Friday, 29 May 2015

Life: 2 years on - my blog birthday

Two years ago today I published my first ever 'proper' blog post. When I say proper, I mean I was completely clueless on how to start this journey that I felt was right for me to delve into and ended up rambling on about a bag I bought from the five pound store. Not the best initial launch I must admit, in all honestly I had no idea what I was doing but everyone has to start somewhere, right? (and you certainly learn the ins and outs as you go along). 

When I look back, I think about where I wanted to be, my aims, my purpose, why I chose this path and actually, I didn't have an outright answer. All I knew was I've loved fashion from a young age and I've enjoyed being the typical girl as I grow; makeup, clothes, nails, all what comes along with the stereotype. I guess I intended on spreading that love over to a little page of the internet that can reflect me as a person. It does continue to express those thoughts and past-times but I've come to realise blogging includes a whole load more deeper attributes and indeed does require a great deal of effort and hard work. It's a world of fun, stress, excitement, honour, and now in current society, a strong hold of power

Something that originally started as a hobby has now become a part of my everyday life and activities and is something I feel so truly passionate about. I enjoy every aspect of blogging; the photo taking, the writing, the events, the new faces, the inspiring, the kindness (forgetting the unnecessary rudeness), the constant developing, the goal reaching, the bonding, and most of all the connection with the blogging community; full of warmth, friendliness and thoughtfulness. Other bloggers were the sole reason I decided to give it a try and to this day, you all spur me on to thrive and keep pursuing and as cringey as it sounds, are the base of why I carry on exploring and trying to evolve for the better in this competitive yet extremely supportive blogosphere (even the fashion and beauty influencers who cause irreversible damage to my bank account on a daily basis). 

I'm not going to lie and say I haven't found it difficult, I have. In particular, in the area of building up a loyal reading. One thing I have learnt is that numbers aren't everything, but sometimes, as you see a noticeable decrease instead of a continuous increase amount of followers it can be disheartening. There's often days where I easily lose motivation, start comparing my place to the higher individuals, and feel like throwing in the towel but that inner blogging spark of mine pipes up almost instantly because it's what I enjoy doing. It literally only has to be a mention of a new lipstick or a subject I need to vent about, and I'm back in the swing because it's what us bloggers do best. There's only certain aspects of life that can only be defined if you are a blogger and that's why I'm proud to now feel like I belong somewhere, like I fit in with this ball of often unexplainable craziness.

Despite the minor downfalls, it's mostly been all uphill. I never thought two years ago, when I was completely baffled how to even attach a photo to this strange, unfamiliar and overwhelming environment, that I'd be where I am now. My blog has opened up doors I couldn't ever have imagined existed. I've been given opportunities I could have only dreamed of, I've been introduced to the most loveliest group of girls, it's given me something to focus on and most importantly it's shown me and made me feel like I'm actually good at something other than procrastinating (well, there's also been plenty of that over the two years!). 

It's still insane receiving any kind of communication and praise. I wasn't expecting anyone to be remotely interested in what I had to say and display but you brilliant lot proved me wrong. I hope you know I'm always so grateful for each and every one of you who take the time out to comment with such pleasantness; whether that be once or repetitively. I don't always reply and I feel I should get better at doing so (I'm seriously considering changing my comment system to Disqus so I can directly respond) but I do read and take in all the positivity and it never fails to make me smile and give me that boost I often need.  I'm always a little startled when I log on to find out humans from all areas of the world are viewing my blog and I do hope, somehow, discovering my unfinished masterpiece has made even the smallest impact. 

To quote the Backstreet Boys; no matter who you are, where you're from, what you do, the blog world accepts everyone for who they are and I love the fact a huge variety of characters with different traits and personalities are brought together to share the same love. I never used to exclaim the knowledge that I blogged but now I don't see why not. It's not something to be ashamed of, hell it's something to scream from the rooftops. Having your own platform where your can escape and express your ramblings without fear of judgement is pretty amazing. Blogging has certainly been my longest standing hobby and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. I'm way too invested now. It's the one topic I haven't got bored of and hopefully never will which means I'm afraid I'm going to be around for a long time and you're stuck with me. The uttermost rewarding feeling is seeing the progress you make and the people who appreciate it and I cannot wait to see what the next chapter brings. Thank you for your readership, your friendship, encouragement and commitment.

And don't forget, I still have a live NARS giveaway especially for you. (A lipstick doesn't compensate to what I should be giving my readers but it's my way of saying thank you without access to face to face contact and those deserved hugs).

Lots and lots of love, Bridie x

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wednesday wishlist: Mango lovin'


I never used to pay any attention to Mango, it wasn't a clothing brand I was particularly fond of back in my pre-blogging days. It wasn't until my style changed from a shamble of patterns to more minimal chic that I headed over to the likes of Mango, Bershka, Zara etc to not only pick up some ideal basics but to grab those eye catching staple pieces which will last me a lifetime.

I'm not sure whether lace and crochet being bang on trend at the moment is a good thing or a bad thing. A good thing because my romanticised lusting for all white can be preached without guilt but a bad thing because I will never be able to save up any money. Another favourite trend of mine that seems to have popped up out of the blue are the cut out tie playsuits and the lace up shoes. I'm in love with the cord sandals AND they have them in 3 different colours. Will I be purchasing? You bet!

What's on your current wishlist?

Bridie x

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Beauty: my recent makeup and skincare buys

It's been a while since I had a good beauty splurge, in fact I can feel another one brewing in my bones but until I get my money priorities straight, these current buys will do me fine and see me right through the year (well, apart from the fresh Lush mask with a sell by date of course). I love it when I purchase a group selection of both makeup and skincare products and not one of them disappoints. It's a job well done.

There's no denying, I'm becoming a bit of a lipstick hoarder. I'm a firm believer in the fact you can never have too many shades. One staple nude? Don't be silly, there's at least 20 more with that extra tinge of differentiated colour. Two drugstore lip products I have picked up recently are the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Don't Pink Of It! and Maybelline SuperStay 24hr in Pink Spice. Both are more of a glossy formula with a simple and typical foam swipe applicator but they are more lightweight with a matte finish, taking away the sticky feeling some other glosses may have.

