to practise it and why it’s so important if you fancy reading more but long story short, it helps us improve our general wellness by learning to appreciate the present moment and what we have more.

You can track your symptoms day by day:

Say if you experience anxiety one day, hallucinations the next and depression throughout, it enables you to keep track of these symptoms in order to show your therapist for example. Tracking your symptoms in this way can be great, you can get really creative by it by doing charts, colour-coding and ranking your mood out of ten and so much more.

It increases self-awareness:

Expressive writing in this way can help boost your own awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, or even any symptoms your experiencing of a mental illness. It enables you to explore your own experiences and increase your own awareness about them.

Helps you to identify negative self-talk and practise positive self-talk instead:

Through journaling we can learn to identify where we’re talking to ourselves in a negative way, or beating ourselves up over something. Then, we can learn to replace these thought processes with positive ones through positive self-talk and affirmations.

Reduces Stress:

Journaling is proven to reduce stress levels by offering an emotional release. If I’m having a particularly stressful day I find that by writing about it I decrease the power the stress has over me and I feel so much more relaxed afterwards.

Creativity helps to improve mental health as a whole:

As with any creative endeavour there’s a certain level of emotional release that it provides. Creativity, such as expressive writing or journaling, is a proven way to help boost mental wellbeing.

So those were 8 benefits that journaling has to your mental health as a whole. I hope this has inspired you to pick up that pen and your notebook and get writing.

Until next time,

Beth. x

The Importance Of Feeling Important

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

I used to view feeling important as such a negative thing, but recently my viewpoint has changed and I’m now starting to see the importance in feeling important. I didn’t actually know before researching for this blog post that it’s one of the fundamental human needs, and I didn’t realise I’d been living my life over the past few years denying myself through emotional self-sabotage of this basic human need.

Having a sense of self importance can be so beneficial as if we don’t feel like we’re important enough we may allow others to take advantage of us, our mood can suffer and so can our mental health in general. A feeling of importance can help us go about our day with less anxiety and fear, it can improve our mood if we feel as though our purpose here on this earth is of importance.

I just want to put a disclaimer here and say that no matter what you do in life, whether you have a strong sense of direction or you’re getting by, your purpose here on this earth is of importance and you should never forget that, no matter how you feel about yourself.

Certain things contribute to your sense of feeling important, such as your life purpose, your support network and your core beliefs about yourself. So it makes sense that if we feel as though we’re not important we should work on one of these three aspects, there could be more that I haven’t thought of, but these were the three that sprang to mind when I was journaling and began to question whether or not I felt important.

You could take a few moments to think or write down where you feel as though your sense of self importance is lacking. Maybe you haven’t figured out your life’s purpose yet, and that’s okay. Maybe you haven’t got the best support network around you, or you haven’t found your tribe yet, and that’s okay too. Or maybe your core beliefs about yourself aren’t the nicest.

I’m no therapist, I can only speak from personal experience, but for me personally, it comes down to my core beliefs about myself, which I’m working through with a therapist. So, while you’re going about your day, take a minute to consider whether or not you feel important in your day to day life. Really check in on your mental wellbeing and if you feel important, well that’s great, but if you don’t, then there’s always help out there.

Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you all the best.

Until next time,

Beth. x

My Journey With Poetry

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

So I wanted to write this post as a checkpoint for myself in order to document how my journey is going with poetry. I’m not the most educated person, having only completed secondary school, but I’ve been self-teaching over the past few years in order to hone in on my poetry skills.

I’ve still got a long way to go, I’m not the best at utilising poetic techniques in my work, but I think when it comes to hobbies we can often be driven to monetise them and feel as though we need to be ‘good’ (I use the word good subjectively) at them in order for them to be perceived as being worth our time. Darn capitalism.

I’m not the best poet by a long shot, and I don’t claim to be particularly good at what I do, my main goal with poetry is to work through my emotions, experiences, thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. It’s become such a healthy coping mechanism for me that I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Lately, I’ve been stuck for inspiration because my emotions are primarily positive ones. It’s a strange feeling, but I find it most difficult to write about happy experiences as I’m so used to needing to work through the painful emotions.

I’m not complaining, but I would quite like to be able to write happy poetry soon enough and I’m hoping I’ll be able to find the words to best articulate the emotions I’m currently experiencing, other than the word serendipity.

In the mean time, I’ll be posting some older works, mainly about heartbreak over on my Instagram account and working on presenting them in different ways. So, if you want to follow along on my poetry journey then feel free to give my Instagram a follow.

