January Skincare Favourites

January Favouries

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, Elemis Balancing Toner, L’Oreal Skin Perfection Eye Cream, L’Oreal Triple Active Day Cream, Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream

 

There’s just a few days left of the most gloomy month of the year and I genuinely can’t wait! January seems to be when my skin goes into panic mode and the excess alcohol and food from the festive season show themselves as breakouts and dullness on my skin. Saying that, compiling my January skincare favourites has been really easy because these 5 products have been the things that have got me through.

Kicking off with the cheapest product in my favourites, the Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser. I’ve had this in my “currently using” skincare basket for a while and turned to it this month when my beloved Elemis creamy cleanser ran out. I am so happy to have rediscovered this! If, like me, you have combination skin then Superdrug’s bargain hot cloth cleanser is for you. The cleanser works into a really rich and creamy texture but doesn’t feel like it’s overloading your skin with oil. When washed off with a warm muslin cloth or flannel, you get that squeaky clean feeling without any dryness or tightness.

Moving onto my beloved Elemis, this month I’ve discovered their Balancing Lavender Toner. I was lucky enough to receive this for Christmas (it’s quite pricey ay £21 for 200ml) but I can genuinely say it’s well on its way to becoming my holy grail toner. Designed specifically for oily/combination skin, I’ve noticed less oil throughout the day and less clogging of my pores. As well as being effective, it smells A-MAZING which is always a bonus!

The L’Oreal Skin Perfection Awakening Eye Cream has saved my life this month! With long work hours making my eyes ache at the end of the day, this eye cream is the perfect solution first thing in the morning and last thing at night. According to the blurb on the box, the eye cream aims to reduce “dark circles, eye bags and fine lines” and whilst I don’t have fine lines (yet!), I do have a problem with dark circles but I’ve noticed a considerable difference since using this cream for a good 6 weeks.

Moving onto my favourite moisturiser of the month, I began using this L’Oreal Triple Active Day Cream after it came in a set with the L’Oreal Micellar water in the post-Xmas sales. I actually managed to get the set for less than the cost of 1 Micellar water so I wasn’t too fused about the day cream that came with it but I am so pleased I tried it out! Designed for sensitive skin, the cream sinks in incredibly quickly and is wonderful under make-up. This is priced at under £7 so is certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a purse-friendly new day cream.

Finally, we move onto the Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream. Now, this baby is pretty expensive at an eye-watering £95 for 50ml. Ouch. Again, this was a Christmas gift and I’ve now had a month to try it out and fall in love with it! At 24, I’m certainly not what you’d class as someone with mature skin but I am very much into my age prevention products and doing as much as I can now to make sure I have great skin later in life without having to turn to botox at 40! Applying this night cream is such a pleasure and I’ve come to look forward to my nighttime skincare routine. Elemis is famed for it’s beautifully scented products and this one is no different. The product is rich without taking an age to sink into your skin and a pea-size amount will cover your whole face really easily. I apply this and rub it in upward motions across my face as to not drag the skin down. When I wake up, my skin is visibly more brightened and hydrated and I’ve noticed a slight firming across my cheeks and neck that wasn’t there this time last month. This really is an investment product but I’ve found it to be worth every single penny so far.

What are you loving this month? Do you have a budget toner that you can’t live without? Or, like me, are you addicted to a product with a price tag that makes your other half wince? Let me know!

Life Lately- January 2013

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Pics taken from my Instagram, @misshollieb.

Somehow, it has been an absolute age since I blogged but time away from it has made me realise just how much damn hard work running a blog is and I take my fedora off to the likes of Louise, Alison and Alice who manage to run hugely successful blogs whilst also having small children. Ladies, you are Internet Super Women!

I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the last six months. When I last blogged, I was nearing deadline day on my degree (hence blogging. Because procrastinating). Now, in 2014, I’m a graduate and a full time working person with a real life actual job that people pay me to do. There’s even an office dog, for Christ’s sake! Basically, life got good.

