Self-Sabotage in Relationships: It's Not You, It's Me (No, Really)

9 December 2016

I love meeting up with my best friend Jade. We’re both busy ladies so it doesn’t happen as often as it should, but when it does, it’s cathartic beyond belief. I live my life around two people – my boyfriend, Keiran, and my brother, Joe, the first of which I sometimes want to moan about and the second of which who isn’t really that interested. This means that sitting down over some pizza and prosecco is more of a therapy session than a casual catch up, and after hitting the Prezzo menu hard earlier this week, I came to talking about self-sabotage in relationships.

We’ve all been there. Whether you call it self-sabotage, self-destruct or just general, repetitive fucky-uppy-ness, if you can relate, this blog post might have you saying 'YAAS'. For me, my self-sabotage is a recurring mind-set that I can predict, that I’m aware is irrational, but that I just cannot seem to stop. In a typical 21st century stereotypical female fashion, my self-sabotage is also intrinsically tied up with my self-esteem – or lack thereof, should we say. It’s the recurring blogger theme; I’m confident enough to walk down a packed street, snapping photos and putting on my best Sasha Fierce, but I’m also so invested in my personal image that it makes me feel endlessly shit. Worst of all, it affects my relationships.

Blouse - ASOS
Sunglasses - Ray Ban
Blazer - Topshop (ASOS similar)
Jeans - Topshop
Boots - Zara (Mango similar)

But I can’t blame blogging for this one. I get all the credit for this. If I’m single or in the beginnings of a relationship, I’m so sure of myself. I’m Tyra Banks confident, feeling good about my body no matter what state it’s in, feeling affirmed that if I’m talking to someone and decide that they’re no longer interested/more interested in somebody else, that the issue isn’t with me and it’s especially not with the way I look. Even if it is, fuck them. A criticism like that doesn’t touch the sides.

However, the further I get into a relationship, the more the façade falls away. The more somebody tells me that they love me, the more I find myself thinking, “okay, I know he loves me, but does he fancy me though?” This recurring self-doubt struck again earlier in the week, when Keiran was telling me a story from way back when including some sexts and boob pics from when he was about 19. When we first started seeing each other, I relished this kind of story. “I’m hearing boy gossip straight from a boy about what it’s like to be a boy”, my inner voice squealed, feeling very much like I was part of the boy’s club. And in a strange way, I felt a twisted kind of success; these girls fancied him but I bagged the boy. If that isn’t systematic of a patriarchal society that pits women against each other for the ultimate goal of male attention, then I don’t know what is, but even knowing that, I can’t deny that I was a little bit chuffed.

Fast forward to now, and the tone of my inner voice has decidedly changed. “What if he misses that? Would he be that excited if I sent a nude pic now? Does he still fancy me?” Does he still fancy me? Do you still fancy me? This is a question that pops up a lot in the later stages of my relationships. The confidence fades and I end up feeling like a Yorkshire Pudding. Something thought of as homely, fond, safe. When the initial sparks of a budding relationship fade, for some reason I feel vulnerable. I know that I’m worth loving, but I struggle to feel like I’m worth lusting.

And that’s a bit backwards, right? The heard-about struggle is that women understand their physical appeal but can’t accept that they are worth love (whether this is ever true or not), but for me, it’s the other way around. I think I’m witty, clever, full of love and fucking hilarious, but I don’t think I’m a looker to be proud of. I’m the wife, not the mistress, and I can never seem to align myself as both. 

This is my self-sabotage because it always returns. And self-doubt is so poisonous. Even though I can sit here, typing out the issue and knowing that it’s irrational, I can’t stop that overwhelming self-doubt when I look at myself in the mirror and think, “he can’t believe that I’m a 10/10 when I’m more of a homely roast potato”; and it doesn’t stop the self-doubt when we have sex, and I’m thinking, “Oh God, he must think I look awful, but he loves me so I know he’ll never say”; and it doesn’t stop the self-doubt when he talks about a girl from his past and I’m suddenly struck by the “he misses that excitement” reminder. Worst of all, I know it’s awful for him. He’s in a lose/lose situation. If he says he fancies me I believe it’s out of pity, and if he doesn’t, the cogs in my mind start whirring and I’m sure that that comfortable love has set in. I bite my face to spite my nose, pushing him away at the times I probably crave intimacy the most.