The Bourjois Velvet Lipstick have a range of gorgeous shades and it was quite difficult to choose a favourite in the 3 for 2 Boots' deal but since my style masterclass I've been warming to some softer toned lippies and eventually ventured for this lovely, rich pink colour which can be classed as a lighter nude. I absolutely love the bold appearance once smoothly applied to the lips. It's a highly pigmented liquid and is extremely buildable giving you the opportunity to choose on the subtle to dramatic scale but the great thing is, it doesn't stay super tacky. It drys easily with a soft, velvety texture and if lips are properly exfoliated, it stays swiftly sleek and doesn't cling to patches. The only negative I have to identify from this is the slightly chemical smell it has to it but apart from that, the staying power is incredible without any smudging, it's comfortable and wearable and the intensity of colour stays vibrant throughout the day. The Maybelline SuperStay 24hr has very similar attributes to the Bourjois Velvet. I love the two-step process of this, starting with the gloss end and finishing with the conditioning balm. Pink Spice was the perfect colour choice for me, a gorgeous, versatile browny-nude which is easily transferable and glides on in quick time. As the applicator has a slight point I find it ideal for precising the shape of the lips giving you a fuller appearance. It's definitely one of those long lasting lipsticks. Not quite 24 hours (especially when eating those oily foods), but for a decent duration indeed. The conditioner side fixes the colour in place giving it a shiny effect with a non-heavy yet sturdy finish and no visible crumbling and when it comes to fully removing, it is a tough cling on.

Moving on to the higher end products; Bobbi Brown is a brand I've been dying to try for years now and I thought it was about time I got my hands on the luxuries. Blogging has been a huge influence on me heading towards the higher end in comparison to the drugstore but I've also found my skin disagreeing with the lower end products since discovering high end. It does work out as more pricey, yes, but I also think it's the quality worth paying for as I've found with these two star pieces. I don't think I need to go into detail about the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Extra Light Bisque as I'm sure you've heard all about it but what I will say is, it's a little miracle worker. I don't know how I ever went without it. Without a doubt, my dark circles are horrendous. Thanks to my insomniac sleeping pattern I rock the zombie look every morning but dabbing a fraction of this on top of my foundation and under my concealer has made a hell of a difference. The peachy tones blur out the blue hue and brightens the whole eye area in an instance and to add to the efficacy, it applies smoothly and without that dry, caking appearance. 

I struggled figuring out what shade would match up to my skin tone in the Bobbi Brown Sheer Pressed Powder but with the colour charts, I braved the risk and went for Pale Yellow. Thankfully, it is a suitable shade for me; yellow based but not at all yellow once applied. The sheerness evens out my skin tone and compliments my pale cast by giving a natural finish without the piled on, cakey look and feeling. It did come with an ordinary puff applicator but I prefer to use a powder based brush for that 'you can't even tell I topped my face up with a dust of powder' emergence. I adore how amazingly smooth and silky my face feels after applying this; not only does it mattify, reduce shine and absorb oil, it also rids of the imbalanced dullness and highlights the complexion giving it that fresh glow. I wouldn't suggest it for full coverage as it is a light powder but that's what I love about it. It contains Vitamin C so hasn't irritated my skin or *tries not to jinx it* caused any breakouts AND the beautiful minimal monochrome packaging is a bonus.

On to skincare now. REN is the one brand I can rely on for sorting out my troublesome skin. I own the Clarifying Toner (and it's my holy grail!) but fancied a cleanser to go with it. After reading some reviews, I decided to go with the Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser and it hasn't let me down. It's a lovely gentle cleanser with a creamy, lightweight texture and a refreshing, herbal scent. You only need a teeny amount for it to lather and cater for the whole of the face which is brilliant. Never have I had my skin feel so revitalized, tingling and purified. It's almost like a treatment for the skin, whilst deeply cleansing at the same time. Since using it, my pores have noticeably minimised and appear less clogged, and any angry redness has certainly calmed. I always feel so renewed after use, it feels as though it rids of all the lurking bacteria without any harsh stripping of the skin. It's the one product that keeps my skin at bay but doesn't dehydrate, dry out and leave my skin feeling tight like other breakout and blemish combating products can do. Not only has it reduced my spots significantly and prevented me from having continuous monster breakouts but my face looks so much more healthier and luminous. 

Finally, a magic face mask from one of my obvious favourite beauty providers. Lush's fresh face masks are something I always reach for to restore the radiance back into my skin but Catastrophe Cosmetic has become a firm favourite. The ingredients included (wholesome blueberries, and the vitamins and minerals) accumulate the most incredible scent and it feels like heaven when layered on to the skin. It's one of those all round face masks which caters for skin in need of TLC. My skin has moments of lacking moisture and energy but this mask instantly soothes, calms and brings back a clearer, more pure complexion. If I may say so myself, the morning after using this my makeup looked absolutely glowing and I'm pretty certain Catastrophe Cosmetic contributed to this rare occasion. 

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts?

Bridie x

As this Friday marks my 2 year blogging milestone, I've extended my NARS giveaway/celebration an extra week for all my fellow and loyal readers. Don't forget to get your entries in!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Sunday Natter: moving forward with a yes to equality!

I can't put into words just how proud I am of Ireland for doing the RIGHT thing by voting a massive resounding and heart warming yes in their Marriage Referendum. Yesterday they made history; being the first country to pass the freedom to marry by popular vote has not only opened up a new era for the future of the importance of equal rights, but it's been a massive step forward for everyone, no matter what their sexual preference, to feel accepted and believe they are valued.

Witnessing the huge support, engagement, passion and positivity taking place during the campaigning and the aftermath was incredibly inspiring and humbling; especially the part when the number of emigrants boarding back home to place their thumbs up vote was displayed for all to shed a tiny tear at. From the young, to the old, the religious to the skeptics, the same sex hand holders and the opposite sex huggers, every part of the notion was ever so moving to see. As a nation, Ireland have created an accomplished movement which will make such a difference to the views not just in Ireland, but all around the world. This will benefit so many young, fearful people who never had the courage to be open about their sexuality, it will make it easier to be who you are and hopefully, it will allow other countries to see the normality of love, respect, security and faith to follow in their footsteps.

