My thanksgiving to-do list!

Hey Guys!
Believe it or not I am one of the few bloggers out there with the worst organisation skills ever. Therefore, as promised this morning, I thought I would share with you the to-do list I created to assist me with the lead up to Thanksgiving! Let me know in the comments if I’ve forgotten anything or if you’d like to see any recipes from my menu! I really hope you enjoy!! 

My To-Do List Includes:

3-4 Weeks Before:

Write a guest list

Invite family and friends you are genuinely thankful for. In my case this involves missing out toxic individuals, or those who I know or suspect would disrespect the house and the beautiful environment I’m working hard to put together (especially if there is alcohol involved). After all, this is my home.
Don’t feel pressured to invite people who you or other guests may not feel comfortable around. Drama free evening please!! (I divided my thanksgiving in two, not to prevent drama, but because my family isn’t very social, and I don’t want to force them into an uncomfortable situation with strangers- a.k.a. my potentially very drunk friends.)

Purchase an outfit

If you’re planning on wearing something a bit special, like a new dress or possibly something a bit Autumnal, think about ordering this a few weeks in advance in order to avoid heartbreak and paying next-day delivery.

Read magazines/browse for inspiration

Find recipes and decor ideas either online or in magazines. Even in the UK magazines this is possible, because most places will already have released Christmas magazines that probably contain a lot of recipes that can translate for Thanksgiving as well. This year I loved reading the Tesco 2017 Christmas mag because it had some amazing recipes and visual stimuli. As usual, for decor, I was obsessed with Pintrest. I spend way too much of my life on Pintrest.

Order decor/other

Order or craft any decor you’ve seen on Pintrest that you just ‘need’. Also, consider whether you need extra cutlery or plastic cups. For example, I ordered an ash-tray to put outside, and a drinks dispenser for the punch.  

Write your menu

 Of course, this is the most important one of all! and needs to be done ahead of time so you don’t waste money on food that won’t be used, or forget to order certain items.
Consider any guests with dietary requirements or allergies; for example, my mother is what I like to call a sh*tatarian. She is technically a pescatarian, meaning that the only meat she eats is fish- but she can be very fussy with vegetarian options. I worry about her nutrition often, as she has a tendency to cook for her omni family and forget about herself. Normally with a roast we would cook a bit of salmon, but for this occasion I bought her a Linda McCartney pie, because even as a meat eater I think they are absolutely delicious. Mine includes:
***
Starters:
Frozen Hors d’oeuvres (cheating I know),
Bacon and Cranberry Puff Pastry Snowflake, with Melted Brie
Main:
Roast Turkey,
Roast Pork,
One Linda McCartney vegetarian pie,
Green Bean Casserole,
Cranberry Sauce (both smooth and whole berry),
Roast Veg with Seasonal Roots,
Asparagus Tips,
Pigs in Blankets,
Mashed Potatoes,
Carrot and Swede Mash,
Roasted Sprouts with Bacon,
Broccoli & Cauliflower,
Cauliflower Cheese,
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings (Just try serving a bunch of Brits a roast with no Yorkshires, & their faces contort in disgust!),
Stuffing (meat inside and vegetarian outside the bird),
Meat Gravy (Plus vegetarian one separate)
Dessert:
Sweet Potato Pie,
Chocolate Tart,
Pear and Chocolate Crumble with ice cream.
Drinks:
‘Apple Pie’ Punch
“Open Bar”

***


1-2 Weeks Before:

Write a shopping list & Order Non Perishables

Make a list based on your menu, then divide into 2 by frozen/non perishables, and food you need/want to order fresh. Order frozen and non perishables such as alcohol, then put your other list somewhere for safekeeping. That way, later on you can grab fresh food such as veggies + add any thing you forgot onto the new list.

Think about a punch that would be widely enjoyed– for example I held off on the Malibu as I know many people dislike/have allergies to coconuts. I love to watch Tipsy Bartender on YouTube- even though I rarely drink outside of big events/Christmas nowadays.

Think about areas where it may be possible to cheat! It doesn’t make you a bad person to cut corners in some places. For example, I realized my life would be made substantially easier if I purchased a pre-made shortcrust pastry for my sweet potato pie. No- it’s not that difficult to make- but it saves time and energy later on when I will be rushed off my feet.

Make Placeholders

This is especially useful if there are attendees who don’t get always along. In my case, Due to being extremely picky with my invites, I hope they will just serve as whimsical keepsakes.

1-2 Days Before:

Clean/tidy house

This may seem obvious, but make sure your home is guest ready. For me, I had to make  a list including chores I would normally put off- for example things such as bleaching skirting board and treating my bathroom for limescale. (Norfolk is an area that has very hard water, which causes a frequent build up). Austin and I also had a small domestic regarding whose duty it was to catch the unwanted guest in the bathroom… he is terrified of spiders! Make sure all your dishes are clean, or else you might find yourself scrambling on the day looking for something that is in the dishwasher!

Entertainment!

Bring your speakers downstairs, make a playlist. Consider games/activities for when it gets quiet. Cards against humanity is a must- but as massive nerds we actually are planning to introduce D&D to our friends for the first time. Not to mention probably some drinking games later on. My favourite is the nomination game!