Picture 1 is of me in Waterstones after a gin fuelled afternoon. At the time, I thought taking this photograph was the funniest thing ever. No, I don’t know why either…

Working full time means I now appreciate the weekends more than I ever did when I was a student or freelancing. Six months ago I’d be up at 8am to go shopping and run errands and go out and “seize the day” or whatever that means. Now it’s all about the long lie-ins and contemplating how the hell weekends go so damn fast. And gin. Have I said gin too much already?

The third picture is the office dog. Enough said.

In September time I went on Sky News (most nerve-wracking thing EVER!) and spoke about the latest infertility breakthrough. My face was shown around the world so I apologise to any Aussies that may have seen that face just as they were about to go to bed.

Following on from Sky, I discussed the same topic with Radio Five Live which meant sitting in a little studio in BBC Nottingham where, incidentally, one of my favourite YouTube ladies works! If you’re not following TalkBeckyTalk, go do so right now!

As ever, despite the long working days and the weekends hiding from the world in a onesie, I’m still as much of a beauty addict and I adore this recent NOTD. Sadly, I can’t for the life of me remember for the life of me the name or brand of the polishes. Useful, aren’t I?

Christmas this year was filled with parties, too much champagne and lots of dressing up. Going to the Zeebox UK party at The Savoy was a particular highlight and the Notts TV cocktail at my work party was to die for!

Finally, I started 2014 off celebrating seven years with Mr M. He is nice.

So here’s to a new era of Life of a Digital Girl- one with more NOTDs, OOTDs and OMGIADOGDs (that’s an “Oh My God, I am dying of gin” day). Thanks to everyone who has read the blog in the past, I hope you’ll stick with me as I find my feet once more.

The female bloggers that inspire me every day

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Wonderful women of the internet are very easy to come by; one of the great things the internet has allowed us as individuals to do is get our personalities out there and engage with new people from across the globe. From Tweeting one another to meet-up and friendship sites, we’re constantly connected to fellow females who can provide inspiration, information and support during both our happiest and saddest times in life.

I wouldn’t be where I am without some of the wonderful female bloggers who inspire me on a day to day basis. There are some seriously amazing blogs out there run by seriously amazing women who cover every topic you could ever think of. Here I’ve selected the top five blogs that I go to on pretty much a daily basis to find inspiration in both my personal and professional life. The women I’ve selected make me smile with their writing style and push me towards becoming a much happier and healthier version of me. I honestly feel it’s important we support and celebrate one another and this is just my little way of saying thank you to the female bloggers who rock my world!

Emma from The Freelance Lifestyle: I’ve known Emma online for a long, long time. Emma and I are both writers for The High Tea Cast but it’s Emma’s own blog, The Freelance Lifestyle, that seriously has an impact on my life. Without sounding slightly crazy, I doubt I’d be where I am now without Emma’s blog which is filled with handy hints and tips on becoming freelance, little freelance challenges and daily prompts and really great information and support for anyone who works from home.

Sarah from Sarah’s Scribbles: Again a fellow High Tea Cast writer, Sarah runs her own lifestyle blog called Sarah’s Scribbles. As a fellow 20-something lifestyle blogger, Sarah’s blog gives me inspiration and ideas on a daily basis and her blog covers all sorts of topics including fashion, beauty and fitness. Sure, there are a ton of lifestyle blogs out there but there’s something special about Sarah’s. When you sit down to read Sarah’s Scribbles, it honestly feels like you’re curling up with a lifelong and very wise friend who dishes out advice like a pro.

El from AThriftyMrs: I’m sure you all know about A Thrifty Mrs (and if you don’t, where on earth have you been hiding!). El runs the ultimate money saving blog for cool, fashionable men and women who don’t want to compromise on luxuries and the odd splurge. El’s blog has seriously changed the way I live my life. Before I started reading A Thrifty Mrs I was very much wasteful with money and I had a wardrobe filled with dresses with the tags still on and I would never think of repairing something and would just buy brand new. Luckily for my bank balance and my overall happiness, I’m in a much better place having discovered A Thrifty Mrs and although I’m still prone to buying things once and never wearing them again, I’m getting to a point where I no longer feel shopper’s guilt because I’m more open to recycling, buying second hand and fixing things as needed.

Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter: One of Youtube’s most charismatic stars, Louise is a mid-20s mum of Baby Glitter (AKA Darcy) who manages to successfully film and edit videos, write a blog, take care of a toddler and look fabulous without having a full on meltdown like I imagine I would! I frickin’ LOVE Louise, I’m not going to lie. I’m a bit of a fangirl, if truth were known. Sprinkle of Glitter, both the blog and the Youtube channel, has given me much more confidence in how I see myself. Like myself, Louise isn’t a skinny minnie but she rocks her ASOS Curve dresses like no-one’s business. Louise’s blog and videos always cheer me up and remind me of the more fun side to life. She’s ace!

Alice from More Than Toast: You’d think I wouldn’t be interested in a mummy blog, wouldn’t you? Despite not being able to have children myself and not especially having any small people around on a daily basis, Alice’s blog is always a gripping read and I mean it when I say I get excited every time she tweets to say a new post is live. Alice’s outlook on life really hits a nerve with me, her constantly strength to beat PND and face the challenges of single motherhood makes me realise that I can do anything I want and overcome anything I need to if I just put my mind to it. 

And there we have it- the UK female bloggers who have changed my outlook on life for several different reasons. I literally could not be without these blogs and I credit them all for changing my views on everything from my career to my general positivity.

Who are your favourite bloggers? Which blogs do you tend to click on on a daily basis to source your inspiration? I’d love to know.

Creating a new work wardrobe

In the style of Sprinkle of Glitter, ALOHA!

Wow, what a busy few months it’s been. Firstly, I’ve finished university and will graduate in November. It feels slightly surreal not to be spending days swamped with Indesign, Photoshop and on WGSN and I have to admit that I miss it.

Moving on from university, I’m now working freelance as a social media manager and content producer and I’ve been working with some really exciting clients which I hope to be able to tell you more about in the future.

Thinking about being freelance has got me thinking about my work wardrobe, or what could be considered a work wardrobe. When you’re freelance and more often than not working from home, it’s so easy to chuck on a university hoody, pj bottoms and no make-up and expect to see no-one but the postman who has already seen you looking rough about fifteen million times. But I want a smarter look, to reconsider my purchasing habits and to stop buying so much loungewear with the rationalisation that I can wear it during the day as well as in the evening.

My friend Rachel runs the brilliant Notes From My Closet blog and she’s been doing an investment closet project where she allows herself a set budget per month and tries to buy clothing which are better quality and fit with the rest of her wardrobe. Having just finished university and being in the early days of freelancing, I’m limited on budget but I can make much more care when buying clothing from the high street and what I wear on a day to day basis. I’ll soon be making a huge effort to sort my wardrobe and give to charity the clothing I don’t wear.

For me, things like slim fit trousers and jeans work well with a nice chiffon shirt or a soft jersey camisole with a maxi skirt and a long necklace. By carefully selecting my colours and styles rather than going “Ohh, pretty!” to everything Primark has to offer, I can create a work wardrobe that works for both freelancing from home and days I have to be out and about meeting clients.

With this in mind, I’ve made a mood board to showcase my working from home style and how I intend on dressing from now on.

Working from home outfit

Do you work from home? What are your top tips for dressing smart?

Competition Winners!

Hello everyone! It’s taken both Legal & General and I a while to pick worthy winners of the competition however because there were so many great entries, we will be awarding four prizes!

We’re awarding iPad Minis to both:

http://www.echoesfrommyweb.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://wellsabouttown.blogspot.co.uk/

And holiday vouchers to both the lovely:

http://www.thelifeofaaliyah.com/ and http://www.theothervw.com/

Because we had such lovely entries we will be offering a travel gift to all the other entries we received during the competition running period.

Congratulations, you will be contacted shortly to arrange your prizes and runner-up gifts!

* NOW CLOSED * What’s on your bucket list? Win a £250 holiday voucher or an iPad Mini by telling me yours.

