15 Gift Ideas for Him

Buying gifts for the men in our lives can be quite tricky sometimes, no matter the occasion. Since being with my boyfriend I think I’ve done quite well on the gift front, from DIY projects to bigger spends but it gets harder EVERY year. Gifts obviously aren’t about the money, but can we admit that it’s sometimes just nice to buy things, it can make us feel just as good giving it as it does for the person receiving it!

Christmas is just around the corner, so I thought it was a good time to post a gift guide of things that make for a good gift for boyfriends, dads, friends and whoever else! I wanted to include a variety of different budgets depending on what you’re aiming for. They won’t all be age nor relationship appropriate I suppose, but can be chopped and changed!

So without further ado, here is my gift guide for him!

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It’s Okay Not to Be Positive (All the Time)

I was debating writing a post like this; one with less purpose and fact, but more feeling. 2020 has just not been the one for many of us and I truly admire those that have managed to inject positivity into their day from the minute they wake up. I’ve always admired those people. Growing up, I had a terribly negative mindset, particularly a self-deprecating one. Very much glass-half-empty rather than half-full. I would see the negatives before the positives, and be too realistic for my own good.

Since getting older and experiencing more of the ‘real world’ we’re always told about, I do think my mindset has grown with me. I allow myself to see the positives in situations and can reassure myself that things aren’t that bad, or everything happens for a reason, so trust and let go. However, this attitude only stretches so far some days. I’m human after all, not a robot programmed to see the good in all things.

Eventually, I do think I forced myself into seeing the positives and telling myself that someone else always had it worse. It turned into a type of complex whereby I’d feel guilty for being negative and honest with my emotions because there’s always someone in a worse position. I’ve come to realise just recently that this is so toxic and we’re all allowed to feel what we feel.

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

It’s fantastic to have perspective, but it’s not everything

Acknowledging our own privilege and situation compared to others is of course not a bad thing. Belittling our own thoughts and feelings, however, is not so good. In life, there will always be someone that we believe is in a worse position than ourselves, or even in a better position. It’s all about the balance of appreciating this and allowing ourselves to feel valid at the same time.

Particularly with the whole Covid situation, there’s never been more opportunity to compare ourselves to others. Who’s had a holiday cancelled? Who’s lost a job? Who’s struggled the most transitioning into working from home? I feel so guilty sometimes when I want to share a bit of negativity rather than positivity – in my hopes of keeping my social platforms as real as possible. Why should I feel frustrated and anxious, when since March I’ve had a full-time wage working my job from home, surrounded by my pets and family with my own car?

Because yes those things have kept me sane and stable, but I’ve also had a holiday and day trips cancelled, my driving test postponed twice (thankfully I passed in the end), I lost my dog I had for 12 years and I’ve felt quite stuck in which direction I’m headed in. These things have induced sadness, frustration and anxiety. Even writing this is making me feel a horrible sense of guilt. This is because people have lost their jobs, family members, been lonely without help. I completely acknowledge the hardship others are experiencing, but I need to stop invalidating my own feelings and allow myself to be negative.

Is there a stigma attached to being negative and honest online?

Personally, I do think so to some extent. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good positive morning tweet or motivating insta post. But on the days where this is all I see, I feel like a dark cloud who doesn’t want to rain on everyone’s parade, so I swiftly move along and wait till the sun comes back. I don’t want to be the person to dampen someone’s day, but by sharing my honest feelings, I could be helping someone more than I know. Helping them to feel less alone, less frightened to share that their day is not so great either.

I love realism. Obviously, I don’t love knowing people are having a hard time, but I always appreciate their honesty. We can’t be our best selves all the time, it’s just not possible.

Photo by Abigail Faith on Unsplash

I’m not sure there was much point to this…

Truly, I just fancied a ramble. A bit of chatty honesty and a chance to open up a discussion. I wanted to share the fact that you are well within your right to feel what you want to feel, and when. There is no rulebook and we are all in this together (will I ever not think of High School Musical?!).

Despite social media often being a negative and scary space due to what’s going on in the world, that doesn’t mean we should ever feel obligated to stay quiet when we just want to share our true feelings. It’s healthy to be open with ourselves and others, and heck, it might even benefit us in the long run. Life is not simple and nor are we. Not everyone wants to share their not-so-sunny days, and there is nothing wrong with that either.