Pamper yourself

 Pick an outfit, do your nails, shave, pamper yourself for the long day ahead. Speaking from the experience of last year, you won’t have much time to do this on the day- even despite the precautions you have taken. It is probable that you will still be standing in the kitchen until the very last minute!

Prepare your veg

Clean, peel, chop and vacuum pack vegetables so all you have to do is cook them the day after.
To do this, place your vegetables into a ziplock bag, and pop a straw into the outside corner. Do the zip up all the way to the edge of the straw, then use it to suck out all the excess air. Seal the bag, and pop in the fridge!

Cook the desserts

Hot ones such as crumble that can be refrigerated and then warmed up on the day. The day before Thanksgiving I’m setting some allocated time to make all three of the desserts on the menu. Luckily, the crumble is a fairly easy one, as the temperature required doesn’t necessarily matter-  so it can go in at the same time!

Put up decorations

Set and lay the table, as well as placing any center pieces and pretty bits where you would like them to go. I added an autumnal wreath, some themed balloons and candles for ambiance.


On the Big Day:

Consider roping off areas

Yes, they are guests, and you shouldn’t make the night feel too artificial by enforcing a 2 page list of rules. However, they should respect your boundaries, especially if there is alcohol and or children involved. Don’t feel bad for roping off a certain area of your house if you think it may cause issues or unwanted mess.

Cook

Obvious, I know (as though you need to be reminded). Cook the foods you have planned out in your menu. This should be much easier with your squeaky clean kitchen and ready-to-go vegetables. However, if you find yourself extremely stressed or short of time be sure not to push yourself too hard. There will almost definitely be enough food regardless of whether or not you miss out or forget one or two dishes, as it’s the custom for guests to bring something along.

Get Ready!

Lay out all the beautiful food on the table, get yourself dressed and ready and have a glass of wine while you wait for your guests to arrive! You’ve earned it!

QuiteFranklii’s Thanksgiving Guide

Hi guys! I’m back!! (Apologies, I’ve had some health issues recently, and then my Macbook decided to give up on me, and so my little one week break from intense social media and blogging became more like three). To make up for lost time, I felt like it would be fun to catch you guys up with what I’ve been up to.

As you may or may not know, we are a multi-cultural household, as my husband is in fact American! (I am British). As such, over the past few years I’ve found myself embracing a new holiday, Thanksgiving!  Of course, as a lifelong foodie I didn’t take much convincing, after all- what kind of maniac would be adverse to a huge meal surrounded by loved ones? Since one of my greatest passions in life is cooking, and hosting parties, (not to mention the fact I always want to try my best to stop Austin from feeling homesick)-  I decided that this year I would introduce a few of my favourite people to Thanksgiving, and invite them all round for an evening of food, festive fun and cocktails.

Over the next few days, I hope to share with you some of the things that helped me to prepare for this holiday (I’m definitely still learning) including recipes that can also be wonderful at Christmas time- so don’t be put off if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving!!

First up will be my To-Do list, I really hope you enjoy it!

All my love,

Frankii x

The Autumn Tag!

THE AUTUMN TAG 2017!

A huge should out to Becca over at Becxblogs who created this tag based on a blog post by Naomi over at roomtoglow.co.uk and Simply_Kenna’s YouTube video. Thank you for thinking of me for this tag!

I love Autumn SO much, it’s always been my favourite season. I can’t wait to get started and to see other peoples answers!!

 

My Answers!

 

  1. What signifies Autumn to you?

Oranges, Browns, Red tones. Falling leaves, dark lipstick, cinnamon scented candles, hot tomato soup, jumpers, gloves, hats and scarves you’ve waited to wear all year, and cosy nights in with a blanket beside the fire.

  1. What is the best way to spend a rainy day?

In PJs, wrapped in a blanket maybe cooking/baking or making something pretty.

  1. What is your most fond Autumn memory?

One of my earliest memories is getting pulled through a muddy puddle by my dog when I was about four- we were walking through a forest, I can still picture the orange ground and trees and laughing with my mum. Obviously, getting married on Halloween is right up there too, but it doesn’t seem like the most “autumnal” memory I have!

  1. What is your favourite Autumn scent?

I have always loved the way the ground smells when it rains, which might sound weird to some! I also love the smell of apple pies, cinnamon, and coffee.

  1. What are you most excited for this Autumn?

Its our first ever wedding anniversary on Halloween, we were initially going to throw a party because I am obsessed with hosting parties, I love doing the house up and such. But as it drew closer Austin and I decided to cancel it as its our first, and we want to spend it together and do something just the two of us. I’m excited to see what Halloween has in store for us!

  1. What is your favourite Autumn song?

Because of our anniversary, for Christmas last year I bought Austin the soundtrack to Nightmare before Christmas on vinyl, I love putting that on as I clean the house, it really gets me excited for Halloween!

  1. What is your favourite Autumn movie?

I love all the Tim Burton ones, but I always look forward to watching Hocus Pocus!

  1. What TV shows are you most looking forward to this Autumn?

I always look forward to The Great British Bake Off, although this year I’m taking a bit of adjusting to life without Mary Berry, Mel and Sue! Besides that I don’t actually watch that much TV! I’m more of a Netflix girl!