As wonderful as the success was to witness, I still can't comprehend the no voters, the people still out there who disagree with a basic human right. Truthfully, I believe if you can honestly identify a 'problem' then you need a serious reality check and are stuck in the dark ages. There is no justification for sheer homophobia, for the cold, cynical and sickening attitudes. The fairytales and completely moronic logic and labels this minority live by are damn right ridiculous and produce nothing but malicious, direct discrimination. You know what will happen now gay people can legally marry? Absolutely nothing troublesome, that's what. Backward, bigoted behaviours will no longer power over and get in the way of a ceremony filled with celebration and admiration. Whilst the degrading still occurs, the LGBT community will be able to embrace their liberty just like they always should have been entitled to. I feel genuinely troubled and hurt by the fact some people out there think being LGBT makes you a lower version of a human being. How is it so hard to see through that barbaric mind and recognise that a person is a person no matter whom they are attracted to and/or in love with? In society, I have always automatically had the right to choose my partner, plan our future and share precious moments with. The only reason I was entitled to this privilege is because I am a heterosexual female. Being loved isn't a privilege, gender does not determine love and being gay isn't a lifestyle choice. Watching the news last night produced the largest lump in my throat. Two delightful women were gazing at each other with warmth, quite clearly ecstatic by the results. "This is the first time I'm able to walk down the street and not be afraid to hold her hand because everybody says it's okay" the woman said as her partner welled up and described how much it meant to her, to now know they are not classed as less than anyone else. It's quite the revelation when it takes these people crying with joy to put into perspective just how significant fair identification is. Thank you, Ireland. Thank god you stood up for change in equality!

Let's no longer focus on the negatives but instead on the overwhelming positives. Ireland have come a long way. Traditional Ireland has transformed into a modern, pluralistic Ireland and I'm pretty certain this whole situation has opened a lot of minds, hearts and eyes locally as well as internationally. It was the day gay pride and national pride came together and I am absolutely over the moon for every individual. I'm so happy everyone has now being authorized a free pass to happiness. Those beaming smile faces on the 23rd May are something to remember and pass on through generations. A huge congratulations are in order, I hope proposals happened all over Ireland yesterday with the right to hold your head up high. Stay beautiful, people. Love wins all around.

And I hope everyone else feels the same way I do! Happy bank holiday Sunday!

Bridie x

Friday, 22 May 2015

Life: On the healthy road with My Protein

I've been having an on and off relationship with health and fitness for a good few years now. I've never been happy with my body, and to be quite honest I don't think I ever will be but back in 2013 I finally decided on making some changes. I'd had enough of feeling sluggish and hating the vision that reflected back in the mirror so I got to work on taking a stance. Through some strict (and let's face it, disappointing!) eating habits, some food cutbacks, a daily stationary cycle on the exercise bike, and some suffocating struggles, I managed to lose just over a stone and thankfully, I have kept that extra, unwanted weight off right up until now. However, it wasn't until the new year, when the clique 'new year, new me' resolution came into force. I was still extremely miserable figure-wise and made a plea to zap this puppy fat, rippling inner thighs and stomach flab that closely represented the Michelin Man, and that's when I took the plunge and downloaded a guide to toning and building.

It's fairly obvious knowledge that diet and exercise come hand in hand. Eating clean is a must if you want to see results and admittedly, this is what I struggle with the most. I'm known to have a sweet and savoury tooth (okay, I still indulge in Nutella, Fox's Sport Biscuits and Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream Kettle Crisps on occasion) and I find it difficult to prevent my wandering hand from reaching for the cookie jar instead of the fruit bowl. As a newbie to this fitness malarkey, I was pretty clueless on where to begin food wise. I knew it now wasn't just about cardio, but I was still to get to grasps on what I need to feed my body to treat it well.

This is where the lovely Jenny - the head of women's fitness from My Protein came along. From the first line of the email, I was hooked to the brilliant approach she showed. Not only did she inform me of My Protein, the way the word 'protein' was mentioned and people instantly just presumed all that were sold were protein based shakes when in fact, as Europe's number one supplement company,  they offer everything from protein powders and shakes, to high protein snacks, coconut oil, vitamins and healthy ingredients such as green powders and superfoods, but she also enlightened me to the one woman mission she was on to promote nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and to show that fitness and protein shakes are not just for men. I definitely wanted to contribute to that common judgement - we as women have just as much power to reach a high level of agility!

Jenny's factual brief about protein really helped me get to grips with the ins and outs. I was aware you needed a balance of protein within your diet but I was oblivious to just how much I, personally, with my goals in mind, should consume. Protein is one of three macro-nutrients we need in the diet, along with carbohydrates and fat. It is the one main macro that is required to build and repair muscle and muscle fibres, as well as maintain muscle mass. It can help increase muscle and because it takes more energy for the body to actually digest, and can increase metabolism, essentially it is a fat burning food!

From Jenny's advice, I learnt that Whey Protein was the way forward for me. This type of protein is fast absorbing in the body and means when consumed it can deliver protein to the muscles at a faster rate than other proteins. The muscle soreness is undoubtedly the worst part about this journey, not being able to get out of bed without buckling and wincing whenever you raise from your seat isn't all too pleasant. Half of the time I blame myself for A) Overdoing it and B) Not stretching properly, but now I've got my hands on a product that actually seems to benefit me and the growth and maintenance of my muscle. I have been using the Whey for a month or two now and am continuing to see and feel improved effectiveness. I try and take the protein straight after a workout as I feel the sooner I have it, the better enhancement on my recovery. Continued use of this has certainly given me that real lift and boost of less-aching energy. The taste is an added bonus, I was given Cookies and Cream which is incredibly sweet and filled with that natural richness but is suited to someone like me who constantly craves a sugary kick. The consistency is just right - not too thick and without that chalkiness. The only slight problem was that to start with, I found it wasn't efficient at fully dissolving. It could be down to the fact I needed to shake it more as I found giving it some aggression easily fixed it but it could also be because I mix the powder with water due to the fact I cannot stand to drink milk. However, it is drinkable, it's not one of those shakes you dread having and is a brilliant fat free source to introduce as a beginner. It's a great way to fill me up for longer as well as knowing it's packed with over 80% of pure protein!

The second protein based product I was sent over were the Double Chocolate Virtue Bars. It's safe to say, these were a firm favourite. The entire box is now finished and was completed without any signs of guilt. At just 95 calories per bar and incredibly tasty with a chewy texture, they are the perfect snack. It's a fabulous alternate to an ordinary chocolate-focused bar and I found they gave me that fix I needed when chocolate was overlapping any other activity in the brain. I tended to grab these when I was peckish and they fulfilled my hunger until meal time. They were also a go to for a pre and post training snack to satisfy that low motivational rush that seems to hit me right before and after a workout. I realised I should have taken a picture of the bar itself when it was too late (in other words, when I'd ravished them all) but picture a narrow flapjack type bar with chocolate edging and you have it in one.