If sharing a down day on social media will lift even the tiniest weight off your shoulders, then DO IT. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and happy, I can guarantee there will always be a pair of eyes/ears waiting. I think the blogging community is fantastic for genuine support and friendship, no matter the following you have or whether you’ve spoken before.

It’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to share that.

What are your thoughts? Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delving into The World of MLMs

“Hey babe! I’ve just been taking a look through your feed/blog/account and think you would be the PERFECT addition to my team. Are you looking to quit your 9-5 and make money from home?” if the latter rings a bell (a potentially alarming one), then you my friend, appeared to have stumbled across an MLM scheme.

Disclaimer: There are some legitimate MLM programmes available, and by no means am I tarnishing every person and every business with the same brush, nor shaming anyone if they want to participate. I just disagree with the fake-friendliness and programmes that have negatively affected people’s lives.

What does MLM actually mean?

MLM stands for multi-level marketing. It’s a controversial method of network marketing and the illegal versions are called pyramid schemes. The most common form of MLM is for a person to be ‘recruited’ into a team; to sell products/services to family and friends. Doesn’t sound too fishy just yet? Well, they can be fraudulent and can cause the recruited member to actually lose money rather than make anything back. Losing money can also consequently land people in debt.

MLM participants and recruiters can come across very friendly, approachable, likeable and honest. It is a clever technique to lure people into the depths of a scheme that can cause more harm than good. Often the targets of these schemes are students, stay at home mums and people looking for additional income.

It’s a system that preys on the vulnerable and makes a mockery of true, hard-working business owners. It takes advantage of those less financially advantaged and with little to no knowledge on the truth behind MLMs. It’s not dissimilar to a form of brainwashing.

So what does MLM involve?

From my research online, and vast personal experience of coming across these participants daily, is that it works by signing up, paying for a ‘starter kit’, and selling *cough nagging* your family and friends into buying your products and/or joining your team to gain commission and profit. Can you see how the cycle continues? It appears most money comes from the recruiting aspect and the commission gained from recruiting others into the business. This is where the ‘pyramid’ aspect starts to make more sense.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

So what is a pyramid scheme and how does this differ to MLM?

If you picture a literal pyramid shape, it starts at a point at the top and gradually widens out into a lower, wider level. So business CEOs recruit and enroll people at the top-level and work their way down continuously in a chain. All the while promising payments and rewards for recruiting others rather than selling a product/service.

An article by Randy Duermyer states; “To be legal and not a scam, money needs to be primarily earned from the sales of products and services rather than the recruitment of new members. MLM programs with no or a low-quality product or a focus on getting paid per recruit could be an illegal pyramid scheme”.

The lower level earns little to no money, and the big bosses at the top walk away with the cash. Some invest thousands into these businesses with the hopes that they can quit their job and get rich from home. But they don’t get rich, and they end up worse off. It’s a false sense of security.

So in short MLMs are pyramid schemes, just not always illegal ones.

How do MLMs/pyramid schemes work?

If you know what warning signs to look out for – you can become a pro at spotting an MLM recruiter from a mile away. I delete multiple DMs a week, which have all been from young women. They claim to be business owners, travel agents and “entrepreneurs”, but this could not be further from the truth. You may be enticed into what seems like a generic, friendly conversation. The second you reply, you are bombarded with over-friendly, pushy messages.

A few messages in, you may be hit with “have you considered earning extra money from home?” or “I’m part of an amazing business opportunity I think you would be great at, would you like to hear more?”. Their pitches are quite obvious, so shouldn’t be hard to spot. Voice messages are now a common form, which makes your invite look personalised when they’re more than likely following a script and changing the name each time.

The so-called “benefits” of these schemes can involve all expenses paid trips, winning a car and luxury prizes. So to people who are struggling to put food on the table and have no idea what MLMs are, it looks like a life-changing opportunity. The problem is how morally wrong they are, as well as financially.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Examples of MLMs that you may recognise are:

  • Avon (who have built reputability and personally, I have used and still use Avon as a consumer, as it’s a better established, legitimate business that just uses MLM techiques with its Avon reps)
  • The Body Shop has been a new and upcoming one
  • Arbonne
  • Herbalife
  • NuSkin
  • Juice Plus

How did it all begin?