  1. What is your favourite Autumn colour?

That’s such a hard question! I love the whole autumnal palette… I’d probably say like a deep red orange, the colour of pumpkin pie!

  1. What is your most loved outdoor Autumn activity?

Gosh, a few years ago I would have always said galloping down the stubble fields. I miss horse riding so much! I also like to stroll in the brisk air and look at the leaves. What a little romantic I am!

  1. What is your favourite Autumn fashion trend?

I love skirts with tights, and of course JUMPERS! I have never been one for tight fitting clothes, so autumn is my favourite season for fashion 100%.

  1. If you could have a familiar/ spirit animal, what would it be?

I actually mentioned this on my Harry Potter tag (see here), but I think my familiar would be a wolf. When I meditate I often see a wolf, and I’ve always felt very connected to canines in general.

  1. Name one place you wish you could visit during Autumn?

I’d love to visit the house they filmed “Pemberley” for Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 version not the awful Kiera Knightly one). It’s so beautiful and I’ve always wanted to go, I think with the leaves falling and the additional colour it would be spectacular.

  1. What is your favourite photo you took last Autumn?

Probably this one we took on the way to elope… I can’t help but remember how giddy and excited we both were in that moment.

 

  1. What are you being this Halloween?

Oh god, what am I not being this halloween!? I’m obsessed with halloween, halloween makeup especially. I can’t wait to share loads of different makeup looks with you over the next month on my instagram! find me over at instagram.com/quitefranklii !

 


I Tag…

  1. Britt @ alternativelyspeaking
  2. Natalie @ gorgeousandgeeky
  3. Zara @ itsallzara
  4. Emily @ thatweirdgirllife
  5. Savana @ officialsavanarae
  6. Meg @ mysticmogwai
  7. Meggan @ cardiganjezebel
  8. Kaelin @ livinginsaturn
  9. Emma @ canuckersem
  10. Hannah @ rand0mg4l

 


The Questions

  1. What signifies Autumn to you?

  2. What is the best way to spend a rainy day?

  3. What is your most fond Autumn memory?

  4. What is your favourite Autumn scent?

  5. What are you most excited for this Autumn?

  6. What is your favourite Autumn song?

  7. What is your favourite Autumn movie?

  8. What TV shows are you most looking forward to this Autumn?

  9. What is your favourite Autumn colour?

  10. What is your most loved outdoor Autumn activity?

  11. What is your favourite Autumn fashion trend?

  1. If you could have a familiar/ spirit animal, what would it be?

  1. Name one place you wish you could visit during Autumn?

  2. What is your favourite photo you took last Autumn?

  3. What are you being this Halloween?

My favourite matte lips for fall! 

My favourite Jeffree Star lipsticks for Autumn! || A peek into my velour liquid lip collection!

What’s up you guys!? It’s finally well into my favourite season, and as usual I am loving all the make-up and fashion that comes with the Autumnal months. Today I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite Autumnal matte lipsticks.

Anyone who knows me even a little bit has probably heard me talking about my Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick’s. I’ve loved this formula since I first tried “Unicorn Blood” way back in 2013 and fell totally in love. If you follow me on Instagram over at QuiteFranklii more likely than not I am repping one of these bad boys in my latest selfie! However, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite shades so far, that I think really complete my Autumn looks and get me in the mood for cosy nights by the fire!

Stupidly, in the swatches pictured above, I didn’t really allow them time to dry down properly, however, you still get a pretty good idea of how the colours dry down.  I chose four lipsticks that I’ve found myself reaching for loads these past few weeks. For your convenience I’ve photographed, swatched, and will talk about each product in order as shown above- from left to right! – Posh Spice, Designer Blood, Checkmate, and Pumpkin Pie.

As with other Velour Liquid Lipstick’s, I find the formula second to none. It’s long-wearing, not awfully drying, kiss proof and non-transferrable. With these, I find that I only have to reapply my lipstick when it starts flaking in the centre after several hours; or when it is introduced to oily substances such as food. As someone who forgets and neglects their makeup almost as soon as its on my face, I am super grateful for this. As I talk about these, bear in mind that I am an olive toned gal who tans extremely easily, however, I’ve not seen the sunlight or sunbathed in about 2 years due to uni commitments and/or nightshift work- so I am much much paler than my normal Olive/Medium skin tone.

Posh Spice

First up is Posh Spice. I purchased Posh Spice last spring, whilst I was hunting for a dupe for LASplash’s “Ghoulish”. As someone with Olive undertones, I really struggle to find a complimentary nude, with lots of popular shades looking “too pink” or “too orange”. I do however, love me a Greige! Brownish nudes with grey undertones look great on my skin for some reason, and they give a pop of something a little different at the same time which I love! When I first tried this shade I actually wasn’t that sure about it, I felt it was a little bit too pale for me, so I actually only rediscovered this recently. Perhaps I was more tanned then, or was using it with the wrong eye looks or whatever, but right now I am loving this. It is a pale ‘greige’ though, so make sure to warm up your look with a bit of bronzer or contour if you’re a similar colouring to me, as without I find I’m running the risk of looking a little dead and corpse-like. Unless of course, that is what you are going for. If you are the same tone or darker than me, try this out for halloween on a base of pale blue eyeshadow around your lips and I think you’ll have half a look done! Tada!!