With self-sabotage, saying “it’s me, not you” is actually true. It really is me, and I’m struggling to get to grips with why this mind-set always comes back and how I can defeat it. Maybe it’s because so much of my self-esteem is tied up in new male attention. Maybe it’s because I feel disappointed in myself for not making as much of an effort to look good (going to bed with my eyebrows still on, those were the days). Or maybe there’s some more fucked up shit going on in my head and at some point I will simply self-combust. Nonetheless, share with me if you’ve ever felt the same. Self-sabotage shared is self-sabotaged halved, after all (okay, it’s not, but let’s just go with it for now).

Photography by Michaela Tornaritis.

7 Things All Bloggers Say To Each Other

4 December 2016

One of the best things about being a part of the blogging world is the like-minded friends you make. There is no greater satisfaction than sitting down for a meal with someone, and finding that you're both hopping up out your chairs to snap your meals before they've even been touched (I believe the specialist term is 'blogger relief'). And what greater pleasure is there than walking past the *perfect* rustic wall, to have your sidekick shout "OMG! Take a picture there, it's perfect for your Insta"? Owing to the fact that only we really understand the minutiae of the industry that we're in, it's unsurprising that the same comments and questions tend to pop up time and time again. Whether it be in person, in the group chat or via a sneaky Snap, I've rounded up the 7 things that all bloggers tend to say to each other...

Bag - Gucci
Jeans - Topshop
1. "What are you working on at the moment?" Also know as the golden question (as highlighted by Hannah Gale when we headed out for pizza last week). There's always a slight element of hesitation before this question is asked - "shit, will they think I'm being nosey?". This is almost never the case, however, since I've never met a blogger who isn't interested in what their pals are up to. Blogging is still a super young industry, so asking this question gives us the insider scoop on how brands are working, who they are looking for and what kind of collaborations are doing the rounds. Even if we resent asking it (having asked it many many times before) we still do, because the lure of behind the scenes info is too delicious to resist. An absolute corker of a question, by any blogger's standards. 

2. "Where did you get that?" Especially true of fashion and beauty bloggers, when your type of content is so heavily based in the realm of the visual, it's hard not to be suckered in when things look nice. Chances are as soon as we see one of our blogger friends rocking a particular item, we'll want it too. Think of on Instagram, just in real life. This chunky knit from Dash Fashion has been an absolute winner for me - neutral, chunky and with a neck that can hide a multitude of mince pie sins, it's been my star wear for the past few weeks. Check out the rest of Dash Fashion's new in knitwear here, or get shopping for your Christmas gifts.

3. "What should I be charging for this? Is this too much? Too little? Am I the only one who has no idea what they're doing?" As is often the case with being self-employed, knowing what to charge for your services can be tough. Even tougher, however, is knowing what to charge in an industry in its infancy, where there's no benchmark and everyone is pretty hush hush about their fees. There is no right way to figure out what to charge, but often, we do so by begging our blogger friends for info and help along the way. We gage what our fees should be in comparison to what our peers are charging, relative to engagement, follower count, views etc. Yes, talking about money is always going to be a bit of an 'ehhhhh', private kind of chat, but that's what blogger friends are perfect for.

4. "OMG, what lens are you using here?" In an industry that is so overwhelmingly visual, the standard of blogger photography has understandably boomed in the past few years. Long gone are the days of grainy, back garden pics with a self timer (oh, the memories) - now it's unlikely that you'll see a blogger without an Olympus Pen in hand. We're all on a mission to up our game and produce the most visually beautiful content, so it only takes a second for our photography senses to tingle when we see a fellow blogger pushing out stunning images. "Which lens/setting/camera/angle" - it's a lucky dip, but it will happen. 