Network Experience state “The first direct seller that made the breakthrough was the “California Perfume Company” established in 1886. California Perfume Company was renamed as “Avon Products” in 1939 and is still at the top of the MLM industry. ” so they weren’t the creators of this type of business model, but they seem to have paved the way. In 1945, another company changed its name from the California Vitamin Company to Nurti Lite, which practiced MLM strategies still used today to sell their products.

It appears the earliest MLM business was JR Watkins Medical Company in 1886, explained by Tony on Quora.

But WHY can they be so bad?

The primary reason is because it’s a predatory method that preys on unknowing and vulnerable communities worldwide. It seemingly offers care-free income and great prospects which most of the time, is not true. A fantastic in-depth article I came across by Eliza Romero describes that “Using the language of third-wave feminism and borrowing quotes or phrases from real female CEOs helps recruiters and recruits see themselves as legitimate professionals, no different from a founder of a startup company”.

It’s all a facade and a beautiful lie. It is psychologically manipulative too, giving people sales pitches and leading them into a false sense of security. They have also kept going since the start of the Covid pandemic, which I think is a disgusting technique when people are facing so much personal and financial devastation.

It’s hard to locate UK statistics for MLM schemes, but they are vast across the US.

“Among the more than 20 million Americans who participate or have participated in multilevel marketing (MLM) organizations, 90 percent say they got involved to make money. However, nearly half (47 percent) lose money and a quarter (27 percent) make no money, according to a new study released by AARP Foundation.” – quote from PR Newswire

Where can I find out more?

I remember watching the BBC documentary by Ellie Flynn which gave an insight into the households directly affected by MLMs and it was shocking. One of the young women involved ended up £3000 in debt due to the false promises of an MLM scheme. She invested expecting to seek results, and gained nothing in return.

I, among many, find the fake friendly conversations by MLM recruiters insanely tiresome and annoying. I know family and friends that are involved who thankfully, do not seem disadvantaged thus far. There are some legitimate schemes, but please do your research if you are interested. I am not here to promote these models of “business” but to raise awareness into the dangers and toxicity of the majority of them. The truth behind the true earning success rates of these businesses needs to be shared more publically to avoid others falling into the same trap.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and experiences with MLM in the comments down below.

Until next time,

Emily x

Honest Personal Microderm Classic Review (Gifted)

As per my disclaimer; regardless of a gift or not, all views and opinions are strictly my own unless stated otherwise.

There’s no debate that skincare is a very popular topic in all sense of the word. At-home beauty treatments are more readily available than ever and this is where today’s product comes in. Kindly gifted to me is the Personal Microderm, which claims to match microdermabrasion treatments you can get in spas and salons. Now despite never having had this type of treatment before – I thought this would be an interesting product to try.

The kit included caps for both face and body and has 1 speed. I was pleased to see that the box came with a DVD which provides a tutorial on how to use the device; a good marketing idea for those that aren’t heavy on laptops etc. So we were off to a good start straight away, and after a few practice tries on my arm – I felt ready to go!

So what does it do?

It’s marketed at aiding with the following target areas:

  • Exfoliates
  • Brightens complexion
  • Boosts collagen
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Prevents spots from forming
  • Fades uneven pigmentation, sun damage, and age spots
  • Reduce acne scarring

The suction element pulls your skin against the spinning exfoliating disc.

I’m all for honesty and transparency when it comes to my reviews, so I will admit that I do not commonly experience the above.

So for a fair test and trial – I brought mother bear in to try the treatment too (I didn’t mind sharing the device with my own flesh and blood). Therefore, the testing journey became a 20 something vs 50 something experiment to see whose skin faired better. Results are expected at around 8-12 weeks; so there was no way I could write a review after a couple of uses.

You use the treatment once a week to allow your skin to regenerate between uses; and only go over the same patch of skin once during treatment – in outward motions typically. There are different coloured disks adhering to your skin’s sensitivity.

So does it work?

I don’t believe I have the skin type that correlates with this product’s target audience. I am blessed with naturally clear skin that isn’t overly spot-prone, but I did still want to work towards a more even skin tone and brighter complexion. Microdermabrasion allows your skincare products to really get to work under the surface – which I definitely noticed!

Session 1 22/07/2020: Easy to figure out, no discomfort, strange sensation. Skin felt tingly but very smooth and soft, my evening cleanser glided over my skin.

Session 2 29/07/2020: Upped cap to most “abrasive” setting. Left little red streaks that did fade quickly. I did notice I gained a couple of spots after my 1st session, but this can be common as it’s drawing impurities out of the skin.