Designer Blood

Designer Blood is actually probably my favourite liquid lipstick to date. As mentioned prior, it’s predecessor “Unicorn Blood” was the first Jeffree Star lipstick I ever tried, and it filled the deep burgundy red void I’d been craving for the longest time after reading Vogue way back when and becoming obsessed with deep reds in an Armani advertisement. Until then, I’d never been able to find a red that looked that deep and rich on my own skin tone, until I ordered Unicorn Blood on a whim after seeing it on Instagram. While the two are definitely related, Unicorn Blood is just the slightest bit darker, and… wait for it… Designer Blood has a very subtle gold sparkle!! I love how the glitter comes out more as the day goes on, or as you press your lips together. It’s beautiful and festive, and is always a conversation starter!

Checkmate

Checkmate is another colour I wasn’t sure I liked at first. Despite having a skin tone that allows me to pull off both warm and cool tones (to an extent), I’d always shied away from orangey reds like this. However, when it came as part of last years holiday collection that I received for Christmas it was giving me Kourtney Kardashian vibes, and I knew I had to try it out.  When I first applied it, it took some getting used to as it’s so bright! But it’s so fun and so festive, I soon found myself loving it, and of course, the formula as always was amazing.

Pumpkin Pie

Does it get more Autumnal than this!? This Orangey brown tone looks wonderful on, and I think it would honestly compliment quite a range of skin tones. Again, it has a subtle gold glimmer that activates with wear. The first time I wore this was to my Nexgen Nail Course, and all the women there complimented and asked what I was wearing! A must have for warm tone lovers for sure!!

 


 

I hope you enjoyed my post today you guys, let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these, or what some of your favourite lipsticks for the Autumn are!

Love Frankii x

Discounted beauty: Dawn Till Dusk “Deep Cleansing Black Mask”

Hey guys! Here’s my next post in the “Discounted Beauty” series! Discounted beauty is my new series about products found on sale, or on online discount stores such as Groupon or Wowcher. Of course if there’s anything that you’ve seen that you think I should try and review please go ahead and let me know in the comments below, I love to hear your recommendations and I’d take any suggestions into account! 

 

Dawn Till Dusk “Deep Cleansing Black Mask”

The product I have for you today is the Dawn Till Dusk “Deep Cleansing Black Mask”. I purchased this from Groupon for a whopping £1.99 plus postage! You get 100ml of product, and the packaging is quite nice, a bit gothic and fun, especially for this time of year. The instructions for this one were pretty standard, wash your face with warm water, apply an even mask avoiding sensitive areas (eyes, lips, eyebrows, hairline) and allow to dry for 30 minutes or until it changes from gloss to matte. This product claims that: “The unique blend of vitamins and plant extracts found within the ingredients soften the skin to restore a smooth, fresh and youthful glow.” It’s supposedly designed to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and eliminate skin’s excess oil.

I was interested in this product as I do have combination skin, with majority of my skin being normal but I do suffer from a slightly oily T-Zone (prone to blackheads on my nose with enlarged pores on my cheeks). I am always on the hunt for products to shrink my pores, as it’s something I’m quite insecure about. I get frustrated with them because I feel like it makes my makeup look much less smooth and refined, and some foundations/highlights really cling to them and emphasise this problem area. My husband has quite an oily skin type in general, so he was quite happy to give a males perspective on this product also! (The gross part of us is also excited to trial this product on his back!!)

The mask is a little messy, I find they always are when they come from a tube but maybe thats just me being clumsy! When applied in an even layer as per the instructions it sits comfortably and doesn’t drip or do anything funky. As it dries down, even if you forget to time it, the product starts to feel a little tight and reminds you that it’s working (yes, I am one of those people who forgets).

After 30 minutes we were both super excited to peel it off, and had a laugh trying to peel it off in one really satisfying layer (which this product allows, SO GOOD!). Again, the sick part of me was almost hoping to see some gross stuff on the back of the peeled layer like you do with a nose strip- this was not the case. However, I was not expecting big things from a £1.99 product at all, but I did notice that my pores looked great! They genuinely did appear reduced and I was totally thrilled to the extent it made me want to apply a primer and do my makeup. My skin felt smooth, softer and clean, and despite a couple of drips on my T-Shirt during application, I really enjoyed my experience using this product.

Since then I’ve used the products a few more times since, and actually I still really like this product. If you have a spare bit of couch change laying around this product is amazing value, so why not give it a go if you can still get your hands on it?!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, let me know what you think in the comments or again if you’ve found anything you’d like me to try let me know!!

Love from Frankii!
x

10 Tips for new bloggers!

Hey guys! I thought I’d share with you some of the things I wish I’d known before I started my blog seriously a few months ago! Hope you enjoy x

Start thinking of yourself as a brand.

This may seem a little daunting, but if you’re new or thinking of starting a blog it’s probably no different to what you were doing on social media anyway! We all have an “online persona”. Make sure your web design and content reflect you! When I first started I did a little brainstorm and considered the bloggers/influencers that inspired me. Set aside some time to really think about what it is you have to offer, and try to make sure that your personality shines through in your work. For example, for me, I’ve always been known amongst my friends for my humor and wit, so I like to break up some of my more serious posts with something a little light-hearted.