Until next time,

Beth. x

Pillow Thoughts Poetry Book Series Review

The Pillow Thoughts Series by Courtney Peppernell was a very thought-provoking read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a comforting read.

So I recently finished reading the Pillow Thoughts book series and I’ve got to say I really enjoyed reading them. Each book offered something a little bit different from heartbreak to love and just genuine raw emotion covered in an array of poetry and prose.

I genuinely found these books so comforting and wholesome to read, perfect with a cup of tea on a cosy evening in. At times this collection was uplifting and inspiring, other times it was like a warm hug in book-form and would recommend it to anyone who needs a bit of consoling about their own emotions. I found this collection to be very relatable to my own life and I think that’s part of the appeal, you can just read it and relate to the emotions that are being described and explored.

There are four books in total: Pillow Thoughts, Pillow Thoughts 2 Healing The Heart, Pillow Thoughts 3 Mending the Mind and Pillow Thoughts 4 Stitching The Soul. I loved each of these books equally for their beautiful messages and the feeling of comfort they provided, but if I had to pick a favourite it would be Stitching The Soul, but that could’ve just been because that was the most recent book I’d read and so it’s stuck in my mind a little bit more.

I realise this is a short review, but it’s just me recommending a new book series to you guys that you might not have on your TBR yet. You can buy these books from many different places, Amazon being one of them.

Bali Body Bronzing Lotion Review

So seeing as the weather’s getting warmer and sunnier now we’re approaching Summer, I thought it was time to purchase some bronzing lotion and give you guys the heads up as to what it’s like. Being new to the world of bronzing and tanning and all that jazz, I didn’t really know what to expect.

Bronzing lotion next to a pair of sunglasses and a tea lamp on a marble background
The Bali Body Bronzing Lotion Is Priced At £17.95 from Beauty Bay. *Not Sponsored.*

I don’t get out in the sun near as often as I should, but after using this I kind of want to just to see my skin glow a bit in the sun. I’ve found that it’s helped boost my confidence a little bit, you know, just putting a bit of effort into my appearance has helped me a little bit.

Anyway, moving onto the product, for starters the tub looks really pretty on my bathroom shelf, but it’s what’s in the packaging that counts the most and well, despite it looking a little dark for me when I first applied it, I found it blended out beautifully and just adds a little glow to my skin. Enriched with almond, coconut and caramel extracts it’s super nourishing and feels really luxurious. It has a subtle aroma to it, which was pretty pleasant.

In all honesty, I didn’t notice much difference, but subtle was what I was going for and if you’re new to the world of tanning or have particularly pale skin and don’t want a drastic change in appearance then I’d definitely recommend it. Obviously I can’t talk for how it fairs on different skin tones other than my own, I presume it’s suitable for all. It’s a worthwhile product for £17.95 for 100ml and I’ll definitely be repurchasing it from Beauty Bay.

To conclude, if you’re looking for a subtle summer glow and something that nourishes your skin while you’re using it then the Bali Body Bronzing Lotion is the one for you.

The Importance Of Remaining Authentic

One thing I’ve recently learned is the importance of remaining authentic in day to day life. I’m currently working hard and trying my best to remain authentic, especially in social situations. Having Asperger’s, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, I’d learnt to put on a mask in social situations to mask my different traits. Most people tend to wear a mask in social situations anyway, but for me it was a lifeline in order to tackle my social anxiety about being different. Masking runs through my veins, it’s what I’ve become accustomed to, it’s what I’m used to and living without it can be incredibly challenging, but I’m trying.

I thought this was a nice image, some crystals, a funky notebook and a candle on a pretty marble flatlay, because why not?

Now, some of you reading this might be in the same boat, whether you have ASD or not, so I wanted to talk a little bit today about the importance of staying authentic and true to yourself throughout your daily life.

Living a life through a filtered lens so to speak and leading your life with a mask can be beneficial in ways. It protects our egos from feeling bruised, but it can also lead to burnout and feeling as though our relationships are disingenuous. Have you ever felt as though the person you are when you’re at home is completely different to the person you are when you’re out and about in the world? That’s what I’m trying to get at here. It can be extremely exhausting trying to put on a front for the world to see and sometimes great things can come from peeling back the mask.

Another point I’m trying to make is that trying to remain authentic in a world that isn’t geared towards your disability and feeling as though the stakes are against you can be even more challenging.