The final two liquidized samples I received were Total Nutri-Greens and Banana and Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie. As instructed, I have used the Total Nutri-Greens both sprinkled onto foods and in a shake with added water and believe both to be equally advantageous. Once again, I did find it left a small residue at the bottom but it wasn't off putting in the slightest. This is an amazing product packed with nutrition and the taste is so refreshingly fruity - nothing like you would expect from a mash up of greens. I'm getting better with eating my fruit and vegetables but on a day where I've slacked and feel I need some nourishment to get my gut moving, the whole range of 22 (yes 22!) superfoods tops up my intake and enables a truly detoxed and replenished followed up feeling.

I was into smoothies a year or so ago, I'd make sure I was ingesting a mixture of 5 or 6 nutritious foods in liquid form and I felt a real positive difference in how less bloated and polished I felt. However, that routine kind of slipped away and I lacked my regular juicing. After a huge break, this Breakfast Smoothie was exactly what I needed. In terms of breakfast, I am a very boring decision maker and never fancy anything but my usual wholegrain cereal. This smoothie mixes things up a little bit for me, it's not something I'd usually reach for but it's something that prepares and readies me for the day ahead. This is an ideal shake to have on a rushed morning when you haven't got time to put together a high protein breakfast. Like my previous use of smoothies, I mix the formula using the blender to make sure all lumps are broken down. Just from the first use my stomach was satisfied and it saw me through till lunchtime - I found I wasn't yearning for unhealthy snacks during the morning to lunch gap and in fact, food was the last thing on my mind. I love both banana and strawberries, in flavoured and whole form but I can't quite put my finger on why the combination of the two tasted so particularly bitter. It was bearable but a lot more sweeter than I imagined. I also don't get on well with caffeine so think if the product was to have less of this and more of a substitute such as some low fats, it would work better for those sensitive to some ingredients. However, it IS an excellent dietary fibre complete with many essential vitamins and minerals which contribute to your daily functioning and for that, just like the rest of the products, I highly praise it.

Lastly, we have the Green Tea Extract which I can't talk an awful lot about because I am yet to give them a go but I'll give you a brief summary. These come in tablet form and don't size up too large so I would suggest they are easy to swallow. It is basically green tea in concentrating form and although making a cup of green tea may seem more practical, taking these would save time as well as being a tasteless, simple way to add antioxidants to your system, thus giving you the same results as green tea would. I am a dubious person, I have health anxiety and I'd be completely fretting if I took these without consulting my GP first because of the strong medication I am already on. I think they'd be fine but I just need to make sure first. I must remember to book a consultation because I have read nothing but wonderful reviews about how beneficial they are to your metabolism, and even help towards achieving clearer skin which for me, is a winner all round!

If My Protein has told me something, it's that healthy eating and supplement taking doesn't have to be bland nor risky. Just 5 out of many products has proved the road to fitness can be intriguing and surprisingly succulent on the taste buds. I'm a long journey away from my final goals but with a little help from sources and my own willpower, I've told myself I will get there. There's just under 7 weeks left till my holiday which means there's just under 7 weeks to get ship shaped. I CAN DO THIS!

Have you ever tried any My Protein products?

Bridie x

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Habitat homeware inspiration


Finally, after what seems like months (actually, what is months back) I've made a start on rejuvenating my bedroom. Well, when I say made a start, I mean I've contacted the local decorator and he's made arrangements to visit one evening this week to estimate the price of painting and wallpapering. I'm hoping it's affordable, mainly because I feel like I've been waiting forever to change the entire design but even so, I'd still find a way to pay because there's just no going back once I have my excited head on.

Yesterday morning, another new addition arrived (with a call from the delivery man to let us know they were on their way, at 7am! srsly, Homebase) and that was my dressing table/makeup storage/general hoarding mess once I've got started with the de-cluttering. It's a glossy white shade with one single draw and a big enough space on top but small enough dimensions to fit into my tiny room. I can't even express how much I'm looking forward to DIY'ing and making it into my personal space. As the desk came from Homebase, I remembered Habitat goods were also sold within Homebase and then it reminded me of all the matching, practical decor I've had my eye on when discovering and browsing the Habitat website now and again. The increase in interest for interiors has tripled whilst I've been lusting over everything I desire (especially on the likes of gh0stparties instagram page) and now I only seem to settle for the same thing; crisp and classic. I believe choosing the right tones and accessories for a room can completely transform it and that's what I intend to do. The 'theme' for my bedroom is fresh white with hints of silver, chrome, copper and pine. I want to keep everything bright, airy and minimal and all the items listed here would fit in well. I feel like for someone who doesn't own their home yet, I am way too into homeware.

Where are your favourite places to shop for homeware? I'd love some more inspo!

Bridie x

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Sunday Natter: Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental illness' exists. It's very real. It can eat away at you with every step you take forward, and all those backward steps that follow the very little optimism you have. I hate the fact it's somehow now thought upon as being a beautiful, heroic tragedy if you are suffering mentally and emotionally but I also love the fact times are changing; we as a generation are more willing to share, the viral popularity and discussion of mental health problems has opened up the supportive path and allowed people to come to terms with their issues, to seek help, to share their experiences and be proud of their overcoming, instead of feeling ashamed. I'm a strong believer in talking; talking to professionals, talking to your parents, talking to your friends, talking online, talking to a stranger you've only just met. Any kind of expression, no matter how extensive, is important to your health and well being and that's why I think raising the awareness is necessary to ensure people feel comfortable in speaking out. We may have come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week but the acknowledgement and understanding of mental health must continue to stamp out this fallacious stigma that still exists. 