Engagement is key!

I know this one might seem obvious but the best way I’ve found to get a regular readership is simply making genuine connections with other bloggers and, well… just being pleasant! Twitter will become your best friend, you can genuinely never go wrong with following bloggers and engaging with their content. One of the best things that ever happened to my blog was joining a group chat on twitter, and a pod on Instagram. ‘Pods’ like this are a great way to ensure engagement because it allows you to connect and share links with people who have common interests as you. If nothing else, the mutual support will do wonders for your confidence, and especially if you are introverted like me, provides and amazing opportunity to make friends.

 

Participate on hot topics

Because the blogging community is so large and diverse, there is often controversy or ‘hot topics’ such as a controversial blog post, a new television show, or a trending hash-tag. While I’d never recommend getting involved with drama, sometimes it’s worth being aware or weighing in with an opinion or an issue. Again, these can be a good networking opportunities or at the very least a way to build familiarity with other bloggers/potential readers.

Also, there are often “chats” held at certain times. Usually this involves an account hosting a Q&A where people answer and discuss questions asked by a host. These are great chance to make new connections and can be great fun!

These Apps may save your life

Here are some of the apps I personally use and love:

One of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger is people who are only out for themselves. People who follow you, wait for you to follow back then unfollow you. This can be combatted by using:

Followers+ (instagram) This allows you to track your followers and see your unfollowers.

Crowdfire (Twitter) Crowdfire is great because it also allows you to schedule tweets, so that they post automatically at optimal times.

Bitly- This can be used to shorten links so that you fill up less characters when sharing your links on twitter. This helps you to include more vital hashtags that might get your post noticed!

Bloglovin’- Bloglovin’ is another way to help you keep up with other blogs and for others to follow you. This is particularly useful If you use a platform that isn’t WordPress as it gives you a “timeline” so you can keep track of content you love!

Influenster- Influenster allows you to make a profile tailored to products you love and is designed to let you review them. This can help brands to see your writing skills and to assess whether or not you might be suitable to review their products. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a PR package?

 

Photography

Before I started blogging, I knew that photography was important but never knew quite how important it was. I would recommend purchasing a decent camera, because it just sets you apart from other bloggers and makes your content look more professional. However, if you can’t afford to splash out, or you don’t have access to a camera; there are some apps (for iPhone) that can help you out: the ones I use most often are VSCO, and Facetune. VSCO is great for general editing, lightening/brightening images, or adding tints/filters that might help you if you have an Instagram or blog image ‘theme’, where as Facetune is more aimed towards editing selfie’s or images of people.

Having mentioned ‘themes’, this is where all your images or photos abide by some sort of colour scheme or subject theme. This is regularly seen by bloggers on Instagram. Don’t feel pressured to have a theme or set aesthetic, but some people feel it adds something to their ‘brand’, as I mentioned before; since it makes their content more recognizable and consistent.

Buy your domain

This one isn’t essential, but it does help your website links to look more professional. The sooner you do this the better, that way it allows you to get to grips with your new website. If you aren’t ready to make this commitment yet, at least consider doing it as soon as possible.

Schedule/time posts for optimal times

Think about the time and day you personally are most likely to sit down and read other peoples posts. Often people do this on weekend afternoons, however, this also runs the risk that your post will be buried amongst many others written by people who were thinking the same thing. Some of my most viewed posts have actually gone live in the morning around commute time, presumably read by people using the tube or other public transport on their way to work. Find the time that works best for you! Using crowdfire as mentioned previously, you can schedule tweets (or links to your post within them) and they will post automatically for the “best time”.

Be consistent

As a newbie I know this can be daunting, but one of the easiest ways to lose followers and readers is to be inconsistent or to forget to post regularly. People are far more likely to subscribe and return to your site regularly if you are consistent. You don’t want return followers and potential subscribers to forget about you! Definitely think of writing and scheduling posts in advance to prevent this happening. If you haven’t yet launched I would even consider doing this a few weeks in advance while you find your feet with your new site.

This also applies to the content you are posting. Subscribers and repeat visitors are most likely returning to your page because they enjoy your content. As I said before, don’t feel pressured to fit into a theme or a niche, but try and work out what it is that your brand will concentrate on for the most part. For example, if you have gained subscribers through blogging about food, you might notice a decline in your engagement if you suddenly start to focus on interior design, and neglect your regular food posts. For example, for me, I try my best to stick to beauty and lifestyle. I will occasionally however break from that niche to discuss wider issues such as mental health, because it is important to me personally. I also think it is good to use my platform to do good and spread awareness. This is effective because it makes me seem relatable and human, and a lot of my audience are fellow bloggers. Blogging is a fantastic creative outlet and often a safe space to share! So, as it turns out, more of us than you know suffer from anxiety and/or struggle with mental health. I discovered this as this occasional change actually boosts my views, as a pose to harming them.

Don’t expect to become a Hollywood name overnight.

It takes time, work and a lot of learning to build your audience and become a big name in blogging. If you are blogging purely for numbers, free products or fame this is probably not the career for you, as your lack of passion will eventually shine through your content.

Most of all, have fun!