5. "I've been invited to *insert event name here* - are you going?" For individuals that work quite openly in the public eye, it's surprising how short on confidence us bloggers can often be. Sometimes, we just need a little back up. Blogger parties are pretty similar to work parties; we want to know our friends are going, we want to know there will be free booze and we do not want to turn up alone. As soon as an invite pings into our inbox, it's likely that we'll be rapidly tapping out a message to our gal pals, asking if they've received it too. Don't get me wrong, we're not attached at the hip. If an opportunity is too good to turn down, we'll be there in a heartbeat. But events are better with friends, so if our blogging sisters are going, count us in.

6. "Coffee. Food. Cocktails. When?" We love to eat, we love to drink, and we love to document the whole thing. Blogging friendships aren't just about blogging - often we're lucky enough to make real friends in the process. And like any real friends, we'll never turn down the opportunity to catch up over cocktails and a good dinner (even better if the decor is Insta worthy and we can get some feed fodder out of it). Happen to be in London at the same time? MEET UP. Both need some outfits shooting? MEET UP. At your wit's end and facing a break down? MEET UP. Any excuse is a good excuse.

7. "Do you think I should just give up, run away and join a goat herding community?" Ah, the classic. Blogging is a strange industry where often, your whole business is founded upon your image, personality and output. When things aren't quite going to plan and you're congratulating your blogging pals through gritted teeth on their amazing new gig, the downsides can often feel really personal. "What is wrong with my content? Why is my engagement down? What am I doing wrong?" Sometimes the pressure is pretty fucking full on - especially when your income becomes unpredictable and erratic, but your bills remain regular and annoyingly reliable. When times like this roll around, and you feel like packing it all in once and for all, there's nobody better equipped then your blogging sisters to get you back on the horse. They get it. They know. And that's why they are so important.

This post was sponosred by Dash Fashion, but all opinions and content are of course, my own.

Breaking out of my party wear rut

30 November 2016

I am not a girl who enjoys dressing up. Sequin mini dresses, velvet skirts and big blow drys do not get me hot under the collar. When it comes to party events, I’ve always been that girl in culottes and heels, possibly braving a leather mini if I’m feeling super adventurous. I haven’t always been anti glam – when I was 18 and hitting the town at every given opportunity, it was sacrilege to even consider stumbling into vodka revs in anything more than something way above the knee. However, many, many mistakes later, I fell out of love with that interpretation of “less is more” and fell in love with the simpler look.

When you find yourself going down the more ‘classic’ route, however, things can tend to get a bit boring. Going out is stressful for me now. Where I used to relish the experience of pulling on something very tight and very short, I now find myself rifling through a thousand chunky knits, thinking ‘can I really tuck a rollneck into an old denim skirt and act like I don’t give a shit?’ Hours later, I’ll find myself slipping into my regular uniform. Black paperbag shorts, a body or tee of some sort and black boots. And it’s the same every time, all the time. I’ll buy playsuits and sexy, satin dresses in the hopes of popping them on and starting a party wear revolution in myself, but it never comes, and every new piece is quickly relegated to the back of the rail, unworn with tags still in tact.


Well, the jig is up. I’m bored of being bored with party wear. You may not see me donning thigh high boots and a lace up mini any time soon (which, by the way, I LOVE on other people), but this post marks the start of me trying something new, of me dragging myself, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. And what better way to start, than with a party wear post? (Come on, you knew it was coming.)