I've never not been a worrier. I've had anxiety ever since I remember, from the age of 12 up until now at the ripe age of 21. I feel like 'anxiety' is thrown around so quickly these days but the difference is, it's not just a cute panicky moment to a teenage girl meeting her idol, it's not a slightly nervous feeling on your first day of a new environment, it's a horrible, debilitating, controlling disorder that constantly nags and tears away your 'normality' in daily life. I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and mild depression many years ago now and still continue to deal with the impact it pounds on me like a big thud to the chest. My anxiety comes in waves, there's good days and bad and the wide ranging issues which unfortunately can strike you as you grow have played a part in the severity. I can go through phases of feeling absolutely joyful, meeting up with friends and acting as though I have zero worries whilst that voice in my head builds a bed and calms right down. Then there's the moments where it randomly strikes me for no reason, I have an impending sense of doom, my heart starts to race, I can't breathe, I'm dizzy, shaky and sweaty, detached from reality and feel as though the whole world is closing in on me. I start to cry and my thought pattern whirls negatively without a stop sign. Even whilst typing this I had a short episode of feeling overwhelmed and that's the worst part, not knowing when the devil will reappear and whisper until you can take no more. The hard part is, it's not always visible and unless I told you about it, you'd probably never know I'm often an anxious mess. Having to cope in public is one of the worst parts, it takes willpower to regain yourself which is why, as anxiety sufferers, we tend to avoid situations where we could have a panic attack. Luckily, I've developed strategies and worked out what's best for me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't still abstain from the word 'yes' but I'd be Pinocchio if I said sitting indoors pondering, reflecting, and bullying my inner self worth did me any good. 

5 or so years ago I couldn't ever imagine recovering from the fear of going insane. At the time I didn't want to face up to it but now, with the help I pursued and the inner strength within, I can admit I was in an extremely bad place. I was crippled with dread. I'd range from being bed ridden, having around 10 panic attacks a day, to managing to distract and enjoy myself whilst my brain tried its best to rebel against me. All these strange, unfamiliar symptoms appearing made me believe there was something seriously wrong with me and it wasn't until I searched the internet and contacted my doctor that I realised I wasn't alone, this is something I could deal with and learn to control. Truth is, having a mental health problem is consuming and incredibly draining. It is a constant fight but today, right now, you are entitled to the choice of feeling brightened again. 
The ignorance which occurs in the attitudes of people uneducated on mental health still shocks me. Being accused of making it up, using your illness as an excuse to be lazy and receiving uncongenial advice to 'just snap out of it' is degrading to an individual. There is no simple solution, recovery takes time and it's okay to halt at and eventually jump over the hurdles. Explaining mental health to somebody who has never experienced any kind of obstacles before is difficult, people just don't understand therefore make the decision to unfairly judge you on circumstances they know nothing about. I can't even count the times I've been told to pull myself together, as though I'm purposely allowing myself to suffer, as though it's a choice. The ins and outs of mental health are much more complex and differ from person to person. There isn't a one size fits all, everybody is different, there are certain (and often sensitive) triggers and they require compassion as someone moves forward in their journey. Please, whatever you do, don't make assumptions. It is frustrating, upsetting and immensely scary to handle this bizarre feeling of not really having an answer as to why you're feeling like this, and any kind of rude remark will only add to it. You don't have to be an expert to listen, talk to, and reassure someone facing these battles. One simple gesture is all it takes. Take the time out to be nice and be that encouraging, trustworthy person we need because you don't know just how paramount that could be to someone.

It's said that 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. Mental health affects thousands of people in the UK every single day, yet here we are still being discriminated against, having our illness used against us because there just isn't enough acceptance nor understanding. Mental health is not a joke, it takes bravery to come forward and it should be taken seriously. Although the interpretation from others matters a great deal, you must also recognise the warning signs, and the importance of focusing on yourself. You do not have to suffer in silence, you are deserving and there are so many counselling platforms available to benefit those in need. So many people live in terror of what other people may think, feel obstructed and are reluctant to get the help they require. Our mission has to be to break down those barriers and do what's right for ourselves. By working together we are one step closer to stopping the stigma, managing our mentality and creating a change in perceptions. I have accepted that my anxiety is a long term condition which will always be with me but that's just a sideline. Sadly there isn't an instant cure but your mental illness does not have to define who you are. I have anxiety, but I'm not anxiety.

I totally comprehend and sympathise the fact exposing your mental health online isn't always something you are comfortable with but if you'd be happy sharing the ways you're affected then please go ahead. My interest and passion regarding the importance goes far beyond my situation and I'd be honoured to hear your story. 

Bridie x

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wednesday wishlist: the H&M edition


Sometimes I forget I've signed up to receive H&M's monthly magazine and then it's a pleasant surprise when I awaken to some modernistic pieces to browse through. It's like Christmas, only in mid May where you're wishing the weather would make its mind up so you can make the most of the lighter, crisp clothing on catalogue view with the backdrop of beautiful greenery and sunny beaches. Today's wishlist is once again based on the latest trends; boho chic, lace up, fresh white and wraparound fringing. I don't shop in H&M as often as I do the other 'popular' high street shops but now and again I take a peek and realise there are a few gems hanging around there waiting to be picked up by the shopping obsessor (aka me). I love absolutely everything on this list, especially the lace up dresses as I currently have a thing for all criss cross. Luckily, I managed to pick up that bargain of a dress before it all sold out and can't wait to make some use of it on those humid yet breezy days *prays for some more long lasting summer weekends*.

Over the past few days I've been feeling really down about every aspect of where I am and the progress I'm making. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a rut but you can always rely on a created wishlist to boost up your mojo and your need for more clothing you don't actually need. 

Are you stocking up on the summer clothing?

Bridie x

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Sunday Natter: 15 things I've learnt about the election from social media

Contrary to the reaction from most of social media and the rioters down in London, the Tories claimed victory once again on Friday after a long awaited, and for me rather disappointing, end to the general 5 yearly election. I don't consider my blog an appropriate place to discuss my heated politic views but I do want to point out just how much I've learnt from being an of age adult eligible to have a say in what I believe is right for this country. It's no secret that I have zero empathy for David Cameron; I'm left wing and always have been. I don't agree with the way the UK has shaped over the past 5 years of a Tory parliament. As middle class citizens with constant undergoing problems, me and my family have felt the vicious force of very real issues been done in the name of austerity. Yes, we live in a democratic world but that doesn't mean people do not have the right to continue to passionately fight for their selection and stand up for the future they are fearful of. I would never troll someone for their choices but I do have the courage to speak about how that choice will upset and affect me and many others. I don't necessarily believe in protests either and I certainly am disgusted by monuments being defaced and vandalised but sometimes, rallying is the only way voices will be heard and if we don't attempt to win, we will lose. 99% of people are not there to cause trouble but instead wish to go beyond the decision made. It's the minority that ruin it and often, cleverly crafted by national sources, receive the most attention. 

