One Year Mark

Photographs by Lydia Collins.

I shot this coat in this same location a year ago. In terms of content, it makes very little sense to be returning to somewhere twice, let alone twice shooting the same thing but after all the changes this year, I find comfort in the fact that this is still my favourite place and coat. Boring but true.

At the beginning of last December, I packed in my part-time job, which was probably the most terrifying thing I've ever done (Bills, bills bills etc). So, this month marks my one year anniversary of working for myself full-time. IKR - go me.

I've learnt a whole heap professionally and personally over the past 12 months, which basically boils down to: I still suck at make up but I'm actually alright at what I do and you know what, you actually don't have to date dickheads who make you feel like shit - what a light bulb moment that was.

It's been up and down. #Brexit and Trump have left us questioning humanity. And apparently, there are more billionaires in his cabinet than ever before, making decisions on behalf of millions of people, who are having to live things these privileged individuals have never had to live.

Yet, this year has seen diversity embraced more wholeheartedly than even before within many commercial and influential industries. Plus, unemployment is down. So, it's not all bad.

But, back to me. Lol.

I landed the biggest contract I've signed to date in January and that gave me a new lease of worth and with that, I had faith that I could make this working for myself thing work. There have been some incredible experiences but there have also been days when I've been inconsolably anxious and so stressed that I've almost packed it all in for your regular 9-5.

This year I learnt that self-love and self-worth play a huge role when working for yourself (soz, cringe). I don't know about you but the way I feel about myself reflects in every little thing I do. If you don't have a 9am office call to get you up in the morning, without self-love, you're probably not getting out of bed and you definitely aren't motivated to get shit done.

For me, 2016 was all about trying to discard rubbish from life; whether that be detrimental relationships with the people who no longer lifted me, the literal crap beneath my bed or mediocre content that was occasionally being churned out. All of these are still a work in progress.

While it's still a bit early for an end of year post, I felt like writing this now so here we go. This year, there have been more of you than ever before - thanks for clicking through and making what I do a possibility. Feeling #blessed.

When Digital Meets Art

All photographs by Kris Atomic.

There's no running from technology these days. It's everywhere around us and we rely on it more than we ever have done before. Without technology my job wouldn't exist; I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with my parents in Australia or my friends dotted around the country with such ease; I wouldn't know about half of the things I'm luckily enough to be able to know about because they are just a google away from my finger tips.

I fear the day technology defeats our own capabilities - think X-men or whatever nerdy sci-fi robots taking over the world film you're in to. Until then, I'm very happy to roll with technology's constant improvements and updates that make life all that much easier.

I've been lucky to have had a lot of tech thrown at me recently. With that in mind, and after spending the day with them last week, I can confirm Lenovo and Motorola are both the pinnacle of the tech game right now.

First things first, we began with a ridiculously gluttonous lunch to kick off, because priorities...

But then we cracked on getting to find our way around Lenovo's new Yoga book and our Moto Z phone, which we could use to snap all of our activities from the day on.

Lenovo's Yoga book has four different modes to it:

'Create' where you can take notes or create sketches using either a digital stylus or stylus with a real ink nib (all included in the pack) and see them instantly digitised on the screen.

'Type' where the bottom half of the tablet lights up to become an on demand key board (- I know right) and you can use the Yoga book as you would any usual laptop.

'Watch', which enables you to fold the tablet back on itself and view the screen while it's a standalone device.

Finally, there was the 'Browse/Tablet mode' where the Yoga book could be used as a usual tablet for browsing, reading or whatever it is you like to do with your tablet.

Next up was the Moto Z. I don't think I stopped gawping in awe throughout the various snap on Moto Mods demo. These can be attached to the phone giving it various other features. There's the Hasselblad True Zoom Moto Mod, which transforms it into a point and shoot with a zoom like no other I've seen on a phone before. Forget speakers, there's an attachment to clip on the back for that too.

The bit that truly blew my mind was the projection clip on. Lying back in bed, watching TV on your ceiling brings a whole other level to 'Netflix and chill'.

Then it was time to put our newly found hero devices to the test. We walked around London snapping as we went on our Moto Z phone and Hasselblad True Zoom until we ended up at the Royal Academy of Art, where there's currently an 'Abstract Expressionism' exhibition on.

Our challenge? To research and sketch the abstract art we saw in order to return to digitally draw our very final sketch on the Yoga Books before taking brush to canvas to create own 'masterpieces'.

Between us, a few masterpieces surfaced. Mine doesn't quite fall under that category but what can you do - you can't be #blessed at everything now, can you?

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Lenovo and Motorola. 

Beauty 4 Dummies: Eyelash Extensions

I've been thinking about starting this feature for a while now.

It's not new news that make up is no forte of mine. However, with a little inspiration from catwalk looks, I'm slowly becoming more adventurous and practice makes perfect, right?

I mentioned my reluctance towards mascara a little while back; it runs in the gym and takes bloody ages to get off. What is there to like about that.

Cue eyelash extensions. I've already written about my obsession too. What I failed to mention were tried and tested, brilliant places you may want to get your eyelashes extended. It's very London-centric and for that I apologise. I've visited around ten salons now to get my eyelashes extended as every place seems to offer something different.

While some were just downright awful and ruined my lashes, I've had some incredible experiences too. These I recommend these places above and beyond the rest.

Boutique Lashes and Brows
8 Harrow Place, E1 7DB

Firstly, Tia, who runs BLAB is hysterical. We had such a laugh during the two hour eyelash extensions treatment. At just £88 for Russian volume lashes, there isn't any better value for money out there. These are some of the fullest eyelashes I've had to date. They were a less natural look than I'd usually have gone for but the compliments I got just kept coming.

I also had my eyebrows microbladed with Tia. Microblading is where small strokes of dye are tattooed into your eyebrows. It's bloody painful but I'd still recommend it - good brows transform your face.

The London Dolls
1 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL

The London Dolls salon is everything you'd imagine from a trendy east London salon. It's small but cosy. I instantly felt really welcome. Having your lashes done is quite intimate - getting used to someone within a few inches of your face for a couple of hours is something that takes some getting used to but when you feel at ease with your therapist, it makes it that much easier.

These lashes had a lovely natural finish. You'd never of known they weren't real.

A full set here will set you back just £70.

Lash Lab
Beaute Bar, 57 Fashion Street, E1 6PX

Lash Lab is located just off of Brick Lane. Like a few salons I've been to, the beauty rooms are downstairs in a hairdressers - a while ago these may have put me off booking somewhere but these days, I'm aware it makes absolutely on difference in the quality of treatment received.

I opted for a set of Russian volume lashes once again. At £120, these were on the higher end of the price scale. The technician discussed that my lashes looked a little damaged so, we'd have to go a little shorter than I would have liked but nevertheless, the result was still great.

The staying power of these lashes makes them worth the money. Mine easily lasted for a whole month, which is honestly usually promised but also unheard of.

Agnes Dos Santos
46 Blythe Road, London, W14 0HA

With a clientele list including Lindsey Lohan and Lily Allen, I had to try it out Agnes Dos Santos' eyelash extensions.

There's a huge variety of options for your lashes too. There are mink, diamond, natural hair and feather lashes to pick from and all of which are vegan.

From start to finish, the experience was wonderful. After a couple of hours, I opened my eyes to long luscious lashes. They were quite obviously extensions but I had clarified beforehand that I wanted a longer look than I'd previously tried before so, this was to be expected.

Prices range from £70-£150 so a consultation for what your after beforehand is recommended.


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