“Good evening Madam, can I take you to your table?” Yes, this jacket is giving me strong maître dee vibes, and I’m so into it. I shot this look with the fabulous photographer Michaela Tornaritis, and as soon as I took up position outside of this very *Pinterest* café in Notting Hill, I was like “Shit, Michaela, I look like I should work here”. Nonetheless, I’m all over it. A white blazer is most certainly out of my comfort zone (“Will my arms look fat? Will I look like I’m trying to hard? Won’t black be better?”), but in challenging myself, I’ve found a really classic look. Paired with a pair of badass sunnies and super skinny black jeans, I can transfer this blazer from day to night in no time, and that, my friends, warrants it mega wardrobe points.

Wide leg trousers are always something I’ve shied away from, too. Not because I don’t love them, because I’m OBSESSED, but because I’m a short girl with big thighs and so I’m brewing a cocktail for disaster. So many things could go wrong – they could be too long, they could make me look even shorter, and the worst of all, they could cling to my thighs but be wide at the bottom, negating the point of them at all. My fears were quickly assuaged once I popped these high waisted babes on, however. They are so flattering. I’m all for high waisted pieces on petite girls and these trousers nip in at the slimmest part of my waist, before flaring out into fluttery, fluid loveliness. I love the smart-chic aesthetic of pairing them with the blazer for a makeshift suit, but I’m also excited to wear these with a tight, long sleeved body and super slick hair for minimal elegance.

Admittedly, this outfit is hardly me diving straight into a pool of sequins, but, it’s a step in the right direction. I’m trying something new in the party wear department without straying too far from the look I love. And it’s time for you to do the same too! Join me in pulling youself out of your party wear comfort zone, and make sure you let me

Real talk with my brother over brioche

This is by no means the most aesthetically pleasing post. It wasn’t meticulously planned or brainstormed two months ago in anticipation, and it’s not the most outstanding. It is, however, a post that is exceptionally close to my heart and honest about one of the most important relationships in my life.

Briochie Pasquier contacted me a few weeks ago wanting to collaborate on a sponsored post. Being the chubby queen that I am, there was no way I was going to turn down a whole box of brioche. “But how do I make this content engaging”, I thought? How do I make brioche relevant to myself and my audience, rather than just saying “I’m passionate about pastry, support me!” Knowing that the purpose of the campaign is to #ShareAMoment – promoting the value of spending time with the people who matter over good food – my first thought was to hijack somebody’s lovely house, decorate it to high heavens and go super luxe, magazine styley. But then something dawned on me. Whilst I am aiming for that aspirational, double spread aesthetic, something about sharing a moment really made me want to take it back to basics. To just be honest, instead of planning and fussing and not really sharing any quality time at all. And that’s where my brother came in.

I’ve spoken about Joe a lot on my blog (even bigging him up in this post about why having an older sibling is the best). We’re close siblings, but I must confess that over the past year as my blog has taken off, I’ve finished uni and we’ve both been tied up with work, we haven’t been able to just hang out as much as we used to. So when the Briochie Pasquier campaign came along, it proposed the perfect opportunity to chill, eat, and have a proper conversation. To really share a moment, perhaps (see what I did there?). If you’re interested in some good old family chat, then keep reading, and if not, go and buy a croissant. Either will warm your heart.

Before we get into things, introduce yourself...

I never really know how to introduce myself, either professionally or socially. Usually I go with something like 'Hi, I'm Joe'. That seems to blow most people away.

Lots of people comment on how close we are as siblings – in fact, I always say that you’re my best friend (no matter how annoying you are). Not all siblings are as close as we are, so where do you think that closeness has come from?

I'd say we probably grew close through both similar adversity, and because we have a very similar sense of humour. I think, speaking for myself, that I always assumed from an early age that you would be the bane of mine. I never anticipated that I'd (as parents always say) would need you. Not only that, I didn't ever foresee myself wanting to spend most of my time with you. Yet I do. I'm not sure what I'd do without you. Time is a strange thing.

What is your favourite or funniest memory of us?

That's a tough one. I don't really think I can pick one, they seem to all have mixed into one big blur of comedic genius. The funniest thing I have seen you do, is run full on into the washing basket, taking yourself out in the process and breaking your fingers. That still makes me chuckle. That Mumford and Sons gig in Bury was good as well wasn't it! Or should I say 'Bury good'.