As I just mentioned, make sure you are truly passionate about what you are writing about, and provide genuine engagement and gratitude to your readership. But don’t tie yourself in knots trying to fit a niche or a theme that makes you feel less passionate about what you are doing. We blog for the love of blogging- it really is an affair of the heart. As the old saying goes, “if you chose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.

Plus size me || bodies past, present and future

**TW: If you have issues with weight and/or body image or eating disorders there may be content in this article that you find distressing.** 

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been a little inconsistent with my blogging that past week or so, as you have may have seen on Twitter, I have a lot going on in my head at the moment, and I needed to take a brief step back for my Mental Health.

When I first started this blog, I had always intended for it to be purely lifestyle and beauty- but as time progressed I realised that in order to be authentic with my readership I couldn’t avoid talking about Mental Health. It’s something that affects so many of us, me included, and I have always been passionate and vocal about spreading awareness. My only downfall in this regard, has been my own pride. I have always been very supportive and try to be as nonjudgemental as possible of others when they come to me with Mental Health issues, but I’ve always struggled with taking my own advice. Since I’ve been particularly struggling this month, I thought I’d share with you what’s been going on.

Besides my decision to drop out of my MA, looking for jobs, considering a house move, and my husband being on nights, one of the biggest contributing factors I’ve always struggled with surrounding Mental Health is Body Image.


Past

I have always been, and probably always will be, a massive foodie. I love food, I love cooking, and I love the satisfaction that comes with making something great. I’m not throwing blame at all, but I wasn’t exactly brought up in a family full of healthy eating/active living role models. My Mum, a pescatarian (or as I like to call it, shitatarian) has neglected her own nutrition to make sacrifices for her kids for years. While she always cooked balanced meals, she definitely raised me with the “waste not want not” mentality, and sometimes I still feel guilty to leave food. My dad can easily eat enough to sate four men in one sitting, and when I moved in with my Grandparents, I learned to cook mostly because had I not I feel like we would have lived off M&S food that could just be thrown in a microwave or straight in the oven- Grandma is not fond of cooking!

When I was in Primary school I was bullied mercilessly until I had to change schools. I was the tallest in class, always seemed to have a coldsore on picture day, chubby, bespectacled and Mum waited far too long to introduce me to hair removal methods (I am still haunted by prepubescent photos that exhibit a rather glorious monobrow, lol)! Besides the bullying, I have very early memories of hearing the terms “big-boned” and “puppy fat” being thrown around.

Fortunately, as I reached high school and grew ever taller, eventually stopping at 5’10, I somewhat “grew into” my weight, (though unfortunately much before all the boys so I still stuck out like a sore thumb)! Also unfortunately, I also hit puberty early too. This meant that I went from being bullied to being one of the first girls to get breasts. Enter the dreaded male gaze. At around 13 I went from a B to DD in the space of two weeks. From then on they just never seemed to stop, and by the time I was 15 my body settled on a 30HH. This meant that while the measurements of my waist at the time suggested I should wear a size 8, my bust meant that I was a size 16. Looking back, I was a beautiful hourglass, but I always felt bigger than my friends. From ages 14-16 I remember skipping lunch at school, and refusing to eat breakfast, hoping that I could lose weight by only eating the one meal that Mum made at dinner time.

It worked somewhat, but at 16, with prom fast approaching, I started experiencing what I now recognise to be the first signs of anxiety. If I ever got particularly nervous or excited, I would feel nauseous and sometimes have to rush to the toilet to vomit. It was then that I started to experiment with purging. I was determined to lose weight, and mum wouldn’t let me live on those god awful SlimFast shakes. That was, until my Grandma heard me purging. My family finally accepted that I wanted to do this, and agreed. What I didn’t realise was how unhealthy this would make me. Recovering from Meningitis and on regular Codeine, I was feeling faint and lightheaded more than often. After all, I wasn’t eating proper meals. Not only this, but I have a (now very mild) intolerance to lactose, and also prone to tonsillitis, so I was living with an almost constant throat infection from the level of milk I was ingesting.

Fast forward to college, I was feeling a little more sure of myself and who I was. That was when things started escalating the other way. I remember eating my emotions each time a boy cheated on me, stress eating my way through all my exams/revision phases. I remember the look of shame and pity on my grandmas face when she caught me elbow deep in a bag of Doritios. “Ill lose weight when I’ve finished my exams”. Of course, there was always another exam. At least then, I was moderately active and had horse riding to look forward to.

This went on right into uni. On top of that I was going out clubbing and drinking at least 3-6 nights a week. I was awful in my first year, and really abused my body. My only exercise was making a fool of myself in clubs. I’d fill my body with crap and liquor. In second year it only got worse, when I had my first more “serious” wave of depression. Not only was I depressed, but in hindsight I was also agoraphobic. I hated myself so deeply I didn’t want others to see me. At one point this got so bad that I would hide in my room until I was sure my flatmates had gone to bed, and order takeaway food just so that I wouldn’t risk seeing anyone in the kitchen. I felt like I was eating to survive at this point, and my body didn’t matter. In final year I was better, refreshed and feeling right again. I signed up for Joe Wicks (the body coach) and lost 20lbs in a month, following a strict macro diet plan and HIIT exercise. Then, however, I met my now husband (who unfortunately is American with a lot of bad eating habits of his own, but rudely with the metabolism of Usain Bolt), and then was faced by my dissertation.


