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Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Guide

24 March 2017
As you may know on Sunday the 26th of March (this Sunday) it is Mother's Day! If you didn't know or completely forgot, and are now panicking about what to get your lovely Mum this weekend there is no need to worry. I've got four fail safe gift ideas that are not only easy to get your hands on but your mum is bound to love. What to know more? Then keep reading...

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Liz Earle, The, Power, of, three, gift, set, spring, cleanse, and, polish, hot, cloth, cleanser, mothers, day, guide, beauty, blogger, uk

Beauty Gift Set
Now I'd always recommend a beauty gift set for any lady in your life who loves to be pampered but one brand that has perfected the art of gifting this Mother's Day is Liz Earle. Luxury beauty brand Liz Earle is probably best known for their award winning Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, a product that forms the foundation of all three of their Spring gift sets: The Power of 3, The Glow Getter and The Wake Up Wonder Kit. Ranging in price from £19 - £45, they are great value (considering the Hot Cloth Cleanser on it's own costs £15.50), elegantly packaged and readily available from Boots and John Lewis.

Printed Photographs
With most photographs being taken on smart phones these days, it's easy to forget about the joy of receiving printed photographs as a present, so why not print out some of your mum's favourite photographs for her present this year. Whether it be of her, her friends, family, children or grandchildren she is sure to get emotional while flicking through these memories. This is something my boyfriend has done for his mum the past few years and the Mother's Day Box from Cheerz is always a winner (for a more in depth review of Cheerz check out this post). Alternatively most large supermarkets can print photographs at very affordable prices.

Spa Treatment
Now I don't know about your mum but mine is a very busy women. My mum is constantly on her feet, rushing about and often doesn't get the time to relax, so when it comes to presents we often pay for her to go and have a massage. A spa or beauty treatment gives your mum time to herself to properly relax, and while it may not be something that she thought she wanted, afterwards she will soon realise that it was something she needed. One place my mum enjoyed going for a massage was Neal's Yard, which before her friend recommended it, I didn't even realise did treatments. Check out their website or pop into your local store to see what treatments they offer near you.

Now of course it wouldn't be a Mother's Day Gift Guide without the suggesting flowers as a present. Flowers is a great present for any budget as you can spend anything from £2 to £50 for some flowers, for example the bunch of roses in the photo above were just over £2 from Lidl but still look beautiful once they've been put in a vase. If you're looking to spend a little bit more or are unlucky and are not able to see your mum on Mother's Day like myself, then flower delivery service Bloom & Wild may be the perfect solution. Ordered online and posted through your letter box, Bloom & Wild deliver beautiful bouquets that are a lot more modern, on trend and convenient than other flower delivery services, making this present a little bit different to your usual bunch of flowers.

Whatever you get your mum this mothers day whether it be flowers or photos, remember to tell her how much you love and appreciate her, because as cheesy as it is, hearing that will mean just as much, if not more, than anything you could ever buy her.

Eleanor xx

Living With Eczema

8 March 2017
Dermatitis or as it's more commonly known as Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects 1 in 12 adults in the UK*, including myself. 
While my mother had mentioned that I suffered from Eczema as a baby I didn't really think much of it until last September when I started suffering from the condition again for the first time in 18 years. Now before I go on, I must make it clear that I'm not trying to be dramatic. Eczema is not particularly life threatening and mine is a lot less severe in comparison with others also suffering from the condition but that does not mean that it hasn't had a significant impact on my confidence and life in general.

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I first started to notice the change in my skin when I found the skin on my right ring finger becoming increasingly red compared to the rest of the skin on my hand. Thinking I'd had an allergic reaction to something, I went about my day thinking that in its own time the redness would disappear but as time went on my skin only got worse. The skin on my finger became redder, dryer and itchier and no matter how much I moisturised my hands, the skin on that one finger was always flakey. The longer I left it, the more the eczema started to affect other parts of my body; the skin on my chest and around my eyes (including my eyelids). 

With the itchiness becoming unbearable and the dry skin around my eyes making my makeup hard to apply, I took a trip to the doctors where I was prescribed some 1% Hydrocortisone Cream and told to apply it in the morning and evening for up to a week, moisturising heavily in between. "Finally!" I thought "my eczema will disappear" and while it did get a lot better, it returned less than 2 weeks later. Hydrocortisone Cream is great if used for a short period of time but if it's used for long periods it can thin the skin or cause acne and rosacea among other issues. With the skin around your eyes being thin and very sensitive (and this being one of the areas I needed to use it) I was very cautious to not over use the cream or use it for long periods of time, but if my eczema does flare up really bad I will occasionally use it.