One of the things I admire most about you is your passion and strength for the things that you believe in. You’re very resolute – you know what you think and that forms quite an important part of you as a person. Where do you think this part of your character stems from?

Cheers, would be nice if you said some of these things to my face though .. (jokes don't come across that well on here I'm aware). I don't really know to be honest with you. I have always felt the need for social justice and peace in the world. This passion hasn't always been well directed though. I voted conservative in 2010 so you know .. I can also recall a time when I thought the solution to all our problems in England is to eject Johnny Foreigner. What changed me from a right wing yobbo, to a liberal leftie, is a mixture of education and travelling. Travel truly does broaden the mind. If everyone within the working class was afforded the proper educational opportunities I doubt we would have voted Brexit. I think it's important not to become so militant in your views that you can't change your mind though. There's enough fundamentalism in the world without me adding to it.

And, in true narcissist form, what quality of mine do you admire most?

There are quite a few things I admire about you. Your drive to achieve your ambitions is second to none. Once you set your mind on something you get it, or you tear the competition a new one until you get it. You're very intelligent, you form well rounded opinions on things that are usually very hard to judge. I also think you have the same passion for social justice I have, but you channel yours much more efficiently. Not many working class girls from Ipswich, Suffolk start their own business based on something they love. I always get the feeling that along with Feminism, Classism is something that drives you.

Your industry of choice is the museum sector, which is definitely a little different to what most 20-somethings are doing. How did you get into this line of work, and where did your love for history come from?

I think actually, if given the proper opportunity many more of my age group would work in Museums. They are going through a transition at the moment, certainly, I am among those who believe that working for a museum or even in the heritage sector as a whole is an unattainable unless you are Middle Class, Female, with a first class degree in Museum Studies. There is no real representation of the population museums claim to serve. The days of seeing someone with a tweed jacket hiding in a store are gone now, or are certainly going. I think the best part of working with Museums, or history in general is that they are the gift that keeps on giving. You can never learn too much. You know everything about the Ancient Egyptians? So move on to Greek Mythology, or Anglo Saxon Archaeology. Or trace the line of accession through the different periods of the Monarchy. Lessons could, and should be learnt from humanity's documented past. Otherwise, what was the point!? Also in light of recent .. erm.. political *tragedies*, history is a bit of a comfort blanket that no one can take from you.

I know you’ll love this one – favourite historical character and why?

Hehehe. This is easy. Anne Boleyn. One of the first Feminists that didn't rely upon her looks, but her wit, intelligence and charm to gain power. People are divided generally because of Henry VIII's promiscuity. He bedded many different people. But to gather not just his lust, but his heart, and to make the guy flip the country upside down for you requires much, much more than a simple flutter of the eyelashes. What Anne was able to was nothing short of a miracle and I respect her hugely for it.

Where do you think both of us will be in the next 10 years?

I hate this question. Especially in job interviews. I am not applying for the position of mystic meg, why should I have to answer this. But just for fun, you'll be in a position of power, maybe in government, maybe as head of a business, and I'll probably be working for you or be dead. If I could choose, I'd like to be married to a royal duchess.

Quickfire: the place you’d most like to travel to, band you would most like to see and book you would most like to read?

Iceland. Kenya. Sri Lanka. Australia. Haim. Mumford and Sons (again). Kings of Leon. I'm finishing 'The Philosopher and The Wolf' as we speak. I have a whole bookshelf of books I'm yet to read, so I'll stick to them.

And finally, let’s end on a positive note. Tell me something bloody wonderful about yourself that you like.

If you're at work, at home, on the toilet, on a plane, on a desert island .. if I'm with you I can guarantee you won't be bored. I didn't say you won't be annoyed also. It's balancing act.


This post was sponsored Brioche Pasquier, but all thoughts and imagery are my own.
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