Aside from the heavy, uncontrollable spiralling economic phenomenon, it's also been extremely interesting to watch the many different views thrown together and unravelled on a side of life that is separate from the things we are fed in front of us. That is of course social media; the internet holds an incredible amount of power and is responsible for so many thoughts, feelings, emotions and rescues. In this overridden brain of mine I've formed a perspective of what this certain event has taught me and for today's chatty Sunday post I wanted to share with you 15 points I have discovered via Twitter and Facebook.

1) If you don't laugh, you'll cry | The numerous amount of hilariously created politics related content has got me through this stressful ordeal. From Ed Miliband's appropriate-for-almost-anything 'wrong' speech, David Cameron's rap and victory dance, and the mocking Nigel Farage jokes have done the job of slightly easing the tension and seeing the brighter side.

2) Word of mouth holds extreme power | Sometimes what you hear being said and what actually happens are two different things. It's easy to lie and even easier to continue those lies.

3) The media can be extremely brainwashing | The lack of coverage, pernickety bullying and selective reporting couldn't make the bias nature more clear. It's important to look beneath what you are shown because it can suck you under like a Dyson Hoover. 

4) Fandoms for politicians actually exist | Gone are the days where admiring dedication was only for music, activities and hobbies. The #MiliFandom hashtag was a definite favourite of mine.

5) Everyone seems to hate the Tories | Out of the thousands of widespread individuals active on social media, there's only been around 0.5% which I've seen are pro Cameron staying. By all means I believe everybody has their reasons, their own mind and right to decide and I don't demean that but I just don't understand how on earth he managed to win a majority with all this hatred towards him (yes I know the actual facts as to how and no, this isn't a probing for the smarminess of anti socialists).

6) There are people out there who thought voting UKIP was what this country needed | A crazy and rather horrifying thought. I couldn't ever imagine a parliament filled with racism and misogyny. 

7) The internet is an extremely angry place | This election has brought out an ugly side to people and although I don't believe ridding yourself of all negativity is the answer, I think muting the troublesome statements that are only going to trigger disheartened rage is something you should consider. Things can get messy and I personally like to avoid that.

8) It doesn't matter what your decision was, you will be hated upon anyway | It's a no win situation here. I respect the fact no human is the same, we all have different views (but UKIP dear lord how, WHY?!) and I do find it quite bizarre how aggressive some people can become. Being slaughtered and demonised because of your views isn't okay. People are so quick to judge you for one simple decision and I don't think they realise how hurtful this can be. It shouldn't be a war against each other.

9) The difference between opinion and debate is yet to be clarified | The population of Twitter especially seem to have a problem with identifying which term they are using. Debating does not mean ordering around and forcing your believed to be correct opinion down someone's throat, telling them they're wrong and vice versa. There's a huge difference between speaking your mind and simply being offensively rude. Verbal violence is mean, guys. 

10) The advantage of being able to vote wasn't used efficiently | Justifying not voting is all fine and dandy but I don't think you are in a position to complain about the results after it's all over and done with (no vote no voice and all that). It's been made clear that people have significant issues about how the country is run but by not being bothered about voting you're contributing absolutely nothing to change. Going by the percentage of people who failed to turn up and take all but 10 seconds to cross a box I'm pretty certain this gap has affected the outcome. You don't have to be an expert in politics, if I'm anything to go by then you can still be learning and make a radical decision. Our previous generation fought left, right and centre for the right to vote fairly, the least we can do is thank them.

11) It's often best to stay quiet when all hell breaks loose | Avoiding interaction during a mass social media brawl is the way to escape peacefully. Those messages from certain barbaric Twitter users are best to be left alone and don't even deserve to be acknowledged. Plus, that 140 character limit just isn't enough to express your notions.

12) Voting isn't official until you confirmed it on FB and hash-tagged with the exclusive emoji on Twitter | Hands up if you did both *raises hand with shifty expression*. I often wander what we ever did without the option of sharing every step we take to the world.

13) The ratio of intellectual to people who haven't bothered to do their research is in favour of the latter | I'm not saying there aren't a big bunch of sensible people who do speak the truth and use their knowledge in a appropriate, calming manner, there are but there's also some who just use politics as an excuse to bicker and use the opposite opinion as a way to throw vindictive insults around to strangers they know nothing about. Your life may be rosey but for some people it's a great struggle, so please bear that in mind. 

14) Government need to introduce politics in schools | Furthermore to the previous point, I think it should be necessary for the younger generation to study and learn the ins and outs of political parties and direct that in a educated manner. I also believe the voting age should be lowered to 16 because from what I have seen it's the teens who seem to know the score and the direction they want to follow as they grow up and develop to fend for themselves. 

15) A strong percentage of young people were courageous enough to hold their hand up and allow their voices to be heard | Despite the figures, it was amazing to see so many new 18-22 year old voters become involved with the election and be mature about it. It's a shame some were and still are ridiculed for getting their thoughts out there. For once, it's something important and worth talking about. I know I'd much rather hear what youths are passionate about than who's next to get botox.

What have you learnt from this election? I'd love to know your opinion (because y'know, everyone has the right to speak freely as-long as it's not going to mutilate anyone else).

Bridie x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Life: The Style Masterclass with Jacqui Cooper

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a blogger session of one of the exclusive Style Masterclass classes held by the award winning image consultant and lovely lady herself, Jacqui Cooper. This was a brand new experience for me, as someone who tends to stick to the safe colours (in other words black all day errrday) I was a little apprehensive on how my perception was going to be switched around but I can tell you, Jacqui managed to open my mind and change the way I view myself. The entire workshop was incredibly insightful and inspiring and completely different from what I imagined; all in a positive way of course!