A few weeks after my failed trip to the doctors, my eczema spread even further to patches on my shoulders and in the crooks of my arms. The more it spread the more noticeable it became. I felt self conscious wearing tops that showed my arms and chest as if my skin wasn't bright red, my fake tan has stuck to the dry skin and gone patchy. I found myself covering up more but there were still patches that I couldn't hide. People would ask "what's wrong with your finger?" gesturing to my inflamed red ring finger, to which I'd have to explain my eczema and brush it off like it was nothing when in reality I'd wake up in the night itching.

As for triggers my main suspicion is that my eczema is caused by mould and damp in our university house. My eczema started when we moved in and if I go away for the weekend, my eczema significantly improves while I'm away from the house, which I don't think is a coincidence. Unfortunately despite all of our best efforts to get rid of the mould we still have mould growing in the living room. The cause of the mould is being investigated by our housing company but until we can get rid of the mould there is not much else I can do.

Through the use of lots of Oilatum moisturiser, antihistamines and occasionally hydrocortisone cream I can manage my eczema but still some days are worse than others. I sometimes still feel self conscious when my eczema is at it's worst but with gorgeous and courageous women like Winnie Harlow raising awareness of skin conditions, I feel less alone knowing that it's okay for your skin to not be conventionally 'perfect'.

While my story does not have a completely perfect ending yet, I wanted to share my story so far, to let people going through the same thing know that you are not alone. Eventually it will get better even if you cannot completely get rid of your eczema, you will find ways to live with it. I'd love to hear your stories and if you have any product recommendations then leave them down below in the comments!

Eleanor xx

The Frustration of Fakeness

1 March 2017
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that back in April of last year I faced the decision of whether to start a new instagram account, specifically dedicated to my blog. After a twitter poll and a list of positives and negatives, I started my new account but this meant starting from scratch. I had zero followers and wanted to grow quickly to catch up with similar bloggers whose accounts were 3 or 4 years old but at no point did it cross my mind to buy fake followers.

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Now nearly 10 months down the line and with 1370 loyal followers to my name, I am starting to realise that many others have chosen not to genuinely grow their account like myself, and I'm not the only one who has started to notice it. Most days I will see fellow bloggers complaining on Twitter about the frustration with high profile instagramers with large numbers of fake followers and low engagement. This is not out of jealously of their 'large' following but out of despair that PR's are sending working their way. 

Blogger Laurzrah shared on twitter her findings after she investigated how easy it really is to buy fake followers. According to her tweets, it costs about £10 for 1000 followers, to which another user responded with a screen shot of a website stating how safe and easy it was to buy followers with no repercussions. With figures like these it is no wonder many are tempted to buy the amount of followers that it's taken me nearly a year to build up, in just a matter of minutes. But just because it is tempting does not mean that it is right.

Now it is quite easy to spot an account with a large proportion of fake followers. Often I will see people with 10 times the number of 'followers' that I have but receiving similar amounts of engagement, with photos averaging around 350 likes. Yet because they have a lot of 'followers', they have brands left, right and centre wanting to work with them. Now this post is not about wanting more brands to work with me, as I understand that my account is very much in its infancy stages but instead my confusion as to why brands will work with bloggers often knowing that the majority of their following is fake?

Perhaps it's down to the fact that social media is still a relatively new concept in terms of marketing. A lot of people working higher up in marketing at brands may be of a slightly older generation and are hence may be still getting to grips with social media while to us millennials it comes naturally. Perhaps many do not realise that likes and comments are just as important as followers and instead ask their PR's to find bloggers who meet certain criteria in terms of followers but not engagement. With PR's being under huge amounts of pressure they may not have the time to check accounts for fake followers or perhaps simply do not care. 

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But at the end of the day, businesses are the one's who are losing out on their investment. They're paying and sending products to bloggers with a 20k following, hoping to get that following to engage with their brand. But when only 2000 of those 20,000 people are real, then only a third of those people are engaging with the account and even less than that will go on to engage with the brand, brands are not getting a very good return on investment.

Not to mention it seriously damages bloggers motivation. What's the point of me working hard to build a genuine following when Sally over there is buying followers and getting praise for doing nothing?

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What I Am Wearing | Missguided Jumper, Boohoo Shirt, Topshop Jacket (Similar), Topshop Jeans, Coach Nolita Bag, Adidas Superstars

All I hope is that Instagram does another big clear out of all of these fake accounts and these people are put back to square one. I also hope that PR's start to realise that fake followers do nothing for their business and start to work with bloggers based on levels of engagement. Until then I shall keep struggling on and being honest, knowing that I have never cheated my way to success.

Eleanor xx