Session 3 05/08/2020: Same tingly sensation

Session 4 12/08/2020: My t-zone felt a bit more sensitive after use when using my skincare products. This was my check-in point and I noticed my skin felt the softest it’s ever felt and my skin tone looked more even.

Session 5 19/08/2020: Fully used to the sensation at this point. Red marks fade quickly, great if you’re not a big makeup wearer or have somewhere to be.  Pores didn’t look too reduced. Skin looking bright and polished.

Session 6 26/08/2020: I did get a few more blemishes so this was probably an indicator to go down a cap-level.

Photo by Christina Deravedisian on Unsplash

Now alongside this, I was also using the treatment on my mother who fitted the target criteria more for the product. You can definitely see a more noticeable difference on more mature skin. My mum has beautiful skin, but she does enjoy her treatments, creams and regularly uses a DermaWand.

On more mature skin the biggest improvements were:

  • Reduced lines around the eyes and on the forehead
  • Skin around nose less dry and red
  • Skin generally brighter

I didn’t quite fit the target group for this product; but I do think it will work well on those that are looking to treat the areas mentioned earlier in this post. If you’re looking for a luxury gift for a skincare lover – please do take the time to consider this product. PMD do also offer many other goodies that may take your fancy!

Thank you so much for reading and I do hope this has given you a better insight into at-home microdermabrasion.

Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

My Daily Routine Working From Home

Since March, my full-time office job has been transported into my bedroom/living room depending on my task for the day. Currently, I work for a pensions company and started at the end of January, so COVID hit pretty quickly afterwards. I’m part of the bereavements team – so one of my main roles is outbound calls on most days of the week.

The lovely Charlotte from Take a Paws recommended this post idea, so thank you as writer’s block hit this week! I’m quite a nosey person myself, so thought sharing a little snippet of my daily life might be interesting! However, my routine is not role-model behaviour in the slightest. You won’t catch me exercising or drinking fruit teas at the crack of dawn (or at sunset for that matter) because it just isn’t me – unless I’m really in the mood.

So if you’re looking for a realistic routine, please keep reading!

6:45/7 am

  • Wakey wakey eggs and bakey (if I can be bothered)
  • On a normal day if I were to be going into the office (which is a 5 minute drive), I’m awake at 6am so I can get a lift in with mother who works in the same building

7-8am

  • Regret getting a job
  • Morning skincare routine and brush teeth
  • Mum leaves a cup of tea on the wash basket for me every morning that I’ll have whilst sitting with the dogs downstairs
  • I’ll always have breakfast, but if I’m not hungry straight away, I can easily eat-and-go whilst working from home
  • Get dressed (what are jeans) and maybe apply makeup, but 9/10 I do not

8am

  • Work begins and continues until my first break

10:15am

  • I have my first 15 minute break which is usually spent scrolling through TikTok or sitting in the garden for some air
  • I’m guilty of eating my leftover takeaway before lunchtime sometimes

10:30am

  • Back to work until lunchtime!

12:15pm

  • As it’s still summer at the moment, I’ll have lunch with mum in the garden or watch a bit of telly. I could definitely be more productive on my lunch breaks but usually I just want a mental break until it’s time to go back to the drawing board

1pm

  • Back to work until my afternoon break

3:15pm

  • Time for my second 15 minute break of the day, which is the most needed one. I definitely peak in the afternoon so I’ll have a quick nap or grab some fresh air to wake myself up

5pm

  • Time to log out and shut down for the evening

At the moment I no longer have a commute home, so switch my laptop off straight away to get a break from screens for an hour or two. It can be easy to close my work tab and open a different one, but I do my best to insert blue-light-breaks into my days.

5pm-6pm

  • This is pretty much always dinner time in our house, followed by feeding the dogs and cleaning up

6pm-11pm

Some days my evenings are busy and productive, other evenings are lazy and I don’t tick much off of my to-do list. My evenings typically consist of:

  • Household chores that need doing i.e. cleaning, tidying, general bits and bobs
  • Blogging
  • Walking the dogs
  • Shower or bath
  • Take my makeup off and do my skincare routine
  • Watch TV with mum; usually a Criminal Minds episode and at the moment I’m watching Skins from the start
  • Driving practice for my test with my instructor or mum (thanks COVID for cancelling 2 tests)
  • Sometimes I just spend time on my laptop online window shopping and making future plans
  • Reading
  • Doing my nails

11pm

  • This is my usual bedtime, but as long as I get 6-8 hours sleep I can function the next day, plus I like making the most of my spare time.