Personally, I’ve spent many years trying to perfect my social mask, but it’s led me to suffering with depression, feeling as though my friendships aren’t true friendships because they don’t really know me and feeling as though I’m not staying true to myself.

Remaining authentic in social situations can be an extremely challenging thing to do as we’re leaving our true selves open to judgement and ridicule, but by being open, genuine and true to our selves can make the world of difference. It starts with simple things like trying to be more assertive with our wants and needs rather than just going along with things for the sake of it.

I’ve been practising this a little more lately and I’m already noticing such a huge difference in the way I feel about myself and I’m noticing true colours of interpersonal relationships begin to unfold. I’ve learnt where to cut ties and where to repair bridges, all by remaining true to myself.

I know it won’t be the case for everyone, but I’ve actually found it a lot easier than I thought to just open up a bit more and be myself. I’m less driven by an egotistical need for approval and more driven by a need for people who are as genuine as I am.

I realise a lot of this comes with getting older, not that 23 is old, but you get what I mean, I’m learning that the mask I so desperately put on throughout my teenage years is no longer needed and to be honest, probably never was needed in the first place.

I know I mentioned on Quirks and Queries, my since-deleted blog, the problems with masking and I mentioned about burnout, feeling depressed and untrue to yourself and I suppose this is a continuation of these thoughts I had last year. A huge step I’m making in accepting who I am is being more open and honest about the day to day difficulties I experience with ASD and subsequent connected diagnoses such as depression, anxiety and traits of EUPD.

I suppose, the long and short of what I’m trying to say is that by remaining true to yourself, however difficult that may seem, you’ll find true interpersonal relationships blossom and your natural confidence will increase and the world around you will seem much more prosperous and abundant. I’ve found the world has become richer and I’m seeing life through my own eyes as opposed to the eyes of other people’s perception of me. It’s made me challenge core beliefs I’ve had about myself, practise more self-care and self-compassion and my mental health in general is improving. I’ll always have ASD, but that doesn’t mean to say that I have to have social anxiety and depression for the rest of my life.

So wherever you are on your journey, I wish you all the best

Until next time,

Beth. x

How To Practise Gratitude + Why It’s So Beneficial For Your Wellbeing

Recently, I began practising daily gratitude again and I suppose that’s what inspired me to write this blog post. Practising gratitude is beneficial for your wellbeing and mental health for a number of reasons, the main one being is that it trains your brain to see the positive. We all know that the energy we put out into the world is the energy we get back, so it makes sense that by practising gratitude we are training our brains into viewing and perceiving the world we live in and the lives we lead in a more positive manner.

In the past I have used Mal Paper’s Daily Goal Setter planner, which is a great planner, to practise gratitude as it had a small section each day to jot down what I had to be grateful for. Nowadays, I use the 6 Minute Diary, which has sections for gratitude, how I made today great, what I can do to improve as well as weekly happiness questions. I find this better for gratitude as it’s more targeted towards happiness and wellbeing.

But you can practise gratitude in any way you see fit, even on a piece of scrap paper. Personally, I like to have it all in one place so any journal or notebook will do for this exercise.

Most people start by simply listing off a few things each morning or evening that they have to be grateful for but I find it helpful to go one step further and ask myself why I’m grateful for these things. I.e I’m grateful for my dogs because they make me happy and pet therapy is very important for my mental health.

It’s by asking ourselves these ‘whys‘ that we begin to see the reason why these things we’re grateful for are so important to us and once we understand their importance we can appreciate them all the more.

I’ve personally found happiness through practising daily gratitude and I find it’s a great habit to pick up, especially if you’ve been feeling low and a bit stagnant in life. I’ve found when I’m in the ritual of practising gratitude, I’m a much more positive and upbeat person compared to when I don’t practise it. It’s easy to forget sometimes what we have in our life that brings us abundance, joy and happiness. So therefore it’s important for our wellbeing to practise gratitude daily.

So that’s how and why practising gratitude is so important for our wellbeing.

Russian Doll | Poetry

Image from Unsplash

It’s like my heart wants to break,

Over and over again,

As it’s all I’ve come to know,

Serendipity has a way of finding me,

But then it let’s me go,

And I watch this bitter beating heart,

Pulse violently in his hand,

I’ve become like a Russian Doll,

Layers that open on his command,

But there are depths within me,

Not even he can reach.

This is the third poem I’ve posted on here, Catching Stardust In My Hands and Candid Polaroids being the other two. Most of the time I post to my Instagram account. For me, Russian Doll is about the layers of your personality and how that appears to other people, particularly in love and romantic relationships.