Present

Now, I find myself having put all that weight back on, plus a stone for good luck- I am bigger than I have ever been.

While I have always been an advocate for plus women and body positivity, I have struggled so hard with accepting my new reality. People treat me differently, I feel less likely to get jobs, afraid to do things where I’d “take up too much space”. I either obsess over or avoid mirrors at all costs, I never buy new clothes because I feel like everything looks awful, I can feel agoraphobia seeping in again, I feel like everyone is judging me, my family is ashamed of me and I haven’t felt “sexy” in about a year. I’ve always wanted a breast reduction because of my back pain, but they advise you not to get one until you’re “happy” with your weight, since if you gain or loose too much either way the shape will change. When I dream, I don’t appear the way I do in real life. I don’t even recognise who I am in the mirror, and honestly, I really don’t think I want to.

On top of the shallow reasons I have always wanted to lose weight, I am also now consumed with new symptoms and concerns about my health. I know if I don’t change my life soon I am going to eat myself to death. I’ve always had back pain due to the size of my bust, but now I can’t even stand for long enough to do the dishes without sitting down to avoid tears. I hadn’t realised how bad it had gotten until last year for our mini-honeymoon, merely walking around London I found myself clinging onto A’s arm with tears in my eyes because my back pain was so severe. Not only this, my resting heart rate is insanely high, I’m constantly fatigued and I’m beginning to see more and more symptoms of pre-diabetes, and it is making me insanely paranoid.

Honestly, I want to lose weight so that I can do the things I enjoy again. So I can feel confident in myself and wear the clothes I long to wear. So I can feel sexy and healthy and enjoy being active and going on adventures with my husband. I want to feel like myself again.


Future

My plans for the future are to take effect immediately. No more “I’ll start Monday”, or I’ll try harder next week. I need to make this commitment to myself and to the people who love me so that I don’t eat myself into an early grave. I miss doing the sports I loved so much but 4 years ago. I miss waking up and not worrying about being in pain every day. The worst part is, I know about nutrition and exercise, I just don’t do it, and while my mental health often causes my lack of desire, it’s often also the other way around. I need to force myself through the pain and the hard times to reach the size 10 jeans at the end of the tunnel.

I thought I would write this to let you all know, since you might be noticing some changes with my Instagram and other social media feeds. Of course I will still be doing beauty, but I’d love to start sharing my journey with you all, because I feel like through blogging I’ve found a space on the internet full of loving, supportive souls. Besides, there might even be a few recipes in it for you!

 

Love,

Frankii xx

 

 

 

 

I know this post was a little long and a little personal, but hopefully now I’ve worked through my emotional turmoil (lol I’m so dramatic) I’ll be back to regular posting. My next installation of discounted beauty is coming soon!! Xx

Discounted Beauty: UltraWhite Home Teeth Whitening Kit

What’s up guys! Today I’m starting a new series that I’m hoping you’ll love. “Discounted Beauty” is going to be a series about products found on sale, or on online discount stores such as Groupon or Wowcher. Of course if there’s anything that you’ve seen that you think I should try and review please go ahead and let me know in the comments below!

The first product I have for you guys is the the “UltraWhite Home Teeth Whitening Kit”. The products come in a metallic medical/sterile feeling packaging, and as you can see in the top picture, this kit comes with three, six or nine 3ml non-peroxide gel syringes with gel caps to stop it from going bad, a tooth colour chart so that you can track your progress and see what shade you’ve achieved, a double silicone mouth tray, and an “ultra blue LED laser light” which claims to accelerate/enhance the process.

I’ve always looked after my teeth, they are not terribly yellow, having not smoked for long before giving up last year (go me!) – but I definitely feel like my coffee consumption during my three years at University have left them looking a little more sad than they used to. I spent a long while with the colour chart trying to assess what shade my teeth were at, but the colour chart seems to go from brilliant white to brownish, whereas mine are slightly yellow. I didn’t think any of them resembled my teeth but I suppose I would place it around a 5-6 if I had to.

The instructions tell you to essentially squeeze a small line of gel onto each side of the tray across your front 6-8 teeth. It then says to “insert” the light, and leave on for no more than 30 minutes before removing the tray, and rinsing your mouth and the products with water.

The first thing I noticed with this is, the sheer size of the mouth tray. When putting it in I felt more like I was going to film a YouTube video of me playing the “Speak Out” challenge. I don’t have the largest mouth, and I found it really hard to fit this piece in. The shape felt very unnatural and uncomfortable, and has a strange ridge that I found I had to physically pull my lips over.

The second thing I noticed is the light does not fit or secure into the tray at all. It had me wondering if the light was designed for a different product, so again, I had to try and fit this along with this enormous tray inside my mouth. Consequently, the light didn’t really sit flush with the product and I found myself having to adjust it several times.

About half way through, (skip this paragraph if you’re easily grossed out) I felt extremely uncomfortable as there were pools of saliva collecting in the bottom of my mouth. Because of this, it was obviously mixing with the gel, and I could taste it. I’m not sure how safe this is, and it seemed to numb the tip of my tongue.