Ten minutes later than scheduled (still waiting on the day a taxi turns up at the time you pre-booked for) I arrived at one of my favourite places The Victoria Quarter, but this time I was guided up lots of stairs to the uber sophisticated management suite where I took a seat and helped myself to a biccy (or two). There was only four of us present but that didn't take away the fact I was eager to get started. After we'd been given a couple of handouts in preparation for noting down and informing us of Jacqui's 'be, see, feel the change' motto, Jacqui then began by asking us a couple of simple but powerful questions; "where are you now?" and "where do you want to be?". It's crazy how easy you brush these sort of basic questions behind you in everyday life but when it comes down to actually having to think about, and discuss openly, your ventures, individuality and aims as a person, it's surprisingly difficult. We were instructed to write down our three values and mark out of 10 how efficient you believe they are at this present time. Jacqui helped to prompt us and urged us to dig deeper into our individual thoughts and feelings and I eventually chose 'stylish', 'influential', and 'confident'. Jacqui may have been a stranger but already I felt comfortable expressing myself as she provided an encouraging approach and passionate ball of energy. 

We were sat down for a good hour or so, listening carefully to what Jacqui had to say, hearing her incredibly inspiring story of success and being shown through the power-point presentation she planned for us. The thing I loved the most about Jacqui was the attitude she had; she was strong and extremely skillful but she used her knowledge to help others feel good about themselves and always made you feel at ease with something you may be unfamiliar with (which I certainly was). That for me shows true dedication and willingness to strive.

One of the main objectives of the day was to find out our 'style personality' - what clothing you are most drawn to and tend to rely on, what styles represent you best, thus matching the expression of your spirit and character. With a quick questionaire, I soon discovered what I already knew but with an added savvy bonus. I scored equal on both Romantic and City Chic and I would certainly say that's an accurate portrayal of my daily choices which meant once again, Jacqui was spot on. A romantic loves everything about dressing up and planning their wardrobe; clothes tend to be pretty and be based on admiration for bows, ruffles, lace, flounces, appliques and fringes. Whereas, a City Chic will enjoy clothes but not be fanatical about them, would tend to follow trends rather than high street fashion and adore the classic pieces, including the accessories you may have an urgency to splash out on. Mingle these together, along with some minimal loving and you have me down to a T. It also explains why anything made of lace, crochet or features some kind of tie or frill (Zara, I'm pinpointing you) is irresistible when out shopping. It was interesting to realise you do have an existing style suited for you. As I am quite fond of mixing and matching I'm often puzzled as to the certain fixed look I go for but I learnt that day that actually, I am pretty consistent. 

Progressing on to the next (and my most favourite) part of the day, we used our new found expertise to portray a fresh image. We discussed colours, cuts, different skin tones, hair colour, eye colour and other distinctive features that often group us as people but make us discrete. As if by magic, just by the first glance Jacqui knew right away what would suit us and help us reach for that inner beauty and that's where the practical exploring began.

Well, hello there extremely awful hat hair. 

Feeling a little like an artist's experiment, all three of us took it in turns to be tested with colour palettes and fabrics. Guiding us through each shade and tone, Jacqui made sure we saw for ourselves in the large mirror facing us just what works best for our face shape and skin tone. As seriously considering what suits me as I open my wardrobe on a morning is something I admittedly don't do, it was fascinating to find out what certain colours do compliment me and I've certainly taken that with me when currently browsing. I've never really thought in depth about my choices before but just that one session has taught me it does make a difference. Jacqui does have personal colour palettes you can carry with you when shopping but just from memory I am able to now walk into a shop and know exactly what I am reaching for and recognize in the long run, my previous picks do conform with the future, more appraised picks. I'm not saying I'm going to completely ditch the black (never gonna happen, soz) but noticing how shadowy it can make you, I'm bearing that in mind. I have a habit of just chucking on clothes without second thought but with the support of Jacqui, I am saving time and money by investing.

With fashion comes glam and with glam comes a variety of makeup and designs. I certainly wasn't expecting an additional side to the fashion but we were given it and I was so thrilled as figuring out which products, colours and tones enhance my natural complexion is something I often struggle with. Once again, Jacqui used her wizardry touch to identify the shades that will make our face pop and to my surprise, it was the softer, more muted tones that magnify and highlight my features. When I say magnify, I MEAN magnify. The transformation of adding some pink blush for that rosy appearance and wiping off my dark nude lipstick swapping it for a neutral rose gloss was amazing. My complexion instantly brightened and I was soon to realise I've been drowning my face with my beloved browns. It's strange how the picture you painted that you thought was correct wasn't actually all that good for you and that actually looks stunning on someone else who was also unaware of the distinctiveness between the human race. Diversity is great. That's another change I've interpreted since I visited Jacqui's masterclass, my intention for spring/summer is now to stay with the subtle and slowly but surely reel myself away from the Kylie Jenner lipstick hype. 

Finally, to round off a plethora of general happiness and art, there was a short body shape lesson. On what could be a sensitive subject, Jacqui knew the right path to take when explaining how dressing for your proportion can make you ooze with confidence. She understood what mattered and that everyone is unique and even picked out clothes she thought would look remarkable on you. 

Everything about the whole experience was fun and enthralling with a great end result. Jacqui kept it professional but made it personal to you. The ethic delivered was completely to the point and her non-judging kind advice meant I was able to gain plenty of style wisdom which had a huge impact on the way I do and will carry on to develop my persona. The atmosphere was calming, relaxing and really refreshing as the outlook began to grow positively. Jacqui gave us a challenge with the direct probing but pushed us to believe in what we want. She said only you are in charge of your own image. If there were NO RULES, and if NO ONE judged you, what changes would you make, how would you choose to dress? Do you love it? Does it flatter you? Then go for it! I couldn't recommend the Style Masterclass enough. For someone like me who's otherwise clueless, it's interesting to get to know what's hiding beneath the surface of your ordinary self. I went from a 5/10 to a 10/10 in a matter of hours. Thank you so much to Jacqui, and for Jess for inviting me along! 

Have you ever had a similar experience?

Bridie x

P.S. don't forget, there's just 16 days left of my NARS giveaway.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: rediscovering Bershka


The first Bershka purchase I ever made was in London last year on a whirlwind weekend trip for my 21st birthday. I'd heard of the retailer before but never really delved into what they had to offer until I spent a good half hour in the shop admiring the minimal and statement pieces. After that, I was browsing the site near enough every week. I do think being up close and personal with clothing enables you to get more of a perspective on what they look like (and encourages you to head to the fitting rooms with your arms ready to break) but online shopping is just effective, and means you can shop from the comfort of your own home in your pyjama bottoms and a face full of pizza. Bonus! 