Image from weheartit.com

Image from weheartit.com

My last blog post had a ton of comments from people saying I’d really made them think about where they are in their lives at the moment and what their future might hold. And it got me thinking too. I mentioned that I’m figuring out who I am and what my future will be as a childless woman and there are so many things I want to do with my life- win an award for my work in social media, get married, master the perfect cupcake recipe, write a book, fly first class at some point. There’s also the more adventurous things I’d love to do in my life such as have a flying lesson, abseil down the Tyne Bridge and take part in one of those crazy cheese rolling competitions you see people do.

So when Legal & General asked me to team up with them to launch their latest competition, I was more than happy. We want to hear all about your bucket list- the things you’d love to do, the experiences you’d love to have and the inspirations behind that. In return, Legal & General are offering the most adventurous bucket list a whopping £250 voucher for lastminute.com so you can either make those travel dreams come true or just sit by the pool with a cocktail. And for the most unusual bucket list? They’re only giving away an iPad Mini! WOO HOO!

“How do I enter?” I hear you cry, well there are just two super simple steps. First off, we’d love you to write a blog post which references this blog post and includes your bucket list filled with your hopes and dreams. Secondly, tweet the URL of your blog post using the hashtag #LGBucketlist and mention me, @hollieanneb. Once your tweet has been published, your entry is complete!

Now, there are a few T&Cs:

  • The competition runs from Tuesday 9th April 2013 until midnight on April 30th 2013.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • The winner may be required to provide additional information such as telephone number and address.
  • Entrants must be aged 18 or over.
  • Full T&Cs can be found by clicking here.

So, there we have it. You’ve got until 30th April to enter and I cannot wait to read all your entries and tweets! The winner will be announced on Life of a Digital Girl so keep an eye out.

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

The most honest blog post I’ll ever write: What It Feels Like To Be Infertile.

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Infertility comes in about a billion different forms- from those who simply cannot conceive due to sheer bad luck, to those involved in accidents and illnesses that take away the precious opportunity to have a baby to those like me who are going through early menopause.

In a few weeks I’ll turn 24, the age my mother was when she gave birth to me and perhaps that’s why this blog post is being shared now. I’m at an age where friends are getting engaged, a few are walking down the aisle and several have children or are currently pregnant. Your mid-20s are a wonderful time of exploring who you are as an adult. Gone are the days of being a teenager and hanging out in university halls, gone are your early 20s where you panicked and wondered what the hell life was going to throw at you. No, your mid-20s are all about enjoying being an adult and enjoying and looking forward to those major life steps such as moving in with your boyfriend, moving to a different city, getting on the career ladder and drinking £8 a go cocktails. As I look at myself, I’m exceptionally happy with what I am at 23/24- I’m living with the man of my dreams, I’m about to finish a degree, I’m being paid to write and do various social media stuff and I have a cracking selection of handbags in my wardrobe.

But I’m also at a time when I dislike myself the most. I was diagnosed with early menopause two years ago this month. I was 21 and my whole life fell apart there and then. It’s taken me two shockingly difficult years to pull myself round and be someone who can manage a career and uni work, be someone who can cope with seeing an advert on TV for Kiddicare and someone who can get dressed on a morning with a smile and look forward to the day ahead.

My diagnosis did not surprise me one bit. In fact, it was me who first suggested to the doctor I may be suffering from early menopause but he ruled it out and at first diagnosed PCOS but something in me, don’t ask what, just knew. So I kept and diary and went back to the doctors over and over. I was in hospital several times, I had so many blood tests and swabs taken that I felt like a human pincushion. But in April 2011, my fears were backed up with seemingly medical proof. I was offered counselling which I took via university and I cried and laughed through the sessions until my allocated sessions were up and the university had to let me go to help someone else.

I was confident for a long while and, naturally, it was only certain things that would set me back and I’d often put feeling sensitive towards a friend’s pregnancy or seeing amazing cute baby clothes down to my crazy hormones. If menopause does one thing, it sends your emotions into haywire and I’ll often find myself crying because we’ve run out of milk or because the jeans I want to wear are in the washing machine. Luckily for me, work keeps me focused and it’s proven the thing that takes my mind off everything.