It actually took a fair bit of willpower to last a full 30 minutes, but I told myself if my teeth looked even a shade whiter it would all be worth it. Unfortunately, as I removed the tray, (and the pools of drool/product collected in the bottom of my mouth) I looked in the mirror to see that absolutely nothing had changed.

QUITE FRANKLII… (lol) I was going to include a before and after picture at this point, but honestly, the pictures I took literally look exactly the same. I gave it another shot, and tried again the next day, only to find that I had now wasted £15 and an hour of my life instead of 30 feeling very dribbly and very uncomfortable all for nothing! I think it’s safe to conclude my lovelies, that I do not advise purchasing this product, and there is probably a reason it’s discounted on Groupon!

Despite my suffering I hope you guys enjoyed my first “discounted beauty” post! As I said before, feel free to share in the comments below any links or products to things you’d like to see me try below, I love hearing from you!

Lots of Love,

Francesca! x

 

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. IV


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The One(s) I Hoped I’d Never Have To Write

For me, though I can be hard to get to know initially, my morals are such that after I’ve been with/through a certain amount of things with a person, I will generally love them almost as an extension of my family. This is something that never fully goes away. These are the most painful friendship breakups of all. The ones where you’ve grown together, but sometimes they start to grow in a direction you don’t like. The ones where the person in your memories doesn’t coincide with the person stood before you today. The ones whose energy has changed and become suffocating or poisonous to your own.

For me, and i’m sure for many of you out there, you may find yourselves holding on to the people in memories, even though they don’t exist anymore. You may try to turn a blind eye to the negative traits they’ve picked up, hoping and wishing for it to just be a phase. The fact is, that life changes us. Sometimes people grow apart, and sometimes they grow into people who- when you really make yourself face the music, you don’t recognise… or even like anymore. This whole series was inspired by a recent experience. If the person(s) concerned are reading this (which I doubt as the lack of support has been going on for much longer than I realised), know that I’m sorry.

This is to be my final post in the series, with a view to opening it up again later on if anyone has any ideas or requests on toxic friends I’ve missed. This one was particularly hard for me to write hence I saved it till last. I hope you all can build the courage to end friendships that are/become toxic no matter how long you have been friends, because ultimately holding on to people that don’t love and support you in a genuine, healthy way will only damage you, and impact your life negatively. It’s ok to let people go if their energy isn’t right for you.

 

Dear Ex-Friend,

Life changed us, stretched our relationship over distances that meant we grew apart. We saw each other less and less, and each time I would see you I would notice differences. Some subtle, the shifts in your energy… less so. Before long the person sat before me was someone I didn’t feel that I knew. The person I knew and loved was too crazy and fun-loving to even notice things that this new person would say out of jealousy or spite. We used to be like siblings, but we changed.

I grew drained as each time we met a new person would become the subject of your anger. I tried to love you through it, sometimes smiling through discomfort and worst of all joining in, really wanting to believe that these people deserved the words you were saying. Hoping that you’d only talk about people this way if they’d severely wronged you,  but before long I couldn’t miss the pangs of envy that tainted your conversations. The people you spoke of all had something that you wished you had, and though the picture of victimisation was one I wanted to believe, the green began to seep through the cracks.

Before long I couldn’t help but wonder what you’d be saying about me behind my back. As I distanced myself, I felt the hostility growing inside you. Instead of looking inwards to consider why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with you, you lashed out. Not to mention, as it turns out, I was right to wonder.

I cannot fathom what could have happened in a persons life, to turn someone I loved for their carefree attitude and mutual aversion to b*tching about others into someone who could be so nasty. I supported you through everything I could, and ignored new warning signs as long as I possibly could have. But even as I felt resigned to distance myself from the friendship, nothing could have prepared me for the betrayal I felt when I heard that I’d become the topic of dinner conversation.

When I started blogging, I knew I would be judged for it. That’s one of the reasons I made sure to really cut down my Facebook down to people that I know (or thought I knew) loved me. To be ridiculed for doing something innocent and productive with my spare time, to say things like “who cares what she has to say?” was bad enough. But to screenshot a selfie and to tear apart my actual physical appearance, my marriage, my existence… To be that spiteful towards someone you shared years of memories with- was unforgivable.

To you, dear “friend”, I honestly hope that some day you can fill the void or the chip on your shoulder and realise that the world isn’t out to get you. Treating the people who love you awfully isn’t going to wind up benefitting your life, it will only push people away till you wind up alone. I never thought I would have to say goodbye to you, and part of me hopes that in a few years time this will have all just been a phase. I truly hope you can recover the person you were, because I know that deep down this toxic person isn’t you. But until then, for my own sanity, I think I’ll have to put this one to rest.

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. Ultimately, you hold the pen to your novel. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

5 Tips for Freshers/Freshmen!


Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time! 

 Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently! 

 


 

Ditch that fuckboy!

Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.

The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.

Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.

Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.

 

Embrace the anxiety

This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!

 

Brace yourself for hangovers!

If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.

If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:

  1. Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
  2. After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
  3. After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
  4. After your sesh:  Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
  5. After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.

 

Don’t just stick to people in your flat

Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!

 

Leave your door open!

Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post! 

Francesca x