It's been a while since I had a Bershka fix so I decided to visit the website the other day. That resulted in around 20 tabs opened ready to drown my already visibly low bank balance (whoops!). They have some beautiful spring/summer designed stock, along with the perfect formal dresses for a more dressy occasion in the sunshine. As May has approached, my mind is focusing on the festival inspired gear and with Bershka being so reasonably priced, it's ideal for stocking up on your wardrobe. Fringing, pom poms, gladiator sandals and delicate jewellery are some of my favourite details, along with off the shoulder casual wear which adds some prettiness to a basic. I'm planning on attending absolutely zero amount of festivals this year bur that doesn't mean I can't get excited about the fete fashion. TV coverage of all the live shows have got me covered!

Are you attending any festivals this year? Are you a regular Bershka shopper?

Bridie x

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

What I wore: the cord popper skirt and bell sleeves

Top - Zara | Skirt - Topshop | Shoes - Primark | Bag - New Look via ASOS 

Once upon a time, England was blessed with some glorious sunshine but then it disappeared never to be seen again. I do miss the smidgen of a warm weather we got a few weeks ago, especially when it was mild and light enough to venture outside after 7pm to take some outfit photos. The famous Topshop popper skirt was the perfect piece for a snug spring day, teamed with a simple v neck crop top it injected some basic tan colour as I coordinated it with my accessories and shoes (and a lovely additonal heel induced scab on my ankle).

A few years ago I never thought I'd see myself in anything but jeans and a t-shirt but now I'm an avid follower of the latest trends and love experimenting with what works best for me. As I mentioned before I adore the whole popular 70's vibe at the moment and already have so many boho festival style items on my wish list. From bell sleeves, to fringing, denim, crochet and of course those mules. Can you believe these beauties were only £14? Oh Primark how I love you.

What's on your current wishlist?

Don't forget there's still plenty of time to enter my NARS giveaway!

Bridie x

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Sunday Natter: the royal baby - it's a girl!

As the lovely Kate and Wills welcomed a new baby gil into the world yesterday morning, I thought it was only necessary to base today's token gossip on this subject. After all, a celebratory birth is what gets us Brits talking. There are a few issues I'd like to address but first of all, can I just preach about how beautiful their little family is. Ignoring the fact they are royalty and how they exceed the higher end of the scale, they are just a normal and extremely humble loving couple with two adorable children. Their parenting is nothing but natural, you can see it's far from staged and truly from the heart and what I love about it is they're not afraid to show it. Witnessing the special moment of William taking Prince George to visit his new sister whilst he was completely oblivious to the fuss and began waving to the cameras seriously tugged at my heart strings. Him and his sister (who are practically twins within only 24 hours of visible life) must be the most cherished children on earth and there's no questioning just how cute and well polished they are.

Without a doubt, Prince George and Princess *to be named* are set up for their future. They belong to the most privileged family, are destined to be superior, to be blessed with a monarchy and live a happy, content life with access to anything they'll ever need but sometimes I can't help wondering whether it's quite sad to know they'll miss out on experiencing the usual 'normality'. Nowhere near the pitiful mark but with working with children myself, I've seen first hand how important it is to just explore the stereotypical development of childhood to adulthood and being a member of the royal family must give added pressure. It's the small things like attending your local toddler group, nipping down the street, knocking on friends' doors and staying out till your mum shouts you in at the top of her voice, or for the older activities like stressing yourself silly about a job interview or waiting in the pouring rain for public transport that doesn't turn up BUT what they do have is security, stability, support and love, and the allowance to still be independent with freedom and I guess that's all that matters.

I'm still questioning how Kate could have looked so amazing after an overdue labour, sweating, panting, lots of uncomfortableness, loss of dignity and finally, after popping a baby out. A few hours later and she's out walking, elegantly dressed, looking as radiant as ever; hair immaculate, fresh faced, gleam bouncing off her. Of course, it's most likely down to the team of professionals all ready to make her acceptable for the cameras (although I'm sure she looks just as beautiful without the work) but I have to hold my hands up and admire her. After (if I ever) give birth, I doubt I'd come anywhere close to that. I'd probably be ugly crying, hair shoved up in a bun, bags under my eyes, sweat pants on, and craving nothing but sleep and a juicy meal whilst juggling precious bonding time with my newborn. I don't even look as good as Kate did on a day I feel my hair and makeup is to my satisfaction and I certainly wouldn't be up for socialising with anyone, let alone the whole world. I know it's her role as Duchess and his role as Prince but knowing all those people, (in fact, everyone) knows your business, are waiting for you outside, ready to pounce and overwhelm you at the right moment and still managing to enter with a greeting smile; I can't help but respect the pair. It's no secret that there are the dedicated royalists who are disappointed there was no speech but I feel even letting both the general public and the media into that precious memory is enough? People, especially the media sources, can be very forceful and you sometimes do have to remember they are only human.

Talking of the media; dear god, why oh why was the topic of what colour scheme Kate was wearing brought up and how even is that relevant to the joyous occasion? When the news stated they were unsure why she wasn't wearing pink, I had to cringe. I'm 100% sure that didn't even cross the Duchess's mind? She has no entitlement to a choice of whether she is going to be circulated rapidly and just so happened to pick a designer dress and heels she felt suited the moment. The fact it was yellow makes no difference and is actually quite laughable that people have this in depth theory and story behind it. I happened to think she looked remarkable, all pretty and spring like and hope more than anything that after the strutting was finished, she slumped on to the sofa, kicked off her shoes and changed into her Jammies once she arrived home (with the cameras still following may I add).

An even worse comment from an ITV News correspondent was pointing out Kate was 'still supporting a bit of a belly'. What do they think she has done differently from the rest? Was this some kind of magic birth we weren't informed of? Does the fluid, blood and swelling completely vanish after a mere 10 hours? It's just one of those wow moments where it puzzles you how the appearance of someone's body is still being brought into the picture after childbirth.

I'm not a royalty worshiper, I appreciate a pleasant event and also admit these sort of things can be over dramatised but yesterday really did make me feel patriotic. I think Kate and William are a favourite for a reason. I always commend their attitude and involvement with the public. I'm still briefing through the planned names I've created but for me, I really do hope Diana is placed in there somewhere. I'm sure the special lady herself will be watching down and be so proud of the men (and father) both William and Harry have grown up to be.

What do you think she'll be called? Did you enjoy consistently watching those double doors just as much as I did yesterday?

Bridie x
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