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But I have lived with heartbreaking infertility for two years now and I’m perhaps suffering with the pain of it more than ever. One thing I hate is being told I can adopt/foster/have egg donation or IVF. My yearning for a child of my own- with the DNA of me and that of my beautiful other half- literally tears me apart. Whilst I’d never rule out any of those options, right now I am feeling selfish and if I can’t have a baby of my own then I don’t want one at all. Perhaps some find that black and white option not very positive but, for me, it helps me cope. Black or white. Baby or no baby. A life of eternal happiness versus constantly wondering if I’m missing out.

I’m at such an exciting time in my life- graduating, an ace career in social media to look forward to, moving to London with R- but the loss I feel knowing my future will never involve a child is unreal. The pain when it truly hits you that your life will be one without a child feels like it’s cutting you right in half, it feels like the world is seriously ending, it feels like you’re falling forever, it feels like the cruelness of it all has turned into a physical being and is twisting a knife right through your heart over and over and over.

To know I’ll have to go through another 15 years or so of friends, colleagues and family members announcing their own pregnancies terrifies me. Because, right now, every time a friend announces their pregnancy I smile and say congratulations but I am so sad for me. So sad that I spend days sobbing and wondering “why the fuck is this happening to us?!” Of course, I think my friends have beautiful children and I’m proud of each and every one of them as they make their way through parenthood. I’d never not want them to be parents but I will always wonder what it’s like. From watching your baby bump grow to the crazy experience of labour to the 5am feeds and baby sick ruining your favourite Whistles shirt.

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And it’s not just your future that infertility takes away, it’s your identity. The main thing I’ve struggled with over the last two years is my role as a woman in society. Perhaps through the black cloud of depression that unsurprisingly followed my diagnosis, I instantly thought that because I was unable to carry a child, it meant I was worthless as a woman. Indeed, it’s still a thought that crosses my mind at least once a day. I’ve gone through times where I didn’t see the point in wearing my favourite dresses, applying lipstick, painting my nails or doing any of the other things that were typically feminine. I felt I didn’t deserve to be a woman. I felt like those able to get pregnant and give birth were worth so much more. Surely women were put on this world to carry children? So what was the the point of me?

But I’ll tell you what the point of me is- it’s to be the best girlfriend, daughter, step-sister and friend I can be.

As I progress forward and out of the latest infertility induced fog, I’m discovering who Hollie-Anne is without the thought of a baby in her life. Who is she going to be? What else does she want out of life? And how can she be the best person she can for those other people in her life who laugh at her crap jokes, compliment her latest ridiculous statement necklace and wipe away her tears during the bad times?

There will always be a huge, huge, huge part of me that is owned by my lack of being able to have a baby but I need to take control of the other part of me that isn’t owned by that- namely, my identity and personality.

Being infertile really does make you lose yourself and you will spend the rest of your life wondering “what if…” but you need to fight through that and not lose sight of the person you were before. For me, I need to remember I am a cracking bet when it comes to being part of a digital agency, that I am actually a very kind and caring girlfriend, that people like to be around me because I am quirky and make them laugh. I need to not forget that I AM A WOMAN. I am a woman who loves finding an ace new restaurant, a woman who secretly likes playing Style Boutique on the Nintendo DS, a woman who has a shit load to give to a marriage, to friendships, to life.

The truth about being infertile is that is the most crushing thing I think anyone can ever go through but it’s there, it’s a fact and it’s not going to ruin my life. Through the extreme pain, through the sobbing and through the inevitable moments of pure anguish and anger, I vow to remember I am more than an infertile woman– I am a great woman.

For anyone reading this who is going through a similar thing- hold your head up, you are strong and beautiful and brave. Life is crazy. Enjoy the ride for what it is and do whatever it is you have to do to cope. I suggest a glass of wine. So here’s to the brave women of the world– fertile or infertile- cheers!

Time for Tea

♥ Hello, Digital Girls (& Guys!). As always, I’m getting excited about my Summer move to London and buying a pad with my boyfriend. But rather than think about all the mortgage and financial stuff, it’s pretty decorations and beautiful wallpaper that occupy my mind.

♥ We’ll be taking quite a lot from our current home but injecting some much needed style into the new place. One thing I really want to sort out is the kitchen and replace our dull Ikea plates with something more chic and swap the mix-matched mugs for delicate tea cups and floral printed side plates.