I enjoy the simple things in life so can quite happily fill my evenings with anything and everything –  I just do what I have to do during the day!

I’d never worked from home prior to lockdown, but I had always wanted to. I feel much more comfortable at home and it’s kept me in a good mental state. Going into the office often really didn’t make me feel great a lot of the time, so it’s been a welcomed change.

As mentioned previously, I don’t live the healthiest and most enriching lifestyle at the moment – but I want my blog to be realisticIt’s not all sunshine and rainbows whilst working from home, it can be tough and battery draining. So I’m glad we can now do more at the weekends to rest and recuperate.

This is a different style post to what I’m used to, but I do hope you enjoyed a snippet into my daily life nonetheless!

Until next time, take care

Emily x

 

 

 

21st Birthday Q&A

I’m 21 today! I was born at 6:45am on Thursday 24th June 1999 (we should be celebrating our mum’s surely?!) I think this will be my last birthday related post for a fair few years as I feel like turning 21 is the last “big birthday” until you’re 30. Lockdown undoubtedly ruined any potential plans, but we’ll see where the day takes us and make the most of the situation!

In celebration of waving goodbye to my turbulent teens in 2019, I wrote about 20 things I’d learned in 20 years, which still reads very true to this day. To honour the age of world-wide legal drinking and the real step into my roaring 20s, I thought a Q&A would be a fun way to kick it all off. So I’d like to firstly thank Charlotte, Millie, Shannen, Paige, Gemma Jayne and Laura for their questions! They’re a great bunch who you should definitely check out.

 

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Femme Luxe Loungewear Review (Size 12) Gifted

I was gifted the products discussed in this post, but all views and opinions are 100% my own!

In the quest to relax as much as possible during these tough times, I’m sure loungewear sales are rocketing as we want to be comfortable, but fancy getting out of our pyjamas in the morning. I’d been searching around for cute loungewear sets I could actually see myself wearing, so was glad to be approached by Femme Luxe to try some items from their loungewear collection. They kindly allowed me to choose 3 items from their range to try, so I’m here today to present you with an open and honest review!

Just as a little background; I’m around 5’10 and generally wear a size 10/12 both top and bottom depending on what the clothing item is (but I do have a bigger bust, wide hips, small bum). I’ve never ordered actual loungewear before, I’ve just picked up the odd pair of joggers here and there. I have been getting a bit sick of feeling so slouchy whilst working from home, so was interested to see what loungewear had to offer.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Blogging has been a hobby of mine since the end of 2018, so to celebrate (somewhat), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the things I wish I’d known before starting this writing journey. Starting Emily Gabriella has been once of the best things I’ve ever done. It took a lot of courage to start writing, let alone posting that writing for actual people to read.

I’m not an expert at all when it comes to blogging and I’m genuinely learning every day. SEO still confuses me, broken links are a mystery and DA is still confusing. But I enjoy posting what I like, when I feel like it. There are endless possibilities with blogging, and if you’re unsure whether to start one – PLEASE do! Without further ado, here are the 5 things I wish I’d known before starting a blog.

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20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Happy birthday to me! June 24th 2019 marks my 20th birthday and I am currently celebrating in Spain with my boyfriend Lewis. Wonderful. I cannot believe my teenage years are over? I’m definitely a little bit sad about it, but looking forward to being taken a little bit more seriously now I can knock the “teen” part off of my age. I do feel beyond my years though, I feel like it should be a 3 in front of the 0, not a 2. A lot has changed in the last year that has heightened my adult status more than I could have ever imagined. I’m not a wise old owl (yet), but I am growing, learning and changing every single day.

I remember my 12th birthday so vividly. Surrounded by Puffles (who remembers those), cheesy badges and a blue pullover fleece (12 year olds now would never). Actually, I remember every year quite vividly, and I can sit here now and recognise how much I’ve developed and matured each and every year. Time has flown by so incredibly fast, I find myself struggling to catch up. One minute I’m episodes deep into Good Luck Charlie, and the next I’m paying council tax. MADNESS. So I wanted to culminate just 20 things I’ve learnt in my 20 years of existence.

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