♥ Interiors wise, I’m very much into the minimal look and prefer bright whites and contrasting grey tones to create an airy feel. Saying that, I also love an injection of colour in the form of feminine shades of blue, purple and pink.

Marie Fleur Gris from Villeroy & Boch - teacup & saucer

♥ When I saw the newest collection from Villeroy & Boch, it was like it was designed in my dreams! Following the success of their Marie Fleur tablewear collection, Villeroy & Boch have extended the range to include a new grey colourway that would look so pretty in any country cottage, family home or city pad. Starting from just £6.50, the collection is available online and in stores and I for one am certainly adding the whole range to my wishlist.

Marie Fleur Gris plates from Villeroy & Boch

♥ Now all I need is for summer to come so I can serve iced tea in the teacups and homemade bread and chutney on the pretty places. Ahh…

Marie Fleur Gris from Villeroy & Boch plate

Beauty Temple, Nottingham

♥ I’ve found somewhere that, for me, is basically Heaven. A whimsical enchanted kind of  place with candles, herbal tea and nothing but relaxation. Beauty Temple is the ultimate beauty salon, offering everything from spray tans and make-up application to pedicures and massages. After the brilliant people of Twitter suggested I head to Beauty Temple for a pedicure, I waltzed off on a Tuesday afternoon to take full advantage of their 20% student discount deal.

Beauty Temple is based smack-bang in the middle of Nottingham, just off Market Square on Queen Street. But this is no ordinary city centre beauty salon. Decorated with huge influence from the East, Beauty Temple welcomes you in with the gorgeous relaxing scent of essential oils and luxury decoration. The oriental theme is stunning, making it somewhere you’ll find stacks of interiors inspiration for your own home.

♥ Last month I indulged in the most relaxing luxury pedicure which saw my feet pampered to the extreme. After a good buffing, moisturising and massaging, my toe nails were painted in a Jessica colour of my choice. I went for the black with a coat of gorgeous shimmer over the top, just for something a little different. After relaxing on the sofa for a good ten minutes to allow drying time, I walked out into the city to flash off my new toe nails with such pride. And a good four weeks later, they’re still looking perfect! My nail paint hasn’t chipped once and they look like they’ve just been done. Hopefully, just to escape the madness of third year, I’ll be back next week for another perfect pedicure!

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♥ After my pedicure, I knew Beauty Temple would be the perfect place to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday… so that’s what we did. Robin turned 42 on March 1st and one of his gifts from me was a some good quality pamper time. The following day we went off for a massage and foot treatment in the gorgeous double room and I’ve never been so relaxed in my whole life. We undressed and lay on the bed (one with pink towels, one with blue- very cute!) and were covered with oriental inspired fabrics as the girls got to work and undid every single knot of tension in my back and shoulders. After our treatments we were spoilt with a glass of champagne and a cupcake, which even included a candle for Robin to blow out and make a birthday wish!

My birthday boy celebrating at home.

My birthday boy celebrating at home.

♥ I cannot recommend this tranquil city haven enough. It’s my happy place.

♥ Beauty Temple is located on Queen Street, Nottingham, and they can be contacted on 0845 402 4003.

OOTD: Valentine’s Red

♥ Valentine’s Day may have gone in a flurry of roses, glasses of bubbly and sexy snogs but I am still feeling all romantic and keeping up the Valentine’s theme by injecting some passionate red into my wardrobe. I feel in love with this coat when I was browsing the George at Asda site (seriously, there are some hidden gems on there!) and ordered it instantly. It’s a soft trench with great gold zip detailing and came in at a mere £28!

♥ This is my very first Outfit Of The Day so please be kind! I’ve been inspired by the incredible plus-size blogger Callie Thorpe who is constantly stylish, always lovely and very, very beautiful. Fingers crossed y’all like it!

OOTD

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OOTD

♥ Details:

Scarf- Market stall in London, Coat- George at Asda, Ring- Primark, Jeans- New Look Inspire, Flats on my crazy flat feet- New Look, Bag- Alexander Wang